Tag Archives: Mayor

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New construction timeline for Transit City


Overview of Anonas LRT Station

Overview of Anonas LRT Station (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New construction timeline for Transit City

Despite 16 months of flailing on the transit file, all four of Toronto’s new provincially funded light rail lines will open within the original timeframe of 2020.

Only the hotly contested Sheppard LRT will be completed much later than it would have been before Mayor Rob Ford came to office and stalled all plans for street-level transit expansion.

Now, instead of the Sheppard LRT opening in 2014 as originally scheduled, work will only begin that year. The Finch LRT is scheduled to break ground in 2015. Both projects are expected to take about four years to complete.

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We love Mayor Rob Ford!


Rob Ford at the "Better Ball...

Rob Ford with puppet, at the "Better Ballots" Mayoral Candidates Forum at Hart House, University of Toronto. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We love Mayor Rob Ford!

According to a new Forum Research poll, more than half of Toronto residents want to scrap the city’s land transfer tax, license cyclists, contract out cleaners, toss out the plastic bag tax and support a subway-based transit plan.

The Forum poll conducted Wednesday found 61% of Toronto residents approve of ending the city’s land transfer tax and licensing cyclists so that traffic laws can be enforced on them.

Ford campaigned on abolishing the land transfer tax but has yet to make any progress on dropping it from the city’s books.

Among those surveyed, support has grown since a Forum poll last month for a subway-based transit plan with 60% now in favour of the idea rather than 36% who favour a transit system based on LRTs.

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It’s not exactly Toronto the good anymore, eh?


Toronto view from CN tower. Picture from my co...

So what is Toronto becoming?

  • MGM wants to build a massive casino on Toronto’s waterfront, preferably turning Ontario Place into a mini Vegas.
  • Ashley Madison wants to sponsor Toronto Zoos, as long as they get naming rights
  • Dennis Hof looking to expand to Toronto and build a Bunny House
  • Giorgio Mammoliti wants to build a dedicated red-light district in Toronto

What is happening to Toronto? It’s simple, Toronto is broke! Year’s ago we talked about the hollowing out of Toronto, forcing families to move to the suburbs, such as Mississauga, Brampton, Markham, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa and farther. I am not saying that this is the reason. The majority of jobs are still in Toronto, however what will Toronto look like in 20 years? Yesterday Rob Ford said “he is all business”, and he will entertain any business idea. I am not sure if Torontonians would have supported Ford Nation if they knew what the vision was for Toronto. This is definitely not in the same scope of David Miller. As a mayor he seemed to have a different vision for the city. The question is what happened to the debate over these ideas? I am starting to hear rumblings of dissatisfied voters in Scarborough and other parts of the city. Sure, I am not taking stock from a large base, but these are individuals who were stark supporters of Rob Ford coming in to clean house.

Toronto Residents: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions. 
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”? 
Toronto Residents: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies over Toronto! The Don river and Lake Ontario boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…Mel Lastman rising back to power! Human cooperation, politicians actually working together… mass hysteria!

So will Toronto become the new promised land?

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Are we making too many assumptions about Rob Ford?


Are we making too many assumptions about Rob Ford?

There seems to be the feeling around town that Rob Ford is in hiding. Recent comments, by once stark allies seem to imply that the Mayor maybe laying low due to recent defeats. However are we just making assumptions about his leadership style? Rob is an active contributor and host on Newstalk1010. We know that he is active in the community. Ordinary citizens in the suburbs maybe aware of this and overall still like the Mayor. Maybe what Rob Ford needs to do is show his vision and compromise on some of his plans. We know that Rob Ford cares about the city, but since council seems to be pitted against him he may need to find some common ground for now. 

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So who really runs the city of Toronto?


So who really runs the city of Toronto?

Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto, greeting a nun at ...

It’s interesting times in the city of Toronto. Mayor Mel Lastman had his issues, however we did not seem to have this endless deadlock. The former flamboyant Mayor definitely had his detractors, but we still got things done. Unfortunately Mayor Ford tried to do whatever he wanted and it has not worked out as planned. He had to work with council and it was not good enough to say that he has the support of Toronto citizens. It was all about the approach, in my opinion and unfortunately he has spent a large portion of his his political capital.  Rob Ford is a great person and has done a lot for the city. There is another side to Rob Ford, which is often not talked about. He has done a lot for the community, and continues to do so even as the Mayor. Mayor Ford has helped to control city spending; helping to promote the fact that council must respect the dollar. He has also been a great defender or the suburban areas of Scarborough and Etobicoke. So where does he go from here? I hope he continues to stay in politics, as it’s always good to have a good balance on council. It’s always good to hear opinions on both sides of the spectrum.

Toronto Mayoral candidate Rossi plans on stopping all TTC Light-Rail (Transit City) Expansion


TTC LRT

New Light-Rail for Toronto

Have we learned nothing from history and the reasons why there is a lack of good public transit options in the city of Toronto? What about jobs for the people of Thunder Bay? Again, with another knee-jerk reaction we may loose all we wanted in the city of Toronto and public transit by electing Rossi. Remember, if this is the attitude we took in the past, we would never have had the full Bloor-Danforth line, Spadina extension or top-end of the Yonge line (even our network of Streetcars that make the city). In other words, if you think transportation is bad now, what do you think it would be like in the future?

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Rocco RossiToronto mayoral candidate pledges to make waves at city hall by banning bike lanes on major arteries and possibly quashing light-rail plan.

When Rocco Rossi vowed to banish bike lanes from major streets, the suit-and-tie crowd at the Empire Club event erupted into its most enthusiastic applause yet for the first real speech of the 2010 mayor’s race.

The line demonstrated that Mr. Rossi knows whom he’s after: right-leaning suburban voters fed up with David Miller’s city hall.

Mr. Rossi is promising to halt all but one of the city’s planned light-rail lines until he can review the project’s finances; to replace the Toronto Transit Commission’s board of councillors with private-sector experts; to create a region-wide economic development corporation; to sell assets, including Toronto Hydro; and to outsource city work in a bid to decrease the power of unions.

“Make no mistake, last summer’s city workers strike showed just how weak the city has become in the face of its major unions and how utterly without a plan we are to correct this imbalance,” the former Liberal fundraiser and businessman told a packed room at the Royal York hotel. “As mayor I will bring us back into balance by pursuing outsourcing and managed competition for certain city services.”

Mr. Rossi’s speech was unusual for making concrete commitments early in the marathon campaign, leaving his competitors 10 months to savage his proposals. They didn’t waste time.

“I’m glad to see he’s throwing out 1,000 ideas and seeing what sticks,” scoffed Joe Pantalone, the deputy mayor who is running to replace his boss. “But this is not a carnival we’re talking about here. This is a city that’s complicated.”

Mr. Rossi drew the most fire for suggesting he might halt the Transit City plan, even temporarily.

In his speech, Mr. Rossi lamented the delays and cost overruns that plagued the construction of a streetcar right-of-way on St. Clair West, but it wasn’t until afterward that he expressed his concerns about Toronto’s plan to lay 120 kilometres of light rail on dedicated lanes.

“I think there’s some real problems that have been shown by what’s happened at St. Clair and I think we’d be foolish not to have a deep and long look at that,” he told reporters.

Asked whether that constituted a moratorium, he replied: “On anything that we can stop right now, yes.” Only one Transit City line, Sheppard East, has broken ground so far.

“Mr. Rossi’s suggestion that he would freeze all new transit projects until he has reviewed the city budget would not only put countless constructions jobs at risk, it reflects a troubling lack of understanding of the city’s finances,” a senior member of George Smitherman’s campaign said. “These projects are funded almost entirely by the province, sometimes with federal help.” Mr. Smitherman, the former deputy premier, is the race’s early front-runner.

The centre-right voters Mr. Rossi is hoping to attract likely would have voted for former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory.

But Mr. Rossi will have to run a campaign vastly different from Mr. Smitherman’s if he hopes to make the leap from virtual unknown to mayor. For now, he’s casting his lack of elected experience as an advantage.

“It’s been over a hundred years since we elected a mayor who wasn’t already in elected politics,” he told the crowd. “Maybe, just maybe, that’s part of the problem.”

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Quitely released press information – Government of Canada invests in Toronto Transit


No. H 218/08
For release – September 5, 2008

FLAHERTY ANNOUNCES FUNDS WILL BEGIN FLOWING TO SPADINA SUBWAY EXTENSION

Spadina Extension to Vaughan

Spadina Extension to Vaughan

TORONTO — People living and working in Toronto will begin to benefit soon from reduced traffic congestion, shorter commuting times, and cleaner air through the Toronto-York Spadina Subway extension. The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced that a contribution agreement has been signed by the federal, provincial and municipal governments, meaning that funds for the completion of the project will now begin flowing.

“The Government of Canada is helping to provide the students, commuters, and families of the Greater Toronto Area with transportation options, getting people out of their cars and onto public transit,” said Minister Flaherty. “We are committed to working with our provincial and municipal partners to improve transportation infrastructure across the country. The Toronto-York Spadina Subway extension is an excellent example of how we’re delivering real results.”

The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension project encompasses an 8.6 kilometre extension to the Toronto Transit Commission’s Spadina subway line, extending subway service to York University and the Vaughan Corporate Centre. With the signing of the contribution agreement, the Government of Canada will commit to paying up to $622 million under the Building Canada infrastructure plan towards the design and construction of this project. This is in addition to the $75 million already received by the project under the Public Transit Capital Trust.

In addition to the funding being made available for the Spadina Subway extension, several other transit projects in the GTA are being funded by the Government of Canada. They include:

  • York VIVA (Phase 1) — $50 million toward a $164 million bus rapid transit project;
  • York VIVA (Phase 2) — up to $85 million toward the second phase of this bus rapid transit project;
  • GO Transit Rail Improvement Program — $385 million toward a $1 billion project; Through this project, six of the seven rail corridors being used by GO are being upgraded, as well as some work around Union Station;
  • Brampton AcceleRide — $95 million from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund toward a $285 million Bus Rapid Transit project;
  • Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit — $83 million from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund toward a $249 million project; and
  • Toronto Transit Commission Strategic Capital Projects — $350 million from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund towards a $1.2 billion project.

The Government of Canada provided $500 million for public transit infrastructure in Budget 2008. This will provide up to $194.5 million to Ontario under the Public Transit Fund. Under the previous Public Transit Capital Trust, the Province of Ontario has received $351.5 million, which it can use for various transit projects over the next three years. In addition, all Ontario municipalities will continue to receive a GST rebate.

“It’s clear that for the Government of Canada, investing in transportation infrastructure for the people of the GTA has been a key priority,” Minister Flaherty said. “We are delivering on this priority even further today with the Spadina Subway extension.”

– 30 –

Contact:
Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance
613-996-7861

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news releases and speeches at www.tc.gc.ca/e-news and keep up-to-date on the latest from Transport Canada.

This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.

Will Canada’s oil boom be an environmental bust? The new global wasteland?


Alberta the new oil wasteland

Alberta the new oil wasteland

FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta (AP) — The largest dump truck in the world is parked under a massive mechanical shovel waiting to transport 400 tons of oily sand at an open pit mine in the northern reaches of Alberta. Each Caterpillar 797B heavy hauler — three-stories high, with tires twice as tall as the average man — carries the equivalent of 200 barrels.

Shell, which has 35 of the massive loaders working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, has ordered 16 more — at $5 million each — as it expands its open pit mines. And it is not alone among major oil companies rushing to exploit Alberta’s oil sands, which make Canada one of the few countries that can significantly ramp up oil production amid the decline in conventional reserves.

Shell, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Canada’s Imperial and other companies plan to strip an area here the size of New York state that could yield as much as 175 billion barrels of oil. Daily production of 1.2 million barrels from the oil sands is expected to nearly triple to 3.5 million barrels in 2020. Overall, Alberta has more oil than Venezuela, Russia or Iran. Only Saudi Arabia has more.

High prices — a barrel reached almost $150 last month and is around $115 now — are fueling the province’s oil boom. Since it’s costly to extract oil from the sands, using the process on a widespread basis began to make sense only when crude prices started skyrocketing earlier this century.

But the enormous amount of energy and water needed in the extraction process has raised fears among scientists, environmentalists and officials in an aboriginal town 170 miles downstream from Fort McMurray. The critics say the growing operations by major oil companies will increase greenhouse gas emissions and threaten Alberta’s rivers and forests.

“Their projected rates of expansion are so fast that we don’t have a hope in hell of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dr. David Schindler, an environmental scientist at the University of Alberta.

Oil sands operations, including extraction and processing, are responsible for 4 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, and that’s expected to triple to 12 percent by 2020. Oil sand mining is Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gases and is one reason it reneged on its Kyoto Protocol commitments. Experts say producing a barrel of oil from sands results in emissions three times greater than a conventional barrel of oil.

Worries about environmental damage have gotten enough attention that even the oil industry realizes it must tread softly on the issue. “Industry has to improve its environmental performance,” Brian Maynard, a vice president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said recently.

Questions about developing Alberta’s oil sands have seeped into the U.S. presidential campaign and the debate in Canada and the U.S. over keeping down the price of gasoline while still protecting the environment.

The Bush administration sees Alberta as a reliable source of energy that will help reduce reliance on Middle East oil. U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins said the oil sands will define the relationship between the two countries for the next 10 years.

“We are blessed by the fact that our friend and neighbor is also our number one supplier of foreign oil,” Wilkins told The Associated Press.

However, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s top energy adviser said oil sands emissions are “unacceptably high” and may run counter to Obama’s plan to shift the U.S. away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels.

“The amount of energy that you have to use to get that oil out of the ground is such that it actually creates a much greater impact on climate change, as well as using much more energy than even traditional petroleum,” Obama adviser Jason Grumet said.

Mining oil sands also was criticized by American mayors in a resolution adopted at their annual conference in June urging a ban on using oil sands-derived gasoline in municipal vehicles. They alleged the oil sands mines damage Canada’s boreal forest — boreal refers to the earth’s northern zone — and slows the transition to cleaner energy sources in the U.S.

John Baird, Canada’s environment minister, warned that Washington would lose energy security if it doesn’t take Alberta’s oil.

“If American mayors want to send their money to unstable, undemocratic countries in the Middle East instead of to Canada, that will be their call. If they want to pay a premium for Iranian, Saudi, Iraqi oil that will be their call,” Baird told the AP.

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Anne Kilkenny on CFRB’s John Moore Show


 

Alaskas President Palin?

Alaska's President Palin?

I was suprised, but John Moore had Anne Kilkenny on the show today sometime after 5PM. It was quite interesting! Definately places Anne Kilkenny on the Replublican’s “Public Enemy No. 1”, probably through no fault of her own. I guess the web is just too viral. In any case, below is an portion of the now famous email, however if anyone knows where the link is to the original posting in the Anchorage Daily News, please let me know.  Thanks! Andy MJ / a.k.a. The G.T.A Patriot


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Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of “old boys”. Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal–loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below). 
As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated” her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska’s top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it’s pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn’t fire her sister’s ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support. 

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness. 

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her. 

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit, exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined). 

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to. 

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Is Toronto wasting money?


The past few years have definitely been interesting for the city of Toronto. Various groups have indicated that Toronto is full of waste and inefficiencies. On the other hand, the Federal government is awash with cash. There is definitely a problem with money on all three levels of government. However, what David Miller needs to see is that people do not mind spending more, if they believe that money is properly spent. However, when a council decides not to tender a subway contract and spend money on services that may be seen as unnecessary, its no wonder that there is so much criticism. At some point Toronto City council will realize that before the city claims for bankruptcy.

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One year later: A Miller progress checklist


Tuesday marks the first anniversary of the resounding election victory that gave David Miller his second term as mayor.

During the 2006 campaign, Miller’s critics charged that his first term was lacklustre, devoid of major policy directions or accomplishments, and that he didn’t deserve a second shot. When it comes to politics, that’s the nature of the beast.

Miller set out to prove them wrong, blazing the trail for a host of new ideas: a user-pay system for garbage pickup; an ambitious blueprint to fight climate change; Transit City, a huge streetcar network.

But the months-long battle over new taxes and the need to contain costs, both stemming from a looming budget shortfall, brought city hall to a virtual standstill over the summer.

Miller hasn’t announced any major new initiatives since the land transfer tax and vehicle registration fee were passed in October.

Miller’s handlers say the mayor’s office is compiling a year-end assessment of promises made and what’s been accomplished.

In the meantime, the Star selected some key issues to create its own progress checklist.

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