Tag Archives: Toronto Star

The omnibus bill – Canadians keeping their head in the sand literally for summer vacation


Colina do Parlamento / Parliament Hill

Colina do Parlamento / Parliament Hill (Photo credit: Marcio Cabral de Moura)

A voting marathon that could keep members of Parliament chained to their desks around the clock is set to unfold in the Commons as opposition parties try to thwart passage of the Conservatives’ massive budget bill.

Opposition MPs are challenging the Harper government’s parliamentary majority this week with hundreds of proposed amendments to Bill C-38, the 425-page budget implementation legislation that revises approximately 70 federal laws.

The far-reaching omnibus bill will touch on nearly every aspect of Canada’s public affairs, and the Liberals, NDP and Green Party say its size makes a mockery of MPs’ duties to vet legislation and hold the government accountable.

Read more from the Toronto Star

Toronto police stop and document black and brown people


An interesting article from the Toronto Star. It would be interesting to know how widespread this is. It’s unfortunate to commonly hear the line “well if you have nothing to hide, why does it matter”. It matters because you have the rights, however how is that balanced? If you are a targeted community what are the long-term effects on youth? Do kids grow up feeling that they are always a target. The comment is often made because it does not affect the person making it. There is a failure to understand how an person feels on the other side of the fence.I would urge you to read Freakanomics. It’s an interesting take on what happens in certain conditions.

— Read more from the Toronto Star article below —

Young white males and those designated as “other” do attract police attention, but nothing as pronounced as black and brown youth.

Toronto police Chief Bill Blair dismisses the possibility that his officers, who are encouraged to stop, question and document citizens in all areas of the city as part of regular and targeted police work, may have documented all young black and brown men in certain areas.

“I can’t imagine that that’s true,” Blair said in an interview that stretched over two hours and included two deputy chiefs.

People come and go, he said, and citizens are documented in areas where they do not live, which indeed accounts for many of the cards filled out in certain neighbourhoods.

Read more

Merging the TTC and GO under GTTA control?


The Toronto Star, CityTV (Breakfast Television) and other media outlets are reporting that the TTC maybe “high-jacked” by the Liberal Government of Ontario, which may have been secretly planned all along. Rumors are flying high that the TTC may be taken over by the Government of Ontario and merged with GO Transit, under the umbrella of the GTTA (Greater Toronto Transit Authority). Many have believed that this would eventually happen, since the TTC has become so large and important to the welfare of the GTA that it may have become just too large for the City of Toronto to handle. Of course speculation is that this may have been their plans all along. Many have wondered, for a while now, why the province was so adamant on expanding the TTC into Vaughan, and beyond, when it seem illogical for Toronto to care on managing transit into the other regions of Toronto. Greg Sorbara, one of the proponents of the plan, tied up funds to ensurCity Halle that the expansion into Vaughan took place. If this is the case it may have simply been the master plan of the province. Now the Liberal Government has a majority and there would be no stopping them from doing this. Of course this is only rumored, however one has to wonder if this was not the plan, than why bother with the GTTA? The Metropass has passed the mythical bar of $100, now costing $109 dollars. With the TTC complaining about funding, almost every year, the province may simply believe that the TTC is just too much for the City of Toronto to handle, removing control of the Toronto symbol from David Millers hands.

Ironically, moving the control of the TTC to the province would allow Toronto to better balance their books, now that council passed the new taxes. In some ways it would seem that the province may have been waiting for the results. Or it maybe a simple choice of choosing what they feel is best. We know that the Liberal government, although they promised, has not uploaded services that were downloaded during the Mike Harris years. What would happen if the province simply decides to take control of the TTC, covering all costs and leave everything else as is? Would, removing the TTC from Toronto’s books balance the budget? It definitely would help, however how would service be affected? Would the province run the service as is, or run it like GO Transit? Would they merge services with GO Transit? Would they start Zone fares? Would you be able to jump on the “GO” and then to the TTC seamlessly? There are hosts of unanswered questions. Or, is it time for the TTC to simply grow up?

TTC StreetcarThe TTC is a Toronto icon, from the storied streetcars of yesteryear to the way the subways were originally created along Yonge Street. I will not go into a rant about the TTC not being able to innovate and change the way they do business. The TTC, unlike other transit systems across North America, receives little Federal funding for operating costs. However, at least the Federal government did kick in the needed funding for the extension of the subway to Vaughan (ill-conceived, but done nonetheless). If this really does happen then some of the moves the government made, along with their promises for Move2020, would make sense. What we should debate is whether this is a good idea or a bad one? I am not sure if this is a good or bad idea, but do not be too quick to jump on the bandwagon? Does the province understand the needs of Malvern, King Street West, Don Mills, North Etobicoke or the Beaches? What about those routes that do not make a lot of money? Will they be continued or operate like other jurisdictions? Do they think streetcars or buses are more important? Do they care to support the “Transit City” initiative or Subway expansion? What does this mean for the YRT and VIVA? How about Mississauga Transit? These are all unanswered questions, which Torontonians, and GTA residents, should think about and want answers to. What maybe good for Markham, Vaughan, Mississauga and others, may not be good for Toronto, and so visa versa. The debate on merging the TTC with GO, and surrounding systems, has been going on for years, with pros and cons on both sides. This was not on the table during the last provincial election; however loosing the TTC may be the evolution of progress or the greatest public transit “coup” ever conceived by the Province of Ontario.

Read more news from the Toronto Star Article, below.
http://www.thestar.com/News/Ontario/article/269896


Andy MJ
a.k.a. “The G.T.A Patriot”

Toronto, Ontario

Show me the money!


Auditor general found no written request from Iranian-Canadian Community Centre of Toronto. Sometimes money just falls into your lap. The group, founded in August 2005 and mistakenly listed as an animal welfare charity at one point, got a $200,000 grant from Ontario’s ministry of citizenship and immigration last year to help build a community centre in the Richmond Hill area.

But the auditor found no written request for funding. In fact, since the group was operating for less than two years, it didn’t qualify for a grant under other programs administered by the ministry.

“We had a number of groups where there wasn’t any documentation of what they wanted the money for,” McCarter noted.

As first reported by the Toronto Star last spring, the group had numerous Liberal connections.

One member of its executive had worked for Health Minister George Smitherman. Another, Reza Moridi, has since left the executive and become a Liberal candidate for the Oct. 10 provincial election.

Yet another quit to become a Liberal riding association president. And another is a long-time acquaintance of Finance Minister Greg Sorbara.

However, McCarter concluded the political connections were not a factor in the group getting the grant.

Still looking for land and money to build a community centre, the Iranians have put their $200,000 in the bank.

“It astounds me,” said Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory, noting that families of children with autism are struggling to pay their treatment bills while taxpayers’ money sits idle.

read more | digg story

Unfair questions to John Tory from a reporter


I heard a reporter ask John Tory, in reference to the faith-based school funding, about the fact that Islamic schools separate girls from boys. Now can you imagine and unfair that question is? Catholics, for years in Ontario have had girls and boys schools. However, in Ontario, because of our ignorance, it is not good for Islamic schools? Ask yourself the question. What Ontario do you want to live in? One that says Catholics are better than Jews, Hindu’s, Muslims or any other group. I do not care what side of the faith-based funding fence you are on. But we must stop and listen to ourselves. If you do not understand something, just because it is not “like you”, then take the time and try to learn. Let us learn from history and not ask silly questions. If you do not like separate schools for boys and girls, then say so, also addressing the fact that others have had this privilege for years. Of course the media was just trying to stir up some controversy, however with images in the Toronto Star this week showing girls from an Islamic school playing in a yard makes me wonder what the agenda is. Or are they just showing what Ontarians are really like? Are we just a little bit more ignorant and intolerant then we think we are?