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Toronto City Life » 2012 » May

Archive for May, 2012

Holyday wants to raise management pay

Posted on May 31st, 2012 1 Comment

Hmmm, seems that Doug Holyday, the Deputy Mayor, might be starting to see exactly why those unions fought for good pay year after year. Except that all those “lefty” concepts of wealth distribution to workers weren’t exactly what he took away from it.

Instead, Holyday is redistributing the money to already higher-earning management who have been responsible for cutting costs (i.e. other employees).

A few dozen senior managers would get annual increases of 2.75 per cent over the four years through 2015.

Altogether, the tab for those raises over four years comes to $30 million.

It’s also proposed that city council reinstate lump-sum bonuses for managers at the top of their salary range. The bonuses were cancelled in 2010 and 2011, which meant about 2,600 managers didn’t receive bonuses. As a result, the city saved about $11 million.

Holyday said the senior management has helped cut costs and trim the workforce, steps that were needed to put the city on a sounder financial footing.

So to all those labourers out there who thought that the Rob Ford gang weren’t into this sort of thing, that his cuts and slashes were simply fiscal responsibility intended to weed out greedy unions, I’m afraid you were mistaken. All that extra money, instead of being distributed to workers, is simply being given to those willing to toe the line for the Mayor. And now you can see that, although unions can be problematic, they go a long way to ensuring that the rich don’t simply get richer while the rest of us lose our jobs.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Ford’s approval rating falls

Posted on May 31st, 2012 1 Comment

Seems Ford’s interaction with Star reporter Daniel Dale made an impression on Torontonians. But not in a good way. And especially not with the folks in his own riding.

The recent spat between the Mayor and Dale appears to have pushed his approval rating down by 14% from about 47% at around this time in April. That’s not saying much considering Ford has conspicuously scraped the bottom of the mayoral popularity barrel since he got into office, but it’s an additional indictment of a man who is not only abdicating the duties of his office but also seems hell-bent on destroying this city by invoking a constantly changing agenda that is only costing taxpayers more by the day.

Hopefully this is the beginning of the erosion of the Conservative power base in this country. Not that I think the Liberal option is necessarily much better, but it’d be a start.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Step to Riverdale

Posted on May 31st, 2012 Be the first to comment

Filed under: Patrick Bay, Pictures

Harper and Ford create economic crises, not solve them

Posted on May 29th, 2012 2 Comments

There are still people out there who believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that Stephen Harper and his greasy conservative cronies like Rob Ford are good for the economy — that they solve the economic messes left behind by their predecessors and, through tough budget cuts and austerity, will reverse the course of those freewheeling pinkos that left the holes under which we struggle.

Except it’s not true.

It’s not even close to true.

In fact, it’s the exact opposite of the truth — Harper and Ford directly caused the budgetary deficits they calculate today, either through deception or through massive amounts of irresponsible spending. Everything they accuse their opponents of doing is precisely what they themselves are doing. And they’re two-faced, deceptive assholes about it to boot.

In the case of Ford, his term started with a hefty $350 million surplus left over by David Miller. Oh, you didn’t know? Well, you wouldn’t if you bought into Ford’s lies and didn’t bother to read any news at the time. A year after taking office, Ford was running a $774 million deficit and blaming it on his predecessor. Ford’s administration has managed to cut the losses he created to yet another surplus totaling $90 million, and it’s expected to be about the same as that left by Miller when he left by the end of this year.

In other words, Ford’s “deficit” was a complete and utter lie he used to justify his ravenous cuts to city infrastructure and his attacks on unions and public services.

With the case of Harper, the situation is a bit worse. In the Prime Minister’s case, what started as a $12 billion surplus left over by a stingy Paul Martin has now been deflated to a $33.4 billion deficit last year. At present, that deficit is running at $23.5 billion and is expected to grow before year’s end. But just like Ford, Harper is using the crisis he created to cut jobs, services, and any semblance of what makes Canada great.

Let’s be clear about what’s happening here: both Ford and Harper directly, willfully, and purposefully created economic crises in order to push through their destructive agendas on the Canadian population; everything from social programs to old age benefits to employment.

These so-called “leaders” are straight up criminal scammers who won’t rest until they’ve subjugated the populace to the whims of their corporate masters (no doubt they, like banker crony Tony Blair, will benefit from their collusion).

The mega-banks that, through fractional reserve banking, create money out of thin air (this is no exaggeration), to lend out to governments who play ball, which in turn tax citizens and subject them to austerity in order to pay back these made up loans. Did you know that that same money could’ve been borrowed from the Bank of Canada at 0% interest? Seems sensible, then, to borrow that cash from banks at a much higher rate of interest while giving them the legal authority to lend out money they don’t even have (how else do you lend out $1000 when you only have $50?).

Doesn’t it?

Yet this is precisely the program that both Harper and Ford subscribe to, at one level or another.

See, if you and I started lending out money we didn’t have and then expected to be paid back — with interest — we would be jailed for fraud. When the Prime Minister and his buddies do it, it’s represented by their scumbag compatriots as just the best thing for Canada since sliced bread. Oh, and by the way, the taxpayer will be responsible for all debts by the Canadian government. And if you don’t like you debt bondage, it’s off to jail for you!

What a sick sick joke.

Filed under: B Sides

Bill C-38: Another Conservative assault on Canadians

Posted on May 29th, 2012 2 Comments

Bill C-38 is Harper’s so-called “omnibus” budget bill because the government is trying to cram so much into it — some of it good, some of it neutral, much of it horrible. This comes on the heels of other legislative doozies like Bill C-10 (the omnibus crime bill), Bill C-11 (the copyright reform bill), and Bill C-30 (the “Lawful Access” bill). Are you starting to see an ongoing theme here?

Among the list of things that our Fascist-inspired leadership is trying to get passed are:

  • Changes to Employment Insurance designed to push Canadians into debt and corporate servitude.
  • An increase in the mandatory retirement age designed to ensure people give up more of their earnings to banks through taxes.
  • Removal of already mostly non-existent CSIS oversight (this is the Canadian domestic spy agency).
  • Giving U.S. law-enforcement agents, such as the FBI, the same powers as members of the RCMP during cross-border operations.
  • Changes to environmental rules such as allowing the federal government to crack down on charities, including environmental groups, which advocate for better laws and policies; fast-tracking of big-corp projects through a weaker environmental review process; reduced protection for fish and fish habitats, exempting pipelines and power lines from the Navigable Waters Act and reduced protection for species at risk; laying off of over 600 Parks Canada workers; increased offshore drilling and on publicly-owned grasslands.

In response, a SOPA-like campaign is being waged called “BlackOutSpeakOut” in which some 13,000 websites are going dark to protest the ongoing scumbaggery of our federal government. Additionally, government opposition are doing everything in their power to slow down and kill this thing, or at least have it split up so that each part of the bill can be voted on independently instead of keeping the good parts in limbo because the bad parts have been glued to them in one giant bill.

Originally posted at: http://patrickbay.ca/blog/?p=3268

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Conservative MP spits on democracy

Posted on May 28th, 2012 Be the first to comment

In a par for the course example of Conservative scumbaggery, Ted Opitz, MP for Etobicoke Centre (incidentally where staunch conservative Rob Ford lives), is trying to force the results of the last federal election to go his way by taking it to the Supreme Court (following George Bush’s example, no doubt).

When it turned out that the election was extremely close in that riding (26 votes, to be precise), Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj went to the Ontario Superior Court which ended up throwing out 79 votes because of “clerical errors” by Elections Canada staff.

When this type of thing happened in the past, by-elections were called because none of the rulings were subsequently appealed. In this case, however, Opitz has been dragging the process out for over a year and, despite the ruling by the Superior Court, he continues to sit and vote in the House of Commons.

Seems pretty simple; if Opitz is so damn sure he won, it shouldn’t be a problem to put that certainty to the test with a by-election. Instead, he wants judges to simply appoint him to office and, despite current legal rulings, continues to exercise his illegitimate power over the people of Canada.

That’s the Conservatives for ya!

Filed under: B Sides

Surprise! Rob Ford gives up on “cutting the waist”

Posted on May 28th, 2012 1 Comment

I’d already been telling people that Rob Ford had given up on losing weight for a number of weeks now, even though technically he had merely “postponed” his weekly weigh-ins. But based on his record, I was pretty sure he’d give it up altogether. And today I was proven right:

“I don’t care about the weigh-in,” Mr. Ford said Sunday on his weekly Newstalk 1010 radio show, which he hosts with his brother, Toronto City Councillor Doug Ford. “I’m not even dieting anymore.”

In the same radio program, Mayor Ford pledged to cut the city’s property tax hike to only 2% for 2013. This year, Toronto property owners were hit with a 2.5% rise in property taxes — the first in two years.

The Toronto Sun, a newspaper that insists on supporting the Mayor at all costs, has tried to spin this announcement by saying that he will continue to lose weight “privately”, despite the fact that he repeated more than once that he won’t.

You may not know this but the whole stunt was supposed to be for charity, and it ended up being the only opportunity for the media to meet with Ford as he started to withdraw from public life (with 2 years left on the clock). Of course, he’s blamed the same media for being in a “frenzy”, despite the fact that he invited them to attend the very public weekly weigh in. Just like all good hypocritical jerkholes, he simply can’t take responsibility for any of his failures.

The Cut the Waist website is still up, presumably because brother Doug is still getting pledges, but you gotta wonder exactly where some of that money is going, or if it’ll ever materialize. For example, some of the dubious pledges made include:

Cornell S – Kentuckky Fried Chicken – $10.00
Robette F – Shake Your Keys To Distract Me – $0.25
Fred S – I Cannot Keep Promises Foundation – $1.00
Robert G – Toupes Of Hope – $1.00
Sam X – The Idea Fund Of Sam Xu – $25.00
Roy G – Cacti Association Of Canada – $13.37
Stacey N – Matt Foley Motivational Speaking – $0.25
…while other “charities” would probably not have been very inspiring to the Ford brothers:

Kathleen S – Pride Toronto – $1.00
Maureen O – Pride Toronto – $5.00
Mary H – Toronto Public Library Foundation – $1.00

The site claims that Rob has lost 22 lbs but this seems to be closer to 16. In an interesting comparison, Ford’s much-maligned predecessor, David Miller, lost 50 lbs while in office, but without inviting the media to monitor his progress in order to gob off about it or slagging other mayors in the process. Whatever the case, it’s clear that this is an indication of a much larger problem (if you’ll pardon the pun). Adam Vaughan sums it up perfectly:

Councillor Adam Vaughan said Ford should learn a lesson from his very public weight-loss campaign that was rolled out with such fanfare in January.

“When you engage in publicity stunts they can blow up in your face,” Vaughan said Monday. “That’s why my advice to him all along has been enough with the slogans and the stunts, your job is to be the mayor. It seems he invested more time in jumping on and off the scales then he did jumping in and out of meetings here at City Hall.”

Vaughan said it’s clear Ford is a “part-time mayor”.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Ryerson Press investigation reveals Conservatives infiltrate, manipulate university groups

Posted on May 26th, 2012 Be the first to comment

I should go on record as saying that politics on campus isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s not a bad thing to expose students to politics, and it isn’t a bad thing to get them involved.

What is bad, however, is when the exposure is done in a duplicitous way such that the students are bamboozled into thinking they’re putting their support behind something they’re not, or worse, if they’re lied to outright.

And using leaked documents from WikiLeaks.org, The Ryerson Free Press recently demonstrated that this is precisely what Conservatives have been busy doing at universities across Ontario (and probably elsewhere), sometimes even misdirecting funds or working with federal funding to try to crush student groups they don’t like.

The leaked materials were posted on WikiLeaks.org over the weekend and add to the growing body of evidence that the Conservative Party has a strategy for interfering in campus student unions. In early 2002, the campus press first learned of a secret Millennium Leadership Fund that the party’s campus wing used to fund candidates in student union elections. Now it appears that strategy has evolved into a campaign to falsely obtain student union funding and destabilize student clubs with a social justice mandate.

Among those present at the workshop were Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo, Peter Braid and his campaign manager, Aaron Lee-Wudrick. Lee-Wudrick is heard on the recordings providing advice on how to siphon money from students’ unions through “front organizations” that would work to further the goals of the Conservative Party.

OPIRGs are campus organizations that are usually funded through a dedicated student levy to coordinate campus campaigns on human rights and social justice.

While Lee-Wudrick and O’Connor’s plan to cancel WPIRG’s (Waterloo OPIRG), funding failed in 2002, they boasted that it paved the way for another attempt in 2005, and expressed hope of success in the future.

They also identified student unions, campus radio stations and the Canadian Federation of Students as potential targets of a campaign to eliminate each organization’s funding. “Part of the objective here is to bring people into the Party. That’s a good thing,” said O’Connor. “Young liberals will help you out…and they’re some of the strongest allies on student issues,” he added.

During the workshop, student Conservatives were also coached on how to set up “shell groups” as a way to advance a partisan agenda on campus.

“Yeah we had a front group like that: the Campus Coalition for Liberty. It was really just a front for the Conservatives, but it gave us like two voices.” said Lee-Wudrick.

He added: “Don’t think that the Party doesn’t like that, because they do. They’re things that will help the Party, but it looks like it’s an organically-grown organization and it just stimulated from the grassroots spontaneously. They love that stuff… Remember all of the Rallies for Democracy … that’s just an example of how big those things can get.”

In 2002, a secret Millennium Leadership Fund of the youth wing of the Progressive Conservative Party was exposed by the Western Gazette in an article called “Tories plot to infiltrate student government.”

The article referred to an email leaked in March of 2002 in which then OPCCA President Adam Daifallah boasted to fellow party members about Millennium Leadership Fund recipients who were successfully elected that year at Queen’s University, the University of Waterloo and the University of Windsor. According to the Gazette, the Millennium Fund was largely paid for by senior Progressive Conservative members and supporters.

Filed under: B Sides

Rob Ford gives up on being Mayor

Posted on May 26th, 2012 2 Comments

Don’t think so?

Let’s look at the facts.

First he starts making plans for the 2014 election, presumably because he’s given up.

Then he invites others to run against his opponents in the same election, presumably because he’s given up.

Then he scales back on his election promise to privatize garbage collection until the same 2014 election, presumably because he’s given up.

Then a leaked letter reveals he’s stopped planning for the next two years and instead wants to start again after the 2014 election, presumably because he’s given up.

Then he shows Canada what “champion” he is by waffling out of his weight loss program week after week, presumably because he’s given up.

Not necessarily in this order, but you get the idea.

Now the Toronto Star reveals that RoFo has cut his Mayorly activities by over 60%, presumably because he’s given up.

Here’s a smattering of his absentee agenda:

In January 2012, Ford averaged 11 meetings a week compared with 33 in January 2011, his first full month as mayor. In February 2012, he had 15 meetings scheduled each week, compared with an average of 34 a year earlier.

According to sources that include former and current staff, Ford often does not leave his home until noon. His itineraries indicate that daily staff briefings are held at about 9:30 a.m., but on those late days, the sources say, Ford participates by phone or not at all. Some days he never appears in his office. Ford has always spent much of his time outside the walls of city hall, doing his famous one-on-one constituency work, but even that has dropped off drastically.

The mayor routinely doesn’t show up for long-scheduled events and meetings with officials. On Wednesday, Councillor Peter Milczyn had to step in for him at a VIA Rail speaking engagement. He has cancelled five of the last nine weekly weigh-ins — often the only time Ford takes media questions for the week — including one on Tuesday.

On numerous occasions, Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, the mayor’s brother, Doug Ford, or other close allies have been called upon at the last minute to meet foreign dignitaries or visiting officials. Holyday said there have been only “a couple of times” where he’s had less than an hour’s notice and that, as deputy mayor, it’s his job to fill this role.

The mayor was supposed to meet his Calgary counterpart, Naheed Nenshi, at an event held at the Corus building on Sept. 20, but Ford never showed up.

Ford also hasn’t held a formal meeting with many prominent Toronto leaders in more than a year, including United Way Toronto CEO Susan McIsaac, Board of Trade president Carol Wilding, Ryerson University president Sheldon Levy or CivicAction’s CEO, Mitzie Hunter. He has never attended a Federation of Canadian Municipalities event.

Ford’s own committee chairs don’t regularly meet directly with the mayor to discuss policy. For example, Norm Kelly, who chairs the parks and environment committee, says the mayor is very accessible, although he concedes that the last specific formal meeting he can remember was during Occupy Toronto, which was last November.

Ford’s cadre of yes-men continue to defend him, claiming that he helps out people on a one-to-one basis:

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, one of his staunchest supporters, said looking at the mayor’s itinerary alone doesn’t speak for the work he does.

“The reality is he does a lot of spontaneous work. If constituents call, he’s on it. So you won’t see that on his schedule. He calls people back on a regular basis, and I know he does that.”

There’s only one problem with that kind of thing (assuming it’s true); in a city of 2.5 million people, he would necessarily have to pick and choose who to help. To help each one equally, he would have to be responding to about 1,700 calls a day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

To believe that he can adequately do this is clearly insane, yet this is the excuse that Rob Ford uses for not performing his duties as Mayor. Not to mention that, even if the excuse is actually true, Ford has to pick and choose which of his buddies and allies get his attention, and based on his “I hate all charity” agenda, those would would probably be the same petty dictators and millionaire corporate hobnobs who hang out in his back yard.

Clearly Rob Ford doesn’t understand what a Mayor’s job is, and it’s exactly why he shouldn’t have one.

By the way, Sarah and I are forming a little group to get the wheels moving on Rob Ford’s ouster. We’re meeting at a central downtown location tonight to get some initial ideas together — if you’d like to drop by at the next one (most likely over drinks), please drop me a line and I’ll send you the details.

Filed under: Patrick Bay, Why I'm Right

Conservatives try to have robocall suit tossed again

Posted on May 24th, 2012 1 Comment

Who needs a proper investigation with so much evidence piling up?

The Conservative Party’s latest salvo in response accuses the council of having “an improper motive” to Canadians to “damage the Conservative brand through unfounded assertions.” “The applications have been brought solely to provide the Council with a platform to criticize Conservatives, who the Council views as its enemy,” the motion says. In a tart response, Council of Canadians executive director Garry Neil says, “unlike the epithets thrown at their political opponents, we aren’t being accused of being Nazi sympathizers, or terrorists, or being on the side of the child pornographers.” “I only wish the Conservatives had put as much time and effort into their investigation of the robocalls scandal as they’ve put into chastising the Council of Canadians,” said Neil.


Filed under: Dispatches, Pictures