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Toronto City Life » 2013 » April

Archive for April, 2013

The immunization argument

Posted on April 27th, 2013 Be the first to comment

The recent news that hundreds of students in Ottawa have been suspended from school for not proving they’ve been immunized reminded me of what’s wrong with the thinking behind the whole effort. Or rather, the lack of thinking behind it.

I’m not going to go into what I think of immunizations themselves, just the argument behind legally requiring everyone to get them (which is not actually true, but why bother with facts or ask any questions?)

The best argument supporting immunization is: look at how far we’ve come and how many diseases we’ve virtually eradicated … introducing an unvaccinated child into a school potentially reverses all of that progress and puts everyone at risk!


So if we bring a kid with, say, polio into a school where all the other kids have been vaccinated, they’re all at risk of catching polio? In other words, the vaccine is so ineffective that the moment you sneak the bug back into the general population, it’s game over. So get your shots so that everyone’s protected!

I suppose one could make the argument that if you choose not to be vaccinated and subsequently contract the illness, you should have to pay for your own treatments. Harsh, and not something I would support (my tax money supports lots of chronically ill people and I think that’s just fine), but at least there’s a cold, logical connection there.

But to claim that the vaccinated population is at risk of contracting the very disease that they’ve been “protected” against by being exposed to said disease, however that happens,  is such an idiotic, nonsensical, and backwards argument that it’s hard to believe that anyone could repeat it without bursting into laughter.

The other argument I often hear is that if we allow people to make choices for themselves, they will choose to abstain from vaccinations and we’re going to end up with a pandemic, essentially destroying our healthcare system, etc. Basically, it’s about money, and isn’t it ridiculous of us to expect to be taken care of by the government that takes so much of our money under the auspices of using it to take care of us? If it’s good for us, we should be forced into it, so it’s vaccinations, cigarettes, booze, and a dizzying array of “safe” pharmaceuticals and continued government vigilance for everyone!

If you believe that vaccinations are ultimately useful, I’m happy to support your right to that opinion, and I’m even willing to have a part of my tax money to provide you with vaccinations (in fact, this is happening without my consent anyways), should you choose to get them. Choice is the operative word here.

In the meantime, let’s not throw around these infantile arguments that do nothing but imply that we’re all complete idiots while we’re forced to succumb to them whether we like it or not. It adds insult to injury.

US Center for Disease Control Statistics (2006)

Deaths and serious problems from vaccines: 772
Deaths and serious problems from “vaccine-preventable” diseases: 772
Deaths from cigarette smoking (2004): 443,000

Filed under: Patrick Bay, Why I'm Right

Canadian government shows true face in stance on “terrorism”

Posted on April 27th, 2013 Be the first to comment

Just so I’m clear, I support neither the Tamil Tigers nor the Sri Lankan government in their ongoing struggle. Yes, I do know a bit of the history of the island, the forced displacement of the indigenous Tamil people, etc., but not enough to take a firm stand either way.

But that’s not my point in writing this anyway.

I want to expose the hypocrisy, arbitrariness, and two-facedness of our government in designating enemies and terrorists, especially now that they’ve pushed the “anti-terrorist” Bill S-7 down the throats of Canadians (the latest in a long line of tyrannical, totalitarian, deadly measures that have only one, logical conclusion).

The Tamil Tigers consider themselves freedom fighters, fighting an evil and corrupt strong-man government (openly and proudly installed and maintaned by the Harper government). Sure, many people wouldn’t agree with that definition of the Tigers, but that’s beside the point — Harper loves him his Sri Lankan “authorities” and has made sure Canada’s been helping out since 2006 while simultaneously ensuring dissent is fully destroyed:

Canadian interest in Sri Lanka is also driven by a foreign policy commitment to the principles of freedom of expression, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

In April 2006, Canada listed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as a terrorist organization under the Canadian Criminal Code, and in June 2008, the World Tamil Movement was also added to the list.

Now, John Baird, the guy currently running this part of Harper’s shit show, has this to say about the same government that they’ve been brown-nosing and loving up over the past 7 years:

“We’re appalled that Sri Lanka seems poised to host CHOGM and to be chair-in-residence of the Commonwealth for two years,” he told the Guardian.

“Canada didn’t get involved in the Commonwealth to accommodate evil; we came to combat it. We are deeply disappointed that Sri Lanka appears poised to take on this leadership role.”

This in-your-face hypocrisy is troubling on many levels, but there are two that stand out above others.

  1. It’s excruciatingly obvious that this has nothing to do with “terrorism”, supporting human rights, ensuring equality, etc.; it’s all about arbitrarily (at least, on the surface), vilifying one group or another for reasons of conquest, division, strife, and control.  And while simultaneously decrying our new enemies abroad (but not actually doing anything to back up the vociferous fist-pounding), the government is passing measures designed to go after its own people in the most draconian manner and with complete impunity at home (again, see S-7 for just a smattering).
  2. This “these are friends, no, they’re hated enemies” narrative, state of constant and unending war, fear, and domestic subjugation have been spelled out almost exactly in works that were once considered mere horrific works of fiction:

This dark and unsettling road that we’re on is nonetheless clearly marked, and has an even more clear destination. It’s not as if history hasn’t shown us example after example of where all of this leads (if we let it), and those who choose to remain ignorant, or worse, supportive of it, also have plenty of first-hand experience to draw on:

“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!


We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

Filed under: Patrick Bay, Videos, Why I'm Right

Rob Ford affirms the obvious

Posted on April 25th, 2013 Be the first to comment

In response to Karen Stintz’ accusation that Rob Ford ain’t doing his job, his office sent back a tersely worded response:

“There is no lack of leadership from the Mayor.”

Not what Stintz said, but given the collective capacity for comprehension behind Ford Nation, let’s just say close enough.

Except that Ford did’t write or send the response, he got one of his lackeys (George Christopoulos), to do it. In fact, there’s no indication that Rob Ford was involved in anything to do with the situation.

To be fair, he was probably busy clearing his schedule in order to personally respond to each constituent’s phone call (as every mayor of every large metropolitan area should) — a conservative estimate of 300,000 calls a year, or 820 calls per day — and delegated this lowly task to Christopoulos. Or maybe he was coaching football. Whatever. Clearly Ford showed leadership and world-class initiative, and got right out in front of the issue.

Run, Robbie, Run!

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Karen Stintz points out the obvious

Posted on April 24th, 2013 Be the first to comment

Specifically, Stintz says that Ford is “abdicating his responsibility” (to Ford Nation: that means failing to do his job), by continually putting off on hearing about various transit funding options for the city (expected to need about $2 billion over 25 years).

The options, put forward by Metrolinx, include:

  • Parking fees levy: An extra $1 a day, for a total of $1.4 billion a year.
  • Sales tax: An extra 1 per cent added to the HST, for an estimated income of $1.4 billion a year.
  • Fuel tax: An extra five cents per liter of gas, estimated to bring in $330 million a year.
  • Payroll tax: With a hike of 0.5 per cent, this would be expected to generate $700 million a year.
  • Property tax: Estimated to bring in an additional $670 million a year.
  • Vehicle travel fee: Drivers would be charged 3 cents per kilometer traveled. Expected to raise $1.6 billion per year, but the setup and administrative costs would probably be massive (if this was even doable).
  • Highway tolls: Same as above, but only on highways and at 10 cents a kilometre. Expected to pull in $1.4 billion a year.
  • Development charges: Developers would be dinged with a 15 per cent increase, amounting to about $100 million a year.
  • Transit fare increases: Guaranteed increases each and every year (in place now — thanks, Rob!), are apparently not nearly enough. An additional 15 cent per ride is expected to generate $50 million a year.
  • Land value capture: This weird one has private land owners forking over cash to the government when their property values increase as a result of adjacent government projects (they build a park next door, claim that it makes your property more expensive, and skim the difference). No figures provided.

I’m not going to sit here and claim that any of these are giving me a boner, but with these few, short paragraphs, I’ve managed to do infinitely more research into the topic than Ford.

Maybe none of these ideas have any merit at all. Maybe some of them are quietly and not obviously brilliant. Rob Ford will never know as his only response is to obstinately stick his fingers in his ears, scream “I can’t hear you!”, and blame everyone and their dog for lack of planning, poor leadership, and a lack of momentum.

In the meantime, you can actually hear the paint dry as Robbie mulls over his own, intricate and vast transit plans, which comprise of:

Think hard, Robbie!

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay, Pictures

The Conservative Dynasty (of sociopaths, criminals, tyrants, and unabashed assholes)

Posted on April 23rd, 2013 1 Comment

Conservative minions, like the recently exposed scumbaggery of Harper’s appointment to the Human Rights Tribunal, Shirish Chotslis, are all pretty much cut from the same despicable, criminal, sociopathic cloth.

I have no doubt (see below), that the vast majority of Harper’s hand-picked cabinet would gleefully engage in exactly the same things as she did:

Chotalia treated staff and appointed members disgracefully: harassing, screaming, spying on staff; speaking to them and about them in derogatory terms; impugning their credibility in front of colleagues; and contaminating the workplace by sowing misinformation about them. She belittled and humiliated, frequently reducing employees to tears.

“The result was a poisoned atmosphere at the tribunal, a place that, ironically, is supposed to place respect of individuals at the very highest level,” Dion told reporters.

But it went even beyond that, to outright lunacy, the madness of entitlement.

On the day of her swearing-in-ceremony — which also happened to be the day that a magnitude-five earthquake struck Ottawa — Chotalia would not allow staff to leave their 11th-floor office, compelling everyone to stay where they were so that the ceremony could proceed as scheduled.

She ordered one employee to carry a set of keys to the office around her neck — like a latchkey — “despite the fact that this person complained that this caused discomfort and pain,” the report discloses. She indulged in petty retaliation. She ordered staff to spy on an employee while at work and to report that person’s movements and actions to her.

She repeatedly attempted to terminate a staff without justifiable cause and tried to pursue disciplinary action against another even after they left the CHRT.

She maintained a secret file on an employee, entitled “Insubordination,” even though that individual had never been advised of any problems. She demanded that staff be available around the clock, to corral her non-essential BlackBerry communications.

She accused staff of stealing items from her when unable to locate them, many witnesses stating Chotalia regularly lost these items.

She ordered staff not to cancel a trip to Vancouver for a mediation session, even though the parties involved had come to an agreement. She flew to the West Coast and then transferred to a San Diego-bound flight for a previously planned personal trip.

The list of insupportable conduct goes on and on.

This shining beacon of the modern Conservative stayed in her position for two years, left to her own devices with Harper’s Privy Council Office (the people who are supposed to advise him on running an effective government), staunchly refusing to hear from the 26 complainants.

The only reason Chotslis was called out was because there are still some independent government departments out there that could hold her to account. Harper is doing his best to ensure that he and his lapdogs are increasingly exempt from not only accountability but even the fundamental laws of Canada.

Now have a look at Chotslis’ response in the face of these facts:

“I was chosen by a Conservative government, I am a brown woman from Alberta and the unions want to remove me.”

She then basically told the investigators to go fuck themselves and refused to cooperate in any way.

When Ford was ousted for breaching the law for the umpteenth time in his Conflict of Interest trial, he responded with:

I was elected two years ago by the people of Toronto to do a job … This comes down to left-wing politics. The left wing wants me out of here, and they’ll do anything in their power to (do that).

In the fucked up world of the Harper conservative, it should be noted, unions are the same thing as the “lefties”, and that goes for anyone not supporting the tyrannical government or their agenda to sell out Canada and separate Canadians from not only their basic rights but from the very necessities of life.

But, of course, Harper can speak for himself:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says unions are behind a misinformation campaign about changes to the employment insurance program.

His comments came as Human Resources Minister Diane Finley admitted Thursday that the government hadn’t conducted studies on the potential impact of the reforms.

As protesters were kept away from the Premier Tech plant where Harper was announcing a $9.2 million loan, the prime minister pointed a finger at unions for creating some of the turmoil around changes to the program.

“I read that some unions were saying we’re cutting seasonal workers. That is completely false.”

And just so you know how Harper justifies his crackdowns:

… Harper said the [anti-terrorism] measures are supported by “law enforcement people” across the country, and the Tories have been promising the changes for a long time.

“We were elected specifically to move forward on them, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

There are also brown-nose trolls like Harper’s Goebbels-in-waiting, Vic Toews:

Toews’s department [while Minister of Labour], proposed the privatization of home-care delivery services in 1996, drawing opposition from many in the field and triggering an extended strike. He was also forced to deal with strikes at Boeing, Inco, and the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation, leading one journalist to describe 1996 as “the busiest year for picketing since the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike”. Toews blamed unions for provoking the strikes, saying they were conducted “for political, not economic, reasons.”

In explaining why Toews is vigorously backing the creation of a horrific police/Gulag state in Canada:

“We were elected to bring change.”

Seeing a running theme there? Same shit, same mentality, same results. It’s not in any way a stretch to think that Harper, Toews, Ford, or any other Conservative wraith aren’t treating their staff in exactly the same way, using the same excuses, refusing to find anything wrong with any of it, etc.

And just like all good corrupt Harperites, Chotslis was rewarded for her exemplary service to the government with a cushy new position in the private sector and a commitment by her Conservative buddies to refuse to discuss the matter or do anything about it.

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

Public kept in dark about arbitrary arrest “terror” bill

Posted on April 22nd, 2013 1 Comment

The mainstream media are barely naming Bill S-7 (to be debated by MPPs today), and good luck finding anyone in the industry who will provide an accurate list of all the draconian, tyrannical measures that Harper is trying to institute in his “but it’s for terrorism!” bill.

Apparently, the fact that Canadians are to be subjected to the following measures doesn’t warrant so much as a passing comment from most in the news industry (though you can find an occasional aside):

  • People may be put under “preventive arrest” for up to three days.
  • The “preventive arrest” may be due to an alleged association with a “terrorist” (which may include everything from environmentalists to anyone critical of the government), alleged knowledge of a “terrorist” or their dealings, or — my favourite — being suspected of future involvement with terrorists.
  • As with all good Kafkaesque schemes, those arrested are not allowed to know the details of their arrest or know any of the evidence against them.
  • Those arrested must stand before an “investigative hearing”.
  • A judge can jail those arrested for up to year if they don’t enter into recognizance, which is a fancy term for a conditional release — you have to appear regularly before a court, may have to wear a tracking device, etc.
  • Such arrests can occur without any charges being laid. In other words, they don’t really even need a good reason, just that something didn’t seem right about the person.
  • Any evidence that is used against the arrested person (which, of course, they are not allowed to know anything about), can be obtained from foreign sources or through torture.
  • These changes would become part of the Criminal Code of Canada — everyone would be subject to them.

Instead of fully laying out all of these incredibly corrupting and corruptible powers for all Canadians to judge, we have moist bags of flesh like CP24’s former cop-turned-TV-schill Cam Wooley and other “specialists” (most of whom were weather or traffic “specialists” this time last year), leaving out crucial information and instead saying simply that S-7 provides needed new police powers and creates …

“… new offenses for Canadians who become radicalized … with the permission of the Attorney General, [police] can bring a person before a judge and have hearings. They’ll be able to have a lawyer, that sort of thing, but a judge can compel someone to give information on terrorism. Police can, apparently through a well safeguarded process book recognizance and conditions through the courts on someone to prevent terrorism.”

And in 30 seconds, the piddling report is over, followed shortly afterwards by an in-depth, five-minute-long interview with “cultural icon” Kat Con D about her new book. The same reporter who found S-7 “fascinating” now gushingly describes the book as a veritable “work of art”; clearly, this is what really matters!

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

Ford to ladies: I’ll teach you about politics

Posted on April 21st, 2013 5 Comments

On Newstalk 1010’s RoDoFo (Rob/Doug/Ford), radio show on Sunday afternoon, Rob said he’d like to see more women in politics, and if any of yous dames out there are interested, to call him at home or meet him over coffee and he’ll tell you all about how City Hall works.

Yes, the man who repeatedly admitted he doesn’t know how to do his job is going to tell you all about how to do his job.

Don’t worry, those allegations of him beating his wife a few years back were never proven, I’m pretty sure he’s over grabbing women’s asses by now, and the fact that women are leaving his own hand-picked executive committee left right and centre shouldn’t be read into too deeply.

Just imagine the kind of intellectual treasure trove you’ll be able to tap into!

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Videos

Pan Am Games mascot search highlights Ford’s “respect for taxpayers”

Posted on April 20th, 2013 3 Comments

Remember all the screaming Rob Ford did about respecting taxpayers, demanding open and transparent government?

Yeah, the same “respect for taxpayers” that has Rob Ford continuously covering up his budgets, his meetings, his schedule, and basically anything else having to do with his job. Well, you gotta give it to the man, he’s consistent in his bullshit.

Take yesterday, for example, in a photo op with Pan Am Games organizers. That event was marked by an abject refusal of the Pan Am people to say how much they’re going to spend on a mascot; one of those shining examples of potentially massive waste and secrecy that Ford vowed to fight tirelessly against.

So how is Rob Ford fighting this “gravy”? He shook hands with the organizers for the cameras and walked away without uttering a word or showing a shred of concern.

Let’s be fair here: maybe Rob’s control over the situation is very limited. Maybe the Pan Am Games group is separate from City Hall administration and mostly out of Ford’s hands. That would certainly help to explain Rob’s impotence, but it proves directly how two-faced the mayor is about his outrage for  secret deals and unaccountable government. The guy couldn’t even be bothered to raise an eyebrow.

I’m thinking that a book of such events would now have enough material to fill more than a few pages; something with a title along the lines of, “Heritage of Hypocrisy and Lies: The Ford Years”

How much do you think the Pan Am Games 2015 mascot will end up costing taxpayers?

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Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Polls

Whisdom of the Chairman

Posted on April 19th, 2013 Be the first to comment

Sarah and I were invited to sip and discuss the somewhat misnomer-ed Canadian Club Whisky (it’s American-owned although it has deep roots here), at a promotional event hosted at her old alma mater.

There was the traditional tasting of some of CC’s star products, straight up…

good beginnings

…and mixed…

all for me?

I find the CC version of a 12-year-old to be less smooth than a comparable Macallan, but comparing pricey Scotch and North American whisky probably isn’t fair.

Not that it really matters much; I wouldn’t classify myself as a CC drinker (or whisky, for that matter), but I could definitely see myself ordering a few of the tasty drinks we sampled. The food, consisting of nibbles supplied by Tundra, was also great.


But probably the best part of the event was the fact that the Canadian Club Chairman was walking around, mingling, and generally making himself available to the guests.

brown-nosing with the Chariman

If you don’t recognize him, maybe this will help:

He’s not shy to rub shoulders with the hoi polloi…

is someone standing behind me?

…or to bring his son to events…

that's the guy

Sarah and I caught up in person with Toronto’s social media scenesters, drank till we were glowing, and made friends with the caterers (you never know!)

We were also pleased to see a number local businesses being supported as part of Canadian Club’s campaign. Both inside and outside the great hall, these locals rounded off the manly inspiration behind the CC campaign with things like men’s cuts, personal grooming products, and suits.

Many thanks to Canadian Club and Praxis PR for having us and for the generous swag bags we lugged home.



Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay, Videos

P.E.I. now offering deadly HPV vaccine to young boys

Posted on April 19th, 2013 Be the first to comment

Hey, the government’s just protecting everyone’s health, right? The shot (sure to become standard across Canada), is just the epitome of safety and efficacy after all…

…the federal government has recommended the HPV vaccination for girls and boys as young as 11. But it has caused thousands of adverse reactions, including seizures, paralysis, blindness, pancreatitis, speech problems, short-term memory loss, Guillain-Barré syndrome and even death.

“At present there are no significant data showing that either Gardasil or Cervarix (GlaxoSmithKline) can prevent any type of cervical cancer since the testing period employed was too short to evaluate long-term benefits of HPV vaccination,” according to the Annals of Medicine.

Referring to the information on the damage claims, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “This new information from the government shows that the serious safety concerns about the use of Gardasil have been well-founded.”

He added, “Public health officials should stop pushing Gardasil on children.”

Filed under: B Sides