CBC’s Matt Galloway had an interesting exit interview with outgoing David Miller. How will Rob Ford define his leadership and his Transit strategy? Ford has made his appointments. We shall soon see. The new Mayor of Toronto his sworn in tomorrow and the new council’s first meeting kicks off next week.
Yes, this just in. Another poll has been taken by 400+ people. Undecided has been polling in the 20 to 25% range and I think they will be the key to this election. After all a lead in a poll is just that.
If polls are so statistically telling why is it that less than 40% actually vote? Am I supposed to judge whom I vote for based on the opinion of 40% of 400 people when 40% of them will likely go to the ballot box. Hmmm, 64 people out of 600,000+ that typically vote. The most important poll is when the other 99.99% get off their butts and go to the polls. This long running election campaign is proof that ranked ballots or other type of election reform is long overdue. In my opinion ranked ballots (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice) are the way to go. There is a clearer mandate for the winner. There is no run off election required and the tally would immediately show who the majority doesn’t want to win. I can only dream at this moment, we are stuck with the status quo for now.
As much as the front runners bawk and jockey for position the large number of undecided voters is telling. In my opinion it tells of a public nervous and uneasy with the list of “front runners” shoved in front of them. Is it the quality of their platforms, the substance of their character, the apathy that was broken by a 40 day garbage strike coupled with fear? It may be any number of those or a combination.
It is interesting that all “front runners” platforms present tax increases. Yes, I know that sounds crazy when many are talking about cutting spending but paying essentially the same amount of taxes and receiving less services is also a tax increase. It’s like paying for a large coffee and getting a medium or small one instead. One of the majors is actually saying they will increase taxes at with some exemptions for low income individuals and seniors. As much as people seem to hate it, Torontoians will get only the services they pay for, contract or otherwise.
Frankly I’m distressed that when two of five the “front runners” dropped out of the Mayors race that two or more others were not bumped up from “fringe” status by the major media. After all Rocco Rossi and Sarah Thomson were not the only ones to put up their $200 fee and vying for the job of Mayor of Toronto. Actually there are 38 candidates to choose from (after Rossi and Thomson dropped out). I would have loved to see coverage of other “fringe” candidates like Himy Syed, Tibor Steinberger , or any of the other 36 people brave enough to put their names on the ballot. Ah, but how many people will just skip over the list of candidates like the Classified Ads.
The reality is that the Mayor of Toronto is but one voice out of 45 (well or only 22 under one candidate’s platform). At the end of the day consensus not conflict will get the city’s work done. That is why if you are truly at a loss as to who should be Mayor you should at least vote for council. We need as many competent people at the table voicing the needs of Toronto’s citizens as possible. To achieve that tall task, we may need more than 4 or every 10 eligible voters going out and voting on October 25th, 2010. Dave Meslin said it well, vote with your heart!
Just glimpse of the some of 100 debates over this year…
BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association) Debate
Closing Comments of Habitat for Humanity Debate
The major media have been touting the “top 5″ candidates for months (the cast in alphabetical order: Rob Ford, Joe Pantalone, Rocco Rossi, George Smitherman, and Sarah Thomson). Giorgio Mammoliti dropped out of the race weeks ago, not a huge loss, though his though his proposals regarding affordable housing are worth adopting by whomever eventually wins the election.
Some have called for partisan politics and party affiliations to help voters along. Sorry, I tend to feel that partisan “branding” is the last thing we need at this level of government. Voters are, or should be sophisticated enough, to evaluate the people, policies and platforms presented.
Toronto voters will have to do some heavy lifting in before Monday October 25th. Last I checked there were far more than 5 candidates vying for the job of mayor. Oh yeah, John Tory made it painfully clear that he is not running for mayor this year. So who will win?
I know who should win. The candidate that can articulate a clear vision for Toronto. Someone who’s policies are not based liquidating assets but building on what we have or investing in the future. So far we have seen a lot of petty bickering and little leadership or vision. John Tory is not on the shortlist and the “top 5″ financially backed candidates may or may not have what it takes. It will be up to the citizens of Toronto to choose the right candidate for mayor and hold them accountable beyond October 25, 2010. One thing for sure, apathy will get you nothing but grief.
I don’t think that many people enjoyed the carnage and damage a few vandals had during the G20. This heavy handed senseless action was followed up with heavy handed policing. Sure some perpetrators were rounded up among the approximately 1,000 mass arrests. The problem was that many innocent people, journalists and bystanders were beaten and arrested. All told, close to 800+ were released with no charges laid.
Yes, it is amazing that there were no life threatening injuries to the security forces or protesters (or vandals) but that hardly warrants blanket praise from council. There was good reason for yesterday’s 1,200 person march at Queen’s Park. There are masses of people calling for a public inquiry. Many feel each of the Toronto Police, Toronto Police Services Board or the Ombudsman reviews will leave too many questions unanswered. Questions over civilian oversight and use of force are valid considering what transpired.
The bad taste of the G20 will linger for sometime. Hardly the good PR campaign sold to Toronto by the Feds. The strategic bungling of a dual G8/G20 in cottage country, the failure to hold the “back up” Toronto G20 outside the downtown core, not to mention the Fed’s blank check given to security forces should have been foreshadowing enough. Glad the madness is over but a serious, although belated, review of the failings should take place.
Thankfully I was well clear of the hijacking of the peaceful march. Peaceful protestors have stayed clear of the vandals and their cyclone of disruption. There are varying accounts of the numbers of saboteurs (up 100 or 200???). Sad that 200 or so have blighted a massive 10,000+ peaceful march through the city.
Mayor Miller rightly branded these saboteurs as “criminals”. The news crews have all the catchy images of conflict they could have hoped for. A great negative feedback loop. We are up to about 6 Police cars torched by now. The security forces have managed to keep at least a one block perimeter safe and locked down. GO Train service is now non-existent and there are still small pockets of vandals between two different sets of solid Police lines. The ironic thing is that this small group of yahoos are relatively isolated.
Safe in the cage Mr. Harper is all smiles and entertaining his dinner guests. Such a contrast. Word is that the TFC game is still on.
Yonge and Dundas Square was another Black Bloc hotspot and Police are encouraging any stragglers to disperse from Queen’s Park (it’s unconfirmed whether they are now using force). I’m a block or so away from the Square and Queen’s Park and it’s business as usual. Many shops and grocery stores are still open. There are fewer cars and no streetcars but life goes on in the neighbourhood.
Public apathy? Perhaps. It’s more likely the fact that it a few bad apples are getting all the attention while most of us get on with life. Hoping that dialogue and issues take the spotlight tomorrow.
All quiet along Yonge so far but Queen Street West is heating up. The troublemakers have started to mobilize and the Police have put on their masks. It appears that the Black Bloc and perhaps other militant groups like Southern Ontario Anarchists have started toying with flares, sticks and stones from gardens. Mailboxes have been dragged onto the TTC tracks and the Scotiabank near Much Music has had many windows smashed with hammers. Starbucks… Yep their garbage bins have been scattered.
Fearing the worst but not sticking around for the gas. Media vehicles, police cars have been trashed. Hard to say if the majority of these “crazy protestors” are going to tempt fate and march to the “cage”. Word is that they have made it to Wellington and Bay!
10,000+ marched today. Looks like a few hundred are looking for a fight. 100 plus police are marching in getting ready to bring it to them now that a police cruiser is on fire. Great!
Well the delegates are arriving at Royal York. Welcome to Toronto!
Don’t know why the Police have not defused this. This group sounds like they are way too close, a block away from the “cage” now. I can only guess that they are trying to get some damning evidence, clear the bystanders, and then mobilize the Police counter-attack. I’m not about to get anywhere near Union Station or the Royal York.
GO Transit have essentially shut down Union Station. Westbound passengers need to travel to Mimico, Eastbound trips now start/terminate at Danforth. Check GO Transit for more updates…
TTC have halted all streetcars in the core. Subways on the Yonge-University line are closed from Bloor to St. George Station.
Thankfully I did not work in the core today. My uneasiness was reserved for my trip into the city from the 905. Arriving by GO Train to Union Station into what could have been the centre of madness, I was expecting the worst. Union Station and Front Street are bad enough on any Friday let alone the start of a weekend featuring a G20.
The suburban parking lot of the GO station was eerie and sparse. I had some snacks, my phone and a couple drinks. I hoped that I could endure at least a mild inconvenience. Got news that a scuffle between protesters and Police at Yonge and College as I reached the GO platform. Oh well, no turning back BUT that was to be one of my destinations tonight. I missed an earlier express train but crossed my fingers and took the milk run into “G20 land”.
In the end the GO train was exactly on schedule. It was somewhat inconvenient taking the western of the GO Station at Bay but I hardly wanted to venture anywhere near the “cage”. Seeing it from the double doors under the tracks was close enough. Testing my luck, I headed to the TTC toward College Station. By now the word was the police had brought in reinforcements and diverted the streetcars. Expecting the worst I headed up the Yonge TTC line and hoped for the best.
College subway did have a few police near the fare booth. No real issues from protesters, at least I arrived. I probably missed the worst the conflict on the street an hour before. I surfaced near the Winner’s store, not far where a man was arrested. A massive police presence but pedestrians could cross all crossings and vehicles were still being diverted West of Yonge.
My mostly uneventful trip made for the tastiest BBQ style burger ever. Guilty domestic bliss. Sad but true but just part of the kind of decompression most Torontonians must be experiencing after a high security, $50 Million an hour, international board meeting gets booked in your backyard.
So what happened. Everyone stayed home if they could. A few yahoos “tested the bounds” of authority. (Duh, what do you think happens if you breach a perimeter, push a cop or act like an idiot.) The majority of the protesters near the “problem area” and the city were peaceful. There may have been a few aggressive individuals at Yonge and College. Sad that the man that was arrested there was a deaf man (who probably didn’t hear the instructions from a scared and agitated security force). Worse still is that this man is being held in a detention centre without being provided an interpreter!
Despite the hype, I doubt the 2000+ protesters that congregated at Yonge and College were even headed toward fence forming the “cage”. The majority of groups involved in the “infamous scuffle” were from local activist housing and anti-poverty groups like Jane and Finch Action Against Poverty, OCAP and No One Is Illegal. Their installation of a Tent City at one of Canada’s highest concentrations of homelessness is meant to harken back to harsher times. Toronto’s erection and eventual evictions at a Tent City years ago.
In the end the city was a ghost town. Posturing and hype aside it could have been worse. Hoping for the best when festivities really kick in tomorrow.
A minor earthquake and tornado didn’t destroy Toronto yesterday. Will the G20 summit mean a disaster for the city? Lake Mistake and an over armed security force may be more than just a little overkill. I doubt the numbers of people in the city disgusted by this circus (protesters, pedestrians, and everyday people) warrant such a heavy handed approach. One thing is for sure, we are going to be in for an interesting ride.
The major media have hyped this thing to the heavens. I pray there are no incidents (whether they are due to yahoo “protesters” or overzealous “security”.) This scandalous billion dollar love-in will really be a failure for the Harper government if there is no concrete progress on the “real” issues. Fiscal responsibility, the economy, and the environment should be front and centre. Instead the lead up and staging of this G20 has only highlighted what is wrong with richest nations; their lack of leadership and prudent use of human & fiscal capital.
I’ve heard first hand about some wheelers and dealers in Toronto and their love of rock star nights on the town. Not to say that all patrons of Toronto’s fine venues are thieves and crooks, but not everyone can wine and dine themselves with $10,000+ diners and afford that lifestyle through legal means.
The Toronto Star has an interesting article regarding some drama after a night at Harbour 60. This article may shed some light on the lenient sentence Rahim Jaffer after facing charges of drunk driving and cocaine possession. Although Jaffer may have boasted insider influence in the past but the Conservatives are denying any ties to him at present.
As a whole it is disturbing how tough on crime we appear to be but how soft things are for white collar criminals. Time will tell whether any justice will be served. Unfortunately crime knows not of a recession.
I know everyone has been just thrilled with all the post Olympic political action lately. It’s nearly as exciting as the record Winter Olympic frenzy. The Federal speech from the throne, a Federal budget and let’s not forget Ontario’s speech from the throne a few days ago. It has many armchair athletes turning to armchair politicians.
The latest heart stopping event. A press conference that Mayor Miller called yesterday. So press and citizens were all in a frenzy when Mayor Miller was about to announce “something”. The “let down”, it seems for most, is that the estimated surplus Toronto expected to post for 2009 was actually $100 million more than forecast. People are mad?! Really? During a recession, difficult (often questionable) service fees and labour unrest the city managed to post a bigger than expected surplus. Oh. Get this, they are willing charge (gouge) less for property taxes based on these surplus funds. How is this a bad thing? Oh, and Miller asked Ontario to keep its promise to fund the TTC. This is hardly something to really complain about.
Hey political cheerleaders out there. Miller’s reign has not been perfect but it is hardly as horrible as people cry about. Sorry to the whiners but you can’t exactly cry about getting this present. We are lucky to get it. Judging from the stink the Parliamentary Budget Officer is making about the Federal Government’s structural deficits and unsustainable budget we will have enough to cry about in a few years (months if another election is called). I hope the hot air spewing about is preparation for voters getting out of their armchairs and out to the ballot boxes. If not you can always sit back down and watch the opening of the Paralympics tomorrow.