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12 Comments

news

Taxis Ticked, Toys Toxic, Taxman Taketh

2007_09_27_taxis2.jpg
Hundreds of taxis disrupted city streets yesterday, driving erratically through downtown Toronto, flouting traffic laws, and honking their horns randomly. Subsequently, many of the drivers also participated in a protest against bylaws which limit Pearson pickups to licensed airport limos.
More toys manufactured in China have been recalled in North America because they contain dangerous levels of lead. Parents who have purchased the “Eat-Me Play Pencil” or “Old-Fashioned Paint Beverage” toys are being urged to return them to their place of purchase immediately.
The Canada Revenue Agency has won a court order requiring e-Bay Canada to turn over personal information about high-volume sellers on the popular auction site. Individuals found to have earned undeclared income will be declared “PowerTaxEvaders” and sent to ePrison.
In the face of intense public pressure, City Council has agreed to reopen Toronto community centres on Mondays. However, most programs requiring registration will not be reinstated, so about half the 400,000 people who use the centres on Mondays are out of luck. The combative Mayor and Council declared themselves pleased at having finally found a solution that neither saves money nor services the community.
Photo by iwagg from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Comments

  • WannaBinToranna

    I can’t say this about Canada, but I can say it about America. I’m amazed at how easily we give up our young. Hardly anyone questioned the war here, now almost 5 years later and thousands dead, people are just now starting to come around (and there are STILL those who support this slaughter). So, what does America do? It goes shopping.
    Then, the very products from China that America buys at those low, low prices with the smiley face, poisons our pets and now our children and no one seems to even blink (well, maybe if we shop MORE).
    That we haven’t taken to the streets with torches and pitchforks just amazes me. What scares me most…is what it would take? Maybe when the casualty numbers hits the hundred-thousand mark and China poisons our water supply somehow.
    We seem more obsessed with Britney’s kids than our own. Ironically, this war will be still going when they are draft age, so maybe if they were sent to Iraq (or Iran) maybe then this country would pay attention to what is going on over there.
    “My baby loves lead paint, I love a good price. That’s why, as my child develops, I want to be sure she is chewing on the lead paint with the most value….that’s why I buy toys made in China. China, making cross-eyed American-Yankee-Swine Babies at rock bottom prices”

  • guest

    I don’t know if the above comment is meant to be an ironic swipe at the hysteria surrounding Chinese toys (or, er, American culture in general), but I’ll assume that it isn’t. When you talk about the casualty number hitting the one hundred-thousand mark– so far, it hasn’t even hit the one mark, unless you count the Chinese industrialist who killed himself after his toy company lost its export license. Most of these recalls have been voluntary, and the lead levels in the toys are far lower than what was considered safe a generation ago.

  • Marc Lostracco

    I’m always amazed at the lack of political criticism targeted to China by the U.S. government. They have such a hate-on for Communist Cuba, but China gets to sweep their human rights record under the rug (for the most part) in order that Wal-Mart can continue to ROLLLLL BACK PRICES!

  • Patrick Metzger

    The Bush administration pretty much has their hands tied. If the Chinese decide not to show up for the next T-bill auction, the economic fallout will make the Depression look like a church picnic.

  • rek

    Patrick’s got it: China owns the US now.

  • WannaBinToranna

    I agree Mark. Also funny how the US couldn’t tolerate someone like Saddam Hussein on the other side of the world, but they would have us believe Castro is the boogeyman, yet he is 90 miles off our coast…but not the threat that Iraq/Iran. As far as human rights violations, Saudi Arabia os the worst of them all, yet they are our so-called “allies”. It is when you look at the US government as a crime family, in cahoots with the Saudi crime family….then it makes sense.
    Also…for my comment (guest), I meant the casualty rate for the war. And no, it was not an ironic swipe at the hysteria, if anything, I’m amazed we tolerate our kids going into war, cathcing bullets for Dubya or importing products that wouldn’t meet safety standards of 50 years ago…but good for you (guest) defending China and poison products. Enjoy the smiley-face prices. And yes Rek and Pat, China owns the US…I’m thinking that’s why Mattell took the blame as opposed to blaming Holy China.
    “Mattell, fall on your’ sword”. They got into bed with China and are finding out there’s sand in the Vaseline.

  • guest

    Actually, what was considered safe 50 years ago is currently considered a dangerously high level of lead to ingest. But it’s not like the Baby Boomers suffered from a toy-based epidemic of lead poisoning now is it?

  • WannaBinToranna

    So why did we bother putting in safety standards in the first place? But great, while we’re at it, let’s go back to sweat-shops, 16 hour days and child labor. Good enough for China, good enough for N. America. “What, you want healthcare, sick/maternity leave, and paid vacations? You’re a bunch of Commies, I’m sending my business to China!” And we can bring back leaded gasoline, reduce the standards on drinking water. Heck, let’s just reverse every safety/work standard that people worked or even fought or died for within the last 100 years.
    America wants low-low prices, and China has shown that if you completely throw out saftey standards and human rights, you can reach rock bottom low low prices. So, let’s go for it, let’s put this race to the bottom line in overdrive.
    “OK, yes, our baby is brain damaged, and our dog Skippy died of renal failure, but check out the deal we got on this plasma TV, Thank You China!”

  • guest

    But it’s not like China has thrown out previously existing conditions. If anything, things are getting safer there, which is pretty much the standard way economic development works. Standards of living, life expectancy, all going up. Workers’ conditions are poor, but that’s not an argument against development, but rather for safer production practices and working class activism.

  • WannaBinToranna

    Yeah, ok. Until the workers in China start asking for healthcare and vacations and shorter work days… the factories close up, leave the people and pollution behind and build their factories where the labor force is willing to work under less “safe” conditions.

  • guest

    You have a view of international capitalism that is beyond a caricature. If all major corporations cared about was paying the least amount possible and nothing else, there wouldn’t be any factories left in Canada, the United States, Europe, and much of Asia and South America.
    I’d bet you your copy of The Shock Doctrine that your average impoverished resident of sub-Saharan Africa would be willing to work under “less ‘safe’ conditions” than the Chinese do. But obviously there’s more to it.

  • WannaBinToranna

    Dude, look around, there aint all that many factories left in Canada, the US and Europe.
    And I’ll bet you your’ copy of “The World is Flat”: – ) And by buying cheap goods made in China, we’ve subsidized our own demise.”Damn, my job was outsourced, Honey look, a $29 DVD player, let’s buy it”
    I’ve had this conversation with people such as yourself before, Brother. We could go all day and I’m not trying to fight ya dispute what you’re sayin’. But honestly, I ask you, and I know this may not even be possible anymore; Would you be willing to spend a little bit more on a product if you knew that it meant people and jobs staying here, or at the very least, they were made under safe or fair conditions? The workers timecards in these countries is accounted down to the minutes and seconds.
    I guess it’s where our conscience meets our budget and pocketbooks. And I know, just becasue I am conscious of it, doesn’t make it right, we’re all complicit. I buy crap I know is made by a poor working mother in China who can barely feed her family and works twice as many hours as I do in a day. Ultimately, I just don’t think, with finite resources, that capitalism can go on forever. And I think ultimately, a workable form of socialism will rise up (I think it will come from Latin America, myself). There is just no way the few can go on exploiting the many for much longer…sooner or later, someone will say, “Hey, there’s more of us than there are of them, why should THEY get everything and we do all the work?!”.
    Is there a way to not have it be just 2% owning everything? Can we not find something a little more balanced and not have income gaps with a 3,000:1 ratio?