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Newsstand: March 28, 2012

There's nothing like Wednesday to put a mean spring in your step. Whatever that means. So anyway: Rob Ford goes all "next election" on our asses; more (potential) scandal for the TCHC; low-income families continue to get screwed over; municipalities near Toronto want us to stop using them as dumping grounds; and Luminato loses provincial funding as part of the 2012 budget.

The mayor has pissed some people off again…fin.

Wait, fine, there’s more. Basically, Rob Ford has drawn criticism within city council for invoking the 2014 municipal election as a potential saving grace against LRT-loving lefties. After losing last week’s fateful transit vote, the mayor used his weekly radio show to rouse like-minded citizens to run against the 24 pro–light rail councillors in the next election, encouraging people to call his “direct personal line.” Councillor Josh Matlow, for one, was unimpressed, suggesting the mayor should not turn his office into a “perpetual campaign hotline.” Apparently, Ford apologized to him, then reneged on it and mocked Matlow on a subsequent radio show. Cla-ssy. Ford, for his part, chalked the whole thing up to his love of democracy.

The Toronto Community Housing Corporation is looking into controversial Regent Park condo purchases made by two of its former executives. The review comes in response to a story broken by the Toronto Sun over the weekend; in addition to the two former TCHC employees in question, three executives at Daniels Corporation, the company in charge of Regent Park development, allegedly used public money to buy condos in an area intended for lower-income residents.

A community centre at Bathurst Street and Finch Avenue West has fallen through the bureaucratic cracks. Although city council voted a year ago to give Antibes Community Centre official “priority centre” status—thereby making all programs free for children and seniors—the City’s recreation chief will not implement the designation. Why? Because this year’s budget called into question free programming for non-adults at priority centres, and, in the ensuing chaos, Antibes seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. In January, a council vote knocked down a budget proposal to instate fees for all priority centres, but now there’s a disagreement among City staff about whether Antibes was ever officially made a priority centre. So, for now, seniors and families must pay for programming. Extra sucky in an area that has among the highest percentage of seniors in the city.

Ensconced in the cozy, centre-of-the-universe, urban bubble that is Toronto, it’s easy to forget about the hate-on so many non-Torontonian Canadians have for our city. But something like the just-outside-the-GTA town councils of Clarington and New Tecumseth both voting this week to stop the Toronto building industry from dumping waste in their landfills kinda reminds you, eh?

And of course, everyone is still all abuzz about the provincial budget, which the Liberals tabled yesterday. It includes the institution of a large number of not-really-spelled-out “efficiencies” and a freeze on personal and corporate income taxes, and also calls for a public-sector wage freeze, leading to worries about striking civil servants and teachers. The opposition parties were predictably aghast, although for opposite reasons—leading us to conclude the document is actually pretty balanced, all things considered. More locally, if Luminato is/was your bag, prepare to bristle at potential changes, as the budget will reduce funding for a number of Toronto’s cultural and arts institutions, including the AGO, the ROM and the Ontario Science Centre. If you never really understood what Luminato was, it’s still okay to be sad.

CORRECTION: 9:06 AM This post originally suggested that the provincial budget passed yesterday. The budget was tabled, but has not yet passed. We have also revised the last paragraph to include more details about the budget.


  • Anonymous

    - Ford, for his part, chalked the whole thing up to his love of democracy.-

    Doug should explain the subtle, yet important, difference between democracy and doing what ever the fuck you want, to Rob. On second thoughts, Doug might not be the best person to do that.

  • Anonymous

    adverbs can’t be plural!… anyway

  • Blair

    Possible correction: my understanding is that the budget was tabled yesterday, not passed. Final vote on the budget isn’t for 10 days or so, according to Andrea Horwath on CBC Radio this morning.

    • clairelcrighton

      Thanks, Blair! You are definitely right about that. We’ve issued a correction, above.

  • Anonymous

    When I die, I want to come back as Ford’s lawyer. Dude must drive a Merc with heated seats.

  • Anonymous

    Ford named Ken Chan as someone he’d like to see on the slate. That’s hilarious. Chan lost in a narrow race to Kristyn Wong-Tam for an open seat. Wong-Tam is now firmly established with plenty of name recognition, and is on course to get Kyle Rae-levels of support in the Village in 2014. Unless Chan is interested in getting soundly beaten, that is.

    It’s also interesting that Ford is now happily naming people as allies who were well-known Smitherman supporters. Necessity sure does make for strange bedfellows.

  • Anonymous

    Antibes gets shafted?

    Sorry, but in the grand scheme of things, Ford wailing on Matlow means diddly compared to a community, that has spent the last 10 years trying to get something….anything….out of the city, losing out again.

  • ak

    heartbreaking about antibes. people have worked for years in that neighbourhood to see it designated a priority centre. they’ve written letters, talked to councillors, come down to city hall how many times? what’s it going to take? while councillors and staff argue about individual words in a motion, kids don’t have swimming lessons and summer camps, seniors can’t get in to do excercise. what can communities do when city hall doesn’t respect its own rules?