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Newsstand: January 17, 2013

Today is Thursday. If you aren't familiar with calendars, have a great start to the week! In the news: the budget chief resigns after the 2013 budget passes, the TDSB names a new acting director, animal rights activists take on the Bowmanville Zoo, and Idle No More protesters take to the British Consulate.

Take a second right now to think of everything you know about politics in Toronto. Now get ready to forget it all, because Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) sat next to each other at a sandwich shop in Little Italy yesterday. Ya, that’s right. It’s only January and this happened. What’s next, 2013?

And the cause for councillors’ lunch date? That would be the passing of the 2013 budget. But all is not well in City Hall land, for budget chief Mike Del Grande (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt) has followed through on his threats and resigned from his position. Del Grande had claimed he would resign if councillors added to this year’s budget, and that is exactly what they did. However, he said in an interview he “just thought it was time.” If there’s one thing you can say about the man, it’s that he was really, really passionate about having a balanced City budget. But this, of course, raises the question: who is going to be the next budget chief? Then again, with almost a year to go before the next annual budget, who cares? It’s party time.

After a lengthy background check of her recent blog posts board meeting, trustees have selected longtime education worker and recent deputy director Donna Quan as the TDSB’s new acting director of education. Quan brings a decades-long career in education and hopefully a squeaky clean record to the position. She will remain at the helm until a new permanent director is found.

After discovering and firing eight transit enforcement officers who weren’t doing the work they should have been doing, the TTC is now looking to recover wages from the officers for that work.

Not content with merely having famous vineyards and a gorgeous coastal highway, those snide Californians are at our throats again for how elephants are treated in Canadian zoos. This time, a Golden State-based animal rights group is decrying the treatment of a lone elephant at the Bowmanville Zoo. The group says the elephant is kept in sometimes inhumane conditions and forced to perform tricks. The zoo says that’s partially true, but it’s the elephant’s way of earning her keep. Or something to that effect. Now, you might read something like this and imagine it’s the beginning of the end for pachyderms at the Bowmanville Zoo. But trust us: it’s not serious until Bob Barker shows up.

First Nations protesters did take to Toronto’s streets yesterday as part of the Idle No More national day of action, but it wasn’t the same kind of infrastructure-blocking affair that has been happening in other parts of the country. A few hundred demonstrators held a rally in front of the British Consulate at College Park, then held a drum circle at Yonge and Dundas Square. Not quite as disruptive as the teachers’ protest Tuesday evening, but likely to solicit far more in the way of racist reactions.

CORRECTION: January 17, 2013, 10:00 AM This post originally fell into the dreadful trap of (mis)using the phrase “begs the question,” when in fact, the phrase “raises the question” is correct. We apologize for the error.


  • Slim

    Does Idle No More think that Canada is still a colony? What exactly would Britain do for them? Why not protest outside the Swedish consulate; they have as much influence over the affairs of Canada as the British do.

    The main problem with Idle No More (and activists in general) is that their idiocy overshadows the justness of their cause.

    • torontothegreat

      The same way your ignorance outshines your point.

    • andrew97

      I’d just like them to stop talking about the governor general, or the Queen, or whatever, as if it makes any sense at all for them to be involved. Because what is the GG going to do, start freelancing on government policy? The very small number of times that has ever happened in the history of the Westminster system, it ended badly.

      • dsmithhfx

        Remind me: who ordered portraits of Queenie hung in our every embassy?

        • andrew97

          The guy whose job it is to make the important decisions. Right?

          • dsmithhfx

            With all the challenges we face, pandering to troglodytes is an “important decision” ? If so, he must surely regret it now that it’s been thrown back in his face.

      • torontothegreat

        Because ultimately the treaties rest with the Crown.

        “The very small number of times that has ever happened in the history of the Westminster system, it ended badly”

        From who’s perspective? Trudeau’s White Paper and aboriginals pleas to the Queen completely prove you wrong here…

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      The more attention, especially at an international level, the better. The PM doesn’t want to listen, so logically they’re going over his head to his (symbolic) superiors.

      • andrew97

        The PM was so adamant about not listening, that he invited them to his office for talks. Activists then blockaded the meeting in order to demand a meeting, as I understand it.

        • torontothegreat

          You understand wrong. Also worth noting that Harper called this meeting “ceremonial”.

          • andrew97

            Chief Spence was invited to the meeting. She declined the invitation.

          • torontothegreat

            I think you may have missed the point…

    • dsmithhfx

      “Does Idle No More think that Canada is still a colony?”

      Apparently Harper and his toadies do.