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Newsstand: March 14, 2013

Well, that whole papal conclave sure flew by, didn't it? In other news: Ford still says no to new taxes for transit, the city's lobbyists could have a curfew, activists plan to take on police "carding," and thousands attend a memorial for Stompin' Tom.

newsstand greenwood2

Representatives from multiple levels of government smiled for the cameras yesterday at a press conference organized around getting shovels giant, terrifying boring machines in the ground for the Toronto-York Spadina subway extension. Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mayor Rob Ford both spoke to reporters about transit’s future. Wynne once again backed her support for taxes, tolls, and other revenue sources to help pay for transit. Ford stood firmly against any new taxes, because he’s not a huge fan of political suicide. Instead, he alluded to having some other way of financing subways in the city but, as usual, didn’t go into details.

The amount of lobbying going on at City Hall might have boomed in recent years but, like all booms, it could be on its way down. The city’s lobbyist registrar is calling for limits on when lobbyists are allowed to contact councillors. The registrar hasn’t spoken to reporters about the recommendation, but we think it’s safe to say she wants to avoid the perception that lobbyists and politicians get together after hours for booze-soaked games of “Let’s Sell the City Out to Corporate Interests.” Or maybe it’s something else.

In a moral victory for anyone treated unfairly by police, a judge has slammed police officers for unnecessarily beating a man and then trying to cover it up in court. Whether anything substantive comes of it, though, is still up in the air.

Meanwhile, the police practice of stopping individuals to collect information, also known as “carding,” is still going on despite widespread criticism. In response, activists and lawyers frustrated by the lack of action from the City’s police board are looking into creating a smartphone app for people to document their interactions with police. The data could eventually lead to a class action lawsuit, that staple of the American judicial system that, like cherry Coke, never quite caught on here.

In all this political cynicism and papal optimism, it’s easy to forget that Canada lost a great musician and mythmaker recently. Thousands gathered last night to mourn the loss of Stompin’ Tom Connors. At least we know his music is almost certainly going to live on.


  • Winkee

    Political suicide? All the polls in the last year and a bit seem to indicate the exact opposite of that statement. A vast majority of residents support a tax specifically for transit, with a large portion strongly supporting.

    I think Rob Ford and his right-wing media allies do enough to obscure the desires of residents, we don’t need the Torontoist helping them.

    • Steveinto

      Rob Ford caters to a special interest group, the car driving suburban public that live in Etobicoke, Scarborough and North York. Everyone else is shut out of any kind of any discussion about the city.
      This special interest group is backed by the likes of Sun Media, they know how easy it is to convince people who like to be told how to think.
      All we can do is keep pounding away at reality and hope some of those people can be made to see beyond the rhetoric and false claims.

    • vampchick21

      Well that flew over your head, didn’t it? :) It’s political suicide to Ford, as in, his core base would revolt against him should he dare agree with raising taxes and approving various tolls to pay for public transit. But it’s not political suicide to any other politician out there.

      • Winkee

        How is it political suicide if 75% support it to varying degrees and only 26% are against it? Was Ford only elected by 26% of voters, nope, many liberals and centrists voted for him and may or may not support him again (also who else is Ford’s base going to vote for?).
        You don’t think I know what his base believes in? You would be a pretty horrible campaign strategist if you think the point of campaigning is only to cater to the most extreme, dogmatic elements of your base.
        Not to mention that one his staunchest allies Mike Del Grande publicly supported a parking fee (one might define this as a tax) to pay for transit and received virtually no negative consequences because of it.
        How do progressives ever expect to win if we simply keep reinforcing the most extreme messages of our opposition and accepting as reality something that is not reflected in the facts.

        • vampchick21

          Yeah, you’re missing the joke they made. Pull back from ‘serious’

          • Winkee

            No i get the joke, I just think it’s a lazy easy joke that enforces Ford’s spin.
            How long are we going to poke fun at an extreme majority dictating policy to the rest of us before we finally stop laughing? Maybe if many of us were more serious we wouldn’t have Ford Nation ruling our City, the Harper Cons destroying our country and transit city and the big move as hopeful long-term plans instead of concrete action. Now that’s a real joke.

          • vampchick21

            As long as it’s amusing now and then to do so. It’s ok to crack a joke in a blog post listing news of the morning and still be able to work towards a better city ya know.

          • Winkee

            And it’s also ok to disagree (and clarify the reality of public opinion) with one joke without being talked down to like I’m the fun police, no?

          • vampchick21

            Listen, you took the joke like it was a horrible, offensive thing. Laugh once in a while. It won’t kill you.

          • Winkee

            Thanks for proving exactly what I just said. All I said was that 75% of people apparently support a transit tax in the GTA, contrary to the implication that such a policy would be suicide. Agree or disagree but I didn’t say I was offended, I was just pointing out the actual reality of the situation. Next time I’ll make sure to mindlessly laugh instead of clouding the issue with facts.

          • vampchick21

            Sigh. I’m not disagreeing with facts. The joke is that it’s political suicide IN FORD’S HEAD.

          • vampchick21

            And don’t be so buttfustrated.

          • Winkee

            Again, I get the joke, I don’t need to be talked down to and I wouldn’t even be commenting on this if you weren’t so condescendingly telling me how to feel.

          • dsmithhfx

            Somebody needs to get drunk or laid or sumpin. Just sayin.

        • HotDang

          Who do you think that 26% voted for? That accounts for more than half of our terrible mayors support. He wouldn’t stand a fart’s chance in hell without them.

          • Winkee

            Well Ford continues to raise property taxes despite his promises to do the opposite and still sees almost the same amount of support from his base, so could it be that we are over-estimating how much his base really pays attention. Not to mention that Del Grande supported the parking fee for transit and didn’t see his base jump ship. Anyways, as it stands now I don’t really see Ford’s base having an alternative to pick from so suicide it probably would not be.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      What people say in a phone survey doesn’t always match up with what they do at the ballot box. Any politician taking that poll as mandate to raise taxes is likely in for a shock when the public shies away from the possibility of actually having to pay it.

      • Winkee

        I don’t think anyone would imagine one poll would be a mandate for anything, nor was that my point. It is however indicative of a public opinion that is fairly supportive of new or expanded funding mechanisms to raise funds for transit. Quite the opposite of political suicide. Here’s another poll showing wide support for another tax increase, this time 2% instead of 1/2 a percent.
        While asking people to pay more is always going to be a tough go, I think the attitude that the public will shy away from it when push comes to shove is not only speculative, it is also defeatist.