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Newsstand: June 24, 2013

Careful in the heat today, folks! We're in for another scorcher. In the news: the Fords want to nix streetcars, another MPP resigns, public housing is in crisis, expanded booze sales would benefit consumers and the government, and the Jays stay hot.

illustration of a person walking across a slackline between a tree and a lamp post

You will be shocked–shocked!–to hear that the brothers Ford are not fans of a proposal to restrict car traffic along King Street during rush hour. “You cannot shut down King Street for streetcars. We need to phase out streetcars,” said Mayor Rob Ford yesterday during his and his brother councillor Doug Ford’s (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) weekly radio show. The mayor said he would eliminate streetcars and replace them with buses. TTC board head Karen Stinz is expected to move a motion to the board today requesting a look at cutting cars from King Street during rush hours when Toronto hosts the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP Laurel Broten is quitting politics and moving with her family to Halifax. Broten said the move has nothing to do with her tumultuous time as education minister, where she was at the centre of a battle with teachers over wage-freeze legislation, but instead is related to a work opportunity for her husband. Broten will step down effective July 2, and Premier Kathleen Wynne will have six months to call a by-election in her riding–the fourth now in the province that is facing a by-election.

Toronto’s $750-million repair backlog on public housing, combined with the loss of $161 million in annual federal funding for social housing, has put Toronto in a precarious position, said Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18, Davenport). “We have a huge need to build more (affordable housing),” Bailão, chair of Toronto’s affordable housing committee, told the Toronto Star in an interview. “But we are receiving less money to operate what we already have at a time when that housing is increasingly under pressure due to maintenance and capital repair issues.” A report released last week by Ontario’s Non-Profit Housing Association stated that more than 154,000 households are on waiting lists for social housing.

Expanding alcohol sales in Ontario would both lower prices and increase convenience for consumers, according to a new study. If the province moved to a system similar to the one used in British Columbia, blending the LCBO and private sales, it would result in more money from booze sales in Ontario’s coffers, according to University of Waterloo economist Anindya Sen. Ontario Tory leader Tim Hudak has said that he will end the LCBO monopoly on wine and spirits sales if he forms the Ontario government.

And the Toronto Blue Jays continued their streak of productivity by earning their 11th straight win, 13-5 over the visiting Baltimore Orioles, on Sunday. That win tied a club record for longest winning streak in front of an official sellout crowd. They’ll try to keep it going in Tampa Bay tonight.


  • vampchick21

    Of course the Fords trashed the proposal about cars on King Street during the rush hour and said replace streetcars wtih buses. They’re like a couple of parrots who can only say phrases they memorized. Only difference is that you can teach a parrot new phrases and words.

    • Dave

      The street cars are a bigger drain on the system than you are. I know it is tough to believe.

    • dsmithhfx

      It’s hilarious that they’re asking suburban fordistas to phone their suburban councillors and complain about streetcars on King Street.

      • vampchick21

        I need that STNG double facepalm jpeg.

  • jaaaaaaaaat

    Many European cities have buses that operate off of an electrical grid. This enables them to freely move in traffic, while still being a little more environmentally-friendly than a regular bus, and saving the massive costs of installing rails. I dont think the Fords are completely wrong on their ‘no streetcar’ sentiment.

    • Sam

      I have to concur with you on this point. Take Paris France for example, their transit system does not have antiquated modes like street cars and they move people rather well. The blind hatred that some (for no reason) have for Ford literally blinds them from actual progress.

      • HotDang

        1. Toronto used to have trolley busses. The TTC decided to switch to save money.
        2. Paris does use LRTs.

      • Parkdale_facepalm

        FYI The Paris subway system was built 100 years ago, when people in Toronto were still living on trees (more or less)

      • dsmithhfx

        First of all, it’s not “blind hatred”. People have been watching this horror show unfold with eyes wide open, unlike the Fords’ supporters who are deep in denial about the really serious stuff, like moonlighting as a football coach (and god knows what else), public drunkenness, reckless driving, crack smoking, and a profound inability to do the job for which he was supposedly elected.

        Second, there’s two of ‘em. Yes, only one was elected mayor, but neither seems to realize it.

        Maybe some folks hate them. I don’t, I just want them gone from public office because in that role, they are useless and harmful.

        • KRoberts

          Well at least we’re losing one of them in 2014 – Doug is stepping down to go after a seat in the provincial gov and so he can “help” Rob get re-elected – and seeing how he’s done in that regard – it should be a fun train wreck to watch :)

          • dsmithhfx

            He has to get nominated first, and last I heard, that’s looking a bit iffy.

      • OgtheDim

        As against thouse who are blind to things like, oh I don’t know


        How’s that echo chamber called 1010 this morning?

    • OgtheDim

      Trolly buses wouldn’t be able to handle the demand.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    We need to eliminate Ford and replace him with a real mayor.

  • Mark

    It’s so weird that our Mayor, who inherited a multi-million dollar company, supports the elites who can afford to own and operate personal vehicles and does not support average people who take transit.

    More seriously, we need to start pointing out the absurdity of those expecting to freely move around the city in single occupant vehicles (SOVs). Next time you’re waiting for a streetcar, count the number of SOVs that pass by – *that’s* what’s causing congestion.

    • vampchick21

      I do that a lot actually, counting the number of cars with only the driver in them. There’s far more than need be really.

    • jay

      The irony is that many of those people taking transit support Ford–like the poor red states supporting Mitt Romney.

    • KRoberts

      And parking! Why oh why is parking allowed on Queen and King street EVER?! If drivers are pissed, they need only look at all the vehicles taking up 2 of the 4 total lanes – let’s ban street parking (only emergency and delivery vehicles allowed)

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        I don’t think parking is allowed during the rush hours. Banning left hand turns would make a huge difference.

        • KRoberts

          Could have fooled me, I took the King street car to work and school from 2010 – 2012 and there were always plenty of cars lining the street during rush hours

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            I know I’ve seen cars getting ticketed for parking on Queen during rush hour, so maybe it’s just Queen.

            I couldn’t find a map with on-street parking information online, which seems like an oversight on Toronto/Green P’s part.

          • LadyBird Magpie

            no parking in rush hour on queen or king in certain areas. I think it’s actually a tow away zone though too.

          • vampchick21

            There are plenty of vehicles parked on King in the Financial district, I see them every day since I work down here. Even worse is that a chunk of them are taxis who sit there waiting for a fare to run down from one of the towers. This alone reduces the number of lanes East and West through that area, not a streetcar.

  • ehwawazat

    Cripes, why are most of the daily comments always by the same three or four people that critique everything, but offer absolutley nothing?

    • dsmithhfx

      You must have at least a dozen names by now.

    • OgtheDim

      Welcome to the internet.If you want comments that move things forward, you have to sift.

      Its really hard to offer something to what the Fords said.

      Take a look at the stuff Steve Munro puts on here, if transit is your bag.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Yeah, it’s awful, you should go troll another blog.

  • OgtheDim

    As the Star says, “The detailed study (is) for the Ontario Convenience Store Association…. ” Would be nice to get a study about liquor in stores that didn’t come from somebody with an axe to grind. I like the LCBO and all and I’m not all that hepped up on the local Macs selling Captain Morgan, but there might be a better way.

    • dsmithhfx

      The LCBO is a gigantic monopoly run by 3 or 4 (I forget which) industrial-scale breweries of the fizzy-piss persuasion. They’ve kept prices across the board considerably higher than any neighboring states/provinces. Maybe some people see that as a good thing, since it (probably) does reduce consumption, and collateral damage. They have also restricted shelf-space to rivals (notably micro-breweries), though that has eased up slightly over the past couple of years. On the whole, I think there are better, more efficient ways to accomplish whatever good they do on the harm-reduction side, while increasing choice and reducing prices for consumers. They’ve outlived their usefulness, whatever that was. They haven’t been notably exemplary employers. Monopoly bad, competition good, etc.

      • OgtheDim

        That would be the Beer Store you are describing.

        • dsmithhfx

          Yes. I forgot why I switched to the LC immediately after I discovered it also sells beer, and forever conflated the two entities (it didn’t help they are cheek-by-jowl in my neighborhood). Come from away. I suppose in the unlikely event the strike had happened, I would have been forced to (ugh) go back. Still don’t think we need the LCBO though, for most of the same reasons.

      • Dave

        Dolt, you really have no understanding of the LCBO.

        • raindogxx


    • Mark

      I lived in BC, left in 2003, and I believe the following system is still in place. There’s the BC Liquor Store (like LCBO with similar products, hours, # of locations, etc.) and there were also ‘Cold Beer and Wine Stores’ which were mostly located in hotels and only sold beer and wine but were open until 11pm. This model was then expanded (2001? 2002?) to locations other than hotels and were able to sell spirits too (vodka, rum, etc.). Many of these charged a bit more than the official BC Liquor Store, but some of the big ones were about the same price. But, again, open until 11pm, Sundays, etc.