While we celebrate the colonization of this beautiful land and the appropriation of a wonderful holiday from our fellow colonizers to the south, here is some news to discuss with the family: robocalls from Rob Ford's office number, individualized cable channels, the gentrification of Queen Street, and an inquest into police-related deaths.
After Ward 43 city councillor and mayor’s executive committee member Paul Ainslie voted against the Scarborough subway extension last week, a number of Ainslie’s constituents say they received a call from Mayor Rob Ford’s office number (416-397-3673). Ainslie, who remains a city councillor but resigned from the executive committee this week, voted against the subway and recently said the mayor is “out of ideas.” According to the Toronto Star, the robocall repeated the following speech:
“It was extremely, extremely unfortunate that your councillor, Paul Ainslie, was the only Scarborough councillor who did not listen to his constituents, and voted against the Scarborough subway. In fact, he led the charge against building subways in Scarborough; unfortunately, it has led to his resignation from my executive committee. We are moving forward with a team who support the mandate Toronto taxpayers gave me.”
In response to an allegation from Ainslie that Ford was using bullying tactics, Doug Ford told the Star that “If there’s one thing the mayor’s office doesn’t do [...] the last thing [chief of staff] Earl [Provost] does, he may do a few things, but he’s not a bully.” It would be interesting to learn more about these “few things” that Provost does because they sound… intriguing.
Do you like BookTV but hate biographies? How do you feel about booking a flight only to be told the airline overbooked to safeguard its bottom line? Federal Industry Minister James Moore said during CTV’s Question Period that the government plans to pursue consumer-focused items such as allowing consumers to order individual cable channels rather than bundles they may not have any use for, and ending the overbooking of flights. The TV practice is not yet standard in the U.S., but some providers in Canada have moved toward the “à la carte” style of late.
University of Toronto historian Serhiy Bilenky feels that “it is time to designate the area between King and Queen streets as a historical zone where most buildings should become protected against demolitions and where monstrous condo towers should not be allowed altogether,” and others of us who spend time in the area tend to agree. The glass towers of condos rising out of artistic and poorish neighbourhoods are an unpleasant reminder of the gentrification taking place all the time.
This week an inquest into the deaths of Michael Eligon, 29, Sylvia Klibingaitis, 52, and Reyal Jardine-Douglas, 25 will begin; all three people were shot by Toronto police. Activists and community members hope the inquest will lead to policy changes. Citizens and police are still dealing with the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim in late July. Yatim was shot eight times and then tasered as he stood alone on a streetcar. Many of these people were dealing with mental health issues and did not have violent criminal histories.