So we meet again, December. Please be gentler on my waistline than you were last year. In the news: A Toronto Police officer passes away from injuries related to a weekend car crash; yesterday's budget meeting saw concerns raised about childcare and transit; Doug Ford puts up his verbal dukes to spar with the head of the Toronto Region Board of Trade; Doug Ford also has choice words for Premier Wynne as she prepares to meet with Norm Kelly; and GTA house prices are really, really expensive.
Very sad news off the top: The Toronto Police officer who was involved in a serious car accident over the weekend while responding to an emergency call about an intoxicated driver has died from his injuries. The 34-year-old constable, John Zivcic, passed away yesterday afternoon at St. Michael’s Hospital. Zivcic had sustained severe head injuries when his unmarked police car was involved in a collision on Saturday afternoon. While details surrounding the crash are still currently under investigation, CBC News reports that another vehicle was involved, and that the officer’s cruiser crashed into a tree. Zivcic had worked at 22 Division since he joined Toronto Police over six years ago.
Yesterday, the City’s budget committee meeting gave councillors the chance to hear directly from members of the public about the proposed 2014 budgets. Thankfully all was relatively calm, cool, and collected, even though hot topics of the meeting included—you guessed it—affordable childcare and transit. Among the speakers was Carol Wilding, the head of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, who supported the budget, but not without some concerns, including the financial drawbacks of the Scarborough subway extension such as the light-rail cancellation fee which is now approaching $100 million.
This guarded support of the budget drew the ire of Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North), prompting him to inform Wilding that 90 per cent of her membership agree with the Ford fiscal agenda. He didn’t provide any basis for this percentage because as we all know, he’s a founding father of the Fordian School For Unquantifiable Statistical Ambiguity—okay, not really, that’s totally made up. Councillor Ford later told reporters, “Carol Wilding doesn’t see eye to eye with the mayor from day one. She doesn’t represent, she may be the president, she doesn’t represent the average member of the board of trade.” Wilding respectfully disagreed with Councillor Ford.
News Flash: It seems like Councillor Ford likes nothing more than getting pissed off with people. Yesterday, he also lashed out at Premier Kathleen Wynne, following the announcement that she would be meeting today with Toronto’s Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly instead of Mayor Rob Ford. “So I guess it’s going to be a meeting of two unelected officials running the largest city and largest province,” said Councillor Ford. While the Toronto Star cites a source within the premier’s office who says the meeting is an opportunity for Wynne and Kelly to get better acquainted while covering a large range of topics, Councillor Ford thinks it’s a farce and we should all just head back to the polls immediately to elect a whole new provincial and municipal government. The Deputy Mayor was quick to point out that both he and the Premier were elected into government by their respective ridings, so Councillor Ford’s point is effectively moot. Should we bother pointing out that Ontario is not the largest province in Canada, or is that being too literal?
Finally, a new RBC report co-published by Pembina Institute tells us what we already know: the cost of purchasing a home in the GTA is too damn high. The study says this a little more eloquently, however, pointing out that the demand for single-family homes far outweighs the supply, which has contributed to the average cost of a GTA home rising by roughly $37,000 in the past year, with the total average price coming in at $539,058. Raise your hand if being able to afford a home in the city within your lifetime seems as realistic as buying a vacation pad in Narnia?