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Duly Quoted: Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly

Toronto's deputy mayor is looking into calling in the army to help with storm cleanup.

“…When I took a look at the scope of the devastation, and when I learned from staff that it’s going to take almost two months to clear all the debris, not only on our streets and roads, but in our parks as well, I thought, well, what would be the next available source of manpower, and I think that’s the army—and if we can get more people on the job, and meet this challenge sooner rather than later, why not explore that option.”

—Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, in an interview this morning with CP24. Kelly has indicated that he is willing to follow in Mel Lastman’s storm-response footsteps and call in the army, if that will mean that Toronto can recover more quickly from the recent ice storm. Yesterday, he had his staff make calls to the Canadian Forces to find out whether and how the military would be able to aid with the storm cleanup. The Globe and Mail reports that any official request for troops would have to come from the provincial government—and that a spokesperson for Ontario’s Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services has declined to offer comment on a hypothetical request from the City.


  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Toronto’s unemployment rate is around 7%. Most of the debris-clearing work will be simply hauling and driving; no special skills or training required. I’m sure there are hundreds of people who would be happy to do the work for what the army guys are paid, even if it only lasts a few weeks.

    • Paul Kishimoto


    • dsmithhfx

      OTOH, the army guys will be paid regardless.

    • torontothegreat

      I’m assuming “resources” aren’t just people. Wouldn’t the military also include equipment that the average unemployed Torontonian wouldn’t own or know how to operate?

      • Lee Zamparo


      • dsmithhfx

        Harper seems hellbent on mothballing all their gear (except for snowmobiles and other toys for his photo ops), and their training will consist of video games. Veterans benefits? Fuggedaboudit.

      • Dinah Might

        Plus an established organizational and command structure…

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          Sure, someone has to decide where people will be deployed, how many, etc, and some branches will require actual skills to deal with, but the bulk of the work on the ground won’t be done by supervisors or specialists no matter which organization does it.

    • M19704

      The 905 area code unemployment is around 7%. Toronto’s was over 8% in November.

  • HotDang

    Why not just ask people to volunteer? We’d probably be better off if we disbanded the army. Its primary purpose is to have wars.

    • OgtheDim

      Or deal with disasters…..

    • PlantinMoretus

      Volunteers would need training and supervision, esp. re: health and safety issues. Presumably the army already has all that sorted.

    • Rhiannon Faulkner

      You cannot be serious. Just when I am certain I have heard it all I read this utterly ludicrous comment.

    • rich1299

      Its alleged purpose is to defend Canada from attack though its never once done that, our army has helped our some of our allies repel invasions though. These days it seems, especially the way Harper is pushing things, that our army is now meant to supply political and diplomatic cover for US wars of aggression to reduce how imperialistic they seem when invading tiny countries every so often.

      Canada has never been at serious risk of invasion from the USSR or anyone else at least since Confederation. Even if we were it’d take a major power to invade a country this size and such a power would easily overwhelm our army. The best defence of Canada is definitely diplomatic not military. I grew up believing we’d all be wiped out by nuclear war between the US and USSR and no army can stop nuclear weapons or fallout. Politicians on the other hand could stop them.

      Despite how small our army is the only roles it should be performing are the territorial defence of Canada and its allies and anything else that protects the lives of citizens. No more secret JTF2 missions to destabilize other countries for our or our allies benefit. If our army isn’t fighting there openly then JTF2 has no business being there secretly.

      That rant done I just don’t see fallen tree branches as posing a significant threat to anyone’s life so I see no need for the army to be called in like Lastman did when ambulances couldn’t get down side streets due to the amount of snow.

  • SonuvaScrimbro

    Don’t see what the big deal is here; it would be irresponsible of our leaders to not consider all possible sources of help in a situation like this. And if the armed forces already have the manpower, equipment and training to perform this kind of work, then why not consider it as an option?

    In any event, anyone who’s using this as a reason to slam Kelly, who’s not running for office in the fall and has no reason to worry about public perception, clearly knows more than the rest of us about the full scope of the cleanup. So clearly we should all stop talking and listen to them.

    • em_robin

      That fact that he’s seriously considering it, instead of having a Mel Lastman style knee-jerk reaction like last time, has me leaning towards agreement. However I also know a couple of arborists that would love to get this contract ;)

      • rich1299

        When Lastman called for federal help the lives of Torontonians were actually at risk since ambulances couldn’t get down side streets and seconds count in medical emergencies. I’ve been away from Toronto for some months now but I’m assuming the roads and most sidewalks are now cleared of branches? if so there’s no way anyone’s life is remotely at risk.