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Newsstand: June 19, 2014

Apparently, a Toronto advertising company has relocated its office to a local bar for the duration of the World Cup so that employees can take in games, while still maintaining some level of productivity. Who doesn’t appreciate a company with priorities? In the news: Tim Hudak will step down on July 2, the TDSB elects a new chair and hits the pause button on a deal with the Confucius Institute, and Toronto Hydro gets a passing mark on its ice storm response.

matt newsstand newspaperlies

Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak seemed as cool as a cucumber on Monday when he announced his intention to stay on until a new leader was elected, but less-calmer heads prevailed yesterday as it was announced he will step down on July 2. In retrospect, Hudak’s days as exiting-leader did appear numbered after a loud revolt against him was launched earlier this week by several MPPs who were furious over his humiliating election loss. At least 13 Tory MPPs called for his immediate resignation, with veteran MPP Randy Hillier (Larnark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington) saying, “Every hour that he stays on will increase the fractiousness and the divisions between him and his caucus.” It is not clear who might step in to serve as interim leader, but more details are emerging about how upset Conservatives were with Hudak’s pledge to cut 100,000 public-sector jobs, which they argue cost them the election. At one point, sources say that Hudak’s campaign was considering a rather tasteless stunt, which involved handing out pink slips—yes, you read that right—to more than 200 employees at Ontario Power Authority, to signify that their jobs would be terminated if they were elected. While the idea was ultimately abandoned, it does give you the sense that this election could have gone way worse for the Conservatives, because nobody likes a metaphorical pink slip.

Less than a week after the sudden and unexpected resignation of former chair Chris Bolton, the Toronto District School Board has elected former vice-chair Mari Rutka as his replacement. After months of being linked to TDSB-related scandals, Bolton resigned last Friday, citing unspecified personal reasons as the impetus for his departure. This vaguely sounds like the way celebrity couples always cite “irreconcilable differences” when they divorce. Bolton has also said that he will not be seeking re-election in the fall for his current post as school trustee for Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina.

Just a few hours after Rutka was elected to her new post as TDSB chair, she was welcomed into her new position by being handed the reins to preside over a heated debate on Wednesday about a controversial partnership with China’s Confucius Institute. Some trustees complained that they were kept in the dark about the deal, and had been bombarded by letters and emails from constituents who opposed offering courses from the cultural organization that is often considered to be a propaganda machine of the Chinese government, since government officials directly oversee the Institute and its learning materials. A motion was passed to delay the partnership in order for the board to complete a more thorough investigation into the organization, so Confucius Institute courses scheduled for fall will not proceed as previously planned.

A new independent report by the Toronto Hydro Independent Review Panel reveals that the time it took Toronto Hydro to restore power during the 2013 winter ice storm was in line with industry norms, when compared with other North American ice storm and snowstorm responses. While Toronto Hydro may not have dropped the ball on power restoration, the report did say that better communication with customers who found themselves without power should have happened. The report claims that online outage status updates were frequently inaccurate, and there were not enough staff to field the surge of 397,500 customer calls in the days between December 21, 2013, and January 2, 2014. In total, 25 recommendations were made in the report, including calls for better co-operation with the City of Toronto, updates to emergency response plans, and contracting out a call centre to deal with higher-volume phone inquiries.


  • SonuvaScrimbro

    Re: the bar thing – Don Draper approves.

  • SonuvaScrimbro

    >> At one point, sources say that Hudak’s campaign was considering a rather tasteless stunt, which involved handing out pink slips—yes, you read that right—to more than 200 employees at Ontario Power Authority, to signify that their jobs would be terminated if they were elected.

    Jeebus, please tell me this is someone spreading gossip and not what the PC party actually planned to do if they had won. What possible upside would there have been to pulling a pointless stunt like that, if not to play up to the perpetually aggrieved set who put “sticking it to someone” ahead of fiscal responsibility on their to-do list?

    • Notcleverguy

      You really have to question Hudak’s intelligence at this point. Pledging that you will slash and burn, rather than work with people to find common solution is a pretty big statement that you are a complete A-hole. So the pink slip thing doesn’t surprise me at all.

      • SonuvaScrimbro

        It’s the same Tea Party nonsense that worked to get some governors elected stateside: target the teachers and other public-sector workers and ride the wave of discontent against the public sector from the non-unionized Wal-Mart worked and laid-off factory workers whose former employers are now in Third World countries because guys like the Koch brothers couldn’t BELIEVE they were expected to make do with just two ivory back-scratchers.

        • Notcleverguy

          Exactly, the “living wages are for the greedy” garbage has to go.

    • atomicnumbermuncher

      The pink slips might not have gone out, but I got a letter in the mail from the PC’s with a big OVERDUE stamp on it, making it look like I had an overdue bill. Never mind that I handle all bills online – my first reaction was that someone stole my identity. Haha, funny Tories! Joking about people who can’t pay their bills and identity theft! Must be nice living in your little bubble of ignorance. Idiots.

      • SonuvaScrimbro

        Overheard in Tory headquarters: “Of course! We’ll make it look like a big overdue bill! Who doesn’t enjoy getting one of those? And when they open it up and see it’s from us, they’ll associate us with all the things in life that people love, like overdue bills!”

        For real, someone needs to clear the decks over there and start fresh with someone who has actual marketing experience. My advice: start handing out actual pink slips to the poli-sci Poindexters who’ve never had a real job outside of politics.

        • OgtheDim

          They ain`t doing it. Every party seems to have gotten the wrong message from what happened a week ago today.

          • SonuvaScrimbro

            Seems like, doesn’t it? “It’s the media’s/union’s/someone else’s fault we couldn’t get our message across. If only they’d see how awesome we really are…”

            Prediction: PCs will install a clock-watcher as interim leader, then hold a big leadership race where the whole thing will get hijacked by the same Tea Party yahoos who led them to non-victory the last three times, and they’ll elect a “leader” in the same Hudak mold — mildly affable, great at things like grinning and humming while his people deal with issues like a botched subway campaign stunt, and eager to say all the right words provided by the real decision-makers in the back room. And they’ll still blame it all on the “liberal media” for not playing fair.

            Those who cannot (or won’t) remember the past, etc.

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          I think the PCs should promote the brainiacs who came up with these ideas and not stop doing what they’re doing until they hit single-digit popular support.

      • Notcleverguy

        That is amazing, Hudak and Co, thought it was a good idea to basically tell a whole bunch of people, “don’t vote for us”.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      “…if not to play up to the perpetually aggrieved set who put “sticking it to someone” ahead of fiscal responsibility on their to-do list?”

      That’s the same group of people who gave us our current Clown Mayor. The elction of Rob Ford has had reverberations in many areas both the Tories and the NDP trying to capture the same lightning with populist platforms and idiot stunts like this pink slip idea. Perhaps the political types will take the message from the recent election that people want brains and substance. There certainly was fear mongering in the provincial election but there was a lot of ideas and policy discussed and that’s a good thing — it means we are moving beyond the simplistic slogans and ideological anger of bombastic types like Ford and Hudak.

      • vampchick21

        I kinda started getting the sense that the average voter was over that type of politics when the PQ got their asses handed to them in the Quebec election. The results of the Ontario election has strengthened that feeling for me. I feel confident that whomever we do get as Mayor, it won’t be Ford and co.

  • OgtheDim

    The inability of some trustees to understand basic tenets of political openness should not be shocking given the Harrisites precluded anybody but the well kept retired and the independently wealthy or married with wealthy from becoming a trustee.

    $6000 a year to be a trustee was the figure back in the late 90′s – I doubt much has changed.

  • Bumbaclot

    “At one point, sources say that Hudak’s campaign was considering a rather tasteless stunt, which involved handing out pink slips—yes, you read that right—to more than 200 employees at Ontario Power Authority, to signify that their jobs would be terminated if they were elected.”

    Lemme get this straight. Timmy’s team had a brilliant friggin idea, but Timmy didn’t have the balls to go through with it? Typical Timmy.

    Not to worry, folks. I’m grabbing this stunt for myself. Start handing out pink slips to libarians and community centre workers and whatnot. Let my buddy Joe Warmington tag along so he can write up a story about the funny reactions people have when I “terminate” them.


    • Notcleverguy

      Lifeguards at public pools are just gravy, pink slip them! I’m sure your heart bleeds for those who drown, but really it’s their fault.

      • Bumbaclot

        Lookit, you either know how to swim or you don’t. If you know how, you don’t need a lifeguard. If you don’t know how, get outta the friggin water.

        Pink slips to all the union thug lifeguards, and we can keep adding on to that billion dollars saved.

        • OgtheDim

          That pic of you in the pool up north….use it on your campaign literature, eh.

          • Bumbaclot

            Wasn’t elected to look pretty, buddy. I was elected to clean up the mess I inherited from David Miller. And I done that, in spades. If folks wanted pretty they woulda elected Loni Anderson.

    • SonuvaScrimbro

      I bet Joe already has that column written up and ready to do. He’s proactive like that.

      Remember his piece about your Jimmy Kimmel appearance that got pulled and replaced with a new column after someone at the Sun posted the first column online *before* the show aired? I hope you took him to task over that screw-up, Bumba. (I can call you Bumba, yes?)

      • Bumbaclot

        In fairness to Joe, we went back and forth on the Kimmel appearance. Ultimately me and Dougie decided it was a huge success, so Joe’s first column was pretty much on the mark.

        • dsmithhfx

          You may have overdone the celebrating with that 4-week bender that got you tossed into vacation er, I mean rehab.