Newsstand: March 21, 2013




Newsstand: March 21, 2013

Happy day you probably thought was the first day of spring! It's not like it makes a difference in this icy hell-hole anyway. In the news: councillors vote no to limits on terms and lobbying, the military could be giving some elephants a lift soon, and the land transfer tax could be headed for the chopping block.

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City councillors are standing firm against outside pressure, defending their rights to meet with lobbyists whenever they want, because clearly that’s something that should be a top priority. The argument from councillor David Shiner (Ward 24, Willowdale) seems to be that if a lobbyist curfew were to be enacted, they would still meet after set hours, but in secret. Wish we’d tried that one on our parents when we were younger. The executive committee also voted to push back any debate around term limits for councillors, although proponents say the fight isn’t over.

Turns out Toronto probably won’t be getting a sweetheart deal to host a casino complex downtown after all, and that has a lot of folks unhappy. Not Mayor Rob Ford, though. He’s optimistic a new review of casino deals in municipalities across the province could result in more money for Toronto. The review is expected to arrive right around the same time the waste at City Hall shovels itself to the curve, the private sector builds a 20-line subway system for the City, and Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) willingly withdraws from public office.

All right, let’s get the first joke out of the way for this next one. Elephants eat peanuts. Planes serve peanuts. So wouldn’t it be funny if the Royal Canadian Air Force jet that could be flying the Toronto Zoo’s elephants to California’s PAWS Sanctuary actually served them peanuts? It would. Not everyone sees the funny side, though. In fact, board member and City councillor Gloria Linday-Luby (Ward 4, Etobicoke Centre) has sent a letter to the feds requesting that the RCAF not be involved because she and others still don’t support the move. Yeesh, if councillors can’t get over a few elephants, what are they going to do with something like the land transfer tax?

Funny we mention that, actually. The mayor’s executive committee voted yesterday to open up a debate around cutting a tenth of the land transfer tax. This is the Rob Ford story that has it all. Cutting City revenue? Check. Acting on a campaign promise three years into a four-year mandate? Check. Quote about how it won’t be a “boring summer,” despite a debate on the land transfer tax being just about the most boring thing ever? Oh yeah. Token reaction from council’s left? Yuh-huh. Vague talk about “finding the efficiencies,” as if the last couple of years never happened? Got that. Inevitable ‘attaboy praises in the comments section? Shazam.

There are a bunch of Torontonians competing in the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament this year, including this huge honkin’ dude who might just be one of the sport’s next stars. The fact that we never saw him when he was living in this city seems both tragic and impossible.