Weekend Newsstand: November 30, 2013



Weekend Newsstand: November 30, 2013

Lovely day out there, isn't it? (Or is it? Before noon on a weekend there's no good reason to leave the house.) Start it off right with some news: unlicensed daycares are still a thing, in many different forms; Toronto traffic deaths are at an eight-year high; Rob Ford uses inaccurate math to claim he's a fiscal wizard, and that math actually favours David Miller; and a woman was refused entry into the U.S. due to depression.

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Evidently, there are more problems in the Toronto child-care scene than one can shake a stick at. First it was the unlicensed single-home daycares that can exist without any licensing; there may be networks of these daycares that are being run like chains rather than individual centres, thus allowing owners to avoid the regulation they should have to abide by. Now, it appears there are also daycares avoiding licensing and regulation because they are run through private schools. The loophole allowing that to happen was closed in 1993, but existing programs were allowed to continue running. Even worse, there are only enough licensed daycare spots in Ontario for one in five children; that’s sure to drive prices for those coveted spots through the roof, meaning poorer and disadvantaged families are the ones wading into the murky territories of shady daycares. The moral of the story seems to be either don’t have children or if you do, you have to stop reading local news forever.

On Friday, the death of a 26-year-old man in a traffic accident was both a tragedy for his family and community as well as the 58th time someone in Toronto has died in a traffic accident this year. That is an eight-year high for traffic-related deaths. In 2005, 59 people died in traffic accidents, and with one month to go in the year we may unfortunately beat that as well. Toronto police plan to increase their presence and crack down on pedestrian and traffic violations.

According to the suspicious—if not altogether wrong—math Mayor Rob Ford uses to conclude that he has saved city taxpayers $1 billion during his term, former mayor David Miller actually saved the people of Toronto $1.4 billion in his last four-year term. This includes “savings” like off-loading costs for public services from taxpayers to other sources. Miller was able to “upload” the costs of some essential services to the province, which had given them to Toronto during amalgamation. In Ford’s case, some of these taxpayer savings come from things like ending the vehicle registration tax (which really only saves money for taxpayers who also register vehicles). So now we have to ask ourselves: do we use Ford’s own math against him and hail Miller as a financial saviour, or do we throw out the math and the inspiring “tax-and-spend socialists can save us money” tale?

Toronto woman Ellen Richardson attempted to board a flight to the U.S. on Monday, November 25 but was told she couldn’t go because she had been hospitalized for depression in June 2012. This is odd, because a) why would that stop someone from being able to go somewhere, and b) how could a border agent possibly have that information? Richardson wants some answers; she wrote a book on dealing with depression in 2008, but the agents specifically referenced her 2012 hospital stay when refusing her entry. Richardson has begun to enlist help in looking into how the agents had this information, which should remain confidential at all times as it is part of her personal medical record.