Newsstand: July 4, 2014




Newsstand: July 4, 2014

Let's take a little break from the Brothers Ford and see what else is happening in the city this morning, shall we? Police broke up a fight in Mississauga between Israeli and Palestinian sympathizers, Woodbridge residents love donating to Toronto council candidates, and laneway homes might be one way to ameliorate our housing crisis.

matt newsstand wateringlawn

A demonstration on Thursday turned violent when Israeli sympathizers arrived at the Palestine House community centre to protest the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers who were taken in the West Bank near a Jewish settlement in June and found dead this week. The abduction, as well as the mass arrests and violence the Israeli government marshalled against Palestinians in an effort to find the boys, has heightened tensions in the area. Shortly after the boys’ bodies were found a Palestinian teen was also abducted and found murdered, and many fear it was a revenge killing. When the Israeli protesters appeared at Palestine House, Palestinians and sympathizers were already gathered there. Police shut down Erindale Station Road in order to contain the fighting that broke out, and one person suffered minor injuries. There were no arrests.

In 2010, nearly one-third of the total amount both Rob Ford and George Smitherman fundraised for their mayoral campaigns came from donors who live outside Toronto. Woodbridge is an especially hot spot for donors, though there are significant donations coming from other nearby communities as well. Councillor Joe Mihevc (Ward 21, St. Paul’s) believes these donations are encouraged by the City’s generous rebate program, which allows any Ontario resident to recoup up to 75 per cent of their donation (between $25 and $2,500) to a Toronto municipal candidate. Mihevc, who recently put forward a motion to end the rebate for anyone who doesn’t live or own property in the city, explained his reasoning to the Globe and Mail: “If we, as Canadians, donate to an election in another country without being citizens, I think most of us would say that’s not fair.” If Mihevc’s resolution is passed, it will go into effect for the 2018 election. Current mayoral candidate David Soknacki supports the measure.

As Toronto politicians try to figure out how to deal with the city’s skyrocketing rental rates and ongoing housing crisis, developers (whom we can thank for the proliferation of condo skyscrapers most residents can’t afford to live in) and some residents think they may have found a solution: laneway houses. Small homes between existing homes and the laneways that cut behind them might be an option for potential homeowners who have been priced out of the market, but unless the idea is implemented on a mass scale, it likely won’t have much impact on renters. And for this possible trend to become a real solution, City bylaws prohibiting two residential buildings on the same property will have to be rethought.