Every week, Toronto is filled with Heroes and Villains. These are their stories.
Hero of the Week: Frances Nunziata
When John Tory announced he was supporting Frances Nunziata (Ward 11, York-South Weston) for the role of city hall speaker, disbelief filled council chambers. Had anyone in the mayor’s office ever seen a council session with her as speaker, a role she held throughout the tumultuous Rob Ford era? Did they understand how disliked she was, that she frequently editorialized and showed a bias above and beyond what could be considered reasonable?
It seemed both the Tory administration and Nunziata were taken aback by this commonly held view, but despite a pushback from council, she was named to the position, and indicated she would take training to improve on her past performance.
And she has improved. Council, which met for the sixth time since Tory became mayor this week, has seen its sessions go much more smoothly, and Nunziata deserves credit for taking the criticism to heart. She still has to deflect continued shenanigans from Jim Karygiannis (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt) and Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West), but she has handled that as well as anyone can.
It is tempting to think that people in general and politicians in particular are set in their ways, and so it is all the better when someone like Nunziata surprises us, and rises to the challenge.
Villain of the Week: Rogers Media Inc.
In case you haven’t heard, the journalism industry is going through tough times. Cutbacks are standard across the board, and companies with an eye to meeting quarterly targets are often forced to make difficult decisions.
This week, Rogers Media made such a decision, as they laid off 110 people, as well as discontinuing all OMNI newscasts.
Job cuts are always disheartening, but the latter is a particularly dispiriting move. Outlets like OMNI, which provide news coverage in languages other than English and French, play a crucial role in local journalism. In a city like Toronto, with so many different communities that each have important stories to tell, we all lose something when Rogers decides these newscasts are a liability to its bottom line.
It’s understandable that Rogers would make this decision, and would not want to continue to subsidize newscasts that lose money. But it is regrettable nonetheless, and local journalism is worse off for it.