If you know anyone interested in music between the ages of 15 and 24, here is a golden opportunity to learn from the experts. Outstanding band Soundcheck is offering free lessons for a year and they even include the use of an instrument. See the official poster below for the details.
In spite of the nice shine that Mayor John Tory is putting on the work of running Toronto, for lobbyists and the councillors who meet with them and accept their money, it’s business as usual.
A typical example is the sad story of how eight massive highway billboards were imposed on the people of this city by councillors acting against the public good. Sadly, our own councillor, Frances Nunziata appears to be part of the problem. According to influential blogger and Toronto activist, Dave Meslin, Nunziata, met with billboard lobbyists Paul Sutherland (twice) and David Bordonali (three times), accepting campaign contributions from them both. By mere coincidence, Ms Nunziata then thought she knew better than City Staffers and the citizen Sign Advisory Committee (both of whom rejected the signs) and voted to impose these eyesore traffic distractions onto our landscape.
Apparently this is quite normal – if you’re ever puzzled by the voting patterns of councillors, and why they seem to vote against the public interest, lobbyists might be the answer to your question.
Read the awful details of this depressing story here.
MP Mike Sullivan and Federal Opposition Leader, Tom Mulcair hosted a small business round table on Wednesday, February 11th, inside Wiff Restaurant, a Somali fusion eatery on Weston Road.
According to Mulcair, small and medium sized businesses are responsible for 80% of new jobs in Canada, hence his election year push into Weston to gauge the mood of Weston’s entrepreneurial community. He acknowledged that these are very tight times for small businesses in the GTA.
Mulcair is promising to lower the small and medium business tax rate from 11% to 9%, along with an accelerated capital cost allowance. He claimed that the Conservatives have reduced the tax burden for large businesses to the tune of $15 billion. ‘The rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer’, he declared.
A wide variety of enterprises were represented included brewing, urban farming, book selling, money transfer, dry cleaners, chartered accountancy and store-front businesses. The common thread of comments seemed to be how hard it is to operate a business here in York South-Weston, especially when such difficulties are compounded by rampant obstructionism from all three levels of government. There seems to be a perception of super efficiency when it comes to enforcement of rules and assessment of taxes combined with a reluctance to provide any service in return. Another business owner bristled against what seems to be a fixed Federal Government procuring process. Mention was made of store owners unable to afford fuel so they operate in cold buildings.
Mulcair promised to look into the big banks’ refusal to work with companies that send remittance monies overseas. Only one bank deals with remittance companies but apparently charges outrageous rates.
Many business owners expressed the concern that until they make a profit, they won’t be paying any business income tax. I heard afterwards that one city inspector is presently making things difficult for at least two Weston businesses while others endure irritants such as excessive development charges and bloody-minded nit-picking. The entrepreneurs seemed to agree that more is needed to help businesses thrive along with less red tape and a reduction in municipal and provincial taxation.
Federal business tax reductions won’t help struggling businesses. Nine percent of zero is still zero.
Oh yes, citizens of Weston we can help: if you want a vibrant walkable shopping district, support local businesses. Buy Local.
After four years of being accused of being too gentle with the rambunctious Mayor Rob Ford, today Council speaker and our councillor, Frances Nunziata finally tossed (now Councillor) Ford from the council chamber. Ford’s sin was to make unwarranted accusations against defenceless members of council staff. Regardless, he stamped his feet and insisted on a council vote before he could be persuaded to take the hint. Kindred spirit Giorgio Mammoliti exiled himself in sympathy as Ford left the chamber.
Ever the master of the put down, Mammoliti declared afterwards that ‘Nunziata should get off her high horse and start riding a donkey for a while’.
While it’s unclear what Councillor Mammolliti was referring to, the rest of us can only hope that she heeds the advice and continues to ride both donkeys.
MP Mike Sullivan and Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair will be appearing in Weston Wednesday February 11 to host a small business round table at Wiff Restaurant on 1804 Weston Road (just south of Lawrence). The half-hour event begins at 3:00.
Sullivan will also be hosting two free community events this coming long weekend.
On Sunday, Sullivan will mark the 50th anniversary of Canada’s Maple Leaf flag with a special flag-raising ceremony and reception at the Mount Dennis Legion, 1050 Weston Rd. The event starts at 1:00 p.m. Attendees will receive flag lapel pins. The reception will include light refreshments.
On Monday, Sullivan will host a Family Day Skating Party at the outdoor community rink in Pearen Park starting at 10:30 a.m. Pearen Park is located on the north side of Eglinton Ave., just west of Weston Rd. There will be free hot chocolate and skates can be borrowed for free on a first-come, first-served basis.
“I’m inviting everyone to come to these two special events. Our flag is an important national symbol that unites Canadians. And skating is pretty much a national pastime for Canadians of all ages. These two events give us an opportunity to celebrate Canada and what it means to be Canadian,” said Sullivan.
Politics is a bit of a balancing act between public service and loyalty to your party. The taxpayer subsidizes the public service part and the party is supposed to take care of things like canvassing, advertising and fundraising. On the one hand, MPs receive government money in order to hire assistants and run their offices. This money also includes provisions for communicating with constituents on the work that they are doing. On the other, MPs are supposed to draw a firm line between partisan spending on things like canvassing and advertising (which should be paid for by the party) and helping constituents who come to them with a problem.
Some aspects of political spending are easy to categorize. For example, election signage and campaign leaflets should always be paid for by the party. The line gets thin when a party uses tax money to promote itself. For example, MP’s newsletters not only report to constituents but often paint the member in an unduly flattering light. The recent string of federal government TV commercials seem to be telling Canadians that the Federal Government is working hard for you and, by the way, it’s led by a wonderful, God fearing, military-worshipping Prime Minister and his talented Cabinet. In fine Canadian tradition, the Liberals did exactly the same when they were in office – not to mention AdScam.
In this grey and murky world, the NDP has been found guilty of spending tax money on partisan activities by the seven-member Board of Internal Economy, a parliamentary committee (controlled by the Conservatives) that has deemed the pooling of MPs money allocations (sent to create satellite offices in Quebec City and Montreal) to be partisan spending. The committee has presented the NDP with a $2.7 million bill that needs to be paid. While the Party is appealing the order to the courts, the NDP Caucus must cough up the money a.s.a.p. Naturally, Quebec MPs will be paying the lion’s share while most outside Quebec, like our own Mike Sullivan are being billed $1288.
Sullivan claimed to WestonWeb that the BOIE is an, ‘Ever-secret kangaroo court’ and that the truth, ‘Will be brought out into the open when we are in government. We followed all the rules. No partisan work was done.’ Whether or not the NDP is guilty, it is a moral and financial blow in an election year, and an expensive one for some Quebec MPs
In the meantime, those thinly disguised Government of Canada / Conservative Party commercials continue to
help us understand what the government is doing for us annoy – and all paid for by the taxpayer. But that’s ok because the government is in charge and they would never lie to us would they?
Most of us believe we live in a great city but now we have corroborating evidence. Influential British magazine The Economist has proclaimed Toronto the world’s best place to live based on a number of factors covering things such as personal safety, infrastructure, democracy and food security. While Toronto isn’t number one in any of these indexes, because it ranks consistently high on most of them, it is considered to be the best overall. For example it ranks #70 in cost of living but #4 in both liveability and business environment. As for personal safety, Toronto at #7 is safer than anywhere in North America or Europe except for Stockholm.
OK, Toronto, don’t let it go to your head; now go clean your room. Read the full survey here.