A shockingly bad train idea, terrible for Weston

David Collenette, the ‘brains’ behind the under-used, over-priced, executive-class UP Express service, has announced another of his plans: a $19 billion, twice-hourly, high-speed train between Toronto and Windsor. The provincial government made much of it today.Choo choo!

Collenette has two proposals, the cheaper (and slower) of which would put a 250 km/h train on the corridor that runs through Weston. It would run from Union to Pearson, then on to Kitchener, Guelph, London and Windsor. Collenette says the train would be profitable and could be built speedily.

He’s said that before. He was so utterly wrong that he should never be allowed near a cocktail napkin again.

  • The UPX was supposed to be $200 million.  It cost three times that.
  • It was supposed to be running by 2008. It took until 2015.
  • It was supposed to be profitable. It has never been profitable.

 

Moreover, there is already train service to every destination the government has in mind. GO Trains run to Kitchener and Guelph. VIA trains go to London and Windsor. The competition is brutal, too: flights to Windsor are about $150 and take an hour, and the Ontario government has also already announced all-day service to Kitchener and other improvements to regional rail service.

In the unlikely event that this high-speed line ever gets built, it will require undoing much of the work already done on the corridor: “a number of infrastructure upgrades”, in Collenette’s words.

 

 

 

Ahmed Hussen’s bad day

With all the other talk of foreign governments influencing politicians, you might have missed the Maclean’s article last week on how Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the repugnant Turkish autocrat, has been influencing Canadian politics and our MP Ahmed Hussen.

Hussen was in Istanbul on the night of the coup attempt, reportedly on vacation with his mother. But, according to local sources, he was also there as a guest of some high-level AK Party politicians, including Kenan Sahin, the mayor of Istanbul’s Pendik district, and Cemalettin Kani Torun, the deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission. The next day, he described what he experienced that night to Canadian media in glowing terms.

After the attempted coup, Erdogan’s government imprisoned more than 120 journalists, fired 40,000 teachers, and purged 140,000 civil servants. He has built a 1,100 room presidential palace and changed the constitution so that he can remain President until 2029.

Hussen, perhaps, could not have guessed that there would be a repressive crackdown. But at a later meeting at the Turkish consulate, Hussen played slow pitch, according to Adnan Khan, the Maclean’s author:

The August gathering of Somalis at the Turkish consulate in Toronto—to discuss a coup attempt led by Turks in Turkey—seemed odd to some of those who were present. “It was strange,” Omar Hassan, chairman of the Somali-Canadian Business Council, told Maclean’s. “The Turkish delegation referred to the Gülenists as terrorists and everyone clapped. Hussen talked about the close relationship between Turkey and Somalia but never contradicted the ‘terrorist’ label.”

In the past, Hussen has posed with Erdogan and praised him, saying 

“Great mtg w Turkey’s President Erdoğan. Excellent discussion on ways to strengthen Canada-Turkey relationship.  I also lauded his amazing work in rebuilding Somalia.

The praise has been reciprocal; the Turkish government lauded Hussen for his (factually incorrect) support of Turkish aid in Somalia.

 

 

 

Upcoming events

The Weston Historical Society will be holding its General Meeting on Wednesday June 7th at Humber Heights Retirement Home,

 The guest speaker will be Doug Taylor, speaking on  “Movie Theatres of Toronto – memories of lost movie theatres.” 


The WHCD will be taking part in the Queens’ Drive Garage sale this June 10, and all proceeds will support their organization. If you have any donations or spare time, they’d be glad for the help.

Man falls to death, SIU investigating

The Special Investigations Unit is investigating after a 30-year-old man fell to his death from a balcony at 1775 Weston Road last night.

The police, searching for someone, knocked on the door of an apartment, and “shortly after that, a man fell from the apartment unit”. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Microgrants available–but hustle!

The city is offering $1000 ‘micro-grants’ to neighbourhood groups within its Neighbourhood Improvement areas, which include both Weston and Mount Dennis. If you’ve got an idea, whip it together, and get to the meeting next Thursday.

To apply, local groups must have at least five participating members and be planning an event or activity open to the community.

Me, I’d like to see a food-truck festival on Weston Road in the summer, or a beer garden at the Farmers’ Market. Perhaps we could have a bike-repair and information party with veggie burgers and ice cream for all.

UrbanArts gets a huge grant

UrbanArts, a local community arts group, received nearly $750,000 from the provincial Trillium Foundation last week. They’ll use the money to expand their arts programming over three years into five more neighbourhoods.

Laura Albanese announced the funding at UrbanArts’ AGM on May 4. The grant will allow UrbanArts to grow into each of the Neighbourhood Improvement areas in the riding.

Map of the new areas
From UA

The Ontario Trillium Foundation gives grants to community groups across the province with money raised from lotteries.