Off topic but relevant…

If you’ve ever been on the question and answer site Quora, you’ll know about the endless and fascinating rabbit holes that exist there.

Recently, the question, ‘What’s wrong with Toronto?’ was asked. Several people have submitted answers but this gentleman called, Michael Barnard has nailed it most succinctly and in my mind accurately. While not specifically about Weston / Mount Dennis, Mr. Barnard’s answer goes a long way towards explaining our current state. Enjoy.

Council to ask AGCO to yank licences after shootings

City Council will ask the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to pull the liquor licences of establishments that have “been the scene of gun violence or where patrons have been in the possession of handguns or where the police have found handguns on the premises”.

Frances Nunziata said that his measure is necessary because

They’re open all night, it turns into a booze can or it turns into an after hours club, and they party on the streets and the next thing you know there’s guns and there’s gun violence….

They suspend their license for two or three weeks, and then they reopen….

People are afraid to walk down the street when they have that amount of violence.

Start video at 1:24:00 if it doesn’t do so automatically.

I’m pretty sure none of this is true. I come home pretty late on Friday nights, and I often ride my bike from strangling class. Of course, I’m not everywhere all the time, but I’ve never once seen a party on the streets. (Nor have I seen guns or gun violence).

The data, such as they are, back me up. There have been two shootings in Weston in 2019. Neither happened after hours. One happened in broad daylight, outside a convenience store—perhaps we could pull their lottery-tickets?

Nunziata’s efforts to clamp down on gun violence should be applauded. But this is neither a real effort nor clamping down. It’s a waste of time.

Worse, it’s an embarrassing slander against our town. Nobody wants to live in a place like she describes—but her riding is nothing like she describes it.

If Nunziata were serious about preventing crime and keeping kids safe, she could have funded after-school programs at libraries.

 

Hassan tables motion to create paid internships

Faisal Hassan, our usually-quiet MPP, had a busy week. He tabled a motion that aims to create 27,000 paid internships for young Ontarians—and, surprisingly, the conservatives said they’d support it.

The goal is to help people get experience and move into paid employment:

The issue is particularly pressing in my riding of York South–Weston, where high rates of youth unemployment create a skills gap, resulting in epidemic rates of adult unemployment and underemployment.¹

The internships will be for students, but also for recent graduates and the unemployed—Hassan said the placements would  be “awarded based on need and merit, not merely a further privilege afforded only to those who have already led privileged lives.”

Five other MPPs, including three Progressive Conservatives, spoke to support the motion.

Hassan also presented a petition to support parents of children with autism, and asked the PCs why they are “abandoning” and “making life harder for” children with autism.

Hassan was responding to the recent changes in autism programming announced by the PC government. The changes will increase funding but spread it out over more children, to reduce waitlists. Hassan hosted a meeting two weeks ago on the subject.


¹ I’ve heard this, and variations on this, for years (for instance, that we have the second-poorest postal code in Ontario. Does anybody have any actual data to prove this?

Electioneering hotting up

It may be subzero outside, but the electioneering in York South–Weston is already hotting up a bit.

Yafet Tewelde released a campaign video this week. Tewelde is seeking the nomination for the NDP.

Stephen Lepone, who received a drubbing as the Libertarian candidate in 2015, has announced his candidacy for the Conservatives–and he’s started a Twitter account.

Frances Nunziata has egg on her face

Frances Nunziata ended up with egg on her face after a Twitter blast yesterday from Chiara Padovani, her former rival for the Ward 5 seat.

Padovani pointed out that though Nunziata had promised to support affordable housing during the campaign, she voted against several homelessness and affordable-housing motions this week at City Council.

Nunziata voted against declaring a homelessness a state of emergency. She was following city staff advice–and voting with a substantial majority–when she did so. Staff said that Wong-Tam’s motion was a panicky reaction to “social and economic problems of an ongoing systemic nature that cannot be resolved in days, weeks or months.”

Nunziata also voted against making many new developments rent controlled, and against an amendment that would have made more of those units affordable and doubled the number of very deeply discounted units–and done so at enormous expense.

What to make of this? On the one hand, Padovani’s criticisms are sharp, and Nunziata did march with ACORN, the way-left anti-poverty group that was championing the amendments to the Housing Now plan.

On the other hand, we can probably be grateful the motion to spend hundreds of millions on 3700 rent-controlled units on 99-year leases was defeated. So, in this case, she voted responsibly.

Unlike Padovani, I’m not angry that Nunziata didn’t vote with ACORN. That was the right thing to do.

I’m disappointed that she ever gave the impression she would. Here we have proof positive that her campaign wasn’t honest. I’m not surprised, but I’m disappointed.

Ahmed Hussen catches it again

Ahmed Hussen had another tough week last week.

Hussen’s department admitted late on a Friday that there is a problem in Toronto’s shelters, and that they are overcrowded due to refugee claimants. Hussen had said–falsely–that “the status of people seeking access to the shelter system in Toronto is unknown”.  He had also said (incorrectly) that the number of asylum seekers has declined 75% year-on-year.

Still, the department of he leads gave the city $15 million on Friday to cope with the crowding. Hussen, perhaps meaningfully, was not quoted on the press release.

Hussen has had an ongoing argument with Lisa MacLeod, his Ontario counterpart, that started last year when he said her tactics were “not Canadian”. He says she is “fear mongering”, and stoking “fear and division”. She took offense to that.

MacLeod has asked the feds to reimburse the province for the full cost of attending to refugee claimants, laying the blame  at their feet. She said she’d like the rest of the $200 million that she says the feds owe:


The $15 million in new funding follows $11 million given early last summer.

Ron Taverner back on the job with TPS

After a storm of controversy, Ron Taverner has rescinded his resignation from the Toronto Police Service and is back on the job as north west district commander (Divisions 12, 23 and 31) that he left on Friday. On Saturday, Mr Taverner asked that his appointment as OPP Commissioner be put on hold pending the results of an inquiry (requested by the NDP) by the Integrity Commissioner.

Two days after the OPP Commissioner’s job was posted, the requirements (deputy police chief or higher) were lowered thus allowing Superintendent Taverner to apply and his selection, according to the Ontario Newsroom site, was the, “unanimous recommendation of a selection committee comprised exclusively of members of the Ontario Public Service and supported by Odgers Berndtson, an executive search firm.”. Apparently 23 out of the 27 candidates for the job met the original requirements so lowering them was probably not merited on the basis of a shortage of candidates.

Acting OPP Commissioner (and fellow candidate for the job) Brad Blair cried foul on Taverner’s appointment and has since been demoted.

Many pundits have claimed that the fix was in and that Taverner’s friendship with Premier Ford was the reason for his appointment. Superintendent Taverner may well have been the best candidate to lead the OPP. Unfortunately, perceptions of the Premier’s large thumb on the scale have tainted his appointment and there is likely no going back regardless of the Integrity Commissioner’s report.