Mount Dennis a major issue in campaigns

Weston–Mount Dennis is becoming a turning point in the mayoral campaign.

Olivia Chow has been  hammering John Tory’s SmartTrack plan for the bungled Mount Dennis section. She’s been saying his plan was drawn on the back of a napkin and has egregious errors—which, indeed, it seems to.

Yesterday, Chow poked fun at Tory’s plan for Mount Dennis in a mayoral debate on the arts.

Roy’s been over the plan already once before, here’s the gist of the problems:

  • The land along Eglinton that Tory needs has already been sold and has houses on it
  • Tory says he has a plan to pay for the train, but it’s not much of a plan at all.
  • The train ends near the airport but not at the airport
  • And there’s already a train going that way. It’s going to cost $25 each way, though.

Mike Mattos from the MDCA told the Sun:

“We finally got the LRT to a stage where the community is pretty happy as far as station placement goes. It has been a lot of work over 10 years and his plan comes along and throws a monkey wrench into the transit hub and the LRT station,” he said. “This is a poorly-thought out plan.”



A tale of two cafes.

For two years, not a few Westonians have been tormented by the promise of a new coffee shop and bakery coming to our part of the world, namely 1971 Weston Road. Month after month the same view of the exterior with little sign of progress is a bit of a metaphor for what Weston is – lots of promise but no action.

Future Coffee Shop?
Future Coffee Shop?

The thought of a casual stroll and entering a coffee shop to the smell of coffee and freshly baked croissants has kept me going (sad, I know). Two years on and while activity seems to have been ongoing inside the shop, little information other than ‘soon’ is forthcoming.

Interior view.
Interior view through a gap in the paper.

Contrast that with rumours a month ago that a Starbucks was coming to the (almost) neighbourhood. This location at Lawrence and Royal York had previously been the headquarters of the late lamented Blockbuster Video (who saw that coming?). One month later and voila, the place began serving this Wednesday. When WestonWeb visited on Friday the large outlet was occupied with plenty of people checking emails and ordering Starbucks fare.

New Starbucks location.
New Starbucks location.

The good news is that it’s only a brisk 16 minute walk to the new Starbucks from Weston and King. One can only hope that this will generate some action at number 1971.

If readers have any information about opening dates, please let us know.

Olivia Chow opens Weston branch

Olivia Chow is opening a Weston office this weekend. Her open house will be this Saturday, September 27, at 1:30.

Weston is an unlikely location for a Chow campaign headquarters—you dopes voted for Rob Ford last time. Chow is likely setting up an office for mutual support with Lekan Olawoye, who is campaigning quite effectively in Ward 12.

Olawoye was in the news this week for having his tires slashed and his office glass broken.


Sullivan votes against raising murder minimums

Conservatives like mandatory minimums—the sentences that lead to life sentences for stealing a pair of socks. These laws take away judge’s discretion to tailor punishments to the crime.

It’s odd for Conservatives to give judges more discretion, but, in a weird way, that’s what they’re doing with bill C-587, which would allow judges to give longer sentences than required by the current law. Murderers who rape or abduct could be sentenced by their judges to up to 40 years without parole, instead of the 25 years—and only 25 years—they get now.

Judges would ask the jury for instruction. The judge could then, if she wished, give a life sentence without parole for a term between 25 and 40 years. Presently, all people serving life sentences are eligible for parole after 25 years.

C-587 is a private member’s bill, and it passed first reading with support from the Liberals. The NDP, including Mike Sullivan, voted against the bill.

York South—Weston debate report

I’m amazed it didn’t end with tear gas.

Doug Ford, Olivia Chow, and John Tory fought like cats in a sinking bag at the York South—Weston debate. The audience was worse.

I don’t think anyone who wasn’t a supporter will switch sides, but Ford was very effective at his first debate of the campaign.  He savaged John Tory at one point, asking him who does purchasing at City Hall; Tory had no answer and looked lost and a bit panicked. Ford asked him how many committees there are; Tory floundered and said “I believe there are five?”

But Ford’s weaknesses were apparent too. He was loud. He was simplistic. You could hear the laughs on TV when Ford attacked Tory for being born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Ford wouldn’t say if he would march at Gay Pride, and gave the impression that he’d spent the last Pride parades at nearby bars. He also wanted to talk about only two things: the Ford family record and transit. Every question was answered with a subway.

And then there were his supporters. They were embarrassing, to our community and to him. They booed and jeered in the middle of their opponents’ speeches, even Tory’s final statement. They were the most awful kind of anti-intellectual: afraid to even let contrary views be spoken. The worst moment—and there were lots of bad ones—was when someone heckled Olivia Chow while she was speaking, sensitively and fairly, about Rob Ford’s crack use. The heckler said “Go home Olivia! Back to China!”. She looked genuinely defeated.

And make no mistake: debates are stocked better than trout ponds. Ford wants his opponents shouted down.

Despite the attacks from the audience, John Tory stayed poised, and when he could talk about his SmartTrack program, he came across well. But he spent most of his energy, particularly later in the debate, attacking the Fords’ record. Ford, being Ford, was loud, rude, and interrupted him before much damage was done, except by himself.

Olivia Chow was quiet and careful. A few times she even pointed out, quite decently, that the other candidates were dodging the question. She tried, too, to answer questions that she was asked with facts and reason. But her even temper—and what seemed to be uneven lighting—made her seem like the third candidate. She neither gave nor received any devastating attacks, and instead talked about policy: the three different kinds of bike lanes, community benefit agreements, youth cabinets and such. She came across as knowledgeable, fair, and a little boring.

Uneven lighting? It looked just as bad from the other side.

The candidates spent very little time talking about Ward 11 issues, with one exception. Olivia Chow’s best (and, really, only) attacks were when she went after Tory’s SmartTrack plan, which will require tunnelling in Mount Dennis. If Chow gets her way, tunnelling looks likely to be an election issue and proof that Tory doesn’t have enough experience to be Mayor.

But as Andrew Coyne pointed out on Twitter, “This ’90 degree turn’ line of attack by Chow seems well-crafted to win votes within 50 feet of the corner of Weston & Eglinton.” So Chow is unlikely to get her way.


Has anyone seen the other candidates?

In theory, three people are running for election in Ward 11. Dear reader, have you seen them?

Dory Calhoub has a website. It doesn’t say much. His Facebook profile is empty. So is Twitter. He did show up for at least one community meeting, but otherwise he seems quite hard to find.

Calhoub, though, is leagues ahead of Jose Garcia, who does not appear to even have a website.

If you see one of these missing candidates, would you please let them know we’ve been looking for them?