Clean Train rally tomorrow

The indomitable Clean Train Coalition is having another rally tomorrow morning outside Metrolinx’s headquarters. The rally is to give one more push for electric trains on the airport link.

Metrolinx is having a board meeting to consider many things; the cryptic item “Procurement” is on the agenda.  Metrolinx has said that they will buy diesel trains soon, then convert them to electric trains 8 to 10 years from now.

The coalition is having none of it, and they are threatening to unseat the Liberals along the track—Laura Albanese among them.

Devastating fire rips through local apartment

Fire trucks, police cars and ambulances were speeding down Gary Drive this afternoon.  An apartment above Brioni Supermarket caught fire. The resident, unfortunately, was inside.

An off-duty fire fighter was shopping in the store when the fire broke out.  He managed to get the female resident downstairs where he performed CPR until emergency crews arrived.  According to City News, the woman is in hospital with second- and third-degree burns.

It appears as if fire fighters managed to prevent the fire from spreading to the neighbouring stores and apartments. There is very serious damage, though, to the building. There is a large pile of charred rubble in the parking lot, charring on the brick, and the upstairs window is gone and covered with plastic.

The heroic firefighter will, according to the Star, be given the Rescue Merit Award.

Thank you to a reader for the tip.

Man held, questioned for shooting in Weston

A man is being held and questioned about the latest shooting in Weston, according to the Toronto Sun.

ETF officers raided a home on Dennison [sic] Rd., a block from the latest shooting, around 5 a.m. Monday, according to Toronto Police.

“Officers executed a search warrant early in the morning and one man was taken into custody,” said Const. Tony Vella.

Sow and Ye Shall Reap

The latest in a string of shootings is no surprise to most people in Weston. It is however a source of mild puzzlement to police and politicians. They simply don’t understand why Weston is seemingly plagued by such events. Let’s look at the facts of the situation we find ourselves in.

An exquisite combination of political bungling, poor planning and corruption permitted the building of large numbers of low income housing several decades ago. This low income housing became a magnet for immigrants seeking a new life in Canada. The village of Weston as part of the City of York was given a major challenge; how to assimilate large numbers of new Canadians and help them to become productive citizens. Unfortunately, Weston has been largely left on its own to achieve this while dealing with problems that have arisen.

The Federal Government is in charge of immigration and knows exactly the stresses placed on Weston by immigration. We need more resources, not fewer and Alan Tonks should be shouting this from the rooftops every day, instead of being satisfied with the occasional photo op and voting with his Tory friends. Lord knows, Alan Tonks is well paid for his work and will receive a pension better than most would dream of as a salary. Is he worth the money? Not in my books. One of his latest efforts is a poorly-written private member’s bill supporting electrification of urban commuter rail operations. Dear old Alan couldn’t even be bothered to check for grammatical errors in the bill! Private members’ bills rarely become law.

The surest way to help first-generation children of immigrants is through education. Schools need extra resources and the very best teachers. Perhaps Alan Tonks’ son Chris could help here. He is our public school trustee.

Laura Albanese is a Liberal MPP in the McGuinty government. As an immigrant herself she should know that Weston needs more resources. She has been an MPP since October of 2007 and seems to have achieved little in that time. Her activity in the provincial legislature comprises mainly of softball questions to Liberal ministers. She has submitted a private member’s bill in favour of electrifying the GO Train system with priority for the Georgetown corridor.

Frances Nunziata has in the past been a fighter for Weston and was instrumental in exposing corruption in the City of York. She has spearheaded some important initiatives such as moving Metrolinx towards serving the people of Weston rather than not stopping in the community. Now, she seems to be lost in the details rather than the bigger picture. Where are we in the planning of a community centre for the area? Is Weston getting value for money from its police services?

Police seem to regard Weston as a dangerous place. When a major crime has been committed we see lots of police. Between crimes we see nothing. When was the last time any of us saw a police officer on foot patrol? According to a recent John Sewell article on police in Toronto, the average police officer averages one dispatched call every 20 hours of duty. Driving around waiting for problems to happen might not be the best approach any more.

The TAVIS initiative supposedly assigns extra police officers to areas ‘experiencing an increase in violent activity’. I wonder if Weston sees any of these officers.

This latest attempted murder seems to have happened at a party or an after-hours club. These are notoriously hard to keep track of as they spring up spontaneously. That said, Weston Road is a fairly obvious place for patrols – would a large number of cars parked in an area at 4 a.m. be worth investigating? Admittedly, that would require courage and initiative but isn’t that what we pay our officers for?

Last for censure is the criminal element in Weston which seems to feel the need to carry weapons and use them when their delicate egos are threatened by an accidental brush or an ill-timed comment. Real men don’t carry guns, they find work and lose the fantasy that they are part of a gang. Real men try to better themselves in the face of adversity—they don’t choose to be a plague on society.

Man shot in head at Weston and Lawrence

It’s becoming a familiar story: after visiting an illegal, after-hours bar, someone shoots, and someone dies.

It happened again on Sunday morning. The Toronto Sun reports that a man in his 20s with no identification was shot in the head outside a booze can at 1714 Weston Rd.

The victim was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. I have not been able to find any information on his welfare.

Shamefully, The Toronto Star has this story following—I kid you not—a missing dog. Lives lost in Weston are less important to the Star, it seems, than lost dogs.

This too is an old story. The double-murders last year of Courthney Facey and Mike James, two young, black men, were barely reported in the downtown media. Had that been a brazen double shooting on Avenue Rd instead of Weston Rd, I think we would have seen an entirely different newspaper.

If you wish to write a letter to the editor, you can do so here.

Alan Tonks Votes Republican

Alan Tonks seems to be voting more and more with the right wing of the Tory Party these days. According to LifeSiteNews.com, he recently voted to oppose a private member’s bill seeking to add ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ to the Canada Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code’s hate crimes section. Tonks wasn’t alone; six of his liberal colleagues voted the same way. In spite of Mr. Tonks, the House of Commons passed the bill anyway. The addition to the legislation squeaked through largely thanks to six Tory MPs (including four cabinet ministers) who voted for the bill, designed to prevent discrimination against transgendered individuals.

Perhaps Mr. Tonks would do well to start worrying about bringing some jobs to Weston rather than aligning with the Tea Party North.

Purse snatchings

Police report that there have been two purse snatchings in the past few days at the corner of Jane and Lawrence. The incidents appear to be unrelated, however.

In the first case, a 55-year-old woman was approached at about 9 pm on Monday by a man who pushed her to the ground and stole her purse, which contained cash and prescription drugs. He fled, and the victim had minor injuries.

In the second case, on Wednesday at 6 pm, a 63-year-old woman was approached from behind by a suspect who pushed her to the ground and attempted to steal her purse. He was not able to, however, and fled empty-handed.

It is small consolation that the cases are likely unrelated. The suspect in Monday’s mugging is black; the suspect in Wednesday’s is white.