Tonks draws three pensions, and that’s OK

Alan Tonks draws three handsome pensions from various levels of the civil service, according to the Canadian Press. Each of the pensions is more than $10,000 annually and in addition to his $157,731 annual salary as an MP. Tonks appears to be triple-dipping, but the appearance is incorrect.

The tone of Elizabeth Thompson’s article invites contempt. The story opens with a quote from a sitting MP:

““I think we earn enough money,” said Mr. Maloway, who estimates he is giving up $30,000 a year. “I don’t think anybody thinks MPs are underpaid.”

After a long name-and-shame list of sitting MPs who also draw pensions (among them Alan Tonks), the article concludes with a quote opposing the pensions:

Kevin Gaudet of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says he doesn’t have a problem with MPs collecting pensions from private companies but is troubled by MPs also getting pension cheques from governments.

“It does smack of problems for taxpayers when elected officials, in effect, end up double-dipping at taxpayer expense.”

Mr. Gaudet said more MPs should follow mr. [sic] Maloway’s example and voluntarily forgo other government pensions while they sit in the Commons.

While I, your humble editor, have never been unduly kind to Tonks, Thompson’s article is unfair. There is no good principle that would require MPs to forgo public pensions. Those pensions were voluntarily agreed to by employer and employee. Nobody objects to private pensions or to personal wealth among MPs; public pensions are no different: they are a part of the total compensation given to public servants.

Asking MPs to return their public pensions is asking for a double standard. It is saying that those in the public sector deserve a lower real salary than those in the private sector. Demanding the money’s return is also unfair. It is asking for money made fairly to be repaid. It is, in short, asking former public servants (and only public servants) to pay for the privilege of serving in the House.

While a $160,000 salary seems to me quite generous, Tonks should not be singled out merely because he has worked in the public sector for decades.

Weston King Neighbourhood Centre barbeque was a success

Even though it was a scorching day, dozens of people lined up for burgers at the Weston King Neighbourhood Centre community barbecue in Little Memorial Park on Saturday.

Many community groups were out to raise consciousness about the work they are doing in Weston. WKNC, Frontlines, the Hispanic Centre, the Active Living Centre, and others displayed their work in booths set up around the park.

With thanks to M. Lennon for reporting.

Missing people located

Toronto Police have located a missing Weston-area mother and son.

Le-Ping He, 41, and Brandon Wong, 8, went missing on July 9. While the police did not release their home address, they were known to spend time in the Weston area.

The mother and son were located on Thursday. The police thanked the public for helping to find the pair but released no other details.

Area woman and child missing

Toronto Police are looking for a woman from the Weston Area. Le Ping He and her son Brandon Wong have not been seen since last Friday.

Le Ping He is 41 years old, 5 feet (152 cm) tall and has straight, black, shoulder-length hair. She was last seen wearing a short-sleeved dress.

Brandon Wong is 8 years old, 3’6″ (99 cm) tall, with a thin build, black eyes, and short black hair in a brush cut. He was last seen wearing a green and white T-shirt and blue shorts.

It is not clear from the news release where Ms. He lives; she is known to visit the Falstaff Ave and Jane St area. She was last seen around Caledonia Rd and Lawrence W.

They may be riding a red men’s bicycle with a rack on the back.

“Police do not suspect foul play is involved”, according to CTV news.

Le Ping He and Brandon Wong

Microloan program at UrbanArts

UrbanArts has started a new microloan program for youths. It plans to give $5000 loans to arts entrepreneurs from 18–24 to help them start their own businesses.

Microloans are the newest trend in economic development. The idea is to give loans to people who would not normally be eligible, in amounts that would not normally be profitable for lenders. The theory is that small entrepreneurs can put their knowledge of a community to use where outsiders couldn’t.

Lennox Cadore, the Arts Program Manager at UrbanArts, says that they are “creating opportunities for young people who want to start their own businesses. Artists really are entrepreneurs.”

There are 15 positions available in the business program. Upon graduation, the students will be eligible for the $5000 loans. The money comes from Alterna Savings and the City of Toronto.

According to the Toronto Star, the loans will be at prime plus 6%. If the loans are repaid on time, the 6% will be refunded. The loans must be repaid in three years.

Cadore says that he has already received some applications, and he expects many more.

Capitalism is great

Weston doesn’t have a decent coffee shop—and no,  Tim’s does not count. A decent coffee shop has more than one coffee, brewed strong. A decent coffee shop has pastries and muffins made fresh, not tired old donuts rolled frozen down the 401.

Now, however, the old clock-repair and computer shop on John St is being renovated. The inside has been entirely gutted, and a sign on the window says that the Bela Cafe will be opening soon.

The owners have chosen a great location. Their shop is just down the shop from the GO station, where tired commuters gather every day in the snow. With a little luck, the café will serve excellent coffee and treats, not cups merely good enough to keep commuters coming.


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