NDP will electrify ARL immediately

Paul Ferreira and Andrea Horwath have said that they will electrify the Air Rail Link as it is built, not years afterward, as the Liberals have said they will do and as is currently the plan.

In a press release last week, Ferreira said,

In this election voters have a clear choice between dirty diesel or clean electric trains. The McGuinty Liberals will ram diesel trains through our neighbourhoods…. Under our plan, electric trains will be on track for 2015.

In an article in the Toronto Sun, Horwath said the same thing: if she were premier, she would electrify the trains:

the NDP are proposing speeding the electrification process up — at greater expense — and move quicker on converting GO Transit’s busy Lakeshore and Georgetown corridors to electric trains.

The Liberal government has said that they will install diesel trains before 2015, Metrolinx has said that they will eventually electrify the line, though not for several years after, and only if there is funding.

A word about our coverage

Let me get this out of the way: Over the past day, I’ve printed a couple of articles that reflect the critical national coverage of Mike Sullivan.

I like Mike Sullivan. I like him a lot. I think he’s going to be a great MP, and, with the possible exception of this incident, he’s been very good so far. He’s been prominent in the House already, and he’s certainly a community leader. I was just delighted when he won, but I promised myself that I would be every bit as hard on him as I was on his predecessor, Alan Tonks. I expect very good things from my representative.

For what it’s worth, I like Paul Ferreira a lot too. He’s been very generous with his time, and he strikes me as a decent fellow. And one thing deserves special emphasis: Ferreira has never been accused, even by the Liberals, of doing anything wrong. Not one thing. A perfect gentleman.

A few people, including my wife and a good friend, have asked me why I don’t have more critical coverage of Laura Albanese. I think this is a little misplaced, since I haven’t really been critical of Ferreira. And I did have brutal coverage of Alan Tonks, Mike Sullivan’s opponent.[1]

But sure, I’d love to. Like I said: I expect great things of my representative. I think Albanese’s been quite good, but I’m sure there are things she could have done better.  I’d love to bring those to light.

Here’s the thing though: I have a job! And two kids! And judo lessons to give! There really is only so much I can do.

And here’s the other thing: I can’t very well not cover Mike Sullivan when he’s national news. He’s been in the Montreal Gazette, the CBC, and the Globe and Mail.  Laura Albanese, as far as I know, hasn’t.

But I have a deal for you, dear reader: if you can dig up a good story, with bullet-proof evidence, on the Liberals or Albanese’s record, I’ll run it—if I think I won’t get sued.

For that matter, I’ll run any good story on our community. There are three little links up there to the right. If you want to discuss, knock yourself out. If you want to write, drop me a line. If you have a tip, you know what to do.



[1] I knew I had made it when Tonks wouldn’t talk to me at a community barbecue. That was a great day.

Sullivan took words verbatim from provincial NDP

MP Mike Sullivan’s recent ‘householder’ and ‘ten percenter’ took words directly from the provincial NDP’s platform. The ‘ten percenter’ has recently made national news because Judy Sgro, a Liberal MP, alleges that Sullivan used taxpayer money to fund the advertising campaign of his provincial NDP counterpart Paul Ferreira. Doing so would break House rules about spending.

‘Householders’ and  ‘ten percenters’ are mailings sent at government expense. Regulations say that the money cannot be spent on “provincial, municipal or local election campaign material”.

Sgro took issue with a photo of Sullivan and Ferreira together and the Sullivan’s apparent support of the provincial NDP’s platform.  Sullivan told the Globe that Ferreira is “a constituent who happened to be in a group photo. As for the platform references [in the mailing] – he said he was only talking about promises his own federal party had made in the past.”

A close look at the newsletter shows that this is not quite the case. Ferreira is not in a group shot; the picture is only of the two of them. Nor is Ferreira identified as a constituent; he is identified as “former MPP Paul Ferreira”.

Further, the words on both the ten-percenter and the community update are taken almost verbatim from the provincial NDP’s platform.  The first paragraph of both, for instance, reads:

The Harmonized Sales Tax has hit struggling families at the worst possible time. Instead of making life more affordable for people struggling with the recession, it made life more expensive. It shifted more of the tax burden off large corporations like banks and insurance companies and onto household budgets-$6 billion worth in Ontario. That’s not fair. 

Only the last line, struck through here, does not appear in the NDP platform document.

Much of the rest of the front page of the letter sent to residents is also taken verbatim from the provincial NDP’s platform statement.

Sgro has referred the issue to the Speaker of the House. I’m not an expert on this (or any other) kind of thing, but I believe that if the Speaker finds that the language is similar enough to count as advertising for the provincial NDP, he can penalize our MP by deducting money from Sullivan’s budget.

In correspondence with me, Ferreira said,

The NDP — both provincially and federally — has been consistent in our position on the HST: we would take it off daily essentials, like home heating and hydro. That was in the Federal NDP platform. Mike articulated this position in the newsletter. Mike is doing his job, informing his constituents of where he stands on an issue of immense importance.

Thanks to PW and N for the mailings.

Pot To Kettle…

Just a brief update to the story regarding a pamphlet issued by Mike Sullivan. According to Paul Ferreira,

“…no one objected when the former MP (Alan Tonks) regularly featured the current MPP (Laura Albanese) in his newsletters both *before* and since the 2007 election.”

If this is the case it would seem that this is an arbitrary complaint about something practised by both sides.

Candidate Ferreira adds,

“I think our Liberal friends should spend more time focussing on what’s important to local residents, than creating distractions to suit their interests.”

With York South-Weston in the shape it is, there are far more pressing issues and ideas to wrestle with. As for the originator of the complaint, Liberal MP for York West Judy Sgro, it seems she has had her own experience of breaking the rules.

This article was updated to correct an earlier version that misquoted Paul Ferreira. I apologize for the error.

Albanese says NDP ads are paid for by taxpayer money

The provincial election campaign has just taken a very nasty turn in York South-Weston. If the allegations being bandied about are correct, our federal MP, Mike Sullivan, is spending taxpayer money to elect his provincial NDP counterpart and friend, Paul Ferreira.

Judy Sgro, a Liberal MP, says that she got a “Ten Percenter” in the mail last week from Mike Sullivan, our MP. “Ten Percenters” are mailings to constituents that MPs send out now and then. They are paid for by the taxpayer, not the MP.

Sgro says the letter she got was a partisan ad for the NDP’s Paul Ferreira—and federal MPs are prohibited from spending taxpayer money to meddle in provincial elections. She says the mailer contained “the NDP logo and a large photograph of the local NDP candidate [Paul Ferreira and]…. partisan phrases and campaign promises taken directly from the Provincial NDP platform document.” Laura Albanese calls this a “shocking misuse of federal taxpayers money”[sic] on her election site.

Sgro says that Sullivan is trying to sidestep provincial election financing rules and give the NDP more advertising, “courtesy of the taxpayers of Canada”.

Speaking to the Globe and Mail,

Mr. Sullivan said she’s got it all wrong – there’s a photo of York South-Weston NDP candidates Paul Ferreira in the flyer, but it’s only because he’s a constituent who happened to be in a group photo.

This is disingenuous. Sullivan is close with Ferreira. Mike Sullivan came by my house, in fact, campaigning for him, and Ferreira worked on Mike Sullivan’s campaign last year in turn. They shared a campaign office, too. Whatever role Ferreira was serving at the time of the photo, he certainly didn’t ‘happen’ to be in the photo.

Sullivan also said, “I certainly didn’t wade into any provincial matters. I really can’t think of what she’s talking about.”

Your humble correspondent doesn’t have a copy of the flyer Sullivan sent out. If one of you does, would you send a photo of it in?



TAVIS arrests

The Weston TAVIS program continues even as the summer ends.

Over the past month, the TAVIS takes credit for eight arrests, mostly for drugs and breaching bail.

A few of the more startling cases:

  • A 13-year old was re-arrested for breaching bail. He had been arrested for robbery.
  • Three drug dealers were arrested in separate incidents. Two were peddling marijuana, and one was selling crack.
  • A repeat offender was arrested for possessing the tools for break-ins.


Thief steals many dozens of loonies

When my mind wanders to the darker corners of possibility and I consider life as an outlaw, I picture myself playing poker in dusty Mexican brothels or being pursued on horseback down mountain river bottoms.

This, apparently, is not how it actually goes.

Toronto police report that a very little man robbed the Dollarama at 2013 Lawrence Ave on September 15. He is described as an adult male between 4’11” and 5’1″.

The suspect was wearing a disguise and, apparently trying to make the best of a rather low-rent robbery, jumped—rather impressively, if you consider he could barely reach it—over the counter to threaten the cashiers with a knife.

He made off with some cash and fled in an awaiting small grey car.