Letter of the Week from ‘Red Alert’.

This week’s letter comes from reader, ‘Red Alert’ responding to this article and is somewhat representative of a mindset that inhabits the comment section of the Sun and National Post. The usual mantra of ‘hardworking taxpayers’ is mixed in with the prospect of us becoming like Venezuela.

‘Red’ opens his letter by mocking the article’s suggestion that Frances Nunziata and Frank DiGiorgio are right leaning. Then he gets to the meat of his argument, the waste of taxpayer money on unnecessary ‘socialist’ programs.

Right leaning? Who wrote this nonsense. They are all socialists talking platitudes, promising SOCIALIST  welfare programs and services on the backs of hardworking taxpayers in order to get elected by enslaving you. The City should not be in the business of managing Provincial or Municipal social programs or infrastructure. The city should not be in the housing business, retirement/long term care home business, children’s services business , social welfare business. They only know how to run businesses into the ground.  If you want your property taxes to remain low and lowered, demand the city follow it’s original mandate of providing basic services that everyone uses, like police, fire, sewer & water, roads, emergency services, etc. and spending within it’s means and operating any services at a zero sum gain and not a loss. The TTC operates at a colossal loss, it’s mind blowing; More than half of the gross TTC budget is made up of revenue the TTC takes in from fares. Discounting that revenue, the city will spend $576.8 million to SUBSIDIZE with your taxes, conventional service this year ( to pay for the loss) and a staggering $143.4 million to subsidize Wheel-Trans, that often sits idling, moving one person at a time to go shopping or other errands. What a life, hey? What a joke!   Spending billions of dollars the city doesn’t have on services offered at a loss demonstrates politicians gone mad to keep their jobs and stay in power.  It’s a page taken out of SOCIALIST Venezuela, currently going bankrupt and in the mist of hyperinflation which brings poverty and misery. Do you want this for Torontoians? Wake up before it’s too late for you.

Let’s take a few of these points and expand them. ‘Red’ thinks that the city should not spend money on:

  • Infrastructure
  • Transit including Wheel-Trans
  • Public housing
  • Retirement/long term care homes
  • Children’s services business
  • Social welfare

I’m assuming, ‘Red’, that you drive everywhere, never take transit or visit a park. It sounds like you have been lucky enough in life to never need any social services, either personally or for a family member. I’m assuming that you don’t plan on getting old or needing a long term care home. Presumably you would have been ok with letting the AIDS and SARS outbreaks run their course and don’t use the library.

Red, did you know that  if Toronto’s property taxes were increased by 24%, that would bring them up to the average level in the GTA? That must make you feel good.

Here’s a couple of pie charts outlining what the city does and where the money comes from. A lot of the stuff the city does is because no other level of government will. For example, community housing used to be a provincial responsibility until Premier Mike Harris arbitrarily downloaded it to municipalities in 1998 (while stiffing them for adequate funds).

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Every country in the world subsidizes transit. There is no shortage of scholarly articles to show that subsidizing transit not only makes life better for people, it lowers pollution and keeps cars off the road. If it’s any comfort, Red, Toronto at about $1 has the lowest per fare subsidy level of any city in North America yet despite that, one of the most threadbare subway systems in the free world. Ka-ching; more money for hard working taxpayers like you.

Mayor Tory reacts with astonishment on seeing a real subway map while travelling on the London Underground. (From the Toronto Star.)

Try and imagine what would happen if subsidies ended and single fares rose to the cost recovery level of $5. People would go back to their cars causing gridlock. Less travelled bus routes would be cancelled and bus and subway schedules would be trimmed leading to further loss of ridership forcing even higher fares.

As for Wheel-Trans, you seem to resent that it’s used for shopping or personal errands. Well duh; if you were unlucky enough to be disabled what would you use Wheel-Trans for? How do you suggest disabled people buy food or get to appointments?

Incidentally, if you truly believe that Frances Nunziata and Frank DiGiorgio are ‘socialists’ in the way you understand the term, I’ll have to vigorously defend them. The Toronto taxpayer, labouring under the lightest tax load in the GTA has no greater friend than these two. Just look at Wards 11 and 12 and you can tell that a great deal of effort has gone into saving taxpayers money over their combined six decades in office. Poverty is everywhere, litter is everywhere, basements are flooding, buses are crowded, many storefronts are shabby and often unoccupied, public housing is run down and they’ve kept our streets free of business-killing, traffic-pinching bike lanes used by unlicensed hipster freeloaders.

I think you owe them an apology.

Lastly, ‘Red’, next time you want to use the term socialism, you should understand that it refers to a system where the people own and / or control the means of production and distribution. I think we’re still light years away from that. Maybe if we had socialism, there would be less need to tip the scales in the other direction.

Letter of the week.

From Easy Reader News.

We begin a new feature today. Letter of the week will publish the best letter of the week as an article in order to expose it to more viewers.

This week’s is from Carlo Polidoro, board Chair of local financial institution, Victory Credit Union.

Roy Murray brings up a valid concern in his November 27 op-ed. As a longtime resident of Weston and working in Mount Dennis, I have been disappointed by the recent bank branch closures, which have left vulnerable members of the community without access to an institution they have been loyal to for decades. However, there is an easier and more realistic solution than asking the banks to keep a branch open in each community.

The simple solution is to bank at a credit union.

Victory Community Credit Union has been serving the Weston and Mount Dennis communities since 1948. I have had the pleasure of being a member for over 20 years and board member for 10 years. Victory recently announced a partnership with Luminus Financial, another community-minded credit union with a 65-year history. The partnership will strengthen both credit unions financially, allow them to offer even more products and services, and most importantly, both credit unions will continue to serve members from their existing brick-and-mortar branches.

If you have never banked with a credit union, I would highly recommend learning more about it. Banks and credit unions offer essentially the same products and services but operate in very different ways.

Credit unions are member-owned financial cooperatives. Their profits are distributed back to credit union members in the form of profit-sharing, lower loan rates and higher yields on savings. They are run by a local board of directors who are elected by the credit union members, and members vote on how their credit union is run.

By contrast, banks are shareholder-owned. Their profits are not shared with customers. They are run by a board of directors who are not necessarily customers, and customers have no say in how their bank is run (as we have seen here in Weston/Mount Dennis).

Banks and credit unions both offer deposit protection, so your money is safe either way. But credit unions in Canada have a much better reputation for customer satisfaction—they were just awarded the Ipsos Best Banking Award for Customer Service Excellence and Branch Service Excellence for the 13th consecutive year.

If your bank has left the community, or you’re worried that yours will be the next to go, consider opening an account at Victory. You can visit them in person at 2011 Lawrence Ave W unit 11, or give them a call at 416-243-0686.