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Quick Hits, Volume XXVI -- Toronto Stuff

Toronto's City Council right wing never shows itself to be very smart. Their latest strategic blunder will weaken their ability to criticize Toronto's finances -- they made a motion to give themselves $15,000 raises!

The documentary about David Miller's campaign for mayor is being shown by the National Film Board this week. Free Admission at Innis Town Hall, Thursday at 7pm. Jaime Watt -- who helped elect Mike Harris and now works with Warren Kinsella at a research/strategy firm -- will be there to talk elections, along with Andrew Munger, the director. I've seen this film before on Newsworld, and I'm in it.

Today's Star talks about the ongoing plans for a GTA-wide transit system. This idea is one that I've always been suspicious of. Two years ago, John Barber wrote of the Tories' plan to merge transit systems: "Despite all the sloppy, false rhetoric about 'seamless service' that nobody wants, the only real reason for taking over the TTC today is to repeat the process of building up weak suburban services by shifting resources out of Toronto." David Miller was quoted as saying that plan "will screw the TTC rider endlessly." It remains to be seen how this new plan is different.

Now quotes budget chief David Soknacki as saying that the provincial budget negotiators "admitted that the city position [that provincial programs like social and emergency services should not be funded by Toronto's property taxes -- Now] was logically and morally correct." That's great, as this is the biggest change I've been arguing for... but not really so great, since obviously no changes are likely to come along.

An anonymous MPP -- in the same Now article -- says that it was pressure from rural Liberal MPPs that scotched the negotiations and led to Toronto's disappointment, calling it "a caucus revolt".

Now also points out the effect of tax freezes: "Former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman joined in with a three-year freeze on the only Toronto property tax that Harris didn't freeze. If, instead of those freezes, Toronto's taxes had just kept up with inflation, the city would have $160 million more for public services this year." The same article calls Dalton McGuinty on his recent ranting: "[McGuinty] also rails against cuts in federal transfers, ignoring the fact that Ontario just passed those cuts on to local governments, downloading responsibilities without funding."

None of the above links to Now are going to work beyond Thursday, when they update their site. The articles will still be online somewhere, however.




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