Wednesday, January 16th Commentary
If First Nations activists are hoping today's nationwide day of action will result in Canadians having a better understanding of the plight of aboriginals in this country, they'd better do it without blockades and understand that one protest will certainly not turn the tide.
There are some startling findings from a new Ipsos Reid poll in advance of the day of action. 64 percent feel Aboriginal people's get too much financial support from taxpayers. 62 percent believe First Nations peoples are treated well by Ottawa and 60 percent feel most of the problems of Native peoples are brought on by themselves.
These numbers should serve as a stark reminder to the Idle No More group and to any Native leader who try to use today's day of action to screw up traffic on the 401 or foul up economic activity by halting the big rigs that cross the border on the Ambassador bridge.
Once again the issue of how will the OPP handle these demonstrations and/or blockades because so far it seems to be a "hands off" approach which many people find really irritating.
Ever since Toronto city council's executive committee last week endorsed the proposed $9.4-billion operating budget, Mayor Rob Ford has been crowing about how it is such a great document, how the city has turned the corner. He was all onside with a residential property tax increase of only 2 percent. Here's Ford just before the start of yesterday's special council meeting on the budget.
So the meeting started and everything was rolling along just as the Ford forces wanted.
Then seemingly out of nowhere Giorgio Mammoliti said they could have a zero tax increase if they simply set up a temporary casino on the waterfront, on a boat. He pitched a motion to that effect and strangely Rob Ford sided with Mammoliti so he was voting against his own budget. The motion lost so then Ford switched again and voted for the 2 percent tax hike.
And then there was the motion by councillor Paul Ainslie to stall the planned cuts in the Fire Services for 6 months. At the time the public gallery was filled with firefighters. That vote is today and Councillor Doug Ford thinks his brother will support the delay even though the Mayor has emphatically insisted there would be absolutely no deteriorating in fire response times.
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong rejects the notion that this is all in the spirit of compromise.
To watch Mayor Ford suddenly convert to compromise and abandon his bull-in-the-China shop style, just tells me he too is willing to kiss butt to gain favour with councillors who hold the key to whether Ford is launched into political oblivion should the Ontario Court of Appeal uphold the conflict of interest finding and force him out of office.
How in the world could something like this happen?
A bunch of transit enforcement officers allegedly hatched a grand plan so they didn't have to work at all, but still could collect their paycheques. All they had to do was prove to their bosses that they were doing their jobs and they came up with this idea: we know that there are regular homeless people who routinely try to get onto TTC property to sleep and get out of the cold or hang around subway platforms to keep warm or beg for money, so why don't we use the names of the homeless and write up tickets for loitering and trespassing. Those accused would never have to pay because they could never be tracked down, they are homeless afterall. And we the transit enforcement cops could just sit on our backsides with our feet up a and collect our pay.
Somehow the higher ups got wind of this and called police. 5 of 8 enforcement officers are now charged criminally and all 8 have been fired. Now they have all the time they want to put their feet up and do nothing, but no pay. These guys, by the way are not young bucks. They're all in the late 30's and 40's.
How could something like this happen? The big wigs at TTC haven't said yet, even if they know, but they're vowing to look at internal procedures to make sure it can't happen again.