Tuesday, September 24 Commentary
You've heard the adage...where there's smoke there's fire?
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath seems to be adopting that as she tries to argue insurance companies are ripping off motorists...they're jacking up premiums in advance of the impending cut she demanded and got from Premier Kathleen Wynne in the last budget...a 15 percent cut.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada calls the allegation nonsense.
Here's the example the NDP leader is citing:
Hector Ferriol lives in Bramalea. He's a 69-year old old retired construction worker who told the Star he drives a 2-thousand Honda Accord which he values at 6-hundred dollars. No claims...no tickets within the past 4 or 5 years. His annual premiums have just jumped from 1350 a year to 17-hundred.
Ferriol says the only explanation he has been given is that he lives in an area of the GTA infamous for auto insurance fraud. He rightly points out "that is not my problem."
There in lies the rub of auto insurance which has stuck in my craw for years. Premiums are built not just on the individual's track record but on what is going on around them...matters that are entirely out of their control. If I'm driving a Mazda and a lot of Mazda's are being stolen in my neighbourhood, there is no reason my insurance premiums should go up...especially if my vehicle hasn't been stolen...it just happens to be the target of thieves.
Why is it, I get dinged for higher premiums because I happen to live in a part of town where crash damage is higher than average. It's probably most because where I live there are more expensive cars. But that's not my car...not by a long shot.
These are the very roots of what is wrong with auto insurance premiums. Issues which government's seem terrified to tackle.
As to Andrea Horwath's contention that insurance companies are arbitrarily boosting rates now to offset impending losses from a coming reduction in premiums...one example does not an argument make. Do your homework. Get back to us when you can better document.
So now we have a big uproar over the Toronto Medical Officer of Health's push to basically ban smoking in public spaces outdoors...beaches, parks, in front of public buildings and places where people gather such as Yonge-Dundas Square and Nathan Phillips Square. Doctor David McKeown also wants rid of the last vestiges of smoking in bars and restaurants by complete bans on patios...covered or not.
Once upon a time Toronto was at the forefront of the anti-smoking push but we haven't been for many years.
In Kingston for example, the ban on smoking on patios went into effect a decade ago. Today there are bans province-wide in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, PEI and the Yukon as well as most of Greater Vancouver and Ottawa.
Closer to home, Vaughan ..there's a bylaw against smoking in front of public buildings, near rinks, parks, sports fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, wading pools, splash pads.
Peel Region's expanded ban launched on Labour Day.
On the streets of the city, a variety of opinions on this.
How many times have you seen pedestrians walking down the street, not looking where they are going...some of them even crossing at streetlights...not looking...instead they're sending or reading text messages or email.
It seems the criminals have noticed the same thing and they're using it to prey on young women, late at night in the College-Bathurst area.
It was last Saturday morning. Two Toronto teenaged girls went to the Westgate mall, accompanied by the family maid. They were going to get groceries.
Then all hell erupted. Gunfire from all directions, grenades exploding...panic set in.
Those two girls 17-year old Fardosa Abdi and her 16-year old sister Dheeman were amongst the many caught up in the terrorist siege in Nairobi, Kenya. Fardosa has been critically wounded...a leg destroyed by bullets and grenade fragments. Dheeman has a broken leg from a bullet.
This is day 4 of the siege at the mall. The government claims there are only a few gunmen and a few hostages left inside and they hope to end it today...but there are also reports that there were 60 people unaccounted for. Their loved ones are demanding answers.
Do you remember that mass shooting in Chicago last week...13 wounded in a park on the southside?
Police have arrested two men in their early 20's...charging them with attempted murder. However, investigators don't think either of them fired any shots...that the gunman is still on the loose.
Among the victims of this shooting...3 year old Deonta Howard...Tay-Man...is his nickname. He was critically wounded...shot through the face...the bullet coming out his mouth. Tay Man is making a remarkable recover. He should be home by the end of the week.