DAVE AGAR

February 14th Commentary

Posted By: Dave Agar · 2/14/2014 7:34:00 AM

Byelections

The Wynne Liberals were shutout of both provincial byelections last night...losing the Liberal riding of Niagara Falls to the NDP while the PC's held on to Thornhill.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath who has propped up this minority government has a message for Premier Kathleen Wynne.

"I would just hope that Ms. Wynne and the Liberals are listening carefully to what the people across Ontario have told her in these by-elections, which is pay attention to our issues and our concerns for a change."

Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak was with his winning candidate, Gila Martow in Thornhill last night.

"People of Ontario want to see change and they sent the McGuinty Wynne Liberals a very clear message. That they want leadership that's going to take decisive action and implement a plan that will balance the budget, create jobs, and get Ontario moving again."

Premier Kathleen Wynne, speaking to defeated Liberals in Thornhill last night said to them..."take a deep breath. It'll be ok. We can take this riding back.

"They knew when they voted today (in Thornhill) and in Niagara falls, that (Friday) morning we were going to be the government, that the government was not going to change, they could vote with impunity and that's what they have done. They've made their choices. But as we go into a general election, which is the real decision point for the people across the province they're going to need to look at what we are offering."

That election is likely to occur in the spring.

Based on last night's votes it would seem apparent to me that Ontarians are still not buying what the politicians are shovelling so we could well end up with another minority government after the next general election. And to the three party leaders, you all have to do a better job before Ontarians give you their trust.

TTC

I can't wait to hear the explanation for this.

Jeff Griffiths, the auditor general of Toronto has found that most of the time the TTC doesn't even bother filing warranty claims on its buses that break down.

He's determined that the TTC gets 1.9-million dollars a year back in warranty claims...from 30 percent of the eligible repairs under warranty. That means their leaving 70 percent of the claims unfiled...losing 4 to 5-million dollars a year in revenue.

Councillor Denzil Minan Wong has it right in saying that this "reinforces the public's view that nothing has changed at the TTC" and he says it is evidence of "managerial incompetence and squandering of public funds."

He's correct.

Strip searches

Toronto police carry out an unusual number of strip searches of suspects and yet the Police Services Board is not yet ready to order Chief Bill Blair to change the policy.

Last year police strip searched just over 20-thousand people. That's 34 percent of all of the arrests made and of those 20-thousand police found evidence such as drugs in just over 1 percent of the cases.

The chair of the Police Services Board, Alok Mukarjee and the vice-chair Michael Thompson are concerned and in fact, the board has instructed Chief Blair to come back with a report on the feasibility of replacing strip searches with scanners like the ones used at airports.

My guess would be that each body scanner would probably be in the tens of thousands of dollars and you'd need one at each division...so this could be cost prohibitive but it certainly merits looking at .

Ford

A heads up to the bars in Ottawa's Byward Market.

Rob Ford is coming to town. The Toronto mayor is breaking his self-imposed policy of not attending municipal conferences. He's never attended any of them even while he was a city councillor claiming he was not elected to "fly around the world."

This time is different. Ford will spend his own money to attend his first Big City Mayors Caucus in a couple of weeks and he says its to try to ensure that Toronto receives its fair share of the new Building Canada Plan unveiled by the Prime Minister yesterday.

"I'm going to ask for money for housing. I'm going to ask for subway money, infrastructure money."

Babies

There's some new research for parents and would-be parents. When you speak to your infant or toddler use longer sentences so they can learn at a young age to connect words to meaning.

So instead of saying to your baby "here's an orange" and "that's a bowl"....say "let's put the orange in the this bowl with the banana and the apple and the grapes."

Erika Hoff, a psychology prof in Florida says "children can hear lots of talk that goes over their head in terms of the meaning, and they still benefit from it."

Military rations

As anyone in the military knows all too well, MRE's...meals ready to eat are not very good...these are field rations.

There's new food on the horizon. Michelle Richardson a food scientist at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Centre says they've developed a pizza that stays good to eat for months.

In her words "you can basically take the pizza, leave it on the counter, packaged, for three years and it'd still be edible."

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