DAVE AGAR

March 25th Commentary

Posted By: Dave Agar · 3/25/2014 7:02:00 AM

Olivia Chow

Beware Olivia Chow! The Toronto Mayoralty hopeful has been fast off the mark laying out transit plans. In this case lets call these plans "hasty". They are not well thought out.

I complained last week about her decision to boost rush-hour bus service on major routes by 10 percent because what she intends to do is keep old buses in service past their retirement dates.

We don't need rickety old buses cramming up major arterial roads when people are trying to get to work or home.

Then yesterday Chow was expounding on her plan to reverse the decision to reverse the decision to reverse the decision on the transit extension into Scarborough.

She'd scrap the subway extension and go back to LRT. Aside from the notion, how many times are we going to have to jump through this hoop, LRT does make more sense.

But and here's the rub.

You know the special property tax city council approved for the subway extension? The extra half point this year, another half point next year and 6-tenths of a point in the third year. For the typical homeowner, at the end of the 3 years based on current values, its an extra 40 dollars or so a year. But its for each of the next 30 years. So all that money that you should be able to keep if Olivia Chow becomes mayor and she cancels the subway extension...she doesn't want to give it back to you.

She wants to keep charging that special tax to pay for other transit schemes including more buses. Will you please get off the idea that throwing more buses out on streets that are already crammed is a good idea.

If I could be blunt Ms. Chow, if you change the transit plan, you don't get to keep my money. You follow procedure. Rescind the special property tax levy. If you need more money, present another plan. We'll all take a look at it and if it has any value, then and only then should city council vote yeah or nay on boosting property taxes to pay for it.

Ms Chow, this is our money, not yours. You don't even have the job yet and your spending our money. I shudder to think what would happen if you were to win.

Worst roads

For years Steeles Avenue in Toronto was the worst road in Ontario and it finally got fixed.

Last year, it was Dufferin Street. The year before it was Dufferin. In fact Dufferin was the CAA's worst road in Ontario in 07 and 03 as well and based on some of the comments on social media it could well get the dubious distinction again this year as the CAA in South Central Ontario launches its annual campaign designed specifically to embarrass politicians into getting things fixed.

In fact any road at all in Toronto could probably grab the crown of worst of the year.

Malaysia

Malaysian authorities have now cancelled all search efforts for that missing Malaysian jetliner except in the southern Indian Ocean. That search, led by Australia, is suspended by bad weather. Defense minister David Johnston says it's just too risky.

Malaysian authorities spoke to reporters this morning but didn't seem to add anything new to the way in which a British satellite company came to the conclusion that the jetliner likely crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

The company is not totally convinced that is what happened though because they don't know how fast the plane was going. Nor do they know with certainty what altitude it was flying at, which would affect the rate of fuel consumption.

So there are still a lot of questions still not answered.

Russia

As the west tightens the economic sanctions on Russia, the rhetoric from the Kremlin suggests Vladimir Putin is not finished yet in Ukraine.

Russia's Foreign Minister met with his Ukrainian counterpart in The Hague yesterday...the first high level meeting since the Crimea takeover. Russia is demanding constitutional changes in Ukrain that would give all regions of that country to have more autonomy. If Russia were to have political control over eastern Ukraine, it would be easier to keep Ukraine from joining NATO.

Before the meeting Ukraine's foreign minister said of the Russian military building near the border..."the possibility of a military invasion is very high."

Ebola

There's a man critical ill isolated in a hospital in Sasktoon with viral hemorraghic fever. Which specific classification of that fever is not known yet.

Saskatchewan's deputy chief medical officer of health Doctor Denise Werker says they know he recently returned from Liberia where at least 5 people have died from one of the deadliest forms of viral homorrhagic fever, Ebola.

The 5 deaths in Liberia are actually people from Guinea who crossed over to get health care. There are 59 confirmed deaths from Ebola in Guinea.

Doctor Werker says that while the mortality rate is extremely high for this disease...it's not something Canadians should panic over.

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