DAVE AGAR

Tuesday, April 22 Commentary

Posted By: Dave Agar · 4/22/2014 12:00:00 AM

If you have kids in the Toronto public school system there may be funding cuts after all in the fall.

When this happened last month it sounded too good to be true. The TDSB produced a balanced budget and they did it with no cuts to school programs or schools.  One big problem.  They made assumptions about how much grant money Queen's Park would provide and it seems they missed the mark.

At least one trustee figures they'll have to re-open the budget and find savings in the range of $12 to $14 million for the next school year.  If true, that could mean substantial cuts and with school board elections looming in October, these cuts could come anywhere.

For its part, the Ministry of Education says the TDSB is getting $78.3-million more for next school year than they got this year.   
But it is also true that Queen's Park is reducing a special education grant by 7-million dollars and low enrolment schools will get 10-million dollars less.

So there is going to be a scramble and as parents of kids in Toronto public schools the assurance of no cuts next year is now up in the air.

POLICE CARDING

The Toronto criminal lawyer hired by the Police Services Board to develop a policy on how police should interact with young people, especially black youth and other minorities feels he's come up with a way that will significantly ease the tension between police and our youth.

Frank Addario's policy on "carding" goes to the board for a vote at a special meeting Thursday.

If adopted as is, the only criteria police could use to stop people on the street is if it were for the sole purpose of public safety.  

No longer could an officer card unless they are investigating a crime or are trying to prevent one.  They couldn't just gather information about you because of a suspicion that you could be up to something at a later date.  

Once contact is made an officer would have to inform the individual that their interaction is strictly voluntary.  The same for providing personal information such as name, address, weight and height....strictly voluntary.

ONTARIO LIBERALS

The Ontario Liberals appear to have gone brain dead.  They're trying to suck and blow simultaneously.

How many times have we heard Premier Kathleen Wynne try to convince us that she is not Dalton McGuinty?  That her administration is different, so don't try to hang on the Wynne Government the faults of the McGuinty Government.

Then yesterday, as first reported by NewsTalk1010's Queens' Park bureau chief Katie Franzios the Libs put out a so-called "Progress Report on Helping People with their Everyday Lives."  They listed so-called accomplishments since 2003 that are helping people alleviate everyday financial pressures.   After a year of trying to convince us her team is different, why is Kathleen Wynne tying herself to the tail of Dalton McGuinty?  If you are going to do that, expect the good and the bad including the Hudak PC's who were quick to point out the Liberals gave us the HST, eco fees, ever climbing hydro bills...and on and on.   You can't say look at all the good things Liberals do and then say...oh those bad things...those were the McGuinty years, don't blame us.

I also noticed in this new series of TV commercials showing Premier Wynne walking down the street criticizing the PC's in one commercial, the NDP in the other, she refers to the sky high welfare rates the only time the NDP formed a government at Queen's Park and how we can't go back to that.  She conveniently leaves out the fact that we were in a horrible recession.  Unemployment was nearing 11 percent and a lot of high-quality jobs vanished.  More important unemployment was prolonged in the early 90's so those collecting EI ran out of benefits and had no option but to go on welfare so yes social assistance rolls were sky-high at nearly 14 percent.   My point here is Premier Wynne should not be trying to hang high welfare from a deep recession on any political party.  To do so simply begs retaliation in kind such the apparent hollowing out of Ontario's manufacturing sector  during the Liberal years and how many of the jobs being created here now are low paying jobs in the service sector.

Premier, if you say you are not going to play the game, then don't because right now you are about the only one left in the Ontario Liberal Party with a modicum of credibility.  Credibility which you seem to be scraping away at the closer Ontario gets to an election.  You are digging your own political grave.

SNAKE

A terrifying time for a woman named Dora who lives in an apartment with her husband on Rowena Drive, the area of the 401 and Victoria Park.

She awoke around 3 this morning, went to the washroom and found a snake in there..about a foot-and-a-half long.  It looks exotic.   Police have it.

Where did it come from? Who knows.  Probably from another unit.  How did it get into Dora's unit?  They don't know that either but suspect it came up the drain of the toilet. Dora and her husband, I imagine, will be standing for a while whenever nature calls.

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