Daily Archives: March 18, 2011

Rob Ford’s privatization plans

New mayor has shown a push to privatize city services
(Column written Mar 4 for Town Crier.)

Mayor Rob Ford has been in office for more than 100 days now and one trend that’s emerging quite vividly is his preference for privatization and partnering with the private sector.
Exhibit A: the mayor campaigned on contracting out garbage in an effort to save money and avoid strikes.
On Feb. 7, the city announced it had given CUPE Local 416 a 90-day notice that it plans to privatize all recycling collection in city parks, half of the city’s litter collection, plus garbage pickup in 165,000 residential homes west of Yonge Street to the Etobicoke border.
City staff will report back on the issue in April and go to council for a vote in May.
So far, the city estimates it can save $8 million if this move succeeds. Interestingly, right-wing think tank C.D. Howe Institute and U of T released a report before the municipal election outlining how Toronto could save $49 million by privatizing garbage citywide. The Ontario Waste Management Association, made up mainly of reps from private sector waste haulers, gave $50,000 toward that study.
I’d like to see the upcoming city staff report explain potential savings in further detail, given some full-time city workers have a “jobs for life” provision in their contract that guarantees them city work if their positions are contracted out. And while the mayor is moving in this direction to avoid strikes, like the 39-day episode in the summer of 2009, there’s no guarantee a private sector contract will mean no strikes. Continue reading

See Sarah Thomson run, again

She is Liberal’s Trinity-Spadina provincial candidate
After last year’s mayoral run, she’s aiming for MPP
Kris Scheuer
(Written Mar 10 for Town Crier/Toronto Today)

Sarah Thomson is seeking a seat in the provincial legislature on the Liberal ticket. Giordano Ciampini/Town Crier file photo.

Sarah Thomson has accepted an invitation from the provincial Liberals to be their candidate in Trinity-Spadina this fall.
She made the announcement March 9 in a Facebook post.
“I’ve said I want to run in a nomination,” she said hours later, in confirming the report for Toronto Today.
Herman Ng, Trinity-Spadina riding association president, confirmed Thomson will be the only Liberal candidate at a nomination meeting held March 27.
“I investigated both the Ontario Liberal Party and the Ontario PC Party to find which party today best represents my core values,” Thomson stated in her Facebook announcement.
Thomson, a midtown Toronto resident who once lived in the Annex, is a business woman who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Toronto in last year’s municipal race, dropping out before election day and throwing her support behind second-place finisher George Smitherman.
“There are politicians who critique others but never actually initiate anything — they run because they want a job or news headlines,” wrote the Women’s Post publisher on her Facebook page. “And there are politicians who stick their neck out and do what they believe is right — they run because they want to contribute to building a better world.”
If nominated Thomson will be taking on incumbent Rosario Marchese, who has represented the riding since 1990.
“We don’t have someone who is a doer,” Thomson told Toronto Today. “(The riding) is getting poor representation in the legislature.
“He has been there for 21 years. What has he done?”
Marchese, who was part of the Bob Rae government and has been in opposition to both the PCs and Liberals, defended his record.
“I’ve been a strong advocate for education,” he said.
He said the Liberals have decreased funding for special education and parents have fundraised $600 million to supplement school needs, creating a two-tier education system for poor and richer communities.
He’s also put forward three private member’s bills to make amendments to the condo act that the Liberals have rebuffed.
If Thomson is serious about reforms, Marchese said, she’ll have to defend the Liberals’ non-action on issues of housing, education and healthcare.
“I’m hard pressed to see what Sarah thinks she will accomplish as a backbencher or minister, assuming this government gets re-elected,” he said. “What would she be proposing?”
Marchese won with 41.1 percent of the vote to then-Liberal candidate Kate Holloway’s 31.5 percent in 2007. In 2003, he got 47.5 percent to Liberal Nellie Pedro’s 31.8 percent.