Tag Archives: Canada

Canadian federal election 2011

Who holds power now
Kris Scheuer

PM Stephen Harper will be facing voters in a spring election. Town Crier file photo.

So a federal election is on for May 2.
Click on the Green Party, Conservatives, NDP and Liberals to see who each of those parties are running as federal candidates in Toronto ridings.
The Liberal Party’s motion expressing non-confidence in the current Conservative government over issues of contempt of Parliament passed 156-145 today.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will formally ask Governor General David Johnston to dissolve Canada’s 4oth Parliament tomorrow.
Here’s a low down on who all the current MPs are now.
What will new parliament look like post election?
Quick Facts:
There are 308 seats up for grabs.
There are 305 current Members of Parliament and three vacant seats, click here for the full list.
Current representation across Canada is:
Conservative MPs: 143
Liberal Party MPs: 77
Bloc Quebecois MPs: 47
New Democratic Party MPs: 36
Independents MPs: Helena Guergis (Independent Conservative) and Andre Arthur
Vacant seats of 3: Calgary Centre-North in Alberta, Prince George-Peace River in B.C., and Haute-Gaspesie-La Mitis-Matane-Matapedia in Quebec.
In Toronto there are 22 federal seats with 2 New Democrat MPs and 20 Liberals elected here currently.
Here’s the breakdown of the current reps in Toronto ridings. Continue reading

City eyes site for new Don Mills ice arena

Canada Post’s selling its Donway site
Local rep wants city to consider land for ice rink replacement
Kris Scheuer
(Written July 30 for Town Crier.)

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong wants the city to consider The Donway site as a possible location for new city ice rink.

A soon-to-be vacant post office in Don Mills could be an opportunity to acquire land for a new city ice arena in Don Mills, says Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong.
The site, at 169 The Donway West, is for sale. It’s located near the Don Mills Civitan Arena, an aging facility the city is trying to replace by 2020, when developer Cadillac Fairview takes over that site as part of its residential redevelopment.
The city’s in search of an affordable and suitable spot for a new ice arena in Don Mills and Minnan-Wong said the post office site is worth exploring.
“I heard it was on the market,” Minnan-Wong said July 29. “There were lots of rumours.”

Continue reading

Increasing Toronto’s voter turn out

Don’t like your choices for council, mayor?
Run, encourage good candidates to register, then vote
By Kris Scheuer

What if no one voted in the next election? What if we boycotted the election as a political statement and thumbed our noses at the whole lot? What would happen then?
Sure it has never happened yet, but you have to wonder what is at the root cause of why more people don’t go to the polls.
Voter apathy is nothing new, as anywhere from 36 to 47 per cent of those who have the legal right to elect a provincial rep choose not to show up to the party.
In the 2006 Toronto election voter turn out was a lousy  39.3 percent across the city.
Some circumstances appear to shift this such as in ward 26 where there was no incumbent and 15 candidates ran. In that ward, voter turn out was 52 percent, which was the highest anywhere in the city that election.
So why do so few eligible voters exercise this right? Is this because citizens don’t care who is elected? Or is it a political statement? When we don’t vote are we trying to send a message “why bother to cast my ballot when none of the candidates vying for my vote represent my views?”
So why is Toronto’s voter turn out is so low? What motivates you to vote? Continue reading

Woodbine water tests resume during strike

City conducts E.coli tests at five beaches
By Kris Scheuer
(July 22 update here)

Good news for beach dwellers in Toronto. The city has implemented modified water testing at five designated swim spots.
The city will test water for E.coli levels twice a week at the following beaches: Sunnyside, Cherry, Woodbine, Kew-Balmy and Bluffer’s Park.
This level of testing meets the protocol requirements for the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, according to the city’s website.
Twice weekly, the site is updated so people can see where it’s safe for swimming.
Another six beaches  Rouge, Marie Curtis Park East, Hanlan’s Point, Gibraltar Point, Centre Island, and Ward’s Island have gotten no water testing at all since the strike began June 22. Here it is swim at your own risk, states the city, but there are lifeguards for safety reasons.
When I checked July 4, the latest city update was posted on June 30 and reflected E.coli levels for June 29.
For results see below.
Red means unsafe to swim, green safe to swim and yellow means no city water testing so swim at your own risk.
If you click on any of the beaches below, it will open a map of that swimming spot.

Not tested 1. Marie Curtis Park East Beach Don not swim 7. Cherry Beach
Swim 2. Sunnyside Beach Swim 8. Woodbine Beaches
Not tested 3. Hanlan’s Point Beach Swim 9. Kew – Balmy Beach
Not tested 4. Gibraltar Point Beach Swim 10. Bluffer’s Park Beach
Not tested 5. Centre Island Beach Not tested 11. Rouge Beach
Not tested 6. Ward’s Island Beach


A day in the life of Toronto 2

What I learned about T.O in 24 hours

By Kris Scheuer

Here are two things I was told or observed about this city and Torontonians on July 3. It’s day 12 of the labour disruption and I wrote three stories on the strike impact today for the paper I work for the Town Crier. So much of what influenced my thoughts on this fair city is tied up in the strike.

1. Animals like dumps more than people do. I was at a press conference at Metro Hall today when Geoff Rathbone, head of the city’s garbage department, announced the closing of two temporary dumps at Christie Pits and York Mills Arena. Read more here. But the catch is even though these trash sites are at capacity, the garbage won’t be picked up until after the strike ends. Friends of Christie Pits have been protesting the dump on their street since before it officially opened June 25. Meanwhile the city’s medical officer of health Dr. David McKeown announced today bugs and rodents are going to move in to the trash sites unless officials can continue spraying pesticides when needed. Continue reading

Words of the day

By Kris Scheuer

Words are how I earn a living. That’s because I’ve been a published reporter and journalist for eleven years now. And I am always looking to improve on my writing style by adding new words to my written and oral vocabulary. While I try to focus on words in everyday usage, sometimes I pick words that aren’t practical as regular lingo but draw my attention nonetheless.
Here are my trio of words for the day.

This looks like a fun word  – pugnacious. It’s and adjective that means readily disposed to fight or belligerent. Perhaps you know someone that this describes? Happily, I don’t.
Paramour is a noun meaning a married person’s lover.
And putrescent an adjective meaning becoming putrid as in a state of decomposition. With Toronto in its 12th day of a garbage strike some of the temporary and legal neighbourhood dumps are surely housing bags of putrescent, organic waste.



Strike cancels council meeting

Toronto labour unrest postpones city policy decisions

By Kris Scheuer
Garbage isn’t the only thing piling up during the strike.
Most official city business has come to a halt, including council’s regularly scheduled July 6–7 meeting which was cancelled July 2.
“The typical council meeting often considers over 100 items over a period of day,” stated a press release. “A regular council meeting is normally supported by unionized staff, who provide services to operate the facility.”
Also, non-unionized staff such as senior managers are required to be present to answer questions posed at council, but they are being redeployed to maintain critical services the statement concluded. Continue reading

Bugs and rats could nest at mini-dumps

That’s if temporary trash sites set up during strike aren’t sprayed

By Kris Scheuer
An infestation of rats and bugs could be coming to a neighbourhood near you thanks to the city’s temporary trash sites.
With the strike now finishing its second week, the mounds of garbage are growing and so are concerns for public health as stagnant waste is left to fester in the summer sun.
“Following visits by Toronto Public Health yesterday to several of our temporary garbage drop off sites and in consultation with (medical officer of health) Dr. McKeown, we are amending our spraying protocol,” Geoff Rathbone, general manager of solid waste management services said July 3.
“We will continue to spray daily for odour control, but will implement a more balanced approach for pest control,” he said. “Therefore starting today, we will spray for pest control based on the results of daily, individual site inspections.”
Rathbone said that this could potentially reduce the amount of pest control spraying that’s needed.
To reduce the need for more spraying, he asked residents to double bag any waste tossed at these temporary mini-dumps. Continue reading

Two new Toronto garbage dumps

Sunnybrook Park/Wilket Creek and Centennial Park Arena now open
Christie Pits and York Mills Arena trash sites close

By Kris Scheuer
(July 15 update, 26 trash sites with seven now closed)

The city will close two temporary neighbourhood dumps sites that are filled to the brim and open a pair of fresh ones.
By 7 p.m. today, the trash site at York Mills Arena was at capacity and will be shut down. By Sunday July 5, the temporary dump at
Christie Pits will be full, announced Geoff Rathbone, general manager of the city’s solid waste management services. 
As a result, the city is opening an additional two locations starting immediately on day 12 of the Toronto strike. 
“We are announcing today the opening of two new temporary garbage drop-off sites commencing at 3 p.m. today,” said Rathbone. “One is Centennial Park Arena … and the other is at Wilket Creek/Sunnybrook Park.”  Continue reading

Toronto strike impacts legal services

Got a question about city services? Call a lawyer
City staff juggle jobs to keep civic business moving

By Kris Scheuer
Some lawyers must be scratching their heads that after three years of law school they have ended up working in a call centre.
Because of the ongoing strike, many of the city’s legal beagles have been posted elsewhere.
“Some lawyers are redeployed to Access Toronto (the city’s information service hotline) for answering inquiries from residents,” said John Paton, director of land use planning for the city. “Some of the lawyers are redeployed to provincial offences court because the regular prosecutors are paralegals and they are on strike. 
“So to keep those (cases) going, there has to be a redeployment for them.”
And some lawyers from his team are doing picket line monitoring. 
“They are there to ensure the rights of picketers are respected but also the rights of residents are respected to access city facilities.” Continue reading