Toronto muses ban on union and corporate contributions
New policy must be passed by Dec. 31 in time for 2010 election
(Column written Nov. 6 for Town Crier.)
After years of debate, delay and foot dragging, the city plans to deal with the hot button issue of banning corporate and union donations in elections.
I would like to say it’s about time, but truthfully the city is dangerously flirting with running out of time.
This is a case of waiting until the eleventh hour to tackle an issue politicians clearly aren’t eager to vote on. Any new election finance reform policy must pass before the end of this year because all candidates can start registering on Jan. 4, 2010.
There’s no reason to defer the issue any longer.
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged 2010, ban, city, contributions, corporations, council, Councillor Michael Walker, Councillors Cliff Jenkins, donations, election, Executive Committee, finance, Kris Scheuer, Professor Robert MacDermid, rebates, reform, Stuart Green, Toronto, unions
How should city use the savings?
What’s your wish list: rebates or spend on services?
(Written Oct. 6 for Town Crier. Oct. 26 UPDATE.)
You remember the 39-day strike this summer? At the time I wrote this, city figures stated the government saved $33.1 million during the labour unrest.
So what should be done with this money?
The main three options for the city are to issue rebate cheques to residents, use it for specific programs or fold the windfall into general revenues. My preference is to use some of the money to bring down a planned garbage rate hike and if that’s not possible then instead put the millions towards balancing the 2010 budget. But I’d want to know how the money was specifically spent. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto News
Tagged 2010, budget, Budget Committee, city, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, Councillor Gloria Lindsay-Luby, Councillor Joe Pantalone, Councillor Shelley Carroll, Executive Committee, garbage, Kris Scheuer, Mayor David Miller, rebates, Strike, tax, Toronto, Torontonians
Should ambulance workers be allowed to strike?
City hall debates making EMS a full essential service
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Sept. 14 for Town Crier)
During the summer’s city strike many Torontonians were surprised to discover that EMS is not considered a full-fledged essential service.
Ambulances were still on the road, but 25 percent of frontline Emergency Medical Services workers were on the picket lines.
Midtown councillor Michael Walker had a motion at the city’s Executive Committee asking the province to declare all of EMS an essential service.
“It should be 100 percent not 75 percent,” Walker said. “The bottom line is these services will not be withdrawn from the public (in a strike).”
Roberta Scott, public relations director for the Toronto Paramedics Association, agrees.
“Either paramedics are a true essential service or they are not,” Scott told the committee. “On a daily basis we see there are not enough paramedics.
“And then if you put us in a strike situation and take away 25 percent of us then it delays response time,” the former paramedic added. “That is a disaster waiting to happen.” Continue reading
Posted in Toronto News
Tagged collective agreements, Councillor Joe Mihevc, Councillor Michael Walker, Councillor Shelley Carroll, CUPE local 416, Emergency Medical Services, EMS, Essential service, Executive Committee, Kris Scheuer, Mark Ferguson, Mayor David Miller, Ontario Paramedics Association, Roberta Scott, Strike, Toronto, Toronto Paramedics Association
Toronto councillor wants these city services deemed essential
The issue will be up for debate at power Exec Committee Sept 8
By Kris Scheuer
(Originally written Aug. 7 for Town Crier.)
Enduring 39 days without trash pick-up, city-run daycare and full emergency medical service wasn’t anyone’s idea of a great way to start the summer.
While Torontonians don’t want to see another strike like it anytime soon St. Paul’s councillor Michael Walker wants to go a step further.
He doesn’t want them to strike again … ever.
The midtown rep thinks its wrong and is advocating for essential services status for all these city programs.
Walker brought forward three motions to city council Aug. 6 to ask that the province mandate daycare and children’s services, garbage collection and EMS as essential services, like police and fire, which would legally prohibit striking.
There was no debate on any of his recommendations, but rather these motions were referred off to the Executive Committee’s September 8 meeting.
Walker outlines his argument for each programs being declared essential. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto News, Toronto Politics, Toronto Strike
Tagged Councillor Michael Walker, Essential service, Executive Committee, Kris Scheuer, Toronto, Toronto daycare, Toronto EMS, Toronto garbage, Toronto Strike