In case you missed it, I wanted to share with you a startling and shocking bit of news about the size and cost of municipal governments and their workforce. While we are paying more and more taxes, they are getting bigger and bigger and richer and richer. Doesn’t sound right now, does it?
A newly released study put out by Western University professor Timothy Cobban reveals that since 1995’s amalgamation, local government in Ontario has swollen by 39%!
Here are some more sobering facts made available by the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition;
- In 1995 Ontario had 160,000 municipal employees, today there are 270,000 – an increase of 110,000.
- Spending on municipal wages and salaries has increased almost fourfold – from less than $200 million in 1981 to $750 million today!
- Ontario has only 38% of Canada’s population, yet 43% of the country’s municipal workforce.
Clearly, amalgamation, despite all the promises to the contrary has failed to deliver smaller, more efficient government. Even the mere talk of closing or downsizing locally resulted in attack after attack on Rob Ford for being uneducated and hating libraries, for example. It can’t be done if no one wants to admit there is duplication and waste, but then again it cannot continue to operate this way in the red…
So what went wrong?
Well for one thing, the merging of collective bargaining units meant compensation was harmonized upwards to the highest salaries and benefits for that position.
In fact, according to a Toronto Taxpayers Coalition analysis, the number of Toronto municipal employees earning $100,000 or more grew by an astounding 30% – from 5481 up to 7123 – in a single year.
Also, the layers of middle management in general administration positions were often duplicated
The bottom line from all this is obvious: local government is too big, too costly and too burdensome.
And brace yourself for some more bad news.
If Olivia Chow and her left wing NDP pals take control of the Toronto government in the next municipal election, things are guaranteed to get worse.
That’s why we need, more than ever, to stand up and promote the idea of smaller government and lower taxes.
We need a strong voice to offset the union bosses, the media and other assorted left wing groups who will be helping to push Chow’s big spending, high tax agenda while taking aim at the Fiscally Conservative candidates.
The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition will be that voice!
Indeed, they are already making a difference in Toronto politics, former Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday recently had this to say about them:
“The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition is a great organization, one that we sorely needed here a long time ago. Increases in taxes and an increases in spending by the Toronto council has gone on for so long that it’s a shame a group like this wasn’t in place to try to maybe put a stop to it earlier on.”
But we will to step up it up a notch for the next election and do even more. You can help make sure the Taxpayers’ Coalition has the resources it will need to be a force in the next municipal election.
Lots of ways. You can host fundraisers for us; you can introduce our group to your friends and business associates; you can volunteer your time, and of course you can contribute to our special municipal election fund.
But whatever you do, you need to help soon. The election is only months away, and the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition is already putting together a budget for a special “Stop Chow Now” campaign, to get out the message to voters, to expose and oppose the ruinous policies of Chow and the NDP.
That will be costly. Running an effective media campaign always is.
I’m hoping you will help, because I know you share my belief that Toronto can do better, and that we must do better. I also know that you’re willing to fight for what’s right!
So I’m asking you to donate $10, $25, $100, $500, or more to help “Stop Chow Now.”
Or better yet, sign up to make a monthly contribution automatically – it takes less than a minute to set up.
Whatever you donate, please make it the most generous contribution you can afford.
Together you and I, along with all the other Taxpayer Coalition supporters, can make a difference.
Thanks in advance for your support.
P.S. Thanks to forced dues and government funding, bug union bosses and special interest groups have lots of money to help Chow and the NDP. The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition relies on voluntary support. We rely on you and your generosity. Help us Stop Chow in 2014. Donate today.
I don’t think there is any coincidence whatsoever that the day MP Olivia Chow announces that she wishes to resign her seat with the Federal Government of Canada, to run for Mayor of Toronto that the beautiful weather here in Toronto went from 11 degrees above 0 to 25 degrees below zero.
Understanding that current Mayor Rob Ford is a bit of a… Where to start… Sideshow, to immediately think that his political views are no longer needed in Toronto would be a huge misrepresentation of the truth.
Considering candidate John Tory (a Liberal by affiliation, and fiscal conservative) said that Ford is correct that there is a lot of wasted spending which needs to be reeled in, it would therefore make reasonable sense that a typical left-wing mandate of spend, tax and spend more, would bankrupt this city.
As much as I like Karen Stintz, she can help the right-wing causes (she’s right of centre fiscally and left of centre socially) by taking aim at Chow right away. We already know how she feels about Ford and she worked on Tory’s campaign in the past.
There is also an 18-year-old running whom I saw on TV, and it’s great that the youth want to be included in the process, but Mayor is not a realistic goal when she appears to think the solution to transit woes, and high taxes and over-priced real estate is to ask – no demand – that the Provincial government and Federal government give Toronto more money.
Umm, that money is tax money and while I’m happy you earned some babysitting, if the other governments are going to give more to Toronto that means either raising taxes, or cutting spending.
My hand is up for cutting spending. Wasteful spending only please. Please no one mention libraries or books, or Margaret Atwood, or she’ll register to run too…
Someone should also tell her that in fact everyone does pay property taxes, whether owning or renting, as it’s included in rent too.
But with all that being said, the most important thing to take out of this post, is that with this election coming and all the fuss about the Fords, there are elected representatives sitting in Toronto City council who run by their own agenda and are not accountable to you, the voter.
I found, then lost, a pie chart showing the voting patterns of City Councillors since Ford was elected and there are about 5 of them who voted against the Mayor on each and every issue without fail.
If in 3-years these councillors could not find one issue to side with the Mayor on, then who are clearly not serving you, who elected them. Other councillors found common ground, but without fail some councillors just see something brought forward by the Mayor and vote against it without giving it any further thought.
Imagine if they were Mayor, and council was on the right of centre politically and every time they brought forward a motion it was voted against without fail…
They would be crying to every paper possible about council not wanting to work with them, and about a hidden agenda.
Talk to your councillor now. Ask them for their citing record and see if they truly represent your views for the city of Toronto, or if it’s time for them to find another job.
Oh, and day 2 with Chow in the race… Still looking bleak. On all fronts.
On Wednesday of this week, I was asked by the community – my former community of 8 years, actually – to investigate the disappearances of the patio on the north side of the Starbucks at 1740 Avenue Road (at St.Germain) and right across from the fantastic Safari restaurant (the best Chipotle Corn Chowder in the city and amazing lamb burgers!)
This patio means a lot to the community. There is a Facebook page devoted to making this patio and the locals who frequent it into a reality show. I could totally see that. Students, local residents, real estate agents, all kinds of people flocked to that patio to sit, chat and consume Starbucks products. This patio is one of a kind in that upper-middle class area of Toronto and It was the place to be seen… And heard.
Our urban family, often spent time hanging out there with our real estate agent, Mr. Real Estate himself, Marshall Cohen or with my in-laws where the kids would watch the world go by eating oatmeal, yogurt or mint frappuccino chip (oops, that last one was me). More common was myself with a grande Americano while the kids covered themselves in yogurt or ate the pre-packaged egg, apple, cheese snack.
Ask anyone who has sat there or walked by and they will tell you about the characters who hang out there. Some seem to be there ALL the time. One common memory was of the guy with the full-length fur coat (but not a real fur coat, that’s cruel) smoking his cigars, of the elderly couple who meet there every day to chat with the neighbour and their family before everyone heads out to the office or for a stroll.
I checked online to see if the City of Toronto had posted some patio guidelines or amended the official plan to prohibit patios from the West side of Avenue Road and found only one possible link to a draft City-wide zoning bylaw amendment to the official plan relating to Patio’s, drafted by Toronto City Planning department.
Proposed rules under the draft City-wide zoning by-law
Area 2 (part of the Former City of Toronto): -rear yard patios are not permitted in CR zones -side yard patios are permitted up to a maximum 50% of the building depth
-maximum size restriction (the greater of 30m2 or 30% of GFA)
-separation from Residential zones (40m if elevated & 10m if not elevated)
-entertainment uses not permitted
Since it is not clear to me whether or not these proposals were made permanent, or even if there was a public consultation, or if the slightly raised patio was within 10 meters of the residential property to the West of the location so I reached out to my friend, Ward 16 City Councillor Karen Stintz to ask for an update as to why the city asked Starbucks to remove the patio and why one cannot be added back to that spot. I explained the value of this patio to our community and the fact that Tim Horton’s which had just opened up further north on Avenue Road asked for and was granted a permit for a kick-ass patio, yet this Starbucks location was not.
I was curious to hear what she has to say on this matter. She is very alert to issues within her ward.
As of Friday morning I had not heard back from Karen or her office, which is fine – she’s busy with some other things too, like the TTC and aggravating the Ford brothers, but I did receive word early this morning that last night the City of Toronto swept in and re-installed the patio!
Could it have been related? I’d like to think it was an oversight on the City’s side and one phone call from Karen got the ball rolling.
Now off to enjoy the sun and try something off the Starbucks hidden menu that I posted about last week! Wonder if someone from the community will buy. ;)
Above is the St. Germain location and the patio was on the right. Below is the Roe location – on the other side of the street which also lost it’s patio.
- Are you hungrier than a 5-year-old? (urbandaddy.wordpress.com)
- http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/the-not-so-secret-secret-menu-at-starbucks-revealed/ The Not so Secret Starbucks Menu Revealed.
I update the about me section of this blog and thought it might be time to post it in order to answer questions I frequently get sent to me via email and twitter. Who I am and what I do…
I am the urban daddy because my wife of 11 years who got me into blogging in 2004 was calling herself the urban mummy. It only made sense.
I am a father of two boys, Linus (because he carries around a security blanket and a white stuffed cat which is my avatar) who is 7 and Stewie (because we feel he’s trying to kill us) who is 5. Our baby girl, Berry (who makes us laugh) is 2-years-old. We live in mid-town urban Toronto where we live our lives as a laid back, no fuss family. We eat healthy (my wife was a vegetarian for 12 years when I met and converted her – but she has recently returned to the land of veggies). She is studying to be a holistic nutritionist.
Both her and I have our Master’s degrees, her in education, me a MBA which we completed with newborns preventing us from sleeping. Crazy, eh?
I love politics, especially Canadian, and have fundraised for Councillor Karen Stintz and was approached by the Conservative Party to run municipally or provincially in my riding. I would have, except I love my job as a taxation executive.
I’m also a sports junkie, love playing ball hockey (21 years in organized league play), and watching it on TV. I also love wrestling and Star Wars so my nerd side gets equal jock play too.
I have always been on the slightly more than I should weigh side, gained that with Linus’ birth and have yet to shed it. Yes, it’s my pregnancy weight! I have been described as being freakishly strong and can run 5K in my sleep, now.
I’ve been blogging since 2004 and have made some year-end award lists, been mentioned by CBS news, asked to be on a local Canadian TV show as their daddy blogger expert and been ripped for my views by some really great people and some real jerks. My views. My opinions.
You’ll find a lot of posts about my kids, about politics, coffee, Toronto, sports, pop culture, current events and things I endorse for free, and things I think people should steer clear of.
Everything here comes out of my head and this blog is meant to allow me to empty my head of thoughts and opinions and if you choose to read and like it or if you find something offensive let me know. Just nothing personal, racist or rude. I can delete them… And block you. :)
I also blog for money, but I won’t ask, it’s a bonus and not the reason I blog. If you want an expert opinion, or a family opinion on a wide range of things, drop me an email at email@example.com. I have a large pool of contacts and connections who can assist too. I’m on twitter @urbandaddyblog and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Urban-Daddy/109554365740659?ref=ts . Find me, drop me a note, like me, vote for me… All that jazz!
Those who do not call me “Daddy” or “Urban Daddy” call me Warren, but as Linus liked to tell his teacher when we have to meet with her / him, “His name is Warren but they call him the urban daddy”.
Read on… You might actually like something here…
- Ah, those kids and the things they say… Was I this clever / funny as a kid? I doubt it. (urbandaddy.wordpress.com)
- Should I be concerned that my kids are smarter than me? (urbandaddy.wordpress.com)
- Are you hungrier than a 5-year-old? (urbandaddy.wordpress.com)
- As a Father, if you’re going to disappoint some of them, you might as well disappoint all of them… (urbandaddy.wordpress.com)
- A Daddy Blog’s Greatest Hits! ;) (adaddyblog.com)
I’ve got a lot of stuff floating around my head and I started dumping it all into this post last week so that my head would not hurt so much. As such, I was fully prepared to finish and publish this post Saturday night but it got delayed when I realized the amount of work needed to edit it for poor grammar and spelling. Saturday became Sunday, which bumped into Monday, then Tuesday… OY. So I’m hoping you are reading this and today is Wednesday.
So what happened you ask?
I sat down Sunday to work on this post and when I logged onto the Internet, I found the Twittersphere was abuzz with the Grammy awards. I used to LOVE the Grammy’s because it regularly fell on my birthday, February 21st and it was the only award show that recognized talent, not just popularity. Quality over quantity. In addition, many of the singers actually sang during their performances, and that made the show much better than other award shows where the artists lip synched and were there to look cool, and not to be respected by the music community. Those shows, ahem, MTV music awards, always looked like a giant scripted video where artists dress in torn jeans, get loaded and swore on stage. The Grammy’s, on the other hand, have always had much more class… Until this year!
I still was not going to watch the show, but someone tweeted that Bruno Mars and Alicia Keys shared the same hairstyle, and that peaked my curiosity, so on went the TV and I was hooked. To be honest, the Grammy’s and Twitter make for a great pair. I watched, tweeted, re-tweeted and met some new cool people, and got to know some of my contacts better, It made for a very interactive event and I got to share my love of music with others also in the know.
So back to my comment about how classy the Grammy’s are and how they failed Sunday night… The Grammy’s not only had two performances from Chris Brown, but they also gave him awards, Two of them. Chris Brown.
For those of you not familiar with him, he is the former boyfriend of singer Rhianna and one night he lost his temper and beat her. She went public with the picture of her battered and bruised face and instead of coming clean, Brown put a sour look on his face and carried on with his life.
So he thinks it’s okay to hit women.
That’s so not cool.
If I’m a woman (which I’m not) and I’m a R&B fan (which I’m not) or a human being who loves music (which I am), I would NEVER EVER buy, or download another Chris Brown song again. But instead of ignoring him, the Grammy’s had him perform and man the Twittersphere was not amused. What were the Grammy’s thinking??? As a matter of fact, the best R&B award had him and R. Kelly – who videotaped sex with a 15-year-old, and Kanye West is a hot-tempered, spoiled brat and a sore loser and this is the cream of the R&B crop?!? I think this category can do better, don’t you?
But what saved this award show was Adele. She was appreciative and she has a magnificent voice. That and she’s not 98 pounds means she is a role model for the next generation of woman, now Lady Gaga who looked like she got caught in a fish net on the way into the award show.
LL Cool J called Sir Paul McCartney his “homie”. LOL.
Dave Grohl, of the Foo Fighters dissed pretty much every other band by saying they recorded their Best Rock Album in their garage with a tape recorder. I believe he also dissed the performers who were not really singing. Classic.
Other random stuff:
Why do guys have to non-verbally announce the impending of bodily functions in public washrooms. The grunts, groans, “Oh my g-d’s” before and “whews” after are so not cool. Entertaining but not cool. Especially when one of my kids asks out loud why was that person grunting before they poo’d, loud enough so they can hear too.
Everyday driving home across Eglinton Avenue in Toronto, I pass a strip mall (pun intended) which has the following businesses;
A XXX Adult video store – tinted covered windows so the perverts cannot see inside
A Ready Lube
Aromatic Sensation “Massage” parlour.
I think the Ready Lube has to go… It’s bringing down the neighbourhood. lol. But seriously, do you need the ready lube to visit either of the locations?
Speaking of “massages” has anyone heard the song Pornstar dancing by My Darkest Days?
Or what about I’m Alive by Anthrax? my new favourite song next to “Call my Mamma” the WWE Brodus Clay theme song.
I’m working on a new blog post based on a comment made by TTC Chair and Toronto City councillor Karen Stintz that “Council is supreme”. Yes it is… Karen… Yes it is.
Tuesday night the Leafs lost their 4th game in a row and the Raptors lost on a last second 3-pointer from Lin-sanity himself, David Lin – in his 6th professional ball game. All this losing makes me thankful the Toronto Rock play this Saturday at home, and makes me REALLY look forward to next week when pitchers and catchers can report for Major League Baseball (MLB) spring training.
On February 19th it is the voluntary report date for pitchers, catchers and injured players to report to spring training.
February 24th, full squads may report
February 29th, is the first exhibition game between the Philadelphia Philies and Florida State University.
YAY! The truest sign that spring is on the way!
Last random thought of the day: Have any of you seen the show Ink Master? If so, it’s crazy, right! If not, let me tell you a little about if from the 20 minutes I caught yesterday.
8 people are competing to find the next best tattoo artist. The “artists” have to tattoo their “canvas” aka human beings in the manner they want. For example, one guy wanted a head tattoo, the other a celtic braid around his flabby bicep with the New York skyline sitting on top of the braid.
The concept seems completely fucked up and then you realize how truly messed up it is when they show the work done by these “artists” such as crooked work, poor shading,and pain. One guy having a head tattoo done needed to be taken to the hospital by EMT. UGH.
The way I see it the “artists” are up and coming tattoo artists and as such are prone to make mistakes – such as crooked designs or poor shading and they have to complete their art within a limited time frame, like 4 hours. So one of the tattoo artists had to do a head tattoo in 6 hours but he didn’t finish it. Then in the next competition, he got another head tattoo to do and the poor guy that wanted it must have seen the look of displeasure on his face but still went through with it. Yeah, that’s what I want… Some guy doing a tattoo on my head when he a) did one that was brutal and b) doesn’t want to do another. Yeah, stick that needle in my head, buddy. NOT.
If the intention of this show is to dissuade kids from wanting tattoos then it worked. Personally I cannot think of anything I would want to get tattooed permanently on my body, let alone by some amateur during a contest for TV. Yikes.
- Chris Brown Remains Idiot, Takes To Twitter After Grammys (manolith.com)