I have had quite a few people in the GTA inform me that they saw a large fireball over Lake Ontario. Unfortunately, the media has not exactly been forthcoming on details. Did you see it? It was approximately 9:03 pm. Thanks!
Some 50 intellectuals and filmmakers including Briton Ken Loach have accused the Toronto film festival of complicity with an ‘Israeli propaganda campaign’.
The Toronto International Film Festival chose this year to present 10 films by local filmmakers on the Israeli metropolis for its ‘City to City’ program, which each year focuses its lens on a different city.
This year’s program was devoted to Tel Aviv and the Jaffa area. However, the choice led to protests that the film festival was ‘staging a propaganda campaign’ on Israel’s behalf, given ‘the absence of Palestinian filmmakers in the program’, said an open letter to festival organizers.
The program, it said, “ignores the suffering of thousands of former residents and descendants of the Tel Aviv/Jaffa area who currently live in refugee camps in the Occupied Territories” after a “mass exiling of the Palestinian population” in 1948.
“Looking at modern, sophisticated Tel Aviv without also considering the city’s past and the realities of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip, would be like rhapsodizing about the beauty and elegant lifestyles in white-only Cape Town or Johannesburg during apartheid without acknowledging the corresponding black townships of Khayelitsha and Soweto.”
The 50 signatories to the letter include Canadian sociologist Naomi Klein, British filmmaker Ken Loach, American actress Jane Fonda and several other filmmakers.
As I was leaving on Saturday, this waved goodbye to me on the 401.
Glad I am gone!!
I am now living in my small community. At first, people looked at me like an alien. The second day, things got much better. I am very happy here, the people are friendly, the food is actually GOOD and I have escaped the horrible greater Toronto area.
No airplanes, no noise, no pretentious idiocy…just simplicity. I love it. I can actually see the stars at night.
I do not really have a lot to complain about, to be honest. Meet docile Heidi. Have not been a rural-dweller in many moons, so I am getting used to it. Noisiest thing is the church bells ringing, lol.
If you are languishing in the city, I hope you can escape, if that is your desire. I am telling you, it is well worth the price.
Now that I am actually away from the nightmare, I can look back and laugh about it. I never thought I would see that day. Just a few days and I am releasing the negativity, slowly but surely…
Moving. Will not be online until sometime next week. I must admit, I am a bit nervous. I have been a city-dweller for a long time, so I am getting thrown into a new situation that I have not been in since I was a child. Okay, not a bit nervous, VERY nervous. I haven’t spoken French in a bit, either, so this will be different. I will issue my scathing essay on life in Mississauga when I get back online.
Hopefully, nothing earth shattering happens…;)
I promise myself to avoid downtown Toronto from now on.
TORONTO — About 24,000 unionized city workers walked off the job Monday morning, setting the stage for garbage pile-ups, closed daycare centres, cancelled summer programs and even the postponement of weddings.
Despite six months of negotiations and last-ditch efforts ahead of the 12:01 a.m. Monday deadline, the city and the two CUPE unions — which represent indoor and outdoor workers — left the bargaining table Sunday night without a satisfactory collective agreement.
The walkout does not affect fire, police, ambulance, TTC, water or sewage services.
Mayor David Miller expressed his disappointment that talks with the union had broken down. “City negotiators worked very hard to put the kind of proposals forward that would have resulted in a fair agreement. It is regrettable that those were not accepted by locals 416 and 79,” he said in a statement.
The mayor also asked for patience from Toronto residents.
“While we will continue to negotiate with the union locals during a strike, I want residents and businesses to know that we are working in their interests to protect the future of services in our city,” the mayor’s statement said.
A union president said the city approached outdoor workers with a proposal, but that offer was “complete garbage” and amounted to a “vicious attack” on workers.
“We ask that city negotiators get serious,” said Mark Ferguson, president of the union representing roughly 6,200 outdoor workers. “We never wanted to go on strike.”
Ferguson said the union would be prepared to bargain into the week, adding that he hoped the strike would be short-lived.
The strike means 57 city daycare centres will be closed, leaving roughly 2,000 children and their parents out of luck.
Most residential garbage and recycling collection is on hold, city camps and classes have been cancelled and wedding facilities have been shut down, though ceremonies will continue as usual at Toronto City Hall.
A union spokeswoman said that a resolution hangs on certain deal-breakers such as seniority rights, wages and sick-pay — the last of which is among the most contentious and allows workers to cash in on unused sick-days upon retirement.
City workers get 18 sick days a year and cashing them in would cost the city an estimated hundreds of millions in payouts.
A 2002 strike by city workers saw streets littered with trash stewing under the hot summer sun. The week’s forecast calls for warm and sunny weather.
In a bid to keep the trash off the streets, the city’s website asks that residents “properly package and store their garbage for the first week of the strike,” asking families to keep garbage in their homes or drop it off at a short list of locations.
The strike comes amid talk of a possible LCBO strike set to begin early Wednesday.
City services will be sharply curtailed if Toronto workers walk off the job late Sunday night, officials said yesterday – but property taxes are due as usual.
As the city announced plans to close daycare centres, suspend garbage pickup and cancel ferry service for Toronto Island picnickers in the event of a strike, it reminded residents that property tax bills have been issued and remain “due as per the due dates identified on your tax bill.”
And just a reminder: Parking enforcement officers, who aren’t part of either local, will remain on the job if there’s a strike, handing out tickets as usual.
City manager Joe Pennachetti told a packed City Hall news conference yesterday that the city still hopes to avoid a strike: “We do not want a strike, and we believe a strike is unnecessary.”
But he repeated the city’s bargaining mantra that money is tight.
“During a recession, demand for city services increases while the revenue to pay the cost of delivering these services is generally reduced,” he said. “Therefore, the cost of our wages and benefits needs to reflect what is truly affordable.”
Meanwhile, Pat Daley, a spokesperson for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, painted a grim picture, saying no significant progress has been made since last week, when union leaders warned the talks were heading for trouble.
“No, things are not looking great,” Daley told reporters. The union says the city initially tabled 118 pages of concessions, and “most of that stuff is still there,” Daley said.
Both CUPE Local 416, representing outside workers, and Local 79, representing inside workers, are in a legal strike position as of one minute past midnight on Monday morning.
The city unveiled its contingency plans yesterday.
At the top of the list of hardships: 57 daycare centres will close their doors if workers strike.
Garbage pickup is another huge headache, although Etobicoke residents won’t be affected because they have pickup by a private firm, as do residents of most highrise buildings.
But as of Tuesday (there’s no pickup on Mondays), 400,000 single-family households would have no garbage service, leaving residents with the choice of storing trash on their property or lugging it to one of seven transfer stations around the city.
About 20,000 businesses would also be affected.
Additional drop-off sites will be announced if a strike is prolonged.
“It’s certainly going to be a skeleton service here, and it’s going to be hardship to a lot of people,” said Councillor Doug Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre).
Mayor David Miller, who has left the job of negotiating to city staff, “will be on the job no matter what the situation,” spokesman Stuart Green said yesterday.
He wouldn’t say whether Miller would cross picket lines to reach his office.
Miller and other councillors won’t have to worry about doing so to attend council meetings, however: They’ll be cancelled for the duration because the support staff who prepare documents, set up sound systems and take minutes are union members.
A strike could spell trouble for the Pride Parade on June 28, but city officials said Pride and other festivals can go ahead if organizers make arrangements for services such as street cleanup, which is normally provided by city workers.
Tracey Sandilands, executive director for Gay Pride, said event organizers have contingency plans in place, including paying $15,000 to $20,000 to a private company to handle garbage generated from all official Pride Week events.
“We won’t be leaving the (Gay Pride) sites full of garbage,” she said.
Daley said the union would be “very disappointed to see someone else hired to do our members’ work if they’re on strike, especially with Pride.”
Unhappy observers of yesterday’s strike plans included Toronto’s non-unionized professional and technical staff, who have their own association. City council froze their cost of living increases for this year, with a 1 per cent increase for next year.
Richard Majkot, executive director of the staff association, said the non-union staff still feel bruised.
“They’re going to be there to assist the city,” he said. “They may not be as eager as they normally would be to help the city, but they’re going to be there.”
Hmm….if I were in Saudi Arabia, wonder if they would be this accommodating?
Meh…probably not. This is in a very busy mall in the Toronto area. This is just insane.
For the initiated, this is their information…
Full hair and esthetic services. Registered massage therapist. We do proms, weddings, hair extensions, corrective coloring, spiral perms, and beauty products.
This truly disgusts me.
They’re private security guards, already on patrol, but they may soon have the powers of Chicago Police officers.
As CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, the private security officers now on patrol on the city’s Far South Side are expected to have their powers expanded as part of a citywide ordinance now being prepared.
But officials are questioning whether this means public safety is being outsourced.
Mayor Richard M. Daley has already privatized many city functions. The Chicago Skyway has been leased to a Spanish conglomerate. Midway Airport is run by a Canadian company. The parking meters were sold to a firm run by Morgan Stanley, and as a result, the cost of parking in the city has skyrocketed.
But the question is whether another foreign firm providing cops on patrol may be privatization gone too far.
A single squad car, marked “special patrol,” cruises up and down a small commercial strip on far south Michigan Avenue tonight. Its patrol area is between 100th and 116th streets, and area merchants have their doubts.
“As good as they may be, I don’t think they probably have all the training that a policeman would have,” said business owner Howard Bolling.
But the security guards are not supposed to replace Chicago Police officers, according to the alderman writing the ordinance. He said the enforcement powers of the private security group would remain highly limited.
“No traffic violations such as moving violations – such as moving violations. Small things – illegally parked, blocking the parking,” said Ald. Anthony Beale (9th).
That wasn’t exactly what Mayor Daley thought when he was asked about it on Saturday. He said the security force would have the power to enforce “moving violations and citations including loitering, littering and graffiti.”
This means they’re still working on it. But Beale was asked what would happen when they security officers tried to detain someone who didn’t want to be detained and didn’t respect their authority as they would a police officer’s.
“Next thing you know, guns are drawn, and you have a real problem,” Levine posited.
Replied Beale: “I’m not going to say what the future may hold. We can all predict unforeseen situations.”
Mayor Daley said the city would benefit from the extra patrols.
“It’s not a bad idea. You maybe have to refine it, but it’s not a bad idea,” the mayor said.
With Chicago Police stretched so thin, just having a few extra cars and extra uniforms is comforting to some people. The J. Carolina Hosiery store, for example, was robbed 14 times in the last year.
“The stores are being robbed, and then they’re getting extorted, and you have the little gangbangers running in and out of stores trying to rob people,” said store supervisor Larry McCullough.
Since the private security patrols arrived, the robberies have continued, “but it’s slowing down, because it seems like more of the stores have to have their own guns and their own security.”
In addition to the Fraternal Order of Police being against it, experts tell CBS 2 that asking private security guards to conduct police functions is dangerous, and potentially fatal, with most security guards paid much less and receive less training. Chicago’s Police Supt. Jody Weis calls it all a work in progress.
“Let’s be creative,” Weis said. “If we can have police officers focusing on higher priority cases, it’s worth talking about.”
CBS 2 wanted to ask the Toronto-based firm which was the lowest bidder for contracts in the 9th and 10th wards about the background and training of its officers. Also in question was is how much experience the Canadian company has with the inner city problems which make the Roseland community a challenge for even the most streetwise Chicago Police professionals. The firm has not yet returned calls.