Tag Archives: Toronto

(218) Panhandling

As near as the Research Department can tell, panhandling refers to begging for food for a man’s family in North America during the Great Depression.  Holding out a cooking pot for passersby to place spare change in told others the intentions for the money were honourable.  Certainly begging has been around as long as human society has.  Out on the highway off ramps of suburbia it seems to have arrived, just a little later than the rest of us maybe…

As poverty gets pushed to the suburbs so does panhandling Open File

image: Ed Yourdon via Wikimedia Commons

(216) NEWS FLASH: Ford gored & Toronto floored

Conflict of interest has torpedoed Rob Ford.  Like a vacuum cleaner sucking up a budgie, a Toronto judge today ordered that city’s mayor out of office.  Many observers of life here found that this bicycle-hating mayor, an inarticulate, privileged and robust fellow, previously a councillor for Etobicoke, represented one of the worst possible choices for high office in the largest city in the country.

Indeed, goodbye Mayor Ford! Hopefully this is a major nail in the coffin of neoconservatism in Canada.  For decades now these politicos making forays into public office from the right wing just turn out to be bullies and dishonest idiots with no respect for government or the people they are supposed to serve.  They sucker middle class voters and small business owners with promises of tax cuts and simplified solutions to the crises of the moment. No sophistication, no vision, no intelligence just cranky reactionism. And then what do you get from them in office? Mediocrity and bullshit is what. Shame on Toronto for electing this man in the first place, shame on him for being him. Here’s hoping the largest city in the country, the nation’s business and media capital doesn’t go Ford itself ever again.

This shows us that the neoconservatives are not purveyors of some natural, sensible philosophy.  When it comes to municipal life, the layer of government having the most direct influence on the most number of people, they are brutally unsophisticated players on a reactionary mission that is totally inappropriate.  This includes their relationships with business.

This is why power and privilege are given to judges in a liberal democracy where the laws are based on a British system.  That power and privilege may not always be used well or in ways we immediately comprehend and that make us happy.  In this particular case, all three of these things are present.

Cyclists are a pain in the ass YouTube “I will retract the word ass.”

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford brought ouster on himself Toronto Star editorial

photo: Martin Addison via Wikimedia Commons

(196) Prisons demo

The brand new Metro West Detention CentreIn the Toronto area earlier this month there was a small demonstration to protest federal policy in regard to prison construction and an emerging, American-style, tough-on-crime policy.  The event went by mainstream media and the public despite the merits of the ideas being put forward.  Why are we getting new, large prisons and harsher sentences when crime rates have been going down in Canada?  Why dump socially excluded people in jails and cut back on social programs?  Why are we even having this conversation?

Protestors target prison building architecture conference
Aids Action Now

(181) Working poor in Toronto [Report]

Flag of Toronto
T is for Toronto

T is for ten dollars and twenty-five cents an hour
T is for “totally sucks”

…which it does when you try and get by on that, the minimum wage, there.  The fact Canada is a lucky country in many ways is all very nice but that should not be used  to dismiss the need to improve wages, reduce inequality, crack down on slum landlords and build better public transit in Toronto.

Metcalf Foundation study: working poor numbers way up in Toronto

photo: alexindigo via Wikimedia Commons

(153) Atlas of Suburbanisms

One of the editorial interns at suburban-poverty.com came across a fantastic resource today: The Atlas of Suburbanisms from Waterloo University.  Just getting to say a word like suburbanisms brings a joy to our hearts, …let alone the content!
The content is, of course, what’s important and as a tool for literacy in Canadian suburbia this site is powerful stuff.  The focus is Canada’s three largest urban-suburban agglomerations: Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.  Other communities are also examined.  The information is timely, well presented.  The more we read, the more we look at the maps and tables and analysis the more impressed we are with this site.  Part of the problem of understanding suburban life lies in the difficulty of agreeing to the language to apply to it.  The Atlas of Suburbanisms takes us beyond this initial confusion, shows us what is there, …shows us ourselves!

Atlas of Suburbanisms

(146) It’s not where you live, it’s how you live

Neither urban or suburban: FallingwaterMaking a choice between suburban living and some other kind, or even choosing to see much difference between the two at all, has been a proposition since the suburbs were born.  Now, late in the day for cheap energy and E-Z money, the question is defined anew.  Recently political actors in Toronto expressed both sides of the question in a place where the suburbs and the city are, if anything, becoming more alike.  The amalgamation of the old downtown City of Toronto with its sprawlshed never really sat well with anybody and yet it seems the language for describing the differences between city and suburb is much weaker than it should be.

Raising children in the city vs the suburbs Huffington Post

Do the suburbs make you selfish? Time Business

(139) Toronto builds & builds

A lot of the change in the suburbs is driven by change in the city.  Toronto is among the five largest cities in North America and has a tower building boom going on that appears to outdo the others on the list combined.  The idea of finding a family home in the central city or the inner, older suburbs of Toronto seems to be rapidly becoming obsolete for all but the wealthiest people.  This brings Toronto into line with many other global cities where international financial muscle, physical geography, and high population growth rates shape life.  This type of change pushes working people outward.  The distance pushed goes up even more for those in social difficulty.

The ‘Manhattanization’ of Toronto will change family-housing dreams CBC

(130) Every day is poverty day

Destitution Day arrived June 7th.  The new D-Day is a tool of Social Planning Toronto designed to help Canada’s largest, richest, busiest city understand where it is at regarding poverty.  Put simply, this is the day a single person collecting social assistance runs out of money.  So, no, in case you were wondering Destitution Day is not generating a lot of happy talk or positive feeling.  The statistics about poverty contained in the report are pretty distressing.  It is said that nearly all the wards of the city contain the equivalent of a small town living in poverty, even the one’s with the highest incomes.  And yes, the suburbs are well represented.

Social Planning Toronto releases first-ever poverty profiles of the city’s 44 wards on Destitution Day Toronto Star

http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/

http://www.povertyfreetoronto.org/

(110) Inequality forum

LAMP has been a social services presence in Etobicoke for some time now and so it makes sense that they would help bring an Economic Inequality forum to Toronto’s west end.  The forum, one of three so far, is designed to get dialogue and action going in regard to the way societies like this one have just become giant machines for making the rich richer.  This is the considered, brainy, indoors, post-Occupy response I think a lot of us have been looking forward to seeing for a while now.   The suburban character of poverty, everything from aging highrises to the need for public transit spending, was fully acknowledged. Kay Blair, John Sewell and David Hulchanski spoke on behalf of the need to develop a broad popular agenda in favour of changing inequality.  The event was quite audience friendly and the reasonable array of ideas, the well-considered social awareness in evidence was a lovely contrast to the kind of reactive nonsense we hear from right wing critters in public office and in the media too often.
We told them so on their Facebook page!  They gave out some literature about inequality, gathered suggestions and the Etobicoke Guardian covered the event.  Hopefully this is going somewhere.

The next related event is at Metropolitan United Church on March 26.

Economic Inequality home page
Economic Inequality Facebook