Friday morning news recap

Sept. 28, 2018

By Arianne Robinson

Mayoral debates get underway this week with Faith Goldy, fare-free transit, and a look to a former Soviet state for TTC ideas. Called a “neo-Nazi sympathizer” who “dabbles in anti-Semitism, flirts with fascism, and carefully toes the line on the ‘JQ’ (‘Jewish Question’)” by Alheli Picazo on Canadaland this week, mayoral candidate Faith Goldy was escorted out of Monday’s ArtsVote debate before it began. If you don’t know Goldy, The Globe and Mail’s Denise Balkissoon also wrote this week about the woman who is often associated with sympathizing with white supremacists. The polling company Mainstreet Research published a poll this week that said six per cent of the 802 decided voters surveyed support Goldy. The poll has Mayor John Tory with 61.8 per cent, and former chief city planner Jennifer Keesmaat with 25.6 per cent. Then in transit politics, mayoral candidate Saron Gebresellassi pushed free transit as a right at the Global News debate. “There will be a time in this city when people will say that transit is a right,” Gebresellassi said. “The City of Toronto can afford free transit… this is one of the wealthiest cities in the world, and so for the working class people in the city of Toronto $3.25 is way too punitive.” The other three candidates wouldn’t commit. “It’s an amazing idea… but it’s going to take some doing to get it there and it’s going to take a buy in from most of the city,” mayoral candidate Sarah Climenhaga said.  “I actually [give] a clear no. We can’t do it right now,” Tory said. “I think free transit is a dream. It’s a wonderful dream. I think it’s a very difficult thing to achieve in most cities in the world, in fact I don’t know of cities in the world where that actually exists –,” Keesmaat said before Gebresellassi interrupted her. “Estonia has free transit.” Hat tip to David Rider’s tweet for drawing attention to Feargus O’Sullivan’s story in CityLab, “Estonia Will Roll Out Free Public Transit Nationwide.”

Getting ready to put up with pot. This week, the provincial government tabled legislation for legalizing cannabis which includes how municipalities will license the selling of marijuana. A backgrounder from the Ministry of the Attorney General says the province will provide $40 million over two years to help municipalities. On Thursday at the Toronto Police College, Mayor John Tory was asked for his comment on the changes to cannabis legalization and the effects on the city. “The reality that applies to most things in the life of this country. People call first to their local government. They don’t understand the difference necessarily – nor would I expect them to between, you know, the federal and the provincial and the municipal governments – they call the level of government they feel closest to. It’s one of the concerns I had very profoundly about the change in the composition of the council,” Tory said, calling on the other levels of government to compensate the city with additional costs incurred in keeping citizens safe through the transition.

Signs go up on lawns for mayor, city councillors, school board trustee… and local journalism? Yesterday (Thursday) was the first day candidates could put up lawn signs of support. We took to Twitter to see who has Tweeted what about lawn signs, and found the West End Phoenix, a Toronto community publication, is also campaigning. Termed as “slow news” by the paper’s founder and former band member of the Rheostatics, Dave Bidini was not available for comment about the campaign on Thursday night as he was launching his book, Midnight Light, and the second year of the West End Phoenix. Here are some tweets of signs in Toronto as of Thursday night.

Screenshot of @6ixelation’s tweet with pictures of Chris Moise campaigning.
Screenshot of @6ixelation’s tweet with pictures of Chris Moise campaigning.
Screenshot of @tylerjohnsonca’s tweet with a picture of signs for Kristyn Wong-Tam.
Screenshot of @tylerjohnsonca’s tweet with a picture of signs for Kristyn Wong-Tam.
Screenshot of @keerthanarang’s tweet (she’s the Director of Communications and Tour for Tory’s campaign) with a picture of her putting up a sign for John Tory.
Screenshot of @keerthanarang’s tweet (she’s the Director of Communications and Tour for Tory’s campaign) with a picture of her putting up a sign for John Tory.
Screenshot of @hockeyesque’s tweet with a picture of a sign to support the West End Phoenix.
Screenshot of @hockeyesque’s tweet with a picture of a sign to support the West End Phoenix.

Are there election signs in your neighbourhood? We’d love to see your photos… please tag @signaltoronto on Facebook or Twitter for pictures of Toronto elections.

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