Week in Review: October 30, 2016

  1. Kudos for PM Justin Trudeau. I’ve given up on making the Senate an elected and effective body.  So, I’m going to say I think his efforts to make it more representative – if that’s truly what he’s trying to do – are good one.  He named 9 new senators last week and there will be many more in the coming days.  I support the idea of eliminating political Parties from the Senate – transforming it into a body of more typical Canadians who can provide a truly non-partisan review of legislation and government.  He’s not there yet.  There is still a government representative in the Senate and the rules and procedures aren’t really designed for a chamber of independents.  All that needs to change, for this initiative to work.  Let’s see how he finishes the job.  But, so far… I’m hopeful.
  1. The US presidential election is – shockingly – growing closer as polls show the gap narrowing between Clinton and Trump. The latest polls show Trump trending upwards & Clinton down – some put her just 2 points ahead nationally.  But State polls are where it’s at and projections still show Clinton with a significant advantage in the Electoral College where candidates need to win at least 270 of the total 538 Electoral College votes to lock up the presidency.  Election site Five Thirty Eight.com currently projects Clinton winning 312 of those votes, to Trump’s 225.
  1. A Mainstreet Research poll published today shows Toronto Mayor John Tory remains popular but is beatable in an election. 40% of voters polled would vote for Tory again, with 25% undecided. Doug Ford currently draws 24% of voter’s support. Other city councilors tested in the poll didn’t fare well.  Downtown Councillors Kristen Wong-Tam and Mike Layton drew 6% and 4% support respectively, while mid-town Councillor Josh Colle got 3%.  If Doug Ford does get back into politics, it’s almost certainly to be another run for mayor in 2018.  He won’t jump into provincial or federal politics because he’d expect a cabinet seat – and that would mean he’d have to put his interest in the family business in a blind trust.  The company simply isn’t set up to allow that, so it’s not currently an option for him.
  1. Toronto last week re-announced its plan to make streets safer for pedestrians. It’s reducing speed limits all over … including many main streets dropping to 40 km/h. It’s installing permanent “watch your speed” radar signs at 5 schools and buying more mobile signs.  What it’s not planning on doing, though is to introduce a 30 km/h School & Playground Speed zones instead of blanket 40 zones.  Having to change your speed in higher risk areas is a better way to ensure drivers are paying attention than simply blanketing the city with slower speed limits.
  1. Ottawa area OPP will be texting 7,500 people whose cell phones were in the area of a murder – to see if there were any witnesses. If I believed for a minute that these numbers wouldn’t live on in a database somewhere, I’d agree this is a good idea.  But I don’t.  Because they will.  And that means there will be another hackable list of my movements that can be used to attack my security and safety.  This is a bad idea.
  1. Embattled Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told an editorial board at the Toronto Star this week that he’s really going through with the transformation plans for the police service. He wants a kinder, gentler force to re-earn the respect of the community. Not sure how that explains his decision to adopt Gestapo Grey combat cars for police patrols. Or, to allow officers to turn off their new body cameras whenever it suits them.  He talks the talk.  But he definitely does not walk the walk.
  1. Toronto did lots of stuff on the Gardiner Expressway while it was completely shut down for all of last weekend. Up to 280,000 cars were pushed onto local surface roads, creating traffic chaos on Saturday – while they did 29,000 metres of crack sealing, filled 560 potholes, replaced 100 light bulbs and paved 6.2 lane km of road.  What they didn’t do… was pave the rest of the dilapidated deck zone left over after the years-long repair to the elevated deck.  I thought that was the whole idea?  When will that get done?

 

HERO OF THE WEEK

A 20-year old Washington State woman is selling her virginity at a licensed Nevada brothel – with hopes to raise enough cash to rebuild her family’s home that burned down in 2014.  She’s doing it, she says, because she loves her family.  Bidding is currently up to $400,000.  I guess you can put a price on love.

 

STUPID OF THE WEEK

At the University of King’s College in Halifax, a student pub called the Wardroom planned a "Wu Tan Clang night" on Monday – when they'd play only music by the popular black rap group.  But, managers cancelled the event because they were afraid white people (the majority of their clientele) might sing along with the music, repeating the N*word, and this would create a dangerous space for non-white people.  And that, would disrespect the black artists.  No word on whether they were concerned about the "cultural misappropriation" of the group's Asian band name.

Instead, pub managers decided to play instrumental music all night in order to illustrate "the importance of language in music."

Well, that's just stupid.