Week in Review: January 8, 2017

Catch The Week in Review audio from #TheBestShowEver on Newstalk1010 here!

  1. There was a crash on the Gardiner just after midnight Tuesday and somehow it took 8 hours to open the Expressway again. The cops explained some of the delay by saying they learned at the last minute of a new lead on a third vehicle believed to have sped away from the scene. Somehow, this created a need to re-survey the accident scene. Surely, not! I would have thought once you've collected all the evidence and photographed all the angles, you would have collected all the evidence and photographed all the angles. Shows what I know. Why can't Toronto Police purchase the same kind of aerial drones that other police forces use to map out accident scenes in minutes instead of hours? Time matters on an expressway. #90MinutesToClear must become the standard.
  1. According to Toronto Police, 1,390 people were charged with Impaired Driving in the City in 2016. This is 48 more than were charged in 2015 – an increase of just 1.39%  When you factor a 1.6% increase in Toronto’s population, the rate of Impaired Driving dropped by a fraction of 1 percent.  More interesting is the trend in what was impairing drivers.  Drunk Driving charges dropped by 3% (4.44% when population growth is factored in) while Drug Driving charges increased threefold.
  1. I have a challenge for you. Many of us are up in arms about the provincial government – swearing they should be voted out of office. Many of us are unhappy with our municipal governments, wherever they may be. Next year, we have a chance to make changes – there’s a provincial election in the summer of 2018 and municipal elections in the fall. This, then, is the year to get involved. Get politically active. Join a provincial Party. Find a candidate you like. If you can’t find one you love, then be a candidate. Now is the time to be thinking about it. And, I’m here to help. Between now and next year, I’m going to spend some time on my radio show  – some time on this blog – and I’m going to put together some learning opportunities to help you become a candidate or a campaign volunteer. Stay tuned for more information!
  1. Speaking of running for office, there are 29 of our friends and neighbours registered to run for Council in Scarborough’s Ward 42 – where a By-Election will be held Feb. 13 to replace Raymond Cho who was elected to provincial parliament last year. It takes guts to put your name on the ballot. I thank each of them and wish them all luck.
  1. Hey, it’s 2017 and cholesterol is good for you again! Sort of. After 40 years of dire warnings about consuming foods high in cholesterol, the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has decided to drop its anti-cholesterol caution. The new finding follows a change in thinking among nutritionists who now say that eating foods with cholesterol does not significantly affect the amount of cholesterol in your blood or increase your risk of heart disease. Having high levels of “Bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood is still a risk factor – but nutritionists now think it’s your lifestyle, not eating high-cholesterol foods, that causes it.
  1. Toronto’s Day Care industry is up in arms (again) as city staff have (again) recommended that the city subsidy to private daycares operating in schools be discontinued. [See. p23 "Phase out Occupancy Grants" here] This would put those daycares on a level playing field with other daycares that don't get city-subsidized rent in non-school buildings. It’s a move that makes sense – but is unlikely to go far. City staff recommend this cut almost every year, knowing Councillors will focus their energies on beating it out of the budget. Meanwhile, they won’t spend as much time looking through the rest of the budget. It’s a distraction technique that works every time.
  1. Mayor John Tory says he wants TTC Special Constables to be able to write traffic tickets and tow cars parked in bus lanes and otherwise impeding transit vehicles. Great idea! The Premier should very quickly oblige. I’d even go one further. All City Parking Wardens should be trained and authorized to direct traffic and pull-over and ticket moving cars that are blocking intersections during rush hours. Let’s get this city moving.
  1. A report last week from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives showed that salaries of Canada’s 100 best-paid corporate CEOs have reached a record high average of $9.5 million. That’s 193 times the average employee’s salary. I don’t believe government should cap private sector wages – at any level. But, even I look askance at the salaries that corporate boards are paying senior executives, especially CEOs, these days. There IS a problem. I believe in pay for performance. And, I believe if you’re contributing significant value to an organization, you should reasonably expect to be rewarded with a fair share of that value. But, there comes a point when it’s ridiculous. There is really no need, ever, to pay anyone hundreds of millions of dollars. At some point, it stops being about compensation and starts being about bragging rights. Their contribution simply does not hold that much intrinsic value. And money is a finite commodity. It’s not unlimited. The more we put into one pocket, the less that is available for other workers who also add value – or for shareholders who’ve risked their capital on the enterprise. Pay workers more – based on performance – and return more reward to shareholders who can use it to invest in another business enterprise. You can do that and still pay your CEO millions and millions of dollars. That’s better for her – it’s better for the business – it’s better for shareholders and it’s better for our society.

  

HERO OF THE WEEK

24 year-old Canadian Nazzareno Tassone was killed fighting ISIS on Dec. 21, 2016.

24-year old Nazzareno Tassone was an Edmonton parking control officer with no military experience when he decided he needed to do something to help defeat the scourge of ISIS in Syria. He left Canada in June last year and has been fighting ISIS face-to-face as part of the Kurdish militia in Syria since then. He was killed in action on December 21st. Canadians have a long history of volunteering for foreign wars – often seeking youthful adventure, but also feeling a compulsion to do something to right a wrong. To stand up for the innocent in the face of evil. Fighting in Syria is almost medieval. Every soldier, including Tassone, is essentially cannon fodder. They are not well-trained. They are not-well equipped. They are not-well supported. Fighting there is terrifying and Tassone would have experienced that terror first-hand. Yet, he stayed. Doing something he believed was important. That he believed was right. I think it was too. And, I think he’s a special kind of hero because of it.

 

STUPID OF THE WEEK

Connected Toaster links with other Griffin Home products for seamless integration into your daily routine.

Griffin Technology unveiled its latest must-have appliance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. As part of its Griffin Home initiative, the company introduced “The next step in making mornings as streamlined as possible: the Connected Toaster, a full-featured digital toaster that helps users toast smarter. This Bluetooth-enabled smart toaster is controlled by a companion smartphone app to offer personalized settings for the perfect slice, every time. Connected Toaster is a two-slot toaster with digital temperature adjustment and settings for bread type, darkness, even gluten-free breads. Once you’ve dialed in your preferences, the app remembers how you like it. Connected Toaster links with other Griffin Home products for seamless integration into your daily routine.” It retails for $100.

Because fumbling with your iPhone is just so much easier than sliding the little lever a bit to the right.