ROB FORD – POLITICAL DISTRACTION?

What is happening in Toronto, Ontario Canada?  Toronto has been all over the news due to the mayor’s ‘crack-cocaine and excessive drinking’ scandal.  Will this be the legacy of Toronto’s latest mayor instead of his policies?  As a citizen of Toronto since 1973, I don’t ever remember there being a mayoral scandal that has had as much media attention as this.  Here are the mayor’s that I remember and a brief review of some of their accomplishments/scandals:

Art Eggleton (Liberal)  December 1980 – November 1991

  • Produced record level of social housing projects for low-income people.
  • 50 acres (200,00 m2) of new parks.
  • moved forward on implementing its new official plan which resulted in several new significant buildings in the downtown west, or railway land areas, including:  The Convention Centre, Skydome and The CBC Broadcast Centre.
  • Instrumental in the establishment of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund and other environmental programs that resulted in the City receiving a United Nations award.

***Did not support Toronto’s lesbian and gay community at their annual Gay Pride parade***

June Rowlands (Liberal)  December 1991 – November 1994

  • First female mayor of Toronto.
  • Came under fire for hiring a relative for a municipal position without an advertised process.
  • Best remembered and blamed for banning pop group ‘Barenaked Ladies’ from performing at a City Hall function, claiming that the name objectified women (Rowlands was out-of-town during this and it later became know that it was a mayoral staffer that thought the group’s name objectified women).
  •  Gained further notoriety when she seemed to be staggeringly uninformed about—and even completely unaware of—a large-scale youth riot that had shut down parts of Yonge Street, Toronto’s main street located just one block east of City Hall.

Barbara Hall (Liberal)  December 1994 - December 1997

  • 61st mayor of Toronto.
  • Last mayor to run before Toronto’s amalgamation of municipalities.
  • First Toronto mayor to participate and march in Toronto’s lesbian and gay Pride Parade.

POST-AMALGAMATION

Mel Lastman (Progressive Conservative)  January 1998 - November 2003

  • Prior to amalgamation – Mel Lastman was mayor of North York from 1972 to 1997 (Under the provincial leadership of Progressive Conservative, Mike Harris, Lastman’s position was abolished due to the city’s amalgamation.
  • Supported by many in North York for operating the city effectively and efficiently and for keeping property taxes low.
  • Gained national attention after multiple snowstorms, including the blizzard of 1999 and effectively closed the city.
  • Re-elected in November of 2000 with 80% of the vote.
  • Brought World Youth Day to Toronto in 2002.
  • Succeeded in pushing the development of the TTC’s Sheppard Subway line (the first new subway in decades).
  • Decided to officially recognize Gay and Lesbian Pride Week as opposed to Pride Day.

David Miller (New Democratic Party/Independent)  December 2003 - November 2010

  • Announced $70 million in waterfront investments over five years, dedicated toward new board walks, promenades, public places and related attractions (which resulted in Toronto having its first urban beach).
  • Mayoral run was endorsed by American environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
  • David Miller’s first term in office focused on issues such as waterfront renewal, public transit and municipal reform.

Rob Ford (Independent/Progressive Conservative)  December 2010 - incumbent

  • Cancelled $60 personal vehicle registration tax.
  • Balanced frist budget with no tax increases and no significant changes – the budget used a surplus from 2010 and reserve funds to avoid raising taxes.
  • 2012 budget consultation review of services provided indicated a $700 million shortfall with no new taxes or cuts made.

Rob Ford has constantly been surrounded by controversy and unfortunately, that is what he will most likely be remembered for.  People don’t want to focus on the good that our politicians can initiate and accomplish when the scandals are much more interesting and what makes them like us.  Here are some of Rob Ford’s much publicized controversies:

  1. Arrested for DUI (drinking under the influence) and marijuana possession in Miami (1999).  Marijuana charge was withdrawn.
  2. Removed from a Maple Leafs hockey game for being visibly intoxicated and belligerent.
  3. In 2005 – Ford spoke out against donating $1.5 million to help prevent AIDS by saying, “If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn’t get AIDS probably, that’s bottom line…those are the facts.”
  4. In 2007 – Ford remarked about cyclists – “What I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks.  Sooner or later you’re going to get bitten… Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes.  My heart bleeds for them when I hear someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.”
  5. In 2008, he made a statement about Asians -  “Those Oriental people work like dogs.  They work their hearts out.  They are workers non-stop.  They sleep beside their machines.  That’s why they’re successful in life.  I went to Seoul, South Korea, I went to Taipei, Taiwan.  I went to Tokyo, Japan.  That’s why these people are so hard workers.  I’m telling you, the Oriental people, they’re slowly taking over.”
  6. Conflict of Interest Trial (2010) – the City of Toronto’s integrity commissioner ruled that then-Councillor Ford had not followed City Council’s Code of Conduct by using official letterhead and other council resources in fund-raising letters for his football foundation.
  7. On-going claims that Rob Ford is and alcoholic and smokes crack regularly.
  8. Hired known criminal as personal driver, paying him in access of $150,000/year.
  9. Asking municipal staff to complete personal tasks at his residence and often after hours.

Here is the most recent interview in which Rob Ford and his brother, councillor Doug Ford speak to CBC’s Peter Mansbridge:

In the first 3 minutes Rob Ford makes 3 comments that are not true:

1.  “The people elected me with the largest mandate in Canada’s history.”  FACT:  Mel Lastman had approximately 100,000 more votes in 2000 than Ford did in the 2010 election.

2.  “Having the lowest tax increase of any major city in North America.”  FACT:  Windsor, Ontario, Canada and San Antonio, Texas, USA, have tax freezes which have been in place for a lengthy period now.

3.  “I’ve showed up every day to work for the last 13 years.” FACT:  Rob Ford was declared absent from committee or council meetings 84 times out of 440 meetings.  Which constitutes an absentee record of 19% – attendance records for all councillors can be found via the following link:  http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/getAdminReport.do

Mayor Rob Ford has been in worldwide media, but not for his policies or the positive changes he has implemented but for his personal life.  He has given comedians around the world material that will last decades – he has been the topic of discussion on late night shows such as;  Real Time With Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Jay Leno and David Letterman.  We are all responsible for the ‘celebrity status’ of our politicians.  This is wrong.  They should be held accountable for engaging in behaviour that is against the law, disrespectful, homophobic, racist and irresponsible. 

Clearly – Mayor Ford has to ensure that he gets his personal life in order prior to retaining his duties as mayor of Canada’s largest city.  Mayor Ford (or any other mayor), should not be allowed to lie to the people who elected him.  His behaviour is not mayoral.  If a CEO of a major corporation displayed the same behaviour and incompetence that Mr. Ford has shown – shareholders would ensure the removal of that CEO.  Toronto City Council was accurate in revoking the mayor’s powers until he is fit to resume those duties.  The mayor is a representation of the city’s people and Mr. Ford has certainly been vocal on many social issues which are not respective and inclusive of Toronto’s very diverse community.  This is why more people need to get involved in the democratic process to ensure we elect government representation that is reflective of all their constituents.

Mr. Ford’s behaviour is not conducive to creating positive change in the world – which is clearly evident in some of his quotes above.  But, we must not allow this distraction to deter us from what needs to happen in our municipalities, towns, cities and countries.  People are becoming increasingly agitated about our government officials self-serving needs.  They need representation that will focus on the issues of our time – like the environment, social and financial inequality, health, unemployment, poverty and crime.  Instead of focusing on these issues – they continue to neglect the environment, promote tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, forget about the health care system, and are responsible for committing crimes themselves.

I hope that Rob Ford manages to get his personal life in order, for his own sake.  But, reality is – WE NEED A REVOLUTION of positive change and it isn’t going to happen when we keep elected these self-serving politicians.

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!

WAKE UP! WE NEED A REVOLUTION!

Are we tired yet?  Are we going to continue to keep walking around with no regard for what is taking place on this planet?  Corporations are raping the earth of its natural resources, governments are siding with big corporations, citizens around the world are being bullied not to speak out, we are constantly being poisoned by GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), food that lacks proper nutrition, fluoride in our water, and pesticides in our food.  We are brainwashed by media to do and believe everything they say.  We are held hostage by the automobile and oil industry so that we can’t move forward with cars that will only save people money and decrease our carbon footprint.  Finally, we are drugged and kept in a haze by big pharmaceutical companies that make you believe that their drugs are the only things keeping you alive and well when they are only keeping your mind cloudy and in a constant state of haze.

Corporations raping the earth of its natural resources/governments siding with big corporations 

On September 18th, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise was involved in a peaceful protest at Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya platform, which is expected to become the first to produce oil from ice filled Arctic seas.  Over a day later, the Russian Coast Guard boarded the ship and seized the crew at gunpoint. The ship was then towed to the port of Murmansk.  The crew of the Arctic Sunrise were held without charge during this time.  28 Greenpeace International activists, as well as a freelance videographer and a freelance photographer, have now been charged with piracy and hooliganism, charges which carry a maximum sentence of 15 and 7 years, respectively.
Why have world governments not acted to ensure the freedom of these heroes?  Why are they allowing Russia to continue to hold these peaceful protestors for defending and protecting our planet yet, allow the corporations free reign over water and land that requires protection?  The reason – big corporations and governments are working together to ensure the right governments are being elected so that legislation is created to allow these companies to do whatever/wherever they please.
Here is a timeline of what happened in the Arctic and to the peaceful protestors to the current timeline, speak out and let your voice be heard:  http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/features/From-peaceful-action-to-dramatic-seizure-a-timeline-of-events-since-the-Arctic-Sunrise-took-action-September-18-CET/
A massive oil pipeline project threatens the very heart of the Great Bear. It will destroy the cultural, ecological, and economic values of this region and it is a big step back from the hard work done to manage and safeguard this global treasure.
How do we continue to allow oil companies to build pipelines that could potentially create more environmental disasters – haven’t we seen enough?  It is time for the people to demand action and legislation for sustainable energy.  We must end the ‘old school’ mentality and belief that dirty oil is the only way.  It isn’t.  Here is what ‘dirty oil’ is creating:
CANADA’s SHAME:
Citizens around the world are being bullied not to speak out
New York City – September 2011
Egypt – August 2013
Toronto (G20) – 2010
Istanbul, Turkey – 2013
We are constantly being poisoned by GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), food that lacks proper nutrition, fluoride in our water, and pesticides in our food
Brainwashed by media/media control
We are held hostage by the automobile and oil industry so that we can’t move forward with cars that will only save people money and decrease our carbon footprint
We are drugged and kept in a haze by big pharmaceutical companies that make you believe that their drugs are the only things keeping you alive and well when they are only keeping your mind cloudy and in a constant state of haze
The war on the middle classed and poor
It seems to me that we are not proactive in our approach to any ‘hot button’ topics.  Instead of arguing why ‘solar power’ isn’t going to work – why not test the theory that it may.  Instead of allowing criminals to continue to rob citizens of the world from their hard-earned money – why not penalize them and throw them in jail for their crimes?  Instead of allowing BIG OIL to suck all of the oil from every inch of the planet – why not trust the brilliance of those who know that other and more sustainable energy is the way to go?  We need to be proactive about our health too and stop relying on BIG PHARMA to heal us from psychological diseases such anxiety, depression and ADHD because the PHARMA drugs are only masking the issue.
WE NEED A REVOLUTION – of love and compassion.  WE NEED TO WAKE-UP and stop being slaves to governments and corporations that only have their best interests at hand.

Together, we can make the world a more positive one! 

GAY, CANADIAN and PROUD!!!!

This past weekend – Toronto, Ontario celebrated the diversity and the successes of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer) community.  What a great fun, happy and joyous celebration.  I am so grateful to live in a country that is inclusive and that recognizes that diversity is something to be celebrated with love and respect.  This weekend was also Canada’s 146th birthday.  Here are some facts about Canada that you may or may have not known:

  • The capital of Canada is Ottawa
  • Canada’s first Prime Minister was John A. McDonald
  • Famous Canadian pop stars:  Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Shania Twain, Alanis Morissette, Justin Bieber, Drake, Joni Mitchell, Rush, Leonard Cohen, Mistress Barbara
  • Canada’s population is approximately 33.5 million (2011)
  • The name Canada comes from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian kanata, meaning ‘village’ or ‘settlement’
  • Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world (next to Russia) – By land area alone, Canada is ranked 4th in the world
  • The current Prime Minister of Canada is Stephen Harper (Progressive Conservative) (February 2006 – present) July 2013
  • National Anthem – O Canada
  • Canada consists of 10 provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador) and 3 territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) 
  • Largest city – Toronto, Ontario (5.5 million) followed by Montreal, Quebec (3.8 million) and Vancouver, British Columbia (2.3 million)
  • Maple leaf has been used as a Canadian symbol since the 18th century
  • Other prominent symbols:  the beaver, the Common Loon, Canada goose
  • Canadian actors/actresses:  William Shatner, Catherine O’Hara, Pamela Anderson, Eugene Levy, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short
  • Canadian country/pop singer, Shania Twain’s album, Come on Over  is currently the best-selling studio album of all-time by a female act in any genre and the best-selling country album of all-time

I am very blessed to have become Canadian and to live in such a great multi-cultural country.  Canada has a lot to be proud of……HAPPY CANADA DAY and HAPPY 146th BIRTHDAY CANADA!

Together, we can make the world a more positive one! 

 

 

IT’S TIME HUMANITY TAKES A STAND ON PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT and OUR PLANET

How many of us have really looked at the impact we have on the environment and our planet?  Do you know how many coffee cups you put in the trash bin daily?  How about all carbon dioxide that is released into our air as you sit in a drive-thru waiting for food that will only cause you sickness?  Have you thought about the amount of garbage we produce on a daily basis?  Will we have enough food and water to feed 9 billion people in the very near future when there isn’t enough food already?  Will you continue to turn a blind eye to the devastation humans are creating on animals, the environment and our planet?  It’s time to wake up and demand better for the planet, for the future and for our existence.

In Ontario – Justin Trudeau just won the Liberal Party Leadership vote – Justin is considered to be the voice of a new generation.  A generation whose priorities are not about capitalism but activism and sustainability.  The future generation has a daunting task – to save the planet and humanity from extinction.  Hopefully, this generation – along with Justin Trudeau’s leadership, can and will act to protect the planet and work towards sustainable and renewable energies.  It is said that if humanity continues to deplete the earth’s natural resources as we are today – we will need 9 earth’s in order to survive.  We don’t have an additional 9 earth’s.  What we need to do is engage the future generation to demand better of our governments and to act to ensure the survival of the planet and of humanity.

Rob Stewart – award-winning director of the amazing and inspiring documentary – Shark Water, spoke at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto Canada about the devastation we are creating on the environment and our planet.  He asked the youth of today to become engaged and to be inspired to create positive change for the planet.  Here is that presentation:

Robert Stewart and Gus Van Sandt have created a new documentary called, Revolution about the plight our planet and humanity faces.  Here is the official trailer and interview with Rob Stewart about this very important documentary:

I urge everyone to watch this film and become inspired to act.  Demand better of our government!  Remove the blinders and understand the consequences that your actions have on our planet and do better.  Stop allowing media and BIG CORPORATION to lull you into a false sense of security – they only want your money.  Education is the key – educate and know what is happening and then be inspired to act for our future and for the future of generations to come.

Together, we can make the world a more positive one.

THANK YOU – TORONTO METROPOLITAN POLICE!

I am so proud of our police force for creating this video!  Thank you for standing up for all those who are/have been bullied throughout their lives.  Having the support of the Toronto Police is a true testament to how far society has come in support of the LGBT community.  Watch this great video from the Toronto Police:

The Toronto Metropolitan Police has always ensured the safety of the LGBT community and their allies during Gay Pride Parades past and present in Toronto. 

Thank you for your support!

Together, we can make the world a more positive one.

 

 

 

PLASTIC – ENEMY TO WILDLIFE and THE ENVIRONMENT

Living just outside the city of Toronto – I thought I wouldn’t be as interested in the city’s politics as much, I was wrong.  The mayor of Toronto – Rob Ford has certainly had his share of controversy, along with his brother Doug.  They raised a fuss when the city councillors were debating the plastic bag charge of 5 cents per bag.  Why shouldn’t those who choose to pollute our environment not have to pay for wanting to continue this bad habit?  The debate continues as Doug Ford mentioned – the next thing ‘they’ will go after is bottled water – ummm yeah!!!!  I don’t understand how most conservative politicians don’t see the damage plastic is causing to our environment.  Why not work together to come up with a solution to try to eliminate or decrease garbage instead of wanting to put more money in big corporations pockets?  I recall, not so long ago – people used to receive paper bags for groceries and glass bottles for milk.  In Canada – beer is sold in bottles and the beer stores recycle all their bottles and cans, this has worked for years.  In order to increase profit margins – companies brainstormed over ways to increase revenues and came up with plastic……now our wildlife, our lakes, our rivers, our environment is paying the price.  Most people do not realize or see the damage they are causing when buying plastic and bottled water – they only think on the small scale, “I’m only one person, this is only one bottle” – Multiply that quote by millions and think about the consequences of all that plastic in landfills and polluting our environment – if you can ‘t picture that, please watch this short trailer for  MIDWAY: a film by Chris Jordan and maybe the damage we are doing to our planet, wildlife and environment will sink in.