Candidates show they know nothing when attacking Chow on housing

Many people – people who know better – are attacking Olivia Chow today because she’s going to run for mayor, because she’s a formidable presence and because she’s a real threat to their own candidates. One of the smears they like to use is to say that she lived in a housing co-op, which she and her late husband did many, many years ago. But then they tell a bald-faced lie and say that their rent was subsidized. The very people making these attacks wouldn’t deign to come within a large city block of one, so I will explain co-op housing to you, because I have. I lived in a housing co-op while supporting myself and my children, struggling to finish my undergraduate degree.

Housing co-ops are a community, which is why so many people like to live in them. You will find people from a variety of backgrounds with a range of income levels. People who do okay financially and people – like me – who weren’t sure how they were going to pay the hydro bill or buy diapers.

We all paid different rents, and we paid according to income level. I paid just a few hundred bucks a month for rent (back in the Okanagan). Others paid substantially more than that, which is called “market value” rent. It’s what one would pay if they were renting a comparable place elsewhere in the area, that wasn’t a housing co-op. The people who paid the most essentially helped out those of us who couldn’t pay more. And we all contributed to the upkeep and maintenance of the co-op – we took great pride in our vegetable garden, our small orchard and the kids’ playground we raised money for and built ourselves. Even though we all paid different rents, we were all equal members of our co-operative, our community.

Those people who’ve lived in housing co-ops understand what a remarkable place they can be. Those who haven’t, and who are trying to spread misinformation about Olivia Chow and Jack Layton, are trying to exploit the fact that not many people do know how co-ops works. That’s why you’re reading the garbage you are.

Olivia and Jack never received subsidized housing. They always paid their full share. Anything else you read or hear is a complete and total lie.

John Tory kicked off Stintz’s bad week

Most of Toronto’s politicos were caught by surprise when John Tory decided to go out for milk last Sunday night. Surprised because it seemed very hurried and because, well, Tory actually made a decision. And also surprised because everyone knew that Karen Stintz would be announcing her mayoral candidacy first thing Monday morning – except that Tory got there first. This move by Tory seemed petty and decidedly unsportsmanlikeeven by political standards. (It should be noted that Tory didn’t have a particularly good week either).

So, Stintz’s week started off with a whimper and went downhill from there. Some highlights:

I know some of the people on this campaign and they’re smart, experienced guys. Her week should have gone better.


The real John Tory

A couple of weeks ago, John Tory – privileged one -percenter that he is – weighed in on why women earn less than men. According to Tory, we 1) don’t “put up a fuss” and 2) don’t spend enough time on the golf course.

Aside from the fact that the last thing Toronto needs is the out-of-touch Tory in the mayor’s chair, he picked the very day that Karen Stintz is set to announce her campaign; a fact that is well-known to everyone with a pulse. Stintz is, so far, the only woman to sign up for this contest and Tory decides to blow up her announcement. I’m not a Stintz fan but this was an incredibly disrespectful move.

I hope she kicks the crap out of him today, all the way back to the Rosedale Club.


Happy birthday, Dad

This is always a difficult day for me. Birthdays are supposed to be fun, light events.  He was born February 20, 1941. And he was tragically killed just thirty short years later. Taken too soon, you hear people say about those who died young. I was just two years old when it happened. He loved me madly, I’m told. 

He died before I was old enough to have memories of him. I don’t know what his voice sounded like. I’ve never seen his handwriting. I don’t know what it felt like to be enveloped in a hug that only fathers can give their little girls. So many “nevers” are attached to him. Jake. My dad.

I was his only daughter, his only child. When my parents split, before he died, he fought for custody. Something unheard of so many decades ago. It must have been such a painful time but somehow knowing how desperately he wanted to raise me brings some comfort. Given how little time he had left on this earth, I wish he had been granted it.

Life is complicated, whether you live for a long time or not. Hug your kids, even if they’re too young to remember.

Happy birthday, Dad.

If General Leslie wasn’t a Liberal, this wouldn’t be news

More Tory dirty tricks.

The Harper guys don’t seem to mind shelling out tens of thousands of dollars to move a disgraced general after he was court-martialled to the UAE. They don’t have a problem with shutting down veterans’ offices or cutting two billion from defence spending over their years in government. But this, they have a problem with. What about the dozen other retired military officials this government paid to move within the same cities? Well, I guess they weren’t Liberals.


Hey, look who sent me a Valentine!

JT Valentine 2

Rob Ford’s Facebook Look Back

John Tory thinks this is the reason women get paid less than men

PressProgress refers to John Tory as an electoral “serial loser.”  Sounds about right.

Today, Tory opined as to why women earn less than men. I, for one, was surprised to learn that it’s my fault if I don’t earn as much as a man. That’s right. John Tory thinks if we women aren’t earning the same as men, well, it’s our own damn fault.

Kind of like slut-shaming, but in a business sense. Check out the link here, and listen at about the three-minute mark.


On how not to do politics

When you’ve concocted a scheme to publicly dump half your caucus, it’s bad form to high five each other in the media. Particularly if the account you’re giving isn’t entirely accurate. I have it on good authority that young Trudeau, immediately after reading a prepared statement, walked out, leaving one of his advisors behind to handle the (justifiably) enraged senators.

Which raises another point, one of loyalty and family. Many of those 32 senators – and their dedicated staff – have spent decades supporting and working on behalf of our party, and on behalf of Canadians. There are many senators that I respect and admire and many of their staff I consider friends. They deserve better than this collective cold shoulder and gleeful anti-Liberal senator bandwagoning that’s now happening over on the elected side.

Justin Trudeau and an independent Senate

Having worked in the Senate for a number of years, I have huge respect for the institution. There are many senators who play by the rules and are there to make a positive contribution to the lives of Canadians, like this one, my favourite. But there are others – and not just Conservatives – who have, at best, behaved badly. And, at worst, well, I’ll let the RCMP decide.

Today’s bold move by Justin Trudeau – kicking all his senators out of caucus and forcing them to sit as independents – is indeed bold. But also a bit short-sighted. Yes, it reduces partisanship, which is a large contributing factor to the messes that we’ve been reading about for the past year, but it also reduces efficacy. For the Liberals, while they are third party in the House and a minority in the Senate, it doesn’t matter much. But when (when, not if) Trudeau is Prime Minister, he will have a problem. Every single piece of legislation must pass the Upper House, the unelected side. To do that with a chamber of independents will be hard, if not impossible. When push comes to shove, independents will flex their political muscle. They will pass nothing that they don’t approve of, Senate traditions not withstanding.

In the short-term, the Liberal leader now has 32 formerly Liberal Senators who didn’t see this coming, and who will be majorly pissed off.

But perhaps Trudeau doesn’t care. Perhaps that Senate audit is really that damaging, and this is all a pre-emptive strike.

Stay tuned.