Tax Free


A thought experiment:

Tired of being bled dry by our vampirical municipal government, I decide to stop paying my property taxes and utility bills. For the sake of easy round numbers, let’s call it an even $4000 a year.

Now, with those 40 Robert Borden’s stuffed back into the pocket of my chinos, I’m going to venture out into the private, for-profit sector and acquire all those things the city used to provide in return for my hard-earned money.


1) Clean water piped directly into my house.

2) Dirty water and other nasty stuff piped directly out of my house and treated accordingly.

3) Garbage, waste and recycling collected from my curb on a weekly basis.

4) My streets cleaned in the summer, plowed in the winter and reasonably navigable all year round. Sidewalks should be plentiful when I chose to walk. And fit a bike path or two in as well.

5) My neighbourhood will be safe and secure. Fire services on the ready in case of a conflagration and emergency services nearby in case I twist my ankle on a rough patch in the sidewalk and I fall down into the street in front of a car.


6) Parks, well groomed and maintained. Swimming pools, clean and refreshing. A healthy tree canopy.

7) $3 more or less to take transportation to anywhere in the city at any time of day.

8) Make sure my neighbours don’t sell their attached house to an overzealous developer who decides to rip the place down and put a 40 story condo. Oh yeah. And make sure my neighbour doesn’t build a 40 foot fence dividing our backyards.

Maybe that can be the same people who police the streets but they’re already working for me 24/7, and the overtime’s going to put a serious dent in my 4 grand.

Let’s see. That cover everything?


Water & waste. Clean streets. Law & order. Public transit. Parks. Planning. Zoning.

Oh yeah, right…

9) I’m not crazy about people having to sleep out on the streets or park benches. So I’d be happy to chip in to provide some shelter and affordable housing if need be. But if it gets too expensive, we can throw people in jails and put them on the provincial dime.

10) It would also be good to make sure my local haunts keep their cutlery clean and ground chuck properly refrigerated. You can never be too careful.

11) Stray animals. Nothing’s more depressing than coming across homeless cats or dogs. OK, homeless people but I covered those in point 9. And racoons. Somebody’s got to keep those little buggers out of my attic.

So… water & waste. Clean streets. Law & order. Public transit. parks. Planning. Zoning. Various social services. Proper permits and licensing. Animal control.


All for $4000 a year. $333.33 a month. $83.33 a week. $11.90 a day.

And since this is all through the private sector, where efficiencies abound, I’ll be expecting some change.

— hypothetically submitted by Urban Sophisticat

Temporarily Out Of Order


By the time you read this Cityslikr will be tucked comfortably away in seclusion, recuperating. Recuperating?! you bellow in concern. Recuperating from what? (Or maybe you’ll be thinking, finally, the bastard got what was coming to him.)

Either way, he’s fine, just a little wound.

We came into the office late last night, figuring to grab him for a quick drink and bite. Not to drink or bite him, we mean. That’s not how we roll around here.

He was hunched in front of the computer, staring crazily into the screen, shivering and muttering in what Acaphlegmic thought to be Farsi although, I’m not convinced he’s as well versed in languages as he likes to think he is.

Cityslikr wasn’t himself, let’s just say.

We gently coaxed him away from his desk and led him to his current place of repair.


Here’s a brief excerpt of what we found him to be working on when we entered:

What if they’re right? What if everything I was led to believe is wrong? What if unicorns can fly? [Note to self: Were unicorns able to fly? Or am I thinking dodos.
Dodos couldn’t fly. Could they? Note to self:]
It’s the Ford family that is mythical not unicorns.

Take a letter, Maria. Send it to my wife. Say I won’t be coming home. I’ve got to start a new life.

Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.

But you know, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that lower taxes can buy subways. [Note to self: It’s not beyond the realm of possibility, is it? I mean, stranger things have turned out to ture. Not true. Ture. IT IS SO A WORD!!!] Should I strike that last Note to self out? What if I were to die right now and somebody found that just sitting on the computer, staring out at them… staring out at me. WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT, ETHERNETS?

You know, the last words Elvis Presley’s ever spoke were, I’m going up to do some reading. I read that in a newspaper account that’s on display in a Memphis police station.

The King died on the throne. It is the biggest open secret going right now. That and the suppressed fact pressure cookers are the leading cause of death in the home. Did you know that?

It was the palak paneer, people!

I too fear dying on the toilet. It’s why I never lock the bathroom door. Remember that when you next invite me to your house for dinner.

Ana Bailão can’t really vote in favour of a casino, can she? Troubling, troubling.


So it went for pages and pages and pages.

Let’s call this a little time out, shall we? A healing process. To get his shit back together. Cityslikr’s officially on the DL.

For how long?


We’re not sure. Acaphlegmic, who claims to have witnessed and participated in countless numbers of these emergencies, says Easter’s not out of the question. Definitely, for sure the April council meeting. Politically induced madness is almost always temporary here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke.

nursingly submitted by Acaphlegmic and Urban Sophisticat


I spent some of the weekend reading about the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan. This morning, closer to home, I saw the Forum Research poll indicating that Olivia Chow would win a 3-way mayoral race that included Mayor Ford and sometime political candidate John Tory. There is a link between the two, trust me, although it does include some additional information.

In response to the poll numbers, a local political wag opined that no right of centre candidate would dare run against the mayor in 2014 and threaten to split the vote and allow some crazy left wing nutter to steal the election. (Not in those exact words, mind.) “Any independent rightie is a ‘backstabber’ these days,” it was suggested.

This isn’t a lone sentiment. As much as Cityslikr tries convincing you that he’s not indulging in Election 2014 speculation, I’ve overheard more than a few conversations about campaign strategy around these parts in the idle days of summer. The thought that any conservative minded candidate wouldn’t have the temerity to challenge Mayor Ford in 2014 is a pretty strongly held belief. For those trying to read the scattered tea leaves of the right wing mind, the conclusion is that party loyalty (and by extension, electoral viability) trumps good governance.

Does that necessarily have to be the case though?

Couldn’t a perceived moderate conservative candidate like John Tory, say, or going through the current councillor list, Michael Thompson, Karen Stintz, David Shiner for argument’s sake, sensibly argue that, while agreeing with much of Mayor Ford’s fiscal views, his implementation of them has been less than desirable? That his personal antics, his less than enlightened views on many social fronts are, in fact, a serious detriment to his budgetary plans? Yes, the theoretical moderate conservative candidate could argue, there are ideological foes at City Hall who are doing their best to trip the mayor up for purely ideological reasons but, in truth, he’s been his own worst enemy.

Would that be too far from the truth?

Mayor Ford is hurting the conservative brand here in Toronto and not making that many local converts at the provincial or federal levels either. What would be the drawback of marginalizing him with a push from the right, cutting into the less hardcore of his supporters while opening up the middle to a more competent conservative approach? Back in the day when he was just a lone wolf councillor from Etobicoke, conservative colleagues on council weren’t very deferential to Rob Ford. Now that he’s mayor, all’s golden?

For a potential conservative candidate not to challenge Mayor Ford out of some sort of fear of splitting the vote and allowing a non-conservative to become mayor is essentially saying that, regardless of how bad, ineffectual, harmful, extreme a right wing politician is, it’s still better than even the best liberal or left wing possibility out there. That’s simply blind ideological loyalty, putting the welfare of your politics before that of the voters. In the end, it’s only going to wind up hurting everyone except perhaps your opponents.

Which brings me back to Paul Ryan. At least, I hope it does.

Conservatism does not come in one colour. It does not automatically make a candidate fit for office. (And if you’re reading this and already in the middle of a rebuff response, spluttering something to the effect of, “But what about the leftards?! Same could be said about the Leftards!!”, you’re already too far gone to get the point I’m making.) Embracing the blue or the red or the orange simply because it’s the colour of your politics is just unthinking tribalism. It’s the death march to irrelevancy and, unfortunately, the collateral damage can take years to undo if at all.

— centrely submitted by Urban Sophisticat