Strike! Strike! Strike!

Holy irony, Batman! After weeks and weeks of chatter about Toronto being taken hostage by the G20 meeting later this month, it appears that 5,500 or so unionized workers at 32 hotels have voted 94.2% in favour of a strike just as the world rolls into town if talks with management break down. Nothing like a little labour unrest fly in the ointment.

This may also present quite a conundrum for the usual suspects of anti-union opinion who’ve recently been railing against the cost and inconvenience of the gathering of international bigwigs. Who are they going to side with on this one? “Oooooo, government boondoggle but I hate unions so much! Free spending governments suck but so do unions!!” What’s a reactionary to do, propped up as they are on the horns of such a diametrically opposed dilemma?

It’s hard to imagine any of them ever siding with a union. That would be too much cognitive dissonance to cope with even for those used to high dosages of the stuff. To them, unions are the root of all things bad and evil and any display of support for them will only encourage their lazy, shiftless, socialist ways. Even if this means expressing indignation and outrage on behalf of the poor, little, put upon G20 folks who are spending northward of a billion dollars of hard earned taxpayers money to lock down this city right as tourist season ramps up. More than a billion dollars!! Are you fucking kidding me?! How is that even possi—

Wait, wait. It was the unions I was bashing. Don’t get sidetracked. Remember. The source of all your frustration is unionism. If there weren’t any unions, there wouldn’t be any problems. Everything would be fine. Governments wouldn’t have to go around spending more than a billion dollars to host a 3 day event. They’re forced to dole out that kind of money because of unions. There is no other reasonable explanation for such an outrageous raping of the public purse! I mean, really?! More than one billion dollars!? That’s like, 9 zeros or something, isn’t it?? Shouldn’t someone have to clear that kind of amount before just pissing it away on one big photo op?! You’re working for us, remember? It is not your money to do with whatever strikes your fancy at the—

Focus, focus. You’re angry at the unions right now. They’re the bad guys in all this. In everything. As much as you hate the idea of our government spending more than a billion dollars for no discernible reason whatsoever, it’s unions that really get stuck in your craw. Imagine what’ll happen if the carry through with their vicious threat to strike during the G20, when all the world is watching. We’ll become an international laughing stock. Embarrassed on the world’s stage. Remember Mel Lastman talking cannibalism before going off to Africa or being clueless about the W.H.O.? Remember all the cringing and apologizing to your non-Canadian friends?

So just imagine how bad it’ll look to have uppity low wage, probably immigrant labourers kicking dirt in the faces of the most powerful people (at least the elected ones) on this planet. People who are taking time out of their very busy schedule (oil slick and volcano eruption willing) to come and deal with the very problems that these low wage, probably immigrant labourers are facing. How about showing some gratitude, coolies! If it weren’t for the policies of those at the head of the G20, you’d all probably still be back in your own countries, toiling away in some horrific sweatshop instead of living the life of leisure you do now, cleaning our dirty sheets and serving us overpriced meals.

Know your place, unions. It ain’t the `20s anymore. The war’s over. You lost. There are bigger fish to fry.

Like governments who spend one billion dollars ($1, 000, 000, 000+) to host some ego-stroking gathering of big shots. Who do these people think they are?! The Rockefellers?? It’s about time somebody stood up to these people and told them, enough is enough!

whiplash-inducingly submitted by Cityslikr

Don’t Say A Word

OK, print’s a bit smaller today as I feel like I should speak on this subject in hushed, whispered tones because no none else seems to really want to talk about it. At least, not out loud in the presence of mixed company. The walls, they do have ears.
Just looking at the breakdown of this year’s proposed operating budget and I can’t help noticing this really big, slightly cantankerous elephant in the room that is going unremarked on. With all the talk about budgetary shortfalls, cutbacks and sell-offs of municipal assets, why hasn’t there been so much as a peep of protest about the sizeable slice of the money pie being handed over to the Police Services Board?
According to this city issued chart I’ve been going over, of the $2427 property tax bill that a house assessed at $400+ K will have to pay in 2010, $607.38 of that would go to the Police Services Board. By my amazing powers of long division, that works out to just over 25%. Not including the $977 for education which is collected in a separate stream, we pay more for our policing than other city provided services. By a long shot. The much maligned TTC takes in just a 14.4% share while the equally vilified city council costs us a whopping .01%.

Yet all I’ve been hearing about is how we need to sort out the TTC from top to bottom, making it more efficient. Rocco Rossi pledges that if elected mayor he’ll cut his salary by 10% which by my calculations will save Toronto exactly… I don’t own a calculator that has room for that many zeroes after the decimal point. But nothing, is what I’m saying. A complete and utter empty gesture.

Yet the police budget continues to rise and—

Oops. Started shouting there. Hope no one was listening. Nothing but crickets from the council and candidates out on the hustings. Have we just decided that it is money well spent? The crime rate is low and continuing to drop and that’s because we keep increasing the police budget?
If this is so, then why don’t we apply the same logic to other municipal departments? Let’s jack up the spending on libraries, why don’t we. Raise literacy levels around town. Or following the same line of reasoning, if we spent more than the 7% of every $2427 property tax bill on Shelter Support and Housing Administration, we might actually put a dent in our homelessness blight.
I mean, if spending more on the police = less crime, why wouldn’t it work for other municipal departments? Why are we, at least, not even talking about it? To propose increased spending on the TTC is derogatorily categorized as simply throwing money at the problem while higher budgets at the Police Services is deemed prudent fiscal management. How come? If crime were to suddenly spike upward, we’ll then take money back from them, right? That’s what’s happened in the past, if memory serves. Crime rate goes up, all right thinking folks demand we start giving the police less money.

For a bunch of tough hombres, the likes of Mssrs. Smitherman, Rossi, Mammoliti and Ford sure purr like a pack of pussycats when talking about Toronto’s EMS especially Police Services. On that score, they’re not alone. Everyone who’s talking about out-of-control spending on the part of our municipal government, from politicians to journalists and outraged citizens, seems to exclude the police, fire department and EMS from their Things To Cut list. So much so that it’s not even a topic of discussion. Why is that, is all I’m asking. If everyone’s expected to make sacrifices during tough economic times, shouldn’t that really mean everyone?

Damn! Got a little loud again. Fingers crossed no one was listening.
almost inaudibly submitted by ????????