An anti-migrant protest with a difference

From Fists fly, and so does a megaphone, as refugee crisis inflames local politics in Toronto area. The city of my birth in the news again, with Markham being an outer suburb. So what’s going on?

At issue was a rumour that Markham was about to agree to house as many as 5,000 asylum seekers in unused buildings, after Toronto asked for help accommodating an overflow.

“Say NO to Mayor Frank!” read several signs in identical red lettering. Others played off the recent shooting rampage in Toronto: “Do Not Let Tragedy Happen In Markham.”

“MARKHAM SAY NO TO ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSERS,” another read. “ILLEGAL FREE RIDER NOT INVITED.”

So let us hear from the protesters.

A woman spoke to the crowd in Mandarin, rhetorically addressing the government as she described the question of Canada’s response to asylum seekers as one primarily of public safety.

“It should not be this way,” she said, seemingly on the verge of angry tears. “You (the government) have to make sure that we’re safe.”

Well good luck with that. But can you spot the difference? As a hint, it’s not Lauren Southern.

Toronto the bad

News from my home town although it does seem ever more remote from the place where I grew up. But this is beyond incompetence:

Detectives in Canada are still seeking a motive for a mass shooting which left three dead – including the gunman – and injured more than a dozen others, as residents of Toronto grapple with the latest in a string of violent incidents to hit Canada’s biggest city in recent months.

Federal officials said on Tuesday that there was no terror link to Sunday’s attack in which the lone gunman opened fire along a bustling avenue in the city, seemingly shooting at random at pedestrians and into shops and restaurants.

Nor is this just out of nowhere. Toronto has had a few of these of late:

Toronto has been rattled by a string of violent incidents this year.

In April, 10 people were killed and more than a dozen injured when a driver in a van ploughed into pedestrians on a city sidewalk. The following month, more than a dozen people were injured after a homemade bomb ripped through an Indian restaurant in May in nearby Mississauga.

The year started with the arrest of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur, now charged with the deaths of eight men, and the high-profile homicides of billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman.

Gun violence has also tightened its grip on the city. Last month two sisters, ages five and nine, were shot while playing in a park. The two young girls survived, partly thanks to neighbours who used napkins to stem the bleeding. At the start of this month, two men were fatally gunned down in a brazen daytime shooting in the city’s downtown core.

So far this year 26 people have died from gun violence, a 59% increase from the same period last year. The number of shootings has risen 13%, according to police data.

“People now – whether you’re walking on Queen Street, walking on the Danforth, walking on Yonge Street – are going to be looking over their shoulder,” said Louis March, the founder of the Zero Gun Violence Movement in Toronto.

How about a zero robbery movement, or a zero double-parking movement. No one wants to identify the problem, and so neither will I. Here’s the mayor:

On Tuesday, Toronto city council, led by Toronto mayor John Tory, began debating a range of measures aimed at tackling gun violence in the city….

Measures being considered by the city include bolstering mentoring programs, the purchase of 40 new CCTV cameras and a contentious listening technology that claims to be able to detect and report the sound of gunshots to police.

“I’ve said for some time that the city has a gun problem, in that guns are far too readily available to far too many people,” Tory said on Monday.

It’s not too many guns but too many people who want to shoot other people that is the problem.

The effects of global warming

People in the GTA dig out after one of the worst snowstorms of the year .Although it is groundhog day Torontonians didnt take too much solace in the fact the Wireton Willie claims that  we will not have 6 more weeks of winter

We have had family visiting the past few days from Toronto so I have been keeping even closer watch on the weather. Extreme cold weather warning continues for the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). And Toronto has one of Canada’s milder winters:

Much of the GTA remains under an extreme cold warning, issued by Environment Canada on Wednesday, as temperatures are expected to hit a low of -20 C this morning, with a wind chill of -33 C.

Northwesterly winds, combined with the low temperatures, could keep wind chill values between -30 C and -35 C through to Friday morning, after which we should start to see them rise.

If you must be outdoors today, take care to dress for the weather, as frostbite could affect exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.

Environment Canada also suggests wearing sunglasses, lip balm and sunscreen to protect the skin and applying moisturizing to prevent windburn.

Those taking part in outdoor winter activities, such as skiing, snowmobiling, and skating are urged to wear a face mask and goggles.

“Keep moving (especially your hands and feet) to keep your blood flowing and maintain your body heat,” says the warning.

“Drink enough fluids, but avoid very cold drinks and consume warm meals regularly,” it adds.

These are from Drudge:

4 Cities Set All-Time Record Lows…
DC hasn’t seen this since 1885 — or ever?!
5-story ‘ice volcano’ forms at NY geyser…
Great Lakes most ice since recorded time…
AND ANOTHER BLAST NEXT WEEK…

If you have not at least had a twinge of doubt about global warming during the past few days (years), you are clearly untouchable by reasoned debate (the synonym for which being “insane”).

Spadina Avenue

You can always tell if someone is really from Toronto by asking them to pronounce “Spadina”. I won’t give away the secret but you will only know how if you actually know how. I have had these pictures sent from another friend from those long lost days, David Klug, who I have known almost as long as David Kwinter who sent me the photos of Toronto in the 1910s. But these photos of Spadina Avenue take me right back to the very neighbourhood I grew up in.

The first of these is of Knox Church, where I was sent to nursery school ages 4-5. I genuinely do attribute my Presbyterian take on life to those days. I am a firm believer in give me the child for the first seven years of his life and I will give you the man. They only had me for two of those seven, but they did make a difference. The picture is from 1956 when I might have been right there when the picture was taken.

knox church

There is then the Scott Mission around 1960. If you continue left around the corner you will come to my first grade school, Landsdown Public (which was also my parents’ school), so I knew this place very well. And if you look really really close, you will see the queue of people who used to line up outside the building each day, since it was a charity whose mission was to feed the hungry. Always and only men, but always a line that stretched more than the length of the building. A very working class area, but not something I have ever really thought about since it was also home. It’s a shame they don’t have pictures of the old Borden’s Dairy building which was also on Spadina, and just across the back fence from the house I lived in. Today where I lived would be seen as undesirable – a manufacturing plant just outside your back door – but I thought of it as wonderful, a real adventure playground.

toronto scott mission

The last picture is College and Spadina in 1870. I guess there had to be a time when there was nothing there, but it is astonishing to realise how relatively recent that time was. My grandfather used to tell me how he had run into the Two Boys from College Street (“the tzvei boy-es fin College Street” – accent supplied upon request) and what they had been up to. Really, only now as I write, do I appreciate how inventive he must have been since undoubtedly every one of those stories was a story he made up himself to tell me.

toronto college and spadina

Life is short. These pictures are an entire lifetime away from me now, but I remember them like yesterday, better than yesterday.

Toronto the Good in the 1910s

toronto ferry 1910

Next month it will be forty years since I arrived in Australia but nothing will remove the warmth I feel for my first home and where I grew up. These are photos sent to me under the heading A 1910s Toronto photo extravaganza, each one of which brings with it distinct memories of the city I grew up in. My thanks to David Kwinter – whom I have known for almost 60 years – for sending these to me. Two more because they have such meaning to me.

First the picture of the Toronto main library which was something like a seven minute walk from the house I grew up in. The caption says it’s at the corner of College and Beverly but it’s actually at College and St. George.

toronto library

There is then a picture of a pharmacy in the middle of “Kensington” which is as far from the London version as you could get. But that was still how it looked when I was around. In fact, if anything, it has a much more orderly look than it had later, and even now. The owner of the shop is E. Rutherford, but the first wave of Eastern European immigration is shown by the Yiddish above the door, which is not a translation but a transliteration of “Cut Rate Drug Store”. The signs today are as likely to be in Chinese as anything else.

toronto kensington

OK. One more, taken at the corner of Yonge and Richmond. These are Toronto streetcars at the start of the last century, but the ones in the picture were still on the road when I was just growing up. In 1948, GM offered to give buses to any city that tore up its streetcar tracks. Toronto was amongst the few in North America who turned the offer down.

toronto streetcars yonge and richmond

LATEST NEWS: And now Toronto is officially the best city in the world, according to the Economist. Melbourne remains the most liveable, but Toronto wins overall even though it did not win in a single category. Just overall excellence. Therefore a picture of something more recent:

toronto fort york

OK. It’s not so recent, but Fort York is an actual frontier fort that you can find in the heart of the city, surrounded by skyways and highways, and which no one ever goes to, except me. But it’s the genuine article, and if they had any sense, would make it a major feature, not some almost-embarrassment that you get taken to when you are in Grade V and never go to again. So I will finish with this, which is a video put together for a condo at Yonge and Richmond, as in the photo above. What I had not heard, but must be a Toronto cliche, is that this is the area of the Yonge & Rich, get it? Well you will, but only if you know how to pronounce “Yonge”, and it’s not Yon-Gee.

News from the old country

ford anti ford demo

Why this molehill still seems to receive such rock star news coverage can be summed up in a couple of sentences from this story:

The mayor [the mayor of Toronto, that is], a conservative who touts his efforts to curb public spending and keep taxes low, later made it clear he intends to seek re-election next year. . . .

It has been a stunning decline for mayor who was elected three years ago with overwhelming support from Toronto’s conservative-leaning suburbs, where many voters felt angry about what they considered wasteful spending and elitist politics at City Hall.

But he did smoke that cocaine and he does rave and rant. But then on the other hand he also wants to be careful with other people’s money and cut spending on all those welfare payments that are so helpful to the helping professions, although for the poor not so much.

So will he win? Who knows? Should he win? I live on the other side of the world. Does the Toronto Daily [Red] Star (ie The Age) want him out? What a question!

I’ll just say this. When I was growing up, it was “Toronto the Good”, “The City of Churches”, “Tory Toronto”. It was the home of the United Empire Loyalists, founded in 1793 after the American Revolution by British subjects in the colonies who fled north to preserve their British way of life. And it was because the Americans burned down Toronto, then known as York, in 1813 that the British burned down Washington in 1814. I still think they got the better of the exchange.

And now, I can scarcely believe it, how far the saintly have fallen. The harlot of the Americas, sin city or worse. I can see that I got out just in time.

As for how outraged the citizenry are, the above is a picture from an anti-Ford demo just this morning at City Hall. Around fifty on current estimates. From Blazing Cat Fur.

UPDATE: James Delingpole has bought into this major international issue writing we need more crack-smoking Rob Ford politicians. From his article:

Arlene [a Canadian radio talk show host] wanted to get the overseas perspective on the Mayor of Toronto’s alleged behaviour and sounded worried that it might damage Canada’s international image.

‘No Arlene,’ I said. (Or words to this effect – though I probably put it more politely because I’m fond of Arlene, fond of Canada and Canadians too, come to that). ‘Not even if you throw into the mix the recent revelations about fellow Canadian Justin Bieber is there any danger whatsoever that Canada is about to lose its reputations as one of the least rock-n-roll nations on the planet.’ . . .

Let’s put it another way, in the great scheme of the crimes currently being committed by our political class, the Mayor of Toronto’s (alleged) whoring and crack-taking strikes me as, at worst, a venial slip and at best a badge of honour.

So let me tell you a joke only Canadians understand, but it cracks ’em up every time.

Q: How many Canadians does it take to change a light bulb?

A: One.

It makes me laugh every time I hear it.

Journalists are not hypocrites – they’re on the left

Which one of the following do you suppose is getting a lot of grief from the media. First there’s this one:

Yes! Toronto’s underground hit of 2010, our exclusive Vote For Rob Ford – He’s Not A Communist shirts are back, by popular demand (thanks to a mayor who can’t stay out of the news). Unofficially issued in limited numbers during Ford’s winning election campaign, this one has been unavailable since then. Members of Ford Nation can show their support for their beleaguered Mayor by buying one and wearing it around ‘left-wing pinkos’! (as Don Cherry puts it).

And then there’s this one:

Described by CNN as the ‘unabashed liberal,’ de Blasio is actually to the left of Barack Obama, in the sense that de Blasio didn’t disavow his communist background once it came to light. At least Obama tried to cover up his ties to communist Frank Marshall Davis.

De Blasio had scrubbed the Marxist connections from his campaign website, an omission that momentarily captured the attention of The New York Times. But once these connections and controversies came to light, he embraced his sordid history. He still embraces liberation theology and his work for the communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

Actually, I’m not going to tell you which is which. You’ll just have to guess. But I have been following Rob Ford for quite some time with Toronto having been the city of my birth and with family and friends having voted for him in large numbers. A year ago a video surfaced in which he may or may not have been viewed as smoking crack cocaine which he now admits that he had. The result. His approval ratings went up except in the media where they have lain in state from the very start.

Meanwhile, the second is about the much loved (by the media) just-elected mayor of New York. When his communist past came up rather than stepping back he admitted to it all. He naturally won in a landslide.

All this is discussed in an article posted at Quadrant Online, which also discusses the single most shocking and disreputable act by a politician in the United States over the past twelve months, the discovery that Rand Paul’s speeches, which he no doubt wrote and researched himself since that’s the kind of thing US Senators do, contain plagiarised material. But don’t you worry, the media are right on top of it.