QUEBEC’S NEW GOVERNMENT (la CAQ) PLANS TO BAN RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS IN ITS MOVE TO SECULARIZE

QUEBEC’s new Legault government is now selling secularism – Bill 21 – to Quebec’s population. Needless to say, the plan has hit the fan.

The minister responsible, Simon Jolin-Barette <shown above with an applauding Premier Legault; photo – Jacques Boissinot / Canadian Press> said he expects groups threatening not to respect the new law of the land, will eventually conform. “I am convinced that people targeted by the bill, will respect the law.”

Bill 21 would prohibit any public worker (teachers, judges, police officers, etc.) in a position of authority, including new public school teachers, from wearing religious symbols, including hijabs. The Immigration Minister said all religious symbols — regardless of the size of the object — would be prohibited. A religious tattoo or a hairdo, such as Rastafarian dreadlocks, are not considered religious symbols, he said.

<Front page Le Journal de Quebec, March 29/2019 – ‘C’est Reparti’ – ‘Here We Go Again’>

MONTREAL Mayor Valérie Plante is concerned. Neighbouring ONTARIO has no such law.

TORONTO IS INTERESTED IN BUYING THE HEARN GENERATING STATION FROM A PRIVATE DEVELOPER

The Hearn power station is a big hunk of real estate – a landmark building – near the waterfront. Since de-accession it’s not been sitting idly by, having been used by Studios of America, the present owner, as a film location since March/2002. The Luminato Festival had a successful run in the Hearn, and it’s also been an occasional concert venue.

City councillor PAULA FLETCHER sees value in the Hearn site as a park, and believes the building itself could be saved and adapted for public use along with movie-making.

“It’s one of the most important buildings on the TORONTO waterfront,” she said in an interview, after putting forward a motion to “initiate negotiations on an expedited basis.”

Mayor JOHN TORY agreed, seconding the motion. The idea was passed by city council 20-2. In 2017 Ms. Fletcher worked hard to save TORONTO Island’s rare antique carousel, and she succeeded.  Maybe Paula can land the Hearn.

FIRST TORONTO GOT IT – EVERYBODY GETS IT NOW AS THE PC’S ‘REVIEW’ 82 TOWNS, CITIES & REGIONS

<STAR METRO TORONTO front page, January 16/2019>

From out of the blue TORONTO’s city council was cut in half by Premier DOUG FORD’s Progressive Conservative government. Now we’ll all be in the drink together (no sympathy from the capital city) as “Ford takes aim at regional reform”.  Ontario’s mayors have greeted the news from Queens Park with excitement and dread, saying the promise of consultation must be legitimate (we’ve heard that song before).  One concern is the possibility of forced amalgamation, which was once handed to TORONTO by former P.C. premier Mike Harris.

Municipal Affairs Minister STEVE CLARK announced plans to review regional governments and cut red tape in Peel, Halton, Durham, York and other municipalities. “We will be looking at ways to make better use of taxpayers’ dollars, and make it easier for residents and businesses to access important municipal services,” Clark said in Tuesday’s statement.

“The last time DOUG FORD meddled in municipal governments, (he) abruptly axed more than two dozen local elections (in TORONTO and four) regional chair elections,” observed JEFF BURCH, NDP MPP, Niagara Centre.

CANADA’S HOUSE OF COMMONS AND SENATE ARE MOVING INTO NEW DIGS FOR THE NEXT 12 + YEARS

<PHOTO – carpeting design for the temporary Senate chamber>

Probably it will take longer than a dozen years, but Canada’s Senators and Members of Parliament have left behind their home in the Centre Block and are in the process of moving. While they’re gone, the Centre Block will be refurbished, cleaned, and restored.  The temporary Senate chamber, all in red <ABOVE>, will be across Wellington Street from Parliament Hill. Once it was OTTAWA’s beaux-arts railway station, then a government conference centre, and now an elaborate home for the 105 members of the Upper House of Parliament.

The temporary House of Commons is a glass-and-steel addition within the courtyard of the West Block on Parliament Hill. It was designed by MONTREAL firms ARCOP and EVOQ. The glass ceiling will capture heat in the winter and expel it in the summer.  Underground levels include a welcome centre where visitors will go through security screening before entering. Parliament is one of Canada’s top tourism sites and despite the move, tourists will still be able to visit it.

<PHOTO – THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang>

PREMIER FORD UNINTENTIONALLY AWARDED MAYOR JOHN TORY A HUGE ELECTION VICTORY – THE STAR

From The TORONTO Star – Suburbs versus Downtown isn’t what it used to be. Ontario’s premier DOUG FORD chopped the wards and councillors almost in half (47 down to 25), just as the election was getting underway – a move many downtowners thought was designed to hobble progressive forces on council.

JOHN TORY seemed to transcend that divide on election night, winning every ward across the city except one (Davenport), and resoundingly defeating his former chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat. Experts say he was able to win the entire city by appealing to stability in an especially chaotic election dominated by DOUG FORD.

PLAYING POKER WITH DONALD TRUMP – DID CANADA WIN OR LOSE IN RE-NEGOTIATING NAFTA?

<THREE AMIGOS, editorial cartoon by BRIAN GABLE, Globe and Mail>  CANADA’s two largest newspapersThe Globe and Mail & the Toronto Star – have analysed the new NAFTA agreement, finally written up after 13 months of tough negotiating.

The Globe and Mail, Canada’s National newspaper, assigned three reporters for a Report on Business – “How Canada Won, and Lost a Trade Deal”

1. – Canada’s red line was Chapter 19 from the start, to protect this country “from any capricious actions by an economic superpower 10 times its size.” The US agreed.
2. – The US guaranteed it would exempt Canadian autos from future tariffs, below a specific quota. The Americans raised the quota to 2.6-million vehicles from the current 2.3-million.
3. – The US dropped or softened four protectionist demands Canada found most abhorrent – including the Buy American demand; Chapter 19; and the 50% US content requirement on autos.
4. – Canada conceded on “every conventional trade irritant of the past decade: dairy, pharmaceutical patents, favouring BC wines over imported ones in that province’s grocery stores; and the airing of Super Bowl commercials.”
5. – Canada agreed to a clause designed to discourage its pursuit of a trade deal with China.
6. – Tariffs on Canadian steel (25%) and aluminum (10%) would remain in place for now anyway.

The Toronto Star – with more readers than any other Canadian newspaper – came up with “Real Deal or Raw Deal: What We Got in USMCA”

1. – Supply management was the only Canadian no-go zone breach.
2. – Canadian cultural industries will continue to be protected, including digital space.
3. – Canada will grant US dairy producers access to 3.59% of its dairy markets.
4. – Hand-crafted Indigenous textiles and apparel can be eligible for duty-free treatment – first time in a Canadian agreement.
5. – Movement of business people and immigrants remain unchanged – no new or expanded rights for professionals.
6. – Each of the three countries will “only support implementation of international environmental agreements to which they are a party.”

<THE NEGOTIATORS – Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. March 5, 2018, REUTERS/Edgard Garrido>

TORONTO CITY COUNCIL’S TRUANCY LIST HAS BEEN COMPILED FOR THE 4-YEAR TERM ENDING IN 2018

<Upper left – Michelle Holland; lower left – Giorgio Mammoliti’s vacant chair; lower right – Mayor John Tory; PHOTO – Steve Russell, Toronto Star>  With a Municipal Election due on October 22nd, TORONTO City Council has released the numbers of those who skipped council meetings.
1. Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West) – missed 48.7% of 1,048 votes in 2018
2. Michelle Holland (Ward 35, Scarborough Southwest) – missed 42.1% in 2018

Over four years, the same two councillors from the inner suburbs were also on top. Giorgio Mammoliti 43.1% & Michelle Holland 37% of 4,526 votes cast over 46 meetings.  Councillor Stephen Holyday (Ward 3 Etobicoke Centre) took the prize for missing no votes in 2018. Over four years, he missed only four.

“HOLD YOUR BREATH: A SONG OF CLIMATE CHANGE” BY BOB HICOK

The water’s rising
but we’re not drowning yet.
When we’re drowning
we’ll do something.
When we’re on our roofs.
When we’re deciding between saving
the cute baby or the smart baby.
When there aren’t enough helicopters
or news crews to circle
over everyone. When sharks
are in the streets. When people
are dying. When people
with wine cellars
are dying. We’ll build dams
and dikes, put stilts
on our V-8s and golf courses,
cut down anyone
who cuts down a tree,
paint our Jesuses
green, we’ll grow wings, we’ll go
to the moon. Soon.

BOB HICOK is the author of nine collections of poetry, including “Hold”, out in October from Copper Canyon Press.

A TYPICAL PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT – WASTING PILES OF MONEY & ATTACKING TORONTO

<“IT’S GOOD TO BE THE KING . . . NEXT!”, editorial cartoon by GRAEME MACKAY, Hamilton Spectator>  Premier DOUG FORD plans to slash nearly half of all TORONTO city council seats before the municipal election on October 22nd. That would mean going from 47 councillors to about 25. Ward boundaries would then match federal and provincial ridings.  Ford is also cancelling regional chair elections in Peel, Niagara and York regions.  A dozen councillors support Mr. Ford’s plan.

<‘SURPRISE!’, editorial cartoon by DAVID PARKINS, Globe and Mail, July 30th/2018>  CANADA’s federal government says it will do whatever it can to protect TORONTO from the “vindictive and destructive” actions taken by Doug Ford and his administration. ADAM VAUGHAN , Liberal Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary for Urban Affairs, says Ford is plunging TORONTO into chaos at a time when it needs stability the most.  Vaughan said the proposal is “reckless, irresponsible” and tosses TORONTO into a political storm when it needs leadership on critical files such as asylum seekers, gangs & guns, transit & housing. Vaughan went on to say Ford is taking these actions because “he doesn’t like Toronto” and accused him of “breaking” the city.  <PHOTO – Adam Vaughan/The Canadian Press>