Oh Andrea, what have you done? #ONpoli

Andrea Horwath has finally run out of gas with her "I'll have it both ways" act at Queen's Park. The likeable Ms Horwath, leader of the NDP, has also been the least believable person at the lectern for many months. She hates the way the Liberals are governing, but by George there will be no election to replace them. No, no. Better to somehow or other try to defy gravity. Today a freshly released Nanos Research poll commissioned by the Bell Media assets reveals that substantial support has fled from the NDP leader to the Conservatives, and in small measure to the Liberals. If an election were held today, says Nanos,  the PCs would win a majority. Frankly, that seems a chancy declaration but it can happen.  In 2011, the Liberals won 37.7 per cent of the ballots but obtained only a minority. So the votes on the move are independent, somewhat to the left perhaps, who previously didn't like either of the larger parties. Was it the recent revelations about the murky erasure of laptop memories?  Have the Hudak Tories finally convinced enough voters that the Premier has the power plant cancellation blood on her hands? 

Murals to brighten Toronto subway upgrade work

City of Toronto and TTC have commissioned collaborative community murals that will be displayed on the construction hoardings of subway stations at Coxwell and Woodbine stations (top and centre right) over the next two years  The stations are being upgraded to make them more accessible. As Janet Davis (Ward 31) said at a recent gathering:  "This initiative transforms a construction site into a vibrant expression of our community," said Councillor Davis. The murals were created through the Toronto youth mentorship program City on the Move – Young Artists in Transit – East, a project of the City of Toronto, the TTC and community partners Arts for Children and Youth and Children's Peace Theatre. At the unveiling event, mentor artists Jim Bravo and Andrenne Finnikin were present with many of the 15 youth artists (bottom inset) who collaborated to create the large murals from March to December last year after extensive community consultation. The murals, which reflect features of the local community, also include artistic contributions from Toronto's Poet Laureate, George Elliott Clarke.

Grand and Toy shuts all stores but stays online

Stationery store Grand and Toy is shutting down of its remaining 19 retail stores.  The company's website seems to show a few more than that number but the site it may be up to date. Toronto locations are all in high-rent downtown spots. There is a location in the Sheppard Centre and another at Yonge and Bloor. Grand and Toy is a rather astounding 132-year-old company which has clearly gotten caught in the cyber-crunch. Grand and Toy is now an affiliate of global office products provider Office Depot Inc. It will continue to do business online and through its customer service centres.

Last of Gooderhams in Moore Park a quaint tale

A daughter of the Gooderham FOOF (Fine Old Ontario Family) and her TD banker husband sell their Garfield Ave. home for $2.25 million and, says the Globe and Mail, leave the denizens of Moore Park without a remaining member of the fabled distillery clan.  Globe and Mail  

Feds propose "target" pension, no change to CPP


Not another slush-fund pension plan for Ontario

It is as if the Ontario and Federal governments are trying to out-do each other in talking about generous pensions.  It's an election fever topic suitable to broad boundaries, much like "transit" is the only thing on the minds of civic candidates. Phillip Cross in the Financial Post says stop it already with the talk of more pension plans. Canadian seniors have never been more affluent. For those who need help, the Feds can target families or singles as required. What the province does not need, says Cross, is another Ontario pension plan ("the big CPP") with another payroll-tax slush fund and more million-dollar men at the top. We have to pay millions you know "to get the best people." Anyway, Cross questions the assumptions behind the drive for “big CPP” by saying simply is there no crisis  in Canada’s current retirement system. People are living longer, healthier and wealthier lives in retirement, largely the result of their own actions. The few pockets of poverty among seniors, such as single or widowed elderly women who have never worked, are best addressed by better targeting government benefits, he contends, not by a wholesale expansion of the CPP. Financial Post (may require subscription)  Incidentally, it is worth noting that enormous debt like that sadly stacked up in Ontario tends to cast all governance in a poor light. Do we think that political parties have served us well?  Not likely. 

SCOC okays ID of sex offenders by Toronto codes

In a 7-0 decision today (Thursday, April 24, 2014) the Supreme Court of Canada has found that Ontarians may know the number of convicted sex offenders living in their neighborhoods by the first three characters of the postal code. These characters identify what is known to Canada Post as the Forward Sortation Area (FSA). In Leaside, for example, the FSA is M4G.  The Supreme Court upheld a lower court's ruling that gave citizens the right to know how many sex offenders live within this general geographic area in Ontario. The court said releasing this information doesn't violate the province's privacy laws. The ruling doesn't give citizens the right to know names, addresses, or other personal information of sex offenders. The Ontario Government had opposed release of the information as approved today by the high court.  

Pope phones woman to re-write Catholic law

As a mark of how the present Pope, Francis I, is changing the Catholic Church, his unannounced phone call the other night to Jaqui Lisbona seems to signal a tidal wave of reform. As the Washington Post asks, "Did the Pope just call to say divorced Catholics can take communion?"  Washington Post 

Where are those darn invisible bitcoins anyway?

The discovery of 200,000 bitcoins by the now bankrupt bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox really does put the entire virtual money phenomenon into perspective. The bitcoins, which have no physical presence whatsoever,  were located in "wallets" (can't see them either) that had somehow been overlooked in the inventory of what Mt. Gox possessed. Did we hear some cynic say bitcoins don't exist period? Are you waiting for the day when the police seize millions of bitcoins obtained as the result of mischief and trumpet their crime-busting by showing the media empty suitcases?    

Guest says Harper party was "very controlled"

A young woman who was a guest at Ben Harper's birthday party has told the National Post that no one was "seriously intoxicated" at the pool party at 24 Sussex Drive. As reported yesterday, an unnamed girl, 18, was taken to hospital apparently drunk from outside the residence.  The call came early Sunday morning after the Saturday house party. The guest who spoke to the National Post said  there were about  20 of Ben's friends and sports teammates present, many wearing swimsuits. “It was just a hanging out, a get-together,” said Devon von Eicken-Bursey, whose boyfriend plays volleyball with Ben. “There was some drinking and mixing and stuff,” but no one who appeared to be seriously intoxicated, von Eicken-Bursey said. “We were all very controlled.”

SmartCentre Smiler pulls clean escape in Leaside

Happy, happy,, happy
The "Exit Camera" picture of this happy heist artist shows him leaving Winners in the SmartCentre at Laird Drive and Wicksted Áve. It happened on Friday, March 14, 2014, at approximately 8 p.m., as the man walked into the store and began picking up a number of items. It seems he has a cart with him as he exits. Why not? If you're not going to pay, take whatever moves. It is a remarkably good picture and one wonders what the SmartCentre Smiler must think of his chances to pull this off. Even if he isn't from Leaside, it seems like an easy cop for the police.  He is described as being white, aged 30 to 40 years. blonde medium-length hair, clean shaven, wearing a dark jacket, grey striped scarf, dark pants, brown shoes, and carrying numerous bags. Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-3300, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637), or Leave A Tip on Facebook. Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World. For more news, visit TPSnews.ca.

Executive Committee votes to turn down pay raise

Members of the City's executive committee rejected a staff proposal Wednesday to give councillors a 13-per-cent salary hike. Instead they voted to maintain their salaries at their current levels with an adjustment for inflation. That leave councillors salaries at about $105,000. All members present voted to accept the inflation adjustment only. They are Gary Crawford, Vincent Crisanti, Frank Di Giorgio, Rob Ford, Norman Kelly (Chair), Peter Leon, Giorgio Mammoliti, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Cesar Palacio, Anthony Perruzza, David Shiner, Michael Thompson Peter. Councillor Peter Milczyn was absent. 

Signs will show travel times to Toronto drivers

The City has announced that overhead electronic signs will display travel-time messages for Toronto motorists during pilot project. Real-time travel information will be shown on the City's variable-message signs similar to the type of display shown inset from the U.S. Signs located on the Gardiner Expressway, the Don Valley Parkway and Lake Shore Boulevard will display the travel time to various points along these key roadways. On some signs, travel times for both the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard will be posted, providing motorists with information needed to make choices about which roads to travel on to get to their destination. Eleven signs are currently in place to provide travel-time information. An additional seven electronic signs will be installed this year.

William Shakespeare is 450 years old today

How nice if on;y we could wish him many happy returns personally, this most remarkable man who constructed our language it seems nearly all by himself. He was baptised on April 25, 1854 in Stratford-Upon-Avon but experts say that he was born on the 23rd. As was the way at that time, he lived only to the age of 52. When he was 18 he married Anne Hathaway and they had  three children. Sensing perhaps that there is a tide in the affairs of  men that, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune, Shakespeare moved his family to London and began his successful career. It seems unlikely that even  he could have understood the impact he was having on the entire English-speaking world and its many extensions in the centuries to come. From the indispensable "rant" -- a staple of the late 20th and early 21st centuries -- to the dazzling "bedazzled", Shakespeare made up and made us love words and phrases like no one else. Here is an enjoyable list of 50 of them coined by this more than iconic man.
- "For goodness sake" - Henry VIII- "Neither here nor there" - Othello- "Mum's the word" - Henry VI, Part II- "Eaten out of house and home" - Henry IV, Part II- "Rant" - Hamlet- "Knock knock! Who's there?" - Macbeth- "All's well that ends well" - All's Well That Ends Well- "With bated breath" - The Merchant of Venice- "A wild goose chase" - Romeo and Juliet- "Assassination" - Macbeth- "Too much of a good thing" - As You Like It- "A heart of gold" - Henry V- "Such stuff as dreams are made on" - The Tempest- "Fashionable" - Troilus and Cressida- "What the dickens" - The Merry Wives of Windsor- "Puking" - As You Like It- "Lie low" - Much Ado About Nothing- "Dead as a doornail" - Henry VI, Part II- "Not slept one wink" - Cymbeline- "Foregone conclusion" - Othello- "The world's mine oyster" - The Merry Wives of Windsor- "Obscene" - Love's Labour's Lost- "Bedazzled" - The Taming of the Shrew- "In stitches" - Twelfth Night- "Addiction" - Othello- "Naked truth" - Love's Labour's Lost- "Faint-hearted" - Henry VI, Part I- "Send him packing" - Henry IV- "Vanish into thin air" - Othello- "Swagger" - Henry V- "Own flesh and blood" - Hamlet- "Truth will out" - The Merchant of Venice- "Zany" - Love's Labour's Lost- "Give the devil his due" - Henry IV, Part I- "There's method in my madness" - Hamlet- "Salad days" - Antony and Cleopatra- "Wear your heart on your sleeve" - Othello- "Spotless reputation" - Richard II- "Full circle" - King Lear- "There's the rub" - Hamlet- "All of a sudden" - The Taming of the Shrew- "Come what, come may" - Macbeth

"Beer Store owners sell beer in corner stores"

Everywhere but Ontario. Just one of  the points made by Ezra Levant as he unwinds with an entertaining and thoughtful critique of the The Beer Store's sudden interest in the welfare of our teens.

Object found not related to missing jet

An object found off the Australian coast is not part of the missing Malaysian jetliner.