Friday, June 26, 2009

FUMBLE: EMERGENCY TORONTO COUNCIL MEETING OPTICS PUT STREETCARS AHEAD OF STRIKERS

I understand the timetables at play, but I still think that the optics are terrible. Toronto has been hit with a strike by city workers who take care of a number of priority services including garbage collection, city-run child care and summer recreational programs. Indications are that, if this thing doesn’t get settled by the weekend, the strike could drag on for quite some time. Now, juxtapose against that the fact that city council is having an emergency meeting today – not to talk about any of the above, but rather to try and come up with a way to re-jig spending plans in order to find a way to fund the big purchase of a fleet of new streetcars. As I said, I understand that bargaining is continuing (for now anyway) on the strike front, and that the clock is about to run out on the streetcar deal. But the fact that the strike is nowhere on the agenda for this emergency session of council makes it glaring by its absence, and will make media critics and the general public question city hall’s priorities as a result. “Special meetings are called only to discuss specified items, and the notice of motion says the light rail deal is the only item on the agenda,” the Toronto Star reported. Taxpayers trying to figure out who will take care of their kids and/or their overflowing blue boxes will wonder why.

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