Posts Tagged ‘Glenn De Baeremaeker

The long, long trail of quotes on the Scarborough subway

- July 16th, 2013

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Toronto politicians’ rhetoric around subways has hardly followed a straight line in the last three years. Here’s a rundown of who has said what about subways and LRTs:
MAYOR ROB FORD
Ford has been fairly steady on the “subways, subways, subways” stance:
“People want subways, I think that debate is clear.”
–Mayor Rob Ford this week when asked about the looming subway debate.
“Obviously, we’re not going to agree. You don’t support subways, I support subways. You support LRTs, I do not support LRTs. You support streetcars, I do not support streetcars. Fine.”
– Ford to TTC chair Karen Stintz at council in May 2013.
“Thank you very much, actually I didn’t miss the debate. I actually voted for subways and I made a passionate speech about subways.”
– Ford on his Newstalk 1010 show in November 2012 after a caller accused him of missing a transit debate to coach football.
“I’m going to fight until the day I die for those subways and we will get subways.”
– Ford during an interview on CP24 in October 2012
“The people of this city have spoken loud and clear. They want subways, folks. They want subways, subways, subways.”
– Ford during the Sheppard subway vs. Sheppard LRT debate at council in March 2012.
“That whole meeting was irrelevant.”
– Ford after city council voted in February 2012 to revive most of the Transit City plan including the four LRT lines.
“I was elected on a mandate, I campaigned on subways, I made it quite clear that if I got elected that Transit City would be scrapped and I’m doing exactly what the voters asked me to do … People want subways in the city.”
-Ford in December 2010
TTC CHAIRMAN KAREN STINTZ
Stintz now supports extending the subway instead of building the Scarborough LRT to replace the Scarborough RT but her views on subways versus LRTs have varied at times:
“It is my hope that I can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the mayor and deliver on a commitment for a subway to Scarborough.”
– Stintz on Thursday, July 12, 2013.
“I stand by the transit plan council approved. We were asked to make a decision on our transit future, we made it.”
– Stintz in October 2012
“What we’ve learned from the last debate was there was a division between what the suburbs felt they were getting in terms of transit and what they believe the downtown core was getting in transit. We think it is very important that we bring the city together as one city.”
– Stintz in June 2012 as she rolled out the OneCity plan
“Do you normally build a subway to service gas stations?”
– Stintz makes a point when she asks TTC staff about the lack of development at Warden and Sheppard (and therefore the lack of need for a subway) during a transit debate in March 2012
“I now have a better understanding of the technology and a better appreciation of how important it is to spend scarce resources wisely to improve transit across the city. I can also tell you that I support subways and support their construction. Our challenge is finding the resources to meet all our transit needs.”
-Stintz in an interview with the Sun in March 2012 on why she supports LRTs but once support subways
“This is a vote. We’ll get past it. We’re one city. We need to move forward together.”
– Stintz on whether she could work with Mayor Rob Ford after the Sheppard subway vote in March 2012.
“We have funding in place for those four plans.”
– Stintz in February 2012 on why council should revive the four Transit City LRTs plans including the Scarborough LRT
” Part of the discussions have been that having a Sheppard subway is a key campaign commitment and important for the city but equally important to Sheppard is Eglinton and so we need to figure out how we are going to do both”
– Stintz in January 2011
“Had we taken that (LRT) approach on Yonge St., we wouldn’t be the city we are today. From a long-term city-building perspective, (Sheppard) really should be a subway, as should the Eglinton and Scarborough lines. I think that we are taking a short-sighted approach to how we’re going to use this investment to benefit the city.”
– Stintz arguing the planned LRT lines should be subways in 2009
COUNCILLOR GLENN DE BAEREMAEKER
The Scarborough councillor once raved about LRTs but has since come over to the subway side:
“We asked the provincial government to consider upgrading the LRT line to a full-fledged subway. In the end, when the dust settles, Scarborough is going to get its subway.”
– De Baeremaeker in June 2013
“You cannot have taxation without transportation … This is the right subway at the right location at the right price.”
– De Baeremaeker on the Scarborough subway expansion at council in May 2013
“I want to keep politics out of this, what I want to do as a Scarborough councillor is make sure Scarborough gets a subway.”
– De Baeremaeker in June 2012 as he rolled out the OneCity plan that included the Bloor-Danforth extension
“We don’t have LRT vehicles in the city of Toronto but dammit we are going to bring them here today with this vote and you know what LRTs are sleek, beautiful, powerful, reliable machines.”
– De Baeremaeker making the case for LRTs at council in March 2012
SCARBOROUGH-GUILDWOOD LIBERAL CANDIDATE MITZIE HUNTER
During her stint at CivicAction Hunter supported the LRT plan but she’s since come out cheering for subways on the campaign trail:
“I want to work with Scarborough residents and develop solutions to tackle the tough issues of employment, housing, and transit. Only the Ontario Liberals have serious plans to improve transit for all Scarborough residents.”
– Mitzie Hunter in a Liberal campaign press release Thursday, July 12, 2013
“The LRT option is the choice for the ridership, for the funds that are available, and also for timeframe in terms of the impact on the community and for equity issues as well -bringing rapid transit to more people.”
– Hunter in the National Post on March 17, 2012
TRANSPORTATION MINISTER GLEN MURRAY/PREDECESSOR BOB CHIARELLI
The Liberal Transportation Ministers were OK with LRTs until recently:
“I’m not really fussed if it is a subway or an LRT … The city needs to stand up and not let the people of Scarborough be second-class citizens. We need to give Scarborough a sufficient level of transit.”
–Transportation Minister Glenn Murray on July 11, 2013.
“I’ve said this several times now –I want to be very clear so no one misunderstands me: We have 15 projects, we’re not revisiting those projects; we’re continuing to build those projects.”
– Glen Murray in May 2013.
“The train has left the station. Toronto city council has voted overwhelmingly to support the Metrolinx plan and we already have shovels in the ground. It’s clear that Tim Hudak’s platform is totally off the rails.”
–Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli in October 2012 in response to PC leader Tim Hudak’s subway plan

The island airport doesn’t fly with Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker

- April 18th, 2013

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Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker doesn’t want to look at expanding the Toronto island airport – he wants to close it.

De Baeremaeker was asked about Porter Airlines looming push to let jets land at the Billy Bishop Airport and expand the runway.

“In terms of the airport itself I think it should be ripped up and put back into parkland, that is parkland, it is supposed to be parkland,” De Baeremaeker said. “We created a temporary airport that looks like it may last forever and my response is no.”

The Scarborough councillor hasn’t gauged whether closing the airport would be a move a majority of his council colleagues would get behind but he thinks it would have traction with the public.

“I think if you ask people what do you want: Do you want a park or do you want an airport? I think most people would say park,” he said.

“I think (closing the airport) would be net benefit to the City of Toronto.”

“I think right now the issue is on expansion. I certainly don’t think the airport should be expanded, if anything the airport should be eliminated.”

Councillor Doug Ford said he’s all in favour of expanding the airport and expects the issue will come to council soon.

“I don’t think (the runway) expansion is a big deal,” he said.

“(Porter is) a great company, took a lot of risk in the city, invested a lot into the city and I think by ordering these new planes they are going to create new jobs up at Downsview, at Bombardier.”

“If (the jets) are quieter than the propellers than why not?”

But could De Baeremaeker and a majority of councillors close the island airport? Not according to the Toronto Port Authority.

The Tripartite Agreement requires the continued operation of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport unless the City of Toronto, the Federal Government and Toronto Port Authority agree otherwise,” a port authority spokesman said Thursday.

“None of the parties to the Tripartite Agreement may unilaterally terminate the agreement or close the airport.”

Porter Airlines spokesman Brad Cicero pointed out the airport has been an “important part of Toronto for the last 75 years.”
“This is more the case today than ever with $2 billion in annual economic impact generated in the city by the airport. Now there is an opportunity to create another 1,000 jobs at Porter alone, more business and local tourism, and airline competition by offering more destinations at lower prices for travellers,” Cicero said.
“Any suggestion that dismisses $2 billion of economic impact for Toronto, including at least 5,700 jobs supported by the airport today, shouldn’t be taken seriously.
“These benefits can’t simply be recreated or transferred elsewhere. What’s needed is a reasoned, open discussion, not unnecessary distractions that would only hurt Toronto’s economy, residents and visitors.”

Help me fight the plastic bag ban: Mayor Rob Ford

- October 21st, 2012

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Mayor Rob Ford isn’t throwing out his fight against Toronto’s looming plastic bag ban.

Ford urged his Newstalk 1010 show listeners Sunday to help him reverse the city’s ban on plastic bags. The ban is set to take effect January 1, 2013. Councillors on the public works committee is set to hold consultation on the ban at their November meeting.

“OK, folks, you want plastic bags, I want to keep plastic bags – they are very, very handy,” Ford said. “You have to show up November 14 to the works committee at 9:30 a.m. and you have five minutes to say why you think plastic bags are important or on the other hand, why you don’t think plastic bags are important.”

Ford read out the names of the 18 councillors who voted against reopening the bag ban at city council earlier this month.

“You have to call these councillors folks,” Ford said.

“We have to get Ana Bailao, Shelley Carroll, Raymond Cho, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Sarah Doucette, Paula Fletcher, Mary Fragedakis, Mike Layton, Pam McConnell, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Joe Mihevc, Ron Moeser, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, David Shiner, Adam Vaughan and Kristyn Wong-Tam.

“Folks, you must call these people and maybe they can explain why they want to ban plastic bags or why they don’t want to open the debate.”

Ford seemed to joke he may have to do a robo-call in those councillors’ wards to drive the point home.

“You have to put your waste in something,” Ford said.

“It is essential that we have plastic bags,” he added.

Councillor Doug Ford guaranteed the majority of the people in those councillors’ wards would say “I need a plastic bag.”

“It’s not our job, again here is the nanny state again government interfering, we know better,” Ford said. “It is just a socialist mentality that we’re dictating to people what they can and can’t do.”

Councillor Vince Crisanti, a guest on the Sunday radio show, complained the bag ban “rear-ended” councillors earlier this year as they debated ending the five-cent bag fee.

“Who saw that coming?” he said.

Crisanti joked next council could end up banning cars.

Councillor Ford blamed council for being “dysfunctional.”

“What’s next? A ban on what?” Ford asked.

Mayor Ford also hinted he may try to reverse City Hall’s ban on bottled water on city property. That ban was approved by former Mayor David Miller’s city council.

“You can allow bottled Coke and bottle root beer and bottle ginger ale and every other bottled (drink) at City Hall but you can’t have bottled water,” Ford said. “That’s something that we have to get back on the floor.”

 

Mr. Ban? Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker

- October 20th, 2012

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City Hall may be looking at another ban soon thanks to Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker.

Councillors on the licensing committee, led by De Baeremaeker, voted to have staff take a look at banning hookah bars (story here).

It would be the latest in a string of bans that have come from (surprisingly) Mayor Rob Ford’s City Hall. Despite Ford’s staunch small government approach, this is a city council that has banned plastic bags, shark fin soup and pet shops from selling cats or dogs from puppy mills.

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Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker jokes around with Mayor Rob Ford on his first day in office as Mayor of Toronto (Toronto Sun files).

In his speech to the licensing committee Friday, De Baeremaeker (who helped champion the puppy mill crackdown and the shark fin ban)  told his council colleagues it is part of their role as legislators to “change the law and ask for things to be banned” even if staff tell them not to do it.

“I have to say our council has a very good track record of doing the right thing in spite of staff recommendations telling us to be very, very, very, superly over cautious,” he said.

“I look at some of my proudest moments on council and those moments on council have been when I ignored staff advice and said, ‘You know, darn-it, we are going to ban this crap and let them take us to court because we’ll have that legal battle.’”

De Baeremaeker also hinted Friday he favours a ban on energy drinks.

“There are folks working on that issue at the federal level,” De Baeremaeker said, adding he’s not ready to get city council to clip Red Bull’s wings (along with other energy drinks) just yet.

“But yes, if I had my way, I would be banning energy drinks in the City of Toronto,” he added.

I pointed out to De Baeremaeker that he’s starting to become “the ban guy” at City Hall.

“I think in terms of banning things we should ban things that are very harmful to people – this is the role of government,” he said.

An avid cyclist, De Baeremaeker says he also supports government making bike helmets mandatory for all riders, similar to seat-belt legislation for those riding in a car.

“People on the bike helmets say, ‘You shouldn’t protect people from their own stupidity.’ Actually that’s what government does,” he said. “(Government) says to you, you can’t get in a car and drive 130 km/h in front of a school zone with little children there, we force you to slow down.

“We force you to wear a seat-belt, we may force you to wear a helmet when you get on a bike and we may force you not to smoke in enclosed spaces if we think it is going to increase your risk of cancer.”

Quotes of the Day – TTC Labour War Edition

- September 28th, 2012

Toronto Sun---From Remote-- 15-pic's; TorTTC28; TTC met to decide on contracting out cleaning jobs

TTC commissioners voted 4 to 3 Thursday to contract out more than 150 bus cleaning jobs (story here). The debate was fairly lengthy and emotionally charged – lots of people were throwing around the word “war.”

Here’s a sample of what was said during Thursday’s contracting out debate at the TTC meeting:

“We don’t outsource for the sake of it. We don’t. We outsource because we think we can get the same job done at a reduced cost and a higher quality.”
- TTC chair Karen Stintz speaking to her TTC colleagues before the vote.

“This is far from over. We may have lost the battle but we sure as hell won’t lose the war.”
- Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 president Bob Kinnear speaking to reporters after the vote.

“I will not turn my back on you. I will vote against this report.”
- TTC vice-chairman and Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker speaking to TTC workers before the vote.

“A lot of what has been said today is hyperbole.”
- TTC commissioner and Councillor John Parker before the vote.

“Who goes to bed and dreams up this Orwellian nightmare of Animal Farm where we eat each other in the barnyard where the weak are preyed on.”
- TTC commissioner and Councillor Maria Augimeri

“I ain’t on the gravy train people.”
- TTC cleaner Carmen Miller during her address to the TTC

“This is about making sure the TTC is as efficient as we can make it.”
- TTC commissioner and Councillor Peter Milczyn before the vote.

“Where’s the respect! Where’s the respect!”
- Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 workers as they left City Hall.

“You’re effectively declaring war on your own employees.
- John Cartwright, president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, speaking to the TTC before the vote.

Quote of the Day: Glenn De Baeremaeker on transit and apple pie

- July 9th, 2012

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“There have been people who have said, well you didn’t consult with me. My answer is I’m consulting with you today. I can’t show you my apple pie before it is out of the oven. Now that this apple pie, this transit plan, is out of the oven and it’s full, now we have something to talk about.”

- Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker last week on complaints from some councillors that they weren’t consulted by him and TTC chair Karen Stintz about the OneCity plan

Careful what you vote for: Ball hockey edition

- May 27th, 2012

Councillor Josh Matlow

Councillor Josh Matlow (Toronto Sun file photo)

A majority of councillors started Toronto on this not-so brilliant breakaway to the edge of ball hockey bureaucracy a year ago.

Back in May 2011, a majority of councillors were onside with Councillor Josh Matlow’s push to have city bureaucrats find a fix for Toronto’s ball hockey ban.

Mayor Rob Ford and 35 councillors voted in favour of Matlow’s motion to have staff look at ways to exempt streets from the city’s ball hockey ban.

Matlow revealed this week the staff would be coming forward with that plan at the June public works meeting (story here). As details of the proposed plan spread, it didn’t go over well with scathing reaction from Matlow’s fellow councillors (story here and here). A day later, Matlow iced the idea (story here).

Reading the motion from that May council meeting, it’s not surprising city staff came back to Matlow with this ridiculously bureaucratic process for parents to go through to get their street exempt from the city’s rarely enforced ball hockey ban.

The motion the majority of council supported ordered the city manager to report to the public works committee on “the type of streets on which street hockey or other ball sports are suitable” such as dead-end streets, cul-de-sacs and ones with low traffic volume. It also asked the city manager to do a feasibility study on “a procedure that allows any Toronto resident residing on a street with a speed limit at or lower than 40 km/hr to apply for an exemption from the current city by-laws that prohibit playing street hockey and other ball sports.”

Although Matlow is taking all the hits on this initiative, he sure got a helping hand from councillors.

So who cast their ballot to start the ball rolling on this?

Along with Matlow and the mayor were Councillors Paul Ainslie, Ana Bailão, Michelle Berardinetti, Shelley Carroll, Raymond Cho, Josh Colle, Gary Crawford, Vincent Crisanti, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Sarah Doucette, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Doug Ford, Mary Fragedakis, Norman Kelly, Mike Layton, Chin Lee, Giorgio Mammoliti, Pam McConnell, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Joe Mihevc, Peter Milczyn, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Ron Moeser, Frances Nunziata, Cesar Palacio, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Jaye Robinson, David Shiner, Karen Stintz, Michael Thompson and Adam Vaughan.

Seven councillors faced off against this idea right from the start. The seven councillors who voted no to starting staff down this inevitable path to a ridiculously bureaucratic process were Councillors Maria Augimeri, Mike Del Grande, Frank Di Giorgio, Mark Grimes, Doug Holyday, Gloria Lindsay Luby and John Parker.

Parker made his thoughts on the initiative crystal clear last Wednesday when he told reporters the following:

“Look, I love my colleague Councillor Matlow to bits and I would never suggest that anything he brings forward is for the benefit of gaining public profile and the odd cheap headline. But I think the city has done just fine by way of accommodating road hockey on our streets without the benefit of a whole lot of study by city staff and committees.”

So there you go, Matlow may be in the penalty box for this one but he had some help from a lot of council teammates to get here.

***

Here’s how councillors voted back in May 2011 on the motion entitled “Exemption to By-Laws Prohibiting Street Hockey and Other Ball Sports to Promote Active and Healthy Youth and Community Engagement”:

Yes: 36
Paul Ainslie, Ana Bailão, Michelle Berardinetti, Shelley Carroll, Raymond Cho, Josh Colle, Gary Crawford, Vincent Crisanti, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Sarah Doucette, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Doug Ford, Rob Ford, Mary Fragedakis, Norman Kelly, Mike Layton, Chin Lee, Giorgio Mammoliti, Josh Matlow, Pam McConnell, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Joe Mihevc, Peter Milczyn, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Ron Moeser, Frances Nunziata, Cesar Palacio, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Jaye Robinson, David Shiner, Karen Stintz, Michael Thompson, Adam Vaughan

No: 7
Maria Augimeri, Mike Del Grande, Frank Di Giorgio, Mark Grimes, Doug Holyday, Gloria Lindsay Luby, John Parker

Absent: 2
James Pasternak, Kristyn Wong-Tam

City council to Gary Webster: We’re listening … sometimes

- February 20th, 2012

TTC chief general manager Gary Webster

TTC Chief General Manager Gary Webster (Toronto Sun file photo)

Toronto city councillors bemoaning the possible firing of TTC Chief General Manager Gary Webster may want to check their voting record.

While many are outraged at the possible dismissal of a professional civil servant for the presumed reason of challenging Mayor Rob Ford’s transit plan, around 28 councillors weren’t concerned about Webster’s coveted advice back in 2010.

Fresh from the 2010 municipal election, a majority of councillors voted to ask the province to declare the TTC an essential service. Those votes were cast against Webster’s warning that the TTC shouldn’t be deemed an essential service. Webster even appeared at the council meeting to voice his objection to the designation.

After Webster’s sage advice was delivered, a majority of councillors promptly voted against his advice.

This isn’t to argue City Hall is better off, as some have described it, valuing “toadyism” over professionalism.

But when it comes to the civil service it does show city councillors, even when handed “professional advice” from a veteran transit expert, don’t always listen.

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Here’s how city councillors voted on December 16, 2010 on a motion to ask the province to designate the TTC an essential service:

Yes (28 councillors)

Paul Ainslie, Michelle Berardinetti, Raymond Cho, Gary Crawford, Vincent Crisanti, Mike Del Grande, Frank Di Giorgio, John Filion, Doug Ford, Rob Ford, Mark Grimes, Doug Holyday, Norman Kelly, Chin Lee, Gloria Lindsay Luby, Giorgio Mammoliti, Josh Matlow, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Peter Milczyn, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Frances Nunziata (Chair), Cesar Palacio, John Parker, James Pasternak, Jaye Robinson, David Shiner, Karen Stintz, Michael Thompson

No (17 councillors)

Maria Augimeri, Ana Bailão, Shelley Carroll, Josh Colle, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Sarah Doucette, Paula Fletcher, Mary Fragedakis, Mike Layton, Pam McConnell, Joe Mihevc, Ron Moeser, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Adam Vaughan, Kristyn Wong-Tam