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Special council meeting called for streetcar funding

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The City of Toronto announced that a special meeting of Toronto City Council will take place on Firday at 10am to approve paying for two-thirds of its upcoming streetcar purchase.

The City had hoped that the federal government would pay one-third, as the provincial government has committed to doing. Tomorrow’s meeting will authorize the TTC to make the streetcar purchase while the city continues to work on a funding arrangement with the federal government.

Whether that federal funding will ever come through is still questionable. Spacing has learned that the federal government is prepared to give the Toronto $150 million of stimulus money for projects like road and bridge repair, which would offset some of the cost of the streetcar purchase. However, that sum is approximately $250 million short of what the City had hoped the federal government would contribute.

Due to the current strike, tomorrow’s special meeting will take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.



  1. small typo above Adam “Firday”

    The projects TTC proposes to defer are:

    Eglinton Bus Terminal 34.5m 2015-2018
    Fire Ventilation Upgrade 54.5m 2014-2016
    Station Modernization 39.5m 2015-2018
    Paving Rehabilitation 25m 2015-2018
    Collector Booth Renewal 5m 2014-2018
    Mid-Life Bus Rebuild 258.5m 2012-2018

    Total $417m

  2. The federal government has given billions to gm that we’ll never see again but they’re unwilling to give a few hundred million to a Canadian manufacturing company in exchange for an actual product….

  3. A press release from Councillor Ainslie just came in:

    Scarborough East: City Councillor Paul Ainslie (Scarborough East Ward 43) has questioned the location of tomorrow’s Special City Council Meeting. A notice was sent out today advising Members of Council and the public that Toronto City Council is to hold a Special Meeting of Council to consider TTC Streetcar Report on: Friday June 26, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front Street West, Room 105, North Building.

    In an email to Ulli Watkiss, Toronto’s City Clerk, Councillor Paul Ainslie responded “I will not be attending. I was elected as a City Councillor and I would expect to meet at City Hall. There is nothing structurally wrong with City Hall.”

    “We have asked our non-union staff and all essential staff to report to work. Councillor’s are non-Union why are we not attending our place of employment as we have asked our own staff, and senior staff to do. If Councillors are to meet we should be meeting at City Hall.” stated Councillor Ainslie.

    “As elected officials we can not have it both ways. We have to perform our duties for all constituents who elected us and continue our work to do what is in the best interest for the City.” Councillor Ainslie added.

  4. “Mid-Life Bus Rebuild 258.5m 2012-2018”
    Isn’t this a little bit risky to put on hold for six years?!

  5. Councillor Ainslie’s position is well taken.

    Miller tells managers their wages are frozen, tells them they have to report to work, tells them to go pick up garbage yet you needlessly cancels all Council and Committee work and doesn’t show up for work himself. The Mayor of Windsor is front and centre leading his City during strike and staying in his office why not Miller and gang.

    Terrible decision and terrible message to Citizens of Toronto

  6. Dave: While I agree they could have the meeting in council chambers, its a little ingenuous of you to say Miller “tells (managers) they have to report to work”. They have to anyway since they are not on strike! Or Miller “needlessly cancels all Council and Committee work”. Thats not needless: staff are the ones that run those committee meetings. Who is going to take notes, record votes, answer questions from councillors? I’d love to see Rob Ford and Case Ootes standing by the photocopier making council agendas.

    If you walk thru city hall you’ll see that a majority (2 out of 3) councillors are not crossing the picket line since they need to have good relations with staff. If the majority arent willing to do that then I think its fine to do this outside of city hall. At least they are doing it.

    It should also be noted that the mayor of Windsor is considered their worst mayor in a long time. A neo-con running one of Canada’s most working-class cities. Like oil and water.

  7. Dave — in every strike, public or private, management always reports to work. How is this different?

  8. what’s the big deal with holding the damn thing in the convention centre? Why would Councillor Ainslie raise such a fuss? The people who work City Hall are on strike. The people who work the convention centre are not. I hope this meeting doesn’t get boycotted! Sheesh!

  9. 5 bucks says Ainslie had long weekend plans and will be fishing in Muskoka tomorrow morning.

  10. Well, it could have been held in City Hall if someone hadn’t blown the whistle on the Mayor’s use of the daycare entrance I suppose…

  11. This statement was released just before 6PM by CUPE locals 79 and 416, stating that they will not picket tomorrow’s special meeting of Toronto City Council.

    CUPE Local 79, TCEU Local 416 Statement on Special City Council Meeting
    TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – June 25, 2009) – The following statement has been issued by Ann Dembinski, president of CUPE Local 79 and Mark Ferguson, president of Toronto Civic Employees Union Local 416 CUPE:

    We recognize that good jobs are vital to Ontario communities. We will not set up picket lines or take other action to prevent Toronto City Council from holding a special meeting tomorrow at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

    We remind Toronto City Council that getting our members back to work with fair collective agreements is as urgent and important to this city as the purchase of new streetcars.

  12. Gee Guys,
    Sure like it when I a make a simple comment that expresses the majority view in Toronto and spacing opinions you want to bring out the voodoo and stick pins in me.

    Incredible over reaction to simple statement.

    Ainslie is not a right winger but a guy with plumb position as vice chair of Budget Committee. He is protecting his ass because he realizes how his constituents will react to Miller’s aversion to a picture or question about him crossing a picket line instead of being a leader standing up for his citizens who are outraged by the strike.

    If the Mayor of the Labour City of Windsor is so bad why has he been in office since 2003 and been re elected and appears to have widespread support in strike. Could the reason be that citizens of Windsor have seen that the culture of union entitlement and inefficiecy in the CAW has led to the collapse of their industries and they do not want the same thing to happen to their City.

    What is different is that the Mayor and Councils are also management and leaders so it is hypocrisy to tell staff to cross pickets while they are not willing to be seen to do the same. It is a simple comparison with a leader telling his troops to go into battle and hidding in a bunker while his troops take the shit.

    Andrew and Paul,
    Again, Ainslie has a point and is a middle of the road Millerite who cannot be dismissed with insults.

    A point well taken. Miller slinks in and out of City Hall to preserve his union support and is not willing to show any courage in standing up with his negotiators bargaining position. Again a failure of Leadership and blind ideological committment to union causes.

  13. I have no problem with the move of the special meeting, in so far as its to minimize conflict and doesn’t cause any absurd extra costs.

    That said, on the issue of this whole strike; while I am generally sympathetic unions, and very much support fair vacations and benefits etc.; I am lost on their inability to understand constructive PR.

    Eighteen sick days, banking or no banking is grossly excessive. Anyone actually requiring that needs to be on worker’s comp or short-term disability etc.

    And if you don’t need it; hello, its an insurance program, no different from health care; the gov’t (or your employer) should not be expected to pay you for not suffering illness!

    I don’t doubt there are other issues at play; but if the union came out and said they would go with 10 sick days, pretty much the standard in Canada and no sick bank; I think they could very easily gain public sympathy (assuming they don’t harass people at transfer stations).

    I happen to be friends with many City workers, none of whom walking the line (or collecting strike pay) and they tell me they aren’t in favour of this at all. Makes ya wonder.

    PS, none of the above doesn’t mean Paul Ainslie and the like aren’t a bunch of grandstanders (to put it politely)

  14. McD: sorry if I came off as bringing the voodoo pins. And I definitely intended no insult toward Ainslie (oh, and I don’t care if he’s right wing or Millerite or whatever…). I’ve never had a problem with him personally.

    But, I mean, in terms of bringing the insults:

    “Again a failure of Leadership and blind ideological committment to union causes.”

    Do you really have any evidence of this? I mean, did he just concede to the union demands? I’m sure “vague union sympathies” is more like it.

    Anyway, I don’t see why the decision to hold the meeting at metro centre should have all that much to do with PR. It seems just as likely that it would be much easier — more practical — to do it there. I mean, consider this: they hold the meeting at city hall. It takes hours for all the councillors to make it in. Who exactly is served by that? What’s the point? To “look tough”? I hope not.

  15. I like the old street cars
    they are better designed for people and street scapes

    the wheelchair access issue is way oversimplified.
    many can’t even get to a streetcar stop.

  16. it may be oversimplified. but. it’s also (provincial) law.