Posts Tagged ‘politics’
Torontoist’s David Hains writes on how the ongoing debate about what to do about the Gardiner Expressway overshadows other, arguably more important, issues with public infrastructure.
What to do with the Gardiner will come down to council’s priorities. As the City pushes up against its debt ceiling while facing a growing number of projects that demand attention, City Hall will have to make some tough choices. If council’s recent track record is any indication, Torontonians have cause for concern.
Those looking for troubling indicators of council’s current leanings don’t have to look further than the TTC budget. The City is all too willing to find $910 million for the Scarborough subway extension while maintaining a massive state of good repair backlog, all while falling short of the $240 million to make the transit agency accessible by the legislated date.
In the most recent budget, council was willing to speed up repairs on the Gardiner to the tune of $443 million while other needs, like Lower Don flood protection and the ongoing crisis in social housing, continue to receive more lip service than action.
What doesn’t get represented in the City budget is the squandered opportunity cost, year after year, as difficult but good decisions get deferred in favour of easy sells that may not be the best use of funds.
Bloomberg’s Renee Bonorchis and Palesa Vuyolwethu Tshandu report on the wave in protests in South Africa against statues of prominent colonial-era figures, people whose work led to apartheid. On the one hand, they are only symbols; on the other, well, they are symbols.
The statue of Paul Kruger, a president of the Afrikaner-led Transvaal Republic before the Anglo-Boer war, and four figures of townspeople around him, were splashed with green paint in Pretoria’s Church Square on April 5. Statues of Britain’s King George V in Durban and Queen Victoria and the Horse Memorial in the coastal town of Port Elizabeth were also vandalized over the Easter holiday weekend. In March, the statue of Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town was smeared with human excrement.
The “statues should be taken down,” Moafrika Mabongwana, EFF deputy chairman for Tshwane, the municipal area that covers the capital Pretoria, said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “We don’t agree that these statues should be put in public places. We aren’t saying that history should be erased. All the statues should be identified and taken down.”
In the 17th century Dutch and French settlers arrived in what is now South Africa’s Western Cape province. Later the British arrived and Rhodes helped to expand the U.K.’s influence as head of the provincial government and by funding an expedition that led to the colonization of what is now Zimbabwe. The government that created apartheid laws came into power in 1948 and the country’s first all-race elections were held in 1994.
While some towns and street names commemorating apartheid and colonial-era leaders have since been changed, many historical symbols have remained.
“If you want to change these statues, defacing them is exactly the wrong way to go about it because it builds resistance,” JP Landman, a Johannesburg-based independent political and economic analyst, said in a phone interview.
The above photo was given to Mike Duffy by Stephen Harper in 2009, congratulating the former senator on a job well done. This just underlines, as noted by CBC’s Chris Hall among many others, the extent to which Stephen Harper was deeply implicated in Duffy’s wrongdoings.
Harper won’t be a witness at this trial. He’s denied any role in the efforts inside his own office to get Duffy to repay the expenses.
But he will certainly face renewed questions about that. Wright, his former chief of staff, has told police he went to Harper in February 2013 to sign off on a deal, telling him at least this much: that they were forcing Duffy to repay money that he was legally entitled to claim.
For Harper, this wasn’t a legal issue. It was a political problem. And, as Wright reported to his colleagues, the prime minister was “good to go” with the deal to fix it.
As we know now, the deal fell through, and Wright would eventually repay the money himself, a fact Harper says he didn’t know until May 15, 2013 — even though Wright wrote to colleagues a day earlier that “the prime minister knows, in broad terms only, that I assisted Duffy” in making a repayment Wright believed Duffy might not actually owe under the Senate’s rules.
Will this have an impact on the election? Time will tell.