Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Toronto’s EDM Ban. My Take On It.

July 3, 2014 Leave a comment

The 2014 Toronto “EDM Ban” was unexpected.

Electronic Dance Music events were banned on City of Toronto property at Exhibition Grounds. This was effective immediately.

This meant that shows which were already planned and contracts which the city had already signed with private businesses were null and void on the whim of the “Board of Governors of Exhibition Place,” a committee of 9 people made up of a “Mayor’s Designate,” 4 City of Toronto Council Members, and 4 “Public Appointments.” Even a show which was planned for less than 2 weeks after the meeting which made this ban happened was victim to it. The show had to be moved and it was.

Eventually, the City of Toronto City Council got together and checked if they could legally overturn this ban (they could) and vote on if they should overturn the ban (and they did). Tonight, there was another discussion about the ban because the Board of Governors decided to have a “public consultation” about it. Only one thing, they didn’t really invite the public.

I found out about this taking place at about 3:30pm today, less than 3 hours before it happened.

exhibition board of governers public consultation meeting June 2014

When I was asked why I didn’t attend to make my voice heard I informed them that I had no knowledge of this event occurring until it was way too late and if the City Councilor who is involved in this discussion truly wanted to bring the community of people who listen to dance music and attend these events in they could have done a lot better job of making this meeting known. Someone else replied that the councilor’s local newsletter email and the councilor tweeting about it was sufficient. I said how about going to the venues where the events take place weekly and handing out flyers or putting up signs? Most efficient and direct way to reach the community I’d say.

According to the Councilor he sent out a “ton of emails”  about it:

Strangely enough, none of those emails seemed to have reached the Toronto Star (link goes to search results for Exhibition Place), the National Post, the Toronto Sun, CP24, 680news, or DJ Mag Canada. I could continue looking to see if anyone actually received these emails who reported on the issue in the first place back in April-May but it seems that no one did until it became a story this morning when a City Councilor called the residents of Parkdale pedophiles on Twitter. (Yes, I am serious.)

When I voiced this displeasure with regard to attempting to let the community know I was asked if I would write to City Council my thoughts on the matter. At first I said no because from what I can tell it would be a waste of my time, energy, and breath but the conversations continue to happen so fine, I will write down my thoughts.

In terms of the “EDM Ban” on City of Toronto property at Exhibitions Place I think a couple of things:

– 1 – The ban itself contradicted a recommendation by Toronto Public Health from more than a decade ago that the city lease property for large dance parties, specifically to prevent “problem conditions” at underground raves after the death of a university student. They researched this specific thing years ago and found out people in their late teens and early twenties were making bad decisions at these parties – as we do at that agee – and when the parties were held “underground” there was no support staff on hand to help prevent loss of life.

– 2 – The ban came into existence immediately with no regard for pre-existing contracts to hold events on the Ex grounds. An event had to be moved with little more than a week to re-plan everything, offer refunds, make new plans, etc all because some sub-council of the city council changed the law effective immediately.

This is a way larger issue than just banning concerts, that is the city negotiating contracts in bad faith. What business would ever want to enter into a contract with the city if they can’t trust that the city will change its mind on a whim and screw over months of negotiations and planning? Why would Hollywood continue to film up here in Toronto if they have to worry that one day some council member or sub-council will decide to make filming downtown illegal and all the contracts they’ve signed, permits they’ve filmed out, and talent/accommodation bookings they’ve made are for naught? If I were planning a major event or movie shoot or something of the like I would want to steer clear of Toronto…because I clearly can’t trust anything anyone in the Toronto government signs. (I am not a lawyer but I am pretty sure the city also opens itself to lawsuits for breach of contract when they pull a stunt like this.)

– 3 – I don’t care about the ban. I really don’t. I think the city is stupid for banning a genre of music from their venues because, quite frankly, there are enough other private venues in the city for these events to happen. The city is just losing out on money to be had from permits and rentals for these events and in a cash strapped city like Toronto that is something we cannot afford to do.

– 4 – This ban made international news at a time when the city of Toronto is already an international laughingstock for its crack smoking mayor. You’d think Toronto’s City Council would want to hang its head low and not kick up any more attention to itself but apparently that isn’t the case. Good job, elected officials of Toronto!

Political Ethics On Twitter & Ontario Elections #voteON

October 3, 2011 5 comments

@OntarioPressSec "Media Office" Twitter follow notification in my email

With the start of the 40th Ontario Provincial Elections campaign I noticed that the account “@OntarioPressSec” who I was following and followed me had changed their handle to become @LibPressSec. I had been following @OntPressSec/@LibPressSec since I tried to get Premier Dalton McGuinty’s recognition of Foursquare Day Toronto 2011 in April. I also noticed that now there was – clearly a new, placeholder account – @OntarioPressSec which doesn’t and hasn’t tweeted since its creation on September 2, 2011.

I am at war with myself over whether I agree with these tactics as being ethical during an election. As you can see in the picture above, the account which is being run by a staffer of the Liberal Party of Ontario identified itself in April as being “Media Office” who had a biography which read “Associate Press Secretary in the Office of the Premier of Ontario.” The placeholder @OntarioPressSec Twitter account says in its biography “Account not monitored. Please interact here: @LibPressSec.” It directs people to the Liberal Party of Ontario’s Twitter account with no direction to the Ontario NDP, or Ontario Progressive Conservatives.

During the time when the account which used to be the Media Office for the Premier of Ontario’s Office was just that it managed to amass 3,713 Followers as of the writing of this post, up from 2,275 in April – the election campaign officially began September 7, 2011 so make your own guess how many of those 1,438 followers that have been added since April came on since the beginning of the election campaign. I feel as though that is sort of wrong in a way and, again, unethical. I understand that the account cannot become the mouthpiece of the Liberal Party of Ontario while still under the name @OntarioPressSec during an election campaign but why should they get to bring over all those followers who wanted to know the goings on of the Government of Ontario to suddenly be inundated with Liberal Party tweets. As well, if Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario Liberals lose the election does the new government of Ontario get control of both the placeholder account and the one which is now a Liberal Party mouthpiece? Read more…

I Completely Disagree With Your #StopHarper Methods Brigette DePape AKA Brigette Marcelle

June 3, 2011 30 comments

Brigette DePape aka Brigette Marcelle, (what is your real name anyway?) this is an open letter to you. Before I begin I want to make clear I am not endeavoring to debate partisan politics with this post.

I understand that you aren’t happy with the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. I understand that you didn’t vote for him and are clearly disappointed that he is the Prime Minister of Canada. I have read your press release (copy/pasted/linked below) and I am happy that democracy and freedom is strong and healthy in this country. The very fact hat you feel safe enough to pull a stunt like you did is obviously indicative of that. Quite frankly though, I don’t care about your opinion if it involves doing what you did. That you felt so strongly that you believe you have the right to disrupt our government based on your own whim is disgusting to me. What kind of self-centered brat are you? Whether or not you like the man, respect the office and respect the traditions that make Canada what it is today. Do not disrespect the office because you dislike the man.

“Most People In The Country Know…”

I have read your press release and parts of it reads like the rantings of a crazy person. Read more…

Not Good: Many On The Political Left Lack Empathy For The Entire Political Spectrum

April 19, 2011 6 comments

A note before I begin: To the friend I am referring to in this article. Know that you were just the catalyst for this particular post. I have had MANY similar discussions or been witness to many similar feelings in the past. I am not trying to single you out and, indeed, I am sure there are plenty of people with different political ideologies than yours who feel the same way as you seem to about people of different political ilks.

I got into a discussion recently with a friend of mine who considers herself a political liberal (never mind the specific political party she identifies with, that lowercase ‘l’ was deliberate).

The discussion I had with her wasn’t so much about politics – although I felt at many points there were attempts to dodge my questions and turn into a discussion about politics – it was more about people.

For the purposes of this post I am not going to be posting the conversation verbatim because that would be way too long and I don’t remember it all in every detail.

I asked her that hypothetically when George W. Bush had been president if she had heard he was shot at but had no idea whether or not he was hurt, alive, or dead, would she wish him well. Her response was that she wouldn’t care.

I was taken aback, but pressed on, asking, “But, isn’t George W. Bush, at the end of the day, just another person? Shouldn’t we care for all people and wish them all well?” Her reply was that George W. Bush probably didn’t care about her if she were to be in the same situation. Read more…

The Job Of An Elected Official

May 22, 2009 Leave a comment

I was reading the SpacingToronto blog today and saw a post where the author, Shawn Micallef, commented on a quote by Toronto City Councillor Paul Ainslie to the Toronto based Canadian national newspaper the Globe & Mail on the subject of whether or not to get rid of the center lane on a city street named Jarvis to make more room for bike lanes and wider sidewalks (this center lane switches between being a northbound or a southbound lane depending on the time of day to help ease congestion).

“[He} said this to the Globe: “I don’t get people calling my office and saying there are not enough bike lanes.” With that logic, does Ainslie not support anything that comes across council’s agenda unless he’s heard something from his constituents? That would be silly.”

Really Shawn? An elected official only supporting things that the people who elected him/her want him/her to support is SILLY?!?!?! Obviously we must take for granted that not every issue that comes to a vote in any democratic governing body has an opinion explicitly expressed by each and every elected officials populace. However, part of the reason these people get elected is because when voters look at their positions on issues they vote for a candidate because the voters agree with them on those issues and trust the candidate’s judgement on other future issues that may arise during the candidate’s tenure in elected office.

Now, of course, Shawn Micallef has taken the idea of an elected official responding to an issue based on the majority of their constituents desires to the Nth degree suggesting that an elected official should, based on Ainslie’s comments, ONLY support an issue after he/she has heard from their constituents on it because that would be silly. However, when it comes to spending CA$6.35 million that the City of Toronto does not have I think the fact that not one of the elected official’s constituents contacted his office to voice their favoring this change to the status quo is enough to warrant voting against it.

Also, let’s not forget that a large part of the reasoning for this change is so that they can add BIKING lanes. Has anyone in the Toronto City Council ever been outside in Toronto anytime from October to mid-April? Except for the odd days it isn’t biking weather (to say the least) for the majority of the year in Toronto. In fact, according to CityNews Weather Blog this past April “The mean monthly temperature for April was 7.83 [Celsius] compared to the normal 6.3 [Celsius]” and there was even “3.6cm of snow” (for my American readers, that’s more than an inch, and enough to stick on the ground, freeze, and make driving very annoying).

But I don’t want to really talk about the Jarvis bike lane issue. What really gets to me is that when I read Shawn Micallef’s post the way I saw it he was basically saying, the voting public in general are stupid and don’t know what is good for them, that is why it is up to the ‘elite’ elected officials to decide what is good for the public even if the public does not agree. Like a parent forcing their child to take their medicine so will the government help the idiot masses by making decisions against the will of the people that the officials have decided the people need because the officials know better.

Quite the opposite is my opinon Shawn Micallef! The job of the elected official is only to respond to the will of the people who put him/her in that office. If your constituents have not expressed an opinion either way on an issue and the issue will cost money (i.e. your constituents tax dollars) it is absolutely your job to vote against it and ensure that their tax dollars are around to spend money on things that the city actually NEEDS. Like, say, 24 HOUR SUBWAY SERVICE.

But that’s just my $0.02

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