Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Who and Why? Or, Candy Writes a Classic Blog Rant
Tuesday found very specific grafitti at a memorial for fallen fire fighters. The vandalism seemed so specific to me...I found myself wondering who would do such a thing...what would be their motives?
Although I am not a fan of Ontario Liberal Premier McGuinty, I believe some actions he has taken have been positive and ironically may be the source of this harsh strange violation. Firefighters are almost untouchable as heroes in our culture...so who would violate a memorial of firefighters who have died in the line of duty?
One I wondered if it was a gender issue...I mean who says "firemen"? A throw-back. Grampa maybe.
Did a family blame some kind of new finacial deal with firefighters as causing a death? Was there a slow rescue? Is this a 911 complaint?
McGuinty has taken a lot of heat recently in fact he often has shown up for public events surrounded by nurses and firefighters as an expression of his support for the working person in Toronto. McGuinty's government has given a fairly generous raise to firefighters...a raise I believe they deserve.
I also believe that the TTC workers deserve a safe, well paid and productive work environment. As do nurses, garbage workers and teachers.
I believe that taxes should be raised to support the wages of these services. Especially the taxes on carbon consumption and higher family incomes.
I suspect that the vandalism may be related to the recent TTC strike where workers were sent back to work and the idea of the public transit becoming an "essential service" may have threatened unions and workers sense of freedom and self protection through striking.
The thing is...I support unions and striking...but becoming an essential service is actually a good thing for sectors of our culture...it usually comes with a huge pay raise.
The only reason there is any question about the TTC being an essential service is due to peoples addiction to driving cars.
Maybe we need to declare the public transit an essential service and implement many more buses and routes along with more frequent service. When people start to walk to work and walk or take public transit, their cities and neighbourhoods become more connected and rich layers come to the surface. Toronto is a city with all kinds of wild animals, gorgeous wildld flowers, amazing coffee shops, museums and people...driving a car prevents one from enjoying a particular pace of a vast richness of CITY LIFE.
And for goodness sake, riding public transit and walking accepts that we have long used up the "good gas" reserves on the earth. Stop flogging a dead dinosaur.
Don't blame the firefighters for the rotten politics of our city, blame the drivers.
Disclaimer: I by no means am saying that someone from a union or TTC, or union politics is responsible for the vandalism at the Firefighters memorial...merely speculating and wondering in the search for a great urban dynamic.
Losing the right to strike means settling contract disputes through arbitration, a process that has coincided with generous wage settlements.
A March, 2001, decision by arbitrator Martin Teplitsky established the principle of wage parity with Toronto police. In June, 2007, council approved a contract giving the firefighters a raise of almost 10 per cent over three years, raising the pay of a first-class firefighter to $78,741 in 2009. The mayor defended the deal, saying that if the city forced the union into an arbitration process, it would have ended with a similar increase.
In 2005 the Police Services Board had offered the union a four-year contract with a 12.75-per-cent wage increase, but police association president Dave Wilson said, "We would never agree to a four-year contract." The board's claim that it wanted to submit the dispute to binding arbitration was refused by the union. In November, 2005, the two sides agreed to a three-year contract raising wages by almost 10 per cent. This contract expired Dec. 31, 2007, and the union says it won't limit itself to the wage increases given to firefighters.
In June, 2001, the Ontario Legislature passed legislation making paramedics an essential service. When municipal employees went on strike a year later, paramedics and ambulances were required to keep staffing levels at no less than 75 per cent. (from here)