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Transit Funding Options Released by Provincial Panel

The transit funding panel formed by Premier Kathleen Wynne has issued a report today recommending options to tackle increasing congestion and gridlock in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). While the report does its best not to call for controversial funding strategies, it lays out two options, both politically challenging, to achieve the dedicated transit funding the GTHA so desperately needs.

Below is a synopsis of the two options the report offers to the Provincial government.

The First Funding Option:

  • Gasoline and Fuel Taxes: phased increase commencing with 3 cents per litre and adding 1 cent per litre per year up to 10 cents per litre
  • Corporate Income Tax: modest increase of 0.5 per cent to the general rate
  • Provincial Portion of Harmonized Sales Tax: redeployment of the GTHA portion of the provincial part of the HST charged on gasoline and fuel taxes.

This option is fraught with difficulties. It asks the Ministry of Finance to give up some of the HST it now collects and allocates to things like health and education. The Ministry of Finance is loath to dedicate any funds to particular projects as this contracts their ability to maneuver on the budget from year to year. The first option also places a .5 percent increase on corporate income tax. This will be difficult especially if it requires Federal support and given our history, Federal support of transit funding in the GTHA over the past 40 years is sporadic at best. The increase in the gas tax may be the only viable option but even that will have its detractors.

The Second Funding Option:

  • Gasoline and Fuel Taxes: phased increase capping at 5 cents.
  • Corporate Income Tax: modest increase of 0.5 per cent to the general rate
  • A .5 per cent increase to HST

This second option is the easier of the two options. It doesn’t require tapping into funds already allocated by the Ministry of Finance, but will require real political leadership on increasing the HST by 0.5 per cent. It also calls for an increase to corporate income tax that will be a difficult if there is a need for Federal agreement.

The final transit panel report is a good attempt at moving the conversation on dedicated transit funding forward. It won’t be easy but it is the right, reasonable and responsible approach to moving the region forward, together.

You can read the full transit panel report here.

 

Follow Sarah on Twitter at @ThomsonTO.

Follow the Transit Alliance on Twitter at @TransitAlly.

Stop what you are doing and watch Lisa Kudrow’s character slam sexism in politics on the show Scandal

Sexism is still very real for a lot of women everywhere in their lives, but we’ve come to forget that it hurts even women who are leaders and politicians.

In a speech on the TV show Scandal that appears to have been ripped directly from Hillary Clinton’s diary, Lisa Kudrow slams the culture of sexism that still exists for female politicians in everything from the men they run against to the media that covers them.

Watch the clip and let us know what you think, does Kudrow’s character hit the nail on the head or what?

 

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

RIP Canada Post home delivery — 3 things we won’t miss

There is nothing sweeter at this time of year than opening your mailbox to find a red and green envelope waiting for you. Ah, Christmas cards, a sweet slice of the holiday spirit sent directly to your door.

And then the mail keeps coming the rest of the year.

The constant flow was enough to drive Kramer (slightly more) crazy in the 1997 Seinfeld episode The Junk Mail, and like Kramer we all felt a little mixed upon learning that Canada Post will be phasing out urban home delivery over the next five years.

Here are three things we won’t miss:

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1. The Junk

The junk comes, and comes, and comes. Like Sisyphus pushing his rock back up that hill in Hades every day, the emptying of the junk mail from the mailbox is a thankless, never-ending task. Hot dogs are on for 99 cents at No Frills. There is a rollback Christmas lights at Walmart. Capital One has pre-approved me for a credit card. Every day I come home to my mailbox overflowing with deals, so many deals that I could never appreciate them all in one lifetime. Every day the stack of of letters which know my name only to be “Resident” is larger than the last.Every. Day. There. Is. More.

Except now there won’t be. Finally, some extra space in the mailbox for all of the personal correspondence mail I receive to leave my keys for when the electrician comes and I’m not home.

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2. Other people’s mail

For some reason I cannot fathom there is a nonstop deluge of mail for people I don’t know that comes to my mailbox that gives me an almost eerie vision into their lives with none of the pleasure of being able to open them up. Mr Hun-Tso looked to be behind on his phone bill, with letters coming with increasingly scarier words like “IMPORTANT” “PAST DUE” and “FINAL NOTICE” stamped on the front. Mr Rados’ citizenship information came through, which I’m sure would have been a happy day for him if he’d actually received the package. I still get the magazine subscriptions for a beauty salon that was once apparently in my house.

Okay, I’ll concede that I would probably actually enjoy this aspect of mail home delivery if it wasn’t for the precious space in my mailbox that was being taken up by five letters a day addressed to people who hadn’t lived there for years.

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3. The slow speed

With today’s technology junk mail and bills seem to be the only stuff that really serves a purpose in the mailbox — and even bills can be sent online. Everything else is just a click, tap, or touch away on our computers, tablets, and smartphones. Even telephones can do most of what mail can accomplish. Even fax machines, themselves a completely outdated form of technology, can do everything mail can do at a fraction of the time.

There’s a reason people call it snail mail.

 

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Chicago’s gay hockey team sings ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’

Prepare to drool all over you keyboard as you watch Chicago’s gayest goons sing Christmas carols on the ice.

While none of these scruffy fellas can carry a tune (like, at all) it just adds to the appeal. Note to Toronto’s Gay Hockey Association: we will be expecting something similar from you soon. If you can manage to incorporate some shirtlessness then you’ve got these guys beat, but as it stands all we want for Christmas now is to hang out rinkside in Chicago.\

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

RECIPE: Applesauce cranberry cake

Anne Lindsay, author of Lighthearted at Home, shares a recipe for a scrumptious and health conscious Applesauce Cranberry Cake. At only 159 calories a slice, it’s the perfect holiday treat. The recipe is also certified by the Heart & Stroke Health Check program, meaning it’s nutritionally sound and totally good for you!

Applesauce Cranberry Cake

Makes 24 slices

Full of flavor, this delicious moist cake looks attractive when made in a Bundt or tube pan. It’s easy to make and keeps well. Serve with fresh fruit desserts, poached pears or sorbets.

¾ cups granulated sugar (425 mL)
¼ cup      soft margarine, at room temperature (50 mL)
1             egg
½ cup      low-fat plain yogurt (25 mL)
2 cups     applesauce (500 mL)
1 tsp       pure vanilla extract (5 mL)
1             Grated rind of 1 medium orange
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (375 mL)
1 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour (300 mL)
1 cup       dried cranberries or raisins (250 mL)
¼ cup      wheat bran (50 mL)
4 tsp        cinnamon (20 mL)
2 tsp        baking soda (10 mL)
½ tsp       ground nutmeg (2 mL)

Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch (25 cm) Bundt pan.

In mixing bowl, beat sugar with margarine until well mixed. Beat in egg until light in colour. Beat in yogurt until mixed. Beat in applesauce, vanilla and orange rind.

In separate bowl, combine all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, cranberries, bran, cinnamon, baking soda and nutmeg; stir to mix. Pour over applesauce mixture and stir just until combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake in 325°F (160°C) oven for 60 to 70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes, then turn out onto rack and let cool completely.

MAKE AHEAD: Wrap well and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

PER SLICE: 159 calories, 2 g protein, 3 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 33 g carbohydrate, 2 g fibre, 138 mg sodium, 81 mg potassium
Excerpted from Lighthearted at Home. Copyright © 2010 by Anne Lindsay and Associates. Excerpted with permission of the publisher John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd.

 

WATCH: This video will change the way you think about marriage

The video, entitled simple “It’s Time.” was created by Australian marriage equity group Get Up! to help show those who may not know a lot about gay relationships, marriage, and love what a love story looks like through the eyes of a gay man and forces the viewer to confront their prejudices about the gender of the camera when the couple does a lot of very normal things like laughing, kissing, and even fighting.

Take a look and let us know what you think, is it time for everyone to have the right to marry the people they love?

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Jennifer Lawrence, Martha Stewart & more celebrities recite Ford’s crack admission

Ivor Tossell was right, Rob Ford has transcended the realm of politics and become a fixture in the world of celebrity. Through his appearances (and the frequent discussion of him) on American cable news and late night talks shows — a medium which has no understanding or reason to understand Canadian politics at any level, least of all municipal — Ford has landed somewhere between OJ Simpson and Charlie Sheen with a dash of Amanda Bynes in the American (and by extension, global) cultural landscape.

On a week where comparatively little has gone down in the Ford saga, except some anticipation for the release of more documents related to Ford associate Sandro Lisi’s arrest, the Mayor has still found himself on David Letterman being paraphrased by celebrities.

Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Vince Vaughan, Martha Stewart, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson all take part in the mock documentary in which they recite Ford’s admission of crack use during his term as mayor and his assertion that he would like to be Prime Minister of Canada someday.

Toronto, it looks like we’re going to have to settle into this for quite a while to come.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

13 reasons why Cher’s new video ‘Take it Like a Man’ is the gayest thing ever

Queer car wash, underwear models, lifeguards, and a twerking dance off. Yup, gayest thing ever.

As if Cher could get any gayer, her new video for Take it Like a Man has proven that the Queen of the Queers not only still has it, but has set the standard of gay for another generation. Here’s why:

 

13. The video opens with a group of men wandering around the hood in nothing but underwear.

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12. There is a big gay car wash where most of the soap and water ends up on the boys.

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11. There is a rival group of guys, also in their underwear, who are scandalized in the gayest way possible: sassy lollipop removal from mouth.

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10. One of the guys gets picked up and used to scrub a car.

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9. The boys somehow get shipwrecked, also in their underwear.

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8. Only to be saved by a group of hunky lifegueards wearing the tightest bathing suits imaginable

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7. There are so many lingering crotch shots.

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6. Back at the car wash the boys are actually just washing each other.

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5. There is a dance off

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4. Between guys in their underwear.

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3. They are twerking.

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2. One of the teams is called the Hot Bottoms.

1. It’s Cher for God’s sake.

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Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.