Diary of a councilspotter: Plastic bags

Wednesday, June 6, City Council meeting 24

Recap of this morning:

A bunch of councillors throwing hissy fits over the injustice of paying 5¢ for a plastic bag in a perfect microcosm of how conservative governments dismantle themselves by becoming so inefficient they’re not worth having around.

How this got started:

Berardinetti proposed having businesses donate the proceeds from the plastic bag fee to suitable groups, like environmental organizations.

This wasn’t a total dick move, so other people on the Executive Committee added a bit about rescinding the fee altogether.

(So wait, you may say. Are they proposing to get rid of the fee and donating the profits from the fee, in the same motion? Isn’t that kind of confusing? Yes, yes it is.)

And then Perruzza floated the idea of going in the other direction and banning plastic bags (as some cities have done), which made everyone freak the fuck out.

Ridonkulous arguments floated so far:

  • Scrapping the bag fee kills jobs at plastic recycling plants (Del Grande)
  • Dog poop!!1!!11 (Lindsay Luby)
  • If fee proceeds are donated to charity, people will buy EVEN MORE bags (Shiner)
  • Grocery stores aren’t giving out paper bags, so… (Di Giorgio?)
  • The bag fee is bankrupting corner stores and enriching big chains like Loblaws

As I type, the debate is still going on. FUCK EVERYTHING I’M GOING OUTSIDE.

A sombre What I’m Reading

Pat Capponi, Upstairs in the Crazy House (1992)

A memoir of the author’s post-institutionalized life in one of Parkdale’s infamous boarding houses, with flashbacks to her abusive childhood and the roots of her depression. She chronicles poverty, fleas, abandonment, addiction, and the determination to assert one’s humanity in the face of a system bent on denying it.

Capponi has since become a prominent mental health and housing advocate here in Toronto, making the city a little more humane. Once, after a spell of suicidality, I was able to stay in the Gerstein Centre which she had a hand in establishing. It helped restore the dignity that the P. E. S. U. strips away from you; I’ll always be grateful.

Stevie Cameron, On the Farm (2010)

The book on the Pickton case. Seriously, there’s nothing I’ve read about in the news from the ongoing inquiry that isn’t in On the Farm.

Cameron focuses on the lives and personalities of the missing women throughout, an emphatic unspoken assertion that they were not “disposable”, they were not worthless, they were talented and vivacious and loving and loved women—their relatives fought for years to get the Vancouver police to take the disappearances seriously. In some cases the VPD flat-out lied to the families to get them to go away; and upper brass refused to let top profiler Kim Rossmo help investigate. To the VPD, women who were poor and addicted and prostitutes and (it’s impossible to deny this had an influence) Native weren’t worth finding.

(Slutwalk is happening right now; stayed in and wrote this up instead. Is SW relevant to impoverished mentally ill women? To addicted Native women in sex work? I suspect not but I’d love to be proven wrong.)

The Matlow Jar

A plastic jar with a photo of councillor Josh Matlow taped on it.

Because people periodically ask:

One evening I was having post-council drinks when Josh Matlow’s EA came up and introduced himself. When he learned who I was, he chided me for being so hard on Matlow that day on Twitter (I believe I had called him “beige”) and gave an eloquent defence of his boss.

In embarrassment, I resolved to cut Matlow (and the rest of Council) some slack, and to that end I set aside a jar, kind of like a swear jar. Every time I say something unnecessarily mean about a municipal politician, I put 25 cents in the jar.

There are several bucks in there now. I haven’t decided what to do with the money yet, but it will probably go towards buying drinks for the councillors who receive the brunt of my wrath.

The More You Know

Too many dicks on the dancefloor

This is actually footage from a #TOpoli pub night

#TOpoli, we need to talk. This has been bothering me for a while now, and since it’s International Women’s Day I figure I may as well take this occasion to point out that our burgeoning scene is one big white dudefest. And white dudefests suck. But luckily there are small, practical things we can do to fix this, which is good, because I would hate to totally fucking snap and destroy you all with the burning rage of a thousand Nunziatas.

Continue reading Too many dicks on the dancefloor