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ECONOMIST & SUN M A R K H A M

Saturday, July 28, 2012

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GAMES BEGIN

Weekend focus

Athletes got $20 a day, shared rooms

Cabs charge wheelchair users more

Bill Crothers looks back on Olympic experience

Rates for ‘accessible cabs’ $35 or more in York Region, even for short trips

BY MICHAEL HAYAKAWA

mhayakawa@yrmg.com

Bill Crothers made Canada proud by running his way to a silver medal in the men’s 800 metres at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. While the 71-year-old Markham native was quick to acknowledge his feat took place a little over four decades ago, he remains firmly attached to the spirit of the Olympic Games. With the torch lit Friday to officially proclaim the commencement of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England, Crothers intends to follow the Games closely.

By L.H. Tiffany Hsieh

thsieh@yrmg.com

Would you pay $30 or more for a taxi ride of about three kilometres? Tyler Barker did, but he had no choice. The 26-yearold Aurora resident has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. Due to his condition, taxi cabs are overcharging him, said Mr. Barker, who is on the town’s accessibility advisory committee. “I’ve been told it’s an industry standard,” he said. Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, it’s illegal for a conventional transportation service provider to charge a higher fare to a person with a disability.

Will watch on TV

‘Not same service’

Being a former Olympic competitor along with being an inductee in the Canadian Olympic and Canadian Sports halls of fame, it might be assumed Crothers made plans to personally attend this world spectacle. Not so, he said. “The only time I went as a spectator to the Olympics was in Montreal in 1976,” he revealed. “I only went for one day with my dad. We flew out in the morning and saw some swimming events that day and then we went to watch track and field

However, service providers argue accessible vehicles aren’t conventional. “That’s not a taxi. It’s not the same service,” Royal Taxi general manager Spiros Bastas, a Markham resident, said. Accessible transportation is a market captured locally by York Region Transit’s Mobility Plus, he said. “There’s absolutely no demand,” he added. However, parties on all sides of the debate agree there needs to be government funding to subsidize extra costs associated with transporting people with special needs. “It’s a societal issue,” Mr. Bastas said. It’s also a personal matter that has affected people such as Mr. Barker in more ways than one. “It’s held me back, regarding school. It’s a major

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The Markham Economist & Sun, Saturday, July 28, 2012, 2

‘I have done nothing wrong’: MP Businessmen after FM spot gave to Calandra riding association BY SANDRA BOLAN & Amanda Persico

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Paul Calandra says he has done nothing wrong. The Oak Ridges-Markham MP is being accused in a national publication of accepting money at fundraising parties earlier this year that involved people attempting to secure a new Toronto radio station licence. Mr. Calandra is parliamentary secretary to the Canadian Heritage Minister, which oversees the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. “I’m not too worried about it,” Mr. Calandra said in a telephone interview. “I attended two fundraisers, we took in money, followed all the rules we were supposed to with Elections Canada,” he said. The value of the donations is more than $20,000. According to the MP, the money was not accepted by him, but by the electoral district association.

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and social activities,” the online statement said. “It is his practice to make donations whenever possible to worthy causes and to actively participate in political engagement... No official business of STANFM was discussed and no opportunity was sought for this. STANFM adheres to the all the codes of conduct with respect to political fundraising.” Prabha Selvadurai, CEO of WorldBand Media in Richmond Hill, is pitching TOUCH FM — an on-air and online conversation hub he says partnered with the Toronto Sun, Toronto Life and iPolitics. Mr. Selvadurai was at a fundraiser at his sister’s home for Mr. Calandra, he said. The event raised more than $20,000. Mr. Selvadurai said his donation was not related to the CRTC bidding process. “There is no story here,” he said in an e-mail. “I am aware Mr. Calandra has no direct or indirect role with regard to a CRTC licence hearing process.” Mr. Selvadurai said he met with other GTA MPs. “As a businessman, it is important for me to ensure these MPs know about my business and intention to grow my business in Toronto,” he said.

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None of the money has been returned, he said, noting they have until the end of the fiscal year, December, to report contributions. “We continue to do research. If a cheque or donation shouldn’t have been made ... we will return any funds that are inappropriate,” he said. He said donations can be returned for a number of reasons, including ineligibility, incorrect contact information or they are over the contribution limit of $1,100. “It’s just par for the course. There’s nothing here we haven’t done or other members of parliament haven’t done,” Mr. Calandra said. Nine companies have submitted applications to the CRTC for Toronto’s 88.1 FM, the last slot on the FM dial. Stan Antony, a Markham resident, applied to have Sounds of Toronto Audience Network (STAN FM) registered as a musical hub for Toronto artists. A post on the proposed station’s website (stanfm. ca) this week says he made a $500 contribution to Mr. Calandra as a Canadian citizen and individual donor. “(Mr. Antony) is an active member of his community and is well engaged in civic

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From page 1.

hurdle for me,” he said. While Mr. Barker has access to a van, he has to rely on Mobility Plus buses and private taxis to get around most of the time. “My mom is not my chauffeur,” he said. “Friends will help, but I want my own independence.” About 18 months ago, Mr. Barker quit school due to various reasons, including the high cost to get to Seneca College’s Newnham Campus, near Finch Avenue and Hwy. 404. He used Dignity Transportation Inc., which charged him $75 each way, he said. Attending classes three times a week, Mr. Barker said he took out a special loan to cover his transportation costs of $450 a week. Since leaving school, Mr. Barker has switched his focus to accessibility advocacy. But even when he met with Mobility Plus representatives last year at Aurora town hall — a threekilometre ride from his house — he was billed $35 by Dignity. He said Mobility Plus reimbursed him under a one-time special circumstance, after they contracted a taxi for him that he couldn’t get into due to the size of his powered wheelchair. York Region Media Group obtained quotes from Royal Taxi, which subcontracts accessible vehicles to AQuality Mobility Inc. Its rate for an accessible cab starts at $32.50 for up to 11 kilometres, whereas the meter starts at $4 for a regular cab. From Mr. Barker’s home to Aurora town hall by regular cab, Royal quoted $13 or $14. York Region Media Group also called Dignity for a quote and was told the minimum rate starts at $30 one way, for any distance up to six kilometres. You can’t compare apples and oranges, said Lloyd Pollock, president of Dignity, which is headquartered in Vaughan. “It’s a livery service. It’s essentially a limousine service,” he said. “Our rates are exceptional.” The government subsidized the purchase of accessible vehicles in the 1990s, but discontinued the program due to high costs, Mr. Pollock said. “The truth is, it’s all about money,” he said. “There’s nothing you can do.” Richmond Hill Deputy Mayor Vito Spatafora, who is chairperson of the region’s accessibility advisory committee, believes the issue at hand can only be improved with a consistent and reliable source of funding. “(Transportation providers) are businesses; they are not charitable companies,” he said. “And there’s only so much property taxes and development charges can pick up.” While Mr. Spatafora said the

3, The Markham Economist & Sun, n www.yorkregion.com n Saturday, July 28, 2012

Subsidized, accessible transport called key

STAFF PHOTO/MIKE BARRETT

Aurora’s Tyler Barker says taxi companies are overcharging clients in wheelchairs. He used to attend Seneca College at its Newnham campus and was charged $75 each way by Dignity Transportation, he said. region has made numerous improvements to Mobility Plus to increase accessibility, he questioned the increasing size and weight of wheelchairs. “Some of them are like supedup go-karts,” he said. “If they want service beyond what the region can provide, they are going to have to absorb the costs. They seem to be asking for private limousine service.”

Contracts worth $35M Regional council recently approved contracts — effective this Sunday — with Royal Taxi York Region Inc., Care Accessibility Transportation and Mobility Transportation Specialists Inc. for the provision of Mobility Plus accessible mini-van and sedan services. Totaling more than $35 million over five years, the contracts include 39 sedans and 24 accessible mini-vans. However, there are no rear-loaders, which Mr. Barker said he needs to fit in the vans. “I don’t want a limo. I just want a taxi like a regular person,” he said. Beverley Hall agreed. The former Markham resident is paralysed from the waist down from a car accident in 2002. “We pay more. It’s not fair,” she said. “You feel victimized all over again.” While she takes public transit

whenever possible, Mobility Plus wasn’t always able to pick her up, she said. “They have extreme limitations. They can be late, but you can’t,” Ms Hall said of the 40-minute grace period allowing the bus to either show up 20 minutes before the ordered time or 20 minutes after. However, the bus will only wait five minutes for a passenger to show up. You must book your ride with Mobility Plus before noon the day prior. “So if an emergency comes up in the afternoon, you have to call a taxi,” Ms Hall said. “You can’t be sick or you are supposed to predict when you are going to be sick.” Mobility Plus offers a Scrip Ride program for clients with last-minute or unplanned trips, but Mr. Barker and Ms Hall said these contracted vehicles are only suited for people with dialysis appointments who can walk with a cane or get out of a wheelchair and into a seat. Markham resident Andy Ainsworth, who uses a wheelchair due to multiple sclerosis, went further, criticizing Mobility Plus’ door-todoor service as unreliable. “They have stringent rules about getting a ride,” he said. “If I were to bet on them, I wouldn’t. I’ve had zero success with them.” Nora Ryan, who uses a wheelchair because of severe arthritis in

both legs, agreed there are problems with Mobility Plus, but said she has had good experiences with the service. “You have to plan it well,” she said. “I’m a reader, so it works well for me.” Ms Ryan’s condition also qualifies her for reimbursement for some trips. She must see a specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital once every two weeks. GTA Transportation charges her $60 one way from her apartment in Markham, but the costs qualify for full reimbursement under the Ontario Disability Support Program. Even so, Ms Ryan is also calling for the government to provide more financial assistance to people with low income and/or disabilities.

1,300 trips daily Until then, Mobility Plus, which records 1,300 trips with 12 bus routes daily, is at your service when you need it, manager Sharon Doyle said. Ms Doyle said the shared-ride public service has been described by caregivers and families as a “Godsend”, as it allows registered users to go anywhere in York Region and selected locations in Toronto, including Seneca. To go beyond the current service level would require extra funding in the future, Mr. Spatafora said.

“We only have so many buses available and we have to cover the entire region from Lake Simcoe to Steeles Avenue,” he said. “It’s going to be a budget requirement.”

Spatafora issues apology Richmond Hill Deputy Mayor Vito Spatafora says he’s sorry for making a “go-karts” comment about larger wheelchairs. “It was an inappropriate comparison, that was not my meaning and I’m sorry,” said Mr. Spatafora, who called the York Region Media Group after he received calls from residents about his comment. Mr. Spatafora chairs York Region’s accessibility advisory committee. When this story was published online earlier this week, a reader posted a comment on yorkregion.com, saying Mr. Spatafora’s classification of wheelchairs is insulting. “For a deputy mayor and chair of an accessibility committee to say wheelchairs that are being used by those who need them are ‘suped-up go-karts’ is insulting to a paraplegic, like me,” RollingAhead wrote. Mr. Spatafora said he used an analogy that was incorrect. “I’m human and sometimes as a human, someone does something inappropriate,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to undermine or discredit or undervalue providing these services to people with disabilities. I’m learning as much about people with disabilities as the next person.”


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A DVD counterfeit operation has been smashed after a Markham home and six booths at three GTA flea markets were raided, the RCMP said. Six people, including a Markham woman, have been charged. Officers seized about 100,000 DVDs the RCMP says are counterfeit, 114 DVD burners and $5,600 during the probe. As well, packaging material including plastic sleeves, jewel cases and blank DVDs were seized. The DVDs were of new films currently screening in theatres, the RCMP said.

Some of the bootleg DVDs found in RCMP probe. The flea market booths raided were all in Peel Region — two in Brampton and another in Mississauga, Staff Sgt. Tony Gollob, of the RCMP’s GTA customs and excise section said. The booths were used to sell the counterfeited DVDs,

RCMP believe. A counterfeit movie DVD can sell for $20. The RCMP pegged the potential street value for the 100,000 DVDs seized during this probe at $2 million, Staff Sgt. Gollob said. The DVD burners meanwhile can produce as much as $1 million per year when operating at full capacity, he added. A Markham woman, 28, and five Toronto residents between the ages of 24 and 49, face charges including fraud, possession of property obtained by crime, possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking and violating the Copyright Act.

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5, The Markham Economist & Sun, n www.yorkregion.com n Saturday, July 28, 2012

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The Markham Economist & Sun, Saturday, July 28, 2012, 6

EDITORIAL 905-294-2200 Fax: 905-294-1538 ADVERTISING 905-943-6100 Classified: 1-800-743-3353 Fax: 905-853-4626

DISTRIBUTION 905-294-8244

2012 CCNA

CANADIAN COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER AWARD 2012

Editorial Editor Bernie O’Neill boneill@yrmg.com

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Administration Office Manager Melanie Attridge mattridge@yrmg.com

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The Economist & Sun, published every Thursday and Saturday, is a division of the Metroland Media Group Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Torstar Corporation. The Metroland family of newspapers is comprised of more than 100 community publications across Ontario. The York Region Media Group includes The Liberal, serving Richmond Hill and Thornhill, Newmarket Era, Aurora Banner, Vaughan Citizen, Stouffville SunTribune, Georgina Advocate, Bradford West Gwillimbury Topic and yorkregion.com.

LETTERS POLICY All submissions must be less than 400 words and include a daytime telephone number, name and address. The Economist & Sun reserves the right to publish or not publish and to edit for clarity and space. Write: Letters to the Editor, The Economist & Sun 50 East Beaver Creek, Richmond Hill ON L4B 1G6 Email: boneill@yrmg.com Ontario Press Council Canadian Circulations Audit Board Member

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ECONOMIST & SUN 50 McIntosh Dr., Markham, Ont. L3R 9T3 www.yorkregion.com

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

B-ball net ban fouls out Re: City sinks curbside hoops, July 21. Markham, last I checked, is still a neighbourhood within Canada. As such, it is extremely multicultural, progressive, and a city that is a model to many places within Ontario, Canada, and the world at large. Elected officials need to be very conscious of the message they send to everyone in the community. A very iconic representation of Canadiana is the call heard on neighbourhood roadways by groups of children signaling “CARRRRR” while engaged in a friendly, and usually, competitive game of road hockey. Rarely have I heard complaints against youth playing hockey in Canada. Yet when it comes to another Canadian sport, albeit less popular in the Great White North — basketball — people have issues with children playing in the streets? A 10 feet/3 metre tall basketball net facing the street is not an impediment to my driving, even having to wait the five seconds for children to move to a safe distance from the driving lane. A 1.5-metre hockey net blocking one lane, however, is in fact a severe impediment. First, let’s assume that children actually pause and move the net for drivers, which could take up to 10 seconds. This is slightly more of an inconvenience than the basketball game is. What is becoming the norm, from my experience, is that children now pause and then wait for the rude drivers to detour to avoid their nets. This, for me, is much more of a real problem on the neighbourhood streets. Yet I, for one, have never or will ever complain about this. I want, and expect to see youth in my city to be outside and engaged in physical activity. I promote it on the very street which I live. For the city to create a bylaw prohibiting children from engaging in physical activity of a sport that is not regarded as our national right, to me sends mixed and very confusing messages to Markham residents from across every diaspora on the planet. We need to promote respect-

ful behaviour and positive characteristics, while youth is engaged in active lifestyles. We need not to become authoritarian and restrictive. Let’s take the time to get all the messages together and create more responsible, aware and healthy global city.

Allan Kameka Markham

Let the children play Re: City sinks curbside hoops, July 21. It’s easy for our beloved city to tell us what not to do. And to fine people in the process. But if you take away our children’s hoops, hockey nets and so on, what is left to do? I remember playing on the street and shouting “car”. We all moved to the side. I demand that in taking away our children’s right to play, the city must broadly extend their service hours and availability for all the public resources our tax dollars have paid for. Such as pools, parks, libraries and so on. Give our youth somewhere to go and something to do. Otherwise back off and let them play.

Warren Harris MARKHAM

Take action on teen drowning epidemic

Don’t blame teachers for epic fiscal mess

Re: Program takes aim at teen drownings, July 21. I was saddened to read your article but reminded of my own opportunity as a young boy at a private boys’ school (Oakham) in England which had its own swimming pool. We were required to take (as 13-year-olds) the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s classes on swimming which included techniques on how to disarm a frantic swimmer who was drowning as you approached them. The techniques were simple and I am sure are known to Ontario high schools. Why cannot high schools institute these classes, even if they have to rent time at a local pool? The human (and financial costs) of losing a teenage son or daughter — I raised two sons and four daughters — are immeasurable and I am sure local school boards could organise the classes and pool times. How do we make them really address the issue instead of just saying how sad.

Re: Epic battle big test for Liberals, editorial, July 19. I am tired of information being put forth that is not only incorrect but also designed to inflame those who love to bash teachers. Here are some of the most contentious comments in this editorial and the truth behind them: 1. “Catholic teachers recognized how good they have it and backed out of the match.” I am a Catholic teacher. I became a teacher six years ago after working since 1989 as an educational assistant. My husband and I sacrificed a year of my wages and thousands of dollars for me to get my BA and then my B.Ed. My husband recoiled in horror when he saw my first “real teacher” paycheque and commented that I could probably make more working at Wal-Mart. So, yes I have it good, I have the greatest, most rewarding job in the world — although it is also the most tiring, allencompassing and frustrating one at times, but my salary is not what is “good”. If you factor in all the time I spend after school hours and

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on the weekends planning, preparing units, marking and doing paperwork plus the time I spend coaching, running clubs, going on trips, sitting on committees, I barely make minimum wage. Now, my salary will not only be frozen for two years but I will also have to lose three days’ pay on top of that. 2. “Bank 20 sick days a year”. As a teacher, I am exposed to every virus, cold and contagious illness that comes into my classroom. During the SARS epidemic, I was quarantined. I have also been physically injured by students who have severe behavioural difficulties. What the public doesn’t know is that the left-over sick days were our short-term disability fund. I rarely take a sick day, but it was very re-assuring to have this cushion available for times that I would have to be absent for situations beyond my control. 3. “Most teachers in Ontario get paid a lump sum averaging $46,000 at retirement”. I am so sick and tired of hearing this statement. There are very few boards that still have this and the one I work for is definitely not one of them. That is ancient history but no one in the public would know that when you write statements like, “teachers don’t have the public’s sympathy in this matter when they blindly insist on huge payouts on retirement”. There is some serious blindness going on here, and it isn’t the teachers who can’t see. If our government was worried about $46,000 that a very few teachers receive, then I can clearly see why we are facing a $15 billion deficit. The Liberals have wasted billions of our tax dollars on projects such as the gas plants, E-Health, Ornge, smart meters, e-energy and full-day kindergarten. All of these mismanaged and poorly timed projects have created the crisis that we are in and it is beyond insulting to read your comment that the 115,000 teachers have created this problem. The real “big test” for the Liberals is to take responsibility for the crisis they have created by “blindly” wasting our taxes. I love what I do but am tired of being “sick and tired” of the epic battles created by the media that rage around me.

Carrie Perruzza Markham

Have your say 4E-mail your letter to the editor to boneill@yrmg.com


The nephew of a Markham city councillor is the victim of a fatal stabbing in Toronto last weekend. On Sunday, Toronto police responded to an assault call in McCowan Road and Hwy. 401 area. The victim, Nirosan Thillainathan, 22, died of stab wounds to the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr. Thillainathan is the nephew of Markham Ward 7 Councillor Logan Kanapathi. Toronto police have charged Zishan Malik with the second degree murder of Mr. Thillainathan, but are still looking for suspects or witnesses. If you have information, call police at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7704 or Crime Stoppers

at 1-800-222-TIPS, leave an anonymous tip online or text YORK and your tip to CRIMES (274637).

For the

MARKHAM LIFE Magazine

Pedestrian, 59, seriously injured A woman suffered serious injuries after she was hit by a car late Tuesday in Markham. The woman, 59, was walking west on John Street near Baywood Gate at about 11 p.m. when she was struck by a blue 1991 Honda Accord. The driver, an 80-year-old Markham man, was not injured. Police continue to investigate and are asking witnesses to contact them. If you have information, call police at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7704.

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Delivered with your Thursday, August 2nd For more information about Markham Life contact media@markham.ca or 905-477-7000 ext. 2255. Markham Life is also available online at www.markham.ca

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7, The Markham Economist & Sun, n www.yorkregion.com n Saturday, July 28, 2012

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City councillor’s nephew murdered


The Markham Economist & Sun, ■ n www.yorkregion.com ■ n Saturday, July 28, 2012, 8

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By L.H. Tiffany Hsieh

thsieh@yrmg.com

Bill Fisch, who is chairperson of regional council meetings, is not the chairperson or CEO of York Region, a provincial politician argued this week. “He’s the head of council,” Richmond Hill MPP Reza Moridi said at a public meeting at the Elgin West Community Centre Wednesday night. “There’s no such a thing as a chair(person) or CEO in the Municipal Act.” Mr. Moridi, who recently tabled a private member’s bill that calls for York Region’s chairperson to be elected, said to describe the head of council as a CEO implies the municipality is a private corporation, not a government. He said he’s “baffled” the chairperson, a public office, isn’t elected by the community at large, but by fellow regional council members. “He gets appointed in two minutes behind closed doors. It’s really laughable,” he said. Many mayors and regional councillors who get re-elected frequently don’t want to see changes on regional council, he said. “They’ve become friends. Everybody knows everybody,” he said. “So they’ve ‘elected’ one of their own. Who gave them the right to do that?” Mr. Fisch, who has served five terms, wears a chain of office and sets meeting agendas. “He acts as a mayor,” Mr. Moridi said. “He’s already a super mayor. That’s a reality.” The region’s $2.8-billion budget is almost a third of Toronto’s, he said. “It’s huge,” he said. “It’s more than many government ministries.” About 35 people, including former Rich-

mond Hill mayor Al Duffy, attended the meeting organized by the Social Planning Council of York Region. Co-chairperson Pat Taylor said the group approached two people who have publicly opposed the election of a regional chairperson to join the debate, but neither returned calls or e-mails. The panel discussion about whether or not the region’s chairperson should be elected also featured York University political science associate professor Robert MacDermid and Community Development Council Durham manager Benjamin Earle. Prof. MacDermid said he was glad to see people coming out “to reclaim local democracy”, adding municipal mayors and councillors used to be elected every year, then two, three and now every four years. “We’ve basically been watering down the process,” Prof. MacDermid said. The regional chairperson can break a tie vote, but usually doesn’t vote. “So when council is most divided, this unelected person wields the most power,” he said. “It’s perverse in a way. He serves the interest of those who voted for him, but he’s the public face of these municipalities.” A regional chairperson election will provide residents an opportunity to engage in regionwide issues, he said. “It’s essential to discuss these issues in broader ways,” he said. The issue of whether or not York’s chairperson should be elected has caused a divide among municipalities and local councils. In April, Newmarket council voted in favour of investigating the merits of an elected chairperson. In June, Markham council voted not to support a similar motion. Mr. Moridi’s private member’s bill is scheduled for second reading in September.

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Happy 25th Anniversary Town Centre Montessori Private Schools®

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Established in 1986, Town Centre Private Schools is proud to be family owned and operated by the Vanderlugt family, TCMPS has 3 distinct programs: Montessori PreSchool, Private Elementary School and Private High School. Left to right: Mr. Martyn Vanderlugt, Vice-President Over the past 25 years,Town Centre has made of Finance, Mrs. Marianne Vanderlugt, Principal, and a commitment to educate our students to Mr.Dennis Vanderlugt,Vice-Principal. pursue the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to be successful in their lives. The school has grown in the community by being actively involved in local charity fundraising opportunities. A major key to the school’s successful growth has been the hard work of our dedicated staff and the constant support from students and families, past and present, who have helped make TCMPS what it is today. We look forward to the next 25 years! For more information,visit TCMPS.com.

9, The Markham Economist & Sun, n www.yorkregion.com n Saturday, July 28, 2012

‘Reclaiming democracy’ aim of meeting


The Markham Economist & Sun, n www.yorkregion.com n Saturday, July 28, 2012, 10

York school boards to slash sports transport funds By Teresa Latchford

tlatchford@yrmg.com

Cutting school athletics should be the last thing considered when it comes to finding money to cover the province’s new fundraising rules, according to one resident. Due to new Education Ministry fundraising guidelines stating funds cannot be raised for anything required to pass a high school course, school operating funds, traditionally used to lower the cost of transportation for school athletic teams, will be slashed. Getting to and from games throughout the region is one of the greatest costs to school sports teams. “This is an easy fix, to look at sports teams to find the money,” Newmarket parent Lucille Abate said. “There must be other options other than the sports programs.” Even though her children have graduated from high school, she feels this is a step in the wrong direction, as parents and educators are promoting a healthy lifestyle and trying to battle climbing obesity rates, she said, noting students entering their teenage years tend

to be less engaged in organized sports due to lack of interest. She wonders how students are going to get to meets at other schools if the funding is decreased. “I don’t think it’s a reality for parents to take time off to drive them,” she said. She would prefer to see a little extra money come from the province to support transportation or, at the very least, offer parents a say in the matter by sending out a survey with options stating where the money could be found. Schools have to use operating funds to pay for materials such as instruments in music class, cameras in photography class and course packs that were previously covered by student fees, York Region District School Board superintendent of schools Leslie Johnstone said. Principals will continue to spend what they can to help their school teams, but it won’t be as much as in previous years, she said. So the amount students pay for transportation, previously $20 a season, will increase. Funds can still be raised for the teams through

student activity and athletic fees, but it won’t offset the entire cost of transportation. Some of the consequences of these new guidelines haven’t been thought through and it could be well into November before the impact on school athletics is felt, York Region Athletic Association co-ordinator Steve Shantz said. With 20 to 35 per cent of high school students participating in school athletics, an increase in fees will have an impact on a large number of students. The affordability of school sports, compared to organized sports in the community, is the draw for many families who would otherwise not be able to participate due to costs. These changes could put school sports out of reach for some families. “Some schools have a hard time competing in a lot of sports,” Mr. Shantz said. “Kids don’t have as many opportunities due to costs and now that is more pronounced.” — with files from John Cudmore

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Getting students to and from sporting events around the region is one of the largest expenses for York’s school boards.

PUBLIC NOTICE PROPOSED BELL CANADA WIRELESS COMMUNICATION INSTALLATION 35-METRE ANTENNA STRUCTURE 5546 MAJOR MACKENZIE DRIVE EAST, MARKHAM Bell Canada Inc. proposes to construct a new wireless communication antenna installation at 5546 Major Mackenzie Drive East, Markham, ON. The installation includes a 35-metre monopole telecommunication tower, and a walk-in equipment cabinet at the base, within a fenced enclosure. To minimize the need for future towers in the area, space will be available on the installation to accommodate other licensed carriers. Additional information can be requested by contacting Sean Galbraith, SJSB Network Consulting Group (agent for Bell Canada), 1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801, Toronto, Ontario, M5E 1W7 sean@sjsbnetworkconsulting.com. The public is invited to provide comments on this proposal in writing at the same address by September 5, 2012. Please reference file number W4088 in your correspondence. A public open house is to be held at Angus Glen Community Centre, 3990 Major Mackenzie Drive East, Markham, ON on September 4, 2012 from 6pm-8pm. Wireless facilities are exclusively regulated by Industry Canada. For more information contact the local Industry Canada office, 55 St. Clair Avenue East, Room 909, Toronto, ON M4T 1M2, 416-973-8215, spectrum.toronto@ic.gc. ca. The City of Markham provides comments for wireless facility applications and can be reached at City of Markham Planning & Urban Design Department, Markham Civic Centre, 101 Town Centre Boulevard, Markham, ON L3R 9W3, 905-475-4861.

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As the heat rises this summer, people are eager to cool off in pools and beaches. For many without basic swimming skills though, a jump in the water can be fatal. The Life Saving Society is hosting National Drowning Prevention Week after announcing 54 deaths from drowning in Ontario this year. It has created the Swim to Survive program, a training which teaches the skills needed to survive in deep water. YMCA will be running Swim to Survive at all facilities this Sunday. The program is free for everyone, no membership or registration required. The aim is that it will encourage all to learn about water safety and the essentials to survival. The Markham YMCA is at 101 YMCA Blvd. The program will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. July

29. Visit ymcagta.org/swimtosurvive — Amy Wang

South Asian Festival kicks off this afternoon at Featherstone Park Don’t miss the South Asian Festival being held today in Markham. The event features food stalls, kids area, a health and wellness section and traditional performances. People of all backgrounds are invited to learn more about South Asian heritage. The festival starts at 4 p.m. at Featherstone Park, at Middlefield Road and High Glen Avenue. Got to markhamsouthasianfestival.com to learn more. — Amy Wang

The Regional Municipality of York

TEMPORARY ROAD CLOSURE Major Mackenzie Drive (Y.R. 25) Donald Cousens Parkway to Ninth Line City of Markham Major Mackenzie Drive (Y.R. 25) will be temporarily closed between Donald Cousens Parkway (Y.R. 48) and Ninth Line (Y.R. 69) on August 7, 2012 until December 15, 2012. The purpose of the temporary road closure is to allow for the removal of the existing bridge and the construction of a new bridge on Major Mackenzie Drive. Local access will be maintained at all times throughout the temporary road closure.

Please direct inquiries to:

By-law No. A-0368-2005-088 Project No. 83880 Contract No. 08-109

Mr. Richard So, P. Eng. Project Manager The Regional Municipality of York Transportation & Community Planning Department 17250 Yonge Street, P.O. Box 147 Newmarket, ON L3Y 6Z1 Phone: 1-877-464-9675 Ext. 5263 Fax: 905-895-7523 Email: richard.so@york.ca This notice is issued on July 28, 2012. Bill Fisch

York Region Chairman & CEO

Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas

Commissioner, Transportation & Community Planning Department

11, The Markham Economist & Sun, n www.yorkregion.com n Saturday, July 28, 2012

Learn survival swimming Sunday


The Markham Economist & Sun, n www.yorkregion.com n Saturday, July 28, 2012, 12

Transit subsidy pilot project helps those on low incomes By Heather Resnick

Too many people on Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works struggle financially to survive because of low employment incomes. Transit costs getting to and from work are prohibitive. To ease the burden, the Regional Municipality of York with York Region Transit have implemented a transit fare subsidy pilot program. A 50-per-cent discount on adult transit passes will be offered to eligible participants of the above-noted assistance programs. The program is in effect until April 30, 2013.

Cordelia Abankwa, general manager of social services for York Region emphasized, “Income, affordable housing and transit are necessary for low income residents to be part of the economy and their community. Community and Health Services and Transportation Services committees heard repeatedly the pleas from their community partners that low-income constituents needed reduced transit fares. Clearly, there was a need to do something. Last year regional council approved the plan.” The program hopes to service around 1,400 people from the tar-

get group with the following criteria: • Ages 18-64; • New to OW and looking for a job; • Receiving OW or ODSP and starting a new job or working; • Leaving OW due to increased earnings (time limited transition); • Receiving ODSP benefits and participating in the ODSP Employment Support Program; • Not enrolled in school fulltime or attending any training programs; and • Not already receiving assistance with transportation costs.

To determine eligibility, interested individuals must contact their caseworker about the programs. Distribution of passes will be for three months with possible renewal after review by the participants’ caseworker. Funding will come from the Social Assistance Reserve Fund, capped at $1.3 million, which covers the cost of the discounted transit pass program, transit ticket funding provided to community agencies, one staff to administer and monitor the program and the evaluation at the conclusion of the pilot. No additional taxes are

charged. For Maggie Cowles, an ODSP recipient working two part-time jobs, the program provides her with “greater freedom to go to other places than just work and to feel independent”, says her mother, Fiona. The goal for the municipality is to reduce the longer-term cost for OW/ODSP programs helping its clients become more self-sufficient. Heather Resnick is an advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. To learn more, e-mail hrighter2002@yahoo.ca

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BY AMY WANG

When a group of recent Unionville High School graduates were first given the task of creating a short play, they never expected to be performing at the 2012 SummerWorks Festival in Toronto. But after winning Outstanding New Play at the Sears Festival for high school theatre, their spot was set in the competitive event. What began as a school project soon became a milestone for the ensemble. I Believe in Atheists, written and directed by David Lichty, explores the questions regarding life after death. The play begins with a man waking up in a hospital, only to discover God is in the room with him, and that he is dead. It’s revealed that one

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‘Always be open to creativity and being able to express yourself.’ David Lichty

writer, director of I Believe in Athiests

receives the afterlife that they believed in on Earth, but the conflict is that the main character is an atheist. He is then given the chance to think of an afterlife, with the clock running out of time as each minute of the play passes. As one of the acts in the largest juried theatre festival in Canada, the 30-minute play is set to gain much exposure from the artistic community. “I’d like to think that I’d continue writing,” Mr. Lichty

said of his future goals. “And for people to continue doing my play, that it just keeps getting performed.” The SummerWorks Festival is an event running from Aug. 9 to 19. The local cast will be performing multiple times throughout the festival. Aug 10. at 10 p.m. will be their opening night, at the Scotiabank Pia Bouman Theatre. Many young theatre ensembles will soon follow in their paths. To aspiring performers back in Markham, “always be open to creativity and being able to express yourself,” said Mr. Lichty. To find out about dates and order tickets for I Believe in Atheists, visit ticketwise.ca. Learn more about the SummerWorks Festival at summerworks.ca

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13, The Markham Economist & Sun, n www.yorkregion.com n Saturday, July 28, 2012

Play seeks believers at summer fest


The Markham Economist & Sun, n www.yorkregion.com n Saturday, July 28, 2012, 14

An Evening With

Steven Page September 6, 2012, 8 p.m. Flato Markham Theatre TICKETS: Prime $59, Regular $54, VIP $100

Steven page was a founding member, lead singer, guitarist, and a primary songwriter of the music group Barenaked Ladies. He left the band in 2009 to pursue a solo career, beginning with A Singer Must Die, a collaboration with the Toronto chamber music group Art of Time Ensemble and continuing with his latest solo release, Page One, with a sound that is immediately familiar but undeniably fresh. Page has also scored three plays for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in the last 5 years. Over his 10-album career with Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page has been blessed with myriad international awards and nominations while in the process selling over 12 million albums.

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15, The Markham Economist & Sun, n www.yorkregion.com n Saturday, July 28, 2012

WELLNESS: Less effective vaccine from 1980-’97 blamed

Whooping cough on rise in York with 25 confirmed cases in 2012 By TERESA LATCHFORD

tlatchford@yrmg.com

You can do your part to prevent the spread of whooping cough. Confirmed cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough due to the sound made during coughing fits associated with the illness, are on the rise in York Region. Southwestern Ontario is seeing the largest increase in the province, but York Region Public Health has already recorded 25 confirmed cases in 2012. It usually only sees an average of 20 cases per year, York Region medical officer of health Dr. Karim Kurji said. “We are quite concerned with the increase we are seeing,” he said. Medical experts are blaming the increased cases on a less effective vaccine administered from 1980 to 1997. Children younger than six should receive five shots of the vaccine, followed by a booster shot. In 2003, another booster vaccination was introduced for youths ages 14 to 16 because of an increase in cases in that age group. Due to rising numbers across the province, last year, the Ontario Health Ministry encouraged adults 16 to 64 years to also get a booster shot, especially people who are in direct contact with young children, such as parents and daycare providers. “It is important we work collectively to prevent its spread, since young children han-

dle the brunt of this illness,” Dr. Kurji said. Whooping cough has similar symptoms to a common cold, but with a persistent cough that can last up to 12 weeks. While all age groups can catch it, infants, young children and pregnant women in their third trimester can develop severe complications. Infants can develop pneumonia, suffer brain damage or die from the infection, Dr. Kurji said. Anyone with a cough lasting more than a week should seek medical attention. The average person would receive antibiotics as treatment if diagnosed with whooping cough. Dr. Kurji is most concerned about the start of school in the fall, when older children, who haven’t been properly vaccinated, could potentially spread the disease. “If everyone isn’t immunized, it could infect the entire school population,” he said. Vaccinations are available from family physicians and the public health unit holds clinics once a month, with times and locations posted on york.ca

FIND OUT MORE • If you are unsure of your child’s or your immunization record, call Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 to obtain a copy. • For more, visit york.ca

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Ambassador goes to The Ex to compete A Stouffville teen will represent Markham Fair in next month’s Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. Christine Blizzard, the 2011 Markham Fair Ambassador, will be competing in the 41st annual Ambassador of the Fairs Competition at the CNE. More than 70 winners from fairs across Ontario, men and women aged 18 to 25, will showcase their knowledge of Ontario agriculture, and be judged on poise, selfconfidence and public speaking. The winning competitor will participate in a series of official duties during Canada’s largest fair, which runs from Aug. 17 to Sept. 3. “A long-standing tradition, this is one of our most established events at the CNE,” said CNE general manager David Bednar in a media release. “It’s a great way to bring together indi-

CHRISTINE BLIZZARD: Stouffville resident will represent Markham Fair in competition at CNE. viduals and communities from across the province over the course of three days.” The final round of the competition will be held Aug. 19 at 2 p.m. at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on the exhibition grounds. For more on the CNE, go to theex.com


From page 1.

that included the 800m later that night and then we flew home later on.” Like many other Canadians, though, Crothers will watch the competitions, especially his former specialty of the men’s 800m, from his home television set. To watch the Games on the big screen, he suggested, provides a far more comfortable setting and enables him to keep abreast of the latest happenings. “With exception to certain sports like soccer, which has far greater significance when the World Cup takes place, the Olympics will be the epicentre of the best competition. And with so many events taking place and with them being spread out in different places, it would be hard to go to more than one or two events a day if you went in person. “Also, London and the venues will be congested with so many people,” Crothers said. “I really have no desire to go to the Games. The best way if you want to watch as many events as you can is by doing it on television. I’ll be watching the Games fairly frequently.” Citing he will have a soft spot for Daniel Rudisha of Kenya in the men’s 800m, having run against his father, David, at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Crothers said his loyalty remains with any Canadian

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participant. Especially those hailing from his native York Region. In predicting how many medals Canada might earn, Crothers warned there shouldn’t be expectations of a large medal haul as compared with what transpired during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver — in large part because Canada is more tailored toward winter sports. A realistic medal count, Crothers predicted, would be anywhere from 15 to 20. Crothers feels that’s an attainable number for several reasons. Partly it’s because there are more events on the Olympic menu as compared to when he was a participant, especially more competitions geared for women. “When I competed there were twice as many medals in men’s competitions as compared with women,” he said. “Now it’s close to 50-50. “In track and field when I competed there were maybe 17 events for men and maybe 10 or so for women. In my day there were no races for women longer than the 800m. There were no races for women in the 10,000m or the mile or marathon.” Serving as past board chairperson for the York Region District School Board and having a high school in Unionville named in his honour, Crothers also noted that

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with the introduction of new sports to the Olympics, there’s a tendancy for advanced countries such as Canada or the United States to do well for the first couple of Olympics before the rest of the world catches up. He noted Canadian athletes these days receive far more financial assistance from the federal government and corporate sponsors as compared to when he competed. “Back when I competed, we received assistance from the government once you made the Olympic team. The expenses were covered and that was it. “Nowadays, athletes get annual support and travel and expenses allowances. “When I competed we got $20 a day for expense money and we had to buy our meals and accommodations out of that money. We often stayed three or four athletes to a room. “There’s definitely more support for athletes now than before.” Crothers does not begrudge this fact, as he was quick to point out costs these days are far higher than when he was an Olympic performer. “It’s a different age now in everything. Not just in sports,” he said. About the only disappointment Crothers had with the upcoming Games was in hearing that members of the Canadian track and field team were not expected to be in

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Markham’s Bill Crothers, a silver medallist in the ‘64 Olympics, runs during the Olympic torch relay through Markham in the leadup to the Vancouver Winter Games. attendance during Friday’s opening ceremonies after talking with some members during a recent National Track League meet in Toronto. Prior to their participation at the Olympics, the track team trained in Kamen, Germany, and then were to take part in a competition in Weinheim as the opening ceremonies took place. Crothers feels the opening ceremonies are a special occasion, almost a once-in-a-lifetime and memorable experience.

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“To do well at the Olympics is important,” Crothers said. “But for the athletes who will be at the Olympics, especially for the first time, the opening ceremonies is something to experience. “Winning a medal is something, but what I’ll always remember when I competed was being in the infield when the Olympic torch entered the stadium and you heard the roar of the crowd. Chills went up and down your spine and the kids on the track team won’t have that opportunity. “Ninety per cent of Canadians watching the Games want to watch the opening ceremonies. It’s just as magical. I think it’s a tragedy the track and field team will miss the opening. That’s one criticism I have,” he said. During his interaction with the Olympic tracksters at the National Track League meet in Toronto, Crothers said he did not offer any advice based on his past Olympic experiences. He feels they are ready for the challenge awaiting them on the world’s biggest stage. “They’ve been training for a long time. They know what they have to do,” he said. “I’m sure they’ll get nervous and want to do well. But these days, they have their own coaches and they know their competitors having competed against them around the world at different meets. I just hope they do well.”

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17, JulyJuly 28,28, 2012 17,The TheMarkham MarkhamEconomist Economist&&Sun, Sun,www.yorkregion.com n www.yorkregion.com Saturday, n Saturday, 2012

Disappointed for track athletes missing opening ceremonies


The Markham Economist & Sun, www.yorkregion.com Saturday, July 28, 2012, 18

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Information Technology Cook (Canada) Inc. is a fast-paced, multi-discipline medical device company with our head office located in Stouffville, Ontario. We currently have challenging opportunities for two Mobile Application Developers – iOS and one Business and Reporting Developer in our dynamic Information Technology department.

      

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In Memoriam

In Memoriam

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ARMSTRONG, Robert Thomas (Bob) Peacefully with his family by his side on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at the Markham Stouffville Hospital. At age 64. Bob, beloved husband to Ruth for 35 years. Loving father to Tyler and Ashley (John). Proud grandfather to Ella (Cheeks). Survived by his brothers David (Linaire) and Peter (Janet). Friends will be received at the Low and Low Funeral Home, 23 Main Street South, Uxbridge, 905-852-3073 on Sunday, July 29, 2012 from 2:004:00 p.m. and 7:00-9:00 p.m. A funeral service to be held in the chapel on Monday, July 30, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. Cremation to follow. A reception will be held immediately after at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 459 in Stouffville, 150 Mostar St., Stouffville, ON. In Bob's memory, donations may be made to the Markham Stouffville Hospital. Online condolences can be made at www.lowandlow.ca.

PLUMBING

BRUCE CLARK & SON Plumbing & Renovations Ltd. Bathrooms, Basements, Service www.bruceclarkandson.com (Licensed/ Insured) Since 1968 (905)472-4845 PAINTING AND DECORATING

Bill’s Painting

Take the pain out of painting I can paint your aluminum: siding, troughs & downspouts. Professional Interior & Exterior Painting for over 30 years

DECKS & INTERLOCK Free Estimates

416-460-3210 Email: deckplus@rogers.com www.deckplus.ca

INTERLOCKING STONE WORKS LTD. Design-Build Landscape Contractor Commercial ~ Residential

• Excavation • Grading & Sodding • Retaining Walls • Clean & Seal Interlocking • Poolscapes

• Waterfalls & Ponds • Lighting • Flagstone • Planting • Wood decks

905-294-5415 Bill Frechette ROOFING

MD HOME ROOFING • Shingle Roofing • Flat Roofing • Eavestrough • Siding • Soffits • Tune-ups Free Estimates ~ Quality Workmanship Years of Experience

416-303-0303 • 1-855-903-0303 www.mdhomeroofing.ca WATERPROOFING

416-410-0833 or 905-472-0827

ELECTRICAL

Presented by The Markham Economist & Sun

1-800-7433353 Ask for Jan

Engagements

Booking Deadline: Monday, August 20, 2012

Est. since 1979

Mr. and Mrs. James Lawson of Markham, are thrilled to announce the engagement of their daughter, Sarah Lawson, to Leonardo Avila, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jesus, of Pickering. We are all excited to celebrate this special occasion with them. A 2013 wedding is anticipated.

*YRMG newspapers on August 23 include: Aurora Banner/Newmarket Era, Richmond Hill/Thornhill Liberal, Markham Economist & Sun, Stouffville Sun-Tribune, Vaughan Citizen

Call 1-800-743-3353 to speak with a Classified representative

Everything from Horses to Houses... Buy or sell just about anything in the columns of the Economist & Sun.

1-800-743-3353

19, The Markham Economist & Sun, www.yorkregion.com y Saturday, July 28, 2012

Deaths


The Markham Economist & Sun, n www.yorkregion.com n Saturday, July 28, 2012, 20


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