Monday, May 29, 2006

TTC Strike and Cormorants

This pic was taken today at the lonely looking Ossington Station. Usually this shot would have been crowded with buses.

It looks like the short-lived TTC strike is over, so I'm sure that most stations are bustling once more by now. I was quite surprised to hear Mayor Miller strongly condemn the strike today, in his 3 pm press conference. He argues that the appropriate response from the TTC union in such a situation would have been to work with the TTC management to resolve the problem. I would agree that this is ideally the best route, but when is a situation ever ideal? The recent TTC announcement that TTC employees should exercise discretion with respect to fare collection, coupled with the even more recent announcement that many TTC cleaning and track maintenance staff would be switched to permanent night shifts (from their current day shifts), on top of the usual TTC mismanagement of staff has brought us to this. The TTC management is notoriously difficult to deal with, but the union always gets the blame. Ask any TTC employee: they will tell you that this has been brewing for some time. These recent events were just the catalyst. So, while I don't think that anyone wanted this strike to happen (especially considering that today is the hottest day of the year so far and the first heavy smog day) this is desperation in action. Unfortunately this strategy often backfires: instead of gaining public support for their cause, such strikes (especially ones with little warning like this one) result in increased animosity toward TTC employees. Perhaps tomorrow, when service has resumed as usual, people will take advantage of the "discretionary" fare collection, and act belligerently to the staff to make up for the inconveniences they had to suffer today.

Its a fact: some animals are more media savvy than others. When the public sees baby seals getting killed its a catastrophe, but other animals, such as cormorants, have little such support. A couple of years ago the province started a cormorant cull (a much nicer word than massacre isn't it?). But today, the Toronto Star is reporting that many cormorants are being left to die a painful and lingering death instead of being humanely killed. I strongly agree with Rob Laidlaw, who notes that if people saw deer (who the province also culls) left to die with their legs blown off, there would be an uproar.

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