Dear readers. The last few months have been intense, watching a genocide unfold day after day, broadcast onto our phones and computers.
Just after our last issue came out in November, Hamas and Israel agreed to a temporary ceasefire and hostage/prisoner exchange, which lasted for around six days. It was a hopeful yet short-lived moment, followed by a return to the incredible suffering and death in Gaza.
In Toronto, across Canada, and around the world, people have taken to the streets to speak out against the killing, and mourning the loss of loved ones.
For being critical of Israel and the Canadian government’s position, people here have been disciplined at work or lost their jobs, and others have been arrested, including for walking on sidewalks on bridge overpasses (more on page 13).
In our communities and even in some of our families, people have said and done things regarding Palestine and Israel that have led to divisions that won’t be mended easily, or maybe ever. That’s just something we have to live with now. When we put our devices down, life continues here, but differently.
Some aspects of Toronto haven’t changed so much. Last issue, an article discussed a possible eviction of a tent encampment in Kensington Market outside St. Stephen’s church. That eviction ended up happening a few days later on Nov. 24, with police and city staff kicking people out of their homes and destroying belongings. On that same night, Toronto’s new mayor, Olivia Chow, was scheduled to appear at a fundraiser for a group that helped elect her, Progress Toronto.
In this issue, there is an article about the police budget (page 4), but there isn’t an article about Toronto’s municipal budget overall. The Grind’s position on the city budget is that a property tax increase is necessary and overdue. The shelter system is in shambles, mental health and social services are needed in the TTC and at libraries, and both of those services also need more operational funding. Throwing more money at the police can’t be the answer to everything, especially with studies showing increased policing doesn’t necessarily reduce crime.
The small monthly property tax increase proposed by city staff would cost homeowners, on average, $30 on their bills. Most renters deal with increases far higher every year. Taxes should also be added to parking lots, and increased on luxury and vacant homes.
That rant aside, we hope you enjoy this issue of The Grind. It’s, well, a grind to put it out, but as a small team, we’re in the muck here with you.
This article appeared in the 2024 Feb/Mar issue.