Oh, no, Mo

Maureen O’Reilly writes a thin, tendentious piece for an allegedly-peer-reviewed journal.

The few attempts the Ford administration has made to formulate public policy here in Toronto have been imitative of Chicago, where the Ford brothers… have a second, and very lucrative, division of their Toronto-based Deco Labels and Tags company. The only economic development trip that the mayor has taken was to Chicago. Chicago has 79 libraries, so Toronto should too. This seems to be the simplistic rationale for targeting the highly successful TPL for cuts.

Dude. You can’t be serious.

This mindset turnaround was aided by the appearance of a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, “The Great Equalizer: A Case for Reinvesting in TPL.” [L]ibrary workers will continue the campaign for the 2013–2014 budget cycle with this theme. We intend to launch a whole new phase this September.

That gives you two months to start answering my mail, Mo.

Basically, I agree with Sue-Ann Levy on a single point

For better or worse, I have to concur with the only conservative married lesbian columnist in existence, Sue-Ann Levy, when she observed that Maureen O’Reilly is engaged in serious hyperbole about “privatization” of the library. (Marcus Gee made a similar point.)

I am not even sure what privatization means in this context. Floaters are already privatized, and that isn’t working out great. I assume the fear is that every aspect of collections and cataloguing would be “outsourced” to that American firm I’m not going to bother looking up. Even staunch Conservatives (note the majuscule), who dearly wish they were American, can understand how an American company is unlikely to do a better job stocking the Toronto Public Library than Torontonians do. It seems like a non-starter.

I oppose advertising in the library. Advertising is advertising (QED), not sale of public assets to private interests.

Moreover, I don’t see any rational prospect of branch closures under this Board. I don’t trust these fuckers as far as I can throw them, but they aren’t that stupid. Paul Ainslie has already decided that, no matter what the facts are, some library branches are “underused,” hence their hours should be cut back. I promise you he will try to push that through. I bill myself as a scabrous, uncompromising defender of the Toronto Public Library, yet I just do not see an outcome where any branch ends up closed.

What about job security?

I don’t see how otherwise intelligent union executives and columnists are unclear as to why the Ford administration wants to reduce job security. Because they can. Because conservatives (note the minuscule) believe in a race to the bottom. (Progressive Conservatives might not have believed that. City government is not run by Progressive Conservatives.) Employees by definition should not have “job security,” conservatives believe, invariably lashing out like wounded animals by claiming they never had it before, so why should anybody else?

Two days into the strike, I begin to wonder about the solidity of the principle on which it is based.


Funny, I don’t remember contract negotiations with the previous board – the one not overrun by lobbyists and Mr. Magoo – ending in a strike. Didn’t the union even allow a few concessions back then?

Maureen O’Reilly in viewfinder of news camera

With basically nowhere to breeze through en route to somewhere else (my modus operandi visiting the library), I now have time on my hands. I will fill that time by treating this strike as irreverently as possible. Because nobody else will.

Something else nobody is doing is covering all the issues. And incidentally, union president Maureen O’Reilly wouldn’t answer my question about mandatory Sunday work. (Of course I asked.)

I am almost neutral about unions, but I support the library staff. I sure as hell don’t support the library board, whom City Council could shitcan.

This will be going on for a good two weeks, I guesstimate. In the meantime, follow the Twitters and Flickr photos.

But none of this would be happening under Smitherman, right?

Obviously we wouldn’t be enduring a library strike if George Smitherman had won the mayoralty. Right?

But he wasn’t the only loser.