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New TTC chair Jaye Robinson says Toronto needs a permanent ‘seat at the table’ if province takes over the subway

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The new chair of the TTC says she’s “gravely concerned” with the province’s plans to take ownership of the subway network, arguing it’s critical the city retain control over its transit destiny.

In an interview Friday, Jaye Robinson, who was appointed by council on Dec. 13 to lead the transit agency’s board, spoke about the course she plans to chart for the TTC over the coming four-year term, including her desire to increase service and seek out another potential manufacturer for new streetcars.

The biggest looming challenge, she said, is the Ontario Progressive Conservative government’s push to upload the subway system to the province.

Robinson said that while there remains a lot of uncertainty about the proposal, what she’s heard so far is troubling.

She noted the TTC’s subway, bus and streetcar lines are heavily integrated. “So to pluck one piece of the system out, I don’t think is going to serve anyone well,” she said.

Earlier this month, council voted to enter into talks with the province about the upload proposal, after receiving legal advice that the city has no legislative power to block the province’s plan.

Robinson said should an upload take place, the city needs to continue to have a say in subway planning in order to ensure the Relief Line is built before any other new projects. Critics of the upload plan worry that Queen’s Park would prioritize projects like a Line 1 extension to Richmond Hill instead.

“We need a seat at the table, not just now but forever,” Robinson said.

“The number one concern for me is influencing the future of transit in Toronto.”

Robinson’s Ward 15, Don Valley West is bounded on the west by the Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) subway, and she said she’s heard clearly from constituents it’s already overcrowded.

Taking pressure off Line 1 by building the Relief Line, which would cost at least $6.8 billion, “has to be prioritized, or it’s going to cripple the city,” Robinson said.

A three-term councillor, Robinson said she rides the subway to work every day and is proud she doesn’t know the location of her allotted parking space at city hall.

Robinson’s political views lean centre-right, and she was a steady ally of Mayor John Tory last term, serving as a member of his hand-picked executive committee.

Tory recommended Robinson for the TTC role, which is something of a promotion for the councillor. She also had a high-profile job last term when she served as chair of the public works committee.

The councillor sided with the mayor on significant transit-related decisions at council meetings over the past four years, including voting to support the King St. pilot project, as well as to advance Tory’s SmartTrack plan and the contentious Scarborough subway extension.

In February, she voted with the majority of councillors to increase the TTC budget by $2 million to alleviate subway overcrowding.

The year before she sided with the mayor to help vote down a motion to spend $1.2 million to improve subway power and signal reliability.

She said Friday she couldn’t specifically remember what her reasoning was for opposing the spending, but asserted she’s committed to improving the subway signalling system.

Headed into the 2019 budget process, city staff, with the mayor’s blessing, have asked all agencies and departments to prepare spending plans that keep expenditures at 2018 levels. Council will finalize the budget in March.

Robinson said she wants to expand TTC service, but conceded “that would be tough to do” unless the transit agency gets more money.

The TTC already receives a lower per rider subsidy than other comparable transit agencies. This year the city provided an operating subsidy of about $578.8 million, while fare revenue made up the remainder of the TTC’s $1.8-billion operating budget.

“They are strapped for cash, there’s no question there,” Robinson said.

The cost of riding transit rose every year between 2011 and 2017, before the board implemented a freeze in 2018. The new chair said she hopes to avoid fare increases in 2019.

“I would hate to see the cost on transit riders go up, because they’re doing the city a favour by riding the system, quite frankly. It takes pressure off the roadways,” she said.

The TTC board will likely have to decide as early as next year on the thorny question of whether to pick up an option in the agency’s contract with Bombardier to buy additional streetcars from the company.

TTC staff say that in order to meet growing demand the agency could need another 60 vehicles on top of the 204 it’s already ordered, and despite the Quebec-based manufacturer’s well-publicized struggles to produce the first batch of cars on time, finding another supplier could take years longer and carry additional risks.

Although Bombardier has improved its rate of production recently, Robinson said she’s open to looking for another manufacturer.

“I think certainly we should look at alternatives and options down the road because it’s been far from ideal,” she said of the $1-billion Bombardier deal.

On the frequently glitchy Presto fare card program, Robinson vowed to “push harder” on Metrolinx, the provincial agency that owns Presto, to improve reliability.

The TTC board’s first meeting is scheduled for Jan. 10.

Ben Spurr is a Toronto-based reporter covering transportation. Reach him by email at bspurr@thestar.ca or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr



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These US entities partnered with the Wuhan Institute of Virology — time for a criminal investigation?

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(Natural News) The Wuhan Institute of Virology from which the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) is believed to have “escaped” has a number of questionable partnerships that are worth looking into in light of the pandemic.

Most of them are universities, including the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, and Harvard University. There is also the EcoHealth Alliance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Wildlife Federation.

While the relationships between these entities and the Wuhan Institute of Virology may be completely innocent, there is no way to really say for sure without a proper investigation. And this is exactly what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling for, as is the nation of Australia.

Pompeo and the folks down under, along with millions of Americans, would really like to know the true origins of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). An increasing number of people simply are not buying the narrative that the novel virus originated in bat soup at a Chinese wet market, and this even includes mainstream media outlets like Fox News.

The only way to really determine what was going on at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and who else might have been involved. is to open the place up for an international investigation. But communist China is against this, of course, accusing Australia of “petty tricks” and collusion with the United States.

“Overnight, I saw comments from the Chinese Foreign Ministry talking about a course of activity with respect to Australia who had the temerity to ask for investigation,” Pompeo is quoted as saying in response to China’s aggression against a proposed investigation.

“Who in the world wouldn’t want an investigation of how this happened to the world?” he added.

As the U.S. aims to get back on track economically speaking, Pompeo believes that now is the time to hold communist China, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and whoever else may have been involved accountable for unleashing this pandemic on the world.

“Not only American wealth, but the global economy’s devastation as a result of this virus,” Pompeo further stated. “There will be a time for this. We will get that timing right.”

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New U.S. analysis finds that lab in Wuhan, China was “most likely” origin of coronavirus release

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(Natural News) While American Leftists and most of the Democrat Party continue to serve as apologists for the Chinese Communist regime over its role in creating and then perpetuating the coronavirus pandemic, a new U.S. government analysis concludes that COVID-19 “most likely” escaped from a lab near Wuhan city.

The Washington Times reports that the analysis cataloged evidence linking the outbreak to the Wuhan lab and has found that other explanations for the origins of the virus are not as credible.

The paper reported:

The document, compiled from open sources and not a finished product, says there is no smoking gun to blame the virus on either the Wuhan Institute of Virology or the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both located in the city where the first outbreaks were reported.

However, “there is circumstantial evidence to suggest such may be the case,” the paper says.

“All other possible places of the virus’ origin have been proven to be highly unlikely,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by the Times.

ChiCom officials have claimed that the virus’ origin is unknown. However, Beijing initially stated that coronavirus came from animals at a “wet market” in Wuhan where exotic meats are butchered and sold in disgusting conditions.

Chinese officials claim that COVID-19 went from bats to animals sold in the market last year, then infected humans.

U.S. intelligence officials have increasingly dismissed that explanation, however, as attention has begun to focus on evidence suggesting that Chinese medical researchers were working with coronavirus in the country’s only Level 4 facility, which is in Wuhan.

U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that intelligence agencies are investigating whether the virus escaped from a lab or was the result of a naturally occurring outbreak, but that analysts have ruled out reports that COVID-19 was manmade.

‘The most logical place to investigate the virus origin has been completely sealed off’

“At this point, it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural,” the general said on April 14, “but we don’t know for certain.”

The analysis said that the wet market explanation does not ring true because the first human diagnosis of coronavirus was made in someone who had no connection to the wet market in question. And according to Chinese reports, no bats were sold at that particular market.

At the same time, several questionable actions and a growing paper trail provide clues that the virus actually escaped from a lab, even as China begins to clamp down on those information streams.

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The biggest media lies about the coronavirus: Origins, treatments and vaccines

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(Natural News) If there is one thing that most everyone can agree on concerning the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is the fact that there is no shortage of conflicting information out there about the nature of it. And the mainstream media is certainly doing its part to steer the narrative as part of a larger agenda, using plenty of misinformation along the way.

The following are among the most commonly parroted lies about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that aim to distort the facts and deceive you into believing falsehoods about this pandemic:

Media LIE: The virus is not man-made

From the very beginning of this thing, the official narrative was that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) came from a Chinese wet market where bats and other “exotic” animals are sold as meat. But the world later learned that it actually more than likely “escaped” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The mainstream media and social media platforms went nuts trying to censor this information and even called it  “fake news.” But eventually it became undeniable that bat soup was not responsible for spreading the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) around Wuhan and eventually to the rest of the world – hence why we continue to call it the Wuhan coronavirus rather than just COVID-19.

We have even seen attempts by the media machine at making the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) a racial issue because there are supposedly more “people of color” coming down with it than people with fair skin, which further detracts attention away from the source of this virus.

Media LIE: Hydroxychloroquine is extremely dangerous and doesn’t work

The minute that President Donald Trump announced that hydroxychloroquine may be an effective, and very inexpensive, remedy for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), the mainstream media immediately began decrying this claim as fake news, even though Anthony Fauci himself praised hydroxychloroquine back in 2013 under Barack Obama as being some type of “miracle cure” for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

There have even been studies conducted that were designed to intentionally smear the drug as both ineffective and dangerous, though one in particular purposely left out zinc, which appears to be a critical co-factor in supporting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine – in other words, politics as usual.

Media LIE: Only a vaccine can save us from coronavirus

Many politicians and public health officials are parroting the lie that the only way America can come out of lockdown and go back to “normal” is to get vaccinated with some future vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that does not even yet exist. A vaccine, we are repeatedly told, is the only thing, or perhaps some new “blockbuster” antiviral drug, that can cure the world of this scourge and make everything happy and wonderful once again.

Meanwhile, not a peep is being made about things like intravenous (IV) high-dose vitamin C, which is being successfully used in other countries to stem the tide of infections without the need for new drugs and vaccines.

By omission, nutrition is pointless

Speaking of natural approaches to overcoming the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that are being systematically ignored by the mainstream media and most in politics, have you heard anyone mention the importance of nutrition in all of this? We did not think so, and this is intentional.

Regular readers of this site over the years should know by now that the single-most important thing you need to do to stay healthy besides exercising regularly is to feed your body the nutrition it needs to naturally ward off illnesses, including those associated with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

Research compiled by the Lewin Group reveals that nutritional remedies such as calcium, vitamin D, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and more all play a critical role in fortifying the immune system, which, if properly nourished, should have little problem fending off disease.

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