November 2018

Toronto election returns look like same old same old for taxi industry

Another municipal election has come and gone. To the surprise of no one John Tory was a shoo-in for Mayor.

The sky has not yet fallen over the forced shrinking of Council (yet, and I seriously doubt that it will). Some councillors I like were returned in Toronto as well as some I don’t agree with. So what else is new?

It was kind of a surprise to see Brown narrowly make it in as Mayor of Brampton. We’ll see how he works out, particularly on the Uber file.

I don’t see a lot of movement on the new Council in Toronto on Uber, with the possible exception of the free pass they were deliberately given on bylaw charges. As it is now, the rule is: don’t touch Ubers breaking the law in any way. They are perfect, don’t you know? And the public doesn’t care, until someone gets killed in an Uber and the City has an army of lawyers to handle that. My gut feeling is the City will get its wrists slapped and will be forced to enforce against Uber in the same way as it enforces against taxis. I may be having technicolor dreams here, but can only hope.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of the latest round of taxi consultations will be. My first, cynical, thought is the City will find brand new ways to screw licensed taxi drivers and hand more perks to Uber, but we’ll see.

What I think bothers me most about the situation created by city hall over the past four or so years is that neither councillors nor bureaucrats see anything in the slightest wrong in what they have been doing to taxis.

I have had a chance to see the City’s response to the latest allegations made by the new ATOOL group suing the City in their initial court filing. I’m not a lawyer but am pretty sure even I could blow the City’s defense out of the water. This still doesn’t mean I’d win in court as I’ve seen what I believed to be solid arguments torn apart by judges in the past.

I’ll only say at this point that as far as I can see this is the taxi industry’s last, best chance to save itself. Right now I can’t see City Council upsetting the present applecart too much. The City is getting too much money from Uber to kill that Golden Goose.

On to other, happier, things. I do want to do a good turn for one of my old friends and poker playing pals, John Cosway.

He has a book launch coming 5 – 8 pm on Wednesday, November 14 at Dreamers Cafe, 2 Queen St., in Port Hope.

Called “Brushes with Fame – Photo Tripping with Music Legends”, it is a 230-page book containing 165 previously unpublished photos of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin, Buddy Rich, Gordon Lightfoot, Ian and Sylvia, Buddy Guy, Little Stevie Wonder and many others dating from 1959 to the early 1970’s. It costs $34.95, not including shipping ($15 in Ontario, $20 for out of province).

I’ll be going to the opening party. I’ve already had a glance at the book and it really is interesting and hope it does well. If you are interested in getting a copy mail a cheque or money order to John Cosway, PO Box 45, Port Hope, ON, L1A 3V9 or email him with PayPal or e-Transfers at

There is another book I’ve been wanting to tell you about but somehow got lost in the shuffle (deluge) of news I considered more important and relevant at the time.

Late last year now retired City Councillor Howard Moscoe came out with a first book of reminiscences about his life and political career. It is called “Call Me Pisher: A Madcap Romp Through City Hall.”

I’ve read and enjoyed it. It is an insider’s look at some of the most fascinating issues, political battles and characters at City Hall over Moscoe’s career.

Taxi News only gets a mention in passing, and taxi battles are entirely left out of this first volume. I believe a second book is in the works that should be more directly relevant to the taxi industry overall. But as a political junkie, I do remember the issues and controversies Moscoe writes about and was fascinated and entertained by his take on events.

You’ll get an idea about the book from its first line, “My grandfather was a horse thief, my grandmother a bootlegger, my father a bookmaker and my brother a scalper; so there was nothing left for me but politics.”

Past Mayor Mel Lastman once said Moscoe was “the best excuse for birth control I know.”

I think a lot of people in the taxi industry might agree with Lastman. But Moscoe was always good for a quote and without a doubt he was the best prepared councillor (in my experience) at City Hall meetings. He read everything that hit his desk. Once in a very rare while we actually agreed on an issue.

I do wonder what the people Moscoe writes about have to say about the same events. But they can write their own books.

Call Me Pisher is available through Yorkland Publishing. Look for it online. It sells for $29.95 (plus tax).

Hmmm. Haven’t seen Moscoe lately but must remember to have my copy personally autographed to include it in my collection.

There have been tragic circumstances in my family life recently resulting in my being somewhat distracted of late, not following up on things I should have been keeping an eye on. For that I apologize to all.


2018 Taxi News


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