toronto disgraced itself by tap dancing and kowtowing for visiting IOC members, trumpeting itself as a great sports city the same week user fees were imposed on formerly free parks-and-rec programs, and the public swimming and skating seasons were shortened. In the mad, trust-me dash to host the world's biggest TV show, the shameless three stooges -- Lastman, Chretien and Harris -- have 3-D dreams of 100,000-seat stadiums while single mothers face a Sophie's choice of which kids and which programs to pay for.
Yet again these false champions of the family, including our philandering mayor, prove their pledges to care for kids mere posturing. The same people who either lied about or were too stupid to anticipate the crippling costs of amalgamation ask us to trust them again to spend even more. Construction firms like PCL lick their chops while the rest of us shudder.
How can the city's elite be multi-million-dollar dreaming, primping, pimping and posing for the Olympics while a $25 user fee is slapped on each kid for programs like soccer and swimming lessons?
When I was a kid, I knew which programs had user fees and which didn't. The ones with the fees were those that made my single mother go quiet for a few seconds when I mentioned them. I later learned she was doing the math, figuring what might be left for my sisters as she juggled our lives in Flemingdon Park.
She worked hard not to ask for charity, so means testing for free programs -- as is being suggested today -- was not an option. We didn't dare bring it up.
And I can still see her shocked and saddened face when she came to visit me at Boy Scouts and realized I was the only kid in street clothes. I hadn't wanted to burden her by asking for money for the shorts and hat.
We eventually learned not to ask about sports or activities that had a dollar sign amidst the typing on the page. We self-censored our dreams so our mother wouldn't feel embarrassed by what she couldn't give us.
Thanks to mega-dreaming Mel, Toronto kids will be making those same choices again.