Ma Bell is blaming maintenance costs for doubling the charge for phone calls to 50 cents in the company's dwindling number of booths. It's the first hike in 25 years, protests spokesperson Pierre Leclerc. "When you consider that a stamp used to cost 17 cents and now it costs 54 cents...." But considering the killing that the virtual monopoly is making on cellphones, you'd think Bell might do the folks out there who can't afford a phone the courtesy of keeping that cost down. According to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), 70 per cent of low-income people in large cities rely on pay phones to make important calls (family emergencies, employment) at least once a week. The CRTC's missed the call.
Bark at the SIU
Is the police lapdog Special Investigations Unit (SIU) finally going to be taken to task? Ontario ombud André Marin has announced a review of the civilian-led agency charged with probing serious incidents involving police, following persistent complaints about the handling of a number of police shooting cases. Marin, a former SIU head himself, understands how politics and institutional biases can get in the way. We'll keep our fingers crossed that his bosses in the AG's office will do the right thing if he follows through and orders the reopening of certain SIU probes.
McGuinty’s nuke syndrome
Surprise! A new Greenpeace report warns that radioactive tritiated water is gushing out of Canada's nuke plants like they're Niagara Falls, and Premier McGuinty says, "Don't stress, yo - there's no evidence of a public health risk." So what if Health Canada's standards for the carcinogenic emissions are 100 times higher than Europe's? We've got our entire electrical future and $46 billion in new cash invested in these babies. Can anyone else see the spin coming from the advisory panel the province set up back in February to look into tritium? Ten bucks says they tell us we can keep growing tomatoes around Pickering.