Breaking News, Politics

Mayor Ford Looking Into Fishy Spending

Toronto's mayor, Rob Ford
Toronto's mayor, Rob Ford, wants the people involved in the spending problems to resign.

 In Toronto, as in many large cities, there are lots of people who cannot afford to live in a house or an apartment.  

To make it easier for people to afford housing, the city offers low-priced apartments.There are more than 100,000 people in Toronto who live in low-cost housing.  

Those apartments are managed by a department of the city called the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). The people at TCHC are supposed to use our tax money to buy houses and apartments that are then rented at a low cost by people who haven’t got a lot of money. It’s big responsibility.  

This week Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, found out that the people at TCHC may have been doing some bad things with the tax money. They may have been spending it on things other than housing.  

Ford had special accountants, called auditors, look over the money that has been spent by the people at TCHC. The auditors found out that some of the money has been spent on chocolates, massages and cruises. Here are some things the people at TCHC bought with Toronto’s tax dollars: 

* Christmas dinners for $53,500 in 2008;
* $6,000 for a meeting in Muskoka (a resort town);
* $1,850 for a four-hour cruise for TCHC staff members;
* $5,000 for “entertainment” at a restaurant. 

There may be good reasons for spending money in this way. For instance, most companies have to have meetings, and depending on the number of people at the meeting, $6,000 may be a fair price. However, most of the payments Ford is concerned about have not been fully explained by the TCHC staff. They haven’t been able to explain why the expenses are appropriate. 

When Ford found out about the problems with the money, he got angry. He asked all of the people who had been involved to quit their jobs. Some people have been fired.  

Ford asked the head of the TCHC to quit because of the problems, but she has refused. If Ford wants her to step down, he will likely have to convince Toronto council, which can vote for her to be fired. In the meantime, this is an interesting news story to follow because it is unfolding and new events are happening every day.  


Writing/Discussion Prompt
The Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) is a really important part of Toronto. Unfortunately, the mispending of tax dollars makes the TCHC look really bad. If you worked at the TCHC, what types of things would you say or do to regain the trust of the Mayor and the people of Toronto?

Reading Prompt
Review the facts presented in today’s article. What conclusions can you make about the TCHC? What conclusions can you make about Mayor Ford?

Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views make judgements and draw conclusions (OME, Reading: 1.8)

Grammar Feature: Bullet Points
Bullet points are statements that are separated from the rest of the text using a dot or a dash. Writers include bullet points when they want to tell their readers short pieces of important information, like in today’s article.

Have you ever seen bullet points in a text before? Where have you seen them? Are there similarities between these texts? What does this tell you about bullet points?