Jim Flaherty

The Informer

Politics

Comments

Federal finance minister and Ford-family pal Jim Flaherty resigns from Harper’s cabinet

Image: Rocco Rossi.

(Image: Rocco Rossi)

Several news outlets are reporting that federal finance minister Jim Flaherty, MP for Whitby-Oshawa, is resigning his post in Stephen Harper‘s cabinet to return to the private sector—a decision he says he arrived at with his family earlier this year.

Flaherty is a friend of the Ford family who notably came to Rob Ford’s rescue, federal cash in hand, when the mayor’s coveted Scarborough subway extension plan was short on funds. Flaherty was one of the few who didn’t join calls for the mayor to step down or take a leave of absence in the aftermath of his crack confession in November.

Although Flaherty has recently suffered from a serious skin condition, he told the media today that his decision to step down was unrelated to his health. According to the Globe, he’s saying that he believes he achieved his goal as finance minister, which was to maneuver Canada towards a balanced budget.

The Informer

Features

16 Comments

The 50 Most Influential People in Toronto: who really runs this city?

The 50 Most Influential People in Toronto 2013 You know you live in interesting times when the chief of police is the most powerful person in town. What propelled Chief Blair to the top of our Influentials list was Rob Ford’s Crackgate—a story that consumed the city for much of the last year and whose bewildering narrative is still being written. Of course, Ford wasn’t the only politician who behaved badly in 2013. Chronic dysfunction is evident at all levels of government, from the petty infighting at city hall to the crippling gamesmanship at Queen’s Park and the expense scandals on Parliament Hill. And yet, it’s not all doom and gloom. Some of the city’s most formidable leaders are outside the traditional halls of power: global hip-hop stars, tech titans, gossip bloggers and guitar-strumming astronauts, among others. The people ranked here all did something in 2013 that made an impact on our lives, for better or for worse. Our list demonstrates that sometimes influence is enduring, sometimes it’s fickle and sometimes it rests on a single cellphone video that could forever change the complexion of the city.

Start the slideshow »

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Real Estate

Comments

Real Estate Cheat Sheet: what the experts are predicting for Toronto’s housing market in 2014

Real Estate Cheat Sheet

(Image: Paul Robinson)

With the end of the year in sight, real estate experts are scrutinizing sales data, demographic trends and interest rates to try and divine what 2014 might bring for the Toronto market. Here, a few of the trends they’re expecting to surface.

Prices will still go up—but not quite as quickly.
Toronto house prices have historically appreciated about seven per cent a year on average. In 2014, they’re only projected to grow by 1.5 percent, according to a senior market analyst at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The reason? The years of ultra-low mortgage rates are over, which will make many buyers think twice before they take on debt.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Politics

4 Comments

Five things we learned from CP24’s rare interview with Rob Ford’s mother and sister

(Image: screenshot from CP24 livestream)

(Image: screenshot from CP24 livestream)

When asked about the ever-widening scandal surrounding Rob Ford, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty—a close family friend—choked back tears. “At the end of the day, he has to make his own decision about what he ought to do,” he said. “Certainly his family is helping him and wishing him well.” Yesterday, we got some unexpected insight into what exactly that help entails, courtesy of Ford’s sister Kathy and mother Diane. The women, both normally media-shy, said they were mad enough about the press’s “unforgiving” treatment of Rob Ford to speak to CP24’s Stephen LeDrew. Here, the highlights from the interview.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Politics

6 Comments

A tragicomic scrapbook of Rob Ford’s crazy, blunder-filled mayoralty

Rob Ford Brief History

(Photo: John Cullen)

We expected a bumpy ride with Ford as mayor, but we weren’t prepared for a self-sabotaging Lindsay Lohan of politics. With a new scandal every week, it’s easy to lose track. Hence, we present a scrapbook of two very long years in Fordlandia.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Real Estate

Comments

Real Estate Cheat Sheet: the housing market in 2012 was hot, then cold

(Image: JasonParis)

In the first half of 2012, Toronto homebuyers faced rapidly escalating prices, bidding wars and “phantom bids.” In the second half of the year, the market cooled, in part due to the stricter mortgage rules that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty imposed in June. What did 2012 as a whole mean for current and aspiring homeowners? Below, we look at the end of year resale stats from the Toronto Real Estate Board, and break down the important numbers.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Features

15 Comments

50 Most Influential 2012: a ranking of Toronto’s top tycoons, backroom operators and supersize egos

50 Most Influential

The people driving the agenda for the city are more likely to come from outside local government than inside. This was the year our premier, rendered virtually impotent by a minority legislature, up and quit without warning. And our mayor, who listens to no one and refuses to build consensus on council, has created a city hall power vacuum.

What follows is Toronto Life’s list of the real influence peddlers—the people who, either publicly or behind the scenes, have had the greatest impact on the city. We looked for people whose power was broad enough to be felt across different sectors, or else so palpable in their immediate field that it somehow changed things for the rest of us. We looked for people whose ability to alter public opinion, raise money, rally troops or simply get stuff done was both formidable and undeniable. The result is a carefully calculated and highly opinionated look at power in the city in 2012.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Real Estate

6 Comments

Real Estate Cheat Sheet: the average house price in Toronto is now over $800,000

(Image: Jeremy Burgin)

In most of Canada, home prices are starting to stagnate (or even fall), suggesting that the country’s real estate market is finally starting to cool (the stricter mortgage regulations enacted by Jim Flaherty at the start of the summer seem to be taking effect). However, in Toronto, single-family detached homes continue to be the holy grail of real estate. This week, the Toronto Real Estate Board reported that the average price of a detached house has again moved north of $800,000 for the first time after dipping over the summer. So what gives? We break down the numbers, and what they mean.  

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Features

6 Comments

Editor’s Letter (September 2012): real estate crazy

Sarah FulfordA few blocks down the street from me, in Seaton Village, there’s a beautiful three-storey house with four bedrooms and tremendous character. Its owners, a pair of journalists in their 60s, bought it in 1972 for $35,000, which was $2,500 less than the asking price. When they moved into the neighbourhood, they were considered pioneers—none of their friends had even heard of Seaton Village. The property was a dilapidated rooming house, and the couple spent the next 40 years lovingly restoring it. When they put it on the market this spring, they got seven offers. The asking price was $1.195 million, it sold for $1.44 million, and the money they made will play a big part in funding their retirement.

This is the kind of story that drives members of my generation crazy. As baby boomers cash out on their real estate investments, their children are finding themselves either priced out of the market or buying houses they can’t afford. The big gamble of Toronto’s young professional class is that they’ll have the same luck in real estate as their parents. Torontonians in their 20s and 30s are throwing themselves into frenzied bidding wars, banking on the hope that Toronto house prices will continue to rise in perpetuity.

Read the rest of this entry »

TIFF

Comments

Guests and programming announced for TIFF Asian Film Summit

Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist screens at TIFF 2012; Nair will appear on a panel called India: Bollywood & the Independents

TIFF has confirmed the programming (and guests) for its Asian Film Summit, which will be held on September 10 at the Shangri-La. In addition to the previously announced guest of honour, the triple-threat actor, producer and director Jackie Chan, and former U.S. senator Chris Dodd, festival regular Harvey Weinstein was announced in the role of Master of Ceremonies for the closing banquet. In the press release, Piers Handling, director and CEO of TIFF, explains that the summit aims to “foster deeper relationships and generate new business opportunities between key film players in the East and West,” something that federal finance minister Jim Flaherty congratulated them on (also in the press release).

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Real Estate

6 Comments

What bubble? RBC says Toronto condo’s market won’t crash

The city’s condo boom may be keeping both Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney up at night, but at least one high-level economist is contradicting both (because when has anyone ever agreed about the real estate market?). Robert Hogue, a senior economist at the Royal Bank of Canada, insists there’s no bubble in Toronto and, while the market will likely see a bit of cooling, there won’t be an epic condo crash. In a report released today, Hogue argues that demand for housing remains strong—after all, there are roughly 38,000 net new households in the Greater Toronto Area each year and they have to move in somewhere.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Real Estate

Comments

Will Canada’s new mortgage rules zap Toronto’s condo boom?

We’ve been wondering what the new federal mortgage regulations will mean for Toronto’s real estate market (especially since Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s worries over the local condo boom were a key motive for the rules). This week, some chilling words from Moody’s Investors Service: though the measures will likely cool home sales across the country, it already “may be too late to avoid a housing correction.” Moody’s analysts write that a massive build-up in consumer debt and the fact that disposable income is growing more slowly will make it difficult for Canadians to pay off what they owe, especially if interest rates rise—all of which could send house prices plummeting. Of course, as is always the case with housing market predictions, there are many willing to take a dissenting view, namely, that the regulations won’t have a significant impact on Toronto’s condo mania. [Financial Post]

The Informer

Real Estate

1 Comment

Ottawa tightens up mortgage rules to calm the hot, hot housing market

(Image: Joshua Sherurcij)

The runaway real estate market in Canadian cities (and whispers and shouts of bubble trouble) is worrying Finance Minister Jim Flaherty enough that he’s again introducing new mortgage rules. Among the new measures, which kick in July 9: the amortization period for a government-insured mortgage will max out at 25 years, rather than 30; the maximum amount homeowners can borrow against their homes will be reduced from 85 to 80 per cent; and only homes with a purchase price under $1 million will be eligible for government-backed mortgages. Flaherty specifically singled out the increasingly absurd condo markets in cities like Toronto as cause for unease—but a recent Globe and Mail article suggests developers and some industry experts still aren’t concerned about things going south. The general belief is that, though Toronto’s market may be cooling slightly and buyers are becoming more skittish, the expectation of sustained low interest rates means the construction cranes aren’t going anywhere. [Globe and Mail]

The Informer

Random Stuff

1 Comment

Rouge Valley gets $144 million to become Canada’s first national park in a city

(Image: Vlad Litvinov)

As the federal government promised nearly a year ago, a massive stretch of the Rouge Valley will become Canada’s first urban national park, with the help of $144 million in federal funding. The government will mete the money out over the next decade to create Rouge National Urban Park, a 47-square-kilometre green space bordered by Lake Ontario, Toronto, Markham and Pickering. The exact boundaries of the park haven’t been decided yet, but so far the proposed space is about 15 times larger than Central Park and within easy reach of seven million Canadians—a fifth of the country. At an announcement today, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the government will seek consultation from the public and hopes the space will be a “people’s park” (which is convenient, since some parkgoers will soon be taking the “people’s highway” to get there). [Globe and Mail]

The Informer

Features

28 Comments

The weirdest mayoralty ever—the inside story of Rob Ford’s city hall

Loyal councillors have defied him. His approval ratings have plummeted. And his powerful Conservative backers are nervous. How did it all go so wrong? The strange story of Rob Ford’s city hall

The Incredible Shrinking Mayor

On Newstalk 1010, the sly strains of the Hollies hit “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” offered the first clue. Then morning host Jerry Agar burst on the air with a surprise announcement: Rob Ford and his councillor sibling Doug were taking over the station’s Sunday afternoon talk-fest, The City. For the once-staid CFRB, landing the boisterous brother act that Margaret Atwood had puckishly dubbed the “twin Ford mayors” was clearly a coup, but that didn’t answer the more obvious question: why on earth would the Fords want to spend two more hours a week in front of an open microphone when they were hardly suffering from a lack of media exposure?

Rob Ford, after all, ranks as one of the most compelling and exhaustively chronicled figures in Canadian politics, adored and despised with equal gusto. His every pronouncement seems to turn into front-page fodder, his every grimace and belly scratch catalogued by rapt photographers. And who could forget the YouTube footage of comedian Mary Walsh arriving in his driveway, decked out with a velvet breastplate and a plastic sword?

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement