The Ongoing History of New Music, encore presentation: The great KGB punk conspiracy

You may be aware of a podcast that came out in the spring of 2020 that sought to get to the bottom of a certain musical mystery. Wind of Change explores the possibility that a metal power ballad was a contributing factor to the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 90s. https://youtu.be/XjFsZj1aHow !– wp:paragraph –> Estimates are that the single sold 14 million copies. It’s the best-selling single by any German artist. And because it was such a big hit in the USSR, the band presented Mikhail Gorbachev a gold record. Even today, the song is a massive hit among several generations of fans in Eastern Europe.

Rumours swirled about this song for years. It is said that it was a product of a CIA operation designed to destabilize Soviet society with its messages of change and revolution. The theory goes that it worked so well that the Soviet Union crumbled by the end of 1991. Did the CIA commission someone to write “Wind of Change,” get the Scorpions to record it, leading to the end of the USSR from within?

If you want to know more, you’ll have to listen to that podcast. But I can tell you that this wasn’t the first tie rock music was used by a foreign intelligence operation to drive a wedge into a specific society. The popular music of the West–especially that of the USA–was feared by Soviet bloc authorities. But at the same time, the Soviets knew that music could be used as a weapon against the West.

Here’s another theory. Could it be that punk rock was actually a KGB plot against us? Here’s what we know–or at least what we think we know.

Songs heard on this show

  • Viletones, KGB
  • Talking Heads, Life During Wartime
  • Aquarium, Ashes
  • Kino feat. Tsio/Peremen!
  • Vibrators, Disco in Moscow
  • Sex Pistols, Anarchy in the UK
  • Clash, I’m So Board with the USA
  • Crass, Bloody Revolution
  • The KGB, Back in the USSR

Need a playlist? Here you go from Eric Wilhite. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0kLcQfYZayaNtjE4QTIcHB  

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Halifax, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

If you ever miss a show, you can always get the podcast edition available through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

© 2022 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Mass shooting inquiry to hear from senior Mountie granted special accommodation

WATCH LIVE: The inquiry into the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting resumes.

The inquiry into the 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia is expected to hear today from a retired senior Mountie who has been granted special accommodations to ensure he is not re-traumatized by having to relive the tragic, 13-hour event.

After almost 40 years of service, Staff Sgt. Al Carroll was one month shy of retiring on April 18, 2020, when he was called in to the detachment in Bible Hill, N.S., where he was among the first to learn that an active shooter was on the loose in nearby Portapique, N.S.

Carroll will not have to testify in person today. Instead, he is expected to answer questions via a Zoom call. And the commission of inquiry has also agreed to allow him to take as many breaks as he needs.

As the former district commander for Colchester County, Carroll will be the first senior Mountie to testify with special accommodations, but he won’t be the last.

Read more:

Victims’ families boycott N.S. mass shooting inquiry over questioning of Mounties

The inquiry’s three commissioners agreed Tuesday to grant accommodations for two other senior Mounties, who were told they will not have to face cross-examination from lawyers who represent relatives of the 22 victims.

That move prompted several lawyers to boycott the hearings Wednesday, and the protest was expected to continue today and into next week.

Carroll called the night the killings began “one of the worst nights of my life” during a Nov. 10, 2021, interview by commission investigators, led by Wayne Fowler, a retired detective from the Toronto Police Service.

The inquiry has heard the killer’s rampage in Portapique started around 10 p.m. after he beat and bound his common-law wife and started shooting neighbours and setting their homes on fire.
Disguised as a Mountie and driving a car that looked exactly like an RCMP cruiser, he killed 13 people in Portapique before escaping the rural enclave.

Last week, the inquiry released a summary of evidence that pointed to considerable confusion over who was in charge of the RCMP operation that night. The inquiry also heard testimony last week about the “chaos in communications” that ensued when the RCMP’s two-way radios were overwhelmed by too much traffic.

The question of who was in charge in those crucial early hours was addressed in an earlier occupational health and safety report, which found the RCMP had breached the federal Labour Code by failing to ensure employees had necessary supervision.

During an inquiry hearing on May 19, the chairman of the commission, Michael MacDonald, asked another staff sergeant, Steve Halliday, if it would have been better if a single person was in charge on the first night.

“I agree with you that one person (should be in charge), when at all possible,” Halliday said, acknowledging that at least three other Mounties were issuing orders on the first night. “But with police operations, sometimes there is a tendency for there to be multiple people, and it can create trouble with who’s in charge and tying up the radios.”

As for Carroll, he could face questions about what he knew about the type of car the killer was driving. During his earlier interview, he said the information he received indicated police were looking for an old, decommissioned police car that had no markings.

Read more:

Mass shooting inquiry: Two senior Mounties exempted from cross-examination

But that’s not what witnesses in Portapique were telling 911 call-takers. The inquiry has heard callers and witnesses at the scene repeatedly described the vehicle as a fully marked cruiser, complete with emergency lights.

As well, Carroll could be asked why he and other Mounties failed to use an advanced mapping program, known as Pictometry, to search for potential escape routes as police searched for the killer.
Carroll told investigators he was never trained to use Pictometry.

Using a road atlas and other maps, Carroll and another Mountie concluded there was only one way for a vehicle to get out of the neighbourhood. But they were wrong. At about 10:45 p.m., the gunman escaped by driving along a little-used dirt road beside a blueberry field.

“That didn’t show up on the map we were looking at,” Carroll told investigators.

The next day, the gunman killed another nine people, including a Mountie and a pregnant woman, as he travelled more than 100 kilometres across northern and central Nova Scotia.

The inquiry has heard the gunman, 51-year-old denture technician Gabriel Wortman, was shot dead by two Mounties just before 11:30 a.m. when he stopped at a gas station north of Halifax to refuel a stolen car.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Onlookers urged Texas police to rush into school during shooting: ‘Go in there!’

WATCH: 'You are doing nothing' - Agony and anger rise in aftermath of Uvalde, Texas school shooting

Frustrated onlookers urged police officers to charge into the Texas elementary school where a gunman’s rampage killed 19 children and two teachers, witnesses said Wednesday, as investigators worked to track the massacre that lasted upwards of 40 minutes and ended when the 18-year-old shooter was killed by a Border Patrol team.

“Go in there! Go in there!” nearby women shouted at the officers soon after the attack began, said Juan Carranza, 24, who saw the scene from outside his house, across the street from Robb Elementary School in the close-knit town of Uvalde. Carranza said the officers did not go in.

Javier Cazares, whose fourth grade daughter, Jacklyn Cazares, was killed in the attack, said he raced to the school when he heard about the shooting, arriving while police were still gathered outside the building.

Read more:

Everything we know so far about the Texas mass school shooting

Upset that police were not moving in, he raised the idea of charging into the school with several other bystanders.

“Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to,” he said. “More could have been done.”

“They were unprepared,” he added.

Minutes earlier, Carranza had watched as Salvador Ramos crashed his truck into a ditch outside the school, grabbed his AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and shot at two people outside a nearby funeral home who ran away uninjured.

Officials say he “encountered” a school district security officer outside the school, though there were conflicting reports from authorities on whether the men exchanged gunfire. After running inside, he fired on two arriving Uvalde police officers who were outside the building, said Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Travis Considine. The police officers were injured.

After entering the school, Ramos charged into one classroom and began to kill.

He “barricaded himself by locking the door and just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom,” Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Department of Public Safety told CNN. “It just shows you the complete evil of the shooter.”

All those killed were in the same classroom, he said.

u.s.-gun-control-sandy-hook

Investigators search for evidences outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 25.

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told reporters that 40 minutes to an hour elapsed from when Ramos opened fire on the school security officer to when the tactical team shot him, though a department spokesman said later that they could not give a solid estimate of how long the gunman was in the school or when he was killed.

“The bottom line is law enforcement was there,” McCraw said. “They did engage immediately. They did contain (Ramos) in the classroom.”

Meanwhile, a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation said the Border Patrol agents had trouble breaching the classroom door and had to get a staff member to open the room with a key. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation.

Read more:

Despite push for school safety policies after Texas shooting, research shows they do little

Carranza said the officers should have entered the school sooner.

“There were more of them. There was just one of him,” he said.

Uvalde is a largely Latino town of some 16,000 people about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the Mexican border. Robb Elementary, which has nearly 600 students in second, third and fourth grades, is a single-story brick structure in a mostly residential neighborhood of modest homes.

Before attacking the school, Ramos shot and wounded his grandmother at the home they shared, authorities said.

Neighbor Gilbert Gallegos, 82, who lives across the street and has known the family for decades, said he was puttering in his yard when he heard the shots.

Ramos ran out the front door and across the small yard to the truck parked in front of the house. He seemed panicked, Gallegos said, and had trouble getting the truck out of park.

Then he raced away: “He spun out, I mean fast,” spraying gravel in the air.

His grandmother emerged covered in blood: “She says, ‘Berto, this is what he did. He shot me.’” She was hospitalized.

Read more:

Misinformation and conspiracy theories spiral after Texas mass school shooting

Gallegos, whose wife called 911, said he had heard no arguments before or after the shots, and knew of no history of bullying or abuse of Ramos, who he rarely saw.

Investigators also shed no light on Ramos’ motive for the attack, which also left at least 17 people wounded. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Ramos, a resident of the small town about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of San Antonio, had no known criminal or mental health history.

“We don’t see a motive or catalyst right now,” said McCraw of the Department of Public Safety.

Ramos legally bought the rifle and a second one like it last week, just after his birthday, authorities said.

About a half-hour before the mass shooting, Ramos sent the first of three online messages warning about his plans, Abbott said.

Ramos wrote that he was going to shoot his grandmother, then that he had shot the woman. In the last note, sent about 15 minutes before he reached Robb Elementary, he said he was going to shoot up an elementary school, according to Abbott. Investigators said Ramos did not specify which school.

Ramos sent the private, one-to-one text messages via Facebook, said company spokesman Andy Stone. It was not clear who received the messages.

Read more:

Here are 4 gun reform policies U.S. advocates say could reduce violence

Grief engulfed Uvalde as the details emerged.

The dead included Eliahna Garcia, an outgoing 10-year-old who loved to sing, dance and play basketball; a fellow fourth-grader, Xavier Javier Lopez, who had been eagerly awaiting a summer of swimming; and a teacher, Eva Mireles, whose husband is an officer with the school district’s police department.

“You can just tell by their angelic smiles that they were loved,” Uvalde Schools Superintendent Hal Harrell said, fighting back tears as he recalled the children and teachers killed.

The tragedy was the latest in a seemingly unending wave of mass shootings across the U.S. in recent years. Just 10 days earlier, 10 Black people were shot to death in a racist attack at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket.

Read more:

Texas school shooting: What’s changed in U.S. gun control since Sandy Hook?

The attack was the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

Amid calls for tighter restrictions on firearms, the Republican governor repeatedly talked about mental health struggles among Texas young people and argued that tougher gun laws in Chicago, New York and California are ineffective.

Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is running against Abbott for governor, interrupted Wednesday’s news conference, calling the tragedy “predictable.” Pointing his finger at Abbott, he said: “This is on you until you choose to do something different. This will continue to happen.” O’Rourke was escorted out as some in the room yelled at him. Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin yelled that O’Rourke was a “sick son of a bitch.”

Read more:

Texas school shooting: ‘Adventurous’ teacher, ‘sweetest little boy’ among 21 dead

Texas has some of the most gun-friendly laws in the nation and has been the site of some of the deadliest shootings in the U.S. over the past five years.

“I just don’t know how people can sell that type of a gun to a kid 18 years old,” Siria Arizmendi, the aunt of victim Eliahna Garcia, said angrily through tears. “What is he going to use it for but for that purpose?”

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that “the Second Amendment is not absolute” as he called for new limitations on guns in the wake of the massacre.

But the prospects for reform of the nation’s gun regulations appeared dim. Repeated attempts over the years to expand background checks and enact other curbs have run into Republican opposition in Congress.

Read more:

Beto O’Rourke confronts Texas officials during conference on school shooting

The shooting came days before the National Rifle Association annual convention was set to begin in Houston, with the Texas governor and both of the state’s Republican U.S. senators scheduled to speak.

Dillon Silva, whose nephew was in a classroom, said students were watching the Disney movie “Moana” when they heard several loud pops and a bullet shattered a window. Moments later, their teacher saw the attacker stride past.

“Oh, my God, he has a gun!” the teacher shouted twice, according to Silva. “The teacher didn’t even have time to lock the door,” he said.

The close-knit community, built around a shaded central square, includes many families who have lived there for generations.

Lorena Auguste was substitute teaching at Uvalde High School when she heard about the shooting and began frantically texting her niece, a fourth grader at Robb Elementary. Eventually she found out the girl was OK.

But that night, her niece had a question.

“Why did they do this to us?” the girl asked. “We’re good kids. We didn’t do anything wrong.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Thousands in southern Ontario still without power several days after deadly storm

WATCH ABOVE: Province will cover full costs of deadly storm cleanup, Ottawa mayor says.

Tens of thousands of Ontario residents are facing another day without power as restoration efforts continue following last weekend’s vicious storm.

Environment Canada said a derecho — a rare widespread windstorm associated with a line of thunderstorms — developed near Sarnia, Ont., on Saturday and moved northeastward across the province.

Hydro One says almost 72,760 customers are still in the dark, with those in the Bancroft, Perth and Tweed regions expected to be without power for several days.

Hydro Ottawa says some 53,000 customers are still without power but most are expected to have service restored by Friday.

Read more:

Environment Canada confirms EF-2 tornado formed in Uxbridge, Ont.

At least 10 people died and three communities declared states of emergency after Saturday’s storm.

Thousands of trees were toppled, power lines were downed and extensive property damage was reported in some areas.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Where the Ontario leaders are on the campaign trail for Thursday, May 26

WATCH ABOVE: For most of the Ontario election campaign, Doug Ford’s political handlers have kept him out of the reach of journalists. As Seán O’Shea reports, that’s a contrast with other campaigns—but Global News caught up with Ford to ask why.

Here’s where the leaders of Ontario’s main political parties are Thursday, May 26.

Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford

Hamilton: Hosts a rally. 7:30 p.m.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Brampton: Announces plan to end hallway medicine. 9 a.m., Outside 120 Dandelion Rd.

Kitchener: Visits Food4Kids Waterloo Region Open House. 12:15 p.m.,Food4Kids Waterloo Region, 10 Washburn Drive Unit #4

Kitchener: Talks about plan to end hallway medicine. 1:30 p.m.,Corner of King Street and Pine Street

Fergus: Marks Paramedic Week in Wellington-Halton Hills. 3:15 p.m., Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service, 243 Queen St E

Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca

Richmond Hill: Makes an announcement on ending for-profit elder care. 9 a.m., 167 Red Maple Rd.

Markham: Holds a roundtable with Chinese cultural media. 10 a.m., 1661 Denison St. Unit T7

Toronto: Makes an announcement on making the rich pay their fair share. 1:15 p.m., Riverdale Park, Corner of Broadview Ave., and Sparkhall Ave.

Toronto: Meets with local small business owners. 2:15 p.m., Afghan Cuisine, 66 Overlea Blvd.

Toronto: Makes a campaign stop to thank volunteers and supporters. 3 p.m., Don Valley East Campaign Office, 801 York Mills Rd., Unit 101A

Ajax: Makes a campaign stop to thank volunteers and supporters. 5 p.m., Ajax Campaign Office, 527 Kingston Rd. W

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner

Guelph: Participates in All Candidates Debate hosted by College Heights Secondary School and Centennial CVI. 10:30 a.m., College Heights, 371 College Ave W

Guelph: Canvassing in Guelph.5:30 p.m., Starting at Mike Schreiner Campaign Office, 256 Edinburgh Rd S

© 2022 The Canadian Press

A determined Andrea Horwath takes on her 4th and maybe final fight as Ontario NDP leader

WATCH ABOVE: Contesting her fourth election as leader, Andrea Horwath has set her sights on the premier's office. Global News' Alan Carter sat down with the NDP veteran to talk about the campaign and her aspirations.

TORONTO — Andrea Horwath’s days are quite full, as leader of Ontario’s Official Opposition, so to unwind she likes to bake — though her version of downtime doesn’t sound especially relaxing.

The NDP leader recently had a late-night urge to whip up a batch of biscuits, but instead of turning out soft and flaky, they more closely resembled hockey pucks. Frustrated, she made a second attempt into the wee hours, but they still were not quite right.

“The very next morning I got up and made one more attempt and finally nailed it,” she said in a recent interview. “I just like the challenge…I get engrossed in cooking and baking and it just helps to kind of take me away.”

Horwath, 59, exudes determination in all aspects of her life, friends and colleagues say.

Read more:

Ontario NDP candidates receive federal praise during Singh stop in London

She is days away from contesting her fourth — and widely expected to be last — election as NDP leader. With her party trailing in the polls, her possible final attempt at becoming premier may not turn out how she had hoped, but it won’t be for lack of trying.

“If you look at her history of the years in politics, she’s had a lot of ups and downs, and she’s had a lot of people work really hard to take her down, and she still holds her chin up high,” says caucus member and close friend Monique Taylor.

“She knows what she’s after and she’s determined to get it.”

Horwath is the second of four children and grew up in Stoney Creek, the daughter of an autoworker. In school, she says she was studious and “very serious,” becoming Grade 8 valedictorian.

“My parents were worried because I would rather be reading, like sitting around either in my room or on the couch reading or studying and not socializing enough, and they thought that that was a bit of a problem,” Horwath says.

“Halfway through high school I got a boyfriend and things started going in a little bit different of a direction, but I still did well enough to go to university, to have the grades necessary to be accepted at at McMaster University.”

Read more:

45% of voters believe Doug Ford, PCs will win Ontario election: Ipsos poll

Her first job after graduating from labour studies at McMaster was at a workers’ education centre in Hamilton, established to help people with literacy and numeracy. As part of the job, Horwath had to learn quickly about tapping into her inner extrovert.

“Here’s me, I don’t know maybe in my early 20s, maybe 23 or so, and I enter this union hall with all of these big, burly steelworkers to talk to them about ESL and literacy,” she says. “It was pretty daunting.”

Horwath says she still gets nervous sometimes when public speaking, but the 10 years she spent waitressing helped to get her out of her shell.

The way Taylor tells it, Horwath has since fully embraced her social side.

“We’ve travelled together, we’ve seen some beautiful places, we’ve camped together, we’ve cottaged together, we’ve gone fishing, we sit by campfires, we’ve been to football games — lots of Tiger-Cats games — we’ve been out for dinners or, you know, cocktails,” Taylor says.

“(It’s) just really to be out and having fun as women, and she absorbs every single moment of it.”

Horwath worked at a co-op housing company after the education centre, and when the province started downloading services onto municipalities, she and her housing activist colleagues decided something had to be done.

Read more:

Ontario political leaders pledge changes to autism program

“We got together one night and decided somebody’s going to have to run for council and I was the one that got the job,” she says.

Horwath was elected to Hamilton city council in 1997 and served three terms, before being elected to the Ontario legislature in a byelection in 2004. She has been leader of the party since 2009, through three general elections.

Some observers had expected Horwath to step down if her party lost a third election, but in 2018, partly assisted by the collapse of the Liberal vote, the NDP nearly doubled its seat count and became the Official Opposition.

Peter Graefe, an associate political science professor at McMaster University, said Horwath likely would have stepped down four years ago if the NDP had remained the third party, and predicted she probably will this time if they don’t form government.

“The idea that she was leader of the Official Opposition, and might have had a shot at the premier’s chair this time…is what convinced her to continue,” he said.

“(But) it’s not like after 12 years, she’s suddenly going to find a new way to connect with Ontarians.”

Horwath often presents as likeable, but there is a narrative that she has become more negative, Graefe said, which may come down to her being the only female leader in the field.

“There’s a lot of gendered, I think, stereotypes there, right, where women if they criticize are suddenly seen as negative and pay a price in a way that men likely wouldn’t,” he said.

“That’s one of the challenges she’s had this time is that her role made her be also less a politician of proposition and more one of opposition.”

Other challenges Horwath has faced this time include voices from two sides in the party questioning her leadership.

Paul Miller, a longtime New Democrat representing Hamilton-East Stoney Creek, was kicked out of the party and accuses them of creating an allegation as an excuse to get rid of “the old guys” and change the face of the party.

Members of the NDP’s Black caucus were also upset after the party let Kevin Yarde, who won Brampton North in 2018, lose a nomination battle to an upstart challenger.

“That’s the ‘tricky’ thing about committing to leadership rooted in anti-oppression and anti-racism,” Jill Andrew tweeted at the time. “You’ve actually got to commit to the work and to the **PEOPLE*** who you ask to believe in you and be on the journey with you.”

Dan O’Brien, Horwath’s former deputy chief of staff, said he doesn’t think those issues will move the needle. He said his experience with Horwath as a leader is that she is warm, social and “a lot of fun.”

“She definitely likes to work the room in that kind of personal way, like not the policy kind of way,” he said. “That was her instinct. She just wanted to make sure people were comfortable and saying hi, and getting to know them and having a good time.”

Horwath was clearly having a great time being back on the campaign trail Wednesday, her first event in person after catching COVID-19 last week.

“I’m on fire, guys,” she shouted at the end of her morning announcement. “I think a couple of days in isolation have made me get re-energized.”

With the NDP polling in third, she’ll need to draw on that energy for an uphill battle in the last week of the campaign, something Taylor said Horwath has in spades.

Taylor recalled when their group of friends went ziplining, and only Horwath was keen on it, even though she ended up with some cuts and scratches.

“She’s always ready for that next challenge and she takes them on with pride,” she says.

“She always ends up with an accident and a bump, but it doesn’t stop her…She just shakes it off, like, ‘Oh well,’ and keeps going.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Ontario leaders target key ridings and issues with election one week away

WATCH ABOVE: Ford's commitment to climate change challenged following Ontario storm. Matthew Bingley reports.

TORONTO _ Ontario’s election is one week away, and the party leaders are focusing on key issues in key ridings.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will start her day in Brampton, where her party won three seats in 2018 and where she hopes to either retain or grow the NDP’s footprint in the vote-rich region.

She will be talking about a plan to end hallway medicine, then will travel to Kitchener and Fergus.

Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford will not be making any announcements or taking any media questions today, with his only scheduled event being a rally in Horwath’s home turf of Hamilton.

Read more:

Ontario Green Party targets Doug Ford’s pandemic response in bid to flip seats

Hamilton is home to a large labour and manufacturing base, and Ford’s team has been aggressively courting endorsements from skilled trades unions.

Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca is set to make an announcement in Richmond Hill, and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner is spending the day in Guelph.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Here's what it takes to buy a home in Canada's 'soul-crushing' housing market

WATCH: The dream of homeownership is looking increasingly bleak for a majority of Canadians shut out of the housing market, according to a new poll from Ipsos. Anne Gaviola reports on the new findings, and whether measures meant to clear a path to homeownership will have an impact.

Signs that the Canadian housing market might be cooling are coming too late for many prospective homebuyers, as their ability to save for a home is dampened by inflation and rising interest rates limit their ability to catch up the high home prices marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first quarter of 2022 saw the worst decline in housing affordability nationwide in 27 years, according to a report released Wednesday from National Bank of Canada, with rising mortgage rates pegged as a key factor sidelining would-be buyers.

For Global News’ Sticker Shock series helping Canadians navigate rampant inflation, we spoke to experts and homebuyers exasperated by the eroding housing affordability in the country and broke down how some might be able to make the purchase work.

More:

Inflation calculator — How do rising prices affect your personal finances?

Shelter, or housing-related costs, was one of the biggest factors driving up the annual rate of inflation to a decades-high 6.8 per cent last month, according to Statistics Canada.

Though some markets such as Toronto saw prices ease month-to-month in April, prices in the GTA were still up more than 15 per cent year-over-year.

Tembeka Pratt, a 30-year-old management consultant looking to buy a home with her partner in the city, says it’s “heartbreaking” to see their dream of owning a home so far out of reach.

“I really don’t know how people in my generation or younger are going to be able to afford something just to get into the market,” she tells Global News.

Couple together in home

Tembeka Pratt and her fiancé Olasunkanmi Adebero say they are disheartened by their hunt for a home in Toronto.

Provided

Pratt tells Global News that she and her partner have been saving up to buy a home for the past two years, something she’s dreamed of for more than a decade.

She put a prudent plan in place over the pandemic: she worked towards a higher-paying job that now earns her a roughly $100,000 salary, well above the average $51,500 annual income the typical Toronto resident their age took home in 2020, per the latest StatCan data.

Together with her partner, the two have a combined income of roughly $200,000.

But National Bank’s affordability monitor shows the annual income needed to afford the median or “representative” non-condo home in Toronto rose to $228,100 in the first quarter of the year.

housing affordability chart

National Bank of Canada tracks the household income needed to afford the representative home in 10 Canadian markets.

Pratt says she’s been disheartened to see how little her hard work to bring in a six-figure salary can actually get the couple in Toronto’s hot market.

“You would think that that would open so many doors for you, when in reality it’s just not possible,” she says.

The couple is ready to adjust expectations and are looking at townhome properties in the $700,000-to-$800,000 range around the outer limits of the GTA, but there, too, prices are high.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) said earlier this month that townhome prices in the so-called 905, outside the city core, hit an average of $997,416 in April.

The inability for younger Canadians to break into the market is a familiar story to Paul Kershaw, professor at the University of British Columbia and founder of Generation Squeeze, which looks at eroding housing affordability across the country.

Someone buying a home in the 1970s needed only five years of full-time work under their belt to afford a home in Canada, he says, while that figure has risen to 17 years of work. It takes 22-27 years in markets such as Ontario and B.C.

“The amount of work required today to try to break into home ownership has increased so dramatically and in such a soul-crushing way for a younger demographic or a newcomer of any age,” he says.

Leah Zlatkin, a mortgage broker and expert with lowestrates.ca, says the salary band and price range Pratt and her partner have in mind are a “great starting point” if they manage to find a home that fits their needs.

She says that an individual or couple can typically qualify for mortgages equal to four or five times their income, which could put Pratt and her partner’s affordable range between $800,000 and $1,000,000, depending on their liabilities and whether they take on a fixed or variable-rate mortgage.

Saving for the down payment can be the tricky part in today’s market, however.

A minimum down-payment is equal to five per cent of the home’s purchase price for the first $500,000, 10 per cent of the next $499,999, and rises to 20 per cent above a million dollars.

A sample home at $75,000 would have a minimum down payment of 6.67 per cent, or roughly $50,000.

Hitting the 20-per cent bar on a down payment can also help a buyer avoid paying the mortgage insurance premiums from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which are typically tacked onto the monthly cost of the mortgage.

“So you won’t feel it upfront, but you will feel it across the duration of your mortgage,” Zlatkin says.

chart comparing monthly mortgages

Data from lowestrates.ca shows how high monthly payments would be for a sample home, based on the type of mortgage and down payment size.

Global News

The decision of whether to try and save to hit the 20-per cent mark or get in with the minimum upfront payment and higher monthly fees comes down to how aggressively you can save, she notes.

The longer you take to save up for a down payment, the more home prices can escalate, raising the overall amount you have to put down.

“It’s like you’re constantly chasing the car that’s slowly rolling downhill. You have to really be able to save that money aggressively in order to catch up to that car,” Zlatkin says.

Read more:

As inflation surges, Canadians find creative ways to save, cut costs

The down payment and monthly mortgage costs aren’t the only things you need to factor into a purchase, however.

Land-transfer taxes at a cost of $11,445 are paid at both the municipal and provincial levels in Toronto, for example, though rebates are available for first-time buyers in each case.

There are legal fees and title insurance that come with closing a purchase you’ll have to account for, as well as annual property taxes — something most buyers coming from renting have not had to factor into their budgets previously.

“So you want to be really cautious and you want to do your research to understand what those upfront costs might be for somebody who’s looking to buy that first home,” Zlatkin says.

Kershaw says that “housing inflation” is tolerated differently than, say, inflation on the price of gasoline because Canadian homeowners are the ones who generate wealth when real estate prices rise, as opposed to a faceless corporation.

While the Baby Boomer generation has been happy to see their homes rise in value — and even lend some of that equity to their kids to break into the same market — Kershaw says we need a societal shift to show the impact on our younger demographics when we expect home prices to only go up.

“We’ve wanted housing to be this great grower of our wealth, and we need to stop if we think housing should be delivering affordability, because you can’t have it be both,” he says.

Kershaw says he was heartened to hear Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland recently refer to the gap in housing affordability as an “intergenerational injustice,” and hopes it’s the start of a wider policy discussion that could see an end to unchecked growth in the housing market that leaves the youngest Canadians sidelined.

Read more:

Sky-high home prices in Canada are ‘intergenerational injustice,’ Freeland says

Pratt acknowledges that this understanding of what a home represents for an adult’s financial stability is part of what attracts her to the ideal of homeownership.

“It’s something that will outlive you and can create generational wealth,” she says.

“My parents own their home and pretty much everyone around me owns a home. So it was almost like a given that that’s the next step as you get older.”

Pratt and her partner are willing to be patient, she says, in an effort to avoid jumping at a home and ending up “house poor.” The couple, who’s also saving for a wedding this summer, hopes to get into the market in the next two-to-five years.

“We’re just going to go at our own pace,” she says. “We will own at some point, but we’re not going to deplenish our savings just to get into the market.”

— with files from Global News’s Anne Gaviola

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

London, Ont. officials planning for Canada Day fireworks response after Victoria Day complaints

Officials in London, Ont., say planning is underway for how the city will respond to fireworks on Canada Day after celebrations over the Victoria Day long weekend yielded a series of complaints.

Under the city’s current firework bylaw, Londoners are only allowed to set off fireworks between dusk and 11 p.m. on Victoria Day and Canada Day.

Some exceptions apply and fireworks can be set off during those times on the Saturday preceding or following Canada Day if the holiday happens to land on a weekday.

Read more:

Petition calling for recreational fireworks ban in Nova Scotia growing

Ward 2 Coun. Shawn Lewis says he received “quite a number of complaints” indicating the bylaw wasn’t followed over Victoria Day.

“The big thing that’s bothering people is the fireworks that are being set off at midnight, 1 a.m., 2 a.m., disrupting people’s sleep, scaring animals,” Lewis told Global News.

Lewis brought up those complaints during Tuesday’s meeting of city council to ask city staff whether additional bylaw enforcement staff were available on Victoria Day, as well as what plans are being put in place to prevent similar complaints from arising come Canada Day.

The city councillor says he also raised the the matter because 2021’s Victoria Day firework response included additional staff and an after-hours phone line to field complaints.

“Staff indicated when I asked last night that they hadn’t staffed up and there wasn’t that after-hours number available … so I asked them to look into making sure that was available for people heading into Canada Day,” Lewis said.

“I have no problem with people having fun and enjoying the firework celebrations — I enjoy them myself — but they’ve got to be at the right time on the right days. They’ve got to respect the bylaw.”

Read more:

Vancouver’s ban on sale and use of consumer fireworks in effect Nov. 1

Deputy Fire Chief Matt Hepditch says the London Fire Department and other city officials are now in talks on how to prepare for fireworks on Canada Day.

“We have to have some conversations still to determine what exactly we’re going to do, but believe me it is in the works. There’s a lot of conversation, a lot of dialogue with regards to enforcement and with regards to how we staff these matters,” Hepditch said.

Even if additional staff are provided, there may still be some challenges when it comes to enforcing London’s firework bylaw.

Hepditch says that’s because most complaints only include an area of where fireworks are being discharged, rather than a specific location. Even if a specific location is provided, there’s a chance the illegal firework display could be over by the time officials arrive.

“What we need to do is we need to increase our education again, get more information out to the community and that’s one of the things I believe we will do,” Hepditch added.

As for complaints, Hepditch said the fire department received more than 30 over the weekend, including one call where firefighters responded to fireworks being discharged in a park, though no injuries were reported as a result.

Read more:

‘It was one Roman candle’: Family in legal battle after losing Vancouver home to fireworks

Elsewhere, a petition that calls for the outright ban on the sale and use of fireworks in London has garnered more than 2,000 signatures since its launch 10 months ago and received new support over the long weekend.

Lewis, the councillor pushing for additional resources to respond to firework complaints on Canada Day, disagrees with implementing a ban, adding that Londoners looking to buy fireworks could just shop in a neighbouring municipality.

“The reality is we already have a ban on fireworks 362 days of the calendar year and that hasn’t stopped fireworks from being set off outside of the prescribed times,” Lewis said.

“We also don’t want to be the city that fun forgot.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

45% of voters believe Doug Ford, PCs will win Ontario election: Ipsos poll

Nearly half of Ontario voters believe Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives will win the provincial election next week, a new poll has found.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos exclusively for Global News, found that 45 per cent of respondents said they think the PCs will be re-elected on June 2.

Fourteen per cent said they believe Steven Del Duca and the Liberals will win on election day, while 10 per cent said the same of Andrea Horwath and the Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP).

One in three — 32 per cent — said they don’t know who will win the provincial election.

Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, told Global News that the polling shows there is a “real expectation among voters that regardless of how they vote, that the Ford Progressive Conservatives are going to win re-election.”

“Even people who are currently voting for the Liberal Party — about 14 per cent — or for the NDP about 10 per cent, still think that their parties aren’t going to win,” he said. “They’re there with them in spirit, but they don’t necessarily think that there’s going to be an effect on the outcome.”

Read more:

Ontario election 2022: Here’s what the PCs, NDP, Liberals and Greens have promised so far

The survey was conducted May 17-19 and found that six in ten (61 per cent) of Ontarians said they are “completely certain” they will vote on election day.

This marks a very slight increase over the 58 per cent of voters that turned out for the 2018 provincial election.

However, Bricker said he expects the actual turnout will be lower.

“My expectation is that it would be nice if we got something close to the last campaign, but the last campaign was much more uncertain,” Bricker said. “When campaigns matter or the outcome is more uncertain, then people tend to participate more.”

He said he expects the actual voter turnout on June 2 to be “a bit lower” than in 2018.

The poll found that 74 per cent of those who have declared their support for the Progressive Conservatives said they are certain to vote this time.

Meanwhile, 71 per cent of NDP supporters, 65 per cent of Liberal supporters and 42 per cent of Green Party supporters said they are certain to vote on election day.

What’s more, 51 per cent of respondents who have decided who they will vote for said they are “absolutely certain” of their vote choice and won’t change their mind before election day.

Sixty-six per cent of PC voters said they are certain of their choice, while 51 per cent of Liberal voters, 36 per cent of NDP and 19 per cent of Green Party voters said the same.

Read more:

The NDP says it’s 10 seats away from toppling Doug Ford. Does the math add up?

The data also shows that the Liberals (20 per cent), NDP (19 per cent) and Green Party (17 per cent) are all “nearly equally favoured” as the province’s second-choice.

However, the survey found only 12 per cent would choose the PCs as their second choice.

Here’s a look at who party supporters would pick as their second choice:

PC voters: 

  • 18 per cent would choose NDP as their second choice
  • 17 per cent would choose the Liberals as their second choice
  • 14 per cent would vote for the Green Party as their second choice
  • 20 per cent said they wouldn’t vote if they couldn’t vote for the PCs as their first choice

Liberal voters:

  • 41 per cent would choose the NDP as their second choice
  • 18 per cent would vote for the PCs as their second choice
  • 12 per cent would vote for the Green Party as their second choice
  • 10 per cent said they wouldn’t vote if they couldn’t vote for the Liberals as their first choice

NDP voters:

  • 42 per cent would choose the Liberals as their second choice
  • 28 per cent would vote for the Green Party as their second choice
  • 16 per cent would choose the PCs as their second choice
  • 11 per cent said they wouldn’t vote if they couldn’t vote for the NDP as their first choice

Green voters:

  • 22 per cent would choose the Liberals as their second choice
  • 21 per cent would pick the NDP as their second choice
  • 10 per cent said they would vote for the PCs as their second choice
  • 21 per cent said they wouldn’t vote if they couldn’t vote for the Green Party as their first choice.

Read more:

Doug Ford and the PCs maintain tight grip on Ontario election race: Ipsos poll

Thirty per cent of Ontarians said they agree that their primary goal on election day is to stop the PCs from winning.

A total of 57 per cent of those surveyed said they believe the Liberals have a better chance of defeating the Tories, while 43 per cent said the same of the NDP.

Among those who think the Liberals have the better chance, 43 per cent said they are voting for the Liberals.

Of those who think the NDP has a better chance of defeating the PCs, 42 per cent are voting for the NDP.

Bricker said in individual ridings, this could result in strategic voting at the polls.

“Maybe the Liberals and the NDP and the Greens will gang-up in order to elect a more progressive candidate and stop the Progressive Conservatives from winning in a specific riding,” he said. “But the problem with that strategy is it doesn’t really seem that anybody’s certain on the progressive side what the best choice is.”

Bricker said in most election cycles, the progressive primary “ends at some point.”

This time around, though, Bricker said the “progressive primary continues on.”

With only one week to go before Ontario voters head to the polls, Bricker said the parties are “going to have to demonstrate that they’re the ones that are most likely to be able to form the official opposition and really take on the Progressive Conservative Party.”

Bricker said things are “shaping up very well for the Progressive Conservatives.”

“Simply because the opposition parties are split all over the place and can’t consolidate in a way that really threatens the incumbent,” he said.

Bricker said “at the moment” Progressive voters are undecided.

“There seems to be a little bit more momentum among the Liberal Party supporters,” he said. “But, you know, incumbency is a powerful factor in election campaigns.”

He said “some of the most interesting races” likely to be seen in Ontario on June 2 are races where an NDP incumbent is facing a “strong Liberal challenger.”

“Those tend to be more downtown ridings, particularly in the City of Toronto, but also in places like Ottawa, London, Kitchener, Waterloo — some of the bigger centres around the province of Ontario.”

He said he expects races will be “pretty close in a lot of those ridings.”

METHODOLOGY: This Ipsos poll was conducted between May 17 and May 19 on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of n = 1501 Ontarians aged 18+ was interviewed online (1,001) and by telephone (500). Quotas and weighting were employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the population according to census information. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would be had all Ontarians been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

You May Also Like

Top Stories