Toronto Sun columnist's review of town hall video "misses by a mile" says Bob

TORONTO, May 18 /CNW/ - The president of Toronto's transit union brushed off a Toronto Sun columnist's mean-spirited review of a short video produced by ATU Local 113 in the wake of the three recent "Let's Talk" town hall meetings.

The events were arranged by the union to discuss customer service complaints about the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) directly with the public. Hundreds of people showed up at the meetings, which were webcast live and also broadcast on Toronto's Rogers TV.

Titled "Toronto Transit workers meet with their riders", the video can be seen on YouTube and is also accessible through the union's website, It is a compilation of spontaneous comments by several people who attended the three union-sponsored meetings. All volunteered to make their comments in front of the camera and none were prompted in any way.

"Sue-Ann Levy may hate unions in general and the transit workers in particular but she misses by a mile when she insults and denigrates people who voluntarily came out on a Sunday afternoon to be part of a civic - and very civil - discussion about public transit in this city," said Bob Kinnear.

"By calling these people 'sycophants', 'unkempt', 'the usual suspects', 'shameless', and so on, Levy tries to dismiss the validity of their remarks without having to show that what they said was in any way inaccurate or biased. She only recognized and later spoke with one person in the video. The rest are complete strangers to her but she insults them nonetheless. It's pretty shoddy journalism but that is what we have come to expect from Levy."

Kinnear said that he was not the narrator on the video, something implied by Levy, "but I would have been happy to narrate it. We're proud of this video, not for its production values but for the values of the people who appear in it."

Kinnear pointed out that the full two hours of each town hall meeting are available unedited on the union's website.

"It is all there for the whole world to see. We've kept nothing back. And if you sit through all six hours you will find that more than four out of five complaints voiced inside the meetings were about matters over which front line workers have absolutely no control.

"Sue-Ann Levy won't be satisfied until everybody in Toronto is at everybody else's throat," said Kinnear. "It seems to really irk her when ordinary people have a sympathetic word or two to say about public transit workers. But that was predictable."

SOURCE Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113

For further information: For further information: Bill Reno, (416) 223-7366

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Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113

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