Illustration by Matt Daley/Torontoist.
It’s Thursday, and John Tory is waffling, Abdullah Khadr is a free man, and there’s a whole lot of medical marijuana that isn’t getting smoked.
After a weekend of heated and unabated consultation, along with vigorous humming and hawing, John Tory has decided that…uh, actually, he hasn’t decided anything. The former provincial leader of the Progressive Conservative party had been entertaining the idea of a mayoral run of late, but the Star reports he may be reconsidering. Apparently a little birdie told him he’s jumping in too late, and that there’s no way candidate Rob Ford will step down to make room for the former PC leader. Not to mention Tory’s already lost this race once (in 2003 to David Miller), which is perhaps an occasion he might rather not relive.
Bonus civic water cooler fodder! Mayoral front-runner Rob Ford toed a provocative line yesterday—and rather clumsily—when he accepted the endorsement of fundamentalist Christian pastor Wendell Brereton, a candidate for councillor in Ward 6 who also happens to staunchly oppose gay marriage. Brereton inarticulately summarized his views on gay marriage thusly: “Men who don’t truly comprehend the reality of the importance of the God-defined family will dismantle the very ethical fibers [sic] of what a healthy democratic civilization is.” When asked if the comment was a shot at married gay mayoral candidate George Smitherman, Brereton responded, “Yes.” Ford has done some backtracking on his alignment with Brereton’s views, essentially professing the “what happens behind closed doors” stance, but expect (hope for?) continued damage control.
After four-and-a-half years in prison, Abdullah Khadr was released yesterday after a Toronto judge stayed his extradition hearing. Ottawa has been pushing for Khadr’s extradition to the U.S. to face terrorism-related charges, but Justice Christopher Speyer ruled that the “exceptional” case was dependent on statements deemed unreliable, as Khadr was allegedly tortured and beaten when he made them, five years ago in Pakistan. The decision comes just days in advance of the Guantanamo Bay trial of his younger brother, Omar Khadr, who is accused of killing an American soldier with a hand grenade in 2002, when he was fifteen years old.
It’s not often that German filmmaker Werner Herzog and true-blue Yankee rock hero Bruce Springsteen enjoy the mutual honour of being mentioned in the same sentence, but today is one of those happy occasions: both will be featured in this year’s Toronto International Film Festival documentary program. Springsteen is the subject of The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town, which takes an inside look at the making of his fourth album of the same name. Herzog has made the unlikely leap into 3D, with his new film Cave of Forgotten Dreams, which explores the thirty-thousand-year-old drawings in France’s Chauvet caves, and if it’s anything like his stirring investigation of Where’s Waldo, we all have a comical existential meltdown to look forward to.
Someone really doesn’t like the smell of weed, and they’re making a stink. Yesterday afternoon, police raided Queen Street East’s CALM Compassion Club, which sells medical marijuana to ill patients suffering from everything from HIV/AIDS to multiple sclerosis. Acting on a request from a neighbour who complained about the smell, police seized marijuana and hashish and arrested club owner Neev Tapiero. There are other compassion clubs in the city, but apparently CALM gets a disproportionate amount of police attention.