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Newsstand: February 15, 2012

Good job! You've managed to make it to mid-week. Let's keep this positive trajectory going with some news! Torontonians want subways, but they also want Stintz (sheesh, make up your minds!); transit changes may mean bad news for Presto; it's a split pot when it comes to casino plans; Toronto's paramedics are mad, mad, mad; an intoxicated cop (maybe); and rocket cops in our city.

First, some news to soothe Mayor Rob Ford’s battle-weary soul. A new poll out from Forum Research (released exclusively to the Toronto Sun) seems to back Mayor Ford’s assertion that Torontonians want subways. According to the findings, nearly six in 10 citizens would prefer a subway-based transit plan over one based on light rail. Interestingly, though, while Mayor Ford wants to bury the Eglinton LRT as it moves into Scarborough and TTC chair Karen Stintz wants the line to go above ground, Stintz herself seems to have gained more support among residents than has our current mayor. Forum Research also found that in a hypothetical election between Mayor Ford and Councillor Stintz, 44 per cent would vote for Stintz to become mayor, while only 40 per cent would vote to re-elect Ford. Seventeen per cent were undecided.

If the TTC is good for one thing, it’s providing a never-ending stream of news. (That, and moving us from place to place.) In other transit news, it could be Presto change-o for the province’s transit-connecting electronic payment system. Last March, Mayor Rob Ford and the province agreed on a clause that committed the city to the Presto smartcard, and decided that Ontario would fund the implementation. However, city council’s rejection of Mayor Ford’s transit expansion may have also jeopardized plans to implement the Presto electronic payment system. Dun da daaaa—another chapter begins.

Looking for a buddy to hit the slots with? Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) should not be on that list. Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre), maybe. Councillor Paul Ainslie (Ward 43, Scarborough East), probably (and you may even be privy to remarks like “You can’t suck and blow at the same time” if you’re rolling with him). In fact, if you’re looking for some gambling buddies, it’s best not to bother with the downtowners, and instead try to round up a few Scarborough councillors. That’s right, yet another downtown-vs-suburb spat. What a helpful dichotomy.

If all of Toronto’s paramedics are spilling blood (or at least screaming for it), who’s going to rush in and help them, hmmm? Who will save the savers? This is a question that you should be pondering right now because, according to Geoff MacBride, president of the Toronto Paramedic Association, that’s what’s up (the screaming for blood—not any actually bloodshed). Toronto’s paramedics are apparently so unhappy with CUPE Local 416′s labour deal with the City they’re mulling mutiny. No sweat off Local 416 President Mark Ferguson’s back: he calls the upset a negative campaign by “a very small group of separatists.” Or maybe he was talking about Justin Trudeau? Either way, those paramedics are none too pleased.

It seems that the Toronto police, of anyone, should be able to prove whether the head of its traffic services division and R.I.D.E program was intoxicated. Until they can determine if this was indeed the case, Earl Witty, a 38-year veteran of the force, has been suspended. So, um, yeah…this is slightly awkward, but don’t they have breathalyzers and blood testers at their disposal? Couldn’t this “mystery” have been solved a little sooner?

Meanwhile, when not not testing their officers for intoxication, Toronto police are riding the rocket. With the aim of catching drivers texting, emailing, or talking on their cellphones, cops are watching from inside moving streetcars, ready to nab drivers at stop lights. Dialing or scrolling through contacts? Busted! Manually programming a GPS device? Nabbed! Calling 911? Well, actually, that’s okay. Drivers caught using a cellphone face a $155 fine, while watching an entertainment device like a tablet can result in a fine of $110. In other words, it’s a steeper fine for talking on the phone vs watching a movie. Who knew? The bottom line: don’t do it. The rocket cops are watching. It’s just like Robo Cop, just slightly less cool.


  • boulevardier423

    Adam Vaughan is right about a casino in downtown.
    Just look at what happened to downtown Windsor
    and other cities. Do you want that here, too?

  • Anonymous

    It will be fun to watch The Sun spin this to be the only information needed to prove subways are the only way to go. Already they are falling all over themselves to do just that. No matter how many times it is asked how will the subways be paid for it never gets answered.

  • Anonymous

    How many paid city staff are required to operate a streetcar?

    Two: one to drive, one to watch the driver. And if this were underground, another one to hold the flashlight, for a total of 3.

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t the Woodbine Racetrack already a gamblers paradise? You would think Woodbine would be the only logical place for one in the GTA. Although, North York’s bylaw prohibiting casinos would have to be changed.

    I’d rather there not be any casinos, anywhere, period! They’re like a cancer, draining the life out of the community around them.

    • Testu

      That’s not entirely fair, as far as I can tell that part of Etobicoke has always been that depressing…

  • qviri

    Maybe Witty took the TTC to work?

    Here’s a piece about Doug Ford trying to threaten McGuinty with Ford Nation 2.0: . Apparently Ford believes that given free vote, the province will shower Toronto with money for fairy projects, or maybe he just reckons Toronto’s NDP and Liberal MPPs will side with him over council.

    • Anonymous

      Or this is another one of his sideshows, meant to distract from something more sinister…

  • Nathan Kelly

    Toronto Sun: “Hey readers, which would you rather have: subways or LRT?”
    Readers: “Subways!”
    Toronto Sun: “See!? Statistics. STATISTICS!”

    • Statisticsist

      Toronto Sun: “Hey readers, would you like to pay zero property tax?”
      Readers: “Yes!”
      Toronto Sun: “See!? Statistics. STATISTICS!”

      And every Simpsons fan knows that the answer to “Who will save the savers?” is Coast Guard.