Happy Priday (Friday during Pride)! Did you take today off? Are you making the long weekend extra long? I hope so, because you deserve it. In the news: something fishy, as in, illegal fishy; the City of Toronto thinks human rights don’t have a place in how bylaws are written; move over street meat, prepackaged salads are coming to town; an especially bad G20 job; and a TTC driver confronts some guy named Rob Ford.
In what sounds like the beginnings of an awesome B movie (a feeling aided by the image provided by the Star), the owner of Markham’s Lucky Aquarium has been charged with smuggling invasive and endangered species of fish across the Canadian-American border. Jim Ip, who lives in Scarborough, apparently fell for an undercover US Fish and Wildlife Service agent’s bait on more than one occasion, but Ip’s lawyer claims the allegations against his client are exaggerated. Of course it’s exaggerated—it’s about catching fish.
Of all the tribunals that Toronto could try and pick a fight with, our City has chosen to go after the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The City is arguing in Divisional Court that the Tribunal does not have jurisdiction over City bylaws. The case is based around a challenge to Toronto’s bylaw that prohibits group homes within 250 meters of each other. A group of psychiatric consumer/survivors called the Dream Team launched the challenge in 2010 because, as they argue, the distance restriction limits the number of group homes, which is discriminatory toward the individuals that rely on this type of housing. Kitchener and Sarnia both backtracked on similar bylaws after the Dream Team brought forward challenges in those cities. Come on, Toronto.
Prepackaged cut vegetable lovers of Toronto rejoice, your prayers have been sent to council! Along with whole fruits and vegetables, soup, salads, and a number of other lackluster edibles, crudités is slated to become allowable for sale at Toronto’s 137 street food venders. In more disappointing news, the garishly named licensing and standards committee has passed on for more review the issue of where to allow food trucks to set up shop in the city . A report is due in November, which is really far away.
Guess what? Toronto’s G20 had problems and there’s a new report, this time commissioned by the Toronto Police Services Board, that lays out a series of them. This report looks closely at the poorly planned processing centre on Eastern Avenue. One revelation—that will probably not come as a surprise to anyone who went through the facility—is that there was only a single officer processing the hundreds of people arrested. Also according to the report, when the vandalism started on the streets and the Toronto police wanted to go put a stop to it, Police Chief Bill Blair asked the RCMP to relieve City cops at the security fence so they could go do so. The RCMP took 12 hours to relieve them.
Just for fun, let’s all speculate on what the TTC driver in this story said to Mayor Ford.