Happy We-Can't-Vote-But-Let's-All-Get-Worked-Up-About-The-US-Election-Day! While this may be hard to believe, we've got some other, (mostly) non-presidential news for your reading pleasure: You'll soon have an official voice in the casino debate; the fate of Toronto's elephants is back in the hands of their zoo keepers; Mayor Ford and the TTC weigh-in (some more than others) on that whole bus thing; more charges laid in the west-end sexual assaults case; and, because we're pandering, some election-related news (US and Ontario!)
Toronto residents will get to weigh-in on the prospect of building a casino in the city, but they’ll be doing so blindly when it comes to the financial benefits. After a marathon debate Monday, Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee has given the green light to public consultations. However, as a report on the results is due back at City Hall by February or March, consultations are likely to begin before the Province and the City reach a revenue-sharing agreement. Facts and figures, who needs ‘em?!
Cards, dice, and slot-machines were not the only thing on the minds of executive committee members yesterday: They also spent some time talking elephants. It has been decided that the Toronto Zoo staff will make the final choice in where their three remaining elephants, Iringa, Toka, and Thika, should be relocated. Whether or not that means they will go to the PAWS facility in California, which is where city council voted last fall to send the remaining elephants, remains to be seen. In unrelated news, spotted: Bob Barker arriving at the zoo, resume in hand.
Mayor Rob Ford had a few things to say about TTC buses being pulled out of service to chauffeur his football team back after a game last Thursday. No, wait, that’s not right. Sorry, sorry, what we meant to say is that Mayor Ford had few things to say. Amazing what a difference a little “a” can make. The few things he did have to say included: it’s not my fault, I did nothing wrong, let’s all blame someone else. Okay, we’re paraphrasing. You want a real quote? Here goes: “I’m as clean as the days are long.”
The TTC, for their part, had a little more to say about Busgate2012, specifically, “we’re sorry!” While Toronto Police say they made the right call when they asked for the bus, TTC chair Karen Stintz said Monday that “in hindsight” the TTC customers who were already on the bus shouldn’t have been kicked off in order to transport the football team. She also clarified that TTC transit control received the request for the shelter bus from Toronto Police with no reference to the mayor or the football team.
Toronto Police say two more charges of sexual assault have been laid against the 15-year-old boy arrested last month in connection with a string of sex assaults in Toronto’s west end. The boy, whose identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, now faces a total of 16 counts of sexual assault and two counts of criminal harassment.
Here’s a nice local angle to tonight’s election (you’re welcome): Toronto cafe owner Emmanuel Debass really needs Barak Obama to win tonight. Why? Because he owns Obama Cafe, opened almost four years ago, on the day the president was inaugurated.
As predicted yesterday, Don Valley West MPP Kathleen Wynne, who recently left her two cabinet positions as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, has formally entered the Ontario Liberal leadership campaign. Wynne, a former Toronto District School Board trustee, has made an early campaign promise to rebuild government relationships with teachers. Better start shining those apples!