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Newsstand: March 25, 2013

Last Monday of March! In the news: Welcome to the 437; the mayor has opinions and he will share them; Ryerson engineering students are in trouble; and ermahgerd panders.

newsstand bluffs2

Toronto gets a new area code today—does 437 have the same ring (ha) to it as 416? The new code is needed because of the increased number of cell phones and mobile devices in the area, meaning that 416 and 647 just don’t cut it anymore. The 905/289 area is getting a new addition of its own: 365. If all this change on a Monday morning makes you grumpy, raise your hand.

Apparently, not content to merely have his own radio show, Mayor Rob Ford called in to Newstalk 1010 show Closing Arguments With Steven Skurka to offer his opinion of the ongoing trial of the man accused of killing Toronto police officer Sgt. Ryan Russell with a stolen snowplow in early 2011. Criminal defence lawyer Leora Shemesh was on the Newstalk panel and was surprised to hear the mayor on the line as they discussed the trial of Richard Kachkar, who has been charged with first-degree murder and dangerous driving. “I just think that it’s perplexing to have the mayor of the city calling in about this issue, particularly because it’s in front of a jury and he knew that, but more so because he seemed to be uneducated about not criminally responsible and what that means,” Shemesh told the Toronto Star. The Star declined to print the mayor’s comments out of concern for prejudicing the jury.

Ryerson’s engineering students are in trouble after a video showing half-nude students crawling through slush showed up on YouTube. School president Sheldon Levy said the event is “completely unacceptable” and likened it to hazing; the students say its an annual tradition and said Levy is overreacting. They say the event is voluntary for students who wish to become frosh-week leaders in the fall. We say this all would have seemed much better if we’d had nicer weather in March. And also that engineers are kind of strange.

Today is an exciting one for the Toronto Zoo, as pandas Er Shun and Da Mao are set to arrive at Pearson tonight. The fuzzy black-and-white pair from China will be greeted by quite the crowd, including the Prime Minister and his wife and China’s Canadian ambassador. The zoo expects that the pandas will be a boon for attendance numbers, as well and some company for its current lone panda. Pandas!


  • dsmithhfx

    “he seemed to be uneducated”


    • vampchick21

      He’s uneducated about a lot of things, so really, it’s no surprise that he has no concept of criminally and not criminally responsible. I mean, he thought the Federal Department of Citizenship and Immigration would handle deporting Canadian born criminals out of a city for crying out loud.

      • Jacob

        “He’s uneducated about a lot of things”, and proudly so. I think that much was made clear during the conflict of interest case.

        If he doesn’t think he needs to know something, he doesn’t want to know it.

        • vampchick21

          This is sadly far too true, and it’s detrimental to the city he ‘leads’.

  • blearghhh

    Does anyone know what he actually said? The original 1010 blog post got taken down and the Star isn’t saying.

    From twitter, I got the impression that he said something about him walking if he was judged not criminally responsible, but I’m not sure if he said anything else.

    • dsmithhfx

      I’d like to see it too. It seems to me the cat is out of the barn door, to paraphrase CB.

    • David Toronto

      What surprises me is that what he said actually made it onto

      the air. Wouldn’t a producer at CFRB have the sense to cut
      the audio when he started getting out of hand?

      It’s more a matter of what CFRB didn’t do than what
      Ford is to have said. But, of course, CFRB has always
      been a shameless Ford supporter. Why else would they
      take Josh Matlow off the air and put Ford on in his place?

      Shame on CFRB for its shameless partisanship.

      • dsmithhfx

        Rob’s statement is out there, both as an ineradicable fact, and (now) as a rumour. Which could be more damaging, I wonder? I don’t think the Star did the right thing in trying to suppress something that’s already been broadcast by another news entity. Will CFRB now face legal sanctions?

        • blearghhh

          Well, they did say that they’re not reporting it only because the jury is going in to deliberations today. Maybe they’ll publish once there’s a verdict. Of course the whole issue might have gone away by then.

    • PG
      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        “One of our finest got killed. He left behind a wife and a little son and we’re trying to find an excuse why (Kachkar) stole … a snow plow and killed a police officer. I think you can’t defend that,” Ford says.

        “[Police officers] put their lives in the line of fire. They jeopardise their lives — and we try to justify this?”


        “If there was a mental illness involved, then (Kachkar)’s going to walk … if he has a mental illness then why lock him up for 6 months or one year? I
        completely disagree with that,” Ford says.