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Newsstand: March 5, 2013

Busy news day today. We've got everything from casinos to cats! In the news: Casino developers continue to woo Toronto; Ontario tuition increases could lead to protests; U of T has a new president; a depressing new report on the health future for the province's kids; Toronto is full of unlicensed driving schools; and ermahgerd, the internet helps a Toronto kitteh.

newsstand greenwood2

The debate over the possibility of a casino in Toronto continues, with two possible developers throwing in their ten cents on what the City should approve. Wynn Resorts sent a letter, obtained by the Globe and Mail, to the City manager on Monday outlining their vision for a high-end casino facility in Toronto that would include restaurants, a spa, hotel rooms, and a convention facility. Meanwhile, MGM has given several city councillors private briefings on its vision for a Toronto casino as part of its extensive lobbying to develop at Exhibition Place. Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee votes on considering casino proposals later this month.

Ontario’s student leaders aren’t ruling out protests in reaction to comments from Brad Duguid, Minister of Colleges and Universities, indicating that tuition fees in Ontario will rise again next year—albeit by less than 5 per cent. Representatives from both the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance indicated that protests could result from another fee increase if there is demand from their members, but nothing is currently planned. Last month, the Canadian Federation of Students released a report calling for a 30-per-cent drop in tuition fees over the next three years.

The University of Toronto has selected a new president: Meric Gertler, currently the dean of Arts and Science. Gertler arrived at U of T in 1983 as a geography professor and will succeed David Naylor, who has been president since 2005 and is expected to leave his post sooner than the planned date of December.

A new report from Ontario Healthy Kids Panel says that without major changes, like banning the marketing of junk food to children younger than 12, 70 per cent of today’s children are estimated to be overweight as adults. The report also calls for more support for pregnant women and infants, a better food environment for children and families, and healthier communities that encourage activity. Deb Matthews, Ontario’s Minister of Health, said yesterday that she will chair a working group to examine the implementation of the report’s suggestions.

A Toronto Star investigation found that dozens of driving schools in Toronto offer in-car lessons to new drivers despite lacking the provincial authorization to do so, and their lack of regulation leaves them completely outside of government oversight. Many of these schools sign a contract with a school that is approved by the Ministry of Transportation, then offer their own unauthorized lessons on the side, the Star reported. Transportation Minister Glen Murray said that after being shown the paper’s findings, his ministry is taking steps to educate new drivers, schools, and instructors about the laws regulating driver education.

The internet proved its cat love by banding together to raise money for a sick Toronto kitty. A local couple found Tigress, a stray tortie, nearly frozen to death in front of their home in North York on January 23. They brought her into a vet for treatment, but couldn’t afford the rising bills, but an Indiegogo campaign has managed to raise the $2,270 required to pay for her care, thanks to help from the Watchcat Coalition. The coalition was founded to help a cat, Panda, who was shot by a pellet gun in the east end and later died. Tigress, thankfully, is now on her way to recovery and looking for a new home. All together now: AWWWW.


  • IJustGotToBeMe

    Obviously Deb Matthews hasn’t looked in a mirror lately. Maybe she should try shedding a few hundred pounds before shooting off her fat mouth about what we should and shouldn’t eat.

    • torontothegreat

      Obviously you’re an asshole, at least she can shed the weight.

      • IJustGotToBeMe

        Nice reply. You are obviously one of those whose life is controlled by big brother. And at least assholes are useful.

        • Lee Zamparo

          You are not useful.

          • IJustGotToBeMe

            I also didn’t ask you for your opinion.

          • vampchick21

            Yay! Another internet asswipe who thinks he’s extra special! We haven’t seen your kind around lately! Super cool!

          • OgtheDIm

            Looking at his history of posts is instructive. Equal opportunity belittler.

            Classic “everybody else is stupid” troll, with the “you are not worthy of talking back to me” option.

          • vampchick21

            Reminds me of the good ol days of the interent and “Flame Warriors” Hmmmm….wonder if that list of warrior types still exists. No, I did not just age myself. Yes I did.

          • OgtheDim

            Some of us remember net.flame.

            Good times………good times.

          • vampchick21

            Forum Raids. Fun for all! :)

          • OgtheDIm

            Ya post, ya get opinions back.

            That’s the social contract of internet discussions.


        • torontothegreat

          How many cats did you have to push off your keyboard to type that?

          • dsmithhfx

            The cats typed it.

    • KWaltz

      Obviously a mature, middle-aged woman, who has raised children and has a PhD, needs to be a stick before she has valuable input about the state of our children’s health.

      • IJustGotToBeMe

        I never stated Ms Matthews had to be a stick. But you can’t tell me she is all that healthy at that weight.

        • Jeff

          She’s a 60 year old grandmother, and doesn’t look obese to me. Maybe plump? Certainly not in any significant health risk category for someone of her age. If she lost “a few hundred pounds” as you suggest, she’d be dead / negative kilos.

  • yaz

    $2200: that’s a year of college. Given to a cat. I’m obviously a heartless human being.

    • vampchick21

      Yes you are.

      • yaz

        I honestly wasn’t being sarcastic. But there’s something a bit sad that a similar amount could shape someone’s life. No?

        • vampchick21

          Nothing is stopping anyone from trying to raise money in a similar manner to go to post-secondary. Nor from them trying to work and save that money. People who donate to causes do so based their own free will. I like cats and dogs, I donate to such things. I like my stepsons, I help them financially to go to post secondary. Don’t go judging other people who actually are doing a good thing here. A life is a life, bald pink monkey or four legged furry friend.

          • yaz

            I guess it’s a matter of priorities. Hence why I called myself heartless.

          • vampchick21

            Nothing is stopping you from spending or donating your own money in any manner you want (outside of certain laws of course). Just don’t begrude those who do their own thing that you wouldn’t do. LIke I said, a life is a life.

          • dsmithhfx

            I have to agree, though, that spending on pets, pet food, pet toys, pet designer clothing, pet open heart surgery, heck even pet semataries (great flick, BTW), has far surpassed the amount that could be deemed reasonable. Not that it’s anything like spending on the military, I hasten to add. I like pets, but there are limits to everything. Well, maybe not.

          • vampchick21

            A lot of people for many reasons have pets instead of children, hence the higher spending on pet services and products (some necessary, some not) than in the past. Heck, before stepmotherhood, I was also one of those people – just ask my spoiled 18 year old cat. I’d still donate what I could to a campaign to save a stray animal though. Because a small donatation to help out a helpless animal doesn’t take food from the mouths of my stepkids.

          • dsmithhfx

            I happen to know two people who have nearly spent themselves into bankruptcy on futile keep-alive measures that have been applied to their pets, which in the first instance somehow managed to survive well past the average lifespan despite chronic overfeeding and lack of exercise, and in the second fell victim to some kind of vaccine that destroyed the poor creature’s liver. In the halcyon days of my youth, pets were more frequently loved and respected, rather than selfishly tormented by crazed owners who don’t know when to stop, and pet veterinarians did not have fees, incomes and sadistic technologies to rival medical specialists who treat humans.

          • vampchick21

            Oh, I know. I’m in a current arguement with my vet over the wisdom of putting my cat under for a $1000 ultrasound that’s going to tell me what I already know. She’s 18 and has cancer. And I doubt she’d come out from the anistesia. She’s happy, eating, drinking, half-assed playing (well, as much as an 18 year old cat wants to play), loving us. When it’s time, when she’s uncomfortable and in pain, I’ll know and I’ll say goodbye, it’s going to happen over the next few months. I’ll enjoy the time I have left with her and add to 18 years of happy memories. That said, I would still donate money to help save a stray cat. Or dog.

          • Nisi

            I am going to generalize and that’s never good…

            but I do think sometimes veterinarians exploit the feelings of pet owners to make them feel guilty if they don’t choose to go through with a procedure… especially if part of the consideration is cost.

            It’s hard to step away – embarrassing story time… my cat had a bump on her gums and it was obviously sore. I made the mistake of looking online after midnight (too tired to reason and too late to call for advice from a sensible friend or two) for possible causes. There was all kinds of alarmist stuff… blood infection! cancer!

            I stick my cat in a carrier & bring her to the emergency vet – it’s 2 am now.

            We wait an hour.

            Vet sees my cat – the bump is totally gone. I think the vet thought I was nuts. He did say, “well, from my perspective, it’s nice to see a totally healthy cat.” At least someone got something out of it.

            The whole time I just thought I was doing the right thing. After I slept I realized that I could have waited until the next day (this thing just appeared – if it was so rampant that it couldn’t wait 8 hours, she was a goner anyway) and shouldn’t have read the internet information &c.

            Anyway, people become irrational about pets and I think some vets use that. I think there are other motivations besides earning (though it’s definitely part of it) like liability – they have to offer the treatment; they are professionals and want their advice to be taken seriously; they want to be thorough… there are lots of things motivating them and some might not even realize that they are making people feel guilty.

            As for the money going toward tuition – where is that enough for a year? But also…

            many people spend their money foolishly (I don’t think helping this cat is foolish). Do you call out your neighbour for buying an expensive car – couldn’t your neighbour make due with a less expensive car and give the difference to charity? Is your neighbour a jerk because he’s buying this car? Maybe… maybe not. We can only choose how we spend our money. We can’t choose how others spend theirs.

            In this case it was many people giving small amounts. It shows how small actions can make a difference. If a person wanted to ask for funds for school in the same way, I think that’s fine. Unfortunately with people, there’s always a judgement regarding personality. This poor cat is just a cat that was mistreated and some people just wanted to lessen her pain. Nothing wrong with that… at least she had something treatable and not a treatment that will cause more pain & discomfort than it’s treating.