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Newsstand: September 25, 2013

Guess what? In the news today: the Toronto doctor credited with guiding us through the SARS crisis has put out a powerful posthumous message, community advocates speak out against expanded taser use, Toronto residents are split on allowing jets in the downtown airport, and Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is pumped for the SIU's new director.

newsstand jeremy kai spring 4

Dr. Donald Low, the Toronto microbiologist credited with calmly guiding the city through the 2003 SARS outbreak, died of brain cancer last week. Yesterday, a video he made eight days before his death was released on YouTube. In it, he pleads with Canada to rethink its position on doctor-assisted suicide, an option he would have considered had it been legal. A spokesperson from the Office of the Minister of Justice apparently sent an e-mail to CBC News yesterday in which it reiterated that the government has “no intention” of reopening the debate on euthanasia.

At a public Toronto Police Services Board consultation yesterday regarding whether to expand police taser use, community advocates spoke out against expanding the “weapons arsenal” of frontline officers. People suggested alternatives to bringing in more weapons, such as promoting de-escalation techniques, expanding the service’s Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams, and purchasing tasers with low voltages.

Torontonians are split on whether the city’s downtown airport should be expanded to allow jet aircraft to fly out of it. A telephone survey commissioned by the City found that 47 per cent of respondents support the proposal to expand the airport and use jet aircraft and 45 per cent oppose it. Further, and in no way surprisingly, it found that Torontonians living in the waterfront area are more likely to say that “the airport doesn’t fit.” Period.

The provincial Special Investigations Unit (that’s SIU to you), much in the news of late due to high-profile investigations of police conduct like the one connected to slain teenager Sammy Yatim, is getting a new director. And Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, for one, is excited. Blair apparently has a less-than-amicable relationship with the outgoing director, Ian Scott, whose five-year term as head of the SIU ends next month. Scott recently called Blair out for not cooperating with the SIU. So yeah, Blair is pretty pleased to see him go. The new director is veteran Crown attorney Tony Loparco, whose current gig is running the Crown office in Scarborough.


  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Waterfront residents are also more likely to have moved into the area after the airport opened… bac

    • A_Change_Has_Gotta_Come

      Actually currently the vast majority of waterfront residents did NOT move in before Porter commenced operations in late 2006.

      • HotDang

        Do you count city place? 70 thousand people live there and construction began in 2007.

        • A_Change_Has_Gotta_Come

          HotDang, you are incorrect. The first CityPlace buildings opened in 2002 and building continues to this day (there are still a few more buildings to be built).

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        There’s been a commercial airport on the island since 1939, and serious expansion happened in the mid-50s to early-60s. Very few, if any, residents of the waterfront and islands can complain that they didn’t know an airport would open after they moved there.

        • vampchick21

          In the 40′s during the war it was used as a military training base by the Norwegian airforce and the Canadian airforce, with barracks being built at the foot of Bathurst.

  • istoronto

    May as well shut down every outdoor waterfront stage and entertainment venue if more flights are allowed. I sat through a concerts at the Music Garden and Harbourfront last month and basically every few minutes the concert was drowned out by an aircraft. The loudest and most frequent being the tourist helicopters. What’s the point of building a waterfront for people to enjoy if you have to be inside to enjoy it?

    • blearghhh

      I think the new jets are supposed to still be quieter than helicopters though. Can’t remember seeing supecific numbers, but I know that helicopters are very loud.

      • OgtheDim

        There are no specific numbers. There has been one flight, over concrete and farmland, and attending industry insiders and writers, who were primed to think about it, say its quiet.

        Reality is a study by Transport Canada is being worked on.

        • blearghhh

          Right. I wonder if they have done a study including the helicopters (ORNGE/Tourist) and if so what it said.

  • Suicide Boi

    I agree–there is no need for the government to re-open the debate on doctor assisted suicide.

    Instead they should just legalize it and let sick people die in peace.