It's Monday! No applause? No wild cheers? Fine, I'm going back to bed too. But first the news: the elephants made it to California all right; homelessness appears, shockingly, to be low on Mayor Ford's agenda; nobody wants a casino in their backyard; and the mayor says his radio show is all about reaching out to the public, man.
They’ve made it! Toronto Zoo elephants Iringa, Thika, and Toka completed their journey to the Performing Animals Welfare Sanctuary in San Andreas, California, on Sunday evening. Bob Barker, former host of The Price is Right and noted animal rights activist, paid about $700,000 for their transport and said the move will give the elephants a chance to “live the life that nature intended for them.” Barker’s is an eminently reasonable statement, considering that elephants typically don’t prosper in near-arctic urban centres like Toronto. Also according to Barker: elephants apparently love “tearing up” trees. There will be plenty of trees at PAWS—so go crazy, pals. Elephant-pals.
After it was commissioned in 2011, a task force on homelessness to be helmed by city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti has simply failed to materialize. Mammoliti essentially blamed Ford’s then policy advisor Mark Towhey for quashing the project because, according to Mammoliti, Towhey “didn’t believe in spending money; they just wanted us to go bash heads on the curbs.” Whatever the reason for the task force’s quiet death, some of the city’s most vulnerable people will suffer the consequences of political inaction.
There are no “major gaming complexes”—that is, giant casinos—in the GTA right now. (Really, none?) And with Vaughan voting against the possibility of opening one, the likelihood of Toronto remaining casino-free has gone up. Only the city councils of Richmond Hill and Mississauga have yet to vote on hosting such a business, and things are not looking good in either city for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. Meanwhile, several cities to the east of Toronto are interested, and Ajax would love to have a big ol’ casino, but the OLG seems less interested in that because Ajax falls in a different “official gaming zone” than Toronto.
Mayor Ford is defending his radio show after city councillor Paul Ainslie filed a complaint with Canada’s broadcast ethics regulator claiming that Ford and his brother Doug use the show to gain an unfair advantage in the political field. Ainslie argues in his letter to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council that the brothers use the show to attack other people “with impunity,” while the brothers Ford say they use the show to reach out to the community and their constituents. Ainslie is a former ally of the mayor’s who split from the Ford camp over the proposed Scarborough subway extension and has since been the subject of robocalls sent out by Ford to Ainslie’s constituents.
Also in the piece about the Ainslie/Ford battle, Doug explained that while he expects the upcoming Toronto-Centre byelection to go to the NDP, “Mr. Ford said he will support the Conservative candidate, noting that the Liberal and NDP candidates have both worked for Toronto newspapers.” One can only imagine how severe was his grimace as he said that last bit.