Apparently nowadays kids can Skype chat with Santa at the Toronto Eaton Centre instead of sitting on his lap. And to think they say face-to-face human interaction is dying. In the news: to the surprise of nobody, Rob and Doug Ford won't recuse themselves from debating the police budget; looks like Giorgio Mammoliti might get a time out from the integrity commissioner; Canada Goose is kinda not so Canadian anymore; tree feuds; and seat belts for police.
Discussion surrounding police spending is set to begin at City Hall today as the budget committee continues to review and debate proposals for the 2014 budget. Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is expected to be in attendance, prompting a call for both Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) to remove themselves from the debate, which both have refused to do. It all stems from that one time Mayor Ford basically accused Chief Blair of concocting a cockamamie investigation against him. Or wait, maybe it all stems from that other one time Councillor Ford decided to call for Chief Blair’s resignation over a perceived bias against Mayor Ford. Whichever way you want to slice it, their collective remarks have concerned Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37, Scarborough Centre), who’s vice-chair of the Toronto Police Services Board. Councillor Thompson cites their clearly stated animosity toward Chief Blair as being enough of a conflict to warrant removing themselves from the debate. Councillor Doug Ford does not agree, saying, “I don’t need to recuse myself of anything to do with the police. I support the police. We’re going to move forward with a tight budget.” Needless to say, this should get interesting.
Controversy loves company, and for once it looks like Mayor Ford has a buddy tagging along with him that isn’t his own brother. Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West) may be in hot water with the city’s integrity commissioner, as an investigation is being launched into a $5,000-a-table fundraiser held on his behalf earlier this year. Last May, several hundred people—including some major municipal lobbyists—attended an event in Woodbridge to benefit Councillor Mammoliti. CBC News reports that integrity commissioner Janet Leiper is investigating whether the code of conduct for elected officials that prohibits councillors from receiving benefits connected with the performance of any duties of office was breached. Wording on the invitation to the fundraiser in question references the work Councillor Mammoliti does “to fight the good fight at Toronto City Hall,” and that has brought the event into question.
Toronto-based Canada Goose has sold a majority stake of its internationally renowned extreme-weather outerwear brand to United States private-equity firm Bain Capital. Founded in 1957 by Sam Tick, the company has reported annual sales of roughly $200-million. Throughout its growth and expansion, all products continued to be made in Canada—Toronto and Winnipeg, respectively. The sale of the company has created worries that production will eventually be outsourced to markets with lower labour costs. According to current president Dani Reiss, there’s no cause for alarm. Says Reiss, “Made in Canada is extremely important, and extremely important to Canada Goose, and we’ve chosen partners to whom it is also extremely important to, and I have no expectation that that’s going to change. If I thought that it was going to change, I would not have done this deal.”
On Tuesday, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that—while it may appear slightly ridiculous—may have wider implications for property owners across Ontario. The ruling clarifies terms surrounding trees that are considered common property, by splitting the ownership of a maple tree that straddles two neighbouring properties on Humewood Drive between both homeowners. This gives each homeowner an equal say in the future life of the tree—it was because each party wanted to determine its fate that the battling neighbours went to court in the first place. Homeowner Katherine Hartley argued that the tree was completely on her property, and wanted to remove it for perceived safety risks. Neighbours Hilary Cunningham and Stephen Scharper did not want the tree cut down, and argued that its position along the property divide made it a co-owned tree. To recap—yes, some people went to the Ontario Court of Appeal in what is essentially a custody battle over a tree. The highlight of this article comes when reporter Jane Gerster calls the ruling “a watershed moment for trees.”
Finally, this morning Toronto Star columnist Joe Fiorito makes an impassioned plea for the cause of police officers wearing seat belts/a> while driving on duty that is worth a read.