Don't forget your hat and mitts this morning, people. In the news: Reports on garbage privatization, judges are upset about court delays in impaired driving cases, Bill Blair is urging people to keep an open mind, and the TTC investigates a (possible) napping subway worker.
The privatization of garbage collection east of Yonge Street turned into a thing at City Hall yesterday as both Mayor Rob Ford and unofficial 2014 mayoral candidate Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East) announced plans to request reports from City staff on the pros and cons of expanding the city’s private garbage collection. The sticking point? Mayor Ford wants to delay the report until January 2015—thus making it an election issue—while Minnan-Wong thinks that’s crazy, and wants the same report to be delivered much sooner, by June 2014, specifically. Ford and Minnan-Wong both insist that they didn’t know that the other was planning to make such a similar announcement within minutes of one another. Is this the municipal politics equivalent of two people wearing the same dress to prom?
Toronto judges are getting pretty miffed about enormous delays in court proceedings that are causing straightforward impaired driving cases to be thrown out. At least three judges have lashed out against police, the Crown, and a generally overburdened court system for pushing trial dates past the eight to 10 month delay period that is the legal precedent with the Supreme Court of Canada. Ontario Court Justice Peter Harris pointed out ongoing issues with police disclosure of video recording evidence in these types of cases. In one case, where Justice Harris noted a 15-month delay between arrest and trial, he found that a 12-month delay was caused stemming from an 11-week delay in the release of video evidence. Toronto defence lawyer Jonathan Rosenthal says it’s more complicated than problems with police disclosure. An epidemic of underfunding in the system is causing massive backlog in court dates, pushing cases to the outer boundary of acceptable delay. Whatever the cause, the result is drunk drivers not getting convicted, which should make us all feel really safe.
As the Special Investigations Unit continues its work, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is urging Torontonians to reserve judgement about the use of lethal force by officers following Friday night’s shooting at a Queen Street subway station that sent an 18-year-old male to hospital with gunshot injuries from police. While early eyewitness accounts suggest that the armed man appeared to be in a state of mental distress, Blair insisted that all the facts needed to be clear, saying, “Police officers have to deal with the threat that they’re confronted with. It’s the behaviour of the individual, not necessarily the underlying emotional condition or mental health condition of the individual.”
From one investigation to another. The Toronto Transit Commission it looking into the circumstances surrounding a video that surfaced on Monday in which an on-duty subway worker appears to be napping. TTC spokesperson Brad Ross says the video—which was shot Friday afternoon on the Yonge line—doesn’t necessarily show the employee asleep during his shift, he could simply have been caught resting his eyes. Ross also said that whether he was sleeping or not, passengers were not in any danger because the TTC employee was not operating the train at the time. How long will it take for Mayor Ford to call for a resignation? One that is not his own, unfortunately.