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Newsstand: January 13, 2014

How about those Golden Globes, amirite? So golden! Not that global, though. In the news: Neil Young is touring to support the First Nations struggle against oil sands exploitation, Rob Ford tied one on without causing too much trouble, America doesn't want Ford either, a letter from the Toronto Star has caused consternation among politicians, and some great moments from last night's awards show.

matt newsstand raccoon

Canadian icon Neil Young’s Sunday show at Massey Hall kicked off a brief tour, entitled “Honour the Treaties,” in support of First Nations groups fighting oil sands development. Young has recently toured oil sands sites in Alberta and spoken to First Nations groups, and is a vocal critic of the federal government’s approach to resource extraction. “I see a government completely out of control,” Young said of the Harper government, “and money is number one. Integrity isn’t even on the map.” The tour is meant to support several First Nations groups, one of which is the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, which is fighting the Jackpine mine that Shell Canada recently received approval to build.

Rob Ford went to Muzik on Saturday night to hang out with the beautiful people. Everyone at the nightclub seems to have enjoyed his presence, and many people took to social media with photos and comments. As of yet, there are no reports of his infamous inappropriate behaviour, such as uttering racist slurs or trying to fight his own staff members. Seems like it was just a fun night out for everyone involved.

Since January 3, there has been a petition on the White House’s website to have Rob Ford declared an American citizen, but it doesn’t seem bound for success. Petitions need to garner 100,000 signatures before they are addressed by the White House, and this particular one had only 19 on Monday morning. interested readers can take a look or sign the petition here.

The Toronto Star is dealing with criticism over a letter it sent to several “civic leaders” asking their opinions on Rob Ford. Among those upset about the move is Thornhill MP Peter Kent, a Conservative. Kent responded to the letter with a refusal to answer, and called the request “a crudely crafted, veiled threat that I (and others) endorse an editorial column written by Torstar Chair John Honderich … or face consequences in your eventual story.” The Star’s letter mentioned that it would print the responses of everyone contacted, and if they did not respond that would be included also. Still, Kent’s response seems a bit strong: to call the letter a “threat” and claim he fears facing “consequences” is a bit excessive. The Star published the story on Saturday.

And finally, here are the CBC’s five most memorable moments of last night’s Golden Globes awards show.

CORRECTION: January 13, 2014, 8:45 AM This post originally stated that the Star had not yet published the article about civic leaders’ opinions on Rob Ford. It was published Saturday. We regret the error.


  • Instigator

    – Still, Kent’s response seems a bit strong: to call the letter a “threat” and claim he fears facing “consequences” is a bit excessive. –

    I thought so at first, too. Then I remembered Jim Flaherty getting in the face of that other conservative (name escapes) who dared criticize the crack mayor. So maybe Kent’s fears aren’t so unfounded, after all.

    The funniest thing about Kent’s response was that he typed it up in SHOUTY ALL CAPS, and the Star left it that way. Good for the Star.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      The Conservative that Flaherty was fighting with was Jason Kenney who dared to suggest that Ford resign. I don’t think the Star printed the actual request they sent to each of the civic leaders — I would like to judge for myself whether it was “veiled threat”. Kent’s response seems to underscore an uneasiness in the federal Conservative caucus on what to do/say about Ford. Harper seems to want to it out and help his buddy Ford win re-election, so they’re all walking on eggshells with regard to our crack-loving Mayor. All that said, Kent could’ve just said “no comment” sending a response in ALL CAPS!!! only underscores what an A-HOLE he is.

      • vampchick21

        Given all the other replies, from providing the actual opinion to outlining why they aren’t commenting or commenting in a more general term, I seriously doubt the request could have actually be construed as a veiled threat.

        • Instigator

          Kent published the letter on his site:

          Interesting to note that I’ve replied a couple of times in his comments section, and he’s deleted both comments. Kent only allows people who support his views to be published on his site.

          • vampchick21

            Ugh, reading some of those comments made my brain bleed a little.

          • bobloblawbloblawblah

            Thanks for this. There really is nothing in this letter that could be construed as a ‘veiled threat”. It’s hardly a threat to say “we’ll publish that you didn’t respond” if they receive no response. Kent is just blustering and raging. I remember the days when Tories didn’t act like everything was a media conspiracy to get them. Everyone seemed to get along a bit more despite the differences.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Kent only says what the Harper teleprompter tells him to say. Asking for his own opinion probably confused and angered him.

    • dsmithhfx

      IT WAS A THREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • dsmithhfx

    Peter Kent, another scion of the left-liberal media.

    • SonuvaScrimbro

      Indeed. Kent, Duffy, Wallin… funny how they’re all maggots until the Conservative party membership card arrives in the mail, eh?

  • SonuvaScrimbro

    Personally, I think the Star overstepped a bit; public figures should feel free to speak out or not speak out against other public figures, and the “we’ll print that you refused to say something” part rankled me a bit, as if the Star was publicly shaming people for not wanting to take sides and wade into the mess that follows Ford wherever he goes, like Pigpen from the Charlie Brown comics.

    By all means, Ford should be removed from office for a multitude of reasons, but people shouldn’t be shamed into joining the fight if they don’t want to lend their voice. The freedom to not speak is just as important as the freedom to speak.

    That said, I loved the response from Kent IN HIS ALL-CAPS I AM SO OUTRAGED format, like he’s Grandpa Simpson and he just figured out he can save a lot of typin’ time by hitting that all-caps key right above the shift. Or maybe another poster here is right: when you have to deal with Rob’s patron in Ottawa, you can’t be too careful.

    • Lee Zamparo

      I don’t think it’s overstepping; newspapers routinely publish that they asked so-and-so for a comment but that so-and-so did not offer any. It’s pretty standard journalistic practice I think. It’s hardly the full-blown shame-fest / attack that Peter Kent makes it out to be.

      • SonuvaScrimbro

        Oh, for sure. I’m not suggesting Kent was anything less than ridiculously hyperbolic in his response; a simple “no thanks” would have sufficed. But this was a story in which the Star hand-picked a few prominent types from a variety of sectors and asked them to comment on Ford. There was no choice of not having their name appear in print; regardless of whether they answered “Ford boo!” or “Ford yay!” or “no comment” or declined to say anything, the Star was going to out them as a Ford supporter, a Ford non-supporter or (implicitly, but it was still there) as someone too chicken to take sides.

        Take the business leaders — aside from having businessed HQ’ed in Toronto, they aren’t a part of municipal politics. So what possible gain is there for them to go on record saying Ford is an idiot and should resign? Their businesses aren’t affected by how Ford handles himself, and the only thing they would invite by criticizing him is blowback from his supporters (though I’m sure a boycott from Ford Nation is not something to worry about). I stand second to no one in my disdain for Ford and I wish more leaders took an active role in calling him on his rampant b.s. …but this isn’t the way to do it.

  • rich1299

    The only thing that would’ve annoyed me about the Star’s letter is that it only gave 3 days at most for people to respond to it. Considering it seems to have been sent by letter mail and the letter was dated Dec 16th and they asked for a response by Dec 19th that likely would’ve left people a day at most to respond, perhaps much less or they could’ve got it after the date they asked for their responses. Some of the people on the Star’s list would have tightly scheduled and scripted lives and wouldn’t have had the chance to respond.

    If they wanted the responses by Dec. 19th since they said they were planning on publishing the story later that week I wonder why they held off publishing it until Jan. 11th?

    I agree with the Star that more Toronto civic leaders should’ve spoke up about Ford, after all they have no problem using their role as civic leaders when it comes to their personal prestige but are always much more hesitant when it comes to speaking out on whatever. But then again who really cares what these people have to say? With the business people there’s no reason to believe they have the slightest clue about anything in the public realm. I think most of the public, knock on wood, would have no problem figuring out Ford for themselves.

    When it comes to the sorts of things that really matter its the every day people of Toronto getting together to support whatever cause that get things done and not civic leaders anyways. They’re only good for raising large sums of money at $10,000 a plate dinners for hospitals they may need, and arts and cultural venues they may visit but that’s about it.