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Newsstand: March 20, 2014

Apparently Rob Ford’s lawyer thinks that police will find a way to anonymously leak the infamous crack video before the upcoming municipal election to, presumably, squash the mayor’s chance at re-election. Nowadays, everyone is a conspiracy theorist. In the news: John Tory officially kicks off his campaign, Sarah Thomson announces her mayoral bid, the executive committee backs a BMO Field expansion, and backlogs to police background checks are getting out of control.

matt newsstand newspaperlies

Yesterday, John Tory officially launched his mayoral campaign with a speech at the Polish Combatants’ Hall. Tory touted his track record of leadership, and pledged to see both the Scarborough subway extension and downtown relief line come to fruition if elected. To perhaps make himself seem more relatable to the average Torontonian, Tory talked about his family’s long history in Toronto, while he also promised to lower tax rates and keep spending low at City Hall. Thankfully, he mentioned no gravy trains of any sort. When speaking about his competition in the race, Tory singled out Olivia Chow as a candidate who he said has a long record of polarizing voters, and summed up Mayor Rob Ford rather articulately by saying, “No one came to office with more goodwill than Rob Ford. And no one will leave office having exhausted more of that goodwill.” We feel you on that one, John Tory. We feel you.

In other mayoral candidate news: if anyone cares, Sarah Thomson is running for mayor. Again.

The City’s executive committee voted almost unanimously to give financial backing of $10 million towards the renovation of BMO Field, which will allow the Toronto Argonauts to move to a permanent home at the stadium. The executive committee has asked the city manager to make sure that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment—the company who operates the City-owned venue—help finance a study to assess possible transportation improvements to allow for better access to Exhibition Place. Oh, and since you were wondering, Mayor Rob Ford was the lone dissenting vote on the committee. Yes, he stands up for the taxpayer’s almighty dollar, even when it means going against his love of football.

The Toronto Police Services Board is trying to find ways to deal with perpetual backlogs to background checks for students and workers. Toronto Police currently receive upwards of 200 new requests for background checks on a daily basis, and at one point the backlog peaked at just under 17,000 requests last year. Students and job applicants are complaining that both school placements and potential employment opportunities are put at risk by check delays that can take months to complete. Currently, the RCMP only requires fingerprinting for some background checks that fall under the “vulnerable sector screening,” or VSS, category. However, it is expected that the RCMP will require all VSS checks to require fingerprints in the near future, which will severely impact the current system according to Police Chief Bill Blair. With increasing demands from employers, schools, and organizations for background checks, Toronto Police receive approximately 108,000 individual requests every year, some of which—like required checks for minors who would not have searchable criminal records—are simply backing up the system. Currently, Toronto Police quote an eight-week turnaround time on VSS checks, with temporary redeployed staff assisting to decrease current backlogs. These delays are not a universal problem within the GTA, though, with York Regional Police saying they complete VSS checks within two weeks, and Peel Regional Police quoting that they will complete them on the spot.


  • SonuvaScrimbro

    “In other mayoral candidate news: if anyone cares, Sarah Thomson is running for mayor. Again.”

    Pretty much how I feel about that news. Any good will she might have had after Grope-Gate she effectively piddled away with that incredibly stupid PR stunt, announcing she had the video back when we didn’t know if it was real or not… and then leading people to a ridiculously awful promo video for whatever the hell she was promoting.

    Not quite in the Rob Ford league of shamelessness, but… yeah. Please don’t waste our time, Ms. Thomson.

    • andrew97

      She’s pretty good at shameless self promotion. Kind of like a Canadian Donald Trump.

      • SonuvaScrimbro

        And now for some reason I can’t shake the mental image of Trump sporting dreads. :)

        • dsmithhfx

          In a nasty comb-over!

    • DaveWilliamscheemissManana

      She’s a nutbar, but I always believed her about ass-gate.

      • bobloblawbloblawblah

        She was also the first to openly talk about Ford and drugs. She said he appeared “out of it” on the night of grope-gate and that the way he acted seemed consistent with someone who was high on cocaine. This was months before the crack video scandal.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Lowering taxes isn’t going to help the city, Tory.

    • Lavender

      And it sure as hell isn’t going to be possible if he wants that subway. Hard to imagine how he thinks he understands fiscal management…

      • HotDang

        His election platform is Rob Ford minus the crack, so all the same failed polcies will be retread and dragged through council.

        • bobloblawbloblawblah

          It really is Rob Ford minus the Circus & crack. He was taking about “cutting waste” which is no different than “stop the gravy train!”. These witless slogans seem to appeal to Tory’s radio following. There’s still a lot of people who believe city hall is overflowing with waste and we can fund subways with it. Elect Tory and it will just be Groundhog Day all over again as Tory tries to find the “efficiencies ” that Ford couldn’t find.

          • TheSotSays

            There’s a new efficiency to be found every day, when you have a load of NDP clucks sitting on council.

            There’s probably $200,000 a year in tweeter-phone roaming charges alone. Every time you turn around you find the little goobers talking to each other from the Great Wall of China or from some Prog warm weather Health Spa run by the Starbucks Institute.

            The best deal for the taxpayers will come when the number of flakey councillors is reduced from 45 to 20.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        He doesn’t want the subway, he wants us to think he does so we can elect him to cut services and taxes and–oops! no money for the subway, maybe the province will help us out?

        • dsmithhfx

          Very hard to tell what he’d ‘do’. My guess is, as little as possible. Strut around in the chain of office? Give grand & meaningless speeches to the board of trade?

  • tomwest

    “The Toronto Police Services Board is trying to find ways to deal with perpetual backlogs to background checks for students and workers.”
    Hirde more permament workers. Simple, really.