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Newsstand: March 21, 2014

It was a nice couple of months without daily Rob Ford news, wasn't it? But now it seems we're back to the old status quo. Today's news: Ford issues defence against accusation that he orchestrated a jailhouse beating, construction lags behind in rollout of all-day kindergarten, councillors plan to put forward a motion upholding the ban on jets at Toronto Island Airport, and the Star reflects on the winter we just survived.

matt newsstand carsandflags

Mayor Rob Ford filed a statement of defence in response to a lawsuit alleging that he arranged the jailhouse beating of his sister’s former partner Scott MacIntyre. MacIntyre, who was in jail at the time for uttering a death threat to Ford, alleges he was beaten because he had threatened to expose the mayor’s drug activities. MacIntyre had mentioned a leaked video showing Ford uttering death threats and jumping around erratically as evidence of Ford’s intent to harm MacIntyre. That video was leaked to the Toronto Star, which paid for and then posted it publicly. Ford claimed this week the video showed him imitating professional wrestler Hulk Hogan. It’s been a few months since news stories of this type were near-daily occurrences, but as the mayoral election, which Ford is a part of, heats up, expect to see more. There is no escape.

The provincial government implemented an ambitious plan in 2009 to bring full-day kindergarten to Ontario in a bid to improve graduation rates. Despite the fact that the plan has been slowly rolling out over the last five years, some schools are struggling to meet the upcoming deadline to have fully renovated classrooms that will allow for more play-based learning. That is in part because the plan called for an incremental rollout, with the schools requiring no renovations going first. With just months to go before the fall 2014 deadline, many schools, especially in parts of Toronto, are worried they will still be working on renovations.

A report for the City released Thursday called for talks on the proposed expansion of the Toronto Island Airport, a controversial issue that divides the mayoral candidates as well as many city residents. But several councillors are pushing to remove the question of whether or not to allow jets at the airport by bringing a motion to uphold the ban on jets—a motion that one councillor, Pam McConnell (Ward 28, Toronto Centre), called an “elegant compromise”—to the April 1 city council meeting. Without the motion, the issue of the airport expansion and jets flying in and out of the airport will become an important issue in the upcoming civic election, and many city councillors want to avoid just that. According to Councillor Gord Perks (Ward 14, Parkdale—High Park), who opposes lifting the ban on jets, “The only way this isn’t an election issue is if council says no jets and the TPA goes away.”

The Toronto Star published a gleeful farewell to “the winter that was.”


  • Jacob

    Oh, so *now* he claims he was imitating Hulk Hogan.

    For a few months he had “no comment”, and on Jimmy Kimmel he claimed not to know who he was talking about in the video.

  • torontothegreat

    Curious if anyone happens to know; can Ford’s claim that he is unable to remember this video, as told on Jimmy Kimmel be used against him in the court of law?


    Either it was a very bad imitation, or he wasn’t imitating. I’m guessing the latter.

  • dsmithhfx

    He appeared to be sufficiently intoxicated in the video to have memory loss, so the claim is at least plausible. The new version was probably concocted by his lawyers.

  • Astin44

    If he can remember or not, it’s clearly referencing someone, and he wants to avoid THAT being a story (maybe it’s a Councillor, maybe a reporter, maybe his dealer, who knows?). What I find interesting is that the person who sold The Star the video hasn’t provided that bit of info to the paper — assuming the person who sold it is the one who recorded it, then they should know.

    • AxelrodKinsella

      What if it turns out the police gave it to them?.

      • dsmithhfx

        I blame the NDP.

  • Astin44

    That vote will do nothing to quell it as an election issue, because as the transit debate has shown, closed items can be opened and reopened and debated again and again ad nauseam.

    Plus, there at least to appears to be a real debate here among the citizenry and those who purportedly represent us. Pushing for a vote for either side at this point is premature and off-putting, especially after the commissioned report calls for negotiation and firm limits, or you know, a reasonable solution. If an agreement can’t be reached between the parties, or limits on noise and traffic can’t be met, then don’t move forward. This reeks of fear from the no-jets side that the mood is moving away from them.