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Newsstand: April 3, 2014

It is Thursday. So close to Friday and yet so far away. A blue police box that is bigger on the inside would really come in handy right about now, wouldn’t it? In the news: Joe Cressy doesn’t think the oilsands are evil anymore, Olivia Chow doesn’t think that the downtown relief line should be an election issue, it turns out it is not as easy as you would think to move a Victorian coach house, and a Toronto man who helped pioneer amnesia research has died.

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Joe Cressy, a former environmental activist who is the expected NDP candidate in the upcoming Trinity-Spadina byelection, is backpedaling on some of his past criticisms of Alberta’s oilsands. Cressy has gone on the record in the past saying that the “dirty oil” has no place in the Canadian economy, and has also helped develop a tarsands video game that targeted both Liberals and Conservatives. The term video game is used loosely here, because it is pretty boring and unfun to play. Cressy recently softened on his previous stance, telling Global News, “The debate over the oilsands has changed over the years and certainly my approach has changed. I have serious concerns, as do many people in my generation, about the environmental impact of unregulated development.” Cressy also said that the federal government should not be spending millions of dollars to promote the oilsands abroad when Canadian cities like Toronto have more pressing issues that require funding, such as housing, public transit, and infrastructure.

In a radio interview yesterday, mayoral candidate Olivia Chow said that while she fully supports the downtown relief line, it should not be an election issue, because nothing is projected to break ground for another five to six years at this point, and it will not be completed until at least 2031. Fellow candidates John Tory and David Soknacki both countered that the relief line should be an election issue, with Tory saying Chow’s statements demonstrate a total disinterest in the relief line. Soknacki took to Twitter to say that a 17-year construction timeline should not be accepted as is, and planning should begin now. Mayor Rob Ford has yet to comment, possibly because he is busy going on a Tim Hortons run with deadmau5.

Just because a historic 3,000-square-foot coach house is free to anyone who can move it, it does not mean it is logistically possible. According to Greg McCulloch, a Whitby-based project manager who has worked on several similar projects, moving a home usually takes between three to five years to plan. Even if proper timelines had been followed to try to save the Victorian brick house on Isabella Street from demolition when Casey House expansion gets underway on Labour Day, McCulloch says that it would be impossible to move the home more than a few blocks in any direction because of bridges and other obstacles. Free housing always comes with a catch these days, doesn’t it?

When Torontonian Kent Cochrane was 30 years old, in a motorcycle accident he suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him unable to form new memories. He died last week at 62, having become one of the most studied cases of amnesia in the world, and assisting medical researchers from around the world to better understand human memory. Over the years, tests showed that Cochrane could not form new memories or recollect events prior to his accident. Scientists were surprised to learn that he could also not imagine a future, which lead to discovering the link between remembering past experiences and imaging future ones in the same area of the brain. Fascinatingly, scientists say that Cochrane was able to learn skills through rote repetition, even though he would have no memory of how he had learned the tasks. At the time of Cochrane’s death, he had been the subject of 32 research papers, with five more pending publication.


  • Sonny Yeung

    There has NOT been a nomination in Trinity Spadina yet for any party. There are byelections for Macleod, FORT MCMURRAY and now Scarborough Agincourt. The NDP candidate in Alberta has to soften her view as well. The reality is the Tar Sands are DIRTY which is why the lobby compares it to Coal OR thinks it is Ethical; despite all the problems for first nations…

    The DRL will cost $7 to 8 Billion! The candidates that are pushing for it have yet to say HOW they will pay for it except Stintz who wants to sell off a portion of Toronto Hydro which pays dividend to the City.

    There is no such thing as a “free” house in Toronto the unaffordable but I forgot what I was gonna wright aboot Cochrane(smile)

  • Steveinto

    Reading the comment section in the Globe and Mail regarding Olivia Chow is disturbing but very interesting. Looks like a number of people are running scared, having to go back a generation to find wrong doing and when they get there there is nothing so they make up the facts and lie. The childish innuendos and character assignations are of a disturbed mind. There are no facts to back up anything they are trying to say regarding her track record and contribution as a politicians.
    As I make my decisions this will factor in greatly as to who I will choose in any election. I do not want a canadidate that will support this kind of thinking.

    • Sonny Yeung

      The right wingers continually do this. Just like the white male commentators pick Ford as the debate winner because of low expectations. (he did 107 last time)The Globe & Post will likely favour Tory. The Sun, Ford.

      As for the Trinity Spadina nomination; hopefully someone female OR someone of colour will contest the nomination given it is winnable riding rather than an unwinnable one that…

    • TheSotSays

      No one outside of that crazed riding she runs in will touch her with a ten foot pole.

    • torontothegreat

      I was really excited to see Tory enter the race, but I think having Kouvalis at his healm will be the death of him. The amount of character assassination they are throwing at Chow is ridiculous and cowardly.

  • torontothegreat

    Chow is right and Tory is just covering up for the fact that he actually has no plan at all for anything.

    I personally think it’s rather lazy to make the DRL such an important issue (it’s already a plan and a priority) by any of the candidates. The DRL won’t be finished during any of their tenure’s as Mayor, the funding needs to be found and that’s something that will have to be discussed over the next 4 years and that vision needs to be formed by the citizens and their respective council members, not by one person trying to create a wedge issue a la Ford.

    Considering Toronto is in a bit of a sad state RIGHT now, the election issues should be focused on what we can do to improve life immediately and what this person can accomplish in 4 years. Olivia already works well with others, so the DRL will gain feet during her time as Mayor.

    • dsmithhfx

      This. Any candidate campaigning on a DRL promise (which as Chow points out, can’t even be started let alone completed, during the next mayor’s term) without a proposed financing plan (massive tax increase? beg the feds?) is a cynical exercise. Our transit system needs immediate relief, not pie in the sky that’s (optimistically) ~15-years out.

  • andrew97

    The way to make the DRL not an election issue is to offer unequivocal support for it, just like all the other candidates. By her own admission the DRL is at least one mayoral term away, so it would cost Chow absolutely nothing. Why is she not doing that?

    • dsmithhfx

      “unequivocal support” = how to pay for. Anything less is campaign BS. Chow is demonstrating political guts and integrity, by not pandering to idiots — something that is in all too short supply around here. I think on balance it will win her more votes.

      • iamrobfordsaneurysm

        Exactly. Campaigning at length on something you can’t actually affect is, well, Ford style BS and the only winning move in that game is not to play. Even W.O.P.R. knows that.

      • andrew97

        But “how are we going to pay for it” is also campaign posturing. An adult conversation about transit would include the facts that (a) the city hasn’t paid the full cost of a capital transit project in decades, and (b) based on recent experience, the amount paid by the province could be up to 100%. In other words, the question of cost is not answerable at this stage, because it will involve pressuring the province to pay for as much as possible.

        So when four candidates say, “I support the DRL”, and the fifth says, “I support it, but …”, then how hard is the fifth going to press the province for funding?

        • torontothegreat

          But she isn’t saying “I support it, but…” you’re making things up.

          She specifically said that it’s a priority, but isn’t an election issue. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

          It’s also a bit rich to accuse this one candidate (out of all of them) about pressing other levels of government for funding, when she actually has the best record of being able to accomplish that.

          “I’d also note that she hasn’t answered her own question. She supports the DRL, how would she pay for it?”

          Actually it’s very similar to your first paragraph and she has answered it as both as an adult and a leader, which why it’s a courageous move on her part.

          “So we’re talking 17 years,” Chow said. “Can we do it faster? Maybe. But it’s $8-billion, a lot of money.”

          She added that the environmental assessment on the relief line is still being done. Both that and engineering studies will have to be finished before construction on the line is able to start.

          “In the summer we’ll see the options on which route we take, which stops,” she said, “and we’ll need to take a look at the funding options…once we have that, then we can begin to negotiate.”

          The bigger questions here is, does Toronto want to elect a leader or a mayor?

      • OgtheDim

        Umm….so she is showing guts by not talking about how to pay for it?


        That nobody is talking about how to pay for the RL is utter cowardice on all their parts.

        Championing somebody for being lukewarm is kinda…well…lacking in the whole hope and change thing.

        • dsmithhfx

          “Umm….so she is showing guts by not talking about how to pay for it?”

          No. She is showing guts by not making phony support for building a DRL one fine day a central plank of her platform.

          • OgtheDim

            Who is showing phony support for it?

            It would be nice to see OC actually enthusiastic in showing support for something that people in this city have been yelling/asking for for decades.

            This whole “well, we can’t show enthusiasm cause its years away” schtick is just weird. The only people buying it as a good idea are supporters. As Andrew said, its going to take a bit of a push from the mayors office to get it funded. She’s not all that enthusiastic in pushing for it.

            Its all a little bit disinterested for somebody trying to change things.

          • torontothegreat


            I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

          • OgtheDim

            It means being a bit more then “it shouldn’t be an issue” when most people want it.

            What i would like to know is what all the parties are asking each other to do, but not themselves.

            Give us a freaking plan how to get there.

          • torontothegreat

            You’re obviously not paying attention than.

          • dsmithhfx

            Her ‘failure’ to tell us soothing lies should not become a stick to beat her with.

        • torontothegreat

          It would be suspect for any of the candidates to talk about how to pay for something that none of them truly know the scope of.

          Spitballing ideas that require either massive support from council or pie in the sky funding from *someone else* whether that’s the private sector or another level of government isn’t helpful.

      • TheSotSays

        She’ll have to make $530,000 disappear first.

        Oh I’m sorry, my bad, she already did that.

        • Squintz

          Pales in comparison to the money the Harper cons keep disappearing.

          • TheSotSays

            Well then you vote for her but I won’t and most won’t.

            There’s too much two bit political petty larceny out there and I’m not taking it from her any longer.

          • Squintz

            haha how dramatic. It’s hard to get worked up over Olivia’s supposed sins when no one else is held accountable. From McGuinty which you just talked about and e health, the G20 money, the 1 bill terrorism money that went missing and on and on. But feel free to get all up in arms about Olivia Chow.

          • TheSotSays

            Ha ha ha, so you’re finding it “hard to get worked up” about Olivia when no one else is being held accountable? Well guess what, ho ho ho, I can easily relate to that because I’ve found it “hard to get worked up” about the allegations against Rob Ford when no one was ever concerned about the spectacular eclipse of Jack over on Dundas Street against which the Ford matter “pales in comparison.”

            So now that we’re both “feeling free” I’m voting for Rob Ford.

            With the retreat of the OPP and the “dramatic” humiliation of the TPS surveillance air force, I expect Rob Ford is in better shape than ever to keep an eye out for the type of excesses you just talked about. As Coach Ford would likely tell you himself, there’s nothing better than a long series of consecutive wins against a stubborn enemy, to bring home the Championship.

          • Squintz

            Thanks for confirming your blinders and underlining your rank hypocrisy for all to see. There is absolutely nothing Layton or Chow did that even comes close to Rob Ford. You come here to wring your hands about how awful Olivia Chow is and crow about how you’re willing to vote for someone you seem to be implying is not worthy of voting for?

          • TheSotSays

            Ha ha ha, “for all to see,” how dramatic

            You have an unusual writing style, So tell me this sir, did you and Smithfx go, by any chance, to the same theatre school?

            I’m voting for Rob Ford for mayor and against anything NDP in any other public office.

          • Squintz

            You don’t think it’s hypocritical to say, try to hold one politician to account and support another who acts as if he is above any minimum level of conduct?
            At least I know what you’re against and like any right wing troll, you never explain what you’re actually for. We might get some populist rhetoric or some hero worship now, but I think you’ve said most of what you have to say already.

          • TheSotSays

            You have a sort of yappy dog quality about you. You’re not Gord Perks are you?
            I’m voting for Rob Ford for mayor and against anything NDP in any other public office.

          • Squintz

            From the guy repeating the same meaningless phrase…

          • TheSotSays

            I’m pretty sure you’re not Mihevic, he wouldn’t have the frantic energy to carry on like this.

  • OgtheDim

    Chow reminds me of no-drama Obama more then Hope & Change.

    Its all been a bit underwhelming.

    That and the constant bashing of Tory and Soknacki on Twitter and other social media by her lieutenants is pathetic.

    Not exactly running a thoughtful campaign.

    • dsmithhfx

      Obama has gone on to a whole other plane of evil, to which only US presidents (er, and certain other heads of state) may aspire. The comparison is unwarranted.

      • TheSotSays

        Yup and the election rigging community organizers who sent him on his journey are now working for the NDP.

        The Obama side is the big story of the day on NR written by John Fund

        • dsmithhfx

          Check your meds, dear.

          • TheSotSays

            I already did back when I read this by Canadian Press April 29, 2012

            “At least five Quebec NDP MPs were students in the province before being swept unexpectedly into federal office during last year’s election, and several others were only a few years out of school.”

            It’s no joke pal and everyone knows it was carried out by Obama election organizers. It’s the reason the NDP is going nowhere.

      • OgtheDim

        Oh sorry, forgot I was around lefties, not just centrists (who would be considered lefties in the states).

        Obama was always going to be more the bay of pigs version of JFK then the Berlin wall speaker.

        Anyways, Chow has been less a superstar the first few weeks (the expectations were too high) and that the sniping on the internet by Tory and Chow supporters has been pathetic.

        • dsmithhfx

          She never presented herself as a “superstar”, and only an idiot would expect such.

          “the sniping on the internet by Tory and Chow supporters has been pathetic”

          Oh please.

          • OgtheDim

            Social media is your friend

            Social media prior to OC joining the race were building her up.

            And, #topoli has basically been infested with people measuring Tory and Chow by weird metrics that only insiders would give a darn about.

          • torontothegreat

            It’s totes cray that #topoli has been “infested” with people debating the merits of where their vote will go! Stop the freakin’ presses!

            And curious. What the F do you know about Twitter and #TOpoli Mr. 76 tweets, with 7 followers?

          • OgtheDim

            Aaa….yes, because, you know, trying to understand twitter trends is all about actually tweeting and who follows and measuring yourself blah blah blah….

          • torontothegreat

            So your a Twitter trend expert now? You have quantifiable data to back up your frivolous complaint?
            —– Reply message —–

          • TheSotSays

            Well you don’t like criticism of yourself either, do you FlagDerp?

          • dsmithhfx

            “I’m getting real tired of the Ford Nation like unwillingness of people to deal with basic criticism of Chow and Tory.”

            And? Nobody is forcing you to read stupid garbage on twitter (fyi, I’ve never signed up for twitter or fb, and likely never will as I see them both as an utter waste of time, and dangerously insecure to boot).

            You’re also welcome to not draw any conclusions from reading said garbage. I think Chow and Tory are both open to criticism for flaws and weaknesses in their respective campaigns.

            These are early days, and they’re both being pretty cagey. Even Rob is being circumspect, except when he’s drunk. To expect anything more at this point is unrealistic.

            Do I wish Chow had come out all guns blazing for immediate construction of a DRL? No, not really. I think she has hit about the right note on that one. Can’t argue with the priorities she established in her kickoff speech. Are they my personal priorities? No, not really.

            A candidate needs to appeal to a broad plurality of voters in order to win.

          • torontothegreat

            Quoted for brevity:

            You’re also welcome to not draw any conclusions from reading said garbage.

            To add @OgtheDim:disqus: You’re also welcome to not lament over something you’re actively participating in…

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    People who say “oilsands” are like people who say “Rogers Centre”.