Today Thu Fri
It is forecast to be Thunderstorm at 11:00 PM EDT on July 23, 2014
It is forecast to be Partly Cloudy at 11:00 PM EDT on July 24, 2014
Partly Cloudy
It is forecast to be Clear at 11:00 PM EDT on July 25, 2014



Newsstand: May 14, 2014

A wise person once said, “You’re not a real Torontonian until you’ve been to Jilly’s.” In the news: David Soknacki wants to investigate Mayor Ford’s use of taxpayer-funded resources on the campaign trail, Oliva Chow wants to create jobs for young people, the chair of the Toronto Police Services Board wants to spot-check police officers, and Pam McConnell wants to know why the Sony Centre's renovations budget has been mismanaged.

matt newsstand wateringlawn

With Adam Vaughan’s departure from City Hall, a vacant position exists as the resident thorn in Mayor Rob Ford’s side, which David Soknacki seems at least temporarily set on filling. After calling for an expanded investigation into possible conflicts of interest involving Ford and his brother Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North), the mayoral candidate is also seeking to determine if Ford used taxpayer-funded resources to benefit his bid for re-election. On Tuesday, the Soknacki campaign team sent out to supporters a message soliciting donations, in order to pay the $460 it would cost to obtain more than 2,000 pages of documents from the City—documents that may indicate whether or not the mayor spent office funds on his campaign. A freedom of information request filed by Soknacki’s campaign manager, Brian Kelcey, requested emails, memos, and schedules from the mayor and his staffers, including his chief of staff, his spokesman, and his policy advisor. Councillor Ford called Soknacki’s request for information petty, although he did not comment specifically on whether or not the mayor used office resources in his campaign.

Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow was also busy yesterday, as she announced plans to create 5,000 jobs for youth over a four-year span through Community Benefits Agreements (CBA), which provide jobs and benefits to local residents. The Vancouver 2010 Olympics used a CBA, and the Regent Park revitalization projects also used the program, to create 500 jobs for youth. Chow said that, if she is elected, youth job or apprenticeship creation will be become a requirement for companies that bid on City contracts worth $50 million or more.

On Thursday, Alok Mukherjee, chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, will recommend that police Chief Bill Blair further examine how and when officers conduct strip searches, by using random spot checks at all police divisions. Even though revised policies have been put in place to ensure that strip searches cannot be employed as a routine arrest tool, they still persist in one out of every three arrests, according to 2013 statistics. Last year 20,152 people were strip searched, with police finding evidence in just 1 per cent of those searches. While Mukherjee feels that conducting spot checks on police will help examine how the revamped policies and procedures are carried out in day-to-day use, critics think this will simply generate more reports that will fail to address the overuse of searches. John Sewell, head of the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, favours the idea of making less invasive pat-down searches mandatory before the decision to use a strip search can take place. Next month, Blair is expected to return to the board with a report on the possibility of using technology, including airport-style scanners, to replace strip searches.

Another day, another instance of construction costs soaring astronomically out of control in Toronto. This time, Councillor Pam McConnell (Ward 28, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) says police may be asked to step in and investigate after the City’s auditor general revealed that nearly $23 million in construction contracts for renovations to the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts were awarded without proper competition or documentation. McConnell says the board responsible for oversight on the project has failed to keep budgets in line as the renovation costs have exceeded the anticipated cost of $28 million. So far, the project has cost $40 million, with another estimated $4 million still required to see it through to completion.


  • milanista1

    I’m with Soknacki on that one.
    Toronto taxpayers are paying for Rob Ford’s campaign manager, who up until Rob entering rehab was quite publicly ignoring his duties as councillor, often stating Rob Ford’s campaign for re-election, ahead of his job as councillor, as his main priority. So he’s quite obviously using taxpayer funded resources (Doug) in one aspect of his campaign, who’s to say he isn’t using other staffers or resources?
    Tory, Chow, Stintz, Soknacki and all the rest have to pay their campaign manager with money collected from willing donors, not taxpayers who are compelled to pay said taxes by law. Not sure if this has happened in the past (a councillor running another member of council’s re-election campaign while still in office), but there really should be a rule against this. How is that fair to Doug Ford’s constituents? He’s placing his personal interest in Rob’s campaign ahead of his constituents.
    And please don’t bring up the fact that Doug donates his salary to charity. That doesn’t change the fact that Ward 2 residents are paying full property tax bill for a part-time (at best) councillor.

    • Notcleverguy

      Good post, but to be fair, Doug spent a lot of time ignoring his ward and constituents before he became Rob’s campaign manager.
      These two are the absolute worst.

      • bobloblawbloblawblah

        Doug did get a fence put in near Windsor Rd to stop the foot traffic between Dixon City and Windsor. Didn’t stop those guys who came by Rob’s favourite hangout at #15 though.

    • Lutesuite

      There’s also the issue of Ford going around to apartment building knocking on doors and handing out fridge magnets when he was supposed to be at work doing (whatever is left of) his job as mayor. That sure looks like campaigning on the public dime to me. And then there was the time he announced the addition of Ben Johnson and that guy from Trailer Park Boys to his campaign team while standing in front of his City Hall office.

      Come to think of it, I can’t think of many things he has done that could not be considered campaigning. Well, all the crack and booze stuff, of course, but otherwise….

  • Notcleverguy

    You’re also not a true Torontonian if you don’t know who the, Loan Arranger is.