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Newsstand: May 16, 2014

One year ago today, news broke of a tape showing Mayor Rob Ford allegedly smoking crack. What a wild and crazy ride it's been since then. Here's some news we probably won't be talking about for the next year straight: pet alligators were rescued from a Stouffville home, Toronto might open a supportive housing unit for human trafficking victims, and the provincial privacy watchdog doesn't want police accessing TCHC cameras without a warrant.

matt newsstand bikelane

Happy anniversary, Toronto! It’s been a full year now since Gawker broke the Rob Ford Crack Tape Scandal, and while disappointment in local politics may be at an all-time high, we’ve made it here together. Take a moment to celebrate with whomever you happen to see today.

Two American alligators, one male and one female, have been rescued from the Stouffville home where they were being kept. The alligators were locked in a shed but were evidently being properly looked after. They are now being cared for at Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo in Ottawa, and will be moved to a new facility once one is found. When the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals came to investigate a tip regarding the alligators, the man who was keeping them acknowledged that he could no longer care for them.

As part of its 10-year affordable housing action plan, Toronto Community Housing might open up a housing unit specifically for victims of human and sex trafficking. The measure was passed unanimously by city council’s affordable housing committee; it will go to the executive committee on May 27 before council has final approval in mid-June. Councillor Ana Bailao (Ward 18, Davenport), chair of the affordable housing committee, said, “The reality is that the home will be just the beginning for these victims to start the healing process and to start integrating in a community. And that’s what we want to facilitate.”

Ontario’s privacy watchdog faced down an attempt to recommend the police be given unfettered access to Toronto Community Housing unit cameras. The recommendation was modelled on a similar agreement between police and the Toronto Transit Commission, though critics say the two situations are very different. Buses and subways are public spaces with much lower expectations of privacy, according to Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner—but what the law “doesn’t allow for, and shouldn’t allow for, is warrantless routine access by the police” of surveillance footage of residential areas.

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