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Weekend Newsstand: May 17, 2014

We made it to the long weekend, and it's actually warm enough to enjoy our time off outside. What a treat. Here's the news you need before you head out: Toronto police are reviewing their strip search practice, the NDP hasn't released its platform yet, and the LCBO's rules on second-party sales are confusing.

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The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that police strip searches must be “rare” rather than “routine,” but over a decade after that ruling, Toronto Police conducted strip searches in one-third of arrests in 2013. Now the Toronto police services board has asked for a review of how these searches are approved and why; an officer wishing to conduct a strip search must make a request to a superior officer and then justify why they want to do one. Those conversations are recorded, and it’s those recordings that will be watched in the review. However, these conversations are already randomly watched by police higher-ups, meaning the review might not bring to light as much new information or insight as is hoped. Furthermore, the review will be conducted in-house by Police Chief Bill Blair, which may give privacy advocates pause for thought.

Provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath has yet to release the party’s platform, which has some people wondering if the party even has one ready. Liberal party spokesperson Rebecca MacKenzie said, “No one knows anymore what Andrea Horwath stands for so it’s not surprising the NDP is having a hard time writing it down in a platform,” and while she’s obviously trying to make her competition sound bad, voters can be forgiven for questioning the NDP’s focus. The party founded on principles of social democracy is now spending more time talking about helping businesses and cutting wasteful bureaucracy than anything else.

The LCBO has some strange rules about when to refuse service, and they’re sometimes interpreted even more strangely. In an effort to combat “second party purchases,” when someone buys alcohol for a minor, LCBO staff are encouraged to watch out for money changing hands, taxi drivers buying alcohol for people who were recently refused service, conversations about a second-party purchase, and minors handling alcohol (usually while with their parents). But this can lead to situations like a parent, whose hands are full, asking her teenaged child to hold a bottle of wine and then being told that constituted a second-party purchase. Meanwhile, the Beer Store has no such rules. If staff are confident the purchase is not intended for the minor in the store, underage kids may help their parents carry merchandise out. Be careful who you take with you to pick up alcohol this weekend.

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