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Newsstand: July 15, 2014

An elderly couple was robbed while trying to sell kittens from their Whitby home over the weekend. That is probably a new low for humanity. In the news: Olivia Chow wants to ban handguns, a Scarborough company puts wood from pest-tainted trees to good use, a portion of the Gardiner construction is ahead of schedule, and another factual inaccuracy brought to you by Rob Ford.

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As part of a crime policy platform unveiled yesterday, mayoral candidate Olivia Chow has promised to put pressure on the federal government to ban handguns. Her platform also called for better coordination between police and existing community partners, including youth outreach workers and teachers, in an effort to prevent crime. Both Mayor Rob Ford and mayoral candidate John Tory immediately came down on Chow’s handgun pledge, pointing out that the municipal government has extremely limited influence over gun legislation—which is handled by the feds—and they are not wrong. A push to ban the controversial weapons was led previously by former mayor David Miller, and it got absolutely nowhere. But then again, a lot of platform promises go absolutely nowhere, so let’s just add this one to the “disregard” pile of election pledges.

Urban Tree Salvage, a Scarborough-based company, has become the first organization in the city to be certified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to process and ship previously pest-infested hardwood lumber, thanks to its methods of treating of tainted wood to ready it for consumer use. The company, co-owned by Sean Gorham and Melissa Neist, prepares infected wood by placing it in a large kiln, where it is heat-treated in order to kill insects. This is good news for the roughly 860,000 trees in Toronto that are expected to be felled by the pesky emerald ash borer over the next decade. With Urban Tree Salvage reclaiming about 10,000 trees from the City each year, some trees otherwise considered tainted will now have the chance to live on as furniture or lumber.

Brace yourselves for some truly unbelievable news. According to a rep for the City of Toronto, median repairs to the Gardiner Expressway near Jameson Avenue are expected to wrap up in the middle of August—approximately two months ahead of the scheduled completion date. While no revised completion date was offered, there is hope that the construction will be completed on or around the kickoff of the Exhibition, which would certainly be a bonus.

Finally, brace yourself from some entirely less unbelievable news. The Toronto Star has pointed out a factual inaccuracy presented by Mayor Rob Ford during a recent interview with Fairchild TV. While complaining that the gravy train had really gotten back on track while he was away at rehab this year, Ford claimed that the contentious spending of $900,000 on rocks and umbrella fixtures at Sugar Beach occurred while he was in treatment for his substance abuse problems. Not so, of course, since the waterfront park in question opened in 2010. If this is the worst Ford-related inaccuracy of the day, a major corner has been turned.


  • andrew97

    Andray Domise (running in Ward 2 — profiled by Torontoist here) did not like the gun announcement. You can find his whole Twitter blast on his feed if you scroll down far enough — here’s the first tweet. And then this happened. Stay classy, Warren Kinsella!

    • Notcleverguy

      Yeah, pretty dumb on Kinsella’s part, but I wonder what Domise’s issue is. It’s a serious problem.

      • andrew97

        He’s basically saying: gun violence is actually declining; policing changes and community involvement have been far more effective; and by showing up at Jane and Finch to talk gun violence against a background of black children, Chow is associating minorities with gun-toting gangs. He’s accusing her of “dog-whistle” politics (his words) that targets downtown whites based on their stereotypes about Rexdale.

        • Notcleverguy

          I like Domise, but shouting about optics of a situation while kind of ignoring the problem, a real problem that transcends race, colour or religion doesn’t help either, IMO.

          • OgtheDim

            Shouting about optics while kind of ignoring the problem is what Chow is doing.

            The issue isn’t gun ownership.

            Its the guns getting here, and why people end up being people who use them.

            Considering the vast majority of illegal handguns in Toronto are smuggled from the States, Chow is pandering.

          • Notcleverguy

            “Regarding the handgun issue, I have a serious problem with its reintroduction into public discourse.”

            Without more specifics, I take this as him being pro handgun. Not my type of stance. It’s a can’t see the forest for the trees response as far as I’m concerned.

          • OgtheDim

            You said your read his twitter feed and then you say he has no specifics?

            How about him being anti- using little black kids as anti-violence props for a political campaign?

            What Chow did there is pretty low.

          • Notcleverguy

            Agreed, I didn’t like the tactic either, and with that tactic he is taking an it;s only about Rexdale attitude. Illegal guns and gun violence is something that effects every area in the city. I just don’t agree with him shouting the message down.

          • tomwest

            Chow isn’t proposing anything for illegal handguns. it’s the legal ones she has a problem with.

          • Don River

            1. How many people in Toronto actually own legal handguns?

            2. Is there a crisis with legal handgun owners in Toronto that requires action?

          • tomwest

            I don’t know on either point. I was replying to @OgtheDim:disqus’s comments about illegal handguns, and pointing that has nothing to do with Chow’s proposals.

          • andrew97

            But there was nothing to it other than optics. The mayor of Toronto has no power to ban guns.

          • Notcleverguy

            Short sighted. The mayor, or any public figure can start a dialog on the subject, garner support for being anti-hand gun, express to other levels of government how serious an issue it is (and it is) and try and effect change.

          • OgtheDim

            To what purpose?

            Banning hand gun ownership is NOT going to do a single thing to get them out of the hands of kids who have become gang members.



            Hand gun legality is not the issue.

            Its who is getting the illegal ones that is the issue.

            This is symptom talk, and Chow should know better.

          • Notcleverguy

            Speaking in absolutes is a dangerous game. In plenty of shootings stolen guns that were lawfully purchased have been used. To say otherwise is uninformed and extremely disrespectful to those who have been effected by said violence. Just as I find Domise’s comments disrespectful to those who have suffered outside of Rexdale, and there are many.

          • OgtheDim

            Very very very few. And, guess what? The informed on this don’t agree with each other. Surprise!! There is no monolithic view on guns.

            BTW, to suggest that those who disagree with you are being disrespectful of those who have suffered from violence is to speak in absolutes. That and ur wrong in my case.

            There is no policy litmus test for giving a damn.

          • Notcleverguy

            To go over the top and say “Nada” and “bupkiss” when that is completely wrong is disrespectful. It isn’t a matter of agreeing with me or not, It’s simply a matter of your bravado being wrong and disrespectful. Don’t blame me for what you wrote.

          • OgtheDim

            So let me get this straight:

            I use colourful noun usage belittling an idea as disrespectful of an issue people are dealing with.

            And you call me disrespectful of those people who are dealing with that issue because I used that colourful noun usage?


            My use of bupkiss and Nada is your problem, not mine.

            And, my point stands:


          • rich1299

            No its not very few its quite a significant number of hand guns used in crimes. Approx. 10%-15% of guns used to commit a crime are stolen from private individuals, another 25% of guns used in crimes are reportedly stolen from gun dealers, though its highly likely a significant portion of those guns are sold under the table and reported as stolen to cover up the illegal sale. Most of the guns reported from gun dealers are in the USA but they make their way to Canada. Most of the rest of guns used in crimes come from gun sales were restrictions are practically non-existent and straw man purchases in the USA and smuggled into Canada. Every illegal gun starts off as a legally owned gun.

            Even if you only count the 10%-15% of crime guns stolen from private individuals that’s still a significant number of guns, add to that those actually stolen from gun dealers and its anywhere from 20%-40% of all crime guns that are stolen.

            Our laws around safe storage of guns are ridiculously lax, all that’s needed is a trigger lock for long guns though I don’t know if its any more stringent for hand guns but if it is I doubt its adequate considering the rules around long guns which are used in more deaths than hand guns in Canada. Though many of the deaths from long guns are suicides and hunting accidents though they are also the most used type of gun in domestic violence as well.

            The biggest impact would come from cracking down on smugglers at the border but there is little will to do that since it inconveniences travelers and its mainly racialized young men “known to police” (code for their deaths don’t matter) who are being murdered. If it was mainly wealthy white people being murdered you can be sure something would be done to crack down on weak gun storage laws and border checks.

          • andrew97

            Effective policing and community outreach have led to a steady decline in gun incidents in Toronto since 2010 — already among the lowest on the continent. So there are plenty of things the mayor can do to have a real impact on gun violence.

            But as a handgun ban is out of the mayor’s control, and very unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future, advocating for one is the dictionary definition of making the right noises while doing nothing. Why are you so impressed by Chow’s pledge?

          • Notcleverguy

            Where did I say i was impressed by Chows pledge?
            All I said was I’m not impressed with Domise’s rebuttal to it.

            As for your stats, they are undeniable up until Oct 2013, but as for 2014, we are not on pace to have a decrease, it should stay fairly equal or increase with extrapolated math.


            Police reports would also indicate that shooting homicides increased from 2011 to 2012.

            Look I’m not a fan at using kids as a prop for any political message, but I’m also not a fan of a council candidate not being in favor of trying to do all that can be done in an effort to curb the violence.

            Also, the slight decline in gun homicides corralates directly to new Hand gun laws and much stricter control passed in our border states.NY and Minnesota’s SAFE acts come to mind. So while council can’t intact any new gun legislation, they sure can help enable a groundswell for it that hopefully Ottawa can’t ignore.

            Never thought as a lifelong resident of Toronto, I would have to defend my stance of being anti-gun.

          • OgtheDim

            Did you read his twitter feed?

            He doesn’t believe guns are the problem.

          • Notcleverguy

            I did read his twitter feed, and I disagree with him completely.

            I’m not singling out any one group or one part of the city, but if someone thinks guns aren’t a problem, they are just plain wrong.

        • dsmithhfx

          Besides, the mayor’s already on it!

  • istoronto

    Inaccuracy? No! It’s a lie and Ford knows it. That’s his modus operandi. Sad part is that people still believe him.

  • Notcleverguy

    Ford is just out and out lying in an attempt to hide the fact he was all doped up on the job, and drugs were more important to him then doing what he so bombastically kept saying he was going to do. Sorry, can’t have a junky as mayor

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      I think he’s just mad that the city spent a million bucks on rocks you can’t smoke.

  • OgtheDim

    Chow’s people continue to unimpress.

  • KRoberts

    “(…) the waterfront park in question opened in 2010.” – another example of how out of touch Rob Ford is with the city of Toronto – what a maroon!

  • OgtheDim

    You want to know why I’m ticked about this now

    Warren Kinsella, the twit that he is, tweets this morning

    .@oliviachow in the front of @24hoursTOR again! Love the kids in the background.

    The moron doesn’t get it.

    • dsmithhfx

      Conservatives who already dislike Chow think they can smell blood over this, and are working themselves up into a lather about it. Histrionics.

      I think Chow is right to make guns a campaign issue. Anything, ANYTHING that might reduce the number of handguns floating around this city, I’m all for it.

      Also, bring back the gun registry. Maybe the mayor can’t do that on his/her own, but it’s important to keep putting it out there. Mayors can do more than get potholes fixed in between mickeys.

      Kinsella’s response was wrong, and he should apologize. That is all.

      • OgtheDim
        • dsmithhfx

          “champagne sipping, silk stocking socialists who are only “progressive” because it makes them feel warm and cuddly inside”

          Seriously? Gosh. Amazing.

          • OgtheDim

            Its just more of the “Here’s your issue” non-listening that the Miller crew did.

            This does not bode well if Chow wins.

          • dsmithhfx

            I reckon from your pov, this is shaping up to be another ‘least worst’ contest. So of the candidates who have more than a snowball’s chance in hell, who do you think is worse: Tory, who unequivocally supports the Scarborough subway, or Chow, who called for a handgun ban and her campaign mgr tweets naughty words? Me, I’m depending on Ford to blow Tory into the weeds.

      • andrew97

        As a conservative, this “controversy” is small potatoes for me, but what bugs me most about it is how much it has Warren Kinsella’s clumsy fingerprints all over it. The greatest indictment of Chow is that she hired him.

        • dsmithhfx


          • andrew97

            Yeah, you know what, you’re right.