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Newsstand: July 17, 2014

The Honda Indy takes place this weekend. Expensive, silly-looking cars going around in circles for a long time. Fun. In the news: a Canada Post employee gives an earful of expletives to a cyclist, new guidelines for Ontario police forces regarding what info can and cannot be included on a background check, and the provincial opposition parties are worried that public agencies like the LCBO will be put up for sale.

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Canada Post has launched an investigation into an incident in which a mail van driver was caught on camera swearing at a cyclist. Diane Jansen was biking down St. George Street on Tuesday when she stopped to call Toronto parking enforcement to report a Canada Post mail truck that was blocking the bike lane. When she pulled out her phone, the unidentified Canada Post driver blew up at Jansen, cursing repeatedly and throwing an object directly at her. Jansen, who has launched a formal complaint to Canada Post, says that she did not speak to the driver once through the entire altercation―he simply launched into the tirade of his own accord.

Yesterday, The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police issued new recommendations that aim to stop Ontario police forces from disclosing mental health–related 911 calls, unproven allegations, and withdrawn charges on background checks that are shared with border officials, employers, and volunteer organizations. The new guidelines are all voluntary, with each of the province’s 57 police forces ultimately deciding whether or not to adopt them. Getting buy-in might prove to be difficult, since only half of Ontario forces currently subscribe to the existing guidelines. The Toronto Police Service says that the guidelines are currently being reviewed, but they have not been put into action yet. Paul Cormier of the OACP says that if compliance becomes an issue, the only other option would be the creation of provincial legislation to set out clear rules about what can and cannot be disclosed in background checks. A representative of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association says that their meetings with provincial officials have given them the impression that the government is open to considering legislative intervention if the guidelines are not widely adopted.

Speaking of the provincial government, yesterday opposition parties asked the Liberals to clearly define their plans to unlock value from government assets, as promised in the provincial budget. While it is clear that the government intends to sell some real estate—including the Toronto headquarters of both the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and Ontario Power Generation—NDP leader Andrea Horwath called for the Liberals to be clear about what public assets might be on the table. Interim Progressive Conservative leader Jim Wilson asked Premier Kathleen Wynne to clarify how unlocking the value of the LCBO, Hydro One, and Ontario Power Generation would affect jobs within the agencies. Somehow, Queen’s Park managed not to collapse under the weighty hypocrisy of Wilson’s concerns, as Kathleen Wynne reminded Wilson of that one time his party lost an election after campaigning on a platform to cut 100,000 public sector jobs. Do you remember that time? It feels like it was just a month ago, doesn’t it? Later, Finance Minister Charles Sousa told reporters majority ownership would be retained if pension funds are eventually invited to invest in the LCBO and the electricity agencies.

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