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Your Toronto 2014 Issue Navigator

How the candidates compare on some of the city's biggest issues.

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Weekend Newsstand: July 5, 2014

Welcome back to the weekend; we hope you enjoy your stay. Here’s the news: Doug Ford keeps offending people, Toronto Transit Commission vehicles have been in 18,000 accidents in the past four years, the majority of Torontonians want marathons and parades moved off city streets, and Avery Edison files two human-rights complaints.

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He’s already redefined racism for us, but Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) is clearly not done furthering his mandate to offend every possible human in existence. Earlier this week, Councillor Ford made two separate comments to journalists that used the term “jihad” to describe perceived attacks on him and his brother, Mayor Rob Ford. When asked by the Toronto Sun about a complained filed against him with the integrity commissioner, Councillor Ford replied, “It is a full out jihad against us right now.” It is highly worth noting that the complaint against Ford was filed by the father of an autistic child who took issue with Ford’s earlier comments that a home for teenagers with autism had ruined an Etobicoke community, which were laced with baseless accusations that the teenagers living in the home were criminals. Ford then also used the term when pressed by CityNews reporter Cynthia Mulligan with a line of questioning he did not appreciate, asking her, “Are you finished your jihadist attack?” The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), understandably, has an issue with Councillor Ford’s offensive comments. Ihsaan Gardee, the executive director of the NCCM, said, “No elected or public official should misuse terms like ‘jihad’ that are already widely misunderstood and which further promote stereotypes about Canadian Muslims…” The organization has requested a retraction, a formal apology, and that Ford seek awareness training around Islam. Councillor Ford did apologize to both Mulligan and Toronto Sun reporter Don Peat on Friday, but has yet to respond to the statement by the NCCM.

A new report says that Toronto Transit Commission vehicles were involved in 18,000 accidents in the past four years, a third of which were deemed avoidable. According to TTC CEO Andy Byford, the statistics are not really so bad. Byford says that in 70 per cent of these accidents, a party other than the TTC was at fault. Byford further explains that the data includes the most minor accidents where no injuries are reported—such as vehicle scratches and run-ins with garbage bins. The report also includes data about the cases of individual drivers who have multiple accidents, one of whom had 30 accidents as a driver with the TTC.

Who likes marathons and parades? Not a lot of people, apparently. According to a new study, 55 per cent of Torontonians would prefer to see events that require major road closures moved into parks to avoid traffic congestion. Organizers of some of these road-closing festivities naturally claim that their events do more good than harm. Alan Brookes, the director of the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon, says that the study is simply part of the debate over use of public spaces, and that the event has never considered relocating to a park area such as Exhibition Place. Meanwhile, Jay Glassman of the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon says that his event is sensitive to the needs of local residents.

Finally, Avery Edison, a transgender woman who was held in a men’s jail in February while being detained over an immigration issue, has filed complaints over her treatment with both the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and the Canadian Human Rights Commission. After being detained at Pearson airport by border services when trying to return to London, England, Edison was taken to Maplehurst Correctional Centre in Milton, Ontario even though her United Kingdom passport identifies her as a female. Edison was eventually transferred to a female facility, and says that she hopes a situation like this does not happen to anyone else.

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