It's Friday again! The weather is good, the weekend is here, and we should have all seen Mad Max: Fury Road by now. Seriously, it's great. In the news this morning: foreign military personnel get half off at the LCBO, Mark Saunders defends carding, a new Iron Chef-related restaurant will open in Toronto, and a local musician suffered a stroke.
Documents newly unearthed by investigative researcher Ken Rubin reveal that the LCBO offers foreign military personnel stationed in Ontario a 49-percent discount on purchases. In the last six years alone, that discount has saved them $850,000, meaning the provincial government has lost $850,000 in revenue. Provincial and federal government employees are not privy to any such discount, although the federal government itself is, and as of June 2013, foreign embassies and consulates also receive 49 percent off.
New police chief Mark Saunders is defending the controversial practice of carding, calling it “legal” and saying “it does enhance community safety,” despite critcs’ claims of the opposite on both counts. Opponents of the practice point to statistics gathered by the Toronto Police Service itself that show black Torontonians, especially young black men, are carded at disproportionately higher rates than other people (particularly white people). Carding allows police to interact with and record the information of citizens not suspected of committing any crime or wrongdoing. In a memorable essay on the subject for Toronto Life, local journalist and anti-carding proponent Desmond Cole writes about having officers approach him as he walked his bike along a sidewalk. Saunders said recently that police will no longer make “random” stops, although that seems to be integral to the process of carding, which is not directed at people under arrest.
Masaharu Morimoto, star of both the Japanese and the later American Iron Chef TV shows, will open his first Canadian restaurant in Toronto. It will be in the new Theatre Park building on King Street West and is scheduled to open late this year.
Ronnie Morris, a 37-year-old Toronto musician for bands like Controller Controller and Lioness and PhD student teaching part-time at York, recently suffered two strokes that have left him paralyzed on his right side and in need of rehabilitation. The province, however, says OHIP may not cover rehab for him because it restricts funding for those services for people between 20 and 64 years old. Morris didn’t have health insurance outside of provincial coverage at the time of his strokes. MPP Christine Elliott has raised the issue, calling it age discrimination, as have some Ontarians who have also been affected by the policy.In the meantime, Morris’ family has started a crowdfunding campaign to help offset the costs of what is expected to be a lengthy recovery.