Goodwill generated by rainbow flag-raising in stark contrast to latest controversy surrounding the mayor.
Today, as they do every May 17, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) held ceremonies internationally to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The Toronto ceremony takes place at the flagpole on the rooftop podium at City Hall—today a more frantic place than usual. As the event unfolded PFLAG president Irene Miller spoke about love and acceptance; as she ended a moving address on acceptance of sexual and gender diversity, Miller urged those in attendance, “hug one another, do not leave without a hug today!”
Then she went directly over to Mayor Rob Ford and embraced him.
Keep reading: Poignant PFLAG Ceremony Ends with Mayor Ford Fleeing Media
By petition a majority of councillors overturn the mayor and reinstate city council's casino meeting.
It was only yesterday that Mayor Rob Ford proclaimed proposals for a Toronto casino “dead.” In the wake of the province’s foot-dragging on the issue, and reluctance to commit to giving the city the $100 million Ford thought was a “fair share” of the gambling revenue any new facility would bring in, the mayor abruptly cancelled the special city council meeting that had been scheduled to debate the issue on Tuesday, May 21.
Twenty-four hours later, a majority of councillors have signed a petition that will overturn the mayor and reinstate the meeting, ensuring that council holds its debate after all. The goal: clearly vote the casino proposal down, rather than follow the mayor’s preferred course and hold off on making any decision at all. Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina) called reporters together to announce the news late this afternoon. We haven’t seen the list of signatories, but he said the councillors on the list represent a range of political views on council, united by the desire to have a clear decision on the issue.
City council will meet as originally scheduled on Tuesday, starting at 9:30 a.m. The full text of Layton’s letter announcing the petition follows.
Keep reading: Toronto’s Casino Debate is Back On
Gawker and the Toronto Star both say they've seen a video in which Rob Ford appears to be smoking crack cocaine. Can he sue them for publishing about it?
Given that Gawker has claimed that they have seen a video of Rob Ford smoking crack, and further that Toronto Star reporters have confirmed they saw what seems to be the video weeks ago, and their descriptions of it corroborate Gawker’s story, this is as good a time as any to discuss libel in Canada versus libel in the United States, because major American media and Canadian media organizations have just alleged that Rob Ford potentially smokes crack. (And let us be clear: Torontoist is not alleging this.)
Keep reading: Can Rob Ford Respond to Crack Allegations By Suing Media Outlets for Libel?
Mayor cancels special meeting on a potential casino, saying the province is "wasting our time."
Breaking with just about every precedent of his mayoralty thus far, Rob Ford has decided to call it quits on an issue he’s championed rather than fight it out (and lose) on the floor of the council chamber: today he proclaimed proposals to build a casino in downtown Toronto “dead” and cancelled the special meeting of city council that had been scheduled for Tuesday, May 21 to debate the issue.
Seeking to overturn his cancellation, just minutes later several councillors said they were going to try and hold the meeting anyway. Those councillors, all opposed to a casino, aren’t satisfied with a cancelled meeting: they want to make sure the matter is well and thoroughly settled, and decidedly vote against the proposal. Officially, it won’t be dead until and unless they do.
Keep reading: Rob Ford Proclaims Toronto Casino “Dead”
Council might need to decide on a casino without knowing how much money it would be bring in.
“The hosting fee, whatever number it is, is probably not the question that council has before them…It doesn’t seem to me, that whatever the number is, is going to matter much to their decision.”
—The provincial finance minister warning that Toronto city council may not learn how much the City would receive each year in hosting fees, if it decided to permit a new casino. Council is scheduled to debate and vote on whether to green-light a new gaming facility on Tuesday, May 21, and many councillors have said that their support for a new casino would be contingent on a substantial amount of new money flowing into municipal coffers—$100 million is the minimum most of them cite. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation sent a set of several potential revenue-splitting formulas to the ministry recently; Sousa said those options are still under review. Given his downplaying of the hosting fee, however, his remarks are likely to make many councillors even more concerned that they wouldn’t know what they’d be getting into if they decided to approve a casino in principle.