Newsstand: September 24, 2013
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Newsstand: September 24, 2013

Today, in all the news that fits: the police chief says that arming more officers with Tasers could be a life-saving move, the City will look at widening the outdoor smoking ban, the NDP accuses the auto-insurance industry of unnecessary rate hikes, a famous Toronto chef is giving NYC another shot, and hunger is still a problem in Toronto.

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Arming more Toronto police officers with tasers would “save lives,” the City’s police chief told the Globe and Mail. “There are some life or death situations where deadly force may be necessary,” Chief Bill Blair told the Globe in an interview. “But I think there are also circumstances where a less lethal option would have given an officer another choice.” The issue of arming Toronto officers more widely with the stun guns will be debated at a public meeting at City Hall, after the province’s Community Safety Minister advised last month that the weapons could now be used by all front-line officers in the province.

Toronto’s health board will consider a proposal to widen the city’s existing ban on outdoor smoking to include areas such as sports fields and restaurant and bar patios. Councillor Joe Mihevc (Ward 21, St. Paul’s), the board’s chair, supports the proposal, saying that the recommendations are “the next step in trying to control and cut back on the amount of illness and death that come from tobacco smoke.” The health board will consider the recommendations next week.

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath is accusing the auto insurance industry of jacking up rates ahead of a mandated provincial rate cut. The province’s Liberal government included a 15 per cent cut to car insurance rates in its last budget; in the legislature yesterday, Horwath gave examples of individuals receiving rate increases when their insurance situations had not changed. A spokesperson for the auto-insurance industry told the Toronto Star that the NPD leader’s claims were “nonsense.”

Toronto chef Susur Lee is giving NYC another shot with a new Manhattan restaurant in One World Trade Center. Lee’s first New York restaurant closed in 2011, but his new venture will have fine dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. According to his PR rep, Lee is currently in Asia drawing inspiration for the new venture.

In discouraging news, the number of GTA residents using the city’s food banks is on the rise. A new survey, to be released by the Daily Bread today, revealed that visits to food banks in the city core have returned to pre-recession levels, but numbers are up significantly in the rest of the GTA: by 38 per cent since 2008 in Etobicoke, Scarborough, and North York, and by 19 per cent in the 905.