Newsstand: September 25, 2013
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Newsstand: September 25, 2013

Guess what? In the news today: the Toronto doctor credited with guiding us through the SARS crisis has put out a powerful posthumous message, community advocates speak out against expanded taser use, Toronto residents are split on allowing jets in the downtown airport, and Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is pumped for the SIU's new director.

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Dr. Donald Low, the Toronto microbiologist credited with calmly guiding the city through the 2003 SARS outbreak, died of brain cancer last week. Yesterday, a video he made eight days before his death was released on YouTube. In it, he pleads with Canada to rethink its position on doctor-assisted suicide, an option he would have considered had it been legal. A spokesperson from the Office of the Minister of Justice apparently sent an e-mail to CBC News yesterday in which it reiterated that the government has “no intention” of reopening the debate on euthanasia.

At a public Toronto Police Services Board consultation yesterday regarding whether to expand police taser use, community advocates spoke out against expanding the “weapons arsenal” of frontline officers. People suggested alternatives to bringing in more weapons, such as promoting de-escalation techniques, expanding the service’s Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams, and purchasing tasers with low voltages.

Torontonians are split on whether the city’s downtown airport should be expanded to allow jet aircraft to fly out of it. A telephone survey commissioned by the City found that 47 per cent of respondents support the proposal to expand the airport and use jet aircraft and 45 per cent oppose it. Further, and in no way surprisingly, it found that Torontonians living in the waterfront area are more likely to say that “the airport doesn’t fit.” Period.

The provincial Special Investigations Unit (that’s SIU to you), much in the news of late due to high-profile investigations of police conduct like the one connected to slain teenager Sammy Yatim, is getting a new director. And Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, for one, is excited. Blair apparently has a less-than-amicable relationship with the outgoing director, Ian Scott, whose five-year term as head of the SIU ends next month. Scott recently called Blair out for not cooperating with the SIU. So yeah, Blair is pretty pleased to see him go. The new director is veteran Crown attorney Tony Loparco, whose current gig is running the Crown office in Scarborough.