Newsstand: January 22, 2014




Newsstand: January 22, 2014

It is way too cold outside and I’ve got a mean case of Ford Fatigue. I’m calling in sick from life. In the news: Some unsurprising reaction to Rob Ford’s leap off the wagon, a botched Ryerson paint job came with a $195,000 price tag, a debate on state surveillance is coming to Toronto, and Canada’s oldest giraffe dies.

matt newsstand newspaperlies

In a fairly predictable turn of events, Mayor Rob Ford admitted that he had been drinking when he was captured in a new explicit video rant uploaded to YouTube yesterday. So far, reaction to the video has been equally unsurprising. Summing up just about everyone in the city’s thoughts was Councillor John Parker (Ward 26, Don Valley West), who told CTV News, “My immediate reaction? Here we go again.”

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly confirmed that as of last night, he had seen only short excerpts of the new video footage, which he called disappointing, and reiterated his previous advice that Mayor Ford should seek professional help. And while Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37, Scarborough Centre) said he found the video to be offensive, Councillor Jaye Robinson (Ward 25 Don Valley West) asserted that the video is a confirmation that council made the right decision to strip the mayor of his powers in the fall.

When asked for comment by CP24, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said she had not seen the video and brushed off any thought that it would have any bearing on her working relationship with city council as liaised by Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly. However, former prime minister Jean Chrétien possibly wins hardest with his reaction to Mayor Ford’s woes, “I never had a problem like that,” said Chrétien. “So it’s not my problem.”

To put it mildly, Ryerson University has learned very expensive lesson about outdoor paint. A few months after investing $195,000 in a fancy paint job to beautify a stretch of car-free campus road on Gould Street, the project has stripped away to look like little more than a few faded patches of blue and yellow. Julia Hanigsberg apologized for the botched roadwork, saying that rushing to get the project complete before snow and cold temperatures set in was a likely culprit in its failure. The epoxy paint used for the project was preliminarily tested by the university and thought to be durable enough to make the design of arrows that pointed to various campus landmarks last through even harsh winters. Shortly after the epoxy was laid in October it was clear there was a problem when the blue paint began to peel away from the yellow. Throw in the recent ice storm, and the damage to the paint has considerably worsened, leaving only small traces of the original work. The university says it will withhold further payment from the contracted company until some sort of deal can be worked out, because it feels the quality of the workmanship was subpar. And yes, in case you were wondering, some tuition fees did contribute to the beautification fund from which the work will eventually be paid out. However, Ryerson reps were quick to point out that this was just part of the mix, which also includes funds allocated from fundraising and alumni donations.

Well, this should be good. On May 2, Michael Hayden and Glenn Greenwald will be in Toronto to debate the very testy subject of state surveillance, according to event organizers Munk Debates. At the debate Hayden, a former director of the National Security Agency, will go head to head with Greenwald, the journalist who reported on Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, along with two other as-of-yet-unnamed participants.

Finally, the Toronto Zoo says oldest giraffe in a Canadian zoo died on Monday. Named Ginetta, the Masai giraffe was born in captivity 1983, and had celebrated her 30th birthday this past August. While the zoo says a giraffe can live close to 25 years in the wild, it mentioned that Ginetta lived longer than 96 per cent of the female Masai giraffes in North America. Most of whom, presumably, also live in captivity. However, if you’ve ever seen a tower of wild giraffes casually sauntering through the prairies, I’d really like to know about it.