Newsstand: June 16, 2014




Newsstand: June 16, 2014

Whew, what a weekend. If anyone had actually watched the MMVAs, this would have been a good place to make a joke, but it doesn't seem that anyone did. On to the news! The World Naked Bike Ride took place Saturday, the riding of Thornhill went back to the PCs after the official vote count, the WSIB is spying on injured workers, and Toronto's garbage prayers might be answered.

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The World Naked Bike Ride took place Saturday, simultaneously striking a blow for body acceptance and making it clear that some things look much more dangerous (or at least uncomfortable) when done nude. It’s also a protest against oil dependency and urban pollution.

In the riding of Thornhill, just north of Toronto, last Thursday’s election results have been reversed. Liberal candidate Sandra Yeung Racco was originally declared the winner, but after Sunday’s official tabulation, the seat has instead gone to Progressive Conservative incumbent Gila Martow. A clerical error led to Yeung Racco being announced the winner by just 85 votes, but during the official count on Sunday it was discovered that Martow had in fact won by the same number. With this switch the PCs have one seat in the GTA and the Liberals maintain their majority government.

The Workplace Safety Insurance Board, which dispenses money in Ontario to those injured on the job and unable to work as a result, has increased its covert surveillance of claimants it suspects may be defrauding the system. Such surveillance used to occur mainly when the WSIB was tipped off to possible fraud, but now a set of “red flags” the board has developed are used to decide when to spy on people. These include the injured person having a psychological as opposed to physical disability, language barriers or other problems speaking directly to the person, chronic pain, and if a worker is “never home, returns calls after hours, [and there is] noise in [the] background.” Such surveillance has increased in recent years as the WSIB has struggled to keep its costs under control.

Durham Region will soon begin incinerating its trash at a new local waste-to-energy plant. The move is a controversial one, with many critics pointing to the high cost and potential pollution, but proponents of the waste-to-energy model say we need to find somewhere to put our trash. The high cost is somewhat offset by the creation of electricity, and proponents say pollution isn’t as big a problem as it once was. And, perhaps most important of all, there is no room or political will to build new landfills to store our garbage.