Newsstand: June 9, 2014


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Newsstand: June 9, 2014

It's Monday and there is, as always, news to be read: Ontario's privacy commissioner wants Toronto police to stop sharing information about suicide attempts with law enforcement across the country, a TTC driver kept two wheelchair-using passengers on a bus for an hour, and fringe-party candidates want your vote.

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In an effort to stop Toronto police from sharing information about attempted suicides with the RCMP and border services, provincial privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian has filed a court action with Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice. Cavoukian began an investigation into the practice of disclosing attempted suicide information after a Canadian woman was barred from entering the United States due to information border agents had received about a suicide attempt she’d made years before. While three of the four police services Cavoukian has spoken to have followed her recommendation that information about attempted suicides be disclosed only when the attempts involve the threat of harm to others or intentionally provoking a lethal response from police, Toronto police have declined to do so, citing public safety concerns. “Public safety is a given, of course it has to be protected and law enforcement must do that, but so are the merits of personal safety, individual safety when there are no public safety issues,” Cavoukian told the Globe and Mail. “You also have to protect the individual.”

Two TTC passengers in wheelchairs found themselves stuck on the 509 Queens Quay bus for an hour when the driver refused to let them off. On Victoria Day, two women boarded the 509 at Union Station; one of them asked the driver to call out the stop for the ferry docks, but when she realized the driver hadn’t done so, she asked to be let out at Queens Quay instead, where the stop is under construction. The driver refused, and after he and the passenger, Angie, argued about her refusal to move out of the aisle, he called a TTC officer and dispatched his passengers onto the street—all except for Angie and Terri-Lynn Langdon, the two passengers in wheelchairs, who were forced to stay on the bus until the officer arrived. The driver appears to have mistakenly believed passengers in wheelchairs are not allowed to sit in bus aisles.

With voter turnout low and consistently falling each election, it’s safe to say something about the current system is unappealing to the electorate. If your apathy is spurred by the uniformity of your major options, there are others out there. No, voting for the None of the Above party won’t result in the election of party leader Greg Vezina as our next premier (he’s only got eight candidates running). But small parties only become larger parties when they get more votes, and those fringe parties often bring issues to the table that the main parties don’t want to talk about. NOTA, for instance, is pushing for term limits and recall procedures. The Pauper Party of Ontario, another fringe party, wants to decommission the province’s nuclear power stations.

CORRECTION: June 9, 2014, 8:55 AM This post originally stated that the two TTC passengers in wheelchairs were stuck on a streetcar, when in fact they were stuck on a bus.