The news this morning: a drunk cop earns an impaired driving conviction after crashing his car and flashing his badge to bystanders; John Tory is taking up the fight against child poverty; and a Toronto woman is granted funding for treating a life-threatening illness.
A Peel police officer who crashed his truck into the QEW in August 2011 and then flashed his badge at the civilians who had stopped to check on him has been found guilty of impaired operation of a motor vehicle. Ontario court justice Leslie Baldwin excoriated Officer Cody Smith and the four other officers he had been drinking with that night, as well as the OPP officer who attended the scene of Smith’s crash and was, in Baldwin’s words, “too preoccupied providing Mr. Smith, a fellow police officer, with every ‘courtesy’ … that he did not perform his most important duties.” Smith drove home after an evening of drinking, taking the QEW in the wrong direction and swerving erratically before driving his truck into the QEW guardrail. Smith is no longer working for the Peel police force.
Following the release of a report finding that Toronto has the highest child poverty rates in Canada (29 per cent of Toronto’s children live in poverty), mayor-elect John Tory has committed to being a leader in the fight against child poverty. There are 13 neighbourhoods in Toronto with child poverty rates between 40 and 63 per cent, and more than half of Scarborough’s 25 neighbourhoods have rates higher than 30 per cent. This is all in a city with 118,000 millionaires—almost one for each of the city’s 146,000 impoverished children.
A woman diagnosed with a rare blood disease has been granted funding by the Ontario government for the expensive drug that treats her illness, but only for six months. Johann Kerlow was diagnosed with atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome after her organs began to fail this summer; aHUS is a rare blood disease that can be life-threatening and affects around 60 to 90 Canadians per year. Soliris, manufactured by Alexicon Pharmaceuticals, works on aHUS but costs roughly $500,000 per year. The Ontario government doesn’t offer funding to anyone else with aHUS who wants to take Soliris.