Hero and Villain of the Week: Daredevil Raccoon, and the Toronto Police Services Board
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Hero and Villain of the Week: Daredevil Raccoon, and the Toronto Police Services Board

Every week, Toronto is filled with Heroes and Villains. These are their stories.

Every week, Toronto is filled with Heroes and Villains. These are their stories.
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Hero of the Week: Daredevil Raccoon


It has been a good month for raccoon news, which, to this raccoon-biased publication, is always welcome.

First John Tory declared war on Raccoon Nation, because if you want to maintain high approval ratings, you may as well declare war on the critters that turn over green bins.

In a clear message to the mayor–or perhaps just a raccoon-related coincidence–a furry masked bandit then climbed 210 metres up a crane at Yonge and Esplanade. Was the animal going for the view? Maybe it was doing some rooftopping, or lost a bet? Maybe the raccoon just wanted a private place to pause and reflect. We get that.

But we admire the raccoon’s willingness to explore, climb new heights, and then act as if it’s just part of his or her everyday life.

We should all have a bit more raccoon in us, save for turning over green bins.


Villain of the Week: The Toronto Police Services Board


Many Torontonians are taught at a young age that the police force is there to serve and protect, and that the values they represent are nothing short of heroic. In this narrative, they pursue justice through courage and hard work, and thus serve the public interest.

And then the narrative falls apart.

On Thursday, the Toronto Police Services Board, which provides oversight and direction for Toronto Police Service, voted in favour of a “compromise” motion that leaves the police policy of carding as it is for six more months. Carding is the controversial practice where officers stop civilians and collect their information, regardless of whether they are suspected of a crime. Black Torontonians are 17 times more likely to be carded than white Torontonians.

This policy will continue, because the Toronto Police Services Board did not seize the opportunity to end it. Outgoing police chief Bill Blair flouted the board’s previous directives on the issue–even though he ostensibly reports to the board, and not the other way around. Rather than stand up to an intransigent chief, the board chose to carry on, perhaps to see if the new chief that they select will be more open to their point of view. Rather than prioritizing the interests of minority communities in Toronto, particularly the city’s black residents, the board chose to prioritize its relationship with the chief.

By worrying more about optics and politics, and trying to placate a chief who was in the wrong, the Toronto Police Services Board did not live up to the standard they should hold for itself, or Torontonians should hold for it. When the board made its decision on Thursday, that sense of courage, justice, and serving the public interest–the qualities that make us trust one of the city’s most important institutions–were nowhere to be seen.

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