Ontario parliamentarian calls for Right to Repair legislation

Michael Coteau, a member of the Ontario provincial parliament from the opposition Liberal party has announced for provincial Right to Repair legislation, which he will introduce in a private member's bill -- he says the legislation was prompted when he was charged nearly $400 to fix his daughter's Samsung phone screen and he recalled a CBC special on US efforts to pass Right to Repair laws at the state level; Coteau says he's looking for co-sponsors from the NDP and the ruling Conservative Party (whose caucus is a disgraceful shambles). Read the rest

Thunder Bay: podcast about Canada's hate crime and murder capital is a cross between Serial and Crimetown

The remote north Ontario city of Thunder Bay leads Canada in murders and hate crimes and features a local government mired in scandal, from a mayor who was charged with extortion to a police chief who went on trial for obstruction of justice. Read the rest

Ontario businesses want trumpy Doug Ford to kill leave for domestic abuse survivors, allow mandatory high heeled shoes

Ontario's "A Plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs" (AKA Bill 148) legislates leave for domestic abuse survivors, provides for 10 days of paid emergency leave, three weeks paid vacation after five years' employment, and a ban on employers requiring their employees to wear high heels. Read the rest

Toronto councillor praises gerrymandering plan to silence "left-leaning" voices in the city

Robbo Mills writes, "Speaking at a press conference at the Provincial Parliament in Queen’s Park on Monday, Toronto Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said Premier Doug Ford’s plan to gut Toronto City Council is a good move because it would silence 'left-leaning' voices on council. Read the rest

Trumpian Ontario premier Doug Ford will gut Toronto's city council to punish his Tory rivals

Doug Ford, AKA Laughable Bumblefuck II, won the Ontario provincial elections with a cowardly, trumpian campaign that kicked off with a bitter leadership race within his own party, whose top spot was up for grabs because the previous leader was accused of getting young party activists drunk and then having sex with them. Read the rest

Hackers say they stole tens of thousands of health records of Ontario home-care patients and they want to get paid

CBC reporters have verified health record files provided by hackers who say they acquired them by breaking into the computers of CarePartners, a company that contracts with the Ontario government. Read the rest

How to vote strategically in the Ontario election

There's only two days to go until the Ontario election, which pits a know-nothing, far-right, failed businessman born with a silver spoon in his mouth (who is too cowardly to talk to a real reporter so he hired his own) against the vastly unpopular incumbent Liberal Premiere Kathleen Wynne and a newly progressive NDP led by Andrea Horwath, who has abandoned the party's failed foray into centrism and returned to its Democratic Socialist roots. Read the rest

Rob Ford's brother is running for Ontario Premier, but Rob Ford's widow is suing him for stealing millions from the family

Rob Ford was Toronto's laughable, deplorable crack-addict mayor; his brother is a far-right Trump figure, running for Premier of Ontario (having stolen the party leadership through dirty tricks), who created literal fake news when he hired a pretend reporter to follow him on the campaign trail and ask him softball questions. Read the rest

Bumblefuck Watch: Rob Ford's brother hired his own "reporter" to ask him scripted softball questions for literal fake news spots

Doug Ford -- alleged hashish kingpin and brother to the dead, racist, violent, sexist, rapey crackhead ex-Toronto-Mayor Rob Ford -- stole the nomination to lead the Ontario Conservatives in an upcoming provincial race. Read the rest

Revenge of the Laughable Bumblefucks: Rob Ford's brother admits that actors were hired to pretend to be his supporters at rally

Doug Ford is the leader of the Ontario Provincial Party, a job he got through outright fraud; and it's only getting better: on Monday night, Ford -- brother of the dead, disgraced, crack-addicted, racist, sexist, rapey, violent, lying former mayor of Toronto Rob Ford -- showed up for a leadership debate in Toronto, cheered on by throngs of supporters, who turn out to have been paid actors pretending to be Conservatives. Read the rest

Ontario town councillor posted racial slur to Facebook then claimed his account was hacked and asked IT to wipe his hard-drive

Don Cardy is a town councillor in Brant County, Ontario; on August 29, 2017, late at night, Cardy replied to a post in Arabic with a two-word post: "Fucking raghead." Read the rest

Ontario Conservative leader abruptly resigns after he is accused of sexual assault and misconduct with very young, drunk women

Hours after CTV published the firsthand accounts of two women who say they experienced sexual advances and at least one assault from Ontario Conservative Party leader Patrick Brown, Brown has resigned, leaving the party leaderless shortly before a key election. Read the rest

Remembering Prisoners of Gravity, the greatest science fiction TV show of all time

From 1989 to 1994, the public broadcaster TV Ontario ran Prisoners of Gravity, a brilliant science fiction TV show that used a goofy framing device (a host trapped in a satellite who interviewed science fiction writers stuck down on Earth) for deep, gnarly, fascinating dives into science fiction's greatest and most fascinating themes, from sex and overpopulation to cyberpunk and religion. Read the rest

The Shop: Toronto's new inclusive makerspace

Toronto's great wealth of makerspaces continues to grow: now there's The Shop, an "all-inclusive makerspace with a focus on woodworking, metal and ceramics."

They offer members access to well-stocked workshops with metal/woodworking tools and ceramics equipment; and they run regular classes on making various useful and lovely things at all levels of mastery, and they have a retail shop where makers can sell their creations. Read the rest

Mayor Rob Ford recording: drunken, sexist, racist, homophobic, abusive rant

The recording of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack (again) isn't the only recording to emerge of the mayor; he was also recorded making drunken, racist, homophobic, misogynist remarks at a bar where he was also abusive to the bartender and said rather revolting things about his wife.

Of note in the recording was the mayor's vulgar remarks about Karen Stintz, one of his electoral rivals. Ford previously called another female political rival a liar after she accused him of drunkenly grabbing her ass and propositioning her at a Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee.

In other news, the mayor also allegedly participated in an all-night, coke-fuelled drunken sex party at a nightclub where he vomited in the toilets in between verbally jousting with Justin Bieber and entertaining a group of "party girls" with his entourage. Read the rest

Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan invests in Internet surveillance company that backstops notorious dictatorships

The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP) has joined a private equity consortium that acquired the notorious Internet surveillance company BlueCoat, yoking teachers' retirement security to the fortunes of a company that has systematically assisted some of the world's most brutal dictatorships to censor and surveil their citizenry. Blue Coat has blood on its hands, people rounded up and tortured and even killed thanks to it and products like it, and it's a disgrace for teachers -- whose professional ethics embrace freedom, intellectual inquiry, and fairness -- to be part of the financial exit strategy for the people who founded and ran that company.

Ron Deibert and Sarah McKune from the University of Toronto's CitizenLab and Munk School of Global Affairs have written an op-ed in the Toronto Star, detailing some of BlueCoat's ethical unsuitablity, and the fact that the OTPP went into the transaction having been thoroughly briefed on what they were getting into.

If you'd like to read more about BlueCoat, check out CitizenLab's excellent report: "Mapping Global Censorship and Surveillance Tools."

Now, a year later, Citizen Lab has released a new report, Planet Blue Coat: Mapping Global Censorship and Surveillance Tools. Using a combination of technical interrogation methods, our researchers scanned the Internet to look for signature evidence of Blue Coat products. While our investigation was not exhaustive and provided only a limited window of visibility into the deployment of such tools, what we were able to find raises serious concerns.

We uncovered 61 Blue Coat ProxySG and 316 Blue Coat PacketShaper devices, which are designed to filter online content and inspect and control network traffic.

Read the rest

Public Catholic school suspends students for wearing pro-choice stickers

Seven students at a publicly funded Catholic school* in Thunder Bay, Ontario have been suspended from school for wearing homemade pro-choice t-shirts on a day that the school administration had devoted to a "pro-life" Day of Silence. 23 kids wore the shirts, and seven refused to remove them when instructed to do so by the school's administration. Five of the seven were sent home for the day; two others were given two-day suspensions for swearing at teachers during the heated discussion of their protest.

The St. Patrick's Catholic High School students were either sent home or suspended for refusing to remove green pieces of tape with the word "choice" during a pro-life event Thursday, organized by a school chaplain and a student group, in which students sported similar labels with the word "life."

Among the students sent home was Alexandria Szeglet, 15, who initiated the protest after telling her mother that morning she disagreed with the event. Ann Szeglet responded, "Be peaceful about it. Don't make it a big deal."

"I was really respectful, but I just think the school goes a little further than a high school should [in] saying prolife," Alexandria said.

*Ontario's public education system is split into four subsystems: French, English, French-Catholic and English-Catholic; it's a product of the delicate negotiation that led to the merger of French and English Canada in the nineteenth century. Catholic schools receive a double-dose of funds, one from the taxpayers, the other from the Church. I sometimes do talks at Catholic schools when I tour in Canada; interestingly, the last couple schools I've been to had a large number of girls in hijabs and boys who self-identified as Muslim. Read the rest

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