Court nukes Ontario's Trumpian government bid to gut Toronto city council

Doug Ford is the laughable bumblefuck who was elected Premier of Ontario by a roster of cheap Trumpian tricks and (literally) a promise to make beer cost $1 in the province (this promise was not fulfilled). Read the rest

Toronto's aural panic: why we need digital rights now

Last week, my city became a garbage fire. Within 48 hours of a mass shooting on Toronto's Danforth Avenue, City Council had passed a motion to purchase the American acoustic surveillance system ShotSpotter, making Toronto the first Canadian municipality to adopt the technology. As Americans already know, the system is designed to monitor "at risk" (read: poor and black) neighbourhoods for potential gunshots, which it geolocates and pushes to local law enforcement personnel for a substantial fee. Of course, ShotSpotter would have done nothing to prevent the tragedy on the Danforth and there are real questions about its effectiveness as a gunshot detection system, but why let facts get in the way of a rash political decision?

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

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

Toronto cops eat drugs, freak out, and charged with Attempting to Obstruct Justice

If you’re a cop who calls for backup to save you from drug-induced hallucinations, you’re going to have a bad year.

This past January, Toronto Police Service Constable Vittorio Dominelli and his partner, whose name has yet to be released, were on duty when, allegedly, they decided to chow down on some marijuana-laced edibles. Apparently, they snatched up the Scooby snacks during a raid on a pot dispensary.

It is here that Toronto radio station News Talk 1010 reported that shit began to get weird:

… after carrying out a warrant at a local dispensary Saturday night, two officers, still on the clock, ingested marijuana-infused goodies meant to be taken from the scene as evidence. When they didn't feel the effects of the drugs right away, the pair ate more. Then more.

And then the drugs kicked in.

Oh, and kick in they did: while sitting in their cruiser, the pair of police began tripping balls. Their high was so rough that they called an ambulance and, in a panic, their station house, saying that they needed assistance. For the uninitiated, an officer assistance call is taken very seriously. Any cop in the area that’s not on call, and sometimes, even if they are on a call, will drop what they’re doing and come a-running, full speed, as if the officer who made that call’s life depended on it – because it often does. When backup arrived, one of the dope-addled cops burst from his cruiser and took off running, with responding officers in tow. 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

Lone Canadian cop takes down alleged mass murderer without firing a shot

I was getting on a plane in Toronto yesterday when I heard the news that a van had been intentionally driven into a crowd of people. By the time I landed a few hours later in Calgary, word was that 10 people lost their lives in the attack. Just under 20 were wounded. I assumed that if he was found by the authorities, the alleged driver of the van would be toast. He or she would have no chance to be tried by a jury of peers; no option to stand before a judge. There'd be no justice, save what a bullet, by the driver's own hand or that of a police office, could afford.

This morning when I woke, I was amazed to see that this was not the case. A single Toronto Police Service constable managed to capture a suspect alive in the murder of those ten unfortunate souls. Despite the fact that the suspect menaced the officer, his demanded to be killed, and constantly reached for a firearm – which turned out not to have been there – the suspect ended up in handcuffs instead of a body bag.

The Canadian Broadcast Corporation's got what little footage of the event there is, along with commentary on how a police service that was once known for its heavy-handed tactics identified its aggression as a problem and fought to change its ways. Through frequent deescalation courses, Toronto's Police Service is changing its officer's responses to violent situations, slowly, but with measurable success. Read the rest

Romance writers sought for library residency at my former Toronto workplace

I was a teenaged page at the North York Central Library in suburban Toronto, working in the Business and Urban Affairs section, shelving books, taping together newspapers while we waited for their microfilm versions to arrive, and fiddling around with the newly installed (and poorly documented) computerised catalogue/lending system -- I worked there with many other would-be writers, like Nalo Hopkinson, who was a public service clerk a few floors down. Read the rest

Psychiatrist who "cured" gays busted for gay sex with clients

Since last time I wrote about Toronto's leading role in "reparative therapy" for curing LGBT people, the worst gender clinic was shut down and its head was fired. Now another "expert" had his license suspended after having sex with men he claimed he was "curing" of homosexuality. Read the rest

Toronto's real estate market is imploding

Toronto is one of the many great world cities that has been rendered nearly unlivable by real-estate speculation, both from onshore investors and offshore ones. Read the rest

How Google's Sidewalk Labs has outmaneuvered Toronto in its bid to build a "smart city"

Alphabet division Sidewalk Labs (a sister company to Google) is poised to spend $50,000,000 to redevelop a piece of Toronto waterfront called Quayside, filling it with "modular, dynamic" buildings that can be reconfigured as their uses change, data-gathering sensors that will help Sidewalk refine its own products and also allow Quayside to tune its zoning, usage, and management from moment to moment, as well as a new Google headquarters and a bunch of startups, and "affordable" micro-apartments starting at 162 square feet. Read the rest

The story of how sf writer and editor Judith Merril founded Toronto's astounding sf reference library and changed the city

My middle-school used to take us on field trips to the Spaced Out Library, the Toronto Public Library's science fiction reference collection founded by legendary author, critic, editor and activist Judith Merril, who emigrated to Canada after witnessing the police brutality at the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention. Read the rest

Play: a VR "lurking simulator" set on Toronto Island where you're "part coral reef, part Cthulhu"

Filmmaker/writer/games developer Jim "Ghosts With Shit Jobs" Munroe (previously) has just launched his first VR venture. Manimal Sanctuary is a "lurking simulator" that "leverages low-end VR technology to enable every player’s ultimate fantasy: to play a creature part coral reef, part Cthulhu, who consumes human emotions. Set after the rest of the city is consumed by gibbering monstrosities, you eavesdrop on the survivors and their dramas involving things like bad potato crops and graffiti tags. And if those everyday emotions aren’t filling enough, you can always uncover some devastating secrets…" Read the rest

Toronto's amazing science fiction library, the Merril Collection, has a new head librarian

It's been decades since I first discovered my love of science fiction on a school trip to the "Spaced Out Library," the public science fiction reference collection founded by Judith Merril -- that day, I met both Merril (who went on to be a mentor to me) and Lorna Toolis, who has just stepped down as head of the library, which grew in stature and changed names, becoming the Merril Collection of Science Fiction. Read the rest

Toronto's insane real-estate bubble is finally bursting

Toronto's crazy-insane property prices stayed high even through the 2008 crash and its aftermath, but sales volumes of houses of all types plummeted by 40.4% for July 2017-vs-July 2016, new listings are up by 5% over the same period -- and the average selling price has fallen by 19% since April. Read the rest

City claims building park stairs too pricey, later tears out free stairs built by a resident

Retiree Adi Astl just wanted some stairs down a well-trod embankment in his local park. The city told him it would cost between $65,000 and $150,000, so he and a homeless guy built a nice set of stairs for about $550. Astl was then informed he violated municipal code section 608, and the stairs were ordered removed. Read the rest

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