- CBC notes that the Yonge and Dundas street artist scene is closing down under city regulations, including permits.
- Emily Mathieu talks about how she conducts her journalism with some of Toronto's most marginalized as subjects.
- The Globe and Mail notes the local controversy over having police officers permanently stationed in schools.
- The idea that police who actively undermine the Special Investigations Unit should be seriously punished seems obvious.
- Veteran NDP politican and LGBTQ rights advocate Cheri DiNovo is leaving politics to become a minister in church.
- Finally, the Dundas West TTC station will be connected to the GO Transit hub less than 300 metres away!
- If Greyhound pulls out of northern BC, and the rest of rural Canada, what will happen to these regions? CBC reports.
- The militarized community policing describes in Bloomberg View in New York's famed Hamptons does say something worrisome of psyches.
- A Bangladeshi observer makes the obvious point over at the Inter Press Service that Myanmar needs to radically change its treatment of the Rohingya.
- Open Democracy looks at how the miliitarized US-Mexican border harms the Tohono O'odham, divided by said.
- This Wired interview with Antonio Guillem, the photographer whose images made distracted boyfriend meme, is amazing.
- The National Post covers a disturbing report about claiming a police officer maimed a teenager. If the Toronto police have been actively trying to cover up criminal assault by one of their members ...
- Global News notes that Metrolinx has opted to remove Bombardier for consideration in operating GO Transit.
- A high-speed ferry link between Toronto and Niagara--St. Catherine's--is imaginable. Economically viable? The Globe and Mail reports.
- Simon Lewsen describes in The Globe and Mail how the 1977 murder of Emanuel Jaques led, eventually, to the transformation of Yonge Street.
- CBC reports on a Scarborough group trying to get the police to contact neighbourhood groups re: missing people.
- In the Toronto Star, Kristyn Wong-Tam reports Toronto police do not believe disappearances of men in Church and Wellesley are connected.
- VICE tells a shocking story of a man allegedly beaten by a policeman with a steel pipe, blinded in an eye. Coverup?
The National Post carries this Canadian Press report on the latest regarding the search for the suspect who attacked a fare collector at Dupont station five years ago.
Toronto police say a suspect who shot a TTC fare collector in the neck five years ago had held up the same subway station twice in the months leading up to the attack.
Staff Insp. Mike Earl says no other similar robberies were committed after the shooting, which took place at Dupont subway station on the evening of Feb. 26 2012.
Earl says the case is “very unusual” and all investigative leads have now dried up.
Police are asking for help in identifying the suspect, who is described as a heavyset white man or woman in their 30s and likely left-handed.
TTC spokesman Brad Ross says the fare collector, who survived the shooting, is still on disability leave after experiencing “medical issues” during recovery.
- Antipope's Charlie Stross wonders if the politics of Trump might mean an end to the British nuclear deterrent.
- Centauri Dreams shares Andrew LePage's evaluation of the TRAPPIST-1 system, where he concludes that there are in fact three plausible candidates for habitable status there.
- Dangerous Minds shares the gender-bending photographs of Norwegian photographers Marie Høeg and Bolette Berg.
- The Everyday Sociology Blog takes a look at the 1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.
- The Extremo Files looks at the human microbiome.
- Language Hat links to an article on Dakhani, a south Indian Urdu dialect.
- The LRB Blog looks at policing in London.
- The Map Room Blog notes that 90% of the hundred thousand lakes of Manitoba are officially unnamed.
- Marginal Revolution looks at the remarkable Akshardham Temple of New Delhi.
- The Planetary Society Blog notes how citizen scientists detected changes in Rosetta's comet.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer provides a visual guide for New Yorkers at the size of the proposed border wall.
- The Russian Demographics Blog links to a paper taking a look at the history of abortion in 20th century France.
- Torontoist looks at the 1840s influx of Irish refugees to Toronto.
- Understanding Society takes a look at the research that went into the discovery of the nucleus of the atom.
- Window on Eurasia reports on Belarus.
- Arnold Zwicky shares photos and commentary on the stars and plot of Oscar-winning film Midnight.
The Globe and Mail's Sean Fine looks at the controversy surrounding the refusal Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans to stop the much-criticized--justly much-criticized, I think--policy of carding.
She started as a 19-year-old cadet with Peel Regional Police and grew up in the force. But, by her own account, the most important moments in the education of Chief Jennifer Evans happened during her work outside the force – at inquiries into why police failed to stop Canada’s most notorious serial killers. Asked to examine the cases of Robert Pickton and Paul Bernardo, Chief Evans concluded that communication failures allowed both men to continue to target women.
Yet today, the 53-year-old chief finds herself under fire for the very thing she learned to value most: the collection and sharing of information. She says her ability to listen is a point of pride, but her critics say she doesn’t hear them.
The conflict can be traced to the racially charged issue of carding. The Peel force has called the practice “street checks” or “street interviews” since it officially began in 1993. Now it is simply the “collection of identifying information.” The civilian board that oversees the force – the chief’s boss – passed a motion last year asking her to suspend the practice, no matter what it’s called. She told the board no.
Chief Evans, one of just a handful of female police leaders in Canada, says she was hired for her decision-making ability. And, though her $289,000-a-year contract is up for renewal next October, she is not one for backing down.
The dispute over carding has sparked a wider debate over whether the Peel force is in step with the times and the community it serves. The country’s third-largest municipal force has had to examine its own demographics – four out of five officers are white, though Peel Region, which comprises the town of Caledon and the cities of Brampton and Mississauga, is the country’s most multiracial (57 per cent are minorities) – and account for a reputation for violating people’s rights. Chief Evans is feeling the heat from the police board, the mayors in her region and community groups who question whether she is standing in the way of change.
The Toronto Star's San Grewal notes that Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans is in big trouble.
Peel police chief Jennifer Evans has spent much of the year battling the board that oversees her on issues such as carding, which she refused to stop. Now, with her contract up for renewal next year, and a community restless for change, some close to the situation say a collision is looming over the future of policing in two of Canada’s largest cities.
The latest controversy is a $21 million lawsuit launched against Evans, alleging she “all but guaranteed” a policing career to a bystander who was shot by a Peel officer. The chief told the Star the lawsuit’s allegations, which haven’t been tested in court, are “without merit.” On Wednesday the board told the Star an emergency meeting has been called for Friday to deal with the lawsuit, which also names the board as a defendant. The board chair did not rule out an internal investigation of Evans.
“It’s like tectonic plates,” says Fred Kaustinen, executive director of the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards, who is at the centre of the reform movement in policing across the province. He talks about the collision in Peel between the board, as it pushes for change, and the force, led by Evans, which is resisting. “They’re pushing together and all of a sudden it’s creating a very loud, noisy, earth-shaking change.”
That change in Peel is being led by a police board that has taken a different approach than previous boards, which were aligned with the direction of senior officers, says Kaustinen, who served as the Peel police board’s interim executive director after the previous one was fired by the new board.
CBC News' Shane Ross reports on the ending of an unfunny joke.
A Kensington, P.E.I., police officer has apologized for "bullying" Nickelback and removed a Facebook post he says drew a reaction far beyond his expectations.
Last week, Const. Robb Hartlen posted on the police Facebook site that he would force arrested drivers to listen to Nickelback's 2001 album Silver Side Up as a punishment for drinking and driving. It was just his way of using humour to spread an important message, he said.
CBC P.E.I. published a story about the tongue-in-cheek post, as did other media around the world, including Time magazine and CNN.
"At no time did I think it would go as far as it did," Hartlen said.
On Friday, Hartlen removed the post and in a new Facebook post wrote a public apology to Nickelback.
Hartlen said the message of "Don't drink and drive" began to take a backseat to the "bashing of the band."
Courtney Shea's Toronto Life Q&A highlights some of the issues with the recent arrests in Marie Curtis Park. At the very least, it looks like more information is needed from police about what, exactly, happened.
First, a little background. What can you tell us about how Marie Curtis Park became a popular location for sexual encounters?
It’s a large park in the southwest end of Toronto that straddles Toronto and Mississauga. There’s a playground, a bicycle trail and wooded areas. Because it’s so secluded, it has long been a park in which gay men meet. The recent gentrification of the neighbourhood has put pressure on that.
You’ve offered free legal services to 72 people who have been charged as a result of Operation Marie. Why is this important to you?
Over the weekend, lawyers began coming together on the Law Union of Ontario listserv. We know these kinds of charges can have very severe consequences. Not because of the legal repercussions—many of the charges are just bylaw infractions—but because of the shame and stigma attached. There is the risk of outing these people to their families, and there are potential employment consequences. The Toronto Police have now admitted that all of the charges relate to consensual sexual activity between adults. That’s important, because there has been misinformation on that.
How does one trespass at a public park?
In some parks there are curfews, so you’re not allowed to be there after a certain time. The very fact that there are so many trespassing charges suggests that these undercover sting operations were happening very late at night, which puts to lie the suggestion that this was being done to protect children.
At Daily Xtra, Arshy Mann asks an important question. How can the Toronto police be trusted when it spies on its own leaders?
In the days since the death of former Toronto police chief Bill McCormack, there’s been much talk of his legacy; as a family man, as a homicide investigator, as the city’s first Catholic police chief.
But like all chiefs before and after him, McCormack, who was Toronto's top cop from 1991 to 1995, was a deeply controversial figure.
Some of the scrutiny he endured during his tenure was relatively silly and inconsequential. When he assumed the post, McCormack came under fire for donning war medals that he wasn’t entitled to wear, technically a criminal offence. The RCMP refused to bring charges forward and the city moved on.
Other actions, however, were deeply serious.
At the same time that the war medals controversy was ongoing, the Toronto police began conducting a covert surveillance campaign on members of the civilian oversight board charged with holding them to account.
CBC News' Nicole Brockbank reports on the continuing controversies over police and race and Pride Toronto.
Pride Toronto has accepted, and plans to review an official complaint from Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLMTO) about the inclusion of police floats in the city's annual pride parade.
The LGBTQ organization clarified its stance on the hot topic issue at a Tuesday evening townhall event hosted at Ada Slaight Hall on Dundas Street East.
"We signed the agreement with a commitment to work with Blackness Yes!, Black Queer Youth and Black Lives Matter and our communities to strengthen our relationship," said Pride Toronto board co-chair Alica Hall.
In July, the Pride parade was temporarily blocked by a Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLMTO) protest. The event resumed 30 minutes later after top Pride executives agreed to a list of demands for next year's festival, including a ban on police floats in the festival's penultimate march.
The next day, Pride Toronto's former leader, Mathieu Chantelois, said the organization never agreed to exclude police from its events, but would have discussions with the force about what its future involvement would look like.
On Tuesday night, Pride Toronto representatives distanced themselves from that statement, saying the comments made "in the media suggesting we had no intention of meeting these demands ... misrepresented our organization's position."
NOW Toronto's Miles Kenyon reports on storefront marijuana's many, many problems in Toronto.
Raymond Hathaway, a Toronto paralegal who is suing the city for $1 million for interfering with his access to medical marijuana as a result of police raids on dispensaries back in May, doesn’t mince words.
"The raids are grand theft, destruction of property, and, from a patient perspective, criminal harassment on the basis of disability," Hathaway says, eliciting applause from dozens of members of the public gathered in a committee room at City Hall Monday, July 25, to spark discussion on the future of marijuana dispensaries in Toronto.
Hathaway’s lawsuit centres around his inability to access Rick Simpson Oil, a cannabis extract that is currently not available through any of Canada’s 34 Licensed Producers of medical marijuana. This, he argues in his lawsuit, constitutes a violation of his human rights.
“Dispensaries are not in a grey area and are not illegal,” he says, pointing to several court cases supporting patient access to medical marijuana, including R. v. Parker, a 2000 Ontario Court of Appeal decision that found prohibiting cannabis use was unconstitutional because some illnesses require it for treatment.
The city’s Licensing and Standards Committee voted June 27 to defer a discussion on the licensing of dispensaries until provincial and federal legislation has been passed on the matter.
NOW Toronto reports on the conclusion for now to the shooting case of Sammy Yatim, with the imprisonment of policeman James Forcillo. Only now, I found out, can he finally be suspended without pay.
In January, a jury found Toronto police constable James Forcillo guilty of attempting to murder Sammy Yatim. They concluded that the first set of bullets he fired may have been justified but that the second — fired while Yatim was already dying on the streetcar floor — was not.
Today, Justice Edward Then sentence Forcillo to six years in prison, beyond the Criminal Code's mandatory minimum of five years for attempted murder with a firearm. Forcillo's lawyer, who'd argued that the minimum was unconstitutional and was never intended to apply to police officers, had asked for two years less a day of house arrest. The Crown wanted a jail term of eight to 10 years.
Constable Forcillo can now finally be suspended without pay. Ontario's Police Services Act, which is currently under review by the province, only allows a police chief to suspend an officer without pay once he or she is convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Such a suspension can continue even while the conviction or sentence is being appealed, which is likely in this case. It's not out of the question that, given the constitutional arguments around mandatory minimums, the matter could end up being decided by the Supreme Court.
Only after all avenues of appeal are exhausted may the police service commence disciplinary proceedings against Forcillo to actually get him dismissed from the force.
While Toronto's police service is one of the more racially diverse forces in Canada, it still does not accurately reflect the population it serves, an analysis by CBC News has found.
Roughly 75 per cent of Toronto police officers are white, while only about half of the city's residents are — while the other half come from a wide diversity of backgrounds.
CBC News surveyed all major police services in Canada to determine their demographics and racial diversity.
That survey found that the Toronto police service matches its population better than do those in York and Peel regions, but less so than that of Hamilton.
And community advocates say the number of non-white officers — one in four — is not good enough.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to the discovery paper for HD 133139Ab, the planet orbiting three stars.
- The Dragon's Tales reports on the model of a winged aerobot to explore Titan.
- Language Log examines the Sinicization of non-Chinese names of ethnic minorities in China.
- Marginal Revolution highlights speculation that American servicemen come from psychologically worse environments these days than in previous years.
- Noel Maurer at The Power and the Money takes issue with the idea that a non-revolutionary British North America would have had a better constitution.
- The Volokh Conspiracy considers the legalities of the Dallas robot bomb.
Wendy Gillis' Toronto Star article looks at the continuing controversies over the Pride parade in Toronto after Black Lives Matter's intervention.
It was a day of extreme emotions for Const. Chuck Krangle, a Toronto police officer and a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Despite working in the city for eight years, Krangle, who is openly gay, had never been to Toronto’s Pride parade. But this year brought his chance to attend when he was assigned to work Sunday’s parade.
Krangle was blown away — by the spectacle, by the fun, and by the number of fellow officers taking part.
“I was like ‘woah, what a coming together,’ ” Krangle, 30, said in an interview. “I had no idea that there were that many cops that march in this, from all different agencies,” he said, adding that one of the highlights was speaking with Toronto police chief and parade-goer Mark Saunders.
But by the time Krangle, who is a community response officer, finished his shift, there had been a change in tone: following a mid-parade protest by members of Black Lives Matter Toronto, Pride organizers seemed to agree to make a number of changes to improve the event — including banning police floats and booths. (Pride executive director Mathieu Chantelois said Monday that his signing of the demands was not binding on Pride.)
The Toronto Star's Wendy Gillis reports on the findigns of the ombusdsman's report into the training of police in the use of force.
Nabil Yatim believes that if police officers in Ontario received more training on how to use words instead of weapons, his son Sammy would be alive today.
“I’m almost positive he would be,” Yatim told reporters at Queen’s Park Wednesday, after the release of a much-anticipated investigation by Ontario’s ombudsman into how the provincial government trains and directs police on use of force.
Sammy Yatim’s high-profile death in July 2013 at the hands of Toronto police Const. James Forcillo prompted ombudsman Paul Dubé’s investigation. Since Yatim’s death, 19 more people have been shot dead by police in Ontario. In many cases, they were people in crisis, Dubé writes in his report.
In a biting indictment of police training, Dubé’s report concludes that people in crisis are dying at the hands of police not because officers aren’t following their training. “It’s because they are.”
His 90-page report makes 22 recommendations, ranging from ramping up training to calling on the province to create a regulation requiring police to use de-escalation techniques in all possible conflict situations — before resorting to force. The report calls for that regulation to be in place by this time next year.
The Globe and Mail carries a brief Canadian Press article engaging with the only significant controversy around Pride.
Members of the Toronto police force say they’re angry that Pride organizers agreed to a list of demands set out by Black Lives Matter during Sunday’s parade.
The list includes nine demands that range from banning police floats in future parades to increasing funding for spaces for racialized communities.
Members of Black Lives Matter Toronto held a sit in part way through the city’s 36th annual Pride Parade, stopping it from moving forward for about a half hour, until Pride organizers signed the list of demands.
The president for the union representing the city’s police officers says he’s outraged at the demands.
[. . .]
And while Pride Toronto’s executive director signed the document during the parade, organizers are now saying that they were really just committing to “having a conversation” about the list.