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Morning Brew: beware the toxic Giant Hogweed, cemetery sexual assault, nerds rule, former police services board members skeptical about G20 review's scope, security cameras to go into storage, not all fences are created equal

Posted by Jerrold Litwinenko / July 14, 2010

toronto skylineA toxic weed is invading Ontario and even parts of Toronto (gasp!). The sap of Giant Hogweed, when exposed to sunlight, can cause blindness, burns, and severe skin problems that you really don't want to become familiar with. Before you abandon your house and run for the hills, check out what it looks like and if you have any doubts abut what's in your yard, call the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority for advice.

Pine Hills Cemetery in Scarborough was once again the scene of a horrific crime. A 61-year old woman arrived to visit the grave of her mother and instead was sexually assaulted and violently beaten into unconsciousness in broad daylight. Several hours later she came to, and was able to seek help. A vague suspect description is published. This same 163-acre cemetery was the scene of a homicide last fall.

Make fun of them all you want. But when down the road they're your boss or leagues more successful than you in life, remember -- nerds rule. Getting 100% in all eight of your grade 12 classes is an incredible achievement. Toronto's top high school students get serious high fives and a finger pushing up of the eyeglasses from me.

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal awarded $20,000 in damages and lost pay to a woman after she was fired by her employers when they learned that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The employer is also required to learn about the code.

Sick and tired of anything and everything G20? You may choose to stop reading this opinion-filled news roundup at this point. Otherwise, continue reading because lots is still going on. In post-G20 news:

Toronto Police will be releasing a "10 most wanted" list in an attempt to identify and apprehend those who are accused of violence against police and vandalism of property, including the three police cruisers that were destroyed on the Saturday of the G10 summit. Watch for the list, and be sure to help if and where you can.

Former members of the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) are suggesting that the planned review of G20 security by the current TPSB "will be inadequate or incomplete without other civilian [oversight] bodies coming forward." The reason? The civilian board has no power to compel testimony beyond their Toronto jurisdiction (i.e. from the provincial and federal agencies that were part of the summit's Integrated Security Unit). I have similar concerns about the Ontario Ombudman's review of the ISU's interpretation, implementation, and communication of the Public Works Act regulations. When I asked Ombudsman Andre Marin the pointed question "if your findings suggest involvement of organizations beyond provincial scope, will you recommended a full pub inquiry?," his response was "Not likely. But it's still early. Let's see where this brings us."

At the same time, activists groups are reaching out to the public and attempting to gather photo and video evidence for their own grassroots investigation. I'm not sure how much this will accomplish ((i.e. it's not likely to be given much credence because hippie protesters deserve everything they got for trying to voice their incoherent causes).

Hundreds of university professors and other educators who put stock in civic duty and democratic processes are certainly displeased that the G20 summit "taught anyone watching clear lessons in fear and apathy: Stay home."

Police have every intention of taking down all of the temporary G20 security cameras that were installed in the downtown core, and storing them in a safe place -- until the next time we hold an event that demands surveillance of this type and magnitude.

And the Globe and Mail tries to convince us that apples can be compared to oranges and takes a hard but fluffy look at the similarities and differences between the G20 security fence and the Honda Indy race fence.

Photo: "IMG_1712" by ybg3, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.



Xavier / July 14, 2010 at 07:45 am
Following past policy, Dalton McGuinty will announce a ban on the Giant Hogweed. He is confident that will eliminate it as an issue in Ontario. This will follow his successful policy of banning pitbulls.
Em / July 14, 2010 at 08:18 am
I'm confused as to why this hogweed shit is getting so much media attention suddenly. It's been here burning holes in my legs while I weedwhack since my family moved here over 15 years ago...
warmflash / July 14, 2010 at 08:32 am
G20 News Update:

There are now calls to build a G20 Memorial and Interpretive Center at the site of the atrocities; King + Spadina.

There will be interactive displays, hourly re-enactments using Sim City technology and life size wax figures of the " Heroes Of G20." i.e. Civil Rights Champion Judy Rebick, George Smitherman, Buzz Hargrove etc.

This would be a natural tourist destination not unlike the Viet Nam Memorial in Washington or Sea World in San Diego.
Tranis / July 14, 2010 at 08:38 am
Perhaps some of the G20 commentary and opinion here would be taken more seriously if it weren't written in such a sarcastic tone.

Also, where's the link to the most wanted list? That's news we can all use.
@dandmb50 - Daniel / July 14, 2010 at 08:38 am
That YouTube video is one of the best, I even placed it on my BLOG a week ago. "This is not CANADA, it's G20 land" and he was a sergeant from York Regional Police. Has anything happened to him yet? This is one of thousands of abuses and all people should be allowed to move within the city at anytime. It is a powerful video and was even on the CityTV last night and I think most of the officers were making up their own rules. Are any of these officers that were upset/disgusted by the whole G20 thing going to come forward and let us know what they think and give us their side of the story?
The G20 may be over but the treatment of it's citizens is NOT over, we need an independent inquiry not one done by the police themselves. Those in command must answer these questions. Or at the very least come forward and admit they had no idea what they were doing and they had no real plan and they did abuse the citizens and were wrong.

Daniel ... Toronto
Rajio / July 14, 2010 at 09:01 am
Not to knock the students and 100% in all your classes is great but it's a lot easier when standards drop and all students can argue their sense of entitlement up to a higher grade. I hear this from teachers constantly.
belvedere replying to a comment from @dandmb50 - Daniel / July 14, 2010 at 09:03 am
oh boo hoo...here, have some kleenex and please go stfu.
Jerrold replying to a comment from Tranis / July 14, 2010 at 09:04 am
Got a URL for the most wanted list? I didn't come across the story you're referring to in my morning reading (which was done at 6am today).
Jerrold replying to a comment from Tranis / July 14, 2010 at 09:15 am
Got it. I've added it as an item above. Thanks!
John / July 14, 2010 at 09:39 am
The Toronto Community Mobilization Network are the absolute WORST people to be leading advocacy for a proper G20 inquiry. There was strangely no mention in the video above of how a number of TCMN associates still face serious charges connected with the vandalism that took place. And even before the summit, TCMN spokesasses were smugly talking shit about a "diversity of protest tactics," which is code for smashing windows. These idiots are the reason why so many Torontonians don't give a shit about the police clampdown. If the TCMN is judged by their actual accomplishments, they are objectively pro-police state. Fuck the TCMN.

If I were a police/government PR employee looking to destroy the credibility of post-G20 complainants, I would make sure every reporter first talked to these TCMN lunatics. Ass-hats like them are the right-wing's best friends. Who needs agents provocateurs?

Mike / July 14, 2010 at 09:45 am
I'm not sure if those who are demanding an inquiry are going to like what it might find. Have a look here:


The nebulous nature of the Charter will likely put the police in the clear no matter what, which is going to suck for the large number of people clamouring for an investigation.*

* - Official vilification/demonization of the police

Let's be honest. Everything is over and done with. The only thing most of those wanting an inquiry want to hear is that the police were monsters. If they don't, I guarantee they'll want another inquiry.
Mike W replying to a comment from Rajio / July 14, 2010 at 10:09 am
I guess it would be too difficult to accept someone achieving this legitly in your mind...
hbr / July 14, 2010 at 10:28 am
lol....All the green/enviro people have been crying for years about banning pesticides now this is what you've got, a media hyped weed that burns hole through you.
Ryan L. replying to a comment from hbr / July 14, 2010 at 10:31 am
Two words: Personal Flamethrower
munzz / July 14, 2010 at 10:37 am
Thanks for the article "A rough lesson in civics"
good read. fav line:

Our rights to public expression, assembly, debate and protest were put under martial law. Let’s not forget: not only is protest a right, it’s a civic duty and the safeguard of democracy. Passive populations invite abuse of power.
steve replying to a comment from Mike W / July 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm
Unfortunately Rajio is right. Most of the comments about this story on The Star are criticizing the possibility of getting 100% in something like English - while I would take issue with this, the real problem comes from the lack of standardization between high schools. A 90 at one school is an 80 at another. I had friends in university show up with 90+ averages, get the big scholarships, then drop out after first year. Perhaps we need an SAT type of system...
Pat replying to a comment from hbr / July 14, 2010 at 01:37 pm
@hbr I don't think any environmentalist has a problem with a weed burning a hole through you.
Alogon replying to a comment from Xavier / July 14, 2010 at 02:05 pm
you forgot "and any plant that looks substantially like Hogweed, regardless of whether it is harmful or not and despite expert advice".

Yep, that's Dalton and the crew of our provincial legislature, stupid liars who don't give a sh!t about any of us unless we own a huge corporation and donate large to their campaigns.
Alogon replying to a comment from belvedere / July 14, 2010 at 02:10 pm
Wow, stunning cognition there and such a well-structured logical argument. Its a shame that idiots like you benefit from the struggle of others to maintain our hard-fought rights.

It won't be until you are arbitrarily detained, smacked around and treated like cattle by "authority" before you realize how much of a goof you are and how pathetic you reasoning is. You will be crying for someone to help safeguard your rights but probably won't have the gratitude to thank those you abuse. You should be thankful there are people who will demand accountability because you benefit from it.
Langford / July 14, 2010 at 02:50 pm
Almost daily, when I check up on the Morning Brew after lunch, the comments portion has developed into personal attacks. You can count on it.
belvedere replying to a comment from Alogon / July 14, 2010 at 07:56 pm
heavens to betsy, but u r really quite the grandiosely grandiloquent pollyanna. here's a kleenex for u too, but i doubt that pompous u will stfu. "arbitrarily detained"?? "smacked around"?? "treated like cattle"?? man, u've lived in canada for way too long, u should really get out more. then u'll really find out what those " " phrases mean and u'll bear the contusions as proof. u have no fucking clue what rights u enjoy here as a canadian relative even to other first world nations, let alone banana republics and former soviet satellites. if u r part of a demonstration that turns violent, then get ready to be accountable even as an "innocent" bystander. indeed, how peacenik bystanders could let those vandals do what they did is far more deplorable than ur perceived rights abuses by police. grow up and sniff the cordite on the winds of reality.
saltspring replying to a comment from @dandmb50 - Daniel / July 14, 2010 at 09:53 pm
So what exactly is that video you posted supposed to prove? That you're a short and pubic-whiskered douchebag? If I were a cop and you refused to submit to a check of your backpack during a time of violent unrest, I'd punt your twenty-something stupid ass from here to Laval.
me replying to a comment from Alogon / July 14, 2010 at 11:16 pm
We must further add that since caraway, carrot, celery, chervil, cicely, coriander/cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, parsley, and parsnip are related to the Giant Hogweed, they too are now banned. Hmmm.. I wonder if Michael Bryant could tell the difference between these plants?

Actually, I'm okay with parsnips being banned, I hate them.
@dandmb50 - Daniel .. Toronto / July 16, 2010 at 07:53 am
Salts, that's exactly why we need a public inquiry, because sadly, there are police in our city that have your viewpoint and they must be gone. We want the good police to stay but those with an agenda must go or be punished if they treated anyone with this type of action. Do you not remember this?

How does the story go .. The military came forward and shut down the Jew that was peacefully protesting and arrested him, then they got away with it, so they came and took away the Christian for peacefully preaching on the street, arrested and took him away and nobody said anything.
Then they came for me, and I wish I had spoken up earlier when they took away the Jew and the Christian.
We better all wake up and not let this happen to any of us because we may end up in Torontonomo Bay (Detention Centre) I bet it's still open.

If we let this go YOU may be next no matter where you try to hide.

Daniel .. Toronto
Judy Lyons / May 18, 2012 at 03:59 pm
Please, will somebody answer. I was exposed to giant leaf hogweed that was in a backyard of a house that I had rented in Stouffeville Ontario. I did have cataracts but my eyesight went. Part of the lease was to take care of the weeds and they took care of me. My beloved companion dog dies of cancer, My skin is -- well I'm looking for an answer. I even have pictures of this plant walking up the back stairs of the house. I need someone who can give me answers to a lot of questions of this exotic backyard.
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