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Morning Brew: Mayor and Premier admit smoking pot, judge leaves police review, Toronto is the 4th best city, Mammoliti's giant flag on hold, and a boring explainer

Posted by Chris Bateman / August 29, 2013

toronto catRob Ford has become the latest politician to admit smoking pot. Speaking at a luncheon event yesterday, Ford said he has smoked "a lot" of marijuana before being ushered away by his staff. It shouldn't be a huge surprise since Ford was arrested and charged by Miami police in 1999 for possessing a joint.

The admission came the same day Premier Kathleen Wynne said she smoked pot 35 years ago and almost a week after Liberal leader Justin Trudeau confirmed he'd done the same while an MP. Will this hurt Ford or the Wynne?

The retired judge appointed by Toronto police Chief Bill Blair to conduct a review of use-of-force guidelines is stepping aside. Former justice Dennis O'Connor said in a statement that he is withdrawing because he currently works for a law firm that acts for the insurers of the Toronto Police after lawyers for the families of several victims raised concerns.

The Scaborough subway could be in limbo after Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray admitted he isn't sure if the federal government will chip in. "When you put a 416 area code in front of a transit project ... the cheques disappear," Murray told CBC News. The extension of the Bloor-Danforth line to Scarborough Centre is reliant on the city finding the additional $1.4 billion the project requires over the LRT option. Will the money appear?

Oh no, not another quality of life ranking. This time, according the Economist Intelligence Unit, which is part of the Economist Group, Toronto is the fourth most livable city in the world behind Vancouver, Vienna, and Melbourne. Calgary came fifth and Montreal didn't make the top ten. Too bad.

Toronto has taken its fair share of elemental batterings this decade. Floods, snow storms, and heat waves all have all strained the city's infrastructure to breaking point. The CBC has a concise round-up of times we've failed to weather the storm in the last decade.

Also in round-ups, in light of more CNE food stands being shut down, here's a barf-o-rific list of times food has attacked at special events, including contaminated sandwiches during the 1984 papal visit and a particularly messy 2012 church event in Prince Edward Island. Oh, the humanity!

It looks like Cllr. Giorgio Mammoliti's plan to bring the world's largest flag and flagpole to Finch Ave. and Highway 400 is on the rocks. The city has been unable to buy the land required for the 125-metre pole at a reasonable rate. Even Mammoliti's model of the pole is gone from outside his office.

PayPal is planning a public test of a new electronic wallet system in Toronto. Jimmy's Coffee on King West will be one of the first companies to accept payments via a new smartphone app and its TouchBistro cash register software. Expect more of this sort of thing in the next few months.

Finally, have you ever wondered how engineers manage to dig out tunnels for new subways and LRT lines? Urban Toronto has an insightful look at the challenges facing crews working on the Eglinton-Crosstown line as they bore a two circular, 11 km holes through midtown Toronto. Who says boring has to be boring?


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: cinnamn112/blogTO Flickr pool.



matts / August 29, 2013 at 08:36 am
We can only assume Rob was getting a really nice deal from Doug and was not paying retail price. I'd smoke a lot too, if I could buy wholesale.
glenn storey / August 29, 2013 at 09:22 am
oh, for the love of george stanley. forget the stupid flagpole already. it's a stupid, stupid, stupid idea
Jahn / August 29, 2013 at 09:25 am
No federal money for the Scarb subway? What a surprise!

I'm sure Robby admitting to being high 'quite a lot' will help his subway cause with anti-pot Harper.
Craig replying to a comment from Jahn / August 29, 2013 at 09:36 am
Jahn, there was money allocated to the original LRT project (along with a lot of other transit projects in the GTA). I wonder what happened to it? I'm not sure why it would dissappear now.
Todd Toronto / August 29, 2013 at 09:51 am
Following the link to the livable cities gallery, The Daily Telegraph says ""North America’s fourth largest city is arguably its most vibrant..."

Look, I'll take the compliment, but really?! As long as New York remains in North America, how could that possibly be true?
Jahn replying to a comment from Craig / August 29, 2013 at 09:54 am
You are correct, however, the Scarberia subway project was always contingent on at least $1 billion dollars from the federal government.

The LRT project, on the other hand, was fully funded, served more people, had more stops and would have been built much quicker.

Once again, hizzoner has stalled a much needed transit project in Toronto. What a great guy!
Al replying to a comment from Jahn / August 29, 2013 at 10:07 am
Ford deserves some of the blame, but he didn't drive the change. That was Stintz.
lol replying to a comment from Jahn / August 29, 2013 at 10:09 am
Leave the big guy alone, it is had to make decisions for the city when you are as a high as a kite and drunk like a skunk. lol
Alex replying to a comment from Jahn / August 29, 2013 at 10:20 am
Council should have ignored Ford on this, so he's not the only one to blame. Blame everyone that voted for this stupid new way to delay the Scarborough LRT for a few months.

Everyone already knows Ford smokes pot. I don't see that as being news anymore. He apparently drinks a lot and does a lot harder drugs too, so admitting to smoking pot doesn't really mean anything. Shouldn't we be more upset that he draws over $150000 in salary and slacks off at work and doesn't do his job? We're technically his bosses and he's been skipping meetings and he never does any prep work. He didn't even know the LRT was separated from the road at the huge debate! If I came that unprepared to a meeting I'd expect a serious talking to from my manager. No wonder his dad had to buy him a seat on council, the guy literally can't do a real job.
Dave replying to a comment from Alex / August 29, 2013 at 10:40 am
Doesn't bother me at all.

Trudeau has done it, Hudak has done it, McGuinty, Wynne, etc. I'm surprised if at least 75% of politicians haven't. Surveys show that Canadians are the biggest pot smokers in the Western World.

It's a near harmless naturally grown substance, and too much money has been wasted in legal costs for imprisoning non-violent recreational smokers.

With that being said, I still won't smoke it. I prefer a chilled bottle of Forty Creek on the rocks.
Jahn replying to a comment from Dave / August 29, 2013 at 10:52 am
Ford has admitted to being high 'quite a lot' which is rather disturbing for someone in his position. The real questions are whether Ford smokes crack and whether he gets high while on the job.
Pedro / August 29, 2013 at 10:53 am
Yes now the smoke is that for not krak or pie
Dave replying to a comment from Jahn / August 29, 2013 at 10:55 am
I love the flipside argument here. When JT came out endorsing the legalization of it, there was an obvious PRO bias to a lot of the media outlets that tend to lean left. but now that Ford, who's seen as a right wing supporter comes out, the same media outlets are hard pressed to put a negative spin on it, without seemingly contradicting themselves. The articles for once are pretty short and factual. almost downplaying it compared to some of the other issues.
Dave replying to a comment from Jahn / August 29, 2013 at 10:59 am
He used the simple past tense, "smoked" indicating a past and completed action. By the same token, there is nothing in the article to indicate that the action is continued into the present and future.
It is by no means that I am in support of Ford's action. It is just as reprehensible as Justin Trudeau's. We should hold public figures to a higher standard and not apologize for their misdemeanor.
Jahn replying to a comment from Dave / August 29, 2013 at 11:06 am
Ford is not to be trusted. He frequently says one thing, then as the facts emerge, he emerges red faced and forced to admit his lies.

So, sure, Ford used the past tense but he giggled like a guilty schoolboy before admitting it. Then, he ran away like he always does when faced with tough questions.

No one with a clear head believes Ford anymore.
Jacob replying to a comment from Dave / August 29, 2013 at 11:17 am
Past tense also includes "5 minutes ago."
Dave replying to a comment from Jahn / August 29, 2013 at 11:25 am
I still don't believe that non-violent drug use between consenting adults of near-harmless-euphoric-naturally-occurring plants should even constitute as a criminal offence regardless if they hold public office or not. They should be judged on their ability to perform their duties.
matts replying to a comment from Jacob / August 29, 2013 at 11:27 am
Or it could be sentence fragment, for example: "I smoked a lot of weed, then I moved on to smoking crack."
matts replying to a comment from Dave / August 29, 2013 at 11:28 am
"They should be judged on their ability to perform their duties."

You're setting a remarkaby easy test for Rob to fail.
glenn storey replying to a comment from Jahn / August 29, 2013 at 11:46 am
and also, is dave gettin' stoked with him while they're at the office?
Dave replying to a comment from matts / August 29, 2013 at 11:57 am
Nice spin - Actually there are more than a few of us who think this latest Ford admission will shut up the anti-Ford leftist progressives.
I mean, how can you say glowing things about the honesty ofTrudeau's drug use and deride Ford for his.
But I'm sure you'll find some angle.
comeon / August 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm
Come on people stop responding to Dave, no one gives him attention he will go away.
Dave replying to a comment from glenn storey / August 29, 2013 at 12:28 pm
He admitted this because he was asked, not because he was trying to look cool or hip (like Trudeau). Honestly do you guys read these articles? Or can you barely contain your excitement to rant and scream about conservatives so you don't bother?

McRib replying to a comment from Dave / August 29, 2013 at 12:59 pm
ahh, so Dave is also known as 'Canuck Firebrand' in the National Post comment sections. A loudmouth idiot who listens to no one and thinks his opinion matters.

It all makes so much sense. I agree with comeon, just ignore the guy.
Sandra Pavan / August 29, 2013 at 01:06 pm
I don't care if the whole lot of 'em get into Ford's SUV with a watermelon bong and a pound of weed and a pack if sparklers, and they stay there until they are hoarse from sore lungs ans laughter, I just don't want to see any of them DRIVING after that. Because it worries me after this whole Taste of Danforth debacle that our Mayor might have lapses in judgement at times after one too many 'pops', which for most people, IS only one.

I'm sure we can all agree on that.
Dave replying to a comment from Sandra Pavan / August 29, 2013 at 01:24 pm
Sandra get off the Taste of Danforth fabricated situation. The man is a man of the people and we the people voted him in because of his mandate and his reacord at city hall. Like I explained to you yesterday, Ford has done more for the city on a positive angle than you will ever even fathom. His steering youth into sporting programs, the hundreds of thousands of dollars he donates every year to civic charities and his time he donates to better the community is unparalleled.
You dear have done nothing that compares.
Jahn replying to a comment from Dave / August 29, 2013 at 02:31 pm
Dave's in love!
tommy replying to a comment from Dave / August 29, 2013 at 03:00 pm
Uh, maybe because there's no point in putting a negative spin on it? Or any spin for that matter. It must be tiring to feel persecuted (or expected to feel persecuted) all the time.
Sandra Pavan replying to a comment from Dave / August 29, 2013 at 06:22 pm
Look, I know it stings because deep down the timeline just simply doesn't add up--Ford was rippity-ripped by the time the (grotesque) hoards of shutterbugs descended on him**, and he's never given a credible timeline of how/when he arrived and where/when he got drunk.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not attacking the man for being addicted to alcohol and drugs --that has to be tough and I wish him the very best with it. My point is one of these days he could very well hurt himself, or his family or a member of the public while under the influence, and if it's a tragedy we can prevent, then I'd rather hold his feet to the fire now than later. This has nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with public safety.

He wants to get blotto, great. He wants to smoke some ill sticky, fine. But have a designated driver or you'd better resign yourself to the fact you are glued to your chair for the duration because you run someone down while off your face, the least of your worries is the press or your political foes getting wind of it.

**(Seriously, don't people know that gleefully posing for pictures with someone with their neck in the noose --Mayor drunk in public while currently embattled)-- is just as bad as the perceived offense itself?? Some of those photos and videos were outright offensive, with people jubilantly dancing around our drunk Mayor like he was some freak-show trophy. I felt like it was Abu Ghraib. One of the most disgusting things you can do is kick someone you hate when they are down because of what it says about you)
Curt / August 29, 2013 at 07:50 pm
Dave, do you ever come up for air? Your nose is so deep between Robby's cheeks you must use a snorkel to breathe.
Sandra Pavan replying to a comment from Dave / August 29, 2013 at 08:50 pm
Um, okay. Cheapshot insults ("challenged"?? Funny, never took you for one of those 'politically correct' types...) and clunky non sequiturs aside...

...if you want to discuss the video issue rather than Rob Ford's substance abuse and poor decision-making, we certainly can. But if you want to stop dropping red herrings like they were dime bags and finish what we were talking about, the Mayor has to set the bar higher for himself.

There's no reason the next time he's high or wasted he can't resolve to just say NO to driving. How hard can it be? Better yet, use a damn DRIVER, there's money set aside for it, and he could use the time productively to work. Or hell, to drink and do umps for all I care. For the most part the public wouldn't see it as flip-flopping or wasting the public purse if he allowed himself to be photographed under chauffeur for crying out loud. It's better than the alternative: some future headline about Rob Ford running someone over while baked and/or blitzed.

Use a hired car, already. you can have the floor back. I think you were busy making a case about me being 'fat' or something. I'm sure everyone is waiting with bated breath for you to build that one out a bit more.
Sandra Pavan / August 29, 2013 at 08:53 pm
Oops..that's "bumps", not "umps.

And I would have a serious problem if Rob Ford wanted to drink and do Umps because he's married and I don't think his wife would approve. :)
Missing Phil? / August 30, 2013 at 09:02 am
Anyone else concerned we finally have marijuana news, and no comments from Mississauga Phil?

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