Toronto garden

Morning Brew: Smitherman throws down gauntlet to Ford, G20 police inquiry by Ontario watchdog, Conrad Black may be allowed back to Toronto, Eaton Centre peeping Tom, real life Winnie-the-Pooh

These days, it seems George Smitherman is just itching for direct confrontation. Unsatisfied with previous mayoral candidate shouting matches, he's now requested the chance to lock horns with Rob Ford in a one-on-one debate with no other candidates present. His reasoning is that "most of the polls indicate that [they] are the two leading contenders" anyway, and it would benefit voters to hear from just the front-runners. Ford says he is not intimidated, and the other candidates are certainly not impressed.

After receiving close to 300 G20-related complaints, the Ontario Independent Police Review Director announced yesterday that it will be launching a systemic review of police conduct during the summit. The office will still be investigating each complaint individually, but according to director Gerry McNeilly, his office can lawfully initiate a more thorough review if there's a pattern in the complaints. These guys couldn't have asked for a bigger test of effectiveness -- the office was only established last fall, and this will be its first inquiry.

In Chicago today, Conrad Black will be facing the same judge who put him in prison to acknowledge the terms of his release, which may change at the hearing to allow him to return to Toronto. Even if permission were granted, it's anybody's guess how he'd be able to cross the border, as his only identification, a British passport, expired while he was in jail.

Ladies, keep an eye out, as always. A 35-year-old Thornhill man has been charged with voyeurism after being spotted in the Eaton Centre and at Dundas subway station yesterday with a camera attached to a laptop bag, allegedly videotaping under women's skirts. So those lone men with video cameras at the crowded Yonge-Dundas intersection may not simply be there to capture the summer, um, festivities.

Finally, the search for a poor bear with its head stuck in a jar is now over. An empty pickle jar with a clump of black fur inside was found on the shores of Lake Superior, and has been confirmed as the same one the black bear had been struggling with for two weeks. Can anybody say, "Oh bother!"

Photo: "Field of dreams" by StudioGabe, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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