streetcar traffic jam

Morning Brew: Ford won't apologize, wrongly accused sues police, new bedbug law wants landlords to pay for inspections, some candidates won't release donor lists

Rob Ford won't apologize to the proprietors of the Boardwalk Pub, despite their threats to sue him over comments he made suggesting their vending deal with the city was another example of corruption at city hall. George Foulidis held a press conference yesterday outside the pub and demanded Ford either present evidence of his claims or apologize. Ford has said that he cannot provide evidence because the decision was made in a closed-doors council meeting. "Rob Ford will not apologize for trying to shine a spotlight on some very dark corners at City Hall," said a spokesperson for his campaign. "If Mr. Foulidis plans on spending his own money to take Rob Ford to court then all the information will be made public in the discovery hearing." Foulidis has vigorously denied any wrongdoing and is adamant that, without an apology from Ford, he will sue for libel.

The 29-year-old man who was named, and then cleared, as a suspect in a shooting at Fairview Mall earlier this week is suing Toronto police and the mall. CityNews reports Shaun Mobeen is suing for negligence, libel and abuse of office, and his lawyer may also cite race as a factor. "They put my name and my face out there. My mom had to go to work," Mobeen said. NDP Justice Critic Peter Kormos also criticized the police, saying "This case cries out for some reassessment of the process police have to go through before they image of a person who...ended up definitely not being the perpetrator." Police say that proper protocol was followed, and while the misidentification is regrettable, they had grounds to release a warrant for Mobeen's arrest based on the surveillance footage. So, tell me, readers: legitimate lawsuit, or opportunistic grab? Is race a justifiable issue here?

A potential new law that would license landlords and force them to pay a "small fee" to have their premises undergo bedbug inspections is being championed by NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo, who says the province is "doing nothing" about the growing bedbug problem. DiNovo says the bill "protects good landlords and calls bad landlords to account," by denying license renewals to property owners who fail inspections. Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Rick Bartolucci is not keen on DiNovo's effort, preferring the bill introduced by Liberal MPP Mike Colle in June, which would require landlords to provide a report on bedbugs at the property before a tenant signs a lease. At least one landlords' group has called the bill "political opportunism", criticizing it for piggybacking landlord licensing onto the bedbug issue. Can we please just do something?

Three of Toronto's mayoral candidates are refusing to release their campaign donor lists until the law requires them to do so - five months after election day. While Smitherman, Rossi and Thomson aren't breaking any rules, divulging contribution information prior to election day has become the norm in elections and critics say they underestimate voters' interest in where their campaign funding comes from. While both Joe Pantalone and Rob Ford are planning to release their lists, Ford had no comment on the issue when asked, because he wasn't aware it was an issue: "I have no idea about that...this is something [that's] news to me." (Sometimes I almost want to vote for Ford simply so he can continue to entertain!). The other three candidates gave different reasons for their refusal: Smitherman gave none, while Thomson does not want to use donors to "promote [herself];" Rossi claims it isn't fair if donors weren't told in advance their names would be released. Weak.

In Brief:

The University of Toronto was ranked 17th in the world in the latest Times Higher Education ranking, making it also the highest ranked university in Canada.

Bruce McCuaig, CEO of Ontario's Metrolinx transit agency, said in his first public address that the agency's plan to tackle gridlock in Toronto is essential to the city's growth because it is "ranked among the worst cities globally for commute times."

Sarah Thomson thinks voters are starting to see Rob Ford as a "scary" Toronto mayor. Thomson says she shares their fears but will not consider dropping out in order to avoid taking votes away from current runner-up Smitherman. "I'm gonna win and I'm not worried about that."

Photo by Naveg in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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