Toronto Ice

Morning Brew: Parks leaking methane, TTC essential service legislation tabled, Ontario police don't listen to the SIU, the RCMP isn't supposed to practice kettling, more on the street hockey ban, Leafs win, Raptors lose

Do you smell that? Chances are you do, and chances are you're smelling methane. Some 34 of the 160 former landfills (some now parks) in Toronto leak methane, and 12 discharge leachates. They're monitored and controlled, but critics note that the $23 million set aside for such a purpose is being diverted to clean up a single site for the Pan Am Games aquatic centre in Scarborough.The safety concern with methane is that it could move through cracks in the soil and settle in someone's basement, causing an explosion risk.

Ontario's Liberal government introduced the bill to make the TTC an essential service yesterday. The government and the city want the legislation passed to declare the Toronto Transit Commission an essential service before the first labour contracts expire at the commission at the end of March.However, Bob Kinnear, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, said the bill should not be rushed through, and claimed it's all about union busting by Toronto's new Mayor Rob Ford. "This legislation is about taking on the unions, and it's unfortunate that the mayor of this city is too much of a coward to be up front about the fact that that's what he's trying to do," said Kinnear.

This is comforting. An exclusive in today's Star reveals police across Ontario refuse to cooperate with or respond to the Special Investigations Unit. A trail of letters written by SIU director Ian Scott to the province's chiefs of police show his mounting frustration at not being able to hold officers accountable.The province released the letters, but whited out the names of the police forces involved. The SIU's job is to investigate serious injuries and deaths resulting from interactions between police and civilians, and decide whether to criminally charge an officer.

Speaking of the police, documents given to the Globe show that the RCMP--a key member of the Integrated Security Unit that policed Toronto's G20 summit--does not practice "kettling", one of the more controversial tactics used by security forces, when hundreds of people were penned on a downtown corner for hours in the rain. Moreover, it is the RCMP's stated policy "always" to give crowds a way out. Alan Young, of Osgoode Hall Law School lawyer, said it should not come as a surprise that certain police forces don't have policies on kettling, saying: "A lot of policing is done on what I call crisis management: If a problem explodes publicly, then they address it."


Photo by picturenarrative in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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