Alan Tonks, the MP for York South–Weston has had a busy week in Parliament. Most of what he said was good: he spoke out against email spam and in favour of protecting immigrants from predacious ‘consultants’.
It is all the more worrying, then, that he spoke in favour of imprisoning people never found guilty of a crime.
Bill C-17 would allow the police to force people who may have foreknowledge of a terrorist act to appear in a hearing. While this doesn’t sound intimidating, a hearing differs from a trial in two important ways: the individual has no protection from self-incrimination, and he can be sentenced to up to 12 months in prison for refusing to testify.
A twelve-month “preventative” sentence for maintaining the right to silence is appalling. The detainee will have not have even stood trial, let alone been found guilty.
Tonks brought up the Air India trial, in which Inderjit Singh Reyat “lied or, by omission, circumvented the judicial proceedings”. Tonks wondered whether it wasn’t important for “legislators to find a way that would make the law capable of dealing with that kind of deliberate circumvention of judicial process”.
The law has a method for dealing with liars on the stand. It is the charge of perjury. Reyat was found guilty of it, and will be sentenced in November.
Yesterday, Frances Nunziata officially endorsed Rob Ford for mayor.
Nunziata has supported Ford since long before he became the leading contender. This official endorsement, though, comes at a time when battle lines are being drawn in the election.
According to the several news outlets, many council candidates are picking mayoral sides. Even former arch-rival Giorgio Mammoliti has endorsed Ford, forgiving him, apparently, for the fight in which Ford called Mammoliti a “Gino boy”—among other things.
the expected Mammoliti endorsement is the fruit of the Ford campaign’s feverish behind-the-scenes effort to garner the 22 votes he’ll need to push through his agenda.
The [Ford] campaign is quietly supporting like-minded challengers to enemy incumbents and winning over sitting councillors who don’t want to be frozen out of the action next term. Despite Mr. Ford’s reputation as a council pariah, his staff insist their plan is working.
While Nunziata certainly doesn’t need any back-room help from Ford’s campaign, she would stand to benefit from his win. Again, according to the Globe, Nunziata is interested in being the Speaker of Toronto City Council.
A long-time Ford ally, Ms. Nunziata was rumoured to be interested in the deputy mayor or budget chief jobs. But she said she doesn’t want either post. She’d rather be Speaker. “You need a strong chair and I am a very strong chair. That’s why I would be interested in that.”
According to Nunziata, she is endorsing Ford because she agrees with his stance on spending: “Rob and I have tirelessly worked together to bring more accountability to City Hall. He has been consistent for ten years in his message that voters are sick and tired of being taxed to death while their tax dollars are wasted”.
Tonight’s debate among the Ward 11 candidates was interesting if not enlightening.
The contenders, responding (or not) to questions about public transit, public-sector salaries, public safety and business interests, engaged in a lot of cross-talking and some arguing about facts. In the 60-second initial spot and a 30-second wrap-up, each presented themselves, unsurprisingly, as the best person for the job.
Premier Dalton McGuinty and American Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited Weston Collegiate on the 13th.
Duncan was Obama’s pick for Education Secretary, and played basketball with the President on election day. He is said to be one of Obama’s close circle of friends. Duncan was in Toronto to deliver a keynote speech at a conference being hosted by McGuinty, The Building Blocks for Education: Whole System Reform.
The pair were touring Weston CI because it is one of the schools with a Specialist High Skills Majors program. Weston CI has a manufacturing major: a bundle of 9 credits, four of which concentrate on manufacturing skills such as vehicle maintenance, manufacturing design, and engineering.
Duncan said “we have to engage our teenagers. The young people we talked to today couldn’t be more thrilled about the classes they’re taking and the opportunities they have. As I talked to young people today, I couldn’t be more impressed.”
It’s dangerous to ride a bike in Weston. It’s even more dangerous to walk.
In the past three weeks, there have been at least six muggings, swarmings, robberies and assaults in the Weston area. There were three in just the past week. Most have happened on the periphery of Weston, but several have happened on major streets, and many have happened in the day or in early evening.
The most frightening incident happened on September 8 at about 10 pm. A 33-year-old man walking at the intersection of Weston Rd at St Phillips was approached from behind, blinded by a sweater thrown over his head, and stabbed and beaten. He was unable to give a description of the man who assaulted him, and police are giving no motive for the attack.
In all of the other cases, muggers attempted to steal property. On September 18, three men entered Seif Halal Food Market, also at the intersection of Weston and St Phillips. One brandished a handgun and struck one of the three victims with the butt of the pistol. They stole keys to the store and to a car, and fled.
There were also two swarmings. In the first, a young man was swarmed at Trimbee Park by a group of eight people who stole his cell phone. In the second, four men approached a young couple leaving Maple Leaf Park at 2:20 in the afternoon at intersection of Culford and Rustic Rds. The 16-year-old woman was grabbed, and the group stole her cell phone.
A 26-year-old employee of the Roger’s Store on Wilson Ave also had his phone taken. Two men entered the store and took his phone from the counter. There was a struggle, but both assailants were able to escape. The employee was not injured.
A 17-year-old was also mugged nearby the day after. On September 20th, two men approached him from behind and searched through his pockets. They fled empty-handed.