Robbie, you’re old news

Rob Ford has never been one to let facts get in the way of his version of events.  How long did it take him to finally admit that he had smoked crack?   Here’s another example of Robbie ignoring evidence in an attempt to smear a Toronto Star reporter.  The following section has been extracted from a CBC News report on an interview between Conrad Black and Toronto’s titular mayor Rob Ford:

At one point in the interview, Black asked Ford about media intrusion on his family’s privacy, and Ford singled out Dale for an incident that happened in May 2012.

Ford had confronted Dale outside the mayor’s west-end home in an adjacent park — a section of which the mayor was looking to buy.

“Daniel Dale is in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids. He’s taking pictures of little kids,” Ford said. “I don’t want to say that word but you start thinking what this guy is all about.”

Dale said that at no time did he ever take any photographs of the mayor’s family, house or even his property — and a police investigation bore that out.

When asked directly about the Dale comments, Mayor Ford said at a press conference that he stood by his words in the interview.

“I stand by every word.”

Robbie, the whole city knows you don’t like The Toronto Star, but to suggest one of their reporters is a paedophile is low even for you.  Despite the existence of a police report (see bolded section above) you stand by your comments.  Then again, even though you knew of the existence of a certain tape, until the police announced they had retrieved a copy of it from a hard drive, you denied there was such a tape.  So what’s it going to take this time before you retract your accusations?

News flash Robbie: You’re mayor in name only and no matter how much huffing and puffing you and your brother do, that ain’t gonna change.  You’re old news.  Stop trying to draw attention to yourself.


I’m torn on this

This is an interesting article from the CBC news website today.  And while I find the circumstances upsetting I find myself unable to get too worked up over it.   In Ontario, where I live, trans people are now protected by law from the kind of discrimination displayed by this shopkeeper.  I can’t say whether the laws of Saskatchewan offer similar protections.  I would suspect that even if not specifically spelled out, the Human Rights Commission of Saskatchewan would cover the situation.   There is also a bill up for third reading in the House of Commons that would grant that protection federally.

My ambivalence in this is that while this lady does have the right not to be discriminated against, as guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the shopkeeper also has the right to determine who she will and will not serve. Keep in mind this took place in a private establishment, not a public space.  Of course, since the incident has now received national, if not international coverage, the possibility exists she will lose business from the adverse publicity.

The reason I don’t feel I can comment further than I did above is that since I first began to transition in 1996, I have never faced this kind of discrimination.  In fact, I can’t think of a single incident of being refused service for being trans.  Whether that I live in smaller communities rather than in a city like Toronto has any bearing on it I can’t say.  Logically one would think I would have experienced less discrimination in a cosmopolitan area.  Perhaps just my size – 5’11” without the heels – had a dampening effect on any potential problems.  Or it could be that I was just careful about the establishments I’d frequent.  Even when driving a cab nights, the only problems I ever had were two occasions when male passengers got too friendly with their hands.  Both of them got left at the side of the road.

The shopkeeper was within her  rights when she refused service to this lady, but the reason behind that refusal was not only wrong, but illegal.

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love (and freedom from discrimination) too.


Oh Robbie, not again

As I’ve written before, I’m glad I don’t live in Toronto and have Rob Ford as mayor.  The mayor where I live is so low-key I’m not even sure of his name.

There are reports on both the CBC News site and the Toronto Star news site this morning that Mayor Robbie was asked to leave a gala event called The Garrison Ball on February 23 because he was intoxicated.  The Star article also mentioned that on Saint Patrick’s day hizzoner was asked to leave an establishment because he was also intoxicated.  And the Star article also mentions there are photos on Twitter of Robbie leaving liquor stores with mickeys of vodka.

Apparently it has been an open secret around city hall that Robbie has trouble with drinking and a couple of attempts to get him help, or into rehab, were rebuffed by Robbie.  Even some of his strongest allies are commenting on his problems with alcohol, pointing to such events as his DUI conviction in Florida in 1999 and an occasion at a hockey game where he drunkenly berated a couple in the stands. He at first denied both the DUI and the hockey game incident, but “remembered” when the press turned up his Florida mug shot; and he later apologized to the couple he had harassed.    In the Garrison Ball incident, his brother, Councillor Doug, claims his brother wasn’t intoxicated.  Strangely neither Robbie nor Doug are available for comment, which would seem to belie the “not drunk” claim.

The Garrison Ball ejection came two weeks before what the Toronto media are referring to as “Assgate”, where Robbie was accused by a woman of groping her while they posed for a photo.  She also claimed he appeared to be under the influence of something.

This man has been a disaster as mayor.  His record is filled with leaving council meetings early to coach highschool football; avoiding 99% of events involving the LGBT community, although Pride Week brings in millions in tourist dollars; using his cellphone while driving (against the law in Ontario) and on at least one occasion, reading while driving at 45 miles per hour on an expressway (his excuse was “I’m a busy man”) and at least two court cases, one of which could have cost him his job.  And just this past Sunday, he called a radio show to make what have been called “prehistoric” comments on a case that at the time was before the courts.  The case is now in the hands of the jury.  And perhaps one of the lowest blows of all, on a trade mission to Chicago, the American press called him “obnoxious”.  Americans unfortunately suffer from the “ugly American” stereotype when they venture beyond their borders, so how bad was Robbie that Americans consider him obnoxious?

Robbie is talking of running for a second term as mayor in, I think, 2015 and could actually win. And that would be disastrous for the city.

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.


93% isn’t enough

No doubt by now you’ve heard of “the Ikea monkey”, unless of course, you were in a cave somewhere hoping to avoid the apocalypse.

For those who were in caves, first, the world is still here.  Now, about a week ago, a macaque monkey wearing a shearling coat was found roaming free in the parking lot of an Ikea store in north Toronto.  When she was located, the owner was given a ticket for $240 because a Toronto bylaw prohibits owning exotic pets within city limits and Darwin, the monkey, was confiscated and sent to a primate sanctuary northeast of the city.

Yesterday, the owner was in court trying to regain custody of what she refers to as “her son”.  She claims this monkey is part of her family and she has video footage of her and it brushing their teeth together.  Part of the argument put forth, at least in the press if not in court, is that the macaque has 93% human DNA, therefore should be treated as human (or some such thing – I can’t quite follow their logic there).

To my mind, this argument does more for the case of the sanctuary than it does for the owner’s because by stating that 93% figure she, and her husband are acknowledging that this thing isn’t human.

The judge in the case ruled that the monkey must stay at the sanctuary, and offered visitation rights to the owner, subject to certain conditions.  Those conditions, as reported by the media, included no touching and that the police be present during any visits.  That last was at the request of the sanctuary who worried that the owner might try something foolish should she visit.  The offer was rejected by the owner.  This case will be back in court early in the new year for final disposition.  She has said that when she gets this creature back, she will move to Kawartha Lakes, a community about an hour east of Toronto that doesn’t have an exotic pet ban.  At least they don’t yet, but according to news reports, one is on the agenda for the January council meeting.

Whether based on fact, or just a legal tactic I can’t say, but the sanctuary alleged the monkey showed signs of having been abused while in the owner’s home.   There have also been reports that creatures in the care of the sanctuary are also being, or have been, abused as well.

This whole incident has me shaking my head.  First, the owner is apparently a lawyer, but there is no way I’d want her defending me, basing that on her actions and statements during this whole thing.  Second, it is December in southern Ontario.  That means it is cold outside.  So why on earth would this lady (a) take the monkey with her to Ikea and, (b) leave it in an unheated vehicle while she shopped?  She claims this monkey is “her son”.  Would she leave her real kids in the car with no heat while she shopped?  If you’ve been to an Ikea store, you are aware there is no way on this planet you can just pop in for a couple of quick items.  Because of the store layout, even a quick browse is good for at least 30 minutes.  The monkey proved to be smarter than her.  It got out of its cage, then the vehicle, then went searching for someplace warm.

Personal opinion: this is a monkey, an exotic pet that cannot be legally kept in the city of Toronto. Ninety-three percent DNA does not make it human.  She is wasting the court’s time fighting this.  As a lawyer, she should have been aware before she bought the monkey that Toronto did have this ban. I feel no sympathy for her.

Enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.


Just found this news item on the CBC News website from Dec 19.  Sorry lady, but 93% human DNA does not qualify as a “little person”