Sunday, March 31, 2013

Peter Kormos had the heart of a lion

Peter Kormos was a wild-hearted maverick, a colourful character in an often grey political landscape - and one of the most brilliant and fearless politicians this province has ever seen.

He had the heart of a lion. He would take on any cause and fight to the death to win.

And he always, always battled hardest when he was fighting for his beloved hometown of Welland.

Kormos died Saturday at age 60. He had collapsed in Toronto on Wednesday and was taken to hospital. He checked himself out and returned to Welland, where he died.

In many ways, Kormos personified Welland. He was gritty, hard-working and no nonsense.

But behind that gruff exterior was a heart of gold. The last time I saw him was when he dropped by my office at Queen’s Park with chocolates on Valentine’s Day. That was just the kind of guy he was.

He would bring treats for some of the women in the press gallery, and he’d sit and chat and open up about his latest concern - whether it was right-to-work legislation or the state of the auto industry.

He cared passionately about the Canadian car industry, and would wag his finger at me in admonition when he saw me driving my import.

And he was one of the most honest politicians I’ve ever covered.

Like most honest men, though, he caused waves with his frankness and his absolute refusal to compromise his staunch socialist beliefs. And he made enemies.

He was a true socialist, not a save-the-whales, social democrat. He cared deeply about the union movement, and teased me about that when the Sun went through a certification process.

In his younger days, he cut quite a sartorial figure at Queen’s Park, even posing as a SUNshine Boy, leaning against his flashy Corvette. Former Premier Bob Rae was not amused. It cost Kormos his cabinet seat. He favoured cowboy boots, rarely wore a tie and in the early years of the McGuinty government, he was the subject of a Liberal MPP’s motion to introduce a dress code to the floor of the Legislature.

After the motion passed, Kormos showed up in a tuxedo, mocking the woman who’d insisted on the dress rules in his own wry way.

Kormos was bitterly disappointed when the New Democratic government, of which he was a part, failed to deliver on its promise of public auto insurance. He clashed with Rae over that decision and the two never really made up.

A lawyer, Kormos never forgot who it was who sent him to Queen’s Park. It was the little guy on the street in Welland he owed his living to. It was his commitment to the needs of average folk that drove him.

He never got too big for his cowboy boots. He was a favourite with the media simply because he could distil the most complex issues into a few pithy sentences.

Kormos’ death is a shock, but not a surprise.

He’d been unwell in recent years and took several months off just before the 2011 election. He didn’t run again for his provincial seat, chosing instead to run for Niagara Regional Council. He’d also become a frequent commentator on radio and TV.

Peter, I can’t imagine Queen’s Park without the possibility of you rapping at my door as you always did to announce yourself.

You were, my friend, quite simply the best - the bravest and the most courageous guy around here.

I’ll miss your humour.

Most of all, I’m going to miss your passion for politics. The way you made this place make sense because you understood it so well.

We all miss you already. And the guy who is most bereft, who’ll feel your loss for ever, is that little guy in Welland you always fought so hard to represent.

Goodbye, my friend. And God Bless.
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Man killed in Yorkdale shooting

TORONTO  - A man was killed and another seriously hurt when gunfire erupted outside a bustling Yorkdale Shopping Centre Saturday night.

Toronto Police say the shooting began around 8 p.m. with an altercation “between two groups” inside the mall, located near Dufferin St. and Hwy. 401 and spilled outside into the west parking lot.

“The initial confrontation began inside the mall but there were no shots fired inside the mall,” Homicide Det. Rob North said early Sunday at Yorkdale.

He said it was too early in the investigation to offer many details but he did confirm the were no innocent bystanders.

It’s believed the man who was killed was shot as many as 10 times.

His body lay on the ground outside the Sears department store after the shooting.

“I saw the paramedics working on him,” Michael Troya, 16, said, at the mall. “They were working on him for about 10 minutes.”

Troya said patrons weren’t sure what was happening at first and most didn’t see the man because everyone was focused on another victim about 20 metres away who he and others initially believed was a woman.

“I was pretty scared,” he said, adding such violence is not something he expected to see when he headed to the usually safe mall to hang out with his girlfriend.

Police later confirmed that victim was a man and that he was rushed to Sunnybrook hospital in critical condition.

Shortly before midnight, Const. Wendy Drummond tweeted that he had been stabilized.

Meanwhile, the first victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

“A lot of people were upset that Yorkdale didn’t tell us what was going on right away,” Troya said.

The mall did release a statement about an hour after the city’s latest murder — the 15th killing of the year.

“Yorkdale Shopping Centre is currently working with the Toronto Police Service as part of the an active investigation,” the statement read. “All vehicles entering or exiting the property will be stopped and spoken to by Toronto police officers.”

“Further information will follow,” the statement continued. “Thank you for your cooperation.”

Police cruisers blocked every exit immediately after the shooting and officers were checking every vehicle that pulled in or was heading out.

Just last summer there was a horrific shooting at Toronto’s busiest mall, the Eaton Centre.

A gunman opened fire in the food court on June 2 killing two men and wounding numerous innocent bystanders.

“Some people just don’t seem to care, they have no morals,” Troya said of those who would open fire at a mall.

Investigators are looking over surveillance video from mall security cameras but were unable to offer any description of the gunmen.

However, as many as six people are believed to have fled the scene after the shooting, North said.

Anyone with information in the Yorkdale mall shooting is urged to call the Homicide Unit at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
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Friday, March 29, 2013

Thousands line Little Italy streets for Good Friday procession

TORONTO - A ton of work goes into the Church of St. Francis of Assisi’s popular Good Friday procession every year and Friday’s was no different.

Thousands lined the streets of Little Italy to watch parishioners garbed as Jesus, Roman soldiers and disciples with banners tell the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and the events leading up to it.

Joe Maneli, the procession’s director the past 27 years, said the procession “is really a re-enactment of the passion of Christ.

“We usually have about 2,000 participants within the procession and we’ve hit crowds of about 200,000 people back in years with great weather,” said Maneli. “It’s a huge challenge. It requires a team of people start in January to organize this thing.

“And it gets done. We’re not perfect, but, we try to make it better each and every year,” he added.

Maneli said there were 10 floats with a total of about 105 characters portraying people of the time, including five portraying Jesus in different chapters. Maneli’s father introduced characters to the procession in 1977, and Joe Maneli was one of them, before taking over as director in 1985.

Unlike Maneli, Chiara Pereira was helping to organize the parade for the first time.

Why did she get involved?

“I just wanted to be part of something amazing. I’m a part of the church and I’ve never been a part of this and I wanted to be a part of this,” she said, motioning to the unfolding spectacle.

While the procession was started by two Italian men more than half a century ago, Maneli said “it’s open to everyone. It’s an everybody event, because it’s about togetherness.”

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Giorgio Mammoliti rushed to hospital, undergoes surgery

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti is undergoing surgery Friday.

Mammoliti's staff confirmed just after midnight that the councillor was rushed to St. Michael's hospital Thursday night.

Alex Barbieri, Mammoliti's executive assistant, said the councillor would be having surgery Friday.

He didn't say what the surgery was for but said it was "not life threatening."

The Ward 7, York West councillor has been a lightning rod of controversy at City Hall but has never complained of health problems.

Late last year, Mammoliti left Mayor Rob Ford's executive committee.

In January, Mammoliti alleged he is the victim of a "conspiracy."

Without naming names or providing any concrete evidence, Mammoliti said a preliminary investigation he’s conducted has pointed to a group of people “out to do some damage, personal damage.”

Last week, Mammoliti issued a statement saying a private investigator turned up evidence he has been targeted by an undisclosed “organized” group.

He alleged investigators at the Toronto firm, Executek International, have evidence someone attempted to access his computer remotely and copy files, impersonated him to obtain his phone records, and tampered with his phones.

The city's compliance audit committee voted in February to commence legal proceedings against Mammoliti for alleged breaches of the municipal elections act.

At least one councillor to Twitter Friday to wish Mammoliti a "speedy recovery."

"My thoughts & very best wishes are with Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti and his family as he undergoes surgery," Councillor Josh Matlow tweeted.
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

One man dead following double shooting on King St. W.

TORONTO - One man is dead and another is badly hurt after an overnight shooting that left a sidewalk on the edge of the city’s Entertainment District stained with blood.

Toronto Police say officers patrolling in the area rushed to King St. W., east of Bathurst St., when they heard gunfire ring out around 2:40 a.m. Thursday.

“When they arrived at the scene they found two men in their early 20s suffering from gunshots wounds,” Const. Tony Vella said later in the day.

It’s believed a gunman approached from behind and opened fire on the victims as they walked along the north side of King near Portland St. — an area that was teeming with people as the many nearby nightclubs were closing up for the night.

One man was shot in his torso and his arm but is expected to survive.

The other man, now identified by police as Anthony Smith, 21, suffered mortal gunshots wounds to his head and died later in hospital.

Homicide detectives have taken over the investigation into the city’s 14th murder of the year.

Two large pools of blood remained on the sidewalk after the sun came up and the area was cordoned off with yellow police tape.

Several empty shell casings were found by cops but the gun was not recovered.

Vella wasn’t able to confirm reports the shooting was prompted by an altercation that started inside the Loki Lounge — a nightclub on the south side of King that was also cordoned off with crime scene tape.

“It’s early in the investigation, so at this point the motive for the shooting is unclear,” he said.

Police have no description for the shooter yet either, but Vella said officers are gathering surveillance video from security cameras in the area.

Witnesses who have not yet spoken to police, and anyone with information regarding the deadly shooting, is urged to call 14 Division at 416-808-1400 or crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
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Credibility of Toronto Star story on Mayor Rob Ford's drinking questioned

TORONTO - Depending on one’s outlook, the current debate about Mayor Rob Ford hinges on three aspects: 1) Was he drunk at the Garrison Ball last month? 2) Was he asked to leave the premises? 3) Is the Toronto Star waging a vendetta against him?

Everyone else seems to be plunging headlong into the debate, so here I go.

What seems most significant about the three issues, is that the Star broke the story — made the over-imbibing allegations — but chose to use mostly anonymous sources.

In journalism, anonymous sources are always suspect, but are acceptable if the “sources” are in physical or emotional risk if they are identified. Can that possibly be the case with Ford? If someone squeals on him, has he a team of hit men ready to exert retribution?

In writing about the case, the Toronto Sun’s Simon Kent has noted: “By my count, at least 12 anonymous sources are used in the story, but I am happy to be proven wrong. Maybe there are more … many former staffers, senior staffers, junior staffers, current staffers, committee members, party guests, a real estate agent, a source, more sources close to the mayor, restaurant staff and a DJ. All unnamed.”

Credibility is questioned, as Kent accurately notes, when anonymous quotes “are seemingly chosen because they affirm the paper’s position on the man.”

And the Star’s editorials on Ford make it clear that the paper has little use for the mayor, and will move heaven and earth (rhetorically speaking) to get rid of the guy.

One of the more curious assessments, as quoted in the Sun, was “left-leaning” Councillor Sarah Doucette’s view that there’s concern about the mayor’s drinking — but that she hasn’t personally seen him impaired.

Perhaps she should expand on just who has these “concerns.”

As for being bombed at the ball and asked to leave, the organizers deny allegations. No one complained to them. Hmm. Maybe they are fudging facts, maybe not — but still pretty thin for a front-page story and scolding editorial: “Come clean, Mr. Mayor.”

Maybe the Star could also “come clean” and identify their anonymous sources?

That said, Ford sure has a talent for controversy.

No sooner is he out of the woods on one embarrassment, but he’s into the quicksand with another.

At least the imbibing allegations at the Garrison Ball have overshadowed the strange Sarah Thomson claim that Ford grabbed her rump and made an improper proposal. Doesn’t sound like the mayor’s style.

Editorially, the Star notes that Ford dismissed that accusation as a lie “but a photo emerged showed him rumpled and stained.”

“Rumpled and stained?” What is the Star suggesting? How does “rumpled and stained” relate to grabbing Thomson’s bum?

And then Barbara Amiel joined the fray with her Maclean’s column claiming that Thomson offered to “bed” her husband in return for him granting an interview to her newspaper.


Amiel says “the proposition did not intrigue” Conrad Black, who found it “enterprising” and endorsed Thomson in the 2010 mayoral vote.

Amiel says the incident happened around 2002. Thomson told the Star she was joking at the time, and thought it was in 1998 when Black launched the National Post and she was running the Hamilton Examiner.

It’s unknown if Black looked “rumpled and stained” after his encounter with Thomson. Maybe a Star editorial someday will inform us.
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Number of cancelled Toronto parking tickets rose last year

TORONTO - Almost 25% of all parking tickets issued last year were cancelled by the city.

According to a report going to the government management committee next month, the city doled out 2.76 million parking tickets in 2012 — down around 2.5% from the previous year.

But 633,108 or 23% of those tickets were cancelled for various reasons and that represents a 5.5% increase in cancellations compared to 2011.

Staff said 199,215 tickets were cancelled by the courts, 143,812 by revenue services staff for time allowances and other reasons, 131,562 due to out-of-province licence plates and owner information being unavailable, 97,356 because the driver drove away before the officer served the tag, 50,113 due to “plate errors,” 5,622 due to errors on the parking tag, 4,914 due to incomplete information, and 514 tickets were scrapped because they were illegible.

The cancellations are on the rise in part because of the change in the parking ticket grace period from five minutes to 10 minutes. Council approved the change last July and allowed for the cancellation of some tickets, the report noted.

Toronto drivers may also be more aware of the rules around getting a ticket cancelled.

“As the existence of the City’s Parking Ticket Cancellation Guidelines becomes better known among the public, it is expected that the number of cancellations would increase,” the report stated.

The government management committee meets April 8.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sarah Thomson's 'offer' to Conrad Black not new to journalism

TORONTO - So here I am, stuck for a column idea and wondering whom I can sleep with to get one, as usual.

Hey, Justin, you free tonight?

Then I read about Sarah Thomson’s offer to boink Conrad Black.

Conrad’s lady, Barbara Amiel, Baroness Black of Crossharbour, tattled in Maclean’s magazine:

“Around 2002, publisher Thomson offered, using normal scatology, to ‘bed’ my husband in return for him granting an interview to her newspaper.”

I looked up scatology. So I think Thomson used a racier word for “bed.”

“Though the proposition did not intrigue him,” continued Amiel, “Conrad found it very enterprising and endorsed her for mayor in the last election.”

Ms. Thomson, city hall gadfly and Women’s Post publisher, says she was joking, as many people claim when they are rebuffed.

But it’s another nail in the coffin of the Rosenthal Rule, as prescribed by legendary New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal.

“I don’t care if my reporters f--- an elephant, as long as they don’t cover the circus,” said Abe.

In other words, don’t sleep with sources.

But the news business is tougher and dirtier since Abe died and we need every journalistic weapon we can lay our hands on.

If Thomson needs to sleep with Lord Black to get a scoop, bully for her.

Give me a nice merlot, a couple of candles and a night with B.C. Premier Christy Clark and I’ll get to the bottom of the Ethnicsgate scandal.

I’d hit on Hillary Clinton, too, if she’d tell me what really happened in Libya.

It would strike a blow for the greater good. And I’m guessing Hillary’s husband won’t mind.

Bill Clinton was “bedded” by Arkansas TV reporter Gennifer Flowers, or vice versa, in 1977. I doubt Flowers got a scoop, but she later made a bundle on her tell-all book.

I was kidding about Justin Trudeau, though he’s in town campaigning. Justin’s cute, but not my type. Too liberal. Let some other newshound sleep with him.

Other examples of getting it from the source abound in fact and fiction.

I assume Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane got her hands on the Man of Steel’s manly steel.

In the new Netflix series House of Cards, female reporters trade sex willy-nilly for exclusives from Washington pols.

“We’ve all done it,” says one jaded journo. “I used to suck, screw, and jerk anything that moved just to get a story.”

Ahh, the good old days. A bit of Hollywood hyperbole, maybe, but hardly alien to real life. Why do you think they call sources “Deep Throat?”

A couple of lower cases:

Journalist Paula Broadwell, who polished Gen. David Patraeus’s stars.

And Wall Street Journal correspondent Gina Chon, dumped last year over her affair with envoy Brett McGurk, who also withdrew his nomination as ambassador to Iraq. The two later married, though by then nobody cared.

Surprise, surprise, it is rarer for male reporters to bunk with female sources. Not because we don’t want to. Frankly, there are still fewer high-ranking female sources with whom to canoodle.

Also because most male reporters look like me.

If you were, say, German chancellor Angela Merkel, you wouldn’t sleep with me, either, would you.

Well, what if I looked like Mel Gibson.

In The Year of Living Dangerously, a great 1982 flick, Mel’s a dashing reporter who gets a post-coital tip from diplomat Sigourney Weaver.

Sigourney, from one pillow: “You can’t use this.” (Referring to the tip.)

Mel, from the other pillow: “Then you shouldn’t have told me.”

Funny, I can’t shake an image of Sarah Thomson and Conrad Black, tete-a-tete.

Sarah, smoking a cigarette: “So, m’lord, what’s the scoop on your new TV show?”

Lord Black, chewing a cigar: “Rub my tummy and I’ll tell you.”

Yikes. This, by the bye, is the same Sarah Thomson who accused Mayor Rob Ford of groping her bum.

On the other hand, I can’t talk. I’m often accused of being in bed with Rob Ford.
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

George Chuvalo accepts key to Toronto with gratitude — and a broken heart

TORONTO - Canadian boxing legend George Chuvalo joked on Tuesday that he was as “happy as a hog in slop” after being presented with a key to the City by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

The former heavyweight great went on to regale onlookers with some anecdotes of his early life growing up in the tough Junction area of Toronto and how he got started in boxing, as well as his long relationship with the Ford family in Rexdale. But Chuvalo attended the ceremony with a broken heart.

Chuvalo’s background is well documented. A former world-class heavyweight in the absolute best era in heavyweight boxing — having fought six world champs, including Muhammad Ali twice — Chuvalo was never knocked down in 93 pro contests and scored some huge wins over the likes of Mike DeJohn, Doug Jones and Jerry Quarry, among others. He was rated as high as No.2 in the world.

But the devastating tragedies Big George experienced outside the ring overshadowed his great boxing career. He lost his son Jesse, who had become addicted to heroin following a motorcycle accident, to suicide in 1985. Another son, Georgie Lee, was lost in 1993 to a heroin overdose. A few days after Georgie Lee’s death, Chuvalo’s wife, Lynne, unable to cope with the devastating loss, committed suicide. Three years after that, another son, Steven, who along with Georgie Lee struggled with addiction for much of his adult life, overdosed, leaving behind a young son and daughter.

Somehow, Big George managed to persevere. One way was to turn his pain into good work, appearing at schools and prisons to speak to kids about the dangers of drug use. He’s been awarded the Order of Canada and countless other citations for his community work as well as for his legendary boxing career. But through it all, the unfathomable sadness of losing a wife and three sons never abated. And how could it? Chuvalo has carried on, but always with a deeply wounded heart. And now tragedy has befallen the Canadian sports icon once again. His beloved granddaughter, Rachel, Steven’s daughter, passed away from cancer at the age of 30 last month after a courageous struggle with the disease. A school-teacher, who taught for a while in the north, Rachel and her mom established a scholarship, the Rachel Chuvalo Follow Your Dreams Memorial Scholarship, which goes each year to a deserving student bound for post-secondary education. By all accounts, Rachel Chuvalo was a wonderful role model and teacher. And person.

George was supposed to receive a key to the City from Ford a week ago, but the ceremony was postponed as he was still too overcome with grief to make a public appearance. His spirit is still broken. But on Tuesday, he managed to keep it together and accept the honour from Mayor Ford, though he declined speaking to the media afterward.
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Monday, March 25, 2013

Documentary on Downsview, Toronto Structures TV

Structures TV - Documentary on Downsview, Toronto from Ward Nine on Vimeo.

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Giant pandas receive warm welcome to Toronto

TORONTO - It’s hoped that Toronto will foster panda love.

Er Shun, 6, and Da Mao, 5, arrived in Toronto from China on Monday where the male and female will undergo a routine 30-day quarantine before preparing for a big reveal at the Toronto Zoo in May.

And if all goes well, the pair will feel at home enough to breed, probably in 2014.

“I’m pretty sure that Er Shun and Da Mao will live happily here and I also hope they’ll soon produce some junior ‘kung fu’ pandas,” said Zhang Junsai, China’s ambassador to Canada.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed for the two giant pandas after a FedEx aircraft delivered them to Pearson airport Monday morning.

“It’s not everyday in your life that you get to sign for pandas,” said Harper, who was surrounded by a small crowd that included Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Ben Miller, FedEx co-pilot for the Vancouver to Toronto leg of the 18-hour journey from Chengdu, China, said the animals were “great passengers” and “seemed to be enjoying themselves quite well.”

Meanwhile, a drove of media waited at the Toronto Zoo to catch the “panda” convoy that would finally bring the animals to their new home.

Cameras flashed as security vehicles accompanied two panda-themed FedEx trucks past cheering zoo staff and through an electronic gate.

Toronto’s cash-strapped zoo hopes the pandas will boost attendance numbers.

It was during a trade mission to China in February 2012 when Harper announced China would lend Canada the pandas.

But the announcement didn’t come without controversy: Some said in making the deals and accepting the pandas, Harper chose to ignore human rights abuses in China in favour of building stronger economic ties with the communist country. The Chinese government has long provided pandas to other nations as part of its efforts to strengthen international ties.

After five years at the Toronto Zoo, the pandas will be moved to the Calgary Zoo.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Downsview Park execs axed as feds review plans

Executives who were tasked for years with developing Downsview Park have recently been let go, adding to neighbourhood worries about the future of the urban park.
Staff with Canada Lands Company, the federal property manager that took control of the 231-hectare space late last year, are now in charge. The changeover is the latest twist in the story of the former military base since Ottawa announced it would become a “national urban park” in the late ’90s.
“We do not have plans at this stage as to any changes to Downsview Park,” said Robert Howald, acting president and CEO of Canada Lands. “We’re just at that beginning stage.”
Part of the property officially opened as a park last July under Parc Downsview Park, the federal subsidiary then in control. But there were further plans, including the construction of five residential neighbourhoods on the massive swath of land at Keele St. and Sheppard Ave. W., meant to help finance development of other parts of the property as public space.
Some neighbourhood development has started, but it’s unclear whether all park and construction plans will remain intact.
“Whether we change the direction a bit, that’s down the road,” Howald said, adding “we’re not starting from scratch,” and the previous plans will be taken “very seriously.”
By late spring, Canada Lands is expected to report back with a “proposed vision” to Rona Ambrose, minister of public works and government services, said her press secretary, Michael Bolkenius. He said there’s no intention to sell parkland.
Consultations will be held over the next “several months” with the community and city, Howald said, now that an internal financial and legal review is complete.
He wouldn’t say how many staff members were dismissed to reduce overhead in the “amalgamation” of companies. Only one executive remains of the original four, and the board has also been dismantled.
Bill Bryck, former president and CEO, said his contract ended early, after Ambrose announced Canada Lands would take control. He remained there for the transition until a few weeks ago, Bryck said.
“Change is concerning to some people, but I think the residents are overly concerned,” he said.
Rosanna Iaboni, from the Downsview Lands Community Voice Association, said the group had a good relationship with the previous executive and she’s due to have her first meeting with Canada Lands staff next week.
“A lot of work has gone into this,” said Iaboni, adding that while she wasn’t happy with previous plans, she at least knew what they were. “There’s a fear that they’re just going to sell off the land to developers and we’re going to 20, 30 highrise buildings in our backyard.”
Canada Lands is often associated with selling off government properties to make money. But Howald noted there are other valuable properties, such as the CN Tower, that remain in their possession.

How to sell a car in Toronto

How To Sell Car Toronto

How to sell a car in Toronto is a question most car owners (who don't have a close family member to give a tax-free transfer) will have to face at some point or another. Whether in pristine condition or ready for the junkyard, motivated sellers can almost always find someone who will will offer to pay for their car. Selling a car, however, is not as simple as shaking hands and tossing over a set of keys. You need to find the right place to advertise, the right medium from which to sell, and follow the proper procedures for making the exchange happen.
Here's what to do.
  • Order a Used Vehicle Information Package from any licensing issuing office or online. It costs about $20 and is your way of verifying that the car is indeed yours, and it also contains forms detailing the car's condition and description, includes lien information, registration history, forms for bills of sale, and other necessary documents.
  • Find a buyer. Easier said than done, right? You'll need to come up with a fair price for your car by looking at ads for similar vehicles online or by using a value calculator such as the Canadian Black Book tool (see below).
  • Fill out the "Bill of Sale" form that comes in the Used Vehicle Information Package. This basically just entails writing down your name, the buyer's name, the sale price, date, and signature.
  • The registration permit has an "Application for Transfer" at the back of the vehicle portion of the permit. The page must be completed and signed before given to the buyer.
  • Hand the Used Vehicle Information Package to the buyer, as well as the vehicle portion of the registration permit as mentioned above.
  • Keep your plates (can be used for your next car) and the plate portion of the registration permit. The plates are still yours, and stick with you.
You can sell your car without taking it for a safety inspection or Drive Clean test, but the buyer can't drive it until he/she gets the pass and certification. A better option is to take your car for the tests prior to sale and simply tack on the extra cost of the inspections to your listing price. Most buyers — smart ones, anyway — won't want to buy a car without the assurance that it won't need expensive repairs.


General Online Classifieds
These are the obvious options like as Kijiji, Craigslist, and Ebay. Basically, it's up to you to create a description of your vehicle with whatever details you deem necessary. There are some online tools, such as the Canadian Black Book's value calculator, that can help you figure out how much your used car is worth, guiding you to an appropriate listing price.

Auto Classifieds is probably one of the best-known sites for selling a car online in the GTA, followed by others such as and These pages generally require you to fill in standard information on the car's specs and details, and usually offer their own car value calculator and, in the case of AutoTrader, mobile app.

Dedicated Buyers
If you don't want to deal with potential lookie loos or difficult buyers, go can always go the route of places such as and Nevermind the alphanumeric integration, these companies simply require you to fill out an online form with information on your car, and they'll come back with an offer. If you choose to accept, they will generally offer you cash or cheque, and some will even pick up the vehicle.

Scrap Collectors
For those vehicles damaged beyond repair or simply past their prime. There are plenty of options in the GTA — businesses such as Car Removal, Scrap Car Removal Toronto, Junk Car Disposal, and Scrap Cars for Cash — that will pick up your car and tow it away, leaving you with cash. Albeit, not a lot. The real benefit to selling this way is convenience, not money.

Sell on Consignment
Perfect for those with limited time, energy, or experience to spend on selling a car themselves. (Shrinking violets, I'm looking at you). Some dealerships will take your car and sell it on your behalf (for a cut, of course) eliminating some of the hassle. There are typically more options for those looking to sell exotic or luxury cars on consignment, though there are dealerships that will take on more. Bulletproof Auto Sales & Brokerage is just one example in the GTA.

Sell to a Dealership
You can sell your old car to a registered dealership in exchange for some cash off your new car, or else give it up to one of the privately owned used dealerships around Toronto. has a pretty comprehensive list of the businesses around the GTA. While the hassle may be less than with a one-on-one private sale, the dealer will generally offer you no more than the auction price of the vehicle. To maximize money in your pocket, you'll probably want to go with a classified ad and wait for the buyers to come to you.

Call for term limits won't go away at City Hall

Like some city councillors, the debate over term limits at City Hall won’t be going away anytime soon.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong succeeded in getting Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee to shelve any debate on the issue for at least a year.

But shortly after the vote, term limit proponents reminded some councillors on the committee they had promised to put off dealing with the issue until next month and vowed to push ahead to deal with it then.

“We shot it into outer space,” Minnan-Wong insisted after the vote.

The cheat sheet handed out by the mayor’s office before the meeting instructed councillors to defer the issue indefinitely.

“Members of council are accountable to residents that elected them,” the note stated. “Should they lose the confidence of their constituents it is up to the will of the people through an appropriate election.”

Councillors Mary-Margaret McMahon and Jaye Robinson had been fighting for a staff study on term limits. They’d like to see a three-term limit for councillors and the mayor.

Despite Minnan-Wong’s boast, McMahon warned the issue will be returning one way or another.

“It’s not dead. We’ll be bringing it back,” McMahon said.

After the meeting, Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday said he was reminded he had promised a month ago to defer the issue to April when Robinson would be at the meeting.

“Fairness will have to prevail,” Holyday said. “I support the matter coming back to the next executive committee meeting and being reopened.”
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Waste incineration 'has to be looked at' for Toronto: Solid waste boss

TORONTO - This should make the steam come out of the heads of the so-called environmentally friendly faction at City Hall — most particularly those lovely councillors who rammed waste diversion down our throats five years ago.

I’m referring to Gord “I Never Met a Plastic Shopping Bag I Liked” Perks and Glenn “Thou Shalt Not Drink Coffee Out of a Cup with a Plastic Lid” De Baeremaeker.

Solid Works general manager Jim Harnum told me Thursday they intend to hire a $500,000 consultant — a proposal contained in his report to public works committee next week — who will help them develop a long-term strategy for the city’s waste that could include (state-of-the art) incineration technology.

I repeat, incineration technology.

“Incineration is definitely an option that has to be looked at,” Harnum said. “We can’t just look at expanding landfill.”

He said there might be some interesting partnering opportunities with Peel Region, for example, which is going out to market to look at whether they should build their own incinerator.

Sweden, Norway, England and Italy all have waste-to-energy incineration plants.

Other options may include expanding the landfill, buying another landfill or a public/private partnership to deal with the city’s garbage once Green Lane landfill runs out of capacity in 2034 or thereabouts.

“We need to look all over the world ... and see what’s happening in the industry,” Harnum said. “Problem is we got so focused on Target 70, (diversion) we forgot to look at the business side of it.”

Any moves to expand the landfill or build new technology take at least 15 years so the clock is ticking, he adds.

Harnum says the truth is, they didn’t get to 70% diversion by 2010 or 2012 — at least in part because the city has actually reduced its garbage output by 27% and because print and glass materials are smaller and lighter.

“The reality is we’re never going to get to 100% diversion,” he said. “I’m trying to set realistic targets and goals based on what’s happened in the last few years.”

Harnum says they have “made great strides” diverting the city’s waste. However he stressed they must look at strategies once Green Lane runs out of capacity, in addition to diversion.

Oh my goodness, incineration — the state-of-the-art waste-to-energy technology David Miller and his green pals on council vociferously refused to even consider while buying a $220-million environmentally unfriendly landfill site (aka a toxic time bomb) in 2007.

Go figure.

What’s more, it is refreshing to hear someone who actually doesn’t make grandiose promises about the amount of waste we should and could divert — at any cost.

I’ve been listening to the grandiose goals, plans and promises since 2001 when mayor Mel Lastman and his Task Force 2010 chairman councillor Betty Disero assured us we’d reach 100% diversion by 2010 and all of Toronto’s households would be separating our garbage into three streams by 2005.


That goal was revised to 72% by 2010 when Miller and his environmental police came on the scene, spending more than $256 million in capital and operating dollars over five years to move the diversion needle a paltry 7%.

Let’s not forget the $55.8 million spent on our green, black and blue Brontosaurus bins, which we’ve all been forced to get used to but are still a pain to roll over the snow drifts in winter and not easily stored. Did I mention that they were all constructed in the U.S.?

Now the green bins must be replaced after five years because they are “wonky, tip over, the raccoons have figured out the latch” and they are too small to be hoisted on automated trucks, says Harnum.

That is expected to cost around $15 million. But the good news, according to Harnum, is that the new bins are expected to last 15-20 years.

While I’m at it, it seems the on-again, off-again plastic bag ban — which has occupied far too much of City Hall’s time, attention and resources in the past few years — has accounted for .3% of the 7% change in the city’s residential diversion rate.

Council’s decision — with great fanfare and much back patting — to discontinue the sale of bottled water at civic centres and many city facilities hasn’t even appeared on the radar. Considering that the plastic bottles are recyclable, it was merely window dressing.

Thankfully, the silly proposal to ban coffee cups with plastic lids was put on the back burner when the industry put the heat on the Millerites.


    Date waste diversion efforts started: Jan. 2001
    Original goal: 100% diversion by 2010
    Projected cost to reach goal: $100-M
    Goal revised in 2007: 72% diversion by 2011
    Newly revised goal: 70% diversion by 2016
    Amount spent between 2007 and 2011 on diversion initiatives: $256-M
    Increase in diversion rate during same period: 7%
    Increase in diversion rate due to plastic bag ban: .3%
    Amount spent on green, grey and blue brontosaurus bins: $55.8-M
    Amount to be spent on new, improved green bins that last longer than 5 years: $15-M
    Amount to spent on a consultant to create a long-term waste strategy: $500,000
    Costs per tonne for green bin: $140
    Garbage: $78
    City revenues per tonne for blue bin: $70

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Mayor denies Ass-Gate, Sarah Thomson offers to take lie-detector test

TORONTO - As Toronto City Hall's first-ever "ass-gate" erupted, Mayor Rob Ford moved quickly to butt out the allegations, while his accuser Sarah Thomson blitzed media outlets across the city and wrapped up the day by offering to take a lie-detector test.

In what devolved over the course of the day into a bizarre case of "he said, she said," the mayor of Canada's largest city was accused Friday of allegedly grabbing the ass of the former mayoral rival, and making an inappropriate remark to her - all on the eve of International Women's Day.

While Ford came out in a statement calling Thomson's allegations false, the Women's Post publisher responded on Newstalk 1010's John Tory show offering to take a polygraph test to prove she was telling the truth.

"I would like to take a lie-detector test and prove to people he said it to me. I'd like him to come down with me, let's go down to the police station, let's get a lie-detector test and see who is telling the truth here," Thomson told Tory.

Thomson's scandalous allegations first came to light when she took to Facebook in the wee hours of Friday morning to blast Ford for making a crude comment to her and touching her inappropriately at a Thursday-night party held by the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee at the Arcadian Court.

She also posted a photo of herself with a rough-looking Ford - the mayor's eyes were closed and he had a large stain on his shirt.

By the time the sun came up Friday, Thomson was on talk radio saying she wanted an apology from Ford. As the day wore on, two Richmond Hill councillors came forward challenging Thomson's version of events. Around noon, the mayor responded with a brief statement calling Thomson's allegations false and said he was "shocked, dismayed and surprised" by the claims.

"I can say without hesitation that they are absolutely, completely false," Ford stated. "What is more surprising is that a woman who has aspired to be a civic leader would cry wolf on a day where we should be celebrating women across the globe.

"This is a day we should all take the time to reflect upon the women in our lives and in our society. It is a day when we can envision the changes we want to make in our communities to ensure that all people are equal and that violence and discrimination against women comes to an end."

Ford was spotted leaving his home Friday afternoon but wasn't seen at his City Hall office all day.

A "shocked" Thomson said Friday morning she expected Ford to apologize.

"At the end of the day I hope he changes his behaviour and he doesn't do this to someone else," she said.

"I asked him why he wasn't at the mayor's roundtable (on transit) ... he was laughing and said, 'I was in Florida. You should have been with me, my wife wasn't there.'"

Thomson said she thought the comment was "weird."

"I just kind of fluffed it off and then we posed for a picture and he grabbed my ass and I said OK this is not Rob ... I thought there was something really wrong with him," she said.

During a scrum in front of City Hall, Thomson said she made the "sexual assault" allegations public so the issue would be addressed.

"At the end of the day I don't think it is a left-right issue, it is a right-wrong issue and we have to deal with that," she said.

"I think it is (sexual assault), definitely."

Thomson is currently the chair of the Toronto Transit Alliance. She faced off against Ford in the 2010 municipal election but dropped out before Election Day to throw her support behind his biggest rival - George Smitherman. In 2011, she unsuccessfully ran for the Ontario Liberals in the riding of Trinity-Spadina. She's told the Toronto Star earlier this year she plans to keep running for mayor until she wins.

Thomson denied her allegations had anything to do with politics.

"There is no election on right now, I'm working on you know the transit issue, the transit file," she said. "I have no gain out of this … but at the end of the day you have to do what is right."

Mark Towhey, Ford's chief of staff, was at the event with the mayor.

"I didn't hear the conversation. I can tell you I was there throughout, the mayor had me there plus three additional staff and a driver, the three staff were within earshot of him the entire time. They never heard any of this," Towhey said.

"The mayor commented about her still having the same (dreadlocks) hairstyle, they laughed. She asked him if he would support her subway tax, he said, no. I know that I was 20 feet away watching all of this stuff go down, she was very happy - it appeared to me as laughing and smiling."

Towhey stressed Ford was in Florida for the last week with his wife and children and confirmed no one complained to him or any other member of the mayor's staff at the event.

"The first that we heard she was concerned about anything at all was Twitter last night," he said.

The chief of staff said Ford had no alcohol to drink at the event.

"The only thing he drank when he was there was about four glasses of water that I brought him and a bottle of water that the staff had," he said. "It was hot and so he drank a lot of water."
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