scandal

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Politics

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Six defences of Rob Ford, from somewhat reasonable to completely crazytown

In a show of Ford Nation’s blindess loyalty, Rob Ford still has more-or-less the same approval rating as before he became the world’s most talked about alleged crack smoker. His supporters run the gamut from tepid defenders, like Doug Holyday, to raving apologists, broadcasting their fealty on Twitter and in comment sections. Here, a representative sample of the rationalizations, from more-or-less plausible through to cuckoo-bananas.

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Random Stuff

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How close is Gawker to publishing the Rob Ford crack video?

(Image: screenshot from indiegogo.com)

Since Rob Ford joined Whitney Houston, Charlie Sheen and Tyrone Biggums in the pantheon of famous (alleged) crack users, the world has been clamouring to see the 90-second video that reportedly showcases the deed itself. However, no news agency has expressed interest in ponying up the $200,000 needed to buy the clip off the local drug-dealer-turned-videographer, which means an online crowd-sourced campaign remains the scandal sniffers’ best hope. So far, it’s looking good.

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Business

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The six most outrageous quotes from Garth Drabinsky’s day parole hearing

(Image: George Pimentel/WireImage/Getty)

Garth Drabinsky must be a very well-behaved inmate, because the Livent co-founder and convicted fraudster was granted day parole last week after serving just over a year of his five-year sentence. Beginning November 11, Drabinsky can resume his life in the wide world, although he must live at a Toronto halfway house and is barred from owning a company or managing other people’s money. Drabinsky told the board he plans to keep a low profile, producing for film and stage and—bizarrely—lecturing at a business school. Given Drabinsky’s penchant for the spotlight, though, we’re dubious as to whether he’ll really remain under the radar. And speaking of his love of the limelight, we poured over the tearful testimony from his parole hearing and found a handful of excerpts—plus a gem from a Globe and Mail article—that suggest the theatre impresario hasn’t lost his flair for the dramatic.

On losing his appetite in prison: “When I looked at myself in the mirror in the library, I didn’t recognize myself.…I looked like I had been on a ship coming from overseas on the worst voyage.”

On an epiphany he had while incarcerated: “Forget about building any empires anymore. I’ve done that.”

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Politics

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Reaction Roundup: Premier Dalton McGuinty steps down and adjourns the legislature

(Image: Communitech Photos)

We’ve never really thought of Dalton McGuinty as a big-surprises kind of guy, but Premier Dad shocked the province last night by announcing his resignation as party leader—and the prorogation of the legislature. Today, most of Toronto is speculating about why McGuinty stepped down, and where, politically, the province goes from here. We rounded up the main threads of the discussion, including who might replace him, whether McGuinty has federal leadership aspirations and what Rob Ford thinks about it all.

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The Informer

Politics

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QUOTED: Mel Lastman rates Rob Ford’s intelligence

I’m not a genius, obviously, but he makes me look like one.

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The Informer

Politics

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Five reactions to Rob Ford’s football scandal: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance

The explosive allegations that Rob Ford has been using city resources and staff for the youth football team he coaches have kept Toronto’s columnists busy over the past week. While perusing the rants, accusations and commiserations, we couldn’t help but notice that they nearly all fell into one of five familiar categories: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In other words, the five stages of grief (we’ll leave it to you to decide what they’re grieving: Rob Ford’s persecution, his alleged misdeeds, or the fact that he’s mayor in the first place).


1. Denial: Rob and Doug Ford

As promised, the Ford brothers used their first radio show after a hiatus to launch a verbal attack on the city’s media in general, and the Globe and Mail in particular. Near the end of the show, a caller asked Ford to justify his use of city resources; Doug interrupted him, saying, “No, we haven’t—that’s a lie.” Rob tried to calm his brother down, and responded to the caller: “Okay, but it’s just not true, sir,” he said. “It’s not true. With all due respect, I haven’t been using my office resources. That’s where the misnomer comes in.”

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Politics

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QUOTED: A former Rob Ford aide on why the mayor’s latest scandal could be the most serious yet

This is the one type of thing that could actually piss off Ford Nation, because it goes against the bedrock principle of not dipping into the trough.

—An unnamed former mayoral staffer, on the difference between the latest Rob Ford scandal and all those other Rob Ford scandals. The former aide told the Toronto Star that the mayor’s colourful behaviour (like driving while talking on a cellphone or yelling at the paper’s reporters) wouldn’t turn off his core supporters. However, Ford’s use of city-funded staff and resources for his youth football team could be considered “gravy” (to use Ford’s own term), and therefore has the potential to be much more politically dangerous. Unsurprisingly, Adam Vaughan agreed. [Toronto Star]

TIFF

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The 50 buzziest films of TIFF 2012: we slice through the hype so you don’t have to

The 50 buzziest films of TIFF 2012
Single tickets for the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival go on sale this Sunday, September 2. And with a record 372 films being screened (146 of them world premieres), it can be daunting trying to figure out which ones are actually worth the $20 (or $40, for galas and special presentations) and hours in line. The solution: our guide to the 50 most talked-about movies at the festival this year, in which we scrutinize the advance hype (and the buzz from Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and Venice) to separate the must-sees from the flicks that only a mother could love.

See all our picks and rejects »

The Informer

Politics

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Peter Munk is (inadvertently) at the centre of the scandal surrounding Stephen Harper’s chief of staff

Nigel Wright, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff since 2010, is facing accusations of cronyism because of his close ties to Barrick Gold CEO and founder Peter Munk, as well as Munk’s son Anthony, who is also on Barrick’s board. Of course, having rich friends isn’t a crime (Wright and Anthony worked together at investment giant Onex)—the problem is that Barrick lobbied Wright three times this spring over international trade relationships. The NDP is contemplating a formal complaint on the grounds that Wright should’ve recused himself from any discussions involving Barrick because of his relationship with the Munk family. (It can’t help that the senior Munk praised Wright effusively in a 2011 article in The Walrus, saying, “I’d rank Nigel Wright among the mere handful of people I’ve met in whom I have complete trust.”) [Toronto Star]

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Features

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The Cult of Pastor Song: a religious sex scandal in Toronto’s Korean community

The sex scandal consuming Toronto’s Korean community began when six international students said they were repeatedly gang-raped by members of their small church. The accused allege that their eccentric pastor brainwashed the women to deflect attention from his own transgressions

The Cult of Pastor Song

Holy orders: Jae Kap Song, the founder and pastor of Jesus First, encouraged his flock to wear church uniforms and live together in six shared apartments

One July day in 2007, an 18-year-old woman checked into her Toronto-bound flight at South Korea’s Incheon Airport. She was travelling light—she had with her one suitcase containing clothes for a range of seasons, some books and a favourite brand of face cream. She had been living with her grandparents in South Korea and was joining her mother, who had split with her father and moved to Toronto to study acupuncture three years earlier.

A court-ordered publication ban prevents me from identifying the woman, but I’ll call her Yeri. Her plan was to learn English at one of Toronto’s hagwons, Korean-run cram schools that cater to the thousands of young men and women who come to Canada on student visas each year. With command of the language, she would get into a better college in South Korea and ultimately, her family hoped, receive coveted job offers at multinationals.

From the airport, Yeri headed to a Bloor and Islington apartment building where her mother lived in one of six units leased by members of Jesus First, a Korean Presbyterian church run by a pastor named Jae Kap Song. Her mother belonged to the church and expected her to join, too. They’d share one of the apartment’s bedrooms. A second bedroom was shared by two male members of Jesus First.

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Politics

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Rob Ford took a photo with a neo-Nazi (but he didn’t know he was a neo-Nazi)

(Image: Facebook)

Rob Ford’s pseudo-scandals keep getting stranger and stranger. Apparently, at the 2012 New Year’s Levee, the mayor met and took photos with some 800 members of the public—one of whom, unbeknownst to Ford, was a white supremacist. Author and Liberal insider Warren Kinsella found the photo on Facebook and called out Ford on his blog this morning, pointing out that Jon Latvis, the man in the photo, is a former member of a neo-Nazi band and has a swastika tattoo. Cue a frothed-up reaction from the Twitterverse—which seems pretty unfair considering that Ford poses for photos with thousands of residents each year and, according to an official statement, had no idea about Latvis’s views (which we guess he didn’t voice as they were smiling for the camera, though perhaps his uniform should have been a clue). [WarrenKinsella.com]

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The Informer

People

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Conrad Black didn’t need high-powered friends to get him a residence permit

The rumour that someone in the immigration office helped Conrad Black’s application for a temporary residence permit along has persisted ever since the baron dashed back to Canada upon his release from a Miami jail. The average time to process an application is one to three years, but Black’s was approved in just three weeks, which fired up both NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and speculation of special treatment. But it turns out the baron’s governmental cronies didn’t fast-track his application. CBC reports it has obtained documents from Citizenship and Immigration Canada that prove no politicians were pulling the strings; rather, Black’s application sallied through because has had previously received a temporary residence permit. For Black, that’s one scandal down, many more to go. [CBC News]

The Informer

Politics

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Nazim Gillani of the Jaffer-Guergis scandal is in trouble again (no busty hookers this time, though)

Toronto businessman Nazim Gillani, famous for bragging about his connections in the prime minister’s office—and his supposed penchant for “busty hookers”—is back in the news, this time for (allegedly) scamming investors out of more than a million bucks. The Ontario Securities Commission says Gillani misrepresented himself as a high-flying venture capitalist with piles of cash in order to bilk investors in North America and Dubai. These new allegations relate to deals discussed at that now-infamous dinner in 2009 with former MP Rahim Jaffer at Harbour Sixty Steakhouse, according to the Toronto Star. The paper says Gillani has ignored its interview request, and that the phone number on his company website is out of service. Perhaps reporters ought to check the nearest steakhouse. Read the entire story [Toronto Star] »

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Random Stuff

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Law and Order: Toronto edition (wherein five former Toronto drug squad officers stand trial for corruption)

Five former Toronto drug cops go on trial today in what the CBC is calling “the largest case of alleged police corruption in Canadian history.” The case dates back to the late ’90s, when the officers were busting high numbers of drug dealers and allegedly beating up suspects, stealing drugs and cash and working together to cover it all up. The officers were charged way back in 2004, but some nifty legal acrobatics slowed the case’s progress to a standstill. A judge even stayed the charges in 2008 before the province’s court of appeal decided the five would stand trial. Former mayor and head of the city’s Police Accountability Coalition John Sewell says legal stalling can often go on so long that witnesses die or leave the country, which has already happened with two witnesses in this case. Okay, maybe it won’t be quite the high drama of Law and Order, but we’re still looking forward to watching the story unfold. Read the entire story [CBC] »

The Informer

Politics

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Rob Ford marks the first anniversary of his election with news that he’s only the second-least popular mayor in the country

Don’t worry, Rob, at least you didn’t rank last (Image: Christopher Drost)

A new poll finds that Hazel McCallion, she of the conflict-of-interest fame, is Canada’s most popular mayor, while Rob Ford sits in second-to-last place (a cruel gift from the folks at Forum Research Inc. on the same week of the anniversary of his election victory). Because Gérald Tremblay is the only mayor less popular than Ford, we’re tempted to suggest that only a major scandal could knock Ford down any further—but hey, look how things worked out for Hazel.

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