Sue-Ann Levy

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Reaction Roundup: the nine top responses to Rob Ford’s refusal to attend Toronto’s World Pride event

Rob-Ford“I’m not going to go to the Pride parade. I’ve never gone to a Pride parade. So I’m not going to change the way I am.”
Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto


Daniel-Dale“Wow.”
Daniel Dale, Toronto Star reporter covering the mayoral debate


Doug-Ford“[Rob Ford] is not homophobic…You know what’s ironic? I spoke to some folks in the gay community, and they said they weren’t going because they didn’t like the idea of men running—you know, middle-aged men, with pot bellies, running down the street buck naked. And they didn’t feel comfortable that they could bring their kids there. Do I condone men running down the middle of Yonge St. buck naked? Absolutely not. Maybe there are some people in this city that approve of that, and maybe they can bring their kids down to watch this.”
—Councillor Doug Ford, brother and campaign manager to the mayor


KWT“Should the morality police descend on the mayor’s office or the mayor’s home, they may have something to say about public drunken stupors and behaviour, crack cocaine use, the allegations of domestic assault, marijuana and hash dealing, improper use of city resources, drunken outrage, public urination, cultural appropriation of a Jamaican accent. I would imagine that it’s best not to judge.”
—Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, whose ward includes the Church-Wellesley Village


Pride“We thank Mayor Ford for his RSVP, and look forward to hosting another successful event in his absence.”
Pride Toronto, organizers of the annual Pride parade


Shelley-Carroll“This isn’t going to be a local embarrassment, this is going to be an international problem.That we have a mayor that is vocal and resolute, I’m not going to change, I don’t attend events that celebrate the LGBT community… It’s very similar to the embarrassment that Putin is causing his nation and the international hatred towards him.”
—Councillor Shelley Carroll


Norm-Kelly“I think the leadership of this council is going to be in complete support of this event and we should do everything we can to make sure Toronto and all of its communities, the gay community in particular, shows themselves off to the world in the best possible light.”
—Deputy mayor Norm Kelly, who will be officially invited to Pride


Kevin-Beaulieu“Frankly [hearing Ford’s refusal] was a bit of a surprise because we haven’t invited him yet. There is a very recent history of homophobic comments on video, and we would have to think about that very carefully before any specific invitation was issued.”
Kevin Beaulieu, executive director of Pride Toronto


Levy“I agree that @TOMayorFord should be at the Pride parade … but what about @kevinbeaulieu and Pride’s cowardly refusal to deal with QuAIA [Queers Against Israeli Apartheid]?”
Sue-Anne Levy, Toronto Sun columnist


(Images: Rob and Doug Ford, Kelly: Christopher Drost; Levy, Dale, Beaulieu: Twitter; Carroll, Wong-Tam: toronto.ca)

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Rob Ford Crack Scandal: 16 amusing, baffling and touching reactions from notables that you need to read

Talk-About-Ford

Opinions about Rob Ford are like rage-fuelled TTC stories: every Torontonian has one. With the massive volume of mayor-related comments that this city has produced in the past 24 hours, we decided to wade through and pluck out the most poignant quotes from the most prominent commenters. Here, in no particular order, is what we’ve found.

 

rob-Ford-face-large-Drost“I have no reason to resign”
Rob Ford, the most tweeted about man in Toronto


Dougie-City-of-TOronto“About what, Johnny?”
—The mayor’s brother, defender and alleged enabler, Doug Ford, responding to the question “Did Rob Ford lie to the public?”


police-chief-bill-blair-Toronto-Police“As a citizen of Toronto, I’m disappointed. I know this is a traumatic issue for the citizens of this city and for the reputation of this city and that concerns me.”
—Toronto chief of police, Bill Blair, adding a rare personal touch to his explosive press conference yesterday

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What Rob Ford would be like as a Shakespearean king

Like Shakespeare’s greatest plays, Toronto politics is rife with tragically flawed leaders, sudden betrayals and grasping underlings—which is why John Lorinc’s latest Bard-inspired column is so sharply funny. In a departure from his usual city hall analyses, the Spacing contributor offers a synopsis of a pretend Elizabethan play about Rob Ford’s mayoral tenure (or, rather, the reign of Robert, King of Toronto). The satire is biting and the casting, spot-on: Doug Ford becomes an overreaching Earl, Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler and Adam Vaughan are rabble-rousing commoners and Sue-Ann Levy is King Robert’s court scribe. Giorgio Mammoliti, of course, takes his rightful role as court jester. Read the entire story [Spacing] »

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Digital Fortresses: A cheat sheet to Toronto papers’ online paywalls

The Toronto Sun, home of Sue-Ann Levy, sexy bikini shots and amusing slip-ups, is the latest Toronto daily to try to mitigate waning print advertising revenue by charging for online content. The paper will erect a digital paywall next week, according to the Globe and Mail, which itself already has digital subscriptions in place. Meanwhile, the Toronto Star and National Post have both announced plans to institute walls in the New Year. Below, we break down all four papers’ plans to help you pick which to shell out for.

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A forgotten audio tape could make or break Rob Ford’s libel suit

Rob Ford is in court this week over a $6-million defamation suit filed by Boardwalk Pub owner George Foulidis, a high-profile case in which David Miller,  Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy and deputy mayor Doug Holyday are all potential witnesses. Those big names, however, have been completely eclipsed by the appearance of a lowly audio tape otherwise forgotten in the home files of former Sun writer and editor Rob Granatstein. Until yesterday, everybody involved with the inquiry believed no recording remained of a pivotal 2010 meeting between Ford and the Sun’s editorial board—everybody except Granatstein, who left the paper last year. He had a copy all along and had been anxiously deliberating about whether or not to come forward with the evidence. (He catalogued his painstaking struggle to make a decision in a column for Canada.com that’s so heady it almost seems like it could’ve been ripped from the pages of a Dostoyevsky novel.) After talking it over with lawyers, he eventually turned the tape over to the Sun, and it’s scheduled to be played in court tomorrow. Sure, the whole fiasco isn’t on par with the Watergate tapes, but it does feel like a twist worthy of a courtroom TV drama.

(Images: Rob Ford, Christopher Drost; recorder, redjar)

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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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Living right on the waterfront can be “very unpleasant,” apparently

(Image: jethros tale from the Torontolife.com Flickr group)

In a recent Toronto Sun column, the ever-fiesty Sue-Ann Levy takes up the cause of some homeowners near Woodbine Beach who are upset at the “mobs” that descend all summer. The residents say the constant crowds, drawn by hot weather, expanding volleyball courts and special events like the Afrofest, the Beaches Jazz Festival and the Canada Day celebration, make life by the shore noisy and “very unpleasant.” (The demand for parking and bathrooms at peak times yields tales of people peeing on the grass, and drivers stealing tickets from other cars to avoid getting one themselves.) The residents, Levy writes, also must contend with Boardwalk Place restaurateur George Foulidis, who is trying “to establish his ‘proprietary’ control of the Eastern Beach by turning it into a carnival-like venue.” We’re sure Levy’s rancour towards Foulidis has nothing to do with the fact that he banned her from the premises late last year. [Toronto Sun]

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Glenn De Baeremaeker’s office dwarfs Doug Holyday’s—and Sue-Ann Levy is not cool with that

Doug Holyday’s office is 701 square feet (Image: The City of Toronto)

Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy is riled up that some city councillors have taken up an offer to move into bigger offices, which were left vacant when Heritage Preservation staff moved off the councillor floor last fall. In both a column and a slightly awkward video, Levy scoffs at Glenn De Baeremaeker’s “palatial” new digs with their “freshly painted yellow walls,” and notes that his new, 1,284-square-foot office is much larger than deputy mayor Doug Holyday’s—though De Baeremaeker, in her eyes, isn’t nearly as busy and important. (Josh Matlow, who also moved offices, pointed out it was an option for everyone to request more room.) Gord Perks, John Parker, Jaye Robinson and Josh Colle have also opted to move or expand. While the moving expenses are covered by the councillors’ general expense budgets, the new lease rate will be paid out from their $30,000 office budgets: they will pay 80 cents for every square foot over the 642-square-foot standard to a maximum of $400 a month. The extra space is mostly being used to give councillors’ assistants more breathing room, but Holyday questioned whether councillors really need so many helpers. Levy, on the other hand, went for the cheap shot, saying De Baeremaeker needed more room “to house his large ego.” Read the story and watch the video [Toronto Sun] »

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Regent Park condo purchases were probably legit (but they’ll be reviewed nonetheless)

Councillor Pam McConnell (Image: Christopher Drost)

The potentially shady condo purchases over at Regent Park have now grown from “Toronto Sun scandal” to “possibly legitimate scandal.” Following columnist Sue-Ann Levy’s articles over the weekend accusing councillor Pam McConnell, project developers and TCHC execs of wrongdoing by buying plum condos in the revitalization project, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation has asked former Ontario chief justice Patrick J. LeSage to review the situation. Still, whether he’ll find any misconduct remains to be seen, since Toronto’s former integrity commissioner okayed the purchases as long as no special discounts or treatment was given.

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Did Councillor Pam McConnell mess up by buying a condo in the Regent Park redevelopment?

Some well-placed folks may have broken the rules when they scored brand-new condos in a redevelopment partly financed by the city. Over the weekend, the Toronto Sun’s Sue-Ann Levy stopped baiting Margaret Atwood long enough to delve into the shadier details of the ongoing Regent Park revitalization, an attempt to transform the downtrodden area into a vibrant mixed-income community. She accuses local councillor Pam McConnell, project developers and former TCHC executives (including already-disgraced Gordon Chu) of conflict of interest, since they all bought prime condos in the development, which will get at least $200 million in public funding. Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong has already called for an investigation, while Rob Ford promised, “I will drill down and I won’t stop.” If only Ford took conflict of interest issues this seriously all of the time. Read the entire story [Toronto Sun] »

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The Anti-Ford: Kristyn Wong-Tam believes Toronto is in better shape than you’re being told

In her first year on city council, Kristyn Wong-Tam hogged the spotlight with proposals to ban shark fin soup, save bike lanes and found a municipal bank. She’s a charismatic lesbian immigrant art lover who once lived on the street—the exact opposite of our mayor in every way

Kristyn Wong-Tam | The Anti-Ford

(Image: Naomi Harris)

The first time Kristyn Wong-Tam clashed with Rob Ford, she lay down on the carpet outside his office in protest. It was March 2008, and Ford was a councillor from Etobicoke, an outspoken character on the fringes of city politics with a talent for alienating his colleagues. Earlier that month, Ford had famously delivered a rambling speech in support of the economic advantages of holiday shopping hours that could have been cribbed from a 19th-century pamphlet about the Yellow Peril. “Those Oriental people work like dogs. They work their hearts out. They are workers non-stop. They sleep beside their machines,” Ford said on the floor of council, punching the air with his fist for emphasis. “I’m telling you, the Oriental people, they’re slowly taking over.”

That last phrase rankled Wong-Tam. At the time, the 36-year-old Chinese-Canadian was a successful realtor with no ambitions to become a city councillor, a job she saw as demanding far too much time for too little compensation. She did, however, have a long history of rabble-rousing—for gay rights, for women’s equality, for immigrants’ rights—and she believed that Ford’s comment was a xenophobic stereotype that needed to be corrected. She decided to ask for an apology.

After her emails and phone calls went unanswered, Wong-Tam brought a group of around 20 Asian protesters down to city hall. Showing a talent for media-friendly political theatre, they walked down to the press gallery wearing white dress shirts and ties, what Wong-Tam called the “Asian office uniform,” and announced they were looking for Councillor Ford. “Essentially, we’re a group of people who are working very hard,” Wong-Tam quipped, walking to Ford’s office as members of the press trailed behind her. When they found that Ford wasn’t in the building, the group brought out various contraptions—blenders, sewing machines, toasters—and lay down to sleep beside them. Cameras flashed. The video ran on loop on CP24 all afternoon.

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Margaret Atwood gets in Twitter fight with Sue-Ann Levy over the TTC, of all things

Yesterday, the city’s never-ending transit saga sparked a bit of a Twitter tiff between Margaret Atwood and Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy. It started with Atwood tweeting her dismay over last week’s sacking of TTC chief Gary Webster. Levy snarkily replied, “When was the last time you took the subway Ms. Megs? Now you’re an expert on the TTC?” Atwood, who knows her way around a verbal smackdown, responded with a terse set of instructions followed by a devastating emoticon: “Do your research, learn to read, address folks by their names, & cite sources for your insults. If you’re serious, that is. :)” It’s probably a fair bet that Atwood was about as chuffed about “Ms. Megs” as she was about “La Poodle” back in August.

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Sue-Ann Levy scores an early BINGO on her Transit City scorecard

(Image: Matt Elliott)

Too bad Matt Elliott’s Transit City bingo card doesn’t include a cash prize—because Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy would’ve claimed it before the game even really started. In the pages of the paper this morning, Levy’s recycling of Rob Ford’s tried-and-true talking points scored her an easy B-I-N-G-O along the top row, and council’s special session on the city’s transit plan hadn’t even yet begun. Of course, given the rancorous debate on the issue so far, we’re sure Levy won’t be the only winner today. Read the entire story [Toronto Sun] »

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Rob Ford’s new press secretary is (appropriately) a former Toronto Sun journalist

The revolving door between the mayor’s office and the Toronto Sun keeps on turning. Former Toronto Police communications coordinator and Sun reporter George Christopoulos is Rob Ford’s new wrangler-in-chief—a job that’s particularly important these days—replacing Adrienne Batra, who decamped from the mayor’s office for a spot as the Sun’s comment editor. Sue-Ann Levy, presumably, will continue in her duties as both a Sun columnist and Ford’s unofficial spokesperson. Read the entire story [Toronto Sun] »

(Images: Rob Ford, Christopher Drost)

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Sue-Ann Levy insists the budget is a victory for Rob Ford—so what’s she so upset about?

Although the budget vote didn’t go his way, Rob Ford can take solace knowing he still has the support of his friends—political allies like Doug Holyday and Mike Del Grande and, of course, Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy. Yesterday, Levy argued that despite all the talk of Ford’s big defeat, the budget is actually a victory for the mayor (after all, $19 million in reversed cuts is chump change against the multi-billion dollar total). To that end, OpenFile’s John Michael McGrath probably summed it up best: the budget is a victory for Ford from a financial perspective and a big loss from a political one. But if Levy really believes the budget was such a success, then what was she so angry about? Read the entire story [Toronto Sun] »

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