Archive for February, 2013

Rob Ford, any way you slice it

Posted on February 28th, 2013 1 Comment

So do you remember Rob Ford’s big court case where he came this close to being tossed out of office? He squeaked by on the technicality that City Council had no authority to force him to repay donations from lobbyists, and therefore the entire case was null and void?

As you may recall, the fact that Ford was using his position improperly was never at issue; all parties (with the exception of Ford and his buddies), agreed that what he did was wrong. To quote presiding judge Hackland, “…it is difficult to accept an error in judgment defence based essentially on a stubborn sense of entitlement (concerning his football foundation) and a dismissive and confrontational attitude to the Integrity Commissioner and the Code of Conduct.”

Being held to account obviously chafed the fat man something fierce because there was no end to his vitriol. Anyone who would dare question what he did (especially people who were competent and required by provincial legislation), MUST BE FIRED! After all, if the Fuhrer decrees it…

So I can’t imagine how Ford is going to deal with the fact that he was today found to be openly continuing to use his name to ask for donations from lobbyists, but he also once again ran away to his beloved American bosom to avoid any scrutiny or painful brow-furrowing (a.k.a. thinking). Second vacation in three months — just like any regular TV mobster waiting for the “heat” to die down.

Let me reiterate that in case you missed it: the thing that Ford got in trouble for and almost got him fired (were it not for a technicality), is exactly what he has continued to do since the case was dropped!

There’s no way in the universe he can still claim ignorance, or that it was some sort of decade-long bout of abject ineptitude — something that in any company would have been just cause for a firing a long long time ago.

Even the lobbyists being targeted know what the problem is:

Andy Manahan, executive director of the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario, said he received a letter on Jan. 28 — only three days after Ford won his appeal in the conflict of interest saga that began with his decision to solicit donations from lobbyists in 2009.

“You never know what a mayor’s office could do to put a monkey wrench into your dealings with the city.”

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to take those sort of lists and send out letters to people who have dealings with the city,” Manahan said. “Again, there could be repercussions. There’s potential.”

The second registered lobbyist asked not to be named for fear of alienating the Ford administration. He said, “I think it’s kind of suspicious. The only interactions I’ve had with him were on city business or as a lobbyist registrant.”

He added: “It goes back to: are you allowed to use names and contact information from business dealings to raise funds? Is that permitted? It sure seems strange.”

Ford also sent a fundraising letter in the past two months to a non-lobbyist who does business with the city and whose fortunes he could directly influence: Brian Ashton, president of the Canadian National Exhibition Association, which stages the annual fair.

As mayor, Ford is automatically a member of the association board; if Ashton seeks re-election, Ford could vote for or against him. Under its new governance model, the association will pay rent of more than $3 million to the city in 2013.

“It’s awkward because if you’re doing business with the city in any fashion, do you feel a sense of obligation?” said Ashton, a former centrist councillor who retired from politics in 2010. “If you don’t (donate), will that influence his impression or support of your organization?”

Ashton is currently urging council members not to put a casino at Exhibition Place. He said the fundraising letters are “unnerving” because “the Fords are very powerful in Toronto.”

“I just hope that (Rob Ford) separates the two and doesn’t allow fundraising efforts to influence decisions with respect to the casino or any other CNE business,” Ashton said.

Since Rob Ford seems completely incapable of defending himself or making any public comments on his own, someone on his staff had to step in with what is now the standard Rob Ford “but it was just a mistake!” excuse:

“It is our understanding that the Football Foundation makes every attempt to remove registered lobbyists from its mass mailing lists. If errors were made, they were inadvertent. The Foundation will review and look for ways to improve its processes,” the statement from Ford’s office reads. “In any case, it is our understanding that the Foundation has not received any donations from lobbyists and it is Foundation policy to return such donations if they were to be received in error.”

And, of course, brother Dougie has to include his customary addenda:

Ford told Leiper in 2010 that he did not check to see whether the people to whom he was planning to send letters were lobbyists or appointees to city boards.

Anyone can determine whether someone is a registered lobbyist by typing a name into the publicly accessible lobbyist registry. But Doug Ford said Wednesday that he does not think his brother does so, even today.

“No. I don’t believe it makes a difference who it is. Because there are so many companies that are registered in the City of Toronto; if you look, there’s probably a couple thousand of them,” Doug Ford said.

“It depends on what you call a lobbyist or not. Rob can’t stand lobbyists; he’s the guy who fights against lobbyists. But it depends on who you call a lobbyist. Do you call ‘ABC Company,’ that wants to open up, and they’re registered, and they need to talk to councillors — are they lobbyists? I guess they are.”

Depends on who you call a lobbyist? Only if you’re an illiterate drip who’s incapable of performing a simple web search, Dougie:

But despite all this, I have to admit that there’s a sick, twisted logic behind why the Fords would be continuing on their merry, law-breaking way; the last three cases have shown that the law doesn’t apply to them, and even if they’re questioned they can just shrug, claim they’re stupid, and off they go … go get ’em tiger, go rape the city for the Conservative dynasty!

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

Warrantless wiretapping bill is out, new warrantless spying bills on their way.

Posted on February 17th, 2013 Be the first to comment

Good news — Bill C-30, the warrantless wiretapping “you’re either with us or you’re with the child pornographers“, is dead in the water.

The bad news — the Harper government has renamed it Bill C-55, made it secret until it’s been introduced to Parliament — because, after all, why do the peons need to know when their rights are being trampled on? — and have Bill C-12 (a.k.a. PIPEDA) waiting in the ranks just in case.

So what does Tyrant-in-Waiting Harper have in store for us with C-55? Let’s have a look at some of the highlights:

2. Section 183 of the Criminal Code is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

“police officer” means any officer, constable or other person employed for the preservation and maintenance of the public peace;


We can hire someone under the auspices of “public peace” to spy on you; we’re no longer limiting this to just cops.


184.4 A police officer may intercept, by means of any electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, a private communication if the police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that
(a) the urgency of the situation is such that an authorization could not, with reasonable diligence, be obtained under any other provision of this Part;
(b) the interception is immediately necessary to prevent an offence that would cause serious harm to any person or to property; and
(c) either the originator of the private communication or the person intended by the originator to receive it is the person who would commit the offence that is likely to cause the harm or is the victim, or intended victim, of the harm.


Any “police officer” (see previous section), can spy on you if they believe you’re going to break the law. How do you know they believe it? Why, you just have to take their word for it. Oh, and it’s not just limited to the internet; they can spy on you through your phone, by placing a bug in your place (or some other similar means), intercepting your mail, grabbing post-it notes stuck to your computer, etc. Also, if the “police” “believe” you’re likely to be the victim of a crime, they can spy on you as well. Basically, you’re going to be spied on. Period.


(1) The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness shall, as soon as possible after the end of each year, prepare a report relating to
(a) authorizations for which that Minister and agents to be named in the report who were specially designated in writing by thatMinister for the purposes of section 185 applied and to the interceptions made under those authorizations in the immediately preceding year;
(b) authorizations given under section 188 for which peace officers to be named in the report who were specially designated by that Minister for the purposes of that section applied and to the interceptions made under
those authorizations in the immediately preceding year; and
(c) interceptions made under section 184.4 in the immediately preceding year if the interceptions
relate to an offence for which proceedings may be commenced by the Attorney General of Canada.


The Minister of Public Safety is going to prepare a yearly report on who’s spying on you. Unfortunately, there’s no mention that this report needs to be made public, and furthermore, unless the spying results in charges, there’s no need to include any details in there (i.e. if you’re being spied on for no purpose, there’s no reason anyone needs to know about it). This is further spelled out in additional sections; only where charges have been laid does anything need to be reported on.

Granted that the bill isn’t a completed document yet, and it rests on the existing Criminal Code so my analysis isn’t exactly thorough (and to be honest, I would love for someone to prove me wrong), but I can’t help but question if any of the clauses above (which pretty much comprise the entire current version), do what the bill’s preamble claim that they do:

(a) requires the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Attorney General of each province to report on the interceptions of private communications made under section 184.4;
(b) provides that a person who has been the object of such an interception must be notified of the interception within a specified period;
(c) narrows the class of individuals who can make such an interception;
(d) limits those interceptions to offences listed in section 183 of the Criminal Code.

As usual, I invite you to read the whole thing yourself and, if possible, have a gander at the sections of the Criminal Code that it’s attempting to change. And while you’re at it, I would challenge you to ask who, exactly, all of these laws are intended to benefit. It’s unlikely that Joe Commonman could list 1% of all the laws he’s being subjected to, yet is expected to abide by, and simultaneously isn’t allowed to claim ignorance of in the courts (unless, of course, you’re Rob Ford).

Common Law it most certainly is not.

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

New view

Posted on February 16th, 2013 Be the first to comment

Obviously, if urbanity isn’t your cup of tea then gazing out over this every day is probably not something you’d enjoy. Sarah and I, on the other hand, are digging it (along with the prospects of a balcony garden of some sort). Spectacular sunset panoramas should present themselves forthwith…


Filed under: Patrick Bay, Pictures

Happy Express-Your-Love Day!

Posted on February 14th, 2013 1 Comment

To my dearest, most wonderful Sarah — each and every day with you is better than the one before.

I love you!


Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Pictures

The sad case of Christopher Dorner

Posted on February 13th, 2013 2 Comments

I know that this is completely out off the “Toronto”, “City”, “Life” categories, but as you may probably know from reading this blog, social justice and abuse of police powers weigh pretty heavy on my heart.

So it was with dismay and disbelief that I watched US news networks last night vilify and outright lie about Christopher Dorner during his final hours in San Bernardino County, Los Angeles.

The fact of the matter is that Dorner was one of the last few good cops left, a guy who believed in justice and law, a guy who saw the ranks of his fellow law-enforcers filled with racists, liars, and the kinds of criminal scum that not only should be behind bars for a very long time, but should also never be allowed to carry guns and badges and be allowed to call themselves “justice”.

How Dorner went about bringing attention to the criminality he witnessed was misguided and, as he himself realized, ultimately doomed. He knew that the media would demonize him, focusing on his actions and completely ignoring or even misrepresenting the reasons behind them. The fact that he killed police officers is and was presented as valid justification for his assassination but his own recollections of police brutality and murder perpetrated on civilians (resulting with him being fired from the force instead), are hardly mentioned, if at all, except by “fringe lunatics” like me who believe people, regardless of their position in life, should be held to account for their actions. That means a fair and open trial in front of a non-corrupted judge, and ending with incarceration if found guilty.

To make matters worse, I was listening to police scanners live as his cabin was being raided and comparing it to what TV news was reporting, and the amount of misinformation and just outright lies was stunning to witness first-hand. There were reports coming over the dispatch, for example, of police putting a “burner(s)” in place, setting it / them off, shouting “Burn this motherfucker!”, calling for the fire department, and then raiding the cabin. The news, on the other hand, was speculating about why Dorner was setting his cabin on fire (or they’re probably smoke or “flash-bang” grenades set of by the loving police who only want to take him alive if at all possible), and debating why he would be shooting off ammunition (as he was being burned alive).

(Incidentally, I assisted Max Blumenthal, one of the few non-official sources, and one of the few to question the official story, to reconnect to the police scanner feeds when they were taken offline):


Did big media not know what was going on? How was it that some schmuck in Toronto knew exactly what was happening, and they didn’t? Is it possible that they’re so completely incompetent that they couldn’t tune into the publicly available police scanners (, if you’re interested), to monitor the situation, or is it more likely that they were busy spinning and manipulating the story while it was happening? After all, it’s one thing to simply not report on what’s happening (as the police were demanding of everyone, including Twitter and Facebook users), but it’s something else entirely to spout off plain old lies and misinformation, backed up with so many “experts” waiting on hand to bring validity to it all.

I’m genuinely sorry for Mr. Dorner, his family, and the people who’s lives he took (assuming one buys official reports, all of which are currently unproven accusations). None of it would’ve happened if the police he was surrounded by weren’t such rotten criminals, if the media and the agencies responsible for keeping them in check weren’t in direct collusion, and if justice, truth, and the law prevailed. Will anyone bother to look into the upper echelons that Dorner directly accused of the highest corruption, or will their criminality be buried even deeper? It’s tragic that Mr. Dorner felt he had to resort to such drastic actions just to be heard, and more tragic still that even now the demonization of those who would stand up for the truth would be carried out so viciously. And before you remind me that none of Dorner’s allegations have ever been proven, I’ll remind you that Dorner was also never tried in a court of law before the cops decided it’d be more expedient just to kill him on the spot, and that big media haven’t raised on iota of criticism.

I guess George Orwell was right … in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

If you consider yourself a “revolutionary” by this standard, you’ll probably also be interested to hear the police dispatch from San Bernardino County. I took the liberty of recording a number of channels live, as it was happening. Contrast what you hear against what the “news” are busy pumping out even today.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to arrange the audio files so they’re somewhat scattered, but here is what actually happened last night, along with Dorner’s own words in what big media love to term his “manifesto” (because, don’t you know, all the crazies have one):

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay, Sounds

Ford wants to to hunt down and murder Land Transfer Tax in cold blood. Again.

Posted on February 12th, 2013 Be the first to comment

Alright, I know that the headline is just plain old over-the-top hyperbole, but to hear Rob Ford pull this old nugget out of his ass again requires no less.

After all, this is the fourth time in as many years that Robbie’s “taking on”, “tackling”, “dismantling”, or otherwise dealing with his “guaranteed…GUARANTEED!!” election promise of getting rid of the Land Transfer Tax, one of the biggest forms of income for City Hall and hence the best way to fuck over the city for money for things like plowing snow, fixing roads, collecting garbage, etc.

I mean, I get it … who likes to pay taxes? And this particular one adds no value to something you don’t even really own — unbeknownst to most “home owners” within the Commonwealth, the Crown actually owns all the land and they are essentially renting it. But City Hall is fairly limited in where and how it can tax people, so taking away a major source of revenue will produce a massive deficit of the sort that Ford has thus far only (and falsely), attributed to his predecessors.

Essentially, Ford’s plan, which includes no way to make up for the lost revenue other than the non-existent “gravy” that proved to be just so much bullshit, would leave Toronto in a huge financial pickle. And Ford’s solution is to simply keep repeating the same old, proved-false rhetoric (like that tired Public-Private-Partnership nonsense that never materialized).

It probably won’t matter — Ford will once again toss his fellow Councillors under the bus for refusing to support his insane “plan”, even though he’s unwilling (incapable?) of putting forth any viable solutions, and will once again do nothing but cast blame and aspersions for once again failing to do what he “GUARANTEED!” he would do, over, and over, and over again.

Reality: 4, Ford: 0

Filed under: B Sides

Getting around

Posted on February 11th, 2013 2 Comments

With the recent dumping of snow that fell on Toronto I thought it’d be a neat idea to once again revisit the City of Toronto Archives to see how we, with all of our modern technology, fared against Torontonians of the past.

Sadly, the people of the the old Toronto dealt with the snow way better than we did. For starters, they didn’t always depend on rubber tires or internal combustion engines for getting around … check out the four-wheeled, woman-powered infant conveyance here:


Apparently, this method of transport was so safe that no one, including the children in the drivers’ seats, gave a second thought to wandering out onto Lake Ontario in it. I suppose it was definitely safer walking on the lake during the winter than in the summer — lot fewer big ships to watch out for:


The lake also offered natural relief to traffic congestion. Road packed? …


…why, just toss your best gal in the sidecar and hit the waters:


Apparently the compact “gravity-powered man car” was also quite popular, being able to go off road and being so easy to navigate that even young children could drive it. But the inability to go on level surfaces or uphill proved to be this form of transport’s undoing:


But, of course, some inventions of the era were so effective that they endured well into the modern day. Take the common “foot-car”, for example:


We can certainly learn a lost from the past, especially when modern technology fails us. Like they saying goes, don’t toss the baby out with the bathwater … unless, of course, it’s out on the lake, the safest place for newborns to be.

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Snow place like home

Posted on February 9th, 2013 Be the first to comment

There are only so many “snow” puns out there, okay?


Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Platinum, baby

Posted on February 8th, 2013 3 Comments

Here’s I spent my birthday, courtesy of the new Bud Light Platinum and UNIUN nightclub:


This was a launch event headlined by Diplo who, after numerous downings of the aluminum-clad, delightfully strong (6%), and genuinely and surprisingly tasty beers (not my regular but one I can honestly recommend), had little chance of appearing in any of my photos. But I did cut a rug, mosh it up, bump up against many anonymous sweaty people, and Sarah and I got to catch up with some old social media pals of mine I hadn’t seen in a while, like Zach Bussey


…and the incredibly elusive @clickflicka:


Our media passes, replete with a cordoned off section that smacked of VIP, put the cherry on top of an already fantastic night. And I was heartened to discover that even in my advanced age, I can still shake my caboose with the youngins.

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay, Pictures, Videos

Is it the 8th already?

Posted on February 8th, 2013 Be the first to comment

Holy cow, I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown by.

Between partying it up for my birthday (replete with a nice gift from the people at Budweiser), moving into our new place (yes, we finally found one and, yes, there’s more to follow), putting together a new game for Astral Media, putting the finishing touches on the countless apps soon to be hitting Android Play, etc., tending to my other blogs and sites, doctor’s visits, cooking, cleaning, mopping up after the cats, trying to hunt down well-past-due cheques, dealing with the Canada Revenue Agency (that’s a nightmare I don’t want to relive in recounting), and all the other little bits of business life tends to toss out, and, well, you get the picture.

There’s been plenty to talk about, of course, from Ford’s campaign audit to Mammoliti’s, not to mention that Toronto isn’t a no-news city at he best of times. But I’m getting the feeling that the change of  scenery that our new digs offers (of course there’ll be panorama pics!) might inspire me to take a slightly different approach. Sarah and I have been tossing around the idea of changing the layout and format so that we can explore our other sides — the foods we love, the scenery we enjoy, the places we like to shake our rumps at, and yes, even our cathartic expositions on the spuds at City Hall.

So please bear with us for a few moments while we make this happen. The blog hasn’t had a face lift since I started it over four years ago, and I think it’s high time it did. And if you notice anything amiss or out of place, please be sure to drop us a line in the meantime!

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay