It’s hard to call myself a journalist (or journalist-to-be, I don’t know) if I don’t every once in a while comment on the local news, especially in a city as actively news-generating as Toronto. Living so close to it (and spending so much time in it) makes me feel like I basically live in the city already, so when such a huge news day happened yesterday I really felt the impact.
First off, in a giant phew moment, the LCBO avoided a potential strike. For those reading this outside Ontario, LCBO stands for Liquor Control Board of Ontario, and it’s the main way we get alcohol in the province.
This would have been the first time ever in the LCBO’s history that a strike would have happened. At issue was the fact that between 2008 and 2012, the LCBO hired almost 1,000 part-time workers who would have no guaranteed hours and made approximately $26,000 a year.
Naturally, with the possibility of a strike, people went on booze-buying sprees. I mean the fact that alcohol wouldn’t be available for a while would probably alarm people anyway, but coming up is the Victoria Day weekend, aka 2-4 weekend, and it is a holiday weekend probably more associated with alcohol than most other holiday weekends.
Someone I know told me yesterday that she saw two older men clearing an entire row of vodka off an LCBO store shelf, so people were clearly buying enough booze to weather an apocalypse.
Next up on the list was the casino controversy. For several months now, Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, has been crusading with hopes of getting a huge casino complex to be built in Toronto. Lots of people have been debating this. (Shameless plug: I edited a podcast by Toronto Star writer Corey Mintz in which several interesting people debated the merits and drawbacks to a casino in Toronto. The podcast is available for free from iTunes.)
Last night, I read that Ford referred to the casino deal as “dead.” The main issue with this idea was the hosting fee—the city of Toronto receives some kind of a fee every year from the casino. The city was hoping for at least $100 million, and the province recently revealed that the hosting fee would be more like $53 million.
This leaves the possibility of a casino moving into places like Vaughn or Mississauga, and quite frankly I’m hoping to be out of Mississauga soon anyways, so I’m finding myself not really caring where the casino goes at this point.
And then, finally, there’s the news story that everyone is likely talking about right now, something that the Toronto Star is likely having a field day with. Rob Ford has supposedly been videotaped smoking crack cocaine.
Gawker broke the news sometime yesterday, and a full story is now up on the Star page. Long story short, the Gawker reporter saw a cellphone video that showed Ford, along with a few other men, smoking crack cocaine. Ford apparently seemed very out of it and was red-faced and laughing. Apparently Star reporters Kevin Donovan and Robyn Doolittle also saw the video and their descriptions of it matched the Gawker reporter’s observations.
The video itself is not available, though, because the two men who showed it to the various reporters are trying to sell it for a six-figure price. Of course, an IndieGogo campaign has already started in an attempt to pool money to buy the tape, which would then be handed off immediately to the CBC.
I’m inclined to believe that this story is true, although I do wish a few more reporters could see the video and also independently verify that it is indeed Ford in the video. But from the screenshot it damn well looks like it’s him.
Anyway, yesterday was certainly an eventful day for Toronto. How many Rob Ford scandals have come to light now? I’ve long since lost count.