Thursday, April 3 Commentary
The Rob Ford crack video is front and centre this morning. Specifically the extortion surrounding that video.
The Toronto Star is reporting a schism between Toronto Police investigators and the OPP detective recently brought on board to act as liaison to the OPP Commissioner overseeing the probe.
Basically the story is that Toronto police allege that Sandro Lisi was trying to extort the man who had possession of the video. Those detectives were trying to see if extortion went up any higher, perhaps into the mayor's office. Perhaps a conspiracy.
The OPP Detective seems to think that Mayor Rob Ford was the victim of extortion by the man who possessed the video but Toronto Police are flummoxed by the notion that an OPP detective, two weeks onto the case, can jump to such a conclusion this fast.
I assume that this will all get worked out and it could be that both are correct...that the man with the video was being threatened if he didn't return it and he in turn made threats to release it unless Ford paid up.
But this now creates a wide-open field for defence lawyers to use as cause for reasonable doubt and possibly get their client or clients exonerated.
John Tory has an idea that he'll roll out this morning. He's going to propose a 10-point code of personal and political conduct...integrity, respect for others, leadership by example.
Should he become Mayor Tory vows to introduce real penalties for elected officials and public servants who abuse "the privileges, responsibilities and trust that accompany public office."
I am not sure if I get what Tory is trying to peddle here. City Council already has a Code of Conduct. Investigations are conducted by the Integrity Commissioner and there are penalties should council decide to use them. If Tory's point is that the code should be expanded and the penalties toughened up, fine but that's hardly a policy pronouncement.
Olivia Chow's transit ideas never cease to stun me. I won't rehash the glaring idiocy of using old buses but her latest pronouncement is this: she does not think the question of a downtown TTC relief line should be an election issue. Why? Because nothing has been done about this relief line so far . They haven't figure out a route. They haven't figured out an alignment and they have to still sit down with Ottawa and Queen's Park to see how they can come up with 8-billion dollars. So let's not talk about this now says Chow. We can talk about it next year.
No, we'll talk about it now because the citizens of this city need to know where you and Ford and Tory and the rest stand on a downtown relief line. I want to know before I cast my vote in October, not later, not when I could be blindsided by some off-the-wall idea coming from our next mayor.
ROB FORD VOTES
Did you catch the shenanigans at Toronto City Council yesterday. There were two motions to vote on. One to thank Canadian Olympians and Paralympians. The other to name a street or part of a street in honour of Nelson Mandela. For whatever reason Mayor Rob Ford was the only one to vote NO to both motions. About 30-minutes later he asked for a re-vote because claimed he'd mistakenly voted NO.
As Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly explained it to reporters, the only way it could be re-opened is if all councillors who were in the chamber for the first vote were there for the re-vote and Kelly said some of the councillors were likely not in the chamber deliberately. In other words to stick it to Rob Ford.
This is about as petty a political move as I've seen in a while. Were I to be asked 'what is the first name to come to mind at council who would applaud our Olympians and Paralympians?'...unquestionably it would be Rob Ford. To me, he obviously made a mistake. For a few councillors to refuse to let him change his vote is sleazy. More important, it could backfire because it makes Robbie boy look like the victim and that plays right into his hand. He and campaign manager Doug Ford have been trying to stick the victim tag on Rob Ford for months to get the sympathy vote. Sure enough it wasn't long before the Mayor was doing the puppy dog thing to reporters pointing out that other councillors make similar mistakes all the time and they get to re-vote but he doesn't.
The latest on that shooting rampage at the army base at Fort Hood, Texas...4 dead including the gunman. 16 wounded.
The gunman was a soldier who served 4 months in Iraq, returned and complained about suffering a brain injury. He was transferred in January from another base to Fort Hood and doctors were trying to sort out if he had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was under medication.