There is a clear problem: hundreds of people of specific populations are killed every year in police interactions. Black Lives Matter is not saying that only their lives matter; they are saying that, historically, their lives have not mattered. They haven't mattered much, nor have Native American lives.
Pot dispensaries, cannabis cafes, medical marijuana clinics, smoke shops, vapour lounges -- cannabis culture has gained a foothold in Toronto. Some neighbourhoods have had little to no infiltration, but many have had a staggering number of pot dispensaries open along the main street, out in the open.
This may come as a shock to some readers: Teachers are human beings -- nearly all of them. This means that, like the rest of us, they make mistakes, behave badly, and sometimes just lose it. It also means that, like the rest of us, most teachers are basically good and honest people who work hard to do a very difficult job. But some are not. And the ones who are not should not be teaching.
When governments don't want to do something but want to give the appearance of doing something, they set up a task force or committee to investigate and bring back a report. It looks good to some but does nothing and that is what so many jurisdictions do. Maybe it is because I live in Ontario, but this province is the master when it comes to this.
Like most people that call this city home, I am deeply troubled by Sunday's shooting deaths in Toronto's Chinatown and the eight other gun-related deaths the city saw in January. This is obviously unacceptable, and police must be supported in their efforts to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these horrific crimes. That being said, most people would be hesitant to draw any clear conclusions about why we have seen a high number of gun crimes over the past month. Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, the union that represents police officers, feels differently.
They care enough to attend these extremely difficult calls with the hope of helping someone in dire need of medical help and, in my experience, police have become some of our community's most caring frontline mental health workers. The problem is that they are not frontline mental health workers, nor should the be.
This week, we learned that the Toronto Police Service will be ordering C8 carbine semi-automatic assault rifles for front-line police officers. The assault rifles, produced by arms manufacturer Colt Canada for the Canadian Forces, will cost $2,500 each, and will be in patrol cars on the streets of Canada's largest city by May. Toronto becomes only the latest municipality to acquire a weapon described on its website as "battle proven in harsh combat environments."
An interview with Clive Weighill - Saskatoon Police Chief and President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police: Some politicians talk about getting tough on crime. I'm saying you don't just want to get tough on crime, you have to get tough on the issues of poverty, poor housing, disadvantage. People are products of their environment, and if we can't solve those social issues, we're not going to solve the big picture in the end. I firmly believe that we have to work on poverty.
Brandon was shot and killed not far from his hometown of Maniwaki, which has a population of about 4,000 people and is adjacent to the Anishinabeg (Algonquin) community of Kitigan Zibi, about 300 kilometres northwest of Montreal. His death went almost completely unnoticed in the media. Yet, a 17-year-old adolescent killed by the police in the context of a banal driving violation is newsworthy, particularly in light of the the fact that more than 50 people, most of whom were marginalized, have been killed in police operations in Quebec (and over 150 in Canada) since 2005.
Despite a falling crime rate, policing costs have nearly doubled in Canada over the past 25 years. In this context, it makes absolutely no sense to soak up police officers' time with tasks that should not logically be included in their job descriptions. Why not refocus the work of police officers on their essential duties, and employ other categories of personnel for auxiliary or administrative tasks?
The reality is that in Toronto, as in most police services across the continent, the vast majority of serving police officers are exceptional public servants. The bad news is that reality is entirely irrelevant. People don't form judgments or base their decisions and actions on reality. They base them on their perceptions. And a fast-growing segment of society in Toronto, in Chicago, in New York City, in Ferguson, in cities and towns across North America, perceive their police services to be acting for their own benefit -- not society's.
Which do you think is worse: police officers who don't know the law, or officers who know the law but deliberately ignore it or even mock it? That question has been on my mind since I saw the video made by Mike Miller, who observed two police officers making an arrest in broad daylight in a Toronto parking lot on September 14, 2015.
In a moment of boredom, two teens in Lanark County, Ont., smash their way into a hardware store and help themselves to the goods. Police nabbed the pair soon after. But instead of going before judge and jury, the teens faced their victims in a citizen-run "restorative justice" forum. It's an approach that's gaining popularity across Canada, showing there's more than one way to be tough on crime.
Toronto's police board has gone from refusal, to resistance, to resignation, to recognition of the problem, to partial resolution (the PACER report) and now, to retraction, recalcitrance and regression. What happened to the commitment to a fair and equitable society, to bias-free policing? The TPSB is set to vote this Thursday on a policy that is offensive and insidious. This new policy not only eliminates the requirement to issue receipts, but it takes us back even further than we were a few months ago. Is this the direction of an oversight body and a civilian boss that was once committed to diversity and fair treatment?
Generally speaking, steroid users are not impressionable youth--they are young adults fully capable of making informed decisions about their own health. Steroid users are not devious cheaters--they are not involved with organized sport and are not bound by the rules of any sporting body. Steroid users are not less intelligent--they are professionals with more than average education. And steroid users bear little resemblance to addicts--they are seeking to improve their health, not feeding an addiction.