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Mayor’s Chief of Staff Towhey removed from Toronto City hall

Mark Towhey is no longer working for the office of the Mayor. On May 23, he was escorted out of City Hall.

A longstanding ally of Mayor Rob Ford, Towhey served as an advisor on the campaign trail and helped to develop Ford’s economic platform.

According to the official press release, “The Mayor thanks Mr. Towhey for his valuable service and wishes him the very best in his future endeavours. Earl Provost, Deputy Chief of Staff, will assume the role of Acting Chief of Staff until further notice.”

Although the press release makes no reference to Ford’s recent scandals, the timing of the dismissal raises a multitude of questions. What was the official reason for the dismissal? What does Towhey know about Ford’s recent troubles?

Towhey has chosen not to elaborate on what he knows, nor on the reaon for his dismissal.

Sarah Thomson, former mayoral candidate, head of the Transit Alliance, and publisher of Women’s Post made the following statement:

“Everyone knows someone who has suffered from drug and/or alcohol addiction. Allowing an addict to deny their addiction or ignore it, does more to enable them than and little to help them. This is why an addict will often cut off anyone who cares enough to try to help them.

That Mayor Ford has let his closest ally go may say more about Mr. Towhey’s strength of character than any of us will ever know.

I am sorry for the predicament Mayor Ford is in, and do encourage him to lean on friends and family for support and advice.”

Finally…a cookbook contest!

Women’s Post is giving one lucky reader the chance to win a signed copy of Finally…Food I Can Eat! This is your chance to get your hands on a collection of delectable recipes to sample at will. Expand your kitchen and enter today.

Contest Rules & Regulations:
Contestants must reside in Canada (excluding Quebec) to be eligible to win
Contestants must be 18 or older
Contestants are eligible to enter 1x daily (further entries will not be counted)
Contest closes on Thursday, May 30th, at 4 p.m.

 

CONTEST CLOSED.

Ford’s silence on crack allegations is about to make Toronto $200,000 more dangerous

Rob Ford, you need to come clean. The longer you refrain from saying yes or no to these allegations the closer the people of Toronto come to giving $200,000 dollars to a group of drug dealers. The clock is ticking.

Right now Toronto is buzzing. Did the mayor smoke crack? Is he in with a group of drug dealers? These are questions that are up in the air right now. The fact is: three journalists — okay, two journalists and one gossip-hound — say they have viewed a video of what appears to be Rob Ford uttering slurs against racial minorities and gays and smoking crack cocaine.

The allegations weigh heavy against you, Rob. Despite whatever vendetta that you and your brother think the Star has out against you there is no way that they would fabricate anything about this, barring a complete and utter bankruptcy of ethics and disregard for the law.

If the people of Toronto are to trust our most seasoned and talented journalists (and one seasoned and talented gossip-hound) we have to accept it as a fact that a video of what appears to be Rob Ford smoking crack exists.

The ball is in your court, Rob, and it has been for one full week now.

Your silence, aside from a few one-sentence dismissals of the pack of journalists desperate to get to the bottom of this, is more than a political or legal move. Right now your silence, Rob, is dangerous.

With every minute that ticks by a new donation is being made to Gawker’s crowd-funding project. As of lunch time on May 23 it sits at $133,291, just a few dollars shy of two-thirds complete.

This money is going to people who are admitted crack dealers; shady men who dart in and out of cars in parking lots at night and live off the proceeds to selling poison. These people are about to be two hundred grand richer.

The things they could spend this money on are easy to imagine. Pouring that money directly into the lowest rung of the drug trade can only result in more drugs on the streets, more guns in the hands of criminals, and more dead bodies.

Rob, the longer you refrain from doing anything the more money the people of Toronto donate towards these drug dealers in an attempt to gain some form of answer to the question of whether or not their mayor is smoking crack.

You need to respond to these allegations by saying something, anything.

If it isn’t true, although the chances of this being the case seem slimmer and slimmer as the days go by, help the city of Toronto like you want to and come out fists blazing in denial like you always do. Will this please everyone? No. But it could help to stop the slow and steady ebb of your former supporters looking for some kind of answer by donating to this fund.

If it is true and you did smoke crack and it is on video, please, please come forward and tell the people of Toronto what you did. Admit that it is true, that you are a flawed man who smoked crack, and beg everyone to stop donating, not for the sake of your political career or your brother’s ambitions, but for the sake of every person who might die of a gunshot or a drug overdose if this project succeeds.

Your claim to want to help the people of Toronto was at least believable before. You did your best to help people who shared your views on subways and garbage collection. Right now your silence is helping no one but yourself to avoid embarrassment and putting the lives of others at risk.

The people at Gawker and the people of Toronto are not innocent in this either. These people are knowingly opening up their wallets to drug dealers and criminals, and in the aftermath of this situation, another summer of the gun or a Toronto crack epidemic, they’ll also have themselves to blame. But nobody holds more cards in this game than you, Rob, and your poker face is a time bomb waiting to go off in the ghetto.

Step up, Rob. If you love this city like you claim, if you want to help people, you will step forward and say something, anything, or the blood of Toronto’s next Jane Creeba will be all over your hands.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter: @travmyers

Women of the week: Heather Kleb

What do you think of when you think of nuclear energy?

Interim president and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA), Heather is striving to create a more positive environment for nuclear energy, educating the masses on the many positives of the power source while helping to advance the industry.

“I’m a big believer in nuclear energy, because it’s good for the environment and it’s good for the economy. We supply much needed power while minimizing the release of greenhouse gases. And our industry provides thousands of highly skilled, well paying and rewarding jobs while doing it.  Basically, it’s good for Canadians,” Heather says.

With a background in environmental science, Heather has a great deal of experience working in what she calls “responsible resource development.” After several years of working in the mining and logging industries, Heather was offered the role of environmental scientist with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and found her niche. Ten years later, she is serving as the interim president and CEO.

A female CEO in a scientific association might seem like an oddity to an outside spectator, but Heather sees it as an example of the way things are moving in this field.

“I think that the fact that our Board of Directors asked me to assume the interim president and CEO role speaks volumes about our industry.  There is definitely a growing number of women in senior roles throughout our industry,” she says.

A firm believer in the nuclear industry, Heather would like to see the number grow and encourages other women to consider the field.

“It currently provides over 30,000 interesting, challenging and rewarding jobs for Canadians.”

As part of her job, Heather works to combat the negative images of nuclear energy and has participated in a number of regulatory hearings.  When asked, however, about what stands out as memorable about these hearings, she chooses not to dwell on “the antics of the very passionate non-governmental organizations,” who tend to have a very vocal presence. Instead, she highlights the actions of Port Hope Mayor Linda Thompson.

“Mayor Thompson spoke thoughtfully to the benefits the nuclear industry would bring to her community and the families that live there,” Heather says.

This resolve, to highlight the positive elements of her field while refusing to get bogged down by the negative characters who seek to destroy nuclear power, stands out in Heather’s character. She believes in her industry and wants to raise awareness about the many ways nuclear energy can improve people’s lives.

“The nuclear industry generates more than just power,” she says. “We produce isotopes that aid in the diagnosis and treatment of many forms of Cancer. In fact, Canada provides between 20-30% of the world’s supply of isotopes.”

This alternate purpose of nuclear technology is important to note, given the rising rates of cancer. As a testament to this link, the CNA is partnering with the Canadian Cancer Society and raising funds for research. Watch for the Relay for Life in Ottawa on June 7, hosted by the CNA.

Internet raises over $50,000 to put towards alleged Ford crack video

UPDATE 3: Gawker’s campaign has now passed the $50,000 mark, sitting at $51,810, over one quarter of the $200,000 mark they have set. (1:00 p.m. May 18)

UPDATE 2: Gawker’s “Crackstarter” has raised $24,724 and is rapidly increasing. (4:27 p.m. May 17)

UPDATE: With the addition of Gawker’s own “Crackstarter” the running tally sits around $6,000. (1:55 p.m. May 17)

When last night’s news of Rob Ford’s alleged crack smoking video hit the airwaves there was much buzz on Twitter and Facebook about crowdfunding the money required to purchase the video and as of 1 p.m. it has resulted in $3,278 dollars being raised.

The unnamed Somali-Canadian sources that have been in contact with Gawker and the Toronto Star attempting to sell the video, a group which includes the Etobicoke drug dealers who supposedly sold Ford the crack, are asking for “six figures” for the video.

In the morning of Friday, May 17, several projects cropped up on international crowdfunding website Indiegogo.com, three of which have secured funding of hundreds of dollars each.

One of the projects is run by Canadian news source The Province.

UPDATE: One of the projects run by Canadian news outlet The Province, which had reached $915, was removed from Indiegogo at 1:20 p.m.

In the Gawker article that broke the story the author was quite clear that he was looking to purchase the tape, having contacted CNN attempting to set up a partnership. According to the author there was a Canadian news source that had previously offered the men $40,000 for the tape. The Star’s reporters viewed the tape on May 3, 2013 and stated that they did not purchase the video, however, it is unclear as to whether or not they were the unsuccessful bid.

There are a myriad of journalistic ethical questions around the idea of paying for information from sources, especially when the sources are asking for such a high price.

  • Can we trust our news correspondents enough that their testimony in regards to the video is enough? If there is no other way to attain the video without paying upwards of $100,000 is it the responsibility of news sources to shell out the money so that the people of Toronto and Canada may see it?
  • Could paying this source set a precedent for future sources to begin charging for important information on stories, big and small?
  • Could paying for the tape contribute to illegal activity? The men, self professed drug dealers who told the Star they are seeking the money to set up new lives for themselves out west, could easily be offering the same price to Rob Ford’s camp in an attempt to blackmail the embattled mayor.

It remains to be seen whether or not the crowdfunded money can reach the goal and then at that point partner with one of the media outlets currently in contact with the video’s owners along with whatever lasting impact on the Canadian media landscape will come from this incident.

Follow Travis Myers on Twitter: @travmyers

 

Video surfaces of Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine

Rob Ford has had his low moments, like when it was uncovered that he is an alcoholic, or when he groped WP publisher Sarah Thomson’s behind at a party.

Now it has come to light that there is a video of Rob Ford smoking crack (yes, crack cocaine, that stuff) that was filmed in the last six months.

Gawker reported that they have viewed the video and he is “fucking hiiiiigh” on the tape. It is currently for sale for six figures by a group of Somali-Canadian drug dealers and Gawker is looking for a partner to purchase it with.

This comes with the revelation that his dealers service “Ford’s longtime friend, people on his staff, his brother, a prominent hockey analyst, and more.”

The video in question shows Rob Ford smoking a glass pipe:

The man in the video is Rob Ford. It is well-lit, clear. Ford is seated, in a room in a house. In one hand is a a clear, glass pipe. The kind with a big globe and two glass cylinders sticking out of it.

After the Gawker story was posted they were contacted by an attorney about the tape saying he represents Ford and that the mayor does not smoke crack.

The tipster who informed Gawker of the video sent a photo that shows Rob Ford apparently partying and drinking with a young man who was murdered in a gang-style  shooting on King Street in Toronto’s Entertainment District, Anthony Smith.

Apparently a Canadian news organisation has already offered the owner of the video $40,000 for the video.

Thomson famously suggested that the Mayor might have been under the influence of a drug like cocaine when he groped her.

UPDATE: The Toronto Star viewed the video in question on May 3 and did not release this information to the public until early Friday.

Follow Travis on Twitter: @travmyers

Women of the Week: Alison Dalglish-Pottow

For Alison Dalglish-Pottow, FPI Gallery is a labour of love.

“Art has always been a passion of mine, fostered at a very young age by my parents who took me to important art galleries and museums around the world as part of our summer family vacations.”

The greatest sign that she was meant to enter the art field was when she was admitted into Sotheby’s  prestigious Works of Art course. Attending the course meant leaving Canada for England, but this would prove to be a wise decision.

“Studying in the historically, architecturally and culturally rich city of London gave me a heightened appreciation for pursuing art as a possible career,” she says. “The art scene was vibrant and thriving, far eclipsing what was happening in Canada.”

Although the next several years would see her pursuing other career opportunities, working for companies such as IMG and CANFAR, she would eventually find her way back to the art world.

“Sometimes we sideline what we enjoy in favor of more practical, and oftentimes more prudent choices in life. It’s nice to discover that it’s never too late to revisit what we enjoy if a better time to do so comes along. That time came for me and when it did, I didn’t hesitate to run with it.”

Her baby, FPI Gallery, is a gallery for the new digital world. The idea for the gallery was born from Alison’s interactions with an emerging artist, Dean West.

“Dean West’s images were so captivating and compelling that I immediately knew he was a rising star in his field. All he needed was a little help in getting in front of the right collectors.”

Thus, Alison decided to create a completely online gallery. Why online? “A bricks and mortar gallery can be territorially restrictive,” Alison says. By focusing on a digital gallery, her clients’ works can be seen by collectors worldwide and news of the emerging talents can spread much more easily.

The gallery focuses solely on contemporary fine-art photography “where collectors can find the world’s best emerging fine art contemporary photographers in one place, without getting lost in the volume of art available on other websites worldwide.” This makes her site easier to navigate and much less time-consuming than galleries with wider ranges.

One of Alison’s major goals at FPI Gallery is to ensure the gallery is about the artists, not her. Unlike other online art websites, she keeps no standardized menu of dimension sizes and allows each artist to set his or her own price and edition size.

Knowing that many artists are uncomfortable with the typical gallery agreements, she designed a business model that would better suit their needs.  And by choosing to represent no more than 10 artists at a time, Alison ensures each will get the attention and promotion they deserve.

“At the end of the day, it’s about preserving value. I’m not going to permit profit to lead over sustainability of the artists and future appreciation of their work.”

This devotion to artists and their craft is clearly Alison’s greatest purpose. She stresses the need for people “to support the arts and the artists who dedicate themselves to pushing the frontiers of thought and influence.”

“Art is a living legacy of our history, politics and culture,” she says.

_____________________________________________________

Alison Dalglish-Pottow

President, Flash Photography Inc.

E: alison@fpigallery.com

www.fpigallery.com

NEW SUMMER TUNE: We love the new Jennifer Lopez/Pitbull summer song

We’re ready for summer, and what better way to say “hello sunshine” than to crank a new beach tune from Ms. Lopez and Pitbull. Throw in producer RedOne (you know, the guy who is responsible for every great Gaga hook) and you’ve got #LIVEITUP, an easily-to-hashtag summer dance party anthem we can certainly get into.

Be warned, there are a couple swears in the song.

If you need me I’ll be at the beach with my good friend JLo.

Hot New Things: Red

As the mercury rises, so does the vibrancy of the season’s clothing. Get ready to wear clothing red-hot enough to match the temperature outside.

 

Open-collar blazer

The perfect dash of colour to your late spring work wardrobe, this jacket will look great over a dress.

Available at Jacob.

Bold stripe scarf

It almost looks like a candy cane. So if (for some reason) you miss winter, you can wear this and think of Christmas.

Available at the Gap.

We Do I Do clutch

The name seems to suggest you are supposed to use this as a wedding clutch. And it is the season of weddings.

Available at Nine West.

Sleeveless maxi dress

You’ll be comfortable, classy and girly in this sweet number. And it goes anywhere, from work to dinner with your parents to a night on the town.

Available at H&M.

 

WATCH: 8 more reasons why we love Ohio hero Charles Ramsey

By now you’ve heard the news of real American hero Charles Ramsey rescuing Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michele Knight from the home in which they had imprisoned for a decade.

What you may not know is that Charles Ramsey is the chillest, coolest, most down to earth hero you’re ever going to meet. Here are eight reasons why.

1. He eats McDonalds for breakfast.
The breakfast of champions.

2. Even when he’s being interviewed he’s cautions not to step on the toes of the news crews there to interview him.
He keeps looking back after accidentally bumping into someone to make sure he’s out of their way.

3. He gives credit to the detective he spoke to.
He takes the time to get the card out for Detective Gregory Cook so he can read it to the newscaster.

4. He picks up something that someone drops.
In the middle of his hero interview (once in a lifetime kinda deal) he picks up something for someone beside him, they say thank you. A hero twice in one day!

5. “You got some big testicles to pull this off bro.”
He’s the creator of a phrase that needs to be said on the news way more often.

6. He barbecues, eats ribs, and listens to salsa music with his neighbours.
Unfortunately the neighbour in question turned out to be a maniac, but we will gladly take his place for backyard parties.

7. “Ain’t nothing exciting about him. Until today.”
Someone get this man a TV show, he is hilarious.

8. “Bro, I knew there was something wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here.”
Get this man a TV show right now.

A hero and our absolute new favourite person in the world.