Freelance: Let the race for Premier begin!

The launch of the leadership race for the Ontario Liberal Party means I’ll be pretty busy at Xtra over the next few months, as that I’m one of the paper’s main Queen’s Park reporters.

The race kicked off on Sunday, when openly gay Toronto Centre MPP Glen Murray announced his bid for the leadership. He’s already gotten some flak from progressives, as I reported. On Monday, I followed up his leadership announcement, with a quick video interview, which will be useful for those of you who’ve always wondered what my voice sounds like. Also, you may not like his answer on Catholic Schools, but at least it’s an honest and intellectually consistent answer, compared to the pat “we can’t touch the constitution” answers most politicians give.

(Incidentally, the riding is indeed called “Toronto Centre” and not “Toronto Centre–Rosedale,” which was the riding’s name until 2007. Mea culpa. Too late to change the video.)

Speaking of provincial politics, the Family Coalition Party of Ontario, which somehow maintains an office with at least a few staffers despite routinely taking in only around 0.25% of the vote, is trying to smear Parkdale-High Park MPP Cheri DiNovo for her support of the recently passed “trans rights” bill.

I also wrote about the city’s new regulations regarding strip clubs, and Councillor Wong-Tam’s successful motion requiring staff and police to consult with gay strippers before enforcing the new regulations at gay clubs.

In other reporters’ news, Xtra is reporting that the province has already conditionally sold the lands at 11 Wellesley West to a property developer, which is a pretty crucial bit of information that no other outlet seemed to mention while covering this debate. It’s unfortunately a bit buried in a story with a rather misleading headline — I’d say the likelihood that the city is going to be able to get that land is pretty slim now. And is that such a shame? The residents on Bay St have the core’s largest park one block to the west, and if they need a children’s playground and dog park, Cawthra Park is two blocks east. To be honest, the site is poorly situated for a park, given that it’s flanked by the backs of two buildings, making it feel rather like a private backyard than a major public space. Maybe the best bet for the lands is to extract the best possible public realm and section 37 benefits from the developer and use the funding for something great and useful for the whole neighbourhood.

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