Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday January 15, 2015
Two city workers fired over pot-brownies
The city has fired two employees fingered for bringing pot brownies to a public works yard and sharing them with an unknowing co-worker.
The city initially suspended two male workers suspecting of bringing the banned baked goods to the Stoney Creek yard Dec. 22.
The brownies prompted an “adverse reaction” in a 20-year-old worker who was rushed to hospital, but has since recovered and returned to work.
Hamilton police investigated but determined there wasn’t enough evidence to lay charges. But Wednesday, city officials announced they’ve wrapped up an internal probe and fired the unidentified public works employee.
An update to council from public works had Gerry Davis said the pair were fired because of “possession an/or use of illegal drugs on city property.”
Generally, it takes longer to get high from eating cannabis-infused foods compared to smoking marijuana, but the effects can last longer. Symptoms of overdose in either case can include anxiety and panic attacks, disorientation or delusions.
“We are taking this matter very seriously,” Davis said previously, and contacted all city councillors to assure them an “internal investigation” was underway after The Spectator asked about the incident.
The banned baked goods were not reported to the provincial Ministry of Labour, but Hamilton police investigated and decided there was “insufficient evidence” to lay charges, said spokesperson Const. Claus Wagner. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Toronto Mayor Ford to Stay in Job After Using Crack
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford vowed to continue as head of Canada’s biggest city and said he will run in the next election after admitting he used crack cocaine.
“I want the people of this great city to decide whether they want Rob Ford to be their mayor,” he said today at a media conference at city hall that was broadcast by CP24 television.
Ford, 44, said he has “nothing left to hide” and these “mistakes” would never happen again.
“I love this city, I love saving taxpayers money and I love being your mayor,” he said at the conference.
Ford’s vow to press on followed his admission today at an earlier media conference that he smoked crack cocaine, likely in one of his “drunken stupors.”
Pressure is mounting for Ford to resign after Toronto police said last week they had found a video that showed him appearing to inhale from a glass pipe. The Toronto Star and U.S. website Gawker were the first to report on the video in May, sparking a five-month police investigation that included airplane surveillance and cameras mounted on poles tracking Ford’s movements.
Ford, who apologized on Nov. 3 for being “hammered” at a street party in August and for being in his office at 2 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day with a half-empty bottle of brandy, vowed to curb his drinking and get a driver. He has repeatedly said he wouldn’t resign.
“I feel like a thousand pounds have been lifted off my shoulders,” Ford said at the second media conference today. “I can’t explain how difficult this was to do.”
Several city councilors and at least three Toronto newspapers had urged the mayor to step aside before today. (Source: Bloomberg)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday September 9 2000
The race against cheaters
The International Olympic Committee has devoted more resources in its war against performance-enhancing drugs. Two Canadian athletes tested positive this week, and Olympic officials don’t believe Olympians will begin taking the high moral ground and turn away from drug use.Some of the world’s doping cops may point to the glut of recent positive drug tests — two involving Canadians bound for the Olympics — to claim the war on performance-enhancing drugs is working.
People on the inside know better. This is a rearguard action at best.
“The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has finally devoted a lot of resources and tools to detection through the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), ” says Hamilton-born Richard McLaren, but “it will never catch up” with all those trying to escape detection.
McLaren is the only Canadian on the IOC’s Court of Arbitration, a body that rules on disputes involving the Olympics. He is a London, Ont., law professor connected with the University of Western Ontario’s International Centre for Olympic Studies.
He says the caseload involving doping that the Court of Arbitration has heard this year indicates more drug use and more detection — but no evidence that global athletes are seeking high moral ground by turning away from steroids, stimulants, blood doping and human growth hormone.
“We have heard as many cases in eight months as we heard all last year.”
McLaren, who grew up in Westdale, says policing is only a Band-Aid.
“The root of the problem is in cheating, and in the long-term it will take a widespread program of education about ethics in sport.”
He says there is just too much information available for anyone who has decided to cheat.
“In a half day on the Internet, you can get a good start on a regimen of drugs to improve performance.”
The bigger war to be fought, reasons McLaren, is the one for minds and souls, the one that stops aspiring athletes from doing that Internet search.
Others, like the chairman of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, say millions more must be spent on testing to stamp out drug-cheating.
Frank Shorter, a one-time gold-medal marathoner, believes every endurance athlet e competing in Sydney will be suspect because IOC testing is not extensive enough.
“Things have to change or we’re going under, ” he said. “The Olympics will be a freak show.”
Even more blunt is Penn State professor Charles Yesalis who has studied drug use by athletes.
“If this was a football game, the cheaters would be leading 84 to 3.”
Even Denis Coderre, Canada’s secretary of state for sport and the WADA delegate for the Americas, sends out a warning.
“If WADA doesn’t work, I believe the Olympics are finished. This is our last hope.”
The current Games will likely have a strain of cynicism that runs deeper than any other, given recent events such as the positive tests this week of Canadian hammer-thrower Robin Lyons for steroids and equestrian Eric Lamaze for cocaine. Both athletes are appealing. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)