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Crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Ford faces conservative challengers in re-election bid

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Toronto’s scandal-plagued mayor, Rob Ford — who has admitted binge drinking and smoking crack — now faces fellow conservative challengers in his upcoming bid for re-election.

The mayor, mired in scandal for months after being accused of unseemly behavior during a series of drunken rampages, has been stripped of most of his powers.

The anti-tax populist still enjoys strong opinion poll support and has not been deterred from seeking a new term.

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But two high-profile candidates from the right — former opposition leader John Tory and Toronto’s transit commission chair Karen Stintz — filed nomination papers and joined the race on Monday.

Tory and Stintz will face city budget chief David Soknacki, Ford and 28 lesser known candidates in the race for mayor of Canada’s largest city in a vote eight months away.

Tory was immediately cast as the greatest threat to Ford.

But, with the frontrunners all calling for fiscal accountability and low taxes and presenting overlapping transit strategies, it’s also possible a left-wing candidate could swing the election.

One such candidate could be Olivia Chow, a federal opposition MP and widow of the Canadian left’s political icon, Jack Layton. She has not yet officially declared, but is widely expected to run.

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Despite the scandals, Ford’s diehard backers in the suburbs of the Canadian metropolis have so far kept his prospects alive, with polling showing steady support at about 45 percent.

The mayor’s camp was quick to attack Tory after he announced his bid, casting him as a member of Toronto’s “elite” and Ford as a champion of the working class, though the Ford family’s net worth is estimated at Can$10 million.

“You’re looking right now at bluebloods and the establishment and the elites of John Tory versus the blue-collar, hard-working folks,” said the mayor’s brother and city councillor, Doug Ford.

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Tory, who is making his second run at the mayor’s job after narrowly losing in 2003, told reporters he hoped to bring decency and decorum back to Toronto City Hall.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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