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The Stew Pot

The Stew Pot will appear in this space from time to time with my $.02 on the issues of the day. Comments are welcome (I have thick skin).

A Coronation?
Our municipal election is Monday. Current Mayor John Tory is running again, against a pack of about 30 candidates. If there were potential candidates well-known to Torontonians, they’ve stayed away. Mr. Tory has huge name recognition in the City and he seems to be generally well-liked. It is unlikely any of the other candidates can beat him. One candidate has been getting some play in the media – and has been buying large newspaper ads – is Gil Penalosa. From his website:
His focus is on the design and use of parks, streets, sidewalks as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, riding bicycles, taking public transit, and new uses of cars. Gil highlights the benefits to public health, the environment, mobility, economic development. He wants, for instance, to build a walking path around the City. Mr. Penalosa has some interesting ideas. He may be too far to the left for mainstream voters, but I suspect he’ll get enough votes to get some attention.

I think Mr. Tory’s stability may have been a tonic for the City after the strange behaviour of the late Mayor Rob Ford. Tory has been a status quo guy, an administrator who hasn’t shown a strong vision for Toronto. To that end, I don’t think he’s been a terrible Mayor, but not a great one either. He’s had 2 terms, and that is plenty. Time for someone else to take over. Mr. Tory has endorsed the incumbent in our area for Council, Mark Grimes, saying “We need Mark Grimes back at City Hall”. Mr. Grimes has been Councillor in this area for close to 20 years. That is way too long. It is past time for some new blood and some new ideas. I’m supporting Amber Morley, who I think will make a fine Councillor. If John Tory can’t recognize we need some new blood in Council, perhaps that is because he too is over-staying his welcome.

Have you heard the ads from the province of Alberta, inviting folks in Ontario to pack up the truck and move west? Well, Alberta is a beautiful place. I have some friends living there and they seem to like it. The fly fishing is fabulous. And Jason Kenney has left the scene. However, he has been replaced with Danielle Smith, who did in fact say that unvaccinated Canadians are the most discriminated group she’s witnessed in her lifetime. She’s also made some bizarre statements about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, for which she apologized earlier this month. I wonder if her leadership will hurt their effort to woo Ontarians?

Listeners to The Agency Podcast know I’ve been following the chess drama around Hans Niemann and allegations of cheating. Well, Mr. Niemann is now suing World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Danny Rensch from,, Play Magnus and Grand Master Hikaru Nakamura, alleging they have ruined his life, cost him participation in tournaments and job opportunities, defamed and slandered him. Mr. Niemann statement of claim suggests he needs at least $100 Million to be made whole again.

I have no legal background. I did hear a lawyer on a podcast suggest it is a real lawsuit, not just a publicity play, but that it’s an uphill battle for Mr. Niemann to be successful with his suit. Maybe he’s right. I really don’t know. If Magnus Carlsen thought Niemann cheated against him in the Sinquefield Cup, he might have reported his thoughts and whatever evidence he might have had to the administrators. Instead of doing that he made what came across as a veiled accusation on Twitter and withdrew from the tournament. Does that mean he didn’t trust the administrators to deal with the issue effectively? For sure Magnus escalated the issue, and the streamers and social media people have been having a field day. Is Hans Niemann entitled to compensation?

All this leaves the chess madarins with a big problem. Technology exists that could facilitate cheating over-the-board in chess. Can the same anti-cheating measures used in the US Championships be done at a local level consistently? It seems that it is not too difficult to cheat online. What is the future of online tournaments? During the pandemic that was all there was. One thing sure, where there are humans, there are cheaters in the crowd.

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