Three Teen Girls in Ottawa Have Pleaded Not Guilty to Pimping
According to a very detailed report by the Ottawa Citizen, and a thoroughly researched feature for Ottawa Magazine, three teen girls in Ottawa have been accused with running a prostitution ring where they allegedly blackmailed other young girls and forced them into prostitution. The motive behind all of this is unclear. The Ottawa Magazine piece cites a pimping expert who says the girls were possibly “influenced by a variety of mass media sources” like rap, and a particularly prostitution-filled episode of 90210. That seems bizarre in and of itself, but it’s a somewhat understandable hypothesis. The basic mechanics of pimping culture are easy to learn about.
The common perception is that pimping has always been relegated to a certain sliver of society. At least, that’s how I’ve understood it—because that’s the image we’re used to. So it is, of course, wildly shocking to hear about teen girls pimping out other teen girls; especially in Ottawa. But according to the United Nations, female pimps are the majority in certain countries, and prostitutes often speak of being courted by teen girls at a young age to enter the sex trade.
It also appears, from tweets gathered by the Ottawa Citizen, that these girls were unabashedly styled by gangsta pimping culture. Tweets like: “Ain’t no problem like a hoe problem” speak to the chilling level of distance the accused put up against their victims who they were absolutely terrible towards.
A City Doesn’t Suck Just Because You’re Stupid
Hey everyone, there’s a new controversial blog post to get mad about! This particular rage-freakout-du-jour is wildly misogynistic and narrow-minded, and it makes a poor attempt to drag down all of the women in Toronto with comments like the “women are obese” and there are “too many Asian and Indian girls.” The latter sounds like a bonus to me! But yikes, where to begin?
The article in question, titled “15 Reasons Why Toronto Is the Worst City in North America for Men,” was posted yesterday on a wildly inconsequential website called RooshV. It appears to be a follow-up to an article written by the same author entitled “15 Reasons Why Washington DC Sucks for Guys.” Interesting. Is it these cities that are “sucking,” or is it you, brah?
Of course, it’s always just better to let articles like this fester in the sadness of their own morally bankrupt, lukewarm bath water—without giving them any extra attention—but the reality of viral “hits” and social media news feeds is that crappy articles like this will always surface in front of peoples’ eyeballs and then everyone will have to get mad about them. So let’s get this out of our systems now by taking a look at a couple of the more boldly offensive claims that this article makes. I won’t go through everything, because then I’d be here all day.
“If you make just one mistake with a Toronto girl, you will be rejected”
Firstly, this whole branding of a “Toronto girl” is a bit problematic, don’t you think? What can really be the common denominator among an incredibly beautiful diaspora of females that Toronto—and many other “multicultural” cities boasts proudly—besides a common set of area codes and a mutual understanding of where the CN Tower is located? So this phrase is totally dumb already, but beyond that designation, the whole idea that women in Toronto have particularly low patience does not make sense.
Living in a border city means that you may have to occasionally smuggle some drugs between countries. Don’t worry! We’ve got some tips.
Rob Ford, the World’s Greatest Mayor, Has a Terrible Photographer
Rob Ford is a sentient chunk of Spam and the current mayor of Toronto. He also happens to be VICE Canada’s favorite politician, for many reasons. Unfortunately, Rob has been doing a mediocre job at engaging with the kids on social media, and we think we know why: his photographer is awful. While it would behoove the visually clueless political aide Rob has documenting him to read a damn book about the rule of thirds and proper focus, the damage has already been done. Above, you can see one of this photographer’s greater triumphs: Robbie sitting in a flashy McLaren whip, telling his haters that they can’t tell him nothin’. Unfortunately, save for this glorious photo that he has made his Facebook cover image, Rob’s Facebook page is riddled with unflattering portraits.
What the hell is this framing all about? Why are we looking at half of Rob’s rosy face and three-quarters of that seafoam-green vintage Caddy? Is Rob even interested in the Caddy? We could see Rob cruising around the city in this classy vehicle, blaring “Money Ain’t a Thang” and waving at all his gorgeous lady constituents, but please, ask the man to pose for a photo with the car. And what is Rob looking at, anyway? There’s probably something way cooler on the horizon that only Rob can see. Trust this man’s vision.
No! Come on! He doesn’t even have his eyes open and his skin looks like it’s made of bubble gum and ham. Look at the contrast between the shadow on his forehead and the harsh light striking his cheek. His hand looks like it was just stung by an entire wasps’ nest. Plus, he’s in front of some boring ancient vehicle that no one has ever wanted to take a photo beside. Why was this uploaded?
Marineland Is a Hellhole Filled with Animal Abuse and Mass Graves
Marineland, Niagara Falls’ premier tourist destination, was opened in 1961 by John Holer. At the time, John was a portly Slovenian immigrant who couldn’t find work when he arrived to Canada. With what little money he had, and what little English he could speak, Holer built two water tanks and acquired three sea lions. When he opened Marineland’s doors, admission was 25 cents per person. In the 52 years since then, Marineland has expanded to include a large collection of animals, animal shows, and a theme park with over a dozen rides. His is the kind of story that gives one hope, and makes one look nostalgically to the past when things were simpler, right? No. According to an exposé headed by Toronto Star reporter Linda Diebel, Marineland is rife with animal neglect and poor facility conditions that have led to an ever-evolving series of depressing stories, distressing events, and grim accounts from Marineland employees. Not to mention the protests, lawsuits, and public overload of bleeding hearts.
In the original Star report, a group of former Marineland employees came forward with allegations that the park suffered from poor water quality. They also noted that the park was understaffed and mentioned several cases of animal neglect. Doesn’t sound so hellish at first, right? Well, the water in some of the facilities was turning green and causing seals to lose their vision, and one of them even had an eye pop out of its socket when it barked because the water eroded its eye lens away. Several dolphins were losing their skin, which was coming off in chunks in the pools. A baby beluga named Skoot contracted bacterial meningitis, and was then attacked by other whales that threw her into a stone wall and killed her. After that, she was pulled from the pool by two trainers and “convulsed and died in their arms.” There is even a logbook from a former Marineland supervisor, who wrote that water was coming up from a sewer near Friendship Cove that was so corrosive itate the tires off a pickup truck.
But Marineland doesn’t limit their severe conditions to aquatic animals. There are also land animals that get to feel the pain, and their problems are even more grim. According to this article, Marineland has a cramped collection of 15 bears. They share four dens and are underfed. They have to fight for corn pops, which people throw at them, and occasionally eat their own young. There was an incident where one bear was killed by four other bears as a crowd observed.
Rob Ford, the World’s Greatest Mayor, Has Conquered His Adversaries
Despite the grand conspiracy pushed forth by Toronto’s anti-high school football illuminati, Rob Ford, the World’s Greatest Mayor, is keeping his job.
Just in case you haven’t been keeping up with the Andy Kaufman-esque King of Toronto over the past few months, a whistleblower named Paul started whining about ol’ Robbie’s campaign to get donations for his beloved football team on city letterhead. It resulted in just over $3,000 in contributions, not a ton of money, because evidently Rob is not a master of charitable sales pitches. Anyway, while Paul and others found this to be a conflict of interest, and even though Rob Ford was temporarily fired, all of this jibber jabber about whether or not it’s all right for mayors to seek donations to fund high school kids’ love of touchdowns and tackles was for naught. This is the political equivalent of being pronounced dead on the operating table, then suddenly jolting back to life with a newfound respect for conflict of interest appeals.
At this point, it’s unsure how Rob Ford is going to celebrate. Over here at VICE Toronto HQ, we are speculating whether or not he will throw an awesome rager at his mom’s house, go visit the Winnipeg and Detroit border, or avoid a gay pride celebration. Only time can answer this important question.
What we do know is that Rob Ford will continue to be the King of Toronto until October 27, 2014. This means way more GIFs of Rob Ford falling down, more racially questionable comments about “orientals” and “gino-boys,” and a total lack of remorse for any cyclists in Toronto who end up underneath the wheels of an automobile. Sure, we could build bike lanes, but why the fuck would we do that? We’ve got gravy to cut back on. And no, the grand irony of a man who looks like he is made up of 70 percent real gravy trying to cut back on the city’s figurative gravy is not lost on most people.
Is Poking Holes in Condoms Sexual Assault?
I’m not sure if most of you remember Craig Jaret Hutchinson? He is the 42-year-old Canadian man (and by man, I mean psycho) from Clyde River, Nunavut, who poked holes in an entire pack of condoms in hopes of knocking up his girlfriend so that she would be forced to stay in a relationship with him.
Hutchinson and his girlfriend (who, for obvious reasons, has kept her name private during this long, complicated trial) began dating in 2008 and when things got rocky, Hutchinson executed his genius plan to sabotage condoms so she would get pregnant. It worked. His girlfriend got pregnant and they struggled through the relationship for the sake of the unborn child, but (big shocker) it eventually fell apart. When the couple split, Hutchinson broke down, called his girlfriend and admitted what he had done to the condoms because he was afraid she might contract an STD from another partner if she used the ruined condoms. The girlfriend called the police and scheduled an abortion.
Hutchinson was charged and went to trial in 2009, but the Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge found him not guilty of aggravated sexual assault.
Not guilty of aggravated sexual assault.
I’m going to stop right here. By definition, aggravated sexual assault means that the victim’s life was put at risk. Somehow, a judge found that this was not true. Excuse me? The woman had to have an abortion (which left her with an infection in her uterus and two weeks of “painful complications”). She had to endure the beginning stages of pregnancy without consent on her behalf, plus she had to deal with the emotional, mental and physical trauma of not only this very public case, but the abortion and severed relationship to this pathetic low life. Yes, there was no gun held to her head. Yes, there was no gag rope strangled around her mouth. Yes, the actual sex was consensual, but the absence of valid contraception was not. So was this an assault?
The Honors and Duties of Knighthood at Medieval Times
Blood sport has been an important part of cultures across the globe for centuries. The Romans congregated in the Coliseum to watch gladiators murder each other for spectacle, the Spanish come in droves to watch matadors challenge and flay wild bulls, and Mexican cartels are forcing their kidnap victims to fight to the death. As long as people have been gathering to watch spectacles, those spectacles have included violent displays that tickle the innate human desire to watch things get killed. Although the physical toll of being a Medieval Times jouster is a teeny tiny bit less extreme than the activities mentioned above, it requires far more skill and dedication than an outsider would guess.
Max Shkvorets was a friend of mine in high school. Part of the drama clique, he was the kind of happy-go-lucky kid that bordered on annoying most of the time thanks to his perpetually cheerful attitude. I remember him trying out for our school’s improv team (yes, my school had an improv team) and absolutely bombing the audition. He loved acting, but just didn’t have the confidence at the time. He was a good guy to be around, but like most friendships at that age, it didn’t survive graduation. One day a few years down the line, a mutual acquaintance told me that of all the dramatic hopefuls we studied with, he was one of the very few who managed to get a paycheck for his craft. Not only that, but his day job now required him to wear plate armor and ride a horse—my friend Max had become a knight.
Medieval Times is kind of a weird place to work. While most of the people they employ are cooks, servers, or general event staff, the whole operation revolves around the few people—mostly trained actors and stuntmen—with the skill and dedication necessary to perform in the weekly shows. Becoming one of these rare individuals is not an easy task. It requires an intense dedication to something most of us would never even consider trying (or watching, probably).
The first stepping stone to becoming a knight at Medieval Times is temporary employment as a squire. You’ll tend to the horses, help load the weapons, and set up and take down various props and effects for the show. It’s not glamorous, but it’s a foot in the door. The real benefit is the training you recieve from the rest of the crew on stuff like fight choreography and not getting trampled to death by horses mid-show.
According to head knight Sean Delaney, not everyone’s got the drive for it. “Part of it’s the dedication; part of it’s the ability. We’ve had some people come here with all of the ability but no ambition, and they just fall by the wayside. Then we’ve had people with nearly no skill who come and get it because they try their guts out. It’s those people who are willing to learn as much as they can, ride as hard as they can, and try as hard as they can who make it.”
When Max started as a squire a few years back, he was faced with a very typical problem for newcomers to the show. He had some acting ability, but most of the specialty work needed for the show was foreign to him, and training time can be exceptionally rare. “A lot of it was an uphill battle. When I started as a squire, there were a fair number of them here and most of the training time goes to those who prove themselves. It makes sense to train the guy who’s been here for a while rather than the guy who might leave in a month. You sort of have to fight for training time, so I had to go to Sean every day and ask if rather than wash horses for a bit I could do mock tests to become a knight. You just need to keep pushing for it and pushing for it. It’s cool how this job puts your advancement in your own hands, but you have to own it. It’s definitely made me a stronger person. It’s made me understand that you can’t wait for people to offer you something—you just need to go out and do it.”
How Canadian Police Overlooked a Serial Killer
Back in December 2011, while producing an article about the state of First Nations women in Canada we interviewed Anishinaabe activist Audrey Huntley. She gave us some valuable insights into Vancouver’s infamous crime and drug-riddled Eastside, then told us something we couldn’t believe: “I have a friend who went to the cops in 1998 and told them about Robert Pickton’s whole farm. They called her a ‘junkie ho.’” For the record, police didn’t catch Pickton, the so-called “Pig Farmer Killer,” until 2002.
Not only was her friend right, but now she’s backed up by the recently released missing women inquiry, undertaken by former B.C. Appeal Court Justice and B.C. Attorney-General Wally Oppal, which found some pretty damning evidence of gross negligence on the part of cops during the investigation of Pickton. As in, they were outright told about a psycho who was killing prostitutes on his pig farm in Port Coquitlam and they did absolutely nothing about it.
The report was spurred on by public complaints against the mishandling of the Pickton case by the Vancouver Police Department and the RCMP. After two years of proceedings it’s now a 1,448-page document (and obviously a total bummer), so we decided to give you some of Oppal’s more important findings to spare you the details:
Oppal delivering his report to the public.
- Between 1998 and 1999, four people told police about Pickton’s alleged activities. Informant Lynn Ellingsen even said she saw Pickton butchering a woman in his slaughterhouse. Apparently Police didn’t act because these witnesses were potential drug addicts and often changed their stories.
- Police failed to connect the huge and very obvious dots. When Pickton was charged with the attempted murder of a sex worker in 1997, an episode which somehow was not considered a warning sign for cops when he was then implicated as a serial killer by four people in 1998.
- Some senior VPD officials refused to consider there was a serial killer in their midst even when their own officer, geographic profiler Kim Rossmo, theorized it as early as 1998 and wanted to warn the public about it.
- When the families of missing women attempted to file missing person reports they faced what Oppal called “degrading and insensitive treatment” by police. In some cases they were told their daughters were transient drug addicts, probably perfectly fine, or on vacation and out partying. READ MORE
This Anonymous Blogger Loves to Out Western Canadian Gangsters
Eleven days before Halloween someone near Ranfurly, Alberta—a place so minuscule Google Maps doesn’t bother labelling it—cut a man’s head off and left him in a ditch. The rest of him was discovered the following Wednesday, two hours west in Edmonton, inside a garbage bag in the middle of an alley.
Initially, police withheld the identity of the victim. Then, on the following Friday morning, an anonymous bloggerreleased it himself. Hours before media would confirm the victim was 54-year-old Bob Roth, a quiet, soft-spoken manual laborer, the blogger hadn’t just identified Mr. Roth, but posited that a gang called the White Boy Posse had killed him over a drug debt.
It would be another six weeks before media and the Edmonton Police Service would confirm the allegations against the White Boy Posse (WBP), a white supremacist drug gang who embraces Nazi symbology that’s found some form of acceptance, or at least tolerance, in small Northern Alberta towns. WBP recently made international headlines after four alleged members were linked to the decapitation of Roth, the murder of Bryan Gower, and the front-door shooting of Lorry Santos, an innocent mother of four. Lorry Santos’ only mistake was answering the front door of her home. The White Boy Posse thought that her place belonged to someone else, which leads gang experts to believe they’re not the brightest Nazi medal at the flea market.
A couple of mean looking White Boy Posse members.
“They’re a bunch of whacked-out, socially awkward kids with these bizarre, racist ideas who want to sell drugs. So they go to Hell’s Angels and say, ‘We’ll kiss your butt, we’ll kiss your feet, and sell your drugs to make commission,” says Tom Jones, (not his real name, luckily) the Surrey-based blogger and creator ofGangstersout.com, which he founded in 2009 as a safe place for Canadians to out neighbors suspected of being in organized crime.
Tom Jones (or “Agent K,” named after the Tommy Lee Jones character from the Men in Black series) believes WBP is a puppet club for the Hell’s Angels. He also thinks that they entered Roth’s hometown, Lloydminster, after another Hell’s Angels farm team got busted. They’re called (seriously) The Baseball Team, and they pretend to be—so says the blogger—“just a group of guys, playing baseball.”