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Newsstand: January 3, 2012

Alright, we get it. It's Tuesday now and we can't make any more excuses for it. On to the news: Rob Ford greets fans and detractors in annual new year's levee, a Toronto man hopes a former prime minister was his real dad, a small detail from the police benefits package, and lots of small details from other city workers' benefits packages.

Like Louis XIV before him, Mayor Rob Ford held his New Year’s levee on Monday. Wikipedia tells us a levee is a New Year’s day reception that government officials in Ireland and Great Britain used to do in the eighteenth century, but pretty much only Canadians still do these days. You might call it a part of our heritage. So the mayor carried on the grand tradition of shaking people’s hands and posing for some photos in the rotunda of City Hall, and the event went off with only a tiny bit of rabble-rousing from Ford opponents. As an 18 year old who apparently goes to these things a lot told the Star, “It’s like a tradition now: I basically just greet the mayor and wish him all the best. It’s just a day to kind of have fun.” Kind of.

Speaking of parts of our heritage, a Toronto man is looking for someone to blame his jowls on, and it looks like the well-jowl-endowed former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker is the prime candidate. George Dryden believes his mother had a brief affair with Dief the Chief just after marrying Dryden’s father. Genetic testing carried out with the help of the Diefenbaker museum have so far been inconclusive. Okay, okay, so maybe it’s mean to point out a man’s physical characteristics in a mocking tone, but, hey, if it turns out he really is the only child of a dead Canadian prime minister, he’ll be too busy rolling in cash and glory to care what we say, right?

New year, new hires for the Toronto Police. And this year, the new recruits won’t be getting the same perks as the old ones. Time was, Toronto police officers could bank up so many sick days that they’d get an extra nine months of salary after retirement (provided they worked 35 years or more). But now new hires will have to settle for only six months of banked-sick-day salary after 25 years of service. Critics say these sorts of benefits eat away at budgets, yet are politically untouchable. Non-critics say, shhhh.

The president of the city’s firefighters union says it’s not constructive to focus on one benefit in a hard-fought total benefits and compensations package for workers. So the Globe has provided a great big chart of city workers’ benefits for us to focus on instead.

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