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Weekend Newsstand: February 18, 2012

If the prospect of Family Day stirs up panicked memories, never fear; here's some weekend news to spread some cheer: TTC Chief may be out of a job soon, research monkeys are definitely out of a job at U of T, sale of many TCHC houses is delayed, the mayor is found to have some integrity, and Family Day fun.

As you may have heard yesterday, TTC Chief General Manager Gary Webster is probably having the worst Family Day weekend of all time. Looks like Mayor Rob Ford has not taken kindly to Webster’s opposition to the mayor’s subway transit plan and there are rumblings that Webster will be removed from his post at a special meeting on Tuesday. All it takes to end a 35-year-long career at the TTC is five votes. Oh and around a half a million dollars to pay Webster out for firing him before his contract is up.

In another blow to the research animal workforce, the University of Toronto is going to stop experimenting on monkeys. With the recent euthanasia of two research monkeys for the final stages of a seven-year-long study, the University of Toronto has officially relieved all non-human primates of their duties as research tools. The school’s veterinarian cites cost, availability, and ethics as contributing factors to the decision to end such research practices. Plus, now technology allows for similar results to be squeezed out of smaller animals. So long live monkeys! But sorry rats, you’re not off the hook yet.

Some vacant Toronto Community Housing Corporation houses are officially on the selling block in order to shore up the corporation’s repairs budget. But the executive committee decided to postpone the sale of more than 600 currently occupied homes until a special task force, led by Ana Bailão (Ward 18, Davenport), has time to come up with alternatives. The task force has until May to come up with something, and if that something isn’t approved, the remaining houses will also go up for sale and their residents relocated. Godspeed, Ana.

The Integrity Commissioner has found some integrity in the mayor’s office. After a citizen filed a complaint about Rob Ford’s lack of transparency about his office expenses, the Commissioner has found the mayor to be in compliance. Everything’s paid up and properly documented. So at least there’s that to be proud of, eh Toronto?

The Family Day spirit is upon us, embiggening the hearts of all. The city’s smaller malls will be closed Monday, along with LCBOs and Beer Stores. But fear not, families, for there are still some family-friendly services available on the holiday, like the Art Gallery of Ontario, the ROM, and the Science Centre. And the big malls, they’ll be open.

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