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Newsstand: March 23, 2012

Happy Friday, you! You totally earned this. And so: despite yesterday's defeat, Rob Ford doggedly insists he'll fight for subways to the death—or at the very least till the next election; a strike or lockout deadline looms for the city's largest union; Air Canada workers go on a wildcat strike at Pearson airport; and Catholic students are sent home for wearing shorts (and also khakis).


If nothing else (but really, nothing), Mayor Rob Ford is truly tenacious. Following a protracted city council debate over the future of transit on Sheppard Avenue East, Ford and his fellow subway-ites were defeated yesterday; council voted 24–19 to go forward with light rail on this stretch of Sheppard, rather than to extend the existing subway.

If you’ve been following the transit shitshow (for lack of a better word), yesterday’s result comes as no surprise. What’s kind of fascinating is watching Ford cling desperately to his subway crusade, so much so that he’s jumped two years ahead and is revving up to battle…somebody…in an election that, God help us, will revive the issue of subways versus LRT.

While the city assures we’ll be spared another garbage strike, it released a list of services that will be affected should CUPE Local 79—Toronto’s largest union of 23,000 workers—go on strike or be locked out Saturday. These include city-run daycares, community centres, swimming pools and arenas.

In other labour news, Air Canada ground crews and baggage handlers engaged in a wildcat strike at Pearson airport last night, apparently triggered by the suspension of three airline workers following a show of supposed disrespect to federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt.

And yet another “labour” disruption of sorts: over 60 Catholic high school students in Pickering defied their principal’s “no shorts, khakis or ankle socks” stipulation for yesterday’s uniform-free day. Hundreds of students flooded the halls to protest, and 63 were ultimately sent home to change. That’ll show those renegade khaki-wearers to keep their subversive khakis (right, and shorts) at home!

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