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Newsstand: March 28, 2012

There's nothing like Wednesday to put a mean spring in your step. Whatever that means. So anyway: Rob Ford goes all "next election" on our asses; more (potential) scandal for the TCHC; low-income families continue to get screwed over; municipalities near Toronto want us to stop using them as dumping grounds; and Luminato loses provincial funding as part of the 2012 budget.


The mayor has pissed some people off again…fin.

Wait, fine, there’s more. Basically, Rob Ford has drawn criticism within city council for invoking the 2014 municipal election as a potential saving grace against LRT-loving lefties. After losing last week’s fateful transit vote, the mayor used his weekly radio show to rouse like-minded citizens to run against the 24 pro–light rail councillors in the next election, encouraging people to call his “direct personal line.” Councillor Josh Matlow, for one, was unimpressed, suggesting the mayor should not turn his office into a “perpetual campaign hotline.” Apparently, Ford apologized to him, then reneged on it and mocked Matlow on a subsequent radio show. Cla-ssy. Ford, for his part, chalked the whole thing up to his love of democracy.

The Toronto Community Housing Corporation is looking into controversial Regent Park condo purchases made by two of its former executives. The review comes in response to a story broken by the Toronto Sun over the weekend; in addition to the two former TCHC employees in question, three executives at Daniels Corporation, the company in charge of Regent Park development, allegedly used public money to buy condos in an area intended for lower-income residents.

A community centre at Bathurst Street and Finch Avenue West has fallen through the bureaucratic cracks. Although city council voted a year ago to give Antibes Community Centre official “priority centre” status—thereby making all programs free for children and seniors—the City’s recreation chief will not implement the designation. Why? Because this year’s budget called into question free programming for non-adults at priority centres, and, in the ensuing chaos, Antibes seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. In January, a council vote knocked down a budget proposal to instate fees for all priority centres, but now there’s a disagreement among City staff about whether Antibes was ever officially made a priority centre. So, for now, seniors and families must pay for programming. Extra sucky in an area that has among the highest percentage of seniors in the city.

Ensconced in the cozy, centre-of-the-universe, urban bubble that is Toronto, it’s easy to forget about the hate-on so many non-Torontonian Canadians have for our city. But something like the just-outside-the-GTA town councils of Clarington and New Tecumseth both voting this week to stop the Toronto building industry from dumping waste in their landfills kinda reminds you, eh?

And of course, everyone is still all abuzz about the provincial budget, which the Liberals tabled yesterday. It includes the institution of a large number of not-really-spelled-out “efficiencies” and a freeze on personal and corporate income taxes, and also calls for a public-sector wage freeze, leading to worries about striking civil servants and teachers. The opposition parties were predictably aghast, although for opposite reasons—leading us to conclude the document is actually pretty balanced, all things considered. More locally, if Luminato is/was your bag, prepare to bristle at potential changes, as the budget will reduce funding for a number of Toronto’s cultural and arts institutions, including the AGO, the ROM and the Ontario Science Centre. If you never really understood what Luminato was, it’s still okay to be sad.

CORRECTION: 9:06 AM This post originally suggested that the provincial budget passed yesterday. The budget was tabled, but has not yet passed. We have also revised the last paragraph to include more details about the budget.

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