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Weekend Newsstand: March 17, 2012

Before fastening your "Kiss Me I'm Irish" button and heading out to dye your mouth green, how about some news? You can't drink it, you can't toast with it, but there's no line-ups, and no off-key bagpipes. You'll thank us later. Today: Mayor Rob Ford may call a referendum, a new poll finds that Toronto supports subways, Toronto voters receive transit-related robocalls, the mayor's former brother-in-law heads to the slammer, and a political candidate who just doesn't seem to have the luck of the Irish.

Looks like Mayor Rob Ford may open Canada’s second-largest referendum. You know, second to the one we recently had in Toronto, of course. Surely you know that Mayor Ford was elected to build subways, and that his election was the largest referendum ever? No? Didn’t realize that? Perhaps you should start listening a little more closely to Doug Ford. Mayor Ford, who perhaps doesn’t think that first referendum really counts, is considering asking Toronto residents directly if they want taxes to support subway construction, a question which he believes will be answered with a resounding “No!”

Mayor Ford is not the only one who presumes to knows how Torontonians might answer. The Toronto Sun is also on the case. A new Forum Research poll released exclusively to the Sun found that more than half the city is still on board with a subway-based transit plan. The poll also found that 22 per cent of those polled don’t approve of any new tax or fee to pay for subways. If that’s not enough to keep the Ford clan in upbeat, Irish spirits today, the Sun also has this scoop. You’re welcome, mayor. Happy St. Patty’s Day!

In other transit war–related news, it seems that Toronto may have a local robocall scandal of our own. City Councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 22, St. Paul’s) reports that people in his ward have received recorded robocalls instructing them to threaten to pull their political support for Matlow if he votes for LRTs over subways. No word yet on who is behind the calls, though we know who isn’t. Not because the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition doesn’t make robocalls, they do, just not this one.

Mayor Ford’s former brother-in-law, Ennio Stirpe, ex-husband of Kathy Ford, has been sentenced to nearly two decades in jail for a knife attack that left his female victim blind. Oh, he also shot his ex-wife’s boyfriend in 1998, so he has to complete a manslaughter prison term, too. Something tells us that the mayor will not be as quick to support a former sibling-in-law as he was to back his brother by blood when it comes to promoting violence.

Since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, we’ve found a way to work in a Guinness mention. John Turmel, who is running for office for the 75th time, this time in the byelection to replace Jack Layton, holds the Guinness World Record for most elections contested. There. Now you know. Now go drink some green beer and think of poor Turmel. Sláinte!

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