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Newsstand: November 12, 2012

Another day, another dollar. Wait, a measly buck? That's simply not enough. We're going back to bed. Today: Mayor Ford heads to court, again; teachers launch job action; Gerard Kennedy joins the Liberal race; Leon's seeks to buy the Brick; City Councillor Berardinetti stands behind her threat; Toronto is heating up; and Remembrance Day takes a few hits.

For his third go-around in court since taking the City’s top job, Mayor Rob Ford may be facing his predecessor in the chambers. Former mayor David Miller, along with at least half a dozen other Torontonians, has been summoned to appear as a witness in a libel case brought against Mayor Rob Ford by the operator of the Boardwalk Pub in the Beaches. The owner of the pub, George Foulidis, argues that he was defamed by Mayor Ford after allegations that his lease deal with the City was a sign of civic corruption. In addition to Miller (and Mayor Ford himself), Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, Newstalk 1010 radio hosts Jerry Agar and John Tory, Council Speaker Frances Nunziata, former Beaches councillor Sandra Bussin, Toronto Sun reporter Jonathan Jenkins, and Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy are all believed to be on the witness list.

Toronto District School Board teachers will join their colleagues across Ontario in job action starting this morning, after talks with the provincial government failed. Teachers and support staff will continue to come to work (sorry, kids!), but will be taking selective strike action that will affect administrative duties. Teachers are being asked not to fill in for absent colleagues, take part in provincial standardized tests, or talk to parents after hours, and they may make only limited comments on students’ report cards. The teachers are protesting in response to Bill 115, which has frozen the wages of public school teachers and support staff, and stripped them of their collective bargaining rights. The unions have launched a legal challenge, arguing the law is unconstitutional.

One more candidate has thrown his hat in the Ontario Liberal leadership ring. Former Ontario education minister Gerard Kennedy announced his bid this morning, making him the fifth person vying for the job. Kennedy joins former MPP Sandra Pupatello and MPPs Glen Murray, Charles Sousa, and Kathleen Wynne in the race to replace outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty.

The Toronto-based store Leon’s Furniture is seeking to buy the Brick in a deal the company values at a whopping $700 million. The deal, which is subject to approval by Brick shareholders and will need court and regulatory approval before going forward, is likely to close in early 2013. But fear not, recent Ikea graduates, the two chains will continue to operate as separate entities, so you’ll still have plenty of options when searching for that perfect leather-like L-couch.

And then there was one. Councillor Michelle Berardinetti (Ward 35, Scarborough Southwest), one of just two women on the mayor’s 13-member executive committee, is following through on her threat to leave the committee if Mayor Ford didn’t start to seek consensus and to think more strategically. She won’t seek reappointment to the committee, in part because of intense voting pressure from Ford’s staff. At times, she said, she has been expected to vote with the mayor on even minor issues. In unrelated news, Bullying Awareness Week kicks off today!

If you’ve been enjoying November’s mild weather, maybe it’s best you just skip over this section and remain blissfully ignorant about what the horrible, hot future holds. According to a study by the Toronto Environment Office, the number of above-30C days is going to jump from about 22 on average annually to 66 over the next 30 years. The research also forecasts five times as many heat waves in the average summer and warns that the days when the humidex hits 40C or higher will increase from nine a year to 39 on average. At least we know our modern and reliable sewers, roads, and public transit will hold up. Oh, wait, no, no they won’t.

Just hours after touching Remembrance Day ceremonies across the city, a war memorial in the West End was vandalized. The bronze monument in Coronation Park, near Lake Shore Boulevard West and Strachan Avenue, was defaced with the words “Canada will burn praise Allah.” It’s been a rough year for Remembrance Day, what with the poppy thefts that seem to have become an annual event, and the TTC dropping the “Lest We Forget” messages from its vehicles.

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