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Newsstand: November 16, 2012

Today in 1959, work got underway on the extension of the Yonge subway line from Union to St. George stations. Look how far we’ve come In the news: Mayors promise money, Ford isn’t there; a human rights haircut; TTC driver suspended for chasing someone; more teachers set to flex their job muscles; and the city’s missing wall.

The mayors of some of Canada’s biggest cities got together in Ottawa yesterday to tell the Harper government that they are ready to match federal funds on much-needed improvements to infrastructure like roads and sewers. However, not all of the big city mayors were there to join in the commitment. Montreal’s mayor recently stepped down in the midst of a very scathing corruption trial, London’s mayor is under investigation for $20,000 in federal funds that supposedly went to pay for his son’s wedding, and Rob Ford was at a high school football game (plus, the whole libel suit).

In a case of conflicting rights, a complaint has been filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission against Terminal Barber Shop, near the corner of Bay and Dundas streets, by a woman who was denied service there because she is a woman. In June, Faith McGregor went into the business for a barbershop-style haircut, but was told that none of the barbers there would cut her hair because their religious beliefs do not allow them to cut the hair of a woman outside their family. Mediation in the case is scheduled for next February and will surely have interesting ramifications.

A TTC driver has been relieved of duty after he left his streetcar to chase a man he was told had sexually assaulted a woman. Around 1 p.m. on Wednesday on a 501 Queen car, a passenger alerted the driver that a woman had been sexually assaulted onboard the vehicle. According to Bob Kinnear, the president of the driver’s union, after stopping, opening the doors, and calling transit control, the driver took off to pursue the fleeing suspect, who was also being followed by the victim. The TTC says that it was not a sexual assault and that the driver did not call transit control.

Elementary school teachers in the province could be joining the job action currently underway by their high school counterparts. Wait, what? Didn’t proroguing the legislature solve this issue?

Renovations to the Nathan Phillips Square skating rink/fountain/pigeon pond have recently stretched to $750,000 over budget. An important concrete wall that appears on record drawings from 22 years ago, when the current rink was laid, just never got built. This, however, was only discovered after the current project got underway. Making the budgeted upgrades also revealed that the support cables for the concrete arches that reach over the rink needed replacement too. I guess we better use the rink this year.

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