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Real City Matters

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Newsstand: November 2, 2012

¡Hola, Toronto! In the news: LRT agreement ratified, death doctors duke it out, Rob Ford takes a vacation from council, train suit gets classy, law firm wants employees' fingerprints, and the mayor’s list is actually kind of weird.

Signed, sealed, delivered, LRT is yours. Well, that’s how things seem to be going (you can never really be sure with these things). Yesterday, council voted in favour of ratifying its $8.4 billion agreement with the province for four new LRT lines. Sure, the plan was first agreed upon nearly a year ago and TTC Chair Karen Stintz was warned that the provincial money would no longer be available if council imposed a veto clause on their end of the contract, but that didn’t stop some members of council from trying to delay this even more and impose a veto clause. Rob Ford’s groundbreaking speech included the line “it’s absolutely appalling that we can bring this to the floor of council and disrespect every taxpayer in the city.” However, giving up $8.4 billion from the province seems pretty disrespectful, if you ask us.

The struggle between two sides, at war over who gets to touch dead bodies the most, is coming to a head. Coroners in Ontario are getting worried that an upcoming KPMG report that looks for “efficiencies” is actually a power grab by their (presumably) arch nemeses, forensic pathologists. The main difference between the two roles seems to be that coroners have more experience working with the public and visit the scene of the death. If forensic pathologists were to take the lead on death investigations, that job would be assigned to civilian examiners.

In a strong demonstration of leadership and respect for taxpayers, Rob Ford spent over two hours of yesterday’s council meeting at a football field in Etobicoke. The game Ford was attending ended after a fight between the opposing team’s coach and a referee. When the police arrived, they called to request a TTC bus to transport Ford’s team back to Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School. Ford said yesterday that he made a commitment to coaching the team and that he is not going to change. Considering that he skipped out on council for this, does that mean he didn’t make a commitment to being the mayor?

A class action lawsuit has been certified in the case of the VIA Rail train that derailed from its CN Rail rails last February. The locomotive was headed for Toronto at speeds over 100 km per hour when it crashed in Burlington on a section of track with a speed limit of 24 km per hour. Three engineers were killed in the tragedy and 45 passengers were injured.

A Bay Street law firm is making it mandatory for employees to give them the finger at least a couple times each day. Starting in a few weeks, as workers come and go from the offices of McCague Borlack LLP, most of them (but not some lawyers) will be required to clock in and out via fingerprint scanner. Howard Borlack, a founding partner, claims that some employees have been taking extra-long lunches, but that the system was mostly intended for security purposes. This sounds like a great idea for building employee morale, fostering innovation, and increasing productivity at whatever firm McCague Borlack LLP’s employees go work at after they quit.

As a quick update, some of the people on Rob Ford’s list of preferred candidates for city boards made donations to his mayoral campaign. Collectively, that comes to the tune of $11,000 according to Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina). But that really doesn’t mean that it was all conservative cronies or that these people even knew they were on the list.

CORRECTION: November 2, 2012, 10:20 AM This post’s initial paragraph, about the $8.4 billion LRT agreement, was added after publication.

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