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Newsstand: November 7, 2012

Oh, ’Murica, you sure know how to dominate our news cycle. But guess what? We've got news of our own. Sure, it doesn't involve a two-term president, legalized marijuana and same-sex marriage (that's old news here, anyway), but it's got other stuff, like: Free pizza for upset expats; TTC CEO asks the mayor not to call him; Mayor Ford's attendance record; Toronto hydro workers heading south to help after the storm; teachers heading to class (for now); and the controversial closure of ServiceOntario kiosks.

Romney-supporting Americans: If you started reading our news in order to familiarize yourself with your soon-to-be-new-home, your commitment to our media is about to pay off. We’ve got some good news that should make your move totally worth it: free pizza, which Toronto’s two Pizza Libretto restaurants are offering to any Americans who actually follow through on their threat to move to Canada because their chosen candidate lost the election. However, we’ve decided to add a caveat: unless that angry American is Donald Trump. Sorry, but we’ve already got our hands full with one red-faced monied man of our own.

As controversy around the Don Bosco bus fiasco continues to swirl, TTC CEO Andy Byford, who confirmed that in addition to receiving a voicemail from the mayor, also had a (garbled) conversation with him about a TTC bus for his football team, has asked Mayor Rob Ford not to call him in the future on transit matters that could be construed as personal. He also said that in this case, it wasn’t appropriate for the mayor to contact him about the police-requested shelter bus in the first place. Ouch. Rejected! The old “don’t call me, I’ll call you, unless it’s an emergency, then of course you should call.” That’s got to hurt.

Much has been said about Mayor Ford’s decision to continue to coach football, a choice that has been particularly controversial when he skips out on City Hall business to head up a game. But his attendance record may not be a bad as you think. As it turns out, Mayor Rob Ford has a better council attendance record than did former mayor David Miller and do 21 current councillors.

Though Toronto may not be known for being the toughest when it comes to facing storms (call in the army!), it seems Torontonians know when it’s time to step up. Sixty-five Toronto Hydro employees along with 30 Toronto Hydro vehicles headed to the United States this morning to help repair damage from Superstorm Sandy. One group of workers will go to New York City to help Consolidated Edison with repairs to the underground distribution network, while another group will head to the headquarters of National Grid in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, where they will work on fixing overhead wires. Take that, Mel Lastman!

Sorry, high school students, looks like you have to go to school after all. High school teachers, who were expected to take job action today, say that they will hold off until Monday as officials with the Ontario Secondary School Federation continue to negotiate with government officials about Bill 115. If teachers move forward with job action on Monday, high school teachers are being asked not to fill in for absent colleagues, not to take part in provincial standardized tests, and not to talk to parents after hours. However (and sorry to provide so much disappointing news, students!), mid-term report cards will go out as they normally do.

It looks like the closure of ServiceOntario kiosks will be more than just an annoyance to people who need to make address changes or renew their license-plate stickers: it may also become an election issue. The Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats are using this as an opportunity to highlight what they say proves that the governing Liberals can’t be trusted with delivering and overseeing even the most basic government services after the Liberals permanently shut down all kiosks five months after fraud-related concerns were raised.


  • Anonymous

    Welcome to the downtown elitists, Andy Byford!

    • Kate

      Hope this doesn’t cost him his job…

  • OgtheDIm

    Missing out of 3 votes…not good for Filion

  • Teach

    High school students are not expected to miss any class if/when the teachers take job action. The teachers are only striking certain administrative duties.

  • Anonymous

    I know the optics of the army helping Toronto cope with 4 feet of snow was bad, in Lastman’s defence he didn’t ask for the army but rather federal help since we couldn’t cope with that much snow all at once with another storm predicted to dump an additional 2 feet or so on us which thankfully never happened. Lastman was aware of how many lives were at risk because of that storm, emergency vehicles unable to respond in time were only a small part of the risks.

    Many Torontonians lives were put at risk because of that storm, especially the elderly and disabled who weren’t able to go pick up needed medications, or make it to critical Dr appts or get to the store for food which for many people on special diets is as critical as any heart medication. I was a young big healthy guy at about 6’3″ with very long legs and I was out running essential errands for friends trapped indoors during that storm and I got stuck several times requiring the help of others to get me out of some rather tough spots. I once fell into a hole in a snow drift all the way up to my chest with one arm pinned, all while trying to keep food and meds from getting lost in or soaked by the snow. Thankfully some others helped pull me out, other times I was able to wiggle myself out.

    Too many, especially elderly people, have/had no one to help them out and instead went without needed meds and food? I for one am very glad we got the help we needed during that storm and there wasn’t a greater loss to life than there was already. Nowadays to avoid such embarrassment the city keeps vast amounts of very expensive snow removal equipment sitting around in storage yards all winter just in case we get another 100 year snow storm like that. A large part of our city budget that could be going to helping people in need is instead going towards ensuring we don’t have to repeat the “embarrassment” of asking for outside help again during another major once in a hundred year storm.

    Besides it’d be a much better world if every army was kept busy shoveling snow instead.