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Real City Matters

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Newsstand: December 4, 2012

The teachers are angry and the cops are broke. In the news: Layoffs could be looming for Toronto's cops; Rocket subway trains aren't living up to their speedy name; Ontario high-school teachers are nixing extracurriculars; Hudak wants Ontario out of the gambling and lottery businesses; and Ontario food banks are seeing record high numbers through their doors.

The City will reject Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair’s latest proposed budget, and that means that layoffs could be coming for local police services. Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37, Scarborough Centre), vice-chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, rejected Blair’s latest offer because it still leaves the force more than $19 million over target and doesn’t meet the City’s goal of no budget increase for police for 2013. There will be a special meeting between cops and city government on the budget on December 10.

Still get a little excited when one of the TTC’s new Rocket subway trains pulls up? Maybe you should temper that a bit—apparently they’re faulty. Doors on many of the trains are reportedly malfunctioning, causing delays that make the trains late on a regular basis. TTC head Andy Byford is none too pleased, and is having an emergency meeting with the top guns at Bombardier, manufacturers of the 27 subway trains already in operation, on Friday.

In the next development in the ongoing dispute between the provincial government and its public-school teachers, Ontario high-school teachers have announced that they won’t participate in any after-school activities, cancelling extracurriculars like sports, clubs, and school fundraisers by December 10 at the latest. The teachers stopped short of joining the one-day walkouts voted on yesterday and planned by their elementary-school counterparts. Those walkouts are expected to start next week and will be staggered, eventually hitting every elementary school in the province.

Just as Mayor Ford is working on getting Toronto a big downtown casino of its own, Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak is arguing that the province should get out of the gambling and lottery businesses altogether. Ontario should concentrate on offering services like health care and get out of businesses that are better run by private entities, Hudak argued, in order to reduce its deficit. Gambling currently brings $2 billion to the provincial coffers annually.

And if you’re making charitable donations during the holiday season, perhaps consider giving to a Toronto food bank. Use of food banks in Ontario is at an all-time high, according to a report released yesterday, including in urban areas like ours.

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