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Weekend Newsstand: December 15, 2012

The countdown is on. Monday is just two days away! Today: Mayor Ford's much anticipated election finances to be released next month; the mayor's New Year's levee may hit the road; Empress Hotel arsonist sentenced; teachers to strike on Tuesday; and affordable housing in a luxury building.

Mayor Rob Ford had better enjoy December, as it looks like January will be a busy month. In addition to the appeal of his conflict of interest ruling, Mayor Rob Ford’s 2010 election finances will be released in January. The report had been slated for release in November, but was reportedly delayed when auditor Bruce Armstrong “unearthed something new.” This audit first came about due to complaints regarding Mayor Ford’s campaign finances, specifically that legal spending limits may have been exceeded, and that funds were illegally borrowed from Doug Ford Holdings, among other alleged violations of the Municipal Elections Act. If it is found that Mayor Ford did breach the Act, he may face punishment ranging from a fine to a ban from seeking public office.

Just in case anyone is confused and thinks that Mayor Ford gives preferential treatment to downtown dwellers, brother Doug is here to set the record straight. According to Councillor Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North), the mayor’s annual New Year’s levee is not just for downtown residents, so this year’s levee may hit the road, visiting people in Scarborough, North York, Etobicoke, East York, and York. But that’s not confirmed. So, just to be clear: The levee is back on (maybe), it may involve skating (possibly), and it may be a traveling party (but not for sure). This should be fun.

The Empress Hotel arsonist was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison. The serial arsonist, Stewart Poirier, pleaded guilty to eight charges, including attempted murder, arson, mischief endangering life, threatening death, and breach of probation. However, this story is not over quite yet. It’s rumoured that someone paid Poirier to torch the 124-year-old heritage building. The plot thickens…

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario has officially given notice that Toronto teachers will stage a one day strike Tuesday. More than 10,000 teachers will be out of their classrooms, which means hundreds of thousands of children will have to stay home. Or, perhaps this would be a good day to start a new tradition: Take Your Kid to Work Day Part Two: Winter Edition.

Twelve of the 694 condo units that will be included in a new luxury condo building going up near the Air Canada Centre will be owned and managed as co-ops by the Co-op Housing Federation of Toronto. This is a trend that’s expected to continue. The development, Ten York, which should break ground in about a year’s time, is among close to a dozen medium- to highrise condo buildings in the area (either under construction or planned) that will have an affordable rental component. While the figures don’t look overly promising (a dozen units in a building of close to 700 units, for example), this seems to be a step in the right direction in working toward the big changes needed to solve our rental market issues.

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