It's February already?! In the news: Ford's got a favourite for budget chief; Mammoliti's election spending goes to the audit committee; GTA construction price-fixing is under investigation; Toronto's Jain community makes a deal for a temple; Canada makes history at the Davis Cup; and the penny's run is closer to ending.
Rob Ford had a few things to say on his Sunday radio show, two days after it was announced that an audit found that he overspent on his election campaign, but none of them had to do with the audit itself. “I can’t say too much because it is going before (compliance audit) committee,” the mayor said on his Newstalk 1010 show, which airs every Sunday. What Ford did comment on was his choice for the new budget chief. “I want to hopefully make you the budget chief, but I’ve just got to talk to a couple more people,” Ford told councillor Frank Di Giorgio (Ward 12, York South-Weston) on the show. “But you’re close, you’re very, very close, so we’ll see what happens.”
The audit committee remains busy today, as it debates whether or not to undertake legal proceedings against councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West), after a compliance audit released in January found that he overspent on his 2010 election campaign by more than $12,000.
Lamenting the high cost of housing in Toronto? Canada’s Competition Bureau is now investigating allegations of price fixing among companies building GTA homes, so that could be part of the problem right there. The Toronto Star obtained a court document saying that the competition bureau alleges that at least three Toronto construction companies and one building association engaged in wide-ranging price collusion to fix the cost of concrete forming, which is the process of building the concrete foundation of a new home. If the allegations—yet to be proven in court—are true, the prices of thousands of new-construction homes in the GTA could have been affected. The investigation is ongoing.
Toronto’s Jain community isn’t terribly vocal, but at 6,000 strong it’s not small either. But soon they’ll be a lot more visible thanks to a $4.8-million deal to buy the unfinished Hellenic Cultural Centre in Scarborough. The centre, at 48,000 square feet, will be Toronto’s first furbished as a temple from the outside. It’ll also be the largest Jain temple in North America upon completion in 2016, and should be a “tourist attraction,” Milan Shah, a Jain community leader in Toronto, told the Globe and Mail.
Canada scored a big win at the Davis Cup on Sunday, sending us to the quarterfinals of the international country-against-country tennis competition for the first time. A team led by Toronto’s own Milos Raonic beat Spain’s depleted squad, which lacked stars like Rafael Nadal but was still considered a heavy favourite to win. Canada plays Italy in the quarters in the spring.
And today marks another key moment in the end of the road for the Canadian penny, as it’s the last day that the Royal Canadian Mint will ship the coin to retailers and banks. Retailers have begun their plans for the penny’s demise, with Loblaws starting to round down cash purchases to the nearest nickel this week, and Tim Hortons no longer handing out pennies as of this week (though they will still take them) and rounding purchases to the nearest five-cent increment.