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Culture

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Newsstand: February 5, 2013

So when's that early spring coming, groundhog? It's been three days. In the news: the NDP wants lower car insurance rates; a rookie Toronto councillor wants term limits; GO riders heading to Barrie want some quiet; and a Toronto blogger wants only what the internet is willing to provide.

newsstand_eglinton

If you’re a Toronto driver, you know that car insurance is pretty expensive. Now Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath is calling for a 15 per cent cut to auto insurance premiums by the end of 2013. Horwath says that the cuts make sense because reforms introduced in 2010 reduced accident benefits and payouts have since dropped. “Drivers have yet to see any real reductions in their rates,” she said to reporters. The insurance industry is less than enthusiastic about the idea, however, saying that cuts to rates could mean layoffs.

Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon (Ward 32, Beaches-East York) made an election promise to introduce term limits to Toronto council, and this week she plans to table a motion at council calling for a city report on three-term limits. McMahon told the National Post that turnover in public service helps to bring more diversity and youth to the table in city politics. “We have lots of talented Torontonians who can do this job,” she said, “so why not give them a chance?”

If you’re looking for a little peace and quiet, consider riding the GO train to Barrie—new “Quiet Zones” on the upper levels of some trains on the Barrie line will be in place starting February 11. The rules mean that gadgets must be muted and earphones can’t bleed noise. The pilot project, which is set to last three months, came about because of suggestions from GO Transit riders. “We differ from TTC passengers. You’re on the train for a significant period of time. People want to use that time to either sleep or work,” Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins told the Toronto Star. Riders are being asked to remind others to keep it down—Quiet Zones will be marked with signage—but are not to use the customer service alarms in the case of a noisy fellow passenger. You know somebody is going to do that.

One Toronto blogger is making the most of social media—Zach Bussey is trying to spend 2013 living off the avails of his online networks. He’s already made it through January thanks to the proceeds of advertisements and product reviews for his blog, and at the end of the year he plans to donate his gains to charity. He’s set aside money for his rent and internet connection, and emptied his apartment to make sure he really needs to rely on the internet to get by. “My grandmother thinks I’m pretty crazy,” Bussey told the Globe and Mail. “When I explained it to her she said, ‘Why don’t you get a nice job in manufacturing?’”

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