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Newsstand: June 24, 2013

Careful in the heat today, folks! We're in for another scorcher. In the news: the Fords want to nix streetcars, another MPP resigns, public housing is in crisis, expanded booze sales would benefit consumers and the government, and the Jays stay hot.

illustration of a person walking across a slackline between a tree and a lamp post

You will be shocked–shocked!–to hear that the brothers Ford are not fans of a proposal to restrict car traffic along King Street during rush hour. “You cannot shut down King Street for streetcars. We need to phase out streetcars,” said Mayor Rob Ford yesterday during his and his brother councillor Doug Ford’s (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) weekly radio show. The mayor said he would eliminate streetcars and replace them with buses. TTC board head Karen Stinz is expected to move a motion to the board today requesting a look at cutting cars from King Street during rush hours when Toronto hosts the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP Laurel Broten is quitting politics and moving with her family to Halifax. Broten said the move has nothing to do with her tumultuous time as education minister, where she was at the centre of a battle with teachers over wage-freeze legislation, but instead is related to a work opportunity for her husband. Broten will step down effective July 2, and Premier Kathleen Wynne will have six months to call a by-election in her riding–the fourth now in the province that is facing a by-election.

Toronto’s $750-million repair backlog on public housing, combined with the loss of $161 million in annual federal funding for social housing, has put Toronto in a precarious position, said Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18, Davenport). “We have a huge need to build more (affordable housing),” Bailão, chair of Toronto’s affordable housing committee, told the Toronto Star in an interview. “But we are receiving less money to operate what we already have at a time when that housing is increasingly under pressure due to maintenance and capital repair issues.” A report released last week by Ontario’s Non-Profit Housing Association stated that more than 154,000 households are on waiting lists for social housing.

Expanding alcohol sales in Ontario would both lower prices and increase convenience for consumers, according to a new study. If the province moved to a system similar to the one used in British Columbia, blending the LCBO and private sales, it would result in more money from booze sales in Ontario’s coffers, according to University of Waterloo economist Anindya Sen. Ontario Tory leader Tim Hudak has said that he will end the LCBO monopoly on wine and spirits sales if he forms the Ontario government.

And the Toronto Blue Jays continued their streak of productivity by earning their 11th straight win, 13-5 over the visiting Baltimore Orioles, on Sunday. That win tied a club record for longest winning streak in front of an official sellout crowd. They’ll try to keep it going in Tampa Bay tonight.

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