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Newsstand: January 7, 2014

My outdoor community mailbox is frozen shut, which is kind of annoying. What is more annoying is frostbite, though. It is really, really cold outside. I'm talking planet Hoth kind of cold. Be sure to keep yourself covered up if you need to go outside. In the news: the Tories are complaining that Premier Wynne helped Toronto out too much during the ice storm, looks like there might be another member of the Ford clan entering politics, Canada Post didn't deliver mail for two weeks to some people in Thornhill, and a four-year-old boy who was missing is safe and sound.

matt newsstand raccoon

The Progressive Conservatives have asked for a legislative committee to review the province’s emergency preparedness plan in the wake of the pre-Christmas ice storm that affected significant portions of the province. They are accusing Premier Kathleen Wynne of playing favourites with Toronto, while ignoring the needs of smaller communities that were affected by the storm. Tory MPPs, including Kitchener-Conestoga’s Michael Harris, were quick to point out that the grocery gift card program was implemented in Toronto, where there was no state of emergency, and yet not within areas—including Harris’s riding—that did make the declaration. The Liberal government countered that while the gift card program was not perfect, it was being expanded into areas outside of the GTA as early as this Tuesday. Regardless of whether Wynne’s Liberals were playing postal-code politics, as the PCs claim, it seems doubtful that the best way to win over voters in Tory-coveted Toronto ridings would be to lambaste the presiding government that helped them out in a time of need. Maybe Tim Hudak ought to rethink that strategy.

So, with Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) not running for council in 2014, what will come of his seat? If he has anything to say about it, it will stay within the Ford family. Yes, according to Councillor Ford his nephew Michael is considering a run for council in the next election. What do we know about Michael Ford? According to the Toronto Star, he is the son of Ford’s sister Kathy, and is an account executive at his family’s company, Deco Labels and Tags. His social media accounts say he’s a student at Humber College, with an expected graduation in 2016. Clearly, no one should discourage young people from taking an active interest in politics, but there was some expectation of breathing room between generations of the Ford family in the political arena, wasn’t there?

Over 200 townhouse units in a Thornhill complex were left without any Canada Post mail service for two weeks during the holidays, when a replacement was not assigned to take over the route of a vacationing carrier. According to a representative for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, all vacation requests are submitted to Canada Post months in advance to allow for ample time to find alternate carriers, but the crown corporation is becoming increasingly negligent in doing so. “It’s becoming a feature—not replacing workers in a timely manner with a relief worker,” says Learie Charles, a grievance officer with the Union. “It’s a trend that has been going on in the staffing of absences, in the context of what is going on generally at Canada Post in terms of saving money.” Canada Post, on the contrary, blamed power outages related to the ice storm and unexpected employee absenteeism for the extended delays. Delivery was expected to resume yesterday, but some residents say their overdue mail never materialized.

A four-year-old boy who went missing early yesterday morning near Highway 427 and Rexdale Boulevard was found later that afternoon at a French school close to Islington Avenue and Finch Avenue. A school—worth mentioning—that he is not enrolled at. Angelo Epassa was supposed to be at the St. Noel Chabanel Catholic School, but ended up on the wrong bus, which took him to the incorrect location. Still no word on why the other school didn’t realize sooner that they had an extra child just sort of hanging out with them all day.

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