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Newsstand: March 17, 2014

It's St. Patrick's Day! Get drunk, if you're into that. Or stay at home to avoid the crushing mass of inebriated college kids likely to make its way to a bar near you by sometime tomorrow evening. Onto the news: plans for Eglinton's transit expansion are coming along, most Torontonians don't want trains carrying crude oil through the city, and Conservative MPs are cherry-picking their next electoral competition.

matt newsstand gull

A second tunnelling contract has been approved for the Eglinton “Crosstown” transit expansion. Crosstown will run 19 kilometres and will run underground through the city core and at street level on the eastern end; it’s part of a larger 25-year transit initiative, called “The Big Move,” which is expected to cost around $50 billion. Crosstown, meanwhile, will cost $4.9 billion and the latest contract handed out was worth $177 million.

A recent poll found that almost 70 per cent of city residents don’t want trains carrying flammable crude oil through the city. This comes on the heels of the Lac-Mégantic train explosion last July, which killed at least 42 people. Nearly two thirds of respondents said they were concerned something similar might happen in Toronto.

The federal Conservatives have begun their “fair and open” seat nomination process, and it appears to be anything but—in addition to acclaiming many sitting MPs without allowing challengers to step up, the party has dramatically reshaped the ridings in the GTA. Gains in Ontario during the 2011 election were largely responsible for the securing of a majority government in that election, and it seems the Conservatives are working hard to double down on those gains. Many incumbent MPs have chosen for their 2015 competitions the safer option when faced with a newly splintered constituency. Hopeful challengers are none too pleased, and it remains to be seen if there will be any public response to the Conservatives’ unseemly, if all-too-common, dirty tricks.

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