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Newsstand: March 19, 2014

It is going to be an icky rainy day, so we should all just play hooky and go watch the Veronica Mars movie. In the news: Jim Flaherty resigns as finance minister and Joe Oliver takes over the mantle, we’re one step closer to food truck deliciousness in the city, Torontonians are warming to the idea of jets at Billy Bishop, and scaffolding is falling from the sky.

matt newsstand bikelane

Yesterday, it was announced that Jim Flaherty has resigned as finance minister. An aide for Flaherty says that the three-term MP for Whitby-Oshawa will end his tenure in cabinet immediately, although he plans to stay on as an MP; however, he will not run in the next election. In a slightly unexpected move, Eglinton-Lawrence MP and natural resources minister Joe Oliver is expected to be announced as Flaherty’s replacement in cabinet. Oliver is a relative newcomer to politics, but he has a long history of success on Bay Street that should appeal to, well, people on Bay Street. When asked for comment, longtime Flaherty pal Mayor Rob Ford wondered out loud whether or not persisting health problems were the cause of Flaherty’s resignation—although Flaherty made assurances that he was not stepping down because his health was in jeopardy. Instead, he was leaving his post to prepare for an eventual return to the private sector. Mayor Ford said news of his friend’s resignation was sad, but he wished him well. No word yet on who will replace Joe Oliver as natural resources minister, although with all the controversy surrounding those darned oil pipelines, it’s hard to imagine anyone actively wanting that job.

It may not be a scientific fact that food tastes better when a hipster serves it to you from the back of a retrofitted vehicle, but it is so very true. Thankfully for all of our tastebuds, the Municipal Licensing and Standards Committee has approved regulations that could allow a slew of new food trucks to be in place by the summer, if City Council passes a new bylaw. Unfortunately, though, everything is not completely peachy keen with the committee recommendations, which include that food trucks be at least 50 metres away from a restaurant, and 30 metres away from schools. Food truck owners feel as if this move may give restaurant owners too much power to veto food truck locations. Thankfully for food truck owners, most people will walk to the ends of the earth for fancy tacos, burgers, and grilled cheese sandwiches, so everything will probably work out just fine in the end.

Well, Porter Airlines, all of your PR squawking to drum up support for proposed Billy Bishop Airport expansion may be doing the trick. A new Forum Research poll shows that Torontonians are a little less frosty about the idea of jets landing at the downtown airport than they were a few months ago. Of 1,271 people polled on March 13, 46 per cent indicated they were in favour of jet traffic, which is up from 43 per cent in December. Meanwhile, opposition held steady at 40 per cent. The poll reveals that support is highest amongst persons who are supporters of Mayor Rob Ford, with 60 per cent of respondents who were pro-jets identifying themselves as members of Ford Nation. While it may seem like a small victory in the long-running push for airport expansion, pollsters are pragmatic about the results. “When we polled Billy Bishop in December, the city had soured on the idea of extending the runways for jets slightly. Now, levels of enthusiasm are back up where they were when we began polling this issue last summer,” explains Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research.

Chicken Little, it looks like the sky is indeed falling. Yesterday, four storeys of scaffolding fell onto a taxi cab carrying two passengers on Peter Street, just south of Richmond Street. Thankfully no injuries were reported, and the Ministry of Labour is currently investigating what may have caused a ton of very heavy, very dangerous metal to come crashing to the ground.

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