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Newsstand: March 27, 2014

Welcome to Thursday, gateway to debauchery. In the news: no one wins in the mayoral debate, winter's not over yet, and "hobocops" are no longer targeting distracted drivers.

matt newsstand newspaperlies

Yesterday’s matinee debate amongst the Big Five mayoral candidates (live fact-checked here) has been widely assessed as something of a cluster-you-know-what, with general confusion reigning and candidates talking over each other like bickering couples at a dinner party after the wine has run out. Rob Ford kept his cool and responded to criticism with random selections from his pack of widely discredited lies, leading the Sun’s Don Peat to tweet “Post-debate analysis: Forget crack cocaine, Mayor Rob Ford smoked his rivals tonight.” Also, John Tory, “livable, affordable, functional” sounds like you’re promoting government-subsidized housing made from repurposed shipping containers.

Tired of winter? Winter doesn’t care. Environment Canada is saying that while we’re going get a bit of a heat-tease this weekend, after that we’re looking at unseasonably cold weather right through the first half of April. You’re welcome.

Toronto police have called off their so-called “hobocop” distracted-driving blitz following widespread publicity. The initiative had an officer disguised as a panhandler wandering through the stopped traffic lines at highway off-ramps and handing out tickets to drivers caught checking mobile phones. Motorists had mixed emotions, expressing dismay at the tickets, but relief that our streets haven’t been overrun by armed hobos.

The RCMP’s Financial Crime unit have arrested six GTA residents in a scam where investors claimed business losses, which later turned out to be fraudulent, in order to reduce their payable income tax. It’s estimated that the scheme may have cost the federal government as much as $200 million that could have been spent advertising the Conservative Economic Action Plan.

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