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Weekend Newsstand: April 5, 2014

Enjoy the weekend, everyone! We all deserve it. In the news: Karen Stintz wants to introduce a "transportation czar," measles cases are popping up in Toronto with alarming frequency, a co-working space launches for hardware startups, and a Toronto doctor is fielding offers to run for election.

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Mayoral candidate and former TTC chair Karen Stintz has a bold new idea for the city’s transportation needs: more bureaucracy. If elected, Stintz wants to “consolidate” the TTC under a new “transportation czar” who would oversee public transit, parking enforcement, Transportation Services, and taxi licensing. The addition of this new role would help, in Stintz’s estimation, to cut down on congestion. It’s based on Transport for London in London, England, which controls transit, runs the bike share program, operates thousands of streetlights and hundreds of kilometres of road, and regulates taxis. “We’re just consolidating our departments under one authority,” Stintz explained. “We’re creating a new governance structure, like the board of health, to be the Transport for Toronto.”

Thank Jenny McCarthy: a Brampton baby has tested positive for measles, which should be a bygone disease since we have a vaccine for it. McCarthy, a host of The View and formerly married to Jim Carrey, is a vocal member of the anti-vaccination crowd. Vaccines are, of course, vitally important in keeping certain diseases at bay (one of which is smallpox, and if you know anything about it you do not want to live in a world where it exists). There have been at least 11 other cases of measles in Toronto since the start of the year. Get your kids vaccinated, folks. It’s best for them and it’s best for all of us.

Co-working spaces abound for people doing computer-based work—many techies, artists, and freelance writers use such places—but if your work is more tangible and requires more space and services than a spot to plug in your computer and a Wi-Fi code, there isn’t much room for you. Until recently, that is. MakeWorks has just set up shop on College in the 10,000-square-foot half-basement of a converted shoe factory, and it aims to provide to hardware startups the same collegial atmosphere that makes co-working so beneficial for freelancers and software startups. In addition to the basic amenities any co-working space offers (a kitchen, conference tables, etc), there’s a group of 3D printers in one corner and a (separate but accessible) shop toward the back that’s set up to handle woodworking, ceramics, and small-scale metalworking. If having a space and some resources is the only thing that’s been stopping you from diving into that hardware startup idea, looks like you’ve got no excuse now.

A Toronto doctor who testified in American Senate committee hearings on health care is now something of a political star. Danielle Martin was asked to testify on the differences between American and Canadian health care by U.S. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, and her quick-witted responses drew a sizeable audience. Asked if it’s true that people in Canada die due to the “rationing” of health care, Martin responded that not as many die here as in America, where 45,000 people die every year in a system that’s rationed by the patient’s ability to pay. Martin has been asked to run for election in every level of government, but says she’s “got a big job already . . . I’m happy to offer my advice on health policy to anyone who’s willing to listen.”

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