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Newsstand: May 2, 2014

Sad news for concert-goers and partiers alike: the Guvernment/Kool Haus will close next January 31. In other news: the provincial government has declared a "war" on illegal tobacco, AGO staff have averted a strike with a tentative agreement with management, and some TTC riders have had a challenging morning commute.

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The most recent provincial budget, released Thursday, declares that contraband tobacco is a growing problem in Ontario that must be stamped out. To that end, the tobacco tax will be going up for the first time since 2006, from 12.35 cents to 13.975 cents. The government claims this increase is intended to “restore the effectiveness of the Ontario tobacco tax.” It was not made clear how increased taxes on legitimate tobacco sales will stop contraband tobacco sales, which are increasing and which “undermin[e] the province’s health objectives.”

About half of the employees of the Art Gallery of Ontario will probably not go on strike due to a tentative agreement reached with AGO management on Thursday. The agreement still needs to be ratified by union members in a vote next Wednesday but in it, employees have staved off calls for more part-time work and “the pervasive use of outside companies to do AGO employees’ jobs,” as the union put it. Members of the union—Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 535—include service staff, curators, lighting technicians, and maintenance workers.

TTC riders trying to travel between St. George and Lawrence West stations this morning have been in for some hassles and delays: subway service between those two stations has been suspended because of a communication failure. Shuttle buses were pressed into service as of about 7:30 a.m., and it’s expected the shutdown will last until about 10:15 a.m.

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