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Newsstand: May 30, 2014

It's election season, which means it's also "trend pieces on why young people don't vote" season. The CBC thinks young people aren't voting because they're living at home. Prove them wrong! Vote, or write in to the CBC to explain why you're not voting. In other news: the riding of Davenport may be this election's bellwether, public dental care for low-income Ontarians is necessary but not a priority, the election has put businesses looking for liquor licences in a tough spot, and there may be a GO bus strike on Monday.

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The provincial riding of Davenport stretches from Queen Street up to the Junction and Corso Italia, and it’s expected to be a bellwether in the upcoming election. If the NDP loses the seat, which incumbent Jonah Schein took in 2011 with barely 1,500 more votes than Liberal Cristina Martins, then the Liberals may well form our next government. But voters in the riding’s diverse communities seem fed up with both the Liberals, who have waffled on certain key transit points, and the NDP, who approved several austerity budgets before taking down the government over a progressive one. Davenport voters feeling such frustration may want to look into the lesser-known parties rather than settle for one of the big ones, as they have a whole lot of choices available to them.

There’s already a program in place to bring dental care to low-income children, but adults in a similar economic situation are out of luck in Ontario. Some 270,000 visits are made to doctors and emergency rooms each year because low-income adults who can’t afford to visit a dentist are experiencing extreme pain and discomfort. They often walk away with nothing more than painkillers, and with the causes of the pain still intact, the cycle continues. The Ontario Oral Health Alliance wants Queen’s Park to create a $90-million program to bring dental care to low-income adults; the aforementioned 270,000 medical visits per year cost the province at least $35 million, though that number may well be higher. The rejected provincial budget had called for, according to the Toronto Star, “the government to work with stakeholders to extend health benefits, including dental care, to all low-income Ontarians.” However, the issue has not yet gotten much attention during the election.

A dispute between city councillors and the provincial parliament has brought liquor licensing to a halt in Toronto. After the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announced it would only go after violations of the provincial Liquor License Act, and not conditions municipalities might add, city councillors passed a motion requiring a letter of approval from a business’s MPP in order to receive a new liquor license. That will make procuring a liquor license far more difficult even under the best circumstances—MPPs are unlikely to vouch for businesses they don’t know personally, and may not have time to meet every business owner vying for a licence in a timely manner—but with an election campaign underway, the process is at a standstill. City councillor Gord Perks (Ward 14, Parkdale-High Park), who endorsed the motion, says the province should renegotiate with the City if MPPs are unable to write the letters.

GO bus drivers may go on strike midnight Sunday if they do not have a contract in place. If they strike it will be the first time in the 47 years GO has existed. Trains will continue to operate but GO commuters should take this under advisement.

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