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Newsstand: July 25, 2014

It's going to be a blustery, rainy weekend, so settle in and catch up on the news. A squirrel is pretending to run for mayor, MPPs living close to the city are claiming Toronto accommodation allowance to avoid commuting, and a 16-year-old attempts to swim across Lake Erie.

matt newsstand raccoon

If you’re sick of Toronto politics and want change, there’s a new (mock) mayoral candidate for you: a squirrel. This squirrel is sick and tired of Toronto politics, too, and wants to be the candidate voters can count on to win any nut-eating contest that may be required of a mayor. While the unnamed squirrel may not actually be running, with a punning slogan and a social media presence verging on sincere, it appears to have the basics of municipal politics down pat.

The 2013–14 travel and Toronto lodging expenses of MPPs were made public Thursday—and it seems members living in places such as Barrie, Hamilton, and Cambridge have been claiming as much as $22,000 a year for Toronto accommodation so they can avoid the commute. Currently, members are eligible for a housing allowance when they have to travel more than 50 kilometres from the legislature to their home, but some MPPs are now proposing this distance be re-evaluated, because night sittings are uncommon.

Annaleise Carr, believed to be the youngest person to swim Lake Ontario when she crossed two years ago, has set out to swim across Lake Erie today. The 75-kilometre swim is expected to take 30 hours and is one-and-a-half times longer than her record-breaking 2012 swim. Carr, 16, set out from Presque Ile State Park in Erie, Pennsylvania, and will finish her swim at Port Dover, Ontario. She has been swimming six to eight hours each day to prepare. The swim will raise money to send kids with cancer to camp; in 2012 she raised $115,000 for Camp Trillium.

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