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Newsstand: July 28, 2014

It's a nice cool Monday after that humid weekend, so put on some pants and enjoy it. In the news this morning: Laureen Harper was stung by a bee, milk bags may soon be replaced by milk jugs, and the TTC won't move to distance-based fares.

matt newsstand gull

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s wife, Laureen, made news this weekend after being stung by a bee on the rooftop of the Royal York Hotel. The hotel keeps a beehive on the roof in an effort to provide both in-house honey for its guests and bees for pollinating the surrounding area’s flowers. If the hotel’s beekeeping efforts are successful, this could prove an interesting project for urban areas to watch as global bee populations plummet. Harper, whose father raised bees on her childhood farm, was unfazed by the sting.

While they’ve been widely available in Western Canada for the last two decades, three-litre milk jugs are non-existent in Ontario. Two factions of Ontario’s dairy farming community are currently fighting over whether that should change. The Ontario Dairy Council, which represents the processors, wants an open market for milk jugs. The ODC is worried that an uneven roll-out of the product would give some processors an unfair advantage should milk jugs prove a popular commodity. Dairy Farmers of Ontario, on the other hand, are concerned that if the new product is too popular, the four-litre milk bags Ontario residents know and love might disappear from the shelves. Graham Lloyd, general counsel for the DFO, said the DFO is concerned only with keeping the per-volume price of milk low (the price is generally lower for larger volumes). The fight is moving to the Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal, where a date has yet to be set for the milk jug hearing.

With GO and York Region Transit both using distance-based fares, and especially with the ongoing roll-out of Presto electronic fare cards, some have asked if the TTC should implement distance-based fares as a way to recoup its costs or even make money. The answer has been a resounding “no.” The people who would pay the most are those living farthest from the downtown core, where there are high concentrations of low-income earners with few transit options. The TTC is also not a for-profit business; it raises fares only when necessary to cover its costs. TTC chief customer service officer Chris Upfold listed several reasons why the TTC won’t be implementing distance-based fares, but the upshot is that residents need not fear changes in the TTC’s flat-fare system any time soon.

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