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Weekend Newsstand: August 16, 2014

Vulcan, Alberta hopes to raise $2 billion to make a working spacecraft. Is there a more fitting cause for Kickstarter? We think not. In the news: CUPE takes issue with Rob Ford's bomb threat handling, bike impounding in front of a Hudson's Bay shop will cease, undocumented immigrants say they were targeted by a recent vehicle safety blitz, and the late Steve McQueen's Ferrari goes up for auction.

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CUPE Local 79—the union that represents 20,000 workers with the City of Toronto—is asking the Ministry of Labour to investigate its allegations that Mayor Rob Ford violated established protocol earlier this week when he contacted the press about the bomb threat his office received. According to CUPE, the City of Toronto’s Bomb Threat and Suspicious Package Response Policy—yes, that is a real thing—dictates that members do not make any comments to the public or members of the media. Mayor Ford says he talked about the emailed threat on the specific advice of Toronto police officers who came to his office to investigate to the threat. A spokesperson for Toronto Police Service contrarily mentioned that officer accounts differ from that of Mayor Ford’s, saying they did not urge the Mayor to address the public about the threat. A spokesperson for the City says that they will conduct a debrief following the threat to review whether or not improvements can be made to the current protocol.

According to a tweet send by City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale), a private property management company will no longer impound bicycles that are locked on city sidewalk space in front of the Hudson’s Bay store located at Yonge and Bloor streets. Cyclist Lisa Ferguson says that the lock on her bike was cut and it was placed in storage by store security while it was attached to a Toronto Transit Commission pole on Wednesday. The security guard who impounded Ferguson’s bike says he was following a company policy; however, City staff confirmed that the sidewalk area within 5.5 metres of the curb—where the bike was parked—is public property, which falls outside of the store’s purview. While spokespeople for Brookfield Office Properties say that locked bikes are a tripping hazard, the City disputes the company’s claims, saying that City officials have relaxed bylaw enforcement of bicycle parking zones due to lack of current infrastructure.

Undocumented immigrants say that they were the target of a coordinated raid when Canada’s border enforcement arrested 21 people during a “commercial vehicle safety blitz” earlier this week in an area that stretches from Weston Road to Keele Street, and from Highway 401 to Finch Avenue. Unmarked SUVs stopped vehicles and requested immigration papers along roadways in the area, and also conducted arrests in the parking lots of local Tim Hortons, Coffee Time, and Country Style locations, which are popular pickup sites for undocumented immigrants who work at nearby construction sites. While arresting undocumented workers and deporting them is not rare, coordinated sweeps such as this one are, and attract much scrutiny for manipulating public safety regulations for the purpose of carding and racial profiling. Vilma Filici, a former president of the Canadian Hispanic Congress, said she believes undocumented immigrants are used by the community. “They are expecting the construction to slow down,” she says. “So they start the raids. This is so unfair. Instead of arresting people en masse, we need a proper way to regularize their status.”

RM Auctions, an Ontario-based vintage car seller, says that it expects to earn $8 million for a car once owned by Hollywood legend Steve McQueen. The red Ferrari 275 GBT/4 was delivered to the actor on the set of Bullitt—have you seen that epic car chase?—and was later owned by Zorro actor Guy Williams. The car will be up for auction today during a regular company auction in Monterey, California. Anyone want to go halfsies?

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