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Newsstand: September 4, 2014

Drop whatever you are doing and go look at some photos from Al Pacino’s appearance at the TIFF Gala last night. That man’s hair is a thing of unparalleled beauty. In the news: Olivia Chow supports right-angled curbs for pedestrian safety, Sarah Thomson mulls over dropping out of the mayoral race, parade organizers are on the hook to pay a $14,000 police bill by today, and fewer than 55,000 unemployed people in Toronto actually collect EI.

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Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow put forth a plan for pedestrian safety that includes installing right-angled curbs at some of the city’s most dangerous intersections. According to research from Texas, curbs at a right-angle are supposed to slow cars down, which is great in theory, but the curbs do not come without problems. Police say that this style of curb would pose a different safety threat because buses and trucks would have to pull farther into intersections to avoid the angle of the curb. Chow does not believe that every intersection should be switched from the current rounded style, proposing that the decision be left up to safety experts on a case-by-case basis.

Meanwhile, fringe candidate Sarah Thomson is considering dropping out of the mayoral race, according to her website. She is currently asking supporters to weigh in on the decision before she makes an announcement next week about her future heading towards the October 27 municipal election. If she abandons her mayoral ambitions, she may seek a council seat instead. Thomson blames her floundering poll numbers on unfair media coverage, saying that the press came out swinging. Of course, it has nothing to do with this policy. Or this snafu. Or this spectacle.

Organizers of this Saturday’s Jesus in the City parade are scrambling to pay a $14,000 bill for paid-duty police by this morning. This comes after their new route was approved last week by the City following the cancellation of the originally planned parade in August due to roadwork. A representative for event organizers, Festival of Praise International, says that this is the first time that a policing bill has ever been so high, although they were warned by the City that it could have been upwards of $23,000. Police say that the high cost is due to the fact that the parade coincides with many other events in the city—ahem, the opening weekend of TIFF—and a subway shut down that will see shuttle buses running through the parade route. While the group has obtained almost half of the money through fundraising, it hopes that the City will step in and help cover the cost.

Statistics Canada says that of the more than 307,000 jobless and underemployed Torontonians, fewer than 55,000 are collecting employment insurance. It is one of the lowest rates for EI collection in the history of Toronto, while jobless rates currently sit higher than both the provincial and national average. Matthew Mendelsohn of the University of Toronto’s Mowat Centre says that the lack of EI use in Toronto is indicative that the program fails to consider the changing labour market of the city. Tens of thousands of workers are left without a safety net due to the increasing lack of traditional employee-employer relationships. With more people holding down multiple part-time jobs, being self-employed, or working short-term contracts, many are unable to access EI because they do not pay into the system, or underpay.

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