Weekend Newsstand: July 9, 2011
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Weekend Newsstand: July 9, 2011

Illustration by Kyra Kendall/Torontoist.

Oh Saturday! My Saturday! Our fearful week is done: TPS hopes to hack its budget by pushing the brass towards retirement, RoFo’s office expenses suspiciously few paperclips, a Toronto school’s prayer time is debated, and Marineland’s gotta free the whale… to Sea World, where he’s not much better off.

With the pressure on to cut 10 per cent of its budget, the Toronto Police Service is tackling the problem from the top down, offering voluntary severance to some of its highest ranking senior officers and civilian managers eligible for retirement next year. If the brass take the bait, a total of 18 positions at the top of the police organization will be vacated without replacement, saving the service a total of $2.8 million a year. Don’t worry, we’re sure that authoritarian types who are used to being in charge make the best candidates for being hustled into early retirement.
Speaking of the cash money that makes the city go ’round, Toronto freelance journalist Jude MacDonald has filed a formal complaint to the City’s integrity commissioner about Rob Ford’s expense claims for the first quarter of his tenure as gravy train brakeman mayor. MacDonald’s 23-page affidavit alleges there is reason to believe that Ford has failed to fully disclose the expenses associated with running his office. According to the documents he submitted to the City, RoFo himself has shelled out zero bucks in personal funds to run his show. In fact, his staff of 17 people racked up just $1,700 in expenses in three months—a statistic MacDonald says is incredulous to the point of warranting an investigation.
In the north end of Toronto, Valley Park Middle School has found itself in the middle of a ruckus over the place of prayer in public schools. As a means of curbing an excess of absences, for the last three years the school has offered Friday afternoon prayer sessions in the school cafeteria, led by a junior imam from a nearby mosque. The school’s population is at least 80 per cent Muslim, but only a third of its students take Valley Park up on its offer of Friday afternoon prayer. A week ago, Canadian Hindu Advocacy launched a complaint against Valley Park’s prayer time. While the TCDSB’s guidelines encourage that every effort be made to accommodate students who require daily prayer, the Ontario Education Act forbids religious services conducted on school property.
All right, so this didn’t quite happen in Toronto, but surely the Marineland song is so thoroughly etched into the skull of anyone who lived Ontario in the ’90s that Niagara Falls feels close to home, right? Anyway, Marineland is turning up on the losing end of a custody battle with Sea World over a killer whale named Ikaika. An Ontario Superior Court judge has ruled that Marineland has to give Sea World back its eight-year-old male orca after the Orlando-based park alleged that Ikaika isn’t being well cared for. Free Ikaika! If this story doesn’t end with Ikaika leaping over a stone wall and swimming for freedom, we’re not sure we want to hear another word about it. Incidentally, a spokesperson for Zoocheck Canada describes Marineland as “one of the worst facilities in North America.”