Newsstand: November 5, 2012



Newsstand: November 5, 2012

Remember, remember when Natalie Portman shaved her head for a movie. In the news: Liberals leave the blocks, protesting Dr. Jason Kenney, high school teachers get ready to strike, and the TTC is getting chartered.

The race is on. MPP Glen Murray has officially announced that he is running for the leadership of Ontario’s Liberal party. Murray is currently the MPP for Toronto Centre and, up until Saturday, he was the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities (Dalton McGuinty had said that any cabinet minister would need to step down to run). Don Valley West MPP Kathleen Wynne is also expected to announce her campaign today and she too has left her two cabinet positions as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. Murray is the former mayor of Winnipeg, so that means a potential premier with a first-hand understanding of municipal issues—no, that would be too good to be true.

A gala at the Royal York Hotel, where federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney received an honorary PhD from the University of Haifa in Israel, was the focus of a 200-person strong protest last night. According to the university, Kenney was given the degree for “his steadfast position against antisemitism, racism and intolerance,” but the protest of more than 40 different groups had the somewhat similar theme: “Honouring Our Communities: March Against Racism.” An honorary degree isn’t real, anyway. If it were real, Kenny would be drowning in student debt and unable to find a job.

As soon as on Wednesday, high school teachers in Toronto and at six other boards will be in a legal strike position and could be putting a hold on some administrative tasks at that point. Teachers will still be in classrooms teaching, but they may stop doing supervisory duty or other organizational activities, like attending staff meetings, that extend beyond that. If the government steps in and blocks this too soon, it could bolster the union’s legal case against Bill 115, which imposes labour contracts on school boards and teachers. The teachers say that this could easily be averted though.

Adding to his ever-growing list of plans that may help to bring the TTC into the modern era, TTC CEO Andy Byford is pitching the idea of a customer charter—no, not that kind of TTC charter. This charter would outline what riders can expect from the commission in terms of general themes like reliability and cleanliness, but it would also give specific numbers on improvements to be made to the system.