Newsstand: May 7, 2014




Newsstand: May 7, 2014

It’s Wednesday. Happy official launch to the provincial election campaign! Who wants to bet they don’t make a greeting card for that? In the news: the ombudsman has a good day at City Hall, Doug Ford mulls over a mayoral bid, the average price of a detached home in Toronto nears $1 million, and the Raptors' GM speaks out against the Nigerian kidnappings.

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Yesterday was a good day for Toronto Ombudsman Fiona Crean. She was at City Hall to defend her scathing report of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s human resources practices, which ultimately led to the departure of CEO Gene Jones. Council voted to endorse Crean’s report, and also passed a motion to extend the ombudsman’s powers to City corporations. Councillor Ana Bailao (Ward 18, Davenport)—who is also a TCHC board member—pledged that the beleaguered public housing agency will do better in the future.

With Mayor Rob Ford in rehab somewhere on planet Earth, Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) was left to hold the fort at the council meeting yesterday. In what was either a show of solidarity with his brother or a case of simply forgetting where he was, Councillor Ford was seen sitting in the mayor’s council seat at points during the meeting. Curiously, he also refused to confirm to reporters whether or not he was considering a mayoral bid himself in his brother’s absence. King of the caps-lock press release, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West) gave his support to a Doug Ford mayoral campaign by affixing a handwritten “Doug Ford” sign to the mayor’s nameplate in what was likely an attempt at humour. Several other councillors chimed in that they would not support Doug Ford if he chose to ran for mayor, including Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East) who must have been wearing his diplomatic pants yesterday, saying, “I don’t believe he has what it takes to be mayor. With respect.”

Rising demand and a shortage of new listings have helped to push home prices up by an average of 10 per cent since April 2013, according to new figures released on Tuesday by the Toronto Real Estate Board. The biggest price jump was seen in semi-detached homes, which jumped 18 per cent to an average sale price of $702,332. Detached home prices rose 13.3 per cent, with the average price reaching $965,670 last month. Just a decade ago, the average detached home in Toronto sold for $486,489. With active listings down 8.4 per cent, house hunters have fewer options to choose from and are getting desperate to enter the Toronto market before prices rise even higher. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, this trend of above-market growth will continue until more home listings become available for a sustained period of time.

Yesterday, Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri spoke out about the kidnappings of nearly 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria, as reports surfaced that Islamic militant group Boko Haram had taken more young girls from homes in the northeast of the country. Ujiri was born and raised in Nigeria, and still has family in the country. He called for Nigerian authorities and outside governments to increase rescue efforts. “These are young women and young children,” said Ujiri. “They need opportunity, and it’s not the opportunity of anything else but life and to be free.”