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Morning Brew: New TTC commission filled with Ford supporters, Christmas tree thefts, Leafs not up for sale?, Jewish group looks to return to Kensington Market, Bill Blair Apologizes

The Toronto Star reports that the new TTC Commission will be -- surprise, surprise -- filled with Rob Ford loyalists. Of the nine member panel only two councillors from the David Miller years will return in Karen Stintz (who will be chair) and Maria Augimeri. The remaining seven spots will be taken by Vincent Crisanti (Ward 1, Etobicoke North); Frank Di Giorgio (Ward 12, York South-Weston); Norm Kelly (Ward 40, Scarborough Agincourt): Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East); Cesar Palacio (Ward 17, Davenport) and John Parker (Ward 26 Don Valley West). What's significant about the turnover, of course, is that the majority of the new members are in support of subway expansion at the expense of Transit City.

Here's a rather depressing story for the holiday season. Doug Drysdale, a Christmas tree farmer whose land is just south of Barrie in the town of Egbert, woke up on Wednesday morning to find that 100 of his Balsam Firs had been cut down by thieves who he says have hit his crop before. Tree bandits? Now that just gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Jim Leech, the head of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, claims that his group is not looking to sell the Toronto Maple Leafs despite rampant speculation that a deal was in the works earlier this week. Here are his exact words: "We are not now, nor have we ever been anxious to sell our investment in MLSE." I haven't been anxious to sell a lot of things that I eventually did, so forgive me if I'm not convinced, Jimbo.

A grassroots group known as Makom is looking to bring back a Jewish presence in Kensington Market, an area that was formerly one of the community's mainstays prior to the post-war period when many people moved out of the downtown core. With a growing membership, the group hopes to partner with the Kiever Synagogue (one of the last remaining in the market) whose numbers have dwindled over the years. According to the groups founder Rabbi Aaron Levy, "I think the young people are looking for something. They don't find it in the shopping centres of the suburbs.... Once they found it in Yorkville. Now they're finding it in Kensington."

In brief:


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