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Morning Brew: Province imposes contracts on teachers, Canseco for mayor, casino site goes live, Hydro Toronto fears blackout, and the Lucky Moose owner gets a medal

Posted by Chris Bateman / January 4, 2013

toronto woodbine beachThe Ontario government says it's forcing contracts on roughly 13,000 teachers under the Putting Students First Act to save money on pay increases it cannot afford. The imposed deal means a wage freeze, a reduction in sick days, and a cut in the number of days teachers can cash on retirement. Strangely, the government also announced it will repeal the bill it used to force teachers back to work by the end of January as an "act of good faith" once the contracts are finalized. The new deals will expire in late 2014.

Here's one right out of left field. Former Blue Jays slugger Jose Canseco is considering a run against Rob Ford for mayor of the city, according to Tweets he sent to the Toronto Star. When asked about his priorities if elected, Canseco told the paper: "gotta fix budget, traffic, get new $ not from taxes, get more new businesses, and help schools." Sadly, as an American citizen, the baseball player is ineligible to run... for now. Would you vote Canseco?

The City of Toronto's new casino consultation website is now live, proving a place for citizen input about several gaming complex proposals currently being pitched to the city. Attached documents provide new figures on the possible financial windfall for the city, which is expected to be in the region of $100 million a year. If that sounds like a lot, it isn't really. The city's annual operating budget is $9.4 billion. Will you be giving your thoughts?

Outsourcing cleaning at Toronto's police stations isn't going to save the city as much as it thought. New estimates put the figure at $800,000, roughly a third of the $2.5 million estimated in 2003.

Speaking of city money, the mayor and Toronto councillors will get a 2 per cent raise if the proposed 2013 budget is signed off as is. The boost would bring Ford's annual salary to $176,259, while regular members would receive checks totaling $104,660. Not bad.

A technical failure at a key transformer could leave Toronto in the dark for days, according to Hydro Toronto. In a pitch for a new $195 million station at Bremner Boulevard near the Rogers Centre to the Ontario Energy Board, the group warns a failure at the aging downtown Windsor station could lead to prolonged issues as much of its equipment is obsolete. There's presently no way of shutting down the station to upgrade it.

A Scarborough mom who was told to buy a smaller stroller and refrain from using a bus access ramp at 6:30 am has filed a complaint with the TTC. According to Jodi Christie, the driver shouted at her from his seat, telling her to bring the child's father "if he has one." The driver could receive a penalty, the TTC said.

The Chinatown shopkeeper who chased down and detained a repeat shoplifter only to be arrested himself will receive a Diamond Jubilee medal on Jan. 12. Prime Minister Stephen Harper will honour David Chen Wang of the Lucky Moose grocery store on Dundas West for his "significant contribution to Canada."

Finally, just because, here's the song from that Simpsons episode where Jose Canseco and a team of other ball players join Homer's power plant softball team as ringers. In the episode, Canseco's character doesn't make it to the big championship game because he's stuck rescuing furniture from a burning home. Enjoy.


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: "Cold Light" by StephenCaissiePhoto from the blogTO Flickr pool.



Robert / January 4, 2013 at 08:11 am
Good news, an American wants to run Toronto like an American city, the PM rewards American style vigilantism. Glad to see we're getting soft on gun control.
Todd / January 4, 2013 at 09:21 am
You want gravy? Trim council by half.
Todd replying to a comment from Robert / January 4, 2013 at 09:34 am
Go away. The shopkeeper said that police ignored his requests for help dealing with shoplifters repeatedly.

If you've lived here for an extended period of time and had ANY interaction with police, you'd believe his claim.
And I fail to see how tying a guy up, tossing him in the back of the van, and then calling the police (who rushed across the street quickly to file charges against him) is vigilante justice. It's called doing policework for free.

Nobody / January 4, 2013 at 09:45 am
"Good, I always thought Rob Ford was an underpaid asset to this city." -- Nobody, ever
MrCelery replying to a comment from Todd / January 4, 2013 at 09:46 am
but what was his "significant contribution to Canada"? Defending his small grocery store??
Mark / January 4, 2013 at 09:53 am
His significant contribution to Canada was showing us we can stand up and do things on our own. The cops won't do shit for us so sometimes we have to protect ourselves. David Chen is a hero and deserves this medal.
Rich replying to a comment from MrCelery / January 4, 2013 at 09:56 am
Its just an angle the Federal Conservatives are using to curate immigrant votes for 2015. Its all politics.
Alex replying to a comment from MrCelery / January 4, 2013 at 09:56 am
His significant contribution was probably bringing to light the issue where if police ignore you and you try to stop a thief yourself, you get charged. Hopefully the laws were changed to allow a judge the leeway to dismiss any charges against someone if what they did was the only course of action left to them.

"The driver could receive a penalty"? Could? If a driver verbally abuses a passenger then they should automatically be suspended without pay for at least a day and be forced to take some customer service course. How can you possibly not punish someone for saying "if he has one" to a mother?
Dave K replying to a comment from Alex / January 4, 2013 at 10:02 am
"allow a judge the leeway to dismiss any charges against someone if what they did was the only course of action left to them"

Wow, I really hope this never comes into fruition
Dave K replying to a comment from Alex / January 4, 2013 at 10:05 am
"How can you possibly not punish someone for saying "if he has one" to a mother?"

Because not all children have fathers? It could have been more of a safe-coverall attempt at being politically correct. You're assuming he was implying she's a slut, but remember this is taken out of context of the whole interaction.
Rich replying to a comment from Dave K / January 4, 2013 at 10:12 am
Having ridden the TTC more than once, I'm going to assume from my own experience that the driver was a lazy asshole and everything this woman said actually happened. Also, that the driver will receive no punishment because the ATU 113 union will cover their ass (as unions do - protect the worst members while the good ones suffer in silence). And eventually the woman will find out that as part of their negotiated contract the cameras and audio from the TTC bus cannot be used to prosecute or punish a driver, its her word against his.
James replying to a comment from Rich / January 4, 2013 at 10:14 am
I think you are not using that word correctly.
Rich replying to a comment from James / January 4, 2013 at 10:17 am
My apologies James, just into my morning cup of tea now. You're right, I should have said something closer to "cultivate" than
the lemur replying to a comment from Dave K / January 4, 2013 at 10:24 am
If the driver was trying to be tactful/PC about it, he would not have said 'Where’s his dad? He should be helping you. If he even has a father' but something more like 'You should have someone helping you'. It sounds more like he was implying 'I think you're a single mom and that's one more reason I shouldn't bother to help you'.
mar / January 4, 2013 at 10:29 am
this jose canseco thing is fantastic. he will effectively be splitting the retard vote which is at this point 100% devoted to Ford.
mike in parkdale / January 4, 2013 at 10:33 am
Does anyone know the TTC policy for ramps and lifts? Are they strictly to be used for people with mobility issues, or can they be used for strollers, grocery carts etc?

SUV stroller or not, the driver was over the line with the "father" comment.
Todd / January 4, 2013 at 11:06 am
Raise your hand if you've never wished you could slug a TTC driver and get away with it.
Ford4ever replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / January 4, 2013 at 11:43 am
"SUV stroller or not"

I've said it before, I'll say it again: people who push real SUV strollers do NOT use transit -- they take the Audi. I ride subways/streetcars every day and very very seldom do I encounter a problem stroller.

Myke / January 4, 2013 at 11:49 am
Well at least we're making some progress with one of the unions.. Hopefully they rethink or impose lasting restrictions before the deals expire
CanoeDave / January 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm
Hard to believe Dalton has so mismanaged the entire Teachers’ issue going back to last March because the contract offered is not draconian and completely legal, especially when compared to Bob Rae's "Social Contract" and Rae Days that amounted to real wage cuts on top of a wage freeze. My bet is that Daddy Dalton simply miscalculated by thinking he had bought enough good will from the Teachers by being overly generous for 8 years and figured they would be reasonable. He forgot the basic political lesson learned by Rae and Mayor Miller in Toronto that buying public sector support with public money does not engender loyalty but only serves to inflate entitlement and expectations. But while Dalton bungled, the bottom line is that the Teachers have become spoiled ingrates who have fabricated a crisis to serve their own economic interests that has absolutely nothing to do with anyone’s “rights” and everything to do with bullying the students, the public and the government to get their way. Interesting to note that even in Alberta, the land of milk and honey, the highest paid Teachers in the land are now fighting the Government.
Myke replying to a comment from CanoeDave / January 4, 2013 at 01:15 pm
Well said.. Corruption of attitude not just finance
Jason M / January 4, 2013 at 01:19 pm
Toronto Hydro, not Hydro Toronto.
Alex replying to a comment from Dave K / January 4, 2013 at 02:28 pm
I probably should have read the article first, because it says that he is getting the medal for helping them bring about a new law to cover exactly the scenario he was in. My wording was terrible, but the new law they brought in was what I was trying to get at. Basically it lets people catch a criminal and detain them if calling the police isn't an option. Obviously they can't injure the person, but what he did would now be legal.
jd replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / January 4, 2013 at 05:27 pm
From what I read, drivers are required to use the lift to anyone that request one.
Robert replying to a comment from Todd / January 4, 2013 at 06:10 pm
Any way you look it is is vigilante justice there is no place for that in a democratic society we have a justice system in place and an accountable police force. If you have a problem with the way thing are handled or the way justice is administered there are processes in place for that.
Were does vigilante justice lead is not a slippery slope it exists in real time, 3rd world countries , the middle east, and lets not leave the US out in Texas you can murder anyone just claim you feel threatened.
Follow the neo con thinking on guns and head down the slippery slope. Allow the shop keeper to have a gun and he will murder someone to protect his property.
Vigilante justice is not to be rewarded, it is to be discouraged in the strongest way.
Fantomex replying to a comment from Robert / January 4, 2013 at 07:07 pm
THIS. Too bad that the stupid neocon assholes that infest this board think that what the shopkeeper did is amazing. It isn't, and if ever his life went south and he has to steal to get somewhere, he'll be facing some nasty shit from somebody. For that matter, if anybody else here was in the same situation as Anthony Bennett (addicted to drugs, homeless, and needing to steal to eat or feed their addiction) the same thing would be happening to them. It's pretty easy to side with the shopkeeper because most of you are lucky to have homes to live in and computers to type whatever you want to say about this incident on the Internet, but I'll be it wouldn't be so easy to say what you're all saying now if you were in the same position as Bennett.

The sad thing about this is that instead of this incident focusing on what help the poor and homeless need in order to not be shoplifting, the focus will all be on how brave this man was and how cool the law started up because of this man is. It's a sad statement about our society and the priorities we set.
John / January 4, 2013 at 07:38 pm
Why are people still talking about that bus driver incident? So the driver made a few stupid comments, why is this story gaining so much publicity?
ttcregs replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / January 4, 2013 at 07:52 pm
The rules surrounding a stroller and the wheelchair lift are crystal clear - they are posted in B&W in each division for us to see:
Strollers, regardless of size are to be accommodated at all times unless your bus is full. If the bus is full, and the weather is bad, we are to call Transit Control to find out when the next bus is due to arrive and inform them of the situation.
The wheelchair lift can be requested to be lowered by anyone. Once requested, it MUST be lowered. The ramp must be checked before leaving the yard, if it doesn't work the bus must be changed off. Many drivers will lower ramp at every stop for everyone. If someone getting on the bus trips in the way, he first question the Supervisor will ask is: "Did you do EVERYTHING possible to ensure the customer boarded safely? Including lowering the ramp?". If we didn't do everything possible to prevent the accident, then it's our fault (and could get suspended for negligence - YES, IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME).
Gord replying to a comment from Robert / January 4, 2013 at 11:04 pm
Well said. I don't know what deal the teachers think they'll be getting from Hudak if he ever gets in but it won't be the sweet ride they've had under Dalton. They should look around them in other parts of the world, realize they've been fortunate, and quit harping about "democracy" on expensive radio ads. It's only about the money.
Gord / January 4, 2013 at 11:07 pm
Dang, I meant to reply to CanoeDave.
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