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Morning Brew: December 9th, 2008

Photo: "Texting..." by chewie2008~, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

What's happening in the GTA (and sometimes beyond):

There's a lot of talk about committing federal and provincial government money to infrastructural development in Toronto. But why haven't the shovels hit the ground at the Brick Works? What about the expansion of Union Station, promised some seven years ago? And the massive park project at Downsview?

Every once in a while I feel the need to curse. The Toronto Port Authority is toying with the idea of getting a new ferry to shuttle people to the island airport; this just a couple of years after getting a new one. Build a f**king pedestrian bridge already! Save those millions of taxpayers' money for something far less ludicrous - anything but a new ferry that shuttles passengers across a gap so small that my 8-year old nephew could throw a ball across it.

After plenty of much deserved public dissent over proposed changes to laws for young drivers, the Ontario government has changed its tune and will drop a contentious proposal. The proposal to limit the number of fellow teenaged passengers to one actually posed a greater threat to public safety (and detriment to the environment) than allowing teens to fill their cars to the point of bursting rivets (like clowns do).

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According to numbers recently released by the Auditor General, the only thing separating Ontario from dropping our newly crowned "have-not" title and being a "have" province is about half a billion dollars in uncollected tobacco taxes annually. [sarcasm]Those poor smokers... always being vilified for no good reason, eh?[/sarcasm]

Ontario's greatest advocate for changes related to the sale of raw milk products was handed a $5000 fine and $50,000 in legal fees. But he still plans to make and sell raw milk cheeses despite the legal and financial hurdles being thrown at him. If we can buy and eat raw oysters, order our steak blue at restaurants, and smoke cigarettes, why can't we have the right to choose to buy raw milk cheese?

Signs, signs, everywhere there are signs. The city is taking a harder look at the problem of sign-overload across the city, and may take measures in the near future to add new criteria for what can be displayed when and where. It almost seems like a losing battle though, since there are already so many out there that are clearly in violation of the law yet remain on display.

And charities are taking a huge hit due to the economic downturn. The problem is that people from every financial tier are affected, so even those that are well off are losing large and are less likely to give to those previously in need - and now in even more grave need.


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