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Morning Brew: Fords helped Deco client in sewage spill investigation, WestJet wants to fly 737s out of the island airport, and more Rob Ford bobbleheads are coming

Rob and Doug Ford gathered top staffers including city manager Joe Pennachetti, deputy manager John Livey, and Lou Di Gironimo, the head of Toronto Water, when a business with links to their family firm was involved in a sewage spill investigation, the Globe and Mail reports. Apollo Health and Beauty Care, a soap and shampoo maker that uses the Ford family labels, benefited from direct contact with top officials. Livy said he would have acted different had he known about the "obvious conflict."

It's worth noting, however, there is nothing in the law that required Deco to name its clients. Doug Ford said the meeting was "transparent."

WestJet wants to fly its fleet of new Boeing 737 Max jets out of the Toronto island airport if the city is willing to budge on its current arrangement with Porter and Air Canada. "We would like to have the opportunity to fly jets ourselves from that airport," CEO Gregg Saretsky told Bloomberg. "The 737 is capable of operating off the runway at Billy Bishop." There are currently no take-off and landing slots available at the airport.

Missed out on a Rob Ford bobblehead? You're in luck! A new batch of the charity dolls are at City Hall, and these ones are supposed to look more like the mayor. 1,000 new "Robbie Bobbies" will be sold for $20 at noon tomorrow in aid of the Canadian Cancer Society. "My dad died of colon cancer. My mom had breast cancer and a mastectomy and just came out of surgery a few weeks ago," Ford told The Globe and Mail.

Rob Ford's unshakable approval rating appears to be holding steady. A new Ipsos Reid poll suggests the 39 per cent are satisfied with the mayor's performance and would consider voting for him at the next election. 62 per cent said they hope Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly continues Ford's fiscally conservative agenda.

A Leslieville restaurant has been fined $100,000 by a human rights tribunal after three Muslim men complained managers pressured them to eat pork and eat during the fasting hours of Ramadan. Abdul Malik, Mohammed Islam and Arif Hossain worked at Le Papillon on the Park on Eastern Ave. but were forced to quit. The restaurant was made to compensate the men for lost wages and for the injury to their dignity.

Toronto Islands residents say they feel trapped after the ferry was taken out of service for emergency repairs. The William Inglis developed a "very minor leak" in its hull and was shut down Wednesday. The city is telling residents to use the connection to the mainland at the airport in the meantime.

Looks like the Leafs' #SEAofBLUE social media campaign ahead of the NHL Winter Classic has been hijacked. Twitter users discovered any tweet using the hashtag was automatically posted to the team's website, unfiltered with predictably disastrous results.

Finally, the TTC looks set to do away with guards - the crew member who pokes their head out the window at each subway stop - as it moves toward one-driver trains and full Presto integration, CEO Andy Byford says. The jobs, which pay $31 an hour, will be reworked into a more direct customer service role. A similar transition occurred in London, U.K., he said.


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

Image: MarkBeauchamp/blogTO Flickr pool.

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