Cherry Beach, Toronto

Morning Brew: Nasty election signs on University taken down by citizen, Fennell's fund under fire, Fantino to enter federal politics, Canada's first multimeda Sikh museum opens, mayoral candidates tweeting habits revealed

Someone has tried to take the Toronto mayoral race to a much nastier place. Some time last night, about 10 plastic signs were placed along University Avenue, each white with black lettering reading, "Wife-beating, racist drunk for Mayor!" They had been put up in the flower beds in the median on University south of Dundas Street West, until Frank, a last-nameless contractor on his way to work, took them down. "I just don't think it's a fair run at the race," Frank said. "I know they should talk about the real political issues." Frank says he isn't working with any candidate's campaign and won't say who he thinks the signs were aimed at. Any guesses?

Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell is facing criticism from some city councillors over a fund she has maintained for years that is not a registered charity and whose books are closed to public scrutiny. The Mayor Susan Fennell Community Fund is essentially an annual arts gala which raises between $150,000 and $250,000 a year, which is then given to "numerous groups in the community." The fund is administered by a board of seven members, which includes the mayor's neighbour and three women working for her re-election campaign. The Star contacted some of the organizations listed on the fund's website and got a mixed response, with some organizations denying they'd received any funding. Fennell defends the fund, saying "it's not a charity" and insisting the financial statements receive plenty of capable oversight, but there is concern over the fact that a great many of the fund's donors are development companies, one of whom says the mayor solicited money from him.

Toronto's former top cop Julian Fantino is entering Federal politics after pressure from the federal Conservatives and Prime Minister Harper. The Star reports that Fantino will be the Conservative candidate in the Vaghan federal by-election, which has yet to be called by Harper but is expected to have a date set soon. Though no official announcement has been made, a "senior Conservative" told the paper, "I was told it was a done deal." Fantino has been sought after by both federal and provincial Conservatives, and given his background, profile and reputation, he is considered quite the catch. Despite being an often controversial figure in police politics, Conservative Senator bob Runciman said he doesn't "think there is any question" the 67-year-old Fantino would be given a cabinet post in a Conservative government.

Canada's first multimedia Sikh museum officially opened Sunday in Mississauga. The museum, entry to which is free, features interactive videos and presentations. It's housed in the Ontario Khalsa Darbar, one of the largest Sikh temples in North America. The museum project was led by Raghbir Singh Bains, a B.C.-based educator and community activist, and recipient of the Order of British Columbia for his work breaking down cultural barriers. He says he has plans to open similar museums in other countries, including England and India. Jasjit Singh Bhullar, president of the Ontario Khalso Darbar, said of the museum: "[it] will educate the present and future generations about the Sikhs and provide a deeper understanding of the beliefs, history and culture of the Sikhs."

The Star, in one of its "Election Ephemera" roundups, has compiled a breakdown of the leading mayoral candidates' Twitter habits between Oct. 1 and Oct. 8. Who's the most self-congratulatory, er, Twitterer? Who tweeted the most "at-least-sort-of-endearing" short missives to their loyal followers? That'd be Rocco Rossi and Joe Pantalone, respectively. Rob Ford had zero in the self-congratulatory category, though he had more tweets "complimenting politicians, constituents, or media organizations" than any other candidate. Of course the numbers may be skewed by overall Twitter use: Smitherman tweeted the least, while Pantalone was the most atwitter with a relatively whopping 115 tweets. If only these numbers actually meant something to the race.

Photo by mishlove1 in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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