Dundas West

Morning Brew: Province votes to ban TTC workers from striking, Rob Ford has dinner with dicey businessman, Leafs get dragged into budget debate, and has the CN Tower lost its luster?

Mayor Rob Ford's pipe dream became a reality when Ontario MPPs voted in favour of a bill that will ban TTC workers from striking. The legislature voted 68 to 9 for the Toronto Transit Commission Labour Disputes Resolution Act--only NDP members voted against the bill. Unsurprisingly, Bob Kinnear, the leader of the Amalgamated Transit Union which represents TTC workers, slammed the vote. "This is all about trying to save Liberal seats in Toronto in the next provincial election, everyone knows that," he said in a release. "[Premier Dalton] McGuinty is being a lapdog for a union-hating right-wing mayor because he is afraid of Ford's political clout, not because he cares about transit in Toronto." Who knows what's true, but I don't think anyone wants to be enemies with Ford Nation.

They do say it's all in the company you keep. Rob Ford is defending his hour-long dinner in February with businessman Johnathan Vrozos, who was successfully sued for driving away with more than $500,000 in others' money after the 2003 post-SARS benefit concert and who also said he paid police officers the same year for help obtaining a liquor licence for his bar. Ford said Vrozos won the meeting by bidding on it at a fundraising golf tournament. "We fundraised money for my campaign, so if someone bids on it I don't check their background, and I went out to lunch like I had to committed to. And that's it." Well, if that's the case, maybe he should get better security and have someone run background checks for him. He is the mayor, after all.

I guess any excuse to bring up "Maple Leafs" and "Stanley Cup" in the same sentence. The Toronto Maple Leafs were dragged into Ontario's budget debate when Opposition Leader Tim Hudak went on the attack after the Liberals' asserted that families' finances were better off with them. "That's right up there with the likelihood of the Toronto Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup in 2011," he said. Finance Minister Dwight Duncan couldn't resists his own Buds analogy, retorting: "The Toronto Maple Leafs will win a Stanley Cup long before [Hudak's] premier of Ontario." Guys, no matter how many times you say it, we know they're not gonna win it this year.

This week's EYE says that the CN Tower just isn't cutting it anymore. In a feature titled "The New Torontophilia", a new generation of artists, designers and artisans say the former-tallest-free-standing-structure-in-the-world is no longer the defining icon of our city. Discuss.


Photo by MrDanMofo in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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