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Morning Brew: Ignatieff and Layton meet at Toronto's Khalsa Day Parade, union president Mark Ferguson reaches out to community, more politically-motivated vandalism hits Liberal ridings, and expect heavy rain this week

They may be in a dead heat at the polls, but Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton proved they could play nice by shaking hands at the Khalsa Day Parade, a Sikh celebration in Toronto. Both leaders made a brief speech at the event, each referencing the 1914 Komagata Maru incident in which a ship carrying mostly Sikh passengers, who were British subjects, was turned away from Canada and forced to return to India. Layton went one step further by saying the NDP has requested a formal apology. Later, the leaders went their separate ways on the campaign trail: Ignatieff made a couple of TV appearances, while Layton remained in Toronto.

As Mayor Rob Ford's plan to privatize garbage collection goes before the Public Works Committee on Tuesday, president of Toronto Civic Employees Union Local 416, Mark Ferguson, is making the media rounds. He tells the Globe and Mail that he's reaching out to community groups, investing in telephone town-halls and dispatching labourers to explain what Toronto would lose with private contractors. He's also launched Twitter and Facebook pages.

The National Post also reported this weekend that at a Thursday news conference, Ferguson said the city hasn't being truthful about the number of workers who will lose their jobs. He rebuffed the city's report that most of the jobs impacted are temporary ones, saying that out of the 310 city workers affected, 217 of those are permanent positions. Ferguson said "I think it's not too far of a stretch to conclude that if the numbers are flawed on such a basic, fundamental level as that, where else are they making mistakes?"

The politically-motivated vandalism has spread. First it was St. Paul's, then Trinity-Spadina and now some Liberal supporters in Davenport and Toronto Centre have woken up to car tires slashed, including Bob Rae and Eric Hoskins, a Liberal MPP from St. Paul's. "This isn't vandalism as much as voter intimidation," said Hoskins on Sunday. "Really, it's a vicious attack on individuals and families expressing their political preference on their lawns." Rae was a bit more guarded, saying "I'm sorry this has happened, but life goes on." Although he did acknowledge that one Liberal supporter in his riding declined to have a Liberal lawn sign because he didn't want his tires slashed. Can you blame him?


Photo by Jerry Fei in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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