Rush hour Toronto

Morning Brew: Toronto police vote for a pay increase, Ford calls Cusimano Ward 9's "next councillor," uproar over a Toronto dog park closure, and Underpass Park breaks ground today

Toronto police have voted for a pay increase of 11 per cent over the next four years. The deal will now go to the Toronto Police Board on June 9 for final approval, and will likely go into effect retroactive to January 1, 2011. The pay increase is higher than what's offered in other public sectors, but is still small compared to the 14 per cent pay hike that was given to the OPP from the province over the same time period. The city says their hands were basically tied — or handcuffed — to match the OPP's raise if the police negotiations had gone to arbitration. Police funding draws nearly 10. 4 per cent from the city's budget, second only to the TTC.

According to Mayor Rob Ford, the by-election for Ward 9 already has a clear-cut winner, even if an election hasn't been called yet. At a fundraiser for Ward 9 challenger, Gus Cusimano, Ford gave what seemed to be almost like a campaign speech in which he said the appeal of the election was just a "temporary set-back" and called Cusimano "the next councillor of Ward 9." When asked if his words were appropriate, the mayor said he can basically say what he wants and then laughed. A joke! He also said Ward 9 will be a "better place" if Cusimano is elected.

There's an uproar over the impending closure of the dog park in Ledbury Park, near Yonge and Lawrence. After complaints about noise, the city wants to move the park, which means the area will be reclaimed by the Toronto school board. A proposal to move the dog area to an open space in the park is being dismissed by some parents who want that area used for games and community events. Whatever happened to dogs being man's best friend?

Premier Dalton McGuinty seems to think "father knows best." In response to a Brampton woman who urged legislation, including background checks and licenses for children's entertainers, McGuinty says it's up to the parents to make sure children are safe around such entertainers. Apparently clowns and magicians can just go into family homes and parents often know very little about them, which is scary considering the movie "It."


Photo by ronnie.yip in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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