Toronto

Morning Brew: Health professionals warn against budget cutbacks, Toronto police want you to "pocket and lock it," artists love Rob Ford's face, the Leafs enter the second half, and the weekend roundup

The city's budget cuts just took a scary turn. With reduced funding to HIV and drug prevention programs, recreation centres, community health centres, and shelter services, health professionals are warning Torontonians that budget cutbacks are actually health-care cutbacks. With the 2012 budget process entering the home stretch, health pros are well aware judgment day is fast approaching. In a bid to help save their programs, 280 signatures have been collected, including half from local physicians, demanding the city back off from many of the proposed service cuts.

If you keep your cellphone in your pocket, Toronto Police are asking you to lock it. Turns out we've "pocket dialled" emergency services about 107,000 times last year and the epidemic seems to be on the rise, too. Apparently 18 per cent of all emergency calls in Toronto last year were made by mistake. Pocket dialing is an understandable, sometimes uncontrollable, error, but I still don't get how 116,000 people phoned 9-1-1 "mistakenly" while trying to dial another number.

It's the face that launched a thousand caricatures. Well, maybe not a thousand exactly, but Rob Ford has definitely inspired artists of all kinds: from local newspaper political cartoonists to local graffiti artists, Ford's image may have been lampooned more than any other political figure in recent memory around these parts. But why? Is it because of his "300 pounds of fun" or because of his unpopularity with local artists? Or maybe it's just because he sure does give out a lot of material to create from.

Although the 2012 budget will be the talk of the town today, the Sun has already learned what the budgetary pressure facing the City for 2013 will be. The news isn't that bad in that the initial number is $440-million, which will be offset by $276 million from a variety of sources including economic growth, user fees and draws from reserves. The most interesting part will be how these numbers are framed by the mayor and his team. Will they be heralded as a sign that Toronto's apparently crumbling fiscal foundation is on the road to being fixed or serve as more fodder for cuts. Probably a bit of both...

Don't look now, but the Toronto Maple Leafs are once again starting to look pretty good. Although they nearly blew a three goal lead against Detroit on Saturday, it ended up being a strong win for the team. One wonders what might happen if Ryan Getzlaf ends up here somehow.

From the weekend:

Photo by Bart Synowiec in the blogTO Flickr pool


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