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Morning Brew: City councillors square off, TTC back at the controls of LRTs, fire on George Street, bag ban lives, spending the Enwave cash, and Charles Roach dies at 79

Never a dull moment at Toronto city council. During a debate about an obudsman report into the mayor's office influence in the civic appointments process, councillors Giorgio Mammoliti and Gord Perks came close to blows. Mammoliti had volunteered to leave the chamber after suggesting Fiona Crean's findings - that the mayor's office interfered with the way the city appoints citizens to its boards - were "politically driven." The pair later apologized for their conduct. See the video below.

So, like an indecisive lover, Metrolinx has decided to let the TTC stay afterall. At a press conference yesterday, the provincial transit agency announced the Toronto Transit Commission would indeed run the Sheppard, Finch, Eglinton and Scarborough RT and not a private company. Metrolinx said a few weeks ago it wouldn't let the TTC play with its new LRTs. A good call for transit riders?

A four-alarm fire is still burning out of control on George Street near Allan Gardens. The blaze at number 301, which started around 4:30 this morning, is burning between two important historic buildings on the street. There are no reports of any injuries.

Toronto's plastic bag ban due to come into force January 1st is still standing despite more than half of councillors voting to re-examine the original decision. A two-thirds majority is required for council to re-examine the prohibition. Ford and his allies have vowed to fight on for single-use bag lovers everywhere. Do you support the bag ban?

Also in Ford, the mayor might want to spend the city's $100 million profit from the sale of its stake in Enwave on the new streetcars but the National Post has a few other ideas including building 3,900 km/h of new bike lanes, building half a kilometre of subway, or funding Toronto Zoo for another 15 years.

Here's a first look at the new articulated buses coming to the TTC's busiest surface routes in 2013. The $143 million LFS Artics have greater capacity than the vehicles currently use and are also running in Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax, Saskatoon, and Niagara Falls. [via Reddit]

Veteran Toronto civil rights lawyer Charles Roach, one of the founders of Caribana, has died of brain cancer aged 79. Roach was prominent in the late 1980s during a series of incidents that led to the formation of the Ontario's Special Investigations Unit. In later years, the lawyer fought for Canadian citizenship without swearing allegiance to the Queen.

Finally, here's that video of councillors Giorgio Mammoliti and Gord Perks having a tiff at council yesterday.

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Photo: "Untitled" by o.j.h. in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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