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Morning Brew: Province imposes contracts on teachers, Canseco for mayor, casino site goes live, Hydro Toronto fears blackout, and the Lucky Moose owner gets a medal

The Ontario government says it's forcing contracts on roughly 13,000 teachers under the Putting Students First Act to save money on pay increases it cannot afford. The imposed deal means a wage freeze, a reduction in sick days, and a cut in the number of days teachers can cash on retirement. Strangely, the government also announced it will repeal the bill it used to force teachers back to work by the end of January as an "act of good faith" once the contracts are finalized. The new deals will expire in late 2014.

Here's one right out of left field. Former Blue Jays slugger Jose Canseco is considering a run against Rob Ford for mayor of the city, according to Tweets he sent to the Toronto Star. When asked about his priorities if elected, Canseco told the paper: "gotta fix budget, traffic, get new $ not from taxes, get more new businesses, and help schools." Sadly, as an American citizen, the baseball player is ineligible to run... for now. Would you vote Canseco?

The City of Toronto's new casino consultation website is now live, proving a place for citizen input about several gaming complex proposals currently being pitched to the city. Attached documents provide new figures on the possible financial windfall for the city, which is expected to be in the region of $100 million a year. If that sounds like a lot, it isn't really. The city's annual operating budget is $9.4 billion. Will you be giving your thoughts?

Outsourcing cleaning at Toronto's police stations isn't going to save the city as much as it thought. New estimates put the figure at $800,000, roughly a third of the $2.5 million estimated in 2003.

Speaking of city money, the mayor and Toronto councillors will get a 2 per cent raise if the proposed 2013 budget is signed off as is. The boost would bring Ford's annual salary to $176,259, while regular members would receive checks totaling $104,660. Not bad.

A technical failure at a key transformer could leave Toronto in the dark for days, according to Hydro Toronto. In a pitch for a new $195 million station at Bremner Boulevard near the Rogers Centre to the Ontario Energy Board, the group warns a failure at the aging downtown Windsor station could lead to prolonged issues as much of its equipment is obsolete. There's presently no way of shutting down the station to upgrade it.

A Scarborough mom who was told to buy a smaller stroller and refrain from using a bus access ramp at 6:30 am has filed a complaint with the TTC. According to Jodi Christie, the driver shouted at her from his seat, telling her to bring the child's father "if he has one." The driver could receive a penalty, the TTC said.

The Chinatown shopkeeper who chased down and detained a repeat shoplifter only to be arrested himself will receive a Diamond Jubilee medal on Jan. 12. Prime Minister Stephen Harper will honour David Chen Wang of the Lucky Moose grocery store on Dundas West for his "significant contribution to Canada."

Finally, just because, here's the song from that Simpsons episode where Jose Canseco and a team of other ball players join Homer's power plant softball team as ringers. In the episode, Canseco's character doesn't make it to the big championship game because he's stuck rescuing furniture from a burning home. Enjoy.


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: "Cold Light" by StephenCaissiePhoto from the blogTO Flickr pool.

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