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Morning Brew: Coun. Crawford flips on transit taxes, no armed cops at Billy Bishop, Doug Ford vents in print, zoo strike averted, and Prince Philip comes to Toronto

A crucial voter on Rob Ford's executive committee has changed his mind a day after voting to shelve the discussion on transit taxes. Coun. Gary Crawford says he now thinks a full gathering of city council should have a chance to discuss implementing new tolls to pay for the Downtown Relief Line and several light rail projects. Is the pendulum swinging toward a proper tax discussion?

Toronto's Billy Bishop airport won't be getting private armed guards, yet. The Police Services Board rejected a proposal to guard customs agents at the airport with contract security. Hiring Toronto city cops to do the job, which is a requirement of US pre-clearance, is almost double that of hiring a private firm.

Doug Ford is letting his feelings be known about transit taxes. In a comment piece for the National Post, Ford criticizes those who "blindly" want to implement new taxes and takes a swing at the "tax and spend" Liberals. The provincial government can't be trusted with new taxes because of eHealth and the gas plant cancellation, he writes. Are the PCs more trustworthy with taxes?

Cops will also be handing out receipts for carding stops beginning in July. Newspaper investigations have found Toronto officers stop and carry out street checks, a controversial practice, on a disproportionate number of black and brown people. The receipts are designed to generate a paper trail for each stop.

Toronto Zoo management and its union workers have reached a tentative deal, possibly averting a strike that could have disrupted the opening of the new panda exhibit. No details have been released, but sick pay, benefits, job security and bereavement leave were key issues.

Prince Philip will arrive in Toronto later today to present a new ceremonial flag to the Royal Canadian Regiment's 3rd Battalion for the bicentennial of the Battle of York, part of the War of 1812 commemorations. There will also be a parachute display and one of the largest military parades ever organized in Toronto, comprising 1,500 sailors and soldiers.

Some Maple Leafs fans were left disappointed when an online ticketing system for the first series of playoff games experienced an outage lasting roughly half an hour, leading many to think the events had sold out. Both and Ticketmaster sites were affected. Meanwhile, some second-hand tickets are already going for $9,000 online. Jeepers.


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

Image: cooked photos/blogTO Flickr pool.

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