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Morning Brew: First Porter expansion vote due in May, no transit tax approval, Fort York gets big art donation, labeling calories and salt, and thief swipes $26K Scotch

City council will decide whether or not to study Porter Airlines' proposed expansion of Billy Bishop airport at its next meeting thanks to a surprise motion by Rob Ford. The mayor asked staff to study the impact of extending the runway and allowing jets to fly from the city's downtown at yesterday's executive committee meeting. If council says no to the study the plans could be knocked out of the air.

At the same meeting, Rob Ford's cabinet-like committee voted 6-4 to defer the city manager's report calling for new transit taxes and fees until May 28. Some councillors are considering calling a special council meeting to debate the issue, a move which needs 23 votes. Ford's chief of staff Mark Towhey said if council decides to approve new taxes the issue will be "the first campaign poster for the mayor's 2014 campaign." Is this a bad omen?

Also, the TIFF Bell Lightbox is a step closer to property tax exemption. The organization secured a unanimous vote to receive the same treatment as the National Ballet of Canada and Art Gallery of Ontario.

Bicentennial celebrations for the various skirmishes that made up the War of 1812 have landed the new Fort York visitor centre 11 paintings by renowned artist Charles Patcher. The donated acrylic artwork, valued at $510,000, shows soldiers, Laura Secord, Sir Isaac Brock, and Tecumseh.

Toronto's medical officer of health is urging councillors to pass rules forcing chain restaurants to label calorie and sodium values on their menus. If adopted, the law would require restaurants with 10 or more outlets nationwide or revenue of over $10 million to make the changes. Is this a sensible idea?

LCBO workers have set a May 17 strike deadline over wages, benefits, job security, and improvements to health and safety standards. 7,000 Ontario Public Service Employees Union staff could walk out if a settlement isn't reached in the next few weeks.

Also in drinks, A light-fingered crook is wanted by police for allegedly swiping a $26,000 bottle of Scotch from a Toronto LCBO. Firstly, yes, apparently the LCBO does stock liquor with a pricetag close to some people's annual income, and no, the store's "locked glass cases" don't seem to work very well. The bottle is one of only 50 in the world and represents the largest ever single theft from an LCBO.


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

Image: Lisa on the Run/blogTO Flickr pool.

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