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Morning Brew: Rob Ford's lawyer slams Toronto Police, Liberal cabinet minister calls for resignation, GO fare hike given green light, and stolen Jesus statue returned

Rob Ford's lawyer is leading the charge in defence of the mayor. Dennis Morris told the Toronto Sun the Toronto Police should be embarrassed by the latest ITO release that reveals allegations Ford was blackmailed over the crack video. Morris accused the force of having a political agenda. "This is just dirt piled upon dirt piled upon dirt in order to humiliate the mayor," he said.

Speaking on a Washington D.C. sports radio station yesterday morning, Ford called the latest allegations an "outright lie." He told the Sun's Joe Warmington the information in the ITO is "so far fetched, it isn't even funny,"

Meanwhile, Brad Duguid has become the first provincial cabinet minister to call for Rob Ford to resign. "It is time for the mayor to step aside," Duguid, the minister of training, colleges and universities and former city councillor with Rob Ford, told reporters. "I think it has been very disruptive to us all."

Rob Ford is still invited to the Etobicoke Lakeshore Santa Claus Parade but it's not clear whether he will go. In previous years Ford has walked the route and handed out candy. The organizers haven't heard back from the mayor's office.

A shooting in a luxury condo at Yonge and the 401 in June 2012 provided some of the impetus for the Project Traveller raids, CBC News reports. The gun death of Hussein Hussein, possibly as the result of a mistake handling a weapon, revealed links to a Detroit-Toronto smuggling operation and was part of the reason police decided to carry out a series of city-wide raids in June.

Dancing crossing guard Kathleen Byers has been told to lay off the moves. 64-year-old Byers has been bringing music and fancy footwork to the intersection of Gordon and Dufferin for almost a decade. Toronto Police, who run the crossing guard program, say it's a safety risk.

Get ready to pay a little more for a ride on GO Transit. The Metrolinx board approved a hike that will add between 35 and 55 cents to every cash fare, but less to Presto users. Riders who make longer commutes will end up paying more. It's expected the increase will raise an extra $25 million.

A statue of Jesus stolen from outside a Kensington Market church has been returned with a note of apology. The distinctive Timothy Schmalz figure, titled "Whatsoever You Do," was found outside St. Stephen-in-the-Fields yesterday morning with a rain-damaged letter. "It looks like it says, 'I'm sorry, it seemed like a good idea at the time,' Rev. Maggie Helwig told The Star.


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

Image: s.awan/blogTO Flickr pool.

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