Mayor Rob Ford asks for 6 more years of support

Posted By: Siobhan Morris · 11/29/2012 11:51:00 PM

Rob Ford is making it pretty clear, he doesn't think he's going anywhere.

Speaking before a business crowd at the old Unilever factory near Lake Shore Blvd & the DVP Thursday, the mayor thanked the group for their support over the last 2 years & asked for their support for the next 6.

Ford's political future is a question mark as he prepares to do battle over the ruling in a conflict of interest case that's ordered him out of office.  Ford will be asking for a stay of Justice Charles Hackland's decision & an appeal of the verdict.

Ford used his 12-minute campaign-style speech to recap accomplishments of his first 2 years as mayor--cutting spending, eliminating the vehicle registration fee, privatizing garbage collection west of Yonge St, labour deals, removing the bike lanes from Jarvis St & nixing the 5cent fee on plastic bags.

Ford says "Toronto is in a great ...

Mayor Rob Ford backs ''good budget''

Posted By: Siobhan Morris · 11/29/2012 11:02:00 PM

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford likes what he sees in a draft version of the city budget.

Speaking with reporters after a campaign-style speech at an economic development event Thursday night, Ford deflected questions about his legal fight, but was anxious to talk about the spending plan.

He says it brings the changes that people want, underlining that Torontonians can't afford tax increases anymore.

The proposed budget hikes property taxes by close to 2%.  Ford would love to keep taxes where they are, but says "right now, that's just not realistic".

Ford doesn't seem to think the political posturing that has followed Monday's ruling in his conflict of interest case will get in the way of the budget process.  He says the city is "doing great, there's nothing wrong" & he's very proud of the city manager & budget chief.

The mayor also downplayed a looming stand off with the police over ...

Old City Hall Nativity Scene Vandalized

Posted By: David Woodard · 11/29/2012 9:51:00 PM

It's becoming a bit of tradition - one that the folks near the old city hall would like to see ended.

For the 6th time in 7 years vandals have destroyed part of a nativity scene set up on the property.

Gethsemane Ministries - who set up the nativity - found that someone had busted through the plexiglass - and smashed the lamb figurine earlier this week.

Officials say it will cost them about a thousand dollars to clean up the vandalism.

No one has ever been arrested in connection wthe vandalism in years past - a Gethsemane Ministries spokesman called the act deliberate and a hate crime.

3 Men Charged in TTC Theft

Posted By: Newstalk 1010 · 11/29/2012 5:41:00 PM

Toronto cops have busted a TTC collector on allegations he was stealing cash and have also charged a couple of union reps on accusations they destroyed evidence.

Police started investigating allegations of theft last Friday that surfaced following an internal TTC investigation.

A TTC collector had been audited and it turned out his float was almost 4 thousand dollars short.

Police say the employee also tampered with TTC token rolls in an effort to cover the theft.

When he went to get help from TTC union reps, cops say they allegedly started destroying evidence.

54-year old Deodato Sousa, 63-year old John Wales and 53-year old Clarke Smith have all been charged.

UN Recognizes State of Palestine

Posted By: Dave Bradley · 11/29/2012 5:36:00 PM

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas says the United Nations General Assembly is being asked to issue the birth certificate of Palestine.

But Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is blasting the U-N for what he calls its ``regrettable decision'' to allow a historic vote
on Palestinian statehood.

Canada and the United States are poised to vote against a motion to recognize Palestine as a state, on the grounds it could delay hopes of achieving an independent Palestinian state through peace talks with Israel.

The move will elevate the Palestinians from the status of U-N observer to non-member observer state.

Strike Situation 'Regrettable': ETFO

Posted By: Katie Franzios · 11/29/2012 4:55:00 PM

He calls the situation regrettable, but the head of the province's public elementary teachers' union underlines their hands are tied when it comes to strike action.

Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) head Sam Hammond spoke to John Tory today.

Hammond says because the legislated contract framework (Bill 115) gives a deadline of December 31st for locally bargained contracts, they have no other choice than to up the pressure before Christmas.

The ETFO head says  he would be willing to meet with the education minister to try and resolve this.
In the meantime, he says won't presume what the minister might do if there is some sort of strike action but underlines he hopes both sides enter meaningful discissisions to move forward.

City Staff Recommend 1.95% Tax Increase in 2013

Posted By: Russ Courtney · 11/29/2012 4:16:00 PM

If the preliminary budget floated by Toronto city staff gets approved by council in the New Year, the average Toronto homeowner (with a home valued at $474, 366) will pay just under $50 more in property taxes in 2013.

City staff unveiled a $9.4 billion dollar 2013 operating budget Thursday at city hall recommending a 1.95% residential property tax increase and a 0.65% commercial property tax increase to balance the books.

Mayor Rob Ford had requested an increase of 1.75%.

The budget is contingent on Toronto police meeting the city manager's request to bring in 2013 budgets with a 0% increase, something rejected by police chief Bill Blair. The police services board refused to accept Blair's budget, ordering to him to take another shot at it.

City staff say if the police budget meets the target, the books will be balanced, but if it comes in higher, as much as ...

Crowdfunding Changes May Be Coming

Posted By: Katie Franzios · 11/29/2012 3:27:00 PM

The province is trying to loosen some rules to help the little guy make some big bucks.

It's looking to allow investors to pump money towards crowdfunding  - a type of online campaigning for cash - for stocks, inside of having any money given be listed as a donation.

As it stands, any small-time inventors that have no way to market their products go to crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to get strangers to help finance them. In return, the investor doesn't get a stake in the company but many a t-shirt or access to a product before anyone else.

Minister of Economic Development Brad Duguid says they are mindful that fraud can be a concern in these cases and expects the Ontario Securities Commission to be very thorough when contemplating how to makes things easier and safer for people.

While these websites have disclaimers saying not every project ...

Highrise Fire Quickly Contained

Posted By: Newstalk 1010 · 11/29/2012 2:37:00 PM

Toronto Fire crews were called to an apartment fire at 230 Oak Street for a fire on Thursday afternoon.

That's in the Gerard and River street area.

The call came into Toronto Fire around 1:54 on Thursday with the flames were spotted on the 16th floor of the building.

Officials say there was nobody home at the time and most of the damage was relegated to the balcony of the unit.

Other residents are being asked to stay in their apartments.

The fire was under control in around 10 minutes.

Tories Want Province to Impose Contracts on Teachers

Posted By: Katie Franzios · 11/29/2012 2:18:00 PM

The province should impose a contract on teachers.

That's from the Tories, who say the education minister is ignoring her own law by not doing so.

PC Education Critic Lisa MacLeod underlines Bill 115 legislated a contract framework but the actual deals happen at local levels with school boards. She says it's clear the province's public elementary teachers won't give in and something needs to be done.

Meantime, NDP MPP and Former head of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association Catherine Fife says this entire situation rests on the government's head. She says it was the one which pushed the envelope and imposed a contract framework.

VIDEO: Broten Says Province Is Ready For Teacher Strike Action

Posted By: Katie Franzios · 11/29/2012 2:19:00 PM

Watch and see.

That's the attitude the education minister is taking when it comes to the province's public elementary teachers, who are threatening strike action as early as next week.

Their union says they would give parents 72 hours notice, if they decide to make a move.

While Laurel Broten underlines the province has the tools to step in to deal with strike action of any kind, she continues to refuse to outline what they are. She says they would assess situations on a case-by-case basis, first figuring out how kids are impacted by whatever happens.

Broten underlined the strikes are not a reality yet.

This comes as public secondary teachers have broken off talks with the province.

Broten reminds all teachers to continue with their "obligation" to bargain with local school boards.

Water Rates Going Up

Posted By: Russ Courtney · 11/29/2012 4:19:00 PM

If you live in Toronto, your water bill is going up 9% next year.

City council has approved the 2013 water budget which will see the average home pay an extra $67 dollars.

It's the eighth year that rates have jumped by 9% in order to pay for aging infrastructure. There is another 9% increase slated for next year with further increases expected to be close to the rate of inflation.

The city says water rates are still lower than other municipalities in the area.

Next year's waste budget was also approved by council on Wednesday and garbage fees in 2013 will be frozen, which has been attributed by the Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee Denzil Minnan-Wong to savings from contracting out garbage west of Yonge St.

Critics have said not raising rates limits efforts to increase recycling.

Council voted not to charge charitable and non-profit groups ...

High School Teachers Break Off Talks

Posted By: Dave Bradley · 11/29/2012 11:20:00 AM

The union representing Ontario's public high school teachers says it's suspended all talks with school boards until
further notice.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation says it's making the move because the government refused to give approval to a number of locally bargained deals.

The union says the Ministry of Education decided the tentative agreements weren't ``substantively identical'' to a deal the
province signed with English Catholic teachers this summer.

That agreement froze the wages of most teachers and cut benefits, such as stopping the banking of sick days to be cashed out at retirement.

The union says it's also due to the rejection of tentative agreements by teachers in York Region and Niagara earlier this week.

It says the ratification vote of an agreement reached at Hamilton-Wentworth School Board will proceed on Friday, but all
other scheduled votes have been put off until after Monday.

BREAKING: 2nd Person Arrested in Salvation Army Theft

Posted By: Suzette Francis · 11/29/2012 8:21:00 AM

A second person has been arrested in connection with the theft of millions of dollars in toys and other products from the main Toronto warehouse of the Salvation Army.

61-year-old Umaish Ramrattan of Ajax has been arrested and is facing numerous charges including theft and posssession of stolen property.

Police say they've also found a third cache of stolen goods after raiding another commercial warehouse in Brampton on Wednesday.  26 skids containing toys, school supplies, cleaning products and food were found at the warehouse.

Former Salvation Army warehouse executive director David Rennie has already been charged in connection with the theft said to be worth about $2-million.

Rennie, 51, was arrested after he turned himself in Monday morning.

He faces charges of theft over $5,000, possession of stolen property and criminal breach of trust.

Police had initially identified Northern Sales Group, a company with a warehouse located at Weston Rd. ...

Two Winning Tickets in U.S. Powerball Lottery

Posted By: Michelle Rosa · 11/29/2012 5:29:00 AM

The richest Powerball jackpot ever (and the second-largest top prize in U.S. lottery history) has been won.

The question now becomes: Who are the lucky winners waking up to new lives as multimillionaires? Powerball officials said early Thursday morning that tickets sold
in Arizona and Missouri matched all six numbers to win the record $579.9 million jackpot.

The numbers drawn Wednesday night are: 5, 16, 22, 23, 29 and Powerball of 6.

It was not clear whether the winning tickets belonged to individuals or were purchased by groups.

Americans went on a ticket-buying spree in the run-up to Wednesday's drawing, the big money enticing many people who rarely, if ever, play the lottery to purchase a shot at the second-largest payout in U.S. history.

Tickets were selling at a rate of 130,000 a minute nationwide, about six times the volume from a week ago. That pushed the jackpot even higher ...

UPDATE: Father and Son Killed in House Fire

Posted By: Michelle Rosa · 11/29/2012 5:45:00 AM

Crews battled a residential fire in the Jane and Sheppard area early Thursday morning. It was around midnight, that firefighters were called to a home on 32 Charrington Crescent.

Police confirmed that the bodies of an 82 year old father and his adult son were found inside. The 70 year old mother was rescued by firefighters and her 42 year old son made it out on his own. They were both sent to hospital, but will recover.

Two firefighters were also taken to hospital with minor injuries.

The fire began in the basement and spread to the rest of the home.

"Ridiculousness of our politics" affecting Toronto image: business leader

Posted By: Justine Lewkowicz · 11/29/2012 5:30:00 AM

At least one Toronto business leader says he's frustrated with what's happening at city hall right now.

Nick Di Donato, president & CEO of the Liberty Entertainment Group, says politics affect business and investment in our city. And he says the severity of the consequences that mayor Rob Ford is facing is affecting our image.

"It's not what the mayor's done, it's about how far we've gone to try to take the mayor out of his position, the magnitude of the punishment for the situation" he says.

Asked whether he thinks it could scare off investors, Di Donato said, "Well, scare off in terms of the ridiculousness of our politics."

Di Donato says councillors have to start working together and put what's best for the city ahead of divisive politics.

He was one of the business leaders who joined mayor Rob Ford on a trip to Chicago in September to ...

UPDATE: Elementary Teachers Planning to Strike In December

Posted By: Dave Bradley · 11/29/2012 5:40:00 AM

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario is drawing a line in the sand.

They say they are planning full-fledged walkouts in December.

However, the EFTO members say they will give 72 hours notice when it comes to any strikes.

In a release, Sam Hammond, the Union President, called the situation
'unfortunate' but says 'we will provide parents with ample notice to ensure the safety of students.'

There are already four school boards where teachers and education professionals are in a legal strike position and have been proceeding with a work to rule campaign, come December, all boards in the province will be in legal strike positions.

Bill 115, or the 'Putting Students First Act', gives the education minister the right to impose an agreement if locals and their boards don't reach an a collective agreement by December 31st,

Hammond says they continue to negotiate with the boards, in hopes of ...

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