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Ontario cities are still waiting for relief money from 2013’s ice storm

$190,000,000

—The amount of money that the provincial government has yet to hand over to Ontario’s city governments as reimbursement for damage caused by last year’s ice storm. The reason the money hasn’t been distributed yet, according to the Star, is that the province is requiring cities to fill out incredibly complex applications.

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TDSB Education Director Donna Quan’s pay package is now slightly less mysterious

$289,000

Donna Quan’s current salary as director of education for the Toronto District School Board, according to a TDSB spokesperson. Quan’s salary has been a topic of speculation, because her employment contract hasn’t been available for scrutiny by politicians. Former TDSB chair Mari Rutka claims to have tried and failed to get a copy of the contract from Quan. It still hasn’t been released.

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A day into his mayoralty, John Tory riles up council’s left

“If it’s not right, not left, but forward, prove it.”

—Newly elected Ward 20 councillor Joe Cressy in an interview with the National Post, after new mayor John Tory made it known that he would be giving plum political appointments almost exclusively to right-leaning councillors. Cressy was alluding to Tory’s centrist rhetoric on the campaign trail.

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Ferguson, and why “at least things aren’t as bad here” isn’t good enough

The memorial at the location where Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, photographed earlier this month. (Image: Scott Olson/Getty)

The memorial at the location where Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, photographed earlier this month. (Image: Scott Olson/Getty)

On Monday morning, a Missouri grand jury voted not to indict officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown. On Tuesday, a thousand protesters assembled across from the U.S. Consulate on University Avenue, in solidarity with the angered residents of Ferguson. Far from the confusion and disorder that marred Occupy Toronto, this protest was well-organized, concise and topical. Young people from all over the city showed up at six o’clock with a simple message: black lives matter. With bullhorns and chants, they expressed sympathetic grief, keeping a respectful distance from the embassy. As far as protests go, it was on the polite side of collective anger.

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Martin Short, as Jiminy Glick: “Have you ever thought of maybe getting some cranes up there?”

“Have you ever thought of maybe getting some cranes up there and doing some construction?”

Martin Short, in character as the obsequious celebrity interviewer Jiminy Glick, during an appearance alongside mayor-elect John Tory at a dinner event hosted by the Jewish National Fund. Glick’s jab at Toronto’s seemingly never-ending condo boom was only one of dozens of jokes that kept Tory laughing uncontrollably throughout the eight-minute bit. (At one point, in a fit of glee, the mayor-to-be shoves a whole doughnut into Glick’s open mouth.) The video is both awkward and hilarious.

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Placating Ontario’s teachers cost Queen’s Park almost half a billion dollars

$468,000,000

—The cost, to Ontario taxpayers, of placating the province’s teachers’ unions after 2012’s massive unrest, according to a new report from the Ontario auditor general. Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government can still claim an estimated $2.1 billion in savings left over from the austere contracts imposed on teachers under ex-premier Dalton McGuinty. Even so, almost half a billion dollars in foregone cost cuts is a big deal at cash-strapped Queen’s Park.

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Doug Ford is still really serious about winning the Ontario PC leadership

doug-ford-now-whatFor a while, it seemed like Doug Ford’s suggestion that he might run for and win leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party was just post-mayoral-election-defeat braggadocio. His latest interview on Sun News, though, is a reminder that his bid for Tim Hudak’s old job is very real. Asked whether he’d be putting his name on the leadership ballot, Ford stopped just short of answering in the affirmative. “I’m confident,” he said. “We have a great team. We have the momentum.” (Was he referring to his “grassroots” backers, who may not actually exist?) Later, he made a pitch that seemed aimed at PC insiders. “Out of the 331,000 people that voted for me,” he said, referring to his vote share in the mayoral election, “80 per cent or 85 per cent have never voted PC, never would vote PC, but they would vote PC if I ran.”

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Brampton mayor Susan Fennell’s money problems just got worse

$144,150.25

—The amount of money Brampton’s city council voted on Wednesday to force soon-to-be-former mayor Susan Fennell to pay the city in compensation for her questionable use of taxpayer-funded car services. Fennell could avoid paying the penalty by coming up with proof that her car expenses were legitimate, or, possibly, by taking the city to court to have the decision overturned. She’s already threatening to sue a bunch of other people and organizations, so why not?

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City manager Joe Pennachetti: “It was a long four years”

“It was a long four years.”

—City manager Joe Pennachetti, who announced his retirement in August, speaking, during a joint press conference with mayor-elect John Tory, about life under Rob Ford. The purpose of the presser was to make public the fact that Pennachetti, a respected civil servant who kept city hall running (somewhat) smoothly during the Ford years, has agreed to stay on until the end of April, to help Tory shepherd his first budget through city council.

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Nobody believes Doug Ford’s “grassroots” supporters actually exist

doug-ford-now-whatToronto faces an acute shortage of scare quotes this afternoon as news outlets around the city report on a new “grassroots” website that’s attempting to drum up support for Doug Ford’s possible bid for leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party. The website, DraftDougFord.ca, boasts sleek web design, a handy form for collecting supporter information and zero indication of the real identity of the person or group that created it. The Toronto Sun reports that the website’s mysterious operator sent out an unsigned press release to different media organizations earlier today saying only that the project is the public face of a “grassroots movement” of disaffected voters “who feel that Doug Ford would be the only person who can renew the party,” and who totally exist.

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John Tory: “I just don’t think we need to be repeating that”

“They’ll probably replay old tapes. I just don’t think we need to be repeating that.”

John Tory, telling the Sun why he turned down a request to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live. This is one way in which he differs from his predecessor.

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Torontonians from every walk of life tell us who they voted for, and why

(Images: Giordano Ciampini)

(Images: Giordano Ciampini)

Toronto had the highest voter turnout in recent memory yesterday—980,177 people showed up at schools and churches and apartment party rooms and cast ballots for mayor, city councillor and school trustee. Over the course of election day, we travelled across the city and interviewed a handful of voters about how they made the all-important quadrennial decision. Their reasons ranged from the excellent (“I like her ideas”) to the puzzling (“I thought it was the right choice just out of loyalty”). Here’s what they had to say—originally published as part of our live coverage of election night.

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Voter turnout for this year’s municipal election was really good

980,177

—The unofficial number of votes cast for mayor in Monday’s election. That accounts for about 60 per cent of eligible voters, which gives this trip to the polls the highest participation rate of any Toronto municipal election in recent memory. Just over 53 per cent of voters showed up in 2010, when Rob Ford was elected mayor.

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Municipal Election 2014

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Rob Ford says he’ll run for mayor again in 2018

now-what-newRob Ford was seemingly in good spirits last night after winning back the Ward 2 council seat he’d held for a decade prior to being elected mayor—such good spirits, in fact, that he decided to share the moment with his favourite journalist, Joe Warmington. “I will be running for mayor in four years,” Ford told the Sun columnist. “I will be the first person to sign up in 2018.” (And when Ford says he’ll be the first to sign up, he means it literally.) At this rate, the two thirds of Toronto’s voters who didn’t go for Doug Ford in this election may never recover from their political PTSD.

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Municipal Election 2014

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John Tory has plenty of breathing room, according to the final Forum poll of the mayoral campaign

Today is election day, which means this Forum Research survey of 986 “likely, decided and leaning” voters, conducted on October 25 and released Sunday night, is probably the final public poll of the 2014 mayoral campaign. There are no surprises here: John Tory, Olivia Chow and Doug Ford are all pretty much exactly where they’ve been since Labour Day. If today’s results don’t at least somewhat resemble the chart above, then Toronto’s pollsters have a lot to answer for.