5 Things To Know Today
Snow, snow and more snow. Report from Auditor General on provincial labour contracts for teachers / Liberals cut $500M to education funding to fix deficit. City of Toronto trying to shut down Uber taxi service. Former Jilly’s strip club could become boutique hotel. Maple Leafs lose by a touchdown to Predators / biggest blowout ever at the ACC.
SNOW, SNOW AND MORE SNOW
Snowsquall watches, wind warnings and blowing snow advisories all in place in various spots of southern Ontario this morning as we get battered by the first storm of the season. Here in Toronto we’re expecting only 3-5cm of light snow starting early this afternoon. Areas north of the city toward Barrie and Orillia they’ve already had 20cm and can expect another 15cm today. Police have shutdown all the roads in the Kawartha-lakes area due to heavy overnight snow. The stormy conditions are blamed for a deadly crash on the 400 near Bradford. The OPP had closed Highway 400 for several hours between highways 88 and 89 as they investigated a fatal crash. Police say a car and a transport truck collided on the highway near Bradford around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. The car burst into flames. The male driving the car died on scene. Police also said that there was blowing snow and reduced visibility in the area, and say that may have played a role in the fiery crash. A snow squall warning is in effect for Innisfil, Barrie and Northern Duham Region.
Buffalo is dealing with one of its biggest storms in history. 4-feet of snow feel in 24-hours and they’re getting hammered again this mornnig with another 2 feet expected today. At this point in time there is 76 inches on the ground. By Friday morning, 8 feet of snow might be on the ground.
REPORT ON COST OF TEACHER CONTRACTS / LIBERALS CUT EDUCATION FUNDING
We’ll get a report today from the Auditor General into the costs of provincial labour contracts for teacher. The Tories asked for the report after Kathleen Wynne re-opened the deals following her election as Liberal leader early last year. The province had approved a 2-year wage freeze for teachers, but the Tories claim Wynne changed the deals.
A day after opening the books to provide a glimpse at the province’s finances, allegations of cuts began. The Finance Minister explained on Monday that the deficit currently sits at $12.5 billion, however Charles Sousa was quick to announce that it would be brought to zero by the 2017-2018 target. It was not clear at that time how the Liberals intended to fill the gap. Yesterday, reporters pressed the Minister on whether or not taxes would be raised, with Sousa responding “I’m not going there.” NDP members allege they have found a paper that details how the deficit will be filled; funding cuts to the tune of $500 million. However, the Education Minister Liz Sandals admitted that cuts will be made across the education sector, and that school closures will be the final result, but Liz Sandals claims it to be linked to declining enrollment. Sandals does say that while the education budget will also take a hit, per pupil funding will continue to increase. The Education Minister’s office says that the “government is committed to balancing the budget, we want to do that by finding efficiency and savings in the system”, and that any school closure would be decided on the local level.
CITY OF TORONTO TRYING TO SHUT DOWN UBER TAXI SERVICE
The Uber taxicab program has come under fire from officials at city hall. Officials with the city’s Licensing and Standards department claim the ride-sharing program is “illegal”, with the City now seeking court injunction to cease all operations against Uber Canada Inc., and related companies Uber B.V. and Raiser Operations B.V., which provide UberTaxi, UberBlack, UberSUV, UberX and UberXL. According to the department’s Executive Director, Uber drivers are operating vehicles that are unlicensed, and claim public safety is being put in jeopardy. “We have had discussion with Uber to become licensed and to comply with our bylaws, they have failed to do so. In this respect we have issued 36 charges since 2012. They continue to operate in flagrant disregard of the laws of both the City and the Province,” said Tracey Cook, Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards. The ride-sharing service is quickly becoming the go-to for people looking for cheaper, alternative forms of transportation across North America. And, the injunction may not get very far if Mayor-elect John Tory has anything to say about it. “Uber, and services like it, are here to stay. It is time our regulatory system got in line with evolving consumer demands in the 21st century. As Mayor, I intend to see that it does, while being fair to all parties, respecting the law and public safety,” said Tory. He tells AM640 that he’s used Uber in Toronto, and other cities, and he found it to be “very convenient.”
FORMER JILLY’S STRIP CLUB COULD BECOME BOUTIQUE HOTEL
Plans could be approved today to turn the building that housed the former Jilly’s strip club into a boutique hotel. The firm that owns the property at Queen St. E. and Broadview Ave. goes before City Hall’s Committee of Adjustment to try and get approval for its renovation plan. Streetcar Developments hopes to turn the ground floor into a restaurant and the rest of the building would house 57 hotel rooms. Most of the building’s facade would be maintained much like the Gladstone Hotel at Queen and Gladstone, but the northern end of the ground floor would be renovated to add glass and metal additions. The New “Broadview Hotel” was built in 1891 as a hall for public gatherings and was later converted to a hotel in 1907 after an ownership change.
MAPLE LEAFS LOSE BY A TOUCHDOWN TO PREDATORS
The Nashville Predators destroyed the Leafs last night at the ACC. The Maple Leafs were handed their second ugly loss in a row, suffering a 9-2 beat down by the Predators. The Leafs haven’t allowed 9 goals in a game since 1991. Last night’s game was the teams biggest blowout at the ACC. Just before this pathetic performance (if you can call it that) by the Leafs, Brian Burke was asked by reporters at the PrimeTime Sports Management Conference and Trade Show in Toronto about Phil Kessel refusing to talk to the media after the Leafs Sunday 6-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. “Why should Phil Kessel have to talk to these pukes every day?” said Burke. “It’s a miracle some nights that these guys don’t drill these guys,” Burke continued on about the Leafs relationship with the media. “There’s a hailstorm after every loss and they don’t care whether they get it right or not.”