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Toronto Month in Review - January part 1

Recapping news from the Toronto area

by Toronto Media Co-op members


 A TTC fare hike took effect on Jan. 3. The cost of using transit for adults increased to $3 cash, $2.50 with a token and $121 per month with a Metropass. Commentators on the fare hike have warned that transit fares are likely to increase again in 2011.    

An Islamic school inside the Hamilton Mosque was firebombed. A Molotov cocktail went through a window which had been broken with a rock. The Hamilton Police hate crimes unit is investigating.
 
Nearly 300 people gathered at a memorial to four migrant workers who died after falling 13 storeys when the scaffolding they were working on collapsed. Organizers of the somber vigil said workers who lack immigration status can not stand up for their rights and safety without risking deportation. 
 
Several candidates to become mayor have officially entered the race, including fiscal conservative Rocco Rossi, former Ontario Liberal cabinet member George Smitherman, brash right-wing Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti and Miller ally, Coun. Joe Pantalone. Conservative front-runner John Tory and left-leaning budget chief Shelley Carroll both bowed out of the race, while Adam Giambrone has not declared whether he will run.
 
Now Magazine has criticized websites that have sprung up to aggregate election news for not disclosing their political stripes. They said that Progressive Conservative campaigner Brett Bell's site, Toronto Election News, was a key example, but also named several other sites.
 
City council has put off a controversial vote over whether to allow legal rooming houses in certain neighbourhoods until after next fall's municipal election.
 
Toronto's first homicide of the year took place inside the Don Jail. The death of Kevon Phillip, 24, marks and the second death in the jail in only two months. "The overcrowding is dangerous and obviously results in people being killed," said the Ontario NDP's Peter Tabuns, who called for more inmates to be moved out of the jail. 
 
Toronto Police issued an arrest warrant for a man who dubbed himself the "Chinese Warren Buffet." They allege he ran a Ponzi scheme, luring investors with promises of significant returns. He allegedly conned citizens of Canada, the United States and China out of more than $30 million. Much of this money came from members of Toronto's Chinese community. He has since returned from Hong Kong to face charges, and has been taken into custody by Toronto police. He claims he is broke and has applied for legal aid.
 
The branch of the police that investigates other police officers, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), could be investigated for wrong doing in a coroner's inquest into the death of a 15-year-old boy. The teen was shot by a Toronto police officer in 2006. The family's lawyer said the SIU's "mock" probe was "incredibly horrible," and that the coroner should investigate.
 
"The silence following the decision not to appeal the dismissal of corruption charges against senior Toronto police officers is frightening," said former Toronto Mayor John Sewel in an editorial in the Toronto Star. He was referring to two large corruption cases within the Toronto Police. He said people were left with the impression that "senior police officials do not take corruption charges seriously."
 
A report in The Dominion revealed allegations that the budget for Toronto's 2015 Pan Am Games has been intentionally low-balled. Security costs were among those called into question.
 
bi-election has been called to fill the seat vacated by former MP and mayoral candidate George Smitherman. Former mayor of Winnipeg and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute Glen Murray will run for the Liberals. He will face off against long-time homeless activist Cathay Crowe who is running for the NDP.  
 
A Toronto lawyer was sentenced to 39 months imprisonment for insider trading. The case exposes Canada's weak enforcement of laws governing securities trading, says the executive director of Fair Canada, a group advocating for investor rights.
 
The Ontario Municipal Board, a court that hears municipal matters, has blocked plans for a luxury condo development in the Beaches. This occurred after residents protesting against the development raised enough money to take the matter to court. 
 
The city is considering selling its four per cent share of "green energy" company Enwave in hopes of raising $100 million to help pad its sagging budget.
 
In the last two weeks of a six-month exposition of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Royal Ontario Museum, Jordan requested that Canada not return the scrolls to Israel because Canada is a signatory of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Jordan claims the scroll were taken from Jerusalem while it was under Jordanian control durring the six-day war in 1967. The Canadian government has said it will not intervene.

 


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