18 March 2009: The headlines

Toronto City Hall at Night

My pick of the day’s national news, written for broadcast on Take 5, CIUT 89.5 FM.

Conservatives get busy — on campus and on the campaign trail
Former premier Mike Harris is reportedly building support for MPP Tim Hudak in the race to succeed John Tory as Ontario’s Progressive Conservative leader.

Harris is widely seen as a hero in Conservative circles and this worries some supporters of Hudak’s opponent Christine Elliot.  But Elliot also has a not-so-secret weapon – her husband Federal Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty.

The two sides are already slinging mud.  Opponents to the Harris-Hudak camp say Hudak’s being anointed by the old boys club, while opponents to Elliot-Flaherty accuse the couple of wanting to be the next Bill and Hilary Clinton.

SOURCE: The Toronto Star

Meanwhile, yesterday, rabble.ca released a series of audiotapes that it claims show the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association is on a mission to take over student organizations – and it’s got professional Party help.

The audiotapes were recorded at workshops across Ontario held by the Ontario PC Campus Association.

Topics range from how to win a student union election, to how to combat and remove funding for progressive student organizations like the Ontario Public Interest Research Group and the Canadian Federation of Students.

Conservative MP’s like Peter Braid are participating and supporting the workshops.

At a Waterloo workshop, students were encouraged to organize multiple front groups for Conservatives on campus to create the image of a campus wide movement – even if the members of all the groups are the same.  You can listen to the audiotapes on rabble.ca.

Dino-mighty – North America’s tiniest dinosaur was under researcher’s noses for 25 years
Researchers at the University of Calgary have discovered remains of North America’s smallest dinasour.

The Hesperonychus elizabethae – looked more like a bird than a Tyrannosaurus rex.

In a study published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, co-author Nick Longrich, a paleontology research associate at the University of Calgary writes that it’s the first time this subfamily of dinasour was discovered outside of Asia.

And this North American specimen outlived its Asian cousins by nearly 45 million years.

Longrich says the discovery was a bit of a shock.  The tiny bones – assumed to have been a baby dino, had been sitting in the University of Alberta’s collection for 25 years before Longrich and his research partner decided to take another look.

SOURCE: Scientific American

Street meat 2.0
This May long weekend you might want to stay in Toronto –

That’s when Toronto City Council will finally allow food other than hot dogs to grace the vendor carts on our streets – think souvlaki, jerk chicken and pad thai.

But while the Toronto city board of health chairman was pushing the “A La Cart program” as a “new way of thinking about fast food,” at a press conference yesterday, hot dog vendors are not happy.

Last month Take 5 interviewed Marianne Moroney, executive director of the Street Food Vendors Association, about this issue.  She says the program is unfair and expensive for existing vendors.

The City didn’t select existing vendors to run the new carts, which cost nearly triple what an average hot dog vendor pays for their cart.  Instead it chose eight vendors from selected restaurants and chefs around the city.

The invisible homeless in Northern B.C.

A new report by Vancouver based news-site the Tyee says Northern B.C. communities are facing a homeless crisis that will only grow as the forest sector continues to plunge.

About 60 to 90 percent of homeless people living in Northern B.C. are Aboriginal, and many are alcoholics.

The Tyee reports that police or drunk locals are kicking the homeless out of their makeshift “jungle camps” in the bush – forcing them into nearby cities and towns where shelters – if they exist – don’t have enough room to take them.

In Prince George, the shelters are so full that one agency – Active Support Against Poverty – has been forced stuff its meeting room with ten mattresses.

Social workers say there is no affordable housing available and little opportunity to escape the cycle of homelessness and addiction.

No one is even sure how many homeless people exist in northern B.C.

That’s because the population is “invisible,” they might sleep on a friend’s couch, or scrounge up $20 for a place to stay, but they rarely sleep outdoors for fear of freezing to death.

NDP MLA David Chudnovsky, studied homelessness in B.C. last year, and estimated there were 2,000 homeless people in the North – but now he thinks the numbers are much higher.

Publish and Perish
Journalists may soon have to line up alongside auto and manufacturing workers for welfare cheques.

St. Joseph’s Media, which publishes magazines like Toronto Life, Fashion and Canadian Family, announced yesterday that it will put its staff on a 4-day week for the summer, effectively cutting their pay by five percent until October.

St. Joseph’s says it’s a job protection measure.

These cuts follow a number of magazine closings or layoffs in the last week.

Toronto Star closed Desi Life, a magazine aimed at the south Asian community due to lack of advertising.

Reader’s Digest Canada laid off fifteen staff as part of it’s “recession plan.”

And Canada’s largest consumer magazine publisher – Transcontinental Media – announced losses last week of $6.4 million in the first quarter, a $40 million swing from its profit in the same period last year.

Last month it announced plans to cut 1,500 jobs across its North American printing and publishing operations and said managers would be required to work two weeks without pay.

And CBC workers are bracing themselves for job loss after CBC’s Board of Directors approved a budget for the coming year that includes deep cuts.

The CBC could be facing a  $200-million shortfall but the Board refused to reveal further details about the size of the cutbacks, saying it would make an announcement to staff by the end of the month.

SOURCES: Canadian Magazines blogspot, CBC.ca

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