Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


Channel Description:

TOPSTORIES

older | 1 | .... | 1000 | 1001 | (Page 1002) | 1003 | 1004 | .... | 1035 | newer

    0 0


    The North York industrial bakery where a 23-year-old temp worker died last September pleaded guilty Thursday to Ministry of Labour charges relating to the death.

    Fiera Foods, which mass produces baked goods for grocery stores and fast-food chains around the world, was fined $300,000 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act plus a 25 per cent victim surcharge, following a joint submission with the Crown.

    The fine is double what the company paid in 2002 following the death of 17-year-old temp Ivan Golyashov.

    Amina Diaby, a refugee from Guinea, was working at Fiera’s Marmora St. factory on Sept. 2, 2016, when her hijab became “entangled” in machinery, strangling her. She was hired through a temporary help agency and had been working for the company for a little more than two weeks.

    Diaby’s husband, Sanunu Jabbi, cried quietly as the facts of the case were read out.

    “What happened to Amina Diaby was a tragedy,” David Gelbloom, Fiera Foods’ general counsel and human resources manager, told the Star outside court. “She died at our facility and that shouldn’t have happened. We take health and safety very seriously at our company. It is a top priority for us. We have to do better and we will do better.”

    Crown attorney Shantanu Roy told court that Diaby was not wearing a lab coat at the time of her death, and that her hijab was not secured. It got stuck in a conveyor belt that was not adequately guarded and did not have an emergency stop button within reach. There were no witnesses to her death.

    Ashley Brown, the lawyer representing Fiera Foods at Thursday’s hearing, said the company recognized the “magnitude of the incident” and had taken numerous measures to improve safety at the factory. Within the last two years the company has invested $500,000 in health and safety initiatives, she said, while they updated uniform regulations and improved training following Diaby’s death.

    “I think it’s good because at least they will learn,” said Alusine Jabbi, Diaby’s brother-in-law, after the sentencing. “If it saves one person’s life, it’s worth it.”

    Eight months after Diaby’s death, the Star sent a reporter to work undercover at Fiera Foods for a month, as part of a year-long investigation into the rise of temp work in Ontario. Our reporter, who was hired through a temp agency, received about five minutes of safety training, no hands-on instruction, and was paid in cash at a payday lender without any documentation or deductions.

    Fiera Foods owners, Boris Serebryany and Alex Garber, have thus far refused interview requests from the Star.

    No representative of Fiera Foods has ever contacted Diaby’s family, according to her husband. He told the Star that he believes she was insufficiently trained to safely do her job.

    As a result of the guilty plea, the Crown withdrew charges against Diaby’s supervisor at the factory, as well as charges related to two other unrelated incidents that occurred at Fiera Foods in October 2015 and June 2016, when workers suffered “critical” arm injuries.

    Diaby was assigned to work at Fiera Foods by OLA Staffing, a temporary help agency based in Woodbridge. The agency was not charged by the Ministry of Labour, but the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board are still investigating the company’s role in Diaby’s death.

    Geetha Thushyanthan, who runs the agency, has declined the Star’s interview requests.

    Toronto police are also still investigating Diaby’s death. To date, no charges have been laid.

    Documents obtained by the Star show recurring safety violations at Fiera’s factories going back nearly two decades. Since 1999, the company has been hit with 191 orders for health and safety violations, including multiple “stop-work” orders.

    Diaby was the third temp agency worker to die while working at Fiera Foods or one of its affiliated companies.


    0 0


    OTTAWA—Current U.S. policy directs the American military not to defend Canada if it is targeted in a ballistic missile attack, says the top Canadian officer at the North American Aerospace Defence Command.

    “We’re being told in Colorado Springs that the extant U.S. policy is not to defend Canada,” said Lt.-Gen. Pierre St-Amand, deputy commander of Colorado-based Norad.

    “That is the policy that’s stated to us. So that’s the fact that I can bring to the table.”

    St-Amand delivered that revelation Thursday during an appearance before the House of Commons defence committee, which is studying the extent to which Canada is ready for an attack by North Korea.

    The study comes after several provocative nuclear and ballistic missile tests by North Korea, which have stoked fears Canada could end up in the middle of a confrontation between the U.S. and the so-called hermit kingdom.

    Read more: UN says North Korea exported $325M in violation of sanctions

    Egypt cuts military ties with North Korea, report says

    Those tests have also resurrected questions over whether Canada should join the U.S. ballistic missile defence shield, which it famously opted out of in 2005 following a divisive national debate.

    St-Amand said Canadian and U.S. military personnel at Norad headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., work side-by-side detecting potential airborne threats to North America.

    But Canada would have no role in deciding what to do if North Korea or any other country fired a missile at North America, he said.

    Canadian military personnel would instead be forced to sit on the sidelines and watch as U.S. officials decided how to act.

    The general did acknowledge that U.S. officials could ultimately decide to intervene if a missile was heading toward Canada, but that the decision would likely be made in “the heat of the moment.”

    St-Amand’s comments appeared to confirm the worst fears of many people who believe it is time for Canada to join the U.S. ballistic missile defence shield.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seemed to all but close the door on joining ballistic missile defence last month when he said Canada’s position is “not going to be changed any time soon.”

    But that has not stopped various defence experts, retired military personnel and even some Liberal MPs from calling for Canada to embrace the missile shield to ensure the country’s protection.

    Earlier in the day, officials from Global Affairs Canada and National Defence warned the committee that it was likely only a matter of time before North Korea would be able to launch an attack on North America.

    But they also said that based on recent contacts with Pyongyang, the North Koreans do not see Canada as an enemy, but rather as a potential friend that has the ear of the U.S.

    Those contacts include a meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her North Korean counterpart in August.

    “There has been no direct threat to Canada,” said Mark Gwozdecky, assistant deputy minister of international security at Global Affairs Canada.

    “On the contrary, in recent contacts with the North Korean government ... the indications were that they perceived Canada as a peaceful and indeed a friendly country.”

    Pyongyang’s primary goal is self-preservation, the officials said, and it understands the consequences of a war with the United States or any other country.

    Yet the officials also said the risks of a miscalculation are high, and the Liberal government believes Canada has an important role in helping find a peaceful solution to the situation.

    That includes talks, but also trying to exert more pressure on the North Korean government — either through diplomatic isolation or economic sanctions — to give up its nuclear weapons.

    “We must convince Pyongyang that it can achieve its goals through peaceful diplomatic means,” said Mark Gwozdecky, assistant deputy minister of international security at Global Affairs Canada.


    0 0


    OTTAWA—It’s a sonic whodunit, with international ripples.

    Canadian and U.S. diplomats serving in Cuba have been afflicted by a weird sonic blast that has affected their health and put police agencies in both countries on the trail for the culprit.

    “A conspiracy theorist could have a field day,” said a former Canadian diplomat familiar with Cuba.

    “This has been so strange and bizarre from the very beginning,” he said, speaking on background because of the sensitivity of the issue.

    In March, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department began to hear reports about “bizarre” symptoms — headaches, nosebleeds, dizziness, ringing in the ears — affecting a number of its diplomats working in Havana.

    Canadian diplomats and family members were affected in the incidents, suggesting that residences may have been targeted as well as official embassy buildings.

    A Canadian government official, who spoke on background, declined to give to firm numbers on how many were affected but said, “it was not a one-off.”

    But he said Canadians involved in the incidents are in “fine health” now and there has not been a reoccurrence.

    “Clearly, whatever happened affected the Americans more deeply,” the official said.

    It’s not clear whether it was some form of electronic surveillance gone awry or a deliberate attempt to target diplomats. Nor is it clear who is behind the attacks. Cubans? Russians trying to make mischief?

    “What’s difficult to determine is what the cause was and then, who caused it . . . Anything is possible,” the official said.

    However, he said the Cubans have been “very eager” to collaborate with the investigation since being alerted to the incidents.

    The RCMP is investigating, working in collaboration with the U.S., including the FBI, and Cuban officials.

    The Associated Press reported Thursday that 21 U.S. diplomats have been victims in the mystery attacks.

    And it reported that the attacks had a “laser-like specificity” seemingly able to target specific parts of a building.

    During the incidents, diplomats felt vibrations and heard noises like ringing, high-pitched chirping, grinding — and sometimes nothing at all, The Associated Press said.

    Read more:

    Mystery deepens in Cuba over ‘health attacks’ on U.S., Canadian diplomats

    Two more Americans were affected by health attacks in Cuba, Tillerson says

    At least one Canadian diplomat in Cuba also suffered hearing loss, Global Affairs says

    The union that represents U.S. diplomats said it has met with 10 personnel who have suffered health effects from what it called “sonic harassment” against the U.S. embassy in Havana.

    Diagnoses include mild traumatic brain injury and permanent hearing loss, and symptoms include loss of balance, severe headaches, cognitive disruption and brain swelling, the American Foreign Service Association said.

    The association called on Washington to ensure care for those affected and “to work to ensure that these incidents cease and are not repeated.”

    Its counterpart in Canada — the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers — offered no details on the incidents, saying only that it works closely with the Foreign Affairs Department to “address this and other health and safety issues” affecting diplomats working abroad.

    Contrary to earlier published reports, the Canadians did not suffer hearing loss.

    The Canadian diplomat said he suspects some sort of technical mistake in a surveillance operation is the blame rather than a deliberate campaign to target and harm diplomats.

    “I think you had a surveillance operation that technologically went wrong, some sort of equipment malfunction, some mistake,” he said.

    He said that surveillance is a fact of life for diplomats posted abroad.

    “Lots of people engage in them. The Americans run massive signals intelligence operations around the world and spy on everybody. The Russians spy on everybody, the Chinese, the French, the Israelis, you name it,” he said.

    And yes, even the Canadians, keeping tabs on the activities of some foreign diplomats in Ottawa, he said.

    “If you’re a foreign diplomat, especially in a place like Cuba, in your daily life you have to assume that there are surveillance activities,” he said.

    “They can be more or less intrusive, they can be more or less electronic,” the former diplomat said.

    He said that it defies logic that the Cubans would deliberately target Canada, with whom they have long enjoyed warm relations, or Americans, at a time when President Donald Trump is re-evaluating the past administration’s policy of warming ties with the Caribbean nation.

    He said the Cubans were always respectful of diplomatic personnel and property. “There is no plausible motive to launch an aggressive campaign do to harm to foreign diplomats,” he said.

    Last month, the U.S. State Department said American personnel in Cuba had suffered a “variety of physical symptoms” in incidents that date back to late 2016.

    “Initially, when they started reporting what I will just call symptoms, it took time to figure out what it was, and this is still ongoing. So we’re monitoring it. We provide medical care and concern to those who believe that they have been affected by it, and we take this extremely seriously,” spokesperson Heather Nauert told an August briefing.

    She admitted at the time of the briefing, that American officials were in the dark about the cause of the incidents. “We’re taking that situation seriously and it’s under investigation right now,” she said.

    Yet, the U.S. government forced two Cuban diplomats to leave the embassy in Washington, apparently because two American diplomats were forced to return home from Havana.


    0 0


    It is mid-morning in a packed upstairs kitchen at The 519 community centre and Kristen Ireland is brandishing an eggplant and making upbeat and practiced demands.

    “Somebody has got to cut the eggplant,” she declares, before flipping the tubular purple fruit into a set of ready hands, followed by an extremely large knife.

    “Knife skills, remember,” she said, offering it out handle first. “Pass it so you don’t kill somebody.”

    Ireland is a health promoter with the Inner City Family Health Team, a group of health professionals dedicated to caring for former or current residents of Seaton House and people who are experiencing homelessness.

    Brandon, who took and is diligently cutting the eggplant into cubes, is a health team client and has stayed for two years at Seaton House, Toronto’s largest shelter.

    At The 519 he is part of a team of chefs, working to learn how to prepare healthy and affordable meals, as part of a life skills program called Street Eats.

    “The most important thing is we learn from each other and master some skills,” said Brandon. People who don’t have housing, he felt it was important to say, are often isolated and lonely and benefit from group programs.

    The cooking program “warms my heart,” he said.

    Arnoldo Alcayaga, who at one time lived in an emergency shelter, was part of a group who came up with the workshop, with health team registered nurse Roxie Danielson and his own doctor.

    He was a health team client and wanted to find a way to give back because of the support he received.

    “Emotionally and spiritually you have to nourish your body and the best way to do that is to be aware of what you put in your body,” said Alcayaga, who is a chef.

    To do that properly, he said, you need to be instructed on how to pick, cook and find foods within your budget.

    Each session one of the men, all health team clients, picks out a recipe to make. Brandon chose pesto and pasta salad, topped with shredded cheese and tiny tomatoes from the health team’s garden.

    With Ireland’s help he coaches eight men through the hour and a bit it takes to turn out a pasta dish in a tiny and somewhat chaotic kitchen. The room is packed with jostling and laughing men, trying to communicate over the general din and a sputtering and roaring blender.

    The program runs every three weeks and is a partnership between the health team and The 519, a multi-service, city agency serving the LGBTQ community and other marginalized groups.

    The 519 donates the kitchen and the money for the food.

    “We have done everything from tamales to Chinese food,” as well as indigenous recipes, said Curran Stikuts, community organizer, who also does a fair bit of the grocery shopping.

    Stikuts said programs like Street Eats help provide a bit of additional food security for people struggling to get by in Toronto.

    He said in the last year The 519 provided more than 12,000 meals, just through their drop-in program and demand continues to rise.

    The men of Seaton House are facing an uncertain future. The shelter is scheduled for demolition in 2019, according to the city’s website. Construction is expected to take place from 2020 to 2023, provided council approves funding in 2018.

    There is a relocation plan in the works, but regardless of where they live many will continue to face the challenge of trying to live in Toronto on Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program.

    Most single men on ODSP who are living in social housing would be left with about $649 each month after paying rent. Those paying market rents would have far less.

    “ODSP just doesn’t cover the cost of living and eating well. It just doesn’t match what people need anymore,” said Danielson.

    Danielson, who helps run the class, said healthy food is a vital part of preserving health and preventing cardiovascular issues or conditions like diabetes from getting worse.

    Michael, a class participant and former Seaton House resident, now lives in supportive housing. In addition to ODSP, he receives what is known as a special food allowance, of $250 each month.

    “Seaton House was good to me in many ways,” particularly because of programs he was connected to, he said.

    He still relies on food banks for staple items, like pasta and rice and canned goods. The bulk of the allowance is spent on fresh produce and protein.

    One of the biggest appeals of the program, he said, is they are taught how to transform donated food items into decent meals, without a huge extra cost.

    “You get to meet people with a common purpose,” he said.


    0 0


    The Toronto Police Association is encouraging its members to wear union ball caps to protest what its president calls “empty promises” from police leadership to fix low staffing levels.

    “We want to see a sign of solidarity, a sign of unity. We want to send a message to the chief, the chair and the mayor that we are together on these issues,” Mike McCormack says in a video message to Toronto officers released Thursday, announcing what he calls “phase two” of its protest against modernization plans within the Toronto Police Service.

    The move prompted a lengthy internal message from Chief Mark Saunders Thursday, assuring officers he was listening to their needs and detailing how he was responding to union and officer demands.

    “I, and my command, have and will always make time to listen to your ideas, concerns and issues,” Saunders wrote in the internal message to all officers, obtained by the Star through a police source Thursday night.

    Stressing solidarity “for the right reason is something that is important in any industry — especially law enforcement,” said Saunders.

    But he also said he would soon crack down on officers donning the ball caps in place of their service-issued hat.

    “In the spirit of solidarity, I will allow you to wear the ball caps for a short period of time until I lawfully order you to return to your forage cap. The (Police Service Act) is clear of the effect of lawful orders given by me,” Saunders wrote.

    The police union’s move comes just over a month after it released a joint statement with the Toronto Police Service and its civilian board announcing changes aimed at addressing problems with staffing levels, caused in part by a higher-than-anticipated number of staff departures.

    The central fix was a temporary lifting of a three-year hiring and promotions freeze. The statement announced 80 new officers would be recruited by the end of 2017.

    But McCormack now says the hiring and training schedule for the new recruits means all 80 won’t be on the road until January 2019. Meanwhile, 203 uniform members have left Toronto police this year and more are expected to depart by year’s end.

    “The carpet got pulled out from under our feet,” McCormack said in an interview Thursday.

    In his internal message, Saunders said the service has received 116 applications since Tuesday, when the service officially announced the recruiting process had opened. Some applications came in from other police services.

    “That tells me that we are still an employer of choice and that people want to join one of the best police services in North America,” Saunders said in the message.

    A Toronto police news release this week said the service was “now accepting applications for the position of cadet-in-training,” but did not include any deadline for application, or any details about deployment.

    Speaking to reporters Thursday, Mayor John Tory, who sits on the police board, said “every one of the issues” that the union expressed concerns about is being addressed “as we speak,” including the hiring of officers.

    Approved by the police board earlier this year, the Toronto police’s transformational task force plan, dubbed The Way Forward, found $100 million in savings for the police service’s operating budget over three years. Sixty million dollars of savings would come from the three-year freeze on hiring and a moratorium on promotions.

    The report also recommended no new uniform officers be hired over three years, with the end goal to reduce the number of officers to about 4,750 by 2019.

    The union has said it has yet to see the data to show how that number was decided upon; as of July, the Toronto police employed 5,100 police officers.

    The police union has for months been critical of the Way Forward plan, claiming officer ranks have been depleted to critically low levels, causing safety issues.

    McCormack has also raised the alarm about wait times for 911 calls, saying they are up due to decreased staffing, and was equally critical of Saunders and the police board for dealing too slowly with staff promotions.

    In his internal message, Saunders addressed both concerns, saying a new class of communications operators will start working next month, and that he’s tasked one of his deputy chiefs to conduct a high-level review.

    “Based on her feedback, I am moving a superintendent to support Communications and will be taking immediate steps to get more people on the floor,” Saunders wrote.

    The chief also said he will be submitting a report to the police board to ensure that Toronto police employees, both sworn and civilian, who qualify will be promoted “as soon as possible.”

    With files from David Rider

    Wendy Gillis can be reached at wgillis@thestar.ca


    0 0


    SEOUL—North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan into the northern Pacific Ocean on Friday, U.S. and South Korean militaries said, its longest-ever such flight and a clear message of defiance to its rivals.

    Since U.S. President Donald Trump threatened the North with “fire and fury” in August, Pyongyang has conducted its most powerful nuclear test and launched two missiles of increasing range over U.S. ally Japan. It tested its first-ever intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.

    The growing frequency, power and confidence displayed by these tests seems to confirm what governments and outside experts have long feared: North Korea is closer than ever to its goal of building a military arsenal that can viably target both U.S. troops in Asia and the U.S. homeland. This, in turn, is meant to allow North Korea greater military freedom in the region by raising doubts in Seoul and Tokyo that Washington would risk the annihilation of a U.S. city to protect its Asian allies.

    South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile travelled about 3,700 kilometres and reached a maximum height of 770 kilometres.

    North Korea has repeatedly vowed to continue these tests amid what it calls U.S. hostility — by which it means the presence of tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Japan and South Korea. Robust diplomacy on the issue has been stalled for years, and there’s little sign that senior officials from Pyongyang and Washington might sit down to discuss ways to slow the North’s determined march toward inclusion among the world’s nuclear weapons powers.

    Friday’s missile, which triggered sirens and warning messages in northern Japan but caused no apparent damage to aircraft or ships, was the second fired over Japan in less than a month. North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3.

    The missile was launched from Sunan, Pyongyang’s international airport and the origin of the earlier missile that flew over Japan. Analysts have speculated the new test was of the same intermediate-range missile launched in that earlier flight, the Hwasong-12.

    That missile is linked to North Korea’s declaration that it means to contain the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam, which is the home of important U.S. military assets and appears well within the Hwasong-12’s range.

    Friday’s missile test was met with the usual outrage. South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered his military to conduct a live-fire ballistic missile drill in response to the North Korean launch and instructed government officials to pursue “stern” measures to discourage Pyongyang from further provocations. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis both called the launch a reckless act.

    The UN Security Council scheduled an emergency closed-door meeting to be held Friday afternoon in New York. Trump has not commented.

    Read more:

    North Korea threatens to ‘sink’ Japan, turn U.S. into ‘ashes and darkness’ over UN sanctions

    Policy says U.S. will not defend Canada from ballistic missile attack: General

    The North American Aerospace Defence Command and the U.S. Pacific Command said the missile posed no threat to North America or to Guam.

    South Korean experts have said North Korea wants to make missiles flying over Japan an accepted norm as it seeks to win more military space in a region dominated by its enemies.

    North Korea initially flight-tested the Hwasong-12 and the ICBM model Hwasong-14 at highly lofted angles to reduce their range and avoid neighbouring countries.

    The two launches over Japan indicate North Korea is moving toward using angles close to operational to determine whether its warheads can survive the harsh conditions of atmospheric re-entry and detonate properly.

    North Korea has been accelerating its nuclear weapons development under leader Kim Jong Un, a third-generation dictator who has conducted four of North Korea’s six nuclear tests since taking power in 2011. The weapons are being tested at a torrid pace and include solid-fuel missiles designed to be launched from road mobile launchers or submarines and are thus less detectable beforehand.

    North Korea claimed its latest nuclear test was a detonation of a thermonuclear weapon built for its ICBMs, which could potentially reach deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.

    The UN Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions earlier this week over the nuclear test. They ban all textile exports and prohibit any country from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers — two key sources of hard currency. They also prohibit North Korea from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates, and cap Pyongyang’s imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

    North Korea’s Foreign Ministry denounced the U.N. sanctions and said the North will “redouble its efforts to increase its strength to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and right to existence.”


    0 0


    It really is hard for women to break the glass ceiling . . . even at an organization whose mandate is to accomplish that very thing.

    For the second time in a row, Catalyst Canada, a non-profit organization that pushes for the advancement of women in the workplace, has appointed a man to chair its advisory board.

    The Canadian arm of the 55-year-old global institute promoting gender equity in the boardroom and the executive suite announced Thursday that CIBC chief executive Victor Dodig has replaced former chair Bill Downe, the Bank of Montreal’s CEO, who is retiring from the bank this year and was the Catalyst chairperson.

    “Isn’t that interesting?” said Trish Hennessey, director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Ontario office, who has personally worked on the issue of income inequality for over a decade.

    “That is kind of ironic. As an organization, you might want your leader to be a reflection of your stated mandate,” she said.

    “It’s 2017 and the glass ceiling is a very real phenomenon in Canada.”

    Jeannie Collins-Ardern, the new interim CEO of Women in Capital Markets, agreed that “the optics aren’t the best.

    “It would have been nice to set an example to have a woman chair the board this time around, since they had a man the last time,” said Collins-Ardern. But she added that she has heard that Dodig is “a very supportive individual of women’s initiatives and he’s done a lot of good for the community.”

    Dodig was named the 2017 Catalyst Canada Honours Champion in recognition of his “exceptional contributions to accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion,” says a release from Catalyst.

    “He is a vocal advocate for gender diversity in the workplace and actively supports the advancement of talented women to executive roles and on boards,” the release says.

    The group’s Toronto-based executive director defended the move to name Dodig, who has been on the organization’s board of directors for the last three years, as board chairman, saying he’s a leader on the issue of gender diversity in the workplace.

    Tanya van Biesen said the decision was made after “a very thoughtful process” that included both male and female candidates for the position.

    “This is a real reflection of what we believe: that it’s critical to engage men in the dialogue of gender balance . . . to eradicate this problem. This is not just a women’s problem; it’s a societal problem,” said van Biesen in an interview.

    Catalyst Canada’s advisory board includes executives from top Canadian corporations, including McDonald’s Canada, BCE Inc. and soup titan Campbell Company of Canada.

    “We think he is a fantastic choice,” van Biesen said.

    “We don’t have an issue with the optics at all.”

    Hennessey questions the move, given that “there is a vast pool of talented women who are extremely qualified to fill a position like that.

    “If your mandate is to question hiring practices, you have to start at the top,” said Hennessey.

    The website for the organization, which has its global headquarters on Wall St. in New York City, boasts that “Catalyst is the most trusted resource for knowledge on gender, leadership, and inclusive leadership in the world.”

    “We (women) have to lead by example,” noted Collins-Ardern, whose organization is the largest network of women in the Canadian financial industry.

    Of the 19 members of Catalyst Canada’s advisory board, seven are women. About three per cent of Canadian-based public companies have women at the helm, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    Of the 17 directors who sit on the board at CIBC, where Dodig is CEO, seven are women.

    Dodig was unavailable for comment Thursday, but said in a statement that he is excited to “accelerate progress for women, improve gender balance in leadership roles and create more inclusive workplaces.”

    “It’s by building truly inclusive organizations and harnessing everyone’s talent that we will strengthen the Canadian economy and enable our country to compete on the global stage,” he added.


    0 0


    Metrolinx is pledging to open its decision-making process to greater public scrutiny after the Star revealed the Ministry of Transportation intervened behind the scenes to pressure it into approving two new GO stations that weren’t supported by internal reports.

    One of the stations is in Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca’s riding, the other is part of Mayor John Tory’s “SmartTrack” plan.

    Following a public session of a meeting of the Metrolinx board Thursday, board chair Rob Prichard said the agency from now on intends to publish business cases for transit projects before the board votes on them.

    A spokesperson for the agency later confirmed Metrolinx will also post notices of when the board meets behind closed doors and publish the minutes of those meetings afterward.

    “One of the good things coming out of this is, I think, it is advantageous to always release the business case analysis in advance of the board discussing it,” Prichard said.

    “I’m always in favour of continuous improvement in governance . . . . Our practices are developing, and I think it will be a good evolution in our practice to do that.”

    Metrolinx, an arm’s-length agency of the provincial government, is in charge of transportation planning in the GTHA and regularly makes decisions that involve billions of dollars of public money and will impact the region’s transit network for generations.

    The public so far has had limited insight into the agency’s internal deliberations, however. Since the start of 2014, the board has held 29 meetings, and 12 of those — more than 40 per cent — were held in private.

    According to agency spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins, dates of the closed-door meetings will be posted online before they happen, except in the case of emergency meetings, in which case they may be posted afterward. The minutes will also be posted, although they will be reviewed to remove sensitive information related to privacy and commercial interests.

    Documents the Star obtained through a freedom of information request detailed the role that closed door meetings and secret reports played in the approval of two politically sensitive GO stations: Kirby, which is in Del Duca’s Vaughan riding, and the “SmartTrack” stop at Lawrence East in Scarborough.

    In June 2016 the board met in private and decided to support a list of 10 new GO stations that didn’t include Kirby or Lawrence East.

    Business cases for both stops found they would actually cause a net decrease in ridership on the GO network. A summary report of the business cases that Metrolinx commissioned recommended that neither be considered for at least another 10 years.

    However, a day after the closed door board meeting, Del Duca’s ministry sent Metrolinx press releases that showed he planned to announce the two stations were going ahead.

    Metrolinx management subsequently changed its advice to the board, which then reconvened in public and voted to build Kirby and Lawrence East as part of a package of 12 stops to be added to the GO network under the province’s regional express rail expansion plan.

    The estimated cost of building Kirby is about $100 million, while Lawrence East would cost roughly $23 million.

    The public had little opportunity to scrutinize the stations’ approval at the time because business cases for the new stops weren’t released until almost nine months after the decisive vote.

    Metrolinx never alerted the public to the closed door meeting or posted minutes of what was decided.

    Eric Miller, director of the University of Toronto’s Transportation Research Institute, applauded Metrolinx’s decision to open its board to greater public scrutiny, calling it an “important step in the right direction towards better transparency.”

    He predicted that publishing studies before board votes could lead to Metrolinx performing better analysis on transit projects because the agency will be aware they will be critiqued.

    “People can pick at them and debate them. And that may lead to more trust, and lead to a healthier debate.”

    Miller added that the transparency measures are something Metrolinx, which was created by the provincial government in 2006, should have already done. He also said the agency should publish all its reports, not just business case analyses, “as a matter of course.”

    Following the publication of the Star investigation two weeks ago, Prichard ordered Metrolinx to perform a “thorough and comprehensive review” of Kirby and Lawrence East.

    The exercise will involve gathering updated information on land use, transit plans and projected development to determine whether the approval of the stations should stand.

    However, it will not examine how Del Duca’s ministry pressured Metrolinx into approving the stops.

    On Thursday, Prichard said he supported the review but didn’t say he believed Del Duca’s ministry had improperly intervened to secure approval for stations that weren’t supported by evidence.

    Prichard told reporters Metrolinx has a “collaborative relationship” with the ministry and the approval process is “a combination of art and science” which involves taking into account studies, input from local politicians and the views of the ministry before arriving at a final judgment.

    “In this case . . . concerns have been expressed about the judgment so we’re going to take a second look at it, as thoroughly as we can, making sure we have completely up-to-date information. And we’ll make it all public, and members of the public can make a judgment as to whether it’s the right decision,” he said.

    In an open letter to Prichard two weeks ago, Del Duca acknowledged “concerns have been raised” about the GO stations, but the minister hasn’t specified what he believes those concerns are.

    On Tuesday, he declined to answer questions about why his ministry sent Metrolinx press releases showing he intended to announce stations that the board hadn’t endorsed, dismissing the events that led to the stations’ approval as “historical details.”

    “I’m focused on the go-forward,” he said.

    Del Duca said he provided “input” to the decision-making process, but didn’t answer whether he had directed Metrolinx to approve the stops.

    He stressed Metrolinx won’t enter into contracts to build the two stations unless the review determines they’re warranted. “If the evidence isn’t there, the stations won’t go forward,” he said.

    During question period at Queen’s Park on Wednesday, Progressive Conservative transportation critic Michael Harris called on Del Duca to “come clean” about his role in the stations’ approval and questioned whether he was “unfit for the job” of minister.

    Metrolinx expects to complete the review in time for its February board meeting. The agency plans to enter into procurement contracts for new GO stations in spring of next year.


    0 0


    WASHINGTON—They would stand by and let him get impeached. Or boycott his hotels. Or maybe, a couple of them suggested, they would set their Make America Great Again caps on fire.

    Some of the most reliably Trumpian corners of the internet were raging Thursday as if they had signed up for the left-wing resistance. Just nine days after he had made them so happy, the champion of their anti-immigration fantasies had betrayed them.

    In a momentous move that could have major consequences for his political future, U.S. President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he is eager to make a deal with Democrats to protect the so-called Dreamers, the undocumented young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

    Read the latest news on U.S. President Donald Trump

    Not only that: he suggested that it was ridiculous that anyone would want to deport such upstanding and innocent residents.

    “Really!” he wrote incredulously on Twitter.

    Not only that: the self-proclaimed master negotiator did not plan to demand funding for his border wall as part of the deal to save Barack Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program he had campaigned on eliminating.

    “DACA now and the wall very soon,” he said at the White House after he returned from a visit to hurricane-ravaged Florida.

    And not only that: he refused to refer to DACA as “amnesty,” as he did throughout his campaign and his attorney general did last week when he announced Trump was getting rid of it.

    “The word,” he said, “is DACA.”

    The details of a possible deal had not yet been hammered out. But it was immediately clear that Trump’s turnabout would be the biggest early test of the loyalty of his base, much of which is hostile to immigration of all kinds.

    To some of his staunchest allies, the news smacked of unforgivable abandonment. They had celebrated Trump’s decision to end DACA, thinking he had sent the Dreamers on a path to deportation.

    Read more:

    Trump says he’s ‘fairly close’ to deal on young immigrants after meeting with Pelosi, Schumer

    ‘We send a report every morning to ICE’: Two Arizona Motel 6 locations reported guests to immigration officials, leading to at least 20 arrests

    U.S. Supreme Court upholds Trump administration’s ban on most refugees

    “Amnesty Don,” proclaimed an apoplectic Breitbart, the website run by former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon.

    “Why did we have an election,” moaned Mike Cernovich, the pro-Trump personality who traffics in conspiracy theories.

    “At this point, who DOESN’T want Trump impeached?” said far-right writer Ann Coulter, author of the book In Trump We Trust.

    “If (Associated Press) is correct,” Iowa Rep. Steve King said when news of the tentative deal first broke, “Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.”

    Pollsters cautioned that it was far too soon for such proclamations. Trump’s voters have proven to be willing to fall in line behind his own preferences, and not all of them are as hostile to DACA as his most aggressive supporters on Twitter. Polls suggest a firm majority of his voters believe Dreamers, so named for a legalization proposal called the DREAM Act, should be permitted to stay.

    “I can live with it either way, to be perfectly honest with you,” said Carl Hobson, 78, who for months displayed a large Trump sign at his gas station in Maryland.

    Hobson thinks Trump should be “damn tough” on illegal immigration, and he complains about tax money going toward services for illegal immigrants. But he said protecting the Dreamers is “the right thing to do.”

    “It’s a pretty raw deal to have a kid that’s lived here for several years and then try to throw them away. You can let them stay and let them go through the citizenship process just like the rest of us,” he said.

    Larry May, Republican chair in Nolan County, Texas, said he was “not in favour of essentially granting amnesty to the so-called Dreamers,” saying that most of them are adults who “need to be sent back.”

    But he said even a bad deal would have a “minimal” impact on Trump voters like himself. He said Trump will remain preferable to people like “communist Bernie Sanders or extreme socialist Hillary Clinton.”

    “There’s really not anyone any better. If his supporters are not going to support the communist Democrats, I don’t see they’re going to give up their support just because they disagree with something Trump may have done,” said May, 63, an accountant.

    DACA gives 690,000 people two-year work permits and protection from deportation. It was created by Obama without legislation. A Trump deal could well make the Dreamers far more secure than they are under the Obama program, granting them some sort of lasting legal status.

    Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi said she and Trump had come to an “understanding” that the Dreamers would get a path to citizenship. A Trump spokesperson said he was open to such a path “over a period of time.” But Trump muddied the waters, saying “we’re not looking at citizenship.”

    The context for Trump’s shift was especially infuriating to his conservative allies.

    He agreed to pursue a deal during a Wednesday dinner with Democratic leaders Pelosi and Chuck Schumer — who was heard saying Thursday, “He likes us. He likes me, anyway.” Irked with Republican leaders, Trump appeared to be eager to earn another round of the media praise he generated when he cut a budget deal with the Democrats last week.

    Dreamers were not ready to celebrate, noting that Trump often changes his mind and that congressional Republicans leaders had not bought in. The president’s regular shifts in tone and substance have frequently led pundits to wonder whether he is a new man, only to see him revert to the same old.

    “This is looking good. But Donald Trump is very unpredictable. I don’t want to get my hopes up,” said DACA recipient Miguel Mendez, 27, an electrical engineer in Texas.


    0 0


    Ontarians appear to be high on the sale of recreational marijuana being restricted to a provincial government monopoly, new poll suggests.

    Campaign Research found 51 per cent of those surveyed back Premier Kathleen Wynne’s new plan to have cannabis sold solely through standalone LCBO-operated stores and a website.

    “Media and the punditocracy… are suggesting that it’s inefficient and it’s bureaucratic and the antithesis of what most people wanted when, in actuality, the government is doing exactly what Ontarians want,” said Eli Yufest, CEO of Campaign Research.

    Read more: Liberals accused of using marijuana plan as smoke screen

    “The government appears to be on the right side of the issue,” Yufest said Thursday.

    About a third – 35 per cent – of those polled oppose the idea and 14 per cent had no opinion.

    The online poll of a panel of 1,133 Ontario voters was conducted between last Friday — the day the weed retail scheme was unveiled — and Monday. It is considered accurate to within 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

    Asked specifically where recreational marijuana should be sold after the federal government legalizes it next July 1, respondents were divided.

    A quarter — 24 per cent — said the “Cannabis Control Board of Ontario,” 10 per cent said existing LCBO liquor stores, 16 per cent said pharmacies, 19 per cent said “dispensaries,” which are currently operating illegally, while 2 per cent said convenience stores, 1 per cent said other shops, 6 per cent didn’t know, and 23 per cent oppose any sale of marijuana.

    Yufest said Wynne’s decision to limit pot to 40 LCBO-operated stores next year — rising to 150 by 2019 — appears to be contributing to her party’s slight bounce in the polls.

    “The minimum wage and pharmacare and all of the other stuff that the government has been rolling out over the last few months … coupled with this is what’s driving both her personal numbers and the party numbers up,” he said.

    With an election set for June 7, 2018, the pollster found Patrick Brown’s Progressive Conservatives at 38 per cent, Wynne’s Liberals at 33 per cent, Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats at 23 per cent and the Greens led by Mike Schreiner at 6 per cent.

    “We certainly see a tightening between those two parties,” said Yufest, referring to the Tories and the Liberals.

    Wynne’s personal approval ratings are still the lowest of the three major party leaders.

    The premier had 19 per cent approval, 67 per cent disapproval, and 14 per cent weren’t sure.

    Brown had 28 per cent approval, 22 per cent disapproval, and 50 per cent didn’t know.

    Horwath led the pack with 37 per cent approval, 19 per cent disapproval, and 43 per cent had no opinion.

    Yufest said the fact that half of respondents did not have any opinion on Brown suggests the Tories’ recent seven-figure television ad blitz has not had much impact.

    The slick commercials, which have aired during major league sporting events and prime-time programs, were designed to introduce the leader to voters.

    “Those messages aren’t breaking through and they’re not resonating among the electorate so whatever messages they put out there or whatever TV ads they bought don’t seem to be breaking through,” he said.

    “It doesn’t seem to be translating into higher awareness about Patrick Brown.”


    0 0


    “As far as I’m concerned the provincial regulators have been absolutely negligent in this area.”

    That’s Jim Aziz addressing Ontario regulations governing credit bureaus, specifically the information available to, and the protection of, consumers.

    Of course we’re talking about Equifax, the giant credit bureau currently in public relations meltdown as the result of a web “vulnerability” that allowed for the criminal hacking of information of as many as 143 million consumers.

    The hackers’ portal was a web application framework called Apache Struts. That’s bad news for Equifax.

    “This vulnerability was patched on 7 March 2017, the same day it was announced,” the Apache Software Foundation said in a press release. Yet Equifax revealed that the unauthorized access started much later, in mid-May, and continued for weeks, into July.

    The Apache release didn’t mince words: “The Equifax data compromise was due to their failure to install the security update provided in a timely manner.”

    So chances are this story is going to go down in ways similar to the Wells Fargo debacle. The CEO of Equifax, Rick Smith, will appear before a congressional committee. The vulnerability of consumers, as opposed to software, will be lamented. The proceedings will become heated. There will be calls for Smith’s resignation.

    For Jim Aziz, an international adviser on credit bureaus, the opportunity now is for the Ontario government to re-examine the ways in which its own governance of credit bureaus, by which I mean both Equifax and its competitor, TransUnion, falls short of international standards.

    Consumers who have found themselves ensnared in unhappy experiences with the bureaus will not be surprised.

    One reader, responding to Wednesday’s column on the data breach, complained that trying to set the record straight with Equifax over multiple credit cards on his credit report that were not his proved so exhausting that he just gave up. “It is a mess trying to deal with them,” he wrote.

    The province’s Consumer Reporting Act does nothing to spur the bureaus into action when information is wrong. When a consumer disputes the accuracy of the information, the act stipulates that the reporting agency “within a reasonable time shall use its best endeavors to confirm or complete the information.” (The italics are mine.)

    Back in the ’80s, Jim Aziz was the general manager of the Associated Credit Bureaus of Canada. These days he works with the International Monetary Fund and others setting up credit bureaus and credit agencies around the world.

    He has worked in 36 countries (Kosovo, Sudan). Canada, he says, doesn’t cut it. “In my activities, with different countries, we regulate the number of days to resolve disputed information in periods of 15 to 30 days,” he says.

    As it is, “there’s no incentive for the credit bureaus to be expedient in resolving consumer disputes.”

    And yet, the only way to validate the accuracy of the information is for the consumer herself to look at the file.

    It’s standard too for bureaus to inform consumers that after apprising one bureau of an error they should then move on and start the process over again with its competitor.

    “That doesn’t do it,” Aziz insists.

    It is the credit bureaus that should bear the obligation of informing each other of errors. “Not all credit granters check both files. If you’ve gone to TransUnion and found an error in your file but it’s not corrected by Equifax, then you could be harmed by the fact that it isn’t corrected, and vice versa.”

    Accessing one’s credit report in Canada is another reminder of how out of touch we are. In the U.S., the Fair Credit Reporting Act mandates that anyone can access, annually online, their credit report for free, and there’s a central website to help with that. There are three nationwide bureaus in the U.S., so the consumer can get all three at once, or spread them out throughout the year.

    In Ontario, an Equifax credit report is free only if the consumer submits an application by mail or, impractically, in person. The fee for accessing the report online is $15.50.

    “The government should step in and say, look, we’re here to protect consumers,” Aziz says. “That’s consumer information that’s in a lender’s data base that’s being shared with both Equifax and TransUnion so they can make a profit. They make a lot of money using your data and my data and this is the kind of thing from a consumer standpoint that they shouldn’t be charging for. If the government is concerned about protecting consumers they should take away that 15 bucks.”

    Enhancing access has other benefits — Aziz says research has shown that free credit reports lead to lower delinquency rates. Any initiatives that promote financial literacy, and increased financial smarts, are initiatives to the good. Ontario should join these modern times of which Aziz speaks. There is no down side.

    jenwells@thestar.ca


    0 0


    ST. LOUIS—A white former police officer was acquitted Friday in the 2011 death of a Black man who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase, with the judge declaring that he could not be swayed by “partisan interests, public clamour or fear of criticism.”

    The acquittal of Jason Stockley in the death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith had stirred concerns about possible civil unrest for weeks. Several hundred protesters were marching in the streets of downtown St. Louis within hours of the verdict.

    Stockley was charged with first-degree murder but insisted he saw Smith holding a gun and felt he was in imminent danger. Prosecutors said Stockley planted a gun in Smith’s car after the shooting. The officer asked the case to be decided by St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson instead of a jury. Prosecutors objected to that move.

    “This court, in conscience, cannot say that the State has proven every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt or that the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defence,” Wilson wrote in the decision.

    St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said she was disappointed.

    “While officer-involved shooting cases are extremely difficult to prevail in court, I believe we offered sufficient evidence that proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Jason Stockley intended to kill Mr. Smith,” Gardner said in a written statement.

    Assistant Circuit Attorney Robert Steele emphasized during the trial last month that police dashcam video of the chase captured Stockley saying he was “going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it.”

    Less than a minute later, the officer shot Smith five times. Stockley’s lawyer dismissed the comment as “human emotions” uttered during a dangerous police pursuit. The judge wrote that the statement “can be ambiguous depending on the context.”

    Stockley, 36, could have been sentenced to up to life in prison without parole. He left the St. Louis police force in 2013 and moved to Houston.

    It is unusual for officers to be charged with killing suspects while on duty. Few officers have been convicted in such deaths.

    Ahead of the verdict, activists in St. Louis threatened civil disobedience if Stockley were acquitted, including possible efforts to shut down highways. Barricades went up on Aug. 28 around police headquarters, the courthouse where the trial was held and other potential protest sites.

    The St. Louis area has a history of unrest in similar cases, including after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014. Protests, some of them violent, erupted after the unarmed Black 18-year-old was killed by a white police officer. The officer was not charged but later resigned.

    In Smith’s case, the encounter began when Stockley and his partner tried to corner Smith in a fast-food restaurant parking lot after seeing what appeared to be a drug deal. Stockley testified that he saw what he believed was a gun, and his partner yelled “gun!” as Smith backed into the police SUV twice to get away.

    Stockley’s attorney, Neil Bruntrager, argued that Smith, a parole violator with previous convictions for gun and drug crimes, tried to run over the two officers. Stockley fired seven shots as Smith sped away. A chase ensued.

    At the end of the chase, Stockley opened fire only when Smith, still in his car, refused commands to put up his hands and reached along the seat “in the area where the gun was,” Bruntrager said. Stockley said he climbed into Smith’s car and found a revolver between the centre console and passenger seat.

    But prosecutors questioned why Stockley dug into a bag in the back seat of the police SUV before returning to Smith’s car.

    The gun found in Smith’s car did not have his DNA on it, but it did have Stockley’s.

    “The gun was a plant,” Steele said.

    The case was among several in recent years in which a white officer killed a Black suspect. Officers were acquitted in recent police shooting trials in Minnesota, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. A case in Ohio twice ended with hung juries, and prosecutors have decided not to seek a third trial.

    Here’s a timeline of events leading up to Friday’s ruling:

    Dec. 20, 2011

    Stockley and his partner see what appears to be a drug transaction on the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant. As they seek to corner Smith, he drives away and Stockley fires seven shots at his car. Defence attorney Neil Bruntrager said the officers were nearly run over.

    A two-minute chase begins. Police dashcam video captures Stockley saying, “going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it,” in the midst of the chase. As Smith’s car slows, Stockley tells Officer Brian Bianchi to “hit him right now,” and Bianchi slams the police SUV into Smith’s car.

    Stockley emerges from the SUV and fires five shots into Smith’s car, killing him. Bruntrager said Stockley fired only when Smith refused commands to put up his hands and reached along the seat toward an area where a gun was found.

    But prosecutors said Stockley planted a gun. Testing found Stockley’s DNA on the gun, but not Smith’s.

    December 2011

    Then-police Chief Dan Isom requests an FBI investigation. Stockley is placed on desk duty.

    February 2012

    A wrongful-death lawsuit is filed on behalf of Autumn Smith, Anthony Lamar Smith’s 1-year-old daughter.

    June 2012

    St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office meets with then-U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan and both agree there isn’t sufficient evidence to prosecute Stockley.

    August 2013

    Stockley resigns from the police department one month after then-police Chief Sam Dotson, who took over in January 2013 after Isom’s retirement, suspended Stockley without pay for 30 days for violating pursuit and use-of-force policies in the Smith case.

    September 2013

    Stockley, now living in Houston, takes a job as a project manager for TH Hill Associates, according to his online resume. He leaves the company in January 2016.

    December 2013

    The St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners reaches a $900,000 (U.S.) settlement, ending the lawsuit filed on behalf of Smith’s daughter.

    Aug. 9, 2014

    Michael Brown is fatally shot by police officer Darren Wilson in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo. The killing of the Black, unarmed 18-year-old by a white officer and the November 2014 grand jury decision not to indict Wilson sets off sometimes-violent unrest and leads to scrutiny of police treatment of Blacks in the St. Louis region.

    May 16, 2016

    Joyce announces first-degree murder charges against Stockley. She cites new evidence, but doesn’t disclose what it is. Stockley is arrested at his home in Houston. He is freed from jail after the St. Louis Police Officers Association, the union representing most St. Louis officers, posts $100,000 of his $1 million bail.

    July 24, 2017

    Stockley waives his right to a jury trial in favour of a bench trial. Veteran St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson is appointed to hear the case.

    Aug. 1, 2017

    Stockley’s trial begins with a crowd of spectators so large several people have to be turned away.

    Aug. 9, 2017

    The trial ends, but Judge Wilson gives attorneys from both sides until Aug. 18 to file post-trial briefs.

    Aug. 28, 2017

    A group of about 50 activists who support Smith’s family gather on the steps of the courthouse where the trial was heard and threaten significant civil disobedience if Stockley is acquitted. Organizers say they’ll shut down highways, Lambert Airport or downtown businesses.

    Sept. 15, 2017

    Wilson announces a not guilty verdict for Stockley.


    0 0


    MONTREAL—Provincial police say the father of a six-year-old boy who is the subject of an Amber Alert is still at large after being seen in a motel in northwestern Quebec and then in a town further south.

    Louka Fredette went missing at about 5:35 p.m. Thursday and police believe he is with Ugo Fredette, 41.

    Spokeswoman Martine Asselin says the father was spotted at a motel in Rouyn-Noranda on Thursday night and was then seen today in Maniwaki, about 400 kilometres to the south.

    Police do not know if the boy was with his father in either location.

    Read more:Quebec provincial police issue Amber Alert for missing 6-year-old boy

    Forensic teams initially inspected a white Ford F250 pickup truck that was abandoned in Lachute, northwest of Montreal. Police then found an abandoned grey Jeep Cherokee they believe Fredette had been driving.

    Authorities have confirmed that a woman found dead in a home in Saint-Eustache was the boy’s mother. They say Veronique Barbe was married to Fredette and had four children, including three before her relationship with Fredette.

    A sign for a home daycare she operated was prominently displayed as forensic teams milled about in front of the residence.

    Ugo Fredette worked on a documentary about Cedrika Provencher, who was nine years old when she disappeared from her home in Trois-Rivieres 10 years ago. Her remains were found in a wooded area in December 2015.

    Her grandfather, Henri Provencher, who runs the Cedrika Provencher Foundation, posted an appeal on Facebook urging Fredette to turn over his son to police.

    “I appeal to your father’s heart, do not commit the irremediable,” Provencher said. “Thank you for acting as a responsible father Ugo. Think of your child.”

    Pina Arcamone, director of the Missing Children’s Network, says the Amber Alert program has been successful each time its been used since May 2003.

    “In each of these cases, all the children to date were recovered within hours of the deployment of the Amber Alert,” Arcamone said. “And we’re really hoping that with Louka, we can continue this track record.”

    Anyone with information is asked to call 911.


    0 0


    DETROIT—An expert who has warned about dangerous lead levels in Flint, Michigan’s drinking water declared on Friday a qualified end to the crisis.

    Virginia Tech researcher Marc Edwards made the announcement at a news conference two years to the day after standing in front of City Hall with residents and other researchers to highlight serious lead contamination problem in the financially struggling industrial city’s water supply.

    Edwards acknowledged the symmetry of the situations yet cautioned against celebration. He recommended the continued use of filters and warned many residents will take a long time to regain trust in government officials who initially dismissed their concerns.

    Read more:

    Michigan sues Flint after city council refuses to approve water deal

    Michigan governor defends cabinet members charged in Flint water crisis

    Michigan’s health chief Nick Lyon, 4 others charged in Flint water crisis

    “Today, we have equally definitive data showing that the levels of these parameters currently in Flint water are now back to normal levels for a city with old lead pipes,” Edwards said. “Obviously, there is still a crisis of confidence among Flint residents that’s not going to be restored anytime soon. It’s beyond the reach of science to solve — it can only be addressed by years of trustworthy behaviour by government agencies, who unfortunately lost that trust, deservedly, in the first place.”

    Edwards’ team has collected samples from 138 Flint homes, with the fifth and likely final round last month. The testing showed that lead levels continued to stay well below the federal safety standard of 15 parts per billion.

    Flint’s water was tainted with lead for at least 18 months, starting in spring 2014. While under the control of state-appointed financial managers, the city tapped the Flint River as its water source while a new pipeline was being built to Lake Huron. But the river water wasn’t treated to reduce corrosion. As a result, lead leached from old pipes and fixtures.

    Elevated lead levels, which can cause miscarriage, developmental delays and other problems, were found in some children. The disaster has led to 15 current or former governmental officials being charged with crimes and lawsuits filed by numerous residents.

    A federal judge in March approved a landmark deal to replace lead and galvanized steel water lines at 18,000 homes by 2020. The city has so far replaced more than 3,000, part of the mayor’s plan to replace 6,000 this year.

    Edwards expressed concern for federal lead and copper rules, which he said are several years out of date. He praised cities and states working toward enacting stricter standards.

    He’s also working with many other cities that have similar lead levels in their water supply once found in Flint’s.

    “We all owe Flint a huge debt of gratitude for exposing this problem nationally,” he said.

    Edwards’ team also found that levels of bacteria Legionella, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, are back to those seen before the Flint water crisis. Some experts have linked Flint’s water to the disease, a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria that thrive in warm water and infect the lungs. There were nearly 100 cases in the Flint area, including 12 deaths, in 2014 and 2015.

    Flint resident Mona Munroe-Younis said she’s encouraged by her city’s progress but knows the structural, social and medical efforts must continue.

    “It’s a bit of a fear in the back of my head that people will just move on and forget Flint,” said Munroe-Younis, who works in public health. “We’ve got years to go in this recovery... There are still transitions we’re going through.”


    0 0


    So many city hall comings and goings as September turns its back on a wet, forgettable summer.

    Last month’s farewell to the well-lived public life of Councillor Pam McConnell was just right — whimsical, poignant, haunting and real. Just like the councillor and school trustee of 35 years.

    When do we ever send off a politician with renditions of James Oppenheim’s Bread and Roses, Phil Ochs’ When I’m Gone and the capper, Who Put the Bomp? In the Cathedral Church of St. James, no less.

    And what is it about these New Democrat city councillors that so endear constituents and evoke lasting appreciation and love. Yes, love.

    Dan Leckie. Jack Layton. Pam McConnell...

    Maybe, it’s because they loved us first. Maybe it’s because they dared to spend public money to deliver public benefits to segments of the public doomed to lives of poverty and disengagement, without help. Socialists, yes. And proud of it.

    Ever since I migrated from the suburban city councils to report and comment on politicians charged with the inner city and the entire Toronto populace, I have concluded that what the suburbs lack — in spades — is the direct, relentless representation that downtowners get from a succession of councillors.

    Jane-Finch, Rexdale, Dixon, Malvern, Galloway and Lawrence-Weston Rd. would be more like Regent Park and Alexandria Park if they had been represented by Layton, McConnell and their ilk.

    It’s not just a matter of party, either. Anthony Perruzza is a New Democrat; as is Maria Augimeri and Glenn De Baeremaeker. But these suburban lefties are tame versions of the downtown socialists. And it shows.

    Meanwhile, if your suburban ward is represented by a right-wing councillor, you are doomed, or endangered, no matter your obvious and public need. How is it possible for north Etobicoke to be so bereft of public gems: amenities that define and mark a place as desirable public space; parks animated or equipped with more than trees and natural trails?

    Do you hear councillors from suburban at-risk neighbourhoods raising hell at city hall for improvements? Rarely. But you hear them crying about property taxes. You hear them threatening to block traffic if the city dares to improve their neighbourhoods with light rail transit, because, y’know, a subway is coming, in, ah, er, 150 years. And who wants those damned streetcars getting in the way of cars?

    One of the most controversial councillors of them all, Doug Ford, is about to run for mayor again. At least his brother, the late mayor, had some local and community bona fides. Besides, he engendered sympathy because he presented as goofy. Dougie has neither charm, heart, soul or wit; his is calculated goodness at its cynical and political core.

    Toronto will benefit from a Doug Ford mayoralty as much as Etobicoke north did from a Doug Ford term as councillor. Not nearly.

    So, bully for Councillor Vincent Crisanti for endorsing Doug Ford for mayor. Crisanti is the classic old school ward heeler. He attends to local events, drops in on groups frequently to kiss the babies, squeeze the flesh. Yet his ward remains among the poorest. And his affiliation with the Fords, while giving him success at the polls, does nothing to lift Ward 1 from the dumps.

    If the likes of Layton, Joe Pantalone, Adam Vaughan represented Ward 1, the advances would have been obvious and many.

    One other “going” is chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat, leaving at the end of the month. You have read nice things about her in this space. But don’t get carried away. Like the man I respect greatly — former city manager Joe Pennachetti — Keesmaat did not do enough to derail the subway to Scarborough.

    Both hid behind excuses that they cautioned the politicians against the subway and outlined the massive, unnecessary costs. But, if they did, they engaged in way too benign ways. They knew where the bodies were buried. They knew the damning details and stats and figures that a reporter could mine to show how utterly ridiculous the subway decision was. They did not rail. They did not respond as if their own money, reputation and future were at stake. Instead of leaking that information — pointing to the smoking gun — they covered up for the politicians, sometimes with incomprehensible gobbledygook.

    There is a long history of this. Civil servants swallow their tongues, do the bidding of their political masters, and then ride off leaving a predictable mess behind. We must demand and expect more from those close to the emperor.

    So, just to be clear. Politicians should not be trusted with crafting transit plans. (Just imagine what we will hear in the 2018 mayoralty election). Yes, our system requires elected officials vote and sign off. But we need a way to embolden city staff and consultants and planners to feed their information into a public pot of debate and consideration — where the data and conclusions must stand the test of reason, inquiry, study and examination.

    So much depends on a new approach. The status quo is robbing us blind and sending us to the public poorhouse.

    Now, after the horses have bolted, we are engaging auditors to tell us exactly how badly we’ve been duped.

    Royson James’ column appears weekly. rjames@thestar.ca


    0 0


    A former pastor who was convicted of manslaughter in the death of his pregnant wife will get a new trial because a judge “compromised the fairness” of the proceedings, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Friday.

    Philip Grandine was accused of drugging his wife, Karissa Grandine, causing her to drown in a bathtub in October 2011.

    He was found guilty of manslaughter in 2014 and sentenced to 15 years in prison, less four months for time served in custody.

    Grandine’s lawyers appealed the conviction on the grounds that Judge Robert Clark opened the door for the jury to convict Grandine based on an “entirely speculative” theory.

    The Crown argued at trial that Grandine either put his wife in the bath or did not stop her from taking a bath after he gave her the sedative lorazepam. Then he either waited for her to pass out and drown, or held her head underwater, the Crown alleged.

    Grandine’s defence argued that Karissa took the sedatives herself and accidentally drowned, or that she took her own life.

    During deliberations, the jury asked Clark whether Grandine knowing his drugged wife was taking a bath and not stopping her was equivalent to causing her to get into the tub.

    Clark responded that the jury could find Grandine guilty of manslaughter if they determined that he failed to provide the “necessaries of life” to his wife.

    In other words, the jury could convict Grandine if they found he had known his wife had ingested enough of the sedatives to be in danger of drowning, but did not stop her from getting in the bath.

    That answer “introduced to the jury a new unlawful act — failing to provide the necessaries of life — thereby opening a door to finding the appellant culpable without needing to find he had administered lorazepam to his wife,” the Court of Appeal said in its decision.

    “The answer thereby undermined the crux of the (Grandine’s) defence – namely, he should be acquitted if the jury could not conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that he had administered lorazepam to his wife.”

    On that basis, the appeal court overturned Grandine’s conviction and ordered a new trial.


    0 0


    It’s hard to go off the grid on a residential Riverdale street, but Rolf Paloheimo has managed for two decades.

    With no hookup to municipal water or sewage and only minimal use of Toronto Hydro electricity, Paloheimo’s three-bedroom home has been making green tech livable since 1996.

    “This is the most comfortable house I’ve ever lived in,” Paloheimo said. “Absolutely, bar none.”

    Paloheimo, 63, pays only one utility bill a month, for electricity. Thanks to the solar panels covering the front of his home, that bill can be as little as nothing to $10 during summer months. He’s not connected to, and doesn’t pay for, water or gas.

    His home, dubbed the Healthy House, was the result of a February 1992 competition held by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

    Two winners emerged — one each in Vancouver and Toronto. The winning designs promoted resident health and environmental sustainability, while remaining affordable and accessible to the general public.

    Toronto-based architect Martin Liefhebber was behind Toronto’s winning bid, but couldn’t find a builder until Paloheimo, a builder and project manager, volunteered.

    He and Liefhebber built the duplex, near Withrow Park, from the ground up, and Paloheimo agreed to move his young family into one of the two units.

    “We promised to make the house self-sufficient and not use any non-renewable fuel,” Paloheimo said.

    The other unit in Paloheimo and Liefhubber’s creation became an environmentally-friendly attraction with thousands of people touring through. Today, it’s a private residential home.

    “Despite the home’s high-tech appearance, most of the products and systems are simple and straightforward,” said Chris Ives, CMHC project manager, said in a Toronto Healthy House report published after the house was built.

    “Off-grid houses do not necessarily require hours of labour for upkeep. In fact, everything in the house is easy to maintain and available in today’s marketplace.”

    Duncan Hill, manager of housing needs policy research at CMHC, said an off-the-grid approach appeals to some — but not all.

    “To be off the grid is to be independent and to be independent means you have to install, operate, maintain and look after systems that you otherwise wouldn’t have to do,” Hill said, adding that most homeowners don’t want to deal with sewage.

    Hill said the Healthy House wasn’t so much about being independent as it was about showing what was possible.

    “It was more demonstrating that you could take a house to such low energy needs, water needs, produce so little sewage that it doesn’t need those connections,” Hill said. “So if anything, you’re trying to make a point.”

    Much of the Healthy House remains true to how it was built and later featured on a 1998 stamp.

    But those years haven’t passed without some “failed ideas,” Paloheimo said.

    Two fridges with outdoor compressors couldn’t keep food frozen in the summer and were replaced. There was also a short-lived “drying closet:” a small room with circulating air to dry clothes.

    Now living alone for most of the year, Paloheimo’s energy needs have decreased.

    Toronto Hydro supplements power collected by solar panels — the only aspect of his house that remains on the grid.

    Paloheimo recently installed an above-ground air to water heat pump that provides heat in the winter and cooling in the summer, and the steel corrugated ceilings help keep the house temperate.

    Heating the house is a lot like buying the right sleeping bag for the weather, Paloheimo explained.

    “You design the house so that you don’t really need to heat it too much.”

    Under the back patio, a water tank the size of a small truck collects rainwater from the slanted roof. The water is purified by a slow sand filter.

    “One of the reasons for using the rainwater is it tastes better,” Paloheimo said. “Also, it cleans your dishes better. It’s just way better.”

    The house can use approximately 120 litres of water a day, based on the size of the tank and Toronto’s 25-year rainfall pattern. The average Canadian household uses about 250 litres per person daily.

    “That was the reason we had to concentrate on water saving features and on recycling,” Paloheimo said.

    The house isn’t connected to municipal sewers, either. Waste and waste water is filtered and biologically treated in a self-contained system. Purified water is recycled back into the home’s toilets and washing machine. Sand, grit and indigestible waste needs to be pumped out every several years.

    The Healthy House is an anomaly on the quiet Riverdale street, but the popularity of the CMHC homes demonstrated the real-world viability of environmentally-friendly homes.

    “Nobody’s talking about this being something from outer space or quirky or technically complicated,” Hill said. “It’s more just a matter of when the market is ready now, to pick it up.”

    The CMHC’s Healthy House initiative was succeeded by an Equilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative. Much like the Healthy Houses, Equilibrium homes are energy-efficient and reduce environmental impacts.

    Ten demonstration housing projects have been constructed in Quebec, Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, B.C. and New Brunswick.

    The Equilibrium initiative ended a few years back, Hill said, adding that demonstration projects are always in the CMHC’s toolbox.

    Paloheimo said Toronto’s Healthy House is becoming too big for him now, but he’s sold on environment-friendly living.

    “I actually wouldn’t mind building another house,” he said.


    0 0


    EDMONTON—Omar Khadr’s visits with his controversial sister will remain restricted, but he has been granted more freedom to use the internet.

    A hearing on whether to ease some bail conditions for the former Guantanamo Bay detainee was held Friday morning in Edmonton.

    Khadr, 30, has been out on bail pending the appeal of his conviction by a U.S. military commission for five purported war crimes.

    Khadr was seeking unsupervised visits with his sister, Zaynab Khadr, who has in the past expressed support for the Al Qaeda terrorist group.

    In 2005, Zaynab was investigated by RCMP for allegedly aiding Al Qaeda, but no charges were filed. She is now reportedly living in Sudan with her fourth husband, but is planning a visit to Canada. Khadr’s lawyers had argued their client wanted to reconnect with his family and is old enough that he can’t be negatively swayed.

    Justice June Ross said there is nothing to indicate his sister has changed her views, so any contact Khadr has with her must still be made with one of his lawyers or his bail supervisor present.

    Another request to be allowed to travel more freely within Canada without having to gain permission was also denied.

    Khadr also sought unrestricted access to the internet, and was granted more freedom provided he stays away from anything to do with terrorism on the web.

    Read more:

    Omar Khadr to request loosened bail conditions, including unfettered access to sister

    $134-million claim against Khadr is based on false information and should be thrown out, lawyer argues

    He had been restricted to only using his personal devices, but his lawyer argued that was unrealistic in an age where connections to the internet are everywhere.

    The Toronto-born Khadr spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15 and accused of tossing a grenade that killed special forces soldier Christopher Speer at a militant compound in Afghanistan in 2002.

    In 2010, Khadr pleaded guilty to multiple charges before a U.S. military commission, including to killing Speer, but has since said he can’t remember if he tossed the grenade. He has said he entered the plea to try to get out of Guantanamo, where he says he was mistreated, and into the Canadian justice system.

    He returned to Canada in 2012 to serve out the rest of the eight-year sentence he was given.

    Canada’s Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that Khadr’s charter rights were violated at Guantanamo and Canadian officials contributed to that violation. Khadr filed a $20-million lawsuit against the government and this summer settled the case for a reported $10.5 million.

    Khadr has said he wants to move on with his life. He recently married and plans to move to the city of Red Deer, halfway between Edmonton and Calgary, to study to become a nurse.


    0 0


    LONDON—Hundreds of British police embarked on a massive manhunt Friday, racing to find out who placed a homemade bomb on a packed London subway train during the morning rush hour.

    The explosion — labelled a terrorist attack by police — wounded 29 people and ignited a panicked stampede to safety. Experts said London may have escaped far worse carnage because it appeared that the bomb only partially exploded.

    “Clearly, this was a device that was intended to cause significant harm,” Prime Minister Theresa May said after chairing a meeting of the government’s COBRA emergency committee.

    Police called it a terrorist attack, the fifth in Britain this year.

    Read more: Terrorism-related arrests in U.K. hit record high, officials say

    The National Health Service says 21 people are being treated and eight others have already been discharged. The London Ambulance Service says it took 19 patients to hospitals, most with minor injuries. The others went in themselves.

    Witnesses described seeing a “wall of fire” as the bomb — hidden in a plastic bucket inside a supermarket freezer bag — went off about 8:20 a.m. while the train was at the Parsons Green station in southwest London.

    It was not a large explosion, and British police and health officials said none of the injured was thought to be seriously hurt.

    The Metropolitan Police force said there had been no arrests so far, but hundreds of detectives, aided by intelligence agents, were looking at surveillance camera footage of the subway, carrying out forensic work and speaking to witnesses.

    It’s not clear whether the device was intended to explode when it did. The site of the blast was in a leafy, affluent part of the city, not near any of London’s top tourist sites. British media reported that the bomb included a timer.

    Photos taken inside the train show a white plastic bucket inside a foil-lined shopping bag. Flames and what appear to be wires emerge from the top.

    Terrorism analyst Magnus Ranstorp of the Swedish Defence University said that, from photos, it appeared the bomb did not fully detonate, as much of the device and its casing remained intact.

    “They were really lucky with this one, it could have really become much worse,” he said.

    Police were first alerted when commuters reported a noise and a flash aboard the District Line train. Commuter Lauren Hubbard was on the train when she heard a loud bang.

    “I looked around and this wall of fire was just coming towards us. You just run,” said Hubbard, who fled the above-ground station with her boyfriend.

    Others described “absolute chaos” as hundreds rushed to flee the danger.

    “I ended up squashed on the staircase. People were falling over, people fainting, crying, there were little kids clinging onto the back of me,” said Ryan Barnett, 25.

    Mark Rowley, head of counterterrorism for the Metropolitan Police, said “this was a detonation of an improvised explosive device.”

    He said 18 people had been injured, most with “flash burns.” Health officials later said four others hurt in the bombing went to the hospital themselves.

    Rowley said Britain’s domestic intelligence service, MI5, was helping with the investigation, which was being led by the police counter-terrorism unit. He gave no information about potential suspects, saying “It’s very much a live investigation.”

    U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that it was another attack “by a loser terrorist,” adding that “these are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard.”

    The London police force declined to comment on Trump’s suggestion that it knew about the attacker. May said it was not helpful “for anybody to speculate” on an ongoing investigation.

    Witness Chris Wildish told Sky News that he saw “out of the corner of my eye, a massive flash of flames that went up the side of the train,” followed by “an acrid chemical smell.”

    He said many of those on board were schoolchildren, who were knocked around as the crowd surged away from the fireball.

    Commuter Richard Aylmer-Hall said he saw several people injured, apparently trampled as they fled.

    “I saw crying women. There was lots of shouting and screaming, there was a bit of a crush on the stairs going down to the streets,” he said.

    During rush hour, the London Underground train can hold more than 800 people. Trains were suspended along a stretch of the line, and several homes were evacuated as police set up a 50-meter cordon around the scene while they secured the device.

    London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the city “utterly condemns the hideous individuals who attempt to use terror to harm us and destroy our way of life.”

    May said that Britain’s official threat level from terrorism remained at “severe,” meaning an attack is highly likely, and was not being raised to critical.

    The country’s threat level was briefly raised to critical, meaning an attack may be imminent, after a May 22 suicide bombing at Manchester Arena that killed 22 people.

    Friday’s attack is the fourth in London this year, after deadly vehicle attacks near Parliament, on London Bridge and near a mosque in Finsbury Park in north London.

    British authorities say they have foiled 19 plots since the middle of 2013, six of them since a van and knife attack on Westminster Bridge and Parliament in March, which killed five people.

    The London Underground has been targeted several times in the past, notably in July 2005, when suicide bombers blew themselves up on three subway trains and a bus, killing 52 people and themselves. Four more bombers tried a similar attack two weeks later, but their devices failed to fully explode.

    Last year Damon Smith, a student with an interest in weapons and Islamic extremism, left a knapsack filled with explosives and ball bearings on a London subway train. It failed to explode.

    In its recent Inspire magazine, Al Qaeda urged supporters to target trains.

    Separately, French counterterrorism authorities were investigating an attempted knife attack Friday on a soldier patrolling a large Paris subway interchange.

    The knife-wielding assailant tried to attack a soldier assigned to a special military force protecting prominent sites following deadly Islamic extremist attacks. He was quickly arrested and no one was hurt.


    0 0


    Premier Kathleen Wynne is giving Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown six weeks to retract his false statement that she is on “trial” in the Sudbury byelection bribery case.

    Wynne, who had threatened to serve Brown with a libel suit if he had not apologized by 5 p.m. Thursday, has extended that deadline until Oct. 24.

    “Earlier this week Patrick Brown made a statement about the premier that was false and defamatory,” Jennifer Beaudry, the premier’s director of media relations, wrote in an email Friday morning.

    “His conduct in the days following his remarks has been just as disappointing. As a public figure, he should recognize that defaming another politician is unacceptable,” continued Beaudry.

    “While Patrick Brown refuses to apologize, we are encouraged that media coverage and public discussion over the last 48 hours has covered just how wrong and misleading his comments were,” she added.

    “We continue to consider all of our options at this point in time, and will govern ourselves by the timelines set out in the Libel and Slander Act.”

    According to that provincial law, a notice of defamation must be served “within six weeks after the alleged libel has come to the plaintiff’s knowledge.”

    On Tuesday, Brown said Ontario had “a sitting premier sitting in trial” and that Wynne “stands trial” in Sudbury.

    His comments came as the premier was testifying as a Crown witness in a Sudbury courtroom where Patricia Sorbara, her former deputy chief of staff, and Liberal activist Gerry Lougheed are on trial for alleged Election Act violations. Both Sorbara and Lougheed deny any wrongdoing.

    Brown has dismissed her appearance in court as “a sorry spectacle” and has declined to correct his misstatement.

    “Regrettably, Kathleen Wynne compounded the problem by this threat of a lawsuit. Her baseless lawsuit will be ignored,” the Tory leader said Thursday.

    His refusal to set the record straight had Deb Matthews, the deputy premier, accusing him of bringing Trump-style politics to Ontario.

    “There is a principle in Canada that you do not make defamatory, misleading comments about another political leader,” Matthews said Thursday.

    “In Canada, we actually expect people to be honest. There is, south of the border, a change in that culture. I do not want to see that change coming to Canada,” she said.

    “He’s a lawyer — he knows exactly what he did. He knows that he said something that was not true about the premier.”

    Wynne’s lawyer, Jack Siegel, has said “this conduct by Patrick Brown is extremely disappointing.”

    “As a matter of law, a full and fair retraction prevents a plaintiff from recovering punitive damages,” Siegel said Thursday

    “Mr. Brown’s refusal to take that simple step therefore suggests that this was not an accident and that his remarks were deliberately made with the intention of harming the reputation of the premier.”

    On Wednesday, he served Brown with a letter stating that he “made a statement about the premier of Ontario that is false and defamatory.”

    “Contrary to your statement, Premier Wynne is not standing trial. Your statement is false and misleading and appears to have been made with the intention to harm the reputation of Ms. Wynne,” the lawyer wrote.

    Last week, Tory MPP Bill Walker (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound) was forced to apologize for comments he made on AM640 in Toronto when he erroneously said the premier was under investigation by police.

    Brown’s gaffe Tuesday came at a Queen’s Park scrum with reporters from the Star, CBC, The Canadian Press, Radio-Canada, Global, CP24, CTV, Globe and Mail, QP Briefing, TFO, Queen’s Park Today, Fairchild, CHCH, and Newstalk 1010.

    Prior to the 2014 election, Wynne launched a similar action against former PC leader Tim Hudak and MPP Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton) over comments related to the gas-plants scandal. That matter was settled in 2015.


older | 1 | .... | 1000 | 1001 | (Page 1002) | 1003 | 1004 | .... | 1035 | newer