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    OTTAWA—The federal government is nowhere near ready for the massive storms and more frequent floods and fires that are expected to result from climate change, warns Canada’s environment commissioner.

    In her autumn annual reports, Julie Gelfand asked whether Ottawa will be able to protect more than $66 billion in federal assets like bridges, roads and airports, while also continuing to provide services, when fires, floods and extreme storms hit hard.

    The answer, she said, is a resounding ‘No.’

    “The federal government is not prepared to deal with the impacts of climate change that we are all feeling right now,” Gelfand told a news conference Tuesday.

    A lack of federal preparation is her “biggest concern” coming out of the latest round of audits, she said: only five of the 19 departments she looked at have even figured out where the risks are from climate change, let alone how best to deal with them.

    She said Transport Canada was the gold standard in both assessing risk and preparing to mitigate for it, including concerns about ports being affected by rising sea levels, and railways impacted by extreme cold or thawing permafrost.

    The other 14 departments, including National Defence and Infrastructure Canada, all indicated it would be nice to have such risks identified but haven’t done anything about it — meaning Ottawa doesn’t come close to having a full picture of the threats climate change poses to its assets and activities.

    Gelfand was also critical of the government for repeatedly promising to cut emissions, but never actually doing so.

    Read more:

    Global warming’s effect on jet stream could mean longer periods of extreme weather

    Environment Canada report says we are on pace to miss emissions target

    Since 1992, Canada has developed multiple plans to cut emissions and made four international targets to do so but has never come close to meeting a single one, she said. In fact, emissions have gone up more than 15 per cent since then.

    Canada’s first target, set in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, aimed to cut emissions to 613 million tonnes annually by 2000. That target was missed by 131 million tonnes. The Kyoto Protocol in 2005, meanwhile, aimed to cut emissions to 576 million tonnes by 2012, but fell short by 142 million.

    In 2012, Canada committed to the Copenhagen Accord, aiming to get to 620 million tonnes by 2020. Three years later Canada abandoned that target and is now aiming under the Paris Accord to get to 523 million tonnes by 2030.

    As of 2015 — the latest year for which emissions data is available — Canada was nearly 200 million tonnes shy of that goal and the commissioner noted that with expected increases in emissions in some areas, the actual amount to cut by 2030 is closer to 230 million tonnes.

    Gelfand also found Canada has introduced just two regulations to help meet emissions targets and failed to introduce regulations for oil and gas and other high emitting industries as planned.

    One bright spot in the reports gave high marks to the government’s efforts to encourage clean technology innovation. An audit of three federal funds for clean energy and other technology development showed the money had been properly spent and was easily tracked.

    However, the commissioner does want Canada to do a better job at showing what the impact of the funds has been, including what kind of emissions reductions specific investments will generate.

    Many of the concerns Gelfand raised date back to previous governments. While the current Liberal government has done some positive work in these areas, she said, concrete targets and priorities are needed so all departments and provinces know what they have to do and by when.

    “Climate change is one of the defining issues of this century,” said Gelfand. “It will require a whole of government approach. It’s time to move from planning to action.”

    Environment and Climate Change Canada intends to produce a status report on the Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change before the end of the year.


    Ottawa ‘not prepared’ to deal with impacts of climate change, environment commissioner saysOttawa ‘not prepared’ to deal with impacts of climate change, environment commissioner says

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    Two men have been charged with second-degree murder in a double shooting outside the Rebel nightclub early Sunday that left two other men dead.

    Police found the victims at the scene, near Cherry and Polson Sts., around 3:10 a.m.. One man was pronounced dead on scene, and the other was taken to hospital, where he died from his injuries.

    On Tuesday, police formally identified the victims as Tyler McLean, 25, and Zemarai Khan Mohammed, 26. Mohammed was also known as Amir Jamal.

    Police also said Abdirisaq Ali, 23, of Toronto, and Tanade Mohamed, 24, of Edmonton, had been arrested on charges of second-degree murder. They were scheduled to appear in a Toronto court Tuesday.

    The arrests came after officers executed search warrants in the York Mills Rd. and DVP area on Monday, police said in a news release.

    Friends and family of the victims were left reeling by the deaths. A Gofundme page raising money to ship Jamal’s body back to his family in Afghanistan called him “the most genuine and kind person.”

    Adam Mahgoub, a friend of McLean, said he was “very well respected, very well liked.”

    McLean was a promoter for the nightclub who had just returned from a vacation, according to a coworker. Jamal had been sending money back home to his family. The two men were friends.

    The deaths are listed as Toronto’s 44th and 45th homicides this year.

    With files from Alanna Rizza and Samantha Beattie


    2 men arrested in Rebel nightclub shooting deaths2 men arrested in Rebel nightclub shooting deaths

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    WASHINGTON—House Republican leaders called for unity and prayer Tuesday after the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, but offered no new legislation to tighten gun laws and said a bill to ease regulations on gun silencers would be shelved indefinitely.

    “We are all reeling from this horror in Las Vegas,” Speaker Paul Ryan said at a news conference. “This is just awful.”

    Ryan said there’s no plan for the House to act soon on a National Rifle Association-backed bill to ease regulations on gun silencers. A House panel had backed the bill last month and lawmakers were expected to move ahead on the measure.

    The bill is “not scheduled right now. I don’t know when it will be scheduled,” Ryan said.

    Instead, Ryan and other GOP leaders urged prayers to unify the country and said a positive way to respond to the shooting is to donate blood. Ryan said the actions of the gunman who killed at least 59 people and wounded hundreds more will not “define us as a country. It’s not who we are.”

    Ryan’s comments came as Democrats renewed calls for gun safety legislation.

    Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, pushed Congress to pass a universal background checks bill and “commonsense gun laws” to help prevent the next mass shooting.

    “We can’t stop the shootings that have already happened in Las Vegas, Chicago, Roseburg, Oregon, and across the nation. We failed to respond in time for those victims and their families. But if we work together, we can stop shootings in the future,” Durbin said.

    Read more:

    Las Vegas hospitals overwhelmed after mass shooting left 59 dead, 527 injured

    What was Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock’s motive? Investigators struggle to piece it together

    Jimmy Kimmel calls for gun control after Las Vegas shooting

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned that the GOP-backed silencer bill could have deadly consequences.

    “One of the few ways the police had to go after this shooter was they could look for the sound, try to hear the sound of where the guns came from,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “Thank God our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have pulled back on this bill.”

    Schumer and other Democrats noted that Republicans postponed a hearing on the silencer bill in June when House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others were shot at a congressional baseball practice.

    “When two mass shootings force you to delay a bill that would make those mass shootings harder to detect and stop, maybe that’s a sign you ought to let go of the bill go, once and for all,” Schumer said.

    Besides the silencer measure, House GOP leaders had been moving forward with a bill to allow people with concealed-carry permits to take their weapons to other states. Republicans had been upbeat about prospects for legislation, but votes on both measures seemed unlikely.

    Sen. Chris Murphy who favours gun control, said Monday it was “time for Congress to get off its ass and do something.” In an outdoor news conference Monday, former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, grievously wounded in a 2011 attack, turned to the Capitol, raised her fist and said, “The nation is counting on you.”

    But no action was expected, as other mass shootings in Colorado, Connecticut, and Florida, and even attacks on Gifford and Scalise, failed to unite Congress on any legislative response. A bipartisan bill on background checks failed in the Senate four years ago, and since then Republicans have usually pointed to mental health legislation when questioned about the appropriate congressional response to gun violence.

    House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Monday asked Ryan to create a select committee on gun violence to recommend legislation. A group of Democratic lawmakers asked Ryan to remove the silencer bill from the House calendar indefinitely.

    In an interview with The Associated Press last month, Ryan said Congress needs to fund mental health reforms. “But if you’re saying that this Republican Congress is going to infringe upon Second Amendment rights, we’re not going to do that,” he said.

    House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said lawmakers should remember the good feelings they shared when Scalise returned to the Capitol last week, more than three months after the June 14 shooting.

    “It’s really a time that we have to heal. It’s really a time to find what divides us” and put it aside, he said. “We need to find that we are stronger. We cannot allow this terror to win.”


    Paul Ryan says NRA-backed gun bill on silencers shelved indefinitelyPaul Ryan says NRA-backed gun bill on silencers shelved indefinitely

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    Trish Tervit’s “Taj Mahal” of backyard chicken coops will soon have new tenants after council’s decision Tuesday to approve a pilot project in four Toronto wards.

    In 2010, Tervit got three chicks to mostly entertain and educate her two daughters.

    They helped keep the backyard clean, there was no increase in raccoons or other pests and the only noise was a little daytime clucking.

    Still, somebody in her upper Beaches neighborhood complained and, after a warning from the city and a decisive 2013 council decision closing the door on backyard coops, Tervit gave away her “girls” to a farm outside the city.

    On Tuesday, council reversed course, and approved a pilot project that will allow Toronto residents in wards 5 (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) 13 (Parkdale-High Park) 21 (St. Paul’s) and 32 (Beaches-East York) — Tervit’s east-end ward — to keep up to four chickens in their backyards.

    “I adored having the chickens,” Tervit said. “We got used to having fresh eggs and fun little pets. When I heard the (council vote) news today, there was no guesswork — I'm already googling where to get some chicks, we'll have some within days,” she said.

    The 23-14 council vote removes chickens from the city’s list of prohibited animals.

    Backyard chickens will not be allowed in apartment buildings condominiums or properties without sufficient outdoor space.

    Eggs produced by the hens could not be sold and roosters would not be allowed in the henhouse. Participants will have to register and agree to regular inspections.

    The proposed pilot will go into effect by the end of October and will operate for up to three years with an interim review at 18 months.

    “It’s a good day for Torontonians. Chickens are already in our community, this normalizes a practice frankly that is around the world,” Councillor Joe Mihevc said after the vote.

    “To have a few pets in your backyard that also have the benefit of producing eggs, there’s nothing wrong with it from a public health perspective, from a nuisance perspective, they are as clean as cats and dogs, they are as clean as the owners who keep care of them.”

    Council critics said the public had not been adequately consulted prior to the debate and decision. “This is ridiculous, government at its worst,” Councillor Jon Burnside said.

    “We should not be entertaining this for a second,” agreed Councillor Jaye Robinson.

    Staff also did not back the move to legalize backyard hens, citing public health and safety issues, potential nuisance problems and concerns about animal welfare.

    Nevertheless, a majority of councillors voted down a motion to refer the pilot project back to the city’s licensing division to hold public consultations.

    While the debate around chickens grabbed all the attention, council also voted to end the exemption that allowed prohibited animals to be used for educational purposes. It will go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

    There was one exception. Council allowed Earth Rangers to use existing skunk, pine martins, armadillo and porcupines until 2021.

    With files from David Rider


    Chickens to be allowed in some Toronto backyardsChickens to be allowed in some Toronto backyards

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    Much has already been written about the challenges awaiting Jagmeet Singh, the first member of a visible minority to lead a federal party.

    But, surely, the challenge rests with Canadian voters who will be asked to show sufficient maturity and tolerance in 2019 that the NDP leader will be judged on his policies, his team and his message, and the turban (no matter how brightly coloured), the beard and the kirpan will have been rendered invisible.

    Invisible as an impediment to a vote, but for Singh, his religious symbols are powerful.

    The country was overdue for a victory for diversity when Singh steamrolled past three other challengers for a first-ballot victory in the NDP race.

    Now it’s up to Canadians to accept that victory for diversity whether it is win, lose or draw for Singh’s NDP in two years.

    The beard, turban and kirpan will have to be part of his message because, for the first time, Canadians have a political leader who knows what so many Canadians know — the bitter pain of being targeted because they look different.

    Voters will have before them a man who grew up with “brown skin, long hair and a funny name.”

    He knows about being pulled over by police for no reason except his colour, and he can relate to the practice of police carding in a way that no leader before him can. He says he has been pulled over 11 times, beginning at age 17, because of the way he looks.

    He has told the story of a couple of bicycle cops carding him when Singh, then a law student, pulled his car into Casa Loma for a break.

    He knew his rights, walked away, got back in his car but couldn’t leave because the bicycles had boxed him in. The officers then called for backup, and a Sikh officer explained it wasn’t carding, just a routine stop.

    Singh knew differently.

    With that background, Singh can credibly paint Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — a man who referred to his “family fortune” during the tax reform controversy — as elitist.

    His is a tall promise to eradicate all racial profiling across the country, first by outlawing it in federally regulated police and border agencies, then have provincial and municipal police provide receipts after stops to build a database to show its prevalence.

    He championed the cause at Queen’s Park to no avail. It has been an ongoing battle in Toronto for many years with powerful police interests putting up roadblocks at every point.

    But it is an issue that will now be raised at the federal level where governments too often shrug off concerns about police behaviour as something outside their jurisdiction.

    Canada now has a racialized leader who can speak directly to racialized communities as one of them.

    The party has also again turned to an outsider as it so often does, and there were inevitable comparisons Sunday to Jack Layton’s 2003 victory.

    Layton was a Toronto city councillor who blitzed five challengers with 53.5 per cent of the weighted vote on the first ballot.

    Singh won 53.8 per cent first-ballot support.

    The 2015 election results hurt fundraising and morale, and the party, under Tom Mulcair, was reeling into obscurity. But Singh still won a better prize than Layton.

    Layton inherited a party that won just 8.5 per cent of the vote in the previous election, had only 13 seats, only one in Ontario and none in Quebec.

    Singh inherits a caucus of 44, a party that won almost 20 per cent of the popular vote in 2015, has eight seats in Ontario and 16 in Quebec.

    Yes, a glass-half-full assessment after what Layton was able to build in 2011, but hardly the depths the party had fallen to in the barren post-Ed Broadbent years.

    Like Layton, Singh has no federal seat. That provides some logistics problems, but is something he can play to his advantage.

    He has the energy to travel the country and grow what he was able to build over barely four months in the leadership race.

    He can take a page from the Trudeau playbook. Trudeau’s advisers calculated his talents were better used travelling the country instead of, as third party leader, than waiting for a couple of questions in the corner of the Commons.

    Singh will have to be seen in Ottawa — not as much as Layton who often wore out his welcome waiting at microphones in his early leadership days — but he will be more effective outside the bubble. That’s where the 2019 votes reside.

    Tim Harper writes on national affairs. tjharper77@gmail.com, Twitter: @nutgraf1


    Jagmeet Singh is the first party leader who knows the bitter pain of racial profiling: Tim HarperJagmeet Singh is the first party leader who knows the bitter pain of racial profiling: Tim Harper

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    A fourth Canadian has been confirmed dead in a mass shooting at a country music show in Las Vegas.

    Tara Roe Smith, who was 34 and lived in Okotoks, Alta., was there with her husband, Zach, for a weekend getaway.

    Her aunt, Val Rodgers, says Roe Smith died when a gunman opened fire on the crowd from the window of a hotel on Sunday night. Nearly 60 people were killed.

    “She was a beautiful soul. She was a wonderful mother and our family is going to miss her dearly,” Rodgers said when contacted at her home in Brandon, Man., on Tuesday.

    Roe Smith, the mother of two young boys, is the third Albertan confirmed dead in the shooting.

    Two other women — Calla Medig and Jessica Klymchuk — also died.

    Medig had taken time off from her job at Moxie’s restaurant in west Edmonton to attend the Route 91 Music Festival in Las Vegas, said her boss, Scott Collingwood.

    “This had started to become an annual thing for her. I believe it was her third trip,” Collingwood told The Canadian Press.

    When news broke about the shooting Sunday, Collingwood said he immediately called Medig, but it went right to voice mail. She didn’t answer texts or Facebook messages, he said.

    On Monday, he called her roommate, who went to Vegas with Medig, and got the terrible news.

    “She was a little bit of everything around here. She was kind of a rock and, as of Thursday, she would have been our newest manager,” Collingwood said. “A lot of us around here have super heavy hearts and we already miss her.”

    Medig grew up in the Rocky Mountain town of Jasper. Jasper Legion Branch 31 said in a Facebook post that it lowered its flag in Medig’s memory. In its post, the legion called her a young, beautiful lady who was taken too soon.

    Alberta Premier Rachel Notley extended her condolences to Medig’s friends and family, as well as to the family of Klymchuk, who was from the small Alberta community of Valleyview.

    Jordan McIldoon, 23, from Maple Ridge, B.C., was also killed.

    A relative said McIldoon would have turned 24 on Friday and was a month shy of completing a course to qualify as a heavy-duty mechanic.

    Read more:

    Las Vegas hospitals overwhelmed after mass shooting left 59 dead, 527 injured

    Three Canadian victims mourned after Las Vegas attack

    B.C. man, Alberta woman among 59 killed in Las Vegas concert shooting


    Fourth Canadian confirmed dead in Las Vegas mass shootingFourth Canadian confirmed dead in Las Vegas mass shooting

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    LAS VEGAS—Investigators struggled Tuesday with a chilling but baffling array of clues in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history—including a hotel room arsenal fit for a commando team—yet were still left trying to grasp what caused a 64-year-old retiree to turn a concert ground into a killing field.

    “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath,” said Joseph Lombardo, the sheriff of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, on Monday.

    At the same time, the probes stretched from a ranch-style home near the Arizona border to the 32nd-floor hotel suite used by Stephen Paddock as a place to scan the crowds at a country music festival and then open fire—leaving at least 59 people dead and hundreds more injured in the rain of bullets or trampled in the panicked rush for cover. He then killed himself as police closed in.

    The massacre was possibly in the planning stages for days.

    Police said Paddock arrived on Thursday at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino overlooking the Vegas Strip. He aroused no suspicion from hotel staff as he surrounded himself with stunning firepower in two rooms: 23 guns, some with scopes. One of the weapons he apparently used in the attack was an AK-47 type rifle, with a stand used to steady it for firing, people familiar with the case said.

    Authorities said a sweep of law enforcement databases showed Paddock had no known run-ins with police. He was the son of a bank robber, who was once on the FBI wanted list. But investigators have turned up no clear links to any underworld gangs or international terrorist groups—despite a claim by Daesh, also known as ISIS or ISIL, that Paddock carried out the carnage in its name.

    Among the questions they have: How a former accountant with a penchant for high-stakes gambling obtained a weapon that sounded to those on the ground like it could fire as an automatic, and how he was able to bring it and many other weapons into a Vegas hotel suite undetected.

    Investigators believe at least one of the guns functioned as if it were fully automatic, and they are now trying to determine if he modified it or other weapons to be capable of spitting out a high volume of fire just by holding down the trigger, people familiar with the case said.

    Read more:

    Las Vegas gunman had ‘bump-stocks’ that could turn firearms into fully automatic ones

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    Gun purchase records indicate Paddock legally bought more than two dozen firearms across a period of years, according to a person close to the investigation. Guns & Guitars, a store in Mesquite, Nev., said in a statement that Paddock purchased some of his weapons there, but employees followed all procedures required by law, and Paddock “never gave any indication or reason to believe he was unstable or unfit at any time.” Lombardo said Paddock also seemed to have purchased guns in Arizona.

    Investigators also found at least 19 additional firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and the chemical tannerite, an explosive, at Paddock’s home in Mesquite, Nev. They also found ammonium nitrate, a chemical that can be used in bomb-making, in Paddock’s vehicle, Lombardo said.

    More than 22,000 people had been at the Route 91 Harvest festival, a three-day country music concert with grounds across the street from the Mandalay Bay resort, when the shooting began about 10 p.m. Sunday, according to police. As country star Jason Aldean played what was expected to be one of the last sets of the night, Paddock opened fire—his bullets flying from a window on the casino’s golden facade, which Paddock had smashed with some type of hammer.

    “People were getting shot at while we were running, and people were on the ground bleeding, crying and screaming. We just had to keep going,” said Dinora Merino, 28, a dealer at the Ellis Island casino who was at the concert with a friend. “There are tents out there and there’s no place to hide. It’s just an open field.”

    The death toll in Las Vegas was massive, surpassing the 49 people slain by a gunman in Orlando in June 2016. That shooter, who later said he was inspired by Daesh, opened fire inside a crowded nightclub. And Lombardo said the number of dead from Sunday’s concert shooting could rise, as an additional 527 were thought to have been injured.

    The dead included a behavioural therapist who was soon to be married, a nursing assistant from Southern California, a commercial fisherman and an off-duty Las Vegas city police officer. Two other officers who were on duty were injured, police said; one was in stable condition after surgery, and the other sustained minor injuries. Another off-duty officer with the Bakersfield Police Department in Southern California also sustained non-life threatening injuries, according to a statement from the department.

    Syed Saquib, a surgeon on duty Sunday night at University Medical Center, said the hospital treated 104 patients, most of whom had gunshot wounds.

    “Those that could be saved, were saved,” Saquib said. “There were a few that came in with devastating, non-survivable injuries.”

    Police and hotel security ultimately scoured several floors of the hotel looking for the shooter and came upon Paddock’s suite, Lombardo said. At some point, Paddock fired through the door and hit a security guard in the leg, he said, adding that the guard is expected to survive. SWAT officers ultimately stormed the room and some fired shots, though Paddock is believed to have killed himself, Lombardo said. He was not counted in the death toll that authorities reported.

    U.S. President Donald Trump ordered flags flown at half-mast and said he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday. He praised the “miraculous” speed with which local law enforcement responded to the shooting—asserting that their actions saved lives—though he noted that hundreds were still mourning the loss of loved ones. Answers for them, he said, would “not come easy.”

    “It was an act of pure evil,” Trump said during remarks from the White House.

    Steve Sisolak, Clark County Commission Chair from Las Vegas, praised the police for their quick response and commended the outpouring of support from the community; more than 25,000 people have donated to a fundraising effort for victims and people have been waiting eight hours in line to donate blood, he said.

    “Las Vegas will never be quite the same as a result of this,” Sisolak said. But, he said, “We’ll be back.”

    Eric Paddock, Stephen Paddock’s brother, said he was stunned to learn that his brother could be responsible for such violence.

    Stephen Paddock had no history of mental illness nor did he have problems with drugs or alcohol, Eric Paddock said, noting that his brother was a high-stakes gambler, sometimes wagering hundreds of dollars on a single hand of video poker.

    When he spoke to the FBI, Eric Paddock said he showed agents three years of text messages from his brother, including one that mentioned winning $250,000 (U.S.) at a casino. A federal law enforcement official said investigators had reviewed reports suggesting Paddock engaged in high-dollar gambling, and they are trying to determine whether he faced financial strains.

    Eric Paddock said his brother was “wealthy,” in part because he had no children to support. Stephen Paddock had worked in the past as an accountant, and he had real estate investments in the Orlando area, Eric Paddock said.

    Eric Paddock said he knew his brother had guns—Stephen once took Eric’s children skeet shooting.

    Police said they believe Paddock was a “lone wolf” attacker, though they were still interested in speaking more with a woman named Marilou Danley who lived with him in Mesquite, Nev., a little more than an hour outside of Las Vegas on the Arizona border. Police had said they were searching for Danley, Paddock’s girlfriend, in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, but they later said she was outside the country—as of Monday afternoon, in Tokyo—and not involved in the shooting.

    “We still consider her a person of interest,” Lombardo said Monday. He said investigators also are exploring a report that Paddock attended a different music festival in September.

    Not long after the shooting, Daesh claimed responsibility, though law enforcement authorities were quick to reject that assertion. “We have determined, to this point, no connection with an international terrorist group,” Aaron Rouse, the special agent in charge of the FBI in Las Vegas, said at a news briefing.

    The FBI had a previous dealing with the Paddock family, though it did not initially seem to involve Stephen. Eric Paddock said his father was Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, a convicted bank robber and con-man described in a wanted poster as “psychopathic” with suicidal tendencies. But Eric Paddock said that his father, who escaped from prison in 1969 and was at one point on the FBI’s list of most-sought-after and dangerous criminals, was not around during their childhood. Benjamin Paddock was apprehended in 1978, according to news reports.

    Relatives said Stephen Paddock, a licensed pilot who owned two airplanes, was a quiet man who often went to Las Vegas to gamble and view concerts. In a statement, Lockheed Martin, the defence giant, said that Paddock worked for them for three years in the 1980s.

    A former neighbour of Stephen Paddock’s recalled that his home in a 55-and-over community in Florida looked more akin to a college freshman’s dorm, with nothing on the walls and only a few pieces of furniture.

    “One of the first times we met him, he told me he lived there, in Vegas,” Don Judy, his next-door neighbour in the community until two years ago, recalled. “He explained that he was a gambler, and a prospector. He said he was buying this house to check it out for his mother . . . and that if she liked it, he planned to buy another next door with a floor plan like ours.”

    Soon, Judy said, Paddock put up a for-sale sign and was gone, saying that he was moving back to Las Vegas.


    What was Las Vegas shooter’s motive? Investigators struggle to piece it togetherWhat was Las Vegas shooter’s motive? Investigators struggle to piece it together

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    SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—Confronting Puerto Rico’s devastation nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria, U.S. President Donald Trump highlighted the island’s relatively low death toll compared with “a real catastrophe like Katrina” as he opened a tour of the island Tuesday by focusing on the best of the reviews he and his administration are getting for the federal response.

    Trump pledged an all-out effort to help the island but added: “Now I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico. And that’s fine. We’ve saved a lot of lives.”

    He said his visit was “not about me” but then praised local officials for offering kind words about the recovery effort and invited one to repeat the “nice things” she’d said earlier. Trump also singled out Gov. Ricardo Rossello for “giving us the highest praise.”

    “Every death is a horror,” he said, “but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous, hundreds of and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here ... nobody’s ever seen anything like this.”

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

    In Washington, Rep. Luis Gutierrez noted that many people in more remote areas still in dire straits and in need of food and water. He told CNN, “Let’s stop talking about the death count until this is over.”

    The most prominent critic in Puerto Rico, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, attended Trump’s first event, in an airport hangar, shaking Trump’s hand as he went around a table greeting officials before sitting in the shadow of a hulking, grey military plane.

    “How are you?” he asked. Her response could not be heard. He thanked her. Days earlier, Cruz said the Trump administration was “killing us with the inefficiency,” pleading for more effective federal leadership in the crisis.

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    Air Force One brought the president, first lady Melania Trump and aides to Puerto Rico in late morning. They were expected to spend more than five hours on the ground, meeting first responders, local officials and some of the 3.4 million people whose lives have been upended by a hurricane that, in the president’s words, left the island U.S. territory “flattened.”

    The plane descended over a landscape marked by mangled palm trees, metal debris strewn near homes and patches of stripped trees, yet with less devastation evident than farther from San Juan.

    At least in his first moments on the island, Trump remained focused primarily on drawing praise. “He didn’t play politics at all,” he said of the governor, making clear that he considers those who have criticized him to be politically driven. Trump misstated Maria as a Category 5 hurricane; it was Category 4 when it hit Puerto Rico.

    “I appreciate your support and I know you appreciate ours,” he said. “Our country has really gone all out. It’s not only dangerous, it’s expensive. But I consider it a great honour.”

    Before leaving Washington, he said Puerto Ricans who have called the federal response insufficient “have to give us more help.”

    Large-scale protests against Trump, talked about in advance, failed to materialize by early afternoon, with only a few knots of people gathering around San Juan to decry his criticism of local politicians.

    As he headed out from the White House to visit the island, Trump told reporters that “it’s now acknowledged what a great job we’ve done.”

    The trip is Trump’s fourth areas battered by storms during an unusually violent hurricane season that has also seen parts of Texas, Florida, Louisiana and the U.S. Virgin Islands inundated by floodwaters and hit by high winds.

    Nearly two weeks after the Puerto Rico storm, 95 per cent of electricity customers remain without power, including some hospitals. And much of the countryside is still struggling to access such basic necessities as food, fresh water and cash.

    Trump’s visit follows a weekend in which he aggressively pushed back against critics, including Cruz. Trump responded angrily on Twitter, deriding the “poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”

    “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” he added, scoffing at “politically motivated ingrates” who had criticized the federal work, and insisting that “tremendous progress” was being made.

    Cruz had begged the administration to “make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives.”

    Trump and his wife were to meet Navy and Marine Corps personnel on the flight deck of the USS Kearsarge as well as the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    Even before the storm hit on Sept. 20, Puerto Rico was in dire condition thanks to a decade-long economic recession that had left its infrastructure, including the island’s power lines, in a sorry state. Maria was the most powerful hurricane to hit the island in nearly a century and unleashed floods and mudslides that knocked out the island’s entire electrical grid and telecommunications, along with many roads.

    Trump and other administration officials have worked in recent days to reassure Americans that recovery efforts are going well and combat a perception that the president failed to fully grasp the magnitude of the storm’s destruction in its immediate aftermath.

    While early response efforts were hampered by logistical challenges, officials say that conditions, especially in the capital, have improved.

    According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, there are now more than 10,000 federal officials on the ground on the island, and 45 per cent of customers now have access to drinking water. Businesses are also beginning to re-open, with 60 per cent of retail gas stations now up and running.

    The Health and Human Services Department says federal medical teams with their own equipment and supplies have been sent to help provide care at Centro Medico, a major trauma centre in San Juan. Additional teams have been sent to five hospitals in other parts of the island.

    The department has also placed a liaison in each hospital that’s open, to make sure the facilities can get timely shipments of fuel needed to keep generators running, as well as medical supplies.

    For many, however, Washington’s response isn’t enough. On Monday, the non-profit relief group Oxfam announced that it would be taking the rare step of intervening in an American disaster, citing its outrage over what it called a “slow and inadequate response.”


    Trump says Puerto Rico has ‘thrown our budget a little out of whack’Trump says Puerto Rico has ‘thrown our budget a little out of whack’

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    EDMONTON—The case of a Somali refugee accused of attacking a police officer and running down four pedestrians has been put over so he can find a lawyer.

    Abdulahi Hasan Sharif made his first court appearance Tuesday on 11 charges, including five of attempted murder, that were laid after a driver hit an Edmonton police officer with a speeding car, stabbed him and then mowed down pedestrians with a cube van during a downtown police chase.

    Tactical officers forced the van on its side and arrested a suspect after using a stun grenade and a Taser.

    Sharif, 30, appeared on closed-circuit TV and followed the proceedings with the help of an interpreter. The accused spoke briefly with a lawyer who stepped forward to help.

    The case was put over until Nov. 14, but could be called back sooner if Sharif can hire a lawyer before then.

    Edmonton police have raised the possibility of terrorism charges against Sharif because there was a Daesh, also known as ISIS and ISIL, flag in his car and he was investigated two years ago for espousing extremist views.

    The RCMP has said the investigation is complex and no terrorism charges have been laid.

    Mahamad Accord, a member of Edmonton’s Somali community, said he will do what he can to help Sharif apply for legal aid if he can’t afford to hire his own lawyer.

    “As you know Canadians — everyone has the right to a fair trial,” Accord said outside court.

    Read more:

    Suspect in Edmonton attacks was investigated by RCMP in 2015

    Edmonton attacks are instances of ‘unstoppable terrorism,’ experts say

    ‘Women will bear the brunt of the racism’: Edmonton Muslim community feeling backlash after Saturday attack

    He said there has been lots of hearsay about Sharif, including reports that he has a brother in Toronto, but no first-hand information.

    Ahmed Ali, a man who described himself as a spokesperson for the city’s Somali community, said Sharif will get help with an interpreter, but wouldn’t comment about helping him get a lawyer.

    Ali also declined to answer questions about Sharif’s background or whether Somalis are facing any backlash over the attacks.

    “I would be lying if I told you that members of our community are feeling threatened, scared or concerned, because the EPS (Edmonton Police Service) has been doing a fantastic job, and so have the RCMP,” he said outside court.

    Sharif also faces charges of dangerous driving, criminal flight causing bodily harm and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

    Police have said they believe the suspect acted alone and without conspirators.

    Const. Mike Chernyk was handling crowd control at a Canadian Football League game Saturday night when he was hit by a car that rammed through a barrier and sent him flying. The driver got out, pulled out a large knife and began stabbing Chernyk.

    The constable was treated in hospital and released.

    As of Monday, two of the pedestrians remained in hospital, one with a fractured skull.

    Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has said Sharif crossed legally into Canada in 2012 at a regular border crossing and obtained refugee status.

    RCMP have said Sharif was checked thoroughly in 2015 after police received a report that he may have been radicalized, but investigators determined that he did not pose a threat.


    Edmonton attack suspect appears in court; case adjourned until NovemberEdmonton attack suspect appears in court; case adjourned until November

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    MONTREAL—The election of Jagmeet Singh as leader was a watershed moment for the NDP and for Canadian politics. But the blow dealt to runner-up Charlie Angus on the first and only ballot of the campaign was also revealing of the party’s mood.

    On Sunday the Timmins-James Bay MP lost both in the real world and on the field of expectations. Angus did not expect to become the NDP’s new leader on that day. But nor was his team prepared for a crushing and definitive defeat.

    By the time the Liberals picked a leader in 2013, the men and women who had run against Justin Trudeau knew they would be little more than extras on the set of a coronation.

    By comparison, Angus entered the weekend of the vote cast as one of two front-runners in the campaign to succeed Thomas Mulcair only to emerge as a distant also-ran.

    A well-respected MP with more parliamentary experience than any of his three rivals, Angus had cause to hope his promise to reconnect the NDP to its roots would resonate with the party base.

    He had not recruited as many new members as Singh, but polls suggested he was the popular choice among New Democrats of longer standing.

    Indeed, at the time of the previous NDP leadership vote in 2012, Angus’s decision to rally Mulcair’s camp after his own preferred candidate, Paul Dewar, was eliminated, had been considered one of the more significant developments of the day.

    And yet, in the end, the result was not even close. Angus —with 19 per cent of the vote — did not only finish more than 30 points behind Singh, he barely beat Niki Ashton (17 per cent) for second place.

    Angus might have fared better under a riding-by-riding weighted system such as that of the Liberals and the Conservatives. The one-member-one-vote NDP formula does play to regional strengths at the potential expense of broader national appeal. Singh’s support was unevenly distributed across the country with a heavy emphasis on the GTA and the larger Vancouver area.

    But the final score suggests that a significant part of the party base Angus was counting on to keep his campaign alive and get to fight another ballot was in Singh’s corner.

    The appetite for a trip back to a future that stood to again feature permanent opposition as an NDP way of life turned out to be limited.

    This is the same party that shocked the country’s political class by summarily handing Mulcair his walking papers a year and a half ago.

    “I did not think we were that kind of people,” one New Democrat had told me in the hours after Mulcair’s leadership had been disposed of.

    Angus’s results suggest the New Democrats are indeed that kind of people. Jack Layton spent his tenure urging New Democrats to set their sights on forming a government. In the pursuit of power they are no less cold-blooded than their Conservative and Liberal counterparts.

    And then it is not a reflection on Angus’s merits to note that his path to victory had the potential to poison both the New Democrat well and that of his leadership. A winning scenario for his campaign featured mostly terrible optics stretched out over two and possibly three divisive weeks.

    As proud as the NDP was of the demographic diversity of its leadership line-up, it had the potential to backfire on the party.

    Here is how the vote would likely have had to unfold for Angus to win.

    On the first ballot, Guy Caron would have been struck from the line-up.

    On Sunday, Caron finished last with 9 per cent of the vote. There is no guarantee his supporters would have even bothered to vote for one of the surviving contenders on subsequent ballots.

    On week two, Niki Ashton would have been voted off the island. It might then have taken yet another week and another round of voting for Angus to prevail over Singh.

    Having beaten in succession a francophone Quebecer, a woman and a runner-up issued from the ranks of Canada’s visible minorities and done so over weeks rather than mere hours on a convention floor, Angus would have his work cut out for him trying to convince Canadians that he was taking command of a forward-looking NDP.

    Chantal Hébert is a national affairs writer. Her column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.


    In NDP leadership race, Charlie Angus was dealt the hardest blow: HébertIn NDP leadership race, Charlie Angus was dealt the hardest blow: Hébert

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    A single vehicle rollover on the QEW at Guelph Line has sent eight people to hospital and also closed down all lanes leading into Toronto.

    Emergency services responded to the scene of the accident around 2:30 p.m. Sgt. Kerry Schmidt of the Ontario Provincial Police said a minivan skidded across the lanes and “came to rest on its roof in the left lane,” leaving “debris all across the highway.”

    Eight people have been rushed to hospital, two with critical and one with serious injuries. The injuries to the others are unknown as yet.

    Several people were “ejected” from the vehicle during the accident and came to rest on the road, itself, in “different locations” across the highway, Schmidt said.

    “That is obviously concerning for us,” he said, adding that the investigation into the crash would likely be lengthy.

    Some of the possible factors at play the police are investigating include mechanical issues, human error, and whether seatbelts were used, he said.

    One westbound lane of the QEW is getting by. But Schmidt said the best thing to do is avoid the area and get off the highway if possible. Anyone who witnessed the accident is encouraged to contact police.


    QEW crash at Guelph Line sends eight to hospital, closes lanes into TorontoQEW crash at Guelph Line sends eight to hospital, closes lanes into Toronto

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    Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul has failed his second medical, according to a report by Sportsnet.

    The result, based on an independent medical examination ordered by the NHL, allows the Leafs to place the winger on long-term injured reserve for this season.

    Lupul is owed $5.3 million this season, and it will not count against the cap, thanks to the result of his medical.

    That means Toronto has about $4.7 million of potential cap space, depending on the makeup of its season-opening roster, which was due to be submitted to the NHL by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

    Lupul spent the entire 2016-17 season on LTIR; he failed his initial medical at the opening of training camp, but a second, independent exam was ordered after Lupul’s controversial post on his instagram account, which brought the original medical into question.

    Lupul quickly apologized for the post and removed it from the account.


    Leafs' Joffrey Lupul fails second medicalLeafs' Joffrey Lupul fails second medical

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    OTTAWA—A new poll conducted by Ekos Research and commissioned for The Canadian Press suggests the Liberals find themselves statistically tied with a resurgent Conservative Opposition.

    The New Democrats — reeling from a disappointing 2015 campaign and lengthy leadership race — remain a distant third, driving home the political challenge confronting newly elected NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

    Ekos president Frank Graves says the numbers suggest the Liberals have finally come back to earth after enjoying a massive lead in public support after the 2015 election — an advantage they managed to maintain for more than a year.

    The Ekos-Canadian Press poll, which puts the Liberals at 34 per cent, the Conservatives at 33 per cent and the NDP at 15 per cent, surveyed 4,839 people during the last two weeks of September, and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 1.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

    Graves says he believes the Liberals will be watching the Conservative numbers closely, as well as the NDP, which is likely to be targeting many of the progressive voters who supported Justin Trudeau’s party in 2015.

    He also says the poll suggests that the Liberal government’s controversial tax reforms — criticized by opposition parties as well as many doctors, farmers and small business owners — are not having a significant impact among Liberal or potential Liberal voters.


    Federal Liberals, Conservatives statistically tied, NDP a distant third: pollFederal Liberals, Conservatives statistically tied, NDP a distant third: poll

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    The Blue Jays won’t be picking up the mutual option on Jose Bautista’s contract for 2018, but GM Ross Atkins wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the all-star slugger returning to Toronto in the future.

    Atkins said Tuesday that he recently sat down with Bautista to tell him the option on the contract he signed before the 2017 season would not be picked up.

    But while the team won’t be bringing back the 36-year-old right-fielder right now, Atkins said he was moved by the outpouring of fan support on Bautista’s final home game of the season and that moment will not be the last time Bautista is celebrated in Toronto.

    Bautista, a three time all-star and two time silver slugger who spent 10 years with the Blue Jays, struggled offensively this season, finishing the year with a .203 batting average, 23 homers, 65 RBIs and a franchise-record 170 strikeouts.

    Atkins, in a season-ending media availability at Rogers Centre, said the team as a whole failed to meet expectations offensively and defensively.

    The Blue Jays, who reached the ALCS in back-to-back years in 2015 and 2016, ended 2017 in fourth place in the American League, 17 games back of first place Boston.

    While injuries had a lot to do with Toronto’s struggles, Atkins said the team needs to be better at preparing for that in the future and will look to acquire more depth in the off-season to help combat that.

    Read more:

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    Blue Jays win finale, but season was lost long ago: Griffin


    Blue Jays will not bring Jose Bautista back for 2018, GM Ross Atkins confirmsBlue Jays will not bring Jose Bautista back for 2018, GM Ross Atkins confirms

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    Surveillance camera footage of an overnight burglary at a Scarborough hardware store has been posted by the store owner’s son in hopes of tracking down the thieves who stole more than $50,000 worth of goods.

    “They did the whole thing in about five minutes,” said Dominic Dimilta, a co-owner of Alpine Lawn & Garden Equipment at Kennedy Rd. and Finch Ave. E.

    Multiple videos uploaded to YouTube by Dimilta’s son show how the burglary happened at about 1 a.m. Monday. A U-Haul truck reversed right to the store’s front doors. A camera from the front counter shows a shower of sparks from a cut-off saw, cutting two locks on the front door.

    Two masked thieves enter the store, grab chainsaws, pull trimmers from their stands, and struggle to remove some items from wires attached to the walls before eventually scrambling out of the building and loading the truck.

    By the time the alarm company called, the break-in had wrapped up.

    “Unfortunately, we thought it was a false alarm,” Dimilta said. “They took two of the biggest generators I have, we’re still counting. They took at least a half a dozen trimmers, and two of my biggest chainsaws.”

    Dimilta said that the thieves had clearly prepared in advance to rob the store.

    “These guys, they knew exactly where they wanted to go and they knew exactly what to do.”

    The hardware store is well-secured, with a double gate at its fence equipped with chains and locks, but the saws used by the thieves were too powerful.

    “The cut-off saw, with the gas that they’re using, they’ll go through anything,” Dimilta said. “I mean, that’s the first time I’ve seen (someone) using a cut-off saw to do that. I mean, what the heck are we going to do now?”

    Toronto police are investigating.

    Dimilta hopes that the YouTube videos will help identify the thieves and deter future thefts.

    “The reason my son put (the videos) on YouTube is that we’re trying to see if we can find these suckers before they sell the stuff,” he said. “And if someone’s buying this stuff they know it’s going to be trouble because we have all the serial numbers, all the pictures.”


    Scarborough hardware store releases survelliance footage showing brazen burglaryScarborough hardware store releases survelliance footage showing brazen burglary

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    A Divisional Court on Tuesday dismissed an attempt by the province and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to prevent former premier Dalton McGuinty, his former finance minister Dwight Duncan, and their chiefs of staff from being questioned under oath about the 2012 decision to terminate a slot machine revenue-sharing partnership with the horse racing industry.

    The legal battle centres on a $65-million civil claim launched in 2014 by a group of Ontario standardbred horse breeders. The breeders argue they were dropped from the slots program without compensation and given scant notice of its demise, even though the province was aware breeders require five to seven years to produce a racing animal.

    Jonathan Lisus, the breeders’ lawyer, said the Divisonal Court ruling is an important step “in the process of understanding how the decision that had such a harmful impact” on his clients was made. Lisus noted many of his clients are elderly and three have died since the litigation began.

    Lisus said he has asked the province and OLG to consent to videotaping all witness examinations “so there’s a good record for the court and the public to review their evidence.”

    Both the Ministry of the Attorney General and the OLG said Tuesday evening that it would be inappropriate to comment as the suit is still before the courts.

    The slot agreement began in 1998 and allowed for revenue generated from slot machines — installed on the premises of provincial horse racing tracks — to be shared among the province, race tracks and horse breeders annually.

    The breeders say they launched their claim after the province and OLG paid $80 million in compensation to track owners but ignored them. The matter is being heard in the Superior Court of Justice in Guelph by Justice Michael Emery.

    The province and OLG are trying to have the suit tossed, claiming in statements of defence that they’ve done nothing improper.

    During the summer, over objections from the province and OLG, Emery ordered McGuinty, Duncan and others — including economist Don Drummond and Rod Seiling, the former chair of the Ontario Racing Commission — give evidence under oath.

    In August, the province and OLG had sought leave to appeal Emery’s decision through the Divisional Court, which denied that request Tuesday.


    Court upholds ruling in horse breeders’ suit against province and OLGCourt upholds ruling in horse breeders’ suit against province and OLG

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    “Get out as fast as you can.” This is what everyone I knew advised me to do when I graduated from university in 2011 and moved back into my parents’ house in Richmond Hill, a suburb outside Toronto. This directive had very little to do with my parents, who are lovely, but rather with the idea of what it means to be an adult.

    Adults, we are often told (in North America at least), do not live with their parents longer than they absolutely have to. So I didn’t. I was lucky enough to find paid work in journalism shortly after graduation and within a few months, I saved up enough money to rent a cheap, sunny apartment on the corner of a major downtown intersection where a streetcar short-turned regularly right outside my bedroom window, making a screeching sound that my poetic roommate called “whales on a chalkboard.”

    But screeching whales be damned, I was out of my childhood home and settled into my first adult one — a new reality that made me very proud.

    But it also made me very naïve.

    It’s only now, six years later, that I’ve come to realize a surprising and sobering truth about the city of Toronto: If I really wanted to fast-track my way to adulthood, I shouldn’t have taken the advice of my peers and left home as fast as I could.

    I should have stayed put, in Richmond Hill, with mom and dad. I should have stayed put because, if I had, I might now have enough money saved up to put a down payment on a house.

    This truth — that staying home may be more adult than moving out, was lost on me at 22 — but it’s well known to the nearly 50 per cent of young adults in the GTA currently living with their parents.

    According to a survey called Gen Y at Home, commissioned by the University of Waterloo and released last week, “In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), almost half of young adults live with parents (47.4 per cent), much higher than the Canadian average of just over a third (34.7 per cent).”

    What’s more, almost 80 per cent of the survey’s millennial respondents said they lived with their parents not because they had nothing better to do, but because they wanted to save money.

    “In the face of precarious work and widespread economic insecurity,” the survey reads, “familial interdependence provides young adults with a way to plan for their futures while coping with economic challenges. Economic constraints such as low income, a high cost of living, and soaring housing prices are reasons why young adults live at home in the Greater Toronto Area.”

    That Toronto is expensive and very few can afford to own homes or rent them is certainly not news (the average price of a one-bedroom apartment in this city recently reached $2,000 a month). What is news, however, is the fact that a soaring cost of living has drastically changed the face of adulthood in this city.

    Residing with your parents well into your twenties, once a sign of arrested development and a serious barrier to getting a date, is now evidence of maturity and financial prudence. It suggests a young person who values security in their thirties and forties — and ostensibly in retirement — more than they value having fun in their twenties.

    I had a lot of fun in my (nearly finished) twenties, but if I had known just how unattainable home ownership would become and how quickly, I’d have delayed that fun by a few years and stuck it out in Richmond Hill at my parents’ place.

    A word of wisdom to anyone who recently graduated from high school or college: if you are living at home with your parents and you’ve been told to get out as fast as you can, ask yourself a few questions first. What’s more important? Paying for your own apartment in an attempt to appear more adult, or living at home for a while to save money, so that, come 30, you will feel like an adult?

    Of course, things aren’t nearly this simple. Many people have parents who live far away, who drive them insane or who wouldn’t take them in to begin with. But if living with your parents, rent free, is an option for you and it’s a good option — one that affords privacy, access to laundry and the occasional complementary meal, staying put in your childhood bedroom might be the most grown-up thing you’ll ever do.

    Emma Teitel is a national affairs columnist.


    Living at home after graduation might be the most adult thing you'll ever do: TeitelLiving at home after graduation might be the most adult thing you'll ever do: Teitel

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    An image greets visitors as they enter Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood, my final exhibition for the Art Gallery of Ontario.

    It’s called The Edge of a Moment and the artist, Meryl McMaster, is seen pausing at the lip of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a sheer cliff face in Southern Alberta: Treaty 7 territory, her ancestors’ homeland. As she moves north, her face, masked with white paint, turns toward me, away from the cliff.

    She’s not looking at me, of course, but the image makes me feel conspicuous and so very present: McMaster, a strong voice within an emerging generation of Indigenous artists, moves with a confidence tinged with anxiety and sadness as she calls her “ancestors to travel with her into the future” — a future weighed down by the presence of my ancestors and our colonial legacy.

    I had the honour to co-curate Every. Now. Then. with Anique Jordan, an artist, activist and independent curator based in Toronto. It was our critical response to Canada 150, designed to be a catalyst for significant change within an institution that remains (like so many others in this country) burdened by, and seemingly committed to, a deeply problematic and divisive history defined by exclusion and erasure.

    Carried by the confident voices of many artists, Every. Now. Then. embodies the momentum of transformation that so many of us felt was powerful and real. Its reception, both publicly and critically, has been remarkable and moving; it confirmed for me that this messy, problematic initiative is in sync with this moment.

    So my decision to give up my senior position at the AGO during the run of this exhibition has come as a surprise to many. Why leave now?

    My choice rests in a disappointment: not in what we achieved, but the fragility of its ability to persist. As I leave, I worry about an institution wavering in its commitment to make space for new voices — voices traditionally excluded from senior roles at public cultural institutions in Canada.

    It rests in issues that have informed my work as a curator, artist, writer and educator for almost three decades: the elitist, colonial roots of public museums, what being a public institution truly means, and who controls and is allowed to speak in these nominally “public” realms.

    I have always been concerned about the role art museums play in the wider world, about how truly engaged they are with the critical issues of our times. I’m fortunate to be able to teach regularly on museum and curatorial practice (currently in the graduate program at OCAD University). We often begin with the origins of the contemporary museum, which was born out of the private collections of wealthy Europeans who had built their fortunes on the extraction of resources, and people, from the most vulnerable nations in the world.

    Out of this dubious practice evolved public educational institutions, or so they self-described. Really, they were outward displays of power that reinforced class division and validated the corporate and colonial systems that had made their founders rich. From wealth came power and then cultural dominance: museums set social rules, coercing the broader public toward shared values they deemed to be “acceptable.”

    Despite everything, for most institutions, that’s the model that remains: “Value” is decided by the very few and then presented to the many. When I look at the AGO and so many of its peers, I see an institution guided not by public participation, but by the generic, elite consensus that rules the global art market, which sees product over public good.

    I see institutions that look for leadership and to fill critical content roles outside of this community and country (a remarkable community, by the way, of cultural professionals with diverse and distinct voices that has been deeply invested here for decades). At the AGO, the curatorial department is becoming dominated (at various levels) by individuals from, or primarily trained in, the United States. It has become abundantly clear to me that it is highly unlikely that the currently vacant position of chief curator — a critical role, from which many content decisions flow — will be filled by a Canadian.

    I see too many who lack true knowledge of this place. I see those same people committed to sustaining dated academic divisions that wrongly take priority over the kinds of interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, community-focused work that is desperately needed for our culture to adapt and evolve.

    The current program of reinstalling the permanent collections of European and Modern art, called Look: Forward, lays bare this disconnect: it lacks any deep engagement with Canada, Canadian art or the diversity of this community.

    I see overgrown institutions grounded in a corporate model that appears uncritically committed to expansion at a time when we should all be making it a priority to question its role in the public conversation here, and acting against the destructive impulse of such generic “world class” aspirations.

    The star system of the contemporary “art world” and the hierarchical corporate model create divisive, competitive, unhealthy environments for work. For Indigenous peoples, people of colour and many youth, these institutions remain unwelcoming spaces of trauma — spaces where their marginalization remains at the core of the institutions’ mission.

    At the AGO, there have been some major contemporary exhibitions by compelling international artists in recent years (Theaster Gates and Hurvin Anderson, for example). But as with the new permanent collection program, very little has been done to ground these projects and make meaningful connections to the local, or break out of the rigidly defended curatorial silos. In these two examples specifically, opportunities for local engagement abounded; instead, they remained closed off by the barriers imposed by the global art world model, inoculated from real engagement.

    Worse, they consistently overshadow, in profile and financial commitment, the work of leading artists in this region, who have significant, and long established, national and international careers. There are exceptions — Song Dong’s Communal Courtyard, initiated by former AGO chief curator Stephanie Smith, had a rich program of local content developed collaboratively across the institution and with community partners — but they’re all too rare.  

    Engaging with diversity has to mean more than just expanding an audience for an established model, to be more than some insidious missionary program of converting more to have faith in these institutions, and drawing communities into a program of their own marginalization and erasure.

    These debates were front and centre when I was a student in the 1980s. The key critical texts of that time continue to be primary references, three decades on, confirming that little has changed.

    Reading again the words of James Baldwin, who offered searing criticisms of the deep, systemic racial barriers of his day, I find his words familiar and offering a kind of radical hope. At the close of No Name in the Street, from 1972, he writes of a crisis, of racism and colonialism, a “global, historical crisis” not about to resolve itself soon. “An old world is dying,” Baldwin declares, “and a new one, kicking in the belly of its mother, time, announces that it is ready to be born. This birth will not be easy, and many of us are doomed to discover that we are exceedingly clumsy midwives. No matter, so long as we accept that our responsibility is to the newborn: the acceptance of responsibility contains the key to the necessarily evolving skill.”

    And so I return to The Edge of a Moment, to that image of Meryl McMaster moving across that sublime landscape. I imagine her turning away and continuing on as I struggle to keep up. She walks with her ancestors into the future while I plead with mine to stay behind, to give up and give back this space. Undepleted.

    Andrew Hunter is the former curator of Canadian art for the Art Gallery of Ontario.


    Why I quit the Art Gallery of Ontario: former Canadian-art curator Andrew Hunter explainsWhy I quit the Art Gallery of Ontario: former Canadian-art curator Andrew Hunter explainsWhy I quit the Art Gallery of Ontario: former Canadian-art curator Andrew Hunter explainsWhy I quit the Art Gallery of Ontario: former Canadian-art curator Andrew Hunter explains

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    Our thoughts. Our prayers. Our tears.

    What does that even mean?

    When mass murder by gunfire in the U.S. turns into a celebrity meme.

    Condolences expressed on social media, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau among those who tweeted out his sorrow for victims of the Las Vegas massacre.

    Read more:

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    To show that you’re on the side of sanity, of revulsion for a crime that wiped 59 innocents off the face of the Earth?

    One can talk miles about good and evil — “an act of pure evil” as President Donald Trump described it, a sombre address clearly scripted for him because those are the only occasions where he sounds even marginally rational: The comforter-in-chief, a mantle that rests so unsuitably on his shoulders.

    And then Trump got on a plane to Puerto Rico, there to hand out flashlights and such — photo op, coming face to face with the same people he’d earlier characterized as “politically motivated ingrates” — for a calamity which he claimed was nowhere near the tragedy dimensions of Hurricane Katrina. “Sixteen versus literally thousands of people.”

    The death toll from Katrina a dozen years ago: More than 1,833. A “real catastrophe,” Trump chose to scold Puerto Ricans on Tuesday.

    As if blaming them, Puerto Ricans, for the natural disaster that has befallen their island.

    The financial drain of emergency assistance on the American treasury, Trump thought it appropriate to highlight that as well. “I hate to tell you Puerto Rico but you’ve thrown our budget a little of whack because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico.”

    Less than a hundred helicopters sent to the hurricane-ravaged island, an American territory, in the abysmally slow emergency reaction by Washington. Six thousand troops deployed, compared to 10,000 on the ground in Louisiana under the command of U.S. army Lieutenant General Russel Honore who, now retired, has been scathing in his indictment of the inadequate response.

    Trump was scheduled to descend on Vegas next, Wednesday. I can think of hardly anyone more morally unfit to bind a nation’s wounds in the aftermath of Sunday night’s slaughter by a retired accountant sniper, firing from his makeshift fortress room in the Mandalay hotel. Dozens from among the more than 500 wounded remain in critical condition.

    This is the president who, in February, put his signature on a measure that nixed a regulation, initiated by his predecessor in the wake of other mass shootings, that would have kept guns out of the hands of some severely mentally ill people. That law required the Social Security Administration to disclose information quarterly to the national gun background check system about individuals with a documented mental illness — specifically and narrowly those receiving full benefits because of a mental illness and those requiring the assistance of third parties because they were incapable of managing their own benefits.

    Even that was too much for Republicans, deeply beholden to the National Rifle Association — the NRA endorsed Trump in the last election — to swallow. (Although it should be noted that loved-by-the-lefty-left Bernie Sanders, Mr. Progressive, was so leery of alienating supporters in his rural Vermont state that he’d five times voted against the Brady Bill in the ’90s and in 2005 voted in favour of a special immunity law protecting gun makers and sellers from being sued when their weapons are used in a deadly attack.)

    Gun control, yearning for it, is in fact a non-partisan issue. Respectable polling has shown that a huge majority of Americans — 94 per cent — wanted, at the very least, to restrict the mentally ill from purchasing weapons.

    Vegas, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Orlando — massacres that seize a nation’s attention. But only a tiny fraction of gun deaths — about three per cent — are attributable to such rampages.

    Mass murder in the U.S. is defined as the killing of four or more people. It’s a poor way to frame gun violence. Thirteen hundred miles away from Vegas, on the same day that Stephen Paddock sprayed a crowd of concertgoers with rapid-fire lethality, three individuals were killed and two injured at the University of Kansas. It hardly merited a news digest.

    The numbers are staggering.

    So far in 2017, 326 killed in mass shootings, 432 in 2016, 369 in 2015.

    Since Sandy Hook five years ago — 26 slain at an elementary school, including 20 children — there have been some 1,500 mass shootings in America, according to the Gun Violence Archive: 1,715 killed, 6,089 wounded.

    And that’s just the tip of the bloodshed.

    A country where it’s estimated that 300 million guns are in the hands of 320 million people, highest in gun possession among 178 countries, according to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey, a global research agency. Americans comprise 4.4 per cent of the global population but account for fully half of civilian owned guns around the world.

    Number of Americans killed in battles in all wars in history: 1,396,733. Killed by firearms in the U.S. since 1968: 1,516,863.

    The war is on a homeland battlefield.

    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides these gruesome statistics: 406,496 killed by guns in the U.S. between 2001 and 2013. Of those, 237,052 were suicides. Because in a society where guns are so readily available, it is the preferred means for taking one’s own life.

    Homicides accounted for 153,144 of those gun deaths, 4,778 were police shootings, 8,383 categorized as “accidental” and 3,200 where no cause was determined.

    Some 25 children killed by guns every week.

    The Second Amendment guarantees Americans the right to bear arms and the intent was aimed at raising a “regulated” militia. It doesn’t guarantee the right to semi-automatic weapons, to high-powered rifles, to personal arsenals such as the 48 guns that the Vegas shooter possessed.

    This is NRA-generated hokum. Such bristling caches are not for the purpose of self-defence.

    There was a time when even Trump understood this. In the 1990s and early 2000s, he expressed support for a ban on assault weapons and long rifles with military-style features that made it easier to fire multiple rounds. In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, Trump wrote: “I generally oppose gun control but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.”

    Two years later Trump praised president Barack Obama for introducing, after Sandy Hook, slightly tighter firearm regulations. But in the election campaign, and certainly since he assumed the Oval Office, Trump has lost his marbles on the subject of guns, even railing against government-mandated gun-free zones in places such as schools, churches and military bases. Better, he’s argued, that civilians should arm themselves against the potential of such attacks, than go down with hands empty as “target practice for the sickos.”

    Maybe he knows his country better than we realize.

    One final fact: After every mass shooting in America, the sale of guns spikes.

    Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.


    On gun control, Donald Trump has lost his marbles: DiMannoOn gun control, Donald Trump has lost his marbles: DiManno

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    A man facing attempted murder charges for allegedly ramming pedestrians with a car and stabbing a police officer in Edmonton last weekend was deported from the United States by immigration officials in 2011, The Associated Press reports.

    Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, a 30-year-old Somali refugee, crossed legally into Canada in 2012 at a border crossing and obtained refugee status, according to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. There was no information on Sharif at the time that would have raised any red flags to authorities.

    Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada later added that an immigration-related detention would not prevent someone from making an asylum claim in Canada.

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said a man named Abdullahi Hassan Sharif in the agency’s records was ordered to leave the U.S.

    Edmonton attack suspect case adjourned until November so he can find a lawyer

    Suspect in Edmonton attacks was investigated by RCMP in 2015

    Distinctions of terrorism matter: Analysis

    The names are spelled slightly differently, but a Canadian and U.S. government official — both of whom requested anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss details of the case — said it is the same man, according to Associated Press.

    A statement from ICE spokesperson Lauren Mack issued Tuesday night said Sharif was transferred on July 15, 2011 into ICE custody at Otay Mesa Detention Center, a Californian prison.

    It isn’t clear exactly why he was detained.

    “Sharif had no known criminal history at the time of his encounters with ICE,” the statement said.

    He was then ordered in September 2011 to be deported to Somalia. The statement said that Sharif “waived his right to appeal that decision,” but was released from custody because he was unlikely to be removed from the U.S. in the near future.

    Sharif was supposed to be deported on Jan. 21, 2012, according to ICE, but didn’t show up.

    “Efforts by (San Diego ICE officials) to locate him were not successful,” the statement said.

    Sharif is facing 11 charges, including attempted murder and dangerous driving, for allegedly ramming a traffic barrier and stabbing Const. Mike Chernyk, an Edmonton police officer directing traffic in front of a football game on Saturday.

    He appeared in court on Tuesday by video link. The case has been put over until Nov. 14 so Sharif can find a lawyer.

    Video of the fight with Chernyk released on Sunday shows him struggling with the suspect and, despite his injuries, trying to follow as the suspect fled the scene.

    The suspect was then allegedly spotted several hours later behind the wheel of a U-Haul van at a police checkpoint in northern Edmonton. During the ensuring chase with police, four pedestrians were allegedly struck by the van.

    Sharif was arrested after tactical officers tipped the van on its side, then used a stun grenade and a Taser to subdue him.

    None of the victims have died of their injuries. As of Monday, two of the pedestrians remained in hospital – one of whom had a fractured skull.

    Edmonton police have considered charging Sharif with terrorism-related offences because investigators found a Daesh flag in the car he was driving during the attack. However, no terror charges have been laid.

    Sharif was also investigated by the RCMP in 2015 for allegedly espousing extremist views, but was released because investigators did not believe he posed a threat.

    He is believed to have acted alone.

    With files from Star wire services.


    Edmonton terror suspect had been deported from U.S. in 2011Edmonton terror suspect had been deported from U.S. in 2011

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