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TOPSTORIES

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    Toronto police have arrested one man after a suspicious package left in the police headquarters prompted a lockdown.

    Toronto police spokesperson Meaghan Gray told reporters on scene the package has been detonated and the hold and secure has been lifted.

    On Thursday around 2 p.m. Toronto police Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu said a package was found outside near 40 College St. and that the building went under lockdown.

    Toronto Fire Services said the package was found on St. Luke Lane and College St. beside police headquarters.

    Police released images of a possible suspect who was seen on surveillance video leaving the package in front of the building. The suspect has dark, shoulder-length hair, and is wearing a dark hat, jacket and pants and a red backpack.

    Gray said the front doors of the headquarters will continue to be closed for the ongoing investigation.

    College St. is closed between Yonge and Bay streets.

    With files from Bryann Aguilar


    Man arrested after suspicious package prompted lockdown of Toronto police headquarters Man arrested after suspicious package prompted lockdown of Toronto police headquartersMan arrested after suspicious package prompted lockdown of Toronto police headquarters Man arrested after suspicious package prompted lockdown of Toronto police headquarters

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    Falling home prices in Toronto in September dragged down the Teranet–National Bank national composite house price index as it posted its first monthly decline since January 2016.

    The national index, which includes 11 cities, fell 0.8 per cent compared with the previous month, the largest monthly decline since September 2010.

    The move lower came as the index for Toronto, Canada’s largest housing market, fell 2.7 per cent on a month-over-month basis.

    David Madani, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics, said a sharper slowdown in price inflation in the coming months is unavoidable.

    “And with interest rates on the rise and mortgage financing rules likely to be tightened significantly later this year, the worst is still to come,” said Madani, who has been long-time bear on the housing market.

    Read more:

    Toronto housing price ‘correction’ eases: Report

    Proposed mortgage stress test is unnecessary, harmful, report says

    ‘Puzzling’ Toronto real estate market could frustrate push for price fix, CMHC says

    Home sales in Toronto have fallen since April when the Ontario government moved to cool the hot housing market with a package of changes, including the introduction of a tax on foreign buyers.

    The Bank of Canada has also raised its key interest rate target twice this year, prompting the big banks to raise their prime rates, pushing the cost of variable-rate mortgages higher. The cost of new fixed-rate mortgages has also climbed in recent months as yields on the bond market have risen.

    In addition to Toronto, the price index for Quebec City lost 2.3 per cent, while Hamilton slipped 1.9 per cent, Halifax dropped 0.4 per cent and Winnipeg lost 0.3 per cent.

    The index for Victoria was flat, while Vancouver increased 1.3 per cent, Calgary added 0.7 per cent, Montreal climbed 0.3 per cent, Ottawa-Gatineau gained 0.3 per cent and Edmonton edged up 0.2 per cent.

    Compared with a year ago, the national composite house price index was up 11.4 per cent.

    Toronto was up 18.0 per cent compared with September 2016, while Hamilton gained 19.5 per cent and Victoria added 14.7 per cent. Vancouver climbed 10.5 per cent compared with a year ago.


    ‘The worst is still to come’ as national home price index falls in September‘The worst is still to come’ as national home price index falls in September

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    Toronto police are looking for a man who they say has broken into three east-end homes and confronted women in them over the past three weeks.

    In each of the break-ins, which started Sept. 25, the man has spoken with the victims, Const. Caroline de Kloet said.

    The suspect has “attempted to gather personal information” about young women and girls inside the homes, which are in the area south of Ellesmere Rd. and east of Morningside Ave., de Kloet said.

    “The last victim had a lengthy discussion with the suspect,” she said.

    The man is described as a six feet tall, in his mid- to late 20s, with a thin-medium build. The break-ins have occurred in the early hours of the morning.

    In one of the incidents, the man cut a screen to get into the home.

    De Kloet said there has been no physical or sexual contact, and no threats were made.


    East-end break-ins target young women, girlsEast-end break-ins target young women, girls

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    “Retail politics” doesn’t sound all that smart or easy these days in Canada.

    It’s been a bruising week for the retail business, with the imminent collapse of the Sears department store empire and accompanying job losses all over Canada.

    There was also the news that the Canada Revenue Agency had some plan to treat employee discounts as taxable benefits— a move that, if enacted, would be a direct hit to thousands and thousands of low-paid retail employees across the country.

    That crazy tax idea was in retreat by the end of the week but the massive failure of Sears is not as easy to make go away. Roughly 12,000 jobs are on the line, which is about 2,000 more jobs than those created overall in Canada in September, Global News reported this week.

    More than 130 big stores are also due to go dark in malls and communities all over the country as soon as this Christmas. Assuming one store to a political riding, that means more than one-third of the MPs in the House of Commons will be dealing with those darkened shop aisles.

    Retail failure, like manufacturing failure, hits at the heart of the suburbs, where politicians have been aggressively courting their voters for decades.

    In happier times, the retail industry was something for politicians to cultivate and imitate — a symbiotic relationship I wrote about in my last book, Shopping For Votes. Now, the shopping business in Canada a constant source of concern and disruption for the political class.

    Retail analysts have been warning for some time now that e-commerce is threatening the very nature of shopping.

    Those same analysts are saying, however, that you can’t draw a straight line between the rise of digital shopping and the downfall of the big stores like Sears or Zellers.

    “The bigger thing is the shrinking of the middle class,” Barry Nabatian, market research director of Shore-Tanner Associates, told Ottawa’s local CBC Radio morning show this week.

    Politics watchers are familiar with that concept. In the 2015 election, if voters got a nickel for every time a politician, of any stripe, mentioned the middle class, we’d all be part of the wealthy 1 per cent.

    But think about it. If Sears and other mid-class stores are failing because they’re losing their target consumer demographic, that also means that Canada’s political parties have also been pursuing a segment of the electorate that’s shrinking. Aren’t they worried they’ll end up like Sears?

    When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau keeps saying “the middle class and those aspiring to join it,” we can probably assume that his hopes for political growth are pinned more on the second part of that phrase.

    Aspiration is a big part of our ideas of middle class — the old American (or Canadian) dream. It’s called the pursuit of happiness in the U.S., not the attainment of it, after all. Shopping is a big part of that old, middle-class dream, too.

    So if politicians want to fix the middle class, the whole retail business bears some close scrutiny — at least as much as trade and manufacturing or a favourite economic fix these days, infrastructure.

    The current troubles in the Canadian retail business have at least three dimensions, fallout-wise. When things go badly, we have to worry about the people who work in the stores, the people who shopped in the stores, and, as a Star story pointed out this week, all the businesses that supply the shops, too.

    “The list of suppliers left in the lurch by the Sears Canada insolvency reads like a who’s who of retail and it circles the globe,” the Star’s Francine Kopun wrote, describing the tens, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars Sears owes to a vast array of businesses whose products fed into the once-great store empire.

    Politicians often urge people to go shopping in times of upheaval. George W. Bush famously told people to go out and buy things to get the U.S. economy moving after the 9/11 attacks. I’ll always remember how Jean Chrétien, campaigning to be prime minister in 1993, argued that when people see construction equipment, it makes them confident enough in the economy to go shopping. Maybe he was right. Who knows?

    What we do know is that bad news in the shopping world is bad news for politicians, too, most particularly among exactly the voters all the parties are trying to court. Retail politics may be all about glad-handing and salesmanship, but the politics of retail in 2017 is a little more serious and sobering.

    sdelacourt@bell.net


    As Sears goes dark, middle-class votes may be elusive: DelacourtAs Sears goes dark, middle-class votes may be elusive: Delacourt

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    It was 3 a.m. on Thursday, when I woke up, too nervous to go back to sleep. On the other side of the world, millions of people shared my anticipation, awaiting an Indian High Court judgment of an appeal by two people convicted for murder.

    A little before 6 a.m., my phone began buzzing like a string of firecrackers exploding on silent mode. When I finally dared to pick it up, I scanned the notifications for one nugget of information, and found it: convictions overturned.

    Oh sweet relief. Vindication. Now was the time to let the tears flow, but they’ve stubbornly held back so far, damn them.

    Four years ago, when I was a digital editor at the Star, I had shared a story of the pain and betrayal that followed the sensational 2008 murder of Aarushi Talwar and the live–in cook Hemraj Banjade in India. Aarushi’s parents – Nupur and Rajesh Talwar – were eventually convicted in 2013, when the judge called them, “freaks in the history of mankind.”

    Nupur is my cousin — our mothers are sisters. In Indian relationships, a cousin is like a sibling, which made her daughter my niece.

    The whole story had begun with what should have been a pretty straightforward case of murder. There were two crime scenes that were rich with evidence including a bloodied shoe print, a bloodied handprint on a wall, and 22 fingerprints.

    However, the continuous bungling by various investigators — none of those prints were identified, for instance — created not just twists and turns but explosive craters in a case that held a nation in thrall as the media breathlessly chased every morsel of gossip, innuendo and information.

    The scandalous narrative spun by the police in the early days was the one that stuck until the end: A pretty 13-year-old was doing something “objectionable, though not compromising” with the 45-year-old cook, an enraged father approached stealthily with a golf club that accidently hit the girl, he killed the cook, then finished off the job by slashing his daughter’s throat with his dental scalpel. The parents, both dentists, then tried to cover up the crime with medical precision. They dragged the man’s body upstairs to a terrace, and wiped out every trace of his blood. The next day, they showed no grief, no remorse.

    Since truth is stranger than fiction, any of this was plausible.

    Except, there was not a shred of evidence to support it.

    No sign of the cook in the child’s room — neither blood, nor hair nor semen. Nor was his blood on her parents’ clothes. Her blood, meanwhile, was splashed up on her bedroom walls, the bed, the floors, and their clothes from holding her body when they found her.

    There was no credible murder weapon. The gash was too wide to have been inflicted with the fine tip of a dental scalpel.

    The motive, which alternated between honour killing (premeditated) and fit of rage (spontaneous), was never established.

    Meanwhile, there were partially drunk bottles of wine, beer and pop in the cook’s room that suggested the presence of outsiders there. A large bloodied knife had been found with another suspect but investigators couldn’t determine the origins of the blood.

    I won’t rehash the story as you can read it at thestar.com/aarushi or read the best-selling book titled Aarushi or watch the filmTalvar on Netflix.

    But it now has visible Canadian markings on it. When I first wrote it, I expected it to have the distant appeal of a foreign news story, but I had underestimated the cultural linkages between India and Canada. I had also overlooked the universality of human connection. My editor Lynn McAuley had not, though, and she guided my work, helped sew it up and play it big, as we say in the newsroom.

    My inbox was flooded for months. Photographer Spencer Wynn who came with me to India to capture the story visually told me working on it was a highlight of his career.

    A couple of years later, quite by coincidence, Cameron Bailey, the artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, went movie spotting with an eye out for strong independent work by women and brought Talvar to premiere at the festival.

    The indomitable Win Wahrer of Innocence Canada, formerly the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, once introduced me to John Artis, the man who spent 14 years in a U.S. prison with boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter for murders they did not commit.

    “Dream, hope, never give up,” Artis told me.

    Another time when I was looking for an independent forensic expert, Harold Levy, a retired investigative Star reporter and former defence lawyer, swung into action and used his unique skills to identify and track a man down — while he was on vacation in Romania.

    On Thursday, there were various nationalities among the Indians whooping with joy, sending congratulations, acknowledging the end of a miserable ordeal that will allow us to begin the process of grieving.

    These have been a long and exhausting 9 years, felt most intensely by the couple at the epicentre of a tragedy but also by those caught in the aftershock.

    It will take my cousin and her husband time to feel their way back to freedom. When they last had any semblance of normalcy, Facebook and Twitter were nascent, and digital cameras were still a thing. Obama was America’s new president, the Arab Spring had not happened, and “occupy” was a word without political meaning.

    Also, the horrific Delhi gang rape that sparked a new conversation around rape culture had yet to take place. In those days, when people nudged and winked about the fabricated story of Aarushi and Hemraj’s “affair” — they tittered at her character, oblivious that they maligned him as a rapist, too.

    Hemraj is often the overlooked victim of this tragedy. I believe this is partly a class issue — he comes from a poor background; partly a geographical issue — his family lives in neighbouring Nepal; but also partly a news relevance issue — his family members weren’t in the limelight because they weren’t being prosecuted.

    For my family, the nightmare never ended.

    Rajesh once told me he is haunted by that fateful night in May 2008 and he plays it in his head over and over again.

    In one scene, he’s asleep, he hears a sound, goes out, confronts the men in the living room. In another he’s about to sleep, then gets up to lock all the doors to the house — including Hemraj’s — before going back to bed. In a third, he’s asleep. He wakes up and realizes it is all a nightmare, that his Aaru is safe and sound.

    Sometimes the guilt of not being able to protect their daughter, of being asleep while she was killed in the next room, gets to be too much to bear for the couple.

    In 2013, I went to Dasna Jail to visit Nupur. It was built in 1996 for 720 men and women, but then housed 4,200 inmates. Some 90 per cent of them were just awaiting trial for years, waiting for the wheels of justice to roll their way some day.

    The jail had barracks with walls of peeling plaster and stone floors. No beds. A sheet on which women laid down like sardines in a row along the walls on either side of the room. Their clothes for pillows. A dusty fan. Mosquitos. Bathrooms with layers of filth on the floor.

    “The physical discomforts one learns to live with,” Nupur told me at that time. “It’s the lack of moral support, of emotional support, not having your family or loved ones around you, not having anyone to talk to that is difficult. Time really stops. That’s hell. Completely.”

    Eventually they adapted. She began to help people with their legal paperwork – English is the language of the law – but it’s also a language the inmates are not familiar with.

    She and Rajesh also did dental work on inmates. Nupur, never the most expressive person, composed poetry, while Rajesh poured out his torment in pages and pages of diaries, often going around in circles trying to comprehend his journey.

    They came to appreciate the irony of being free from judgment within those walls. In 2013, when I travelled with Rajesh in his car, it was like being trapped in a zoo. Passersby recognized him and turned to point and jeer. Some would even reverse their scooters and chase the car laughing. In prison, other inmates – even hardened criminals – treated them more gently.

    Nupur’s parents are in their 70s and 80s. That they’ve withstood this ordeal despite serious personal illnesses is proof of the power of love. My aunt who helped take care of her granddaughter Aarushi, had lost her cheer.

    “I was supposed to go first, I’m oldest,” she once said to me, weeping over the phone. We speak in Marathi, our mother tongue. “Instead, my Aarushi is gone, then my daughter has been taken away.”

    Some semblance of order will be restored to her when my cousin and her husband walk out of prison, likely on Monday.

    They were not released Friday because prison officials did not receive a hand-delivered signed copy of the higher court judgment.

    Thursday was the first time in years I heard a smile in my aunt’s voice. I let that sound wash over me, comfort me as it erased the thousands of kilometres between us. “They’re coming home!” she said. “Our Rajesh, our Nupa will be home for Diwali.”

    It will take time to sink in, but Thursday’s judgment liberates me, too. It feels like a boulder is starting to roll off me. It will perhaps help me relearn feeling pleasure without that awful guilt, that warning voice in my head, “Are you forgetting her?” accompanied by an image of my cousin caged behind bars.

    I don’t know what the future holds. The real killers are still at large. The prosecutors could appeal this decision at the Supreme Court, although I hope they don’t.

    Nupur and Rajesh have been traumatized enough. This tribulation has taunted their sorrow, prodded their pain and left them with searing scars. What they need now is the space to grieve their loss before they can move on with their lives.

    Once safely ensconced in their families, they need to be left alone.

    On Twitter @shreeparadkar


    My cousin, acquitted in murder of her daughter, needs space to grieve: ParadkarMy cousin, acquitted in murder of her daughter, needs space to grieve: Paradkar

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    Category 2 Hurricane Ophelia is threatening everything from farms to a golf course owned by the family of U.S. President Donald Trump as it heads for Ireland.

    Ophelia’s top winds were 155 km/hby 3:40 p.m. London time on Friday, reaching the second level of the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. The storm, about 877 kilometres southwest of the Azores, is forecast to stay a powerful cyclone over the next few days, and may scrape the west coast of Ireland on Monday before dissipating over Scandinavia, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

    After Hurricane Irma closed Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in Florida last month, Ophelia could make landfall close to the Trump family’s golf resort near the village of Doonbeg. The resort, which has said it can lose as much as 10 meters of land to coastal erosion during a bad storm, is along the route expected to be hit by Ophelia’s gale force winds. Trump International Golf Links & Hotel is constantly reviewing the situation, a spokesperson said by email.

    “At the moment, in one model the actual centre in Ophelia is basically supposed to rub the west coast of Ireland,” said David Reynolds, senior meteorologist at The Weather Co. In Birmingham, England. “It’s really touch and go.”

    Ophelia could become the strongest post-tropical system to rake Ireland since Hurricane Debbie in 1961, which killed 18 people and stripped almost 25 per cent of the trees in some areas, according to Weather Underground. Sixty people died in a plane crash in the Azores caused by Debbie.

    The Irish government is monitoring the situation, a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. It will decide later Friday whether to convene a task force to co-ordinate its response to the storm.

    Ophelia will move across the country very quickly and may bring heavy rain if it makes landfall, Gerald Fleming, head of forecasting at the Irish weather service, said on RTE radio Friday. The storm could pummel the Cork and Kerry coast but it’s still three or four days away.

    Using the current forecast track from the National Hurricane Center, damages could reach $800 million in Ireland and $300 million in the U.K., as well as tens of millions in France, Spain and Portugal, according to Chuck Watson, a disaster modeller at Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia. Using European forecasts, those numbers could be cut in half. 

    “My subjective guesstimate is more like $600 million in Ireland and under $100 million for the U.K.,” Watson said. Debbie’s damages would’ve reached $338 million in today’s dollars.  

    Ireland’s Met Eireann weather office and the Met Office in the U.K. issued yellow warnings for Monday, meaning residents need to be aware of encroaching risks.

    “Power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage,” the Met Office said in its warning. “Some damage to buildings, such as tiles blown from roofs could happen, perhaps leading to injuries and danger to life from flying debris.”

    It’s unusual for a hurricane to head toward northwest Europe. The Atlantic hurricane season, usually a bigger threat to the U.S., Mexico and Caribbean, has produced 15 named storms, including 10 consecutive hurricanes—the most since the late 19th century. The storms have killed hundreds and caused an estimated $300 billion in damage across Central America, the Caribbean and the U.S.


    Hurricane Ophelia may become Ireland’s strongest storm since 1961Hurricane Ophelia may become Ireland’s strongest storm since 1961

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    WARNING: Graphic details follow.

    A “touchy-feely” anesthesiologist handed a 10-year sentence for sexually assaulting 21 sedated women during surgery has failed to have his conviction overturned.

    In a decision Friday, Ontario’s top court ruled that the judge who convicted Dr. George Doodnaught after a 76-day trial was bang on.

    “The grounds of appeal advanced track closely the submissions made to, and rejected by, the trial judge,” the Court of Appeal said. “They are the subject of lengthy and detailed reasons which describe the findings of fact essential to proof of guilt and the evidentiary stuff of which those findings were made.”

    Doodnaught, who is in his late 60s, was convicted in November 2013 on all counts for assaulting women, who ranged from 25 to 75 years old, while they were semi-conscious at the North York General Hospital. Among other things, Doodnaught inserted his penis into women’s mouths, used some for masturbation, and sexually fondled others over a four-year period.

    The defence never argued the women fabricated their complaints or colluded with one another, but at trial and on appeal suggested the complainants may have been hallucinating while under anesthetic. Doodnaught’s lawyers further argued that the assaults, in the confined space of an operating theatre close to others in the surgical team, could not have happened.

    Superior Court Justice David McCombs rejected the defence arguments, siding with the prosecution that Doodnaught had the opportunity to commit the assaults from behind a screen and that the women’s accounts of what happened were honest and realistic.

    McCombs found Doodnaught’s closeness to patients during surgery didn’t draw suspicion because he was known as a “touchy-feely” doctor who stroked a patient’s cheek or hair to soothe her during procedures. The judge also lambasted him for compounding his victims’ distress by trying to make them believe they were somehow responsible for what happened.

    On appeal, the doctor argued the evidence at trial fell short of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that the offences actually happened. His lawyers pointed at expert evidence about the hallucinogenic properties of the anesthetics in support of their position.

    “This case is overwhelming only if one presumes that the possibility of drug-induced dreamlike states is impossible, as the trial judge did,” Doodnaught’s lawyers argued on appeal. “The trial judge failed to adequately consider the defence submission that a significant proportion, indeed the majority, of the alleged incidents were impossible.”

    The Appeal Court would have none of it.

    The higher court noted McCombs had even visited the operating rooms in which the anesthetist had worked to gain a better understanding of the layout before finding that Doodnaught did indeed have the opportunity to commit the assaults as alleged.

    The Appeal Court also found the judge had carefully looked at the expert evidence on whether patients might hallucinate about sexual experiences, noting no witness had ever heard of a case of multiple allegations of sexual assault on patients under the kind of sedation Doodnaught administered.

    “The appellant’s quarrel is not rooted in any legal principle so far as I can determine but rather in the factual findings the trial judge made,” Justice David Watt wrote for the Appeal Court. “Those factual findings put paid to the defence position that the conduct each complainant honestly believed took place — and which amounted to sexual assault — simply never happened.”

    Doodnaught’s medical licence has been suspended for several years but a disciplinary hearing that could see him barred from ever practising again has been awaiting the outcome of the appeal.


    Toronto anesthetist who sexually assaulted sedated patients loses appealToronto anesthetist who sexually assaulted sedated patients loses appeal

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    WASHINGTON—Adding to the gloom surrounding negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration began the latest round of talks by making a proposal loathed by Canada and Mexico: a “sunset clause” that would automatically terminate the agreement in five years if all three countries did not approve it again.

    Trade experts say the U.S. may simply be issuing aggressive demands as a negotiating tactic. If the sunset clause proposal is not eventually withdrawn, however, it could well lead to the collapse of talks.

    Canadian and Mexican officials have both slammed the idea in the last month. And it is fiercely opposed by business groups in all three countries, who say it would deny companies the certainty they need to make investments.

    “What manufacturers want more than anything is certainly and predictability. And it’s rather hard to make long-term capital decisions or sourcing decisions if there’s an automatic sunset of five years,” said Dennis Darby, chief executive of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. “With a five-year potential sword hanging over your head, I think what it’s going to do is cause manufacturers to not invest and be really, really risk-averse.”

    “I think this will be one of the most difficult for the business community to accept,” said Dan Ujczo, a trade lawyer and president of the Ohio-Canada Business Association.

    Jerry Dias, president of the Unifor union that represents Canadian autoworkers, said he would support a sunset clause on a bad final deal, oppose it on a good final deal. Regardless, though, he said the proposal is a “schoolyard bully” tactic that conveys “they don’t want a deal in the first place.”

    The proposal comes amid a growing consensus around the continent that the talks might fail because of Trump’s protectionism. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday he was “ready for anything,” and Dias said Thursday that “this thing is going into the toilet.”

    “They want to hold this weapon over people’s heads to get them to surrender more, surrender more, more concessions, more concessions. But they’re not fooling anybody,” Dias said.

    The sunset clause was endorsed by Canada’s United Steelworkers. National director Ken Neumann said the threat of termination would “add some accountability” for politicians making the kinds of promises the original NAFTA has not fulfilled.

    “We got sold a bill of goods with NAFTA,” Neumann said. “If you would have had a sunset clause, it wouldn’t have survived going forward.”

    U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross floated the sunset idea in September. It was formally put on the negotiating table late Wednesday, said a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

    “Yes, that’s our proposal,” Ross said at a Wednesday event.

    In a speech the day prior, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Thomas Donohue, described the proposal as a “poison pill” that “could doom the entire deal.”

    The fourth round of talks, scheduled to run until Tuesday in a suburb of Washington, are expected to be the most challenging to date. The U.S. is likely to introduce a contentious proposal to require that a hefty percentage of an automobile be manufactured in the U.S. itself, rather than just in the NAFTA zone, to be exempted from tariffs.

    The specifics of the sunset proposal were not immediately clear. One key question: whether it would give the president unilateral authority to renew NAFTA or if Congress would have to vote again as well.

    Canadian ministers did not address the proposal Thursday. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one official said, “We expected a tough round.”


    Trump administration introduces 5-year ‘sunset clause’ into NAFTA talksTrump administration introduces 5-year ‘sunset clause’ into NAFTA talks

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    A complaint to the city’s integrity commissioner alleges Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti is improperly using city resources in an appeal where he is acting as a private citizen.

    Mammoliti is one of several people who have appealed council’s decision on new ward boundaries at the province’s Ontario Municipal Board, a land use planning tribunal.

    Toronto resident Tyler Johnson told the integrity commissioner’s office that at least one member of Mammoliti’s staff, community relations and issues specialist Jason Wang, was assisting with the appeal and that other staff members may be helping also.

    Johnson filed the complaint Friday.

    “Council’s code of conduct states city councillors cannot use their office or city resources for anything other than business of the city,” Johnson said in an email. “If Mammoliti is at the OMB as a private citizen, he shouldn’t be using city resources.”

    Mammoliti did not respond directly to questions from the Star about the use of his staff at the appeal.

    But he called the complaint “frivolous” and an attempt to silence him by those he said are in favour of a larger council.

    “So in response to those that want to silence me; ‘bite me Mammo style, I am not going anywhere,’” he wrote in an email response which he copied to several other media outlets.

    Wang did not respond to a request for comment.

    Johnson works for the Toronto District School Board and attended the OMB hearing this week as a private citizen, independent of his job, he told the Star. He said he does not have any political ambitions or connection to Mammoliti.

    The city’s code of conduct for members of council states: “No member of council should use, or permit the use of city land, facilities, equipment, supplies, services, staff or other resources (for example, city-owned materials, websites, council transportation delivery services and member of council expense budgets) for activities other than the business of the corporation.”

    A Star reporter attended the first three days of the OMB hearing, which began Tuesday, and witnessed Wang sitting with Mammoliti at a table for parties to the appeal, taking notes and assisting the councillor as he cross-examined witnesses called by the city.

    Councillors’ staff are funded through the city’s operating budget, which is funded in large part by property tax dollars.

    In November 2016, council approved a new ward boundary structure that would increase the number of wards to 47 from 44.

    Since then, several appeals have been filed with the OMB, which has jurisdiction to confirm or overrule the boundaries approved by council.

    Mammoliti, who filed his appeal in May, did so without referencing his role as a councillor.

    “I am a resident, home owner and taxpayer in the City of Toronto,” his appeal letter reads, with no formal letter head and using his home address.

    In his letter, Mammoliti complained the structure as adopted by council has “many flaws” and called consultation with the public “minimal.” He said a reduction in the size of council was not properly considered.

    The ward boundary changes remove a quadrant in the northeastern part of the area he currently represents, Ward 7 (York West) — a residential area southwest of the Jane St. and Finch Ave. intersection.

    At the hearing Thursday, Mammoliti complained repeatedly about a more than two-year consultative process he said did not include enough input from residents. The city’s hired consultants confirmed that while a single meeting in the Jane and Finch area saw no attendees, more than 2,000 people participated overall.

    Election results in Ward 7 from 2014 show the polls that would be moved out of that ward as a result of the council-approved boundary changes supported Mammoliti, who won with 46 per cent of all votes compared to the runner-up who won 36 per cent of the votes.

    “I’m not here for selfish reasons,” Mammoliti said on the hearing’s first day, arguing more consultation was required.

    Mammoliti has previously been the subject of complaints to city watchdogs.

    In 2014, the former integrity commissioner found Mammoliti violated the city’s code of conduct when he accepted an $80,000 gift from a fundraising event organized on his behalf. Council imposed the maximum fine by docking Mammoliti 90 days pay. An investigation conducted by the Toronto police financial crimes unit was subsequently launched, but no charges were ever laid.

    The city’s integrity commissioner can only recommend punishment to council if she finds a councillor has contravened city rules. Recommended punishment is limited to a reprimand or suspension of pay up to 90 days.


    Complaint alleges Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti improperly used city resourcesComplaint alleges Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti improperly used city resources

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    An Ontario Superior Court justice on Friday approved a motion to liquidate all remaining Sears Canada stores, ending a retail empire that served generations of Canadians.

    More on Sears Canada

    Liquidation sales are scheduled to begin Oct. 19 and finish no later than Jan. 21.

    “It is difficult to find the right words at times such as this and may seem inadequate,” said Susan Ursel of Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson, the law firm representing Sears employees, speaking in court.

    “This company has touched the lives of generations of Canadians.”

    Ursel asked Justice Glenn Hainey to recognize the work the employees have done and are doing to keep the company going, even though they will be losing their jobs and won’t be getting any severance packages to tide them over until they find new work.

    “These employees truly deserve the thanks and appreciation of all the shareholders in this proceeding for their past and continuing efforts,” said Ursel.

    There are about 12,000 people still working for Sears Canada, after thousands more were let go from head office and in the first wave of store closures.

    “It’s not just the loss of a job for me,” said Blaise Lyle, 58, a former Sears employee who attended the court hearing in downtown Toronto.

    Lyle worked for Sears for 39 years. He was let go from his job as an in-store marketing manager at head office on June 22 when the company first sought creditor protection.

    “It’s the end of an era for a lot of Canadians.”

    Another 74 full-line department stores, eight Sears Home stores and 49 Hometown stores remain to be closed.

    Hometown dealers will be permitted to run their own liquidation sales, though they must conform to the same guidelines as the professional liquidators who have been hired to wind down the other stores.

    After paying for costs, proceeds from asset sales will be distributed to creditors around the globe.

    Outside the courtroom, Andrew Hatnay, a Koskie Minsky lawyer representing Sears pensioners, said his group will move to get their claim paid first, ahead of other creditors – the pension fund is owed nearly $260 million.

    “The retirees are obviously very concerned with the announcement that the company will be liquidating,” said Hatnay.

    A bid by Sears Canada executive chairman Brandon Stranzl to continue operating the company as a going concern has not been successful, but a legal window of opportunity has been left open for Sears to accept an offer up until Oct. 19.

    Hatnay declined to comment on the likelihood of an eleventh hour bid succeeding.

    “It’s a complicated commercial transaction,” said Hatnay.

    Sears Canada’s liquidation is a blow for billionaire Eddie Lampert, its biggest shareholder, who partially spun off the company from Sears Holdings Corp. in 2012.

    The windup raises questions about whether Sears Holdings may also falter as the company has racked up more than $10 billion in losses over the past six years. Sears shares have fallen more than 10 per cent since Sears Canada announced it was going to liquidate.

    Target Corp., which filed for creditor protection in Canada and then withdrew from the country in 2015, has left a hole in many of the country’s malls, which made it tougher for Sears Canada to find buyers for its real estate and leases.

    With files from Bloomberg


    Court approves Sears Canada liquidation, sales will start on Oct. 19Court approves Sears Canada liquidation, sales will start on Oct. 19

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    Sexual harassment is all about power. One person has it, the other doesn’t. This makes it commonplace. Add a conspiracy of silence and the cake is baked.

    Here’s one example, a relatively minor but telling incident I recalled as the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal unfolded. I was watching a scene in One Mississippi, the American Tig Notaro’s rather grim Amazon TV series, in which a boss masturbates behind his desk in front of a horrified young woman. (Did this happen to Notaro? She has suggested that comedian-adversary Louis C.K. come clean.)

    Later, the woman tells Notaro about having been previously harassed in a “date-rapey” theatre company. Does this happen everywhere? Notaro wonders. “What about jewellers? “Don’t buy jewelry alone ever,” the woman says, half-jokingly.

    “Independent booksellers?”

    “They’re fine.” Ha ha.

    I suddenly remembered. The first time I was ever sexually groped was by an independent bookseller. The storeowner, a friend of a friend of my mother who was looking for a teenage girl to help do inventory, was probably in her 40s. But I was 16, so in my eyes she looked like all adults did, about 102.

    The store was closed for the day as we bent between the shelves, counting books and noting numbers. She repeatedly touched and stroked my breasts, apologizing each time. It happened three or four times.

    What a clumsy lady! I thought. Even by teenage standards I was remarkably clueless. I didn’t know what lesbians were. Sex Ed in those days was vivid instructional videos on menstruation (wash and repeat) and childbirth (don’t let this happen to you.)

    A year later, on a winter night on an empty Ontario Northland bus outside Porquis Junction, alone with a belt-busting bus driver droning on about his girlfriend giving oral sex to men for money — such easy money, he kept saying — I would completely miss the guy’s message.

    I didn’t tell my mother about the bookseller or the bus driver because she wasn’t the kind of mother you told things to, and also I didn’t understand breasts and why anyone would want to touch them. They had appeared over the course of six months when I was 13. I found them inconvenient and embarrassing. As I say, I was very young.

    I mention these moments because this is my dream: abusers will stop and victims will talk. But abusers won’t, and maybe victims shouldn’t, as I learned later in life to my cost.

    The wealth and power of Donald Trump, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Clinton and endless other men planet-wide obscures a central point about abusers.

    They are everywhere. Yes, it’s generally older white conservative misogynists, but it’s also young men, it’s politicians of every brand, it’s women, and gays, it’s janitors and jewellers, priests, bankers, journalists, senators both Canadian and American, hedge funders, CEOs and prime ministers.

    The people who worked for Weinstein, who guided victims into rooms that contained him, were the molluscs attached to his greasy hull. They were like the birds that live between a crocodile’s jaws, travelling in high style as they clean its bloody teeth.

    They go along to get along. Most of us do.

    Victims are selected for their vulnerability. Our enemy is shock. When we are sexually harassed — the hand squeezing the thigh beneath the desk, Weinstein’s semen about to hit the restaurant’s potted plant, the reward being offered — we freeze rather than exiting and taking notes. Always start a file.

    This is why sex education should begin early in school so that children understand bodily independence and how to protect it, however much this angers hyper-religious parents. It builds confidence and caution.

    Women should learn to trust their gut instincts, as Gavin de Becker wrote in a very handy book called The Gift of Fear. If it walks like a brute...

    It would help if media coverage didn’t allow Weinstein-types to follow old furrows in the dirt road, for instance, blaming “sex addiction.” It’s more of a “sexual abuse addiction” as the Guardian’s Marina Hyde pointed out in her Lost in Showbiz column. Grotesquely, Weinstein’s lawyer called him “an old dinosaur learning new ways,” as though he were trying to break the sex crime habit endemic to his generation.

    At one point, Weinstein reportedly offered to go to Europe for rehab, where they have special towels or Alps or something, though he appears to be in Arizona at the moment. Journalists should call it what it is, “fleeing the country,” otherwise known as Doing a Polanski or Pulling an Assange. Women in whatever sex sanitarium he lands in should fear this wretched man. We all know people like that.

    The men who signed an open letter supporting the Swiss-detained Roman Polanski in 2009 — they include Weinstein, Martin Scorsese, and Woody Allen — are at worst apologists for child rape, at best morally confused by their on-set milieu.

    And no, it doesn’t help to have daughters. How could the Obamas, such loving parents, have sent their daughter Malia, 19, to intern for Weinstein who had been notorious for decades? Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow came from influential families; it did not rescue them.

    What will help? Firing abusers will help. So will not hiring them. So will jailing them. Not electing them president would have helped, but it’s too late now. The beast thrives.

    hmallick@thestar.ca


    Beauty meets the many beasts of Weinstein: MallickBeauty meets the many beasts of Weinstein: Mallick

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    Live and let live, that’s my motto.

    At least, that was my motto until I heard about the new Buffalo Latte, which was created between the third and seventh circles of hell. Combining the balm of a hot beverage and the zing of chicken wings, the Buffalo Latte starts out deceptively fine.

    It is made from “freshly brewed espresso, steamed milk, mocha.” Fine. But then it is sadistically topped with “a dusting of zesty Buffalo seasoning” — not fine — creating an enchanting elixir for anyone who wants their hit of caffeine to be followed by sweaty bouts of projectile vomiting.

    Now my motto is, “Tim Hortons has gone insane.”

    Before we continue, let me be clear: I love this country. I do. Canada is safe, clean, reasonably organized and blessed with an inclusive spirit. Canada wants to do right by the world. Even when it’s cold, Canada feels warm.

    There is no other place I’d rather live and raise children.

    But at the risk of deportation, the one thing I will never understand about Canada is the godforsaken cult of Timmies.

    I realize taste is subjective. So what are you, my beloved compatriots and fellow java junkies, tasting when you sip a Tim Hortons coffee? What am I missing? Because on the rare occasion I’ve been forced to have a cup — always by necessity and never by first choice — all I’ve tasted is bland sludge.

    Is this even coffee? Really? Or are they filtering hot water through packing peanuts and letting it percolate in a carafe of soot? I once had a double-double on a road trip to Brockville and, my God, it was quadruple vile. I would have been better off pulling over, jumping out of my car and then, on hands and knees, lapping from the nearest muddy puddle like a dehydrated bobcat.

    Again, this is just my opinion. My wife swears by the stuff. Even when we’re scrambling to get through airport customs, she has no problem delaying us by 25 minutes to get her Tims. It’s appalling. And there is no doubt my young daughters could be lured into a juvenile crime spree if the payoff was a box of Timbits.

    But wherever your tongue stands on the brand — whether you can’t live without your Tim Hortons or you’d rather start your day with a mug of turpentine — at least this used to be the (coffee) grounds for domestic debate.

    Tim Hortons was ours.

    It could not wreak havoc beyond these borders.

    I’m afraid the Buffalo Latte, which is only available in Buffalo, changes this.

    Now under the corporate ownership of Restaurant Brands International, and a sister company to Burger King and Popeyes, Tim Hortons has gone global. But since it is still seen as a Canadian company, our reputation is on the line when U.S. expansion efforts include lattes that taste like tailgate poultry or honey-dipped doughnuts smothered in potato wedges, gravy and cheese curds.

    That last abomination was unveiled this summer as part of a limited-time menu to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, an odd bit of marketing since the “Poutine Donut” or “Maple Bacon Iced Capp” were only available south of the border.

    The dichotomy is troubling.

    You know why Tim Hortons is not selling its new Buffalo Latte in Toronto or Vancouver? Because if they even thought about doing something that crazy, the drive-thrus would be jammed with torch-bearing mobs. After just one sniff of this revolting concoction, even super-fans would turn into haters.

    You shouldn’t drizzle your latte with Buffalo sauce any more than you should top your sushi with maraschino cherries.

    So by bringing this level of gross to America, what Tim Hortons is ultimately doing is imperiling a relationship that is already on tenterhooks.

    NAFTA is on the brink of collapse. Canada and America were once BFFs. Now we’re getting dangerously close to frenemy status and disgusting lattes can’t possibly help.

    Just when it seemed like the “Blame Canada” days were behind us, Tim Hortons comes up with a bonkers flavour combo under the thinnest of pretexts.

    “Tim Hortons and Buffalo sauce were both born in 1964, so why not take these two Buffalo staples and combine them?” the company asked in a press release.

    Sure, why not. And, hey, 1964 was also the year Colonel Harland Sanders sold his fried chicken chain and the Rolling Stones released their debut album. Maybe KFC should market a new bucket of chicken that’s sprinkled with vinyl dust.

    What’s next, Tim Hortons, in your pursuit of regionally inspired gustatory atrocities? Key Lime Chili? Boston Cream Shepherd’s Pie? Philly Cheese Steak Milkshakes? A Baked Alaska Tune Casserole?

    Never mind the rim. Tim Hortons, you need to roll up the common sense at this turbulent point in Canada-U.S. relations. Things are going sideways very quickly between our countries.

    The least you could do is stay bland.


    Don’t blame Canada for Tim Hortons’ Buffalo lattes: MenonDon’t blame Canada for Tim Hortons’ Buffalo lattes: Menon

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    SMITHS FALLS, ONT.—After five years of communicating with his family only through hostage videos and carefully written letters, Joshua Boyle spoke freely to his parents from a guest house in Pakistan.

    They talked of the passports his young family needed, the flights they could take and their long-awaited reunion. The couple and their children flew out of Pakistan with Canadian officials on a commercial flight early Friday.

    “My family is obviously psychologically and physically shattered by the betrayals and the criminality of what has happened over the past five years,” Boyle told the Star during a call from Islamabad to his parents, Patrick and Linda.

    It was a moment of calm for the Boyles — being able to hear their son’s voice, to listen to him laugh and at one point nearly cry — in what had been an emotional day marked by relief, anxiety and anticipation.

    “But we’re looking forward to a new lease on life, to use an overused idiom, and restarting and being able to build a sanctuary for our children and our family in North America,” Boyle told us as we sat listening around the dining room table.

    Then he added, with a laugh: “I have discovered there is little that cannot be overcome by enough Sufi patience, Irish irreverence and Canadian sanctimony.”

    Boyle, 34, his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, 31, and their children were freed Wednesday after a dramatic rescue by the Pakistani Army, based on intelligence provided by the U.S.

    Boyle told his parents in a phone call earlier Thursday that they had been in the trunk of the kidnappers’ car during the rescue and the Pakistani forces had shot dead five of the captors.

    He later told the Star that some of the kidnappers had escaped and he wanted to ensure they were caught and charged for their crimes.

    Read more:

    What we know about the rescue of Canadian Joshua Boyle, his wife and their three children in Pakistan

    Kidnapped Canadian-American family freed in Pakistan gun battle after 5 years in captivity

    A timeline of the captivity of Canadian Joshua Boyle and his family in Afghanistan

    The Taliban-linked Haqqani network has held the couple since 2012 and their two sons, age 4 and 2, and a two-month-old daughter were all born in captivity.

    For five years, since Boyle and Coleman were kidnapped while on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan, their families have prayed for this day.

    It began Wednesday.

    ***

    Canadian government officials emailed the family at 12:56 p.m. Wednesday and asked them to gather at their Smiths Falls home.

    “First and foremost, no bad news,” Jennifer Kleniewski, the head of Global Affairs Canada hostage team wrote.

    But minutes later the meeting was cancelled.

    The Boyles didn’t know what to think but it was impossible to not get their hopes up. There had been here so many times before, so many heartbreaking near misses — negotiations that seemed promising but then fell apart.

    At 4 p.m., they had their regularly scheduled weekly call with government officials. Nothing new was discussed. Officials told the Boyles there had just been some mixed signals. That wasn’t unusual — there were always rumours and erroneous reports that needed to be tracked down.

    But still, Patrick, Linda and Josh’s siblings hoped a deal was quietly underway and they just couldn’t be brought into the loop yet.

    It wouldn’t be until nine hours later, at 1 a.m. Thursday that the phone rang. “We’ll be there in five minutes,” Kleniewski said.

    “They couldn’t help but smile and just nodded their heads,” Linda Boyle said about the Canadian officials who knocked on their door moments later. “I just gave them a big hug.”

    The family was freed.

    All five were safe.

    It was not a deal.

    It was not release.

    It was a rescue.

    Linda cried. She’s not the one who usually cries — that’s the joke with her and her husband, a federal tax court judge, who on matters concerning their children is usually the first to break.

    They called security consultant Andy Ellis, a retired member of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, who the Boyles had hired earlier this year to help them navigate the political and security labyrinth that relatives of hostages must negotiate.

    But the celebration was short lived, as just 10 minutes later the Canadian officials were back in their dining room.

    There was a problem. Josh Boyle did not want to get on a U.S. flight.

    They asked Linda and Patrick if they could talk to their son. They would arrange a call.

    At 1:40 a.m. Thursday, they spoke to Josh.

    ***

    “Josh said he was doing pretty well for someone who has spent the last five years in an underground prison,” Patrick Boyle told me about the conversation with his son.

    Josh Boyle talked about being in the trunk of the kidnappers’ car and in what he called a shootout. He said the last words they heard from the kidnappers were “kill the hostages.”

    He said he didn’t want to board an American flight to the U.S. base in Bagram, Afghanistan, and asked if they could be taken instead to the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan.

    That didn’t surprise his parents. Boyle had been a staunch civil rights advocate and critic of the security measures that were implemented after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It was through this advocacy that he heard about former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr. He was briefly married to Khadr’s controversial and outspoken sister Zaynab, who the RCMP once investigated for terrorism offences.

    Canadian and U.S. officials have dismissed any connection of his kidnapping with his involvement with the Khadr family.

    As dawn broke Thursday, the Boyles’ home filled with people and boxes of doughnuts. Ellis arrived. As did Linda’s sister, Kelli O’Brien, who had launched a social media campaign to make sure Boyle, Coleman and their kids were not forgotten.

    Josh’s sisters Kaeryn and Heather prepared the upstairs room — already filled with quilts, toys and a Maple Leafs jersey — for their two nephews and niece. Dan, Josh’s brother, kept an eye on the media gathering on the sidewalk.

    The dining room became a war room with cellphones ringing and pinging, and laptops open, waiting for news.

    Pakistan’s government issued a press release, confirming that it was “an intelligence-based operation by Pakistan troops and intelligence agencies.”

    The statement said U.S. agencies had been tracking the family and kidnappers as they crossed into the Kurram Agency, on the border with Afghanistan. The rescue was based “on actionable intelligence from U.S. authorities,” the statement said.

    “The success underscores the importance of timely intelligence sharing and Pakistan’s continued commitment towards fighting this menace through co-operation between two forces against a common enemy.”

    The Pakistan press release appears to support what U.S. President Donald Trump alluded to in a speech Wednesday in Coleman’s home state of Pennsylvania. “Something happened today, where a country that totally disrespected us called with some very, very important news,” Trump said. “And one of my generals came in. They said, ‘You know, I have to tell you, a year ago they would’ve never done that.’ It was a great sign of respect. You’ll probably be hearing about it over the next few days. But this is a country that did not respect us. This is a country that respects us now. The world is starting to respect us again, believe me.”

    In a Thursday morning statement, the White House called the rescue, “a positive moment in our country’s relationship with Pakistan.”

    The Haqqani network is a powerful Afghan group with a history of taking and holding Western hostages. On Aug. 29, 2016, an Afghan court sentenced to death Anas Haqqani, the son of the group’s founder. In a YouTube video released around that time, Boyle told the Afghan government that if it does not stop executing Taliban prisoners, his family would be killed. He appeared to be reading from a script.

    Negotiations about the family’s release always involved what the Haqqani’s regarded as a “prisoner swap.” Their highest profile captive was U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who was held for nearly five years before being freed in May 2014, in return for five Taliban detainees held in Guantanamo Bay.

    “Afghanistan was never going to release Anas Haqqani because of the political cost,” said New America Foundation’s Peter Bergen. “At the same time the Haqqanis were never going to harm the hostages because they wanted their brother back. So that’s the equilibrium that it settled into.”

    Hostage rescues, however, almost always end in tragedy.

    ***

    Phone calls came from around the world all day Thursday at the Boyle home. CNN, BBC and Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Ottawa, whom Linda and Patrick had met repeatedly, emailed congratulations.

    A morning of sensational news turned into an afternoon of waiting.

    One of Josh’s sisters took their pet Labradoodle to the groomer for an appointment. Someone bought sandwiches. Linda wondered if she should keep her dental surgery for Friday morning and later went out to buy three children’s car seats — astonished at how the cost had gone up since her five children needed them.

    Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who was travelling with the prime minster on a visit to Mexico City Thursday, issued a statement expressing gratitude for the rescue.

    “Canada has been actively engaged with the governments of the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan and we thank them for their efforts, which have resulted in the release of Joshua, Caitlan and their children,” Freeland said in the statement.

    “Joshua, Caitlan, their children and the Boyle and Coleman families have endured a horrible ordeal over the past five years. We stand ready to support them as they begin their healing journey.”

    The Boyles kept in touch by phone and email with Canadian officials throughout the afternoon.

    Then came the second call of the day to Josh. It was after midnight Thursday in Pakistan. Caity and her three children slept.

    Patrick Boyle began: “Hi Josh. How are you? It’s Dad. Are you OK?”


    Canadian Joshua Boyle and family leave Pakistan after five-year kidnapping nightmareCanadian Joshua Boyle and family leave Pakistan after five-year kidnapping nightmare

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    WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday angrily accused Iran of violating the spirit of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, blaming it for a litany of malign behaviour and hitting its main military wing with anti-terrorism sanctions. But Trump, breaking with a campaign pledge to rip up the agreement, said he was not yet ready to pull the U.S. out or re-impose nuclear sanctions.

    Instead, he kicked the issue to Congress and the other nations in the seven-country accord, telling lawmakers to toughen the law that governs U.S. participation and to fix a series of deficiencies in the agreement. Those include the expiration of several key restrictions under “sunset provisions” that begin to kick in in 2025, he said.

    Trump warned that without the fixes, he would likely pull the U.S. out of the deal and snap previously lifted sanctions back into place. Without improvements, he said in a White House speech, “the agreement will be terminated.”

    “It is under continuous review, and our participation can be cancelled by me as president at any time,” he said in a speech from the White House.

    Read more: Europe is scrambling to save the Iran nuclear deal from Donald Trump

    Trump’s announcement was essentially a compromise that allows him to condemn an accord that he has repeatedly denounced as the worst deal in American history. But he stopped well short of torpedoing the pact, which was negotiated over 18 months by the Obama administration, European allies and others.

    Congress will now have 60 days to decide whether to put the accord’s previous sanctions back into place, modify them or do nothing. Any decision to re-impose sanctions would automatically kill America’s participation in the deal.

    Ahead of Trump’s speech, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other U.S. officials offered details of the president’s new stance. Tillerson said Trump will ask lawmakers to come up with legislation that would automatically re-impose sanctions that were lifted under the deal should Iran cross any one of numerous nuclear and non-nuclear “trigger points.”

    Those “trigger points” would include violations of the deal involving illicit atomic work or ballistic missile testing, support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and other groups that destabilize the region, human rights abuses and cyber warfare, Tillerson said.

    Both defenders of the Iran nuclear deal and critics are likely to be displeased by Trump’s decision. Those who support the deal believe Trump’s move will badly damage U.S. credibility in future international negotiations, while opponents think he does not go far enough in unraveling the accord.

    Ali Larijani, Iran’s parliament speaker, said Friday that any U.S. move against a nuclear deal with Iran would be an “insult” to the United Nations because the UN had given the deal its blessing.

    He added that any revision of the deal would allow Iran to take its own actions, and warned that the U.S. move could destabilize the international situation.

    “We will continue to adhere to our obligations ... for as long as other parties observe the agreement,” he said on a visit to Russia.

    American allies, who have pressed the White House to remain in the nuclear accord, were closely watching the president’s address. The European parties to the accord — Germany, France and Britain — along with the other parties, Iran, Russia and China, have ruled out reopening the deal. But some, notably France, have signalled a willingness to tackle unresolved issues in supplementary negotiations.

    Among those issues are the expiration of several restrictions on advanced nuclear activity under so-called “sunset clauses” that will allow Iran to begin ramping up its enrichment capabilities after 10 years, the end of an arms embargo and the eventual easing of demands for a halt to its missile program.

    In the speech, Trump hoped to “recruit” the Europeans into joining his broad strategy, particularly by punishing the Revolutionary Guard, which he and his national security team believe is fomenting instability, violence and extremism throughout the Middle East and beyond, according to one official.

    In anticipation of Trump’s announcements, Republican legislators have drawn up a new version of the law replacing the current 90-day timetable with “semi-annual” certifications, according to drafts seen by the Associated Press this week.

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker said in a statement on Friday that his panel had agreed to fresh certification criteria to include items that are also the province of the UN nuclear watchdog and require the U.S. intelligence community to determine if Iran is carrying out illicit activity in facilities to which the International Atomic Energy Agency has not had access.


    Donald Trump accuses Iran of violating landmark nuclear deal, but says he won’t terminate it, for nowDonald Trump accuses Iran of violating landmark nuclear deal, but says he won’t terminate it, for now

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    A Toronto Catholic high school teacher has been charged by police with luring a child online for sexual purposes.

    Toronto police said a search warrant was executed in the area of Bloor St. W. and Lansdowne Ave. on Thursday.

    Police said the suspect taught at Bishop Allen Academy in Etobicoke.

    He previously taught at Bishop Morroco-Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School in 2007 and 2008.

    Police alleged that the teacher used different usernames online, including thepoppaship, poppaship, mrmcteacher, G-Note/ G Note, massive reggae/massivereggae.

    TCDSB spokesperson John Yan said the teacher has been removed from his position at Bishop Allen Academy.

    “We want to reassure our parents and students that these allegations are not reflective of the caring and compassionate teaching professionals who work in our schools,” said Yan. Counsellors are available to any students and staff who may need support.

    The teacher may have worked as an education assistant at St. Francis Xavier Secondary School in Mississauga from 1995 to 2000, police said. He worked as an administrative assistant at St. Francis Table in Toronto from 2000-2006.

    Gerard McGilly, 46, is charged with luring a child under 18, sexual exploitation, making sexually explicit material available to a person under 18, making child pornography, possessing child pornography, and accessing child pornography.

    Police said the investigation continues. They are urging anyone who may have been subjected to inappropriate contact by the teacher to call investigators.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Sex Crimes, Child Exploitation Section at 416-808-8500, or Crime Stoppers, anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).


    Catholic high school teacher facing sexual exploitation chargesCatholic high school teacher facing sexual exploitation charges

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    The wait is almost over for our purported premier-in-waiting.

    We may soon know a little more about Patrick Brown, the little-known leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative opposition.

    Next month at a convention centre near the airport — same place where he won a leadership convention two years ago — Brown is giving us a sneak policy peak. Then as now, it is a fait accompli, held mostly for show.

    Brown had the party’s votes in 2015, just as he has them in 2017. But to win the province’s votes in 2018, the PC leader can’t keep playing possum with policy.

    Or it won’t be worth the wait.

    Most public opinion polling shows Brown poised for victory over Premier Kathleen Wynne, whose personal unpopularity is dragging down a Liberal brand tarnished over time. Yet after all this time, most Ontarians still tell pollsters they don’t know anything about Brown.

    Why is there so little to show, or know, about where he stands? Is it because the province’s next premier is merely afraid to say, has nothing to say, or both?

    All along, the PCs have been pointing to next month’s policy convention as the big reveal, an insight into how the party will steer the province when it takes power. Against that backdrop, we bring you a sample from this week’s list of 139 “Recommended Policy Resolutions” that the party brass are feeding the grassroots — and the rest of us — as leading edge thinking:

    • “PC Party policy is to help make life more affordable for families with young children.”

    • “PC Party policy is to create a wider range of options for child care.”

    • “PC Party policy is to protect workers, their economic freedoms, and the pensions they’ve been promised.”

    You get the idea about the lack of ideas, crafted with platitudes to cover virtually every base — something for everyone, or perhaps nothing for anyone.

    Yes, there are a few deadly serious promises, mostly to kill programs such as cap-and-trade or renewable energy supports. But the rest of the policy folio is a fig leaf — serving as strategic foliage for the grassroots to chew on.

    And cloaking an emperor with no ideas.

    The only certainty is that a policy convention announced with great fanfare to give voice to the grassroots has rolled over them with a fresh layer of Astroturf. The better for Brown to sprint to power without tripping up.

    Absent from the agenda is any hint of social policy of the kind he played footsie with during and after his leadership run. No more talk of tackling abortion, sex education or gay rights that won him the support of socially conservative PCs in the past.

    It may be that Brown’s U-turn — steering clear of the people to whom he once hitched his wagon — is a politically astute move. What helped him in the party leadership race, and as a backbench MP in Stephen Harper’s Ottawa (when he backed a motion opening the door to criminalizing late-term abortions) would likely hurt him with the general population.

    “Let me be very clear: I am pro-choice,” Brown declared this month.

    How to square his reincarnated pro-choice persona with his pro-life stance, in a previous life, suggesting a fetus is a person?

    “I was a backbench member of a broader team,” he told The Canadian Press this week by way of explaining his voting record. “Now that I’m the leader of the party I can much (more) clearly speak from my own heart.”

    But the abortion vote in Ottawa was a free vote of conscience — you know, from the heart — which Harper urged his own backbenchers to oppose. Brown now insists that as premier he wouldn’t reopen the debate.

    That’s to his political credit, but not his political credibility. Was it a matter of conviction then, and convenience now — or vice versa?

    There is nothing especially scary about Brown, beyond his being scared of his own shadow. Nor are there any ominous signs of a hidden agenda about which he won’t speak, just warning signals that there is no agenda to speak of.

    Don’t take my word for it. Listen to his fellow Tories — not just the vast majority of caucus members who lined up against Brown in the leadership race, but the growing number of party members complaining about internal party democracy. Apart from dissent over the policy process, protests over candidate nominations have dissolved into a police investigation — and litigation involving an awkward tape recording.

    Brown and his team are gaining a reputation for telling people what they want to hear, and then changing their story — not just with the general public, but the party faithful. That may work at next month’s carefully choreographed policy convention, but not on the campaign trail next spring, by which time motherhood resolutions promising apple pie will be awfully stale.

    No one really knows who will be Ontario’s next premier — just that if it’s Brown, he may be truly unknowable.

    Martin Regg Cohn’s political column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. mcohn@thestar.ca, Twitter: @reggcohn


    What we don’t know about Patrick Brown as premier: CohnWhat we don’t know about Patrick Brown as premier: Cohn

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    After more than 1,000 students and graduates signed a petition to save a “yearbook’” wall dating back to the 1980s, Malvern Collegiate Institute has decided to move forward with its decision to paint over it.

    The wall of the dressing room in the Upper Beach high school has been signed by Grade 11 and 12 drama students over the years as a tradition, but earlier this month the school board planned to paint over it because of “offensive comments” that were also written on the wall.

    The dressing room was locked after Malvern’s new principal, Bernadette Shaw, saw the comments. Earlier this month painters came to the school but left following outrage from students.

    After a meeting Thursday with staff and students, the decision was made to move forward with the paint job, according to Toronto District School Board spokesperson Ryan Bird.

    “I still think this is the wrong decision,” said Ben Loughton, who graduated from Malvern last year.

    But before the names and comments are erased, the wall will be photographed in high resolution (without the offensive writing) and the pictures will be put up in the school.

    “Removing the writing isn’t that simple. You’re tearing away memories and history,” said Loughton.

    “I don’t think the photographs do the students and graduates justice but it’s better than nothing.”

    Bird said there’s currently no set date for when the wall be will repainted.

    With files from Alex McKeen


    Malvern Collegiate will paint over students’ ‘yearbook’ wallMalvern Collegiate will paint over students’ ‘yearbook’ wall

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    As more allegations spill out about Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexual misconduct against women in Hollywood, the phrase “open secret” is being tossed around quite a bit. People in the entertainment industry have gossiped about Weinstein’s behaviour for years, even though it’s just now being discussed in public after the New York Times and New Yorker investigations, as A-listers including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Ashley Judd are on the record describing disturbing experiences.

    Much earlier, Weinstein’s reputation was already referenced quite openly in pop culture — and it was no secret about what TV writers thought of him.

    Read more:

    Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein fired from own company

    Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie join flood of allegations against Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein being shunned not for wrongdoing, but for getting caught: Paradkar

    Entourage

    The HBO comedy/Hollywood parody had a brief but memorable arc in the mid-2000s with a character named “Harvey Weingard,” an over-the-top terrifying producer who was a very loosely veiled version of Weinstein. (The Hollywood Reporter reported that Weinstein was initially not a fan, and told star Kevin Connolly that the producers were “dead” if they mentioned him again.)

    On the show, Harvey was portrayed as an extremely influential, verbally abusive power player who threatened to end people’s careers if he didn’t get his way — he went ballistic on Vince (Adrien Grenier) and the guys when they changed their minds about a movie deal.

    30 Rock

    On NBC’s 30 Rock, actress Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) could always be counted on for a random tidbit about her past with celebrities — there were jokes about how she dated O.J. Simpson or was engaged to David Blaine. In a March 2012 episode, Jenna was furious that “Weird Al” Yankovic was parodying one of her songs. Her co-star, Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan), tells her that it’s a bad idea to mess with Weird Al.

    “Oh please, I’m not afraid of anyone in show business,” Jenna says. “I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions. Out of five.”

    The next season, it comes up again as Jenna consoles Kenneth the page (Jack McBrayer) about his love interest.

    “I know how former lovers can have a hold over you long after they’re gone,” she says. “In some ways, I’m still pinned under a passed-out Harvey Weinstein, and it’s Thanksgiving.”

    The Oscars

    Weinstein was known to do everything in his power to secure Oscar nominations for his movies. In Tuesday’s bombshell New York Times piece that featured quotes from Paltrow and Jolie, the story reminded everyone that in 2013, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane cracked a joke about this while announcing the Oscar nominees for best supporting actress: “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.” MacFarlane and his announcing partner, Emma Stone, paused as the audience cracked up at that one.


    Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour was a dark inside jokeHarvey Weinstein’s behaviour was a dark inside joke

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN—Catalonia’s separatist movement is at risk of breaking apart over deepening infighting about the right strategy to culminate the long-held desire for the prosperous region to secede from Spain and become an independent state.

    Diehard separatists are pushing for a definitive declaration of independence in the next few days. Moderates still hope to open negotiations with Spanish authorities who insist the disputed referendum on which such a declaration would be based was illegal.

    The fault lines widened on Saturday, when the far-left CUP party demanded an unambiguous affirmation of Catalan independence from regional president Carles Puigdemont by the Monday deadline given by Spain’s central government.

    Read more: Spain gives Catalonia five days to clarify independence statement, threatens to curtain region’s autonomy

    Spain celebrates national day amid Catalan secession crisis

    Hundreds of thousands rally against Catalonia’s secession from Spain

    If Puigdemont does not comply, CUP spokeswoman Nuria Gibert said the party will threaten to withdraw its support for his ruling coalition in Catalonia’s regional parliament. Such a move would likely bring down Puigdemont’s government and force elections.

    “Until there is (a declaration of independence), we don’t see any sense in continuing normal parliamentary activity,” Gibert said.

    CUP had initially given Puigdemont a month to attempt talks with the Spanish government. However, he disappointed the party and the secession movement’s grassroots groups when he wavered on making an outright declaration of independence before the regional parliament on Tuesday.

    Instead, Puigdemont asked separatist lawmakers to delay the declaration to provide more time for dialogue.

    Gibert said Puigdemont’s ambiguous position only creates “confusion.”

    While CUP upped the pressure on Puigdemont, his main ally appealed to supporters of secession to stop bickering and stand behind their leader.

    “We must preserve the unity that is necessary to go all the way on this path to a republic,” Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras said.

    Junqueras delivered his message to 200 members of his Republic Left party at its headquarters in Barcelona. The party forms a governing coalition with Puigdemont’s conservatives in Catalonia’s parliament.

    Junqueras said the best way forward was for secessionists to show the world “who wants to offer dialogue and who rejects it.”

    Spain’s conservative government, led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, is also leaning heavily on Puigdemont. The Monday deadline it gave him to clarify his position on independence came with an ultimatum: fall in line by Oct. 19 or face losing some or all of the region’s autonomous powers.

    “Time for reflection is running out for Carles Puigdemont,” Andrea Levy, a member of the Catalan parliament from Rajoy’s Popular Party, said Saturday.

    Along with being flanked politically, Puigdemont has economic factors to consider. Banks and businesses are discussing relocating their headquarters from Catalonia to other parts of Spain over fears they would be out of the common European Union market if the region breaks away from the country.

    The Spanish government has warned that the constitutional crisis in Catalonia is already hurting the economy.

    Puigdemont claimed he had the mandate to declare an independent Catalonia after an overwhelming “Yes” vote in an Oct. 1 referendum that Spain’s top court had suspended on grounds the vote was likely unconstitutional.

    Only 43 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots amid a brutal Spanish police crackdown. Parties against secession boycotted the referendum.

    Polls show roughly half of Catalonia’s 7.5 million residents don’t want to leave Spain. Pro-union forces have held large rallies in Barcelona this week.

    The European Union supports a united Spain and no foreign country has voice support for Catalonia’s separatists.


    Infighting threatens to derail Catalan independence efforts in SpainInfighting threatens to derail Catalan independence efforts in Spain

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    One teen has died and another remains in hospital in serious condition following a double stabbing in Mississauga early Saturday.

    Both victims are 18 years old, Peel police said.

    Police continue to investigate whether the teens were known to each other.

    The stabbing happened around 1 a.m. in a McDonald’s parking lot off of Lakeshore Rd. E.

    Lakeshore Rd. is closed in both directions between Cawthra Rd. and Hampton Cres. while police investigate.

    The plaza where the stabbing took place is also closed.

    No arrests have been made at this time, and police continue to look for suspects.


    Teen dies, another in life-threatening condition following Mississauga stabbingTeen dies, another in life-threatening condition following Mississauga stabbing

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