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Articles on this Page
- 08/01/17--15:25: _CBC’s The National ...
- 08/01/17--14:44: _Toronto police offi...
- 08/02/17--07:44: _2 teens found dead ...
- 08/02/17--09:02: _Trump says Boy Scou...
- 08/02/17--09:08: _Family breathes ‘si...
- 08/01/17--09:02: _Man, 58, and boy, 6...
- 08/02/17--12:10: _Trump to support ‘m...
- 08/02/17--07:52: _Trump signs bill im...
- 08/02/17--10:27: _MacIsaac inquest ju...
- 08/02/17--05:50: _Canada has more sam...
- 08/02/17--15:24: _Residents of downto...
- 08/02/17--15:00: _Blue Jays have payr...
- 08/02/17--07:53: _Caroline Mulroney t...
- 08/02/17--09:19: _As Toronto rents ne...
- 08/02/17--14:44: _Bail conditions rel...
- 08/03/17--07:39: _Woman whose texts u...
- 08/03/17--04:07: _Average Toronto hom...
- 08/03/17--07:24: _‘Do not worry about...
- 08/03/17--11:35: _Activists sue Envir...
- 08/03/17--10:56: _Meet the single-dwe...
- 08/01/17--15:25: CBC’s The National needed a shakeup — but this one?: Analysis
- 08/02/17--07:44: 2 teens found dead in Etobicoke highrise
- 08/01/17--09:02: Man, 58, and boy, 6, dead in apparent murder-suicide in East York
- Extending police training at the Ontario Police College by one week to focus exclusively on de-escalation training.
- Consider changing the name of the “use of force” model, which outlines in what situations police officers should use force, to something along the lines of the “conflict resolution model,” with a focus on verbal and non-verbal de-escalation and emphasis on the “respect for the sanctity of life.”
- Mental health training for officers should include the “significant participation” of individuals with lived experiences of mental health and addictions issues.
- Officers should be trained on using different communication techniques when an individual has not responded the shouting of commands.
- All designated mental health officers should be required to requalify annually.
- Establish a standing committee on mental health to advise Durham Regional Police on policy, training and practice.
- Adding in-car cameras and body cameras.
- 08/02/17--15:24: Residents of downtown seniors home say AC was off for 10 days
- 08/02/17--15:00: Blue Jays have payroll to contend in ’18, if they so choose: Griffin
- 08/02/17--07:53: Caroline Mulroney to seek Tory nomination in York-Simcoe
- 08/02/17--09:19: As Toronto rents near Brooklyn-level prices, tenants grow desperate
- 08/03/17--04:07: Average Toronto home price drops $173,000 since April
- 08/03/17--10:56: Meet the single-dwellers: five people who live alone in the GTA
The conceit of the broadcast anchor as the voice from the summit, the authoritative narrator of history’s most important milestones is long gone.
It was gone before NBC anchor Brian Williams was demoted for telling tall tales about his exploits in Iraq — or, closer to home, before the CBC’s Evan Solomon or Global’s Leslie Roberts were, respectively, fired or forced to resign over conflict of interest allegations.
Social media, the rise of alternative broadcast outlets, and comics such as Jon Stewart and the newly resurgent Saturday Night Live have supplanted the need for a single narrative told, traditionally, by a middle-aged white man.
CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge, with his preternaturally calm voice, was the epitome of the omniscient presenter when he stepped down July 1 from the Canadian public broadcaster after three decades.
So it wasn’t a surprise that, in its highly anticipated announcement of a reboot, the CBC decided to cover their bets with more than one anchor for their flagship show The National. But four?
They are mostly familiar faces: That includes senior correspondent Adrienne Arsenault, 50; current Power & Politics host Rosemary Barton, 41; CBC Vancouver anchor Andrew Chang, 33; and veteran CBC News Network host Ian Hanomansing, 55.
Whether this will be groundbreaking broadcasting or a hot mess will be seen in early November when the new format launches. So far it seems like a logistical nightmare.
For one thing, there will be not one but three anchor desks, as The National goes national. Chang will remain in Vancouver, Barton in Ottawa and Arsenault and Hanomansing will be based in Toronto.
“We will be nimble and flexible and originate from anywhere in the country,” said Jennifer McGuire, editor in chief for CBC News in announcing the new anchors on Tuesday. McGuire promised a “multi-platform” experience on digital and social media “all day long” where the team will always be on the story and “through all time zones.”
She then announced that the anchors would be taking questions on Facebook Live after the news conference. It sounds exhausting.
The concept of multiple anchors is not new. Media entrepreneur Moses Znaimer was a pioneer in deconstructing the anchor desk in the 1980s by using diverse voices, glass walls and eventually taking away the desk altogether. And before the era of social media, he promoted interactivity using live audiences and the good old telephone.
This is a step in that larger direction. And the reality is that the CBC needed to reinvigorate The National, especially in a universe captive to the digital 24-hour news cycle.
The real national broadcast has been, arguably for some time, the CTV National News anchored by Lisa LaFlamme. It was the 11th most watched program in Canada for the week of July 10, with 976,000 viewers, followed by Global National with Dawna Friesen at 686,000 viewers and The National at 621,000 viewers.
The most watched show in Canada that week was, sadly but not surprisingly, America’s Got Talent. But LaFlamme managed to edge out a repeat of the Big Bang Theory, so Canadians still care, at least when they’re not watching Big Brother.
It underscores the point that news is a cultural commodity that we don’t cherish enough, even as we are swamped by American imports. Along with oil and maple syrup, and maybe smoked meat sandwiches, Canadians have always exported exceptional broadcast talent as well as cultivated our own — think the late Morley Safer at CBS or Peter Jennings at ABC.
Mansbridge was the last solo male national broadcast anchor to go, and there is also some history to be made here: Chang and Hanomansing will be the first two permanent National anchors of Asian descent. That’s no small feat.
Longtime National guest host Hanomansing — or, as his fans call him, “Handsomemanthing” — was the front-runner for the job. Chang is the greenest of the bunch, a local anchor for CBC Vancouver. They and Barton, known for her sharp-ended political interviews, and Arsenault, an Emmy Award-winning foreign correspondent, all seem like a good match on paper. But the real chemistry test comes in November.
Beyond that, this move is also an admission by the CBC that the era of the all-powerful, all-knowing anchor is over — that viewers no longer need to gather before an electronic hearth to hear Mansbridge sonorously announce the intricacies of The Meech Lake Accord.
And if the CBC is right, audiences don’t want their anchors sitting behind a desk anyway. The four anchors say they plan to continue reporting in the field.
Conceptually, this is all good. But four captains piloting one ship? Not so much. If things go south, Peter Mansbridge, I’m sure, is on speed dial.
A Toronto police officer and his brother charged in the beating of Black teen Dafonte Miller are accused of misleading investigators, according to newly obtained court documents.
The charges against Michael Theriault, a 25-year-old constable with the Toronto police force, and his 21-year-old brother, Christian Theriault, include aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in relation to the incident, which took place Dec. 28 in Whitby.
Both men were also charged with public mischief. According to information filed in court, the Special Investigations Unit alleges the Theriaults “did with intent to mislead, cause a peace offer to enter upon or continue an investigation and thereby commit public mischief.”
The date of the alleged offence — Dec. 28 — suggests that the SIU, a police oversight body, is alleging Theriault and his brother misled Durham police officers, who responded to the scene in the early morning hours. The SIU was not informed of the incident until April. Neither the SIU nor Durham police would comment Tuesday.
According to the section of the Criminal Code under which the Theriaults have been charged, someone has committed public mischief if they report an offence that hasn’t occurred, make a false statement accusing someone of an offence, or do anything meant to cause someone to be suspected of a crime or “divert suspicion from himself.”
The brothers are currently out on bail and scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 10. Michael Theriault has been suspended with pay from the Toronto police.
Miller’s lawyer, Julian Falconer, has provided an account of what allegedly happened in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, none of which has yet been tested in court.
Miller and his friends, Falconer said, were walking down Erickson Dr., a quiet suburban street north of Dundas St. E., before 3 a.m., when they were confronted by the brothers, who were in the garage of their family home. According to property records, the home is owned by the Theriaults’ father, John Theriault — a longtime Toronto police detective currently assigned to the professional standards unit.
Michael Theriault, Falconer alleged, identified himself as a police officer and asked what the group of friends were doing. The Theriaults chased Miller and his friends, eventually catching up to Miller and beating him with a metal pipe, the lawyer said.
Miller called 911 as the attack continued, Falconer has said. The call history from his phone, captured in a photo provided to the Star and other outlets, shows a call to 911 at 2:52 a.m., which lasted just over a minute.
According to Falconer, Michael Theriault grabbed the phone and told the operator he was a police officer and had made an arrest. Falconer told the Star he has personally listened to the 911 recording, which has not been released publicly.
When Durham police arrived at the scene, Falconer said, Michael Theriault told them he and his brother had heard noises coming from a car in their driveway, and saw Miller and one of his friends running away from a Theriault family car.
Michael Theriault told Durham police that change used for grocery money was missing from the car, Falconer said.
Michael Theriault’s lawyer, Michael Lacy, declined to comment on his client’s charges.
Durham police charged Miller on Dec. 28 with theft under $5,000, assault with a weapon described as a “pole,” and possession of a small amount of marijuana. Those charges were withdrawn by the Crown in May, before going to trial.
Durham officers interviewed multiple people, collected evidence and took photographs during their investigation of the Dec. 28 incident, Durham Chief Paul Martin said in a news release Friday.
Neither Toronto police nor Durham police notified the SIU, the body called in to investigate cases of death, serious injury or alleged sexual assault involving police. It was not until Falconer contacted the police watchdog in April that it began an investigation.
Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders has repeatedly defended his service’s decision not to contact the SIU. Members of the Toronto police professional standards unit decided, based on the information they had at the time, that the Theriault case did not meet the threshold to report to the police watchdog, Saunders told reporters.
Saunders announced Thursday that Waterloo police had been called in to conduct a third-party investigation into the circumstances of Miller’s beating.
Martin has announced an internal review, led by his deputy chief Uday Jaswal, to examine whether Durham officers acted correctly in arresting Miller and in not contacting the SIU.
Toronto paramedics suspect that two teens whose bodies were found in an Etobicoke condominium died of a drug overdose.
Police were called at about 10 p.m. Tuesday by a relative of the victims, both in their late teens, who were found in a 15th-floor condo unit on Eva Rd., near Highway 427 and Bloor St. W., Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook said.
The teens were without vital signs when paramedics arrived. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
Toronto paramedics deputy commander Susan McConnell said the deaths were caused by a suspected overdose.
Residents of the 20-plus storey building were disturbed by the news.
“I’m from Vancouver so I’m used to, unfortunately, a lot of overdoses that happen,” said Madison Opp, who lives in the building. “I know there’s a lot of things going around right now and hopefully they figure out what it is.”
Post-mortems were being carried out Wednesday. No foul play is suspected and there was no obvious sign of trauma, Douglas-Cook said.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday morning at an unrelated news conference, Mayor John Tory called the deaths “unimaginable tragedies.”
There were four deaths and 20 overdoses in the city over the weekend, likely caused by fentanyl use.
“These are young people in many cases, who are somebody’s son and daughters, they’re at the beginning of their life and to have them lose their lives, because of preventable activity, is something that is very disturbing to me as the mayor,” Tory said.
Tory said the city started to try to “get ahead of it” a number of months ago by supporting a harm-reduction strategy, which includes opening three supervised injection sites — though it’s taken some time to secure the regulatory approval — and increasing naloxone kit distribution.
He plans to meet Thursday with the chief medical officer of health, the police chief or a representative, and both public and provincial health ministry officials to discuss if there is “more we could be doing to stop these deaths from happening.”
“What we have to do is try and have programs to help them get off drugs and have education to stop people from using drugs but we also have to prevent deaths from happening,” Tory said.
With files from Emily Fearon and Bryann Aguilar
NEW YORK—Faced with a firm denial from the Boy Scouts, the White House on Wednesday corrected President Donald Trump’s claim in an interview that the head of the youth group called him to heap praise on a politically aggressive speech Trump delivered at the Scouts’ national jamboree.
After the Boy Scouts issued a statement saying no such call happened, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed their take but said “multiple members of the Boy Scout leadership” approached Trump in person after the speech and “offered quite powerful compliments.”
Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Wednesday, “I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them.”
“We are unaware of any such call,” the Boy Scouts responded in a statement. It specified that neither Boy Scout President Randall Stephenson nor Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh placed such a call.
Sanders explained the discrepancy Wednesday by saying Trump misspoke when he described the conversations as calls.
“The conversations took place,” she added. “They just simply didn’t take place over a phone call.”
There was no immediate word from the Boy Scouts as to whether Surbaugh was among those congratulating Trump in person. Stephenson did not attend the speech.
The White House also had to back off another Trump claim made Monday about an alleged phone call from Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who Trump claimed called him to praise his immigration policies.
Sanders said the topic did come up, but in a conversation between the two leaders at a recent summit in Germany.
Email exchanges with the Boy Scouts of America head office made clear that fallout from the speech, and the president’s latest claim, placed the BSA in an awkward position — seeking to show its longstanding respect for the office of the presidency and avoid a confrontation with Trump while making clear that its top leaders had not called him to praise the speech.
Other U.S. presidents have delivered nonpolitical speeches at past jamborees. To the dismay of many parents and former scouts, Trump promoted his political agenda and derided his rivals, inducing some of the scouts in attendance to boo at the mention of former President Barack Obama.
The Scouts noted that Surbaugh had apologized last week to members of the scouting community who were offended by the political rhetoric in Trump’s July 24 speech in West Virginia.
“I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree,” Surbaugh said. “That was never our intent.”
Surbaugh noted that every sitting president since 1937 has been invited to visit the jamboree.
Stephenson told The Associated Press two days after the speech that Boy Scout leaders anticipated Trump would spark controversy with politically tinged remarks, yet felt obliged to invite him out of respect for his office.
Hoping to minimize friction, the Boy Scouts issued guidelines to adult staff members for how the audience should react to the speech. Any type of political chanting was specifically discouraged.
Stephenson, who didn’t attend Trump’s speech, said the guidance wasn’t followed impeccably.
Trump says Boy Scouts head called to praise his speech, but group ‘unaware’ of ‘such call’
The family of 83-year-old Domingos Martins is grateful that he was found alive after an intense search since last week, but they are now puzzled over where he has been for the last five days.
Martins, who has Alzheimer’s, was found by Toronto police on Wednesday around 10:21 a.m. in the area of Highway 400 and Highway 401, near Black Creek Dr.
His grandson, John Martins, told the Star police found Domingos in a shaded area behind a gate and that he was lying behind a transport truck.
Superintendent Ron Taverner said Martins was on the ground when officers from 12 Division arrived.
“It appeared he had fallen and wasn’t able to get up,” said Taverner.
But police and the family still don’t know how long Domingos was in that spot or how he managed to cope with the hot weather over the past few days.
He was conscious and breathing when he was taken to hospital, but he is now in critical condition in the intensive care unit, Humber River Hospital told the Star.
Domingos was last seen on July 28 around 4:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Ave. W. and Jane St. area.
His family appealed to the public during his disappearance to help them find him.
“It was a very stressful time for us. We were staying up for 22 hours a day looking for him,” said John.
“When police found him it was such a sigh of relief.”
John said Domingos was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about a year ago, and this is the first time he’s wandered off.
“We feel guilty because we feel like we could have done more to prevent this from happening.”
Taverner said the search area expanded over the weekend after police they didn’t find him in the vicinity of his home. Hundreds of volunteers, including his family members, formed the search party.
“A lot of credit goes to a lot of people who did what was needed to find this man,” said Taverner.
John said the family still hasn’t gotten the chance to ask Domingos what happened over the last five days.
Family breathes ‘sigh of relief’ after 83-year-old with Alzheimer’s disease found alive
The last time Pearse Vujcic’s dog ran circles around the balcony of his East York apartment, it was because of a small earthquake. So when the 57-year-old observed the same behaviour Monday evening, he knew something must be amiss.
That’s when Vujcic heard signs of distress coming from the apartment of his longtime neighbour and friend, Zlatan Cico.
“I heard yelling and screaming that I heard only in war, and I knew somebody was dead,” Vujcic said.
Police found Cico, 58, and his 6-year-old son, Simon, without vital signs in the building near Gamble and Broadview Aves. shortly after 7 p.m., after an apparent murder-suicide.
Upon hearing the screams, Vujcic left his apartment and saw a woman he recognized as Cico’s wife in distress, screaming, “My son is inside. What will I do without my son?”
The door to Cico’s apartment was open, and Vujcic entered to find the man who had been his friend and neighbour for 11 years dead, with a note on his chest.
He also saw Simon there. Vujcic knew instantly, looking at him, that it was too late to help. Toronto police said the boy had suffered physical trauma.
Diana Maslova, who lives on the floor above, said she saw Cico’s wife later, after the bodies were found, and she “looked like a zombie.”
“At that point she didn’t talk or cry or react,” Maslova said. “Somebody tried to hug her and she didn’t even move. She was just looking straight ahead.
“She looked like she was in shock.”
Vujcic said that Simon Cico lived full-time with his mother, and visited his father regularly.
Neighbours didn’t know much about the mother, who doesn’t live in the building, apart from occasionally seeing her in the elevator.
Vujcic described Simon as a “happy kid.” Just a couple of weeks ago, Cico had taken him to see a film at the Hot Docs Cinema on Bloor St. Vujcic joked that the young kid probably wouldn’t like the documentary, but Simon said he had a good time.
“My point is, until the last moment, they had a good time together,” Vujcic said.
Maslova also said the father and son were in good spirits whenever she saw them.
“They were always talking, laughing and looking happy,” she said.
Vujcic said that he regrets having missed signs of depression or distress in his close friend.
“All my life I will blame myself that I didn’t notice that he was suicidal,” Vujcic said. “I miss him dearly.”
Police said they are not looking for any suspects, but wish to speak to anyone who has background information that may give them some “clarity” about what happened.
“Based on what we have, we know who the suspect is: he’s the male involved in it,” Toronto police Sgt. Allyson Douglas-Cook said. “However, there’s still questions that … remain unanswered at this point.”
Police are interested in speaking to friends, family or anyone who was in the area at the time of the incident. They are asking anyone with information to call 416-808-7400.
A post-mortem was being carried out Tuesday to determine the cause of death.
With files from Alexandra Jones and Alanna Rizza
Man, 58, and boy, 6, dead in apparent murder-suicide in East York Man, 58, and boy, 6, dead in apparent murder-suicide in East York
WASHINGTON —U.S. President Donald Trump is pushing forward with his promise of a harder line on legal immigration, endorsing a proposal to slash the number of immigrants admitted to the United States while favouring those with certain education levels and skills.
Trump announced his support for such an overhaul of immigration law during an event Wednesday at the White House with conservative Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia.
The changes proposed in their bill, called the RAISE Act, would be the “biggest change in 50 years” to the immigration system, Trump said, and reflect the administration’s “compassion for struggling American families that deserve an immigrant system that puts their needs first.”
The bill faces dim prospects in Congress, where nearly all Democrats and a sizable number of Republicans oppose its key provisions. But it reflects a central promise of Trump’s campaign and the renewed emphasis the White House has made in recent weeks to appeal to the president’s core supporters.
White House staff have been working closely with Cotton and Perdue for weeks on the legislation, which would restrict how the U.S. admits immigrants and move to what Trump has described as a “merit-based” system similar to that used in Australia and Canada.
The proposal “ends chain migration,” Trump said, referring to the preference for uniting family members in the current immigration system. It would implement a points-based system for awarding lawful permanent residency, or green cards.
Foreign applicants would receive a higher score if they “speak English,” can financially support themselves and have skills that “can contribute to our economy,” Trump said.
The proposal has been praised by groups that advocate reduced immigration, including NumbersUSA and the Federation of Immigration Reform.
Immigration advocacy groups are opposed, as are many economists who say the nation, with an aging population and low fertility rate, should be encouraging an influx of younger workers to spur economic growth.
The current U.S. immigration system favours uniting family members with relatives already in the country. It was built on the premise that any person, regardless of how much education or money they have, can come to the United States and create a productive life for themselves.
Any changes along the lines of the proposed bill would require support from moderate Republican senators such as Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and many Senate Democrats oppose making partial changes to immigration law without creating a pathway to legal status for immigrants who arrived in the country illegally and put down roots.
Trump repeatedly has said he doesn’t want to reduce the total number of immigrants admitted each year, yet the proposal by Cotton and Perdue would cut legal immigration by more than half.
At the same time, Trump during his campaign called for returning the level of foreign-born Americans to their historic norm. The level is currently higher than at most periods in U.S. history. Immigration experts said at the time that Trump’s goal could only be achieved by sharply reducing legal immigration levels.
Trump has also been reluctant to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, started by President Barack Obama, which provides work authorizations to immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Trump called the program “unconstitutional” during the presidential campaign, but also has expressed sympathy toward people who are in this country illegally through no fault of their own and were raised here.
At a rally in Ohio last week, Trump praised Cotton and Perdue and said he was working with the senators to replace “today’s low-scale system, just a terrible system where anybody comes in.”
“We want a merit-based system, one that protects our workers, our taxpayers, and one that protects our economy. We want it merit-based,” Trump said.
Trump to support ‘merit-based’ immigration system that would cut number of U.S. migrants in half
WASHINGTON—Dealt a striking congressional rebuke, Donald Trump grudgingly signed what he called a “seriously flawed” package of sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, bowing for the moment to resistance from both parties to his push for warmer ties with Moscow.
Trump signed the most significant piece of legislation of his presidency with no public event. And he coupled it with a written statement, resentful in tone, that accused Congress of overstepping its constitutional bounds, impeding his ability to negotiate with foreign countries and lacking any ability to strike deals.
“Congress could not even negotiate a health care bill after seven years of talking,” he said scornfully of lawmakers’ recent failure to repeal “Obamacare” as he and other Republicans have promised for years. “As president, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.”
Still, he said, “despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity.”
It was powerful evidence of the roadblock Congress has erected to Trump’s efforts to reset relations with Russia at a time when federal investigators are probing Moscow’s interference in the U.S. presidential election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.
The legislation is aimed at penalizing Moscow for that interference and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad.
The law also imposes new financial sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
Trump said the law will “punish and deter bad behaviour” by the governments of Iran and North Korea as well as enhance existing sanctions on Moscow. But he made no secret of his distaste for what the bill does to his ability to govern.
“The bill remains seriously flawed — particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate,” he said.
Last week, the House overwhelmingly backed the bill, 419-3, and the Senate rapidly followed, 98-2. Those margins guaranteed that Congress would be able to beat back any veto attempt.
Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 campaign with the intention of tipping the election in his favour.
He’s blasted the federal investigation as a “witch hunt.”
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the president’s concerns over the bill misplaced.
“Vladimir Putin and his regime must pay a real price for attacking our democracy, violating human rights, occupying Crimea and destabilizing Ukraine,” McCain said. “Going forward, I hope the president will be as vocal about Russia’s aggressive behaviour as he was about his concerns with this legislation.”
Trump’s talk of extending a hand of co-operation to Putin has been met by skeptical lawmakers looking to limit his leeway. The new measure targets Russia’s energy sector as part of legislation that prevents Trump from easing sanctions on Moscow without congressional approval.
Russia wasn’t pleased. Putin responded on Sunday by announcing the U.S. would have to cut 755 of its embassy and consular staff in Russia. And Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an emotional Facebook post Wednesday that “Trump’s administration has demonstrated total impotence by surrendering its executive authority to Congress in the most humiliating way.”
On Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow is reserving the right to take further retaliatory measures in response to the sanctions bill.
The statement contrasts with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s earlier statement that “retaliatory measures already have been taken” — a reference to Moscow ordering the U.S. to steeply cut its number of diplomatic personnel in Russia and closing a U.S. recreational retreat.
The Foreign Ministry emphasized that “we naturally reserve the right for other countermeasures.”
It says the bill Trump signed reflects a “short-sighted and dangerous” attempt to cast Russia as an enemy and would erode global stability.
The ministry added that “no threats or attempts to pressure Russia will force it to change its course or give up its national interests.”
The congressional review section of the bill that Trump objects to was a key feature for many members of Congress.
Trump will be required to send a report explaining why he wants to suspend or terminate a particular set of the sanctions on Russia. Lawmakers would then have 30 days to decide whether to allow that.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson echoed the president’s sentiments that the measure poses more diplomatic hindrances than solutions.
“Neither the President nor I are very happy about that,” Tillerson said Tuesday. “We were clear that we didn’t think that was going to be helpful to our efforts, but that’s the decision they made.”
Sean Kane, a former official with the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said the Obama administration had sought similar wiggle room when negotiating Iran sanctions with lawmakers.
“These issues have come up before where an administration wants flexibility in place in a deal that would potentially lift sanctions, and Congress wants to tie the administration’s hands in some ways,” said Kane, now at the law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed.
Trump said that Congress had “included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions.”
Last winter, just before Trump was sworn in, a bipartisan group of senators unveiled a bill designed to go beyond the punishments already levied against Russia by the Obama administration and to demonstrate to Trump that forcefully responding to Moscow’s election interference wasn’t a partisan issue.
Action on Russia sanctions didn’t really pick up until late May, when Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, threw his support behind the effort. The bill underwent revisions to avoid inadvertently undercutting U.S. firms or interfering with how European allies acquire energy.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle celebrated the passage and signing.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the bill sends a “powerful message to our adversaries that they will be held accountable for their actions.”
But the House’s top Democrat said Trump’s statement calling the bill “seriously flawed” raises questions about whether his administration will follow the law. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the Republican-led Congress must not allow the White House to “wriggle out of its duty to impose these sanctions for Russia’s brazen assault on our democracy.”
Trump signs bill imposing sanctions on Russia as punishment for election meddling
Another police shooting death inquest, and another slew of non-binding recommendations from the jury focusing on better training for officers dealing with individuals in crisis.
The five-member jury at the coroner's inquest probing the police shooting death of Michael MacIsaac delivered 38 recommendations Wednesday, with an emphasis on better de-escalation techniques for officers and mental health training that would include “significant participation” from individuals with lived experiences of mental health and addictions issues.
While MacIsaac's family said they were generally pleased with the recommendations and will now work to see that they get implemented, they also highlighted that many of the recommendations have been made at previous police shooting inquests by different juries, yet deaths continue to happen.
“I'm sure there have been lots of good recommendations from the inquests that have been had,” Michael's mother, Yvonne MacIsaac, told reporters Wednesday. “My son would be alive if even a few of them had been followed.”
Michael MacIsaac, 47, was shot dead on an Ajax street on Dec. 2, 2013 by Durham Regional Police Const. Brian Taylor. The officer, who was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), said a naked MacIsaac was advancing on him with a table leg. The man's family believes he was in crisis after suffering an epileptic seizure.
The inquest, which began July 17, was the latest step for the MacIsaac family in determining what exactly happened to Michael that December day. The proceedings heard from a number of civilian witnesses, experts and officers, including Taylor, who conceded on the stand that there could have been a better way to handle the situation.
As expected, the jury ruled MacIsaac's death a homicide, a finding that carries no legal weight. Their recommendations include:
The recommendations were largely adopted from those proposed jointly by all parties to the jury Monday.
Many members of Michael's family, including his wife, mother and four of his sisters, sat in the front row of the courtroom each day of the inquest, sometimes so overcome with emotion while listening to testimony that they had to step out.
The MacIsaacs have been very vocal in their displeasure with the SIU's probe of MacIsaac's death and have spent a considerable amount of time and money over the years conducting their own investigation, including conducting an independent autopsy, consulting with ballistics experts, speaking with witnesses, and having meetings with government ministers. Michael's sister, Joanne MacIsaac, reiterated her call Wednesday for the SIU to reopen Michael's case.
“Going forward, I don't want this to happen to another family,” MacIsaac told reporters. “It may sound like Pollyanna, but it's so true. There have been so many families, even since Michael's death, who we've been in communication with. You're handcuffed to the system years after (the death), you're thrown into a scenario where your loved one is scrutinized . . . The whole process is hurtful.
“We're not the same people we were three years ago. I think I need to take a two-week break, and start again.”
Durham police spokesman Const. George Tudos said the force will be reviewing the recommendations. The MacIsaacs' lawyer, Roy Wellington, said he's spoken with the police force's lawyer about working on a timetable to begin implementing them.
The general criticism levelled at coroner's inquests is that the jury's recommendations are non-binding and therefore rarely adopted by public institutions including government and the police. Indeed, some recommendations at police shooting inquests, particularly those dealing with de-escalation, continue to be made by inquest juries, who repeatedly highlight a need for better training of police officers when dealing with individuals in crisis.
At the recent coroner's inquest into the Toronto police shooting death of Andrew Loku, the jury recommended amending the annual use-of-force recertification for officers to include qualification in areas including mental health, anti-racism, and particularly anti-Black racism.
The jury at the inquest last year into the Peel police shooting death of Jermaine Carby recommended police develop more effective methods of de-escalation.
And at the so-called 2014 “JKE inquest” — which probed the Toronto police shooting deaths of Reyal Jardine-Douglas, Sylvia Klibingaitis and Michael Eligon — the jury urged police to learn more about verbal de-escalation techniques, especially when shouting police commands isn't working, and to take a person's mental health state into consideration when they are advancing with a sharp weapon.
“I've been through this at least nine times, and it's been soul destroying that the same recommendations have to be made over and over again,” said lawyer Anita Szigeti, who represents the Empowerment Council, which advocates for individuals with lived experiences of mental health and/or addictions issues, and who has participated in many police shooting inquests, including the MacIsaac inquest.
“On the other hand, this jury has added some new things that I'm hoping will be implemented.”
In particular, Szigeti pointed to the recommendation that an additional week of training at the Ontario Police College be added to solely focus on de-escalation, something she said had not been jointly proposed by the parties.
“My hope is that the Ministry (of Community Safety and Correctional Services) listens and adds in the necessary time at the Ontario Police College . . . The 12 weeks that they do have is insufficient. We have heard at every single inquest that there is not enough de-escalation emphasis at the OPC and there's not enough training with respect to individuals in crisis.
“This would be an important recommendation to implement immediately to prevent future deaths in similar circumstances.”
MacIsaac inquest jury recommends more mental health training for policeMacIsaac inquest jury recommends more mental health training for police
OTTAWA—Changing social norms, immigration and economics are driving big changes in how Canadians live, with more same-sex couples, more lone-parent families, more one-person households and more young adults living with their parents.
The latest release of data from the 2016 census paints a picture of home life in Canada – households, relationships and children – and the theme is diversity, said Doug Norris, senior vice-president and chief demographer at Environics Analytics.
“We’re getting more and more diverse in terms of our family forms. Family forms that didn’t exist or weren’t recognized 15, 20 years ago are now increasing,” Norris said in an interview.
“That traditional mom, mad, kids is certainly not increasing very much and declining maybe a bit,” he said.
“There’s more and more variation across the country,” he said, highlighting increases in same-sex couples, stepfamilies and number of common-law relationships.
The changing face of Canadian households was driven home Wednesday when Statistics Canada revealed 2016 census data examining families, households and marital status.
There were 14.1 million private households in Canada in 2016 – 9.5 million (67.7 per cent) had at least a married or common-law couple, with or without children, and lone-parent families.
For the first time, people living on their own was the most common type of household, accounting for almost 30 per cent of all households in 2016. That percentage has been steadily increasing since 1951, when it stood at just 7.4 per cent. More women (53.7 per cent) than men are living alone. An aging population as well as higher divorce and separation rates have led to more people living alone, said Jonathan Chagnon, a demographer with Statistics Canada.
But better economic prospects, pensions and increased presence of women in the workforce are also behind the trend, meaning more people are economically independent.
“There’s an improvement in the standard of living – 150 years ago there was no retirement pension so it was really difficult to live by yourself,” he said. “It can explain why today it’s possible to be in a one-person household.”
Among seniors, about one-third of women were living alone in 2016, compared with 17.5 per cent of men. Yet the number of older women living alone has dropped, in part because of the increased life expectancy of their male partners.
Norris said it’s not clear whether the rise of lone-occupant households might shake up political strategies, notably the favoured appeal to working families.
“The living alone population is pretty diverse. Some are in their 20s, some coming out of a separation and divorce in mid-age and there’s the older population,” Norris said.
“Some of those people who are living on their own are divorced, they have kids of their own . . . older people have grandchildren. The interest in families is a lot broader than people who find themselves in just the traditional family structure,” he said.
At the other end of the household spectrum, multigenerational homes – with at least three generations under the same roof – are also on the rise, growing by 37.5 per cent since 2001. More than 2 million Canadians live in a multigenerational household, which are most common among immigrant populations and Indigenous peoples.
The number of couples without children is growing faster (up 7.2 per cent) than couples with children (up 2.3 per cent). As a result, the share of couples living with at least one child fell to 51 per cent in 2016, the lowest level ever. “Less couples living with children is partly due to the aging of the population. . . . There’s more and more baby boomers who have seen their children leave,” Chagnon said in an interview.
Married couples comprise the majority of relationships in 2016 but common-law unions are becoming more common, making up 21 per cent of all couples, up from 6.3 per cent in 1981.
Common-law unions are on the rise. Nunavut has the highest percentage in the country at 50 per cent, followed by Quebec at 40 per cent. Common-law unions make up 14 per cent of partnerships in Ontario, below the national average of 21 per cent.
The census counted 72,880 same-sex couples in Canada – slightly more men than women – and one-third were married.
Same-sex couples remain a very small percentage of all couples – just 0.9 per cent – but a fast-growing segment. In the last decade, the number of same-sex couples has increased by 60 per cent, compared with a 9 per cent increase in the number of opposite-sex couples. About 12 per cent of couples had children living with them.
Half of all same-sex couples were living in four of the country’s largest urban areas: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa-Gatineau.
More and more, young adults are staying at home. More than one in three (34.7 per cent) young adults aged 20 to 34 were living with at least one adult in 2016, a share that has been rising since 2001 when it stood at 30.6 per cent.
That number is highest in Ontario where 42 per cent of all young adults live with their parents, by the far the largest share of all provinces and territories and up 20 per cent over the last 15 years, Statistics Canada reports.
Indeed, almost half all young adults in Toronto and Oshawa are living with their parents, potentially related to the high cost of housing across the Greater Toronto Area.
Statistics Canada cites a number of potential factors for the trend, including the “temporary benefits in terms of logistical, emotional or financial support” for young people while still in school or job hunting.
In Ontario, it says a “combination of economic realities, including the high cost of housing, and cultural norms that favour young adults living with their parents for longer” is behind the trend.
Immigrants, especially those who are arrived as children, and those who are second-generation Canadians were more likely to live with a parent.
While the trend has been called “boomerang” kids – children who return to the nest – separate research by Statistics Canada has found that the majority of young adults (69 per cent) in fact never left their parents’ homes.
With more young adults living with mom and dad, fewer of them (41.9 per cent) are living a spouse, partner or child, a trend that has been steadily declining since 2001.
Statistics Canada says similar trends are seen in other jurisdictions such as the United States (34 per cent) and the European Union (48 per cent).
In 2016, of the 5.8 million children aged 14 and younger living in private households, 70 per cent were living with both of their biological or adoptive parents.
Lone-parent families are the rise with more than 1 million children – about 20 per cent – living with a single parent. Of these, the vast majority of children (81.3 per cent) lived with their mother while 18.7 per cent were with their father. But over the last 15 years, the number of children living with a lone father has grown by 34.5 per cent, which Statistics Canada says is the result of changing attitudes and the acknowledgement of the role of fathers as well as a legal system that increasingly awards joint custody.
One in 10 children – 567,270 – were living in a stepfamily. About 83,000 children were living without their biological or adoptive parents, either with their grandparents or other relatives.
And the family situation can change over the course of a child’s life. While a child is less likely to experience the death of a parent – thanks to increases in life expectancy – the chances of a parental split has been on the rise. One in eight children younger than 1 were living in a one-parent family. But among older children, ages 10 to 14, the proportion of those in a one-parent family increases to one in four.
Ontario, B.C. and Alberta have the highest percentage of so-called “intact” two-parent families. Nova Scotia has the highest percentage of children living with a lone parent.
The census adds another chapter in the evolution of Canadian homes, dating from Confederation when large rural families had on average 5.6 people per household, a number that dropped to 2.4 by 2016. Indeed, the census itself has had to adapt to a changing society – same-sex couples were only counted starting in 2001 and step families in 2011.
Canada has more same-sex couples, one-person households, census shows
After at least six hot days and sweaty nights, the air conditioning at Old York Tower seniors’ home on The Esplanade is back on.
On Wednesday afternoon before the air conditioning had been restored Dorothy Creaser, 83, sat in her apartment with blinds drawn, a fan blowing hot air around the near-dark living room.
Wednesday’s forecast read 28 degrees at 2:30 p.m.
Though building personnel who identified herself as Rose, said the AC had been off for six days, Creaser says she was without air conditioning for 10 consecutive days.
There is one person who lives in the building who is 102, Creaser said.
“I feel (management) has jeopardized the health and safety in the building,” said Creaser, who has lived in the building for 20 years. “I think they should all be changed.”
Creaser uses a wheelchair and grapples with multiple medical conditions — she is a heart patient, she said. Around her neck dangled a lifeline device.
“I wear an alert because of health issues, and last night I was really tempted to press this thing,” she said before the air conditioning was activated. “I’m a diabetic, too, so my feet are swelling in my own apartment. It’s the heat, definitely. I woke up in the middle of the night and the bottom sheet and pillow were wet — and I mean wet.”
The biggest concern is the lack of communication from the board of directors and the property management firm, said Creaser. The Star made several attempts to reach the president of the board, but he failed to comment; Affordable Property Management Inc. oversees the non-profit residence and also did not respond to requests for comment.
There was a notice posted in an elevator two days after the air conditioning broke, Creaser said, which indicated the problem was being addressed.
“The latest notice said the part is on en route from the U.S.,” said Creaser. “I guess they think we’re all senile. They talk to us like we’re 5 (years-old).”
Outside the building Hernando Perez, who’s lived in the building for seven years was sitting on a bench near the entranceway.
“It’s too hot,” he said.
Another resident said many seniors are being picked up by family and taken someplace cool.
Heather Anderson, 78, had been searching for an AC unit for her window at Canadian Tire earlier in the day.
“I have looked into a couple of portables,” she said. “I’m thinking it might be a good investment if they don’t put a new system in here. They are trying to fix it, but 20 years is along time for the same system to run, and we believe it’s kaput.”
Residents of downtown seniors home say AC was off for 10 days
The Blue Jays have clearly thrown in the towel for this season. Already thin in starting pitching, with Aaron Sanchez battling blister problems, Jays general manager Ross Atkins traded left-hander Francisco Liriano to the Astros for a solid outfield prospect and veteran outfielder Nori Aoki. Then he sent key setup man Joe Smith to Cleveland for prospects.
We should get a sense of their direction with their payroll and roster decisions. Could president Mark Shapiro and Atkins be open to dealing away the final year of Josh Donaldson before he hits free agency and still intend or pretend to contend? How much will the Jays have available for off-season free agents?
The Jays’ opening day payroll for 2017 was $163.4 million (all figures in U.S. dollars), according to the respected website Cot’s Baseball Contracts. That was the highest in the history of the franchise.
The Jays will be divesting themselves of $55.4 million in expiring free-agent contracts, led by Jose Bautista’s mutual option that the club will surely decline with a half-million dollar buyout. Bautista earned $18.5 million in 2017. Other free agents include Marco Estrada ($14M), J.P. Howell ($3M), Darwin Barney ($2.89M), Chris Coghlan ($3M) and Miguel Montero ($14M).
There are seven returning players in 2018 with guaranteed contracts totalling $75.9 million. That list includes Russ Martin and Troy Tulowitzki at $20 million each, J.A. Happ ($13M), Kendrys Morales ($11M), Steve Pearce ($6.25M), Justin Smoak ($4.125M), and Cuban prospect Lourdes Gurriel ($1M), who has a guaranteed, major-league, six-year deal.
A record nine Blue Jays will be eligible for salary arbitration next February, including Donaldson, starters Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, closer Roberto Osuna and centre fielder Kevin Pillar. The Jays will likely either trade or non-tender the contracts of Ezequiel Carrera and Aoki.
If the Jays do not trade Donaldson and the expected numbers are settled upon in arbitration, that group of seven will earn approximately $50 million, giving the Jays 14 players at $125.9 million. Assuming the Jays plan on entering 2018 with the same payroll they started 2017 with, that leaves about $37.5 million for 11 more controllable players or potential free-agent signings. That provides flexibility and the ability to make some off-season additions.
If Shapiro and Atkins chose to fill those remaining spots with internal options, pre-arbitration guys with major-league experience, they could do it with the likes of Dominic Leone, Joe Biagini, Ryan Tepera, Anthony Alford, Danny Barnes, Luke Maile, Rob Refsnyder, Dalton Pompey and Mike Bolsinger. That mix would combine to cost a mere $8.5-million, leaving the Jays around $29 million to spend on free-agency — and that’s with the Jays keeping Donaldson.
The Donaldson dilemma
The Blue Jays have Donaldson for one more year. He is one of the five best third basemen in baseball, but will join the Orioles’ Manny Machado and Washington outfielder Bryce Harper on the huge free-agent market following the 2018 season.
If the Jays keep Donaldson, they will still have three major holes to fill — two reliable starting pitchers and one hard-hitting corner outfielder. They could hang onto Donaldson for an arbitration salary of about $23 million, but they would lose him after next year because they will never be willing to give him a five-year deal of close to $30 million annually. Not for a 33-year-old Bringer of Rain who has just had a 2017 season of pain.
A trade this off-season could fill one of their immediate needs at the major-league level, while adding two or three top prospects. There are at least eight major-league teams that have the need and the financial resources to target the third baseman. A healthy Donaldson is very attractive for a team that could also sign him long term.
The 2018 outlook
If second baseman Devon Travis, who has yet to play a full major-league season, returns from his knee troubles and contributes, if Sanchez is over his blister problems, if Gurriel is ready to play in the majors, and if the Jays roll the dice and trade Donaldson, they just might contend.
They would need to get a solid starting pitcher in the package for Donaldson, and use the payroll space to trade for another starter, plus an outfielder. It’s in the outfield where the Jays need to become more athletic.
Even if they do keep Donaldson for his farewell season, they will have payroll available to fill some of their needs, but ownership knows that fans at the ballpark and viewers across the country will not put up with reduced payroll and a rebuild. The people have put the Jays in a position where they must build a contender.
Blue Jays have payroll to contend in ’18, if they so choose: Griffin
Voters in the riding of York-Simcoe have a prime minister’s son in charge in Ottawa — and they could have another prime minister’s daughter as their MPP at Queen’s Park.
Caroline Mulroney, 43, announced Wednesday she is seeking the Progressive Conservative nomination in the constituency north of Toronto on Sept. 10.
Mulroney, whose father, Brian Mulroney, governed from 1984 until 1993, would give the Tories the kind of dynastic star power enjoyed by the federal Liberals led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre Trudeau.
“I believe that Ontario finds itself at a crossroads,” the Harvard- and New York University-educated lawyer and mother of four said in a statement.
“This election is about offering a positive vision for Ontario — one that respects taxpayers’ money and delivers economic growth and well-paying jobs to the province,” she said.
It is not clear why Mulroney, who was not made available to answer questions from the Star because she was too busy with local media interviews, is opting for provincial instead of federal politics.
Born in Montreal, she grew up in Ottawa and served as the master of ceremonies at the May federal Conservative leadership convention in Toronto.
In her statement and a YouTube video, Mulroney suggested pocketbook issues are what piqued her interest in becoming an MPP.
“Making life more affordable for you and your family will guide everything I do at Queen’s Park. Unlike the current government, I will respect the people of Ontario, their hard-earned money and the choices they make for their families,” she said.
“As a working mother of four, I am concerned about the future of Ontario, and I want to do my part to put it back on a path to prosperity. I’d be honoured to get to work with (PC Leader) Patrick Brown and the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.”
Currently a vice-president of the Toronto investment firm BloombergSen, Mulroney has worked in Canada and the United States and has a home in Georgina, which is in the riding of York-Simcoe.
She is married to Andrew Lapham, the chairman of Blackstone Canada, a global investment firm, and the son of legendary American journalist Lewis Lapham of Harper’s Magazine and Lapham’s Quarterly fame.
They have four children: a 12-year-old son, 11-year-old twins — a boy and a girl — and a 10-year-old daughter.
Mulroney also chairs Shoebox Project for Shelters, a charity she co-founded with her three sisters-in-law, which has chapters in Toronto as well as other parts of Canada and the U.S., helping girls and women in shelters or at risk of becoming homeless.
The former prime minister — who delivered free trade and tax reform and was a key player in the fight against apartheid and acid rain — visited Queen’s Park in April 2016 to give the Tory caucus a pep talk and urged ornery MPPs to rally behind their leader.
“Patrick, who’s an old friend of mine, asked me to come by and say hello to the caucus. We had a great meeting,” the elder Mulroney told the Star at the time.
“I guess the only advice is obvious advice: If you’re the leader of the opposition, it’s a very difficult job, and you depend on the support and loyalty of your colleagues,” he said.
“If that is provided, big things can happen. If it’s absent, there’s going to be trouble. So I certainly urged them to do what happened to me when I was leader of the opposition. I got tremendous support from my caucus throughout my 10 years there, and I hope the same thing is ongoing here.”
Aside from her father, Mulroney has some influential supporters, including retiring York-Simcoe MPP Julia Munro, the longest serving female MPP in Ontario history, and current York-Simcoe MP Peter Van Loan.
“She is a smart business leader with a knack for building consensus and getting results,” said Munro.
Van Loan added that “Caroline is a great listener, she cares, and she wants to build a better future.”
John Baird, a former federal and provincial cabinet minister, said Mulroney is “smart, well-educated, experienced, and ready to govern.”
“It’s a coup for York-Simcoe and for Patrick Brown to recruit this kind of talent to Ontario politics,” said Baird, Canada’s foreign affairs minister until retiring in 2015.
While Brown is ostensibly neutral in nomination contests — after a spate of problems surrounding disputed races — he expressed delight on Twitter at her candidacy.
“I am thrilled to see such exceptional individuals like @C_Mulroney step up to seek a nomination for the @OntarioPCParty,” he tweeted.
So far no other candidates have entered to run in York-Simcoe PC.
Caroline Mulroney to seek Tory nomination in York-Simcoe
Trying to find an apartment in Toronto is a lot like online dating, only more demoralizing.
Ask Kin Lau. Normally, landlords would be swiping right on him. He’s got a perfect credit score and a good job. But last week he drove 40 minutes to check out a one-bedroom — only to discover another suitor had snapped it up first.
“Do people just not go to see the place before renting?” said Lau, a 25-year-old accountant.
He just wants an apartment viewing. Is that too much to ask?
Renting in Toronto is the hardest it’s ever been. Home prices have doubled since 2008, so buying is out of reach for many people. That’s pushed Toronto rents to record highs, approaching those in Brooklyn and London. Potential tenants are so desperate they’re driving the streets looking for rentals and creating web profiles, similar to dating bios, to attract landlords. And prices are likely to keep rising given new laws that builders say discourage construction.
“I can’t take clients with mediocre credit anymore, because landlords don’t even look at them,” said Conrad Rygier, a broker at Keller Williams Realty Inc. “I’ve seen a lot of frustration. Downtown is just absolute craziness.”
Investors, lenders and Canadians looking for places to live are wondering how much longer the home-price boom can last. Although values have fallen 17 per cent since March, compared with a 3-per-cent gain in the same period last year, the average price of a detached home in Toronto is still near a record at $1.39 million.
Rental supply is down to two weeks, meaning it would take that long to rent everything in town, and average rents have hit an all-time high.
Toronto mostly has three types of rental properties: privately owned condominium suites, rental buildings with a central landlord, and space in a private home. Supplies of all three are squeezed.
There are 1,125 condominium units available for rent in the city of 6.2 million people, down 13 per cent from last year, according to second-quarter data from Urbanation Inc. It’s also a record low for the period in Toronto.
Rents jumped 11 per cent in the last year, blowing past the $2,000-a-month threshold for the first time, to $2,073 (about $1,644 U.S.), and nearing Brooklyn-level prices. In the Crown Heights section of the New York City borough, landlords ask an average $2,089 (U.S.) for a one-bedroom, according to June data from Brooklyn brokerage MNS Brands Inc. In greater London, average rent for new units in May fell to £1,502 ($1,960 U.S.), according to HomeLet.
For newer rental-only towers, the vacancy rate reached a low of 0.1 per cent in the second quarter. In April the province of Ontario introduced the most sweeping rental rules in a quarter century. They cap rent increases at 2.5 per cent and extend rent controls to apartments built after 1991, which builders say will constrict new construction. It will likely keep renters climbing over one another to get a date with a landlord. Lau, the accountant, said he had four landlords cancel on him in two days.
As for basement apartments and other unofficial listings, a segment of the market not actively tracked, good luck.
Horror stories abound. Stephanie and Stephane Leonard spent more than a month checking online listings and cruising the city streets in their silver Audi, hunting for “For Lease” signs in house windows. In desperation, they posted an advertisement online that reads like a dating profile: charming, dependable and mature. Seeking: a one-bedroom rental. They joined dozens of others posting similar online ads.
“It got to the point where I would monitor Kijiji for properties as soon as they popped up, and even then we couldn’t always get a showing,” said Stephanie Leonard, a 47-year-old training-manual writer, referring to the popular classifieds website. “I’ve moved around a lot in my life, and this is the hardest time I’ve ever had finding a place.”
The Leonards ended up renting one floor of a house in Mimico, an emerging neighbourhood along the water about a 30-minute drive from Toronto, with two other tenants living on the other floors. It wasn’t a perfect match, but it works for now.
Others aren’t so lucky. Dayna and Theo Block have to move to the city by Sept. 7, when Theo starts classes at the University of Toronto, joining the 100,000 other people migrating to the city each year. Their online ad, with a photo of the pair in a meadow by a wood fence, describes the 21-year-olds as a young, polite couple seeking to spend no more than C$825 a month. They’re getting more emails from scam artists asking for money than from landlords.
“I want to tell people, ‘You don’t understand. We just need a place to live. The bare minimum,’” Dayna Block said by phone from their basement apartment in the western province of Alberta, Canada’s oil-producing region. The couple have even offered to pay rent for August despite not living in the city.
Landlords are ecstatic at their good fortune. Jeff Medley listed his downtown Toronto “nothing special” 600-square-foot (56-square-meter) condo on a Wednesday. On Thursday, the winner of a bidding war agreed to pay C$1,850 a month for the place he’d offered for C$1,800.
“Each time I’ve rented it, I’ve got more,” Medley said. “Nothing has changed about the unit.”
Unless there’s an influx of supply or a slowing of demand, the market will only become more unhinged, said Rygier, the Keller Williams broker.
“I was going to say, ‘If it’s a reasonably priced suite,’” he said. “But that’s an oxymoron these days.”
As Toronto rents near Brooklyn-level prices, tenants grow desperate
Bail conditions have been reduced for a Toronto police officer and his brother, accused of beating Black teenager Dafonte Miller with a metal pipe in Whitby on Dec. 28.
Const. Michael Theriault, 25, and Christian Theriault, 21, will now be able to consume alcohol, leave their homes at night and leave the province of Ontario while awaiting trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.
The brothers were arrested two weeks ago and charged by Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and public mischief in connection with an incident that left Miller with several broken bones and an eye so badly damaged it will have to be removed.
The Theriaults — whose father John Theriault is a longtime Toronto police detective currently assigned to the professional standards unit — were originally released on bail with the conditions that they refrain from contacting Miller, his family, Durham police officers who investigated the incident and other individuals relevant to the case.
The Theriault brothers were also banned from having firearms, and ordered not to leave the province, not to consume alcohol and not to leave their homes between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless they have special permission from their employers.
Defence lawyers appeared in court Friday to have the Theriaults’ bail conditions changed. On Wednesday a judge decided that the brothers would be allowed to leave the house at night, to leave the province, and to drink alcohol.
All information shared with the court during the bail process, except for the judge’s decision, is subject to a publication ban.
It is not uncommon for courts to change bail conditions, particularly if the original restrictions are considered to be overly harsh, said Toronto defence lawyer Daniel Brown, who is not involved in the Theriault case and spoke to the Star about criminal cases in general.
“You want to make sure the bail conditions reflect the dangers posed (by the accused),” said Brown.
“It would be inappropriate to bar someone from consuming alcohol (if) alcohol played no role in the offence, but if there were allegations that alcohol was consumed and may have been a contributing factor in the assault you would certainly expect to see some sort of limitations or prohibitions on the consumption of alcohol.”
Miller’s lawyer, Julian Falconer, has alleged in interviews that the Theriaults had been drinking at the time of the Dec. 28 incident.
Falconer has provided an account of what allegedly happened in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, none of which has yet been tested in court.
Miller and his friends were walking down a residential Whitby street shortly before 3 a.m., when they were confronted by the brothers, who had been sitting in the garage of their family home nearby, Falconer said.
Michael Theriault, who was off-duty at the time, identified himself as a police officer and asked what the young men were doing, Falconer alleged. The Theriaults chased Miller and his friends and caught up with Miller, punching him, kicking him and beating him with a metal pipe, the lawyer said.
Miller called 911 as the attack continued, Falconer has said. The call history from Miller’s phone, captured in a photo provided to the Star and other outlets, shows a call to 911 at 2:52 a.m., which lasted just over a minute.
According to Falconer, Michael Theriault grabbed the phone and told the operator he was a police officer and had made an arrest. Falconer told the Star he has heard the 911 recording, which has not been released publicly.
Durham police arrived at the scene and charged Miller with theft under $5,000, assault with a weapon and possession of a small amount of marijuana. Those charges were withdrawn by the Crown in May, before going to trial.
The Theriaults’ mischief charges refer to allegations that they misled investigators, according to court documents.
Neither Toronto police nor Durham police notified the SIU, the body called in to investigate cases of death, serious injury or alleged sexual assault involving police. It was not until Falconer contacted the police watchdog in April that it began an investigation.
The case is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 10.
Bail conditions relaxed for cop and brother accused in Dafonte Miller assault
TAUNTON, MASS.—A young woman who as a teenager encouraged her suicidal boyfriend to kill himself in dozens of text messages and told him to “get back in” a truck filled with toxic gas was sentenced Thursday to 15 months in jail for involuntary manslaughter.
Michelle Carter was convicted in June by a judge who said her final instruction to Conrad Roy III caused his death. Carter was 17 when the 18-year-old Roy was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in July 2014.
Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz gave Carter, now 20, a 2 ½-year jail sentence but said she had to serve only 15 months of that. He also sentenced her to five years of probation. He granted a defence motion that will keep Carter out of jail until her appeals in state courts are exhausted.
The judge called the case, which has garnered international attention, “a tragedy for two families.”
Carter’s lawyer, Joseph Cataldo, asked the judge to spare her any jail time and instead give her five years of probation and require her to receive mental health counselling. He said she was struggling with mental health issues — bulimia, anorexia and depression — during the time she urged Roy to kill himself.
“Miss Carter will have to live with the consequences of this for the rest of her life,” Cataldo said. “This was a horrible circumstance that she completely regrets.”
Prosecutor Maryclare Flynn called probation “just not reasonable punishment” for Carter’s role in Roy’s death. She asked the judge to send Carter to state prison for seven to 12 years.
Flynn said Carter “undertook a deliberate, well-thought-out campaign” to cause Roy’s death in a “quest for attention” and sympathy from her friends. She said after Roy’s death, Carter put on a charade as “the grieving girlfriend” for Roy’s family and friends, even though she had repeatedly pressured him to act on his suicidal thoughts.
Flynn said Carter could have stopped Roy because the two teenagers were on the phone together as Roy succumbed to carbon monoxide inside his truck.
“All she had to do was say, ‘Get out of the car,’ ‘Get out of the truck,’ and none of us would be here right now,” Flynn said.
In dozens of text messages, Carter had urged Roy to follow through on his talk of taking his own life.
“The time is right and you are ready ... just do it babe,” Carter wrote in a text the day he killed himself.
The sensational trial was closely watched on social media, in part because of the insistent tone of Carter’s text messages.
“You can’t think about it. You just have to do it,” Carter wrote in one text. “You said you were gonna do it. Like I don’t get why you aren’t.”
Cataldo argued Roy was determined to kill himself and nothing Carter did could change that. He said Carter initially tried to talk Roy out of it and urged him to get professional help but eventually went along with his plan. He also argued Carter’s words amounted to free speech protected by the First Amendment.
In convicting Carter, the judge focused his ruling on Carter telling Roy to “get back in” after he climbed out of his truck as it was filling with carbon monoxide and told her he was afraid. The judge said those words constituted “wanton and reckless conduct” under the manslaughter statute.
Roy’s relatives told the court they were devastated by his death. His father, Conrad Roy Jr., said it inflicted the “worst emotional pain” he has ever experienced.
“I am heartbroken,” he said.
A teenage sister, Camden Roy, recalled her 13 years with her older brother and said she’s “haunted” by the realization she’ll never see him wed or be an aunt to his children.
Carter and Roy met in Florida in 2012 while both were on vacation with their families. After that, they only met in person a handful of times. Their relationship consisted mainly of texting.
Cataldo said he’s confident Carter eventually will be vindicated. He said his appeal will be based on several grounds, including his argument Carter’s text messages and conversations with Roy amounted to free speech protected by the Constitution. He said he will also argue Carter didn’t break any laws because Massachusetts doesn’t have a law against assisting or encouraging suicide.
The real estate industry is downplaying a third consecutive month-to-month decline in Toronto-area home prices that saw the average cost of a home drop $173,000 between April and July — from $919,449 to $746,216.
Prices were still up 5 per cent year over year, from $710,471 in July 2016. The numbers, released by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) on Thursday, are averaged across all housing types.
It's the kind of annual mid-single digit increase that indicates a return to healthy market conditions following months of record price escalation, according to the industry.
There were 5 per cent more new listings on the market compared to the same period last year, but a dramatic 40.4 per cent drop in the number of home sales.
The short-term price decline could make some owners "a little tense" if they are thinking about selling, said Christopher Alexander, regional director at Re/MAX Integra.
But, he said, homeowners need to remember that, "Last year was a record year across the board."
"Yes, sales are way down (but) prices have only fallen 5 per cent from June to July, which is exactly what we had last year, and listing inventory is only up 5 per cent. So I don't see a flood of extra inventory to distract buyers from making quick decisions," said Alexander.
He echoed TREB's caution that summer statistics aren't the most accurate market indicators.
"We're now back to a normal summer,” said Oakville agent Tracy Nursall of Sage Real Estate. “Normal summer means the volume of sales go down. We had rainy weather, everybody waited — now everybody's at the cottage and September's going to be very busy."
But for buyers looking for more space, this is the move-up market they've been waiting for, she said.
"If you lose 5 per cent on your townhouse and you're going into a detached that has also lost 5 per cent, the dollar difference is significant. It's just that people are still clinging like a spurned lover to the old March market," said Nursall, referring to the first-quarter peak when home prices averaged $916,767.
TREB reported the biggest decline in sales volumes last month in higher-priced, single-family homes, which were down 47.4 per cent year over year, compared to a 30 per cent drop in the condo sales.
Detached house prices rose 4.9 per cent region-wide in July and condo prices were up 23.2 per cent.
Prices are holding as volumes plummet because "buyers are perched on the sidelines holding their breath wondering if home values will re-set lower," said Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper. "But in a strong economy like this, my expectation is that sellers will continue to hold firm and not let their properties go at a discount to market value."
Housing supply will continue to contribute to price pressure in the Toronto area, he said. Even though it appears there's an over-supply at the moment, "we'll be back to talking about housing shortages by next spring"
"I hope that this short-term market correction doesn't encourage policy makers to ignore the hard work that must begin on a long-term housing strategy for the GTA," added Soper.
Housing Minister Peter Milczyn said that the July TREB numbers are proof the government's Fair Housing Plan, including the 15-per cent foreign buyers tax, is working.
"We recognized that housing affordability was a real and growing concern for many people. The goal of the plan was to make buying and renting a home more affordable for people across the province," he said in a statement.
"(They show) that more supply is becoming available and that there has been a more moderate pace of annual price growth," he said.
Files by Kristin Rushowy
Files by Kristin Rushowy
WASHINGTON—Trade with Canada is so fair and balanced, U.S. President Donald Trump told his Mexican counterpart in January, that “we do not even think about them.”
Trump made the remarks in a phone call with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Jan. 27, a week after his inauguration.
A transcript of the call was obtained by the Washington Post and published on Thursday, just under two weeks before the beginning of negotiations on revisions to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“Well, Canada is no problem — do not worry about Canada, do not even think about them,” Trump said after Pena Nieto made reference to the “three countries” that are part of NAFTA. “That is a separate thing and they are fine and we have had a very fair relationship with Canada. It has been much more balanced and much more fair. So we do not have to worry about Canada, we do not even think about them.”
Those private words were in line with Trump’s public words during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to Washington three weeks later, when Trump called the trade relationship with Canada “very outstanding.” But they went even further, suggesting Trump’s frequent campaign complaints about NAFTA were solely focused on Mexico.
Trump, perhaps seeking negotiating leverage, has since started talking tougher about Canada. In April, he railed against Canada over an arcane dairy dispute and slapped tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber.
“People don’t realize Canada’s been very rough on the United States. Everyone thinks of Canada being wonderful and civil,” he said in April. “I love Canada. But they’ve outsmarted our politicians for many years, and you people understand that.”
Dan Ujczo, an Ohio-based trade lawyer focused on Canada-U.S. issues, said Trump talking up Canada to the president of Mexico was in line with a “lifelong negotiating tactic.”
“We have witnessed that this is a president whose modus operandi is to pit parties against each other in any negotiation, whether on staff, his Cabinet, or members of Congress,” Ujczo said. “This could be relevant on areas where Canada’s and Mexico’s interests diverge, such as in agriculture.”
Canada did not come up again in the January call. In the most noteworthy portion, Trump pleaded with Pena Nieto to stop publicly saying that Mexico would not pay for Trump’s border wall — and promised Pena Nieto that the funding would “come out in the wash” and “work out in the formula somehow.”
Trump, asking Pena Nieto to help fight the “tough hombres” behind Mexico’s drug trade, also declared the state of New Hampshire a “drug-infested den.”
NAFTA talks begin in Washington on Aug. 16. Trump’s administration has issued a lengthy wish list of desired changes that would affect Canada on issues from telecommunications to online shopping.
OTTAWA—Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is facing legal action from several environmental groups who accuse the government of dragging its heels on investigating Volkswagen for duping Canadians with diesel engines.
Volkswagen pleaded guilty in the U.S. in March after software was found in certain diesel vehicles that made it appear as though the cars were producing fewer emissions than they really were.
In fact, under normal conditions, the cars emitted 35 times Canada’s legal limit on nitrogen oxides, which have adverse effects on human health and contribute to climate change.
About 105,000 of the rigged vehicles were sold in Canada and Volkswagen has a court-certified settlement program underway to buy back the cars and compensate Canadians who owned or leased them.
A statement from McKenna says her department is investigating and will act if necessary, but that investigation is nearly two years old and two groups, Environmental Defence and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, are tired of waiting.
Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defence, said his organization heard informally from the government that almost two years after the department began investigating there wasn’t a lot of confidence Canada could do anything about the Volkswagen violations.
He said if the government doesn’t act when there is a “violation of environmental law at this scale” and an admission of guilt in the United States regarding the same cars, it sends a horrible message.
“It basically puts a mark on Canada as a place to get away with dumping your crap into the environment and nothing will be done about it,” said Gray.
So on June the two agencies joined forces to apply for a ministerial investigation to be launched under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
Provisions of that act allow a member of the public to seek a minister’s probe into allegations of violations of the act and to be updated on that investigation every 90 days.
The application asked for investigations into four allegations including that Volkswagen imported cars that violated Canadian emissions requirements, applied the National Emissions Mark on diesel cars which didn’t meet the standards and then sold those cars, provided false and misleading information and earlier this year resumed sales of the 2015 models without fixing the emissions problem.
Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Environmental Enforcement Directorate responded by saying because the department was already doing an in-house investigation on the first three items, there would be no ministerial probe.
The department said it would launch a new investigation into the last claim, which looks at what Volkswagen did to fix its 2015 diesel-engine cars before starting to sell them again in Canada.
This week the two organizations filed suit to force McKenna to comply with their application on all four issues.
Amir Attaran, a lawyer with the Ecojustice environmental law clinic at the University of Ottawa who represents the individuals who filed the suit, said without launching investigations under Section 17 of the act, the government doesn’t have to update anyone on what it is doing to investigate.
He said it has been nearly two years since the issue was first made public and Environment Canada launched its investigation. It has been almost six months since the company pleaded guilty in the U.S. and agreed that it wouldn’t deny wrongdoing in other countries as part of that plea. With all this, it doesn’t make sense that Canada hasn’t been able to complete its investigation and file charges here.
Ontario NDP MP Brian Masse said Canada doesn’t take this kind of situation seriously enough and urged McKenna to act as soon as possible.
Environment Canada spokesman Mark Johnson said in an email it is not abnormal for an investigation of this complexity to take two or three years and that work has to be completed to put together the strongest possible case before deciding whether to recommend charges be laid.
One-person households have usurped couples with children as the most common household type in Canada for the first time, data from the 2016 census found. These single-person residences make up almost 30 per cent of all households. The Star talked to some of Toronto’s solo-dwellers to find out the perks — like not having to fight over the last frozen pizza — and pitfalls — from spending more on rent to fighting pangs of loneliness.
Name: Zackery Gibbison
Time spent living alone: Four years
Reason for living alone: Self sustaining – I’m not worried about anyone moving out and putting that rent pressure on you.
Would you change it?: At the moment I would say no, but if the right circumstance (like the right place, the right price or a long term girlfriend) came up, then yeah.
Benefits: You can do what you like. You’re not worried about anybody else invading your space.
Challenges: The amount of rent you’re paying for a one bedroom a month for one person is a little challenging and the upkeep with the apartment is a little more challenging.
Name: Elizabeth Oloidi
Job: University student
Neighbourhood: Don Mills
Time spent living alone: A year
Reason for living alone: I didn’t feel like living with anyone else anymore and my parents bought the condo, so I figured I’d just live there on my own enjoy my independence a little bit more.
Would you change it?: I don’t think I could ever go back to living with roommates because I have so much freedom on my own. I think that living alone has taught me a lot more at a young age than I would have learned if I lived with other people.
Benefits: If I come home at two in the morning after working all night I don’t bother anyone and no one bothers me. I know how much money I’m putting into the apartment is all for me, so I don’t have to worry about someone stealing my groceries or anything like that.
Challenges: Cleaning is kind of annoying because I made the mess and no one else is going to clean it up for me. And just the usual fear like what if I left the oven on or the gas on and no one’s at home to turn it off or something.
Name: Mollie Rolfe
Job: Freelance producer in the film industry
Rent: $1,100 plus utilities
Time spent living alone: Seven years
Reason for living alone: When I was around 30-years-old I was ready to live on my own. As nice as it is to save the money splitting bills and you can get a better place, I’d rather just have that space and have that space be as it is when I leave it, whether it’s good or bad.
Would you change it? For a relationship I would or if I financially really needed it.
Benefits: The freedom to do with your time and space whatever you please is a great bonus to living alone. Also as I’ve gotten older it’s nice to have that space to myself at the end of the day and not feel like I have to socialize if I don’t want to.
Challenges: Definitely financially is probably one of the biggest challenges. I’m really lucky with the place I have now and how much I’m paying. And then honestly just loneliness, and that I think comes more from not being in a relationship. There are also the classic worries like what would happen if anything happened to me if I’m alone and no one noticed.
Name: Beverley Quinn
Rent: Owns home
Time spent living alone: Since 2003
Reason for living alone: I had a marriage and then I had a common law relationship and they both lasted 12 years and then in between I was on my own 12 years, so I do these 12 year cycles. I’m so happy in my own lifestyle and the things that I have going on in my life that I just prefer to have quiet time to my self and I’m fortunate to have a lot of friends both male and female that I can socialize with when I want to.
Would you change it?: Happy as it is. Having good friends and a variety of interests are huge aspects of my enjoying the single experience.
Benefits: It just allows me to set my own schedules. Also as an artist I need a lot of quiet time just to contemplate and be inspired for what I want to produce next so it’s just basically my own lifestyle which makes me happy to read or paint or listen to music.
Challenges: Sometimes there’s no one to share dinner with when you feel like you need it, which is hardly a hardship because it’s not that often. Planning vacations: I know it’s easier when one has a partner…and as far as travel goes it’s hard to always find the right fit of the person you want to spend that much time with.
Name: Karen Chau
Job: Social Media/Social Strategy Intern (Advertising)
Rent: $800, all inclusive except for Internet
Time spent living alone: Just over 2 years
Reason for living alone: I needed to find a new place to live. My prospective roommates were slim to none and when I came across this bachelor apartment, I thought it would be a better option than living with random people.
Would you change it?: If there were an opportunity to move in with a friend that I could get along with I would take it.
Benefits: I can keep the space exactly how I want it. I don’t have to worry about inconveniencing a roommate or vice versa.
Challenges: It can get lonely at times (probably the biggest challenge). There is no one to split up paying for Internet, so it is very expensive. Buying groceries is difficult for one person — things expire before you can finish them.
These interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.
Read more at thestar.com: