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- 09/18/17--08:53: _Hurricane Maria gro...
- 09/18/17--16:28: _Bitter legal battle...
- 09/18/17--16:09: _WSIB to review more...
- 09/18/17--15:14: _Prosecutors defend ...
- 09/19/17--13:13: _Six-vehicle collisi...
- 09/19/17--13:57: _City of Toronto con...
- 09/19/17--06:29: _In his most aggress...
- 09/19/17--02:00: _The top 5 Toronto i...
- 09/19/17--15:43: _Peter Munk donates ...
- 09/19/17--15:06: _McCowan District Pa...
- 09/19/17--15:51: _Metrolinx blames Bo...
- 09/19/17--17:37: _Justin Trudeau defe...
- 09/19/17--15:20: _Police tribunal put...
- 09/19/17--11:54: _Plan to rein in ‘in...
- 09/19/17--12:58: _Trump sets his hair...
- 09/19/17--11:44: _At least 120 dead i...
- 09/19/17--14:51: _Hard-working immigr...
- 09/19/17--09:24: _Nobel laureate Suu ...
- 09/19/17--18:18: _Bombardier workers ...
- 09/19/17--16:19: _Niagara College lau...
- 09/18/17--15:14: Prosecutors defend attempted murder verdict in Sammy Yatim killing
- 09/19/17--13:13: Six-vehicle collision kills two in York Region
- 09/19/17--02:00: The top 5 Toronto intersections for condo resales
- 09/19/17--15:43: Peter Munk donates $100 million to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre
- 09/19/17--15:51: Metrolinx blames Bombardier for latest Finch West LRT delay
- 09/19/17--17:37: Justin Trudeau defends tax reforms aimed at small businesses
- 09/19/17--11:54: Plan to rein in ‘income sprinkling’ a welcome tax reform: Wells
- 09/19/17--12:58: Trump sets his hair on fire at the UN: Mallick
- 09/19/17--16:19: Niagara College launches program in cannabis production
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—Hurricane Maria grew into an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm Monday as the eye nears Dominica, and forecasters warned it was likely to become even stronger.
The storm’s eye was expected to pass near Dominica later in the day on a path that would take it near many of the islands already wrecked by hurricane Irma and then on toward a possible direct strike on Puerto Rico on Wednesday.
“This storm promises to be catastrophic for our island,” said Ernesto Morales with the U.S. National Weather Service in San Juan. “All of Puerto Rico will experience hurricane force winds.”
The U.S. territory imposed rationing of basic supplies including water, milk, baby formula, canned food, batteries and flashlights.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Maria had maximum sustained winds of 260 km/h in late afternoon. It was centred about 55 kilometres northeast of Martinique and 25 kilometres east-southeast of Dominica, and was heading west-northwest at 15 km/h.
That’s a sign of an extremely strong hurricane likely to get even mightier, said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy. Just like when a spinning ice skater brings in their arms and rotates faster, a smaller, tighter eye shows the same physics, he said.
Maria’s eye shrank to a small 16 kilometres in diameter.
“You just don’t see those in weaker hurricanes,” McNoldy said. “It’s cranking up the angular momentum.”
Hurricane warnings were posted for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat and Martinique. A tropical storm warning was issued for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Lucia and Anguilla.
Forecasters said storm surge could raise water levels by 1.8 to 2.7 metres near the storm’s centre. The storm was predicted to bring 25 to 38 centimetres of rain across the islands, with more in isolated areas.
Officials in Dominica closed schools and government offices and urged people to evacuate and seek shelters.
“We should treat the approaching hurricane very, very seriously,” Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said. “This much water in Dominica is dangerous.”
The small, mountainous island could be in trouble even if spared the storm’s strongest winds. In August 2015, Tropical Storm Erika unleashed flooding and landslides that killed 31 people and destroyed more than 370 homes.
Officials in Guadeloupe said the French island would experience extremely heavy flooding starting in the afternoon and warned that many communities could be submerged overnight.
In nearby Martinique, authorities ordered people to remain indoors and said they should be prepared for power cuts and disruption in the water supply. All schools and non-essential public services were closed.
The storm’s hurricane-force winds extended out about 35 kilometres from the eye, and tropical storm-force winds out as far as 205 kilometres.
The current forecast track would carry it about 35 kilometres south of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands late Tuesday and early Wednesday, according to territorial Gov. Kenneth Mapp.
“We are going to have a very, very long night,” Mapp said as he urged people in the territory to finish any preparations.
St. Thomas and St. John are still recovering from a direct hit by Hurricane Irma, which did extensive damage and caused four deaths on the two islands.
Officials and islanders were also bracing in Puerto Rico, which did not take a direct hit from Irma but still saw blackouts across much of the territory. Nearly 70,000 people remain without power, and Gov. Ricardo Rossello warned that more widespread outages are likely with Maria.
Forecasters said the storm would dump up to 46 centimetres of rain across Puerto Rico and whip the U.S. territory with heavy winds for 12 to 24 hours.
Officials said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was ready to bring drinking water and help restore power in Puerto Rico immediately after the storm.
Traffic was heavy Monday as people rushed to buy last-minute items. Among them was 70-year-old retiree Rafael Rivera, who clutched a small bag of dog treats for his dog and six puppies at home.
“This storm is coming with some bad intentions,” he said at a San Juan store where some shoppers grumbled about empty shelves.
Rossello said Puerto Rico had prepared about 450 shelters capable of taking in up to 125,000 people in a worst-case scenario. Nearly 200 people are still in shelters due to Hurricane Irma. Classes were cancelled and government employees were to work only a half-day.
Farther north, long-lived Hurricane Jose continued to head northward well away from the U.S. East Coast but causing dangerous surf and rip currents. It was not expected to make landfall, but a tropical storm warning was in effect for coastal areas in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Tropical storm watches were posted for parts of New York’s Long Island and Connecticut.
Jose was centred about 405 kilometres east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and was moving north at 17 km/h. It had maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h.
Seawater washed over parts of North Carolina’s Outer Banks as Jose passed, and five people were knocked off a coastal jetty in Rhode Island by high surf caused by the storm. Officials said rescuers had to fight through rough surf to load the injured onto stretchers and get them to shore. All five were hospitalized.
In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Norma’s threat to Mexico’s Los Cabos resort area at the southern end of the Baja California Peninsula eased as forecasters said it was moving away from shore and expected to weaken.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lee weakened into a tropical depression far out in the Atlantic and Hurricane Otis became a tropical storm far out in the Pacific. Neither threatened land.
Imagine being a gazillionaire heiress and apparently not allowed to buy a private jet without permission from the penny-counters.
Oops, there goes $87 million out of the family company holdings as reimbursement, naughty lady.
Imagine being the richest woman in Canada — purportedly (but do correct me if I’m wrong) — and having your feet held to the fire for repayment of $132 million shelled out, without proper authorization, on personal expenses and investments.
Oops, there goes another chunk of cash “diluted” from the fortune chest, a.k.a. Westerkirk Capital Inc., by means of shrinking the lady’s equity stash from 21.8 per cent to 19.8 per cent to 17.9864 per cent.
Allegations. Allegations. Allegations.
What is the hunk o’ have world coming to?
Well, what it came down to on Monday, after a week of lawyer huddles, was the slam-bang-thank-you-ma’am settling of duelling lawsuits between Sherry Brydson — granddaughter of Kenneth Thomson, entrepreneur founder of the Thomson Corporation and 2nd Baron Thomson of Fleet (passim), with a personal fortune estimated at $6.6 billion — and James Lawson, axed CEO of Westerkirk but still high profile boss of the Canadian Football League and Woodbine Entertainment Group, Canada’s premier horse racing enterprise.
“It’s over,” said Howard Levitt, lawyer for Brydson, as he came back into the courtroom ’round noon to collect his robes.
This comment was directed at but one of the many reporters who’d been whiling away the hours since last Monday, anticipating a juicy trial over money and maligning and alleged malfeasance — with a bit of porn thrown in on the side.
And by over we mean that no details will be disclosed about the settlement reached betwixt Brydson and Lawson, including that aforementioned stuff about the jet, etc., which comes from Lawson’s opening salvo, factum-style.
So we’re back where we started: Boxes of legal wrangle filed over the past four years, stuffed with facts and fomentation — a litany of allegations that will never be proved or disproved in a courtroom.
(This is the part where we in the media note: None of the allegations have been tested in court. It’s all factum hearsay.)
Aside: Around the Star newsroom, we, in the death throes of the newspaper business, regularly snipe about the Globe and Mail’s financial security. The national broadsheet is owned by the Thomson family through Woodbridge Company Ltd. Vanishing revenues? “All they have to do is sell another Group of Seven painting.”
Brydson, according to court documents from the Lawson side of the legal ledger, “conducts herself as if she is the head or matriarch of the Brydson family and the owner of Westerkirk. However, at all material times, she was, in fact, only a minority non-voting equity participant in Westerkirk.” (See above, 17.9864 per cent.)
Lawson was hired as Westerkirk CEO in November, 2004. He was fired by Brydson — allegedly without authority from the company’s management oversight committee, or its directors — in November, 2012.
No fair, harrumphed Lawson who claims in the documents that, under his stewardship, Westerkirk, for arguably the first time, “established itself as a credible and astute investor” — $500 million in investments between 2005 and 2012.
The pre-existing problem, Lawson’s original filing argued, was that “Ms. Brydson persistently acted as if she owned Westerkirk and was entitled to treat it as her personal corporation.”
And an obstructionist, the factum continues, like that time she last-minute scotched the acquisition of a brick manufacturer — which would have been the company’s largest acquisition to date.
That’s all water under the bridge and would likely not have surfaced but for Lawson bringing a suit claiming wrongful dismissal, seeking $24 million in damages, which included $3,895,177 in base salary from 2013 to 2016 and more than $2 million in bonuses.
He was sacked, Lawson maintains, for trying to run Westerkirk professionally.
Nah, Brydson countered, through her lawyers. He was jettisoned for exploiting his position to benefit himself and his relatives, while “publicly disparaging Brydson, her husband and family members,” running the company like a personal fiefdom, “as if it was his, not hers.”
They’ve had loads of time to load up on each other.
Brydson, who describes herself as a former journalist — she resides in Victoria, B.C. — asserts that she’d been on the prowl for a “scrupulously honest” CEO to manage the assets of Westerkirk.
This, she insists, in not what she got.
Nope, Lawson was never a senior lawyer at the Torys law firm (established by the grandfather of Mayor John Tory) as described, merely a “relative newcomer” on who she and her companied relied “to their detriment.”
Lawson, she contents, repeatedly refused or failed to fulfil his most fundamental obligations and duties to herself, to Westerkirk, by “his repeated pattern of withholding information, acting dishonestly and promoting his own interests instead of those of Westerkirk . . . ”
Self-dealing, she termed it, such as allegedly buying land in Oakville for a company where his wife was one of the directors and then wholly failing to “mentor” one of her children who would be “placed at a desk . . . and learn the business.”
There was a posh condo at the Ritz Carlton, as well, owned by Lawson’s daughter, Brydson claims, which he talked her into buying as an investment for 40 per cent in excess of its actual value.
He further allegedly manoeuvred to put friends into various Westerkirk concerns for which they had no business knowledge.
What else? Impossible to distil pounds of paper into a newspaper column. But there was that bit about Lawson arranging to have himself appointed to a senior position with the Ontario Jockey Club and Woodbine; doing extensive work for them on Westerkirk time, using Westerkirk staff and resources, whilst — during one period in 2012 — simultaneously earning $22,035 a month from Woodbine, which he “hid” from Westerkirk and Brydson.
And, oh yes, about that porn . . .
Reminding, once more, that none of these allegations have been proven in court.
Brydson complains that Lawson, despite enacting anti-pornography policies at Westerkirk and its related companies, “indulged himself,” at the office, “in gross, hard-core racist and misogynistic pornography, openly degrading to women and certain ethnic groups, including graphic depictions of BDSM and of sex between humans and animals.” So vile, the documents continue, that they would likely be deemed obscene under the Criminal Code, and that he distributed some porn to others, including subordinates.
This Lawson adamantly denies in his counter-counter filing.
As CEO, Brydson maintains, Lawson was “a dreadful role-model of workplace conduct” who poisoned the workplace and recklessly damaged the company’s reputation, to say nothing of her own.
All the time ridiculing her and the family, to others, Brydson claimed, as “clueless,” allegedly telling one associate that “Brydson is a lost cause and we have to forget about her and move on to the kids.”
That would be the spawn three generations removed from Old Man Ken.
Sometimes the Family Compact of Upper Ontario feels hardly a heartbeat away.
But of course none of this will now be explored in open court. They’ve zipped up and swept their messes back into the closet.
Some minimum wage cleaner will be along shortly to take out the garbage.
Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Ontario’s Workplace Safety Insurance Board will re-examine more than 250 rejected claims dating back to 2004 from former employees of Peterborough’s troubled General Electric plant.
The review, announced Monday, comes four months after a comprehensive study of chemical exposures at the factory found working conditions between 1945 and 2000 played a significant role in an “epidemic” of work-related illnesses among employees and retirees.
“The Peterborough community has presented information that helps clarify the exposures people had to various chemicals and substances,” said Armando Fatigati, WSIB vice-president of complex claims.
“We’ll be looking at what they were exposed to, how much of it they were exposed to, and how long people were exposed to these chemicals and substances,” he said in a statement.
A dedicated review team will look at both cancer and non-cancer related claims where updated scientific research links specific levels of chemical exposures to specific illnesses.
The review will also look at claims where advances in technology may allow widows, widowers and children of former workers who died without realizing their deaths may have been linked to a workplace illness, the WSIB said.
The WSIB will also work to identify next-of-kin who may be eligible for compensation for claims that were previously denied.
“If you worked at GE Peterborough and think you may have a work-related illness but are not sure you have a claim with the WSIB, we want to hear from you,” Fatigati said. “If you qualify for additional health services or benefits, we want you to get them as quickly as possible.”
People can call 1-800-387-0750 or visit wsib.on.ca/GEPeterborough to learn more and file a claim.
Last month, the plant with a history of more 125 years in Peterborough, announced it would be closing next year, throwing more than 350 employees out of work.
But a company spokeswoman said the closing was related to changing markets and not to outstanding workplace illness claims. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the WSIB claims review.
Sue James, whose father Gord worked at GE Peterborough for 30 years and died of lung and spinal cancer — diseases his family believes were caused by his exposure to workplace chemicals — said the community is cautiously optimistic.
“Although they haven’t said they have accepted our report, it would seem to suggest they are listening,” said James, who also worked at the plant for 30 years and was among 11 retirees who worked as advisors on the chemical exposure study.
“That was our goal, to show there was a bigger picture, that as soon as you opened the door to that factory, you were at immediate risk because of everything that was going on around you,” she said Monday.
“There were so many chemicals, welding fumes, painting, machining, in every area of the plant. You couldn’t get away from it,” she said.
According to the report, workers at the factory that built everything from household appliances to diesel locomotive engines and fuel cells for nuclear reactors, were exposed to more than 3,000 toxic chemicals, including at least 40 known or suspected to cause cancer, at levels hundreds of times higher than what is now considered safe.
Former worker Roger Fowler 71, who believes he developed colorectal cancer due to working for more than 22 years under asbestos-wrapped pipes that shed fibres of toxic snow, isn’t celebrating yet.
“I want to see money in our pockets,” he said. Although he beat the cancer, he continues to wrap the football-sized hernias pressing on his bladder, the result of seemingly endless surgeries.
“We’ve lost over 60 people since May,” he added. “We can’t keep going on promises.”
Although Fowler and others were worried they would have to undergo more medical tests as part of the review, a WSIB spokesman said that won’t likely be necessary.
“Every case is unique, but in terms of medical tests or new medical information . . . we will look at what we have on file and look at that against the new information,” said Aaron Aaron Lazarus. “As a broad response, we are not asking everybody to retake any kind of test.”
WSIB also wants people with new forms to come forward or to check up on old ones.
Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal called the WSIB review “a significant start and a major breakthrough” for GE workers and said that reviewing 250 files is just a starting point.
“We’re going to continue to pursue this so all the claims that can be dealt with in a fair and responsible manner,” he added.
Leal, whose father worked at the plant for 40 years and died of lung cancer a year after he retired, predicted a final decision on the previously rejected claims and any new ones would be made in the next few months.
In a joint statement Monday, Flynn and Leal said the WSIB has assured them they “will get workers results as quickly as possible.”
“Our government will be closely following the progress of the WSIB’s reviews to ensure progress is being made,” they said.
“The former GE workers and their families have never given up during this process, and they deserve the justice they have sought for so long,” they added.
last fall revealed decades worth of government reports on the Peterborough plant that repeatedly warned of poor housekeeping, shoddy ventilation and lack of personal protective equipment amid massive use of materials now known to be carcinogenic.
A 2002 GE-commissioned mortality study found male employees were up to 57 per cent more likely to die of lung cancer than the general population and female workers up to 129 per cent more likely.
But when the study controlled for “other factors” such as age and smoking in a followup study, there was “no statistically significant increase in cancer at the Peterborough facility,” GE previously told the Star.
The plant has employed tens of thousands of workers over its 125-year history in Peterborough, and their health and safety has always been the company’s “No. 1 priority,” GE has said.
Following the Star’s investigation, the provincial labour ministry announced it would set up a dedicated occupational disease response team by the end of 2017 to boost prevention of chemical exposures and help sick workers file compensation claims.
Since 1993, decisions have been made in over 2,400 claims related to GE Peterborough with over 80 per cent allowed, according to the WSIB. However health researcher Bob DeMatteo, who helped the retired GE workers on their May report, noted that just 27 per cent of cancer-related claims have been accepted by the board.
With files from the Peterborough This Week
Two weeks ahead of Const. James Forcillo’s high-profile appeal hearing, Crown prosecutors are defending the jury’s decision to find the Toronto police officer guilty in the attempted murder of Sammy Yatim, who died in a hail of Forcillo’s bullets in July 2013.
After six days of deliberation, a jury last year found Forcillo not guilty of second-degree murder in Yatim’s death — but convicted him of attempted murder in the now infamous streetcar shooting that killed 18-year-old Yatim.
The conviction “does not accord with logic or common sense,” Forcillo’s lawyers argued in documents filed to Ontario’s Court of Appeal in May, asking for the officer’s conviction to be quashed or for a new trial to be ordered.
“As a matter of common sense, the suggestion that an accused can be legally justified in killing someone, but criminally liable for attempting to kill that same person within the span of less than 10 seconds, is unfathomable,” Forcillo’s lawyers wrote, calling the conviction a “compromise verdict.”
But in a written response filed with the court Friday, Crown lawyers say there “no logical or factual inconsistency” in the jury’s verdicts.
“The two verdicts in this case were not inconsistent. They arise from different factual and legal bases, which were clearly explained to the jury by both Crown and defence counsel in their opening and closing addresses, and by the trial judge in the charge to the jury,” write Crown lawyers.
Forcillo, currently suspended without pay by the Toronto police and out on bail, will be back in court next month for the appeal of the unprecedented attempted murder conviction of a cop in an on-duty shooting.
Yatim was killed just after midnight on July 27, 2013, moments after the teenager exposed himself and pulled a small knife on unsuspecting passengers on the Dundas St. W. streetcar. Yatim was alone on the streetcar by the time police arrived.
As Yatim stood at the front door of the streetcar holding the pocket knife, Forcillo shot at him in two distinct volleys separated by five-and-a-half seconds. He fired three times then, as Yatim lay on the floor of the streetcar paralyzed and dying, six more times, striking him a total of eight times.
The jury determined Forcillo’s first three shots — during which the fatal shot was fired to the heart — were not a criminal act. But it found the second volley was neither justifiable or in self-defence, and convicted him of attempted murder.
The jury was entitled to find Forcillo guilty of attempted murder for any of the shots in the second volley, “if the jury found that Mr. Yatim was alive during the second volley, that any of the shots were not justified, and that (Forcillo) had the specific intent to kill when he fired an unjustified shot,” the Crown wrote in its response to Forcillo’s lawyers’ arguments.
Forcillo’s lawyers also argued that trial judge Justice Edward Then incorrectly accepted the Crown position that the second volley of shots was a separate event. In their response, the Crown said if Then had not specifically instructed the jury on their option to convict Forcillo of attempted murder, they would have been left in an “‘all or nothing situation,’ perhaps feeling compelled to render a guilty verdict to sanction conduct that they found morally reprehensible but that did not cause death.”
In a scathing sentencing decision released in July 2016, Then handed down a six-year prison sentence, finding the shooting of Yatim was “unnecessary and unreasonable and excessive from the outset of the second volley.”
The six-year sentence is one year longer than the mandatory minimum of five years jail time for attempted murder with a weapon, something Forcillo’s lawyer say violates the Charter.
“Any reasonably informed observer would not support the imposition of severe jail sentences on those who make errors in judgment in the heat of the moment and pose little to no danger to society,” Forcillo’s lawyers argued in their written submission.
if the conviction is upheld, Forcillo’s lawyers asked the Court of Appeal to find that the mandatory minimum sentence violates the Charter, and that a suspended sentence should instead be imposed.
The Crown, however, says the sentence imposed was fit “and, indeed, at the bottom of the range this Court has set for attempted murder.”
Forcillo’s lawyers have also argued several other grounds for appeal, including Then’s decision to disallow a defence witness to testify about “suicide by cop” and to exclude evidence about Yatim’s text message history and Google searches. Months before he died, Yatim had searched “the easiest way to kill yourself” and “how to commit suicide without feeling any pain.”
Two people have been pronounced dead at the scene of a multi-vehicle collision in the York Region after they were found without vital signs.
York Regional Police responded to the crash in the area of Ravenshoe Rd. and Woodbine Ave. in the town of Georgina shortly after 2 p.m. and found six vehicles in various stages of wreckage.
Emergency medical services confirmed that there are at least seven patients, including the two people who were killed and one person who was transported to a trauma centre.
York EMS said that they had to send five ambulances, three support units, and one multi-patient unit, which is a bus-like vehicle to support emergency medical procedures on several patients at once.
An ORNGE air ambulance was requested as well, but all of its helicopters were unavailable.
A collision reconstruction unit is on scene to attempt to piece together the cause of the collision, and officials expect the area to be closed for a while due to the extent of the crash.
The City of Toronto is considering pouring $1.64 million into a drain.
But not just any drain.
The city’s historic central drain from 1831 is one of many archaeological discoveries made during the St. Lawrence north market’s renovation near Front and Jarvis Streets.
The proposal for a glass “viewing portal” looking onto the drain under the new north market redevelopment would be visible “through a glass covered interpretation area,” the report to committee says.
The drain feature would cost $1.96 million and the existing redevelopment budget could fund it but construction would require an additional $1.64 million.
The government management committee will consider the proposal on Sept. 25, followed by city council on Oct. 2.
The current north market redevelopment budget is $91.5 million and includes 250 underground parking spaces, a five-storey atrium, a market hall and mezzanine, court services and courtrooms.
Four markets have sat on the current north market site. Drainage systems, walls, storage cellars and support columns have been uncovered from the 1820, 1831, 1851 and 1904 periods.
Heritage Preservation Services hoped to create a comprehensive glass floor over the 1831 drain, but the original $5.3 million plan fell through.
The glass floor plan was not feasible because of the technical requirements for a floor that would bear traffic, while remaining see-through and not slippery.
Suzanne Kavanagh, president of the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, called the project a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase Toronto’s heritage.
“We’ve got some naysayers walking around saying, you want to celebrate a pipe?” she said. “But there is a story to go with it.”
Kavanagh said the total cost of the redevelopment puts the viewing portal’s $1.96 million cost into perspective, especially since preservation requirements increase costs.
Larry Wayne Richards, who spent nine years on the board of the Ontario Heritage Trust and is a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, called the notion of preserving Toronto’s early history “a wonderful idea.”
Richards called the archeological discoveries amazing — but said he wishes it was more comprehensively integrated into planning.
“My concern is that it’s going to become a kind of after-the-fact footnote, costing a couple million dollars, and it’s not even the original structure,” he said.
Still, some consider the project money down the drain.
Richard J. Anobile, who sits on the board of directors for the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, would rather see the funds redirected to policing in the area.
“We’re crying out for lack of funds and here we are, wanting to spend $1.64 million dollars on exposing a storm drain,” Anobile said.
“I appreciate what one wants to do historically, but sometimes the present, I think, has to take a little bit more of a dominance over the past, especially for the people living in the area.”
WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump issued an extraordinary threat during a nationalistic and aggressive first address to the United Nations, warning that the U.S. might “totally destroy” North Korea if dictator Kim Jong Un, whom he belittlingly called “Rocket Man,” strikes against the U.S. or its allies.
The threat was the most important moment of a speech that veered between an emphasis on respect for the “sovereignty” of individual countries and a demand that “rogue” countries North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba change their behaviour or face consequences from the international community.
“If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph,” Trump said.
Trump merely hinted that he might withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, and he did not specify what action he might take against Venezuela. On “depraved” North Korea, however, he offered his most explicit and most bellicose words about any international matter to date — threatening not merely to demolish the regime but the entire country.
“No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”
The threat represented the latest escalation in a roller-coaster of Trump rhetoric toward the Kim regime. Trump has both threatened nuclear annihilation — promising “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if Kim so much as continued to threaten to the U.S. — and spoken more softly, suggesting that negotiations might be possible and that military action was not imminent.
The new threat came during a period of heightened tension over Kim’s weapons programs. North Korea fired a missile over Japan on Friday. On Monday, the U.S. flew bombers and stealth jets over the Korean peninsula.
Trump’s UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, issued a similar threat of destruction the day before his speech. But Trump’s words were remarkable for a formal presidential address to the world body. So was his use of a disparaging nickname for Kim. “Rocket Man” had debuted on his Twitter feed two days prior.
Ned Price, a former special assistant to Barack Obama and National Security Council spokesperson, said it was “especially frightening” that Trump’s speech, which involved “asinine name-calling” and “fundamentally dangerous policy positions,” was a scripted and vetted official address.
“It’s one thing to have a president who’s bombastic and prone to publicly go off the rails on issues as delicate and important as foreign policy. But it’s quite another to have an administration that is comfortable with that unhinged rhetoric,” Price told the Star.
North Korea’s ambassador walked out of the room before Trump began speaking.
Like Trump’s inaugural address, much of this one seemed to be aimed at Trump’s own political base more than a broader global audience.
Striking some of the themes he favours at campaign rallies, Trump criticized “uncontrolled migration,” multilateral trade agreements and “radical Islamic terrorism,” a phrase he has avoided, at the urging of some of his top security officials, in most of his recent speeches.
And he referred 21 times to “sovereignty,” or a variation of that word, saying countries have a right to govern themselves without international meddling. The concept is favoured by the nationalist and anti-war segments of his base, among many others — including authoritarian regimes who want the UN to stop criticizing them.
But Trump made clear that sovereignty was not an all-encompassing doctrine for him. He also demanded “fundamental reforms” from the “corrupt and destabilizing regime in Cuba,” a return to democracy in “destroyed” Venezuela, and a retreat from oppression and terror by the “corrupt dictatorship” of Iran.
Trump has a long history of deriding the UN for everything from its alleged incompetence to the “cheap” wall behind the General Assembly podium. He was gentler this time, saying he hoped the UN could become “much more accountable and effective.” And unlike some Republicans, he expressed optimism that the UN could play a helpful role in world affairs.
“Major portions of the world are in conflict. And some, in fact, are going to hell,” Trump said. “But the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations, can solve many of these vicious and complex problems.”
The speech was applauded by current and former Republican leaders, including former Trump critic Mitt Romney, and by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said on Twitter, “In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech.”
Other leaders sat stone-faced, offering only occasional and muted applause.
“It was the wrong speech at the wrong time to the wrong audience,” Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Margot Wallstrom told the BBC.
And some policy experts were aghast at Trump’s language on North Korea, warning that he was increasing the risk of war and making it more difficult to persuade Kim to give up his nuclear ambitions.
“What an idiot,” Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, wrote on Twitter.
Trump indirectly criticized Russia and China on sovereignty grounds, saying, “We must reject threats to sovereignty from Ukraine to the South China Sea.” But he did not single them out for criticism, and he thanked them for joining in a vote to impose new sanctions on North Korea.
He was far more direct in slamming Venezuela and Iran. Venezuela, he said, has failed not because it has poorly implemented socialism but because of socialism itself.
“We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule,” he said.
Trump described the Iran deal as “an embarrassment,” suggesting it might “provide cover” for Iran to eventually produce a nuclear weapon, and he added: “I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.”
When it comes to resale condos, some of the city’s key downtown intersections appear to be cornering the market with prices up to 23 per cent higher than the citywide average, according to a Tuesday report from TheRedPin.
The real estate company looked at 25 key intersections in the core. It found two-bedroom condos at Bay and King Sts., and Bay and Bloor Sts. fetched some of the highest prices in Toronto between January and Aug. 31 — averaging above $1.5 million.
Two-bedroom apartments in the tony Yorkville neighbourhood at Bloor St. and Avenue Rd. sold for $1.3 million on average. But one-bedroom condos near that corner were more expensive than the Bay St. intersections — costing $753,735, compared to $494,591 at Bay and King, and $626,989 near the corner of Bay and Bloor.
The average one-bedroom unit in Toronto sold for about $545,000 during the same period and a two-bedroom condo cost about $925,000 on average.
“At the busy traffic intersections things can be 20 per cent or more valuable,” said Enzo Ceniti, TheRedPin director of sales training.
“If you're an investor and looking for areas to buy then you probably want to target areas like that. If you're someone who wants to be close to a particular intersection because you grew up around there or you work near there and you want to be within walking distance, you might need to pay a little bit more,” he said.
Fifty-six per cent of condos at the 25 intersections were one-bedroom units and 30 per cent were two-bedrooms. The remainder would be studios and some larger apartments.
“At these intersections you can see the resale value will be very, very good. Conversely the rent in those areas can be just as high,” Ceniti said.
A similar study by TheRedPin last year showed that condos along the Bay St. corridor sold for more than Yonge St.-area apartments.
This year’s report averaged prices within a 250-metre radius of each corner — about a three-minute walk. It is an overview, says TheRedPin. Given the confined areas of the study a couple of high or low sales can dramatically alter the average at a particular corner.
TheRedPin reports that the least expensive one-bedroom condos were at the corner of Queen and Yonge Sts., with an average price of $371,444. There were no two-bedroom sales at that intersection.
The lowest sale prices for two-bedroom units were at Yonge and Dundas Sts. where the average was $658,234.
Pre-construction condos where consumers have to visualize what a floor-plan will look like before the building actually exists, offer good value but the reward is more immediate in the resale market, Ceniti said.
“When you're purchasing resale you can step into that unit and look around. I can see amenities, I can see exactly where my parking spot is. If you're more visually inclined, resale is the way to go — instant gratification really,” he said.
Condo prices appreciated 24.8 per cent year over year in the first eight months of 2017, compared to single-family homes that went up 19.8 per cent in the same period.
Condos outside the downtown tend to cost less. A one bedroom at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. averaged $424,698 during the study period. Two-bedrooms cost $583,014 on average.
Apartments at Ellesmere and McCowan Aves. sold for $356,227 on average for a one-bedroom and $500,800 for two.
The distinction between the house and the condo market has been shrinking as apartments are increasingly the entry-level home for Toronto-area consumers, he said.
For years there was a sense that ground-level housing would appreciate more year over year, Ceniti said.
“Now, as the study shows, condo prices have really increased,” he said. “Part of that is just that condos are just much more accessible so a lot of people would prefer to buy them for a low overall cost. As a result it does actually get a little bit competitive. When it gets competitive, prices go up.”
Peter Munk said his donation to a Toronto heart hospital is a “debt to repay” to Canada for taking in his family after the Second World War.
On Tuesday, $100 million was contributed to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, said to be the largest contribution to a Canadian hospital in history.
In a long, impassioned speech, Munk, founder and former chairman of Barrick Gold Corporation, extolled Canadian graciousness he experienced when he emigrated here in the late 1940s.
“When you thank me for what I’ve done for Toronto, and you thank me for what I can do for this community, it doesn’t begin to express my immense gratitude for what this country has done for me and my family,” said Munk, who was born in Hungary. “You opened the door. You gave us everything,” he added, referring to Canada as “paradise.”
Munk said he wants Toronto to be a beacon of innovative health care.
“It’s critical to make the hospital a point of excellence for Canada and we have a chance to do so,” he said.
The historic gift will be invested in efforts to optimize the quality of care and improve health outcomes for those struggling with cardiovascular diseases, both domestically and abroad.
Holding the platform together is artificial intelligence, technology that could pre-emptively save lives.
“We could monitor a patient’s heart beat every second of the day,” said Dr. Barry Rubin, medical director of the cardiac centre. “That system, using an AI-based protocol, could do things that no human could do, which is identify problems that may be on the horizon.”
Someone at risk of a lethal heart attack, for example, would be treated “before that catastrophic event ever happened.
“When people around the world think of artificial intelligence and cardiovascular health care delivery, they will, and should, think of Toronto,” Rubin said.
AI is better equipped to manage, trace and detect problems, he said. And further, information like clinical notes, blood tests and X-rays, will be consolidated into one location, he added.
Ontario Health and Long-Term Care Minister Eric Hoskins called Munk’s gift “unprecedented.”
“Simply put, it is going to change lives,” he said. “This is going to allow the Munk Centre to leap forward beyond its peers around the world.”
The research and talent at the hospital wouldn’t have been possible without Munk’s commitment over the past 20 years, he added.
Since 1993, the Munk family has provided over $175 million to the cardiac centre and the University Health Network, a multidisciplinary research organization that has four Toronto hospitals under its umbrella. The cardiac centre, which is based out of Toronto General and Western Hospitals, opened in 1997.
About 163,000 patients circulate through the hospital every year, Rubin said.
“Mr. Munk was the world’s leading gold miner and he expects we will be world’s leading heart centre, and that’s the mission I will deliver,” he said. “Anybody can cut a cheque, but they (the Munk family) do philanthropy with a deep purpose. You can hear it in the way he speaks about Canada.”
In an area of Toronto starved for outdoor skating rinks, McCowan District Park was supposed to be a major attraction by now. Its hockey rink and its winding, landscaped leisure-skating path have appeared to be complete and ready for residents to lace up and glide for a long time. It was scheduled to open in January 2017 after nine months of construction, when it would have become Scarborough’s second outdoor skating facility.
Instead, the entire $600,000 facility on McCowan Rd. just south of Eglinton Ave. E., remains behind construction fences, its brand-new concrete already veined with cracks and surgically excavated in places to expose the piping underneath. It will not be ready for action until at least December 2018, almost two years behind schedule.
The city quietly announced this week in an update on the parks website that a problem with the refrigeration piping installed in the facility has damaged the brand-new concrete surface upon which ice is supposed to be made.
“This was outside the control of the city, and staff are working with the designer and construction company to determine the reason for the failure and an appropriate solution,” city spokesperson Jane Arbour wrote in an email this week.
Arbour says the reconstruction necessary will be done at no additional costs to the city, and that staff members are working with the contractor both to expedite the reconstruction and diagnose what caused the need for it. “It has been determined that the refrigeration piping embedded in the concrete slabs failed. Investigation has found that the piping blistered, expanded, fractured and broke in some locations, however, the exact reason for the failure of the piping hasn’t been determined,” Arbour says by email. She says the problem became evident in January when the contractor who built the facility started up the system to prepare for its opening.
Local Councillor Gary Crawford, who has been so proudly anticipating the new ice park that he included it in his 2014 election campaign materials, says the result is that the entire thing will need to be ripped out — all the concrete, all the refrigeration piping — and built again. And so another year of skating will be lost. “I’m completely frustrated,” Crawford says. “When I first found out about this I had a very intense meeting with city staff to find out what went wrong.”
Ripping out and rebuilding the path and rink will take five months, Arbour says, and work cannot begin until “weather permits” — presumably in spring 2018.
It’s hard to overstate how anticipated this rink and path are for some residents of Scarborough. In a country, and a city, where outdoor skating — both shinny hockey and family fun — are the stuff of myth and literature, until recently even depicted on the five dollar bill, the former municipality in the east end has long felt left out when it gets cold.
A decision by the City of Scarborough decades back to cover all of its ice rinks to make them more usable as indoor arenas left it only one outdoor ice surface, at the former Scarborough city hall in Albert Campbell Square. Meanwhile, in other parts of the city, shinny pads in parks where people can wander up with their skates are common. (I, for instance, live less than a 10-minute drive from at least three.) There are 52 in the city in total.
The lack of ice in Scarborough became a flashpoint in the city during the Rob Ford years, pointing to the area’s perceived have-not status also represented by poor public transit service. Local politicians and residents at public meetings called for the immediate construction of four or five new ice rinks to address the gap. McCowan District Park’s facility was planned in 2014 to at last give Scarborough another place to skate.
And a beautiful one: in addition to a traditional hockey rink surrounded by boards and bleachers, the park is to have an ice path winding hundreds of metres through trees and tall grasses. Similar paths have opened over the past few years at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Etobicoke and Greenwood Park in east Toronto and have become immediately popular destinations for families during the winter.
Crawford says the same popularity is expected at McCowan Park. “This is very anticipated by residents,” he says. The city recently installed a new crosswalk to the park in anticipation of heavy foot traffic by skaters. Crawford has been getting “a lot” of response about the delay, even before the newest announcement went out. People, he says, can see the fencing up and the lack of any apparent work being done.
Crawford says he hopes his office and city staff will be able to figure out a temporary solution this year — to have some kind of artificial ice on the site for people to use, even if it can’t and won’t be the full path and hockey rink that are planned.
John Tory’s office reports similar frustration at city hall. “Mayor Tory is extremely disappointed this project isn’t finished,” says Don Peat, the mayor’s communications director. “The mayor agrees with parks staff that the rink and skating path should be rebuilt at no additional cost to the city.”
No additional money cost, of course. As Crawford points out, the “inconvenience” is a cost born by Scarborough residents, who will go another winter without the skating facility we’ve already paid for. Another lost season when local kids could be learning to skate, passing the hours, having fun. Another winter felling left out in the cold.
Edward Keenan writes on city issues email@example.com . Follow: @thekeenanwire
Edward Keenan writes on city issues firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow: @thekeenanwire
Metrolinx has pushed back the opening date for the oft-delayed Finch West LRT again, and says this time its troubled vehicle order from Bombardier is to blame.
According to Metrolinx, the provincial agency in charge of co-ordinating transit in the GTHA, the $1.2-billion,11-kilometre light rail line now won’t open until 2022 at the earliest, instead of 2021.
Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins wrote in an email that the one-year delay was caused by “uncertainty with the Bombardier vehicle supply,” which forced the agency to pause the procurement process for Finch last year.
The Alstom deal “provides certainty that we will have the vehicles required to operate the service,” Aikins said.
She said the new opening date of 2022 is only an estimate. “We will have a firm construction schedule once the contract for Finch West LRT is awarded in the spring of 2018.”
A spokesperson for Bombardier denied that the company was at fault for the delay. “Any pretention to that effect does not stand the test of facts,” wrote Marc-André Lefebvre in an email.
He asserted that Bombardier was “ready, able, and willing” to deliver the vehicles on time for Finch’s opening.
The 18-stop Finch LRT would connect the TTC’s future Finch West subway station to Humber College’s North Campus in Etobicoke. It has repeatedly been postponed since mayor David Miller unveiled it in 2007 as part of his Transit City plan.
When the provincial government announced in 2009 that it would fund the project, it predicted that construction could be completed by 2013.
Subsequent setbacks, including mayor Rob Ford’s attempt to cancel Transit City upon taking office in 2010, caused the opening date to be pushed to 2019, and then 2021.
Councillor Anthony Perruzza, who represents one of the wards through which the LRT would pass, said he was “saddened” by the latest delay.
Perruzza (Ward 8, York West) said the LRT is badly needed because the Finch bus line “is very much at capacity.” The line carries 44,000 riders a day and is the TTC’s second-busiest bus route.
He said the buses frequently bunch up and “are always crowded. You’re just shoulder to shoulder.”
Last fall, Metrolinx issued a notice of intent to terminate its $770-million order with Bombardier, which the agency placed in 2010 for 182 vehicles to run on the Finch, the Eglinton Crosstown, and other Toronto-area light rail lines. The agency said that the company still hadn’t delivered the first pilot vehicles, which were supposed to arrive in the spring of 2015, and had defaulted.
Bombardier countered that it would still be able to deliver the fleet before the lines opened, and took Metrolinx to court to block the agency from cancelling the deal. In April a judge sided with the company, and the fate of the purchase is now tied up in a dispute resolution process.
In a separate development, a different legal battle between Metrolinx and Bombardier was quietly resolved last week.
In August, Bombardier filed an application for a judicial review of Metrolinx’s decision to lock the company out of a bid to operate the agency’s passenger service.
Bombardier currently holds contracts to operate GO Transit and the Union Pearson Express, both of which are overseen by Metrolinx. But the agency plans to issue another contract in 2023, by which time it hopes to have dramatically increased GO Transit service under its regional express rail expansion plan.
Metrolinx initially said Bombardier couldn’t bid on the new deal because it would involve reviewing its existing passenger operations, which the agency claimed would pose a conflict of interest.
However, Metrolinx said this week that after consulting with the industry it decided to package the procurement for rail operations with the bid for the design and construction of express rail infrastructure.
That should allow Bombardier to take part in the procurement as part of consortium bidding to design, build, and operate the express network. Bombardier’s litigation was adjourned on Sept. 13.
Lefebvre, the Bombardier spokesperson, said that the company “acknowledges and welcomes” Metrolinx’s intention to amend the procurement.
OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending controversial changes meant to restrict how small business owners can reduce their tax hit even as he faces questions about taxes on what he called his “family fortune.”
Trudeau stood by the proposed reforms Tuesday, saying they are an integral part of Liberal government’s efforts to make the tax system fairer.
“The issue here is that the current system we have benefits wealthy Canadians and doesn’t give a fair shake to the middle class, and that is one of the things that Canadians asked us to change,” the prime minister told a news conference.
A new poll shows that Canadians agree that the rich and big business should pay more taxes, but opinions are split on the measures proposed by the Liberals.
Indeed, half of all Canadians are in the dark about the changes, leaving ample opportunity for both critics and proponents to win people to their side of the issue, said Eli Yufest, chief executive officer of Campaign Research.
“There’s an opportunity for both sides to sway opinion and galvanize the public,” Yufest said.
The measures, unveiled during the summer, would limit the ability of business owners to engage in so-called “income sprinkling,” paying part of their income to family members — named as employees — to reduce their tax exposure.
Ottawa also wants to crack down on passive income from investments parked within a private corporation — money that can be shielded from the higher personal income tax rate.
Finally, the finance department wants to limit the ability of private corporations to convert portions of income into capital-gains earnings, which are subject to a lower tax rate.
Recent polling by Campaign Research found that support for each of the measures ranged from 36 per cent to 41 per cent. About one-third of those surveyed opposed the changes.
Opinion was split whether the changes would make the tax system fairer, with 34 per cent saying it would mean more fairness, 33 per cent saying it would be less fair and 33 per cent saying they didn’t know.
But the proposed changes have stirred outrage among some small business owners who say they will be unfairly hit in the pocketbook.
Trudeau said Tuesday that his government has heard the concerns, “some legitimate, some less so.”
He said the worries raised by small business owners, opposition MPs, even members of his own caucus could result in modifications to the planned reforms.
“We will ensure that we’re doing it the right way, so that hard-working, middle-class small businesses, hard-working, middle-class farmers do not get penalized by a measure that is aimed at wealthy Canadians,” Trudeau said.
“We are moving forward to make the tax system fairer . . . but how we exactly move forward, what measures are in the legislation going forward is directly impacted and affected by the questions people ask, the concerns brought up,” he said.
Still, the opposition Conservatives have jumped on the changes, making it the focus of their time in question period as Parliament resumed sitting this week after the summer recess.
“Why is the prime minister putting the future of Canadian job creators at risk with this increased tax hike?” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer asked.
“We are talking about the farmer who employs five people or the family-run sporting goods store employing 20 people,” Scheer told the Commons Tuesday. “I know the Liberals might like to look down on these kinds of jobs, but these are the job creators who provide opportunities in our neighbourhoods.”
The Conservative leader used a visit to a small Ottawa brewery on Tuesday to launch a campaign titled “Save Local Business,” an effort to step up public pressure on the Liberals on the issue.
The prime minister himself faced questions Tuesday about whether he has been on the receiving end of beneficial tax interpretations around the trust fund left by his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, and a Laurentian property that produces revenue.
Trudeau said his personal financial dealings have been in a blind trust since he became party leader.
“I no longer have dealings with the way our family fortune is managed, and I have been open and transparent about that,” he said.
“I have been entirely consistent in my desire to not be perceived as bending or breaking any rules. Obviously, we follow all the rules, and I’m assured that the folks who are managing my personal finances are following all the rules,” he said.
Conservative MP Lisa Raitt took to Twitter to highlight Trudeau’s comment about his own wealth. “Here’s a tip — if you want to be seen as a man of the people try not to refer to your assets as ‘my family fortune.’ ”
The Campaign Research poll of 1,770 respondents was conducted online between Sept. 8 and 11. It has a margin of error plus or minus 2.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
With files from Alex Ballingall
Immediately before Toronto police Const. Gregory Browne took a 15-year-old into a North York police station for booking on a November 2011 night, the teen — who had just been arrested for assaulting another police officer — asked if he could tell Browne something.
“I don’t know what happened . . . I learned from a lawyer program how to talk to police,” Browne recalled the young boy said, in testimony Tuesday at the Toronto police tribunal.
The ongoing misconduct hearing of two Toronto police officers in the so-called Neptune Four case resumed with an account from Browne, the officer who transported one of the teens to the police station after the four boys were stopped then arrested.
Const. Adam Lourenco and his partner Const. Scharnil Pais are accused under Ontario’s Police Services Act of unlawfully arresting the main complainant in the case, his twin brother, and two of their friends — boys all 16 or under at the time.
Lourenco also faces two other charges of disorderly conduct for allegedly using unreasonable force, one for punching the main complainant and another for pointing his gun at three of the teens.
The officers pleaded not guilty, and none of the allegations against them have been proven at the tribunal.
Because the teens faced criminal charges under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Star is not identifying them.
The hearing stems from a 2011 incident when four boys were on their way to an after-school learning program in a Lawrence Heights public housing complex on Neptune Dr. The group was stopped by Lourenco and Pais, both with the now-disbanded Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) unit.
According to police records, the officers were at the Neptune Dr. buildings to enforce the Trespass to Property Act on behalf of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
When they were approached by police, one of the boys attempted to exercise his constitutional right to walk away.
Last month, the tribunal heard from that boy — now the main complainant — who alleged he was punched and had a gun pointed at him after he attempted to stand up for his rights to walk away.
The young man then testified that Lourenco handcuffed him and violently placed him into the car of another unit called for backup. Once inside the car, he tried to explain what happened to a Black officer who had not witnessed the original interaction.
“He was Black and I was trying to appeal to him,’” the witness said of the officer, identified Tuesday as Browne.
The witness went on to say that the officer was respectful but told him to “forget about the rights stuff,” in reference to defending his constitutional right to walk away from police under certain circumstances.
“He said . . . basically don’t use it. It’s not going to work in real life,” the witness said last month.
But Browne testified Tuesday that while he did give the teen some advice, it was only after the teen told Browne he understood that he didn’t have to speak to police under any circumstances.
Browne told the tribunal he’d gotten the impression that the teen had told Lourenco and Pais to “f--- off immediately on contact.” The officer then gave the teen advice, saying “I don’t think that’s a good idea anywhere in life.”
While Browne had made some notes about the conversation — which took place outside of North York’s 32 division, according to Browne — he hadn’t written down that the teen or anyone else in the group had told the officers to “f--- off.”
When asked why he hadn’t made a note of that, Browne said that he was inexperienced at the time — he’d only been with TAVIS for a month — and had felt “some stupid reason” that he could not write curse words in his notes.
Browne also maintained that he would not forget someone stating that they’d told an officer to “f--- off,” so he didn’t need to make a note of it.
The four teens were charged with assaulting police, and the young man who did not want to answer police questions was charged with threatening death and assault with intent to resist arrest. All of the charges were later withdrawn.
The charges against Lourenco and Pais came after an investigation by Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director, spurred by the four teens complaining to the watchdog. One of the four teens has since withdrawn his complaint and is not participating in the hearing.
With Star files
With Star files
Jonah and Emily live on a leafy street dotted with stout detached brick homes in midtown Toronto. They live with their sons, aged 18 and 21. Both sons attend university full time.
Jonah works out of his home, having incorporated a consulting business a decade ago that markets his expertise in time management to Canadian corporations. Emily does not work.
The business — Be the Best You Can Be!! — earned $220,000 in 2016 before tax. BBB!! paid Jonah $100,000 in salary and “sprinkled” the remaining after-tax profits to Emily and the couples’ sons as dividends. (Emily and the boys paid $1 each for their shares in BBB!!)
The contribution made by the two sons to the enterprise consists of mocking Jonah at the dinner table for his inappropriate acronymic social media terminology. The offspring have no meaningful involvement in the company, though Jonah sees them as “media advisers.” Jonah consults his sons when his computer misbehaves. The sons have been deployed from time to time to distribute BBB!! flyers, which Jonah refers to as “administrative assistance.”
After all this shimmying, I mean sprinkling, the total tax paid on the $220,000 was about $44,000.
Susan lives next door to Jonah, Emily and the two man-boys. Susan pulls down $220,000 a year as vice-president of human resources for a mid-sized company. On this, Susan pays income tax of $79,000.
Susan is aware of the presence of BBB!! next door (Jonah keeps leaving fridge magnets in her mailbox, hoping for a corporate referral). She’s not aware that Jonah’s diligent income sprinkling translates into a tax burden that is $35,000 lighter than her own.
The above example, slightly embroidered by me, is taken from the government’s July call for comment on its proposed tax changes. Is this not a case, as the government insists, of a high income earner gaining an unfair tax advantage?
Yes it is.
And it is an example of the ways in which the greatest tax benefits can accrue to the wealthiest.
It’s well worth noting that the dividends earned by offspring skew toward family members in the 18 to 21 age bracket — in other words, when the children are young and likely penniless. (Men account for more than 70 per cent of high income earners who have adopted an income sprinkling strategy.)
Even past attempts to stanch the flow of income to minors haven’t been altogether successful. Some high income taxpayers cottoned on to a circumvention strategy by sprinkling tax-deductible interest payments to minors.
The message from the Liberal government is clear: income sprinkling allows fellows like Jonah to “opt out” of the progressivity of the income tax system. To quote from the July paper: “This is fundamentally unfair, and erodes the tax base and the integrity of the tax system.”
I have not described the sum of the government’s initiatives. Holding a passive investment portfolio inside a private corporation and converting a corporation’s income into lower-taxed capital gains are the other two.
Critics have attempted to blow off the targetting of income sprinkling as financially of little consequence — the government forecasts that it will draw additional revenue of $250 million annually once new measures are implemented. And fear that the negative impact will land where it should not — the family-run business that relies on the steady contribution of offspring.
The Liberals were clear in their election run-up and more so in their first budget in the spring of 2016 that they were moving in on high-net-worth individuals who use private corporations to reduce or defer tax. And surely it’s reasonable to expect that a family member’s contribution to a private corporation must be of measurable value.
The deadline for comment on these changes, set for Oct. 2, fast approaches.
On the other hand, it doesn’t approach quickly enough. With all the howling and screaming in the House one would think that the Liberals are off message, or have pulled a fast one.
Canadian-Controlled Private Corporations (CCPC) have been a mounting issue for years. The Department of Finance notes that the number of CCPCs grew by 600,000 to 1.8 million between 2001 and 2014. It’s long past time for the government of the day to address when they are appropriately used, and when they are not.
That wasn’t a U.S. president at the UN General Assembly threatening to rain nuclear destruction on the planet, it was a failed preacher with long yellow hair from Nutbucket, Fla., threatening to rain nuclear destruction on the planet, same difference.
Either way, the odds of tens of millions of people dying by the time this enraged addled man leaves office are ballooning. Take it to the limit, Donald Trump! He won’t be able to resist that white mushroom cloud, that final glorious statement.
And what better place to announce it than the UN, where, as he sees it, funny-coloured foreigners soak up American money. Trump gave not a speech, but a sermon. It was so bad it was unholy.
One hesitates to deride Trump on a cheesy social scale — is that not what made Americans elect him? — but here’s what he had to say about the UN in better times, specifically on Twitter on Oct. 3, 2012. “ “The cheap 12” sq. marble tiles behind speaker at UN always bothered me. I will replace with beautiful large marble slabs if they ask me.”
And here he stands now, President Kitchen Backsplash.
It is difficult to sum up the speech, despite having taken notes while watching on three screens, because the whammos, the bone chips and viscera, came at us faster than they could be wiped away.
He threatened to totally destroy North Korea, I got that bit, but at one point, I stopped and asked my companion, “Sorry, who is going to hell? Did I hear that?”
Apparently I did, and the answer is some portions of the world.
Trump’s cowboy world view is Black Hats vs. White Hats. “If the righteous many don’t confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph,” he said. This was pretty formless but then the list of people and things that he finds objectionable grew long as a serpent’s tail.
It included North Korea and a certain leader he didn’t name, certain countries who don’t pay their UN membership fees — oh, they know who they are — “loser terrorists,” economic migrants, certain countries on the UN Human Rights Council, Cuba, President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, Bashar Assad of Syria, Iran and everyone who sails in and with her, international trade tribunals, bureaucracy, and many more. Saudi Arabia’s great, though.
This is only a shopping list, of course. Huge accretions of grievance lie beneath the mention of trade tribunals, nuclear treaties, and red tape.
And then there was the weird reference to sweet little Japanese girls being kidnapped to work as translators. Apparently someone had told Trump that personalization really grabs an audience. But it’s an American thing. It strikes a false note.
Just as we have never seen Trump laugh, we have never seen him express genuine affection for another human. He shakes his wife’s hand; it’s nice of her to take it.
Trump’s fake personal angle gives Americans the impression they’re going to war over that religion student Otto Warmbier.
There are many matters no one had the courage to explain to Trump, who is not an idiot, he is a box of idiots. For instance, that 2013 Iran treaty was both multilateral and a genuine triumph if the sole aim was to prevent Iran having nuclear weapons.
And then there are minor things. Rocket Man was not a ridiculous Slim Pickens riding an H-bomb to vaporization in Dr. Strangelove, he was a depressed astronaut who missed his wife and kids.
Did no one tell Trump that threats and inaccurate ridicule are the wrong way to approach a madman? On the same day in Danzig in 1939, Hitler told Britain, “One does not send ultimatums to the Germany of today — may London take note!”
This is why you never threaten to spit in your kid’s milk, because you’re going to have to deliver. So now what, Donald? The U.S. will no longer promote democracy, the world is black and white (mostly black) and you’ve basically promised a nuclear war. For the next three years you and the world will not be on speaking terms.
And this is why you will need the UN, as a note passer. UN, tell Canada we can grow our own softwood. Also hardwood. Yeah, tell them that.
I see “parade” circled in my notes. Yes, Trump is planning a huge military parade in front of the White House for next July 4.
What a Kremlinesque year lies ahead.
MEXICO CITY—A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 120 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.
Dozens of buildings tumbled into mounds of rubble or were severely damaged in densely populated parts of Mexico City and nearby states. Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said buildings fell at 44 places in the capital alone as high-rises across the city swayed sickeningly.
The quake is the deadliest in Mexico since a 1985 quake on the same date killed thousands. It came less than two weeks after another powerful quake caused 90 deaths in the country’s south.
Mexico City’s mayor said at least 30 died in the capital, and officials in Morelos state, just to the south, said 54 died there.
At least 26 others died in Puebla state, state disaster prevention chief Carlos Valdes said. Gov. Alfredo del Mazo said at least nine died in the State of Mexico, which also borders the capital.
Mancera said 50 to 60 people were rescued alive by citizens and emergency workers in Mexico City.
The federal interior minister, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, said authorities had reports of people possibly still being trapped in collapsed buildings. He said search efforts were slow because of the fragility of rubble.
“It has to be done very carefully,” he said. And “time is against us.”
At one site, reporters saw onlookers cheer as a woman was pulled from the rubble. Rescuers immediately called for silence so they could listen for others who might be trapped.
Mariana Morales, a 26-year-old nutritionist, was one many who spontaneously participated in rescue efforts.
She wore a paper face mask and her hands were still dusty from having joined a rescue brigade to clear rubble from a building that fell in a cloud of dust before her eyes, about 15 minutes after the quake.
Morales said she was in a taxi when the quake struck, and she out and sat on a sidewalk to try to recover from the scare. Then, just a few yards away, the three-story building collapsed.
A dust-covered Carlos Mendoza, 30, said that he and other volunteers had been able to pull two people alive from the ruins of a collapsed apartment building three hours of effort.
“We saw this and came to help,” he said. “It’s ugly, very ugly.”
Alma Gonzalez was in her fourth floor apartment in the Roma neighbourhood when the quake collapsed the ground floor of her building, leaving her no way out — until neighbours set up a ladder on their roof and helped her slide out a side window.
Gala Dluzhynska said she was taking a class with 11 other women on the second floor of a building on the trendy Alvaro Obregon street when the quake struck and window and ceiling panels fell as the building began to tear apart.
She said she fell in the stairs and people began to walk over her, before someone finally pulled her up.
“There were no stairs anymore. There were rocks,” she said.
They reached the bottom only to find it barred. A security final came and unlocked it.
The quake sent people throughout the city fleeing from homes and offices, and many people remained in the streets for hours, fearful of returning to the structures.
Alarms blared and traffic stopped around the Angel of Independence monument on the iconic Reforma Avenue.
Electricity and cellphone service was interrupted in many areas and traffic was snarled as signal lights went dark.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.1 hit at 1:14 p.m. local time and it was centred near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 123 kilometres southeast of Mexico City.
Puebla Gov. Tony Gali tweeted that there had been damaged buildings in the city of Cholula including collapsed church steeples.
Earlier in the day workplaces across the city held readiness drills on the anniversary of the 1985 quake, a magnitude 8.0 shake, which killed thousands of people and devastated large parts of Mexico City.
In that tragedy, too, ordinary citizens played a crucial role in rescue efforts that overwhelmed officials.
Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, 25, said she was in a taxi a few blocks away when the quake struck. She said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings. She was anxiously trying to locate her children, whom she had left in the care of her disabled mother.
Local media broadcast video of whitecap waves churning the city’s normally placid canals of Xochimilco as boats bobbed up and down.
Mexico City’s international airport suspended operations and was checking facilities for any damage.
Much of Mexico City is built on former lake bed, and the soil can amplify the effects of earthquakes centred hundreds of kilometres away.
The new quake appeared to be unrelated to the magnitude 8.1 temblor that hit Sept. 7 off Mexico’s southern coast and which also was felt strongly in the capital.
U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle noted that the epicentres of the two quakes are 650 kilometres apart and most aftershocks are within 100 kilometres.
There have been 19 earthquakes of magnitude 6.5 or larger within 250 kilometres of Tuesday’s quake in the past century, Earle said.
Earth usually has about 15 to 20 earthquakes this size or larger each year, Earle said.
Initial calculations show that more than 30 million people would have felt moderate shaking from Tuesday’s quake. The U.S. Geological Survey predicts “significant casualty and damage are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread.”
He’s ringing up a sale at the cash register. He’s looking out the window. He’s streaking out from behind the counter. He’s bursting through the door. He’s raising his arms.
As if to say: STOP!
But there’s no audio on the surveillance footage.
And the last we see of Jayesh Prajapati is a blur of red and yellow — his Shell gas uniform jacket — disappearing out of the frame, at the front passenger edge of what we know is an older model silver Isuzu Rodeo SUV as it peels off in stop-frame slow motion.
From the witness stand, Det. Robert North explains what’s barely visible immediately after, just a speck of red protruding for a split second: “This is what I believe to be Mr. Prajapati starting to go underneath the vehicle.”
Later, almost 78 metres from that Shell station at 850 Roselawn Ave., police would discover Prajapati’s shoes; one over here, one over there.
Just beyond, finally dislodged from the undercarriage of the SUV as it crossed a set of unused railway tracks, the 44-year-old’s lifeless body, death caused by multiple blunt and crushing injuries.
A husband and father, a good man, well-liked by residents in the area for whom that gas station provided a handy convenience store. “I’ll honour you for next time,” he’d say to regulars from the public housing building across the street, if they happened to be cash-short for a jug of milk, a loaf of bread.
A man who, as recalled outside court Tuesday by Liberal MP Mike Colle — this is his riding, the gas station he frequented, Prajapati someone he knew — would travel two hours by TTC every day, getting to his job from the family home in Etobicoke.
A hard-working immigrant from India who, said Colle, had obtained his Canadian citizenship not long before that night, Sept. 15, 2012.
A dreadful loss of a human life. Over $112.85.
That amount, Crown attorney Jenny Rodopoulos told a jury Tuesday, is what the driver of the SUV hadn’t paid after gassing up, after filling two jerry cans with gasoline as well, shoving them in the back seat of the vehicle.
The SUV just took off into the night, dragging Prajapati away, wedged beneath.
Max Tutiven was arrested in Montreal three years later. He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.
“The Crown’s theory is that either Mr. Tutiven saw Mr. Prajapati in the path of his travel and intentionally drove at and struck Mr. Prajapati with his vehicle and, rather than stopping, chose to keep driving,” Rodopoulos told jurors in her opening address. “Or, even if Mr. Tutiven did not intentionally drive at Mr. Prajapati, after striking Mr. Prajapati with his vehicle, Mr. Tutiven chose not to stop and chose to continue driving, knowing that he was dragging Mr. Prajapati underneath his vehicle.”
On the first day of the trial, the jury was shown scores of still images taken from surveillance tape captured by several different cameras at and around the station. They also watched moving segments of those tapes.
But none of the cameras actually caught the point of impact.
There are, however, said Rodopoulos, eyewitnesses present and who will testify about what they saw. Those witnesses, court was told, include two men who were at the cash register just before Prajapati apparently spotted the SUV driver getting into his vehicle after replacing the gas nozzle without paying.
Another witness, from his 18th floor apartment across the street, heard someone yelling, “followed by a sickening sound of dragging and squealing tires,” said Rodopoulos. “When he heard a voice shout ‘Someone call 911!’ he went on the balcony and saw an SUV fleeing along Roselawn, in the area of Marlee Ave. north of Eglinton Ave.”
A further witness, said Rodopoulos, will testify about both hearing and seeing the dragging of Prajapati from her balcony.
On the video snippets played Tuesday — Prajapati’s widow, Vaishali, in the courtroom — the SUV driver is clearly visible going about his business, looking this way and that, but never removing a wallet from his pocket.
In coming days, jurors will also watch security video, Rodopoulos said in her “road map” introduction, of six earlier gas thefts that had occurred at different stations around Toronto between Nov. 10, 2011 and Aug. 24, 2012. “All of the videos show a male suspect — who the Crown alleges was Mr. Tutiven — driving an older model silver Isuzu Rodeo, attending the Esso and Shell gas stations, pumping gas into the vehicle and into some red canisters, and then driving away without paying for the gas. These videos show the same suspect using the same vehicle and stealing gas in the same fashion as the male who killed Mr. Prajapati.”
Same guy as the man now sitting in the courtroom next to his defence lawyer, she said.
It will be for the judge to explain the relevance of similar fact evidence.
A gas-and-dash crime, as alleged.
Except this one ended with a dead employee, a widowed wife and a fatherless son.
“What Mr. Prajapati didn’t know when he went to work that evening was that he would never finish his shift.”
The trial continues.
Mea Culpa:Sherry Brydson, heiress, is the granddaughter of newspaper proprietor Roy Thomson and niece to Ken Thomson, late owner of the Globe and Mail. Information that appeared in this column space Monday was incorrect.
Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
NAYPYITAW, BURMA — Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and de facto leader of Burma, stood before a room of government officials and foreign dignitaries on Tuesday to at last, after weeks of international urging, address the plight of the country’s Rohingya ethnic minority.
But those who expected Suu Kyi to eloquently acknowledge a people’s oppression were disappointed.
In her speech, delivered in crisp English and often directly inviting foreign listeners to “join us” in addressing Burma’s problems, she steadfastly refused to criticize the Burmese military, which has been accused of a vast campaign of killing, rape and village burning.
“The security forces have been instructed to adhere strictly to the code of conduct in carrying out security operations, to exercise all due restraint and to take full measures to avoid collateral damage and the harming of innocent civilians,” she said.
As she spoke, more than 400,000 Rohingya, a Muslim minority long repressed by the Buddhists who dominate Burma, had fled a military massacre that the United Nations has called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” The lucky ones are suffering in makeshift camps in Bangladesh where there is not nearly enough food or medical aid.
A stark satellite analysis by Human Rights Watch shows that at least 210 of their villages have been burned to the ground since the offensive began on Aug. 25. Bangladeshi officials say that landmines had been planted on Burma’s side of the border, where the Rohingya are fleeing.
Suu Kyi tried to mollify her critics by saying she was committed to restoring peace and the rule of law.
“We condemn all human rights violations and unlawful violence,” she said. “We feel deeply for the suffering of all the people caught up in the conflict.”
But, asking why the world did not acknowledge the progress made in her country, she also boasted that Muslims living in the violence-torn area had ample access to health care and radio broadcasts. And she expressed uncertainty about why Muslims might be fleeing the country, even as she sidestepped evidence of widespread abuses by the security forces by saying there had been “allegations and counterallegations.”
It was a remarkable parroting of the language of the generals who locked her up for the better part of two decades, and in the process made a political legend of her: the regal prisoner of conscience who vanquished the military with no weapons but her principles.
But she is also the daughter of the assassinated independence hero Aung San, who founded the modern Burmese army. And she is a member of the country’s elite — from the highest class of the ethnic Bamar Buddhist majority.
Officials in Suu Kyi’s government have accused the Rohingya, who have suffered decades of persecution and have been mostly stripped of their citizenship, of faking rape and burning their own houses in a bid to hijack international public opinion. She has done nothing to correct the record.
A Facebook page associated with her office suggested that international aid groups were colluding with Rohingya militants, whose attack on Burmese police posts and an army base precipitated the fierce military counteroffensive. In a statement, her government labelled the insurgent strikes “brutal acts of terrorism.”
It has been a stunning reversal for Suu Kyi, 72, who was once celebrated alongside the likes of Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to her for her “nonviolent struggle for democracy and human rights.”
During her address, made from a vast convention centre in Naypyitaw, Burma’s capital, Suu Kyi tried to evoke a program of grand goals including democratic transition, peace, stability and development.
But she also cautioned that the country’s long experience with authoritarian rule and nearly seven decades of ethnic conflict in Burma’s frontier lands, have frayed national unity.
“People expect us to overcome all these challenges in as short a time as possible,” she said, noting that her civilian government only took office last year. “Eighteen months is a very short time in which to expect us to meet and overcome all the challenges that we are facing.”
There were worrisome signs from the moment she entered a power-sharing agreement with the military after her National League for Democracy won 2015 elections.
Burma’s generals — who ruled the country for nearly half a century and turned a resource-rich land into an economic failure — stage-managed every facet of the political transition. The Tatmadaw, as the Burmese Army is known, made sure to keep the most important levers of power for itself.
It also effectively relegated Suu Kyi to the post of state counsellor by designing a constitution that kept her from the presidency.
“It’s always a dance with the generals,” said Win Htein, an NLD party elder. “She needs to be very quick on her feet.”
Win Htein, a former military officer who served alongside some of the Tatmadaw’s highest-ranking generals, warned that Suu Kyi had to placate an army with a history of pushing aside civilian leaders under the pretext of defending national sovereignty.
“The army, they are watching her every word,” he said. “One misstep on the Muslim issue, and they can make their move.”
Yet even before the compromises that accompanied her ascension to power, Suu Kyi was already distancing herself from the hopes invested in her by the rest of the world.
“Let me be clear that I would like to be seen as a politician, not some human rights icon,” she said in an interview shortly after her release from house arrest in 2010.
Such a recasting of her role has disappointed Suu Kyi’s fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureates. In an open letter, Desmond Tutu, the South African former archbishop, advised his “dearly beloved younger sister” that “if the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Burma is your silence, the price is surely too steep.”
Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi social entrepreneur and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, was even more pointed.
“She should not have received a Nobel Peace Prize if she says, sorry, I’m a politician, and the norms of democracy don’t suit me,” he said in a telephone interview with The New York Times. “The whole world stood by her for decades, but today she has become the mirror image of Aung San Suu Kyi by destroying human rights and denying citizenship to the Rohingya.”
“All we can do,” he said, “is pray for the return of the old Aung San Suu Kyi.”
Beyond her personal legacy, the direction of Suu Kyi’s leadership carries global consequence.
“People are invested in her because we need her to succeed. This is a democratic moment, and she represents Burma’s democratic promise,” said Derek Mitchell, the former U.S. ambassador to Burma. “The country sits at the crossroads of Asia in a region where democracy is in retreat, which makes Burma’s success even more important.”
In Tuesday’s speech, Suu Kyi, acknowledged the state of democracy in her country.
“We are a young and fragile democracy facing many problems,” she said, “but we have to cope with them all at the same time.”
But she also stressed that “more than 50 per cent” of Rohingya villages in Burma’s western state of Rakhine remained “intact.” And she seemed to borrow vocabulary from a self-help manual when she described the need to research why certain villages had not been touched by the violence.
“We have to remove the negative and increase the positive,” she said.
Through the current Rohingya crisis, and a series of military offensives against other ethnic armed groups, she has taken pains to publicly support the military.
“We do not have any trust in Aung San Suu Kyi because she was born into the military,” said Hkapra Hkun Awng, a leader of the Kachin ethnicity from northern Burma, one of more than a dozen minorities whose rebel armies have fought the Tatmadaw over the decades. “She is more loyal to her own people than to the ethnics. Her blood is thicker than a promise of national reconciliation.”
Even before the mudslinging of the 2015 election campaign, Suu Kyi was sidestepping questions about the sectarian violence in Rakhine that disproportionately affected the Rohingya. Rather than condemning pogroms against the persecuted Muslim minority, she has dismissed accusations of ethnic cleansing and called, instead, for rule of law to solve any problem.
Because most Rohingya were stripped of their citizenship by the military, it has not been clear how any laws might apply to them. Indeed, even though Suu Kyi said Tuesday that Burma was prepared to repatriate refugees who can establish that they are residents of Burma, that may be a formidable task for people who are unlikely to have documents proving they lived in Burma before fleeing across the border.
“I can confirm now that we are ready to start the verification process at any time, and those who have been verified as refugees from this country will be accepted without any problems and with full assurances of their security and their access to humanitarian aid,” she said.
Suu Kyi has largely shielded herself from the media and has holed up in Naypyitaw, Burma’s bunkered capital, which was unveiled more than a decade ago by a junta paranoid that the former capital, Rangoon, might be vulnerable to foreign invasion.
Earlier this month, Suu Kyi chose not to attend the UN General Assembly, where her stance on the Rohingya would surely have met with criticism. Just a year ago, as the nation’s new civilian leader, she attended the annual assembly and was celebrated by world leaders.
Still, Suu Kyi is attuned enough to public sentiment to understand the deep reservoir of anti-Muslim sentiment in Burma. Even though a Muslim bloc had been a loyal patron of the NLD for decades, the party did not choose to stand a single Muslim candidate in the 2015 polls.
If anything, her equivocations on the Rohingya have given currency to the widely held assumption in Burma that they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh who have occupied land that rightfully belongs to the Burmese.
Since Burma’s political transition began, a virulent strain of Buddhist extremism has pushed such attitudes further into the mainstream. Influential monks have preached anti-Muslim rhetoric and pushed successfully for a law that circumscribes interfaith marriage. NLD elders have prayed at the feet of one of the movement’s spiritual godfathers.
“Buddhist nationalist radicalism has been allowed to spread basically unchecked,” said Min Zin, the executive director of the Institute for Strategy and Policy Myanmar. “The government is doing very little to stop it.”
The union representing Bombardier’s production workers says employees at the company’s aerospace plant in Toronto will walk out Wednesday — a move meant to pressure Boeing to drop a trade complaint against Bombardier.
Unifor national president Jerry Dias said in a statement that the rally is intended to give workers a voice during the ongoing dispute between the two companies.
He said Bombardier workers “are well aware that Boeing has no case, and that workers will end up paying the price as corporations fight this out.”
Boeing has filed a trade complaint accusing Bombardier of selling its C-Series passenger jets to a U.S. airline at an unfairly low price with help from government subsidies.
The U.S. International Trade Commission will release the preliminary results of its investigation next week, and a finding against Bombardier could result in fines or tariffs.
Last week, Dias and Boeing officials met in Washington, D.C., where Dias encouraged Boeing to drop the complaint and seek a resolution with Bombardier.
It’s got the greenhouse, the curriculum and the necessary approvals.
Now all that’s needed are up to 25 students keen on becoming the first crop of students to earn a postsecondary certificate in growing pot.
Niagara College, located in the heart of Ontario wine country, announced Tuesday it will establish a one-year post-grad program in commercial cannabis production, which it says is the first of its kind in Canada.
The first students, who must have earned a diploma or degree in horticulture, agricultural sciences or related fields to qualify for the program, will be part of Niagara’s “class of 2019.”
The program will combine the finer points of plant pathology and how to grow a healthy crop with courses on the complex regulations, standards and legal requirements for licensed producers, says Al Unwin, associate dean of environmental and horticultural studies.
Unwin said in an interview that consultations with licensed producers identified a growing demand for trained workers in the emerging industry, which currently includes 59 producers in Canada, of which 32 are in Ontario.
That demand is expected to continue, driven by legislative changes in Canada and abroad.
“There’s a huge need for highly-skilled well-trained workers who are not only knowledgeable about the crop itself, but the legal requirements governed by Health Canada,” he said.
Niagara currently has a two-year greenhouse technician program “so this seemed like a logical fit,” he added. Some of those students are likely to become candidates for the new certificate, which begins in the fall of 2018.
The program, delivered in 10 courses over two semesters at the college’s campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake, was approved by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development over the summer.
It will include practical experience working in facilities of commercial producers.
Curriculum is based on current legislation, which limits commercial production to cannabis used to make medical marijuana, hemp fibre and hemp seed.
As regulations change “we’ll certainly be consulting with licensed producers,” Unwin said.
The federal government has said it will legalize recreational marijuana next summer, though rules around distribution, licensing and retail sales will be left to the provinces.
Earlier this month, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that after legalization, sales of recreational marijuana in the province will be restricted to its 150 LCBO-run stores, that will operate separately from liquor stores.
Last year, a French-language college in New Brunswick announced plans for a cannabis technician program, while other organizations offer online courses.
But Unwin said the Niagara College program is unique and reflects its strategy of being “pre-emptive” when it comes to training workers in new fields.
Earlier this year, it created a similar buzz when it launched a commercial beekeeping program.