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Articles on this Page
- 09/21/17--15:59: _Donald Trump widens...
- 09/21/17--12:57: _On Trudeau’s tax re...
- 09/21/17--12:51: _A rookie’s guide to...
- 09/21/17--18:23: _Quebec suspect char...
- 09/21/17--12:41: _Fake cop causes acc...
- 09/21/17--19:00: _Outgoing deputy chi...
- 09/21/17--11:59: _‘It’s so disturbing...
- 09/21/17--17:55: _Lawyer Jeremy Diamo...
- 09/21/17--13:40: _Parents fuming over...
- 09/22/17--14:58: _Ontario mother seek...
- 09/22/17--09:34: _McGuinty staffers ‘...
- 09/22/17--15:25: _Environment ministe...
- 09/22/17--11:21: _If Jagmeet Singh wi...
- 09/22/17--15:24: _Toronto’s Indigenou...
- 09/22/17--16:00: _How Emily Mathieu r...
- 09/22/17--17:25: _Fists, spittle, hot...
- 09/22/17--14:33: _Why Kathleen Wynne ...
- 09/22/17--10:46: _Woman charged in ch...
- 09/22/17--16:29: _Stouffville mayor c...
- 09/22/17--08:55: _‘Catastrophic’: Mil...
- 09/21/17--15:59: Donald Trump widens U.S. sanctions on North Korea
- 09/21/17--12:57: On Trudeau’s tax reform, the well-heeled kick back: Tim Harper
- 09/21/17--12:51: A rookie’s guide to the Invictus Games
- 09/21/17--13:40: Parents fuming over hardline on hockey rule change
- 09/22/17--16:00: How Emily Mathieu reports on the city’s most vulnerable residents
- 09/22/17--14:33: Why Kathleen Wynne and Jerry Brown are soul mates: Cohn
U.S. President Donald Trump announces executive order targeting additional North Korean entities in wake of nuclear bomb and intercontinental ballistic missile tests in recent weeks.
Donald Trump widens U.S. sanctions on North Korea
The Liberal government’s quest for tax fairness has faced more turbulence than they anticipated.
On Trudeau’s tax reform, the well-heeled kick back: Tim Harper
The games open this Saturday. Learn all about them here, including which famous faces will be in town for the week and how much it’s all going to cost.
A rookie’s guide to the Invictus Games
The 41-year-old was arrested Friday by police and his son was found safe in a stolen vehicle in Ontario.
Quebec suspect charged with murder in Amber Alert case out of coma, lawyer says
Incident happened last Saturday at Bloor St. W. and Christie St.
Fake cop causes accident while directing traffic and dancing, Toronto police say
Mike Federico's 45-year career with the Toronto police is coming to a close. He spent his final years focusing on police interactions with people in mental health crisis.
Outgoing deputy chief Mike Federico ‘unreservedly’ endorses Tasers for front-line cops
Toronto police said the child was under the age of five.
‘It’s so disturbing to hear this happened’: Child dies after being left in car in extreme heat in Etobicoke
Law Society Tribunal adjudicator Raj Anand noted that it took five formal requests by law society investigators over several months for Diamond to hand over documents concerning his referral fee operation.
Lawyer Jeremy Diamond ordered to pay $25,000 in costs to Ontario law society
A pint-sized hockey jersey has been hanging in Jen McPetrie’s Stoney Creek kitchen for several days. It’s one piece among $500 worth of gear she’s hoping to dress her 6-year-old son, Brayden, in over the course of the long-anticipated hockey season.
But the sight of the jersey has filled her with dread since Tuesday, when she learned she will probably have to break it to Brayden he can’t play on the select team he made after trying out.
“It’s not because he’s not good enough. It’s not because of bad behaviour. It’s just because Hockey Canada didn’t let us know in advance” about mandated changes to hockey programming for kids age 4 to 6, McPetrie said Thursday.
She’s one of many parents across the GTA pushing back over abrupt changes that they say could force advanced child players into programs below their skill level, disrupting plans for everyone involved.
The Ontario Hockey Federation voted in March to implement Hockey Canada’s Initiation Program — the governing body’s official curriculum for young hockey players being introduced to the game — for all players 4 to 6 this season.
The program includes rules about how practices and games should be conducted for this group, with the most significant requirement that they play on half the rinkrather than full-ice play.
“This is an opportunity where kids can expand their abilities not just in hockey,” Phil McKee, the OHF executive director, said.
Parents don’t contest the benefits of the Initiation Program, which promises to give new players more opportunities at the puck. But they think rigid implementation of the program will inadvertently hurt young kids who already play beyond their age level.
The Initiation Program is a “phenomenal” idea for kids just starting out, McPetrie said, but “once they’ve mastered that skill you have to keep challenging them.”
McPetrie had enrolled Brayden in the full-ice program with Stoney Creek Minor Hockey when he was 5.
Local hockey programs say they weren’t told in advance they’d have to alter their programs immediately, which is why they let 6-year-old kids like Brayden try out for select teams that play full-ice.
Confusion and scrambling ensued when the OHF wrote a letter in July to associations, stating they would have to comply, or risk being barred from tournament participation for all their age levels.
For Bill Beaton, president of the Port Credit Hockey Association, that was the be-all-end-all.
“We were led to believe . . . this year would be a transition year,” Beaton said. “We will convert this year; it’s going to be difficult.”
Local programs now have to purchase and find storage for ice dividers so they can comply with the half-ice rules, and explain the program change to hundreds of parents.
“We’re volunteers. I think it’s a very hard line to take with volunteers,” Beaton said.
McKee admitted there was some confusion in the way the federation communicated the decision to its member leagues, but said it didn’t change the fact that the rules are now in place and enforceable.
Parents from across the GTA are lobbying the OHF to loosen the rules.
McKee said the federation will discus grandfathering this season’s players under the old rules at its meeting on Saturday, but no vote on the matter is scheduled.
“We’re taking into account comments from parents and individuals,” he said. “One way or another, we’ll provide clarification Monday as to what’s been discussed.”
Parents fuming over hardline on hockey rule change
A woman from Ontario is stranded in a remote part of Dominica living inside a car with only two days worth of food for her children and husband after hurricane Maria destroyed everything they had.
Back in Canada, Sara Ouellette Subero’s mother had been waiting days to hear about her daughter’s fate after hurricane Maria cut off all communication to the island.
Lynn Cockburn-Ouellette of Sturgeon Falls learned Thursday night that the storm destroyed Subero’s resort and left the family and their guests without shelter or enough food.
Almost every structure on the resort was torn to pieces after the Category 5 storm wrought havoc across the Caribbean island Monday night. At least 15 people were killed. The extensive destruction to homes and power has stranded many residents. With winds above 255 km/h, the storm silenced all communication and ripped trees from their roots, rendering the island brown and bare.
“It’s absolutely terrible, seeing what’s happening; it’s like a warzone,” Cockburn-Ouellette said on Friday. “We have all gotten into action, trying to figure out a way of getting them back, to make sure they are safe.”
Subero and her family were left alone in their car, one of the only dry places left on the resort, after their seven guests decided to walk 27 kilometres to the capital city despite the mud, flooding and debris strewn across the island.
With a baby and a 5-year-old daughter, the Suberos chose not to make the journey, as they knew the terrain was dangerous and difficult.
Subero, 30, and her husband, Stephan Ricardo Subero, 33, moved from Sturgeon Falls, northwest of Algonquin Provincial Park, to Dominica in 2014. Their small resort offered a simple, natural environment to travellers passing through the island.
The guests told her mother on Thursday night that the journey to the capital, Roseau, was harsh because of the muddy hills and debris. Before their boat to Barbados arrived at the capital city in Dominica Friday morning, the seven of them slept on a tarp on the street.
They could hear the sound of gunshots and shouts from looters all night, she said.
“They described it as utter chaos,” Cockburn-Ouellette said.
The guests sent a photo of a quickly written note from Subero to her mother on Thursday night. The note said the family is well but the resort is not habitable. Subero wrote that they will wait for communication while they can, and, if no help arrives, they will try to find shelter elsewhere.
Videos of the resort show it underwater. Palm trees and pieces of ripped bark lie scattered across the muddy ground. With nowhere else to sleep, one of the guests, returning to Barbados on Friday, slept on top of a shelf, two metres above the ground.
Officials estimated that up to 90 per cent of Dominica’s buildings and homes were damaged by the storm. Aerial footage shows debris spread across the island, roads washed out and water pipelines upended.
Subero’s mother said she phoned Global Affairs Canada, hoping to receive some support to rescue her family, but the call left her even more confused.
“After I told them everything, I expected them to say something about what the procedure is, or anything of help,” she said. “But they simply told me they have no information right now.”
The federal government has stated that the devastation caused by hurricane Maria is hampering efforts to evacuate more than 150 Canadian students who also asked Ottawa for help.
There are about 150 Canadians students at the Ross University School of Medicine, located in Roseau, and about a dozen more at a different post-secondary institution on the island.
The Canadian government is in contact with university officials, who are arranging to transfer the students by boat to St. Lucia, where consular officials are waiting to help them, a Canadian government official said.
Cockburn-Ouellette said a representative with Global Affairs Canada told her about the student evacuation and suggested that, if her daughter can get to the capital, then she, too, could join.
Cockburn-Ouellette reiterated to the representative that her daughter has two small children, that the roads are impassable and that they can’t even communicate with her daughter to let her know of the plan.
“I asked her, ‘Why would you even offer that?’ ” she said.
Asked whether Global Affairs Canada is trying to help the family, a spokesperson for the department said it would respond to the Star’s enquiries soon. But it had not responded as of Friday afternoon.
Cockburn-Ouellette said Friday that she is working with locals in the area, and friends and families of the guests, to arrange rescue efforts.
With files from The Canadian Press
Ontario mother seeks help after Hurricane Maria leaves daughter stranded in Dominica
Prosecutors have mapped out the case against two key aides of Dalton McGuinty, alleging they “destroyed records they had a duty to preserve” during a political furor to reveal backroom decisions in the scrapping of two natural gas-fuelled power plants before the 2011 election.
“They acted contrary to the public interest,” Crown attorney Sarah Egan said in her opening argument Friday at the long-awaited criminal trial of David Livingston, 65, and Laura Miller, 38.
The pair worked for McGuinty before he stepped aside as premier amid the gas plants turmoil in February 2013, with Livingston serving as his chief of staff and Miller deputy chief.
The two are accused of being “directly involved” in the deletion of computer hard drives and documents linked to the cancellation of the gas plants, which faced community opposition.
Opposition parties insist the plants in Oakville and Mississauga were axed to save Liberal seats in the 2011 election that saw McGuinty reduced to leading a minority government.
The case is being closely watched with a provincial election looming next June and two other Liberals on trial in Sudbury for alleged bribe offers to get a would-be candidate out of the nomination race in a 2015 byelection.
“A significant number of emails, including emails related to the gas plants, were deleted from the government and mail boxes of Mr. Livingston and Ms Miller” and on 21 other computers used by staff in the McGuinty premier’s office, said Egan, hinting at testimony to come from retired OPP detective and forensic computer investigator Robert Gagnon.
Before the trial began, 11 bankers’ boxes of papers where wheeled into the courtroom for the case that police code-named “Project Hampton.”
Livingston and Miller are charged with breach of trust, mischief in relation to data, and misuse of a computer system under the Criminal Code.
The pair, who have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the wiping of hard drives in McGuinty’s office before Premier Kathleen Wynne took power, plead not guilty.
They face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
In her brief summary, Egan said materials were destroyed while the McGuinty government was “under intense pressure” from opposition parties and orders from a legislative committee to produce documents on the cancellations.
The Progressive Conservatives and NDP have long accused the government of a cover-up and using taxpayer money to bail itself out of trouble, while McGuinty has testified before a legislative committee that the plants were axed because they were too close to homes.
Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk concluded in a 2013 report that it will cost taxpayers up to $1.1 billion for the scrapping of the two plants and relocating them to Napanee and Sarnia.
Egan said Livingston, a former investment banker, instructed staff to “double delete” documents on their computers on the same day they were received, making sure the material would not be in the backup system as it would normally be for the next two weeks.
That means there would be nothing available to fulfill freedom-of-information requests or demands from the committees of MPPs probing the controversial gas plant cancellations, Egan told Judge Timothy Lipson.
In addition, backups are not part of the computer system accessed to fulfill freedom-of-information requests, she added.
Both Livingston and Miller purported not to have any of the requested documents, but witnesses to be called by the Crown — which relied on forensic examinations of computer hard drives from the premier’s office obtained by the OPP through search warrants — “will demonstrate that they did,” Egan said.
BlackBerrys were also obtained under subsequent warrants.
Under the OPP charges, prosecutors allege Livingston arranged for a special computer password to a non-government employee, Peter Faist, Miller’s common-law spouse and an information technology consultant, enabling him to clean the computer drives in the premier’s office before Wynne was sworn in on Feb. 11, 2013.
Egan said Faist did not have a government security clearance and that Livingston “notably then did not use the IT department dedicated to the Office of the Premier.”
Faist is not facing charges and McGuinty, who co-operated with police, was never under investigation.
Egan said Faist was hired despite the fact Livingston was “painstakingly warned” the week before by then-cabinet secretary Peter Wallace of obligations to keep proper records of public policy decisions.
The Crown’s first witness is slated to be Gagnon, a retired team leader of the OPP’s electronic crime section, who said he set up a separate lab to examine the premier’s office hard drives because “a higher level of security” was needed.
Defence lawyers spent most of Friday’s court time challenging the Crown’s ability to use Gagnon as an expert witness, arguing he was in numerous meetings with investigators and prosecutors and is therefore biased.
Prosecutors want to use Gagnon so he can give his opinion on the evidence gathered.
The judge said he will hear legal arguments on Gagnon’s suitability on Monday morning before issuing a ruling next Wednesday.
The trial, which was delayed almost two weeks because of defence concerns the Crown did not properly disclose all evidence to the defendants, is expected to last into early November.
Lawyers for Livingston and Miller will outline their defence later in the proceedings at Old City Hall.
McGuinty staffers ‘destroyed records they had a duty to preserve,’ gas plant trial told
OTTAWA—Despite Canada’s different view on climate change from that of the United States — namely, that it is real — Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is optimistic that progress can be made on the Liberal government’s goal of bringing tough environmental rules into the heart of a new NAFTA.
McKenna struck the hopeful note on the eve of the third round of talks to reform the trade agreement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, as union demonstrators marched past Parliament Hill and a blimp bearing the message “NAFTA hijacks democracy” floated in the sky.
“We’re going to be pushing hard for strong environmental standards. We actually think that’s good for North America,” McKenna told reporters Friday, after she met with the government’s NAFTA advisory council for environmental issues.
“I think we can always find solutions so we will have good discussions and I think the negotiations are going pretty well,” she said.
Ottawa will host the third round of talks over the next five days on the North American free trade deal, which is being renegotiated at the behest of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has called the accord the worst “in history” and last month cast doubt that the ongoing efforts to revamp the deal can be successful. The three countries are trying to stick to an aggressive timeline: they want negotiations to wrap up by the end of the year.
The U.S. government has argued the deal has killed hundreds of thousands of jobs in their country. On Friday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross wrote in the Washington Post that content rules for autoparts — a key component of NAFTA — is putting American manufacturing jobs at risk, and repeated his government’s call for new regulations that require more U.S.-made content in cars made on the continent.
“If we don’t fix the rules of origin, negotiations on the rest of the agreement will fail to meaningfully shift the trade imbalance,” Ross wrote. “Our nation’s ballooning trade deficit has gutted American manufacturing, killed jobs and sapped our wealth.”
Canada’s goals include a push for a more “progressive” trade deal. These include the strengthened environmental provisions and protecting Canada’s right to create regulations to combat climate change. The Liberals also want to add new NAFTA chapters on gender rights and Indigenous peoples.
Friday on Parliament Hill, Conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus was critical of this “progressive” focus and said Canada should outline clearer goals for what it wants out of the negotiations.
“I would never say environmental issues are not important, or that the feminist side is not important,” he said. “(But) to put that at the front and to not have clear priorities, clear and precise on economic issues… that’s what is problematic.”
Céline Bak, a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation’s Global Economy Program, said she expects to see progress on key issues during the third round of talks in Ottawa, such as rules of origin and the integration of new labour and environment standards into the deal.
She added that “it’s absolutely essential to have climate change referred to in the agreement,” as well as to make sure Canada can enact its own green regulations without fear of being sued or called into question by foreign governments or companies.
Catherine Abreu, executive director of the Climate Action Network, said that she would like to see NAFTA’s investor-state dispute mechanism — which deals with how companies can challenge government regulations — should be eliminated from the deal. Canada has only said it wants to protect its right to “regulate in the public interest.”
The third round of NAFTA talks starts Saturday morning and is slated to wrap up Wednesday.
Environment minister confident Canada’s green goals can be met in new NAFTA
MONTREAL—Bloc Québécois Leader Martine Ouellet was not really trying to stop the campaign of presumed NDP frontrunner Jagmeet Singh in its tracks when she suggested this week that he was too religious for the good of Quebec.
For notwithstanding Ouellet’s assertion that Singh’s candidacy is testament to the “rise of the religious left” Bloc strategists see his potential victory next month as the most desirable of all possible outcomes.
They have high hopes that a turban-wearing Sikh leader would drive Quebec voters in general and some of the party’s current MPs in particular away from the NDP.
The BQ is currently two seats short of the 12 members required to have official party status in the House of Commons. If Singh wins, party insiders suggest there are better than even odds that at least two Quebec NDP MPs will cross over. That would ensure the sovereigntist party recoups the automatic speaking rights it has lost since Jack Layton almost wiped it off the map in 2011.
As a bonus, Pierre Nantel — the NDP MP who has been the most outspoken about his discomfort at the notion of serving under Singh — holds the federal riding where Ouellet would likely have the best shot at being elected in 2019. The federal riding of Longueuil-Saint-Hubert includes the BQ leader’s current provincial seat.
But the Bloc could be counting its chickens before they hatch. It would hardly be the first time.
It is possible that some New Democrat defectors will bolster the thin sovereigntist ranks in the Commons between now and 2019. But looking to the next general election, some of the assumptions behind the Singh narrative Ouellet and her party are pushing are at best untested and — potentially — dead wrong.
It was not so long ago that a fair number of Quebec watchers were ruling out of hand the possibility that a leader from out of the province would get the time of day from Quebecers.
Conventional wisdom also had it that support for sovereignty would rise significantly under a non-Quebec prime minister.
Then Stephen Harper and Jack Layton came along.
Even more recently it was assumed that a party led by someone whose last name was Trudeau would be shut out of majority francophone ridings.
In 2015, the Liberals, under Justin Trudeau, won a majority of Quebec seats. These days the prime minister’s Liberal party is more popular in his home-province than any of its federal and provincial counterparts.
The widespread notion that Singh would not get a hearing in Quebec for the sole reason that he is a practicing Sikh is based on the same untested assumptions as those listed above.
What if, against all current expectations, the presence on the television set of the 2019 election debates of a left-leaning Sikh NDP leader turned out to be a positive game-changer. By that I don’t necessarily mean a big NDP victory in Quebec. That may not be in the cards in two years under any of the contenders for the leadership.
But depending on the result of next fall’s Quebec election, the 2019 federal campaign may well take place against the backdrop of the province’s open-ended securalism debate.
A Mainstreet poll published by Postmedia on Friday projected a picture of a Quebec so split between the four provincial parties that it may be hard for any of them to secure a majority government next year. Both the CAQ and the PQ are proponents of more restrictive measures to reinforce the secular character of the province’s public service.
If only for the purpose of political pedagogy, a more diverse federal leaders’ line-up could potentially do more to enrich the debate or at least offer some Quebecers a chance to consider a different perspective on the balance between religious rights and a secular state than any federal homily about charter rights.
Over the past decade, Quebec voters have turned every presumably safe notion about political mindset on its head. Prudence would suggest that one not prejudge their reaction to a Singh-led NDP.
There are valid reasons, ranging from policy preferences to concerns over Singh’s nonexistent federal experience or lack of a seat in the House of Commons, why the New Democrats could select one of his three rivals to lead the party but the fear of a Quebec backlash should not be one of them.
Chantal Hébert is a national affairs writer. Her column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
If Jagmeet Singh wins the NDP leadership don’t assume he will be rejected in Quebec: Hébert
The woman hired to help city hall improve its relations with Indigenous communities has resigned and filed a human rights complaint against the city, Metro has learned.
Lindsay Kretschmer, a Mohawk Wolf Clan member, was hired last March as a full-time Indigenous Affairs consultant in the city’s Equity, Diversity and Human Rights division. Part of her job was to liaise with local Indigenous communities and provide the city with expert policy advice, in line with the city’s efforts to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.
But her stint was short-lived. In early July, Kretschmer tendered her resignation over what she calls “disrespectful” treatment of the Indigenous file. She has since filed a complaint at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, claiming the city violated her right to practise smudging, an Indigenous ceremony that involves burning sacred medicines.
“I waited for three months but I was never allowed to smudge in that building,” she said. She wanted Indigenous people to have a specific room at city hall where smudging can be performed, like the prayer/meditation room where members of any religion can pray.
City spokesperson Wynna Brown did not discuss specifics of the case with Metro but wrote in an email that the city has responded to Kretschmer’s application and “looks forward to the opportunity to present its case through the tribunal process.”
Kretschmer said she was later told she could smudge inside one of the managers’ offices — a response she regarded as “not dignified” because of the lack of privacy and personal space. One colleague even suggested she smudge outside.
“In 2017 you’re forbidding me from practising my culture. That’s essentially a repeat of colonization behaviour,” she said. “It’s just really bad to work there as an Indigenous person.”
Mayor John Tory has committed to increasing Indigenous presence at city hall, and the hiring of Kretchmer was seen as the first step. The city recently started acknowledging Toronto’s position on traditional Indigenous land at council and committee meetings. Indigenous flags fly on a permanent basis, and there’s a plan to give councillors and staff cultural competency training.
Tory’s spokesperson Don Peat referred Metro to strategic communications for answers on the case, adding the mayor “is committed to continuing to build positive relationships with Toronto’s Indigenous communities. He recognizes there is still much work to be done.”
At its meeting next Monday, the Aboriginal Affairs Committee will discuss the recruitment of a new consultant as they continue to work on the creation of an Aboriginal Office at city hall.
Kretschmer now believes that’s all “glamour” because there’s no concrete plan to promote Indigenous communities across the city. She says her hiring was just for show.
“It was a token position to make themselves look good, but they are doing nothing on the Indigenous file,” she said, adding there’s no Indigenous employment strategy and no budget to train staff.
“They are very far behind on that file. People are very upset with them. They’ve failed in so many ways it’s not even funny.”
Toronto’s Indigenous consultant resigns, files human rights complaint
This story is part of the Star’s trust initiative, where, every week, we take readers behind the scenes of our journalism. This week, we focus on how Emily Mathieu, the Star’s Affordable Housing reporter, approaches her work with vulnerable populations.
Earlier this year, Emily Mathieu toured a Scarborough women’s shelter researching a story on two new facilities for the homeless for her beat covering affordable and precarious housing.
During the tour, which took place in January, she met a woman with a compelling story that Mathieu wanted to share with Star readers as she felt it captured the reality of women who rely on emergency shelters.
The woman said she was a victim of domestic abuse. Three of her fingers were fractured and she had bruising on her back. The man who she said assaulted her had been arrested and released and was now on probation. Willing to be interviewed, but saying she feared for her safety, the woman asked that the Star shield her identity.
It is a request Mathieu encounters periodically on her beat.
The Toronto Star’s Newsroom Policy and Journalistic Standards Guide says that the public interest is best served when sources journalists use for stories are fully named. The guide also says that crime victims and their families “should never be harassed for their stories, identities or photographs.” Any decision to keep a name anonymous can only be made after discussions with a senior editor.
In this case, the woman told Mathieu she was still facing a serious threat. After a discussion with Julie Carl, senior editor of national and urban affairs and social justice, Mathieu agreed to only identify the woman as Lynda. In addition, the Star decided not to publish the name of the shelter.
Carl says she is dedicated to running full names in most situations because it is important for the credibility of the news organization.
“You can't kick and scream about transparency and then not hold yourself to the same standard.”
However, she generally agrees to withhold names if there are legal or safety considerations.
“With Emily’s beat I have learned that life on the street is often like living in an abusive relationship that you can never leave,” said Carl.
“Some of her subjects are extremely vulnerable people, struggling to survive in a hostile environment, and identifying them, calling attention to them, can put them in danger.”
Mathieu agreed to shield the woman’s identity largely for her safety. When interviewing people who are in a vulnerable position, says Mathieu, it is also important to consider dignity and privacy.
“I believe that accuracy and accountability are at the core of the work we do as journalists,” said Mathieu. “I also believe that if we excluded everybody who didn’t want to be fully identified, because of the stigma around homelessness, we would be removing a large percentage of people from a very important conversation. However, I never presume they want any part of their identify concealed,” she said.
Earlier this month, Mathieu was at The 519 community centre to report on a program called Street Eats that teaches people who have experienced homelessness to prepare healthy and affordable meals. There, she met Brandon, a man staying at Seaton House, Toronto’s largest shelter, and a member of the cooking team.
Mathieu wanted to quote Brandon for her story, but he didn’t want his family to know about his living situation. Once again, Mathieu agreed to use only a first name.
Brandon was willing to share his perspective and Mathieu felt confident that it didn’t require exposing his identity.
Mathieu said she explains to people she interviews how their personal information will be used and where it will appear.
Most of the time, says Mathieu, people give their full names. One such individual was a man named James Ribble, a client of Streets to Homes, a city program that helps get people into housing.
Ribble ended up in a dank, dirty, graffiti-covered basement apartment on Coxwell Ave. That place, he told Mathieu, was in such bad shape he would rather be on the street.
“Mr. Ribble understood the importance of having his full name and a photo published in the Star,” said Mathieu.
“He wanted his story to be told, felt it was in the public interest to explain how public money was being spent and understood that if he was going to make allegations against city staff and the man who acted as his landlord, he needed to be on the record.”
How Emily Mathieu reports on the city’s most vulnerable residents
It was just another day on Toronto streets until Nigel Fernandes felt a wave of hot coffee sting his face.
“I was just shocked, and glad I was wearing my sunglasses,” says the parking enforcement officer, later treated for burns on his cheeks.
Writing down the plate of the fleeing car, he realized he had just ticketed it several blocks away. The 30-ish looking driver, who had yelled at him from inside the car, had found him and crouched waiting, coffee in hand.
“I’ve had my foot run over, things have been thrown at me; it’s not a job for the faint-hearted,” says Fernandes, 40, who, for a decade, has affixed yellow tickets to illegally parked vehicles in the city’s west end.
Nobody smiles while getting dinged. Toronto’s 325 frontline parking officers have seen, heard and sometimes felt it all.
Each month since the start of 2015, an average of more than five Toronto parking officers have suffered physical attack or significant verbal threat, according to incident reports reviewed by the Star.
Motorists, furious at fines often $30 or $60, routinely chase or drive at officers; run over their feet; threaten to kill them; spit in their faces; strike them with bumpers or side mirrors as the motorists try to drive away; reverse into them; shove, punch, slap and grab them, and throw water bottles, cigarettes, and, in one case, a “hard cookie.”
A man headbutted a female parking officer in the nose.
Two officers suffered headaches after handheld lasers were shone in their eyes.
Fernandes is not alone in getting a hot coffee bath.
Parking ticket rage, completely out of proportion to relatively minor fines, and triggering the risk of arrest and far worse punishment, is a mystery even to the man who heads Toronto police’s parking enforcement unit, 18-year veteran Brian Moniz.
“I’ve had police officers who sometimes issue parking tickets, tell me that that makes people much angrier than when they ticket them for moving offences,” such as speeding, with bigger fines and even demerit points, Moniz says. “I honestly don’t understand it.
“I just don’t know why that is.”
Confrontation has always been a hazard of parking enforcement, but the severity of it is escalating, Moniz adds.
In response his office is publicizing attacks and arrests, to let motorists know they are taken seriously. Next month, it will start new training for all parking officers on how to deal with irate drivers. They are peace officers but carry no weapons, so the focus is on defusing potentially dangerous situations.
Parking enforcement officer Kyle Ashley, well known for his work ticketing bike-lane invaders, has had to call police three times for ticket-related attacks in less than four years on the job.
The first time, just three months after he started the job, was at the hands of a midwife who came running out of a Starbucks in the Beach as he wrote a ticket.
“She pushed me into a live lane of traffic and then got in her car, started it, and, with no care for me being there, drove forward,” Ashley says. “She decided she was going to drive through, so she drove over both my feet and stopped with her car on one foot.”
Java in hand, she told him she was late delivering a baby and drove off.
While she was being charged with offences including assaulting a peace officer, she said to Ashley: “You guys should understand, coffee is like gold in our business,” referring to midwives’ marathon work days.
On a separate occasion, also in the Beach, a father and son ran out of a Tim Hortons, jumped into a car and drove straight into Ashley. “I was holding onto the hood of his car for about two blocks.” They were, to Ashley’s knowledge, never caught.
“It’s a sense of entitlement: ‘I can stop at Starbucks. I can stop to pick people up, and it doesn’t matter what you say,’ ” Ashley says of the reason for such aggression. “There has been a basic disrespect for the position, a culture of the way people view parking enforcement.”
A reason the confrontations are getting worse, officers say, is the end of the days when parking wardens would often knock on the window of an occupied car and simply tell the driver to move on.
Mayor John Tory’s continuing traffic blitz is part of the reason, coupled with a new appeal system in which tickets can be mailed to motorists even if they drive away.
Ashley has never been called to testify against an abusive driver and is dismayed none of those who have attacked him have received a criminal record.
First-time offenders often escape with a peace bond: a promise to behave. Some are forced to write an apology. A man who used his fist to shove a ticket into Ashley’s vest, and was on probation for another assault, got 10 hours’ community service.
“It makes me feel like my work as a civil servant is not valued,” Ashley says. “People should respect the laws and the authority, rather than the authority fearing the people.”
Emilie Smith, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, said in an email that Crown counsel who prosecute, and sometimes withdraw, Criminal Code charges, screen them with an eye to the “reasonable prospect of conviction” and “public interest.”
Sentencing judges, she added, consider the nature of the offence, the offender’s circumstances, sentencing principles in the Criminal Code, relevant case law and input from Crown and defence lawyers.
The man who threw hot coffee into Fernandes’s face got one year probation and an order to write him an apology.
“He said he’s not that type of person; it was the heat of the moment,” Fernandes says. “People are angry at the uniform, but they don’t realize they are throwing coffee at, or hitting, a person who has a family, children, parents, and, at the end of the day, we are just doing our jobs.
“If you just focus on where your vehicle is parked, you wouldn’t have an issue with us.”
Fists, spittle, hot coffee . . . all in a day's work for a Toronto parking officer
Jerry Brown’s world tour against global warming came to Canada this week to sign up his most faithful fellow traveller.
Fresh from a whirlwind tour of the United Nations, California’s maverick governor flew north so he could witness Premier Kathleen Wynne’s final accession to his coalition.
The Jesuit-trained Brown welcomed Wynne not merely as a soul mate but an “insurgent” in his global crusade. Voice booming, visage beaming, the former presidential aspirant joined Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard at a historic three-way summit in that province’s legislature.
“We are the insurgent forces,” Brown proclaimed to the assembled journalists, a few of whom wondered why progress has been so slow.
“It’s very simple — there’s a lot of money on the other side, and that’s the status quo,” he mused, an oracle among media admirers.
By inking the deal Friday, Wynne was linking Ontario’s cap and trade regime to a cross-border system that will be the world’s largest outside Europe. Our two biggest provinces are joining forces with California, which boasts the world’s sixth-biggest economy and a population greater than Canada’s.
It is a political-environmental embrace that has been a long time coming. And faces continuing headwinds not just in the White House, but at Queen’s Park.
Despite the challenges from Donald Trump’s presidency — or perhaps because of them — Brown has rallied all allied forces in sight. Before Friday’s signing ceremony with Wynne, he made the rounds of his fellow governors in New York City, whom he also hopes to sign up.
Earlier in the week he met UN secretary general Antonio Guterres, and lobbied foreign diplomats in the corridors. And last May, he flew to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People — a rare audience granted to a sub-national leader.
The elaborate byplay suggests Brown is busily promoting an alternative foreign policy, an environmentally constructive agenda to counter Washington’s obstructive, destructive, anti-ecology agenda. Proof that the president isn’t omnipotent.
“What we have in North America is not a monolithic, top-down, total control,” Brown explained to his Canadian audience Friday. “Today you’re witnessing three of the sub-national jurisdictions committing themselves to a very powerful carbon market, and we expect others will follow.”
Wynne — whose early talk of an “activist centre” never quite caught on — is going along for the ride. Ontario’s premier pointedly reminded the media that when she first plotted strategy with Quebec on cap and trade, they faced only naysaying from then-PM Stephen Harper — until Justin Trudeau took power:
“We were living in a country that had a federal government that was not interested in working with us, was not on side, and I think that’s the importance of sub-nationals.”
But sub-nationals aren’t always aligned. At Queen’s Park, Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown threw cold water on the global warming juggernaut Friday, dismissing their climate change coalition as a “new slush fund” that will enrich both Ontario’s Liberals and California’s elite.
While the three summiteers hailed their market-based method to place a price on pollution, he vowed to “dismantle the Wynne Liberals’ cap-and-trade cash grab” that will end up “subsidizing the wealthy in Beverly Hills.”
It was an apparent shot by Brown at his namesake, the popular California governor driving cap and trade in America. But,
awkwardly for Ontario’s PC leader, his most influential political role model — former Quebec premier Jean Charest — was the main driver of cap and trade in that province, as Couillard pointed out dryly.
In contrast to Ontario, California’s governor has faced less opposition in his home state. Former Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has backed the counterattack against Trump, and several Republican lawmakers joined state Democrats in toughening up their cap and trade system in a legislative vote last July.
Now, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are talking about joining a modified cap and trade system in the northeast. And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hinted at a possible merger with the broader emissions control system embraced by California and the two Canadian provinces.
“The states are picking up the baton,” Brown boasted.
At 79, in his second tour as governor, Brown is winding down after 40 years in public life. At 64, Wynne is trying for her second act in politics, trying to maintain a 14-year Liberal streak in power with an election looming.
But while the premier thinks of legacies — she spoke Friday of fighting climate change on behalf of “my grandchildren” — Brown insists his passion transcends any “cockamamie legacy” politics. Possibly because he doesn’t have any grandkids.
“This isn’t for me,” the aging governor likes to tell audiences, who lap up his legacy line. “I’m going to be dead. It’s for you.”
Martin Regg Cohn’s political column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. email@example.com, Twitter: @reggcohn
Why Kathleen Wynne and Jerry Brown are soul mates: Cohn
Snap of the fingers bail. Released on her own recognizance.
And then — entirely without precedent, flanked by court constables as she exited the public door of the courtroom, scooting in quick-step down the long corridor -escorted by two men, one presumably a lawyer, the other who’d been clutching instructions for posting bond, never needed.
Down to the main floor of the College Park courthouse, out and across the plaza, walking briskly south on Bay Street — trailed all the way by a posse of reporters and news cameras — then into a cab.
That was the last we saw of 50-year-old Zeljana Kosovac, the caregiver charged with criminal negligence causing death of a four-year-old child. A little boy, police say, who was left alone in a car, all the windows rolled up in the Indian Summer heat, for several hours in a parking lot behind an Etobicoke highrise complex on Thursday morning.
According to property documents found by the Star, Kosovac, widowed a year ago, owns a unit at that Mill Rd address.
In court, she spoke not a word aloud, conferring only in hushed tones with the duty counsel.
Outside afterwards, chased by media — in what might have been the longest perp walk ever — she spoke not a word either, all three in the party studiously avoiding shouted questions and cameras right in their faces.
Earlier, the man believed to be Kosovac’s lawyer denied having anything to do with the matter, denied even recognizing Kosovac’s name.
The dead boy’s name has not been released by police.
But the youngster suffered a gruesome demise.
As news of the boy’s death became public Thursday evening, a whole city wondered: Who could have done that? Who would leave a child suffocating in a stifling car — until the building’s superintendent smashed the sedan’s window in order to rescue the child.
None of those questions were answered in Kosovac’s first court appearance at what is commonly known as “ladies’ court” — where women charged from across the city usually appear for bail.
The heavy-set woman wore a long grey T-shirt, black leggings and flip-flops, her thick black hair loose and untamed at her shoulders.
Crown and duty counsel jointly agreed that Kosovac should be released on her own undertaking — $5,000 bail — with no deposit.
The hearing was otherwise subject to a routine publication ban.
Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Woman charged in child’s gruesome death in hot car released on bail: DiManno
The CSI-style wall created in an office washroom of the mayor of Whitchurch-Stouffville was “vexatious” and “disturbing to staff” and amounted to a “serious incident of workplace harassment,” an ethics probe has found.
In a highly anticipated report released late Friday afternoon, integrity commissioner Suzanne Craig’s findings say Justin Altmann’s wall — made up of photos of staff, colleagues and members of the public connected by black lines — affected the work environment, and his behaviour toward staff interfered with their ability to do their jobs.
“The respondent’s conduct in developing the wall created and contributed to an intimidating work environment for the complainant and other employees,” Craig wrote in her 30-page report. “I find that the respondent’s creation of the wall was discreditable conduct that fell below the decorum expected of his office,” she wrote.
However, Craig also wrote that Altmann “demonstrated an error in judgment” and not a wilful desire to cause harm or breach the town’s code of conduct. Moreover, Craig wrote that his conduct was misplaced but was not carried out in bad faith.
Craig, who will present the report to council on Tuesday, has asked council to consider other penalties: asking Altmann for a formal apology; reprimanding Altmann; including an admonition to interact respectfully with staff; using town offices and facilities appropriately, and suspending his pay for 30 days. The maximum penalty under the Municipal Act is to dock an elected official three months’ pay.
In the report, Altmann said the “purpose of photos and the display on my wall is simply a ‘mind-mapping’ exercise — a method I use to visually organize information.”
He also added: “Some of these members (of council) have sought to undermine me in my capacity as mayor and impede the mandate for which I was elected, namely to govern council and staff with proper policies and procedures befitting of our municipality. Therefore, it is very possible that the complaint is a further attempt to undermine me personally and professionally,” he said.
The wall has been taken down.
The investigation began in March, when Craig was approached by the complainant.
Craig wrote she only looked at whether Altmann had breached the code of conduct in relation to harassment, discreditable conduct and conduct respecting staff.
She suggested a complaint of workplace violence be taken by the complainant to police. But in her report she touched on the complaint, writing that Altmann allegedly told one staff member he wanted another’s “head on a platter” and that he “was going to blow up this place.” Craig did not investigate because it was outside the scope of her investigation.
In her findings, Craig said she relied on interviews, documents and the findings of an independent investigator.
“Being shown the wall by the respondent with its pictures, clip art, meticulous lines, sheer size over three walls and location in the respondent’s washroom was objectively reasonably vexatious to Staff A who we accept was legitimately shocked and thrown off balance in a negative way,” the investigator wrote.
“In all the circumstances, the respondent reasonably ought to have known that the wall would be unwelcome to anyone who saw it, particularly an employee,” the investigator wrote. “It clearly had a dramatically negative lasting impact on Staff A that cannot be attributed to the political agenda of the respondent’s detractors.”
Craig wrote that even if Altmann’s intention was to create a “flow chart that would enable him to present his evidence to the law enforcement authorities to strengthen his position that he was on the receiving end of harassment, intimidation and threats… it is clearly unreasonable to have done so on the walls of a public building, together with photographs of staff, members of council and private citizens and with captions such as ‘you are dead.’ ”
She also chastised him for breaching the confidentiality of the investigation, when he sent out an email to supporters this month, asking them to submit letters of support to Craig.
Craig wrote that during her investigation there were a number of allegations she couldn’t look into as they occurred before the town instituted a code of conduct this year.
A list of them, included in the appendix, are: bringing personal furniture into town offices, changing the position of the video surveillance cameras outside the mayor’s office, and questionable use of the mayoral chains and the mayor’s unpredictable behaviour with staff.
Stouffville mayor created an intimidating workplace for staff, investigation finds
WASHINGTON—Bruce Brown, a Donald Trump devotee in rural Pennsylvania, thinks that Hillary Clinton should be “shot or put in prison” and that liberals have a “mental disease.”
He also thinks Trump’s latest health-care plan might kill him, at least leave him homeless.
Brown, 58, has severe diabetes, and he is awaiting a leg amputation. He and his 11-year-old son, who has autism, get health insurance from Medicaid, the program the new plan would subject to major cuts.
“I barely make it month to month as it is,” said Brown, who is unable to work. “I saw how many billions and billions they want to cut from Medicaid. I depend on Medicaid. Without Medicaid, I have nothing. I couldn’t afford any insurance.”
Democrats thought in July that they had crushed the Republican effort to eradicate Obamacare. The repeal push is suddenly back, with all its familiar-by-now rituals.
Patients, including Trump voters, say they are terrified. Policy experts say they are horrified. Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel is improbably driving the resistance. Key swing voters Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski are facing immense pressure from all sides. And senior Republicans in Congress can’t really explain what it is they’re doing, but they insist it must be done.
There is one big difference this time: the substance. This plan is a special doozy — far more extreme, health-policy experts say, than the ones already rejected because they were themselves seen as imposing cuts too drastic.
While Republicans had claimed those previous proposals would have fulfilled their pledge to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, they had actually wanted to retain significant portions of Barack Obama’s signature law. This proposal, known as Graham-Cassidy, would tear Obamacare apart to produce a massive transformation of the U.S. health system.
Proponents say Graham-Cassidy would give individual states much-needed flexibility, and Trump says the bill “really will do it the right way.” But just about nobody outside of Republican circles likes it — not the insurance industry, not medical professionals, not the seniors’ lobby, not groups for people with cancer and disabilities, not scholars.
The bill appeared close to defeat on Friday afternoon.
With a slim majority in the Senate, Republicans can only afford to lose three senators, and Arizona Sen. John McCain, who cast a key vote to kill the last proposal, announced Friday that he would vote against this one too.
With Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul claiming to be staunchly opposed, only one more no vote would appear to doom the bill. Collins, who was steadfast in opposition to previous bills, has sounded overwhelmingly negative about this one, and at least five other wavering senators have not taken a public position.
Jonathan Oberlander, a University of North Carolina professor who studies health policy and politics, described the early proposals as “terrible.” Graham-Cassidy, he said, is “catastrophic.”
“They, for seven years, have pledged to do this, and they’re committed to do it come hell or high water. And damn the consequences,” Oberlander said. “Including virtually universal opposition from the health-care industry, the incredibly low polling numbers, and the fact they don’t even have an analysis of what the impact of this bill would do.”
Facing a de facto deadline of Sept. 30, Senate Republicans are attempting to ram the bill through without committee hearings or an official estimate of how many people will lose coverage. But the conclusions of outside analysts have been scathing.
The bill would likely impose between $160 billion and $250 billion in cuts by 2026. In place of Obamacare’s key components — a Medicaid expansion to cover more low-income people and federal subsidies for low- and middle-income people to buy their own insurance — each state would be given a shrunken pile of money to spend on a health system of their own design.
A limit would be imposed on Medicaid spending, which until now has been available to everyone who qualifies. And states could ask for federal permission to free insurers from Obamacare’s restrictions — letting them again charge hefty prices to people with “pre-existing conditions” and refuse to cover “essential health benefits” like prescription drugs, hospitalization and addiction treatment.
While the majority of states would get less funding, Democratic states would be hurt worst: states that expanded Medicaid would essentially transfer funding to the Republican states that resisted expansion.
All of the funding would vanish in 2027, creating a giant health-care “cliff.” Healthy people would not be required to buy insurance anymore, so prices would almost certainly rise for sick people. And each state would be forced to develop its own system in two years, a timeline most experts say is unrealistic.
“Graham-Cassidy would likely be the biggest devolution of federal funding and responsibility to states, ever, for anything,” Larry Levitt, vice-president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which analyzes health policy, said on Twitter. “It’s hard to think of any other bill that commits so much federal money with so few details as Graham-Cassidy.”
The primary authors of the bill are South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, a physician.
Kimmel, whose baby son was born with a heart defect, has used his monologues this week to shame Cassidy for breaking a spring promise to only support legislation that would allow kids like Kimmel’s to get all the treatment they need no matter how much money their parents make.
Obamacare forbids insurers from imposing annual and lifetime limits on coverage — but only for “essential health benefits.” If a state got permission to take items off the “essential” list, the caps could come back.
“This guy, Bill Cassidy, just lied right to my face,” Kimmel said Tuesday.
Cassidy and Graham will debate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar on CNN on Monday night. To the dismay of some Democrats, Sanders picked last week to introduce a proposal for national single-payer health-care, providing Republicans a “socialist” foil to which to contrast their own plans.
He was not the only one distracted. The Graham-Cassidy push intensified as the liberal activist groups crucial in sinking the previous bills were turning their attention to fights over taxes and immigration. They have quickly swerved back to Obamacare — making phones “ring off the hook” in Republican senators’ offices, spending money “hand over fist” on web ads, and planning a “huge wave of protests” for senators’ return to Washington next week, said Ben Wikler, Washington director for progressive group MoveOn.org.
“Last Friday afternoon, I was concerned about whether the movement would be able to throw itself at the barricades fast enough. As of today, I’m very glad to say that the energy is there. People are tuned into this threat even with the crush of hurricanes and earthquakes and Russia-investigation news. There is an appropriate and enormous level of alarm and fight exploding from the grassroots,” Wikler said.
Brown, the Trump supporter, will be watching in fear, sincerely concerned his beloved president might send him to his death. Trump, he said, “just wants to pass it so it makes him look good.”
‘Catastrophic’: Millions at risk, again, as Trump and Republicans push new health bill‘Catastrophic’: Millions at risk, again, as Trump and Republicans push new health bill