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    For 70 consecutive years alumni of RH King Academy have organized reunions, but this year went a step further: a group of fresh-faced students welcomed them back to the very place they all came to know one another, to commemorate the values of friendship instilled in them years before.

    With ginger ale in hand and tiaras donned the remaining class of 1947 — all in their late eighties — paid tribute to the legacy of a woman they credit as the glue that kept them together long after she died: their teacher, Alice Carnaghan.

    “She taught us how to do shorthand and how to use a typewriter,” said Norma Hardy, 87. “These gifts might have gone out-of-fashion, but Miss Carnaghan also taught us that friendship will never be obsolete.”

    The class originally had a count of 22 students; there were 10 at the gathering.

    “Through the years we have stayed friends, and we sincerely hope you have the same privilege we have enjoyed to make good friends while you’re at this place who will stay with you for a long, long time,” continued Hardy, addressing the current students.

    Carnaghan co-ordinated the first reunion — over the years, this eventually switched to Hardy, who planned the event Wednesday morning at the Scarborough high school, one of the oldest in the area, with a student body of 1,250. The school was formerly called Scarborough Collegiate.

    Students assisted the all-female party as they made their way to the school’s grounds, where a fresh plaque made out to the adored teacher hung from a newly planted tree.

    Simon Pan, 15, walked arm-in-arm with Mary Jean Zissoff, who inquired if he had a girlfriend.

    “I just wanted to see what it would be like to see 70 years of friendship,” he said. “The quality of it is really high, and compared to kids our age, there’s a huge contrast. It’s not quite the same,” adding that advances in technology can mean a decline in genuine social connection.

    Morgan Harris said some were “shocked” by the school’s transformation since graduation — particularly the number of computers in one of its labs.

    “After 70 years, you change a lot,” she said. “The school, technology. It’s pretty cool that they’ve all stayed in touch this long and are so committed.”

    Local school trustee Parthi Kandavel said the visit is a testament to the profound, lifelong impact teachers can have on their pupils.

    “In this day of the number of followers you have, it’s more about the quality of friendships that last the test of time,” he said. “A brilliant message to our, perhaps, newer students.”

    The school’s principal, David Rowan, called the students ambassadors for their maturity and inclination to help facilitate the event.

    “We have visitors quite frequently, so it’s one of the things I like to do: open up the school, showcase the students and the work teachers are doing,” he said.


    70th high school reunion a testament to unwavering friendship70th high school reunion a testament to unwavering friendship70th high school reunion a testament to unwavering friendship70th high school reunion a testament to unwavering friendship70th high school reunion a testament to unwavering friendship70th high school reunion a testament to unwavering friendship

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    LAS VEGAS—Visiting bedsides and the base of police operations, President Donald Trump offered prayers and condolences Wednesday to the victims of Sunday night’s shooting massacre in Las Vegas along with praise and congratulations to first responders and doctors who rushed to save lives.

    “America is truly a nation in mourning,” the president said, days after a gunman on the 32nd floor of a hotel and casino opened fire on the crowd at an outdoor country music festival below. The rampage killed at least 59 people and injured 527, many from gunfire, others from chaotic efforts to escape.

    “We cannot be defined by the evil that threatens us or the violence that incites such terror,” Trump declared at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police headquarters, reading from prepared remarks. “We are defined by our love, our caring and our courage.”

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

    Trump and first lady Melania Trump met privately earlier with victims of the shooting at a hospital, praising them and the doctors who treated them as he visited the reeling city.

    He also met with police officers, dispatchers and others who had responded to the shooting Sunday night, telling them: “You showed the world and the world is watching, and you showed what professionalism is all about.”

    He waved off questions about the availability of firearms — the shooter had a veritable arsenal of weapons — saying this is not the time to discuss the possibility of further restrictions.

    Read more: Acts of heroism emerge amid chaos of Las Vegas shooting

    Las Vegas gunman finally bet on a sure thing: Mallick

    Trump’s first stop was the University Medical Center, where he spent 90 minutes meeting privately with victims, their families, and medical professionals.

    He said he’d met “some of the most amazing people” — and had extended some invitations to visit him in Washington.

    He also commended the doctors who’d worked to save them for doing an “indescribable” job.

    “It makes you very proud to be an American when you see the job that they’ve done,” he said.

    On his trip from the airport, the president’s motorcade drove past the Mandalay Bay hotel where the gunman fired down into the concert crowd. He also passed his own Trump hotel on his way toward the entertainment strip. Before leaving the White House, he had said, “It’s a very, very sad day for me personally.”

    Until his final remarks, Trump focused his comments during the trip on praising recovery efforts rather than on grieving the dead.

    At the last, however, he said slowly and somberly: “Our souls are stricken with grief for every American who lost a husband or a wife, a mother or a father, a son or a daughter. We know that your sorrow feels endless. We stand together to help you carry your pain. You are not alone. We will never leave your side.”

    Trump’s trip to Las Vegas came just a day after his Tuesday flight to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico — a pair of back-to-back episodes that are testing his ability to unite and lift the nation in times of strife. Trump, a leader who excels at political provocation and prides himself on commanding strength, has sometimes struggled to project empathy.

    During Tuesday’s trip, he highlighted Puerto Rico’s relatively low death toll compared with “a real catastrophe like Katrina,” when as many as 1,800 people died in 2005 as levees protecting New Orleans broke. He also pointed repeatedly to praise his administration had received for its efforts, despite criticism on the island of a sluggish response.

    Trump has a long personal connection to Las Vegas — a city where his name is written in huge golden letters atop his hotel. He also campaigned extensively across Nevada during his presidential campaign, drawing large crowds to rallies along the Las Vegas strip.

    Republicans who control Congress have made clear they have no intention of taking up gun control measures, such as tightening restrictions on semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines, in the shooting’s aftermath.

    Trump, in a 2000 book, said that he supported a prohibition on assault weapons and a “slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.” He also said in 2013 that he supported “background checks to weed out the sickos.”

    But Trump ran his campaign with a strong pro-Second Amendment message and the backing of the National Rifle Association.

    “Gun and magazine bans are a total failure,” read one campaign policy paper. “Opponents of gun rights try to come up with scary sounding phrases like ‘assault weapons,’ ‘military-style weapons’ and ‘high capacity magazines’ to confuse people. What they’re really talking about are popular semi-automatic rifles and standard magazines that are owned by tens of millions of Americans.”

    On Tuesday, Trump appeared somewhat open to having a debate on guns, but not anytime soon.

    “At some point, perhaps, that will come,” he told reporters. “But that’s not for now.”


    Trump speaks in Vegas: ‘America is truly a nation in mourning’Trump speaks in Vegas: ‘America is truly a nation in mourning’

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    WASHINGTON—It was everywhere: “The worst mass shooting in U.S. history”

    On Twitter. In private conversations. Even in news headlines.

    Was it accurate?

    It is true a gunman’s killing of 58 people and injuring more than 500 in a mass shooting Sunday in Las Vegas was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, with the total carnage worse than last year, when a gunman killed 49 people in Orlando.

    The United States has a long history of gunmen shooting down dozens — sometimes hundreds — of people at one time. Here are a few other examples of those incidents:

    The 1921 Tulsa Race Riot: As many as 300 people were killed, 35 city blocks were burned and more than 800 people were hospitalized over Memorial Day weekend in 1921 when a white mob attacked black residents of the city’s Greenwood District. The neighborhood was one of the wealthiest black communities in the country at the time and had earned the nickname “Black Wall Street.” In addition to guns, planes reportedly dropped burning balls of turpentine on the rooftops of black residents. (Source: Tulsa Historical Society and Museum)

    The Elaine Massacre: After black sharecroppers met in Elaine, Ark., in 1919 with union leaders to discuss more equitable treatment by white plantation owners, the sheriff of Phillips County led a group of white men to intercept a rumored “insurrection” among the black men. The mob of whites began killing black people on sight, with the number of deaths of blacks reaching into the hundreds. (Source: Equal Justice Initiative)

    The Sacramento River Massacre: Explorer John C. Frémont, motivated by the idea of “Manifest Destiny,” disobeyed orders from the U.S. government to set out with an expedition for the Rocky Mountains, and went to California instead. Upon arrival in 1846, he heard a rumor that a group of Native Americans was preparing to attack the men. Fremont led his men, carrying pistols and rifles, up the Sacramento River to find the members of the Wintu tribe. Upon discovering the group, Fremont’s men fired on the men, women and children, killing at least 120 of them. (Source: An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846—1873)

    The Washington Post wrote about why it’s hard for media organizations to consistently define what qualifies as a mass shooting even as they report on them.

    ‘Mass shooting’ is a term without a universally-accepted definition, which complicates news coverage of events such as Sunday’s massacre in Las Vegas. Stephen Paddock’s rampage clearly meets any mass-shooting standard (58 people dead and more than 500 others injured), but the question is how it fits into a broader trend.

    There’s also some debate over whether the different nature of the shootings in previous eras of history are in the same vein as today’s mass shootings.

    Individuals leading packs to kill groups of people with guns aren’t viewed as “mass shootings” because the modern definition of mass shootings has come to be viewed as the act of a lone gunman shooting sometimes randomly into a public space. Some have argued this narrow definition of one person using guns to kill groups of people erases the thousands of people who have been killed by guns in a single incident.

    One reason it’s problematic — as well as insensitive — not to reference them is because the modern shootings invoke cries of “This is not who we are.” Those claims fail to acknowledge mass shootings have been a part of this country for quite some time.

    “It’s part of the American experience: We deal with mosquitoes in August, airport delays around Thanksgiving, expensive health care and the potential of being shot, at any time, by a semiautomatic weapon as we try to go about the most boring, precious, asinine aspects of our daily lives,” wrote The Post’s Monica Hesse.

    While mass shootings in the style of what we saw Sunday seem to be part of the American experience, much of the history of killing large groups of people with guns is connected to another experience common in, but not unique to, America: white supremacy.

    Significant time will be spent trying to uncover the motives of Stephen Paddock, a man whose actions seemed to surprise his own brother. The motives of many of the massacres throughout American history are not in question.


    No, Las Vegas wasn’t actually ‘the worst mass shooting in U.S. history’: AnalysisNo, Las Vegas wasn’t actually ‘the worst mass shooting in U.S. history’: Analysis

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    Warning: This story contains graphic content that may disturb some readers.

    An Ontario man who sexually abused his young daughters and nieces over nearly a decade will spend an indeterminate amount of time behind bars after a judge found he was in denial about his pedophilia and likely to reoffend.

    The man, who can only be identified as K.C., was deemed a dangerous offender, a lifetime designation that allows the court to impose a prison sentence with no end date.

    In handing down the designation, Ontario Superior Court Justice Kevin B. Phillips said K.C.’s unwillingness to accept and address his pedophilia would put the public at risk if he was released.

    “I find that the overall evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that it is likely that K.C. will reoffend by indulging his pedophilia as he is done in the past,” Phillips wrote in a decision released last week.

    “He has offended while on probation. He offended while under the care of a specialized psychiatrist specifically treating him for his pedophilia. He offended while the (Children’s Aid Society) was involved in his family, exercising control over his direct access to children which he circumvented,” he wrote.

    “And, as mentioned, he does not presently have enough insight into his problem to fully accept that he needs significant help. He is in denial about what is plain to see.”

    K.C. was convicted by a jury in 2015 of several counts each of sexual assault and sexual interference for offences committed between 2004 and 2012, the decision says.

    The jury found that while his two young nieces were sleeping on a couch at his house, K.C. pulled down their pyjama pants and took pictures of the youngest one’s genitals and of the oldest’s underwear. The oldest niece, who was between 5 and 8 years old at the time, was awake but pretending to sleep and saw him, the document says.

    During another sleepover when the older niece was in Grade 4, K.C. came into her bedroom at night, pulled down her pants and touched her genitals, it says.

    The jury also accepted the testimony of one of K.C.’s daughters, who said he once touched her genitals and covered her mouth when she threatened to scream “so that Mommy wouldn’t hear,” the decision said. Court also heard of other sexual abuse involving his daughters, the decision said.

    K.C. had also previously been convicted of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl at a friend’s home and of sexual interference and breach of probation involving a 12-year-old girl, the decision says.

    He was undergoing psychiatric treatment and dealing with the Children’s Aid Society as a result of the latter conviction when many of the offences involving his daughters and nieces took place, the document says. Despite being ordered not to be alone with children, K.C. and his wife “jointly endeavoured to deceive the CAS with respect to K.C.’s compliance.”

    Phillips raised concerns that K.C.’s family would not help keep him from reoffending if he was released, since most believe him to be wrongfully convicted.

    “The woman with whom K.C. proposes to live with post-release testified that, while she will follow any court order, if she had children she would allow K.C. access to them as she believes in his innocence and does not see that he has any problems in that regard,” he said.

    “It is a real concern that those around K.C. simply do not accept the extent of his issues. That lack of insight does not bode well for quality of supervision.”

    In the end, the judge wrote, the only way to sufficiently protect the public is to ensure that K.C. is either behind bars or under close supervision for the rest of his life.


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    One man is dead following a shooting and a collision in Etobicoke on Thursday afternoon.

    Toronto police rushed to the area of Dixon Rd. and Islington Ave. W. around 3 p.m. after reports about a collision and sound of gunshots in the area.

    When emergency services arrived, a man with gunshot wounds was found inside a car involved in a vehicle collision. Paramedics said he was rushed to a local trauma centre in life-threatening condition. He was pronounced dead in hospital.

    The driver of the other vehicle involved in the incident fled on foot.

    No information has been released about suspects. Police said homicide unit has taken over the investigation.


    Man dead following a shooting, collision in EtobicokeMan dead following a shooting, collision in Etobicoke

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    Will Spain’s most explosive crisis in a generation turn even more violent and become a nightmare for all of Europe? That possibility is now becoming real as a toxic mix of unbridled nationalism and incompetent politicians takes hold of that country’s future.

    At issue is the apparent determination of the separatist government of Catalonia, one of Spain’s wealthiest regions, to declare unilateral independence. Its leaders claim this will happen in a matter of days even though Spain’s national government and its courts declare this would be illegal.

    If undeterred, this will be a historic collision between two extreme and stubborn sides that is certain to end badly. We saw a preview of that last Sunday as Catalonia held a banned referendum on independence amid horrific scenes of police violence.

    The Spanish government did its best to block the voting, and its brutal efforts were dramatically captured on television. There were scenes of Spanish police smashing their way into polling stations, dragging out voters, firing rubber bullets into crowds and beating pro-independence demonstrators. More than 900 people were injured.

    But still, the Catalan government claimed, somewhat incredibly, that it received a clear mandate for its region to secede. According to official figures, 2.26 million people voted, a turnout of 43 per cent of eligible voters, with 90 per cent supporting independence.

    Although Catalonia’s story is rich and distinct, with a history dating back nearly 1,000 years, its present-day drama is unfolding in a 21st-century Europe that is already fragmented and under siege.

    Whether ethnic or religious, the reawakening of identity in this globalized world is rocking the traditional institutions of state. As this develops, populism and nationalism are increasingly filling the void for the many people who feel excluded.

    In Europe, these aftershocks were evident in the Brexit vote last year in the U.K., the Scottish referendum in 2014, the rise of the far right in elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands this year, and the emergence of anti-immigrant governments in Poland and Hungary.

    It is because of this European context that the clash between the leaders of Spain and Catalonia is so dangerous.

    Catalonia is one of Spain’s most prosperous regions with a distinct language, history and culture. Until Francisco Franco’s dictatorship from 1939-75, Catalonia experienced broad autonomy within Spain but Franco suppressed that. After he died, the region was once again granted some autonomy.

    But Catalans have long complained that Madrid was siphoning their wealth, and contributing little back to Catalonia. They wanted more autonomy and were granted that in 2006. But four years later, Spain’s Constitutional Court reversed much of that. Its action angered many Catalans and support for outright independence shot up.

    Catalonia’s separatist party won power in 2015 and promised to hold an independence referendum. This vote finally occurred last Sunday even though the Spanish government had declared it illegal.

    Most opinion polls suggest that a majority of Catalans would still prefer to remain as part of Spain but with increased autonomy. Pro-independence support peaked at 49 per cent in a poll in 2013 but has dropped since then. A poll last July suggested that 49 per cent of Catalans were opposed to independence, with 41 per cent in favour.

    Ultimately, what may help the cause for Catalan independence is the ineptness of its adversary. The Spanish government, led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, has resisted all calls for negotiation. For its part, the Catalan side claims it is open to mediation. But Madrid inflamed Catalans with its brutal handling of Sunday’s vote.

    If the Catalan government goes ahead with a unilateral declaration of independence, there aren’t many options for the Spanish government. The most likely is that the prime minister would invoke Article 155 of the constitution that would effectively mean that Madrid would rule Catalonia. Catalonia’s autonomy would be suspended and its political leaders likely arrested.

    An irony of this drama is that not only does Spain have a lot to lose in this crisis, but so does Europe as a whole. However, the European Union is wary about interfering in the internal affairs of its member states and has so far been on the sidelines.

    This will need to change if a disaster is to be avoided. The obvious way out for Spain and Catalonia is negotiation and, ultimately, enhanced autonomy for the region.

    The only question is how do they get from here to there, without blowing up their country.

    Tony Burman is former head of Al Jazeera English and CBC News. Reach him @TonyBurman or at tony.burman@gmail.com.


    As Spain splinters, Europe shudders: BurmanAs Spain splinters, Europe shudders: Burman

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    CALGARY—Hudson Mack says he doesn’t know the cost of his Victoria-based son’s intensive medical care after being shot Sunday at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, only that he’s sure it’s already “catastrophic.”

    Like many who make a short trip to the United States, his 21-year-old son Sheldon didn’t buy travel health insurance before crossing the border, and is now facing the potential of a staggering medical bill after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history left him with gunshot wounds that required major surgery.

    “It’s a lesson to Canadians to not cross the border without coverage,” said Mack.

    Thanks to a patchwork of funds for victims of violent crime, however, Mack says at least they might not have to worry about the hospital bills, on top of the emotional toll the family is facing.

    “Emotionally, it’s been hellish,” Mack said. “We didn’t know what we were going to find when we got down here. So this has been terrible for Sheldon, a horrible thing for him, and a very difficult thing for us.”

    He said he’s been told Nevada has a fund for victims of violent crime who don’t have insurance, while the FBI’s mass casualty unit may help him get Sheldon home, which he’s hoping will happen as soon as this weekend.

    The Canadian consulate is also helping, with the potential to tap into a government program that provides financial assistance for Canadians victimized abroad, though the program is capped at $10,000 and doesn’t cover lost wages.

    Friends have also set up an online crowdfunding page at GoFundMe to help with Sheldon’s recovery, as have friends of several other Canadians injured in the attack.

    Read more:

    B.C. man who survived after being shot in the head in Las Vegas begins long trip home

    As heart-wrenching stories of victims emerge, police say the Las Vegas gunman’s motive remains elusive

    Web of supports help B.C. parents who lost their only child in Las Vegas attack

    Mack said he’s not sure he would have set up the account on his own, but that it’s good to see people want to help.

    “There’ll be a need for that money down the road because there’s going to be counselling and ongoing emotional support that Sheldon and the others are going to need after this.”

    Money is also being raised online for Ryan Sarrazin of Camrose, Alta., who, according to a GoFundMe page started by Tamara Johnson, was “seriously injured” after being shot at the concert.

    “This fund is to assist medical and travel expenses for Ryan and his family,” she said on the funding page, which has already surpassed the original goal of $50,000 and is nearing the $75,000 mark.

    In a statement posted on the page, Sarrazin’s family thanked those who have supported them, while asking for privacy going forward.

    “The Sarrazin and Moore families would like to extend our sincere gratitude and deep appreciation for all the contributions to the GoFundMe page as well as all the prayers and well wishes we have received.”

    Braden Matejka from Lake Country, B.C., has also started a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $25,000, saying on the page that the money will help cover his required time off work and other recovery costs after being shot in the back of the head.

    Victims may also find help from a general GoFundMe campaign started by Las Vegas’s county, which has already raised more than $9 million (U.S.), though it does not specify how much, if any, will go to Canadians.

    Canadian travel health insurance policies generally have at least a million dollars of coverage, said Will McAleer, president of Canada’s Travel Health Insurance Association.

    Once contacted, insurance companies will contact next of kin, co-ordinate with doctors and hospitals and manage care and flights home, so it’s important to have insurance, and your insurance card ready.

    However, Canadians shouldn’t expect much support from their provincial coverage, where the daily coverage ranges from between $50 and $400 depending on the province, McAleer added.

    “The amounts that you’d be paid for under a provincial medical plan are certainly insignificant, they’re almost non-existent.”

    He said intensive medial care for an emergency such as a critical gunshot wound can cost upwards of $10,000 an hour as teams of specialists go into action.

    “For significant emergencies, it’s not even a fraction of the coverage.”


    Uninsured Canadian victims may face staggering medical bills after Las Vegas attackUninsured Canadian victims may face staggering medical bills after Las Vegas attack

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    The people who think moving more cars faster should be the city’s highest priority are fond of talking about the “war on the car” whenever cycling or walking or transit are brought up as viable means of travel. But if there’s a war going on, the cars are pretty much the only ones inflicting any casualties. You never hear about a car driver or passenger killed after their vehicle collided with a pedestrian. Because it is the cars, and virtually only the cars, racking up the body count.

    And that count keeps rising: two more pedestrians killed after being hit by cars Wednesday night and Thursday morning. That makes seven in the past eight days, including four in one day leading into Sept. 29.

    According to the count of the Star’s transportation reporter Ben Spurr, that makes 32 pedestrians and two cyclists killed in traffic so far this year. And that’s not even counting the auto drivers and passengers also killed in collisions.

    This is not a war. If anything it’s more akin to a slaughter. Measures to make streets safer by changing speed limits, changing road design, introducing bike lanes and so on are not ways of waging war. They are proposals that seek to provide peace. To end the deaths and injuries. To preserve life.

    Whenever these things happen, all kinds of people put their hands up to tell us what the real problem is. If everyone would just obey traffic signals... If everyone would just wear bright clothing… If everyone would cross at the lights instead of mid-block… If everyone would just drive slower… If everyone would just come to a complete stop at stop signs… If everyone would just wear a helmet…

    Recently I encountered a tiny post on Tumblr by someone using the name squareallworthy that addresses such arguments perfectly: “If your solution to problems relies on ‘If everyone would just…’ then you do not have a solution. Everyone is not going to just. At no time in history has everyone just, and they’re not going to start now.”

    This applies to all sorts of things, but it definitely applies to traffic safety. If you want people’s behaviour to change, you have to do something to change it. Something more than crossing your fingers and making a wish, or reminding them of what’s good for them. People break the rules if they can, and do what’s easy even if they know the hard thing might be safer. They make human errors. That’s why we call them human.

    People aren’t going to magically decide to wear blinking lights on their winter boots or drive five km under the limit all the time. Not even if you tell them to do so in the press, again and again. They just aren’t. We have all learned to use the roads in a certain way. We are creatures of habit, and the design of those roads encourages our habits.

    Changing laws is one thing we can do. Changing the enforcement of laws is another, though you very quickly run into the finite police resources if you try to ticket everyone going 1 km per hour over the speed limit, or every bicycle that does a rolling stop at an empty four-way intersection.

    Or we can change the design of the roads.

    Protected bike lanes, for instance, separate cyclists from cars and trucks. They make everyone safer. And yet here we have the Bloor Bike Lane pilot project coming up for review, and all anyone seems interested in talking about is whether the loss of street parking is worthwhile, or whether the effect on car travel times amounts to a few minutes delay or not.

    More crosswalks and stoplights make crossing the road safer for pedestrians. Yet when residents asked for a crosswalk at Warden Ave. and Continental in February, according to my colleagues at the Scarborough Mirror, they were told by city staff that it “didn’t meet the warrants.” A woman and her 5-year-old daughter were run down and killed there crossing the road last week.

    There was a similar situation at Cosburn and Cedarvale, CBC reported on Thursday. Residents had asked for a new traffic signal there, because the crosswalk that had been installed was ineffective and dangerous. Local councillor Janet Davis argued “for years” for a stoplight there, but was told by city staff that the request “was not justified.” A woman was struck and killed there in December. Now the city will finally install the stoplight.

    Protected bike lanes, mid-block crossings and stoplights, narrower lanes and other design changes, wrote Janet Sadik-Khan, the former New York City Transportation commissioner, “provide cues for motorists to slow down and stay in the lane.” Introducing these kinds of changes to New York City roads, she reports in her book Street Fight, led to a 34 per cent drop in traffic fatalities at the places where they were introduced and a fourfold increase in cycling at the same time.

    And these are the types of changes anticipated in the city’s Vision Zero plan. There may not be enough of them in that plan, but those are the types that are anticipated. But because of its $80.3 million cost, we are currently planning to roll the plan out over five years. This, in a city where it is alleged we have a “war on the car,” in which we have spent millions to speed up road construction on highways and millions more on various initiatives to get car traffic moving faster.

    The city will be looking at a report on implementing the five-year road safety plan two years from now, in a report coming to works committee in November. That would be a start.

    But from speed bumps to bike lanes to speed limits, it’s time we stopped fixating on minutes of commute time lost by drivers and started focusing on trying to save lives. It’s not a war anyone’s talking about. It’s a rescue mission. We should choose to accept it.

    Edward Keenan writes on city issues ekeenan@thestar.ca. Follow: @thekeenanwire


    If Toronto is waging war on the car, why are drivers the only ones racking up the body count?: KeenanIf Toronto is waging war on the car, why are drivers the only ones racking up the body count?: Keenan

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    Buyers of new homes in Ontario will have a faster track to warranty payouts for builder defects under a massive overhaul of the Tarion home warranty system, the province has announced.

    Under legislation tabled at Queen’s Park Thursday, buyers who find defects in their newly-built homes will no longer be forced to prove the cause of the problems to obtain warranty coverage, simply show that the defects exist.

    “This has been a persistent issue that consumers, stakeholder and the media have been vocal about,” said Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, at a press conference at Queen’s Park Thursday. “If passed, the proposed legislation would clarify the dispute resolution process to make it easier and fairer for new home owners.”

    An ongoing Star investigation has found buyers who have encountered defects in their new homes are stymied by onerous requirements to prove the cause of the deficiencies in order to successfully make a warranty claim. Some new homeowners the Star spoke to were forced to hire engineers and heating and ventilation specialists in an effort to prove problems with their furnaces — a process they complained was lengthy and costly.

    The legislation revamps the way the new home warranty program in Ontario works by stripping Tarion Warranty Corporation of its role as regulator of new homebuilders. Under the Liberals’ plan, a new “administrative authority” will be created to regulate builders and vendors, while Tarion will continue to administer warranty claims.

    The measures address what MacCharles calls “conflict of interest concerns” with the multiple roles Tarion currently plays as regulator, warranty provider and adjudicator in disputes between buyers and builders. Tarion, a private non-profit corporation, was created by the province in 1976 to protect new home buyers and regulate builders.

    “Separating the administrator of the new home warranty program from the new home builder and vendor regulator would help to increase consumer confidence in the warranty program that protects their home, which represents one of the most important investments a consumer can make,” the minister said.

    The legislation also gives the Auditor General of Ontario the power to do value-for-money audits on the two authorities — something opposition parties have long called for.

    While Tarion voluntarily created an Ombudsperson’s office in 2009 to promote fairness in the warranty program, the legislation mandates the appointment, a move the government says will give the ombudsperson more authority.

    Also in the legislation are measures for up-to-date protections for deposits on new homes and condos. In Ontario, the maximum deposit protection for a new home is $40,000 while the condo deposit protection is just $20,000 — amounts that do not reflect current home prices, especially in the GTA. The government says it will ask Tarion to come up with deposit protection amounts more aligned with today’s real estate market.

    In an interview, MacCharles said she hopes the bill passes by the end of the year, but noted the new system likely won’t be up and running until 2020.

    Read more:

    Province stripping Tarion of builder-regulator role

    Ontario corporation Tarion spends millions in salaries, advertising, conferences

    Consumers report ‘lack of faith’ in Tarion’s builder records

    The plans have been informed by recommendations made by former Associate Chief Justice J. Douglas Cunningham, who was appointed by the province in late 2015 to conduct an independent review of the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act and Tarion following a series of Star stories. Opposition parties have also called for greater oversight.

    In March 2017, Cunningham produced a lengthy report consisting of 37 recommendations for improving the system, including: setting out the minimum standards for mandatory warranty protections in legislation; creating a separate entity to regulate builders and vendors; improving the transparency of information available on Tarion’s online builder directory; and making the new regulator subject to transparency and oversight provisions similar to those in place for other administrative authorities.

    Tarion is unique when it comes to the province’s administrative authorities in that it has the power to enact its own regulations, such as those governing builder performance and warranty terms.

    In her remarks, MacCharles said both newly-created administrative authorities would be subject to “stronger oversight, transparency, governance and accountability” similar to Ontario’s other modern authorities, such as the Electrical Safety Authority, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority and the Travel Industry Council of Ontario.

    “If passed, the proposed legislation would also give the government a much greater role in rule making and setting standards,” she said.

    A statement issued by Tarion on Thursday’s announcement said the corporation is analyzing the legislation’s content. “We remain committed to supporting the province on the smooth transition and delivery of the government’s plan and will continue to seamlessly deliver on our daily responsibilities and operations, providing quality customer service to new home owners and buyers as well as new home builders and vendors,” the statement said.

    MPP Wayne Gates, government and consumer services critic for the NDP, said the bill doesn’t do enough to protect homebuyers.

    “For the last decade, Ontario’s NDP has been calling for a total overhaul of Tarion, to reform it into a true consumer advocate acting in the best interests of hard working Ontario families,” Gates said in a statement. “Time and time again, the Wynne Liberals have turned down the chance to do the right thing, and make urgently needed changes to home warranties in Ontario…While the Liberals are finally talking about taking action, it remains to be seen if they will really act, or if this is another empty pre-election promise.”

    Progressive Conservative MPP Jim McDonell called Thursday’s legislation “long overdue,” noting that his office has heard many complaints about Tarion from consumers.

    “We want to make sure that the builders are held accountable,” he said. “Right now…it’s very hard for homeowners to know who they can rely on if they’re choosing a builder.”


    Tarion warranty payouts to be fast-tracked under new legislationTarion warranty payouts to be fast-tracked under new legislation

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    The family of a missing 38-year-old Markham man is pleading for his return and scouring Algonquin Park, his last known location.

    Eugene Kim was last seen around 7 a.m. Monday when he dropped off his children, aged 2 and 6, off at school.

    His brother-in-law Scott Lim said Kim told his wife, Christine, that he had an important business meeting at work to close a deal and that he’d be home late. Kim works a sales representative, responsible for selling corporate wireless solutions.

    At around 9 p.m. that night, his wife received a text message from him saying that he got the deal and would be home in an hour. More than two hours later, Kim texted his wife again to say he couldn’t talk right now, Lim said.

    The texts were traced to a phone tower in the North Bay area close to Algonquin Park.

    Lim said the disappearance is completely out of character for Kim, who has a regular morning routine that includes getting the kids ready for school and dropping them off.

    “It just doesn’t add up that he wouldn’t check in with his family for three days,” Lim said. “This is completely out of the ordinary for Eugene Kim.”

    Kim was last seen driving a black 2010 Nissan Rogue with the licence plate BJJD 108.

    Lim said his brother-in-law has no history of mental illness, no health problems, no addictions they’re aware of and no connections to people known to police.

    Kim, who works for a wireless company, called in sick to work Monday. Lim said his employer didn’t know about the business deal Kim had told his family about.

    Lim also said Kim bought a one-night camping permit for Algonquin Park at Voyager Outfitters on Monday afternoon. The family reported Kim missing Wednesday and has been searching the area with the help of park rangers Wednesday and Thursday. So far, they’ve come up empty handed, Lim said.

    “We’re trying to go through every crack and crevice and see if he’s hiding somewhere,” Lim said.

    He said police have told him there’s no indication of foul play, but the family is concerned because the move is completely out of character for Kim.

    York Region police Const. Laura Nicolle said they’re working with the Ontario Provincial Police to find a last known location for Kim.

    She also said they’ve received tips about Kim’s whereabouts, including one that suggested he wasn’t alone in his vehicle when he was near the park, but they haven’t been able to confirm it yet.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact York Regional Police 2 Division, or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS.


    Family searching for missing Markham man in Algonquin ParkFamily searching for missing Markham man in Algonquin Park

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    Canada is Patrick Stanio’s second home, where he is good enough to work but not good enough to stay.

    After returning for 37 years to do back-bending work on three different farms in Ontario — spending half his life away from his family in St. Lucia — the 66-year-old migrant worker is anxious about his future. Eventually he’ll become too frail to do the work and too slow for his employer.

    Despite his long history here and devotion to his job, Stanio has always been just a guest in Canada. As a low-wage labourer, despite his skills being in demand, he hasn’t been able to qualify for immigration.

    “I used to carry my children’s photos with me to Canada because I wasn’t really there when they were growing up. Now I’m carrying my (five) grandchildren’s photos,” said Stanio, sitting on a worn bench at the back of an old bunkhouse he shares with five Jamaican workers on a farm on the shores of Lake Erie.

    “Many of us come back year after year to work on farms. It’s nothing temporary. Canadians just want us to do the jobs they won’t.”

    While supporters of Canada’s migrant farmworker program tout it as a win-win for migrant workers and the country’s agricultural sector, critics say workers like Stanio are the ones who pay the price for the cheap food on our dining tables.

    The share of migrant workers in Canada’s agricultural workforce has doubled in the last decade as what was once seasonal need for harvesters has turned into a year-round labour market reality.

    The workers pay income tax and employment insurance, and contribute to the Canada Pension Plan. However, their precarious status in Canada makes it difficult for them to exercise their rights and protections under labour laws, making them easy prey for unscrupulous recruiters and bad employers.

    Numerous research studies have found the current programs for low-skilled migrant workers leave them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

    Unlike their counterparts with higher education and professional designations, who can work for any employer and have multiple programs to apply for permanent residency, farm workers are tied to a single employer and in most parts of the country have no chance to become permanent residents unless they marry a Canadian.

    Some advocates say the solution is granting migrant farm workers permanent residence upon arrival, which would eliminate the leverage employers have over workers with tenuous status. At the very least, they say, Canada should change the rules that prevent workers from being able change employers.

    In light of the federal government’s inaction, some provinces have taken steps to use their own immigration powers to give low- and semi-skilled migrant workers including farm workers access to permanent residency.

    The Ontario government announced a new program this summer to allow currently employed migrant workers in construction and agriculture to apply for permanent resident status with lower language and education requirements.

    The province said it has not decided how many spots will be allocated for farmworkers, but given the small annual quota — 6,000 for temporary foreign workers in all industries — at most a small fraction of the estimated 22,000-plus migrant farmworkers in the province stand a chance at being accepted.

    “Granting permanent residency to these migrant workers should be a priority. Right now, they have no ability to do that. We need to give them choices,” said University of Windsor law professor Vasanthi Venkatesh, who specializes in social movement as well as labour and human rights.

    “The workers are no longer invisible. It’s an embarrassment and Canada needs to do something.”


    Agri-food is a $108 billion business in Canada, accounting for more than 6 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. It is one of the top priorities of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s innovation economy.

    In the latest NAFTA negotiations, Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAuley said the government is committed to boosting food exports over the next few years.

    While Canada’s agricultural sector has evolved rapidly — with the increased use of technology and growing farm operations and revenue — little has changed for its Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP), which was launched in 1966 as a stopgap initiative to fill labour shortages. The program allows participants from 11 Caribbean countries and Mexico to work here for up to eight months a year.

    Today, temporary migrant farmworkers make up more than 1 in 10 workers in Canada’s agricultural workforce compared with 1 in 20 a decade ago, according to a Conference Board of Canada study last year.

    As demands for workers grow, Ottawa not only has expanded the program but added agricultural, low-wage and high-wage streams to its temporary migrant worker program to ensure a year-round supply of various types of agriculture workers.

    Even so, the booming agricultural industry is faced with labour shortages.

    The conference board said job vacancies in the sector have doubled over the past decade and are expected to double again by 2025, leaving farm operators 113,800 workers short.

    What makes the agricultural labour market unique is the large seasonal fluctuation in the demand for workers especially during the harvest, said Michael Burt, director of industry sector economics at the conference board.

    There is only so much mechanization can do for crops that are labour intensive such as fruits, vegetables and mushrooms. A shrinking rural population exacerbates the labour gap, he said.

    “During the peak summer months, you need 100,000 more workers available in the industry over three, four and five months,” said Burt, a co-author of the conference board report, Sewing the Seeds of Growth.

    “The ability to attract Canadian workers is affected by the nature of the industry. It’s hard work and doesn’t pay very well.”

    In Simcoe, Ont., Schuyler Farms has 140 Trinidadian farmworkers who come in waves and work on the 1,200-acre cherry and apple farms between March and November. Brett Schuyler, who has worked on farms since he was 10, said finding Canadian workers is always a struggle.

    “They do not want to go out and weed a field of tomatoes, though it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with this work,” said Schuyler, 30, one of the owners of the farm.


    Unlike his Canadian counterparts who have their home and families to go back to each night, Patrick Stanio said migrant workers like him — predominantly men — can only return to their bunks where they share every aspect of their lives, with little privacy.

    Sometimes, workers have to get up very early so they can avoid the lineup to shower or take turns using the stove to cook. In cramped spaces, tempers can flare. At some farms, workers have curfews and are at the mercy of their employers to take them shopping and to see the doctor because there is no public transit.

    Stanio, who has never been to school, said he was unemployed, tending his own family farm growing bananas and yams in St. Lucia before he enrolled in the seasonal agricultural worker program in 1980.

    “Things are very hard in my country. There are no jobs and I have a lot of people to support,” said Stanio, whose two adult sons have been trying unsuccessfully to get into the program and join him in Canada.

    He earns about minimum wage on 45 hours of work each week on a tobacco farm; he usually arrives in Canada in May.

    Although the money he makes has allowed him to build a new home in his village, Stanio said he has paid by being kept away from his family and missing the growing up of his two sons, now 35 and 32, and 29-year-old daughter.

    While Stanio is proud to have put his children through school, his yearly ritual of working in Canada has not lifted his family out of poverty.

    Still he counts himself as lucky because he has been healthy and only got injured once more than 10 years ago when he slipped while working and had to stay in the Brantford hospital for two weeks.

    “The farm owner didn’t send me home (to St. Lucia) and let me go back to work,” remembered the six-foot-five and slender Stanio, whose callous hands are scarred with years of tending tobacco plants


    Stanio is one of roughly 54,000 migrant farm workers who came to Canada last year and among the 74 per cent arriving under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program.

    Some 24 per cent of the workers came through the agricultural stream of the temporary foreign worker program for workers for crops on a government-stipulated list of farm products. The rest were brought in under the low-wage and high-wage categories for production outside that list.

    The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council, a not-for-profit group, estimates it costs $12,000 more to hire a migrant worker over a two-year span than hiring a Canadian when factoring in advertising, airfare, administration, rent subsidy and other work compensation contributions.

    During the oilsands boom in Alberta, employers such as Tim Hortons increased pay to attract Canadian workers to remote places such as Fort McMurray. However, the labour cost was ultimately transferred to consumers who paid more for the same cup of coffee and muffins elsewhere.

    “We have very little control over global prices. You need to keep your costs and prices in check or people would buy their corn from Mexico and the United States,” said Ron Bonnett, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, a beef cattle farm owner from Bruce Mines, 60 km east of Sault Ste. Marie.

    “We can’t go out and pay as much wages as possible. We need to stay competitive in the marketplace.”

    Toronto economist Armine Yalnizyan said the temporary foreign worker program benefits Canadian employers and consumers because it depresses food prices.

    “It normalizes bad workplaces and working conditions because it is difficult to enforce the workers’ legal rights. Whether it is a win-win depends on who you are talking to. Who would want to do the work at those wage ranges?” asked Yalnizyan.

    While managers in agriculture can earn anywhere between $19.2 and $21.05 an hour, general farmworkers are paid between $15.65 and $18.25, with seasonal harvesting labourers typically making somewhere between $13.25 and $16.80, according to Statistics Canada.

    “It is true Canadian employers can’t find Canadian workers willing to do the job, but how much are you willing to pay people? The flip side of the low grocery prices is the low wages for someone somewhere else.”

    Jennifer Pfenning of Pfenning’s Organic Farm in New Hamburg, near Kitchener, said the problem with the migrant farmworker programs is Ottawa offers no pathway to residency and citizenship for the migrants, turning the programs into a revolving door rather than offering a sustainable workforce that employers prefer.

    “Migrant workers are not cheap labour, but they are effective labour. The biggest underlying reason that many farmers do not want workers to have status on arrival is fear. They are afraid . . . they will have put in a lot of work and expense to get the person here and then have no guarantee that the worker will stay,” said Pfenning.

    “While this fear is not completely baseless, it is a risk we should be willing to take in order to ensure that we have a just and fair society.”

    A report by Statistics Canada this year found the rate of transition to permanent residence for seasonal agricultural workers was at a dismal 3 per cent compared to the average 21 per cent conversion rate among temporary foreign workers overall.

    Federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Canada’s economic immigration programs feature objective criteria — skills, language ability, education and work experience — to select candidates most likely to integrate successfully.

    “There is no evidence to indicate that migrant farmworkers would continue working for agricultural employers if they became permanent residents upon arriving in Canada, or meet the level of skills, language ability, education or work experience that are known to be key to a newcomer’s success in Canada,” Hussen said in an email to the Star.

    University of Windsor’s Venkatesh pointed out that the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program was meant to be a temporary initiative when it was launched five decades ago.

    “In the 1960s, Canadians were against the importation of labour. That’s why Canada had focused on the permanent residence,” said Venkatesh.

    “People thought (the seasonal agricultural program) was not going to last and it was just a stopgap measure because we were an immigrant country and not a labour importation country.”

    While employers use the sector’s seasonality to justify using migrants for temporary jobs, Venkatesh said the workers pay a huge social cost in the form of family separation and relationship breakups. The program has done little to address the perpetual poverty in the migrants’ home countries, which simply rely on remittances from the workers, she added.

    A recent report by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture estimated each Mexican worker in the seasonal agricultural program sent home on average $9,879.32, which represented 76.8 per cent of their income during their employment in Canada.

    Because the workers are tied to a single employer during their time in Canada, that can leave them vulnerable in cases of workplace disputes and unwilling or unable to exercise their rights.

    To better protect the workers, said Venkatesh, Canada should issue what’s called “open worker permits” that allow them to work for any farm “to balance the uneven power” between workers and employers.

    “It’s a question of control by employers on how workers have to work,” she said. “Like someone brought in by Google and moved to work for IBM, it’s still going to benefit the whole sector in the country because of the skills the person brings in.”

    Hussen, the immigration minister, said he has concerns about eliminating the employer-specific work permit because the temporary foreign worker program is built on the labour market impact assessment system that requires employers to demonstrate a labour shortage.

    “The bulk of the government’s worker protection activities are employer-based. Inspection powers for the foreign worker program are linked to the employer who applied for the labour market impact assessment . . . to the offer of employment submitted by the employer to the Immigration Department,” he said.

    “If the work permit is not linked to the employer through the labour market assessment or employment offer, the government could lose its ability to hold employers accountable for non-compliance.”

    Anelyse Weiler, a University of Toronto PhD student specializing in labour migration and sustainable food systems, said granting status to migrant farmworkers upon arrival is the only way to liberate a “captive labour force that is readily exploitable by design.”

    “When low-wage migrant workers are given the dangling carrot of a pathway to permanent residency, they are vulnerable to highly exploitative employment arrangements during the limbo period before they potentially become permanent residents,” said Weiler, a co-author of a paper — titled Food Security at Whose Expense?— published in the International Migration Journal in August.

    “One of the drawbacks of open work permits alone would be that if workers are still deportable and lack a fair appeal process prior to a repatriation order, then they might face similar challenges as today.”

    The argument that the migrant worker programs are a win-win for Canada and the workers ignores the lopsided imbalance of power, she said.

    “These programs function by taking advantage of racialized global inequality. It’s hard to square the win-win logic with years of research documenting systemic problems of substandard housing, inadequate access to washrooms and unscrupulous job recruiters who charge exorbitant fees,” Weiler noted.

    The Conference Board of Canada’s Burt said migrant farmworker programs are not long-term solutions to the sector’s continuous labour crunch.

    Over the long run, Burt said farm operators and governments must change Canadians’ attitude toward the sector and tap into the newcomer pool to address the labour shortage. For instance in Windsor, Highline Mushrooms Farms has recruited workers with agricultural experience from the local refugee community.

    “We really need to revisit the assumptions in our immigration system. If people are doing work that is viable to the society, we need to give them better access to permanent status in Canada,” said Burt.

    “As a society, we need to make sure anybody coming into the country is treated well when they are here and are not taken advantage of. We must seriously look at what role permanent immigration can play in filling the labour gap in the sector.”

    Schuyler, of Schuyler Farms, said he could see some merit to the open work permits, but has reservations about how it could work, particularly for the seasonal workers who are here for up to eight months only while employers must pay part of their airfare and housing.

    “My personal view is that someone who has successfully worked on the temporary foreign worker program should be given a leg up when applying for residency as they have already proven that they can positively contribute to Canadian society,” said Schuyler.

    “On the benefits of having workers as permanent residents, there are too many variables to give a fully educated comment. However, anything to streamline and simplify the process and associated paperwork would greatly improve things.”

    Back in Simcoe, Stanio, the St. Lucian migrant worker, said he hopes to stay strong and healthy, and continue to return to Canada till the day he’s too old to work because he would not be able to get by on the $160 monthly pension he said he is expected to receive from Canada.

    “I have spent so much time in Canada that I feel at home in this country. I do feel lonely and bored by myself with the other guys here,” said Stanio. “I can’t say I know Canada or I belong here because I only live and work on the farm.”

    Canada’s migrant farmworker programs

    Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP):

    Workers from Mexico and 11 Caribbean countries can stay in Canada for up to 8 months each year but must leave the country by December 15. Their jobs must be in primary agriculture involving products on the National Commodities List, a group of items designated by Ottawa ranging from fruits to dairy to sod. Employers must provide round-trip airfare and free housing.

    Agricultural stream:

    Essentially works like the SAWP, but workers can be from any country and work year-round for up to two years. Employers must provide round-trip airfare and, except in B.C., free housing.

    Low-wage stream:

    Similar to the other two programs, but not restricted to products on the National Commodities List. Employers must provide round-trip airfare and arrange affordable housing.

    High-wage stream:

    Similar to the low-wage program but for higher-skilled agricultural positions. There is no requirement to provide housing and no restriction on how long the workers can stay.

    Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada


    Patrick has worked legally in Canada for 37 years but the government considers him ‘temporary’Patrick has worked legally in Canada for 37 years but the government considers him ‘temporary’Patrick has worked legally in Canada for 37 years but the government considers him ‘temporary’Patrick has worked legally in Canada for 37 years but the government considers him ‘temporary’Patrick has worked legally in Canada for 37 years but the government considers him ‘temporary’Patrick has worked legally in Canada for 37 years but the government considers him ‘temporary’Patrick has worked legally in Canada for 37 years but the government considers him ‘temporary’Patrick has worked legally in Canada for 37 years but the government considers him ‘temporary’Patrick has worked legally in Canada for 37 years but the government considers him ‘temporary’Patrick has worked legally in Canada for 37 years but the government considers him ‘temporary’

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    A Forest Hill couple took their neighbours to court for copying the look of their multimillion-dollar home.

    Jason and Jodi Chapnik, who own the home on Strathearn Rd., near Bathurst and Eglinton Sts., alleged that a house on nearby Vesta Dr. was newly renovated to look “strikingly similar” to theirs — including using the same shade of blue and matching grey stonework.

    The Chapniks filed a lawsuit against neighbour Barbara Ann Kirshenblatt, her builder husband and architect brother-in-law for copyright infringement in federal court, as well as the real estate agent who profited from the house’s recent sale and the anonymous contractors who worked on the house. They were seeking $1.5 million in damages, $20,000 in statutory copyright damages, $1 million in punitive damages, and a mandatory injunction on the defendant to change the design of the home.

    According to a 2014 statement of claim, the Chapniks say their architect-designed home is “one of the most well-known and admired houses in the Cedarvale and Forest Hill neighbourhoods, in a large part due to its uniqueness.” They claim Kirshenblatt, who is “in the business of . . . flipping houses,” copied their home to increase her property value “while decreasing the value of the Plaintiff’s unique house.”

    Kirshenblatt denied copying the look of her neighbours’ home and said the house is actually inspired by Tudor stone cottages, of which multiple photographs were supplied in the statement of defence filed in court.

    Further, she said, the features, including the “application of a single colour, such as blue, to windows, doors and stonework, and the application of ‘Tudor’ style stonework to a façade has been common to the trade for centuries, and is not protectable by copyright.”

    The allegations were not proven in court. The parties agreed to settle out of court and the terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

    “There is no admission of guilt or liability on the part of my clients, and they truly believe that they did nothing wrong,” said the Kirshenblatts’ lawyer, Jeremy Lum-Danson, in an email.

    “To them, the houses do not look the same.”

    The case had gone on for more than three years.

    The Chapniks purchased the Strathearn Rd. house, originally built in 1935, for $3.8 million in 2006, according to land registry information, and began renovations one year later.

    The couple worked with the late Gordon Ridgely and his architecture firm to draw up a new design, wanting to maintain the home’s stonework but “modernize the look and feel of the building,” according to a statement of claim filed by the Chapniks.

    The size of their house doubled to about 8,000 sq. ft. during the renovation, the couple’s lawyer, Kevin Sartorio, confirmed.

    A brown front door with an arched lintel, distinct grey masonry and mortar application and raised stonework around the chimney were part of the renovations.

    Wood-framed windows were redesigned and painted blue, and T-shaped stone corbels with unique detailing were installed. Special wood panels were mounted on select gables.

    “A tremendous amount of skill, effort, time, judgment, care (and money) was spent across nearly seven years in terms of designing, architecting and building a unique and beautiful house,” Jason and Jodi Chapnick said in an email through their lawyer.

    “The events that occurred in relation to the house on Vesta Drive were incredibly distressing.”

    A value assessment by the Municipal Property Assessment Corp. shows that as of Jan. 1, 2016, the Strathearn property, which sits on one acre of land, was worth about $5.8 million.

    “It would have been much less expensive for the Chapniks to simply knock down the original house and build a new house,” the claim document read.

    The Vesta Dr. house went on the market in May 2013. It was purchased by Barbara Ann Kirshenblatt, a retired kindergarten teacher, for $1.6 million, and renovations began right after the deal closed in October.

    Her husband Eric’s construction company, RKS Building Group, and his brother Steven’s architectural firm, Kirkor Architects and Planners, were brought on to design and build at the Vesta Dr. property.

    Jason Chapnik, an entrepreneur and CEO of a Toronto-based investment firm, claims that contractors from the Vesta Dr. project visited his property. In May 2014, the contractors approached his home and “indicated that they were building a house nearby and were copying aspects of his design,” according to his statement of claim.

    “These tradespeople noticed Mr. Chapnik and walked onto the Strathearn property to speak to him and study the Strathearn house closer,” the claim said.

    Chapnik first noticed the apparent similarities between the properties “when only the windows were installed onto the wood frame.”

    Neighbours and friends emailed and called the couple to comment on their home’s apparent twin, their statement of claim said. The houses are 850 metres apart.

    Documents say the Chapniks delivered a notice to Kirshenblatt to “cease infringing.” And that “Ms. Kirshenblatt indicated that she would not cease.”

    The Chapniks then mounted the legal dispute against Kirshenblatt under the company, Strathearn Consulting Inc., in August 2014. They later added the other defendants.

    “The Defendants’ conduct constitutes willful, high-handed, and deliberate infringement of the Plaintiff’s copyright in the Strathearn Design and should attract the Court’s condemnation through a substantial award of aggravated, exemplary or punitive damages,” the Chapniks’ claim said.

    An archived real estate listing from 2014 shows the Kirshenblatts were asking almost $4.3 million for the newly renovated Vesta Dr. house.

    It was sold for $3.6 million in February 2015, almost $2 million more than what the Kirshenblatts paid to purchase the house in 2013, according to land registry information.

    The Krishenblatts, who have lived in the Forest Hill neighbourhood since 2007, never resided at the Vesta Dr. house.

    The Kirshenblatts, RKS Building Group, Kirkor Architects and Planners, subcontractor King Masonry Yard Ltd., Forest Hill Real Estate, real estate agent Julie Gofman, and “Jane and John Doe” — representing anonymous individuals and companies like builders and tradespeople — are all named as defendants in the claim.

    Copyright infringement does not require that the infringing party knows they are doing it, and anyone involved in reproducing and profiting from the copyrighted work can be sued, said Carys Craig, an associate professor at Osgoode Hall Law School who specializes in intellectual property law and policy.

    “There’s nothing about copyright that requires you to be an expert, or to be applying and registering your rights in order to either acquire rights or to infringe them,” she said.

    In a statement of defence, Kirshenblatt and the other parties noted the houses have different shapes, layouts and configurations. They drew up a table to compare the differences. For example:

    • The Strathearn Rd. house has slim overhang on the eaves while the Vesta Dr. house has traditional overhang.

    • The Strathearn Rd. house has a cedar roof while the Vesta Dr. house has asphalt shingles.

    • The Strathearn Rd. house has “random rubble stone,” while the Vesta Dr. has a “stone veneer.”

    • The eavestroughs on the Strathearn Rd. house are copper with a rounded bottom whereas on Vesta Dr. the eavestroughs are metal or aluminum with a square bottom.

    “The look and feel of the two properties are so divergent in overall appearance, scale and context that to the normal passerby, any meaningful visual relationship between the two residences would be difficult to associate,” according to the Kirshenblatts’ statement of defence.

    The Kirshenblatts submitted a photocopy of a 1940 Canadian Homes and Gardens magazine showing Tudor-style cottage designs in their court filings, a style they claim to have been inspired by in the redesign.

    They were also requested by the Chapniks to list all the properties they looked at “to develop the Vesta house” and provide addresses and to provide the name and addresses of contractors.

    They supplied the addresses of three other houses in the Forest Hill area, along with some online listings and the castle from the James Bond movie Skyfall.

    “The defendants do not know the addresses for the houses (found online) or the Castle from the James Bond movie,” according to an undertaking requesting more information from the plaintiffs.

    The document shows the Kirshenblatts provided several names of contractors, except for a man inexplicably called “Scary Steve” who “did the mason work.”

    “These defendants do not have his contact information.”

    A consent judgment was submitted on Sept. 21 to end the lawsuit out of court.

    “Given the costs associated with the matter through trial, it was in the interests of all parties to reach an amicable settlement,” said the Kirshenblatts’ lawyer, Jeremy Lum-Danson.

    “The case has had a profound impact on my clients. For them it has caused an unnecessary burden and disruption on their lives.”

    Through their lawyer, the Chapniks said “a significant amount of time and money had to be expended in order to protect our copyright.”

    They said the settlement “will allow us peace of mind to know that this should not happen again in the future.”

    A copyright case between homeowners is rare, Craig, the law professor at Osgoode, said, adding that most disputes happen between architectural firms or construction industry people.

    “We often don’t think about architecture when we think about copyright, and we often don’t think about buildings as works of art,” Craig said. “So it might seem like a particularly strange claim to the average person who assumes that if you own a home you can design it as you want.”

    Vjosa Isai can be reached at visai@thestar.ca.


    A Forest Hill couple sued neighbours over a house they claim was renovated to look like theirsA Forest Hill couple sued neighbours over a house they claim was renovated to look like theirs

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    A West African man who has spent more than four-and-a-half years in a maximum-security jail because Canada has been unable to deport him failed to secure his release Thursday when a Superior Court ruled his continued detention is justified.

    But in a partial victory for Ebrahim Toure and his lawyers, Justice Alfred O’Marra ordered that Toure be immediately transferred from the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ont., to the Immigration Holding Centre, a minimum-security facility dedicated to immigration detainees in Etobicoke.

    O'Marra agreed with Toure’s lawyers that his detention in a maximum-security jail – solely for the purposes of ensuring he could be deported – amounted to cruel and unusual treatment and therefore contravened section 12 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    Read more:

    Immigration detainee who has spent four years in jail says detention violates Canada’s charter of rights

    Immigration detainee has suffered cruel and unusual treatment, lawyer says

    Caged by Canada: A Star Investigation

    Toure, 46, is originally from Gambia. He says he is willing to be deported, but doesn’t have any identity documents and Gambian authorities have thus far refused to issue him any.

    Immigration officials have accused Toure of intentionally thwarting his removal. They believe his name is actually Bakaba Touray and that he is withholding information that would allow them to deport him.

    But they did not articulate exactly what they wanted Toure to do to aid their efforts, other than produce identity documents he says do not exist.

    Toure was profiled earlier this year as part of a Star investigation into Canada’s immigration detention system, which has come under increased scrutiny following a number of high-profile court challenges.

    In August, a scathing decision by Justice Edward Morgan blamed both the Canada Border Services Agency and the Immigration and Refugee Board for the baffling detention of immigration detainee Ricardo Scotland, who Morgan said was jailed “for no real reason at all.”

    In April, Justice Ian Nordheimer ordered the immediate release of seven-year immigration detainee Kashif Ali, calling his indefinite detention “unacceptable.”

    The federal government detains thousands of non-citizens every year for immigration purposes if they have been found to be unlikely to show up for their deportation, they are a danger to the public or their identity is in doubt.

    The average length of detention is about three weeks, but some cases, like Toure’s, can drag on for months or years.

    Despite the fact that immigration detention is, by the government’s own description, meant to be administrative, not punitive, most long-term detainees end up in maximum-security provincial jails, where they are treated the same as sentenced criminals or those awaiting trial.

    Liberal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has previously said that the federal government intends to create a “better” and “fairer” immigration detention system, which expands alternatives to detention and reduces the use of criminal jails for detainees. A new “framework” for alternatives to detention is scheduled to be implemented next spring, for instance, and ongoing investments into federal immigration detention centres are aimed at reducing the use of provincial jails.

    In the meantime, immigration detainees continue to take the government to court to seek their release.

    Toure, who is being held solely as a “flight risk” and is not considered a danger to the public, is the latest immigration detainee to file a habeas corpus application — a long-enshrined legal recourse that allows anyone held by the state to contest the lawfulness of their detention. The applications have, in effect, allowed long-term detainees to circumvent the federal system that oversees immigration detention.

    The Immigration and Refugee Board reviews detention cases every 30 days, but lawyers and detainee advocates say the hearings are procedurally unfair, stacked against detainees and amount to little more than a rubber stamp. That’s why they have turned to the Superior Court.

    The board, meanwhile, is in the midst of an independent audit of its long-term detention reviews, following a Federal Court challenge that argued the system is unfair and unconstitutional.

    Toure arrived in Canada in 2011 with a fraudulent passport and immediately applied for refugee status in his own name. He obtained a work permit and worked at a recycling sorting facility in Etobicoke while his refugee claim was being heard. His claim was eventually rejected and he was ordered deported. After failing to show up for a meeting with immigration officials, he was arrested and detained.

    Toure was sent to maximum-security jail — rather than the less-restrictive Immigration Holding Centre, a minimum-security facility dedicated to immigration detention — because of his “criminality” in the U.S., which consists of a 12-year-old conviction for selling pirated CDs and DVDs in Atlanta, an offence for which he served no jail time.

    Last week Toure’s lawyers argued that his indefinite detention was arbitrary — because there was no reasonable prospect he would be deported in the “foreseeable” future — and that it amounted to “cruel and unusual” treatment.

    Court also heard that Canada Border Services Agency officials also relied upon a long-expired U.S. arrest warrant— issued when Toure allegedly breached his probation from the counterfeiting conviction — as justification for classifying him as a “high risk” detainee and therefore ineligible for the Immigration Holding Centre.

    Government lawyers said Toure’s detention was neither indefinite, nor arbitrary, and that his lack of cooperation was the main impediment to his deportation.

    Since taking power in 2015, the Liberal government has detained fewer people for immigration purposes than the Conservatives under Stephen Harper. Long-term detentions — 90 days or more — are also decreasing.

    Lawyers and detainee advocates, however, have called on Canada to adopt a time limit on how long someone can stay in immigration detention, as is already in place in Europe and other countries around the world.


    Immigration detainee won’t be released, judge rulesImmigration detainee won’t be released, judge rules

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    In the vast expanse of Toronto — its cloud-scraping apartments holding together some two million residents — one woman reached out for the aid of her neighbours on Wednesday in the early hours of the morning.

    But Liz Bertorelli’s door knocks went unanswered.

    Here begins a millennial stock-type saga that has since captured social media with a mix of pity and amusement. Bertorelli has taken to Twitter to chronicle attempts to retrieve the cellphone she dropped from her balcony.

    “What did I do tonight?” began the first dispatch at 4:48 a.m., an attached photo showing the mobile device — an unceremonious black rectangle — laying on the ground outside the unit below.

    While drop-tests have become somewhat of a staple to measure the durability of new mobile devices (allocated amateur scientific measures like ‘waist height’ and ‘head height’ drops by savvy tech-testers) Bertorelli was less than pleased with the situation she’d found herself in.

    “Watchin’ notifications roll in from afar is devastating.” The tweet caught fire with its audience, with over six thousand social media users interacting with the first message alone. Bertorelli continued to document the process using a phone borrowed from a friend.

    The first note was lobbed over the balcony’s edge and landed, perfectly, on the neighbour’s outdoor table. The wind, however, had other ideas.

    “Noooo, note blew off the table,” came the update at 1:06 p.m. As the hours rolled on, Bertorelli’s retrieval rouses became increasingly ridiculous.

    “I’ve got a Swifter and duck tape [sic],” another read, followed by an image of all the long objects she could find, like a broom and a guitar. She mused, also, on a more philosophical meaning. “Thought: is this how Romeo and Juliette felt?”

    Bertorelli tweeted out photos of drones, asking for internet advice on whether to engage the technology in her rescue pursuits. There were updates on the door-knocking attempts, to no avail. Her neighbours just weren’t home.

    An ominous weather forecast photo warned of a storm coming. A friend arrived, and they drank to the electronic device’s looming fate. Bertorelli lowered a plastic bag on a string in an attempt to shield it from the rain.

    “May the odds be ever in your favour, sweet prince,” she wrote at 4:40 p.m.

    The string of tweets roused the aid of the internet, with users offering their best advice. Even Stephen Fry got in on the saga, chiming in that the tension was almost unbearable. Bertorelli replied back, pointing the famous Brit’s attention to the Trevor Project while he waited for an outcome.

    The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth across the country. Their website cites 45 thousand calls to their “Lifeline” in one year. When eyes were on Bertorelli’s Twitter for the comical saga, she urged Twitter users to donate.

    “I’m getting followers right now, so I might as well do something,” Bertorelli told the Star on Thursday afternoon. On the side of her day job, she said, she’s been a merchandiser for Toronto Pride through her apparel company, so the Trevor Project had always been on her radar.

    Of course, there’s no way to know for sure what it was about Bertorelli’s plight that captured internet traction. Forbes has previously cited an average of 500 million tweets being posted each day, leaving the creation of a “viral” post somewhat of an elusive ideal.

    But, while Bertorelli’s tongue remains firmly in cheek while documenting the saga — “I’m lucky enough to own and pay for a phone to begin with, and I’m obviously just making fun,” she told the Star, chuckling — she maintains that there’s something universal to her plight.

    “Every single person who’s lucky enough to have some sort of device has feared or been in this situation before,” she said, noting that her phone was filled with photographs and contacts. “So from that perspective, it’s an emotional connection that we probably all share.”

    At the time of publication, Bertorelli’s phone was still stranded.


    Woman drops phone on neighbour’s balcony. Rescue attempts prove fruitless. Twitter fixatesWoman drops phone on neighbour’s balcony. Rescue attempts prove fruitless. Twitter fixates

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    The federal government has agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to survivors of the ’60s Scoop for the harm suffered by Indigenous children who were robbed of their cultural identities by being placed with non-native families, The Canadian Press has learned.

    The national settlement with an estimated 20,000 victims, to be announced Friday by Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, is aimed at resolving numerous related lawsuits, most notable among them a successful class action in Ontario.

    Confidential details of the agreement include a payout of between $25,000 and $50,000 for each claimant, to a maximum of $750 million, sources said.

    Read more: Sixties Scoop survivors accuse feds of backtracking after losing legal battle

    Judge rules in favour of ’60s Scoop victims

    In addition, sources familiar with the deal said the government would set aside a further $50 million for a new Indigenous Healing Foundation, a key demand of the representative plaintiff in Ontario, Marcia Brown Martel.

    Spokespeople for both Bennett and the plaintiffs would only confirm an announcement was pending Friday, but refused to elaborate.

    “The (parties) have agreed to work towards a comprehensive resolution and discussions are in progress,” Bennett’s office said in a statement on Thursday. “As the negotiations are ongoing and confidential, we cannot provide further information at this time.”

    The sources said the government has also agreed to pay the plaintiffs’ legal fees — estimated at about $75 million — separately, meaning the full amount of the settlement will go to the victims and the healing centre, to be established in the coming months, sources said.

    The settlement would be worth at least $800 million and include Inuit victims, the sources said. The final amount is less than the $1.3 billion Brown Martel had sought for victims of the Ontario Scoop in which at-risk on-reserve Indigenous children were placed in non-Aboriginal homes from 1965 to 1984 under terms of a federal-provincial agreement.

    In an unprecedented class action begun in 2009, Brown Martel, chief of the Beaverhouse First Nation, maintained the government had been negligent in protecting her and about 16,000 other on-reserve children from the lasting harm they suffered from being alienated from their heritage.

    Brown Martel, a member of the Temagami First Nation near Kirkland Lake, Ont., was taken by child welfare officials and adopted by a non-native family. She later discovered the Canadian government had declared her original identity dead.

    Her lawsuit, among some 17 others in Canada, is the only one to have been certified as a class action. Her suit sparked more than eight years of litigation in which the government fought tooth and nail against the claim.

    However, in February, Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba sided with Brown Martel, finding the government liable for the harm the ’60s Scoop caused. Belobaba was firm in rejecting the government’s arguments that the 1960s were different times and that it had acted with good intentions in line with prevailing standards.

    While Bennett said at the time she would not appeal the ruling and hoped for a negotiated settlement with all affected Indigenous children, federal lawyers appeared to be trying to get around Belobaba’s ruling. Among other things, they attempted to argue individuals would have to prove damages on a case-by-case basis.

    A court hearing to determine damages in the Ontario action, scheduled for three days next week, has been scrapped in light of the negotiated resolution, which took place under Federal Court Judge Michel Shore.

    One source said some aspects of the many claims might still have to be settled but called Friday’s announcement a “significant” step toward resolving the ’60s Scoop issue — part of the Liberal government’s promise under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous people a priority.

    Jeffery Wilson, one of Brown Martel’s lawyers, has previously said the class action was the first anywhere to recognize the importance of a person’s cultural heritage and the individual harm caused when it is lost.


    Government to announce payout of $800M to Indigenous victims of ’60s ScoopGovernment to announce payout of $800M to Indigenous victims of ’60s Scoop

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    Premier Kathleen Wynne will be running for re-election next June 7 without two more cabinet ministers, including her confidant and Deputy Premier Deb Matthews of London.

    Matthews and Treasury Board President Liz Sandals, a former education minister, announced Friday they will leave elected office when the campaign begins.

    Both maintained they have confidence in Wynne, who is trailing the Progressive Conservatives in most polls and facing criticism from segments of the business community for raising the minimum wage to $14 next January and $15 in 2019.

    “I am confident…the people of Ontario will give her and the team the mandate to continue to serve,” Matthews, 63, said in a Twitter statement, noting she will remain co-chair of the Liberal re-election campaign.

    “Despite the progress to date, there is much more to do,” added Matthews, the MPP for London North Centre since 2003 and minister of advanced education and skills development.

    Sandals, 69, said she made “the difficult decision to retire” after a summer of discussion with her husband and children. She has been in elected politics for 30 years, first as a school trustee and later as an MPP.

    “This was a challenging decision to make because, while I’m ready to become a full-time grandmother, I’ve never had more faith in Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberal Party.”

    Sandals and Matthews follow Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid, who revealed last month he won’t run for re-election but expressed support for Wynne as the “best alternative.”

    Duguid, 55, had a mild heart attack in 2016, calling it a reminder he is “mortal.”

    Wynne also lost environment minister Glen Murray during the summer, as he quit cabinet and his Toronto Centre seat to head the Pembina Institute.

    The pending retirements have strategic implications for the Liberals, in power at Queen’s Park since 2003, heading into the election where Wynne will seek a second majority.

    Matthews is the lone surviving Liberal MPP in London — once a party stronghold — where the New Democrats have gained two ridings in recent years. Progressive Conservatives hold the seats surrounding London.

    Sandals represents Guelph, eyed by Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner, who is hoping for a breakthrough in the spring vote.

    The announcements give the ministers’ Liberal riding associations time to line up candidates as the governing party fights off challenges from the Conservatives under Patrick Brown and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

    Opposition parties have been hammering the government on the long-term costs of borrowing billions to cut hydro rates 25 per cent, hospital overcrowding and other issues.

    Brown recently unleashed new attack ads against Wynne as “untrustworthy,” featuring headlines critical of the Liberals from the Star and other news outlets.

    Wynne credited Matthews for her role in reforming the Ontario student assistance program to provide free tuition for 210,000 young people, and Sandals for shepherding the updated sex education curriculum.

    In a brief statement, Horwath thanked Matthews and Sandals for “their years of public service.”


    Wynne cabinet ministers Matthews and Sandals say they won’t run in next June’s electionWynne cabinet ministers Matthews and Sandals say they won’t run in next June’s election

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    The TTC is crediting its new smartphone app for facilitating the arrest of a man suspected of two sexual assaults on the subway system.

    The agency launched the SafeTTC app last month and according to spokesperson Brad Ross this marks the first time it has aided in an arrest.

    “This app actually did what we wanted it to do, it allowed a victim to report to us directly an assault. We were able to use that information to make an arrest, to get somebody off the system who was already wanted as a suspect for another assault,” he said.

    “I think that is powerful and is very positive.”

    The first incident occurred on March 28 at York Mills station, when police allege that a man approached a 15-year-old girl from behind on an escalator and assaulted her.

    The second incident took place at St. Andrew station around 12:40 p.m. on September 24. Police say the man approached a 27-year-old woman from behind as she was walking up a staircase and sexually assaulted her.

    Ross said the victim in the second incident reported the alleged assault via the SafeTTC app in the early morning of the following day.

    The report was received by transit control, which “immediately” alerted TTC special constables, Ross said. Although the app allows users to report anonymously, the woman had supplied her phone number, which officers used to contact her.

    After meeting with her, the TTC reviewed surveillance footage and identified the suspect in the second incident as the same person who allegedly committed the assault in March.

    The agency issued an internal alert that included a photo of the suspect. Police said that on Tuesday, transit officers at Bloor-Yonge station spotted him and arrested him.

    Police announced Friday that they had charged Troy Maru, 21, with two counts of sexual assault. He appeared in court at Old City Hall on Wednesday.

    Ross said that it’s impossible to know whether the woman would have reported the alleged assault through conventional means if SafeTTC hadn’t been available. But he said that the goal of the app, which also allows riders to take photos of incidents, is to make reporting easier.

    “We’re trying to make it simple for people,” he said, adding that the app allows riders to report incidents at any time “without having to talk to somebody if you don’t want to.”

    The app and an accompanying public awareness campaign cost $700,000, according to the TTC. So far, more than 1,600 people have downloaded the program and used it to file more than 200 reports of harassment, soliciting, sexual assault, and other unwanted behaviour on the transit system.


    TTC app led to sexual assault arrest, transit agency saysTTC app led to sexual assault arrest, transit agency says

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    WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump delivered a foreboding message, telling reporters as he posed for photos with senior military leaders that this might be “the calm before the storm.”

    The president refused Friday to elaborate on what he meant, saying simply, “You’ll find out.”

    White House reporters were summoned suddenly Thursday evening and told the president had decided he wanted the press to document a dinner he was holding with the military leaders and their wives.

    Reporters were led hastily to the grand State Dining Room, where they walked into a scene of the president, his highest-ranking military aides and their wives posing for a group photo. The cameras clicked and they smiled. A joke was made about someone’s face being tired. Live classical music played.

    Read more: Trump ominously mentions the ‘calm before the storm’ — but doesn’t elaborate

    Then, Trump gestured to the reporters in the room.

    “You guys know what this represents?” Trump asked. “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm. Could be the calm, the calm before the storm.”

    “What storm, Mr. President?” one reporter shouted. Daesh? North Korea? Iran?

    Trump would not say. Nor would he clarify the next day during a gathering of manufacturers at the White House, once again teasing that an announcement would be forthcoming dowsn the road.

    White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also declined to elaborate, saying Friday, “We’re never going to say in advance what the president will do.”

    She also denied that Trump was simply being mischievous in an effort to mislead reporters.

    During the military dinner, Trump praised those assembled for the photo, saying: “We have the world’s great military people in this room, I will tell you that.”

    Earlier in the evening, the president had lauded the group, including his defence secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and said they would be discussing the most pressing military issues facing the country, including North Korea and Iran.

    Trump said “tremendous progress” had been made with respect to Daesh, also known as ISIS or ISIL, adding, “I guess the media’s going to be finding out about that over the next short period of time.”

    He also denounced Iran, saying the country should not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons, and offered another stark warning to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

    “We cannot allow this dictatorship to threaten our nation or allies with unimaginable loss of life,” he said, vowing to “do what we must do to prevent that from happening and it will be done, if necessary. Believe me.”

    He also said that, moving forward, he expects those in the room to provide him with “a broad range of military options, when needed, at a much faster pace.”


    Trump plays coy at Friday event with ‘calm before the storm’ remarkTrump plays coy at Friday event with ‘calm before the storm’ remark

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    MONTREAL—Bombardier Inc. accused the Trump administration of overreach by siding with Boeing in its bid to shut the CSeries commercial jet from the world’s largest airline market by effectively quadrupling the price of any of the planes sold in the United States.

    “It represents an egregious overreach and misapplication of the U.S. trade laws in an apparent attempt to block the CSeries aircraft from entering the U.S. market,” the Montreal-based transportation manufacturer said in response to an additional 80 per cent anti-dumping duty.

    Bombardier said the Commerce Department has ignored aerospace industry realities, noting that Boeing’s own practice of selling aircraft below production costs for years after launch would fail the test used against the CSeries

    “This hypocrisy is appalling, and it should be deeply troubling to any importer of large, complex, and highly engineered products,” it said.

    The decision intensifies political pressure on NAFTA negotiators ahead of next week’s resumption of talks among Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

    The U.S. Commerce Department added 79.82 per cent to 219.63 per cent in preliminary countervailing tariffs it announced last week, once deliveries to Delta Air Lines begin next year.

    “The United States is committed to free, fair and reciprocal trade with Canada, but this is not our idea of a properly functioning trading relationship,” stated Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

    “We will continue to verify the accuracy of this decision, while (doing) everything in our power to stand up for American companies and their workers.”

    Read more:

    Bombardier hit with 219% duty on sale of jets to Delta Air Lines

    Donald Trump’s Bombardier bullying demands more muscle from Justin Trudeau: Harper

    Trudeau to meet with Trump in Washington next week

    Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said she was extremely disappointed, but not surprised given the “baseless and absurdly high” duties last week.

    “Boeing is manipulating the U.S. trade remedy system to prevent Bombardier’s aircraft, the CSeries, from entering the U.S. market despite Boeing’s admission that it does not compete with the C Series,” she said in a statement.

    “Our government will continue to vigorously defend the interests of the Canadian aerospace industry and our aerospace workers against irresponsible and protectionist trade measures.”

    Several U.S. senators and House members also expressed their unhappiness, calling the decision “short-sighted” because it threatens thousands of jobs across the country supported by Bombardier and its suppliers.

    The latest duty matches the amount originally proposed by Boeing, before it revised its request to 143 per cent because of Bombardier’s refusal to provide certain information to the Commerce Department.

    The Chicago-based aircraft giant said it welcomes the decision affirming its view that Bombardier sold the CSeries to Delta at prices below production cost to illegally grab market share in the single-aisle airplane market.

    “This determination confirms that, as Boeing alleged in its petition, Bombardier dumped its aircraft into the U.S. market at absurdly low prices,” it said in a news release.

    Countervailing duties target what the U.S. considers unfair subsidies, while anti-dumping tariffs go after the alleged selling of imported products below market value.

    U.S. aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia said the high duties will hurt CSeries sales efforts to leasing companies and shut the plane out of the U.S. unless the U.S. International Trade Commission effectively ends the challenge in February.

    “If the ITC doesn’t find that this damaged Boeing then this whole thing vanishes like a bad dream,” he said in an interview.

    Aboulafia says the process appears to have been politicized, which requires authorities to detail their reasonings to avoid further damage to the international jetline sector.

    A Bombardier union said it wasn’t surprised by the new duty given the 48 per cent increase in the number of dumping allegations since the Trump administration took office.

    “These tribunals are like the right arm of the large corporations of Boeing,” said Dave Chartrand, Quebec co-ordinator of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

    He said workers will fight even harder to get the duty reversed.

    “We will stand up and we will fight.”

    Boeing petitioned the government in April after its smaller rival secured a deal for up to 125 of its CS100s with Delta in 2016. The firm order for 75 aircraft had a list price of $5.6 billion U.S., although large orders typically secure steep discounts.

    Bombardier has repeatedly stressed that Americans will be hurt by the tariffs because more than half the content on the 100- to 150-seat CSeries is sourced by U.S. suppliers, including Pratt & Whitney engines. The program is expected to generate more than $30 billion in business over its life and support more than 22,700 American jobs in 19 states.

    Boeing’s complaint has prompted a heavy political reaction from the Canadian government and British Prime Minister Theresa May, who fears job losses at Bombardier’s wing assembly facility in Northern Ireland.

    Canada has threatened to cancel the planned purchase of 18 Super Hornets to temporarily augment Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18s.


    Bombardier accuses Trump administration of ‘egregious overreach’ after new tariff put on U.S. CSeries salesBombardier accuses Trump administration of ‘egregious overreach’ after new tariff put on U.S. CSeries sales

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    MONTREAL—In light of the contrary feelings the demise of the Energy East pipeline inspired in Calgary and Montreal, this week it is easy to forget that the project was born under a relatively auspicious star alignment in Quebec. Or that political resistance to pipeline developments is hardly exclusive to that province.

    Back in 2013 the Parti Québécois government of Pauline Marois expressed cautious interest in supporting TransCanada’s bid to link Western Canada’s oil fields to the Atlantic coast.

    It was only once it was back in opposition that the PQ turned against the pipeline. Even then the party struggled with the decision.

    Marois’ immediate successor, Pierre Karl Péladeau, initially tried to avoid bolting his party’s door shut on TransCanada’s proposal, only to eventually bow to the will of a majority of its members.

    Under the original timetable set for the project’s approval it could have been squarely on the radar of next year’s Quebec election.

    For PQ strategists, a Quebec/Ottawa showdown over a controversial pipeline stood to offer one of the last best chances to remobilize Quebecers — in particular the environment-sensitive younger voters who have shown little appetite for identity-related policies — behind its independence project.

    The Bloc Québécois similarly went on the Energy East barricades in the hopes of scoring points off the New Democrats.

    Whether the PQ and the Bloc’s high hopes for Energy East to become a game-changer in favor of sovereignty were well founded will never be known. But from a partisan perspective its demise is a net loss to a sovereignty movement in search of a defining irritant between Quebec and the rest of Canada.

    At the time of Thursday’s announcement the yet-to-be approved project was not really on most Quebecers’ radars. It certainly is not and was not a factor in the re-election campaign of Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, notwithstanding his public show of satisfaction at its termination.

    Still, for all the harsh words exchanged between Quebec, Saskatchewan and Alberta over Energy East, the main political result of its demise is to shift ground zero of the pipeline debate to Western Canada.

    For Justin Trudeau’s government, the need to see Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion plan succeed is greater today than prior to TransCanada’s decision to close the books on Energy East.

    The British Columbia project is the only major plan left on the drawing board. If the Liberals are serious about wanting to demonstrate that their energy-environment policy mix is a viable one for all regions, they can’t afford for Trans Mountain to suffer the same fate as Energy East.

    For Alberta premier Rachel Notley, whose government is already doing poorly in the polls, the notion that the Trans Mountain project could fail to launch as the result of the efforts of another New Democrat government is a bigger nightmare than the widely expected end of the Energy East saga.

    But by the same token, for the minority NDP government of B.C. premier John Horgan, that depends on the support of the Green party for its survival, it is politically inconceivable to simply tool down and leave the battlefield.

    The Energy East project was meant to be a fallback solution to an issue that has since been transformed both by market realities and by political change in the White House. It is not really a picture-perfect poster child for the increasingly uphill battle involved in bringing big projects to fruition.

    Some of the pipeline’s early backers did describe it as the 21st century equivalent of the pan-Canadian railway. But that was really a rhetorical flight of fancy. The days when Canada’s national infrastructure dreams could be achieved with little concern for their ecological consequences or for the sentiments of local communities are not coming back. Nostalgia, in this instance, is misplaced.

    That being said, the fact is that Canada’s federal and provincial electoral cycles do make national endeavours difficult to see through to completion.

    Just as electoral developments in Quebec and in British Columbia have complicated the task of expanding Canada’s pipeline capacity, so could the next election rounds in Ontario and Alberta mess with Trudeau’s plan to implement a national floor price on carbon emissions without enduring some major federal-provincial turbulence.

    If that pattern is familiar, it is because it is the same vicious circle that doomed Canada’s constitutional efforts two and a half decades ago.

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


    The end of the Energy East pipeline could mark the start of federal-provincial turmoil: HébertThe end of the Energy East pipeline could mark the start of federal-provincial turmoil: Hébert

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