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- 10/08/17--11:53: _Alex Trebek can’t w...
- 10/08/17--05:41: _Donald Trump defend...
- 10/08/17--11:35: _Mike Pence leaves 4...
- 10/08/17--12:40: _Syrian refugees lef...
- 10/08/17--17:28: _‘Cruel, inhuman, an...
- 10/08/17--17:19: _Trump demands borde...
- 10/09/17--08:00: _Renowned recipe wri...
- 10/09/17--06:28: _Dallas Cowboys owne...
- 10/09/17--10:33: _Google uncovers Rus...
- 10/09/17--10:39: _Two murder suspects...
- 10/08/17--16:53: _Dove sparks backlas...
- 10/09/17--10:24: _‘Puzzling’ Toronto ...
- 10/09/17--04:49: _Man shot dead in Et...
- 10/09/17--04:00: _Leamington is at th...
- 10/09/17--08:31: _Trump administratio...
- 10/09/17--04:00: _Pariahs to power br...
- 10/09/17--11:08: _What’s in an Ugg? C...
- 10/09/17--12:57: _TTC worker dies of ...
- 10/09/17--13:05: _Alleged fentanyl de...
- 10/09/17--12:54: _‘We want to see cha...
- 10/08/17--11:53: Alex Trebek can’t wait for rogue Jeopardy winner to lose
- He said, again, that the Coast Guard “saved 16,000 lives” — 16,000 lives,” he emphasized — during the response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas. The Coast Guard says it conducted 11,022 rescues.
- He said, again, that the U.S. is “the highest-taxed nation in the world.” It is below-average for developed countries.
- He said, again, that “everybody was shocked” by the 3.1 per cent economic growth in the second quarter of this year. Several prominent analysts predicted such growth.
- And he said, again, that Daesh, also known as the Islamic State, was created in the “vacuum” left in Iraq when former U.S. president Barack Obama presided over a withdrawal of troops in 2011. The group, which has origins back to 1999, adopted the name Islamic State in 2006, more than two years before Obama took office.
- 10/08/17--12:40: Syrian refugees left homeless after fire destroys Mississauga home
- 10/08/17--17:19: Trump demands border wall funds, immigration changes
- 10/09/17--10:39: Two murder suspects in Etobicoke shooting turn themselves in
- 10/08/17--16:53: Dove sparks backlash with ad slammed as ‘offensive’
- 10/09/17--11:08: What’s in an Ugg? Court battle brews over boots brand name
- 10/09/17--12:57: TTC worker dies of injuries after McCowan accident
The show:Jeopardy, October 6, 2017 (Yes TV)
The moment: The ninth win
Alex Trebek does not like nine-time winner Austin Rogers, a New York City bartender who, as of Friday, had racked up $332,400 U.S. Austin, 38, sports unbrushed, bushy hair and natty jacket/shirt/tie combos. He mugs during his intros. He waves his hands. He bets eccentric amounts that he plucks out of the air.
When Trebek tries to josh about Rogers — “He’s got hair, he’s got chutzpah, and he’s got broad-based knowledge” — he sounds defeated. When he says, “Austin has a bit of the showman in him,” what he means is, “Austin, go away.”
Mostly Trebek hates how Rogers brushes off his (temporary) losses: When Rogers bets his whole wad ($4600) on a Daily Double, loses, then shrugs and says, “All right, whatever,” the irk in Trebek’s voice is palpable.
Are you onto this guy? I happened to catch Rogers by accident on Friday, and saw immediately that he’s a thing: He comments on @austinonjeopardy, a Twitter account a fan created for him. Strangers gather at the Gaf Bar in Hell’s Kitchen, where he still works (the shows were taped in April), to watch. Many loathe him.
But no one so much as Trebek. Until 2003, Jeopardy limited contestants to five wins. Then they figured out that streaks lead to ratings. Trebek has always run the show like a manager of a restaurant that’s trying hard to be classy — “Hey, I’ll joke with you, but show me proper respect.” He clearly doesn’t enjoy humouring this rogue class clown who won’t play his serioso game.
Jeopardy airs on CTV and Yes TV. Johanna Schneller is a media connoisseur who zeroes in on pop-culture moments. She usually appears Monday through Thursday.
Alex Trebek can’t wait for rogue Jeopardy winner to lose
WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at the “fake” journalists who criticized him for tossing rolls of paper towel to Puerto Rican hurricane victims.
The paper towels, he said, were beautiful. And soft.
“They had these beautiful, soft towels. Very good towels,” Trump said in a conversation that aired Sunday on Christian television network Trinity Broadcasting. “And I came in and there was a crowd of a lot of people. And they were screaming and they were loving everything. I was having fun, they were having fun. They said, ‘Throw ’em to me! Throw ’em to me, Mr. President!’”
“So next day they said, ‘Oh it was so disrespectful to the people.’ It was just a made-up thing. And also when I walked in, the cheering was incredible,” he said.
Trump’s impassioned defence of his Tuesday towel-tossing, an act that insulted many Puerto Ricans, came during a quasi-interview with an ardent supporter and television host Mike Huckabee, the father of his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Huckabee lobbed Trump questions that softball players would be insulted to hear called softballs. His first question: “Tell me, how good is your press secretary?”
But Trump still made a number of noteworthy, unusual and inaccurate statements in response.
1. He attacked San Juan’s mayor again
When Trump visited Puerto Rico on Tuesday, he took a break from his extraordinary personal criticism of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has been sharply critical of the federal response to Hurricane Maria.
Trump resumed his onslaught in speaking with Mike Huckabee, saying Cruz “really did not do a very good job — in fact, did a very poor job.”
“And she was the lone voice (of criticism) that we saw,” he said, ignoring the vociferous criticism from thousands of other Puerto Ricans. “And of course that’s the only voice the media wanted to talk to. And she’s running for governor. Big surprise.”
He continued: “But she’s not a capable person. And my people were telling me that to start off with.”
2. He took credit for inventing the word ‘fake’
Trump, as he so often does, called the media “fake.” And then he, it seemed, took credit for coining the word “fake.”
“I think one of the greatest of all terms I’ve come up with is ‘fake.’ I guess other people have used it, perhaps, over the years, but I’ve never noticed it,” he said.
Trump would not have even been correct if he meant to refer specifically to the phrase “fake news.”
3. He said Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock was “probably smart”
Trump has been calling Paddock “sick” and “demented.” This time, he added a descriptor rarely heard from presidents talking about the perpetrators of mass slaughters.
While praising police officers for their response to the shooting, Trump noted Paddock had set up cameras so he could observe officers as they tried to apprehend him.
“This was a sick person — but probably smart,” Trump said.
4. He accused Iran of working with North Korea
Trump offered his regular criticism of Iran, saying Iran was violating the “spirit” of their nuclear agreement and “causing trouble” in the Middle East. But he added a new set of accusations this time.
“I believe they’re funding North Korea,” he said. “I believe they’re trading with North Korea. I believe they’re doing things with North Korea that is totally inappropriate. And that doesn’t pertain to the deal — but in my opinion it does. It’s called the spirit of a deal.”
He did not provide evidence.
5. He offered a bizarre explanation for his latest favourite health-care plan
The Republican health-care bill that failed in late September, known as Graham-Cassidy, would have sent states money and instructed them to design their own health systems.
Trump said the downward transfer of power is a good idea because it would allow him to stop personally taking care of people’s health problems.
“I want to focus on North Korea. I want to focus on Iran. I want to focus on other things. I don’t want to focus on fixing somebody’s back. Or their knee. Or something. Let the states do that,” he said.
Perhaps he meant he wanted to be free of having to deal with health policy at all, but the Republican bill would not come close to ending the federal role in the system.
6. He said his post-hurricane consoling makes him feel good
Huckabee asked Trump how he has taken to the role of post-tragedy consoler of the nation. Trump said he has mixed feelings.
“In one sense, you hate to see it,” he said. “In another sense, you feel you can do a good job. You’re really helping people. So it makes you feel good.”
7. He took another step away from his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
Trump already postponed the controversial embassy move he had once promised to make on the first day of his presidency. This time, he explained why he’s dallying: he wants to try to make peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
“I want to give that a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem,” he said.
Trump’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, sounded much more convinced a move was coming during an interview on the same network earlier in the week, saying, “The embassy will move. It’s not if, but when.”
8. He backed off his claim that his tax plan doesn’t help the rich
In September, Trump falsely claimed that his plan for tax cuts, which would predominantly help rich people, would not help the rich at all. His language was significantly different this time.
He said the focus of tax reform was the middle class. But he did not deny that rich people would get help too.
“This is not a tax (cut) for the rich. Now, everybody’s going to benefit,” he said.
9. He made false claims
It is not a Trump interview without some wrongness.
Donald Trump defends paper towels in Puerto Rico, says Las Vegas shooter was ‘probably smart’
INDIANAPOLIS—Vice-President Mike Pence has left the 49ers-Colts game after about a dozen San Francisco players took a knee during the national anthem, the latest move by President Donald Trump’s administration to clash with NFL players over patriotism and public demonstrations.
The former Indiana governor flew in so he could watch Peyton Manning’s jersey retirement ceremony on Sunday. But Pence didn’t stick around long.
Right around kickoff, Pence wrote on Twitter: “I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”
The White House also issued a statement from Pence, in which he says Americans should rally around the flag. Pence said: “I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem.”
Trump has called on NFL owners to fire players who don’t stand for the anthem and urged fans to boycott games in a series of tweets after he first criticized the demonstrations during a Sept. 22 rally in Alabama. White House officials have viewed it as a winning issue for the president, who has sought to remain closely connected to his working-class base of Midwestern voters who helped elect him.
After Pence’s walkout, Trump tweeted: “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.” The tweet raised the question of whether Pence’s actions had been planned in advance.
San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid said Pence’s departure looked like “a PR stunt.”
“He knew our team has had the most players protest, he knew that we were probably going to do it again,” Reid said. “This is what systemic oppression looks like: man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple things out and leaves the game in an attempt to thwart our efforts.”
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy declined to comment on Pence’s walkout. The Colts also had no comment, and after their 26-23 overtime victory, Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano steered clear of the issue.
“No,” Pagano said when asked if he had any reaction to what Pence did.
On Sunday night, Dallas owner Jerry Jones said the NFL can’t leave the impression that it tolerates players disrespecting the flag and that any of his Cowboys making such displays won’t play.
Responding to a question about Pence leaving the game in Indianapolis, Jones said after the Cowboys’ 35-31 home loss to Green Bay that the league can’t “in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag.” Of his own players, the Hall of Famer said, “If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won’t play. Period.”
The Cowboys knelt arm-in-arm before the national anthem when they played at Arizona two weeks ago. Players, coaches and others, including Jones and his family, were among those in the line. All of them stood during the anthem, with arms still locked.
The NFL players’ union said in a statement Sunday night that discussions about issues by the league’s players should not be stifled.
“NFL players are union members and part of the labour movement that has woven the fabric of America for generations,” the NFLPA’s statement read. “Our men and their families are also conscientious Americans who continue to be forces for good through our communities and some have decided to use their platform to peacefully raise awareness to issues that deserve attention. It is a source of enormous pride that some of the best conversations about these issues have taken place in our locker rooms in a respectful, civil and thoughtful way that should serve as a model for how all of us can communicate with each other.
“We should not stifle these discussions and cannot allow our rights to become subservient to the very opinions our Constitution protects. That is what makes us the land of the free and home of the brave.”
Colts players stood in unison, locking arms but standing throughout the anthem.
But the 49ers have been among the most visible protesters in the league. Last year, former quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement to kneel or sit during the anthem, and Reid and other teammates backed him up on and off the field.
Retired announcer Brent Musburger joined the fray on Twitter on Sunday night.
“Yo #49ers Since you instigated protest, 2 wins and 19 losses. How about taking your next knee in the other team’s end zone?” Musburger posted.
Pence flew in Saturday after a statue of Manning was unveiled, an event attended by a number of luminaries including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The vice-president had spent most of Saturday honouring victims of the Las Vegas shooting before returning to his home state.
Aides to the vice-president did not respond to questions on whether he had planned to make the public walkout in the game against the 49ers, who have regularly held the demonstrations. Pence’s trip to Las Vegas and Indianapolis was announced on Friday.
After leaving the game, Pence departed Indianapolis for a three-day trip to California that includes three fundraisers and an event on the president’s push for a tax overhaul.
Pence, who attended last year’s Super Bowl, is a noted sports fan and it was the second major event he’s attended in his home state since taking office in January. He also attended May’s Indianapolis 500, a family tradition.
Mike Pence leaves 49ers-Colts game after players take a knee during national anthem
A Syrian family has been left homeless after fire swept through their Mississauga home and damaged eight other townhouses in the complex.
There is little left of unit 121 at 1560 Bloor St., the place that Khaled Alawad, his wife, Judy, and their three children — Odai, 11, Marina, 9, and Mera, 4 — have called home since they arrived in Canada in January 2016.
“I lost myself, I don’t know where to start,” he said, adding that all of his family’s documents and identification are gone.
Peel police are still investigating the fire, which happened early Saturday morning, Peel police Const. Bancroft White said.
Around 5 p.m. on Friday, Peel police responded to a 911 call at the same address. Alawad said he called after he was approached by a man who adamantly insisted that the bike outside of his house belonged to him.
“He said bad words about Syrian refugees, and he lifted something — I think a gun or knife. We went into the house because I was scared,” Alawad said.
Two friends came to his aid and helped Alawad hold the front door closed while the man tried to get in, but the intruder was “too strong” and broke the door, Alawad said.
Alawad called police and the man fled.
At around 2 a.m. the next day, while the rest of his family was sleeping, Alawad saw flames in the backyard. Once again, he called 911.
“I saw a light coming from the backyard, and I saw a big fire,” he said. “I picked up my children and family and brought them outside and yelled, ‘please help, help, fire!’ ”
He believes that his family was targeted.
It took firefighters almost five hours to put out the fire, said Alawad, and the family has “lost everything.”
Police said a 33-year-old man has been arrested in relation to the first incident and is facing charges of mischief over $5,000, uttering death threats, and assault with a weapon.
Police are not linking the arrest and the fire.
“The thing that I need to stress is that there is no evidence currently that connects the two incidents,” Const. White said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all residents who are now rebuilding their lives as a result of this devastating fire,” Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said in an email to the Star.
“Soon after the fire broke out, the Burnhamthorpe Community Centre was opened for residents to access washroom facilities and to serve as a rehab location.
“A MiWay articulated bus was on scene holding residents who could not return to their homes. Peel Social Services is working with displaced families to arrange living arrangements. The Red Cross, along with other community partners, continue to provide ongoing support in the form shelter and food and clothing vouchers.”
Alawad has created a GoFundMe page, stating that his family is new to Canada, and in need of support to rebuild. The goal is to raise $20,000.
While the family has house insurance, they said they are unable to speak to someone until after the Thanksgiving weekend, and will hear back on Tuesday morning.
In the meantime, they are staying with a friend, but the family is unsettled and on edge.
“We’ve gone two days without sleeping ... we’re very tired,” said Alawad.
He said he is thankful that no one was injured in the blaze, and for the friend who took him in.
“You will find bad people and good people everywhere,” he said. “I thank God that my family is safe.”
Two firefighters who sustained minor injuries were treated at hospital and released. No other injuries were reported.
Syrian refugees left homeless after fire destroys Mississauga home
The UN has been asked to push Ottawa to establish an independent body to oversee the Canada Border Service Agency’s handling of immigration detainees.
A group of prominent human and civil rights organizations has filed a joint submission to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on the eve of its periodic review of Canada’s domestic human rights conditions and records. The review, scheduled for early 2018, is conducted once every four years.
Despite progress made by the federal government in the past year in addressing some systemic issues with the detention system, the group said its treatment of immigration detainees, including children and individuals with mental health issues, continues to violate binding international law.
“In many cases, this treatment constitutes arbitrary detention, as well as cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment,” they said in their 18-page submission to the council on Thursday.
“There is no legislatively prescribed limit to the length of detention, and as such, detainees have no way to ascertain how long they will spend in detention. A needlessly punitive culture persists within the immigration detention system, and it is enabled by a series of systemic issues that must be addressed through legislative, regulatory, and policy amendments.”
Last year Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced that $138 million would be invested to “enhance alternatives to detention” and rebuild immigration holding facilities, after a series of deaths of detainees, including Francisco Javier Romero Astorga, a Chilean, at Maplehurst; Melkioro Gahungu, a Burundian, at Toronto East; and an unnamed 24-year-old man in Edmonton.
Earlier this year, a Star investigative series also documented how hundreds of migrants were trapped in lengthy detention in maximum security facilities.
The number of people in detention has dropped to 6,251 last year from 8,739 in 2012, with the number of children in detention falling to 162 from 232. The federal government has also restored heath-care coverage for refugees and provided new funding to improve mental and medical health services for immigration detainees.
“Canada’s renewed efforts to become a global leader as a multicultural safe haven for refugees and migrants should be applauded, but it needs to move quickly to address the serious human rights violations of some of the most vulnerable members of our society,” said Samer Muscati, director of the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Program, which led the joint submission to the UN.
“It’s time that Canada lives up to its human rights reputation by ending the needless detention of children and migrants with mental health conditions when alternatives already exist.”
While the criminal justice system has built-in mechanisms to safeguard inmates’ rights and treatment, Muscati said the immigration detention system has a much lower bar and individuals are detained for being flight risks, dangers to the public or having an undetermined identity.
“The legislative scheme is . . . not required by law to consider individuals’ mental health in decisions to detain individuals or continue their detention,” said the group submission.
“There is no effective and transparent monitoring of the conditions of confinement for detainees held in provincial jails, as independent monitors are often barred access to these facilities and their reports are not published.”
Although an independent tribunal conducts regular reviews of the continued detention, detainees’ mental health issues are seen as a cause for flight risk and danger to the public rather than a factor favouring release.
“The frequency of the detention review hearings is supposed to be a safeguard against indefinite detention, (but) with each decision to continue detention, it becomes more difficult to secure release,” said the report.
“Instead of reviewing previous decisions for potential mistakes, adjudicators take the findings of previous decisions at face value and only look for ‘clear and compelling reasons’ to depart from previous decisions.”
Border officials justify transferring immigration detainees from immigration detention centres to provincial jails for better access to mental health support, but the report said these inmates hardly receive any help.
“Detention causes psychological illness, trauma, depression, anxiety, aggression, and other physical, emotional and psychological consequences,” the report said.
“Uncertainty about the end date of detention is one of the most stressful aspects of the system, especially for those who cannot be removed from Canada due to legal or practical reasons that are out of their control.”
As a first step, the group said Canada should limit detention to 90 days and form an independent body or appoint an ombudsperson — akin to the federal Office of the Correctional Investigator — to oversee and investigate complaints against the border agency.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
‘Cruel, inhuman, and degrading’: Canada blasted for ‘needlessly punitive’ immigration detention system
WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump demanded that Congress deliver funding for his border wall and make dramatic changes to immigration policy in exchange for letting young people brought illegally to the U.S. as children stay in the country.
The administration’s proposal, outlined in a briefing by U.S. officials and sent to lawmakers on Sunday night, was swiftly rejected by top Democrats in Congress, who charged that the president had reneged on an agreement last month to allow about 800,000 so-called Dreamers to remain in the U.S.
Trump’s plan calls for fully funding his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, money to hire thousands of additional immigration agents and revamping the asylum system. Its principles are meant as the framework for a legislative reworking of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that Trump terminated in September with a six-month sunset to allow for congressional action.
“These findings outline reforms that must be included as part of any legislation addressing the status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients,” Trump said in a letter to Congressional leaders. “Without these reforms, illegal immigration and chain migration, which severely and unfairly burden American workers and taxpayers, will continue without end.”
Administration officials who briefed reporters on Sunday night described Trump’s principles — including an end to so-called chain migration, in which permanent residents and citizens can sponsor relatives for entry to the U.S. — as neither a veto threat against a DACA bill lacking the provisions nor an opening bid.
The move threatens to blow up prospects for a deal on immigration at a time when any policy change would require 60 votes in the Senate, where Republicans hold just 52 seats.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dined with Trump last month and said afterward that they had reached a tentative accord with the president to advance legislation to replace DACA and protect from deportation undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. On Sunday, the Democrats responded swiftly to Trump’s proposal.
“We told the president at our meeting that we were open to reasonable border security measures alongside the DREAM Act, but this list goes so far beyond what is reasonable,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a statement. “This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise.”
One of the administration officials who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity said Congress should include all of the provisions in legislation that codifies DACA, but declined to say if Trump would accept a bill that includes only some. The official declined to say which proposals were most critical, only asserting that the various policies worked in tandem.
White House legislative director Marc Short said a review of U.S. immigration laws ordered by Trump identified shortcomings in three major areas: the ability to promptly remove undocumented immigrants at the border; the enforcement of immigration standards inside the U.S., including visa overstays; and ending chain migration, which he described as unfair to taxpayers and citizens.
“The agencies’ bottom-up review identified several legislative priorities to fix these problems and modernize our immigration system,” Short said. “That includes fully funding and completing construction of the border wall and closing legal loopholes that prevent removals and swell the court backlog.”
The White House also outlined policies that would dramatically change the legal immigration system, including reducing the number of people allowed to settle in the U.S. each year. That’s expected to be part of the conversation with members of Congress, the officials said.
Trump met last week with a small group of conservative Republican lawmakers to discuss DACA legislation.
Some participants in the meeting, including Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, said Trump was willing to alter the agreement with Pelosi and Schumer by including changes to the legal immigration system. Perdue and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who also participated in the White House meeting, have written legislation to revamp U.S. immigration priorities and create what they call a “merit-based” system that would move away from chain migration and halve legal immigration over a decade.
The bill has attracted no other cosponsors, and its principles are opposed not only by Democrats but also many Republicans. But the two senators have sympathizers among Trump’s aides, and possibly in the president himself, for whom immigration was a major campaign issue.
Trump demands border wall funds, immigration changes
Mark Bittman is a big deal in the food world — he’s the filet mignon of food writers and thinkers in North America. He’s published thousands of recipes in the New York Times and is bestselling author of 20 books on food and cookbooks, including How to Cook Everything, which won all kinds of awards, including the Julia Child general cookbook award.
Bittman will be in Toronto Wednesday for a conversation about the “pleasure and politics of food” hosted by Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC), which was founded in 2012 to push for the development of community food centres nationwide.
He spoke with the Toronto Star about what’s top of mind as he prepares to cross the border — including the benefits of banning children under the age of 16 from buying soda and why you should be able to find carrots at the post office.
Why can what we put on our plates be considered political?
Food is a part of everything and everything relates to food. If you want to talk about how food can be political, you need look no further than the link between chronic disease and income.
How much of a role should governments play in responsible food policy and how much of it should be individual responsibility?
It’s got to be both, but not every individual can change the way they eat. We know that, especially when you’ve created an environment that encourages the consumption of terrible food, or “non food,” all the time, we need the government to step in and do some regulation.
What about kids, junk food and legislation?
I think you there should be a soda tax. It should be national and I think children should have to show ID to purchase soda without a parent. The drinking age for that soda should be 18, but 16 would be a not horrible compromise. You can’t have 8-year-olds buying soda without their parents knowing they’re doing it. It’s almost the equivalent of letting kids smoke.
You’ve been in the world of food policy and food development for a long time. What gives you hope for the future?
I am excited about the passage of a soda tax, first in Berkeley and then in five other jurisdictions in the U.S., Mexico and elsewhere. That’s a good start.
I am excited when food people talk about rights for labourers because I think it has been ignored for all too long. The role that farm workers and retail workers and fast-food workers, (and) restaurant workers have in bringing the rest of us food and by doing so at super low wages, the lowest wages of anyone in the United States at least. Eight out of the 10 worst-paying jobs are held by food-service people. By allowing those people to work for such pathetic wages, we are encouraging the deflationary spiral of food costs.
Food needs to be more expensive, it needs to be of higher quality and the people who bring it to us need to be paid more money.
If we raise the cost of food, how do we get it into the hands of the lowest income earners or people that don’t earn income?
I think we need to discourage the consumption of non-food or bad food, whatever you want to call junk food, and encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables. You do that by taxing the former and literally subsidizing the latter. If you have the intent of doing this, if you have a government that’s willing to do this, it’s not that hard to figure out how to get fruits and vegetables distributed widely in places where people of lower income or lower means live, or even everywhere.
We have libraries, we have post offices, both of which are underutilized compared to how they used to be. We have elementary schools, we have community colleges, we have public buildings everywhere. If those places were to be distribution centres for fruits and vegetables and other parts of a good diet, then people would be able to get them.
It’s all about intent. Is it within the means of the United States to put Puerto Rico back on its feet within weeks instead of months or years? Yes it is. It’s a question of political intent. Is it within our means to make sure that our citizens eat well? It’s a question of intent.
Your first question was what’s the intersection between food and politics? It’s the bottom line of all of these questions. Can we get young farmers on the land to grow better food? Yes we can. We need to want to do that as a society.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Renowned recipe writer Mark Bittman: Drinking pop is 'almost the equivalent of letting kids smoke'
ARLINGTON, TEXAS—Dallas owner Jerry Jones said the NFL can’t leave the impression it tolerates players disrespecting the flag and any Cowboys making such displays won’t play.
Jones had his strongest comments so far on the national anthem controversy Sunday night. They started with his response to a question about U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence leaving the game in Indianapolis after about a dozen San Francisco players knelt during the anthem.
“I know this, we cannot . . . in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” said Jones, also the team’s general manager, after a 35-31 loss to Green Bay.
“We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we’re clear.”
The Cowboys and Jones knelt arm-in-arm before the anthem when they played at Arizona two weeks ago, a few days after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized NFL players for anthem protests. All of them stood during the anthem, with arms still locked.
Mostly Dallas players have stood on the sideline, many with hands over their hearts, during the anthem since former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling last season in protest of police treatment of African-Americans.
Jones said he wasn’t aware of whether any of his players had raised a fist at the end of the anthem before the Green Bay game.
“I don’t know about that,” said Jones, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August. “But if there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play. OK? Understand? If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won’t play. Period.”
The 74-year-old Jones said showing respect for the flag and the anthem is more important to him than any potential issues of team unity.
“There is no room here if it comes between looking non-supportive of our players and of each other or creating the impression that you’re disrespecting the flag, we will be non-supportive of each other,” Jones said. “We will not disrespect the flag.”
Jones said a phone conversation with Trump after the display in Arizona included Trump telling him there was a rule on the books.
The NFL has said the game operations manual distributed to teams includes a reference to players standing for the anthem, but that it’s a policy and not a rule. The league has said it doesn’t plan to punish players over anthem protests.
“The league in mind should absolutely take the rules we’ve got on the books and make sure that we do not give the perception that we’re disrespecting the flag,” Jones said.
Dallas Cowboys owner says players won’t play if they are ‘disrespectful’ to U.S. flag
SAN FRANCISCO — Google for the first time has uncovered evidence that Russian operatives exploited the company’s platforms in an attempt to interfere in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the company’s investigation.
The Silicon Valley giant has found that tens of thousands of dollars were spent on ads by Russian agents who aimed to spread disinformation across Google’s many products, which include YouTube, as well as advertising associated with Google search, Gmail, and the company’s DoubleClick ad network, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters that have not been made public. Google runs the world’s largest online advertising business, and YouTube is the world’s largest online video site.
The discovery by Google is also significant because the ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated troll farm that bought ads on Facebook — a sign that the Russian effort to spread disinformation online may be a much broader problem than Silicon Valley companies have unearthed so far.
Google previously downplayed the problem of Russian meddling on its platforms. Last month, Google spokeswoman Andrea Faville told The Washington Post that the company is “always monitoring for abuse or violations of our policies and we’ve seen no evidence this type of ad campaign was run on our platforms.”
Nevertheless, Google launched an investigation into the matter, as Congress pressed technology companies to determine how Russian operatives used social media, online advertising, and other digital tools to influence the 2016 presidential contest and foment discord in U.S. society.
Google declined to provide a comment for this story. The people familiar with its investigation said that the company is looking at a set of ads that cost less than $100,000 and that it is still sorting out whether all of the ads came from trolls or whether some originated from legitimate Russian accounts.
To date, Google has mostly avoided the scrutiny that has fallen on its rival Facebook. The social network recently shared about 3,000 Russian-bought ads with congressional investigators that were purchased by operatives associated with the internet Research Agency, a Russian-government affiliated troll farm, the company has said.
Some of the ads, which cost a total of about $100,000, touted Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and the Green party candidate Jill Stein during the campaign, people familiar with those ads said. Other ads appear to have been aimed at fostering division in the United States by promoting anti-immigrant sentiment and racial animosity. Facebook has said those ads reached just 10 million of the 210 million U.S. users that log onto the service each month.
At least one outside researcher has said that the influence of Russian disinformation on Facebook is much greater than the company has so far acknowledged and encompasses paid ads as well as posts published on Facebook pages controlled by Russian agents. The posts were shared hundreds of millions of times, said Jonathan Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University.
In a blog post, Facebook wrote it is also looking at an additional 2,200 ads that may have not come from the internet Research Agency.
“We also looked for ads that might have originated in Russia — even those with very weak signals of a connection and not associated with any known organized effort,” the company wrote last month. “This was a broad search, including, for instance, ads bought from accounts with US IP addresses but with the language set to Russian — even though they didn’t necessarily violate any policy or law. In this part of our review, we found approximately $50,000 in potentially politically related ad spending on roughly 2,200 ads.”
Meanwhile, Twitter said that it shut down 201 accounts associated with the internet Research Agency. It also disclosed that the account for the news site RT, which the company linked to the Kremlin, spent $274,100 on its platform in 2016. Twitter has not said how many times the Russian disinformation was shared. The company is investigating that matter and trying to map the relationship between Russian accounts and well-known media personalities as well as influencers associated with the campaigns of Donald Trump and other candidates, said a person familiar with Twitter’s internal investigation. RT also has a sizable presence on YouTube.
Twitter declined to comment for this story.
Executives for Facebook and Twitter will testify before congressional investigators on Nov. 1. Google has not said whether it will accept a similar invitation to do so.
U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin intervened in the U.S. election to help Donald Trump win. But Silicon Valley companies have received little assistance from the intelligence community, people familiar with the companies’ probes said.
Google discovered the Russian presence on its platforms by siphoning data from another technology company, Twitter, the people familiar with Google’s investigation said. Twitter offers outsiders the ability to access a small amount of historical tweets for free, and charges developers for access to the entire Twitter firehose of data stemming back to 2006.
Google downloaded the data from Twitter and was able to link Russian Twitter accounts to other accounts that had used Google’s services to buy ads, the people said. This was done without the explicit co-operation of Twitter, the people said.
Google’s probe is still in its early stages, the people said. The number of ads posted and the number of times those ads were clicked on could not be learned. Google is continuing to examine its own records and is also sharing data with Facebook. Twitter and Google have not cooperated with one another in their investigations.
Google uncovers Russian-bought ads on YouTube, Gmail, other platforms
Two Toronto men who surrendered to police on Sunday night have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 29-year-old Abdulkadir Bihi.
Yahya Abdirahman Jama, 20, turned himself in at around 6 p.m. on Sunday, according to the Toronto Police Service. Zayd Q. Chaudhry, 19, surrendered about three hours later.
Toronto Police Det. Steve Henkel had previously told reporters that the two men “are considered to be armed and dangerous.”
Bihi was found inside a car that had crashed near Dixon Rd. and Islington Ave. W. in Etobicoke just before 3 p.m. on Thursday. He’d been shot several times.
Paramedics rushed him to hospital in critical condition, but he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
With files from Annie Arnone
Two murder suspects in Etobicoke shooting turn themselves in
The Dove brand sheepishly admitted that it had “missed the mark” with a not-so-vaguely racist advertisement that has made it the latest target of consumer rage.
But many angry and befuddled Dove lovers spent the weekend wondering what mark Dove was trying to hit in the first place.
The ire-inducing advertisement — a static compilation of four photos — was released Saturday afternoon. The first frame shows a dark-skinned woman in what appears to be a bathroom, a bottle of Dove body wash in the lower right-hand corner of the picture.
In subsequent frames, the woman reaches down and lifts up her shirt (and apparently the rest of her skin/costume) to reveal a smiling white woman.
Offended Dove users erupted and the company quickly apologized. But the two-sentence Twitter note and a slightly longer message on Facebook left it unclear what exactly the ad was trying to convey.
Unilever, Dove’s parent company, did not respond to Washington Post requests for comment.
The vacuum of information was filled by people on social media who peppered the company with comments and rhetorical questions, none of them good.
Was Dove saying that inside every Black woman is a smiling red-headed white woman? Was Dove invoking the centuries-old stereotype that black is dirty and white is pure? Or that black skin can or should be cleansed away?
And perhaps the biggest question of all: Did Dove really believe that the ad would make more people of colour want to buy its products?
“What exactly were yall going for?,” one self-described Dove consumer said on the company’s Facebook page. “What was the mark . . . I mean anyone with eyes can see how offensive this is. Not one person on your staff objected to this? Wow. Will not be buying your products anymore.”
Others wondered whether the problem was a lack of diversity at Dove. They pointed to historical examples of racist ads about soap so good that it apparently washes the melanin right out of your skin.
The marketing conundrum is, of course, not limited to the 60-year-old maker of soaps and body washes.
Earlier this year, the German skin-care company Nivea was dinged for a deodorant ad that declared “White Is Purity.”
As the Post’s Amy B. Wang wrote, there was a loud outcry from consumers, who called the ad campaign “horrendous” and a “#prnightmare.” A white supremacist group even posted on the company’s Facebook page: “We enthusiastically support this new direction your company is taking. I’m glad we can all agree that #WhiteIsPurity.”
Still, this weekend’s predicament was a curious one for Dove, a beauty company that has a 13-year-old marketing campaign centred on rejecting standard, racially insular notions of beauty in its commercials.
On its website, Dove touts the “Real Beauty Pledge,” a vow to feature “real women of different ages, sizes, ethnicities, hair color, type or style.”
It recently paid Shonda Rhimes to make mini films celebrating the theme. The producer and screenwriter has created several TV shows that feature minority women as lead characters.
In May, Rhimes produced a short film for Dove about the woman who started the “Fat Girls Dance” group.
“It’s incredible to watch these ladies go from scared fat girls to, you know, completely amazing warrior fat girls,” Cathleen Meredith says in the video. “I think the entire model of what beauty is needs to be thrown completely out and we need to start defining what beauty is for ourselves.”
Dove’s marketing campaign has been criticized by people who believe that feminism and women’s empowerment shouldn’t be used as marketing tools to persuade people to buy shower foam.
As Time wrote in 2013, “Beauty companies like Dove and Pantene capitalize on feminist messages to hawk you products they’ve convinced you you need.”
The article went on to say:
“One could argue that messages of gender equality are important enough that it doesn’t matter if they precede ad copy for a shampoo company. But that line of thinking conveniently misses the point, particularly when it’s beauty companies who are using feminism to sell products.
“Brands like Dove and Pantene have made millions by preying on women’s insecurities and convincing them they need to buy products to meet societal standards of beauty: sure, you’re beautiful just the way you are, but use our products and you can be even more beautiful.”
The ethics of feminism-centered marketing campaigns aside, Saturday’s ad was not the first time Dove’s users felt that it had missed the mark.
In May, Dove released six limited-edition bottles of body wash in British markets — some squat and curvy, some tall and lean — that were meant to represent variations of the female form. It advertised the bottles using the phrase “beauty breaks the mould.”
As Jess Zimmerman wrote in the Post, most consumers found the bottles, well, dumb:
“Dove’s new packaging raises a number of questions: Do all the bottles have the same amount of product?” she wrote. “Are you supposed to buy the one that looks like you? Are you allowed to buy the ones that don’t look like you? Are we gearing up for a Divergent-style dystopia in which society is divided according to soap format?”
And Zimmerman expressed the same confusion that irate Dove users had this weekend.
“But the most important question is: What, exactly, is the point supposed to be?”
Dove sparks backlash with ad slammed as ‘offensive’
OTTAWA—Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has been under pressure to rein in runaway home prices, but a study by the national housing agency suggests the prime minister will struggle to exert control over the real estate market in Canada’s largest city.
Conventional economic factors including population, incomes and borrowing costs accounted for less than half of the 40-per-cent surge in Toronto home prices between 2010 and 2016, according to a Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. (CMHC) study obtained by Bloomberg through a freedom of information request.
Supply constraints, and to a lesser extent speculation and investment, accounted for most of the rest of the gains, although a lack of high-quality data about the availability of land made firm conclusions hard to draw.
The report details the “puzzling” dynamics of the Toronto market and suggests factors other than demand are driving prices higher, leaving Trudeau few options to ease the affordability crisis. It may also mean more needs to be done to promote supply and curb speculation, issues more readily dealt with at the municipal level.
“While price increases in Vancouver have largely been supported by economic fundamentals, a more puzzling result points to the state of the Toronto market, where fundamentals haven’t been as strong,” CMHC analysts said in the 134-page study prepared for Families Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.
Duclos commissioned the review in June 2016 and has sought further updates for a final version expected soon that will help shape a new national housing strategy, his spokesperson Mathieu Filion said by email. “This is an important report as Minister Duclos has said on many occasions that we are missing important data on housing and all good policies need to be developed with valid data,” Filion said.
Trudeau, who has repeatedly pointed to an affordability crisis in Toronto and Vancouver, gave Duclos marching orders to look into how to fix the problem. The minister’s role will include “undertaking a review of escalating home prices in high-priced housing markets and considering all policy tools that could keep home ownership within reach for more Canadians,” according to Duclos’ mandate letter from the prime minister.
The report backs up Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz’s view that interest rates aren’t the best tool for dealing with potential housing bubbles. CMHC found about three-quarters of Vancouver’s price gains were tied to fundamentals, versus 40 per cent in Toronto, suggesting the latter city is an isolated trouble spot, another argument against using monetary policy, which has widespread effects, to bring prices down.
Wealth and income inequality are likely important drivers for the large price moves in higher-priced detached homes, the report said, because industries that cluster in big cities and offer high-paying jobs can feed the prices for the more expensive properties.
The supply side also offered important clues. The stock of housing in Toronto and Vancouver was much less responsive, or what economists call elastic, to rising prices, the report said. “Supply challenges including land supply and zoning regulation emerge as factors that contribute particularly to high priced markets.’’
There are also few signs that builders are in a genuine struggle to keep pace with rising demand, which would typically lead to a surge in provincial construction wage rates.
Another possible driver of rising single-family home prices may be that geographical constraints have driven up land prices, encouraging builders to switch development to higher-density options such as condominiums.
CMHC cautioned against making firm conclusions in some of these areas because of a lack of reliable data around trends such as foreign ownership. Most of the report’s conclusions and recommendations were redacted under provisions in the access to information law that exempts advice to ministers. However, the end result is that governments are left with uncomfortable choices, the agency found.
The early draft sent to Duclos in December was released for an academic peer review that’s still underway, CMHC spokesperson Jonathan Rotondo said by phone. The Ottawa-based agency insured $496 billion of residential loans as of June 30.
Toronto home prices are already declining by the most since 2000 after the provincial government introduced a foreign buyer tax in April. Benchmark prices are down 8 per cent since May. Even with that slide, they’ve doubled since 2009.
The International Monetary Fund and UBS Group AG, among others, have warned about the risks posed by Toronto’s overvalued real estate market and the dangers of speculation.
“No one simple measure emerges as an obvious candidate for addressing the challenges posed by high-priced markets,” CMHC said in the report.
‘Puzzling’ Toronto real estate market could frustrate push for price fix, CMHC says
A man is dead and two others are injured after a shooting in an Etobicoke school parking lot on Sunday night.
The shooting in the parking lot of Kingsview Village Junior School, near Islington Ave. and Dixon Rd, is the second the area has seen in the last four days.
Abdulkadir Bihi, 29, was found with gunshot wounds in a car near Dixon Rd. and Islington Ave. in the early afternoon on Thursday.
Police said it isn’t clear whether both shootings are linked.
“It’s too early to determine whether there was any connection at this point,” said Det. Steve Matthews at a press conference Monday morning.
Toronto police were called to Islington Ave. and Dixon Rd., near Kingsview Village Junior School, at around 11:40 p.m. on Sunday after witnesses reported hearing gunshots.
When police arrived, they found an unconscious man who’d been shot once. He was rushed to hospital in critical condition and later died of his injuries, Det. Steve Matthews said.
Two other men found just south of the school on Wincott Dr. with less severe injuries were taken to hospital.
The three victims were in their 20s, paramedics said.
Matthews did not give the dead man’s name to reporters on Monday morning, saying that his family had not been notified.
No one has been charged in Sunday night’s shooting.
But two men wanted for allegedly killing Bihi surrendered to police on Sunday night and have since been charged with first-degree murder.
The man killed on Sunday night is Toronto’s 49th homicide of 2017.
Man shot dead in Etobicoke days after fatal shooting in the same area
LEAMINGTON, ONT.—On Friday evening, in the heart of this farming city, the workers arrive by bicycle and private bus.
Hundreds of labourers crowd the sidewalks, restaurants and shops on this municipality 50 kilometres southeast of Windsor, famous for its greenhouses and tomatoes.
It’s payday and at almost every turn the old city core is alive with bodies and chatter.
But these farm labourers are speaking Spanish and Patois.
Like many of Ontario’s downtowns, Leamington’s has seen better days. But the thousands of low-wage temporary farm workers from Mexico and the Caribbean, the work they provide and the money they spend here — Mayor John Paterson figures $15 million a year — has transformed the local economy.
Where Theresa’s Fashion once was is now Chica Linda, catering to workers looking to buy clothes to send home to family. Across the road, Mr. 2 Pizzas is now Crazy Chicken, where the menu is available in Spanish and features a cartoon sombrero-wearing bird rocking maracas, its fridge stocked with bottles of Mexican Jarritos soft drinks. Gino’s Restaurant and Wine Bar next door is now La Hacienda, a Mexican restaurant. Clubs offer salsa music and buckets of Corona and Caribbean vibe.
For the unfamiliar, it is jaw-dropping to behold. Yet transformation, like any change, can be simultaneously embraced, tolerated and loathed.
While these migrant workers and their effects on the community are particularly obvious in Leamington, the racial tension between them and the locals is far from unique in a rural Canada increasingly reliant on the labour provided by the migrant worker program.
This is the story of one migrant worker town and how people are learning to get along. Mostly.
Dubbed the “Greenhouse Capital of North America,” Leamington is located on the 42nd parallel — the same latitude as northern California — and draws its agricultural strength from the amount of sunshine it gets and the fertile soil it’s blessed with.
Everyday, some 200 tractor-trailers leave this municipality to deliver fresh produce — from its famous tomatoes to peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms and flowers — to destinations around the world.
Initially called Gainesville, the community was built by immigrants: first, the Scottish, German and Dutch, followed in the postwar era by Italians, Portuguese and Lebanese.
A shortage of labour has always been an issue for Leamington, as far back as Paterson, 63, who was born and grew up here, can remember.
But what distinguishes the earlier waves of migrants from those coming now is that the former came as permanent residents, while the majority nowadays are guest workers — mostly lonely men separated from their families, with temporary status only.
More than 10 per cent of the 54,000 average migrant farm workers to Canada work in Leamington, accounting for one-sixth of the town’s population during the farming season.
The number of migrant farm workers in Leamington has surged in the last decade, mostly because of the exponential growth of the greenhouse operations here. Today, the town has more than 1,500 acres of greenhouses, with another 200 acres waiting for municipal approvals.
South of Hwy. 401, along Hwy. 77 are row after row of greenhouses, with new ones under construction. With a $60 million gas line completed earlier this year, the town hopes to finish its $80 million hydro line next June, along with a $7 million water system and a $40 million sewage system in order to meet the needs of more greenhouses in the next five years. Medical cannabis production companies are knocking on its doors.
Everywhere you go, you see hiring signs for general labour, pickers and packing staff at greenhouses. The jobs promise a minimum 48 hours of work a week.
“We don’t have enough people in Ontario that are willing to do that kind of labour or those kind of hours for that kind of pay,” said Paterson.
“I don’t think the greenhouse industry would exist if it wasn’t for the farm worker program. There just wouldn’t be the manpower to make it happen. The program is of ultimate importance.”
Leamington’s small businesses suffered from the price wars with the local Walmart when it opened in 1999 and were dealt another blow in 2008 during the economic meltdown when residents lost their auto manufacturing jobs at Windsor and Detroit and were forced to live on shoestring budgets.
Then Heinz, the town’s biggest employer, shut its processing plant in 2014, throwing more than 700 out of work. A reboot of the plant under new owners softened the blow, although its workers make less money.
Downtown shops sputtered, and then shuttered.
“You need to repair your shoes, and you could go to Walmart and get a new pair for $10,” said Sam Najim, whose family came from Lebanon decades ago, as Caribbean migrant patrons streamed into his Crazy Moe’s Café Bar on a recent Saturday night.
Farms were able to continue to operate because of migrant workers’ labour, allowing locals to keep their higher-class jobs in management, sale and procurements, he said.
“Everybody benefits. They work hard and we need to give them the respect,” said Najim, 29, whose girlfriend is Mexican, as music blasted out on an otherwise quiet street with few passersby. “We are a small Toronto. We are a melting pot.”
Which sometimes bubbles over.
In Leamington, locals avoid shopping on Wednesdays and Fridays, pay days for the workers, and Sundays, when workers get time off and crowd stores.
People “congregating” in public spaces has made some people, unused to seeing such a thing, jittery. Hot issues at city hall include loitering and what to do about all the bicycles in a place with no transit, no bike lanes and few bike racks.
The inability to build bunkhouses fast enough to meet the growing numbers of workers means some are housed in residential areas, turning old homes into, essentially, rooming houses.
Add to that the temporary nature of the workers — nearly all are unable to ever become permanent residents — and the fact that all of them are racialized, mostly male, from unfamiliar cultures and away from their families for long stretches of time.
“You take your regular population of about 30,000 and add in 5,000 to 7,000 of temporary residents. You have your language barriers,” said Paterson. “You have your cultural barriers, and even space barriers that create challenges for all of us to deal with.”
The mayor himself has weathered controversies over comments he’s made about multiculturalism and the behaviour of what he believed to be Jamaican migrant workers who, in 2013, made “lewd” comments to his daughter “in reference to her body parts.” He told a police board meeting back then that some Jamaican workers were making inappropriate comments to women in general.
In response, Justicia for Migrant Workers sent a sharply worded open letter to the mayor, saying “the open hostility that your council has shown towards migrant workers represents the most blatant displays of anti-migrant sentiments we have ever witnessed.”
The group said his “remarks pertaining to ‘lewd behaviour’ of migrant workers cannot be taken in good faith. Instead of dealing with sexual harassment on an individual basis, you skip right to racialized stereotypes; drawing from some of the worst parts of Canadian history.”
The advocacy group cited worker complaints that racism and sexism continue to be part of their daily lives in Leamington. “It does not escape us,” the letter read, “that the community of Leamington once supported ‘sundown laws’ which made it illegal for Black Canadians to walk freely in the community after sunset.”
Jamaica, a beneficiary of worker remittances, flew in government officials to do damage control, according to media reports in late 2013. “They’ve assured us they will do and want to do anything to help us,” Paterson was quoted as saying at the time by the Windsor Star.
Federal temporary foreign worker data shows the number of positions approved for Jamaican workers has declined from 12,034 in 2013, to 9,929 in 2016, while, overall, the demand for farm workers has increased.
Some in Leamington say they’ve noticed fewer Jamaican workers in recent years, and more Mexicans, reflecting a national trend. Mexico is the number one source country for migrant workers.
On a sun-drenched Sunday afternoon, steps away from a giant tomato where Leamington tourism staff disseminate brochures and free national park passes, Chris Ramsaroop passes out flyers to migrant workers to educate them about their workers’ rights in Canada.
Ramsaroop has been doing advocacy work in Leamington for Justicia for Migrant Workers for more than a decade and says interactions between locals and migrants here are based on stereotypes and discrimination.
“The only thing they want are their hands and their bodies to make a profit,” said Ramsaroop.
The latest battleground, says Ramsaroop, is over loitering.
Paterson, the mayor, says the community had to deal with cultural tensions with earlier waves of immigrants, who were primarily Europeans.
“Their culture was to gather on the streets and stand around and occupy space and talk and socialize. Eventually they melted into the community. We all assimilated, for the lack of a better word. That issue just dissipated,” he said.
“Now, with the temporary agricultural workers that are here, that is more different. They don’t really have homes to go back to. They have bunkhouses and rooming areas to go to once they have done their socializing. That’s what the current problem is. People see the number of them congregating. Some people get nervous.”
Locals who spoke to the Star shared observations and comments similar to the mayor’s.
Leon Ferguson, a worker from Jamaica, said pay days and weekends are the only time the farm workers get a relief from their backbreaking jobs.
“The bunkers are very boring. There are too many guys in the bunkers, and no entertainment. It is where you sleep,” said the 40-year-old, who joined the government’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) in 2015.
“Guys need to go to town, clubbing or have a beer. That’s why we work so hard. They need to socialize with other people. Some of these guys have been here eight, 10 and 14 years. They don’t socialize, just work. They need to know what Canada is about.”
Dave Bretzlaff, a pastor at the South Point Community Church just outside downtown Leamington, has noticed the cultural disconnect between Canadians and the workers. That’s why he and his congregation try to build bridges with the migrant community through their services and social events such as a recent barbecue.
He said a lot of people in Leamington may not appreciate how hard life is for migrant workers being away from their families and living in isolation in rural Canada, especially among those who don’t speak English.
“We need to find a way to empower them while they are here,” said Bretzlaff. “If you keep uprooting, nothing is going to grow in a healthy way.”
Joan Golding, a member of the congregation and a Jamaican-Canadian, founded a support group for Caribbean workers called Unity Hopeful, which provides clothing and information on Canadian culture. She organizes feasts and celebrations around Jamaican Independence Day.
“They’re coming into a country where they don’t know anyone, they’re very lonely, in many ways,” said Golding, after prepping a meal of jerk chicken and rice for workers on a farm outside Leamington. “We just put this program on to make them feel at home away from home, just to let them know that we do care that they’re here to do this job.”
She says some people are accepting of the workers, and some aren’t.
“These workers come here and they work hard, extremely hard,” said Golding. “And we should be there for them to support them in whatever way we can because the work they are doing, a lot of us don’t want to do it.”
It’s dusk on a Friday evening in August in downtown Leamington, and people, mostly migrant workers, are walking — and talking — freely.
Set up at the corner of Talbot and Erie Sts. are preachers and missionaries, including Sebastian Aguirre, 34, a Jehovah’s Witness from Windsor who also works in Leamington for Abell Pest Control, checking migrant worker bunkhouses and greenhouses for any signs of vermin and pests. He also works closely with a locally-based Mexican Consulate, which hands out awards to top greenhouse employers.
Originally from Argentina and fluent in Spanish, Aguirre moved to the area a year and a half ago with his wife, after spending most of his life in Toronto. What he saw in Leamington was a pleasant surprise, but difficult to describe.
“It’s a very weird place,” he said. “I thought I was back at home (in Argentina). I can speak Spanish, order food in Spanish. I never thought this place existed in Ontario. I feel like I’m in Latin America, to be honest with you.”
Aguirre said he sees little interaction between locals and the workers, but “I feel there’s a sense of gratitude because they’re here, because, realistically, the Canadian culture, they won’t do this kind of work.”
When workers open up to him, he hears of the difficulties of being away from family. “When I go into bunkhouses, you can just see a room plastered with pictures of their family,” he said. “Some are here for three months and they find it so hard to be away from the family that they actually cut the contract and they go back home.”
Another problem, he says, is that there’s very little for the workers to do in Leamington, aside from a small movie theatre and a bowling alley, which requires a car to get to. Unwinding downtown, or “congregating” as some see it, is only natural, says Aguirre.
“If you look at the conditions these people work in, they’re in the greenhouses for 16 hours and add to the working conditions — the heat — it’s pretty tough,” said Aguirre. “So when I see them here, it’s kind of like their time to detox, have a taco and just chill with the guys.”
At El Aguila (“The Eagle”), a convenience store, the shelves are filled with imported food and spices from Latin America including La Morena brand mayonnaise with lime and chipotle, tough to find elsewhere.
“The workers miss their food at home,” said owner Efrain Sanchez, who first came to Leamington 17 years ago from Mexico under the SAWP. He opened the store in 2015 after he was promoted by his employer to management and became one of a few migrant farm workers who qualified to apply for permanent residence.
Like other ethnic businesses, El Aguila offers money transfer services and is jammed on pay days by workers sending money to their families back home.
“Winter is quiet when all the workers go home. We have very few Canadian customers here,” said Sanchez.
Vicki Bowden, one of the few Leamington natives strolling downtown one Saturday afternoon, says there was a time when some locals would cross the road to avoid walking past ethnic stores because they felt intimidated by the migrants gathering on the street. Now, those same locals are shopping in those stores, she said.
“This is the norm now. The odd man out is the blue-eyed, blond-hair boy. You get along or be miserable,” said Bowden, who works as a supervisor at a local farm and sometimes offers English classes to her migrant colleagues at her home.
She said there were serious problems when the migrant workers first started coming and “there’s a really, really long way to go, but it’s been a big change, which is nice …
“There still needs to be more acceptance of each other,” said Bowden, because the workers are vital. “Without them, Leamington would be a ghost town. That is what’s keeping this town going.”
At Gaspard’s Café, near the Pelee Island ferry terminal, Joe Gaspard, who opened the café in the 1970s, is a picture postcard of what built Canada.
Born in Beirut, Gaspard had an uncle who spent $10,000 to sponsor him to come to Leamington in 1948. He was 17, and worked first on farms and then as a butcher before finding jobs at the Chrysler and Ford plants.
“People back home said you could make money so fast in Canada that you could get rich overnight,” said the soft-spoken 86-year-old, leaning on a table at the café.
Of course, the reality was somewhat different. Life wasn’t easy at the beginning because of a language barrier. But jobs were plentiful.
Now retired, Gaspard lives above the restaurant, which is run by his four daughters, with the occasional help from his grandchildren.
In Leamington, there are jobs everywhere, he says. “If you want to work, and work hard, you can make money.”
But when it comes to the farms and greenhouse, he said, “migrant workers get the work done.”
Living in Leamington
Population: 32,991Land area: 31.7 sq. kmPeople from 15 to 64 years: 20,200 or 61.2%People over 65: 7,195 or 21.8%Average age of population: 42.9Total visible minority population: 10.3%Latin American: 4.9%Arab: 2.1%Southeast Asian: 1%Black: 0.9%White: 88.6%Source: 2016 Canada Census
Leamington is at the frontlines of the boom in migrant workers. Here’s how it’s changedLeamington is at the frontlines of the boom in migrant workers. Here’s how it’s changedLeamington is at the frontlines of the boom in migrant workers. Here’s how it’s changedLeamington is at the frontlines of the boom in migrant workers. Here’s how it’s changed
HAZARD, KY.—The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that he will sign a new rule overriding the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era effort to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
“The war on coal is over,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared in the coal mining state of Kentucky. He said no federal agency “should ever use its authority” to “declare war on any sector of our economy.”
For Pruitt, getting rid of the Clean Power Plan will mark the culmination of a long fight he began as the elected attorney general of Oklahoma. Pruitt was among about two-dozen attorney generals who sued to stop president Barack Obama’s 2014 push to limit carbon emissions, stymieing the limits from ever taking effect.
Closely aligned with the oil and gas industry in his home state, Pruitt rejects the consensus of scientists that man-man emissions from burning fossil fuels are the primary driver of global climate change.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who appointed Pruitt and shares his skepticism of established climate science, promised to kill the Clean Power Plan during the 2016 campaign as part of his broader pledge to revive the nation’s struggling coal mines.
In his order Tuesday, Pruitt is expected to declare that the Obama-era rule exceeded federal law by setting emissions standards that power plants could not reasonably meet.
It was not immediately clear if Pruitt would seek to issue a new rule without congressional approval, which Republicans had criticized the Obama administration for doing. Pruitt’s rule wouldn’t become final for months, and is then highly likely to face legal challenges filed by left-leaning states and environmental groups.
Pruitt appeared at an event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at Whayne Supply, a Hazard, Kentucky, company that sells coal mining supplies. The store’s owners have been forced to lay off about 60 per cent of its workers in recent years.
While cheering the demise of the Clean Power Plan as a way to stop the bleeding, McConnell conceded most of those lost jobs are never coming back.
“A lot of damage has been done,” said McConnell, a Kentucky Republican. “This doesn’t immediately bring everything back, but we think it stops further decline of coal fired plants in the United States and that means there will still be some market here.”
Obama’s plan was designed to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to 32 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The rule dictated specific emission targets for states based on power-plant emissions and gave officials broad latitude to decide how to achieve reductions.
The Supreme Court put the plan on hold last year following legal challenges by industry and coal-friendly states. Even so, the plan helped drive a recent wave of retirements of coal-fired plants, which are also being squeezed by low cost natural gas and renewable power. In the absence of stricter federal regulations curbing greenhouse gas emissions, many states have issued their own mandates promoting energy conservation.
The withdrawal of the Clean Power Plan is the latest in a series of moves by Trump and Pruitt to dismantle Obama’s legacy on fighting climate change, including the delay or roll back of rules limiting levels of toxic pollution in smokestack emissions and wastewater discharges from coal-burning power plants.
On Thursday, Trump nominated former coal-industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to serve as Pruitt’s top deputy at EPA — one of several recent political appointees at the agency with direct ties to the fossil fuel interests.
The president announced earlier this year that he will pull the United States out of the landmark Paris climate agreement. Nearly 200 countries have committed to combat global warming by reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
“This president has tremendous courage,” Pruitt said Monday. “He put America first and said to the rest of the world we are going to say no and exit the Paris Accord. That was the right thing to do.”
Despite the rhetoric about saving coal, government statistics show that coal mines currently employ only about 52,000 workers nationally — a modest 4-per cent uptick since Trump became president. Those numbers are dwarfed by the jobs created by building such clean power infrastructure as wind turbines and solar arrays.
Environmental groups and public health advocates quickly derided Pruitt’s decision as short sighted.
“Trump is not just ignoring the deadly cost of pollution, he’s ignoring the clean energy deployment that is rapidly creating jobs across the country,” said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club.
Trump administration to abandon Obama-era clean power plan, EPA chief says
Of the three historic milestones that Jagmeet Singh represents — the first non-white, first South Asian and first Sikh to become leader of a national party — it is his faith, to which he so visibly and proudly belongs, that is of the utmost symbolic and substantive significance.
A century after facing raw racism on their arrival in British Columbia, Sikhs have emerged a bigger political force than any other visible minority group. Theirs has been a long and arduous journey that, at long last, constitutes a great Canadian story.
In electing Singh as leader, the New Democratic Party atones for the sins of its precursor, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, which demonized the Sikhs from India — often mislabeled as Hindus — landing on the west coast in the early 1900s. CCF leader J.S. Woodsworth proclaimed that they were “decidedly grotesque” and “sadly out of place in Canada.”
Echoing him was the labour movement, the other founding pillar of the future NDP. In 1907, the Vancouver Trades and Labour Council passed a motion of “emphatic protest” against the “Hindoo laborers.” The Trades and Labour Council of Canada urged exclusion of “races that cannot be assimilated.”
Reflecting prevailing prejudices, the Vancouver press portrayed the new arrivals as a danger to chaste “white women.”
The B.C. legislature in 1907 disenfranchised all “natives of India not of Anglo-Saxon parents,” and barred them from logging on Crown lands as well as entering the legal and medical professions.
Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier wrote: “The situation with regard to the Hindoos is serious ... and, to speak frankly, I see no solution for it except quietly checking the exodus from India.” His labour minister and future prime minister, Mackenzie King, said, “the Hindu is not suited to the climate of this country.”
In 1908, Ottawa enacted the infamous “continuous journey” law. Those from India would have to travel non-stop to Canada. Except that no shipping line offered direct passage. Which was the point. Other rules disallowed those not speaking a European language, and barred the re-entry of those who had gone home to visit wives and family.
By 1911, the mostly Sikh Indian population in Canada was reduced by half to 2,342.
The first real challenge to these racist policies came from an unexpected quarter. On May 23, 1914, Komagata Maru, a Japanese freighter chartered by Gurdit Singh, an enterprising Sikh from Malaya, anchored in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet. It carried 376 citizens of the British Raj, 340 of them Sikhs.
“Hindu invaders now in the city harbour on Komagata Maru,” screamed a Vancouver newspaper.
The passengers were not allowed to disembark for two months. Prime Minister Robert Borden had the ship escorted out to the Pacific Ocean.
It was not until 72 years later, in May last year, that Ottawa issued a formal apology. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons: “No words can fully erase the suffering of the Komagata Maru victims. Today, we apologize and commit to doing better.” Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp, featuring the ship and Gurdit Singh. This year, Stratford Festival mounted a new adaptation of the 1976 Sharon Pollock play, The Komagata Maru Incident. Peel Art Gallery and Museum mounted an exhibition in Brampton, where Punjabi is now the second-most spoken language and which Jagmeet Singh has represented in the Ontario Legislature since 2011.
Contemporary influx of Sikhs to Canada began in the 1970s, along with other groups from Asia under liberalized immigration.
That was the time when Sikhs in India were agitating for a separate homeland, Khalistan, the land of the pure. From a relatively peaceful, political protest movement it evolved into a militant campaign, with its leader and armed followers taking refuge in the Golden Temple, the Sikh’s holiest shrine, in Amritsar, in 1982. In 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered the Indian army in.
A reported 1,500 were killed in that military operation. In retaliation, Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards as she came out of her residence in Delhi. That triggered retaliatory attacks on Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere, killing an estimated 3,000.
In 1985, an Air India flight out of Toronto was blown up by an on-board bomb, off the coast of Ireland, killing 329 people — the worst terrorist incident in Canadian history. Suspicion fell on a group of West Coast Sikhs, but only one, Inderjit Singh Reyat, was convicted (and paroled last year). All the facts were never established due to a prolonged, botched RCMP investigation and despite two federal inquiries.
All this has remained a sore point with India — and also many Canadian Hindus. Both tend to see Sikh critics of India as radical “Khalistanis.”
In 1987, on a foggy July morning, 174 Sikhs were found standing on a highway in Shelburne County, N.S. They had been let off near the shore by a boat. One asked where he could find a taxi to Toronto. Eventually, they were accepted as refugees, as were thousands of other Sikhs.
In Canada, Sikhs continued battling numerous challenges to their right to wear the turban and kirpan, the ceremonial dagger. In 1989, more than 90,000 Canadians signed a petition opposing turbans in the RCMP. The Reform Party, led by Preston Manning, fully backed that campaign. It was not until 1990 that Baltej Singh Dhillon became the first turbaned Mountie.
Buffeted by overseas and domestic developments, Sikhs started organizing the community. They were soon contesting federal and provincial nominations with vigour. That prompted right-wing media and pundits to repeatedly raise the spectre of “ethnic politics,” with nary a mention of why it has always been laudable for other Canadians to recruit friends, fellow farmers, bankers or any other like-minded group for a political cause but not for the Sikhs.
The 1993 federal election turned out to be a mini-milestone — Sikhs had more seats in the Commons than the Conservatives, three to two.
Gurbax Singh Malhi of Malton became the first turbaned Sikh member of Parliament — in fact, the first in the Western world. During question period in the Commons, he was seated in camera range right behind Jean Chrétien his blazing red turban announcing the emerging new Canada.
Non-turbaned Sikhs also gained national prominence — among them, Herbance Singh (Herb) Dhaliwal, a federal minister, and Ujjal Singh Dosanjh, NDP premier of B.C. who later became a Liberal and was named to the federal cabinet.
Sikh success in Canadian politics and the public sphere since has been remarkable.
Their annual community event, the Khalsa Day is celebrated in every major city. It has become de rigueur for political leaders from the Prime Minister on down to be present. Politicians of all parties routinely visit gurdwaras, Sikh temples, where they take off their shoes, cover their heads as per custom and sit on the floor in separate men’s and women’s sections, and later volunteer at the langar, the dining hall where people take turns serving free food to one and all.
Today, of the 41 elected South Asian members of Parliament and the provincial legislatures, 30 are Sikhs. And last year, Sabi Marwah, the first turbaned Sikh vice-chairman and chief operating officer of the Bank of Nova Scotia, was appointed to the Senate.
When Justin Trudeau named four Sikhs to his cabinet — Navdeep Bains, Bardish Chagger, Harjit Sajjan and Amarjeet Sohi — the prime minister boasted that he had more Sikh ministers than the federal cabinet in India.
That ill-advised remark rankled New Delhi, which has also kept a wary eye on several Canadian Sikhs, including Jagmeet Singh. He has been a vocal critic of India’s handling of the 1984 Sikh killings. He has said that the euphemism “riots” is “a misnomer for what happened. These were not riots between the two (communities — Hindus and Sikhs). It was a state-sponsored massacre.”
In 2014, he was denied a visa to India, with Indian spokesmen accusing him of “fomenting contempt” against India. He responded that India “continues to use visa denial as a form of silencing its critics.”
In April this year, he voted for a motion passed at the Ontario Legislature describing the 1984 killings as “genocide.”
Singh’s rise to the leadership of the NDP clearly changes the Canadian political calculus.
Sikhs used to vote overwhelmingly for the Liberals. The Conservatives have made inroads in recent years. The NDP less so, partly because Sikhs tend to be socially conservative, as seen in their objections to the changes in sex education curriculum in Ontario schools, something that Singh initially opposed.
But with his new national status, “there’ll be much interest in the NDP among the Sikhs, in a big way, especially in Brampton and Mississauga, and out west in Surrey and Delta in B.C., and in Edmonton,” says Harinder Takhar, MPP for Mississauga-Erindale.
Takhar ran for the leadership of provincial Liberal party in 2013, losing to Kathleen Wynne. To delegates at that convention, he made a poignant personal observation: one of his greatest regrets was to have cut his hair and beard in the 1970s to get a job — “I ended up losing a part of myself.”
He sees the rise of Jagmeet Singh, the unapologetic observant Sikh, as “a great leap forward in multicultural Canada.”
In an interview, Takhar said that Singh’s ascendance has “serious ramifications for all parties at both the federal and provincial level” — beyond the voting patterns in the Sikh community, now estimated at 750,000 across Canada.
“His greater impact would be on policy,” given his social justice agenda.
Singh, a frequent victim of racial profiling — he says he has been pulled over 11 times by police — has long campaigned against carding.
In the post-9/11 period, he has felt the lash of being mistaken as a Muslim. He has been firm in defending the right of Muslim women to wear the hijab and the niqab, even if the latter stance has rankled some Quebecers. Lately, he has tried to finesse the issue by saying that he respects Quebec’s jurisdiction but that he thinks the courts would overturn a ban on the niqab, anyway.
His bigger hope is to convince Quebecers to consider what’s in his head, not what’s on it.
It remains to be seen whether he’d be allowed to enter the Quebec National Assembly with his turban and dagger. And whether India would deny him entry to the land of his parents’ and his people’s birth.
Jagmeet Singh’s success closes some chapters of Canada’s checkered history in dealing with diversity. And it opens several others, with national and international implications.
Alok Mukherjee, former chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, and Haroon Siddiqui, former columnist and editorial page editor emeritus of the Toronto Star, are distinguished visiting professors at Ryerson University.
Pariahs to power brokers: Sikhs have become a major political force in Canada
LIDCOMBE, AUSTRALIA—Three decades before Oprah Winfrey ignited a fashion firestorm by promoting the fleecy footwear known as Uggs, a surfer named Corky Carroll packed a pair of something very similar for what would turn out to be a fateful journey.
Carroll, a famous surfer in the 1960s and ’70s, discovered the boots while hitting the waves in Australia, where locals used them to keep their feet warm on cold days at the beach. Carroll brought a pair back with him to California, he said, then asked a friend to send him a hundred to sell on consignment after other surfers began admiring them.
“I have always loved them, very comfortable and warm,” Carroll, who still owns a pair, said in an email from his home in Mexico. “Also easy to get on and off.”
Carroll’s account is now part of a court dispute that is raising hackles in Australia over footwear that has sometimes been derided as unflattering and just plain ugly. Though Australian by pedigree, the Uggs brand name in the United States is owned by a company based in California — and that firm is suing an Australian shoemaker for using it.
Australians — up to and including Malcolm Turnbull, the prime minister — say Uggs should simply be uggs. In a letter dated in July, Turnbull said he had asked the Australian Embassy in Washington to get information from the U.S. government about the dispute and to “reiterate Australia’s view that ‘ugg’ is a generic term.”
The argument may be tough to make in the United States, legal experts say. While uggs may be generic in Australia, Uggs are not in the United States.
“Trademark law tends to be very parochial when it comes to this sort of thing,” Barton Beebe, a professor of intellectual property law at New York University, said in an email. “It only cares about the perception of the relevant consumer population, and in the U.S., the relevant population was not likely and probably still isn’t likely influenced by Australian English.”
Uggs — the generic kind — might seem like an odd place for Australia to plant its cultural flag. But it comes as some in Australia fume about people outside the country appropriating Australian names and ideas. Winfrey, Kate Moss and Sarah Jessica Parker may have helped make the footwear famous around the world, but many Australians want to call Uggs their own.
“If the French can protect ‘Champagne’, the Portuguese ‘Port’, the Spanish ‘Sherry’ and the Greeks ‘Feta’,” Nick Xenophon, an Australian senator, said in a recent statement, alluding to the brand protections that some famous names enjoy, “then surely Australia can protect the word ‘Ugg.’ ” (Xenophon on Friday said he would resign as a senator.)
Uggs came and went from public view in the United States since they were trademarked there, but they won a big boost from Winfrey, the talk-show host, who came out as a fan in the early 2000s. Their roots are more humble. According to Australian trademark officials, they appeared as early as the 1970s in phone directory ads as ug, ugg, ugh boots, among many other variations.
“In Australian slang, ‘ughs’ are sheepskin booties, designed by surfers in the 1960s to coddle feet weary after ‘shooting the curl,’ ” The New York Times said in 1994.
The brand’s U.S. owner, the Deckers Outdoor Corp., argues that in the 1990s, it bought the U.S. registered name from an Australian entrepreneur, Brian Smith, fair and square. Australians violate the company’s intellectual property rights, it said, when they sell Ugg-like footwear in the United States.
Last year, it sued an Australian shoemaker owned by Eddie Oygur in a Chicago federal court, saying he sold ersatz Uggs in the United States. Oygur sold about $2,000 (U.S.) worth of lowercase ugg boots in the United States over a five-year period, his lawyer said, and believed he had every right to.
“I want to let the American people know what corporate bullies they are and what they’re trying to do — deplete my resources, ruin my business and the whole ugg boot industry,” Oygur said in his factory in Lidcombe, a Sydney suburb.
Oygur, 56, plans to take his argument to the court of American public opinion. On Sunday, he said, he plans to join Xenophon to drive a herd of sheep to Deckers’ headquarters, in Goleta, Calif.
Uggs is not the only Australian name to spur protective feelings — and, potentially, limit the international expansion of Australian companies.
Bondi Wash, a Sydney company that makes natural baby lotions, soaps and dog rinses, groused that it was denied a U.S. trademark because of a similar name held by Abercrombie & Fitch. Bondi, a long crescent of white sand in Sydney, is one of Australia’s most famous beaches.
“They didn’t really care that Bondi was actually quite a well-known place in Australia and they’d awarded it to a big U.S. company,” said Belinda Everingham, founder of Bondi Wash, referring to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Uluru, the name of an immense rock formation in central Australia, is trademarked in the United States by a California carpet company. Kakadu, the name of a national park, is claimed by a number of U.S. companies.
“Certain words really belong in the public domain,” said Matthew Rimmer, an intellectual property and innovation professor at Queensland University of Technology’s law school. “There’s a certain Australian pride in the ugg boot, and a belief that it is a common article of clothing in Australia and resentment over it being claimed by a United States trademark holder.”
Oygur’s company, Australian Leather, hopes to undercut Deckers’ argument by saying Uggs were once uggs in the United States too, before they were improperly registered as a trademark. To bolster its argument, it tapped Carroll and another famous surfer, John Arnold, who said he exported large volumes of ugg boots to the United States beginning in the late 1960s.
“My honest opinion is that the term ‘Ugg boot’ is not something that should be owned as it is a description,” said Carroll, who said he believed the name first came from Australian surfers who thought they were ugly.
“A boot that was ugly,” he said. “That is different from a brand name.”
What’s in an Ugg? Court battle brews over boots brand name
A 50-year-old TTC worker has died of his injuries after he was pinned by a workcar at the McCowan Yard last Sunday.
Tom Dedes, a subway track maintenance worker, was off-loading equipment from a TTC pickup truck onto a workcar at around 2 a.m. on Oct. 1, according to a statement from the TTC.
After a locomotive began tugging the workcar, the tail end of it swung and pinned Dedes to the wall, the TTC said. He suffered “significant internal injuries” and was rushed to Sunnybrook Hospital.
“On behalf of the entire TTC family, I send my deepest condolences to Tom’s parents and his partner, Gina, at this difficult time,” said TTC CEO Andy Byford in the statement.
Both the Ministry of Labour and the TTC are conducting separate investigations into what happened.
Dedes had been a TTC employee for 18 years.
TTC worker dies of injuries after McCowan accident
Denise Lane searches her mind for fond memories of her son, but she has trouble retrieving them. No Christmases, no birthdays. It’s hard to remember the good times.
Instead, her mind turns again and again to the memory of her son at their home one morning in April. He was slouched over on the side of his bed, one leg tucked under the other, his head dropped down on his chest.
Even here, her memory is spotty: screaming for her daughter, hugging her 23-year-old boy, feeling his cold skin. She remembers trying to lay him down to perform CPR, but she couldn’t get him flat. She remembers kicking as officers pulled her away. She remembers demanding to see her son one last time as he lay in a body bag in her kitchen.
Shawn Kelly Jr. died of a fentanyl overdose that morning in Innisfil, Ont., about an hour’s drive north of Toronto.
South Simcoe police began investigating immediately. Within a few days they arrested one man for trafficking. A few weeks later they arrested another for the same offence.
In late August they lowered the boom, laying manslaughter charges against the pair for Kelly’s death.
Lane recalls feeling happy when she learned of the development.
“My son didn’t deserve to die, he didn’t deserve for these people to sell him this s__ and for me to wake up in the morning to find him dead,” she says. “Shawny may have held a gun to his own head, but the people that sold it to him are the ones that pulled the trigger.”
Several forces and prosecutors across the country are now laying manslaughter charges against those who allegedly supplied fentanyl to people who overdosed and died.
For South Simcoe police, laying such charges is partly about sending a message to dealers of the powerful opioid.
“We’re trying to show that when we have the information, we’re going to pursue the people providing this because it’s causing death in our communities,” says Det. Sgt. Brad Reynolds, who oversaw the investigation into Kelly’s death.
Once tests came back from the coroner saying Kelly died of a fentanyl overdose, prosecutors suggested police lay the manslaughter charges, he says.
The case is still in it’s early stages. A lawyer for one of the accused said his client maintains his innocence, while a lawyer for the other accused noted that the details of the case are allegations at this point.
Reynolds says evidence will show Kelly asked specifically for fentanyl that was allegedly provided by the two accused. It wasn’t a case of another drug, like cocaine, being tainted by fentanyl, he notes.
“We think it’s a fairly well known fact that the ingestion of fentanyl can cause death. They are supplying something they know could cause death to the person purchasing it,” Reynolds says. “That’s where manslaughter comes in.”
Multiple Ontario forces have reached out to discuss similar cases since South Simcoe police laid the charges, Reynolds says.
In some ways, the approach is a fresh take on an old tactic.
Manslaughter charges against drug dealers came to prominence in the early 1980s when actor John Belushi died in California of a drug overdose. Canadian Cathy Smith was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in a plea deal after being prosecuted for second-degree murder. She injected Belushi with speedballs — heroin and cocaine — and it was the heroin that killed him.
Experts say the tactic to charge drug suppliers with manslaughter is not a stretch legally.
In 1993, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a manslaughter conviction against Marc Creighton who provided and injected cocaine into a woman’s arm with her consent. She began convulsing, went into cardiac arrest and choked to death on her own vomit.
“The law is clear that you do incur a liability for death resulting from your distribution of a drug,” says Alan Young, a York University law professor. “That’s because the mental state fault requirement for manslaughter is very low — the objective foreseeability of bodily harm, not even death.”
Kent Roach, a law professor at the University of Toronto agreed.
“Given that it’s pretty notorious what fentanyl does to people, it seems to me like a logical progression,” he says.
Several police forces are trying the tactic.
Ontario Provincial Police have laid two charges against alleged fentanyl traffickers and are investigating three others. A spokesperson says the force anticipates more such charges as fentanyl deaths rise.
In Edmonton, police have laid manslaughter charges against two alleged fentanyl suppliers in two separate cases in the past year.
“When a person knowingly distributes a drug that is so lethal, and it results in a person’s death, all efforts will be exhausted to identify and hold that person accountable,” says spokeswoman Noreen Remtulla.
Early in September, Brantford, Ont., police charged a 34-year-old man with manslaughter after alleging he sold powdered fentanyl and cocaine to a 46-year-old man who died of an overdose. In late September, RCMP charged a 32-year-old man with manslaughter after a man died by an overdose of carfentanil, an opioid that is 100 times more potent than fentanyl.
But there’s a different approach in Vancouver, a city mired in a fentanyl crisis, where police haven’t laid any manslaughter charges against alleged fentanyl dealers.
“This is a complex issue that our investigators have considered at length,” says Const. Jason Doucette, noting that officers investigate every sudden death in the city and go where the evidence leads them.
“I believe charges and convictions in this area are fairly rare, and are usually only successful when a unique set of circumstances and evidence exist for that particular case.”
At least 2,816 Canadians died from opioid-related causes in 2016 and the country’s chief public health officer predicts that number will surpass 3,000 this year.
Back in Innisfil, Kelly’s mother says her son — himself a father of two — told his parents last March that he was addicted to oxycodone. But he didn’t want to kill himself, she says.
“He was going to work the next day, he had two little boys to live for. He was on the right path,” she said. “My son turned to the wrong people and he’s no longer here.”
Alleged fentanyl dealers across Canada increasingly facing manslaughter charges
The family of a teenager who killed herself in a remote Indigenous community on James Bay is calling for a coroner’s inquest into her death two years ago, which sparked a crisis that garnered international attention and political promises of change.
In a letter to the regional coroner in northwestern Ontario, Stephanie Hookimaw said relatives in Attawapiskat are still struggling to come to grips with what drove her daughter Sheridan Hookimaw, 13, to her self-inflicted death and what might be done to prevent further such suicides.
“It seems that nothing has changed in the community — it is business as usual,” Hookimaw wrote in a letter obtained by The Canadian Press. “The family and I think, however, that this death could have been prevented.”
The letter to Dr. Michael Wilson warns that other young people in Attawapiskat and in Indigenous communities elsewhere are suicidal. It also cites Health Institute statistics that First Nations girls kill themselves at an alarming rate — seven times higher than their non-Indigenous counterparts.
A coroner’s inquest, Hookimaw said, would help get at the systemic causes of the suicides.
“An inquiry could help prevent more deaths,” Hookimaw said. “Sheridan’s tragic death should not be in vain. We want to see changes in the institutions that are supposed to nourish, protect and care for our children.”
The family said it had not heard from Wilson to the letter sent two weeks ago, and he did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Sheridan’s death in October 2015 sent shock waves through her community of about 2,100 and sparked a rash of suicide attempts and threats among her peers. The community’s declaration of a state of emergency over the issue in April 2016 led to an influx of politicians promising more mental health and other resources for the strapped town.
A similar tragic cycle has played out time and again in other remote Indigenous communities.
One politician who visited Attawapiskat at the time, New Democrat MP Charlie Angus, said Sheridan’s family has asked him to help get an inquest.
“There is ample scientific evidence of the need to establish intervention protocols in the wake of a youth suicide to prevent the appearance of ‘echo’ clusters among affected peers,” said Angus, a long-time activist on behalf of his Indigenous constituents.
At the same time, he said, the federal government has failed to put in place the “most basic resources” to prevent these clusters.
Sheridan’s family knows she was bullied, was a sickly girl with asthma and diabetes that required leaving Attawapiskat for treatment, and had no hope for the future. The issue now, they say, is that other youths in the community are dealing with similar problems and also seem to have lost hope.
Jackie Hookimaw Witt, Sheridan’s aunt, said she knows similar inquests have been held in the past but said that shouldn’t be a deterrent to holding another one — a way to draw attention to the wider issues of poverty and lack of resources plaguing her community and others like it.
“We have to use the official system that’s there to keep telling our stories, our pain,” Hookimaw Witt said in an interview from Attawapiskat. “We have to keep telling our stories and make people understand what we’re going through.”
‘We want to see changes’: Family of Attawapiskat teen who died by suicide urges coroner’s inquest