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    In an interview with the BBC published early Sunday, the director Woody Allen addressed the wave of allegations against Harvey Weinstein, calling it “tragic for the poor women” but also warning against a “witch hunt atmosphere.”

    Those comments drew harsh criticism on social media, and on Sunday night Allen released a statement calling Weinstein “a sad, sick man.”

    Allen’s initial comments to the BBC were published on the heels of Weinstein’s expulsion from the Motion Picture Academy on Saturday. The director and producer worked together on several films in the 1990s, and Allen denied knowledge about any misconduct: “No one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness,” he said. “And they wouldn’t, because you are not interested in it. You are interested in making your movie.”

    “The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” Allen said. “Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that his life is so messed up.”

    Read more: Weinstein Co. may be up for sale amid fallout from sex assault allegations

    Harvey Weinstein’s brother tasked with steering family film business after fallout

    Motion Picture Academy expels Harvey Weinstein in unprecedented move

    However, Allen also cautioned about rushing to judgment. “You also don’t want it to lead to a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself. That’s not right either.”

    On Sunday night, Allen gave a statement to Variety.

    “When I said I felt sad for Harvey Weinstein I thought it was clear the meaning was because he is a sad, sick man,” his statement reads. “I was surprised it was treated differently. Lest there be any ambiguity, this statement clarifies my intention and feelings.”

    Weinstein’s public stature has rapidly fallen since The New York Times published an investigative report on Oct. 5 detailing decades of sexual harassment allegations against him. Last week, Ronan Farrow, Allen’s estranged son, published an article in The New Yorker recounting the stories of 13 women who say Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them since the 1990s.

    In 1993, Allen was accused of sexually abusing his 7-year-old daughter, Dylan Farrow. The fallout from the accusations, combined with a bitter custody battle with Mia Farrow, left Allen’s reputation badly damaged. However, Weinstein offered him a lifeline through his company Miramax Films, when he agreed to produce his 1994 film Bullets Over Broadway.


    Woody Allen, accused of abuse himself, warns of ‘witch hunt’ after Weinstein allegationsWoody Allen, accused of abuse himself, warns of ‘witch hunt’ after Weinstein allegations

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    Sears Canada Inc. executive chairman Brandon Stranzl has resigned from its board of directors following court approval last week for the retailer to begin its liquidation sales.

    “In light of the liquidation, his services are no longer required as executive chairman,” the retailer said in a statement.

    Sears Canada has been operating under court protection from creditors since June.

    Stranzl had led a group that was interested in buying the retailer and turning its fortunes around.

    However, no deal was reached and the company was granted approval last week to begin the process to liquidate all of its inventory and close its doors.

    Sears Canada said it expects to start its liquidation sales on Thursday.

    The company also said that after Wednesday it will no longer be able to honour Sears Protection Agreements to customers. Refunds will be allowed for customers who bought the extended protection agreements within the past 30 days.

    Sears Canada said most merchandise it normally sells comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty, which will be available to customers directly from the manufacturers.

    It said servicing on furniture and mattresses under the Guardsman (Valspar) protection plan will continue to be honoured.

    Sears Canada currently has 74 full department store locations, eight Sears Home Stores, and 49 Sears Hometown stores, which all face closure.

    Justice Glenn Hainey approved a motion Friday, after being satisfied that there was no viable alternative, and extended its creditor protection until Jan. 22 to allow for the liquidation process.

    Under the terms of the liquidation, Sears Canada can terminate the agreement if another potential transaction emerges, but will need to pay a break fee and expense reimbursement totalling $4.55 million.


    After court approval for liquidation,After court approval for liquidation,

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    Shoppers Drug Mart began cutting jobs Monday in order to control costs, according to a confidential employee memo obtained by the Star.

    “Today is a very difficult day. We have started to inform select office colleagues that they will be leaving the business, with many of their positions eliminated immediately,” according to a letter sent out this morning by Sarah Davis, president, Loblaw Companies Ltd.

    “In the coming days, we will say goodbye to team members at all levels from our various store-support offices, including various executives.

    “These decisions are difficult but necessary. Our business is at an inflection point, with growing pressures – from new costs and new competition – and with many opportunities to grow and evolve. As always, we continue to focus on our future.”

    Loblaw Companies Ltd. announced in July 2013 that it had acquired Shoppers Drug Mart in a $12.4 billion deal.

    Loblaw chair and chief executive officer Galen Weston told analysts during a quarterly earnings call in July that the increase in minimum wage to $15 an hour in Ontario and Alberta was going to increase the company’s labour expenses by about $190 million next year.

    The internal memo goes on to say that the company is committed to cost reductions and running the business efficiently.

    “We have also been making major investments in new and growing areas like omni-channel, loyalty, healthcare, financial services and more.”

    “Our focus and investments in these areas will create hundreds of near-term jobs, and we expect to be a considerable net-job-creator this year. However, to invest meaningfully in these areas means saving meaningfully in others. That is why we are eliminating select roles.”

    The memo does not say how many jobs are being eliminated.


    Shoppers Drug Mart begins cutting jobsShoppers Drug Mart begins cutting jobs

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    Ontario’s economy is growing at a healthy clip, outpacing all G7 nations, according to the province’s second quarterly public accounts.

    From April to June, gross domestic product increased 0.8 per cent, which followed a 1 per cent increase in the first quarter of 2017.

    “Ontario’s economy continues to grow, with real GDP growth outpacing the average of all G7 countries in the second quarter of 2017,” Finance Minister Charles Sousa said Monday.

    Sousa noted the province’s unemployment rate last month was 5.6 per cent, its lowest level this century.

    “This evidence tells us that our plan is working, and we are making progress,” said Sousa.

    Ontarians go to the polls on June 7, 2018 and most public-opinion surveys show the governing Liberals trail the Progressive Conservatives.

    Growth in the second quarter was driven by “solid consumer spending.”

    “Ontario’s household consumption spending increased 1.2 per cent, the strongest quarterly growth since 2010,” according to the government’s public accounts.

    Consumer spending on semi-durables advanced 5.3 per cent, led by clothing and footwear. Spending on non-durables (plus 2.6 per cent), durables (plus 0.3 per cent) and services (plus 0.4 per cent) also increased.

    But business investment dropped by 2.6 per cent, a disappointing result after a 5.8 per cent gain between January and March.

    “The decline was due to lower residential construction investment (minus 6.4 per cent), reflecting a slowdown in home resale activity,” the report noted.

    This latest data predates the introduction of the government’s foreign buyers’ tax, which was designed to cool down the Greater Toronto Area’s overheated real estate market.


    Ontario economy growing at a healthy clip, outpacing G7 nations: SousaOntario economy growing at a healthy clip, outpacing G7 nations: Sousa

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    A 28-year-old woman was granted bail at College Park courthouse Monday, two days after her arrest in a hit-and-run earlier this month that left a 63-year-old mother of two dead.

    Erin Wright wore the same black sweater, holding a red jacket in her hands, as she did in her first court appearance Sunday at Old City Hall.

    Family members and friends flanked Wright as she hurriedly walked out of the courthouse, and into a waiting car. Wright did not speak to reporters, and was ushered into the vehicle by a member of her legal team.

    Lawyer Clayton Ruby told reporters that his client was a “very lovely woman” who worked as a hairdresser.

    On Oct. 4, just after 11 p.m., 63-year-old Debbie Graves of Riverview, N.B., was struck and killed on the sidewalk of York Mills Rd., west of Don Mills Rd. She was visiting Toronto for business, and was leaving a nearby restaurant with a colleague.

    Toronto police say Graves and her colleague were discussing the number of pedestrian fatalities in the city. The pair agreed to cross the street at a marked crosswalk.

    Graves was struck by the vehicle when it came onto the sidewalk. She was declared dead at the scene.

    Wright is charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, failure to stop at the scene of an accident causing death, obstructing police and impaired driving causing death.

    Wright is scheduled to appear again in court on Nov. 23.


    Toronto woman charged in fatal hit and run gets bailToronto woman charged in fatal hit and run gets bailToronto woman charged in fatal hit and run gets bailToronto woman charged in fatal hit and run gets bail

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    The provincial government will fund a health study examining the effects of air pollution on the residents of Sarnia’s Chemical Valley following a Star investigation into industrial leaks in the area.

    The government will also take further steps to improve air quality in the area, Environment Minister Chris Ballard said Monday.

    Read more: In Sarnia’s Chemical Valley, is ‘toxic soup’ making people sick?

    Outrage, calls for health study after Chemical Valley spills investigation

    “We are committed to funding a health study to understand the localized impact of air pollution on Sarnia residents, and will be working with the communities in the coming weeks to determine how best to do that,” Ballard said in a written statement.

    The study is estimated to cost about $1.7 million, said Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown.

    Monday’s announcement comes after a joint investigation by the Star, Global News, the National Observer, the Michener Awards Foundation and journalism schools at Ryerson and Concordia universities revealed a troubling pattern of potentially toxic leaks and secrecy in the Chemical Valley. Although residents of Sarnia and the nearby community of Aamjiwnaang First Nation have asked both the provincial and federal governments to fund such a study for nearly a decade, none has ever been done.

    Though benzene levels in Sarnia have dropped significantly in the last 25 years, documents obtained by the investigation revealed how refineries in the area release three to 10 times the annual limit of the carcinogen. There are 57 industrial polluters registered with the Canadian and U.S. governments within 25 kilometres of Sarnia.

    In question period at Queen’s Park Monday, Brown and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath slammed the Liberal government for what they said were its failures to protect those who live near the Chemical Valley.

    Brown also called for an inquiry into the Liberals’ “mishandling” of health concerns in the area.

    “We are sickened by the stunning indifference by the government,” Brown told reporters. “When you have serious concerns being raised and reports going back a decade and the only government response is ‘open to looking at it,’ it’s clear there’s something terribly wrong.”

    More to come.


    Province to fund health study examining air pollution effects of Sarnia’s Chemical ValleyProvince to fund health study examining air pollution effects of Sarnia’s Chemical Valley

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    OTTAWA—Embattled federal finance minister Bill Morneau has announced the government plans to cut the small business tax, from 10.5 to 9 per cent.

    Morneau is kicking off a week of tax-change announcements by the feds.

    Morneau and Prime Mnister Justin Trudeau went to a Main Street pizzeria in Stouffville Monday morning to say the government would lower the small business tax rate to 10 per cent, effective January 1, 2018, and to 9 per cent, effective January 1, 2019.

    The tax cut would take full effect 10 months before the next federal election.

    Morneau is ditching altogether one of three other controversial tax changes that would have targeted the ability of incorporated businesses to convert income into capital gains, which are taxed at a lesser rate.

    But he will keep a modified version of a change targeting the ability of corporations to “sprinkle” income among family members to cut the tax bill.

    The government said that “to support” the small business tax cut, it must “take steps to ensure that Canadian-controlled private corporation status is not used to reduce personal income-tax obligations for high-income earners, rather than supporting small businesses.”

    Earlier Monday Morneau briefed a nervous Liberal caucus on the government’s surprise decision to move on the tax cut, which was first promised in the Liberal platform more than two years ago.

    The Liberals promised, in the 2015 election campaign, to drop it from 11 per cent to 9 per cent over three years, but have only cut it by a half per cent.

    The plan to cut it further is a dramatic move as Trudeau and Morneau struggle to regain their footing on tax policy after announcing, this summer, the proposals, which angered the business community.

    They had aimed at limiting the ability of incorporated business owners to: shift income among family members to benefit from their lower tax rates; shelter money in passive investments within a corporation, and convert income into capital gains, which would be taxed at a lesser rate.

    The latter measure will now be dropped.

    There was no immediate indication how the government would respond to concerns over what it called “passive investments,” or “dead money,” as Morneau called it.

    However, this week, Morneau will outline how he intends to respond to the uproar from Canada’s business and professional community over the other changes.

    Sworn to secrecy, Liberal MPs emerged Monday morning to say small businesses, farmers and fishery-licence-holders will be pleased with the coming changes, and all repeated the line that the government had “listened” to Canadians.

    They defended the move to act now on the small business tax cut, which failed to make it into the last two budgets, saying it “was always in our platform.”

    “For the first time, in a long time, I’ve got a bit of my smile back and feel very, very good about where we’re going to go as a government,” said New Brunswick MP Wayne Long.

    Long voted against the government and was punished for supporting an Opposition motion to extend the consultation period on the first tax-change package. Monday he said he was finally satisfied, especially with the coming change to the overall rate.

    “I think that it sends a signal. Our small business tax rate is certainly the lowest in the G7 and we’re going to get a little bit more aggressive with that tax rate and free up some more capital for small businesses, in particular, to reinvest in their businesses.”

    A backgrounder provided by the finance department Monday said the small business tax rate applies to the first $500,000 of active business income, and the change will “leave up to an additional $7,500 per year in the hands of small business entrepreneurs and innovators.”

    Once the changes are in effect, the department said, the combined federal-provincial-territorial average income tax rate for small business will be 12.9 per cent, the lowest in the G7 and the fourth lowest among members of the OECD.

    It said Canada’s combined general corporate income tax rate is 26.7 per cent, “which is about 12 percentage points lower than that of our largest trading partner, the United States.”

    Morneau strove to emphasize he is targeting only high-income owners who use incorporation as means to shelter income that otherwise would be taxed at a higher rate, through means such as the “sprinkling” of income among family members.

    “An increasing number of Canadians, predominantly high-income individuals, are using private corporations in ways that allow them to reduce their personal taxes or gain a tax advantage,” a government background document said. “In some cases, someone earning $300,000 with a spouse and two adult children can use a private corporation to get tax savings that amount to roughly what the average Canadian earns in a year.”

    “The government believes this is unfair,” said Morneau’s release. “The proposed measures on income sprinkling will address this inequity in a manner that does not prevent compensation of family members for genuine contributions to a business”

    It added “only an estimated 50,000 family-owned private businesses are sprinkling income. This represents only a small fraction, around three per cent, of Canadian-controlled private corporations.

    The changes come at the end of a bad few weeks for the government on the domestic front. Morneau has taken a political hit for failing to communicate the rationale for making tax changes that hit small businesses, but not big businesses such as his family company.

    Morneau stumbled again last week when it was revealed he had failed to disclose he owned a numbered company in France that holds ownership of his and his wife’s villa in Provence. That ownership structure could allow him to limit the taxes he pays there.

    Then revelations that the Canada Revenue Agency intended to crack down on employee discounts and treat them as taxable income triggered another uproar, especially from retail and service sector workers who get small discounts on meals or clothing, that amount to little more than a bonus.

    It all forced the prime minister to wade into the debate during his trip to Washington and Mexico City last week.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau backpedalled fiercely in a tweet, saying: “Let me be blunt: we are not going to tax anyone’s employee discounts. Minister @DiLebouthillier has asked the CRA to fix this.”

    National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier then issued a statement saying she was “deeply disappointed” in her bureaucrats for their interpretation of how to tax employee discounts.

    On Monday, she was unapologetic and refused to take responsibility for the mess, which was more than a year in the works, according to testimony at the finance committee.

    “We didn’t blame the public servants,” Lebouthillier told reporters Monday. “There was an interpretation that was made at the level of the law. I wasn’t updated. And so then I was updated.”

    Although the Retail Council of Canada says it had advised her office of concerns over the proposed tax interpretation, Lebouthillier said: “I was not told. Really, I was not told. It was administrative work. It didn’t come up to me.”

    Nor could Lebouthillier say how the government will ensure that tax collectors apply the promise Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made in his tweet.

    She was asked repeatedly whether the government will change the tax law to reflect Trudeau’s vow not to tax “anyone’s employee discounts,” but would say, only in French, that “the law has not changed.”

    “We are listening to our partners. There are discussions with the Minister of Finance, and you know, this is not a file I will discuss in the public space.”


    Feds cutting small business taxFeds cutting small business tax

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    Durham Region police have seized 42 kilograms of the deadly opioid carfentanil, saying it’s believed to be the largest seizure of the drug in the country.

    Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid similar to fentanyl but 100 times more potent, and an amount weighing less than a grain of salt can kill someone.

    Police said they seized 53 kg of unknown substances from a Pickering, Ont., home on Sept. 20 and Health Canada has confirmed 42 kg of that was carfentanil.

    Maisum Ansari, 33, of Oshawa, is charged with possession of carfentanil for the purpose of trafficking.

    Police also seized 33 guns and other prohibited devices in their search of the home.

    The man was charged last month with 337 weapons-related charges, including careless storage of a firearm, unauthorized possession of a firearm and possession of a restricted or prohibited firearm.

    With files from Alina Bykova


    Police seize 42 kilograms of deadly opioid carfentanil from Pickering homePolice seize 42 kilograms of deadly opioid carfentanil from Pickering home

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    VALLETTA—A Maltese investigative journalist who had exposed her island nation’s links with the so-called Panama Papers document leak was killed on Monday when a bomb destroyed her car as she was driving near her home, Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.

    Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, had just driven away from her home in Mosta, a town outside Malta’s capital Valletta, when the bomb exploded, sending the vehicle’s wreckage spiralling over a wall and into a field.

    Muscat says her death resulted from a “barbaric attack” that also assaulted freedom of expression. He described the slain journalist as “was one of my harshest critics, on a political and personal level,” as he denounced the attack as “unacceptable” violence.

    Caruana Galizia was named by Politico as among the 28 Europeans who are “shaping, shaking and stirring” Europe. She had exposed that Muscat’s wife, Michelle, as well as Muscat’s energy minister and the government’s chief-of-staff, held companies in Panama by looking into the 2016 document leak. Muscat and his wife deny they held such companies.

    Opposition leader Adrian Delia called the killing a “political murder.”

    The International Consortium of Investigate Journalists, which co-ordinated reporting on the Panama Papers with journalists around the world, including at the Toronto Star, said in a statement it is shocked by Caruana Galizia’s death.

    “ICIJ condemns violence against journalists and is deeply concerned about freedom of the press in Malta,” the statement read.

    Caruana Galizia had been sued for libel because of various articles she wrote on her blog “Running Commentary,” and she had filed a report with the police two weeks ago that she was receiving threats.

    Monday evening’s Parliament session was scrapped, except for briefings about the bombing scheduled to be given by Muscat and Delia, the opposition leader.

    In June, Muscat was sworn in for a second term as prime minister following snap elections he had called to reinforce his government as the Panama Papers’ leak indicated his wife owned an offshore company. The couple deny wrongdoing.

    The leak exposed the identities of the rich and powerful around the world with offshore holdings in Panama.


    Journalist who exposed her nation’s Panama Papers links killed in car bombJournalist who exposed her nation’s Panama Papers links killed in car bomb

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    A Liberal MPP is putting her foot down with a new private members bill banning employers from forcing workers to wear high heels on the job.

    The proposed legislation follows a move earlier this year in British Columbia, where, for health and safety reasons, heels can’t be a mandatory part of any uniform.

    Toronto MPP Cristina Martins (Davenport) will formally announce her “Putting Your Best Foot Forward Act” on Tuesday, which will make changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and “prohibit employers from requiring an employee to wear footwear that is not appropriate to the protection required for their work.

    Read more: B.C. moves to ban employers from requiring high heels be worn at work

    Ontario human rights boss warns against cleavage, short skirts in dress code

    B.C.’s ban on mandatory high heels at work a step in the right direction: Editorial

    “As the law currently stands, footwear protections … deal with confined spaces, construction projects, health care, residential facilities, industrial establishments, mines and mining plants which ensure workers who may be susceptible to specific hazards or foot injury in these workplaces are protected by these regulations,” said a release from Martins’ office.

    “There is also a general duty for employers … to take every precaution reasonable for the protection of a worker. The Putting Your Best Foot Forward Act 2017 would further enhance these protections for workers” and “specifically include protection for all workers … from being required to wear unsafe footwear as part of dress and uniform codes.”

    Martins’ bill already has the support of Ontario’s foot doctors, who say they see all kinds of injuries “caused by wearing footwear that is inappropriate or outright unsafe.

    “Clinical evidence demonstrates that wearing high heeled shoes causes a much higher incidence of bunions, musculoskeletal pain and injury than those who do not wear high heels,” said James Hill, president of the Ontario Podiatric Medical Association.

    “Podiatrists treat foot pain and deformities in women twice as often as foot disabilities in men, often due to having to wear high heels in their workplaces,” he said in a written release.

    In the United Kingdom, a bill was introduced — though later rejected — after a woman was sent home without pay after showing up to work in flats.

    And last year, the Ontario Human Rights Commission issued a report on gender-specific dress codes, saying women should not be forced to wear skimpy or tight uniforms and high heels, and noted the demand is typical for servers in bars and restaurants.


    Ontario employers won’t be able to make workers wear high heels if proposed bill passesOntario employers won’t be able to make workers wear high heels if proposed bill passes

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    Ontario colleges are bracing for a “fairly protracted strike” after 12,000 faculty hit the picket lines Monday despite last-ditch proposals that still saw the two sides far apart on key issues.

    At Queen’s Park, the post-secondary minister and opposition MPPs were urging the two sides to get back to the table so that about 300,000 students can get back to class.

    “Of course we want both sides to get back to the table,” said Deb Matthews, minister of advanced education and skills development, at the legislature. “We want students back in the classroom as quickly as possible … I wish, of course, that both sides will get back and resolve this dispute.”

    Speaking to reporters after Question Period, Matthews said it is too early to speculate on when or if the government would consider back-to-work legislation.

    “We have to let the collective bargaining process work and give it the space to do that,” she said. “But it’s very important for students that they do get back to the table and find a resolution and get students back in the classroom.”

    For students, the job action has already been “absolutely confusing … what the strike means to students varies from one campus to another and depends on the program, said Joel Willett, president of the College Student Alliance.

    In general, academic programming, apprenticeship training, part-time studies courses and seminars are cancelled while co-op, online learning and internships — which don’t involve college faculty in the day-to-day activities of students — continue to operate.

    But “some things that may work at Humber aren’t the same with what’s going on at Conestoga,” said Willett. “It makes it very confusing when students look to the media and social media for information. Our big message is pay attention to what’s happening on your campus.”

    He said the lack of reliable information about the strike being shared with students is causing a lot of anxiety.

    “It’s very frustrating for any student, no matter what program you’re in, to be able to navigate it all.”

    Faculty members — including full-time professors, instructors who teach anywhere from seven to 12 hours a week, counsellors and librarians — walked off the job first thing Monday, after the bargaining team for the province’s 24 public colleges rejected the union’s final offer.

    The Ontario Public Service Employees Union wants half of faculty to be full-time, is looking for increased job security for part-timers as well as more academic freedom. It had dropped demands for university-style “senates” at colleges to give teachers a bigger say.

    “We have been seeing incredible shows of solidarity of support from the public, from parents, from students for it because our issues are really about quality and fairness within the college system. This isn’t a wages and benefits round,” said JP Hornick, a professor at George Brown who heads the union’s college bargaining team.

    The colleges have proposed improvements to benefits as well as a 7.75 per cent wage boost over four years. The union is seeking 9 per cent over three.

    Don Sinclair, CEO of the College Employer Council — which bargains on behalf of the colleges — said no student has ever lost a school year because of a strike.

    “Our settlement offer is good or better than what’s been accepted” by other public sector unions, he said, adding he “doesn’t get it, why they pulled the plug … It’s one thing to take a union out when the employer is demanding concessions. That is not the case. They are actually demanding changes to the way college operate and that’s just not on.”

    He said the colleges can’t promise a 50-50 staffing ratio — bringing the number of full-time staff up to half — because it’s too rigid amid declining demographics, and too costly. Sinclair said the union’s demands come with a $250 million price tag.

    Depending on how it’s calculated, full-time faculty represent about one-third of all teachers strictly by head count, and by teaching hours they represent half.

    Sinclair also said partial-load instructors have job security once they have been teaching for a certain amount of time.

    A Change.org petition for college student fee refunds in light of the strike has reached about 45,000 signatures.Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said the college system is in need of “provincial leadership, so we have students in the classroom.”

    “ … I know that one day of a strike is too long. The government can just ignore this and allow it to go on, but I want, and what I’m pushing for, is that we get a commitment that the premier is going to take this seriously and the premier is going to do everything she can to get both sides back to the table and get students back in class.”

    NDP education critic Peggy Sattler said “faculty want fairness and students want opportunities to learn. What is this Liberal government doing to get both faculty and students back into classrooms, while making sure that students are not forced to carry an increased financial burden because of the strike?”

    Willett says a lot of people are at college for second careers or to boost employability.

    “If students are indeed a priority, then missing out on critical work experience is not helping them any further on finding that career.”

    With files from Andrea Gordon, Vjosa Isai, Alexandra Jones and Bryann Aguilar


    Ontario colleges preparing for a long strikeOntario colleges preparing for a long strike

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    Toronto city officials told a Queen’s Park committee Monday that reforms to the OMB, the province's powerful planning tribunal, can’t come soon enough, as the city continues to grow at an unprecedented rate and new development applications pour in at an increased pace.

    On Monday, the city’s acting chief planner Gregg Lintern and Councillor Josh Matlow both praised a government plan to overhaul the long-controversial Ontario Municipal Board, which has not seen substantial reform for more than 100 years.

    But there remain concerns about the limbo between new and old legislation as developers unhappy with the changes may be rushing to beat the government’s timeline to enact the new bill by the end of the year, a committee heard.

    “These reforms have been a very long time coming,” Matlow told the standing committee on social policy.

    Read more: Province plans to overhaul OMB and give more power to cities and citizens

    As province overhauls OMB, local zoning bylaws need updating

    Planning changes go in the right direction: Editorial

    He said the city has lacked the necessary tools to deal with unprecedented development and resulting growth that is currently taking place in his ward and in many parts of the downtown and North York

    “Over many years, ad hoc OMB decisions on individual sites in the Yonge-Eglinton area, which I represent, have set a narrative and have far too often created precedent for subsequent developments with little regard for wider context, or local needs for infrastructure and social services.”

    While the Yonge-Eglinton area has been slated for intensification by the province’s growth plan, the area exceeded those density targets the year they were created.

    That has left the city struggling to keep up with growth — local public schools are full, people are left waiting for the third or fourth subway on the Yonge line, and planners worry basic necessities like sewers and water pipes will reach capacity.

    The province’s proposed changes to legislation were tabled in May, drawing praise from planners, councillors and residents. The bill passed second reading in September and was forwarded to committee for debate.

    For more than a century, the OMB has had the final say in a wide range of planning issues and has the power to overrule council decisions.

    Most significantly, the changes, if passed, would require the body — to be renamed the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal — to have more regard for local decisions. It would scrap a practice called “de novo” hearings, or hearings “as new,” that essentially allow developers and other groups to have what critics call a “do over” when a council decision doesn’t go their way.

    Under the new rules, the OMB would instead consider whether a council decision was consistent with provincial and city rules. If not, the decision would be sent back to council.

    “The changes proposed by the bill will enable municipalities to focus on adopting planning principles, what we call proactive planning, to address growth and change,” said the city’s acting chief planner Lintern. “Currently a large amount of municipal time is spent at the OMB defending council-adopted policies approved by the province but which are appealed by parties who may not support the decision of the locally-elected officials.”

    Lintern said they are currently seeing an increase in applications and are requesting the province make clear a transition plan between old and new legislation.

    That plan is currently underway, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi told the committee, one that “doesn’t impact processes that may be at the tribunal as we speak.”

    That suggested a request from the city’s planning and growth committee headed to council next month that the new rules be retroactive to May is unlikely to succeed.

    Naqvi said they hope to have new legislation passed by the end of the year.

    The largest organizations representing developers also spoke at the committee Monday, arguing there would be “unintended consequences” in reforming the OMB and that providing more power to councils would see councillors pandering to local residents and “Not In My Backyard” (NIMBY) attitudes.

    City officials said the new rules would actually force council to make a thoughtful decision that could be backed up by the city’s own official plans and policies as well as provincial rules, knowing that’s the basis on which an appeal would be judged at a reformed tribunal.


    Toronto tells province that clear planning reforms are needed as soon as possibleToronto tells province that clear planning reforms are needed as soon as possible

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    North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador warned Monday that the situation on the Korean Peninsula “has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment.”

    Kim In Ryong told the U.N. General Assembly’s disarmament committee that North Korea is the only country in the world that has been subjected to “such an extreme and direct nuclear threat” from the United States since the 1970s — and said the country has the right to possess nuclear weapons in self-defence.

    He pointed to large-scale military exercises every year using “nuclear assets” and said what is more dangerous is what he called a U.S. plan to stage a “secret operation aimed at the removal of our supreme leadership.”

    Read more:

    U.S., South Korean troops begin naval drills amid North Korean threat

    Tensions between Trump and Tillerson persist amid North Korea, Iran crises

    U.S. diplomacy with North Korea will continue until ‘first bomb drops,’ Rex Tillerson says

    This year, Kim said, North Korea completed its “state nuclear force and thus became the full-fledged nuclear power which possesses the delivery means of various ranges, including the atomic bomb, H-bomb and intercontinental ballistic rockets.”

    “The entire U.S. mainland is within our firing range and if the U.S. dares to invade our sacred territory even an inch it will not escape our severe punishment in any part of the globe,” he warned.

    Kim’s speech follows escalating threats between North Korea and the United States, and increasingly tough U.N. sanctions.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that his country is curtailing economic, scientific and other ties with North Korea in line with U.N. sanctions, and the European Union announced new sanctions on Pyongyang for developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the North Korean crisis “will continue until the first bomb drops.” His commitment to diplomacy came despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets several weeks ago that his chief envoy was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whom he derisively referred to as “Little Rocket Man.”

    North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador called his country’s nuclear and missile arsenal “a precious strategic asset that cannot be reversed or bartered for anything.”

    “Unless the hostile policy and the nuclear threat of the U.S. is thoroughly eradicated, we will never put our nuclear weapons and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table under any circumstances,” Kim said.

    He told the disarmament committee that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — North Korea’s official name — had hoped for a nuclear-free world.

    Instead, Kim said, all nuclear states are accelerating the modernization of their weapons and “reviving a nuclear arms race reminiscent of (the) Cold War era.” He noted that the nuclear weapon states, including the United States, boycotted negotiations for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that was approved in July by 122 countries at the United Nations.

    “The DPRK consistently supports the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the efforts for denuclearization of the entire world,” he said. But as long as the United States rejects the treaty and “constantly threatens and blackmails the DPRK with nuclear weapons ... the DPRK is not in position to accede to the treaty.”


    ‘A nuclear war may break out any moment,’ North Korea says‘A nuclear war may break out any moment,’ North Korea says

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    Most celebrities know when to keep their mouths shut.

    Woody Allen does not. This weekend, amid the swirling horrors of the unfolding Harvey Weinstein scandal, the bespectacled director unwisely opened his maw.

    “The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” Allen told the BBC. “Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that (his) life is so messed up. There’s no winners in that, it’s just very, very sad and tragic for those poor women that had to go through that.”

    His sympathy for the victims is clear. But the bundled hint of sympathy for Weinstein was a real head-scratcher. It triggered instant blowback. Rose McGowan, who alleges Weinstein raped her — there are now more than 30 women who say the movie producer sexually assaulted or harassed them — called Allen a “vile little worm.”

    That was one of the kinder testimonials tossed his way.

    Under siege from all sides, Allen then clarified his comments.

    “When I said I felt sad for Harvey Weinstein I thought it was clear the meaning was because he is a sad, sick man,” Allen said, in a statement to Variety that only underscored just how unclear he was on the first attempt. “I was surprised it was treated differently. Lest there be any ambiguity, this statement clarifies my intention and feelings.”

    Does it? I’m not so sure.

    In that original BBC interview, Allen also lamented the possibility, post-Weinstein, of a “witch-hunt atmosphere,” one that might mean “every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself.”

    As he concludes: “That’s not right either.”

    And with that, Allen is dead wrong.

    I’m generally against witch hunts, but only when a witch hunt entails wrongful persecution. When my wife wrongly accuses me of leaving dirty laundry outside the hamper, this is most definitely a witch hunt.

    But on the matter of sexual harassment, we are long overdue for a witch hunt. In fact, we can’t have enough witch hunts. As Weinstein just proved, the lack of good witch hunts in the culture only helps to create newer and scarier monsters.

    Read more:

    End the culture of silence around sexual assault: Editorial

    Sarah Polley says Harvey Weinstein said a ‘close relationship’ with him would help her career

    Weinstein Co. may be up for sale amid fallout from sex assault allegations

    One of the more exhausting parts of the dialogue we keep having after these outrages rattle sensibilities is the bleak realization that too many people still don’t grasp the systemic depths of the problem.

    When someone as depraved and reprehensible as Weinstein rears his ugly head in the news cycle, there is a tendency to completely miss the soft underbelly of the issue. We fixate on the extreme and ignore the banal.

    Yes, of course a workplace wink is benign compared to what Weinstein is accused of doing. But here’s the thing: what he was doing, in his demented mind, was no different from winking.

    It was just more extreme to everyone else.

    Exposing himself, asking actresses to watch him shower, begging for naked massages, stripping down and masturbating while preventing terrified women from escaping — all of this was his deranged way of winking.

    But in Allen’s outdated worldview, a wink in the office is an innocent flirtation, maybe even a compliment. He does not see the connective tissue between the wink and the hurt. A wink, to him, is an innocuous volley in the first stage of courtship, real or imagined.

    A wink says “I’m interested,” and what could possibly be wrong with that?

    The problem is situational context. An office is not a pickup bar. In a workplace, if a wink is perceived as an unwanted sexual overture, you can’t just say “buzz off” or douse the winker with a glass of water if the winking persists or morphs into something else.

    You are stuck with one another and there is only one outcome: that wink becomes toxic. The ephemeral blink creates an indelible violation.

    And the notion that a “woman in the office” is there to, you know, do her job and not fend off the romantic entreaties of male colleagues is precisely the starting point that leads to Weinstein-grade revulsions. It’s the start of every slippery slope.

    First, it’s an unwanted wink. Then it’s unwanted sexual innuendo. Then it’s unwanted dinner invitations. Then it’s unwanted offers for shoulder rubs. Then instead of just working, the woman is forced to juggle her professional responsibilities with the exhausting and wholly unfair personal distraction of having to find ways to rebuff a male colleague.

    Then she must deal with the awkward feelings that inevitably result, which only adds new poisons to her work life.

    Sometimes a wink is no big deal. Sometimes the feeling is mutual. I’m sure there are people out there who’ve been happily married for 50 years in relationships that started with a wink. But in a workplace, if that wink is unwanted, it can make someone feel uneasy, maybe even threatened.

    The solution is clear: don’t wink at your colleagues.

    You’d think Allen, who has faced accusations of sexual abuse in his own life, would understand this distinction or at least have the good sense to take a vow of silence.

    His insights are not helping anyone.


    Actually, Woody Allen, a witch hunt is exactly what Hollywood needs: MenonActually, Woody Allen, a witch hunt is exactly what Hollywood needs: Menon

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    Former Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle said Monday he and his wife decided to have children even while held captive because they always planned to have a big family and decided, “Hey, let’s make the best of this and at least go home with a larger start on our dream family.”

    Boyle, his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three childrenwere rescued in Pakistan Wednesday, five years after the couple was abducted in Afghanistan on a backpacking trip. The children were born in captivity.

    “We’re sitting as hostages with a lot of time on our hands,” Boyle told The Associated Press in an email Monday. “We always wanted as many as possible, and we didn’t want to waste time. Cait’s in her 30s, the clock is ticking.”

    Boyle said the kids are now 4, 2 and “somewhere around 6 months.”

    “Honestly we’ve always planned to have a family of 5, 10, 12 children . . . We’re Irish, haha,” he wrote.

    Coleman was pregnant at the time of their abduction and had the children while she was a hostage.

    After landing at Toronto’s airport on Friday, Boyle said the Taliban-linked Haqqani network in Afghanistan killed their infant daughter and raped his wife during the years they were held.

    In the email exchange, Boyle did not respond to a question about the fourth child. The Taliban said in a statement on Sunday that it was a miscarriage.

    Boyle has said conditions during the five-year ordeal changed over time as the family was shuffled among at least three prisons. He has described the first as remarkably barbaric, the second as more comfortable and the third as a place of violence in which he and his wife were frequently separated and beaten.

    Read more:

    After a lifetime in captivity, the children of Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman begin to heal

    ‘We’re looking forward to a new lease on life,’ Joshua Boyle tells the Star after five-year kidnapping nightmare

    Full statement from freed hostage Joshua Boyle upon his return to Canada

    After returning to his parents’ home in Smiths Falls, Ont., Boyle emailed the AP a statement saying they had “reached the first true ‘home’ that the children have ever known — after they spent most of Friday asking if each subsequent airport was our new house hopefully.”

    He also emailed two photos of his son Najaeshi Jonah Makepeace Boyle and said the boy began “raiding the first refrigerator of his life.” The picture shows the boy sitting on the floor in a dark corner with food in his hand. The other shows him napping with a blanket covering part of his face and surrounded by stuffed animals.

    Boyle later played with one of his sons in the garden of his parents’ home. The boy appeared happy and healthy, digging in the grass as his father showed off the different plants and later spoke on a cellphone.

    Boyle, a former call centre worker, said in an earlier statement that he had gone to Afghanistan with his pregnant wife to help villagers “who live deep inside Taliban-controlled Afghanistan where no NGO, no aid worker and no government has ever successfully been able to bring the necessary help.”

    Boyle was once briefly married to Zaynab Khadr, the older sister of Canadian Omar Khadr, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee. Officials had discounted any link between that background and Boyle’s capture, with one describing it in 2014 as a “horrible coincidence.”


    ‘Let’s make the best of this’: Ex-hostage Joshua Boyle explains why he and his wife had kids in captivity‘Let’s make the best of this’: Ex-hostage Joshua Boyle explains why he and his wife had kids in captivity

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    OTTAWA—As the crow flies — or in this instance a government jet backed up by a string of chauffeur-driven vehicles — it is doable to travel from Parliament Hill to the town of Stouffville, northeast of Toronto, in about 90 minutes.

    A person using more conventional means of transportation on the other hand would take at least double that time. In either case, the travel there and back will use up most of a normal day’s work.

    If that sounds like a long way for the prime minister and a gaggle of ministers to travel as they did Monday — and with Parliament sitting — just to use the backdrop of a family-run restaurant to announce a reduction in the small business tax rate, it’s because it is.

    A charitable explanation would be that it may have been hard, in the midst of the small-business backlash that has attended Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s plans to change some of the rules that govern private corporations, to find a friendly venue for the announcement.

    A less charitable take would be that Stouffville has the not-insignificant advantage — given the pummelling the finance minister had endured at the hands of the Conservative opposition in the House — to be so located as to make it logistically difficult to be back in time for question period.

    Be that as it may, it is to Stouffville that Trudeau, Morneau, Small Business and Tourism Minister Bardish Chagger, who happens to double up as the government House leader, and her Indigenous Services colleague Jane Philpott, who happens to be the MP for the area, repaired Monday to eat some pasta and then some crow.

    For, were it not for the headwind that the government has faced over its fiscal reform, chances are Canada’s small businesses would not have received an unexpected mid-mandate gift from the federal government.

    Notwithstanding some breathtakingly brazen prime ministerial talking points, Monday’s announcement was first and foremost testimony to the force of that wind and to the communication weaknesses of the reform’s chief salesperson, the minister of finance.

    That’s because the fix Trudeau is relying on to try to take back the initiative in the fiscal reform debate is straight out of the ever-expanding scrapyard of broken Liberal promises.

    Read more: Small-business tax cut is an unseemly buy-off: Editorial

    Feds cutting small business tax

    Bill Morneau feels the heat as Liberal support slips: Hébert

    In 2015, the Liberals committed to maintaining the small business tax rate on the downward course the outgoing Conservatives had set it on in their pre-election budget. Under the plan Morneau inherited when the Liberals took power, the rate was already scheduled to be down to 9 per cent by 2019.

    But once in government he curtailed the rate cut. It neither reappeared in last spring’s second instalment nor in any of the projected spending laid out at the time.

    Instead, the last budget signalled the government’s intention to move on private corporations, a plan Morneau has attempted to execute since late July.

    This is a government that treats the business of well-calibrated optics like an art form.

    In the lead-up to its last budget, Trudeau’s office even got involved in a discussion over whether the model posing as a boy on a bridge on the document’s cover should be wearing eyeglasses.

    Had the government been contemplating an imminent return to the downward path charted out by the Conservatives for the small-business tax rate, surely Morneau’s controversial fiscal changes to private corporations would have been coupled with that announcement.

    What government would not choose to sugar-coat its intentions to reduce the tax benefits of some by offering a break to many others?

    Will Monday’s intervention combined with a weeklong climbdown from some of the more contentious aspects of the planned changes to the private corporations rules appease the biggest public relations storm this government has endured to date? Possibly, but it remains to be seen whether Morneau himself will find his way out of the hole he has dug himself into.

    If the goal of Monday’s Stouffville theatrics was to reinforce the minister’s credibility, it missed the mark.

    This is the kind of sectorial announcement that would normally be part of a budget, a fiscal update or a ministerial speech to a business venue. In any of those scenarios, the finance minister would have the lead role.

    But in Stouffville, Morneau was relegated to a cameo role. And even the small role was apparently not silent enough for the prime minister. As if he was doing the world, or possibly his government, a favour, Trudeau twice insisted on answering media questions directed at his minister before begrudgingly letting him come to the microphone.

    This comedy of errors might yet end on a political tragedy for the government.

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


    Trudeau and Morneau’s efforts to sugar-coat tax reforms turns into comedy of errors: HébertTrudeau and Morneau’s efforts to sugar-coat tax reforms turns into comedy of errors: Hébert

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    It was a bone collector’s bonanza.

    A bunch of long bones and more scattered bits strewn about.

    Michael Paquet took them home because that’s what he does, strange as the hobby might seem to most of us.

    And, got to say, Paquet — with his long mournful face, the shaved scalp and sprout of dreadlocks — looks like someone who might sleep in a coffin.

    A week later he returned to the area, in the Junction. “It’s pretty fruitful for finding dead things,” he said on Monday from the witness stand.

    Mostly animal bones that Paquet harvests for his morbid collection — rodents and raccoons and birds.

    Because there was an abattoir located nearby, he assumed the long bones came from slaughtered livestock.

    But second time around, Paquet noticed a plastic bag resting against a tree in the woodsy section along Lavender Creek Trail.

    “There were bones sticking out of it, part of a skull, ribs.”

    Clearly human remains.

    Read more:

    Homicide victim’s skull found in Toronto field

    ‘Why did this happen?’ judge asks at sentencing in Cabbagetown murder

    Guilty verdict skirts the central mystery of Nighisti Semret’s murder: DiManno

    Collecting the haul, Paquet moseyed home, dropping the skull on the way; stuffing the detached mandible into his backpack.

    The jaw he took into his bedroom, setting it down near the taxidermied cat, the giant ceramic vulture and the mounted . . . antelope heads? That’s what they look like, with their straight horns.

    Only then did Paquet call police.

    Never know what you’ll learn about the human species at a murder trial.

    These bones, turned out, were the remains of Rigat Ghirmay.

    Paquet found them on April 27, 2016 — three years after retired roofer Francis McNullen had discovered a duffel bag in the Black Creek Flood Control area, resting on a grassy knoll near the channel. “I kicked it. It didn’t move.”

    The zipper was broken so he stuck a finger inside and practically reeled away from “the smell of death.” Maggots covered the plastic bag inside the plastic bag.

    That was the partial torso of Rigat Ghirmay, her identity determined by following the clue from a receipt also found in the bag.

    Police believe 28-year-old Ghirmay was killed on May 15, 2013, murdered and dismembered in her apartment tub.

    And that was seven months after another woman — Nighisti Semret — was viciously stabbed to death in Cabbagetown, as she walked home in the early morning rain from her night job as a hotel cleaner.

    Semret and Ghirmay knew each other. Both had resided for a time at Sojourn House, a shelter for refugees. Both were immigrants from Eritrea.

    And both had crossed paths with Adonay Zekarias, also Eritrean. Semret had helped him fill out documents; Ghirmay had attended English classes with him and, for a short time, they shared an apartment, apparently in a “brother-sister” relationship.

    In June, 2015, Zekarias was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in the death of Semret, who’d fought hard for her life, as Zekarias wielded the knife, striking him with her umbrella. He fled the scene when a Good Samaritan attempted to intervene.

    Zekarias, 45, is now on trial for the Ghirmay murder.

    No motive for the Semret slaying has ever been determined. But the prosecution has a theory for why, months later, Ghirmay was killed: She knew too much. She had — the theory goes — begun to put together the pieces. She had to be silenced.

    These are interconnections a jury might never have heard, the details severely prejudicial to Zekarias. But last week the defendant changed his mind and asked to proceed with a judge-alone trial, the Crown agreeing. So now, although Justice Michael Brown has yet to rule on a motion to exclude “discreditable conduct evidence” — including the murder conviction, the entire murder narrative flowing out of that — there are no jurors’ ears and eyes to protect, thus the evidence record can be reported.

    One unforeseen consequence that jumps out from the prosecution theory, as outlined in the Crown’s factum, is that Ghirmay’s grotesque fate may have been sealed on the day that a Toronto homicide detective revealed crucial details about the suspect they were then seeking. Contrary to what police had earlier said, the person they were looking for was not white, according to DNA found on Semret, and it was likely the man had suffered slashing wounds to his arms or hand during the attack.

    A $50,000 reward was offered.

    At that time, Ghirmay was a poor woman, living in subsidized housing, with $500 credit in the bank.

    That press conference was held on May 6, 2013 — nine days before Ghirmay was last seen alive on video surveillance, entering her apartment building with Zekarias.

    She would leave, says the Crown, in pieces, stuffed into that duffel bag McNullen later discovered. Zekarias is seen, on surveillance video retrieved by investigators, leaving Ghirmay’s apartment on the morning of May 16, returning an hour later with what appears to be an empty suitcase, leaving again rolling the suitcase which now looks heavy and leaking.

    He returns to the elevator minutes later to wipe away spots using a rag.

    The Crown maintains that Zekarias killed and dismembered Ghirmay in the preceding 12 hours. Police found cutting marks in the tub.

    Between Sermet’s murder and Ghirmay’s vanishing, the latter was often seen in company with Zekarias at both of their apartment buildings. With him by her side, she bought a TV for her new flat. They both obtained cellphones.

    For a time — between December 9, 2012 and February 20, 2013, Zekarias was in Germany. Ghirmay went with him to buy the plane ticket. When he returned to Canada, police were still looking for a white man with a limp. And while away, as police would learn when they later seized his laptop — which both Zekarias and Ghirmay had used — he’d searched for stories about the Semret murder investigation.

    Most crucial to the prosecution’s theory, there is this: On the morning Semret was killed, Oct. 23, 2012, Zekarias called 911 from his apartment on Humber Ave., claiming he’d injured his hand lifting something. Ghirmay was with him. She stayed with Zekarias as he was transported to hospital by paramedics. At the hospital, he told medical staff he’d been injured by a door slamming on both his hands. But staff was suspicious because he didn’t have “crushing” type injuries which would have resulted from such an incident. They presented like sharp force injuries, as if made by a knife. Zekarias was unwilling to provide further details. The following day he underwent surgery on both hands.

    It didn’t add up for the medical team.

    But it might have started adding up for Ghirmay, if not then — she didn’t yet know that Semret had been murdered — perhaps later.

    Theoretically, all Ghirmay had to do after her suspicions were aroused, was make a call to police about a friend who came home with extensive wounds on his hands mere hours after their mutual friend had been killed.

    And then, months later, police announced that enticing reward.

    For a wary man who’d already killed once, that might have loomed as temptation too far.

    Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.


    Prosecutors allege Toronto murder victim was silenced over previous killing: DiMannoProsecutors allege Toronto murder victim was silenced over previous killing: DiManno

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    MONTREAL—European aircraft giant Airbus Group is buying a majority stake in Bombardier’s CSeries program.

    The two aircraft manufacturers announced the partnership Monday evening, weeks after the United States announced 300 per cent preliminary duties on exports of the aircraft following a complaint from Airbus rival Boeing.

    The partnership is expected to result in significant CSeries production costs savings by leveraging Airbus’ supply chain expertise but Airbus won’t be paying any money for the acquired stake.

    Airbus will acquire a 50.01 per cent interest in the CSeries Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP), which manufactures and sells the plane.

    Bombardier will own 31 per cent and the Quebec government’s investment agency will hold 19 per cent.

    Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare said Airbus is the perfect partner for the company, Quebec and Canada.

    “Their global scale, strong customer relationships and operational expertise are key ingredients for unleashing the full value of the CSeries,” he said in a statement.

    “This partnership should more than double the value of the CSeries program and ensures our remarkable game-changing aircraft realizes its full potential.”

    Airbus chief executive Tom Enders called the partnership a “win-win for everybody.”

    “The CSeries, with its state-of-the-art design and great economics, is a great fit with our existing single-aisle aircraft family and rapidly extends our product offering into a fast growing market sector,” he stated.

    Enders said the partnership will secure industrial operations in Canada, Britain and China and bring new jobs to the U.S.

    Quebec economy, science and innovation Minister Dominique Anglade said the strategic partnership will ensure the sustainability of the CSeries and consolidate Quebec’s aerospace cluster.

    “In the current context, the partnership with Airbus is, for us, the best solution to ensure the maintenance and creation of jobs in this strategic sector of the Quebec economy,” she stated.

    Federal Minister Navdeep Bains said the government will review the deal under the Investment Canada Act due to the significant proposed investments in Canada by non-Canadians.

    “On the surface, Bombardier’s new proposed partnership with Airbus on this aircraft would help position the CSeries for success by combining excellence in innovation with increased market access and an unrivalled global salesforce,” he stated in a separate news release.

    With this deal, Canada would become Airbus’s fifth home country and first outside Europe.

    The CSeries headquarters will remain in the Montreal area but a second assembly line for the 100- to 150-seat plane will be set up at Airbus’s facility in Alabama.

    It was also reported Monday that the Montreal-based manufacturer is studying the disposal of other assets including its Q400 turboprop, which is made at its Downsview plant, and CRJ regional-jet unit, according to sources who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

    The company’s Toronto operations currently employ about 3,500 people, with about 1,400 working on the Q400.

    Deals on the Q400 or CRJ may add life to languishing products. In sales terms, the entire segment of regional aircraft, which seat between 50 and 90 people, garnered only 119 orders last year, down 50 per cent.

    With files from Bloomberg


    European giant Airbus to buy majority stake in Bombardier’s CSeries programEuropean giant Airbus to buy majority stake in Bombardier’s CSeries program

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    WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump told a lie about predecessor Barack Obama.

    Then something unusual happened. He took it back.

    Only partly, only when challenged, and without an apology or admission. Nonetheless, Trump’s de facto retraction was a rare acknowledgment of his own inaccuracy.

    Trump, holding an unscheduled press conference in the White House Rose Garden on Monday afternoon, was asked about his public silence on the killing of four Army Green Beret soldiers in Niger on Oct. 4.

    Trump said he had written “personal letters” to the soldiers’ families, then that he would call the families “at some point.”

    Then he falsely claimed Obama, unlike him, never made such calls.

    “Now it gets to a point where you know, you make four of five of them in one day, it’s a very, very tough day. For me, that’s by far the toughest. So the traditional way — if you look at President Obama and other presidents — most of ’em didn’t make calls, a lot of ’em didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it. They have made the ultimate sacrifice. So generally I would say that I like to call,” he said.

    Obama regularly called the families of soldiers killed in action, former aides said, and he met with those “Gold Star families” whenever he visited a military base. One of the former aides, former deputy chief of staff Alyssa Mastromonaco‏, reacted to Trump’s smear with public anger.

    “That’s a f---ing lie,” Mastromonaco wrote on Twitter. “To say president Obama (or past presidents) didn’t call the family members of soldiers KIA — he’s a deranged animal.”

    By the Star’s count, Trump averages more than two false claims per day, and he has almost never been willing to retract any of them. This time, though, he was challenged to defend his claim by NBC reporter Peter Alexander.

    He backed down immediately.

    “I don’t know if he did,” Trump said. “I was told that he didn’t often, and a lot of presidents don’t.”

    He continued: “President Obama, I think, probably did sometimes, and maybe sometimes he didn’t, I don’t know, that’s what I was told. All I can do is ask my generals.”

    Trump also blamed unnamed advisors for a false claim Alexander challenged him on at a news conference in February. When Alexander pointed out that Trump had not, in fact, earned the biggest Electoral College margin of victory since Ronald Reagan, Trump said, “I was given that information.”

    On Monday, Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, issued a statement claiming Trump was simply “stating a fact” that former presidents did not call the families each and every time a soldier died. Apparently to the former Obama aides, she said, “Individuals claiming former presidents, like their bosses, called each family of the fallen, are mistaken” — though the former aides had not said Obama called each and every time.

    “President Obama spent time with families of the fallen throughout his presidency through letters, calls, visits to Section 60 (for soldiers killed in the War on Terror) at Arlington and regular meetings with Gold Star families,” former aide Tommy Vietor told the Star.

    Trump’s comments on Obama came during a chaotic 45 minute press conference at which Trump was accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom he has criticized repeatedly and whom his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has vowed to take down in favour of Republicans he sees as friendlier to Trump’s agenda.

    “Despite what we read, we are probably now, I think, at least as far as I am concerned, we are closer than ever before and the relationship is very good,” Trump said of himself and McConnell. “We are fighting for the same thing, we are fighting for lower taxes, big tax cuts, the biggest tax cuts in the history of our nation. We are fighting for tax reform as part of that.”

    Read more:The complete list of false things Donald Trump has said as president

    In a show of support for McConnell and his caucus, Trump said he would try to talk Bannon out of running primary candidates against certain “great” Republican incumbents.

    Trump again cast blame on Puerto Ricans for the ongoing Hurricane Maria crisis, claiming Puerto Ricans, not his government, are at fault for hunger and thirst on the island. Told that many Puerto Ricans still lack clean water — 28 per cent, according to the federal emergency agency — Trump said, “Well, we delivered tremendous amounts of water.”

    “Then what you have to do is you have to have distribution of the water by people on the island,” he said.

    Trump declined to condemn Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore for his desire to make homosexuality illegal. Trump said the people of Alabama like Moore.

    Trump repeated a promise to reduce prescription drug prices. This time, he noted that Canada, among other countries, has much lower prices than the U.S.

    Trump was asked for the first time to address the battles around Kirkuk between Iraqi forces and Iraqi Kurdish forces, both U.S. allies in the fight against Daesh, also known as ISIS and ISIL. He said: “We don’t like the fact that they’re clashing. We’re not taking sides.”

    Trump again could not resist mocking Hillary Clinton. In a tweet earlier in the day, he had urged Clinton to run against him again in 2020.

    “Hillary, please run again,” he said at the news conference.

    Trump made a variety of other false claims, most of them repeats. Among other things, he said that the U.S. is “the highest-taxed country in the world” (it is below average for the developed world), that Puerto Rico’s power plants need to be rebuilt (they were barely damaged by Hurricane Maria), that China has a 15 per cent corporate tax rate (it is 25 per cent except for companies in advanced industries in certain cities).


    Trump lied about Obama in another wild news conference. Then he did something unexpected: AnalysisTrump lied about Obama in another wild news conference. Then he did something unexpected: Analysis

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    Two years after Marcel Aubut’s resignation, Leanne Nicolle is speaking out publicly about her experience working for the former Canadian Olympic Committee president, who was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women.

    Nicolle, the former executive director of the Canadian Olympic Foundation, filed a formal complaint against Aubut in 2015 and said he resigned seven days later.

    “I was scared of him. I was alone,” she said in a CTV interview on Monday night. CTV reached out to Aubut for comment, but he declined.

    Nicolle, who is now the president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto, told CTV that many people working under Aubut who knew what was going on were also being harassed, abused, and yelled at all the time.

    “They were being harassed and they were being yelled at all the time and living in constant fear of reprisal,” she said. “The whole organization was based in fear.”

    On Oct. 3, 2015, Marcel Aubut resigned as president of the COC and left the BCF law firm where he worked after he was accused of sexual harassment.

    “Although I assume full responsibility for my effusive and demonstrative personality, I would like to reiterate that I never intended to offend or upset anyone with my remarks or my behaviour,” he said in the statement at the time.

    “Unfortunately, the current situation is a major distraction that obscures the COC’s real goals, especially with the Rio Games fast approaching,” he said. “For these reasons, I announce today that I am stepping down as president of the Canadian Olympic Committee.”

    Aubut lingered over hugs and kisses, called staff his girlfriends and made comments about women and their boyfriends and husbands, according to a former COC employee who spoke to the Star at the time but did not want her name used.

    “People did warn him . . . ‘Marcel, you shouldn’t say that,’ or ‘That’s inappropriate,’ ” she said.

    But that’s all they did, an independent review carried out after the scandal discovered.

    Nicolle told the media this week that she documented his inappropriate and unsettling comments from the first days she started working with him in 2013.

    “I did it on my phone in the notes page,” she said. “I started documenting where I was, who I was with.”

    Her records proved “crucial in the end,” she wrote in the Globe and Mail on Saturday, when she finally decided to start a legal process against him.

    After working under Aubut for several years, Nicolle said she felt broken by his behaviour and by the silence of other employees whom she said saw what was happening but looked the other way.

    The alleged verbal abuse got particularly bad around the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014, but there was also an inappropriate “physical connection” involved, Nicolle said.

    She wrote that she relied on medication to sleep and alcohol to get through the day, and was on the verge of quitting her job — but changed her mind after she told someone about her experience and he said he believed her.

    Nicolle’s complaint led to an investigation in which more than 100 people came forward to share similar experiences.

    The three-month review by employment lawyer Christine Thomlinson found the majority of staff interviewed had “experienced or witnessed harassment, both sexual and personal” during Aubut’s tenure.

    Staff also believed “the board and the (senior leadership team) were aware of information that suggested harassment was occurring in their workplace and they were unable or unwilling to take steps to address it,” stated the report released in January 2016.

    Aubut did not face criminal charges but apologized for his behaviour.

    Before his dramatic fall from power, Aubut had effectively taken over the organization dedicated to supporting Canadian Olympic teams to the point it was often dubbed the “Marcel Show.”

    He had been president for nearly six years and an active board member since 2005, and during his tenure, the COC transformed into a glitzy brand that attracted top corporate sponsors, held lavish events and doubled annual spending to more than $50 million.

    His inappropriate behaviour toward women was simply treated as part of the Marcel package, former employees allege.

    Nicolle said Aubut’s power and connections within the organization shattered her confidence, and said she didn’t speak up earlier because she didn’t know whether she’d be supported.

    She decided to talk about her experience after two years of silence because of recent world events and because she feels more confident now.

    For women caught in similar situations, Nicolle said she recommends gathering evidence and documenting it meticulously, telling someone trustworthy, and knowing your worth.

    She said men who want to be part of the solution should be empathetic and believe victims, and shouldn’t be afraid to act.

    With files from Kerry Gillespie


    Woman whose complaint started Marcel Aubut sexual harassment scandal speaks outWoman whose complaint started Marcel Aubut sexual harassment scandal speaks out

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