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    One man is dead following a collision including two transport trucks in Cambridge Friday morning.

    The crash occurred at around 7:30 a.m. on Highway 401 east near Cedar Creek Rd. All eastbound lanes are now blocked, the Ontario Provincial Police said.

    “It’s absolutely devastating, there’s debris everywhere,” OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told media.

    Schmidt said firefighters and air ambulance were on scene waiting to transport the victim, but the person succumbed to their injuries.

    It might take most of the day to investigate the collision and re-open the highway, he said, due to the amount of damage at the scene.

    Highway 401 eastbound lanes near Cedar Creek closed after deadly crashHighway 401 eastbound lanes near Cedar Creek closed after deadly crash

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    WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the release of more than 2,800 records related to the John F. Kennedy assassination on Thursday, but bowed to pressure from the CIA, FBI and other agencies to delay disclosing some of the most sensitive documents for another six months. Even so, the thousands of pages that were published online by the National Archives Thursday evening describe decades of spies and surveillance, informants and assassination plots.

    More than a dozen reporters and editors at the Washington Post combed through the documents on Thursday night. Here are some of the wildest things they found, some of which have been reported about before and some new.

    $100,000 to kill Fidel Castro

    A 1964 FBI memo describes a meeting in which Cuban exiles tried to set a price on the heads of Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara. “It was felt that the $150,000.00 to assassinate FIDEL CASTRO plus $5,000 expense money was too high,” the memo noted. At a subsequent meeting, they settled on more modest sums: $100,000 for Fidel, $20,000 for Raul and $20,000 for Che.

    Or was Fidel only worth two cents?

    Another document describes the well-known CIA scheme called Operation BOUNTY that sought to overthrow Cuba’s government, and established a system of financial rewards for Cubans for “killing or delivering alive known Communists.” The CIA would let Cubans know of the plan by dropping leaflets in the air, but there were rules: A reward would be paid to an individual upon presentation of a leaflet, with “conclusive” proof of death and dead person’s party/revolutionary membership card. Cubans who played along would get a certain dollar amount based on the title of the Communist who they had killed. They’d get up to $100,000 for government officials and $57,500 for “department heads.” Castro, perhaps for symbolic reasons, would earn a Cuban only two cents.

    Sex parties

    A 1960 FBI memo described a “high-priced Hollywood call girl” who was approached by Fred Otash, a well known Los Angeles private investigator, seeking information about sex parties involving then Sen. John F. Kennedy, his brother-in-law actor Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. “She told the agents that she was unaware of any indiscretions,” the memo said.

    In search of a stripper named Kitty

    An FBI file contains information on the bureau’s attempt to locate a stripper named “Kitty,” last name unknown. According to the file, another stripper named Candy Cane said Kitty had been an associate of Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed Oswald on Nov. 24, 1963. Leon Cornman, business agent with the American Guild of Variety Artists in New Orleans, told the FBI that “the only stripper he knew by the name of Kitty who worked in New Orleans was Kitty Raville.”

    “He advised (that) Raville committed suicide in New Orleans in August or September 1963,” the report states.

    Assassinating JFK ‘not worth it’ for Cuba

    A draft report by the House Select Committee on Assassinations found it unlikely that Cuba would kill Kennedy as retaliation for CIA’s attempts on Castro’s life. “The Committee does not believe Castro would have assassinated President Kennedy, because such an act, if discovered, would have afforded the United States the excuse to destroy Cuba,” the draft states. “The risk would not have been worth it.”

    Was LBJ in the KKK?

    In an internal FBI report from May 1964, an informant told the FBI that the Ku Klux Klan said it “had documented proof that President Lyndon B, Johnson was formerly a member of the Klan in Texas during the early days of his political career.” The “documented proof” was not provided.

    Fulgencio Batista and the plot to bribe a U.S. congressman

    An internal FBI memo dated Jan. 22, 1960 discusses an alleged plot to bribe a U.S. congressman and bring deposed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista to the United States. The memo, citing information provided by a Miami arms dealer, says that in exchange for securing entry into the United States for Batista, $150,000 would be split between U.S. Rep. Abraham Multer of New York, a Miami Beach attorney, and two Batista “adherents” in Miami. According to the memo, the FBI took the alleged plot seriously enough to investigate but Batista himself “turned down the proposition.”

    Communist Party investigation into JFK killing

    Several documents summarize internal discussions within Communist Party meetings after the assassination, discussing whether Oswald was innocent and whether communists would be blamed for Kennedy’s death. Agents ran down rumours from prisoners and poets.

    CIA plots to kill Castro

    Some of the papers recounted the agency’s well-chronicled schemes to kill Castro. One document, a summary of the CIA’s plans to assassinate foreign leaders, recounted how the CIA tried to use James B. Donovan, the American lawyer and negotiator recently made famous by the movie “Bridge of Spies,” for one plot. He would give Castro a contaminated skin-diving suit while the two negotiated for the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners.

    “It was known that Fidel Castro liked to skindive. The CIA plan was to dust the inside of the suit with a fungus producing madera foot, a disabling and chronic skin disease, and also contaminating the suit with tuberculosis bacilli in the breathing apparatus,” the paper said. Donovan didn’t go through it, instead presenting the Cuban leader with “an uncontaminated skindiving suit as a gesture of friendship.”

    Another outlandish plot described talks of prepping a “booby-trap spectacular seashell” that would be submerged in an area Castro enjoyed diving. The seashell would be loaded with explosives that would go off once lifted. “After investigation, it was determined that there was no shell in the Caribbean area large enough to hold a sufficient amount of explosive which was spectacular enough to attract the attention of Castro.”

    Another scheme to kill Castro involved a CIA employee fluent in Spanish based in Cuba who was recruiting a high-ranking Cuban government official in 1963. The CIA officer and the Cuban actually met in Europe on the day of Kennedy’s assassination. The Cuban wanted the CIA to supply him with “some type of esoteric gadget with which he would be able to defend himself” if he got into a fight with Castro. “He had in mind some sort of pellet pen ...” the document read. The agency officer didn’t have a pellet pen, but he did show his asset a ballpoint pen with a hypodermic needle “inside that when you pushed the lever, the needle came out and poison could be injected into someone.”

    But the Cuban declined the gadget because it would have required him to get too close to Castro. Instead, the agent asked the CIA operative for weapons. The agency complied, sending down high-powered rifles with scopes to Cuba. The asset was never used. The case officer broke off contact in 1964.

    Jack Ruby and Officer Tippitt

    An April 1964 memo from J. Edgar Hoover ordered the FBI to check out a report that Jack Ruby and Dallas Police officer J.D. Tippitt — fatally shot by Oswald shortly after Oswald killed Kennedy — had met at Ruby’s strip club, the Carousel Club, sometime prior to the assassination. Hoover seemed skeptical.

    Hollywood blacklist

    Many of the files reveal the FBI’s often extraordinary efforts to identify suspected communists in the United States. Dozens of documents amount to brief records on individuals whose names were drawn from the mailing list for a publication called “The Worker.” Other files include reports from associates of Hollywood figures, including screenwriter John Howard Lawson, suspected of being members of the Communist Party in California.

    Some of the files predate the Kennedy assassination by nearly two decades. A collection of FBI records from 1945 record the bureau’s struggles to install and maintain a wiretap on Lawson’s Coldwater Canyon. One file describes the bureau’s plan to install a microphone at the house while Lawson was expected to be in San Francisco for a United Nations conference. But the bureau’s plans were thwarted when agents discovered “a person residing at the Lawson home” in his absence.

    Lawson was one of the “Hollywood Ten”: the first group of U.S. film professionals to be blacklisted.

    A Communist Party small enough to fit in a car

    The documents show that for years, the FBI used informants to monitor the Communist Party in Dallas — a group that consisted of 5 or 6 people — so small they could sometimes hold a meeting inside a car.

    Beef between the FBI and CIA

    One memo described tensions between CIA and FBI officials that still exist today. It quotes FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover saying, “more and more we are telling CIA about our domestic operations and always to our detriment. I want this stopped.”

    Predictions the Cuban revolution would quickly collapse

    Many of the documents centre on the activities of Cuban anti-Castro groups — including Orlando Bosch’s Insurrectional Movement of Revolutionary Recovery (MIRR) — as the FBI tried to dissuade or scuttle their plans for armed invasions of the island. One FBI document from June 1959 predicts an uprising against Castro that never came: “ ... Conditions are getting so bad in Cuba that it can well be that a counterrevolution will occur from within Cuba, rather than waiting for any invasion force from outside ... powerful interests, such as bankers, sugar institute, et cetera, are extremely dissatisfied.”

    Similarly, another 1959 FBI report relays intelligence on a Cuban exiles jockeying to replace Castro if he were to be overthrown, an outcome seen as all but assured. The same document cites the prediction by an informant that Castro “cannot last more than two months.”

    And JFK’s real killer was ...

    The records also reveal a deposition given before the presidential Commission on CIA Activities in 1975 by Richard Helms, who had served as the agency’s director. After a discussion of Vietnam, David Belin, an attorney for the commission, turned to whether the CIA was involved in Kennedy’s killing.

    “Well, now, the final area of my investigation relates to charges that the CIA was in some way conspiratorially involved with the assassination of President Kennedy. During the time of the Warren Commission, you were Deputy Director of Plans, is that correct?” Belin asked.

    After Helms replied that he was, Belin then asked: “Is there any information involved with the assassination of President Kennedy which in any way shows that Lee Harvey Oswald was in some way a CIA agent or agent ...”

    Then, suddenly, the document cuts off.

    Strippers, surveillance and assassination plots: The wildest revelations in the JFK FilesStrippers, surveillance and assassination plots: The wildest revelations in the JFK Files

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN—In one of the most momentous days in recent Spanish history, lawmakers in the Catalan regional parliament voted to unilaterally declare independence on Friday, prompting the government to immediately adopt special constitutional powers to stop the region’s attempt to secede.

    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government called an emergency Cabinet meeting and was expected to use its new powers to immediately dismiss the Catalan regional government and curtail the powers of its parliament in Barcelona. The Spanish government could also seize control of the Catalan police force and the region’s publicly-owned media outlets.

    “Today, the Catalonia parliament has approved something that in the opinion of a large majority of people not only goes against the law but is a criminal act,” Rajoy declared.

    Rajoy said there was “no alternative” but to seize power because the Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, and his separatist Cabinet had pursued an illegal and unilateral path that was “contrary to the normal behaviour in any democratic country like ours.”

    “What would France or Germany do,” he asked lawmakers, if faced with a similar insurrection?

    The Spanish Senate’s decision to authorize the government to take control of Catalonia trumped the local parliament’s independence vote, which was a symbolic act that is doomed because Spain’s constitutional Court is almost certain to disallow it.

    Rajoy has indicated he wants to call an early election in the prosperous northeastern region as soon as central authorities can ensure an orderly return to legality.

    The battle around Catalonia’s future is far from over, however.

    Read more:

    Catalan President Carles Puigdemont rules out snap election to avert Spain showdown

    Catalan vice-president says Spain ‘giving us no other option’ but to secede

    Catalan leaders plan legal challenge to prevent Spain from taking over

    Madrid taking away Catalonia’s regional powers is likely to be seen as a humiliation and a provocation by Catalans. A backlash is anticipated, with street protests planned for Sunday, while regional government workers could follow a policy of disobedience or non-co-operation.

    On top of that, an expected early election within six months could still deliver a steadfastly pro-independence Catalan parliament, even if recent polls have suggested the region of 7.5 million people is roughly evenly split on secession and some Catalans strongly oppose independence.

    A spokesperson with Spain’s prosecutor office, meanwhile, said the prosecutor would seek to lay rebellion charges against those responsible for the Catalan independence vote.

    The day of drama, featuring emotional speeches and scenes of joy and despair, went to the heart of Spain’s political and cultural history.

    The 1978 Constitution, drawn up after the end of Gen. Francisco Franco’s decades-long dictatorship, created a decentralized Spanish state that devolved power to 17 autonomous regions, including Catalonia. The regions have broad administrative and legal powers. The Spanish Constitution, however, also describes Spain as “indivisible.”

    Catalonia has its own cultural traditions and its own language. Having long seen themselves as different from Spain, the Catalan drive for independence began in 2010 when the constitutional Court struck down key parts of a groundbreaking charter that would have granted Catalonia greater autonomy and recognized it as a nation within Spain.

    Catalonia represents a fifth of Spain’s gross domestic product and many want the tax revenues generated by the industrious region to remain at home.

    After the vote on independence in the Catalan parliament, an unprecedented challenge to Spain’s status quo, officials and lawmakers let loose cries of “Freedom!”

    Outside parliament, thousands who had gathered cheered the news, some dancing and raising a toast. In Barcelona, people crowded around TV sets to watch the historical events unfold. The famous St. Jaume square outside the regional government office was packed with thousands of people celebrating. Many of them were draped with the “Estelada” flag that adds a blue triangle to the red and yellow Catalan flag and has become a symbol of the separatist struggle.

    “I feel so emotional after the huge fight we went through, we finally got it ... the independence of Catalonia!” said 74-year-old Rosalina Cordera Torelles.

    Nearby, 24-year-old Rita Carboneras could hardly contain her excitement.

    “I’m super, super, super happy. Super excited,” she said. “So relieved. Now we are Catalan at last. We can be ourselves. We are just happy, look everyone around. Everything is so exciting.”

    The exhilaration was short-lived. Some 500 kilometres to the south, the Senate in Madrid voted by an overwhelming margin of 214 to 47 in favour of granting the government exceptional powers.

    The main opposition Socialist party supports Rajoy’s stance on Catalonia, and many Spaniards outside the region are scornful of Catalonia’s secession ambitions.

    Rajoy has also received support from outside Spain, with other European leaders rejecting Catalonia’s claims. The U.S. administration also backed Rajoy, after President Donald Trump last month branded the Catalan independence ballot as “foolish.”

    “Catalonia is an integral part of Spain, and the United States supports the Spanish government’s constitutional measures to keep Spain strong and united,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

    Also supporting Rajoy’s warnings of trouble in Catalonia if it forges ahead with its secession bid, more than 1,500 businesses have moved their official headquarters out of Catalonia this month to ensure they can continue operating under European Union laws if Catalonia secedes. The EU says Catalonia will be tossed out of the bloc if it leaves Spain and would have to apply to become a member, a lengthy process.

    With files from the New York Times

    Catalan parliament declares independence as Spanish PM says ‘no alternative’ but to seize powerCatalan parliament declares independence as Spanish PM says ‘no alternative’ but to seize power

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    David Fleming has sold hundreds of houses and plenty of apartments, but in his 13 years as a realtor, there’s only one kind of home he refuses to sell — pre-construction condos.

    “You’re buying a piece of paper,” he says. “There is no hole in the ground yet. Everything can change and usually does.”

    That includes maintenance and condo fees, which can sometimes double from the estimated rates cited during the sales stage, as condo boards scramble to fill reserve funds once tenants have moved in, say a handful of realtors consulted by the Star.

    How can pre-construction condo buyers avoid being caught off guard by potential fee hikes? Start by taking a look at the estimated average maintenance fees for pre-construction units. Fleming estimates that in Toronto’s downtown core these are between 70 and 75 cents a square foot.

    “If you walk into a sales centre and they say it is 40 cents a square foot, it is absolute nonsense,” says Fleming, who adds that a rate like that could be a sign that you should start saving for a jump.

    Another indicator of potential high costs to come are utilities and amenities, which aren’t always included in maintenance fees. Those sleek pools and party rooms, and the access to a concierge, are things developers flaunt during the sales stage, but they can drive up costs, warns realtor and chartered accountant Scott Ingram.

    Plus, maintenance fees “in older buildings are much more likely to include heat, hydro and often, cable TV,” Ingram says. “Over time (in new buildings), that has been stripped out. It’s rare to have anything other than water covered there.”

    Sometimes, leaving utility costs out of maintenance-fee estimates can be a selling tactic in the buying stage. Ingram uses the example of two buildings — one where units are more expensive but have cheaper fees, and another where units are less pricy but have higher fees. He urges prospective buyers to compare between two places and he reminds them that, “if it sounds too cheap to be true, maybe it is.”

    To be safe, he recommends the pre-construction buyers have a 20-per-cent fee buffer. He says he’s seen data showing that, of the more than 100 GTA condo developments registered between January 2015 and the end of this year’s first quarter, three had no change in maintenance fees, one saw a decrease and the rest had increases.

    He says half of those that increased rose by 10 cents or more — a rate his 20-per-cent cushion would cover.

    While condos fees can fluctuate wildly from building to building — because of differences in amenities, location, management, age of the development and size of units — taking a peek at how much the fees increased at other buildings from the same developer can be helpful, says Ingram.

    But few people do that kind of research.

    “A lot of buyers go directly to the builder, but they don’t understand that the builder’s salesperson is working for the builder, so they don’t go in with their own advocate,” says ReMax Hallmark Richards Group sales representative Cameron Levitt, who bought a pre-construction condo that has yet to see a fee hike in his first year of living there.

    He says a failure to seek guidance is often why buyers get tripped up over fees. Early on, if they look into which builders are reputable and have an established history of managing fees and reserve funds well, the purchase tends to be much smoother.

    Meanwhile, Fleming says one of the smartest things prospective buyers can do is to use the 10-day cooling off period before closing to hire a lawyer to comb through their contract, especially any parts laden with legalese.

    The lawyer could say, “‘Your fees might not be 32 cents. They might actually be 70 cents a square foot, can you afford that?’ Maybe (a buyer) will actually stop and think about it, and have time to make a good decision,” says Fleming.

    And while maintenance fee rates that increase dramatically can be a problem for buyers, Fleming says, “you don’t want a building to have no increase in fees for four years in a row” either.

    A building that doesn’t see small increases, Fleming says, isn’t always taking into consideration inflation, which can boost maintenance fees by a few percentage points each year.

    Without small increases, he says “all you will do is pay for it down the line.”

    Worried about condo fees? Here’s how to avoid getting caught off-guardWorried about condo fees? Here’s how to avoid getting caught off-guard

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    Six hundred square feet isn’t huge. But Emily Pickles figures her new condo in Burlington will be larger than anything she could afford downtown.

    “Where the market’s at right now it’s a little scary. It was surprising to see what I could get for my budget — it’s not much,” said the 22-year-old TTC customer communications and special events co-ordinator.

    When Pickles moves into her place next year, she will join the one in five Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) households that live in condos, according to the latest census data. That proportion is about the same in Burlington although it’s not part of the Toronto CMA.

    Read more: The Star looks at the present and the future of Toronto housing

    Toronto housing affordability hits worst level ever measured in city, RBC report says

    Where in the city do people struggle most to pay for their homes?

    For first-time millennial buyers like Pickles, condos have become the de facto starter home, an answer to ownership in the face of big city prices.

    But in Toronto, high rises come with questions about whether we’re building the right kind of housing. If not, how do we sustain vibrant high-rise communities suitable for all ages?

    In Canada, 13.3 per cent or 1.9 million households live in condos and the Toronto region accounts for 445,650 of those, according to the census.

    In Vancouver, nearly one in three households live in condos. Even some smaller cities such as Calgary and Kelowna, B.C. — where the numbers are 21.8 per cent and 21.5 per cent, respectively — have proportionately similar condominium populations to Toronto.

    In Toronto the trajectory of condo development is clear. It’s less straightforward in the 905 communities, according to information provided by the city.

    “The proportion of households living in condominium units is likely to rise,” said Michael Wright of Toronto planning.

    “The bulk of the city’s potential housing supply includes condominium units. For the five-year period ending June 30, 51 per cent of the proposed development projects in the city’s pipeline involve at least one condominium application, and these projects represent 85 per cent of the residential units proposed, under construction or recently built,” he said in an email.

    Although condos can range from single-detached homes, town houses and low-rise apartments, the majority of units in Toronto are high rise and, even in the 905, where municipalities are building population densities around the region’s expanded transit system, there’s a clear push to the sky.

    For Pickles, who is living with her parents until her unit is ready, the move means home ownership near enhanced transit service on GO’s busy Lake Shore West line.

    She put down 30 per cent on the $307,000 apartment, and figures her payments, including condo fees, will still be less than rent downtown.

    “Rent is insane,” she said, citing friends whose leasing costs are so prohibitive they struggle to afford the city amenities for which they’re paying a premium to be close to.

    Condominiums, which provide about a third of the City of Toronto’s rental stock, have been an effective response to the problem of affording a starter home in Toronto, particularly for millennials. They’re also evidence of Toronto’s oft-touted world class status, said Phil Soper, CEO of Royal LePage.

    “One third of housing stock we’ve added since 2011 is condominium. When I was a kid (in 1980) it was 6 per cent. That’s a dramatic change. Clearly we’re adjusting the product people buy into. It’s clear we’ve joined other global cities in a changing social norm where many people don’t expect the white picket fence,” he said.

    And condos work for millennial consumers — until there’s a second child in the family.

    “When they have that second child, there’s a switch that’s thrown in the direction their lives take for home ownership and they will head to the suburbs just like their parents did,” said Soper of the key millennial consumer segment. “What they’re not doing is buying their first home in the suburbs.”

    The potential migration of young home owners to the suburbs could put the city’s vibrancy at risk. But it’s a risk that can be addressed by governments putting the right incentives in place to encourage the development of bigger condos.

    The census provides more ammunition for building the housing that planners call the “missing middle.”

    Those are the attached town homes and mid-rise apartments that are priced and sized somewhere between the region’s glut of high-rise and single-family detached homes, said Marcy Burchfield, executive director of the Neptis Foundation, which has been studying Ontario’s anti-sprawl growth plan.

    It’s housing that accommodates struggling middle- and middle-lower income families, she said. That’s key in a region where the census showed 26.7 per cent of home owners and 47 per cent of tenants are spending more than 30 per cent of their household income on housing.

    That’s a clear indicator of financial stress. Add the cost of commuting to the high cost of housing, and the affordability challenge grows again, she said.

    “Moving the needle on changing the composition on the dwelling structure of our region is one way of doing that,” said Burchfield.

    “That is where we need to focus our efforts. It’s got to be around current transit and where we’re building all this high capacity, high speed transit around the GO stations. That is really where we’re going to start to see movement around this affordability issue,” said Burchfield.

    Location near a GO station was a key selling point for Pickles because it puts her on a more frequent train service and it’s a reprieve from the noise of downtown.

    “It would be nice at my age to live downtown but I wasn’t fully ready to do that,” she said.

    At the same time, owning a home of her own was a priority.

    “I wanted to get my foot in the door. I wanted to own my piece of property,” said Pickles. “I wanted to be building something up myself.”

    Canada and condos

    First-time GTA home buyers take to the skies in condosFirst-time GTA home buyers take to the skies in condos

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    Superstar golfer Tiger Woods has pleaded guilty to reckless driving and agreed to enter a diversion program to settle a charge of driving under the influence.

    Woods entered the plea Friday in Palm Beach County, Florida. In the diversion program, Woods will spend a year on probation and pay a $250 fine and court costs. He also must attend DUI school, perform 20 hours of community service and attend a workshop where victims of impaired drivers detail how their lives were damaged. The judge indicated that he had already met those requirements.

    Since he was intoxicated with prescription drugs and marijuana, he will also be required to undergo regular drug tests. He was arrested in May after being found passed out in his Mercedes.

    Tiger Woods pleads guilty in DUI caseTiger Woods pleads guilty in DUI case

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    OTTAWA – A poster at a children’s community centre hung over Bill Morneau’s shoulder Wednesday as he fielded reporters’ questions about ethics: “Life is what you bake it.”

    Unquestionably, Morneau, a multimillionaire, has baked himself a cowpie.

    But ethics watchdog Mary Dawson provided some of the ingredients.

    The finance minister failed to follow Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s example and put his assets into a blind trust, even if Dawson said it was “not required” by law.

    The political rookie hung onto about $20 million worth of shares in his former company Morneau Shepell, and went ahead on to introduce Bill C-27, pension law changes he’d once advocated for when he was an executive of the company.

    Now he’s in trouble because he took Dawson’s advice to set up an ethics “screen” — basically, assign his top staffer to keep him out of trouble.

    On top of it all, Morneau failed to fully answer questions about the whole mess over the past two weeks.

    Now he can’t avoid them.

    That’s because even Mary Dawson is wondering whether her advice worked.

    In response to a formal complaint by the NDP, she is now looking into whether Morneau was in a conflict of interest with Bill C-27.

    That “screen” was supposed to prevent him from taking part in anything that could favour Morneau Shepell.

    But if Morneau must face questions, surely Dawson’s office has some questions to answer as well.

    The conflict of interest and ethics commissioner has what amounts to a triple role: to counsel; to investigate; and to judge.

    She advises and guides “public office holders” — MPs, cabinet members, political staff, government appointees and senior departmental officials — on how to conduct themselves according to a code of conduct and the law. But when they run afoul of that code or the law, she’s the prosecutor and the judge.

    And Dawson’s investigations take a long time: the report on Nigel Wright came a year after Mike Duffy was acquitted and any appeal dropped. She has not yet completed her investigation into Trudeau’s trip to the Aga Khan’s island in the Bahamas last Christmas. She hopes it’ll be done by the time her extension on the job is up in January, she said last week.

    Although Trudeau, Morneau and their Liberal caucus colleagues repeat every day they have confidence in Dawson, many are privately fuming.

    They believe Morneau — who some acknowledge was politically tone-deaf — complied with Dawson’s recommendations and is now being unfairly judged as having broken faith with Canadians.

    Complying with Dawson’s requirements is no easy thing according to several people who have been in current and past governments, Liberals and Conservatives.

    Some describe a process that takes weeks of giving her copies of pay stubs, credit card bills, student loans, bank records and any other financial record to document what they own, who they owe and where their interests lie.

    In Morneau’s case, the process took months. Yet it seems nobody in Dawson’s office fact-checked his asset declaration — they missed the French corporation that owns the villa he did disclose to them. A quick search of French corporate registry files by the CBC turned it up last month.

    In other cases, it’s less complicated. “In my case, I didn’t have anything, just a mortgage and a Visa bill,” said one former Conservative minister. When it comes to Dawson’s office, he said, the best guidance is your own gut instinct: if you think anything might one day be a problem, it already is.

    Another former Conservative minister said no matter what Dawson’s office says, at the end of the day, “there are still grey areas and that’s where judgment comes in. If there is a loophole that allows you to own stocks through a corporation but no minister is supposed to own stock — you probably shouldn’t be using that loop hole.”

    “And if you’re the finance minister, best to put everything in a blind trust. And if your family owns a big company that does business with the government, it never really is “blind” is it? So that’s the complicating problem... he needs to divest and recuse himself where there’s a clear or perceived conflict. Not sure if the ethics office wasn’t able to provide clear advice to him or he did otherwise.”

    We don’t yet know which is the case for Morneau.

    Others who’ve dealt with Dawson say her advice has been clear but baffling nevertheless because it is seen as overzealous, misguided and based on a fundamental misinterpretation of the law, its intent and how Parliament actually works.

    A PMO communications aide was told by Dawson’s office he was not allowed to buy a coffee for, nor accept a coffee from, any journalist.

    Dawson’s office initially told government officials they had to decline invitations by journalists to attend the annual parliamentary press gallery dinner — a tradition that goes back to 1870 — saying that the invite could “reasonably be seen to have been given to influence” them in their official duties, before the commissioner dropped that interpretation.

    One Liberal MP said when it comes to the elections regime, there is a clearer division of responsibility than there is in Canada’s conflict of interest regime: the chief electoral officer runs elections and helps guides parties through their responsibilities. The commissioner of Canada elections is the enforcement arm.

    Democracy Watch spokesman Duff Conacher is calling on Dawson to step aside from any further decisions concerning Morneau and other Liberals.

    Conacher has no sympathy for Morneau, but says Dawson is “biased” given that she advised Morneau that a blind trust was not needed, she established a conflict of interest “smokescreen” for him “and is essentially serving at the pleasure of the Trudeau cabinet.”

    He says Dawson should step aside and delegate any investigations or rulings to an independent person such as a provincial ethics commissioner.

    Furthermore, Democracy Watch says Trudeau and all other cabinet ministers and senior government officials should be required to sell their investments in any company and buy term deposits or Canadian government bonds until they leave office.

    Amid the political firestorm over Morneau’s finances, the Liberals express only confidence in Dawson, pointing over and over again to her advice to Morneau — saying he followed it to the letter. Morneau even released her letter.

    Conservative House leader Candice Bergen said Trudeau’s “‘let’s just blame the ethics commissioner’ shtick is not passing the muster test.”

    Trudeau said “I am not trying to blame the ethics commissioner. I am trying to trust the ethics commissioner. That is what the opposition needs to do.”

    “They need to understand that despite all the attacks and mudslinging that goes on in here, we have a system of officers of parliament and commissioners who are there to ensure that people follow the rules,” the prime minister said, adding, “We will continue to go above and beyond what she asks whenever possible.”

    Questions raised about the ethics watchdog’s role in Morneau’s woes: AnalysisQuestions raised about the ethics watchdog’s role in Morneau’s woes: Analysis

    0 0

    CLEVELAND—A 10-year-old boy led police on a high-speed pursuit that began in Cleveland and ended miles away along the Ohio Turnpike when state troopers boxed him in, and police say it’s the second time in two weeks the boy has taken cars on joyrides.

    Authorities say no one was injured during the pursuit that began around 9:30 a.m. Thursday when Westlake police saw a car speed by chased by another vehicle, possibly driven by the boy’s mother, on Interstate 90 west of Cleveland.

    A man called 911 and reported the boy’s car was swerving in and out of traffic and had almost run several vehicles off the road. He also said a woman was following him in a red SUV. A woman called 911 and said the boy appeared to be driving around 144 km/h.

    Three Westlake officers tried to stop the 2004 Toyota Avalon along the interstate and followed it for more than 24 kilometres at high speeds until the boy drove through a toll booth and entered the westbound lanes of the Ohio Turnpike, Westlake police Capt. Guy Turner said.

    Highway Patrol Sgt. Tim Hoffman said that’s when at least four state troopers began joining the chase and attempted a rolling roadblock as the boy drove erratically along the turnpike with speeds reaching 161 km/h. After a pursuit of around 32 kilometres, the boy slowed down and veered onto the grassy berm to avoid driving over stop sticks, Hoffman said. That’s when one trooper used his cruiser to nudge the boy’s car into a sign. Other police cars blocked the vehicle and prevented it from re-entering the road.

    “It was very lucky no one was hurt,” Hoffman said.

    The boy was taken to a hospital accompanied by a legal guardian, the Highway Patrol said. He will be placed in the custody of Erie County Children’s Services after being evaluated. The patrol said it will confer with prosecutors about criminal charges.

    A Cleveland police report shows that the boy previously stole his mother’s 2013 Dodge Charger on Oct. 16. Police went to the mother’s home and, a short time later, other officers responded to a call about a car driven by a small boy on I-90 in Cleveland in the high-speed lane with three flat tires, according to the report.

    The boy was arrested and taken to the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center and released to his mother.

    10-year-old leads police, state troopers on high-speed chase10-year-old leads police, state troopers on high-speed chase

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    Queen’s Park is giving Ontario communities a say on where the LCBO-run marijuana stores can be located when recreational cannabis is legalized next July.

    “Today, letters were sent to all municipalities in Ontario to share the next steps for establishing retail stores,” the provincial government said in a statement Friday.

    “The process will be led by the LCBO, working closely with the government and local communities,” the government said.

    Read more:

    TDSB trustees want marijuana sales kept away from schools

    Toronto given the go-ahead to shut down Canna Clinic pot dispensaries

    Owner of Toronto medical marijuana dispensaries challenges law he was arrested under

    “Two primary considerations will be used to guide the identification of municipalities where stores will be located: to achieve geographic distribution of stores across the province; to reduce the number of illegal stores, including dispensaries, currently in operation.”

    The standalone weed shops will not be co-located with existing Liquor Control Board of Ontario stores.

    One key objective is to ensure they are “not … in close proximity to schools.”

    “The LCBO will utilize guidelines to identify specific store locations with the objective of ensuring that youth are protected and the illegal market is addressed.”

    Once a prospective location has been identified by the LCBO, public notices will be posted online and at the planned storefront to allow for community feedback and allay local concerns.

    That’s in stark contrast to the scores of illegal storefront “dispensaries” currently operating in cities like Toronto, some of which are located just steps from schools.

    There will be 40 LCBO-operated stores up and running next July, rising to 80 by July 2019 and 150 across the province by 2020. The LCBO will also run online distribution.

    “It is critical that in establishing a new, legal retail system for cannabis we protect our youth and combat the illegal market,” said Finance Minister Charles Sousa. “Municipalities are essential partners in our efforts to distribute cannabis across the province.”

    Attorney General Yasir Naqvi promised that the government would work with municipal leaders to ensure “the needs and interests of communities are reflected in our safe and sensible approach to cannabis legalization.”

    Premier Kathleen Wynne has pledged to help municipalities with any of the additional costs legalized recreational cannabis could bring.

    Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said Wynne’s government is going about legalization the wrong way.

    “The Liberals’ approach seems to ramp up criminalization of pot outside the government monopoly, which undermines the reasons for legalizing it in the first place,” said Schreiner.

    “There is a better way — highly regulated and licensed local businesses to allow local farmers, small businesses and Indigenous groups to participate in the market, creating local jobs and contributing tax dollars to local communities across the province.”

    Ontario municipalities will have say in LCBO-run marijuana shop locationsOntario municipalities will have say in LCBO-run marijuana shop locations

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    A witness in the trial of two men accused of killing Laura Babcock says the young woman was depressed and talked about suicide in the weeks before she vanished five years ago.

    Jeff Wilson, a film and television producer, says he met Babcock at a bar in Toronto’s west end in the summer of 2012 and she asked to move in with him right away.

    He says the 23-year-old told him she did not want to stay with a roommate at a downtown apartment, or return to her parents’ place, so he let her live with him for two weeks.

    Read more:

    ‘We burned a body and threw it in the lake,’ Laura Babcock’s murder trial hears

    A good guy emerges at grim trial into Laura Babcock’s murder: DiManno

    The Crown alleges Mark Smich, 30, of Oakville, Ont., and Dellen Millard, 32, of Toronto, murdered Babcock and incinerated her body.

    The prosecution contends Babcock, whose body has not been found, was the odd woman out in a love triangle with Millard and his girlfriend. Both Smich and Millard have pleaded not guilty.

    Wilson, 41, says he was not romantically involved with Babcock and she slept in his second bedroom during those two weeks.

    He said friends and family told him he should ask Babcock to move out, which he did.

    “It ended up in tears, she wasn’t really ready to leave, had nowhere to go except back to that place in Yorkville,” Wilson told court.

    The next morning, she was either up before him or hadn’t slept at all, and “had scratched herself to the point of bleeding,” he said.

    She talked about suicide, Wilson said, but didn’t threaten to kill herself. He told court he thought she was trying to make him feel guilty.

    Wilson said a few days later he met Babcock at a hotel her former boyfriend had put her up in and she said she was happy.

    Laura Babcock was depressed, talked about suicide in weeks before she vanished: witnessLaura Babcock was depressed, talked about suicide in weeks before she vanished: witness

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    The provincial government proposed new air pollution standards Friday for sulphur dioxide, a component of acid rain, updating a decades-old standard that didn’t protect human health.

    The announcement comes after Ontario Environment Commissioner Dianne Saxe released a report Tuesday flagging constant exposure to the chemical as a health issue for the First Nations Community of Aamjiwnaang, located steps away from the industrial smokestacks of Sarnia, Ont.’s Chemical Valley.

    Saxe said the current standards, set in 1974 and not changed since, are several times higher than Health Canada’s limits for safe exposure.

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

    Ontario government ignored health warnings from its own engineers about Sarnia’s Chemical Valley, report claims

    Sarnia-area First Nation resident asks province to investigate flames at Chemical Valley plant

    “We hear the anxieties and concerns of residents living in the Sarnia area about the impacts of industrial pollution on their health and that is why we are taking action,” said Ontario Environment Minister Chris Ballard in a statement Tuesday.

    A joint investigation by the Star, Global News, National Observer, the Michener Awards Foundation and journalism schools at Ryerson and Concordia universities revealed a troubling pattern of secrecy and potentially toxic leaks in the area known as Chemical Valley.

    There are 57 polluters within 25 kilometres of Sarnia registered with the Canadian and U.S. governments.

    The investigation raised questions about whether companies and the provincial government are properly warning residents of Sarnia and Aamjiwnaang when potentially toxic substances, including benzene, known to cause cancer in high levels of long-term exposure, are leaked.

    Aamjiwnaang is surrounded on three sides by petrochemical plants.

    Sulphur dioxide can cause a range of respiratory issues, even after short exposures of five to 10 minutes. It’s harmful even below the threshold where humans are able to smell it.

    Industrial facilities in Sarnia regularly release sulphur dioxide during flaring, a process used to burn off materials dangerous to plants.

    The new standards proposed Friday include three new air standards for the chemical for exposures of 10 minutes, an hour and a year. The annual standard is less than a fifth what it was previously. While the hour standard is less than that set by Health Canada, the 10-minute limit is slightly above, though still less than half the threshold set by the World Health Organization.

    In her report Tuesday, Saxe criticized the government’s accounting for the long-term health effects of industry in Chemical Valley. Following the joint investigation, Ballard committed to funding a study examining those impacts, something residents have sought for nearly a decade.

    “We are also committed to taking more action in the coming weeks on the cumulative effects in heavily industrialized areas of the province,” said Ballard.

    Province proposes new air pollution standards for sulphur dioxideProvince proposes new air pollution standards for sulphur dioxide

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    Electric cars, better street sweeping, more bike lanes and cleaner fuel would reduce air pollution’s toll on Toronto — the premature deaths of an estimated 1,300 people and hospitalization of 3,500 every single year.

    That is one of the conclusions of a new report by Toronto’s medical officer of health focused on dirty air caused mostly by vehicles and taking the biggest toll on people who live close to highways and other busy roads.

    “Toronto’s air quality is improving. Policies and programs implemented by federal, provincial and municipal governments have led to decreases in pollutant emissions, ambient air pollution levels, and related health impacts,” states the report by Dr. Eileen de Villa.

    “However, Toronto Public Health estimates that air pollution still contributes to 1,300 premature deaths and 3,550 hospitalizations in Toronto each year. Motor vehicle traffic is the largest source of air pollution emitted in Toronto . . .

    “Studies show that people living close to roads are more likely to experience adverse health outcomes including breathing problems, heart disease, cancer, and premature death,” she wrote, adding that the most susceptible are children, seniors and people already sick.

    Public health has noted before that health problems caused by air pollution are down from the days of coal-fired power and frequent smog warnings in Ontario, but progress has stalled and the main reason is our reliance on vehicles burning fossil fuels.

    “Traffic-related air pollution” is a mix of airborne particulate matter, nitrogen oxides such as nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic carbons. While tailpipes spew the most pollution, a significant portion of harmful particles come from wear and tear on asphalt, tires, brake discs and brake pads.

    There are life-saving solutions, de Villa, notes, but they require action by all governments, in terms of regulations and shifting consumer vehicle choice, and from Toronto taxpayers investing significant dollars in the city’s ambitious plan to fight climate change.

    Recommended changes to reduce Toronto air pollution and save lives include:

    • The federal government toughening vehicle emission controls and fuel standards to match those of California. Also, ensuring its new “clean fuel standard” clamps down on the release of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, not just greenhouse gas emissions.

    • Encouraging the introduction of hybrid and electric personal vehicles. They won’t likely replace heavy-duty diesel trucks so look at requiring retrofits that reduce their emissions, or introducing incentives to replace the older ones with new cleaner-burning trucks.

    • Since street-sweeping can reduce ambient particles floating above roads, the city should consider increasing the frequency of sweeping on busy roads and conduct a “mobile air monitoring study” to assess relationships between sweeping and air quality.

    • Fully backing city initiatives to get more drivers walking, cycling and taking public transit. Implementing TransformTO, the City’s ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Toronto by 80 per cent by 2050. That will require, de Villa notes, “sustained investment in transit and active transportation infrastructure, and efforts to electrify and switch to low-carbon fuels for all types of vehicles.”

    Toronto council unanimously endorsed TransformTO in July. A fight looms for the 2018 budget, however, because Mayor John Tory says the emission-fighting steps must be prioritized while Councillor Gord Perks says the plan is already prioritized and should be fully funded.

    On street sweeping, the city is launching an air quality study in 2018 with an eye to reviewing possible changes to sweeping schedules.

    Last February, while finalizing Toronto’s 2018 spending plan, the Tory administration had proposed cutting $2 million from the street-sweeping budget. After councillors unexpectedly rejected the cut, they had to tap a reserve fund to balance the budget.

    Franz Hartmann of Toronto Environmental Alliance welcomed de Villa’s call for actions to improve Torontonians’ health.

    “The report suggests ways to reduce exposure to pollution out there and to reduce pollution itself,” he said in an interview.

    “The city needs to make it as easy as possible for people to keep their cars at home. It’s not about saying ‘You can’t ever drive’ – it’s about saying when you are going to the grocery store or work, there are transit, cycling and walking options. The best way to reduce air pollution is by not turning on that engine in the first place.”

    Toronto’s health board will debate the report on Monday.

    Electric cars, bike lanes among ways to reduce Toronto’s air pollution: new reportElectric cars, bike lanes among ways to reduce Toronto’s air pollution: new report

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    The common law spouse of a former top Dalton McGuinty aide charged with deleting documents says he signed an immunity agreement with police three years ago during their investigation.

    “I did, yes,” Peter Faist testified Friday as he took the stand at the criminal trial of his partner Laura Miller, once deputy chief of staff to McGuinty, and former chief of staff David Livingston.

    Faist, who had an information technology consulting business, confirmed Miller approached him to wipe computer hard drives in the McGuinty premier's office before Premier Kathleen Wynne took over in February 2013.

    Court has heard Livingstone asked senior civil servants in the cabinet office to provide a special access password allowing personal information to be cleared before Wynne's staff began using the computers.

    “Laura asked me if I knew anybody capable of doing this type of work,” Faist testified.

    “I said that I can do it myself.”

    Livingston and Miller have pleaded not guilty to breach of trust, mischief in relation to data and misuse of a computer system in the alleged wiping of hard drives during the political transition period after McGuinty announced plans to resign and Wynne was elected party leader.

    McGuinty stepped down with his minority government under extreme pressure to reveal documents related to the controversial closing of natural gas-fired power plants in Oakville and Mississauga before the 2011 election.

    Under examination by Crown prosecutor Tom Lemon, Faist was asked if he could remember Miller's title in the premier's office.

    “Honestl‎y, no,” Faist replied.

    “Deputy chief of staff?” Lemon queried again.

    “I think so,” said Faist, who also answered “I'm not sure” when Lemon asked if the hard drives to be cleaned were in the premier's office‎.

    “Her office was part of it,” Faist said, referring to Miller.

    Details of the wiping job were discussed in person and in a series of emails with another senior premier's office staffer, Dave Gene, Faist told court.

    In one email on Jan. 9, 2013, Gene asked Faist: “Hey, were you looking into wiping our computers?”

    That‎ was several weeks before senior bureaucrats, including cabinet secretary Peter Wallace, held a meeting on Jan. 30 to discuss whether to grant a special password to Livingston to clear hard drives.

    Wallace has previously testified he was concerned premier's office staff were not properly saving records of government decisions, including on the controversial gas plant cancellations.

    Faist said there was no discussion about a contract to do the work, for which he prepared by ordering White Canyon deletion software online on Jan. 10.

    He chose it to “clean the personal data but preserve the operating system and the applications.”

    Faist added there was a delay of “a month or so, six weeks, maybe two months” before he actually did the work.

    He warned at the time that people should “just make sure to have all your files on an external USB key” to save anything important.

    “If they had any files they wanted preserved, that would be a risk,” Faist told Judge Timothy Lipson.

    Faist later asked Gene for help in getting a cheque cut for the computer services, which came to $11,017.50 with tax.

    Although the work was done in the premier's office, Faist sent the invoice to the Liberal Caucus Service Bureau, which supports Liberal MPPs at Queen's Park, calling it invoice “OLP-20,” short for Ontario Liberal Party.

    Senior bureaucrats and government IT staff have testified previously that it's against standard procedure ‎to hire outsiders for such work, without going through an official procurement process.

    IT consultant hired to clean hard drives in McGuinty’s office tells court he had immunity deal with policeIT consultant hired to clean hard drives in McGuinty’s office tells court he had immunity deal with police

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    CANBERRA—Australia’s High Court on Friday disqualified the deputy prime minister and four senators from sitting in Parliament in a unanimous ruling that could cost the government its slender majority in Parliament.

    Critics have condemned as outdated the 116-year-old constitutional ban on “a subject or citizen of a foreign power” standing for Parliament in a country where almost half the people are immigrants or have an overseas-born parent. But the court said the lawmakers’ foreign family ties were knowable.

    The seven judges rejected the government’s argument that five of the lawmakers — including three government lawmakers — should be exempt from the ban because they had not voluntarily acquired or retained citizenship of another country.

    While the judges said it may be harsh to disqualify Australian-born candidates who had no reasons to believe they were not exclusively Australian, “those facts must always have been knowable.”

    The judges also pointed to the “difficulties of proving or disproving a person’s state of mind” and the “regrettable possibility of a want of candour” if ignorance of dual citizenship was recognized as an excuse.

    The decision to disqualify Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce means a byelection will be held for his rural electoral district on Dec. 2, the earliest possible date.

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s conservative coalition has a single-seat majority in the 150-seat House of Representatives where parties form governments.

    Joyce will be able to stand for re-election, having renounced the New Zealand citizenship he unknowingly inherited from his father. He is likely to retain the seat with the absence this time of his last election rival, independent candidate Tony Windsor, who won’t run again.

    Joyce later apologized to his electoral division for the inconvenience of a byelection.

    “In my gut I thought this is the way it was going to go,” Joyce told reporters.

    “I’m going to make sure that I don’t cry in my beer, I’m going to get back to work and work hard for the people of my electorate,” he added.

    The court also disqualified four of the six senators whose qualifications to be elected were debated in a three-day hearing earlier this month.

    The disqualified senators included government minister Fiona Nash, Joyce’s deputy in the Nationals party, who inherited British citizenship from her Scottish father.

    The senators who lost their seats in Australia’s dual-citizenship scandal:

    • Barnaby Joyce, deputy prime minister, who held New Zealand citizenship from his father, before renouncing it in August.

    • Fiona Nash, National Party senator, who held U.K. citizenship through her Scottish-born father, before renouncing it in August.

    • Malcolm Roberts, One Nation senator, who held U.K. citizenship by his 1955 birth to a Welsh father in India, before renouncing it in December

    • Larissa Waters, former Greens senator, who holds Canadian citizenship by birth. Waters resigned in July.

    • Scott Ludlam, former Greens senator, who holds New Zealand citizenship by birth. Ludlam also resigned in July.

    Another government minister Matt Canavan, who the court heard might have inherited Italian citizenship from his Australian-born mother through his Italian grandparents, was allowed to stay in Parliament.

    The judges found that they could not be satisfied that Canavan was Italian on the evidence presented to court.

    Nick Xenophon was also allowed to stay in Parliament. He was born to Cypriot- and Greek-born parents and checked with both embassies to ensure he wasn’t a citizen of those countries. He later found he was British because his father left Cyprus while it was a British colony.

    The judges ruled that’s Xenophon’s status as a British Overseas Citizen did not give him the rights of a foreign citizen because it did not entitle him to enter or live in Britain.

    Disqualified senators are replaced by members of their own parties without an election so the balance of power is not altered.

    Canavan was sworn back in as a minister for resources and northern Australia late Friday while Turnbull took over Joyce’s portfolios of agriculture and water resources. Two acting ministers took over Nash’s portfolios.

    “The decision of the court today is clearly not the outcome we were hoping for, but the business of government goes on,” Turnbull said.

    Turnbull said he would refer the court’s decision to a parliament committee to determine whether the constitution should be changed, “ensuring in our multicultural society that all Australians are able confidently to stand for and serve in our Parliament.”

    Three parliamentary investigations recommended in the 1980s and 1990s that the prohibition on dual citizens be removed from the constitution through a national referendum.

    But successive governments have failed to act, perhaps because of the difficulty in persuading Australians to change their constitution. Of the 44 referendums Australia has held since 1901, only eight have been carried, and none since 1977.

    The seven lawmakers said they did not know they were dual nationals when they ran for election last year.

    Richard Di Natale, leader of the minor Greens party, praised the honesty and integrity of his former deputies Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters, who resigned in July after discovering they were New Zealand and Canadian citizens respectively. None of the other five resigned.

    “If people are going to have faith in our democracy, then politicians need to start acting with some integrity with some decency and take responsibility for their actions,” Di Natale told reporters.

    The lawmakers were exposed as dual citizens as media scrutiny escalated after Ludlam declared in July that he had been illegally elected three times over a decade.

    Previously only two lawmakers had ever been caught out by the foreign citizen ban, although other dual citizens have almost certainly served in the Parliament undetected.

    Australian government at risk of collapse as Canadian, two Brits and a pair of Kiwis ruled ineligible over dual citizenshipAustralian government at risk of collapse as Canadian, two Brits and a pair of Kiwis ruled ineligible over dual citizenship

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    DETROIT—In her first public comments since accusing film producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, actress Rose McGowan said Friday she has been “silenced for 20 years” but won’t remain quiet about sexual assault and harassment.

    McGowan, delivering opening remarks at The Women’s Convention in Detroit, thanked the audience “for giving me wings during this very difficult time.”

    “The triggering has been insane — the monster’s face everywhere, my nightmare,” she said. “I have been silenced for 20 years. I have been slut-shamed, I have been harassed, I have been maligned, and you know what? I am just like you. What happened to me behind the scenes happens to all of us in this society. It cannot stand and will not stand.”

    McGowan has been one of the leading voices against sexual harassment in Hollywood, and tweeted earlier this month that she was raped by a man with the initials “HW.” The Hollywood Reporter said McGowan confirmed she was referring to Weinstein.

    On Twitter, McGowan has amassed supporters and urged them to call out harassment using the #RoseArmy hashtag. McGowan has starred in several films, including Scream, Jawbreaker, and Planet Terror, as well as the early 2000s television series Charmed.

    Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company on Oct. 8 after The New York Times published an expose that detailed decades of sexual harassment allegations against him. The Oscar-winning producer apologized without addressing any specific conduct, but has denied later allegations by several women that he raped them.

    The New York Times also reported that Weinstein paid a financial settlement of $100,000 (U.S.) to McGowan in 1997 over an incident in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

    On Friday, McGowan said because Hollywood is male-dominated, “we are given one view.” She said the entertainment industry isn’t isolated; instead, “it is the mirror you are given to look into.”

    “I know the men behind that view. They shouldn’t be in your mind and they shouldn’t be in mind. It’s time to clean house.”

    Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

    Police in London, Los Angeles and New York are investigating Weinstein, 65.

    He sued his former company on Thursday, seeking access to email and personnel records his lawyer contends would exonerate him.

    Read more:

    Former Harvey Weinstein assistant breaks confidentiality agreement to speak out about sexual harassment

    Former production assistant comes forward with sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinsten

    New York attorney general launches civil rights probe of Weinstein Co.

    ‘It cannot stand and will not stand’: Actress Rose McGowan says her silence on sexual assault is over‘It cannot stand and will not stand’: Actress Rose McGowan says her silence on sexual assault is over

    0 0

    The common law spouse of a former top Dalton McGuinty aide charged with deleting documents says he signed an immunity agreement with police three years ago during their investigation.

    “I did, yes,” Peter Faist testified Friday as he took the stand at the criminal trial of his partner Laura Miller, once deputy chief of staff to McGuinty, and former chief of staff David Livingston.

    Faist, who had an information technology consulting business, confirmed Miller approached him to wipe computer hard drives in the McGuinty premier's office before Premier Kathleen Wynne took over in February 2013.

    Court has heard Livingstone asked senior civil servants in the cabinet office to provide a special access password allowing personal information to be cleared before Wynne's staff began using the computers.

    “Laura asked me if I knew anybody capable of doing this type of work,” Faist testified.

    “I said that I can do it myself.”

    Livingston and Miller have pleaded not guilty to breach of trust, mischief in relation to data and misuse of a computer system in the alleged wiping of hard drives during the political transition period after McGuinty announced plans to resign and Wynne was elected party leader.

    McGuinty stepped down with his minority government under extreme pressure to reveal documents related to the controversial closing of natural gas-fired power plants in Oakville and Mississauga before the 2011 election.

    Under examination by Crown prosecutor Tom Lemon, Faist was asked if he could remember Miller's title in the premier's office.

    “Honestl‎y, no,” Faist replied.

    “Deputy chief of staff?” Lemon queried again.

    “I think so,” said Faist, who also answered “I'm not sure” when Lemon asked if the hard drives to be cleaned were in the premier's office‎.

    “Her office was part of it,” Faist said, referring to Miller.

    Details of the wiping job were discussed in person and in a series of emails with another senior premier's office staffer, Dave Gene, Faist told court.

    In one email on Jan. 9, 2013, Gene asked Faist: “Hey, were you looking into wiping our computers?”

    That‎ was several weeks before senior bureaucrats, including cabinet secretary Peter Wallace, held a meeting on Jan. 30 to discuss whether to grant a special password to Livingston to clear hard drives.

    Wallace has previously testified he was concerned premier's office staff were not properly saving records of government decisions, including on the controversial gas plant cancellations.

    Faist said there was no discussion about a contract to do the work, for which he prepared by ordering White Canyon deletion software online on Jan. 10.

    He chose it to “clean the personal data but preserve the operating system and the applications.”

    Faist added there was a delay of “a month or so, six weeks, maybe two months” before he actually did the work.

    He warned at the time that people should “just make sure to have all your files on an external USB key” to save anything important.

    “If they had any files they wanted preserved, that would be a risk,” Faist told Judge Timothy Lipson.

    Faist later asked Gene for help in getting a cheque cut for the computer services, which came to $11,017.50 with tax.

    Although the work was done in the premier's office, Faist sent the invoice to the Liberal Caucus Service Bureau, which supports Liberal MPPs at Queen's Park, calling it invoice “OLP-20,” short for Ontario Liberal Party.

    Senior bureaucrats and government IT staff have testified previously that it's against standard procedure ‎to hire outsiders for such work, without going through an official procurement process.

    IT consultant hired to clean hard drives in McGuinty’s office tells court he had immunity deal with policeIT consultant hired to clean hard drives in McGuinty’s office tells court he had immunity deal with police

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    SAINT BRUNO-DE-MONTARVILE, QUE.—Canada supports an undivided Spain, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday in response to the Catalan regional parliament in Barcelona passing a motion unilaterally establishing a new country.

    “Canada recognizes one united Spain,” Trudeau said in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, just east of Montreal.

    “We understand there are significant internal discussions that they are going through right now and we simply call for those discussions to be done according to the rule of law, according to the Spanish constitution, according to the principles of international law.

    “But mostly that those conversations and discussions happen in a peaceful, non-violent way.”

    In response to Friday’s independence motion, Spain fired the Catalan president and dissolved the regional parliament.

    Earlier in the day, Bloc Quebecois Leader Martine Ouellet responded to remarks made by Andrew Leslie, parliamentary secretary to the foreign affairs minister, which were similar to those Trudeau would make later.

    Ouellet called on Canada to recognize an independent Catalonia, saying she hopes the government would “adjust” its stance “because it’s not very classy to take a position like that.”

    The Quebec sovereigntist leader said Canada doesn’t shy away from “giving lessons” to countries in Africa, Asia or South America that have seen violence erupt after contested votes.

    Read more:

    ‘They are approaching a cliff’: What’s next for Spain after Catalonia’s declaration of independence

    Catalan parliament declares independence as Spanish PM says ‘no alternative’ but to seize power

    Real Madrid keeps focus on soccer as it heads to Catalonia amid political tensions

    “And then, all of a sudden, because it’s happening in Europe, (Canada) wants to protect the status quo?” Ouellet asked. “It’s troubling.”

    The Conservative party, which has been relatively quiet on the issue since the crisis in Spain began, said it was up to the federal government to take a position.

    “It’s an extremely complex subject,” said Tory MP Alain Rayes. “There is no simple answer. It’s an issue for the government.”

    Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard reacted to the Catalan government’s declaration by citing a motion passed in the provincial legislature on Oct. 4 that called for the crisis to be solved peacefully.

    “It’s not up to Quebec to interfere in this political debate or to dictate what the way forward should be,” Couillard said in a statement. “We still believe political and democratic dialogue is essential to resolve this impasse.”

    Trudeau says Canada recognizes one independent SpainTrudeau says Canada recognizes one independent Spain

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    For Canadian politicians visiting India, it is a rite of passage: Circumambulating the Golden Temple to honour the holiest site in Sikhdom.

    Prime ministers, cabinet ministers, premiers — and anyone aspiring to those jobs — knows the importance to voters back in Canada of being photographed on the temple grounds in Amritsar, wearing a head-covering out of respect for the faithful.

    But it won’t be happening anytime soon for Jagmeet Singh— neither praying, nor paying his respects. That’s because the new NDP leader, who could one day be Canada’s first turbaned prime minister, was refused a visa when trying to visit India in 2013.

    Back then, as an Ontario MPP, Singh was told (unofficially) that he’d been turned down after criticizing India’s treatment of minority groups. Four years later, fresh from winning this month’s NDP leadership convention, he is once again a controversial figure in India — and here at home among some Indo-Canadians.

    Singh’s pointed comments about a Sikh right to self-determination sparked protests from Indian politicians leery of local separatists who still dream of carving out an independent Khalistan in the Punjab.

    “It is better you confine your political views to Canada and don’t create any problem for Sikhs in India,” former Punjabi parliamentarian Tarlochan Singh told the Hindustan Times.

    Singh’s equivocations about the perpetrators of the 1985 Air India bombing have also raised eyebrows among the families of passengers who perished in the deadliest terrorist incident in Canadian history.

    Asked in a CBC interview if he condemned those who still honour the accused mastermind as a martyr — images of the late Talwinder Singh Parmar still pop up in some Sikh temples and commemorations — the NDP leader chose his words carefully. Or perhaps carelessly.

    While condemning the “heinous” violence, he hedged: “I don’t know who’s responsible (for the attack) but I think we need to find out who’s responsible.”

    Given that most of the 329 on board were Canadian citizens, and that Parmar was identified in court and by an inquiry as the instigator of the attack, the analogy has been drawn to an American politician withholding judgment against Osama bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks.

    Bal Gulpta, chair of the Air India 182 Families’ Association, complained that Singh “should have disowned the glorification of terrorism, even suspected terrorism or promoters of terrorism.”

    Supriya Dwivedi, a morning talk radio host who had family friends aboard the ill-fated flight, commented that Singh “needs to be able to better answer these sorts of questions.”

    No Canadian politician wants to be seen as soft on terrorism, given the current climate. Nor does any leader want to be seen as excessively hard on self-determination, given Quebec’s historical environment.

    Politics is always a balancing act and some have suggested Singh is being unfairly singled out because he is Sikh. But that doesn’t mean a national leader can dodge sensitive questions about public positions he has — or hasn’t — taken in the past.

    During his time in the Ontario legislature, MPPs passed frequent resolutions marking historical massacres and expressing solidarity with victims around the world. Singh proposed a resolution in 2016 condemning an Indian “genocide” during anti-Sikh riots in 1984 (it was defeated, but a similar resolution passed the next year).

    World history isn’t part of the legislature’s provincial mandate, but it pays off with domestic voters. MPPs can pronounce on foreign affairs with impunity.

    Now that Singh has moved from the relative obscurity of Queen’s Park to the rarefied atmosphere of Parliament Hill, he can expect more scrutiny.

    The Air India disaster never got the attention it deserved because of a double standard that downplayed the deaths of so many Indo-Canadians. It would be unfair to apply another double standard — making Singh pay a special price for that collective inattention — but the more equivocal his answers, the more persistent the questions will become.

    Similarly, the self-determination issue will remain a perennial in Canadian politics given Quebec’s sovereignty movement, just as Catalonia has returned to the Spanish agenda, and Khalistan is still a sore point in India, which has spent decades fending off separatist movements all along its northeastern and northwestern borders.

    Like any politician who tries to avoid giving offence, Singh may only end up offending more people along the way. That said — and no matter what he leaves unsaid — if the NDP leader ever becomes prime minister, he may yet get that Indian visa.

    Martin Regg Cohn’s political column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday., Twitter: @reggcohn

    The more equivocal the answers, the more persistent the questions for Jagmeet Singh: CohnThe more equivocal the answers, the more persistent the questions for Jagmeet Singh: Cohn

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    During a 300-day campaign in 2014, now-Mayor John Tory made a broad promise to deliver a Toronto that was “more livable, more affordable and more functional.” He also made dozens of specific pledges.

    With the third anniversary of his election on Oct. 27 and the next election one year away, the Star checked whether he has kept them.

    Our conclusion: of 45 promises, 18 were fulfilled, 13 were broken, nine were still in progress, four were redundant (meaning the government was already doing what Tory had pledged), and one was in limbo (meaning it’s unlikely to progress at all this term).

    The Star reviewed policy papers released by Tory’s campaign and public statements made by the now mayor in 2014.

    Our accounting focuses on concrete promises, not broad statements. For example, Tory promised, as mayor, he would be an ambassador for youth employment (too broad to check), but specifically promised to double the number of companies participating in a youth-employment program (a promise kept).

    In some cases, the promises fulfilled may have been something already in progress or under consideration by city and agency staff, meaning Tory can’t take full credit, although they did happen under his administration.

    In an emailed response to this analysis, Tory said: “I ran to restore honesty, integrity and trust in this office, and I believe I’ve done that. It was the first thing I set about doing when I was elected and I have never lost sight of it in my three years here.”

    “I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in three years working with council and the other governments: we’re moving forward on cutting traffic; we’re moving forward on building transit; we’re moving forward on building affordable housing and creating more child-care spaces, and we’re doing it all while keeping taxes low.”


    Tory promised: To build “SmartTrack” – a 53-kilometre “London-style surface rail subway” service with 22 stops primarily on existing GO lines and including a new western spur to the Mississauga Airport Corporate Centre in seven years without using city taxpayer funds.

    Status: Broken.

    Though Tory has seen elements of SmartTrack advanced by council, it is not what he promised during the campaign. The city is moving forward with a plan to build six new GO stations served by GO trains and a future LRT line towards the airport. One of the GO stations, Lawrence East, is currently under review. Tory’s promise to finance SmartTrack through a risky scheme called tax increment financing — essentially borrowing against property taxes from future development to build now — remains unclear with problems concerning the assumptions made in calculating the financing plan still unresolved.

    Tory promised: To start construction of the Scarborough subway extension “immediately.

    Status: Broken.

    Construction on the Scarborough subway has not begun. Some exploratory geotechnical work is being done. When Tory made this promise, candidates were discussing a three-stop plan, which has been scrapped in favour of a one-stop approved alternative introduced under Tory and now estimated to cost at least $3.35 billion. Subject to a further vote of council expected late next year, construction is anticipated to begin in 2020 and finish in the second quarter of 2026.

    Tory promised: To provide new express bus service on routes serving, for example, Don Mills Rd., Dufferin St. and for Liberty Village.

    Status: In progress.

    New express bus service was added in 2016 on five routes, including Don Mills. In June of this year, the TTC board approved a 10-year expansion plan of express service on new and existing routes. New routes to be added in 2019 include one on Dufferin.

    Tory promised: To freeze TTC fares in 2015.

    Status: Broken.

    Fares increased by 10 cents in 2015. Shortly after his election, Tory recommended the increase to cover proposed TTC improvements, including restoring bus service cut under former mayor Rob Ford. TTC fares have also increased every year thereafter under Tory’s administration. He has promised to support a fare freeze in 2018.

    Tory promised: To support a reduced TTC fare for people on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

    Status: Fulfilled.

    A “Fair Pass” program was approved by council in 2016, providing discounts for those on ODSP starting in 2018.

    Tory promised: To add queue-jumping bus lanes at key intersections outside downtown to improve bus commute times.

    Status: In progress.

    There are currently two queue-jumping lanes approved for construction in 2018 at Steeles Ave. and Don Mills Rd. and Lake Shore Blvd. and Brown’s Line, a TTC spokesperson confirmed. A third location will be going to council for approval shortly and another 15 are under consideration for future years.

    Tory promised: To approve the Gardiner East “hybrid” option that maintains the elevated connection to the Don Valley Parkway.

    Status: Fulfilled.

    Tory won a narrow victory in a 2015 council vote to build the hybrid and then amassed wider support in 2016 for the most expensive hybrid option.

    Tory promised: To crack down on illegal parking during rush hour.

    Status: Fulfilled.

    Though the mayor can’t direct police operations, Tory has encouraged several tag-and-tow blitzes for rush-hour rule breakers and saw police officers deployed to key intersections in 2016.

    Tory promised: To form a major route construction coordination committee.

    Status: Fulfilled.

    Tory formed a road closures coordination committee in his first year, which continues to meet regularly.

    Tory promised: To expand the city’s on-street cycling network, prioritizing separated bike lanes in “sensible locations.”

    Status: In progress.

    In 2016, council approved a 10-year cycling network planthat would expand the on-street network, but voted against staff recommendations to conduct further studies in major corridors while a Bloor bike lane pilot was ongoing. Council will vote on making the Bloor bike lanes permanent at a meeting next month. Tory supports making the lanes permanent.

    Tory promised: To increase the amount of bicycle parking at existing TTC and transit stations as well as on city streets.

    Status: Fulfilled.

    In 2016, the TTC added bike parking at six subway stations. Money from the federal government earmarked for TTC improvements, includes plans for 25 new storage stations to roll out starting this November and 15 more early next year.

    Tory promised: To ensure bicycle lane maintenance was a separate line item in the budget “so the funding is transparent.”

    Status: Broken.

    Bike lane maintenance is grouped together with maintenance for roads, bridges and sidewalks in the transportation services budget.

    Tory promised: To develop a tourism cycling strategy, including the expansion of Toronto’s destination cycling trail network.

    Status: Broken.

    There is no tourism cycling strategy. Tourism Toronto reported in 2016 that cycling is not a motivator for people to visit Toronto. City staff are pursuing various trail expansion projects as part of the city’s off-street cycling network, which were identified in 2012 before Tory took office.


    Tory promised: To form a task force to immediately review and recommend changes to the corporate structure of Toronto Community Housing and report back in July 2015.

    Status: Fulfilled.

    As one of his first acts as mayor, Tory appointed a six-person task force, which produced a final report in 2016. The task force recommended, among other things, breaking up the company into separate entities dealing with development and operations.

    Tory promised: To address the Toronto Community Housing repair backlog “immediately.

    Status: In progress.

    A repair backlog of $1.6 billion remains despite Tory’s ongoing efforts. The city has contributed $1 billion in repair financing, largely through mortgage and other refinancing. The other governments have yet to contribute to a requested one-third share each, despite Tory and the city’s insistence insist that they do so. A revised plan will be debated by council during the 2018 budget process.

    Tory promised: To explore financing and incentives to encourage the development of both ownership and rental affordable housing.

    Status: Fulfilled.

    Tory launched the Open Door program in 2015, which provides tax breaks and incentives to developers. Since then, the city has invested $121.86 million to encourage the creation of 1,869 rental and 596 home ownership units, none of which are completed yet. Housing advocates have criticized the city’s approach, saying the units remain unaffordable for many.

    Tory promised: To “enhance” the Rent Bank program

    Status: Redundant.

    The Rent Bank program, which provides interest-free loans for those at risk of eviction, is operated by a non-profit agency. Since the demand for those who qualify for the loans and deposits requested have not increased, the program has not expanded and is increasingly self-sustaining.

    Tory promised: To provide more cash for community benefits, known as section 37 funds, for affordable housing through the development application process.

    Status: Redundant.

    The mayor has no direct involvement with these agreements. Since 2014, the amount of cash and number of new units secured through the development process has increased. However, section 37 agreements are negotiated between staff, the developer and the local city councillor and later approved by council.

    Tory promised: To increase funding for the rent supplement program

    Status: Fulfilled.

    This promise is only barely fulfilled as the result of a largely inflationary increase to the rent supplement program, which helps subsidize rents for those eligible. The program remained relatively stable between 2014 and 2017. Funding increased from $33.1 million to $35.1 million and the number of units served decreasing slightly from 3,645 to 3,600.

    Tory promised: To ensure more city-owned land is used for affordable housing

    Status: Fulfilled

    Through the Open Door program, the city has made 10 sites available for public housing since 2014 compared to three sites between 2010 and 2014. Another two dozen additional sites have been identified.

    Tory promised: To establish a standing committee on housing and homelessness that reports to council.

    Status: In progress.

    There is no standing committee for housing, though an affordable housing committee, which is not a standing committee, continues to meet regularly. Tory’s spokesperson Don Peat said there remains a possibility such a committee could be created before the end of the term.


    Tory promised: To keep residential property taxes at or below the rate of inflation.

    Status: Fulfilled.

    Residential property taxes — when you don’t factor in the already-approved Scarborough subway levy built in to the increase in 2015 and 2016, or the new increase for transit and housing projects added at Tory’s urging in 2017 — rose at the rate of inflation for the last three years: 2.25 per cent in 2015 (2.75 per cent with the subway levy), 1.3 per cent in 2016 (1.9 per cent with the levy), and 2 per cent in 2017 (2.5 per cent with the city-building levy).

    Tory promised: To push the province to cut the business education tax.

    Status: Broken.

    There is still a portion of property taxes that businesses are required to pay towards the costs of province-wide education.

    Tory promised: To “continue” with a city policy to rebalance residential and commercial tax rates.

    Status: In progress.

    In the 2017 budget, council allowed one half of the tax rate increase on the residential property class to be applied to the commercial property class, rather than the city’s one-third policy and a slowing down of a tax ratio reduction policy implementation with a revised target of 2023 rather than 2020.


    Tory promised: Streamline Invest Toronto, the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance and the city’s economic development division and double the number of foreign investment leads in his first term.

    Status: Fulfilled.

    In 2014, the now-defunct Invest Toronto recorded 158 foreign direct investment opportunities with 24 new investments in Toronto. As of August 2017, under the new Toronto Global — a joint effort between various GTA cities, provincial and federal governments with the goal of increasing foreign investment — 300 leads were identified with 19 companies in the process of establishing a location in Toronto.

    Tory promised: To double the number of companies in the Partnership to Advance Youth Employment (PAYE)in his first year

    Status: Fulfilled.

    The employment and social services division reported at the end of 2015 that the number of companies participating had tripled to 129 in September 2015 from 40 in 2014.

    Tory promised: To institute a regular report card on red tape and measures to reduce it.

    Status: Broken.

    There is no regular report card on red tape.

    Tory promised: To double the available open data each year during his term.

    Status: Broken.

    At the end of 2014 there were 165 datasets available, in 2015 there were 197, in 2016 there were 225 and in 2017 there were 255. Toronto ranked second only to Edmonton in the Public Sector Digest’s 2017 index of 61 Canadian cities open data initiatives.


    Tory promised: To implement a poverty reduction strategy.

    Status: In progress.

    Tory tapped the late councillor Pam McConnell to oversee the city’s 20-year poverty reduction strategy, with a plan that council requested in 2014, before Tory became mayor, approved in 2015. A 2016 progress report showed that of 98 action items on that year’s work plan, a third were in progress or ongoing, another third were completed, 20 per cent were partially completed and almost 10 per cent were deferred or delayed.

    Tory promised: To advocate for more child-care spaces and increased child-care funding.

    Status: Fulfilled.

    In the 2017 budget, council added 300 child-care subsidies. While Tory pushed Premier Kathleen Wynne to address a daycare affordability crisis, at the same time he announced a plan to scrap a city grant for daycares in schools in 2017 to fund the new child-care subsidies. Tory later reversed his position under pressure and backed a plan to continue to offer the grants while still funding the new subsidies.

    Tory promised: To improve food security, including breakfast nutrition programs in school.

    Status: In progress.

    Tory has a mixed record on student nutrition, despite his commitment to implement the poverty reduction strategy. In 2016, Toronto Public Health was under pressure to adhere to a directive to cut its budget to meet Tory’s council-backed property tax target, putting 13,000 low-income students at risk of losing healthy snacks. The proposed cuts were not advanced to city council for approval.


    Tory promised: To maintain the city’s 2012 tree cover of 3.8 million trees by doubling the city’s annual expenditure to $14 million by 2019 and fund the planting of 380,000 trees annually

    Status: Broken.

    The 2015 budget only increased the number of trees to be planted from 100,000 to 105,000. In 2016, the budget increases to just under $10 million. For 2017, the approved budget allowed for 120,000 trees to be planted.

    Tory promised: To create a sustainable city advisory board and release a “sustainable city report” annually.

    Status: Broken.

    No such advisory board or report exists.

    Tory promised: To appoint an environment advocate, with responsibilities that include the creation of a plan to prepare the city for climate change adoption.

    Status: Broken.

    There is no environment advocate. A chief resilience officer was hired this year to help the city prepare for the impact of climate change. Tory pushed back on the required $6.7 million needed next year for a much-lauded climate change action plan brought forward by staff. At the request of Tory’s appointed parks committee chair and executive member Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, staff have been asked to produce business cases to prioritize goals set out in the plan for the 2018 budget — something advocates say the plan already does.

    Tory promised: To collect data to monitor energy use at city buildings and use the data to achieve $22 million in annual savings by his fourth year in office.

    Status: Redundant/Broken.

    The city’s environment and energy division already monitored energy use at city buildings before Tory took office. Annual savings are much less than $22 million. In 2016, $400,000 in revenue annually was achieved by reducing electrical consumption, $900,000 annually through LED retrofit projects and $30,000 through water retrofits at Metro Hall and city hall.

    Tory promised: To proactively plan parks near new developments by linking in the parks department at the early stages of the development application process and create a transparent accountable system for tracking where park levy funds are spent.

    Status: Redundant.

    Parks staff were already involved in the review of development applications, have created policies in conjunction with city planning that address park deficiencies and report on how park levy funds are spent.

    Tory promised: To create new corporate and philanthropic partnerships to support Toronto’s parks.

    Status: In progress.

    The most significant partnership announced during Tory’s term has been the creation of a linear park under the Gardiner, still under construction, known as The Bentway. The project is a result of the $25 million donation from philanthropists Judy and Wil Matthews.


    Tory promised: To appoint a “creative economy” advocate .

    Status: Fulfilled.

    In December 2016, Tory appointed Councillor Michelle Holland as his advocate for the innovation economy, with a role of “championing the growth of Toronto’s technology and knowledge sector.”

    Tory promised: To work with staff, arts organizations and the private sector to try to meet or exceed the $25 per capita arts funding goal by 2017.

    Status: Fulfilled.

    The target was met for 2017. During the 2017 budget process, a Tory-backed 2.6 per cent budget reduction request for all divisions saw staff considering deferring funding that would put the $25 per capita target at risk. Under pressure, Tory-appointed budget chief Councillor Gary Crawford reversed that plan at committee, putting the city back on track.

    Tory promised: To open a standalone music office to bolster new partnerships and reduce red tape.

    Status: Broken.

    Tory didn’t create a standalone office like the film office. However, under his administration a music advisory council is working on a music strategy and a music sector development officer is responsible for cutting red tape for the industry.

    Tory promised: To march in the annual Pride parade.

    Status: Fulfilled.

    Tory has marched enthusiastically, with many of his staff and fellow council members, every year.


    Tory promised: To outsource garbage collection east of Yonge St.

    Status: In limbo.

    After taking office, Tory said information provided by staff indicated the city could save far less from outsourcing than he had believed possible during the campaign. But at the beginning of this year, Tory planned to push ahead with outsourcing anyway. At risk of being defeated at council, Tory moved a surprise motion that referred the issue back to staff for further study to be completed at an unspecified date.

    Tory promised: To keep Toronto Hydro public.

    Status: Fulfilled.

    The utility remains public. Though Tory slammed election rival Karen Stintz for suggesting privatization, in 2016 he agreed the city should look at a partial sale to fund transit and housing. His office, the Star’s sources said, took an interest in appointments to Toronto Hydro’s board of directors, while two of Tory’s key campaign advisors, the Star revealed, were hired to lay the groundwork for a partial sale. Tory denied reports earlier this year that talks were underway and said he would see the utility kept in public hands.

    Tory promised: To keep a weekly schedule that is public and easily accessible and to hold at least a weekly press availability.

    Status: Fulfilled.

    Tory sends a daily itinerary of public events he’ll be attending to the press gallery. Critics have argued it should be posted publicly and show all meetings (including those behind closed doors) that he is attending.Tory often speaks to the media once a day, sometimes multiple times a day.

    Tory promised: To introduce “real penalties” for politicians and bureaucrats who “abuse the privileges, responsibilities and trust that accompany public service.”

    Status: Broken.

    The penalties have not changed.

    Jennifer Pagliaro can be reached at or 416-869-4556

    45 made, 18 kept so far: The Star analyzes promises John Tory made before he became mayor45 made, 18 kept so far: The Star analyzes promises John Tory made before he became mayor

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    The first round of charges in special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election were approved Friday — but it's still not known what they are or who they target.

    A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., approved the charges, CNN reported Friday, citing sources briefed in the matter.

    The network said plans were being made to take anyone charged into custody on Monday.

    But with the charges still sealed under orders from a federal judge, it's impossible to know who might be involved.

    CNN said a spokesman for Mueller's office declined to comment.

    The special counsel has been digging into allegations of Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign since May.

    Mueller's been focusing on potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    President Donald Trump is also part of the probe for possible obstruction of justice for his alleged efforts to impede the investigation.

    CNN reported that investigators are also scrutinizing Trump and his associates' financial ties to Russia.

    In addition to Mueller's probe, three committees on Capitol Hill are conducting their own investigations.

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

    First charges filed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigationFirst charges filed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation

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