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    John Featherstone peruses online job boards every day since losing his job as a sheet metal and facilities manager at a Mississauga manufacturing plant about two years ago.

    “I’m basically starting from square one again and I’m 63-years-old,” he said.

    He worked at CTS Corp. for 38 years after emigrating from England as a young man. “I worked there all my working life,” he said.

    The multinational corporation designs and builds sensors and electrical components for a range of sectors, including auto manufacturers like Toyota.

    The company was in court this week after Featherstone and 75 other laid-off workers launched a class-action lawsuit, claiming a protracted delay in notifying the Ministry of Labour of the plant’s closing denied them crucial support services.

    The judge presiding over an Ontario Superior Court in Brampton reserved his decision on Wednesday. A judgment is expected in the fall, said lawyer Stephen Moreau, who is representing the plaintiffs.

    Lawyers for CTS said they would not speak with media as the case is ongoing. But the company’s factum dismisses the workers’ claim as a “technical breach” that had “no detrimental effect on the plaintiffs and does not entitle them to fresh notice.”

    The complex case hinges on provincial legislation governing mass terminations and events that occurred on April 17, 2014, when CTS Corp. issued severance letters to 77 workers. The termination date was set for almost a year later on March 27, 2015, which was later delayed by three months to June 26.

    The plaintiffs allege that CTS breached the Employment Standards Act (ESA) by neglecting to immediately inform the ministry of its plan to close.

    The ministry did not receive notice until May 12, 2015, over a year after workers were first informed, according to the workers’ factum.

    The non-unionized plant closed its doors in late 2015 and relocated to Mexico. About 129 people lost their jobs.

    The notice period is important because it kick-starts services employees need prior to their last days, said Dave Parker, co-ordinator at Steelworkers Job Action Centre.

    Employment Ontario’s Second Career program, for example, can provide $28,000 to help people re-enter the workforce, according to the workers’ factum.

    CTS hosted “outplacement sessions” for some employees in January 2015 to facilitate job transition — workshops included resume building and interviewing tools, the defence factum said.

    “(The company) has a civic and corporate responsibility to help their previous employees while they’re leaving them in the dust. Less than seven weeks’ notice? Give me a break,” Parker said.

    Under the Employment Standards Act, when an employer gives notice, “that’s when the trigger is pulled, that’s when you notify the Ministry of Labour,” said Moreau, the plaintiffs’ lawyer.

    As a result, the workers want the notice period and severance package deemed null and void, the “clock reset.”

    Beyond this, new severance should be paid, according to the plaintiffs’ factum alleges.

    The workers argue that “notice period” means informing employees and the ministry at the same time while the company argues the act sets out minimum notice — eight weeks, in this case.

    The Ministry’s website says that eight weeks’ notice must be provided to employees who are part of mass terminations within a four-week period.

    “CTS was 12 days late notifying the (Ministry of Labour) of the closure, not 13 months as the plaintiffs allege,” the CTS’ lawyers say in its factum.

    CTS’ lawyers say that workers are not entitled to fresh notice in their factum, arguing that the first day of the notice period started on May 1, 2015.

    In their factum, the company concedes that it “was initially told the Form 1 would not be required due to an original plan to stagger separation dates. The late filing was simply a mistake.”

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    The groundbreaking study called “Black Experience Project in the GTA,” released Wednesday, does two things.

    1) It provides governments and advocates concrete data to work with.

    2) It offers racism deniers an opportunity to sit down, fingers on mouths, and listen … Ah, never mind. Reality strikes.

    And so, the amended 2) It exposes the yawning gap between how Black people see themselves and how non-Blacks perceive them.

    The study launched in 2010 offers insightful snapshots of attitudes, realities and resilience that inform the experiences of the historically, ethnically, geographically, religiously and economically diverse group of about 400,000 individuals in the GTA, many of whom identify as Black.


    Groundbreaking project explores Black experience in the GTA

    Some of the data in this study, collected in 2015 in a North America that was still innocent of the widespread normalization of bigotry under Donald Trump, are likely already outdated.

    In that pre-November 2016 era, anti-Black racism was considered to be an American sickness, and those shouting hoarse about its toxicity in Canada were just over-sensitive, entitled people playing the race card.

    In that world, a third said racism is less obvious in Canada than in the U.S. and that police relations were better here.

    At that time, Toronto hadn’t yet:

    • Heard of 19-year-old Dafonte Miller of Whitby, allegedly beaten and blinded by off-duty police officer Const. Michael Theriault in December 2016. Miller’s lawyer Julian Falconer told the CBC, “This is the stuff you read about from an era gone by in the Deep South in the U.S.”

    • Seen at an inquest into the death of Andrew Loku, a mentally ill Black man, at the hands of a police officer the refusal to engage with the explicit mention of racism.

    • Seen hard data on the criminalization of Black people in Toronto that showed Black people with no criminal history were three times more likely to be arrested for a small amount of pot than white people and also more likely to be detained without bail.

    For Wednesday’s study by Environics that attempts to draw back the cloak of invisibility around anti-Black racism, youth volunteers from the Black community conducted in-depth in-person interviews asking 250 questions about identity, experiences of racism and Black contributions to society.

    On the sensitive and controversial subject of relations with police services, as the chart shows, more than half of the 1,504 people surveyed said they were stopped by police in public for no apparent reason. Among younger men, that number leapt to 79 per cent.

    Here is an interesting nugget. The outcome of Black experience with law enforcement showed that education or wealth provides no insulation, no protection from being seen as suspicious.

    These experiences show that for police, you’re Black first.

    Black people are not a monolithic group any more than whites are.

    Yet, the broader community, too, responds to Blackness first when it interacts with Black people. Some two-thirds of the survey participants report having been treated unfairly because they are Black, that their income, education, country of birth didn’t make a difference.

    The shared perspective leads some to identify as Black as an expression of solidarity. For some it’s as a personal identity, for others it’s a heritage.

    Even the most fraught relations have gradations and criss-crossing of experiences. Sizable portions of Black people have got help from police, or have socialized with them.

    Does that mean the good guys have good experiences and the bad guys are justly targeted? In fact, says the study, those who have had at least one positive experience are more likely to have had at least one negative one and vice-versa.

    Attitudes toward Black people are layered in negative stereotypes, yet they are so deeply entrenched that they are rendered invisible.

    If my inbox is any indication, non-Blacks commonly perceive Black people as coming from unstable families and mixed up in some form of criminality or violence. Around one in 10 Black people thinks family instability is a challenge to the community. If the association with violence were true, the supposedly affected group would want to end that at least in the interest of survival. Instead, only 5 per cent pegged it as a challenge.

    There is also a heartening sense of wanting to contribute — two in three people in the study said they have volunteered at least some time in the past 12 months. That’s a higher rate of volunteering than the general population. The study also indicates high levels of community engagement, specifically advocacy to resist racism. Participants “consider this perseverance to be one of the Black community’s strengths,” its authors say.

    It’s toward the end, tucked into later pages that the study casually shatters Canada’s self-image of inclusivity and takes us back to basics.

    This is what 57 per cent of participants most wished society would understand about them: “Black people are the same as everyone else.”

    Shree Paradkar tackles issues of race and gender. You can follow her @shreeparadkar.

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    WASHINGTON—Officials in the U.S. and Europe are announcing a takedown of two internet marketplaces for drugs, counterfeit goods, weapons, hacking tools and other illicit items hosted on the so-called dark web.

    Authorities say the operation, led by the FBI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and Dutch police, shut down infrastructure belonging to the networks AlphaBay and Hansa, according to a press release from Europol.

    Prosecutors say AlphaBay had 200,000 members and 40,000 vendors before it was taken offline. They say it was the largest of many illegal marketplaces that operate in hidden corners of the internet.

    Marketplaces on the dark web are not accessible through a typical web browser.

    Authorities say a Canadian citizen living in Thailand, the alleged creator and administrator of AlphaBay, was arrested in Thailand on July 5. Millions of dollars in cryptocurrency were frozen and seized, as were servers in Canada and the Netherlands, according to the press release.

    Authorities did not release the name of the arrested Canadian.

    AlphaBay, which went offline earlier this month, operated on the Tor network, which helps users browse the internet anonymously. Visitors to the online marketplace paid through digital currencies such as Bitcoin. Officials say hundreds of vendors advertised either fentanyl or heroin.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other federal officials announced an indictment in California on Thursday of a suspected administrator of the site, and the Justice Department filed a forfeiture complaint to seize assets connected to the operation.

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    PHILADELPHIA—Skirmishing for position at the goal line ahead of a corner kick, Jozy Altidore could not believe what occurred: El Salvador defender Henry Romero bit the back of his left shoulder, then twisted his nipple.

    Altidore maintained his composure — just — and then made light of the incident.

    “My girl’s mad at me,” the American forward said. “She’s mad at me. She’s mad at Romero, ‘cause she’s like: ‘Only I can bite you, only I can grab your nipples.’”

    Amid the biting, twisting and talking, the U.S. advanced to a CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal against Costa Rica with a 2-0 win on goals by Omar Gonzalez in the 41st minute and Eric Lichaj in first-half stoppage time.

    But the ugly match, interrupted by 45 fouls, will be remembered for the mark on Altidore’s shoulder left by the teeth of the 25-year-old defender. Gonzalez said after the game he was bitten on the back of his left shoulder, by Darwin Cerin in the 81st minute.

    “I was a bit shocked,” Gonzalez said.

    U.S. coach Bruce Arena said he wasn’t surprised.

    “There’s a history of that in our sport,” he said. Uruguay’s Luis Suarez was given a four-month suspension for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup.

    A furious Altidore shoved Romero, then grimaced and fell to the ground but remained in the game.

    “It’s never happened before, but in CONCACAF, it never ceases to amaze me,” Altidore said. “You got to keep your cool. ... I shouldn’t be saying these things happen, but they do.”

    Canadian referee Drew Fischer, a Major League Soccer regular, did not penalize the incident, which occurred in the 57th minute.

    “I can’t fault the referee,” Arena said. “Those things are not easy to see on the field.”

    CONCACAF’s disciplinary committee has leeway to impose punishment.

    “These things always happen in football,” El Salvador coach Eduardo Lara said through a translator, although it was unclear he knew bites had occurred.

    The Americans, who started five veterans added for the tournament’s knockout phase, overcame a shaky defence and poor passing. They face Costa Rica on Saturday in Arlington, Texas.

    El Salvador’s 26 fouls disrupted the U.S.

    “Our timing wasn’t good. We didn’t deal well with the physicality. The game had no rhythm with all the fouls and players falling on the ground, but we weren’t good on top of it.” Arena said. “So it took us, really it took us 30 minutes to play a little bit, and then we got a little bit more assertive in different positions on the field and capitalized on a couple of their mistakes.”

    Arena changed all 11 starters for the second straight game and at 7-0-5 set a record for longest unbeaten streak at the start of a U.S. coaching tenure, topping Bob Bradley’s 10-0-1 in 2007.

    The U.S. improved to 6-0 against El Salvador in the Gold Cup, also winning quarterfinals 4-0 in 2002 and 5-1 in 2013. The Americans are 17-1-5 overall against the Salvadorians, the only loss an exhibition at San Salvador in 1992.

    Altidore, forward Clint Dempsey, midfielders Michael Bradley and Darlington Nagbe, and goalkeeper Tim Howard were all added to the lineup. A crowd of 31,615 at half-filled Lincoln Financial Field was evenly split with supporters of both teams.

    Howard was called on to save the U.S. in the third minute. Rodolfo Zelaya ran onto a terrible, lightly struck backpass by Lichaj and instead of striking the ball with his first touch appeared to want to round Howard. The goalkeeper sprinted out, slid and batted away the ball with his left hand.

    “I told Tim thank you after the game,” Lichaj said. “He got me out of the dirt there.”

    Gyasi Zardes was fed by Dempsey, broke in alone in the 17th and put the ball in the net, but he was ruled offside by linesman Ainsley Rochard of Trinidad and Tobago — replays showed Zardes was even with the last defender when Dempsey made the pass.

    Bradley took a free kick on a flank from about 35 yards and sent it on a low liner into the middle of the penalty area. Gonzalez, a 6-foot-5 defender, outjumped Cerin about 8 yards from the goal and redirected the ball with a glance of his head through the upstretched arms of goalkeeper Derby Carrillo. After scoring once in his first 40 international appearances, Gonzalez has two goals in his last three.

    Lichaj, trying to earn a spot as the primary backup to DeAndre Yedlin at right back, was played in by Dempsey in the second minute of stoppage time and beat sliding defender Ivan Mancia to score on an angled shot through the goalkeeper’s legs from 6 yards. After his first international goal in 14 international appearances, Lichaj sprinted to the corner flack, and arms wide, did a belly slide.

    His English wife — he plays for Nottingham Forest — and two kids are travelling to every Gold Cup match. They drove to Philadelphia from Cleveland.

    “They haven’t really been to America besides Chicago where I’m from — to see my parents,” he said.

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    The public was alerted by police via Twitter of a sex assault that occurred at Ossington subway station on Wednesday night.

    A man reportedly grabbed children as they passed by him, then fled to a near by parking lot, the tweet read.

    Police said that a woman was walking with her seven-year-old son at the top of the escalator when the man approached the boy from behind and sexually assaulted him.

    The assault happened not long after 8 p.m.

    The suspect is described as 5’5”, about 40-years-old, brown skin, unshaven, and wearing a grey t-shirt, blue jeans, and black sunglasses. Police are asking anyone with information to contact them.

    With files from Alexandra Jones

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    EDMONTON—Canada’s premiers have warned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau they may ask him to delay legalization of cannabis until more questions are answered about public safety concerns.

    “These issues have to be addressed by the federal government in order for us to meet the deadline,” Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Wednesday as the annual premiers’ conference ended.

    “We will move forward as quickly as we can, depending upon the federal government.”

    In their final communiqué, the premiers said they are concerned the federal timeline of next July 1“may be unrealistic.”

    They stated a failure to properly deal with provincial questions about traffic safety, enforcement, taxation of cannabis, public education campaigns and the relationship of supply and demand of pot in relationship to the black market “will require an extension of the implementation date.”

    Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, who proposed a one-year delay to his fellow premiers Tuesday, said the issues are too important to rush into legalized sales, with provinces deciding how cannabis products will be sold and what the age of majority will be.

    “We have one chance to get it right.”

    Trudeau said Wednesday in Quebec City that the federal government is standing firm with plans to table legislation to make cannabis legal next summer.

    “The current framework is hurting Canadians. Young people have easy access to marijuana, and they shouldn’t,” he told reporters.

    “Criminal organizations and street gangs are making millions of dollars of profit off the sale of marijuana, and we need to put an end to this policy that does not work.”

    Premier Kathleen Wynne said Ontario — like other provinces — is working toward next July’s deadline, with public consultations underway on how to handle cannabis sales.

    But the questions raised must be answered by the federal government as soon as possible, she added.

    “The starting point is: ‘Have we met the public safety concerns?’ ”

    Pallister said the prime minister needs to heed the premiers’ warning to legalize cannabis on schedule next summer.

    “If he wants to stick to his deadline that’s super-duper,” he added. “A deadline is fine if the commitment is there to work with us . . . we need help.”

    Wynne and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said their provinces are working together on issues such as an age of majority given their shared boundary that so many people cross each day.

    The age of majority “must be” the same, he told reporters, citing the example of cars on bridges between Ottawa and Hull‎ if the ages are different.

    “Imagine the traffic.”

    With files from Alex Ballingall

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    WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump had just finished making another false statement, ho hum, when he said something especially suspect.

    He wasn’t exactly sure, he conceded, if this particular inaccurate boast was accurate. And he was worried, he claimed, that a fact-checker was going to give him “a Pinocchio.”

    “I don’t like those,” he said on Monday. “I don’t like Pinocchios.”

    Fact check: he really doesn’t care about Pinocchios.

    Thursday is six-month anniversary of Trump’s inauguration. Over those 180 days, by our count, he has uttered a total of 397 lies and otherwise false claims— a staggering 2.2 per day.


    Six months of spelling mistakes from the Trump White House: Analysis

    The Star has tracked every single word Trump has said, tweeted or issued in his name since he took the oath on Jan. 20. Other than the sheer quantity of lies, what’s most striking is their outlandish obviousness.

    With some exceptions, this is not sophisticated deceit. Trump is the toddler with purple icing on his face declaring that a fairy must have eaten the last piece of cake.

    Dartmouth College government professor Brendan Nyhan co-authored a book about the deceptions of George W. Bush. He says Trump’s dishonesty is “much worse” — in its frequency, severity and brazenness.

    From the Bush administration, Nyhan said, dishonesty tended to be “carefully constructed half-truths that contained a misleading suggestion that couldn’t be backed up by evidence; it was quite rare to see wholesale falsehoods that could be definitively debunked at the time.” Trump’s lies are transparent.

    Trump’s most frequent lie as president, repeated 19 times, is “Obamacare is dead.” He keeps saying this as millions of people pay for their visits to the doctor using Obamacare insurance plans.

    Trump has simply decided that the benefits of dishonesty outweigh the costs. Few media outlets regularly and forcefully call out president’s lies. Trump knows that even the most ridiculous of claims will be covered uncritically by Fox News — and even, often, by traditional outlets.

    “We’ve been victimized,” Nyhan said, “by a media ecosystem that amplifies statements regardless of whether they’re true, immediately.”

    Trump opponents worry about a world in which political lying has no consequences. Trump, after all, won the presidency lying all the time, and he has maintained his support base lying some more. When we asked Trump voters in Ohio about Trump’s lies, several of them said they like dishonesty that gets elites all agitated.

    So the concern is understandable. But the hand-wringing sometimes ignores the dreadfulness of Trump’s approval rating, now below 40 per cent. A mere third of the public now thinks he is honest. The exposure of his dishonest claims, especially his dishonest policy pledges, may well be reflected in his historically horrible overall standing.

    But he shows no sign of slowing down. He made 34 false claims in the week in which he professed concern about Pinocchios.

    Trump’s persistence has spawned a variety of complex theories about what he is trying to do. Some veteran observers of authoritarian leaders have suggested that he is strategically attempting to obliterate the very idea of an objective reality that differs from what he says it is.

    A simpler theory seems more plausible to us.

    There is no grand plan. Lying is simply what Donald Trump has always done. It’s how his brain works.

    “He views deception as a more efficient solution than truth-telling. I think throughout much of his life he’s been rewarded for defaulting to the lie instead of the truth as most people do,” said Steve McCornack, a University of Alabama at Birmingham professor who studies deception. “I really think, cognitively, his default discourse-production setting is just to go to the lie.”

    He lies to make himself look better than he is. (“The Electoral College is almost impossible for a Republican to win.”) He lies to make his predecessor look worse than he is. (“How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones.”) He lies to make his policy proposals seem more necessary than they are. (“We have an $800 billion trade deficit.”) He lies to try to embarrass his enemies. (“Watched low rated Morning Joe…”).

    And he lies even when he is embarrassing himself. In May, he told Time magazine that he doesn’t watch CNN. Then he offered a detailed critique of three separate CNN shows.

    Here’s the full list:

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    Hydro One’s $6.7 billion acquisition of an American utility could end up zapping Ontario ratepayers, predicts Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown.

    “The purchase of Avista by Hydro One is the direct result of (Premier) Kathleen Wynne’s fire sale,” Brown said Thursday.

    “Hydro One is gouging ratepayers while using our money to buy up foreign companies. In the end, Ontario families will be left paying even more for hydro,” the Tory leader said.

    Brown noted Hydro One is applying to the independent Ontario Energy Board to increase electricity rates by about $141 per household annually.

    “Why should Ontario families be left with even higher bills when Hydro One has almost $7 billion to throw at foreign companies? This is not fair to Ontario ratepayers. Hydro One’s application for a massive, unaffordable rate increase should be immediately rejected.”

    His comments came the morning after Hydro One announced the purchase of Spokane, Washington-based Avista, which operates in Washington state, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska.

    NDP MPP Peter Tabuns (Toronto Danforth) said the deal “should raise red flags for every Ontarian who is struggling to pay their unaffordable hydro bills.”

    “This move to create a huge multi-national utility means less control over our province’s electricity system and more financial risk for Ontarians,” said Tabuns.

    “It also raises real concerns about job security for Ontarians. It’s clear that the new Hydro One’s first responsibility is to its international shareholders, not to the people of Ontario,” he said.

    “By ignoring the wishes of Ontarians and selling off Hydro One, Kathleen Wynne put the interests of investors around the globe ahead of the interests of our province and all of us who live here and pay a hydro bill.”

    Both the New Democrats and the Conservatives opposed the Liberals’ sell-off of a majority stake in the provincial transmitter.

    Wynne is using the $9 billion in proceeds from the 51 per cent that has been sold to fund transportation infrastructure and pay off Hydro One’s debt.

    Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said the Avista purchase would have no effect on consumers, who are already seeing a 25 per cent rate reduction this summer after years of skyrocketing hydro prices.

    “We welcome the fact that this proposed acquisition will not impact the rates that Ontario customers pay. Neither will it have any impact on local jobs,” said Thibeault.

    “As the single largest shareholder in Hydro One, the Ontario government would benefit from the company’s receipt of additional regulated returns expected to begin in 2019,” he noted.

    DBRS, a credit-rating agency, praised the agreement.

    “The acquisition provides HOL (Hydro One Limited) with both diversification and scale while expanding its regulated utility rate base to cover electricity transmission and distribution as well as natural gas local-distribution businesses,” the firm said in a statement.

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    A fare collector who took home $40,000 in TTC funds and then lost it in a drug raid has been awarded compensation from the transit agency after he challenged his suspension from the job.

    The case is a bizarre three-year saga involving marijuana, police, and TTC tokens. During that time, transit employee Tyson Hu was arrested, suspended without pay for more than a year, reinstated and finally awarded months of back pay for some of the time he was wasn’t allowed to work.

    In March, an arbitrator ruled on the grievance the TTC workers’ union filed on Hu’s behalf. The details of this story are taken from that ruling, which was based on a statement of facts filed by the TTC and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113. Through the union, Hu declined to comment on the case.

    The trouble began just after 2 p.m. on July 28, 2014, when Hu, a Scarborough resident who had worked as a fare collector since 2011, finished his shift at Lawrence station.

    According to agency policy, fare collectors are supposed to lock all money and fare media they have in their possession — which is known as a fund — in a secure place on TTC property at the end of every shift.

    Instead, Hu took the $5,060.20 in cash and $34,407.70 in tokens, tickets, and passes in his fund home with him.

    In what appears to have been a coincidence, early the next morning the Durham Regional Police executed a search warrant at Hu’s home as part of a major drug bust launched with the Toronto police dubbed Project Bermuda. The police seized various items in the raid, including hashish, marijuana and the TTC fund.

    Hu was held in custody for several hours, and released the same day. He was charged with “various offences,” according to the arbitration ruling.

    According to TTC spokesperson Brad Ross, taking thousands of dollars worth of cash and fare media home “can be a fireable offence, but usually only when it’s connected to theft.”

    “When the money is taken home and returned without consequence, we still take action, but it is considered a procedural violation and provided none of our money is lost, we use progressive discipline,” he said.

    In Hu’s case, he couldn’t return the fund because it had been confiscated by the police. When he came back to work a few days after his arrest, a TTC supervisor asked him to produce the fund for an audit. When he was unable to do so, the TTC suspended him without pay.

    The police held on to the fund as Hu’s criminal case proceeded. It wasn’t until June 2015, almost one year after the raid, that the Crown attorney alerted the TTC it was ready to be returned. Even then, the TTC had to file a court application to get it back.

    In his decision, arbitrator Owen Shime wrote that he was baffled by the delay.

    “It is difficult to understand why some sensible arrangement between the Crown or the police could not have been made for the return of the fare media at least . . . which were clearly the property of the TTC,” he wrote.

    Neither the Durham police nor the Public Prosecution Service of Canada could immediately say Wednesday why it took so long to return the fund.

    The TTC finally got its property back in September 2015, and reinstated Hu that month in a position that didn’t involve handling fares. In October of that year, Hu plead guilty to simple drug possession and was given an absolute discharge.

    As a result of the discharge, “we were unable to take any further disciplinary action against him,” said Ross.

    In the arbitration, Local 113 argued that TTC should have allowed Hu to back to work sooner because the agency was aware that the fund was in police custody. The union also said he should be “fully compensated” for the loss of pay and benefits during the time when he should have been allowed to work.

    The TTC countered that it had offered to reinstate Hu if he agreed to certain conditions, but he refused and therefore wasn’t entitled to compensation.

    The offer of reinstatement came in November 2014, more than three months after Hu was suspended. The TTC said he could come back to work if he agreed to certain terms, including taking a drug test before restarting the job, and submitting to unannounced tests thereafter.

    In his decision, Shime wrote that Hu had committed “a significant breach of his duties and responsibilities as a collector” and should be subject to “significant discipline.”

    “Individual collectors cannot go off on a frolic of their own . . . with the trust funds that they have in their care,” he wrote.

    But Shime agreed with the union that the conditions the TTC tried to place on Hu’s reinstatement in 2014 were unreasonable.

    He noted that Hu wasn’t terminated for the off-duty conduct that led to his arrest, or for using drugs while at work. The drug test provision “was not only unrelated to the reasons for his discharge but was an affront to both his dignity and privacy,” he wrote.

    Because the TTC’s conditions were unreasonable, Hu was not obligated to accept the offer of temporary reinstatement, Shime determined. He ruled Hu was entitled to compensation for the nine-month period between the conditional offer and his reinstatement in September 2015, during which time the TTC didn’t allow him to work.

    The two parties reached a settlement on July 12, the terms of which are confidential. Hu remains employed in the TTC’s collectors division but isn’t allowed to handle money or fare media, according to the agency.

    Kevin Morton, secretary-treasurer of Local 113, said it’s “absolutely” appropriate that Hu is back on the job. He noted that Hu paid a penalty by being suspended without pay for four months after he lost the fund, and that the TTC didn’t lose any revenue because it was eventually returned in its entirety.

    Morton said what complicated the situation was the police investigation, which he asserted was “outside of” Hu’s breach of policy. “He was caught up in it. The TTC tried to combine them,” Morton said.

    He added that collectors taking their funds off TTC property is “not a common practice.”

    Ross, the TTC spokesperson, said incidents like this are “incredibly rare,” and “will be eliminated” once the agency replaces its older media with the Presto electronic fare card.

    “We don’t want our employees moving cash and fare . . . for their own safety, as well as for the security of TTC revenue,” he said.

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    “Bring balloons and banners” Eric Strickland says – his son will retrieve his lost car Thursday evening in Toronto after a successful city-wide scavenger hunt.

    Gavin Strickland drove up from his hometown of Syracuse this past weekend for a Metallica concert on Sunday. He parked his blue-green Nissan Versa Sedan somewhere on the first floor of an indoor parking garage that was within an $8-cab-ride to the Rogers Centre.

    By the time the concert was over, the 19-year-old had no idea where the parking garage was.

    Turns out, it was tucked below the TD Tower parking garage.

    Madison Riddolls, 26, found the car in the early hours of Thursday morning after she and her boyfriend, Liam Imlack Walker, decided to play detective.

    Riddolls and her boyfriend were debating an early night when they saw the family’s Craiglist ad asking for the city’s help to find the lost car.

    “We were really confident in ourselves,” Riddolls said.

    The pair started trying to identify the “spiral statue” Gavin remembered seeing near the parking garage.

    They sent a few photos to the family – but they weren’t on the right track yet.

    So they switched tracks, trying to figure which Starbucks was potentially nearby and the radius of an $8 cab ride from Rogers Centre.

    “I think we watch too much Criminal Minds.”

    Their search started in the Distillery District and took them eventually to the financial district – running in, around, and out of numerous parking garages.

    “The security footage is probably crazy,|” Riddolls said.

    Finally at midnight, the couple was getting weary – they decided to try one more garage.

    Riddolls took a jog through the TD Tower parking garage.

    But with his girlfriend wandering around alone in the garage past midnight, Walker was getting nervous.

    But then Riddolls saw “green.”

    “I literally just started running to it,” she said.

    The car had the Florida plates, the Canada flag sticker, and the Bernie Sanders bumper sticker. They’d found it.

    Early Thursday morning, Gavin — now safely back in Syracuse thanks to a bus trip — tweeted that the search had been successful and the car had been found.

    “I’ve become famous over a lost car,” he said.

    “Actually,” replied another Twitter user @edmcanuck, “you’ve become famous for a poor memory.”

    For his part, Eric is relieved to know the car is coming home.

    “I paid for the thing, spent $10,000 on it about a year and a half ago so I’m glad I found it, yeah,” he said.

    The car was parked in an electric charging station so Riddolls wrote a note explaining the situation and spoke to the parking attendant.

    The parking attendant has also spoken with Eric and said Gavin will only have to pay for one day of parking.

    Riddolls will be receiving a $100 reward and Eric has also said he’ll donate to a charity of her choice. She’s chosen either Sick Kids or the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

    Riddolls has also offered to meet Gavin this evening when he arrives to pick up his car – the parking garage is fairly confusing, she said.

    With files from Victoria Gibson

    0 0

    A Superior Court judge has overturned a controversial decision convicting York University student Mustafa Ururyar of sexually assaulting fellow student Mandi Gray and ordered a new trial.

    Ururyar had appealed his July 2016 conviction, alleging now-retired Ontario Court Justice Marvin Zuker who oversaw his trial was biased against him and gave an “illogical” analysis of the evidence.

    In his appeal decision, Justice Michael Dambrot criticized Zuker’s decision and reasoning as “incomprehensible” and said he failed to provide an explanation for why he rejected Ururyar’s evidence.

    Dambrot also said that while it was not raised at trial, he found that parts of Zuker’s decision are not properly attributed.

    Gray has said she does not want to testify at another trial. She sat in the front row of the courtroom’s public gallery with supporters. Uruyar was also present in court.

    With files from the Canadian Press

    Read more:

    Judge’s ‘unusual approach’ in Mandi Gray sex assault trial questioned

    Judges need mandatory sexual assault training, MPP says

    Mandi Gray settles human rights complaint with York University over sex assault policies

    0 0

    WASHINGTON—Police have received reports that two of the Burundi teenagers gone missing after an international robotics competition have been seen crossing the border into Canada.

    The search for all the teens is ongoing, but police have no indication of foul play in their disappearance, Metropolitan Police spokesperson Aquita Brown said.

    The teens seen crossing into Canada were 16-year-old Don Ingabire and 17-year-old Audrey Mwamikazi, Brown said.

    The Canadian Border Services Agency says it is not its practice to confirm or deny the entry of any person into Canada.

    There was no official indication Thursday that any of the teens were trying to avoid returning to their homes in Africa, but a leader in the Burundian community in the U.S. suggested that they may be intending to seek asylum. Immigration attorneys said an asylum application could take years to sort out.

    Police tweeted missing person fliers Wednesday asking for help finding the teens, who had last been seen at the FIRST Global Challenge around the time of Tuesday’s final matches. The missing team members include two 17-year-old girls and four males ranging in age from 16 to 18.

    The competition, designed to encourage youths to pursue careers in math and science, attracted teams of teenagers from more than 150 nations.

    A squad of girls from Afghanistan drew the most attention after they were twice rejected for U.S. visas and President Donald Trump intervened.

    Competition organizers learned Tuesday night that the team’s mentor couldn’t find the six students who participated in the competition and organization President FIRST Global President Joe Sestak made the initial call to the police, according to a FIRST Global Challenge statement.

    “Security of the students is of paramount importance to FIRST Global,” organizers said, noting that they ensure students get to their dormitories after the competition by providing safe transportation to students staying at Trinity Washington University. The students “are always to be under close supervision of their adult mentor and are advised not to leave the premises unaccompanied by the mentor.”

    The mentor said the teens travelled from Burundi for the competition and have one-year visas, according to police reports. The mentor said they disappeared after the competition, but he doesn’t know where they went. The reports say police tried to contact one missing teen’s uncle but got no response. The reports state police canvassed DAR Constitution Hall, where the competition was held.

    The competition’s webpage about Team Burundi shows the six team members posing with a flag and says team members were selected from schools in Bujumbura, the capital city. The team’s slogan in Kirundi is “Ugushaka Nugushobora,” which translates roughly to “where there is a will, there is a way.”

    Police tweeted images of the teens Wednesday, saying they are looking for 17-year-old girls, Audrey Mwamikazi and Nice Munezero; Richard Irakoze and Aristide Irambona, both 18; Kevin Sabumukiza, 17; and Don Ingabire, 16.

    Hassan Ahmad, an immigration lawyer in northern Virginia not involved in the situation, said that if the teens make an asylum application, then Immigration and Customs Enforcement could seek to detain the teens pending removal proceedings. The teens would be eligible to seek bond and stay in the country while they await their hearing. It can take years to have a court hearing scheduled. And even if ICE declines to seek detention, it can take several years for applicants to have their formal interview to determine whether they are eligible for asylum.

    Oscar Niyiragira, chairman of the United Burundian-American Community Association Inc., was not at all surprised to hear that some of the teens were heading to Canada. He had no direct knowledge of their situation, but assumed they were seeking asylum, and many in the community feel the odds are better in Canada, especially now that the Trump administration has taken a harsh stance on immigration.

    He called the teens’ departure disappointing. He said that economic impoverishment, rather than political persecution, is the driving force in most people’s decision to seek asylum from Burundi, and he said it unfairly tarnishes Burundi’s reputation when people flee and exaggerate the fears of political violence.

    “Now I’m not saying the government does not commit some crimes. They do,” said Niyiragira, who lives in Louisville, Kentucky. But the situation in Burundi is not nearly as bad as it was in waves of violence in the ‘70s and the ‘90s, he said.

    Burundi, an East African nation of about 10 million people who speak the local Kirundi language and French, has faced sporadic violence in recent years.

    Burundi’s government had no immediate comment Thursday.

    Nkurunziza is visiting neighbouring Tanzania, home to tens of thousands of Burundian refugees who have fled deadly political violence. Hundreds of people have been killed, according to the United Nations, and rights groups accuse Burundi’s security forces of abuses including killings and disappearances. Burundi’s government often dismisses the allegations, saying they are based on false information supplied by the regime’s opponents.

    0 0

    WASHINGTON—U. S. President Donald Trump spoke on Wednesday with three New York Times reporters — Peter Baker, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman — in an exclusive interview in the Oval Office. Also in attendance was Hope Hicks, a White House spokeswoman. At one point, the president’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump appeared at the door, and her daughter, Arabella, entered the room.

    The following are excerpts from that conversation, transcribed by The Times. It has been lightly edited for content and clarity, and omits several off-the-record comments and asides.

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

    TRUMP: Hi fellas, how you doing?

    BAKER: Good. Good. How was your lunch (with Republican senators)?

    TRUMP: It was good. We are very close. It’s a tough — you know, health care. Look, Hillary Clinton worked eight years in the White House with her husband as president and having majorities and couldn’t get it done. Smart people, tough people — couldn’t get it done. Obama worked so hard. They had 60 in the Senate. They had big majorities and had the White House. I mean, ended up giving away the state of Nebraska. They owned the state of Nebraska. Right. Gave it away. Their best senator did one of the greatest deals in the history of politics. What happened to him?

    But I think we are going to do OK I think we are going to see. I mean, one of my ideas was repeal. But I certainly rather would get repeal and replace, because the next last thing I want to do is start working tomorrow morning on replace. And it is time. It is tough. It’s a very narrow path, winding this way. You think you have it, and then you lose four on the other side because you gave. It is a brutal process. And it was for Democrats, in all fairness.

    BAKER: March, March 2010.

    TRUMP: So he was there for more than a year.

    HABERMAN: Fourteen months.

    TRUMP: And I’m here less than six months, so, ah, you know. Something to think about.

    BAKER: We wrote the same stories, though, in August of 2009. “Obama can’t get it.”

    SCHMIDT: It died several times.

    HABERMAN: Several times.

    TRUMP: Well, it was a tough one. That was a very tough one.

    BAKER: He lost that election (the 2010 mid-terms).

    TRUMP: Nothing changes. Nothing changes. Once you get something for pre-existing conditions, etc., etc. Once you get something, it’s awfully tough to take it away.

    HABERMAN: That’s been the thing for four years. When you win an entitlement, you can’t take it back.

    TRUMP: But what it does, Maggie, it means it gets tougher and tougher. As they get something, it gets tougher. Because politically, you can’t give it away. So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, “I want my insurance.” It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of.

    HABERMAN: Am I wrong in thinking — I’ve talked to you a bunch of times about this over the last couple years, but you are generally of the view that people should have health care, right? I mean, I think that you come at it from the view of …

    TRUMP: Yes, yes. (garbled)

    * * *

    Read more: Donald Trump said 397 false things in six months. Here’s what we’ve learned

    TRUMP: So I told them today, I don’t want to do that. I want to either get it done or not get it done. If we don’t get it done, we are going to watch Obamacare go down the tubes, and we’ll blame the Democrats. And at some point, they are going to come and say, “You’ve got to help us.”

    BAKER: Did the senators want to try again?

    TRUMP: I think so. We had a great meeting. Was I late?


    TRUMP: It was a great meeting. We had 51 show up, other than John.

    BAKER: Senator McCain.

    TRUMP: That’s a lot. Normally when they call for a meeting, you have like 20.

    HABERMAN: How about the last one in June? Do you guys remember how many came?

    TRUMP: Ah, 49. It was actually 48, but John McCain was there. But I guess we had 51 today, so that counts. That shows the spirit.

    BAKER: Who is the key guy?

    TRUMP: Well, they are all key. The problem is we have 52 votes. Don’t forget, you look at Obama, he had 60. That’s a big difference. So, we have 52 votes. Now, I guess we lose Susan Collins. I guess we lose Rand Paul. Then we can’t lose any votes. That is a very tough standard. Statistically, you want to bet on that all day long. With that being said, I think we had a great meeting. I think we had a great meeting.

    HABERMAN: Where does it go from here, do you think?

    TRUMP: Well, I say, let’s not vote on repeal. Let’s just vote on this. So first, they vote on the vote. And that happens sometime Friday?

    HABERMAN: Next week.

    TRUMP: Or Monday? Monday. And then they’ll vote on this, and we’ll see. We have some meetings scheduled today. I think we have six people who are really sort of OK. They are all good people. We don’t have bad people. I know the bad people. Believe me, do I know bad people.

    And we have a very good group of people, and I think they want to get there. So we’ll see what happens. But it’s tough.

    SCHMIDT: How’s (Mitch) McConnell to work with?

    TRUMP: I like him. I mean, he’s good. He’s good. It’s been a tough process for him.

    HABERMAN: He’s taken on some water.

    TRUMP: Yeah. It’s been a tough process for him. This health care is a tough deal. I said it from the beginning. No. 1, you know, a lot of the papers were saying — actually, these guys couldn’t believe it, how much I know about it. I know a lot about health care. (garbled) This is a very tough time for him, in a sense, because of the importance. And I believe we get there.

    This is a very tough time for them, in a sense, because of the importance. And I believe that it’s (garbled), that makes it a lot easier. It’s a mess. One of the things you get out of this, you get major tax cuts, and reform. And if you add what the people are going to save in the middle income brackets, if you add that to what they’re saving with health care, this is like a windfall for the country, for the people. So, I don’t know, I thought it was a great meeting. I bet the number’s — I bet the real number’s four. But let’s say six or eight. And everyone’s (garbled), so statistically, that’s a little dangerous, right?

    BAKER: Pretty tight.

    TRUMP: I hope we don’t have any grandstanders. I don’t think we do.


    TRUMP: I think it will be pretty bad for them if they did. I don’t think we have any — I think it would be very bad for — I think this is something the people want. They’ve been promised it.

    * * *

    HABERMAN: (In Paris), I don’t think I’ve seen you look like you were enjoying yourself that much since the convention, really.

    TRUMP: I have had the best reviews on foreign land. So I go to Poland and make a speech. Enemies of mine in the media, enemies of mine are saying it was the greatest speech ever made on foreign soil by a president. I’m saying, man, they cover (garbled). You saw the reviews I got on that speech. Poland was beautiful and wonderful, and the reception was incredible.

    And then, went to France the following week, because it was the 100th year. (inaudible) The Paris Accord — I wasn’t going to get along with France for a little while, because people forget, because it is a very unfair agreement to us. China doesn’t get (garbled) until 2030. Russia goes back to 1994 as a standard — a much, much lower standard. India has things that are (garbled). I want to do the same thing as everyone else. We can’t do that? We can’t do that? That’s OK. Let me get out. Frankly, the people that like me, love that I got out.

    After that, it was fairly surprising. He (President Emmanuel Macron of France) called me and said, “I’d love to have you there and honour you in France,” having to do with Bastille Day. Plus, it’s the 100th year of the First World War. That’s big. And I said yes. I mean, I have a great relationship with him. He’s a great guy.

    HABERMAN: He was very deferential to you. Very.

    TRUMP: He’s a great guy. Smart. Strong. Loves holding my hand.

    HABERMAN: I’ve noticed.

    TRUMP: People don’t realize he loves holding my hand. And that’s good, as far as that goes.

    * * *

    TRUMP: I mean, really. He’s a very good person. And a tough guy, but look, he has to be. I think he is going to be a terrific president of France. But he does love holding my hand.


    TRUMP: At that note, the cameras are gone. I was standing there with him, with probably hundreds of thousands of people.

    HABERMAN: It was a very crowded (garbled).

    TRUMP: And it was one of the most beautiful parades I have ever seen. And in fact, we should do one one day down Pennsylvania Ave.

    HABERMAN: I wondered if you were going to say that.

    TRUMP: I’ve always thought of that.

    HABERMAN: Really?

    TRUMP: I’ve always thought of that. I’ve thought of it long before.

    TRUMP: But the Bastille Day parade was — now that was a super-duper — OK I mean, that was very much more than normal. They must have had 200 planes over our heads. Normally you have the planes and that’s it, like the Super Bowl parade. And everyone goes crazy, and that’s it. That happened for — and you know what else that was nice? It was limited. You know, it was two hours, and the parade ended. It didn’t go a whole day. They didn’t go crazy. You don’t want to leave, but you have to. Or you want to leave, really.

    These things are going on all day. It was a two-hour parade. They had so many different zones. Maybe 100,000 different uniforms, different divisions, different bands. Then we had the retired, the older, the ones who were badly injured. The whole thing, it was an incredible thing.

    HABERMAN: It was beautiful.

    TRUMP: And you are looking at the Arc (de Triomphe). So we are standing in the most beautiful buildings, and we are looking down the road, and like three miles in, and then you had the Arc. And then you have these soldiers. Everyone was so proud. Honestly, it was a beautiful thing. I was glad I did it.

    People were surprised because I’d just come back from Hamburg. So I was back for three days, and then I had to go out again. But when he (Mr. Macron) invited me, he and I have a very good relationship. I have a very good relationship with Merkel (Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany). Do you know what happened with Merkel? So I am sitting in the chair. We’d been sitting there for two hours. So it’s not like, “Nice to see ya.” So the press comes in. So I guess someone screamed out, “Shake her hand, shake her hand!” I didn’t even hear. So I didn’t shake her hand, because I’d been with her for so long. I’d been with her for a long period of time. So I didn’t shake her — the next day, “Trump refused to shake …” (garbled)

    * * *

    TRUMP: She actually called me, and she said, um, “You know, I think we get along very well.” I said we do, we really do. I said, “You gotta put more money into NATO,” No. 1. And No. 2 is like, our trade imbalance is ridiculous. You know, it’s a money machine.

    * * *

    TRUMP: It’s been a long time. Nothing changes. Wait till you see what we’re going to do on trade.

    HABERMAN: Sounds like it’s going to be very interesting.

    TRUMP: Much more interesting than anybody would understand.


    * * *

    BAKER: Will you go to Britain? Are you going to make a state visit to Britain? Are you going to be able to do that?

    TRUMP: As to Britain?

    BAKER: Yeah.

    HABERMAN: Will you go there?


    TRUMP: Ah, they’ve asked me. What was interesting — so, when Macron asked, I said: “Do you think it’s a good thing for me to go to Paris? I just ended the Paris Accord last week. Is this a good thing?” He said, “They love you in France.” I said, “OK, I just don’t want to hurt you.”

    * * *

    TRUMP: We had dinner at the Eiffel Tower, and the bottom of the Eiffel Tower looked like they could have never had a bigger celebration ever in the history of the Eiffel Tower. I mean, there were thousands and thousands of people, ’cause they heard we were having dinner.


    HABERMAN: You must have been so tired at, by that point.

    TRUMP: Yeah. It was beautiful. We toured the museum, we went to Napoleon’s tomb …


    TRUMP: Well, Napoleon finished a little bit bad. But I asked that. So I asked the president, so what about Napoleon? He said: “No, no, no. What he did was incredible. He designed Paris.” (garbled) The street grid, the way they work, you know, the spokes. He did so many things even beyond. And his one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death. How many times has Russia been saved by the weather? (garbled)


    TRUMP: Same thing happened to Hitler. Not for that reason, though. Hitler wanted to consolidate. He was all set to walk in. But he wanted to consolidate, and it went and dropped to 35 degrees below zero, and that was the end of that army.


    But the Russians have great fighters in the cold. They use the cold to their advantage. I mean, they’ve won five wars where the armies that went against them froze to death. (crosstalk) It’s pretty amazing.

    So, we’re having a good time. The economy is doing great.

    SCHMIDT: The markets are doing great.

    TRUMP: They’re going to really go up if we do what we’re doing. I mean, cut regulations tremendously. Sometimes — you know, one thing they hadn’t thought about at The Times, where they said I didn’t really cut regulations as much. I heard that because I said — it could have been a little slip-up in terms of what I said — I meant, for the time in office, five months and couple of weeks, I think I’ve done more than anyone else. They may have taken it as more than anyone else, period.


    But I’m talking about for my time. I heard that Harry Truman was first, and then we beat him. These are approved by Congress. These are not just executive orders. On the executive orders, we cut regulations tremendously. By the way, I want regulations, but, you know, some of the — you have to get nine different regulations, and you could never do anything. I’ve given the farmers back their farms. I’ve given the builders back their land to build houses and to build other things.

    The energy stuff is going really well. We’re going to be an exporter — we already are an exporter of energy. We’re doing well. I mean, the banks, you look at rules and regulations, you look at Dodd-Frank, Dodd-Frank is going to be, you know, modified, and again, I want rules and regulations. But you don’t want to choke, right? People can’t get loans to buy a pizza parlour, to buy a — you know, I saw out on the trail — people say, Mr. Trump, we’ve dealt with banks, my own bank, and they can’t loan me anymore. I’ve never had a bad day with a bank. You know? So we’ll put — yeah, because of statutory (garbled), they can’t loan to that kind of a business. And they’re good businesses to loan to. So I think we’ve — I think we’re set to really go (garbled).

    * * *

    BAKER: As long as we’re on the record, a lot of people are curious about your conversation with President (Vladimir V.) Putin at dinner. Not surprising. But what did you all talk about, and——

    TRUMP: So, that dinner was a very long time planned dinner. And what it was was an evening at the opera. It was a final night goodbye from Germany and from Chancellor Merkel. It was her dinner. It was, you know, everybody knew about it. It was well-known.

    * * *

    TRUMP: So when we got there, it was with spouses, and when we got there, there were a thousand media. You guys know, were you guys there?

    BAKER: No, it was Julie (Hirschfeld Davis) and Glenn Thrush.

    TRUMP: So, it was tremendous media. And we took a picture of everybody, the wives and the leaders, and then the leaders, and, you know, numerous pictures outside on the river. Then everybody walked in to see the opera. Then the opera ended. Then we walked into a big room where they had dinner for not only the leaders — Lagarde (Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund) was there, who I think is terrific, and various others. You had the E.U. people there, people other than just the leaders, but quite a few people. I would say you have 20 times two, so you had 40, and then you probably had another 10 or 15 people, you had Christine Lagarde, you had some others also.

    So, I was seated next to the wife of Prime Minister Abe (Shinzo Abe of Japan), who I think is a terrific guy, and she’s a terrific woman, but doesn’t speak English.

    HABERMAN: Like, nothing, right? Like zero?

    TRUMP: Like, not “hello.”

    HABERMAN: That must make for an awkward seating.

    TRUMP: Well, it’s hard, because you know, you’re sitting there for——

    HABERMAN: Hours.

    TRUMP: So the dinner was probably an hour and 45 minutes.

    * * *

    TRUMP: You had an opera, and then you had a cocktail party for the people at the opera, and then you had the leaders with the spouses, and other leaders in Europe and maybe other places, go in. We sat at this really long table, which held, has to be at least 60, 65 people with room. OK, it’s a very big table, big room. But there was nothing secretive about it.

    It was like, that’s where we’re going. And I think it even said on the list, at the request of the German chancellor and Germany, it’s going to be the opera, it’s going to be cocktails, it’s going to be dinner. I think the crowd thinned out for the dinner — you know, it was the leaders, primarily. But the leaders and Lagarde. And (inaudible).

    OK, so we’re sitting at this massive table. And the wives are separated from their husbands, which sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But they did. It’s always easier when they don’t do it, because you always have somebody to talk to, right? And I was sitting next to the president of Argentina — his wife — (Mauricio) Macri — nice woman, who speaks English. And the prime minister of Japan’s wife, Prime Minister Abe. Great relationships. So I’m sitting there. There was one interpreter for Japanese, ’cause otherwise it would have been even tougher. But I enjoyed the evening with her, and she’s really a lovely woman, and I enjoyed — the whole thing was good.

    And now Melania was sitting on the other side of the table, way down on the other end, very far away. She was sitting next to Putin and somebody else, I don’t know. She was sitting next to Putin.

    HABERMAN: She had been the whole time?

    TRUMP: Yes. She was sitting next to Putin.

    BAKER: Does she speak Russian at all?

    TRUMP: No. She speaks other languages.

    TRUMP: She was sitting next to Putin and somebody else, and that’s the way it is. So the meal was going, and toward dessert I went down just to say hello to Melania, and while I was there I said hello to Putin. Really, pleasantries more than anything else. It was not a long conversation, but it was, you know, could be 15 minutes. Just talked about — things. Actually, it was very interesting, we talked about adoption.

    HABERMAN: You did?

    TRUMP: We talked about Russian adoption. Yeah. I always found that interesting. Because, you know, he ended that years ago. And I actually talked about Russian adoption with him, which is interesting because it was a part of the conversation that Don (Jr., Mr. Trump’s son) had in that meeting. As I’ve said — most other people, you know, when they call up and say, “By the way, we have information on your opponent,” I think most politicians — I was just with a lot of people, they said (inaudible), “Who wouldn’t have taken a meeting like that?” They just said——

    HABERMAN: The senators downstairs?

    TRUMP: A lot of them. They said, “Who wouldn’t have taken a meeting like that?”

    BAKER: You asked them about it at lunch?

    TRUMP: Nah, a couple of them. They — now, that was before Russia was hot, don’t forget. You know, Russia wasn’t hot then. That was almost a year and a half ago. It wasn’t like it is, like it is radioactive, then. Russia was Russia.

    HABERMAN: Then can I ask you——

    BAKER: Sorry to interrupt. The email, though, said something I thought was really interesting, and I wonder what you thought of it. It said this “is part of Russia and its government’s support of Mr. Trump.” So whatever actually happened at the meeting——

    TRUMP: Well, I never saw the email. I never saw the email until, you know——

    BAKER: Right, but now you have. So, what do you interpret that to mean, now that you have seen it?

    * * *

    TRUMP: Well, Hillary did the reset. Somebody was saying today, and then I read, where Hillary Clinton was dying to get back with Russia. Her husband made a speech, got half a million bucks while she was secretary of state. She did the uranium deal, which is a horrible thing, while she was secretary of state, and got a lot of money.

    * * *

    TRUMP: She was opposing sanctions. She was totally opposed to any sanctions for Russia.

    BAKER: When was that?

    HABERMAN: Do you remember when that was? I don’t remember that.

    * * *

    TRUMP: I just saw it. I just saw it. She was opposed to sanctions, strongly opposed to sanctions on Russia.

    HABERMAN: This is post-Crimea, I’m assuming? Is that what we would be talking about?

    TRUMP: I don’t really know. … But in that time. And don’t forget, Crimea was given away during Obama. Not during Trump. In fact, I was on one of the shows, I said they’re exactly right, they didn’t have it as it exactly. But he was — this — Crimea was gone during the Obama administration, and he gave, he allowed it to get away. You know, he can talk tough all he wants, in the meantime he talked tough to North Korea. And he didn’t actually. He didn’t talk tough to North Korea. You know, we have a big problem with North Korea. Big. Big, big. You look at all of the things, you look at the line in the sand. The red line in the sand in Syria. He didn’t do the shot. I did the shot. Had he done that shot, he wouldn’t have had — had he done something dramatic, because if you remember, they had a tremendous gas attack after he made that statement. Much bigger than the one they had with me.

    HABERMAN: It was sarin as well?

    TRUMP: Sarin. And, and tremendous numbers of people were killed, young people, children. And he didn’t do anything. That was a famous weekend where they were all asking him to do it, do it, do it. They thought they had it, and then he — not easy to do, I will say this, ’cause when I had to make that decision, I was with the president of China, and General Mattis (Defense Secretary Jim Mattis) said, “We’re locked and loaded, sir,” and I’m saying (mumbles), you know. (mumbles) Look, you’re killing people.

    HABERMAN: Yes.

    TRUMP: You hate it, it’s tough. Obama — you know, I can understand it in a way, but some things you have to do. But it’s, it’s a tough, it’s a tough decision to make.

    BAKER: I do want to come out, on the email, now that you have seen that email that said Russia’s government — I mean, how did you — did you interpret it that way?

    TRUMP: Well, I thought originally it might have had to do something with the payment by Russia of the D.N.C. Somewhere I heard that. Like, it was an illegal act done by the D.N.C., or the Democrats. That’s what I had heard. Now, I don’t know where I heard it, but I had heard that it had to do something with illegal acts with respect to the D.N.C. Now, you know, when you look at the kind of stuff that came out, that was, that was some pretty horrific things came out of that. But that’s what I had heard. But I don’t know what it means. All I know is this: When somebody calls up and they say, “We have infor—” Look what they did to me with Russia, and it was totally phoney stuff.

    HABERMAN: Which, which one?

    SCHMIDT: The dossier.

    TRUMP: The dossier.

    HABERMAN: The dossier. Oh, yes.

    * * *

    TRUMP: Now, that was totally made-up stuff, and in fact, that guy’s being sued by somebody. … And he’s dying with the lawsuit. I know a lot about those guys, they’re phoney guys. They make up whatever they want. Just not my thing — plus, I have witnesses, because I went there with a group of people. You know, I went there with Phil Ruffin——

    HABERMAN: Oh, I didn’t know that.

    * * *

    TRUMP: I had a group of bodyguards, including Keith (Schiller) —

    HABERMAN: Keith was there, right?

    TRUMP: Keith was there. He said, “What kind of crap is this?” I went there for one day for the Miss Universe contest, I turned around, I went back. It was so disgraceful. It was so disgraceful.

    TRUMP: When he (James B. Comey) brought it (the dossier) to me, I said this is really made-up junk. I didn’t think about anything. I just thought about, man, this is such a phoney deal.

    HABERMAN: You said that to him?

    TRUMP: Yeah, don’t forget——

    * * *

    TRUMP: I said, this is — honestly, it was so wrong, and they didn’t know I was just there for a very short period of time. It was so wrong, and I was with groups of people. It was so wrong that I really didn’t, I didn’t think about motive. I didn’t know what to think other than, this is really phoney stuff.

    SCHMIDT: Why do you think — why do you think he shared it?

    TRUMP: I think he shared it so that I would — because the other three people left, and he showed it to me.

    TRUMP: So anyway, in my opinion, he shared it so that I would think he had it out there.

    SCHMIDT: As leverage?

    TRUMP: Yeah, I think so. In retrospect. In retrospect. You know, when he wrote me the letter, he said, “You have every right to fire me,” blah blah blah. Right? He said, “You have every right to fire me.” I said, that’s a very strange — you know, over the years, I’ve hired a lot of people, I’ve fired a lot of people. Nobody has ever written me a letter back that you have every right to fire me.


    BAKER: Do you think in hindsight, because of what’s happened since then——

    TRUMP: Comey wrote a letter.

    HABERMAN: Which letter?

    SCHMIDT: To you? To the F.B.I. staff or to you?

    TRUMP: I thought it was to me, right?

    BAKER: I think he wrote it to the staff, saying——

    TRUMP: It might have been——

    BAKER: That “the president has every right to fire me.”

    TRUMP: It might have been. It was just a very strange letter to say that.

    BAKER: But do you think in hindsight, given that——

    TRUMP: What was the purpose in repeating that?

    BAKER: Do you think what’s given that——

    TRUMP: Do you understand what I mean? Why would somebody say, “He has every right to fire me,” bah bah bah. Why wouldn’t you just say, “Hey, I’ve retired …”


    TRUMP: It was very — a lot of people have commented that.

    BAKER: Given what’s happened since then, though, was it a political mistake to have fired him, given what’s happened?

    TRUMP: I think I did a great thing for the American people.

    * * *

    SCHMIDT: But look at the headache it’s caused, you know?

    TRUMP: It’s OK. I have headaches, that’s what I have, I have headaches. … But you know what, I think I did a great thing for the American people.

    HABERMAN: Do you wish you had done it on Day 1? When you got in? Because I honestly had assumed that you, if you were going to do it, that’s when you would do it.

    TRUMP: Well, it could’ve been. It could’ve been. I feel like it was very dishonest when he wouldn’t say what he knew he said to the public. I thought that was very honest. And I thought that he did that for the reason I just said.

    * * *

    SCHMIDT: What do you understand to be the four corners of what Mueller (Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the Russia investigation) can look at, if he steps—— (crosstalk)

    TRUMP: I don’t know. Nobody has contacted me about anything.

    * * *

    TRUMP: Because I have done nothing wrong. A special counsel should never have been appointed in this case.

    BAKER: Can we put that on the record?

    TRUMP: Because so far, the only — yeah, you can put it down.

    SCHMIDT: Was that (Attorney General Jeff) Sessions’s mistake or (Deputy Attorney General Rod J.) Rosenstein’s mistake?

    * * *

    TRUMP: Look, Sessions gets the job. Right after he gets the job, he recuses himself.

    BAKER: Was that a mistake?

    TRUMP: Well, Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else.

    HABERMAN: He gave you no heads up at all, in any sense?

    TRUMP: Zero. So Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have — which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, “Thanks, Jeff, but I can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you.” It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president. So he recuses himself. I then end up with a second man, who’s a deputy.

    HABERMAN: Rosenstein.

    TRUMP: Who is he? And Jeff hardly knew. He’s from Baltimore.

    * * *

    TRUMP: Yeah, what Jeff Sessions did was he recused himself right after, right after he became attorney general. And I said, “Why didn’t you tell me this before?” I would have — then I said, “Who’s your deputy?” So his deputy he hardly knew, and that’s Rosenstein, Rod Rosenstein, who is from Baltimore. There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any. So, he’s from Baltimore. Now, he, we went through a lot of things. We were interviewing replacements at the F.B.I. Did you know Mueller was one of the people that was being interviewed?

    HABERMAN: I did, actually.

    TRUMP: He was sitting in that chair. We had a wonderful meeting.

    HABERMAN: Day before, right?

    SCHMIDT: Did he want the job?

    TRUMP: The day before! Of course, he was up here, and he wanted the job.

    HABERMAN: And he made that clear to you? He would have——

    * * *

    TRUMP: So, now what happens is, he leaves the office. Rosenstein leaves the office. The next day, he is appointed special counsel. I said, what the hell is this all about? Talk about conflicts? But he was interviewing for the job. There were many other conflicts that I haven’t said, but I will at some point. So Jeff Sessions, Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers.

    HABERMAN: You mean at the hearing?

    TRUMP: Yeah, he gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren’t. He then becomes attorney general, and he then announces he’s going to recuse himself. Why wouldn’t he have told me that before?

    HABERMAN: Why do you think it was? What do you think it was?

    TRUMP: I don’t know.

    BAKER: What would cause you — what would be the line beyond which if Mueller went, you would say, “That’s too far, we would need to dismiss him”?

    TRUMP: Look, there are so many conflicts that everybody has. Then Rosenstein becomes extremely angry because of Comey’s Wednesday press conference, where he said that he would do the same thing he did a year ago with Hillary Clinton, and Rosenstein became extremely angry at that because, as a prosecutor, he knows that Comey did the wrong thing. Totally wrong thing. And he gives me a letter, OK, he gives me a letter about Comey. And by the way, that was a tough letter, OK Now, perhaps I would have fired Comey anyway, and it certainly didn’t hurt to have the letter, OK But he gives me a very strong letter, and now he’s involved in the case. Well, that’s a conflict of interest. Do you know how many conflicts of interests there are? But then, then Comey also says that he did something in order to get the special prose — special counsel. He leaked. The reason he leaked. So, he illegally leaked.

    * * *

    TRUMP: So think of this. Mike. He illegally leaks, and everyone thinks it is illegal, and by the way, it looks like it’s classified and all that stuff. So he got — not a smart guy — he got tricked into that, because they didn’t even ask him that question. They asked him another question, OK?

    * * *

    TRUMP: He said I said “hope” — “I hope you can treat Flynn good” or something like that. I didn’t say anything.

    But even if he did — like I said at the news conference on the, you know, Rose Garden — even if I did, that’s not — other people go a step further. I could have ended that whole thing just by saying — they say it can’t be obstruction because you can say: “It’s ended. It’s over. Period.”

    * * *

    TRUMP: And nothing was changed other than Richard Nixon came along. And when Nixon came along (inaudible) was pretty brutal, and out of courtesy, the F.B.I. started reporting to the Department of Justice. But there was nothing official, there was nothing from Congress. There was nothing — anything. But the F.B.I. person really reports directly to the president of the United States, which is interesting. You know, which is interesting. And I think we’re going to have a great new F.B.I. director.

    HABERMAN: Chris Wray.

    TRUMP: He’s highly thought of by everybody. I think I did the country a great service with respect to Comey.

    BAKER: Did you shoo other people out of the room when you talked to Comey?

    TRUMP: No, no.

    BAKER: That time (inaudible) (Michael T.) Flynn —

    TRUMP: No. That was the other thing. I told people to get out of the room. Why would I do that?

    SCHMIDT: Did you actually have a one-on-one with Comey then?

    TRUMP: Not much. Not even that I remember. He was sitting, and I don’t remember even talking to him about any of this stuff. He said I asked people to go. Look, you look at his testimony. His testimony is loaded up with lies, OK? But people didn’t — we had a couple people that said — Hi baby, how are you?

    ARABELLA KUSHNER: (enters room) Hi, Grandpa.

    TRUMP: My granddaughter Arabella, who speaks — say hello to them in Chinese.

    KUSHNER: Ni hao.


    TRUMP: This is Ivanka. You know Ivanka.

    IVANKA TRUMP: (from doorway) Hi, how are you? See you later, just wanted to come say hi.

    TRUMP: She’s great. She speaks fluent Chinese. She’s amazing.

    BAKER: That’s very impressive.

    TRUMP: She spoke with President Xi (Jinping of China). Honey? Can you say a few words in Chinese? Say, like, “I love you, Grandpa” —

    KUSHNER: Wo ai ni, Grandpa.

    BAKER: That’s great.

    TRUMP: She’s unbelievable, huh?


    TRUMP: Good, smart genes.


    TRUMP: So the bottom line is this. The country’s doing well. We are, we are moving forward with a lot of great things. The unemployment is the lowest it’s been in 16 years. The stock market is the highest it’s ever been. It’s up almost 20 per cent since I took office. And we’re working hard on health care. Um, the Russian investigation — it’s not an investigation, it’s not on me — you know, they’re looking at a lot of things.

    HABERMAN: It’s a broad —

    TRUMP: They’re looking at a big picture.

    BAKER: This is why I want to come back to that email, because, like — does it concern you? Let’s say that the election didn’t change because of anything Russia did, which has been your point, right? You point —

    TRUMP: By the way, it’s everybody.

    BAKER: Right, your point is that Democrats are trying to use this as an excuse, fine. But did that email concern you, that the Russian government was trying something to compromise——

    TRUMP: You know, Peter, I didn’t look into it very closely, to be honest with you.

    BAKER: OK.

    TRUMP: I just heard there was an email requesting a meeting or something — yeah, requesting a meeting. That they have information on Hillary Clinton, and I said — I mean, this was standard political stuff.

    SCHMIDT: Did you know at the time that they had the meeting?

    TRUMP: No, I didn’t know anything about the meeting.

    SCHMIDT: But you didn’t——

    TRUMP: It must have been a very important — must have been a very unimportant meeting, because I never even heard about it.

    HABERMAN: No one told you a word, nothing? I know we talked about this on the plane a little bit.

    TRUMP: No, nobody told me. I didn’t know noth—— It’s a very unimportant — sounded like a very unimportant meeting.

    BAKER: But on the date you clinched the nominations with New Jersey and California and the primaries, when you give the speech that night, saying you’re going to give a speech about Hillary Clinton’s corrupt dealings with Russia and other countries, and that comes just three hours after Don Jr. —

    TRUMP: Number one, remember, I made many of those speeches.

    BAKER: People wondered about the timing.

    TRUMP: Many of those speeches. I’d go after her all the time.

    BAKER: Yeah, I know, but——

    TRUMP: But there was something about the book, “Clinton Cash,” came out.

    BAKER: Yeah, a year earlier, though. But you were talking about——

    TRUMP: But we were developing a whole thing. There was something about “Clinton Cash.”

    * * *

    TRUMP: Peter, that’s all I did, was make those speeches about her. … I don’t think I added anything much different than I had been doing. … I’ve made some very strong speeches about the corrupt emails. The 33,000 emails being deleted and bleached, and all of the things she was doing. I would make those speeches routinely. … There wasn’t much I could say about Hillary Clinton that was worse than what I was already saying.

    HABERMAN: (laughs) I’m sorry.

    TRUMP: I mean, I was talking about, she deleted and bleached, which nobody does because of the cost. How she got away with that one, I have no idea. 33,000 emails. I talked about the back of the plane, I talked about the uranium deal, I talked about the speech that Russia gave Clinton — $500,000 while she was secretary of state — the husband. I talked about the back of the plane — honestly, Peter, I mean, unless somebody said that she shot somebody in the back, there wasn’t much I could add to my repertoire.

    HABERMAN: On Fifth Avenue——

    TRUMP: I mean, look at what we have now. We have a director of the F.B.I., acting, who received $700,000, whose wife received $700,000 from, essentially, Hillary Clinton. ’Cause it was through Terry. Which is Hillary Clinton.

    HABERMAN: This is (Andrew) McCabe’s wife, you mean?

    TRUMP: McCabe’s wife. She got $700,000, and he’s at the F.B.I. I mean, how do you think that? But when you say that — and think about this for a second. I don’t think — you could give me a whole string of new information. I don’t think I could really have — there’s only so much. You know, you can only say many things. After that it gets boring, OK? How can it be better than deleting emails after you get a subpoena from the United States Congress? Guys go to jail for that, when they delete an email from a civil case. Here, she gets an email from the United States Congress —

    * * *

    BAKER: Should she be prosecuted now?

    TRUMP: What?

    BAKER: Should she be prosecuted now? Why, then, should she not be prosecuted now——

    TRUMP: I don’t want to say that. I mean, I don’t want to say.

    SCHMIDT: Last thing.

    TRUMP: You understand what I mean, Peter.

    BAKER: I know.

    TRUMP: I mean, supposing they were able to give me additional — it wouldn’t have helped me. I had so much stuff——

    SCHMIDT: Last thing, if Mueller——

    TRUMP: And I couldn’t have been better than the stuff I had. Obviously, because I won.

    SCHMIDT: Last thing, if Mueller was looking at your finances and your family finances, unrelated to Russia — is that a red line?

    HABERMAN: Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?

    TRUMP: I would say yeah. I would say yes. By the way, I would say, I don’t — I don’t — I mean, it’s possible there’s a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows? I don’t make money from Russia. In fact, I put out a letter saying that I don’t make — from one of the most highly respected law firms, accounting firms. I don’t have buildings in Russia. They said I own buildings in Russia. I don’t. They said I made money from Russia. I don’t. It’s not my thing. I don’t, I don’t do that. Over the years, I’ve looked at maybe doing a deal in Russia, but I never did one. Other than I held the Miss Universe pageant there eight, nine years (crosstalk).

    SCHMIDT: But if he was outside that lane, would that mean he’d have to go?


    HABERMAN: Would you consider——

    TRUMP: No, I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia. So I think if he wants to go, my finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievably successful company. And actually, when I do my filings, peoples say, “Man.” People have no idea how successful this is. It’s a great company. But I don’t even think about the company anymore. I think about this. ’Cause one thing, when you do this, companies seem very trivial. OK? I really mean that. They seem very trivial. But I have no income from Russia. I don’t do business with Russia. The gentleman that you mentioned, with his son, two nice people. But basically, they brought the Miss Universe pageant to Russia to open up, you know, one of their jobs. Perhaps the convention centre where it was held. It was a nice evening, and I left. I left, you know, I left Moscow. It wasn’t Moscow, it was outside of Moscow.

    HABERMAN: Would you fire Mueller if he went outside of certain parameters of what his charge is? (crosstalk)

    SCHMIDT: What would you do?


    TRUMP: I can’t, I can’t answer that question because I don’t think it’s going to happen.

    0 0

    The national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls has cancelled its first family fall hearing in Thunder Bay, the Star has learned.

    The problem-plagued inquiry was supposed to begin family public hearings in the northern Ontario city on Sept. 10 but that date has been moved to December 4, according to the inquiry’s website.

    The inquiry has been criticized by Indigenous leaders and family advocates who say the probe has poor communication skills, is disorganized and has failed to reach out to all families and survivors. Advocates have also argued that justice issues such as policing should be prominent in the terms of reference for the inquiry. At the moment, policing is not a focus.

    Read more:

    Indigenous woman hit by trailer hitch in Thunder Bay dies

    Indigenous affairs minister says to not lose hope in murdered and missing women inquiry after Poitras quits

    Feminists should work to secure justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women: Mochama

    Thunder Bay is the only scheduled stop for the inquiry in Ontario so far.

    A new schedule indicates the inquiry will resume family hearings the week of Sept. 25 in Smithers, B.C.

    Thunder Bay and northwestern Ontario are the sites of many unsolved murders, deaths and disappearances, including that of Sandra Johnson in 1982 and Rena Fox who was found outside of Thunder Bay in 2003. Recently, the city has been rocked by the death of Barbara Kentner, the mother who was hit by a trailer hitch in January and died on July 4. Kentner’s family and Indigenous leaders are calling for the incident to be considered a hate crime and that the assault charges brought against Brayden Bushby, 18, be upgraded. Thunder Bay Police Services say they will let the courts decide if the charges should be upgraded.

    Sources say the current climate of racial tension and the deaths of seven Indigenous youth in the Thunder Bay rivers are factors in the postponement of the hearing.

    0 0

    WASHINGTON—Canada needs to allow U.S. President Donald Trump to “declare victory” on the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canadian Ambassador David MacNaughton said Thursday.

    MacNaughton, taking questions alongside his Mexican counterpart at an event in Washington, said Canada is optimistic that the revised deal can be, as Vice-President Mike Pence said last week, a “win-win-win” for all three countries.

    But asked if Canada can allow Trump to sell the revised deal to his base, MacNaughton said Canada must let the president tout the outcome as his own triumph.

    “This was such a big part of the president’s campaign last year, and I think for any of us to think that we can sort of just ignore that would be crazy. We have to find ways where he can declare victory without it being seen in either Mexico or Canada as being a loss,” MacNaughton said.

    Read more:Revised NAFTA might make U.S. items cheaper for Canadian online shoppers

    MacNaughton suggested that Trump’s bellicose public words obscure a collaborative behind-the-scenes relationship between his White House and the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

    “I know that people seize on some of the words the president uses every once in a while, everybody focuses in on that. But the reality is, in terms of our discussions with the administration — with the White House as recently as Friday — that’s what the United States is focused in on too: how do we make this a win-win-win,” he said.

    He wryly tipped his cap to the president for furnishing the “creative tension” needed to make progress.

    The first round of NAFTA talks will begin on Aug. 16 in Washington. The Trump administration issued a vague but lengthy list of desired changes on Monday, which included such proposals as better access to Canadian markets for various U.S. industries, cheaper cross-border shopping for Canadian consumers and the elimination of the agreement’s contentious dispute-resolution system.

    The three countries agree that the new deal would ideally be struck by the beginning of 2018, since negotiations will get more complicated the closer they get to the Mexican elections in June. But the list of U.S. demands will make it “challenging” to finish in a mere few months, MacNaughton said, even if there isn’t any real controversy.

    Also on Thursday morning, Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Canada, Kentucky Republican fundraiser Kelly Knight Craft, had a low-key confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Craft’s approval by the full Senate appears assured.

    Craft, who owns a consulting firm and whose husband is a coal billionaire, said she will work to improve the bilateral economic and energy relationship. She said she will also work “to advance our shared environmental goals.”

    “The United States is fortunate to have a neighbour that shares our strong commitment to democratic values and works tirelessly to promote peace, prosperity, and human rights around the world,” she said.

    Among the Craft supporters in the room was John Calipari, the coach of the University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team. Craft is a member of the university’s board of trustees.

    “She is a kind-hearted person who cares about people. Very conscientious, very people-oriented. I think the people of Canada are going to say, ‘Wow, we’ve got someone that’s really engaged; this is not for funsies,’” Calipari told the Star. “She’s engaged. And she’s got the ear of the administration.”

    0 0

    Possibly as early as Thursday afternoon, O.J. Simpson may learn whether the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners will decide to free him in the fall or whether he will continue to serve a nine-to-33-year sentence for 12 convictions, including kidnapping and armed robbery, stemming from a 2007 sting operation in which he tried to recover sports memorabilia from two collectors.

    Simpson, who has not been publicly seen since being granted parole in a 2013 hearing on lesser charges, appeared far slimmer and more fit than he did then, wearing dark slacks, a blue shirt and white T-shirt.

    Read more: O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing expected to proceed smoothy

    The media scrutiny in the hearing will be less intense than it was for the 1995 murder trial in which he was found not guilty of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole, and Ron Goldman, but the possibility that the Hall of Fame running back and former actor soon will be free again is drawing massive attention, including live coverage on multiple networks.

    Four members of the board will convene in the Carson City, Nev., Probation and Parole Division office and Simpson, inmate No. 1027820, will remain, as he has for almost nine years, in the medium-security Lovelock Correctional Center about 100 miles away. In addition to his legal counsel, Simpson’s representatives may include relatives, but only a handful of media members will have access to that room.

    Simpson, 70, will be given the opportunity to make an opening statement, as he did during a 2013 hearing in which he was paroled on five of the lesser charges against him. Testimony is limited to the inmate, a representative of his, victims of the crime (or their direct family members) and one family member or supporter.

    It is not expected that the two victims or prosecutors will oppose his release. The board also will consider a pre-sentence investigation, a parole hearing report, a risk assessment and letters of support or opposition. Post-parole plans also will be discussed. The board will heavily weigh a points system that considers 11 factors, including criminal history, age and gender, history of alcohol and/or drug abuse, and behaviour as an inmate. It will not, however, be limited to considering the points system.

    After the hearing, which is not expected to take long, the members of the board will deliberate privately and vote. After that, according to the Nevada parole board website, the public hearing will resume and each member will vote on the record. “A majority of four of the seven members of the Board is required to reach a decision to grant or deny parole. The panel for this hearing consists of four members which constitutes a majority of the Board,” the site says.

    That means that all four present must be in agreement. “If the panel is unanimous in its decision, it will become the decision of the Board and no additional voting is necessary. If the panel is not unanimous, additional board members will be immediately contacted to review the case and vote until there are four votes to grant or deny parole.”

    (The seventh commissioner will not be seated until after the Simpson hearing, so it is conceivable that the board could end up deadlocked at 3-3. That would result in another hearing in six months.)

    In a 2013 hearing that lasted 15 minutes, Simpson was granted parole for two of the lesser counts on which he was convicted. That time, the panel consisted of two board members who deliberated and gave their recommendation to the full seven-member board. After about two weeks, the decision was handed down. This time, because the board wants to minimize the media circus and return to its work as quickly as possible, four board members will be present.

    If parole is granted, Simpson would be freed “on or after Oct. 1.” If it is denied, a rehearing date will be set by the panel. Denial periods, the board’s website says, “are generally set at periods of one to three years from the eligibility date of the inmate.”

    0 0

    Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit is examining the death of an Indigenous man who died in Thunder Bay police custody Wednesday evening.

    James Cutfeet, chief of Big Trout Lake First Nation, confirmed that Roland McKay, 50, was found dead in his cell shortly after midnight.

    “Yes, we had a member pass away from our community while in police custody,” he said.

    Police responded to an incident in the city around 7:45 p.m. that involved McKay, and medical personnel were present, according to an SIU press release. He was subsequently “medically cleared.”

    He was transported to a hospital after he was found not breathing in his cell, the release said.

    Six investigators are currently working on the case. The SIU is a police watchdog unit tasked with investigating police officers in circumstances involving serious injury, sexual assault allegations and death.

    McKay’s sister, Chief Celia Echum of Ginoogaming First Nation, said details surrounding the case are scant, which has left her puzzled.

    “The (coroner) couldn’t tell me anything about what happened to Roland,” she said on the phone from Thunder Bay.

    0 0

    EDMONTON—Ontario is on track to set the legal age for recreational marijuana at 19, says Premier Kathleen Wynne.

    Wynne told the Star that the age of majority should be the same for pot as it is for booze once the federal government legalizes cannabis next July 1.

    “I have a hard time imagining Ontario will have a lower age for pot than we do for alcohol,” she said in an interview at the close of the annual premiers’ conference here.

    The legal age for drinking beer, wine and spirits has been set at 19 in Ontario since 1978.

    It’s impractical for the province to have a higher legal age for consuming cannabis than for alcohol, the premier added.

    “I think that would be a challenge,” Wynne said as a smoky haze from British Columbia forest fires blanketed Alberta’s capital.

    Her comments came as Ontario holds online consultations at , where citizens can fill out a survey until July 31, and through public hearings as the province develops its strategy.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged the federal government will legalize recreational marijuana products by July 1, 2018. Medical marijuana is already legal.

    As other provinces have, Ontario must decide where cannabis will be sold and where it can be used; set an age of majority, and protect both road safety and public health.

    The online survey asks participants a number of questions: if they support 19 as the age of majority for marijuana; if landlords and condo boards should be able to restrict pot smoking on their premises; whether cannabis should be sold through government or private retailers or a mixture of both, and whether stronger penalties are needed for drug-impaired driving.

    Wynne said she is keeping a close eye on what standards Quebec will set, given that the two provinces share a boundary easily crossed by thousands of people every day, particularly in the Ottawa-Gatineau area.

    “We need to be on the same page on this,” she added, noting Ontario and Quebec have set up a working group to keep track of each other’s progress.

    “It must be the case,” Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said at the premiers’ conference when asked if the Ontario and his province should establish the same age of majority for cannabis.

    Couillard quipped “imagine the traffic” imagining the circumstances if the ages were different, in light of the fact that several bridges connect the nation’s capital to Quebec across the Ottawa River.

    Quebec’s legal drinking age is now set at 18, a year lower than Ontario’s and that of most other provinces. Alberta and Manitoba have also set 18 as their age of majority for alcohol.

    Ontario has established a Legalization of Cannabis Secretariat, which includes officials from a dozen ministries to co-ordinate the province’s approach.

    It will host a series of public meetings later this summer as Ontario prepares for next summer’s deadline.

    Provincial premiers warned Trudeau that they may ask that he delay the legalization, unless the federal government delay the legalization unless Ottawa provides clear answers on a number of public policy and safety questions.

    They said more clarity is needed on taxation of cannabis; on the impact on traffic safety; on enforcement, and on how public education campaigns will take shape.

    “We’ll work to the deadline, but, as things stand right now, there is work that also needs to be done by the federal government in order to meet it,” said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who hosted the annual conference.

    A federal task force last year recommended 18 as the minimum legal age for recreational cannabis product and said Ontario and other provinces may want to set the age to 19 to match its age of majority for alcohol.

    The Canadian Medical Association called for a minimum age of 21 for legal consumption of marijuana, saying its use at younger ages can damage teenagers’ brains.

    0 0

    WASHINGTON—Battling brain cancer, Sen. John McCain on Thursday promised to return to work, making a good-natured dig at his Republican and Democratic colleagues who were jolted by news of the six-term lawmaker’s diagnosis.

    “I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support—unfortunately for my sparring partners in Congress, I’ll be back soon, so standby!” McCain said in a tweet.

    The 80-year-old McCain, the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2008, was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer, according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, who had removed a blood clot above his left eye last Friday.

    “Subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumour known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot,” his office said in a statement late Wednesday.

    The senator and his family are considering further treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation, as he recuperates at his home in Arizona.

    Prayers and words of encouragement multiplied on Thursday from presidents and Senate colleagues past and present.

    “I called Senator John McCain this morning to wish him well and encourage him in his fight. Instead, he encouraged me,” said former president George W. Bush, who prevailed over McCain for the GOP presidential nomination in 2000. “I was impressed by his spirit and determination.”

    Former Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas said: “Having known John for many decades, I am certain that he is as tough as they come—if anyone can defeat this, it’s him. John is a true American hero.”

    Read more:John McCain diagnosed with brain cancer after surgery to remove blood clot

    McCain’s closest friend in the Senate, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said he spoke to the senator Wednesday night and that the diagnosis was a shock to McCain. He said McCain is fighting the illness, and “woe is me” is not in his DNA. “One thing John has never been afraid of is death,” said Graham, who said he expects McCain to be back.

    According to the American Brain Tumor Association, more than 12,000 people a year are diagnosed with glioblastoma, the same type of tumour that struck McCain’s close Democratic colleague in legislative battles, the late Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. The American Cancer Society puts the five-year survival rate for patients over 55 at about 4 per cent.

    McCain has a lifetime of near-death experiences — surviving the July 1967 fire and explosion on the USS Forrestal that killed 134 sailors; flying into power lines in Spain; the October 1967 shootdown of his Navy aircraft and fall into Truc Bach Lake in Hanoi; and 5 ½ years in a North Vietnamese prison.

    “The Hanoi Hilton couldn’t break John McCain’s spirit many years ago, so Barbara and I know — with confidence — he and his family will meet this latest battle in his singular life of service with courage and determination,” said former president George H.W. Bush.

    The absence of the senator and chairman of the Armed Services Committee forced Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to delay action on health care legislation.

    Politics aside, McCain and Bill Clinton developed a strong friendship, and the former president said: “As he’s shown his entire life, don’t bet against John McCain. Best wishes to him for a swift recovery.”

    The junior senator from Arizona, Republican Jeff Flake, said Thursday that McCain told him about his tumour only at the end of a telephone conversation, saying he was “feeling fine, but I might have some chemotherapy in my future.” Flake said on ABC’s Good Morning America that his colleague is “optimistic, obviously. He’s John McCain. That’s what we’d expect.”

    In the past, McCain had been treated for melanoma, but a primary tumour is unrelated. Doctors said McCain is recovering from his surgery “amazingly well” and his underlying health is excellent.

    With his irascible grin and fighter-pilot moxie, McCain was elected to the Senate from Arizona six times, most recently last year, but was twice thwarted in seeking the presidency.

    An upstart presidential bid in 2000 didn’t last long. Eight years later, he fought back from the brink of defeat to win the GOP nomination, only to be overpowered by Obama. McCain chose a little-known Alaska governor as his running mate in that race, and helped turn Sarah Palin into a national political figure.

    After losing to Obama in an electoral landslide, McCain returned to the Senate, determined not to be defined by a failed presidential campaign. And when Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015, McCain embraced his new job as chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee, eager to play a big role “in defeating the forces of radical Islam that want to destroy America.”

    0 0

    U.S. President Donald Trump’s exclusive interview with the New York Times on Wednesday touched on plenty of weighty topics, including the Republicans’ unsuccessful attempts to pass a health-care bill and what would constitute a “red line” in the Russia investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

    But one excerpt in particular set afire a corner of the internet. In it, Trump describes a dinner for Group of 20 leaders that took place in Germany earlier this month and mentions that he had been seated next to Akie Abe, the wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    There had been a language barrier, Trump told Times reporter Maggie Haberman:

    TRUMP: . . . So, I was seated next to the wife of Prime Minister Abe, who I think is a terrific guy, and she’s a terrific woman, but doesn’t speak English.

    HABERMAN: Like, nothing, right? Like zero?

    TRUMP: Like, not “hello.”

    HABERMAN: That must make for an awkward seating.

    TRUMP: Well, it’s hard, because you know, you’re sitting there for —

    HABERMAN: Hours.

    TRUMP: So the dinner was probably an hour and 45 minutes.

    It wasn’t long before people cried foul. Motoko Rich, the Times’s Tokyo bureau chief, described it as “a false note.” Early Thursday, a YouTube video was unearthed that showed Akie Abe giving a 15-minute keynote address — in English — at a 2014 symposium on coastal resilience in New York. Before long, the video was circulating on social media, often juxtaposed with Trump’s comments about her language ability.

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

    By Thursday afternoon, speculation was running rampant online: Had Abe pretended not to speak English to avoid talking to Trump at the nearly two-hour dinner?

    “Japan’s first lady Akie Abe mysteriously couldn’t speak English when she met Donald Trump at G20,” a Newsweek headline pondered.

    “Trump says Japan’s first lady doesn’t speak English — but this clip shows otherwise,” MarketWatch declared.

    However, as with so many stories about Trump that go viral online, the reality is more nuanced than the Internet’s fast-moving theories.

    The question of how proficient Abe is at English was a guessing game Thursday among Japanese journalists and diplomats in Washington, as well as some Japan hands in U.S. think tanks.

    Though no one could say for certain what her fluency level was, most agreed that what had been characterized as a possible political snub had more likely been a convergence of Abe’s limited English abilities and a desire not to misspeak.

    It is, of course, false that Abe speaks “zero” English. (At the very least, it’s unthinkable that the Japanese first lady doesn’t know the word “hello,” even if she may not have said it to Trump at the G20 dinner.) According to a lengthy profile of Abe by the Japan Times, she attended the English-speaking International School of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo from kindergarten through high school and later worked at Dentsu, Japan’s largest international public relations company.

    But it’s clear in the video of her 2014 keynote address that Abe was consulting a script and, even then, occasionally stumbling over a word or two. Abe has regularly accompanied her husband to Washington through his three stints as prime minister, and footage from her past visits shows that she has almost always used a translator when in the United States.

    In 2015, she and then-first lady Michelle Obama visited Great Falls Elementary in Virginia, where they were welcomed by students who were part of the school’s Japanese immersion program. While at the school, Abe used an interpreter and addressed the students in Japanese.

    Read more:

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    In speeches at a 2014 Womenomics forum and a 2015 “Finding Balance” summit, Abe gave her remarks in Japanese and had an interpreter translate them for the audience. She did not speak English during a 2014 interview with The Washington Post.

    Abe again visited Washington in February, when her husband met with Trump at the White House. Though she made stops at Gallaudet University and at the Japanese Embassy, Abe did not make public remarks. She and her husband spent the ensuing weekend with the Trumps in Mar-a-Lago, the president’s resort near Palm Beach, Florida.

    Several interviewed by The Washington Post said they had never heard Abe speak English and speculated that she would not feel comfortable having more than a simple conversation. Most people interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity because they had not spoken to Abe directly or extensively and did not have firsthand knowledge.

    “I have only heard her speak in Japanese,” said one Japan expert at a think tank. “In international meetings, she speaks through an interpreter. I expect she may be able to have a courtesy-type conversation, but you should not assume more than that.”

    A former aide to president Barack Obama said in a text message that he “never heard her speak English with Mrs. Obama.”

    During her 2015 visit to the United States, Abe met with a small group of Americans who had taught English in Japan through a government-sponsored Japan Exchange and Teaching program.

    Nicole Uehara, an American who helped set up the event and participated in it, said Abe did not speak in English during the meeting and instead made remarks through an interpreter, who was seated behind her. Uehara said she was told that the Japanese first lady does know some English but is not fluent.

    At formal multilateral events, some foreign officials are concerned about protocol and worried about misspeaking if they are not speaking in their native language, foreign affairs experts said.

    “I really don’t think she understands English very well,” one Japanese television reporter in Washington wrote in an email. He said the story has not made a big splash in Japan since Trump’s interview was published late Wednesday. “Even the second meeting between Trump and Putin was not a big story in Japan,” he said.

    An American assistant at the Washington bureau of another Japanese television network said the consensus in his office “is that she can’t really speak it. She can definitely say ‘hello’ or greet people in English, but can she hold a conversation beyond pleasantries? We’re not so sure.”

    At the Japanese Embassy in Washington, one diplomat called Trump’s remarks about Abe a “strange story” and added that — although he has seen the video on social media of Abe reciting the coastal-resilience speech in English — he wasn’t sure about her English skills.

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