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- 08/10/17--20:18: _Denis Shapovalov up...
- 08/11/17--05:17: _Trump says North Ko...
- 08/11/17--12:12: _Mom believes severe...
- 08/11/17--11:02: _Midtown Toronto der...
- 08/11/17--10:46: _The truth about hyd...
- 08/11/17--14:20: _Grandfather found d...
- 08/11/17--13:15: _North Korea poses ‘...
- 08/11/17--08:15: _I saw DJ reach unde...
- 08/11/17--12:16: _New trial ordered f...
- 08/11/17--10:27: _Police release vide...
- 08/11/17--11:16: _Former B.C. couple ...
- 08/11/17--10:29: _Here’s what Chief S...
- 08/11/17--12:23: _China warns North K...
- 08/11/17--15:10: _SIU clears cop in c...
- 08/11/17--17:02: _Canadian Shapovalov...
- 08/11/17--15:23: _Teen tells police t...
- 08/12/17--04:37: _Chanting ‘blood and...
- 08/11/17--16:16: _Freed Mississauga p...
- 08/11/17--18:55: _Teen lands job afte...
- 08/12/17--04:00: _How many Ontario po...
- 08/10/17--20:18: Denis Shapovalov upsets top seed Rafael Nadal at Rogers Cup
- 08/11/17--11:02: Midtown Toronto derailment should serve as a wake-up call
- It suggests that fatigue from unpredictable sleep patterns likely played a part in the accident and it notes that Transport Canada is not doing enough to deal with train crews operating without adequate rest.
- Additional physical fail-safe defences have not been implemented to ensure railway signals are recognized and followed. (The TSB notes that technologies for ensuring that signals are following — some dating from the 1920 — have been implemented in the United States but are not in use in Canada.)
- 08/11/17--10:46: The truth about hydro in Ontario: a fact check
- The electricity charge, which is simply for the amount of power used in your household.
- Delivery charge, or the cost of getting the electricity into your home. It is based on how many customers are in a particular area and how far it is from generating stations. Residents of Toronto and other cities generally enjoy much cheaper delivery costs than people in remote or rural areas.
- Regulatory charges are a smaller portion of the bill. They are to cover the costs of administering the wholesale electricity system, to maintain the reliability of the provincial grid and to fund energy conservation efforts.
- The HST or harmonized sales tax of 13 per cent, of which the 8 per cent provincial portion is now instantly rebated on bills. The other 5 per cent goes to the federal government.
- Customers who are not on time-of-use rates will see a separate “global adjustment” charge on their bills. While that is included in time-of-use rates, it is listed separately for residential and other customers who have signed retail contracts for their electricity.
(The global adjustment, in place since 2005, is the cost of paying for electricity that is produced from non-market agreements, including contracts with private generators, the regulated output of Ontario Power Generation and from other arrangements, such as renewable power contracts. Those sources now make up the vast bulk of Ontario’s power supply.)
For more tips on how to read your hydro bill, the Ontario Energy Board has an explanation on its website.
Where does Ontario get its electricity?
The vast majority of the province’s electrical generation — 61 per cent per cent last year — is produced at nuclear reactors at Bruce, Darlington and Pickering. Only about a quarter — 24 per cent — actually comes from “hydro,” meaning it is generated from hydroelectric generating stations such as Niagara Falls, where fast-moving water flows over turbines that generate power. Another 9 per cent is from plants fuelled by natural gas or oil and 6 per cent is from wind and less than 1 per cent each from solar and biofuels.
How much electricity does this province use in winter versus summer?
The winter record of 24,979 megawatts was set Dec. 20, 2004. But more power is used in the summer due to air conditioning. The highest use in Ontario history was during a heat wave on Aug. 1, 2006 when the load demand was 27,005 megawatts. Put in context, Ontario now has an installed generation capacity of 36,130 megawatts, according to the Independent Electricity System Operator’s latest figures. That means there is a surplus of power and the risk of blackouts and brownouts is lower, though those can still occur in extreme weather conditions or if there are technical problems.
If nuclear power is so efficient, why don’t we just build more reactors?
There are few more expensive things in the world than nuclear reactors. Building new nukes is costly and time-consuming while refurbishing old stations is also financially daunting. That’s because nuclear projects are almost always plagued by cost overruns caused by lengthy environmental assessments and engineering hurdles. And once they are built, getting rid of radioactive waste is challenging. Currently, Ontario Power Generation is undertaking a 10-year $12.8 billion refurbishment of the Darlington nuclear station just east of Oshawa.
Why do ratepayers bankroll “green energy producers” with long-term contracts to purchase wind and solar power for more than the market price?
In 2009, former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty announced a sweeping green energy strategy, including the feed-in tariff (FIT) that would pay companies and individuals a premium for generating clean electricity. It was an economic development tool to encourage manufacturers to build wind turbines and solar panels here in Ontario. To create a market for such equipment, the government encouraged farmers and others in rural Ontario to install wind turbines by guaranteeing them a fixed price over 20 years for the power they generate. That’s why there are so many turbines and solar panels in the countryside.
Why did the Liberals sell off the majority share in Hydro One and will privatization increase electricity bills?
Over the past year or so, Wynne’s government has sold more than 51 per cent of the provincial transmission utility, making some $9 billion — $5 billion to pay off Hydro One’s debt and $4 billion to bankroll transportation infrastructure such as public transit, roads and bridges. Critics charge the sell-off was so the Liberals could balance the books before the 2018 election.
But Hydro One cannot unilaterally increase electricity rates. Those are set by the independent Ontario Energy Board and, like all private and public utilities, Hydro One needs the board’s permission to hike rates.
Still, both the Tories and the New Democrats insist privatization will lead to higher costs while the Liberals claim the company could be better run and actually save ratepayers money.
Just how unhappy were Ontarians with their hydro bills?
Before Hydro One was privatized, Ontario’s ombudsman was looking into 10,500 complaints about billing errors, including some cases where Hydro One had mistakenly gone into customers’ bank accounts and withdrawn thousands of dollars. As well, a new computer system meant about 100,000 customers received no bills over several months, while others got “estimates” which meant many were faced with huge makeup payments when actual usage was calculated. Then customers were threatened with losing power, even in the winter.
Faced with mounting criticism, the Liberal government in February quickly enacted a bill to outlaw winter disconnections across the province.
The ombudsman’s office lost the authority to handle consumer complaints once it was no longer 100 per cent publicly owned. Complaints are now handled internally by Hydro One.
How efficient is Ontario’s hydro system?
In 2015, auditor general Bonnie Lysyk said consumers were being hit with billions of extra dollars in costs because of overpriced green energy, poor government planning and substandard service from Hydro One. Her value-for-money audit estimated that from 2006 to 2014, Ontarians paid $37 billion more than necessary, a figure that would balloon to $133 billion by 2032.
“Hydro One’s customers have a power system for which reliability appears to be worsening while costs are increasing,” Lysyk said at the time.
Her analysis did not take into account the health benefits and savings as a result of phasing out cheaper, dirty coal-fuelled generation. Smog warnings and smog days are now rare.
Isn’t there a lawsuit aimed at stopping the sale of Hydro One shares?
Yes. The Canadian Union of Public Employees has filed a $1.1 million civil suit in Ontario Superior Court of Justice, which held a hearing in June to hash out arguments from the union and the government as to whether the case should proceed. The government — which has already sold all the intended shares in Hydro One — has asked for the suit to be dismissed, calling it a political stunt. The union alleges the government “knowingly structured” the sale to reward investors and the Ontario Liberal Party through fundraising with investment bankers. Ontario’s integrity commissioner has ruled there was no wrongdoing with the fundraising events. The judge in the lawsuit has reserved his decision as to whether it should go ahead.
What about the “gas-plants email” trial that starts in September?
Before the 2011 election, McGuinty cancelled two gas-fired power plants that were to be built in Oakville and Mississauga because they were unpopular with local residents and could have led to the defeat of five Liberal MPPs in those areas.
Lysyk has estimated the cancellation will cost ratepayers $1 billion over 20 years in terms of compensating the companies behind the scrapped plants and building replacement plants near Napanee and Sarnia.
In 2013, as McGuinty was handing the reins of power to Wynne, his chief of staff and deputy chief of staff were implicated after computer hard-drives were deleted in the premier’s office. Ontario Provincial Police launched an investigation in response to a complaint from the Progressive Conservatives that said emails related to the gas plants could have been deleted. Charges were laid in 2015.
Both David Livingston and Laura Miller go to trial Sept. 11 for criminal breach of trust. They deny any wrongdoing. McGuinty, who co-operated with police, was never under investigation.
When will we learn more about the direction hydro rates are headed in Ontario?
Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said the latest version of the government’s long-term energy plan, which is updated every four years, will be released soon. He has pledged to find ways to remove more costs from the system.
What have the opposition parties at Queen’s Park promised to do about hydro?
- New Democrats: NDP Leader Andrea Horwath insists she can chop hydro bills by up to 30 per cent by keeping the Wynne government’s instant rebate of the 8 per cent provincial HST, asking the federal government to scrap its remaining 5 per cent HST, eliminating time-of-use pricing, capping profits of private power producers and buying back shares in Hydro One. Rival parties have scoffed at the multibillion share buyback plan, saying it isn’t feasible, and cast doubt that the feds would forego their HST on electricity. Since the buyback promise was announced, Hydro One announced it is spending $6.7 billion to buy U.S.-based Avista, raising further questions about the viability and affordability of that pledge.
- Progressive Conservatives: Despite promising to unveil a hydro plan earlier this year, Tory Leader Patrick Brown has yet to deliver his party’s policy and may not until just before the June 7, 2018 election.
- Green Party: Green Leader Mike Schreiner wants to phase out nuclear power and use that money to help Ontario families and businesses conserve energy. Instead of Wynne’s 25 per cent across-the-board hydro rate cut, the Green Party would target price reductions to the poor who need help the most. Any further privatization of Hydro One would be stopped. The Greens would conduct an independent, public review of electricity generation costs to guide future choices.
- 08/11/17--14:20: Grandfather found dead in elevator called for help twice
- 08/11/17--08:15: I saw DJ reach under Taylor Swift’s skirt, former bodyguard says
- 08/11/17--12:23: China warns North Korea: You’re on your own if you go after the U.S.
- 08/11/17--17:02: Canadian Shapovalov marches into Rogers Cup semifinals
- 08/11/17--16:16: Freed Mississauga pastor will be back in church for Sunday service
MONTREAL—Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov didn’t bend an inch against tennis superstar Rafael Nadal.
Shapovalov upset the top-seeded Nadal 3-6, 6-4,7-6 (4) in the Rogers Cup third round on Thursday Night at a sold out Uniprix Stadium, where crowds roared with every point scored by the 18-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont.
He advanced to a quarter-final meeting Friday night with France’s Adrian Mannarino, who defeated Hyeon Chung of South Korea 6-3, 6-3.
Shapovalov has taken major strides this week to reach his goal of cracking the world’s top 100 with wins over Rogerio Dutra Silva and 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro. He also halted Nadal’s bid to regain the No.1 ranking, which the Spaniard could have achieved by reaching the semifinals.
Shapovalov looked unfazed in facing the biggest opponent of his young career. After Nadal cruised through the first set, Shapovalov kept battling, breaking service while taking a 3-0 lead in the second. When Nadal would start taking a control of a game, the younger of the two lefthanders would respond with big serves or impressive forehands down the lines.
Nadal fought off two break points to hold serve at 4-2, then earned his own break to win back the momentum from the 2016 Wimbledon junior boys champion, only to see Shapovalov snatch it back and clinch the second set.
The two held serve through the third. Nadal went up 3-0, but Shapovalov used two aces to fight back and complete the upset victory over the 10-time French Open champion.
Second-seeded Roger Federer, a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 winner over Spain’s David Ferrer, isn’t one to gloat over his stunning record against Spaniard, who was ranked third in the world in 2013.
Without playing especially well, the 19-time grand slam champion from Switzerland stretched his career record against the Ferrer to 17-0. It started with a win in Vienna in 2003.
“Maybe in the beginning he was not as good as he is now,” Federer said of Ferrer. “Maybe I won five times because I’m better than he was.
“I was No. 1 in the world. I played him on hard courts also. I didn’t play him often on clay. Also, there were many tight matches, so maybe it became a mental thing for him. I have a lot of respect for David. As a person, he’s very nice. He’s a great fighter on the court. So this type of head-to-head is a bit strange.”
In Friday’s quarter-finals, second-seeded Federer will face 12th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, against whom he is 6-0. Bautista Agut outlasted Frenchman Gael Monfils 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2) in a two hours 56 minutes battle.
Unseeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman posted a strange win over American Jared Donaldson 0-6, 7-5, 7-5 to advance to a quarter-final meeting with Robin Haase, the 52nd-ranked Dutchman who upset seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1.
Kevin Anderson of South Africa downed American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-1 and will next play fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, who ousted 16th seeded Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-3.
Federer, who breezed past Canadian Peter Polansky in the second round on Wednesday, looked lost in the opening set, spraying balls long, wide or into the net, but gradually rediscovered at least some of the form that has seen the 36-year-old Swiss put back the clock with two grand slam wins this year.
It was only the seventh time he lost a set to Ferrer, who was ranked third in the world in 2013.
“It’s only normal to lose sets and lose matches,” said Federer. “You can’t win every set, every match you play out there.
“I like to expose myself to those kind of matches. I actually feel really happy because I know I can play a lot better. David can play a lot better, too. We battled. Both tried to find a way to win. He had a good start, I had a better finish. So take it how it is and hope that this match gives me some better rhythm and confidence against Bautista Agut, who plays actually very similar to David.”
Ferrer has not beat a top-10 opponent in his last 13 attempts.
Bautista Agut fought off a match point to force a tiebreaker, which the tired-looking Monfils opened with a double fault and never challenged again.
The unseeded Monfils played his third straight three-set match, including an upset win over fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori in the second round.
Schwartzman saved four match points to upset third-seeded Dominic Thiem in the second round. The win over Donaldson put him in a quarter-final for the sixth time this year. Schwartzman’s only ATP win was on clay in Istanbul last year.
Donaldson, 20, was seeking a first career quarter-final in a Masters Series tournament, where he is 0-13 in round of 16 matches.
Later Thursday, Canadian Denis Shapovalov faced top seed Rafael Nadal.
BEDMINSTER, N.J.—U.S. President Donald Trump said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “will regret it fast” if he continues his threats to U.S. territories and allies, in another warning that the U.S. is willing to act swiftly against the nuclear-armed nation.
In remarks to reporters, Trump issued the threat directly at Kim, who is also known for his bellicose rhetoric, and all but drew a red line that would trigger swift U.S. action.
“If he utters one threat in the form of an overt threat — which by the way he has been uttering for years and his family has been uttering for years — or he does anything with respect to Guam or anyplace else that’s an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast,” Trump said.
The words followed an early morning tweet in which Trump declared the U.S. military is “locked and loaded” if the isolated rogue nation acts “unwisely.”
The compounding threats came in a week in which the long-standing tensions between the U.S. and the isolated nation seemed to abruptly boil over. North Korea threaten to launch an attack on the U.S. territory of Guam, while Trump vowed to deliver “fire and fury” if threatened.
Tough talk aside, there was scant sign the U.S. military was preparing for imminent action and an important, quiet diplomatic channel remained open. The Associated Press reported Friday that talks between North Koreans and a U.S. official continue through a back channel previous used to negotiate the return of Americans held in North Korea. The talks have expanded to address the deterioration of relationship, according to U.S. officials and others briefed on the process. They weren’t authorized to discuss the confidential exchanges and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Still, Trump on Friday sought to project the military strength.
Trump tweeted Friday: “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”
He later retweeted a posting from U.S. Pacific Command that showed B-1B Lancer bomber planes on Guam that “stand ready to fulfil USFK’s #FightTonight mission if called upon to do so.”
Such declarations, however, are not necessarily indicators of new more aggressive posture. “Fight tonight” has long been the motto of U.S. forces in South Korea to show they are always ready for combat on the Korean Peninsula.
U.S. officials insist that there have been no new significant movement of troops, ships, aircraft or other assets to the region other than what has already been long planned for previously scheduled exercises.
American and South Korean officials said they would move forward later this month with the exercises, which North Korea claims are a rehearsal for war.
The days of war rhetoric have alarmed international leaders.
“I don’t see a military solution and I don’t think it’s called for,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She declined to say whether Germany would stand with the U.S. in case of a military conflict with North Korea and called on the UN Security Council to continue to address the issue.
“I think escalating the rhetoric is the wrong answer,” Merkel added.
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, estimated the risk of a military conflict between the U.S. and North Korea as “very high,” and said Moscow was deeply concerned.
“When you get close to the point of a fight, the one who is stronger and wiser should be the first to step back from the brink,” Lavrov said Friday.
Trump’s rhetoric, however, stands in stark contrast to an ongoing back channel for negotiations between the United States and North Korea. People familiar with the contacts say the interactions have done nothing thus far to quell tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile advances. But they say the behind-the-scenes discussions could still be a foundation for more serious negotiation.
Despite tensions and talk of war, life on the streets of the North Korean capital remains calm. There are no air raid drills or cars in camouflage netting as was the case during previous crises.
North Koreans have lived for decades with the state media message that war is imminent, the U.S. is to blame and their country is ready to defend itself. State-run media ensure that the population gets the North Korean side of the story, but don’t convey any sense of international concern about the situation.
As it is, the U.S. has a robust military presence in the region, including six B-1 bombers in Guam and Air Force fighter jet units in South Korea, plus other assets across the Pacific Ocean and in the skies above. U.S. military options range from nothing to a full-on conventional assault by air, sea and ground forces. Any order by the president could be executed quickly.
The U.S.-South Korea exercises are an annual event, but they come as Pyongyang says it is readying a plan to fire off four Hwasong-12 missiles toward the tiny island, which is U.S. territory and a major military hub. The plan would be sent to Kim for approval just before or as the U.S.-South Korea drills begin.
Called Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, the exercises are expected to run Aug. 21-31 and involve tens of thousands of American and South Korean troops on the ground and in the sea and air. Washington and Seoul say the exercises are defensive in nature and crucial to maintaining a deterrent against North Korean aggression.
The exercises were scheduled well before tensions began to rise over Trump’s increasingly fiery rhetoric and North Korea’s announcement of the missile plan, which if carried out would be its most provocative launch yet. Along with a bigger set of manoeuvers held every spring, the exercises are routinely met by strong condemnation and threats of countermeasures from North Korea.
The heightened military activity on the peninsula this time is a concern because it could increase the possibility of a mishap or an overreaction of some sort by either side that could spin into a more serious escalation. North Korea has been increasingly sensitive to the exercises lately because they reportedly include training for “decapitation strikes” to kill Kim Jong Un and his top lieutenants.
The possibility of escalation is made even more acute by the lack of any means of official communication across the Demilitarized Zone, though there has been no easing of the barrage of inflammatory comments in the U.S. and the North since new sanctions against North Korea were announced last week.
Jamoneisha Merritt, 11, went to sleep Sunday night, near another young girl she believed to be her friend. Now the young girl doesn’t know what she looks like anymore.
Her shoulders and neck are scarred and bulbous. In one photo from a hospital bed, Jamoneisha’s eyes are shut, her face pink from a layer of skin vapourized by scalding water.
She’s still beautiful to her mother.
Jamoneisha was allegedly attacked by another girl at the sleepover in the Bronx, N.Y., with a cup of boiling water, her mother Ebony Merritt said to local media stations.
Merritt told NY1 that her daughter, who she affectionately calls “Monie,” is wounded not just physically but emotionally after the 12-year old poured the water over Jamoneisha as she slept. Now she is recovering in serious but stable condition, according to police.
Merritt told local media Jamoneisha is not ready to see the full extent of her potentially lifelong injuries, so she has limited her daughter’s ability to look at herself.
A New York Police Department statement released to The Washington Post said the 12-year old girl was arrested Monday night and charged with second-degree assault.
“She don’t understand why they did that to her. She thought they was her friends,” Merritt told the station. “I was told that they didn’t like her. And they just been bullying her.” Merritt also took to Facebook to tell other parents to discourage children about following social media challenges.
It was not immediately clear if the alleged attacker told police she was inspired by internet videos.
Yolanda Richardson told the local NBC affiliate that her cousin Jamoneisha and the other girl argued the night before the attack.
“[The other girl] told her if she goes to sleep they were going to do something to her,” Yolanda said.
Merritt believes her daughter is the victim of a social media-fuelled prank called the hot water challenge, a potentially dangerous dare in which teenagers and kids boil water and throw it on an unsuspecting victim.
Ki’ari Pope, an 8-year old girl from Florida, died in late July, months after she drank boiling water from a straw after she and a cousin watched a video of a similar act on YouTube, the Associated Press reported. Her mother, Marquisia Bonner, said Ki’ari had problems breathing after a tracheotomy removed scar tissue from her windpipe.
The pair of incidents are wrinkles of an old digital phenomenon — kids egged on by social media missions created on the dark corners of the web, provoking them to do something incredibly dangerous to themselves or others.
Suicides, assaults and accidents have been traced back to internet fads like the blue whale challenge, which purportedly asks participants to complete a list of mundane and dangerous activities ranging from watching a horror film and self-mutilation.
One Texas teenager allegedly killed himself last month as part of the challenge, his parents say.
Other apparent criminal acts do not have a clear connection between online challenges and real world violence. The so-called knockout game, which called for kids to attack unsuspecting people from behind in an effort to knock them unconscious, sent parents, teachers and cable news into a frenzy.
It was also found to mostly be a hoax, a scary sounding and Facebook-ready phenomenon grafted onto random assaults, a report found.
But Jamoneisha’s life-altering burns are very real. And her mother has reason to believe digital taunting transformed into real violence, she told NY1.
“They’ve been on Snapchat. It’s been going on several times. The girl admitted it. ‘I don’t like her. I wanted to do it,’” she said.
Jamoneisha’s family, who could not be reached by The Post, has been at her bedside through the recovery process, in an update with NY1.
“She seemed to still have the same energy like nothing ain’t change her. She’s still smiling, joking. laughing, yeah she’s doing good though,” Starshanae Nixon, Jamoneisha’s cousin, told the network.
The men guiding CP Rail train 235 through pre-dawn Toronto found themselves scrambling to get to work with less sleep than they had wanted.
On the night of Aug. 20, 2016, the locomotive engineer had gone to bed at 10:15 p.m., requesting that he be woken at 5:30 a.m. so he could join a train scheduled to leave the yard in Scarborough at 7 a.m. Instead, he was called at 3:15 a.m. and ordered to work just 90 minutes later.
His co-worker, a conductor, had it even worse. He was living in Smiths Falls, outside Ottawa, and was told to report to work in Toronto. He slept in his car for a few nights. On the evening of Aug. 20, he dozed in his car for 90 minutes before reporting for duty just before midnight. He hadn’t had a solid night’s sleep for days.
The two men headed west from Scarborough at 5 a.m. Their train, which consisted of just two locomotives, passed through the quiet streets of Leaside and Rosedale to midtown Toronto. Fourteen minutes later, while travelling at 77 km/h on the north track, it rounded a right-hand curve and passed by a signal warning of a stop signal just ahead.
Seconds later, the crew saw an eastbound train — CP 118 — on the south track and didn’t notice immediately that the tail end of this 3,000-foot-long train was on a crossover linking the north and south tracks with its last cars still on the north track about half a mile away.
When the engineer on train 235 did notice what was going on, he hit the emergency brakes. It was too late. His train clipped four of train 118’s cars before the two locomotives derailed and came to rest near Howland Ave. just off Dupont St., and spilling 2,500 litres of diesel fuel. It was 800 feet past the signal ordering it to stop.
Annex residents jolted awake that morning had cause to wonder what had happened on their doorstep. A recent report by the Transportation Safety Board provides little comfort that this was an exceptional, once-in-a-lifetime incident. Indeed, the board shows a sense of weariness that issues on its “watchlist” are not being dealt with.
Transport Canada, which is in the midst of a review of the Railway Safety Act, needs to determine why Canada’s railways have made only marginal progress on safety in the past 30 years despite a succession of reports that said the system for shipping dangerous goods needs improvement.
The derailment on Howland Ave. should serve as a wake-up call.
The CP Rail corridor through midtown Toronto is the route on which tens of thousands of tank cars carrying flammable liquids, such as ethanol and other dangerous goods, are shipped.
Relocation of the midtown CP Rail line to a less densely populated area was first recommended in a royal commission report that investigated the derailment and explosion of a CP train in Mississauga in 1979.
But relocation, while it may assuage residents of midtown Toronto, is not an answer to the challenge of moving dangerous goods across Canada. Shipment by rail will never be completely without risk but there are a number of measures the government could mandate that would reduce this risk.
In the shorter term, for example, the phase-out of inadequate tank cars currently set for 2025 should be accelerated and better braking systems mandated. As well, trains carrying dangerous goods should be shorter and travel at lower speeds.
The authors of the TSB report are too cautious to call out successive governments for their inattention to rail safety but they make it clear that it remains a critical issue that urgently needs to be addressed.
Correction – August 11, 2017: This article was edited from a previous version to update an incorrect photo caption.
Claire Kilgour Hervey and Henry Wiercinski are co-chairs of Rail Safety First (railsafetyfirst.com), which advocates for safe, transparent and accountable rail traffic.
Claire Kilgour Hervey and Henry Wiercinski are co-chairs of Rail Safety First (railsafetyfirst.com), which advocates for safe, transparent and accountable rail traffic.
It’s a hot topic when it’s hot outside; it’s a hot topic when it’s cold outside.
Ontarians love to complain about their hydro bills.
But are ratepayers in Canada’s most populous province really getting ripped off?
And, if so, who or what is to blame for that?
Here are some answers to questions that have long perplexed and vexed consumers:
How did we get to where we are today? In 2003, when the Liberals took power, we were dealing with brown-outs because there wasn’t enough power. Now we have too much. What happened?
The government undertook major upgrades to improve and modernize the electricity system, making it more reliable, adding generating plants and transmission lines to keep the lights and air conditioners on. Later in the decade, there was a push toward green energy as a way to create manufacturing jobs here in solar panels and wind turbines given forecasts that electricity demand would keep rising rapidly. But along came the 2008-09 global recession, and demand forecasts proved too high as manufacturing trailed off. However, lucrative contracts to green energy producers were already in place. The government has since cancelled some, but others keep coming on stream because contracts were signed.
Is electricity more expensive in Ontario than in neighbouring provinces and states?
More expensive than some, not as high as others. According to a 2016 Hydro Quebec survey, average electricity prices for residential customers per kilowatt hour in selected major North American cities in April 2016 were (not including taxes, all figures in Canadian dollars.):
Adjusting for the most recent rate cuts in Ontario, the Ministry of Energy calculates that Ontario now averages 14.12 cents per kilowatt hour for residential customers, higher than the Canadian average of 12.84 cents.
One kilowatt hour of electricity is enough to power an LED television for 10 episodes of a typical program.
What’s the deal with Premier Kathleen Wynne’s claim that hydro bills have gone down 25 per cent this year?
In response to complaints that electricity costs were too high, the province began instantly rebating the 8 per cent provincial portion of the HST on electricity Jan. 1. That was followed by another 17 per cent reduction in electricity costs, for most ratepayers, by July 1 as the government decided to do two things: First, costs of hydro subsidies for the poor, and for rural and remote residents who pay high delivery fees, were switched from hydro bills to the broader tax base of all Ontarians; second, the cost of billions of dollars in hydro system improvements from the last decade is being spread over the next 30 years.
How much will I save?
The government says the average monthly household bill will drop $41 to $121 this summer.
How can the province afford that?
The government plans to borrow billions and make hydro ratepayers foot the bill in the long run. Wynne has compared it to extending a mortgage on a house to enjoy better cash flow with lower payments now. The additional debt interest will cost $25 billion over the next 30 years.
Opposition parties say the Liberal plan doesn’t fix underlying problems that have made electricity expensive and simply borrows money to spread the costs over a longer period of time.
Wynne argues it’s reasonable to do that because the hydro system improvements will benefit coming generations of Ontarians, making it unfair to force consumers to pay the full costs now.
What’s the long-term cost of subsidizing electricity?
In May, the province’s financial accountability officer (FAO) warned the hydro rate cut will cost the province in the long run — some $21 billion over the next 30 years. The FAO also warned that if the province is unable to produce a balanced budget at any time over the next 29 years, the cost of the cut could actually balloon to as much as $93 million because the government would have to borrow to pay for it.
And while electricity costs will be lower over the next decade, they will be slightly more expensive after 2027.
What are all those charges on our hydro bills?
On the afternoon of July 5, Isaak Komisarchik, 82, was seen in a Denver nursing home, wearing pyjama pants and a grey and white striped shirt. He walked to his mailbox and stopped by the office to pick up a few things, his daughter said.
Then, his daughter told a local television station, “he just disappeared.”
Days went by with no one seeing or hearing from the elderly man, who had begun showing signs of dementia and would become “disoriented at times,” his daughter told KUSA.
His disappearance perplexed authorities and relatives, who said Komisarchik was physically incapable of walking very far from home.
Posters and flyers were distributed throughout the southeast Denver area — pictures of the grey-haired, brown-eyed man’s face could be seen plastered on light posts and on news sites. Firefighters scoured the quiet neighbourhood, searching through five nearby ponds for the beloved father and grandfather.
“We are really worried and really, really anxious to get him back,” his daughter, Yelena told KUSA after he had been missing for three days. “He should be safe, so where is he?” his granddaughter, Elina said.
Weeks went by, and authorities couldn’t find him. Then, several residents of a nearby apartment building — less than a mile from the nursing facility where Komisarchik was last seen — began complaining to management about a stench coming from the building’s parking garage.
On Aug. 2, nearly a month after he went missing, maintenance workers reported to fire authorities a discovery: a decomposed body in an elevator car in the parking garage. The body was soon identified as Komisarchik’s.
And this week, authorities began to unravel what may have happened in Komisarchik’s final moments.
At some point on or before July 6, Komisarchik stepped inside the parking garage elevator. For reasons that remain unclear, he struggled to get out.
So in an attempt to seek help, Komisarchik pushed the elevator’s emergency button — twice over the course of eight minutes, a Denver Fire Department spokesperson told the Denver Post. But no one responded.
Electronic records show that the elevator’s emergency alarm was pressed at 9:09 p.m. and 9:17 p.m. on July 6, the day after Komisarchik was last spotted, according to KUSA. Pushing this emergency button should trigger an alert to an elevator monitoring group or the fire department. But during the time Komisarchik was in the elevator, the fire department received no emergency calls from that car, the Denver Post reported.
“Something is not right,” Capt. Greg Pixley, a Denver Fire Department spokesman told the Denver Post.
Denver Police told a local ABC affiliate that the elevator management company received an alert from the elevator and notified the apartment building management. Apartment workers checked two of the elevators, the ABC affiliate reported, but not a third elevator, where Komisarchik’s body was eventually found.
That specific elevator was not in use in recent weeks because it was in an area of the parking garage that was under renovation, according to a statement from Greystar Management Services, which manages the apartment complex, Woodstream Village.
“We are saddened by the tragic loss of life and extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Komisarchik’s family and friends,” said the statement released to local news outlets by spokesperson Lindsay Andrews.
Now police and fire officials are working to figure out exactly what happened in the elevator car, and why Komisarchik’s calls for help went seemingly unanswered.
Although some tenants told local media the elevator was not working, a spokesperson for Denver police said it was indeed operable. It was last inspected in December and deemed to be in working condition, fire officials also said.
“How he got in there and when he got in there is obviously what we’re trying to figure out,” police spokesperson John White told the Denver Post.
City codes require that all elevator cars have an emergency alert system including an alarm switch and a phone or intercom. Emergency calls from an elevator car must be able to connect either with on-site security, with an elevator monitoring company or directly with the Denver Fire Department, the Denver Post reported. Code also mandates that elevator operators must monitor emergency alerts at all times.
The discovery of Komisarchik’s body and the revelations about his calls for help have left his relatives with intense grief and many still unanswered questions.
A number of family members declined to give interviews. One relative, Komisarchik’s cousin’s wife, Svetlana Komisarchik, said in a written message, “it’s hard for me to talk about him.”
“He had a great sense of humour,” she told The Washington Post, adding that she was very close with him. He liked to tell jokes and write poems, she said, and he loved his family deeply, “especially his grandchildren,” she said.
Other relatives, speaking to KUSA while Isaak Komisarchik was still missing, also spoke fondly of his witty personality and his poems, brilliantly written in Russian.
“There was no event or celebration without him scribbling any lines,” his daughter, identified only as Yelena, told KUSA.
Family pictures showed him playing chess and pool with his family, and enjoying time outside.
“He was always the one sharing slightly inappropriate jokes with us, a little bit of bathroom humour,” his granddaughter, Elina, told KUSA.
“We are still trying to come to terms with his horrible death,” Svetlana Komisarchik said.
EDMONTON—Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says North Korea’s nuclear program poses a “grave threat” to the security of the world and called on the country to fall into line with the international community.
Freeland said Canada stands by allies like the United States when they are threatened but ways must be found to de-escalate the situation, which has been marked by North Korean missile tests and heated rhetoric from the country’s leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump.
“We need to find ways to pressure and persuade North Korea that the path that it is on ... this path can have no positive ending for North Korea,” she said following a meeting with agricultural groups in Edmonton on Friday.
“This is a grave situation. It is a grave threat. ... It’s time for North Korea to really cease its actions.”
Freeland’s remarks came as Trump delivered another warning to Pyongyang that the U.S. military is “locked and loaded” if the regime acts unwisely. Trump doubled down on the tough talk later Friday.
“If he utters one threat in the form of an overt threat — which by the way he has been uttering for years and his family has been uttering for years — or he does anything with respect to Guam or anyplace else that’s an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast,” Trump said.
Freeland declined to comment directly on Trump’s remarks, but said Canada has been very clear about condemning the actions of North Korea, including its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
She said when Canada’s allies are threatened, including the United States, “we are there.”
“Having said that, I think that we need to seek ways to de-escalate the situation,” she said.
“It is of absolutely pressing concern for Canada and we are very involved working with our international partners to seek a resolution, a de-escalation, to really get North Korea to understand it must get off of this path which is so destructive for North Korea and the world.”
Freeland expressed relief at the release of Canadian pastor Hyeong Soo Lim, who was serving a life sentence in North Korea for antistate activities. She said Canada had been clear from the outset that Lim had to be released and returned home.
But she said his release and Canada’s stand on North Korea’s nuclear program are not linked.
“We are very glad that pastor Lim is now safely home,” she said. “That is a very separate and distinct issue.”
Lim was released after serving more than two years in a North Korean prison. He had been sentenced to hard labour for what it called crimes against the state.
Charges against him included harming the dignity of the supreme leadership, trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system, disseminating negative propaganda about the North to overseas Koreans, and assisting American and South Korean efforts to help people defect from the north.
Lim, a pastor with the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ont., was involved in humanitarian projects in North Korea. He was expected to arrive in Canada on Friday or Saturday.
— With a file from The Associated Press
DENVER—Taylor Swift’s former bodyguard testified Friday that he saw a DJ reach under her skirt a moment before a photographer snapped their picture during a meet-and-greet where the singer says the radio host groped her.
Security guard Greg Dent, who no longer works for Swift, said he was standing a few steps away but did not intervene because he generally took his cues from the pop star, and she gave him no signals during the 2013 pre-concert encounter at a Denver arena.
Seated at her legal team’s table in a federal courtroom, Swift chuckled when Dent testified that, after the photo was taken, he suspected that KYGO-FM host David Mueller would be at the bar of the arena — and another guard found him there.
Dent’s account came on the fourth day of testimony in a civil trial over dueling lawsuits between Swift and Mueller, who denies groping her and is seeking up to $3 million (U.S.) from the singer-songwriter, her mother and their radio liaison to compensate him for his ruined career.
Swift is countersuing for just $1 and what she calls a chance to stand up for other women.
A day earlier, Swift spent an hour on the witness stand herself defiantly recounting what she called a “despicable and horrifying and shocking” encounter.
“He stayed attached to my bare ass-cheek as I lurched away from him,” Swift testified.
“It was a definite grab. A very long grab,” she added in her testimony.
Swift’s testy exchange with Mueller’s attorney occasionally elicited chuckles — even from the six-woman, two-man jury. She got a laugh when she said Dent saw Mueller “lift my skirt” but someone would have had to have been underneath her to see the actual groping — “and we didn’t have anyone positioned there.”
Swift testified that after the photo was taken at the meet-and-greet session, she tried to get as far away Mueller as she could. She said she told him and his girlfriend, who was also in the photo, “thank you for coming” in a monotone voice before they left.
She also said she was stunned and did not say anything to Mueller or halt the event after he left because she did not want to disappoint several dozen people waiting in line for photos with her.
In the image, shown to jurors during opening statements but not publicly released, Mueller’s hand is behind Swift, just below her waist. Both are smiling.
Swift’s photographer, Stephanie Simbeck, testified Thursday that she knew something was wrong as she shot the photo. She testified that Swift later told her what happened, looked at a photo and pointed out Mueller as the person responsible.
The trial is scheduled to last through next Thursday but appeared Friday to be moving quickly toward closing arguments.
The last witness called by Mueller’s lawyer, Gabriel McFarland, was Mueller’s ex-girlfriend, Shannon Melcher.
Melcher testified that she met Taylor Swift along with Mueller at the photo session. She said she saw nothing happen during the brief encounter and that she and Mueller were rudely confronted and escorted out of the arena that evening.
Melchor testified Mueller was devastated by the accusation.
She said she and Mueller started out as co-workers at radio station KYGO-FM and became romantically involved in February 2013. They drifted apart late in 2013, but Melchor says they remained friends.
The Ontario Court of Appeal has ordered a new trial for a member of the notorious Galloway Boys, who was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted murder in 2009 after a multi-million-dollar, high-profile gang trial.
While the province’s highest court allowed Jason Wisdom’s appeal, it dismissed the appeals of Tyshan Riley, leader of the east-end Toronto street gang, and of Philip Atkins.
The three men were convicted of murder, attempted murder and murder to benefit a criminal organization in the shooting death of Brenton Charlton and Leonard Bell, two innocent men ambushed on Mar. 3, 2004, while they were stopped at a red light at a busy Scarborough intersection.
The three men, serving life sentences, appealed their convictions on various grounds, including concerns about the fairness of the jury selection process, the judge’s charge to the jury and admissibility of some evidence.
The court rejected the grounds of appeal.
But the court agreed with Wisdom’s argument that bad character evidence about his involvement in an attempted theft/robbery of a Money Mart store, four months after the shooting, should not have been admitted at trial.
“The trial judge significantly underestimated the evidence’s potential prejudicial effect,” the judges wrote in their 48-page decision.
The judges didn’t feel the admission of the evidence brought the same prejudice to Riley and Atkins, therefore “the trial judge’s error in admitting the Money Mart evidence does not justify ordering a new trial for either of them.”
The trial judge, Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Dambrot, allowed the Crown to call evidence about an attempt to steal $100,000 from a Money Mart in Pickering. The robbery never happened. After gang members went to the wrong Money Mart, they arrived at the right location to find police waiting. The police had been tipped off by wiretaps.
When police arrested the suspects, including Wisdom, they found no firearms or weapons. Riley and Atkins were in jail at the time.
The appellate judges wrote that Dambrot allowed the evidence because it demonstrated the organized nature of the gang and found the prejudice for Wisdom was not “terribly discreditable” and that a jury was not likely to “infer from his participation in a botched robbery that he committed a murder.”
But the appellate court disagreed.
“It had nothing more than marginal value, consisting, as it did, of evidence of unrelated criminality that formed no part of the narrative of the Charlton and Bell shooting,” reads the decision released Friday by Court of Appeal Justices Harry LaForme, David Watt and Gary Trotter.
“Far from showing a deep level of organization and trust, this evidence primarily demonstrated that Wisdom and his compatriots were quick to take advantage of a perceived opportunity to make easy money through low-level criminal activity. In other words, it primarily proved they were the sort of people willing to commit crimes.”
This is the second time this month Ontario’s top court has ordered a new trial in a street gang case.
Last Friday, the court ordered a third trial in the same first-degree murder case after finding an expert witness’s about gang members with teardrop tattoos contained “inaccuracies” and even “falsehoods.”
AUSTIN, TEXAS—Police in Austin have released surveillance video showing a car plunging seven stories from a downtown parking garage and striking another vehicle as it lands in an alley.
The video released Thursday shows the car landing atop an SUV then rolling upside down onto the ground. Moments later, people run to help the driver escape.
Police say the July accident happened when the woman drove through retention wires on the seventh floor, hit a building across the street and plunged to the alley below.
The SUV’s driver wasn’t hurt. Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services officials said at the time that the woman was treated at a hospital.
Last September, a sport utility vehicle plunged from the ninth floor of the same parking garage.
CRANBROOK, B.C.—A British Columbia judge who sentenced a former husband and wife to jail for taking a 13-year-old girl to the United States to marry the leader of their religious sect says he wants to “send a clear message” about the removal of children to the others in the polygamous community of Bountiful, B.C.
Brandon Blackmore, 71, has been sentenced to a year in jail, while his ex-wife, Gail Blackmore, 60, was handed a term of seven months. Both have been ordered to serve 18 months of probation.
Just before Justice Paul Pearlman of the B.C. Supreme Court finished reading his decision, the young woman at the centre of the case asked to address the court.
“In my view it’s not appropriate at this stage,” Pearlman replied. “I’ve delivered my reasons for sentencing.”
The woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, did not give a statement during a sentencing hearing in June.
The Blackmores were found guilty in February of the charge of taking a child under the age of 16 out of Canada for sexual purposes.
“In my view a term of imprisonment is warranted in this case,” Pearlman said.
Their trial heard the girl was taken into the United States in 2004 to marry Warren Jeffs, the prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who is now serving a life sentence for assaulting two of his child brides.
Pearlman said the sentences had to be proportionate to the gravity of the case and serve as a deterrent.
He said both Blackmores were aware there was a high likelihood that the young woman would have been subjected to sexual touching or sexual interference shortly after her marriage to Jeffs. Gail Blackmore was a “willing participant” but her former husband was most to blame, Pearlman said.
“Mr. Blackmore’s moral culpability is somewhat greater,” Pearlman said.
Pearlman said neither Blackmore showed any remorse for taking the girl to the United States to marry a man who was 49 years old at the time.
As the sentence was imposed on Gail Blackmore, one of her daughters sitting in the gallery began sobbing uncontrollably and fled the courtroom.
The Blackmores were both handcuffed and led away by sheriffs at the end of the hearing.
A former bishop of the community of Bountiful, James Oler, was acquitted of the same charge during their trial in connection to a 15-year-old girl. Pearlman ruled that there wasn’t proof Oler crossed the border with the girl, who was later married to a member of the sect.
Special prosecutor Peter Wilson is asking British Columbia’s Court of Appeal to overturn his acquittal or order a new trial.
Oler was convicted last month in a separate trial of practising polygamy. That trial heard he had five wives.
Wilson told the sentencing hearing on June 30 that Brandon Blackmore should serve a jail sentence of 12 to 18 months, while Gail Blackmore should get six to 12 months.
“The special prosecutor in this case urged the court to impose a sentence which would denounce the unlawful conduct of the offenders ... and as well act as a general deterrent to other members of the community,” B.C. Justice spokesman Dan McLaughlin said outside court.
“The sentence is toward the lower end of the range that was submitted by the special prosecutor but it is a range of sentence that the Crown respects.”
On hand for the sentencing was Nancy Mereska, the Alberta-based founder of the lobby group Stop Polygamy in Canada.
“Very satisfied with the sentence ... and also the fact that the judge said if he didn’t incarcerate them it would not send the message that’s needed to the Bountiful community and the FLDS that they are breaking the law,” said Mereska.
“Watching Brandon Blackmore and (Gail) Blackmore be led out in handcuffs brought tears to my eyes because so many people never thought that this day would come.”
Liars. Sots. Creeps.
Swinging dicks who took free drinks and free food — comped to the badge.
Palsy-walsy with strip club bouncers and barkeeps.
Puking in the bathroom, on the street, in a hotel lobby.
A disgrace to the uniform they weren’t wearing.
Oh, but not rapists. Acquitted of sexual assault, the lot of them, because guilt was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
They. Must. Go.
Leslie Nyznik, Sameer Kara, Joshua Cabero: Police officers who can never again possibly be trusted to do a job that demands integrity and reputability and basic decency.
How can they possibly work alongside female colleagues after the brass-balls hokum they pulled on a waitress at the Brass Rail, pretending to be with a porno film crew from Miami? How can they possibly respond to potential vice crimes when their own off-duty behaviour was so execrable? How can they possibly investigate a sex assault complaint?
Hey, now that we’re done with this broad — the parking officer colleague who testified she hadn’t consented to sex with them in a hotel room in the early morning hours of Jan. 17, 2015 — should we call a hooker?
No, they’re not rapists. Criminal trials demand a high standard of proof. But they are reprehensible human beings who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a vulnerable, traumatized victim — regardless of the offence committed — or exercise their deeply flawed judgment at a crime scene.
I wouldn’t trust them as far I could throw them. Which is what Police Chief Mark Saunders should do — throw them off the force. Or go down trying, amidst a group of defence lawyers who make a specialized well-heeled career out of springing bad cops.
It is unclear what Saunders will do with these pathetic little men, only one of whom — Nyznik — took the stand at trial, point-cop just as he was on Rookie Buy Night. And isn’t that a fine tradition, introducing the newbie to perks of the law enforcement trade, like bar managers who will offer up a drink even though the joint isn’t open and entree to the special-special vodka fridge elite level of service. This week Saunders called for an immediate end to such events.
The three 51 Division officers have been suspended with pay since across-the-board sex assault charge were laid in February, 2015. There would likely be legal hurdles to overcome but Saunders can still have them all charged with discreditable conduct under the Police Act. If so, it would be interesting to see if the police union would pay for their lawyers, which they didn’t do at the criminal trial because the alleged offence occurred off-duty.
If Saunders wants to be viewed as a police chief of substance — and thus far he hasn’t scored high marks — he absolutely must take disciplinary comeuppance to its farthest reaches. It is vital he sends a message to the men and women under his command, and the city they police, that, no, no, no, these individuals don’t deserve to wear the uniform. Employment as a police officer is both duty and privilege. None of these men deserve to exercise the authority granted them against you or me or anybody else. Not for the charges they were acquitted of, but for what they did throughout that dissolute night and how they (and their lawyers) spun it afterwards.
Let me quote Molloy, in her verdict rendered Wednesday, on the subject of Nyznik’s stilted testimony, which she characterized as “less than forthright” in places, specifically his contention that the complainant (AB a pseudonym) initiated each and every sex act that took place.
“Some of this simply did not ring true. Further, his description of how the group sex was carried out, particularly with the complainant purportedly servicing all three of them at once with Mr. Nyznik as much as touching her to provide assistance, seems improbable. As the Crown pointed out, AB would have to be some kind of contortionist to accomplish all of that at once.”
Even on the small stuff, Molloy was dubious. For example, when the prosecutor was trying to make the point that AB was a parking enforcement officer but aspired to become a full police officer, “Mr. Nyznik refused to agree that there was any hierarchy between police officers and parking enforcement officers. However, later in his evidence, he said that he knew of some police officers who ‘dropped down’ to parking enforcement, clearly a reference to his belief that police officers are higher on the chain. Similarly, he refused to acknowledge the possibility that there would ever be any career repercussions or ‘blacklisting’ if a woman within the force reported she had been sexually assaulted by police officers. I find it hard to be accept this as an honestly held belief.”
Crucially, Molloy said she did not “necessarily believe” Nyznik’s evidence but “making a determination that someone has lied under oath is not an easy task.” In the end she was left with a he-said she-said scenario, so typical of sex assault trials, and a complainant whose testimony was riddled with inconsistencies, contradictions, memory lapses and a narrative often in conflict with the limited objective evidence, such as surveillance video.
“On the sole contentious issue of consent, her evidence stands alone,” Molloy wrote. “In order to convict, I would need to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that her evidence was both credible and reliable with respect to the issue of consent. Given the frailties in her evidence, I simply cannot be sure of that important fact to the degree of certainty necessary to make a finding of criminal responsibility.”
But this isn’t about AB anymore, wherever she is now and however she’s managing to pick up the shreds of her life and career.
It’s about an ugly peek inside the lives of these three cops and the blow they’ve dealt to the force’s reputation.
Their continuing presence is intolerable.
Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
BEIJING—China won’t come to North Korea’s help if it launches missiles threatening U.S. soil and there is retaliation, a state-owned newspaper warned on Friday, but it would intervene if Washington strikes first.
The Global Times newspaper is not an official mouthpiece of the Communist Party, but in this case its editorial probably does reflect government policy and can be considered “semi-official,” experts said.
China has already warned both Washington and Pyongyang not to do anything that raises tensions or causes instability on the Korean Peninsula.
In an editorial, The Global Times said China should make it clear to both sides: “when their actions jeopardize China’s interests, China will respond with a firm hand.”
“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” it added. “If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”
The Global Times warning comes at the end of a week of threat and counter-threat between Washington and Pyongyang, and as the United States weighs up its options to deal with the threat of North Korea’s nuclear and missile program.
The Global Times said both sides were engaging in a “reckless game” that runs the risk of descending into a real war.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump threatened to respond to further threats from North Korea by unleashing “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Pyongyang in turn threatened to strike the U.S. territory of Guam in the Western Pacific with ballistic missiles.
The Global Times also cited reports that the Pentagon has prepared plans for B-1B strategic bombers to make pre-emptive strikes on North Korea’s missile sites, and a strongly worded ultimatum from Secretary of Defense James Mattis that North Korea should not consider “actions that would lead to the end of its regime and destruction of its people.”
The paper’s comments also reflect the 1961 Sino-North Korean Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance, which obliges China to intervene if North Korea is subject to unprovoked aggression- but not necessarily if Pyongyang starts a war.
“The key point is in the first half of the sentence; China opposes North Korea testing missiles in the waters around Guam,” said Cheng Xiaohe, a North Korea expert at Renmin University of China in Beijing.
With the situation on the Korean Peninsula sliding dangerously towards the point of no return, Chinese media are starting to declare their positions on any potential war, he said. “Secondly, in a half-official way, China is starting to review and clarify the 1961 treaty.”
China has become deeply frustrated with the regime in Pyongyang, and genuinely wants to see a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. But it has always refused to do anything that might destabilize or topple a regime which has long been both ally and buffer state.
That’s because Beijing does not want to see a unified Korean state allied to the United States right up against its border: indeed, hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers died during the 1950-53 Korean War to prevent that happening.
So for now, the current uneasy status quo for China still seems better than the alternatives.
That is doubly true ahead of an important Communist Party Congress in the fall, at which President Xi Jinping wants to project an aura of stability and control as he aims to consolidate his power at the start of a second five-year term.
Nevertheless, experts said debate is underway behind the scenes in China about its support for the North Korean regime.
In an article on the Financial Times China website in May, for example, Tong Zhiwei, a law professor at the East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai, argued that China should make terminating the 1961 treaty a near-term diplomatic goal, because North Korea, also known as the DPRK, had used it as cover to develop its nuclear program and avoid punishment.
That, he wrote, was not in China’s interests.
“In the past 57 years, the treaty has strongly protected the security of the DPRK and peace on the Korean Peninsula, but it has also been used by the North Korean authorities to protect their international wrongful acts from punishment,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, China has reacted strongly to the United States sending a warship close to an island it controls in the South China Sea.
The U.S. navy destroyer, USS John S. McCain, travelled close to Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands on Thursday, in the third “freedom of navigation” exercise in the area conducted under the Trump administration, Reuters reported.
China’s Defense Ministry said two Chinese warships “jumped into action” and warned the U.S. ship to leave, labelling the move a “provocation” that seriously harms mutual trust.
China’s Foreign Ministry said the operation had violated international and Chinese law and seriously harmed Beijing’s sovereignty and security.
“The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with this and will lodge solemn representations to the U.S. side,” the ministry said in a statement.
A police officer involved in a car chase in 2016 that resulted in a stolen vehicle colliding with an UberX vehicle and sent eight people to hospital did not drive in a dangerous manner, according to the Special Investigations Unit.
In a news release on Aug. 2, the SIU, which investigates incidents where police officers may have been involved in a serious injury, death or sexual assault, declared that their investigation into the car chase lead them to believe the officer involved acted lawfully in the pursuit.
The following details of the chase and subsequent collision were explained in an SIU report on the incident:
It was around 3 a.m. on Mar. 20, 2016, when a police officer, identified by the SIU as a witness to the incident, not an officer under investigation, began following a black vehicle that the officer suspected was stolen. When a check of the license plate proved to corroborate this, the officer signaled for backup and attempted to stop the stolen vehicle by cutting off its path.
The stolen vehicle drove into the side of the police cruiser and sped away.
There were no injuries as a result of that collision.
Other officers that responded to the call took up the chase, headed by the officer the SIU would end up investigating.
That cruiser followed the stolen vehicle up the wrong way on an exit ramp and also the wrong way down a three-lane one-way road.
The stolen vehicle turned north onto Bay St. from the one-way road, ran through a red light at Wellington St. W., and collided with an UberX taxi going west.
There were five occupants in the stolen vehicle: two 16-year-old boys, one of whom was the driver, two 17-year-old girls and one 15-year-old boy.
The UberX carried a 39-year-old driver, a 38-year-old man, a 32-year-old woman and a 27-year old woman. The two female passengers and the driver of the Uber sustained serious injuries, as did two passengers in the stolen vehicle.
In total, eight people were transported to the hospital, some with fractured bones.
A witness to the chase, estimated that the stolen car sped by at about 100 kilometres per hour, and compared the sound of it colliding with the UberX to “an oil tanker exploding.”
The SIU declared that the pursuit was lawful as the officers involved were aware that the vehicle was stolen and that the occupants had resisted arrest by pushing past and striking one cruiser already. Although the police officer under investigation drove the wrong way on several roads in the pursuit, she was said to have proceeded with caution and obeyed the speed limit.
The officer was far enough behind the stolen vehicle, the SIU said, that her driving did not spur the suspects on to more dangerous driving, and didn’t contribute to the eventual collision with the UberX vehicle.
With files from Verity Stevenson
MONTREAL—Canadian Denis Shapovalov advanced to the Rogers Cup semifinals with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Adrian Mannarino on Friday night.
The 18-year-old from Toronto was coming off a second-round win over 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro and a thrilling three-set upset of top-seeded tennis legend Rafael Nadal in the round of 16.
Shapovalov will meet fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, who knocked off Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-4 in the late match.
The 29-year-old Mannarino knocked out Canada’s top player, Milos Raonic, in the second round, although the big-server from Thornhill played with a swollen wrist.
Shapovalov started out looking low on energy despite the encouragement of the packed centre-court crowd.
He double-faulted on break point in the opening game en route to a quick first-set loss.
The two left-handers were on serve in the second when play was halted 20 minutes for a light rain but the crowd sprang to life, chanting “Let’s go Denis” on the changeovers as he broke serve and then served out the set.
As it was against Nadal, Shapovalov spent much of the match alternating between errors and impressive winners, consistently fighting off break points on his serve. He had nine aces and seven double faults.
He broke service for a 2-1 lead in the third, only to hand it back in the next game, but a roar went up when Mannarino wasted a chance to put away a game point and Shapovalov jumped on the chance to break for a 5-4 lead. He leapt in the air as he closed out the match.
Earlier, second-seeded Roger Federer continued his mastery over 12th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut with a 6-4, 6-4 victory. The 36-year-old Swiss will face unseeded Robin Haase, a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 winner over Diego Schwartzman.
Federer has won all seven career matches and taken all 16 sets against the 29-year-old Bautista Agut. He is 1-0 against Haase — a straight-sets win in Davis Cup play in 2012.
Federer said he knows Haase well from serving with him on the ATP player council and from practising together.
“I’m looking forward to a tough match because he can serve very well and he mixes up his tactics a lot,” said Federer. “Sometimes he tends to just roll the ball in and use the big serve, or he uses a slice a lot and comes in.
“So I don’t quite know with Robin what I’m going to get. But, as I have practised with him quite a bit, maybe I am better prepared than if I would have never hit with him before.”
The young man alleging a Toronto officer punched him then drew his gun during a 2011 police stop in Lawrence Heights said he looked to other cops for help during and after the fateful encounter, but no one stepped up.
On the second day of testimony from the main complainant at the ongoing disciplinary hearing of two Toronto police officers, the young man — 15 at the time of the incident, and whose name is protected by a publication ban — was cross-examined on his account of the ordeal.
Const. Adam Lourenco and Const. Scharnil Pais each stand accused under Ontario's Police Services Act of unlawfully arresting the main complainant, his twin brother, and two of their friends, boys all 16 or under at the time. The arrests happened immediately after they left their homes inside a Toronto Community Housing Corp. complex on Neptune Dr. and walked toward an after-school program called Pathways to Education.
Lourenco faces two other charges of disorderly conduct for allegedly using unreasonable force, one for punching the main complainant and another for pointing his gun at three of the boys.
The officers have pleaded not guilty to all charges, and none of the allegations have been proven at the tribunal.
The four teens were criminally charged after the encounter but all charges were later withdrawn. The Star is not identifying any of the teens, now 20 and 21, because of an ongoing publication ban under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The tribunal heard earlier this week that the officers told the group they matched the descriptions of suspects in a recent robbery. When the main complainant asked if he was under arrest and free to go — putting to use knowledge he’d recently gained at a seminar on his rights in police encounters — he alleges Lourenco became violent, punching him, knocking him to the ground, then drawing his weapon.
Under cross-examination by Lourenco’s lawyer, Lawrence Gridin, Friday, the young man went into greater detail about the events that night, and his encounters with other officers.
The witness testified that after Lourenco knocked him to the ground, the officer deliberately cut his own thumb on something sharp on his police belt, showed the young man and said: “Look, you just assaulted a police officer.”
The young man then said he and his friends looked to Pais, who was standing nearby and who he said was deliberately averting his eyes.
“I could tell by looking at him that that he knew this was wrong. That’s why he wasn’t looking . . . he didn’t do anything,” the witness said.
The young man then testified that moments later, after Lourenco handcuffed him and violently placed him into the car of another unit called for backup, he tried to explain what happened to the Black officer driving the cruiser.
“He was Black and I was trying to appeal to him . . . (I was saying) ‘I swear to God, I saw him cut his thumb,’” the witness said.
The officer was respectful, the witness said, but told him to “forget about the rights stuff,” in reference to defending his constitutional right to walk away from police under certain circumstances and asking questions such as “Am I under arrest?”
“He said . . . basically don’t use it. It’s not going to work in real life,” the witness said.
Gridin, Lourenco’s lawyer, took the witness through each of his allegations in a highly detailed manner, noting that the young man was alleging a significant amount of mistreatment by his client, Pais and “a lot of different officers.” Gridin later said there were a number of claims made by the young man that “I intend to impeach him on.”
The hearing continues next week.
Wendy Gillis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy Gillis can be reached at email@example.com
Chanting "blood and soil," "white lives matter" and "you will not replace us," scores of white nationalists holding torches marched across the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville on Friday night.
Scuffles broke out between them and a small group of counter-protesters calling themselves "anti-fascists" who were surrounded as they demonstrated in advance of Saturday's "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, which is expected to be one of the largest far-right gatherings in the U.S. in at least a decade.
Police soon cleared away the demonstrators, according to reporters at the scene.
"The fear we instill in them today only fuels our victory tomorrow," one rally supporter wrote on Twitter, in a message retweeted by Richard Spencer, one of the nation's most prominent white nationalists, who is attending the weekend's events in Virginia.
Spencer also tweeted a selfie, showing him smiling with the marchers' tiki torches in the background.
"I am safe. I am not fine," one of the counter-protesters, Emily Gorcenski, tweeted, saying that white nationalists had attacked her group. "What I just witnessed was the end of America."
Pictures and video of the nighttime march spread rapidly across social media, where many black and left-leaning Americans expressed disgust at the imagery, which to them recalled torch-lit Ku Klux Klan rallies of yesteryear.
"This is a disgrace," tweeted Martese Johnson, a black University of Virginia alumnus who gained notoriety in 2015 when he was bloodied by police as a student. "I do not believe this is happening on my university's campus." (The university is currently between its summer and fall semesters, when more students would be on campus.)
Charlottesville's mayor expressed outrage at the gathering of white nationalists, who at one point stopped to pay tribute to a statue of Thomas Jefferson, a founding father who owned slaves.
"When I think of candlelight, I want to think of prayer vigils," wrote Mayor Mike Signer in a Facebook post.
"Today, in 2017," he continued, "we are instead seeing a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance march" in the hometown "of the architect of our Bill of Rights."
Noting that everyone has a First Amendment right of assembly and free speech, he said, "Here's mine: Not only as the Mayor of Charlottesville, but as a UVA faculty member and alumnus, I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus."
For weeks, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other far-right figures have been preparing for Saturday's rally, occasionally running into obstacles as the home-rental company Airbnb banned far-right users for violating the company's anti-racism policies.
The city had also objected to the demonstrators' hoped-for gathering spot —the formerly named Lee Park, where the city has ordered the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The city sought to block the rally at the park now called Emancipation Park.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties and human rights group based in Charlottesville, filed a lawsuit Thursday against the city on behalf of the rally organizers. The suit said that the city was unconstitutionally infringing on the demonstrators' First Amendment rights by directing them to go to a different park.
The city contended that its request wasn't prompted by the white nationalists' political beliefs, but because the one-acre Emancipation Park would be too small for the number of demonstrators expected to arrive in the city on Saturday.
But Friday night, a judge sided with the white nationalists and ordered the city to allow them to gather in Emancipation Park, where local leaders promise to have hundreds of law enforcement officials monitoring events.
On Saturday, Hyeon Soo Lim will be reunited with his family in Toronto.
And on Sunday, Lim will return to his church family — the congregation of the Light Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, which has wept, prayed and organized vigils for their beloved senior pastor during the 2 ½ years he was detained in North Korea.
The reception for Lim is expected to pack the 2,000-seat facility where Lim used to preach weekly.
Lim’s family is requesting privacy but their reaction to his freedom was “relieved, grateful, excited and anxious to see him home,” according to church spokesperson Richard Ha.
Lim has been able to phone church colleagues, who say he is doing well.
“He is in good spirits,” said Jason Noh, an associate pastor at the Light Presbyterian Church.
In video footage taken Thursday by a Japanese television crew, Lim is on the tarmac of a U.S. military base in Fussa, Japan. His hair is shorn, he looks thinner but appears to be smiling and walking unaided with the Canadian delegation, led by Justin Trudeau’s national security adviser, Daniel Jean.
The delegation reportedly flew to Japan from Pyongyang after North Korea’s Central Court on Wednesday granted Lim “sick bail” on humanitarian grounds.
The delegation did not head straight home. The group jetted to Guam for a layover, according to sources. The return flight path is not known but Lim was expected to be in Toronto by Saturday.
In January 2015, Lim was detained by North Korean authorities while on a charitable mission to the country’s northern region. Later that year, the pastor was convicted of attempting to subvert the authoritarian regime of Kim Jong Un and was sentenced to life in a labour camp.
Trudeau confirmed Lim’s freedom in a statement sent out by email at 1:13 a.m. Thursday. It read, in part: “The Government of Canada was actively engaged on Mr. Lim’s case at all levels. In particular, I want to thank Sweden, our protecting power in North Korea, for assisting us.”
The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang serves as Canada’s protecting power in North Korea because Ottawa does not have an embassy there. Swedish ambassador Torkel Stiernlöf was able to meet with Lim a few times and, with North Korean approval, delivered family letters and prescription medication to him. Lim has high blood pressure that requires medicine.
On July 14, the North Korean state news agency reported that authorities had arranged a meeting between an unnamed Swedish embassy official and Lim“on the basis of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and in the humanitarian spirit.”
It has been reported that Lim was in poor health and had lost a lot of weight.
According to English-language reports citing the Korean Central News Agency article, Lim asked the Swedish diplomat in that July 14 meeting “to convey his request to the Canadian government for making active efforts to settle his issue.”
On Thursday, Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland wrote to thank her Swedish counterpart, Margot Wallstrom, on her Twitter account: “Thank you for your tremendous support, @MargotWallstrom. Canadians are so grateful for #Sweden’s long-standing, heartfelt friendship.”
Freeland also said she spoke briefly with her North Korean counterpart about Lim in Manila, Philippines on Sunday, Reuters reported. The two were gathered there for an Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting of foreign ministers.
“We were clear with North Korea that Pastor Lim needed to be released, and we are very, very glad that happened,” Freeland said Friday, according to Reuters.
In Toronto, it’s expected Lim’s wife, Geum, their son James, his wife and 10-month-old daughter will be waiting for him. James, 34, and his family live in the United States. Geum Lim has spent a good deal of time in Seoul during her husband’s detention and imprisonment.
All three Lims are natives of South Korea. The family immigrated to Canada, settling in Toronto, in 1986 when Lim had the opportunity to study at the University of Toronto’s Knox College.
A teenager who wore the shirt and tie that a Toronto cop bought for him after he allegedly attempted to steal them for a job interview has been hired.
Const. Niran Jeyanesan thought he was responding to a routine shoplifting call on Aug. 6 at a Walmart in the city’s north end. The 18-year-old who had allegedly attempted to make off with some clothes had picked out a long-sleeved shirt, a tie and a pair of socks. He told the officers they were meant for a job interview.
Jeyanesan said the teen told him he didn’t have the clothes he thought would land the “service industry position” he had applied for. He said his father had fallen ill and he wanted to help provide.
“He was very remorseful, very ashamed,” Jeyanesan said of the teen at the time. “I could see that this is truly a mistake and this person wanted a chance at life.”
Jeyanesan decided to purchase the shirt and tie for the teenager, who left the police station without charges following questioning. He also referred the teenager’s father to a job.
Police spokesperson Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook said the teenager called Jeyanesan, who gave the teen his number, and let him know that the outfit worked — he landed the position and starts work on Monday.
“There was already a sense of pride and admiration that I had toward the officer’s actions to begin with,” Douglas-Cook said. “(It) just added to it that much more when I heard the end result of how his actions have paid off thus far.”
With files from The Canadian Press
Students at the University of Waterloo know Chase Graham took his own life.
They may never have met him. They may not know he was a brilliant student or that he had a sharp sense of humour under a shy, quiet exterior.
But they know he died by suicide at school on March 20.
“We hear about the ones like Chase, who die on campus,” Graham’s mother, Andrea Graham, said.
“But he very well could have waited a month and done it when he was in his apartment in Toronto while on his co-op placement and then people wouldn’t have associated it with a student death.”
The attention Chase Graham’s death received is rare, though his story is not. Countless successful, promising young students struggle to adapt to the major change of starting post-secondary school.
But nobody — not the Chief Coroner, nor the Ontario government nor university officials — can say how many university and college student die by suicide each year.
The Office of the Chief Coroner should be responsible for tracking student suicides, Andrea Graham said.
“We need to start doing some things to stop these (suicides) happening, and part of it is having an accurate view of what’s actually going on.”
Public health authorities in Canada and around the world have called for comprehensive tracking of suicide deaths, arguing that better, more available statistics make it easier for professionals to prevent suicides.
But Ontario has an inconsistent patchwork of tracking systems which does not come close to being comprehensive.
The Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario tracks suicides by age group, but does not keep track of whether people who die by suicide are students or what their profession was.
Steps are being taken to make suicide data more accurate and available, Deputy Chief Coroner Dr. Reuven Jhirad said.
The Chief Coroners office will work to standardize the information collected by each regional coroner during investigations, and to create a database where details about a death, such as whether or not someone was a student, can be easily searched, Jhirad added. There is no specific date for when these measures will be in place.
In a survey of Ontario’s 20 universities, the Star found that only about half keep any kind of formal statistics on the number of student suicides. Of those universities, several track only suicides that occur on their campus, meaning that any deaths that occur at a student’s off-campus residence or their family home does not get included in their tally.
“As can be appreciated, we are only aware of the nature of a student death as indicated to us by the family or police,” said Brenda Whiteside, Associate VP of Student Affairs at Guelph, one of the schools that tracks on and off-campus suicides. “The numbers represent the best information we have.”
In February, Whiteside confirmed that four Guelph students had died by suicide in the 2016-17 academic year, after a student petition and social media backlash demanded more attention be paid to mental health.
At the times the deaths occurred, the university did what many schools do — they released a statement saying the student had died, in some cases mentioning the student’s name, but never mentioning the cause of death.
“It is generally agreed upon by experts that suicide data are under-reported due to misclassification issues (including) the stigma associated with suicide, and provincial and territorial differences in the type of information collected by coroners or medical examiners reports,” said Rebecca Purdy, a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Suicide has long been a taboo topic that, until a couple of decades ago was hardly spoken about at all, even in private, said Robert Whitley, a psychiatry professor at McGill University, who has researched the coverage of suicide in media.
Not even newspapers covered suicides, largely out of fear that the news could inspire copy-cat deaths. But those attitudes are changing.
Recent research has shown that increasing public attention paid to suicide is a positive, if it is handled sensitively. It helps raise awareness and start discussions, Whitley said.
“(Now) suicide is something which we can talk about. It’s the tragedy which everyone’s trying to avoid but ... it’s something people can have empathy and compassion for and respond to,” Whitley added. “That’s much better than a society where people think it’s a crime and a sin that you shouldn't even talk about or think about.”
The start of university or college can be a particularly difficult time for young people’s mental health.
Beginning post-secondary school often means moving away from home for the first time, and being far from family and friends. The majority of mental health issues begin to surface during a person’s teens or 20s. But age restrictions on youth programs force many young people to abandon the mental health services they have accessed for years around the age of 18 — leaving them on their own to find new sources of help in the adult health care system.
In 2016, researchers from the Public Health Agency of Canada consulted with over 350 community organizations, government officials and indigenous groups, to identify priorities for suicide prevention in Canada.
One of the key findings from the consultation was that Canadian suicide statistics, “including suicide ... data and research results, is fragmented, complex” and often difficult to access.
“Data and research results provide the basis of evidence needed to define the scope of the problem in Canada... track changes in suicide rates, better understand risk and protective factors, inform policies and programs, and evaluate prevention efforts,” the Public Health Agency wrote.
Similarly, in a 2014 report, the World Health Organization, called for improved availability and quality of data on suicides and suicide attempts globally, saying they were “required for effective suicide prevention.”
In the days after Graham’s death, the second on-campus suicide at the University of Waterloo since January, the school’s President Feridun Hamdullahpur announced the creation of an advisory committee on mental health, citing “the recent suicide of a first-year student” as a catalyst.
It was the first time the university had ever publicly acknowledged a specific student suicide, said Walter Mittelstaedt, the university’s director of Campus Wellness.
“What we said this time was in response to a growing concern and misinformation,” Mittelstaedt said.
“(Social media users) were repeatedly saying the University of Waterloo has the worst suicide rate of all campuses, which I mean, we have no way of knowing that.”
The Waterloo president’s statement on Chase Graham’s suicide “makes me feel hopeful that the university will be taking a different approach in terms of communication and public relations on issues like these,” Waterloo student and mental health advocate Dia Rahman said.
It was disappointing, however, that the statement only came after a student petition and social media discussion called attention to the suicide, she added.
“For the betterment of the community, as well as helping universities... maintain wellbeing, I think student suicides should be better tracked,” Rahman said.
“How else would you figure out whether there’s a dire need for something to be changed in the community?”
Asked whether Waterloo will publicly disclose all student suicides in future, Mittelstaedt said it was “something for us to think about” as the school’s mental health advisory progresses.
“Each university has to decide how much of a problem mental health and suicide is for them and will have a unique response to it,” he added. “I don’t think (the right approach) is necessarily an overall public response.”
Mental health-related data is “severely lacking” across the board, not just for suicide and not just for university students, said Eric Windeler, whose son Jack died by suicide in 2010 during his first year at Queen’s University.
“Writ large, the system is not tracking that stuff and you can’t function in a system properly without data, that’s for absolute certain,” said Windeler, who sits on the provincial government’s Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council and co-founded with Jack’s mother the youth mental health organization Jack.org.
Focusing on suicide data alone, though, misses the bigger picture of mental health challenges on campus, Windeler added.
“You have to look at the whole mental health piece not just suicide to understand the amount of struggle that’s going on there,” he said.
“Suicide is kind of the tip of the iceberg. A school can go a whole year with zero suicides... but that doesn’t mean that 20 per cent of the population at that school isn’t struggling at a level that is affecting their day-to-day life.”
Andrea Graham wants to see universities’ approach to mental health change. She has called for more convenient and proactive access to mental health services for students who may feel isolated at school. She has expressed great frustration with what she said was Waterloo’s lack of communication with her family. She wants schools to do a better job of responding after a student has died by suicide, to ensure that other students are coping.
But tracking of student suicides is needed if we want to understand the scope of the problem, Andrea Graham said.
“I just hope some things change,” she added. “I just dread the day that I hear of something else happening.”