Articles on this Page
- 08/14/17--11:24: _Netflix signs Shond...
- 08/14/17--10:39: _Judge orders releas...
- 08/14/17--12:02: _Nova Scotia ‘one of...
- 08/14/17--12:00: _Mother of Charlotte...
- 08/14/17--10:51: _‘Racism is evil’: T...
- 08/15/17--09:14: _Falling tree kills ...
- 08/15/17--07:39: _Peel teachers urgin...
- 08/15/17--11:43: _9 key terms you’ll ...
- 08/15/17--03:00: _Doctors propose pla...
- 08/15/17--11:51: _Wynne not intereste...
- 08/15/17--09:28: _Canadian killed in ...
- 08/15/17--11:02: _Edmonton boy thwart...
- 08/15/17--12:18: _Sudsy surprise: Fir...
- 08/15/17--11:26: _Metro grocery chain...
- 08/15/17--10:12: _Swiss hotel sparks ...
- 08/15/17--12:16: _Fourth business lea...
- 08/15/17--09:19: _Supporters of woman...
- 08/15/17--13:04: _Toronto man arreste...
- 08/15/17--16:48: _1 man, 2 women inju...
- 08/15/17--05:05: _‘We can’t go backwa...
- 08/14/17--10:39: Judge orders release of refugee claimant jailed ‘for no real reason’
- 08/15/17--09:14: Falling tree kills 12, injures 52 during festival in Portugal
- 08/15/17--07:39: Peel teachers urging province to deal with hot classrooms
- 08/15/17--03:00: Doctors propose plan to reveal top OHIP billers
- 08/15/17--11:51: Wynne not interested in raising taxes to pay for infrastructure
- 08/15/17--13:04: Toronto man arrested following Flemingdon Park shooting
- 08/15/17--16:48: 1 man, 2 women injured in North York shooting, police say
In a huge blow to ABC and Disney, prolific hitmaker Shonda Rhimes has signed an exclusive deal with Netflix, the streaming giant announced early Monday.
Rhimes, the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder— all hits for ABC — will bring Shondaland over to Netflix in what the streaming service said was a multi-year deal.
Those series and ones currently in development will remain on ABC, although Netflix already has the streaming rights for the back library for Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.
The move amounts to a major counterpunch to Disney’s announcement last week that it was starting a pair of its own streaming services, including one that would force the removal of several Disney and Pixar movies from Netflix in the next two years.
Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said in a statement, “I’ve gotten the chance to know Shonda and she’s a true Netflixer at heart — she loves TV and films, she cares passionately about her work, and she delivers for her audience.”
Rhimes said in her own statement, “Shondaland’s move to Netflix is the result of a shared plan Ted Sarandos and I built based on my vision for myself as a storyteller and for the evolution of my company. Ted provides a clear, fearless space for creators at Netflix. He understood what I was looking for — the opportunity to build a vibrant new storytelling home for writers with the unique creative freedom and instantaneous global reach provided by Netflix’s singular sense of innovation. The future of Shondaland at Netflix has limitless possibilities.”
The deal was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.
Rhimes has been with ABC for more than a decade and has long been one of the biggest names at the network. She has been a reliable generator of hits, including building an entire Thursday-night lineup that ABC’s marketing department has dubbed #TGIT.
Although it has been a ratings force, the lineup has showed signs of wear and tear recently. Grey’s Anatomy, which will begin season 14 in September, remains a big hit with sturdy ratings, but Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder have seen their ratings nose-dive in the past two years. One of Rhimes’ newer shows, The Catch, was cancelled this year.
ABC has announced that Scandal will end after this coming season, something the network tried to turn into a marketing bonanza at its annual advertiser pitch in May.
Rhimes’ development slate at ABC will not suddenly vaporize. In addition to keeping its Thursday-night lineup for the coming season, the network still has a midseason show expected from Rhimes, titled For the People, and a Grey’s Anatomy spinoff that is in pre-production, among some other projects in development.
Nevertheless, losing her is enormous for ABC and its corporate parent, Disney. The network finished in last place among the advertiser-coveted demographic for a second straight season, and although it is doing fine with comedies, it badly needs a hit drama. In the coming season, the network has been pinning its hopes on revivals like American Idol and Roseanne to improve its standing in the ratings.
In a statement, ABC’s entertainment president Channing Dungey said, “I’m proud to have given a home to what have become some of the most-celebrated and talked-about shows on television. With the launch of a new season upon us, fans can rest assured that TGIT remains intact and will be as buzzed about as ever.”
For Netflix, this is more of the same.
The streaming service has been on an unprecedented spending spree, spreading billions on acquiring big-name talent.
In addition to cornering the market on stand-up comics like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, just last week the streaming service said it was bringing in the Coen brothers for a new limited series and David Letterman for a new interview-based show.
The latest moves also come as digital rivals like Apple and Facebook have taken steps that suggest they are prepared to become serious players in the scripted and unscripted television game.
In a clear and emphatic denunciation of federal immigration authorities, an Ontario Superior Court judge ordered the release Monday of a refugee claimant he said had been detained in a maximum-security jail “for no real reason at all.”
Ricardo Scotland, a 38-year-old native of Barbados who is the single parent to his 13-year-old daughter, had been held at the maximum-security Niagara Detention Centre in Thorold, Ont., for a total of 18 months in two stints over the last two years. He has no criminal convictions, nor active criminal charges.
He was charged with a number of offences in 2013, but the charges were stayed. In spite of this, he was jailed by Canada’s border police, the Canada Border Services Agency, as a flight risk while his refugee claim is being processed.
The CBSA has alleged that he breached the conditions of his release, even though criminal bail court, upon which his immigration conditions were reflected, either withdrew the alleged breaches or found them to be innocent mistakes.
On Monday, Justice Edward Morgan was unequivocal in his criticism of immigration authorities, describing the alleged breaches against Scotland as “faux breaches” or “non-breaches.”
“(Scotland) appears enmeshed in an endless circuit of mistakes, unproven accusations, and technicalities.”
“Although the government cannot provide a clear rationale for Mr. Scotland’s initial or continued detention,” Justice Morgan says in his decision, “the reason for this lack of clarity is itself clear to me: there is no rationale.
“Mr. Scotland is being held in prison for no real reason at all.”
More to come . . . .
HALIFAX — Five years ago, Melanie Mackenzie got pregnant. Her birth control had failed, and the then 29-year-old knew she didn’t want to have a baby. She wanted an abortion.
“I found out I was pregnant almost immediately. You just get that feeling,” the Halifax resident said in an interview. “I hadn’t even missed a period yet.”
After taking a positive home pregnancy test, Mackenzie went to her family doctor — Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada where women must obtain a physician’s referral before making an abortion appointment.
“I said flat out ‘I’m pregnant and I don’t want to be. I want an abortion.’ “
Mackenzie was told there was a waiting period, and was sent for a battery of tests including blood work and an ultrasound. It took two months for her to finally obtain an abortion, at nearly 12 weeks pregnant.
“It was the worst two months of my life,” she said. “The whole thing felt like a punishment.”
Advocates say Nova Scotia is now one of the most difficult provinces in the country in which to access abortion, with women requiring a referral for a surgical abortion, lengthy wait times for the time-sensitive procedure and no provincial coverage for medical abortions using pills.
The province also has no private or free-standing abortion clinics located outside of a hospital. Halifax’s Morgentaler clinic, where women had to pay out-of-pocket, closed in 2003.
The Termination of Pregnancy Unit at Halifax’s QEII Health Sciences Centre — where more than 85 per cent of the province’s abortions are performed — will only book appointments for women who are at least eight weeks pregnant.
With few doctors prescribing the abortion pill Mifegymiso — and no universal coverage of the costly medication in the province — women seeking to terminate early pregnancies are forced to wait.
“Nova Scotia is one of the worst places in Canada to get an abortion. The situation for abortion access is extremely grim,” said Darrah Teitel, public affairs officer for Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.
After her blood work came back positive, Mackenzie recalled the nurse congratulating her on the pregnancy in front of other patients.
“I never regretted my decision to have an abortion,” she said. “But it felt like that waiting period and all those tests were to shame me, to make me feel like an irresponsible slut, to punish me. It felt like it was a price I had to pay to obtain an abortion in a country where my right to choose is legally protected.”
In Canada, abortion care is a patchwork of widely differing degrees of accessibility and options depending on the province and region. Abortion access is largely provided in big urban centres, leaving women in small communities or rural areas footing the bill for travel and accommodation.
Nova Scotia once had the region’s least restrictive abortion access, but both New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have changed their policies in the last three years.
In 2014, New Brunswick lifted the so-called two-doctor rule requiring two physicians to certify an abortion as medically necessary.
Abortions became available in P.E.I. for the first time earlier this year. Women on the Island can call a toll-free number to make an appointment without the need for a referral.
Women in Nova Scotia still require a referral and tests before obtaining an appointment for an abortion.
“We do require our patients to get referred to our clinic,” Lianne Yoshida, medical co-director of the QEII’s Termination of Pregnancy Unit, said in an interview. “It’s been identified as a barrier and it’s an issue we’re working on. The issue of referral and ultrasound does delay a woman’s ability to see us.”
It also may be unconstitutional, said Teitel.
She said the provincial rule requiring a physician’s referral is at odds with the Supreme Court’s 1988 R v. Morgentaler decision. Evidence presented during the trial showed that the unnecessary wait times involved in physician referrals were creating unsafe conditions for women, Teitel said.
“These delays are still being forced on women in Nova Scotia, and there is no earthly reason why abortions cannot be granted upon self-referral, as in the rest of the country,” she said.
In addition to the referral rule, it’s unclear whether delays are exacerbated by a policy enforcing a wait time, restrictions on early abortions or simply a lack of sufficient resources.
While Yoshida said there are surgical issues with abortions performed too early, she said that tends to be around four weeks gestational age.
Still, a receptionist reached at the QEII clinic said abortions are not scheduled before eight weeks — something confirmed in multiple interviews.
Nova Scotia does not appear to keep statistics on how long it takes women to obtain an abortion after a referral.
Several women interviewed for this story spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of the stigma surrounding abortions and the backlash they could face at work or in the community.
Their stories had recurrent themes. The condom broke. The pill didn’t work. The IUD shifted. Contraception fails. Accidents happen.
While some were referred for an abortion by a family doctor without delay, others describe having to “jump through hoops” to get a referral. Wait times tended to be four to six weeks, a delay they described as “agonizing” and “cruel.”
Jennifer Fishman, associate professor in the Biomedical Ethics Unit of the Social Studies of Medicine Department at McGill University, said the ethical problems that arise from making women wait for an abortion are enormous.
“The idea that there is differential access to abortions across the provinces, given that abortion is funded and legal and a medical procedure covered under the Canada Health Act, which operates under principles of universality and accessibility, is incredibly problematic,” Fishman said. “It’s unjust and inequitable to make some women wait while others don’t have to.”
Another ethical problem is the mental health impact of waiting, she said.
“There is definitely a psychological cost to carrying an unwanted pregnancy,” Fishman said. “Some research shows women will even consider some kind of self-induction, which can be dangerous.”
One woman told The Canadian Press she had four appointments with her family doctor before she obtained a referral for an abortion. Her doctor quizzed her on her knowledge of the fetus and sent her to a psychologist before finally agreeing to refer her.
“At some point, before my doctor agreed to write the referral, I remember standing in the kitchen with a pair of scissors, thinking maybe I’d just cut it out. I considered going to the emergency room and saying I would commit suicide if they wouldn’t give me an abortion. The waiting, and the threat of not being able to access an abortion, was emotionally traumatic.”
Fishman said another troubling issue with making women wait until later in their pregnancy to obtain an abortion are the physical health risks.
“Second trimester abortions have much higher rates of complications,” Fishman said. “It’s a much more complicated procedure. They are higher risk and they are more expensive.”
Meanwhile, a new method has emerged that would give Nova Scotia women another option in early pregnancy.
Mifegymiso, an alternative to surgical abortion, is an abortion pill that can be used to terminate a pregnancy of up to 49 days.
Advocates say the two-step process using the drugs mifepristone and misoprosto could increase access, provide women with more choices and shorten wait times.
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada says 171 physicians and pharmacists in Nova Scotia have either registered for or taken a training course on Mifegymiso.
But at a cost of about $350, the pill remains out of reach for many women.
While Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick have all said they would provide at least some coverage for the drug, Nova Scotia has stayed silent on the issue.
A Health Department spokeswoman said the Nova Scotia government is looking at coverage for Mifegymiso, but a decision has not yet been made.
Meanwhile, it’s unclear why women in Nova Scotia must obtain a referral.
Health spokeswoman Sarah Levy MacLeod confirmed that a referral and an ultrasound are required before an abortion can be booked, but she referred questions on the policy to the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
The health authority referred questions to the co-director of the QEII Termination of Pregnancy Unit — the same doctor, Lianne Yoshida, who called the need for a referral a barrier to access that needs to be addressed.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily political. It’s sort of just the way it’s always been,” Yoshida said. “It’s recognized as a problem.”
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.—The mother of the woman killed when a car plowed into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally in Virginia said she doesn’t want people to be angry about her daughter’s death. Instead, she said she wants people to continue her daughter’s fight against injustice in a peaceful way.
“I miss her so, so much, but I’m going to make her death worth something,” Susan Bro told The Associated Press in an interview Monday.
Bro described her daughter, Heather Heyer, as a courageous, stubborn, and principled woman who was a firm believer in justice and equality who died Saturday for those beliefs. Bro said she would prefer to grieve in private, but felt compelled to try to follow her daughter’s example.
“Let’s take from her death that we’re going to move forward in conversation. We’re going to move forward in understanding and listening to one another and seeing how we can come together,” Bro said.
Heyer, 32, was among the hundreds of protesters who had gathered in Charlottesville to decry what was believed to be the largest gathering of white supremacists in a decade — including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members — who descended on the city to rally against plans to remove a Confederate statue.
Felicia Correa, a longtime friend of Heyer, said the slain woman was a “true American hero.”
Heyer grew up in Greene County and worked as a legal assistant at a law firm. Her boss, Larry Miller, said the young woman was active in the firm’s bankruptcy practice and had a “big heart.”
“She cares about the people we take care of. Just a great person,” he said.
Two state troopers—Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates—also died when their helicopter crashed in a wooded area while deployed as part of a large-scale police effort to contain Saturday’s violence. They were remembered for their commitment and love of their jobs.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe knew both troopers personally and expressed grief over their deaths. McAuliffe frequently uses state police aircraft to travel the state and said Cullen, 48, had been one of his regular pilots. Before joining the aviation unit, Bates has been a member of the state trooper team that guards the governor and his family.
“It was personal to me,” McAuliffe said Sunday morning at a church service. “We were very close.”
Cullen was a 23-year veteran of the department and head of the aviation unit. He is survived by his wife and two sons. Berke joined the department in 2004, and is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
“Both of them were great guys who loved what they were doing,” said Perry Benshoof, a retired trooper who worked with both.
Craig Bates said his younger brother had always wanted to serve others and to fly.
The younger Bates, who died one day short of his 41st birthday, worked for years as a trooper, first in Florida and then in Virginia. He’d recently gotten his pilot’s license so that he could apply to work for the department’s aviation unit. He got his wish, and joined the unit only last month.
“It was the culmination of a lot of dreams come true,” Craig Bates said. “This is something that he truly wanted to do. It was much too short but I’m grateful for the fact that he was able to do that.”
WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump condemned white supremacists on Monday after two days of withering criticism over his failure to do so.
“Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” Trump said at the White House.
Trump had been denounced even by Republicans for a Saturday statement in which he faulted “many sides” for bigotry and violence at a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Va., where an anti-racist protester was murdered when an apparent white supremacist allegedly ran into her intentionally with a car.
Trump, for the first time, said the name of the murder victim, 32-year-old Charlottesville paralegal Heather Heyer. He did not offer any details about her other than to call her “young,” a marked departure from his vivid descriptions of people killed by illegal immigrants.
Trump, this time, stuck to his prepared text, eschewing the ad-libbed boasting that marked his address on Saturday — though he began by bragging about his economic record. He spoke after a meeting on Charlottesville with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Trump, calling for “love” and “unity,” said the government was opening a civil rights investigation into the “racist violence.” He referred to the alleged car homicide as a “deadly car attack,” declining to call it terrorism; Sessions, in a television appearance on Monday morning, said “it does meet the definition of domestic terrorism.”
“To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered. As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence,” Trump said.
“It has no place in America. And as I have said many times before, no matter the colour of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag and we are all made by the same almighty God.”
Trump had been silent on Sunday. His administration generated additional criticism when it released an anonymous statement that said Trump condemns “all forms” of bigotry and violence, though that one specified that Trump was including “white supremacists, KKK Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”
On Monday morning, he finally tweeted an emotional statement — criticizing a black business executive for criticizing him. After Ken Frazier, chief executive of the pharmaceutical company Merck and Co., resigned from Trump’s manufacturing advisory council to “take a stand against intolerance and extremism,” Trump lashed out in response.
“Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” he wrote.
Trump has long been reluctant to criticize white supremacists, many of which support him. He has his own extensive history of bigoted and racially inflammatory remarks. And he appointed, as his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who once ran the Breitbart website he described a “platform” for the white supremacist “alt-right.”
Republican legislators had been among the public figures who castigated Trump for refusing to specifically excoriate neo-Nazis.
“Mr. President — we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists,” Cory Gardner, a senior Republican senator from Colorado, wrote on Twitter.
James Alex Fields, 20, has been charged with second-degree murder. He was denied bail on Monday morning.
LISBON, PORTUGAL—A huge tree crashed down on a popular religious festival on the Portuguese island of Madeira on Tuesday, killing 12 people and injuring 52 others, officials said.
The tree fell while a large crowd was gathered near the island’s capital of Funchal as part of the Nossa Senhora do Monte festival. It’s Madeira’s biggest annual festivity and was being held Monday and Tuesday, drawing large crowds to a church on Funchal’s outskirts.
Local media reports described the tree as an oak more than 200 years old. Regional authorities say they are investigating what caused it to come crashing down.
Regional health chief Pedro Ramos said seven people had serious injuries. Ramos said that of the 12 fatalities, 10 people died at the site of the accident. A child died en route to a local hospital, where a woman later died.
RTP public television showed images of emergency workers gathered under a group of tall trees on the Atlantic island. Ambulances were shown pulling away from the site while workers wielding chain saws cut away limbs from an enormous tree on the ground.
More televised images showed some people attending to the injured. Others appeared visibly shaken.
Miguel Albuquerque, the head of the regional government of Madeira, declared three days of mourning for the victims.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa shared his condolences for the victims on his Twitter account.
“I express my condolences for the victims of the accident in Madeira,” Costa said. “My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims.”
Costa said that the central government made contact with local authorities on the island to offer its support.
“The government has provided medical support given the high number of victims,” he said.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said he would travel to the island.
“I will go to Funchal today to learn more about what has happened, and, of course, to bring words of encouragement and comfort to those who have lost their loved ones,” he said in a message posted on the president’s official website.
Elementary teachers in Peel are worried about students sweltering in hot classrooms and are calling for measures to cool down Ontario’s elementary schools — including lobbying the provincial government for air conditioning funding, indoor temperature limits and an official heat stress plan.
“Last September was absolutely brutal,” said Chris Hoffman, who taught Grade 7 music in a portable at Tomken Road Middle School last year.
Hoffman, a vice president for the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario Peel local, said it’s hard to teach when all students can think about is how much they’re sweating.
“If I’m in there all day and it’s unbearable for me, I can only imagine the students.”
Elementary schools typically don’t have air conditioning in the classroom, said Lisa Marie Gonsalves, occupational health and safety teacher advisor for the Peel local.
She said classrooms can get extremely hot at times during the spring and early fall —sometimes well over 30 C— posing health hazards for students and staff and making it difficult for children to learn.
With temperatures rising each year, the Peel local is presenting motions for a vote Tuesday at the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario annual meeting.
The local wants the ETFO, through the Ontario Teachers’ Federation, to lobby the ministry of education for funding for air conditioning or other heat reduction systems in all elementary schools.
They also want to lobby government for an upper indoor temperature limit at all elementary schools, at which point schools and boards would have to take action, “up to and including closing schools for the day.”
Another motion calls for all elementary schools to have an official heat stress plan in place, so decisions aren’t left to individual administrators.
Heather Irwin, spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, said it’s up to school boards to allocate funds to each school, and that boards are responsible for ensuring healthy and safe learning environments.
She said the ministry is spending a total of $1.4 billion in both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years on school renewal, and said boards can use this funding to install or repair air conditioning systems.
Of the 584 schools in the Toronto District School Board, about 125 are fully air conditioned, said TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird. Some schools are partially air conditioned, while others have no air conditioning.
Installing full air conditioning at every school would cost into the hundreds of millions of dollars and is “not currently in the cards,” said Bird, who says the TDSB has a repair backlog of more than $3 billion.
However, he said, the board is in the process of creating cooling stations in all remaining schools in large spaces such as gyms or libraries. The plan is expected to take five to seven years and would give students access to a “cooler area on days of extreme heat,” he said.
In the Peel District School Board, 19 of its 215 elementary schools are fully air conditioned, as are 27 of 38 secondary schools, said a spokesperson. In the Toronto Catholic District School Board, about 36 of its 200 schools have central air conditioning, a spokesperson said.
Last year, thousands of students across the GTA roasted in hot classrooms during a back-to-school heat wave in September. One Toronto teacher resorted to spending $500 of her own money on an air conditioning unit for her classroom, after temperatures hit more than 30C.
The GTA has had a cooler summer this year. However, Hoffman said global warming means classrooms will only get hotter in the coming decades.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 78,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province. More than 800 members are attending the organization’s annual meeting this week in Toronto, which runs from Monday to Thursday. The Peel Elementary Teachers’ Local represents more than 6,700 members, according to its website.
WASHINGTON—Negotiations start Wednesday for an update to the quarter-century-old North American Free Trade Agreement. This glossary of negotiating terms helps explain understand some of the underlying dynamics of these talks.
Demandeur: The party requesting a negotiation. In this case, it’s the U.S. The demandeur is generally considered to have weaker leverage, but that weakness is mitigated here by the U.S.’s economic might, and by U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to re-establish leverage with the ultimate threat: ripping up the deal.
Zone of possible agreement: Exactly what it sounds like. For example, say the U.S. wants Canada’s dairy industry opened 100 per cent to free-market competition, but would secretly settle for 2 per cent. And suppose Canada wants a 0 per cent change, but would eventually settle for 4 per cent. That leaves an eventual zone of agreement between 2 and 4 per cent.
Non-agreement alternative: Your power at the negotiating table is tied to what happens if you walk away. If your Best Alternative To A Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) is the status quo, and you’re happy with it, you have power. This is Canada and Mexico’s position. Trump has moved to scramble that rosy scenario by threatening the end of NAFTA.
Fast track: Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress has power over international agreements. Because no country wants to negotiate with 535 amendment-adding American lawmakers, the U.S. political system has devised a compromise. It’s formally called Trade Promotion Authority — better known as “fast track.” Under a fast-track law, the White House handles negotiations with the foreigners. In exchange, lawmakers are guaranteed a role in shaping U.S. strategy, with regular consultations.
Supply management: A system that protects a sector shielded from free trade, with import limits and price controls. Canada has such a system for dairy and poultry. The U.S. hates it. Recent trade deals have seen Canada open up the system slightly. Canada agreed to a 3.25 per cent opening in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, for fear of a scary BATNA there: being shut out of a new global trade zone. It will now likely argue that, like the TPP, and like old milk, that offer is expired.
Diafiltered milk: Supply management isn’t the main irritant listed by the U.S. dairy industry. It’s especially unhappy that Canadian producers get to profit from price controls, and then can sell skimmed-off diafiltered components for cheese-making at (lower) market prices, squeezing Americans out of this growing market. The Canadian government created a new category of dairy product for this purpose, Class 7. It became internationally famous when President Donald Trump complained about it.
Rules of origin: Will be a big issue. It involves what percentage of a product is really North American, and therefore deserving of being traded without tariffs. Under NAFTA, a 62.5 per cent of car components must be North American to count as a domestic tariff-free product. The Trump team wants that raised. But key details still aren’t clear — including whether it will be designed to target Asia, or Canada and Mexico; how it will affect supply chains; and whether it will be calculated on the basis of where a piece gets assembled, or where its sub-components come from.
De minimis: This old phrase from Latin, meaning “of minimal” concern, is now relevant in regard to an ultra-modern retail giant: Amazon.com. EBay, too. The question is how much Canadians can spend on an online purchase from abroad, without paying a duty. Canada has one of the strictest de minimis thresholds in the world — it’s $20. The U.S. has it set at $800, and wants Canada to move that way. On the other side, bricks-and-mortar retailers in Canada are pleading with the Canadian government to keep a low threshold, arguing that the hunt for bargains abroad will damage jobs and businesses at home.
Two-level bargaining: The idea that national negotiators are working on two levels: with the other country, and with domestic parties. These domestic actors can be silent allies: think good cop, bad cop. The good cop (the negotiator) says he or she can’t move, because the bad cops at home will fight any concession. The U.S. has notoriously powerful domestic actors — big business donors to Congress, and a Congress itself that can, in the end, block whatever deal it wants. The renowned academic who developed two-level theory, Robert Putnam, says this sometimes benefits the U.S., and sometimes hurts it: “(It’s) an unhappy and unique feature of our democracy,” he once wrote. “(It) increases the bargaining power of American negotiators, but it also reduces the scope for international co-operation.” Canada’s domestic actors include the provinces. At TPP talks, Canadian officials printed up a news story about provinces complaining about supply management changes to distribute it, and made sure other parties were aware the provinces were unhappy.
Ontario patients may soon learn how much some of the province’s highest billing doctors receive in taxpayer-funded OHIP payments.
If the Ontario Medical Association follows through on a proposal from some of its members, it would assist in publicly releasing the names of some top-billers, a move that would mark a dramatic reversal in its position that such disclosure would be a violation of personal privacy.
Doctors have been discussing the plan for more than a week on a social media site, the Star has learned.
Proponents say they are likely to lose a two-plus year court battle against the Star and the Ontario privacy commissioner to keep the names secret. They say they could “minimize the damage” by abruptly ending their legal fight and publicly releasing the names themselves.
Under the scheme, doctors would pre-emptively leak the names not to the Star, but to another news media outlet in a bid to obtain more favourable coverage than the proponents believe they might receive from the Star.
“Definitely open to the idea. Better for us to control the message,” OMA president Dr. Shawn Whatley wrote Aug. 5 on the Ontario Doctors Discussion Forum, a Facebook group with more than 10,400 members.
“We are discussing it this week,” he wrote in response to a request for the OMA get involved in the scheme.
But when the Star subsequently asked Whatley for an on-the-record comment about the strategy, his public relations office released a statement, indicating the organization is not acting on it:
“The matter regarding physician billings disclosure is still before the courts. We are pursuing leave to appeal. We continue to update members on court proceedings; any further strategy would need to go through a consultation with our members. The OMA is not actively consulting with our membership regarding the release of their billings prior to a court ruling.”
The Facebook forum is a vehicle for doctors — “as individuals” — to express frustrations and share ideas, the statement said. “There is a distinction between our own personal comments and the work of the OMA.”
Ontario lags behind other jurisdictions in making physician-identified billings public. British Columbia, Manitoba and New Brunswick proactively release the information annually. So does the United States. Newfoundland and P.E.I. are currently tackling the issue.
The damage-control strategy was pitched on the site on an account credited to Baseer Khan, who is a Vaughan ophthalmologist. He warned that the court battle — launched by the OMA as well as two other physician groups — is doomed and urged that doctors take control of how the names of top billers are made public. Describing himself as a top-100 biller, Khan wrote:
“Full disclosure — I am one of these individuals. I’ve spoken to a number of individuals in and out of our profession and I am of the strong opinion that the appeal from the OMA will be turned down and our names will be published.
“Invariably, the story will be played out negatively in the press and media — however IF we control the narrative, we can minimize the damage.”
Khan did not respond to numerous requests from the Star for an interview.
Physicians on the forum responded favourably to his idea.
“It’s a solid plan. Scoop the Star’s story. They spent a fortune fighting for this. Lick their lollipop before they have a chance to enjoy it,” wrote Toronto radiologist Dr. David Jacobs, vice-president of the Ontario Association of Radiologists.
Jacobs wrote on the forum that he had no intention of responding to a request from the Star for an interview.
In June, a three-judge panel of the Ontario Divisional Court ruled unanimously against the doctors in their bid to keep the names secret. The court ordered the doctors to pay the Star $50,000 in legal costs.
The following month, the doctors announced plans to continue their legal fight. They filed a notice of application for leave to appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal.
A court order preventing to Star from getting access to the names — which had been sought and obtained by the doctors — was extended so they could pursue their appeal.
On the Facebook forum, Khan urged that the highest paid doctors “voluntarily disclose our Billings . . . to a more balanced paper like the globe or sun.” He also suggested they disclose the number of services and visits rendered, taxes paid, cost of overhead and expenses and final net income.
Khan proposed that the OMA, which represents all of the province’s 29,000 practising physicians, get directly involved in the scheme, with the aim of portraying top billers in the best light:
“If enough of us agree, we can petition the OMA PR group to package this info and present it the best way possible.”
Explaining his logic: “We are going to lose this appeal anyways — if we withdraw the appeal and disclose then we . . . take the wind out of the star and (reporter Theresa Boyle’s) sails (and) stop look like we’re hiding things and playing into the characterization that we’re fraudulent — rather that we work our asses off.”
Khan suggested that doctors move quickly on the idea: “The summer is the best time to do this (because) people are thinking about different things . . . The bigger time spread we can created (sic) between this new story and negotiations — the better.”
A new round of negotiations between the OMA and province for a new fee contract is set to start next month. Doctors have been without a contract for more than three years.
Efforts to reach a deal have been acrimonious with one of the biggest stumbling blocks being how to address the significant disparities between what different classes of medical specialties receive in OHIP fee-for-service payments.
The Star’s efforts to make physician-identified payment data public began in 2014 with a Freedom-of-Information request to Ontario’s Health Ministry. The Star asked for the names, medical specialties and payment totals of the 100 top-billing doctors for the five most recent years available.
Payments to physicians are not the same as income as they do not take into account expenses for office rent, staff salaries and supplies.
The ministry provided information about medical specialties and payments, but denied access to names, reasoning the release would be an unjustified invasion of privacy. (The information provided showed ophthalmologists were the biggest billers, followed by diagnostic radiologists and then cardiologists.)
The Star successfully appealed that decision to Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC).
The three doctors’ groups then sought to get the IPC decision quashed through a judicial review.
In June’s ruling against the doctors, the Divisional Court rejected their argument that the Star had failed to establish a proper rationale for disclosure. Their argument ignored the well-established rationale that underlies access-to-information legislation, the court said.
“The rationale is that the public is entitled to information in the possession of their governments so that the public may, among other things, hold their governments accountable,” the decision stated.
The OMA announced the following month that it would try to get the decision overturned at the Ontario Court of Appeal. An email to members said:
“The (OMA) board continues to strongly disagree with the IPC adjudicator’s ruling that physician payment information is not personal information protected from disclosure. The board overwhelmingly decided that we must stand our ground and exhaust every possible avenue to fight for our members on this matter.”
Khan asked Whatley on the forum if the OMA could help stickhandle the plan by getting the top billers to work with the organization on it.
“Shawn: others on the list may not want to disclose their identity to me or anyone other (sic) doc, are you willing/able to assign someone at the OMA to compile a list of docs who are willing to do this?”
Whatley responded that the OMA would consider the idea.
Someone posting on the Facebook forum under the name “Rox Lab” wrote that the OMA’s public relations team already had the issue on its radar and urged any top billers interested in participating in a PR response to get in contact:
“OMA PR wanted to do a human interest piece on these doctors showing what services they provide. If you are interested to do this individually email the communications team.”
Rox Lab declined to respond to queries from the Star and advised a reporter to get in touch with the OMA for comment.
One of the main concerns doctors have expressed about disclosure of billings is that the public might not appreciate the distinction between OHIP payments and actual income.
“It is important to remember that disclosure of billings without context does not provide the public with an adequate picture, and may lead to a misunderstanding of billings versus income,” Whatley said in his statement to the Star.
“Without an understanding of each individual physician’s overhead costs, in addition to hours worked, one cannot truly interpret the data. The comments made on the Facebook forum are an example of grassroots brainstorming to provide this context. At the OMA, we are always looking to highlight the benefits each physician brings to their community.”
Star lawyer Iris Fischer said the paper has continued to make the distinction between OHIP payments and overhead.
“The Star has been clear in its reporting on this issue that payments from OHIP are not doctors’ take-home pay — which was also the evidence before the IPC and important to the finding that payment information is not ‘personal’ to doctors,” she stated when the doctors announced plans to appeal.
In Fischer’s closing arguments during the judicial review, she said the public and media should have access to billing information so they can ask questions, identify anomalies and confirm appropriateness.
“How many people is that doctor billing on behalf of? What is the size of his or her practice? What are the possible implications of billing (for working) 366 days a year?” Fischer asked, referring to a finding in last year's provincial auditor's report.
“Maybe the real reason is a high-billing doctor is actually overworked in an underserviced area. It's a structural problem that needs to be addressed by the ministry,” she said.
The provincial auditor’s report raised the issue of “problematic” billing, stating that nine specialists claimed they worked more than 360 days in the 2015/16 fiscal year. They included six doctors who billed OHIP for work they said they did on 366 days during the 2015/16 fiscal year (which had an extra day because 2016 was a leap year).
The report cited the case of an ophthalmologist who billed $6.6 million in 2014/15 and had previously been described by Health Minister Eric Hoskins as the province’s highest biller.
A Health Ministry audit of the 12 top billers, obtained by the Star last year through a separate Freedom-of-Information request, suggested they are overcharging OHIP.
Among “concerns” highlighted in the audit were: billing for “services not rendered,” upcoding or charging OHIP using fee codes for more expensive procedures; and charging for “medically unnecessary” services that the plan is not designed to fund.
In urging doctors to drop their appeal, Khan wrote on the forum that it would “allow OMA resources to be spent fighting fights ALL of us need such a corporation issues and negotiations.”
And it would “build good will (sic) with other docs in the province who don’t benefit from this fight,” he continued.
Reporter Theresa Boyle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reporter Theresa Boyle can be reached at email@example.com
Raising the HST to help municipalities pay for road, arena and other infrastructure improvements would “fly in the face” of her efforts to ease pocketbook pressures on Ontarians, Premier Kathleen Wynne says.
She told local councillors from across the province at the annual convention of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario that she was surprised by the group’s call Monday for a 1 per cent HST hike to raise $2.5 billion.
“I have not heard that discussion from mayors,” she said at the convention in Ottawa on Tuesday.
Wynne’s Liberal government, which is up for re-election next June 7, cut electricity bills 25 per cent this year after skyrocketing hydro prices infuriated consumers and fuelled attacks by opposition parties.
The premier said AMO’s push to raise the HST to 14 per cent from 13 would mean “constituents paying more taxes” and suggested a less drastic solution.
“There are billions of dollars that are flowing into municipalities right now. Let’s figure out what the gaps are.”
Solutions could include Ontario taking financial responsibility for some local roads that are more suited to being under provincial control and finding ways to help small municipalities to pay for arena and other recreational facilities, she said.
“In small municipalities it is very, very difficult to raise those funds.”
Tammy Jane Mackay Chen, one of two Canadians killed during a terror attack in Burkina Faso is being remembered as a "passionate, charismatic and diligent" teacher by her former students and colleagues.
Chen, 34, was killed alongside her husband in an attack on a restaurant Sunday night in Ouagadougou. She was six months pregnant and a newlywed who was living in the country while finishing a doctorate at the University of Cambridge in England. Chen and her husband, Mehsen Fenaiche, who was a Senegalese citizen and a Muslim, were married last month in Ouagadougou.
Eighteen people were killed in the attack, which is being treated as a terrorist incident.
Chen taught at Glen Ames Senior Public School until 2013 when she left for the University of Cambridge, the Toronto District School Board said in a statement released Tuesday.
“Not only was she respected and well-liked by students, parents and colleagues, she was always willing to go the extra mile to help students,” the statement read.
Katrina Yablonski told the Star that Chen taught her Grade 8 French at Glen Ames, and it became one of her favourite classes.
“I was never really good at French, but she made me really excited to go to class,” Yablonski said. “You could tell she was so passionate about teaching.”
She said Chen’s teaching style made the students interested in learning the course material and that it also brought the class closer together.
“She was super fun, she would always been making jokes with us. She made sure everyone felt included and welcome.”
Chen, who was from Montreal, had previously taught at Swansea Junior Public School.
The other Canadian killed in the attack was Bilel Diffalah, who had been volunteering since November 2016 as a hygiene and bio-security adviser with a local organization known as the Interprofessional Poultry Organization, said the Montreal-based Centre for International Studies and Cooperation.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement today following the incident.
“Canada strongly condemns this heinous attack. People should not have to live in fear over their safety and security – no matter where they call home or where they travel. We will continue to work closely with the international community to fight terrorism and bring those responsible to justice,” he said.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I offer our condolences to the families and friends of those killed and wish a speedy recovery to all those injured.”
On Sunday evening, assailants arrived at the restaurant on motorcycles and began shooting randomly.
Local authorities say other foreigners killed include two Kuwaitis and one person each from France, Nigeria, Lebanon and Turkey. Seven Burkina Faso citizens were also killed and authorities said three other victims had not yet been identified.
Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists.
With files from Allan Woods
Edmonton police are praising the actions of a boy who they say thwarted the alleged abduction of his sister.
Police say a man allegedly took the 5-year-old girl who was riding her bike with her older brother on Saturday evening.
Officers say the man, who wasn’t known to the girl, took hold of her handle bars and led her away.
They say her brother went to get help from family members who chased the man and found the girl unharmed a block away.
A suspect was found in the area shortly thereafter and arrested.
Dusty Greg Chalifoux, who is 37, is charged with abducting a child under 14 and breaching recognizance.
Det. Manuel Illner, with the Edmonton police’s child protection section, praised the boy for acting quickly to protect his little sister.
“This young man followed his instincts and certainly did the right thing by running home and notifying family members immediately,” Illner said in a release Tuesday. “I encourage all parents to talk to their children about what to do in the event they are approached by a stranger.”
AUBURN, MAINE—Emergency responders say a malfunction in a fire-suppression system at a Maine airport filled a building with foam and briefly trapped four people inside.
The Sun Journal reports firefighters responding to the Lufthansa hangar at Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport on Monday morning walked into a wall of foam higher than their heads.
Fire Chief Geoff Low says it appears an error caused the foam to discharge, filling the entire hangar.
Firefighters were able to find people who were lost inside the building. Low says they were on an upper level and were able to stay out of the foam itself.
The Sun Journal reports a few people were covered in the foam and some inhaled it. Two people were taken to a hospital and are expected to be released.
MONTREAL—Ontario’s third-largest grocery chain will accelerate its study of automation as it looks to cut costs to offset the provincial government’s plan to raise the minimum wage next year, the CEO of Metro Inc. said Tuesday.
Eric La Fleche said the industry is under the gun because there is little time to adjust to cost increases, especially when intensifying competition is straining margins.
Metro estimates an increase in the Ontario minimum wage to $14 per hour from the current rate of $11.40 will cost it about $45 million to $50 million on an annualized basis in 2018. The impact excludes any pressure to subsequently increase other salaries.
“It’s the pace that makes it a pretty big challenge but we’re confident that we’ll find some offsets on our own,” La Fleche said during a conference call about its third-quarter results.
The chain said it hasn’t calculated the full impact when the minimum wage rises to $15 an hour in January 2019.
The higher labour costs would account for about eight per cent of the $586 million in net earnings last year and more than a third of the $127 million paid out in dividends.
It’s just the latest cost pressure facing business after enduring several years of increased energy charges.
“As a team we will strive to mitigate this impact as much as we possibly can through productivity and cost reduction initiatives, but the size and pace of these increases pose a significant challenge,” La Fleche told analysts.
The Montreal-based chain said it “will spare no effort” to manage the labour costs but declined to specify whether the changes will have any impact on the number of employees. It has piloted the use of electronic tags on stores shelves and has considered automating its distribution centres.
La Fleche’s comments follow similar warnings by other retailers and a coalition representing a broad range of business groups.
Rival Loblaw Companies Ltd., which owns Shoppers Drug Mart and grocery chains including Loblaws and No Frills, has said it is mobilizing all its resources to offset the $190-million hit next year from higher minimum wages in Ontario and Alberta.
Discount retailer Dollarama Inc. said it won’t rule out raising prices if labour costs continue to climb, while Magna International has warned that higher costs could affect its business investments in the province.
Movie chain Cineplex Odeon Corp. last year raised ticket prices in response to higher minimum wages, which affect much of its workforce.
An economic analysis commissioned by the Keep Ontario Working Coalition found that 185,000 jobs could be at risk as Ontario businesses stand to take a $23-billion hit within two years of the implementation of Bill 148.
The coalition, which includes groups such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Council of Canada, said the changes proposed in the bill would force employers to find creative ways to cut costs, such as hiring less and increasing automation.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a national think tank, said research suggests the dire predictions are unlikely to pan out.
David Macdonald, the centre’s senior economist, has said there was little impact on employment from past minimum wage hikes and that forecasts fail to account for increased employee spending. The centre has said raising the minimum wage to $15 is only a start to addressing the 19 per cent cut in income between 2000 and 2015 among the bottom half of Ontario families raising children.
Metro’s net income for the 16 weeks ended July 1 rose 3.7 per cent to $183 million or 78 cents per share.
Overall sales edged up 1.4 per cent to $4.07 billion but same-store sales were down 0.2 per cent as poor weather caused store traffic to decrease.
Meanwhile, the company said it plans to expand its e-commerce offering to Ontario eventually, but wouldn’t say how soon that may come. By year-end, it plans to offer home delivery and store collection of online purchases in major urban areas of Quebec covering 60 per cent of the population.
Metro also said it is looking to expand its Adonis chain of Mediterranean-inspired food stores in both provinces next year after buying out its minority partners.
GENEVA—Switzerland’s tourism office on Tuesday decried an “unfortunate” incident in which a small Alpine hotel posted a sign asking “Jewish guests” to shower before swimming in the hotel pool.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center demanded the closure of the Paradies Arosa hotel, and issued a statement calling on “the broader Jewish community and their Gentile friends to blacklist this horrific hotel.” On Twitter, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called for “justice” against the hotel’s management.
Officials said the hotel in the eastern town of Arosa had apologized for the incident and taken the sign down. Hotel management didn’t immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Swiss Tourism spokesman Markus Berger called the sign unacceptable, adding: “It always needs to stay in perspective: This is one unfortunate incident.”
Under the headline “To our Jewish Guests,” the sign read: “Please take a shower before you go swimming. If you break the rules, I am forced to cloes (sic) the swimming pool for you. Thank you for your understanding.”
Tzipi Livni, a former Israeli foreign minister, posted an image of the sign on her Facebook page and wrote that “there can be no tolerance and no indifference” to anti-Semitism and racism, in comments that also alluded also to violence around a white supremacist rally in Virginia in the United States.
We “must not let there be a place in the free world for Nazi flags or Ku Klux Klan masks or ugly signs in hotels directed at Jews only,” she wrote. “We cannot allow acts of hate against Jews around the world to become normal.”
The secretary-general of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities said it was “really a dumb thing” to do, but he called for calm.
“It’s somebody who really didn’t think a lot,” Jonathan Kreutner said in a phone interview.
He said that calls to close the hotel were “very exaggerated,” Kreutner said. “This is the most important thing now: To stay cool. Things happened that are not good. I don’t want to reduce the problem behind this, but it is very important to stay cool.”
Kreutner said that most of the Jews who visit the area are from Belgium, Britain, Israel, Switzerland and the U.S.
Berger, the tourism spokesman, cited a recent trend of Orthodox and other Jews travelling to four Alpine villages in the area in the summertime, including Davos of World Economic Forum fame. He said didn’t know the origin of the trend, but that numbers “definitely in the thousands” have grown in recent years. He said many area hotels serve kosher food, and that Jewish guests “feel well-treated” there.
“It’s just this one lady at this one hotel who was not on top of the situation,” Berger said. “It’s an isolated incident that doesn’t need for greater action to be taken.”
Switzerland’s foreign ministry, responding to a request for comment from The Associated Press, said that it has been in touch with the Israeli ambassador and “outlined to him that Switzerland condemns racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination in any form. Switzerland has been strongly committed for years — as it is at the moment, for example, within its presidency for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance — to raise awareness to the dangers of racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination.”
WASHINGTON—A fourth business leader resigned Tuesday from President Donald Trump’s White House jobs council in the latest sign that corporate America’s romance with Trump is faltering following his equivocal original response to violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The parade of departing leaders now includes the chief executives for Merck, Under Armour and Intel and now the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.
Alliance president Scott Paul, in a tweet, said simply, “I’m resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it’s the right thing for me to do.” Within minutes of the tweet, calls to Paul’s phone were being sent to voicemail.
Corporate leaders have been willing to work with Trump on taxes, trade and reducing regulations, but they’ve increasingly found themselves grappling with cultural and social divides amid his lightning rod-style of leadership. The CEOs who left the council quickly faced his wrath.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!”
Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, one of only four African-Americans to lead a Fortune 500 company today, was the first to tender his resignation Monday.
He was assailed almost immediately by Trump on Twitter.
Then came resignations from Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and then Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.
Austan Goolsbee, the former chief economist for President Barack Obama, said the departures suggest the president’s response to the violence in Charlottesville could alienate those who work for the companies, and those who buy the products and services that they sell.
“It’s certainly a sign that Trump’s more controversial stuff isn’t playing well with companies selling to middle America,” said Goolsbee, now a professor at the University of Chicago.
There had already been departures from two major councils created by the Trump administration that were tied to its policies.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk resigned from the manufacturing council in June, and two other advisory groups to the president, after the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger resigned for the same reason from the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum.
The manufacturing jobs council had 28 members initially, but it has shrunk since it was formed earlier this year as executives retire, are replaced, or, as with Frazier, Musk, Plank, Paul and Krzanich, resign.
Dan Eaton, a business ethics instructor at the San Diego State University Fowler College of Business and a partner at San Diego-based law firm Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, said that while CEOs may feel it is their civic duty to serve the president, their responsibility ultimately is to their shareholders, employees and customers.
“That’s something that’s always in play, and as a result some companies choose to abstain from getting involved in political roles,” he said.
Eaton said that the potential for a public rebuke from a sitting president is not a concern only to those now on advisory panels, but to all who may be asked to serve in the future.
Already, there is a push on social media lobbying other executives to distance themselves from Trump, and resign.
So far, the majority of CEOs and business leaders that are sitting on the two major, federal panels, are condemning racism, but say they want to keep a seat at the table.
“Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is unwavering, and we will remain active champions for these efforts,” said a spokesman for Campbell Soup for CEO Denise Morrison. “We believe it continues to be important for Campbell to have a voice and provide input on matters that will affect our industry, our company and our employees in support of growth. Therefore, Ms. Morrison will remain on the President’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative.”
Boeing CEO Dennis Builenburg also will remain.
Lawrence Summers, once the chief economist at the World Bank and senior Treasury official, wondered when more business leaders will distance themselves from Trump.
“After this weekend, I am not sure what it would take to get these CEOs to resign,” he tweeted. “Demonizing ethnic groups? That has happened.”
Staring straight ahead, never once looking back at the woman they were caught mocking or her phalanx of supporters, the two Toronto police officers accused of professional misconduct for spouting insults captured on their own cruiser’s dash camera appeared before a disciplinary hearing Tuesday.
Const. Sasa Sljivo and Const. Matthew Saris are charged under the Police Services Act in connection to an incident where they called Francie Munoz, a 29-year-old woman with Down syndrome, a half woman and a “little disfigured” in comments to each other during a traffic stop.
Their words and laughter were discovered after Francie’s mother, Pamela Munoz, fought an alleged traffic violation and subsequently obtained dash cam video from the traffic stop. The audio also recorded Sljivo and Saris refer to her daughter as “different.”
The towering officers, both dressed in dark blue suits, made their first brief appearance before the police disciplinary tribunal, which was packed with Munoz’s family and friends, including some with Down syndrome and their relatives.
The officers quickly left the hearing room after the minutes-long appearance, averting their eyes.
“I looked at them,” Francie Munoz said afterwards. “They did not look at me.”
Toronto police documents detailing the charges allege Sljivo was the officer doing the talking. He faces two charges under the Police Act: one for allegedly using “profane, abusive or insulting language” in contravention of the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Toronto police policy, procedures and standards of conduct, and the second for acting in a disorderly manner likely to discredit Toronto police.
Saris faces one count for allegedly being “complicit” in Sljivo’s comments and failing to report his conduct to a superior.
Neither officer entered a plea Tuesday.
Last month, Sljivo and Saris sent a letter to the family apologizing for their “inexcusable remarks” and taking full responsibility.
Soon after the incident came to light, Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders addressed the officers’ comments, telling CP24 that they were not a “fair representation of what goes on on a day-to-day basis.”
The officers’ apology did not seem sincere, Pamela Munoz said. The family had asked for them to apologize in person and wanted their comments to be captured on video. If the officers were willing to do that, Munoz said, they would withdraw their complaint to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), which had resulted in the misconduct charges.
The officers, however, had not agreed to the family’s terms.
Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, said last month that Sljivo and Saris had made repeated attempts to arrange an in-person meeting with Francie and her family, and that the officers “have accepted responsibility for their comments from the beginning.”
“They have taken a lot of justified criticism from the public and their peers and regret their comments,” McCormack told the Star last month.
Professional misconduct charges before the police tribunal can result in penalties ranging from a reprimand to dismissal. After the hearing Tuesday, Pamela Munoz told reporters she hopes for the latter, though she doubts that will occur.
“In our hearts, a great outcome would have been for them to leave the Toronto Police Service, because it’s shameful for police officers to feel that way,” she said.
The family feels buoyed by friends and supporters standing alongside them at the hearing, she continued, particularly relatives of other people with disabilities.
“It doesn’t just affect us. It affects our community,” she said. “(Other parents) are frightened about the repercussions — will our kids be looked at differently by the police, will they not take care of them if they need help?” she said.
The officers are due back before the disciplinary hearing next month.
Wendy Gillis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy Gillis can be reached at email@example.com
A 22-year-old Toronto man has been arrested following a shooting near Flemingdon Park on Saturday that left one man in serious condition.
An unidentified man in his early 20s was found by police with a gunshot wound to his abdomen near Linkwood Ln. and St Dennis Dr. shortly before 6:30 p.m.
Di’on Jahil Wong was arrested Tuesday and is facing 14 charges including attempted murder and firearm related charges.
On Sunday police searched Wong’s home where they found 2.17 grams of cocaine, a shotgun with a folding stock, homemade ammunition, a bulletproof vest and paraphernalia used to produce illegal drugs.
Three people are in non-life threatening condition after a shooting in North York, Tuesday evening.
At around 5:15 p.m., police received a call for gunshots heard in the Jane St. and Sheppard Ave. W. area, said Toronto police spokesperson Const. David Hopkinson.
“We had info that a number of shots were heard and that there were kids in the area,” said Hopkinson.
Police found shell casings at the scene, a residential area.
Hospkinson says that police then located three victims in a car — a man and two women — who were suffering from non-life threatening gunshots wounds.
According to investigators, the victims may have been taking themselves to the hospital when police found them.
Police say it’s too early in the investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Investigators are now looking for a black SUV that was seen fleeing the area.
U.S. President Donald Trump has attacked a long list of people and groups, late-night comedians noted Monday in the aftermath of deadly weekend violence in Charlottesville, Va.
Yet it took him two days to condemn the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other white supremacy groups who had gathered there.
“Was that so hard? Why did that take two days?” asked Late Show host Stephen Colbert.
“It shouldn’t take longer for the president to do the right thing than it takes to get a package from Amazon,” said Seth Meyers of Late Night.
“He sounds like a kid whose parents made him apologize for egging their neighbour’s house,” said Jimmy Kimmel, host of Jimmy Kimmel Live!
“The whole thing is such a bummer because Nazis were like the last thing we all agreed on,” Meyers added. “Indiana Jones fought the Nazis and we love Indiana Jones!”
They rattled off lists of people the president had found easier to criticize.
Just in the last week, Meyers said, the president “slammed the Senate Majority Leader of his own party and got into a war of words with North Korea.” Trump, he noted, has previously excoriated the likes of former presidential candidate Jeb Bush and even “people who drink Diet Coke.”
Colbert’s list was longer: “Hillary Clinton, the New York Times, CNN, Joe Scarborough, Kristen Stewart and the cast of Hamilton, Diet Coke, Nordstrom not selling his daughter’s clothes, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, me, the state of New Hampshire, Gold Star families, Penn Jillette’s Las Vegas show, the movie Django Unchained, Meryl Streep and Lady Ghostbusters.”
As Kimmel said, “When Donald Trump is upset . . . he doesn’t keep it bottled up, he lets us know.”
While the comedians criticized the president as well as voiced their dismay over the weekend events that unfolded, there were elements of humour, too.
“We went into the weekend wondering about Kim Jong Un starting a war,” Kimmel said. “We came out of it wondering if our president was cutting eyeholes out of his bedsheets.”
A sombre moment
Jimmy Fallon gave the most serious of the monologues, saying it was his “responsibility to stand up against intolerance and extremism as a human being.”
As he watched the news about Charlottesville, with his daughters in the next room, Fallon said he thought, “How can I explain to them that there is so much hatred in this world?”
He commended “one brave woman,” Heather Heyer, 32, who was killed when a car slammed into a group of counterprotesters.
Fallon said ignoring the hateful behaviour exhibited at the rally is “just as bad as supporting it.”
He said all Americans need to “stand against what is wrong” and acknowledge that racism exists, in order “to show the next generation that we haven’t forgotten how hard people have fought for human rights.”
“We cannot do this,” Fallon said, seemingly on the verge of tears. “We can’t go backward. We can’t go backward.”
The tiki torches used by the white nationalists in a late-night march in Charlottesville caught the comedians’ attention, in part because the maker of the torches issued a statement saying it wasn’t “associated in any way” with the events that took place there.
“You know it’s bad when the thing you were angrily waving denounces you,” Meyers said. Then, taking aim at Trump, he added: “You didn’t have to rise to the level of FDR or JFK. All you had to do was show the same amount of courage and moral clarity as the people who make tiki torches. And you failed.”
Colbert echoed that sentiment. “It’s pretty troubling when a backyard decoration comes out swinging stronger against Nazis than the president of the United States,” he said.
“It’s really hard to come off as intimidating when you got torches from your mom’s patio,” Meyers said.
The comedians also poked fun at Trump’s initial public comments Saturday, in which he referred to the violence in Charlottesville as coming from “many sides.” He did not identify the groups he viewed as disruptive.
“How can you possibly say you condemn this in the strongest possible terms when you don’t even name the groups responsible or say what they did?” Colbert said. “I have seen angrier Yelp reviews. And they weren’t afraid to use the word ‘Nazi’ when describing how long their jalapeño poppers took.”
“There were two sides, not many sides,” Kimmel said. “And one of those sides had Nazis on it.”
“Mr. President, Mr. President, this is terrorism, not your order at KFC,” Colbert said to chuckles from the audience. Imitating Trump, he said: “I’d like the 10-piece bucket with potato wedges, fries, mash — you know what? Many sides. Many sides. Coleslaw.”