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    Locals and tourists alike marvel at the Toronto skyline for its great heights and compelling shapes glittered with lights. On Labour Day weekend, it is projecting a message in the sky: “LESS IS MORE OR.”

    The TD Centre, Toronto’s original set of skyscrapers, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a message created with the light from its windows. Artist Aude Moreau produced “Less is More Or” as a tribute to Mies van der Rohe, the TD Centre’s architect, who embodied the phrase “less is more” with his minimalist esthetic.

    “It was my chance to reflect on Mies van der Rohe's emblematic statement on architecture and minimalism in the context of our time,” Moreau said. “In this site-specific intervention, I am adding the least possible, using what is already present. That is minimalism.”

    After months of planning and collaboration with electrical contractors, the piece debuted on Saturday night, with volunteers and staff working the blinds on the five TD Centre towers to form the words.

    “By playing with these superstructures’ typical, squared luminous emanations, I engage with architecture from within,” said Moreau, who has done similar projects in Montreal and Los Angeles, “but nothing this complex, ambitious and at this scale.”

    “I think big ideas shown in artwork cannot be overstated,” said David Hoffman, general manager of the TD Centre. “The meaning of this artwork is significant, “less is more” and the principles of minimalism certainly apply today and definitely in the future.”

    The “Or” in the piece is open to interpretation, according to Moreau.

    “I wanted to revisit the interpretation of the evolution of modernism and the possibilities of what is to come . . . to say ‘what now’.”

    Moreau approached the TD Centre to do the project, a complex that Hoffman calls a “symbol of leading Canadian business” and design excellence.

    The TD Centre is undergoing a $200 million renewal, including repainting the towers and replacing the windows.

    From ground-level, the best place to see the project is Roundhouse Park, where viewers are surrounded by the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre, some of the most iconic parts of the city’s skyline.

    Monday night is the final night to see the project.

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    An Ontario Provincial Police officer has been taken to hospital in serious condition after being dragged by a vehicle during a routine traffic stop in Mississauga.

    Peel Regional police say the incident happened just before 9 a.m. at Highway 403 and Hurontario St., where an OPP officer and a car he had stopped were involved.

    “When he was conducting the traffic stop, the vehicle that he had pulled over had dragged him a (short) distance,” Peel police Const. Baljit Saini said.

    The officer was rushed to Sunnybrook hospital with serious injuries. He is in non-life-threatening, stable condition, Saini said.

    OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said the officer injured is Const. Patrick Chatelain. He has been with the service for four years and is part of the Port Credit detachment.

    Police say the suspect vehicle fled northbound on Hurontario St. It is described as a charcoal grey Chrysler 300 with black rims and a Quebec licence plate FLK8756.

    Saini said there were four people in the car. Police said not to approach the vehicle. Anyone with information is asked to call Peel police or Crime Stoppers.

    Some Highway 403 on- and off-ramps in the areas are closed for the police investigation.

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    LONDON—Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, will soon welcome a third child to the royal nursery.

    Kensington Palace officials announced Monday that the former Kate Middleton is pregnant, but was not feeling well enough to attend an engagement later in the day.

    As with her other two pregnancies, the duchess is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, or acute morning sickness. She is being cared for at the royal couple’s apartment in London’s Kensington Palace.

    The sickness failed to dampen the buoyant mood among the royals, however. Prince Harry will be bumped down in the line of succession, but was overjoyed, describing the news as “fantastic,” and offering a thumb’s up while on a visit to Manchester.

    And asked how the Duchess was he said: “I haven’t seen her for a while but I think she’s OK.”

    No details were immediately available about when the third baby is due, though the duchess is less than 12 weeks pregnant. That would put the due date somewhere between mid-March and mid-June.

    William and Kate, both 35, already have two children: Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 2.

    The announcement comes as the royal couple prepared to mark another milestone for their young family: Prince George is scheduled to start school Thursday at Thomas’s Battersea in south London.

    Read more:Royal parents share new portrait of Prince George to mark fourth birthday

    Their choice of a south London school indicated that the royal couple was settling into their Kensington Palace apartment, having moved recently from their Norfolk home Anmer Hall

    Betting agencies were quick to start offering odds on possible names for the soon-to-be addition to the House of Windsor.

    Paddy Power offered 8-to-1 odds on Alice and 10-to-1 odds on Arthur. Also popular is Diana, after Prince William’s mother, particularly given the timing of the announcement.

    William and Kate took a leading role in marking the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death last week. The couple, joined by William’s brother, Prince Harry, toured the garden of Kensington Palace to commemorate the princess’s contributions to their family and the many charities she supported.

    “Given the recent anniversary, there’ll be plenty of interest in the name Diana if the baby is a girl,” Paddy Power said.

    When asked on a royal tour in Singapore in 2012 about how many children he wanted, William said he was “thinking about having two.”

    More recently, during a royal tour of Poland, Kate joked about a third child when she was given a cuddly toy designed to soothe tiny babies.

    Kate thanked the well-wisher for the present and turned to William.

    “We will just have to have more babies,” she said, laughing.

    Kate is the eldest of three siblings, and reportedly had a very happy childhood. William and Harry are the only children of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

    Some visitors to the palace Monday were taken aback by the news. Elizabeth Hopkins, 79, from west London was delighted and said Britain needs lots of royal children.

    “They’re lovely and, you know, going around with a lot of children brings out the best in people as well,” she said. “And they’ve obviously very happy children and in a happy group, so I think it’s all the best for them.”

    Others said the world would be watching.

    Katherine Redo, 34, who lives in London but is originally from Metairie, Louisiana, held tight to her squirming 2-year-old daughter, Annabelle, and said she believed many people in the United States would be happy for the royal couple.

    “It’s sweet because usually it’s just an heir and a spare and they’re having a third,” she said. “It just gives the idea or the impression that they’re just even more the sweetest, perfect little family.”

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    Alan Doucette’s father spent two years less a day in jail for union activity.

    As member of the Canadian Seaman’s Union, he was part of the 1946 strike at England’s London Harbour, fighting for worker’s rights after the Second World War.

    It’s a story his son has never forgotten.

    “He was very proud of that because he did it on principle,” said Doucette, a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 873.

    “That’s why I belong to union and that’s why I’m marching today.”

    Doucette is just one of thousands of people who gathered in downtown Toronto to support the labour movement Monday morning.

    “The Labour Day parade is a celebration of all the things we are accomplishing together and a reminder about why we fight,” said Tracy McMaster, a member of OPSEU, which represents 130,000 public service workers across the province.

    For Francesco Luberto, who spent decades working in road construction, on water mains and sewers, and bridges, the parade was a chance to celebrate his retirement five years ago.

    “It gave me the opportunity and the chance to enjoy my retirement. It’s the best thing that ever happened to my life after my wife,” he said of his union, Laborers' International Union of North America, Local 183, which represents construction workers.

    Jagmeet Singh, an Ontario NDP MPP running for leadership of the federal party, said the parade is an opportunity to celebrate the victories of the labour movement — everything from weekends to workers’ safety.

    But an ongoing strike by about 700 ground crew workers at Pearson International Airport is a reminder there’s more work to do.

    “It just highlights how important it is to continue to fight for rights,” he said.

    It’s a sentiment Premier Kathleen Wynne echoed in a statement Monday morning.

    “I have spent the summer travelling around our province, and what I am hearing is that people are worried.”

    “We need to do all we can to ensure that people are given every chance to get ahead during this period of change,” she said, adding that’s why the government is raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

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    SALT LAKE CITY—Officials at a Utah hospital where a nurse was arrested after refusing to allow police to draw blood from an unconscious patient apologized that security officers didn’t intervene and said Monday that they have implemented policy changes to prevent it from happening again.

    The announcements mark the latest fallout from nurse Alex Wubbels’ release last week of July 26 video from a Salt Lake City police officer’s body camera showing him dragging her from University of Utah Hospital and handcuffing her. The officer has been put on leave, and his agency has apologized.

    Hospital CEO Gordon Crabtree said changes took effect in August that allow only senior nursing supervisors to speak with law enforcement and ban conversations with police in patient care areas.

    Officials spoke publicly for the first time to make it clear that the hospital took action long before Wubbels released the video, said Crabtree, who called the officer’s actions out of line.

    “There’s absolutely no tolerance for that kind of behaviour in our hospital,” Crabtree said. “Nurse Wubbels was placed in an unfair and unwarranted position . . . Her actions are nothing less than exemplary.”

    Read more:

    Utah officer handcuffs screaming nurse, on video, for refusing to draw blood from unconscious patient without consent

    Georgia cop fired after video captures him saying ‘we only shoot Black people’

    Police chiefs blast Trump for seeming to endorse ‘police brutality’

    Meanwhile, University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy said none of his officers at the hospital have been disciplined but will receive additional training in the wake of the arrest.

    Wubbels has said she released the video her attorneys received through a public records request partly because she was unhappy that university police didn’t help her. She wasn’t immediately available for comment on the hospital’s announcements.

    Brophy said that when he met with Wubbels and her attorney last Tuesday, he had not seen the video.

    “It’s like seeing a picture or actually visiting a place — it’s completely different,” the police chief said. “It was clear that the arrest was completely mishandled and was inappropriate and didn’t need to happen. She had done everything she possibly could to make that situation work and she wasn’t rewarded for that.”

    The video shows Wubbels, who works in the burn unit, calmly explaining that she could not take blood from a patient who had been injured in a car accident. A 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling said a blood sample cannot be taken without patient consent or a warrant.

    Salt Lake City Det. Jeff Payne insisted, though police didn’t have a warrant and the unconscious patient was not a suspect.

    The dispute ended with Payne saying, “We’re done, you’re under arrest” and pulling her outside while she screamed, “I’ve done nothing wrong!”

    Wubbels, a former alpine skier who competed in the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, told The Associated Press on Friday that she was grateful for support from her supervisors and hospital staff but disappointed she was left to defend herself with no help from university police.

    “This cop bullied me. He bullied me to the utmost extreme, and nobody stood in his way. And that should have originally been the job of security and the university police,” Wubbels said. “And they decided that when they showed up, they didn’t want to play for my team, and so they essentially put on the other guys’ jersey.”

    Criminal and internal affairs investigations are underway to review Payne’s actions.

    Payne hasn’t return messages left at publicly listed phone numbers. He wrote in a police report that he grabbed Wubbels and took her outside to avoid causing a “scene” in the emergency room.

    He said his boss, a lieutenant, told him to arrest Wubbels if she kept interfering. A second officer put on paid leave has not been officially identified, but officials have said they were reviewing the conduct of Payne’s boss.

    Wubbels, who was not charged, has not filed a lawsuit but her attorneys say that could change.

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    As Ontario's 2 million students head back to class on Tuesday, Canada's second-largest school board is pledging to remove barriers for those who feel excluded or are struggling with mental health issues.

    Peel District School Board's new education director, Peter Joshua, was greeted with cheers as he stepped up to the podium and delivered that message to the hundreds of staff who filled a Brampton conference centre last week.

    “Teaching is very much about meeting students halfway through understanding and empathy,” he said. “And some of our students need more from us. They need us to identify, understand, minimize and eliminate the marginalization they experience so they can rise.”

    That includes Black, LGBTQ and Indigenous students, and those who live in poverty, he said.

    It was Joshua’s first opportunity to introduce himself at the annual back-to-school kickoff held by the Peel board. But it wasn’t long before he was sharing the stage.

    First came a Grade 12 student who spoke about her years struggling with anxiety and depression, and dreading school.

    “Sound familiar? Students like me are in your schools right now,” she told the crowd last week, before delivering a stirring vocal performance.

    She was followed by a Grade 11 pupil who used spoken word to describe how, as a Black student, he had felt labelled, judged and discouraged from his goal of becoming a veterinarian. At one point “I stopped trying,” he said, adding that he is now determined to set his own path.

    “If you as educators want to do better, reconsider judging,” he urged staff. “Reconsider judging my looks or my friends . . . encourage never discourage. Care not because it’s your job, but because we matter.”

    Joshua said the students’ messages needed to be delivered without being “watered down.”

    The voices of students who are struggling or feel marginalized “are sometimes difficult to hear,” he said in his remarks. “Our backs go up. We think, ‘have I said this to a student?’ Our discomfort should lead to self-reflection.”

    Those voices also underscore the need for more training to help staff meet the diverse needs of the children and youth they teach. In a survey last year, mental health was an area staff requested more help with, he noted. And additional training will be provided to help equip them with strategies to support students with anxiety and other conditions.

    In the past year, the board has announced initiatives to address the needs of Black students after surveys revealed many felt excluded, subject to suspicion and harsher discipline, and that they faced lower expectations for careers and university and were streamed into courses below their abilities.

    In response, the board presented a plan starting with mandatory bias and anti-racism training for all staff, which begins this fall. It also pledged to revise curriculum to include the history and experiences of Black Canadians throughout, and to create mentoring programs aimed at getting more Black students involved in taking on leadership roles.

    It committed to collecting race-based statistics at a time when boards across the province are being encouraged to take that step.

    Peel’s first student census to provide that information is expected to be completed by December 2018.

    Its first workforce census earlier this year found that while visible minorities make up more than half of Peel Region, only about a quarter of staff and teachers at the board identify as “racialized.”

    Joshua says Peel’s 153,000 students need to see themselves reflected in the people who teach them and what they learn in their classrooms.

    “If students see themselves reflected in the curriculum, if they believe their identities are validated and their narratives are included they will be engaged,” he told staff last week.

    He said the board will be working with York University professor Carl James to measure the impact of the steps it is taking and what more should be done.

    “I’m encouraged with the conversations we’ve had, and the fact the board has had these discussions with the community,” said James, who last spring published a major study on the barriers faced by Black students in the GTA.

    “They’ve put in place a number of processes that I think should bode well,” he said in an interview, adding that it has the potential to become a model for other boards.

    The population of Peel has changed dramatically since Joshua, 53, was a young student and one of the few non-white faces in his class photos.

    Raised in Mississauga by parents who immigrated from Pakistan and India, he attended Peel schools until he left for McMaster University in Hamilton, where he earned a degree in biology followed by a master’s degree in molecular virology and immunology and studied with a leading HIV-AIDS researcher.

    His stint as a teaching assistant made him realize he wanted to pursue a career in education.

    After attending teachers college at Western University in London, he returned to the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board to teach high school biology and chemistry for eight years before moving into administration.

    His most recent role was executive superintendent of leadership and learning, which included exploring non-traditional teaching, programs and classrooms.

    Joshua lived, worked and raised two daughters in Hamilton with his wife before returning after 28 years to take the helm at a board three times larger than his previous one.

    In an interview earlier this summer, he said he plans to stay the course with the ground laid by predecessor Tony Pontes and put student experience front and centre.

    “Ultimately if I’m not listening to our students, why are we doing what we’re doing?”

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    OTTAWA—Boeing Co. has no plans to back down in its trade dispute with Canadian rival Bombardier — a high-stakes, cross-border conflict that the U.S. transportation giant says could have long-term ramifications for the future of the entire aerospace sector.

    The potential consequences of the Boeing-Bombardier standoff extend beyond any single deal — especially for Boeing itself, said Marc Allen, president of Boeing’s international division.

    “In Canada, we face a situation with a competitor, an emerging competitor, that has, yes, long received government support — but that just went beyond the pale in 2016,” Allen said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

    “That aggressive move had to be addressed if we really believe in establishing a global architecture that will create the greatest prosperity for our industry and for us as a company in the long term.”

    Boeing triggered the dispute earlier this year when it complained that Montreal-based Bombardier was selling its CSeries passengers jets to U.S.-based Delta Air Lines at an unfairly low price, thanks to loans and grants from both the province of Quebec and the federal government.

    When the U.S. Commerce Department and its associated International Trade Commission agreed in May to investigate the complaint, the Trudeau government fired a warning shot, threatening to scrap its multibillion-dollar “interim” plan to buy 18 of Boeing’s “interim” Super Hornet fighter jets.

    Read more:

    Boeing asks U.S. government to delay decision on Bombardier CSeries duties

    Fighter jet talks ‘suspended’ with Boeing amid its trade spat with Bombardier, Ottawa says

    Harjit Sajjan lashes out at Boeing over trade spat with Bombardier

    “The interim (fighter) procurement requires a trusted industry partner,” Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said on May 31, in what amounted to the government’s strongest public words on the dispute to date.

    “Our government is of the view their action against Bombardier is unfounded. It is not the behaviour we expect of a trusted partner and we call on Boeing to withdraw it.”

    Boeing initially hoped to resolve the dispute through diplomacy, Allen said, and convinced the U.S. government last year to send an official note to Canada, known as a demarche.

    “There was just no response,” Allen said. “It was clear that no progress was going to be made, and that if any progress was going to be had, it would have to be through some form of enforcement action.”

    Boeing knew the dispute would spark a strong reaction from Ottawa, Allen continued, but company executives decided that it needed to take action in order to protect the firm’s broader interests.

    And while the American aerospace titan — which also happens to employs thousands of people across Canada — would still prefer finding a resolution through more amicable means, Allen said it is singularly focused on achieving its objectives.

    “There’s certainly no desire to do something that any one of our customers or any one of our sovereign-state partners would take offence at,” he said. “But the effort to enforce our interests in an even playing field in aerospace is a very large interest.”

    Some have questioned why Boeing is being so aggressive; the CSeries planes manufactured by Bombardier do not directly compete with the U.S. company’s existing passenger jets.

    But Allen said the situation has echoes of the rapid ascent of Airbus, the European consortium that was formed in the 1970s and has since grown to become the second largest aerospace company in the world, and Boeing’s most formidable rival.

    “We watched another competitor come up and enter the market in a very similar fashion,” he said. “And in retrospect, I think that you find across the board in U.S. aerospace, people . . . who would have said they wish they had confronted the uneven playing field.”

    Boeing and Airbus have been locked in their own trade dispute at the World Trade Organization for more than a decade.

    Many defence officials and industry representatives have circled Sept. 25 on their calendars; that’s the date the U.S. Commerce Department is scheduled to release the preliminary findings of its investigation into Bombardier.

    But Allen said he expects the dispute to drag into next year, as U.S. officials finalize their findings and decide whether to level fines or tariffs against the Canadian manufacturer.

    That could force the federal Liberal government into making a decision about whether to move ahead with the Super Hornet purchase, or abandon it before a final decision is reached.

    The Trudeau government announced in November its plan to purchase the planes to temporarily fill a critical shortage of fighter jets until a full competition can be run to replace the aging CF-18s.

    The government said at the time that the Super Hornet was the only aircraft able to meet its immediate requirements, including being a mature design compatible with U.S. fighters.

    Since the Boeing-Bombardier spat erupted, however, it has largely cut off direct contact with the U.S. company and says that all options for filling the fighter-jet shortage are on the table.

    Many defence experts, including 13 retired air force commanders, have criticized the plan to purchase interim Super Hornets and called for an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s.

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    There will be no back-to-school selfies or binge-watching for students of the Toronto District School Board as a restriction on Instagram, Snapchat and Netflix will continue this year.

    In a statement released last week, the school board said there were unexpected delays in upgrading its Wi-Fi network during the summer.

    The school board announced in May that access to the popular image-sharing and streaming apps would be blocked until June 30.

    “As mobile device usage increases, so do the demands on this network, which was not designed to support this level of activity,” the board said at the time.

    Read more:TDSB students teaching themselves to work around website bans

    According to the board, almost half the schools in the system use an “older, slower network,” which cannot keep up with the growing traffic. The traffic overload has caused “slowness and lagging on the network.”

    The board was hoping to have installed faster, reliable internet network before the school year started.

    “In the spring, when these three sites were initially blocked, staff reported experiencing faster internet speeds as a result of the reduced traffic and were able to complete necessary operational tasks such as attendance,” the board said in a statement.

    “This continued measure will help alleviate congestion and boost network capacity while minimizing the impact on teaching and learning.”

    The board will revisit the policy in June 2018.

    With files from Star staff

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    Come the apocalypse, most Torontonians know exactly what they'd do: just hop in the car and head north for the cottage.

    Dream on. That fantasy would come to a screeching halt on the Don Valley Parkway somewhere well before the Bloor Viaduct.

    As Hurricane Harvey has made painfully clear in recent days, when disaster strikes a big city, there's no way out. Residents become prisoners. Either stuck in their homes or their vehicles; for many reasons, there's nowhere for them to go.

    Regardless, ever since a flood of biblical proportions laid waste to Houston, people have been demanding to know why no evacuation order was given. The answer is simple; it would only have piled one disaster on top of another.

    “You literally cannot put 6.5 million people on the road,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “If you think the situation right now is bad, you give an order to evacuate, you are creating a nightmare.”

    This flies in the face of the basic human impulse to run away from catastrophe, but Turner was right. Though heavily criticized, he told a truth no one wanted to hear. Sitting in a car in shoulder-high floodwaters isn't exactly smart.

    When Hurricane Rita hit Houston in 2005, locals — about 3.7 million of them — decided to hit the highway. They had seen what unfolded in New Orleans and elsewhere during Hurricane Katrina, when some 1,800 people stayed home and were killed, and weren't inclined to hang around. What followed has been called the “largest evacuation in U.S. history.”

    Read more:

    Menacing Hurricane Harvey makes landfall in Texas with rain, heavy winds

    ‘Life threatening’ Hurricane Harvey strengthens as it surges toward Texas, Louisiana

    Harvey causes chaos in Houston, 6 family members feared dead after van swept away

    It was also a nightmare. As National Public Radio reported at the time: “In searing 100-degree heat . . . The traffic jam stretched for over 100 miles and has been going on for over a day and a half . . . Gasoline was not to be found along the interstate and cars that ran dry made the gridlock even worse. Abandoned vehicles littered the shoulder lanes.”

    Closer to home, an evacuation order was issued last year when devastating forest fires hit Fort McMurray, but not until buildings in the city were burning. Almost 90,000 people fled in their cars. Given that Fort McMurray is “a one-road-in, one-road-out city,” the inevitable result was chaos. Indeed, the only deaths connected to the fire came when a couple was killed in car crash during the evacuation.

    In the aftermath, officials were criticized for not ordering the evacuation sooner. No surprise there; but call it too soon, you're overreacting; wait too long, you're risking lives. Damned if you, damned if you don't.

    The only thing these disaster-stricken cities have in common was their lack of preparation. Whether it's even possible to prepare for catastrophe is doubtful, but some cities seem better at it than others. Vulnerability accumulates over decades through series of seemingly unrelated decisions. At the urging of Mayor John Tory, for example, Toronto recently opted to kill a plan that would have included a special levy to fund the costs of stormwater management. At the time council made its decision, much of the Toronto Islands was under water. Lake Ontario was at its highest level in a century, a full metre above the average of 2016.

    In July 2013, when a month's worth of rain fell in less than 24 hours, the subway was brought to a standstill, GO trains were stranded in water, power was cut to 300,000 and hundreds of cars abandoned, many on the parkway, which would be a major evacuation route in a disaster. Yet even at the best of times, the DVP, the Gardiner Expressway and the whole regional highway system are overwhelmed with traffic; their usefulness in a Hurricane Harvey-type situation would be limited.

    In other words, we're stuck — all 2.8 million of us. And indications are that the outcome wouldn't be pretty. Consider, for example, the small but telling fact that the city forks out about $70 million annually through its basement protection scheme. Rather than confront the causes of flooding, it prefers to pay homeowners to bail out. As civic bureaucrats know only too well, in tough economic times — pretty well permanent in these parts — stormwater management budgets are among the first to be affected.

    Clearly, city officials believe climate change measures can always be put off for another day. Though the effects of global warming are apparent, there is no collective sense of urgency. Toronto's unspoken policy remains the same as always — it won't happen here. If only.

    Christopher Hume’s column appears weekly. He can be reached at

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    NEW YORK—North Korea’s leader is “begging for war,” the U.S. ambassador said Monday at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, as members called for punishing the country with even stronger sanctions for its powerful nuclear test.

    Ambassador Nikki Haley said the U.S. would look at countries doing business with the North — which include China — and planned to circulate a resolution this week with the goal of getting it approved Sept. 11.

    “Enough is enough. War is never something the United States wants. We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited,” Haley said.

    “The United States will look at every country that does business with North Korea as a country, that is giving aid to their reckless and dangerous nuclear intentions,” she said.

    The move came as South Korea said it was seeing preparations in the North for an ICBM test and fired missiles into the sea to simulate an attack on the North’s main nuclear test site.

    Also on Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by phone with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and agreed that Sunday’s underground nuclear test by North Korea was an unprecedented provocation. The two leaders also agreed to remove the limit on the payload of South Korean missiles.

    Read more:

    North Korean nuclear test poses familiar dilemma for U.S.

    Trudeau calls on UN to help constrain North Korea missile testing

    Nuclear-armed N. Korea a reality to deal with: Walkom

    The emergency UN session was scheduled after North Korea said it detonated the hydrogen bomb and came six days after the council strongly condemned what it called Pyongyang’s “outrageous” launch of a ballistic missile over Japan. Less than a month ago, the council imposed its stiffest sanctions yet on Kim Jong Un’s reclusive nation.

    Still, the U.S. resolution faces an uncertain future. Russia and China have both proposed a two-pronged approach: North Korea would suspend its nuclear and missile development, and the United States and South Korea would suspend their joint military exercises.

    Washington and Seoul say the manoeuvres are defensive, but Pyongyang views them as a rehearsal for invasion. The North recently requested a Security Council meeting about the war games.

    The U.S. says there is no comparison between its openly conducted, internationally monitored military drills and North Korea’s weapons programs, which the international community has banned.

    Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters after the meeting that sanctions alone will not solve the issue and that negotiations are needed as well.

    “Resolutions aimed solely at sanctioning North Korea have not worked well before,” he said.

    Diplomats from France, Britain, Italy and other countries reiterated demands for the Kim regime to halt its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs and urged further sanctions.

    French Ambassador Francois Delattre said France was urging the adoption of new UN sanctions, swift implementation of existing ones and new, separate sanctions by the European Union.

    “Pyongyang poses a clear threat to international peace and security and is increasingly and seriously challenging the global nonproliferation regime,” said Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi of Italy, which heads the North Korea sanctions compliance committee. He noted that North Korea is the only country to have tested a nuclear device in the 21st century.

    The North trumpeted that its sixth nuclear test blast since 2006 was a “perfect success.”

    “We cannot waste any more time. And in order to do that, we need North Korea to feel the pressure, but if they go down this road there will be consequences,” Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho told reporters before the meeting.

    Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi said the situation on the Korean peninsula “is deteriorating constantly as we speak, falling into a vicious circle.” He called for restarting talks and asked Washington and Seoul to suspend their exercises.

    The council aimed to take a big bite out of the North Korean economy earlier this month by banning the North from exporting coal, iron, lead and seafood. Together, those are worth about a third of the country’s $3 billion in exports last year.

    The council could look to sanction other profitable North Korean exports, such as textiles. Another possibility could be tighter limits on North Korean labourers abroad; the recent sanctions barred giving any new permits for such workers. The United States suggested other ideas earlier this summer, including air and maritime restrictions and restricting oil to North Korea’s military and weapons programs.

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    MEXICO CITY—Negotiators have run into a series of early sticking points on nearly every major element considered key to achieving a new NAFTA deal, The Canadian Press has learned.

    A recurring pattern involves one country raising a prized priority only to have other parties systematically refuse to engage in the conversation, said one source with knowledge of how the talks are unfolding in Mexico City.

    “The tone is negative,” said the source, who made sure to add that it’s still early. He said he remains hopeful a deal can be reached this year, and that obstinacy is to be expected in initial bargaining.

    Read more:

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    The source cited two examples.

    One is the Canadians asking for greater access to professional visas. It’s a priority not just for the Canadians, but also for businesses that struggle to send staff across the border. NAFTA’s visa list is outdated and doesn’t include modern digital jobs. The Americans have pushed off that conversation, which risks bumping into the country’s sensitive immigration politics.

    Canada has returned the favour. The second example cited by the source involves Canada’s supply management system. The U.S. has started to raise it as an issue. While the U.S. has not yet tabled a formal request, with numbers, it has declared its interest in loosening Canada’s import controls on dairy and poultry.

    He said the Canadians refused to open the discussion on two grounds: that Canada opposes the changes on principle, and that the U.S. has its own agricultural protections, such as tight controls on sugar imports and myriad programs to help struggling farmers.

    These are just two examples of an emerging pattern.

    “That’s literally the conversation playing out at every table,” said the source, who asked not to be named given the sensitivity of the discussions. “Almost everything has been raised (even if formal proposal papers have not yet been presented). People respond, ‘We have no mandate. We can’t discuss it.’”

    The negotiators broached additional difficult topics on Monday. A schedule obtained by The Canadian Press showed that the 12 negotiating tables meeting included the groups responsible for working on auto parts rules, government procurement and Buy American rules, and intellectual property.

    The fighting is internal as well. Canada’s push to include climate change action in a revamped agreement is turning into a heated domestic dispute just as it makes its debut at the official negotiating table. The NAFTA schedule obtained by CP showed the environment was on the schedule for seven hours of NAFTA talks on Monday and another seven hours on Tuesday.

    It could be one of the more contentious chapters, as significant differences of opinion about the environment exist between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump.

    Environment Minister Catherine McKenna launched an angry missive at Conservative foreign affairs critic Erin O’Toole on Sunday for suggesting the environment was a mere “trinket” better left to the sidelines to protect Canada’s economic well-being.

    She wrote a lengthy response on Facebook, noting it was O’Toole’s party under former prime minister Brian Mulroney that first included the environment in a Canadian trade deal with NAFTA’s parallel environment agreement.

    The history of international trade negotiations suggests it is best not to read too much into early intransigence.

    Former Canadian negotiator Gordon Ritchie, in his memoirs of the original 1980s Canada-U.S. trade talks, expressed frustration that the lead U.S. negotiator repeatedly refused to engage in discussions that were considered politically sensitive and that would ultimately be decided by his bosses in Washington.

    That’s what ended up happening in 1987: the thorniest issue involved a new international dispute settlement mechanism and it was settled in a final-night phone call between Mulroney and Ronald Reagan confidant James Baker.

    The source said he isn’t overly concerned about the early-round head-butting, which he says is expected. He said he still believes an agreement is possible by the end of the year: “I am not any more or less optimistic than I was going into this round.”

    The one irritant that has publicly surfaced is labour.

    Canada has several labour priorities, sources say: it wants the U.S. to sign a series of international labour agreements it has yet to approve, and it wants changes to labour laws in Mexico that would increase the salaries of autoworkers.

    Mexican business and labour leaders are resistant to any attempt by the United States to tighten labour standards or ensure that Mexican wages rise. Mexico has drawn plants and investments by capitalizing on low wages and weak union rules.

    Mexican and Canadian auto unions say in a report that Mexican autoworkers earn about $3.95 an hour, which is about one-ninth of average wages north of the border.

    Canadian union leader Jerry Dias said wages should be equalized, arguing that higher southern salaries are a win-win: Mexican workers would benefit, and Canadian and American workers might save some future jobs as more plants remain in the wealthier countries.

    But top Mexican union leader Carlos Aceves del Olmo says equalizing wages is “a pipe dream.”

    With files from The Associated Press

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    From last Wednesday to Monday, Toronto saw at least one shooting each day — a chilling series of events that included the deaths of two people: 22-year-old Jovane Clarke and 34-year-old Awad Hurre.

    Six of the seven shootings took place in an area of the city police call the northwest corridor — which includes a large part of North York and some parts of Etobicoke and York, bordered by Bayview Ave. to the east and the Humber river to the west. The seventh took place in Regent Park on Monday.

    The attacks have injured communities, roused advocates, and left police searching for answers.

    “When something like that happens, it shakes up the community,” said Keaton Austin, an Etobicoke pastor who advocates for safety of young people. “It makes the community get in more trouble; it’s more violated. The community is traumatized.”

    The string of events was particularly unnerving to police because of the public nature of some of the incidents.

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    Like the 2012 Eaton Centre shooting deaths of Ahmed Hassan and Nixon Nirmalendran, which drew the city’s attention toward gun violence, the shooting that killed Clarke took place inside a busy mall. Many shoppers and staff at Sheridan Mall in North York witnessed the attack, which took place around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.

    The shooting death of Hurre just two days later bore similarities to Clarke’s death that police said they could not ignore.

    Both victims were targeted for unknown reasons. Both were killed in public spaces with lots of people around. The two victims lived in the same apartment building, where Hurre was found dead.

    In each case, police said they were looking for four suspects.

    On Saturday Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook called Clarke’s killing, along with two non-fatal shootings that occurred Wednesday and Friday, “concerning.”

    “I don’t want to say that it is a threat to public safety,” she said. “It is a concern.”

    Const. Caroline de Kloet said Monday the message is the same, and called on communities to assist with investigations.

    In the wake of the attacks, Austin thinks more must be done to improve the security and safety of the areas where the shootings took place.

    “The Sheridan Mall is not the Eaton Centre,” Austin said. “A bunch of community housing, a bunch of people who are not that well off live in that area. If it was downtown, there would be more outcry.”

    Part of that, he said, means prioritizing security guards in malls, apartment buildings, and other busy spaces in that area of the city. (Sheridan Mall management did not discuss security details but said there was security in place at the location.)

    Austin also called gun access a major problem.

    “How are they getting the firearms?” he said Monday. “I think it should be way more stiff penalties with the firearms.”

    Homicide data made public by Toronto police show that, while 26 per cent of total Toronto homicides occurred in the northwest corridor between 2007 and 2016, 34 per cent of shooting homicides occurred in that area over the same period of time — 110 shooting homicides out of 163 for the area.

    Toronto police were unable to immediately comment on the specific shooting homicide statistics for the northwest corridor on Monday.

    “We do know that area is a concern,” de Kloet said.

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    TORONTO—Serina Manek has been living in Leslieville for seven years and has watched it go from a rough-around-the-edges area in Toronto’s east end, to one of the city’s most desirable neighbourhoods.

    The demand for Leslieville was always building, she says, but when the condos started going up, the boom of young families started to have an effect on the neighbourhood dynamic and, ultimately, the schools.

    “It was starting to burst at the seams with just the young families coming in at first,” said Manek, who has a 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. “But with the addition of the condos, things are becoming unmanageable. It’s too much.”

    Toronto public schools in condo-heavy neighbourhoods are starting to feel the squeeze of a dense population. The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has been warning new home buyers in certain neighbourhoods that not all children will be accommodated in their home school.

    TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird says the board has placed signs on the street level warning potential home buyers that a spot in a home school isn’t guaranteed and similar warnings are also included in the home buyer’s agreement. Bird says the most recent statistics show that there are 110 new developments in Toronto with those warnings.

    Leslieville is one of them and Manek says that she doesn’t know if her daughter will be able to go to the same school as her brother when she starts kindergarten.

    “It’s unsettling to walk around the neighbourhood and see that sign, and for that to be your form of communication,” Manek said. “I guess the frustration is the communication, but I don’t know where that communication would come from.”

    Sitting in a buzzing Leslieville park — one that Manek notes used to be empty a few years ago — she says that she doesn’t see the population boom as sustainable.

    Her friend, Holly Andruchuk, will be sending her son to his first year of kindergarten in the upcoming school year, but says that the implications of her crowded nearby school just keep piling up.

    Their school, Morse Park Junior Public School, is nestled on a small street just off of Leslieville’s main thoroughfare. In 2010, it was home to around 200 students, according to the TDSB. This year, it’s grown more than double that with over 500 students. Bird says the dramatic increase is due to changing demographics in the region, as well as the addition of French immersion at the school.

    Andruchuk says that the high number of students means that her son will be in a classroom with as many as 27 other students, and that is one of five kindergarten classes this year. And his classroom will be on the second floor, which she says is unusual for a kindergarten student.

    “Our teacher on orientation night actually said that, because we’re on the second floor, our kids don’t go outside as often,” Andruchuk said. “Because in winter time, trying to dress 4- and 5-year-olds (and then get them down the stairs) is a challenge on its own.”

    However, Andruchuk is optimistic that her son’s education won’t suffer. She believes that the community will have to step up to support their children in a way that a stressed school system might not be able to. Her friend Manek, however, is not so sure. She thinks that ultimately, some parents will give up on the Leslieville area and move on further away.

    Whether a community culture can save Leslieville or not, the problem isn’t isolated to the one Toronto neighbourhood. Bird says the housing development warnings are sprawled in locations all across the city.

    Next door in Mississauga, the Peel District School Board (PDSB) uses the same warning messages to prospective buyers in the crowded city centre area, where more families are living in condos than originally expected.

    “The numbers would bear out a trend that families are seeking a more affordable form of apartment condominiums,” said Randy Wright, a planning controller with the PDSB, who says that finding land for new schools for the incoming families is proving to be a difficult task.

    And across the country in Vancouver, the city’s public school board says it can’t always guarantee that students will be able to go to their home school and may have to be bussed out to further schools.

    In the meantime, Andruchuk and Manek are gearing up for the upcoming school year and plan to volunteer in the school system as much as possible.

    “I will always put my kids’ education first,” Manek said.

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    For the Athanasopoulos siblings, collecting TTC transfers from every subway station in one day was all about strategy.

    “Me and Matthew ran extremely fast up all the steps,” said 8-year-old Sophia Athanasopoulos, describing the race to climb flights upon flights of stairs on their journey to each of the TTC’s 69 subway stations (including the Scarborough RT).

    She and her eldest brother Matthew drew up a game plan on their TTC map one night prior to their August 31 trip, after middle-child Lukas casually suggested the idea.

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    It’s something their mother Lydia said she may have subliminally planted in her kids’ minds through stories from her childhood, and memories of collecting TTC transfers back when they were multicoloured.

    “It’s like collecting trading cards, they think it’s rare,” Lydia said, her family’s dining room table covered in arts supplies as the siblings worked away at showcasing their TTC treasures.

    “We went to the (Canadian National) Exhibition the day before, and this was far more entertaining. They had so much fun the whole day,” Lydia said.

    “I think that’s why they got extras,” she said, noting her kids usually picked up more than one transfer from each station, “because they think it’s going to be worth something down the road.”

    With the encouragement of their mother, the Athanasopoulos kids kicked off their journey at 3 p.m., starting at Jane Station. They travelled east on the Bloor-Danforth line up to McCowan station, the last stop on the Scarborough RT line.

    The family made their way back to conquer the northbound section of the Yonge-Univeristy Line and then travelled east on the Sheppard Line. Sheppard, or the purple line, was the favourite stretch of TTC track for the kids, who stopped to take a minute and enjoy the artwork displayed at each station platform.

    Fuelled by carrot sticks, burritos, cookies, chocolate milk, and Bathurst station’s beef patties — the finest patties the TTC has to offer, according to the siblings — they went back down Yonge-University to seize the west side of the U-shaped line. Then they hopped back onto Bloor-Danforth to complete their trip, ultimately travelling more than 130 km on the TTC.

    “It’s cool to just have them all,” said 13-year-old Matthew, who wants to keep his collection displayed beneath a Plexiglas sheet on his desk. “It’s a hundred per cent complete.”

    Despite gentle nudging from their mother Lydia to call it a day as the hours wore on, the siblings raced to snag the last transfer just as the clock struck midnight.

    Transfer time stamps show some trips were made in under a minute, but stops north of Yorkdale Station took up to 17 minutes to get to.

    “At Wilson, it was really hard to get to Sheppard-West because the trains were all messed up and people wouldn’t get off,” said Lukas.

    The children turned into animated transit critics as they described the subway shortfalls that got in the way of their efficiency, like signal delays, aging subway cars, and the inconvenient positioning of some transfer machines.

    While Lydia was impressed with the boost in maintenance of some TTC washrooms since her youth, she said accessibility at the stations hasn’t improved as much as she expected.

    “The accessibility factor . . . that should be a priority. I would say nothing’s changed really, from when I was a kid on the yellow and green line,” she said.

    The kids say they’re relieved to now have a copy of all the transfers, but would make the trip again to include new stations.

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    A newspaper photographer from Ohio was shot Monday night by a sheriff’s deputy who apparently mistook his camera and tripod for a gun, and fired without a warning, the newspaper reported.

    Andy Grimm, a photographer for the New Carlisle News, left the office at about 10 p.m. to take pictures of lightning when he came across a traffic stop and decided to take photos, according to the paper’s publisher, Dale Grimm.

    “He said he got out, parked under a light in plain view of the deputy, with a press pass around his neck,” Grimm told The Washington Post. “He was setting up his camera, and he heard pops.”

    Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Shaw did not give any warnings before he fired, striking Andy Grimm on the side, according to the paper.

    Dale Grimm, who is Andy Grimm’s father, said his son called him from an ambulance on the way to the hospital. He is expected to recover.

    The state attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Division is investigating the shooting. A representative for the attorney general’s office was not immediately available for comment Tuesday morning. It also remains unclear if Shaw has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings, or if he will face disciplinary actions.

    The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has not returned a call seeking comment. Sheriff Deborah Burchett has not responded to an email.

    Andy Grimm, who knows Shaw, said he does not want the officer to be fired, the paper reported.

    “I know Jake,” he said. “I like Jake. I don't want him to lose his job over this.”

    Asked if he thinks the sheriff’s deputy or the department should be held accountable for the shooting, Dale Grimm said he’d rather not say anything.

    “We know the deputy. This is a small town of 5,000 people . . . We know the deputies. We work with them on a daily basis. We have an excellent relationship with them,” he said.

    Dale Grimm and his son run the family-owned newspaper, located in New Carlisle, a town just outside of Dayton, Ohio. The family contracts with reporters, editors and stringers.

    The newspaper echoed the same sentiments of sympathy toward the officer and posted a message on its Facebook page asking its readers and followers to refrain from making harsh comments about Shaw.

    “On behalf of our entire family, we thank you for all of the kind messages. One other thing. Please don’t mean mouth the deputy. Andy said he doesn’t want Jake to lose his job over this,” the paper wrote.

    Dale Grimm said he saw Burchett, the sheriff, shortly after his son was shot.

    “She held my hand. She said, ‘You know I love Andy,’” he said.

    He said the sheriff’s office has not said much to him about what prompted the shooting, but he’s assuming that the officer thought the camera was a weapon.

    “He probably didn’t know what it was,” he said. “I don’t want to second guess the deputy because they have to make split-second decisions. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong.”

    Andy Grimm is a known photographer in the community and has been working at the paper for years, his father said.

    “He really took to photography. He watched hundreds of tutorials on YouTube,” Dale Grimm said. “He’s a whiz with his camera, a whiz with Photoshop. He also lays out the newspaper.”

    Dale Grimm said his son had finished laying out the paper before he was shot. Otherwise, the print edition would not have been published.

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    A middle-aged man who lived an ordinary life for decades after raping and killing his frail 70-year-old neighbour deserved the adult life sentence handed him when he was finally brought to justice for the grisly crime he committed as a 15-year-old, Ontario’s highest court ruled Tuesday.

    In upholding the sentence, the Court of Appeal found the punishment given Christopher Ellacott reasonable and proportionate given the savage killing.

    “He sexually assaulted and murdered his elderly, vulnerable neighbour. He went on as though nothing had happened, avoiding justice for nearly 30 years,” the Appeal Court said. “There is no explanation for his crime; no sense of what motivated him to have committed so heinous an act.”

    Court records show Ellacott, a high school student, occasionally did household chores for Velma Thomson, of Petrolia in southwestern Ontario, who had suffered a stroke. In mid-October 1983, the 90-pound hairdresser was found at home, partly nude and lying in a pool of blood. An autopsy found several stab wounds to her heart and her jugular vein cut. She had likely been raped and sodomized, according to the records.

    The case went cold for years until a random check at a fingerprinting convention allowed police to link a thumbprint from the crime scene to Ellacott. Police then secretly obtained DNA samples from him. They arrested Ellacott in 2008 in Owen Sound, Ont., and charged the working father of two, who had no convictions, with Thomson’s first-degree murder and rape.

    A jury in Sarnia, Ont., convicted him in April 2012 and in March 2013, Superior Court of Justice John Desotti sentenced the then-45-year-old as an adult, as the Crown had requested. Ellacott was given life without parole eligibility for seven years, and a lifetime supervision order.

    Ellacott, who abandoned his conviction appeal, challenged the sentence. He argued he should have been punished as a youth, which means he would have received a maximum six years behind bars as opposed to the minimum seven he was given, and only a four-year period of supervision.

    Desotti made several errors, Ellacott argued, among them not properly considering his age at the time of the crime, and deeming his testimony an aggravating factor.

    The Appeal Court rejected the idea that he had been less morally culpable because he was 15 when he killed his victim. His blameworthiness was self-evident, the court said.

    “The appellant’s conduct was no mere mistake or lapse in judgment,” the Appeal Court said. “He committed an act of extreme violence against an elderly, vulnerable neighbour, who until then had no known reason to fear him.”

    The higher court did find fault with Desotti’s dim view of Ellacott’s testimony. At trial, the accused insisted the incriminating thumbprint came from a day before the crime when he helped Thomson carry a cardboard box inside the home. He also maintained the DNA wasn’t his.

    The testimony, Desotti said at various points, was a “lame and cobbled contrivance” and “nonsense,” and revealed something “quite sinister” about Ellacott.

    Those statements crossed the line, the Appeal Court found. Nevertheless, it declined to interfere with the sentence.

    “Although the sentencing judge erred in using the appellant’s testimony and denial of guilt as aggravating factors, the error is of no consequence,” the Appeal Court said. “The enormity of (Ellacott’s) crime renders a youth sentence manifestly inadequate to hold (him) accountable.”

    0 0

    OTTAWA—Canada, the U.S. and Mexico put a positive spin Tuesday on what sources say was a tough five-day round of negotiations to rewrite North American free trade rules.

    Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo presented a united front on a stage as talks wrapped up in Mexico City.

    Each in turn praised the “hard work” negotiators did at the table. Lighthizer said their efforts consolidated into two dozen chapters that will form the basis for the next round of talks to be held in Ottawa Sept. 23-27.

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    A joint statement issued by the three after their appearance emphasized that “important progress was achieved in many disciplines” and said more is expected in the coming weeks as negotiators take a break to consult with their respective industry associations and political decision-makers.

    The communiqué said all three countries “reaffirmed their commitment to an accelerated and comprehensive negotiation, with the shared goal of concluding the process towards the end of this year.”

    However speaking to reporters in Mexico City, Freeland acknowledged there are disagreements even as she insisted “North American relations are fundamentally solid.”

    “Of course this doesn’t mean we’re going to agree on all points. But our deep friendship will permit us to resolve disagreements which arise at times” she said, as negotiators focus on the “difficult task of modernizing NAFTA.”

    She said all “wholeheartedly share the goal of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.” She rhymed off data to say the North American Free Trade Agreement has benefited the U.S. to the tune of an extra $127 billion in economic activity each year since it was signed.

    And in contrast to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to ditch the talks and kick-start the legislative process to kill NAFTA, Trump’s chief trade envoy Lighthizer agreed there was “mutual agreement on many important issues.”

    But Lighthizer also stressed a new NAFTA that benefits U.S. workers and industry is a “very important priority” for Trump.

    “That’s why American delegation focused on expanding opportunities for American agriculture services and innovative industry, but …we also must address the needs of those harmed by the current NAFTA, especially our manufacturing workers.”

    “We must have a trade agreement that benefits all Americans and not just some at the expense of others,” Lighthizer said. “I am hopeful that we can arrive at an agreement that helps Americans workers, farmers and ranchers while also raising the living standards of workers in Mexico and Canada.”

    Guajardo struck a conciliatory note after last week, saying Mexico had to work on a “plan B” and anticipate a failure of the talks. He said Tuesday that Mexico was committed to a process that accommodates “each country’s interests.”

    “In the process, I recognize we have responsibility to translate our negotiations into a final result that will imply more jobs in North America, jobs that are well-paid jobs, and to strengthen basic principles in this continent,” he said.

    It was a diplomatic dance that belied many of the difficulties behind the scenes. Sticking points include the U.S. insistence on gaining greater access to Canada’s dairy and poultry sectors, its demand to end independent dispute resolution processes, and its demand that “Buy American” provisions — whether for auto parts or for government procurement projects — be protected.

    Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, said in an interview that one of the difficulties is that although the U.S. insists it wants to increase American content in the automotive sector by drafting tougher “rules of origin” or stiffer tracing of the origin of auto parts, it still has not put any substantive numbers on the table. Right now, vehicles and auto parts are required to have 62.5-per-cent North American content to travel tariff-free across continental borders.

    Volpe suggested the failure of the U.S. trade representative (USTR) office to put a hard number on the table may in fact be a good thing. He said the USTR may be documenting for the Trump White House data that negotiators, senators and congressional leaders, especially those with auto plants in their districts, already know, having recently gone through trade negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership that also dealt with “rules of origin” debates.

    “The fact that we haven’t seen a number and we haven’t seen proposals confirms for me that the USTR is doing the hard work of inventorying where the American assets are, and they’re going to get to the same conclusion that we did: the American assets and interests are all over the map in North America. It’s going to be very difficult to cleave them off.”

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    The father of the man killed when a Radiohead concert stage collapsed five years ago says a ruling Tuesday to stay the resulting charges against two companies and an engineer due to court delays is “beyond belief.”

    Scott Johnson, a 33-year-old British drum technician, died in June 2012 when part of a massive stage structure crashed down just hours before the British band was due to perform at Downsview Park. Three others were injured.

    “It’s hardly justice, I’m afraid,” said Ken Johnson, who works for a scaffolding safety association in the U.K., and has attended some of the previous hearings.

    The stage was “clearly overloaded and you don’t need to be an engineer to see that,” he said in a telephone interview from Germany.

    In 2013, entertainment company Live Nation, contractor Optex Staging and engineer Domenic Cugliari were charged with a total of 13 offences under provincial health and safety laws.

    Those charges were stayed Tuesday when Ontario court Judge Ann Nelson ruled the justice system had failed in allowing the case to take far too long to come to trial.

    The inordinate delays, Nelson ruled, had violated the rights of those charged to a timely hearing.

    “This case was a complex case that required more time than other cases in the system,” Nelson said in her 21-page judgment. “After allowing for all of the exceptional circumstances that were in play, this case still will have taken too long to complete.”

    The Supreme Court of Canada, Nelson noted, had set a presumptive ceiling of 18 months for proceedings in provincial courts, and this case — which would have taken almost five years to complete if it had gone to a second trial — would have lasted three times longer than that limit.

    In the spring, with the case set to wrap up after 40 trial days scattered over 14 months, the presiding judge, Shaun Nakatsuru, declared he had lost jurisdiction given his appointment to a higher court.

    That decision led to a senior justice declaring a mistrial in May, and a new hearing was set to begin Tuesday and wrap in May 2018.

    However, lawyers for Live Nation and Cugliari argued before Nelson last month for a stay in light of the delays. The parties agreed her ruling would also apply to Optex.

    “It is important to emphasize that timely justice is not just important to persons facing charges,” Nelson said in her ruling. “It is also important to our society at large.”

    A stay is a remedy of last resort given that it signals a “failure on the part of the administration of justice,” Nelson said.

    The judge acknowledged her ruling would have a “negative impact” on the victims of the stage collapse, especially on Johnson’s family.

    “No doubt, this decision will be incomprehensible to Mr. Johnson’s family, who can justifiably complain that justice has not been done,” Nelson said.

    While Johnson said he wasn’t surprised by the decision, he said it’s “absolutely staggering” that it came down to a law, which came into effect after the case began.

    “I quite like the idea, that the liberal nation that Canada is, that it wants to be fair across the board, but I don’t see any fairness in this judgment at all and I don’t see how anybody else can to be honest,” he said. “It doesn’t tell us why our son was killed and we’re none the wiser to be honest, as things stand, as to why he’s not here.”

    “I’m not very happy about it, but I’m equally resigned to the fact that there doesn’t seem much we can do about it,” he added.

    Live Nation, which has called what happened a “tragic incident,” was not immediately available when contacted by the Star.

    Crown lawyer, Dave McCaskill, said he was not surprised by the stay decision given the current state of Canadian law. He said it was too early to consider any appeal.

    The collapse, which the prosecution blamed on inadequate safety measures, prompted Radiohead to put off part of its 2012 European tour.

    0 0

    OTTAWA—Finance Minister Bill Morneau is standing firm in the face of loud opposition to proposed tax changes for people with private corporations, which he says will “level the playing field” in the Canadian tax system.

    The changes have been blasted by the Conservative opposition in Ottawa as a “small-business tax grab,” while a newly formed coalition of more than 40 groups representing lawyers, doctors, businesses, farmers and others has called on Ottawa to drop the proposed reforms.

    But the government is sticking to its guns, arguing the changes are meant to close tax loopholes available only to people with private corporations. The Liberals say these allow people with corporations to shift income to family members and shield savings inside a business to avoid taxes. They also contend that it’s unfair that people can use corporations to transform income into capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate than normal earnings.

    Speaking to reporters from Vancouver on Tuesday, where he met with business owners as part of a country-wide consultation on the proposed changes, Morneau said he hasn’t heard anything so far that would make the Liberal government change course on the tax changes.

    “Of course people would rather keep the system the way it is if it’s providing them with personal advantage,” he said.

    “We don’t want to be in a situation where there are two classes of Canadians: one class that can incorporate, another class that can’t; one class that as a result has lower tax rates, the other one that has higher tax rates. That’s not, in our estimation, a sustainable long-term future.”

    Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, the party’s finance critic, accused the government Tuesday of misleading Canadians in its contention that people with corporations have unfair tax advantages. Poilievre said there are already rules to prevent improper “income sprinkling” to family members and that small-business owners should be allowed to save money within their corporate structures.

    “What Minister Morneau is proposing is not solving a tax-avoidance problem; it’s solving a revenue-shortfall problem,” he said.

    Morneau announced the proposals in July, with a 75-day consultation period that is set to conclude Oct. 2. He said at the time that the government wants to close tax loopholes that — while legal — are being used by a wealthy few who use private corporations to avoid paying their full share “through fancy accounting schemes.”

    The first loophole involves so-called “income sprinkling,” where someone with a private corporation pays part of their income to members of their family — who are ostensibly employees — to avoid paying a larger percentage of income tax.

    Finance officials estimated in July that 50,000 families are avoiding taxes in this way, causing the government to miss out on $250 million per year.

    To address this, the government is proposing a new “reasonableness test” to ensure that income is transferred to family members for legitimate reasons, not just to spread money to pay lower taxes. The test already exists for family members who are 17 or younger. The government wants it extended to all adults, while a stricter version would apply to people between 18 and 24.

    Ottawa also wants to crack down on “passive income” that accrues from investments parked within a private corporation — money that is not to be reinvested in the business but is kept as personal savings that can be shielded from the higher, personal income tax rate and is not subject to the contribution limits of other savings mechanisms, such as RRSPs.

    The final loophole targeted by Morneau involves Canadians with private corporations who transform portions of their income into lower-taxed capital-gains earnings.

    According to the Finance Department, there are almost two million private corporations in Canada, eight times higher than the 240,000 there were in 1972. Morneau said Tuesday that there has been a 300-per-cent increase in the number of incorporated professionals — lawyers, doctors, accountants, architects and others — over the past 15 years.

    Groups arguing against the changes have said it is unfair for the government to change tax rules for private corporations without warning or engagement. Last week, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce called the proposed changes a “stealth attack on farmers and family businesses.”

    Corinne Pohlmann, senior vice-president of national affairs at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said Tuesday that many of the 109,000 entrepreneurs who are members of her organization have expressed “anger” at being characterized by the government as “tax cheats.”

    She said it’s not fair to compare salaried employees to business owners with private corporations, who don’t have paid vacations, sick days or company pensions.

    “The reaction we’re getting from small-business owners is the biggest issue we’ve heard in the 11 years that I’ve been in Ottawa,” she said.

    0 0

    The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history bore down on the islands of the northeast Caribbean late Tuesday, following a path predicted to then rake Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before possibly heading for Florida over the weekend.

    At the far northeastern edge of the Caribbean, authorities on the Leeward Islands of Antigua and Barbuda cut power and urged residents to shelter indoors as they braced for Hurricane Irma’s first contact with land early Wednesday.

    Officials warned people to seek protection from Irma’s “onslaught” in a statement that closed with: “May God protect us all.”

    The Category 5 storm had maximum sustained winds of 295 km/h, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

    “I hear it’s a Cat 5 now and I’m terrified,” Antigua resident Carol Joseph said as she finished her last trip to the supermarket before seeking shelter. “I had to come back for more batteries because I don’t know how long the current will be off.”

    Other islands in the path of the storm included the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Anguilla, a small, low-lying British island territory of about 15,000 people.

    U.S. President Donald Trump declared emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and authorities in the Bahamas said they would evacuate the residents of six islands at the southern end of the island chain.

    Warm water is fuel for hurricanes and Irma is over water that is 1 degree Celsius warmer than normal. The 26-degree water that hurricanes need goes about 250 feet deep (80 metres), said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private forecasting service Weather Underground

    Four other storms have had winds as strong in the overall Atlantic region but they were in the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico, which are usually home to warmer waters that fuel cyclones. Hurricane Allen hit 190 mph in 1980, while 2005’s Wilma, 1988’s Gilbert and a 1935 great Florida Key storm all had 185 mph winds.

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    The storm’s eye was expected to pass about 50 miles (85 kilometres) from Puerto Rico late Wednesday. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 50 miles (85 kilometres) from Irma’s centre and tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 175 miles (280 kilometres).

    The northern Leeward Islands were expected to see waves as high as 11 feet, while the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas could see towering 20-foot waves later in the week, forecasters said.

    “This is not an opportunity to go outside and try to have fun with a hurricane,” U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp warned. “It’s not time to get on a surfboard.”

    Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said his government was evacuating the six islands in the south because authorities would not be able to help anyone caught in the “potentially catastrophic” wind, flooding and storm surge. People there would be flown to Nassau starting Wednesday in what he called the largest storm evacuation in the country’s history.

    “The price you may pay for not evacuating is your life or serious physical harm,” Minnis said.

    The National Weather Service said Puerto Rico had not seen a hurricane of Irma’s magnitude since Hurricane San Felipe in 1928, which killed a total of 2,748 people in Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico and Florida.

    “The dangerousness of this event is like nothing we’ve ever seen,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said. “A lot of infrastructure won’t be able to withstand this kind of force.”

    The director of the island’s power company has warned that storm damage could leave some areas without electricity for about a week and other, unspecified areas for four to six months. The utility’s infrastructure has deteriorated greatly during a decade-long recession, and Puerto Ricans experienced an islandwide outage last year.

    Government officials began evacuations and urged people to finalize all preparations as store shelves emptied out around Puerto Rico.

    “The decisions that we make in the next couple of hours can make the difference between life and death,” Rossello said. “This is an extremely dangerous storm.”

    No directly storm-related deaths were reported by Tuesday evening but a 75-year-old man died in the central Puerto Rico mountain town of Orocovis after he fell from a ladder while preparing for the hurricane, police said.

    The eye of the storm was expected to roar westward on a path taking it north of millions of people in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba, but meteorologists warned that it could still cause life-threating storm surges, rains and mudslides.

    The northern parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti could see 10 inches of rain, with as much as 20 inches in the southeast Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.

    The storm seemed almost certain to hit the United States by early next week.

    “You’d be hard pressed to find any model that doesn’t have some impact on Florida.” said University of Miami senior hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.

    In Florida, people also stocked up on drinking water and other supplies.

    Gov. Rick Scott activated 100 members of the Florida National Guard to be deployed across the state, and 7,000 National Guard members were to report for duty Friday when the storm could be approaching the area. On Monday, Scott declared a state of emergency in all of Florida’s 67 counties.

    Officials in the Florida Keys geared up to get tourists and residents out of Irma’s path, and the mayor of Miami-Dade county said people should be prepared to evacuate Miami Beach and most of the county’s coastal areas.

    Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the voluntary evacuations could begin as soon as Wednesday evening. He activated the emergency operation centre and urged residents to have three days’ worth of food and water.

    A new tropical storm also formed in the Atlantic on Tuesday, to the east of Irma. The hurricane centre said Tropical Storm Jose was about 1,330 miles (2,140 kilometres) east of the Lesser Antilles late Tuesday and its maximum sustained winds had risen to 85 km/h. It was moving west-northwest at 22 km/h and could become a hurricane by Wednesday night.

    Meanwhile, a tropical depression formed in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Mexico. The hurricane centre said the system could become a tropical storm while meandering in the Gulf for several days before making landfall in Mexico on Saturday.

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