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- 08/17/17--00:11: _Police car rolls ov...
- 08/16/17--15:22: _Bromance begone: Ge...
- 08/16/17--15:21: _Why Donald Trump al...
- 08/17/17--04:03: _Pearson airport bag...
- 08/16/17--15:14: _Scaffolding crew po...
- 08/17/17--03:00: _You’ll need six fig...
- 08/17/17--17:37: _Ontario man charged...
- 08/17/17--17:22: _Members of Black co...
- 08/17/17--14:17: _Glen Abbey’s potent...
- 08/17/17--12:34: _Trump cites fake st...
- 08/17/17--14:41: _Almost 7,000 migran...
- 08/17/17--16:06: _Standing at work li...
- 08/17/17--14:19: _Help on way for ail...
- 08/17/17--14:56: _Muzzo, De Gasperis ...
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- 08/18/17--13:48: _Montreal amusement ...
- 08/17/17--00:11: Police car rolls over in Brampton crash
- 08/16/17--15:21: Why Donald Trump always has the last laugh: Cohn
- 08/17/17--04:03: Pearson airport baggage delays over, operations ‘running well’
- 08/16/17--15:14: Scaffolding crew pokes a hole in historic painting at Queen's Park
- 08/17/17--14:41: Almost 7,000 migrants have walked into Quebec since Canada Day
- 08/17/17--16:06: Standing at work linked to heart disease
- 08/17/17--14:19: Help on way for ailing miners exposed to 'miracle' dust
A Peel Police cruiser and another vehicle collided in Brampton Wednesday, causing the police car to roll over.
The collision, which occurred near the intersection of Queen and Main Sts., at around 5 p.m., caused the police car to roll over.
Two people, one from each vehicle, had minor injuries, according to Peel paramedics.
The officer has been released from hospital, but Peel Police are waiting for an update on the other person’s injuries before deciding if the Special Investigations Unit will be looking into the crash, said Const. Bancroft Wright.
The major collisions bureau is on scene investigating.
OTTAWA—NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is calling on the prime minister’s senior adviser to “immediately disavow” his reported friendship with Donald Trump’s controversial strategist and alt-right champion, Steve Bannon.
In an article published online Tuesday, the New Yorker reported that Gerald Butts struck up a friendship with Bannon after they first met in the wake of the U.S. presidential election last year.
Before joining Trump’s team during the campaign, Bannon was an executive at Breitbart News, a far-right website popular with people who hold white supremacist and Islamophobic views.
“Bannon, of course, is viewed by white supremacists as a leader,” Mulcair said in an interview Wednesday.
“On these issues there’s no grey area. When it comes to connections to people who spew hate, and (have) a record of encouraging violence, then you’ve got to stand up full-square and say: ‘No, this is no friend of mine. I’ll have nothing to do with it.’”
Butts did not respond to questions from the Star on Wednesday.
Cameron Ahmad, a spokesperson in the Prime Minister’s Office, said in an emailed statement that the Liberal government has worked to increase Canada’s “strong and constructive working relationship” with the U.S.
“The prime minister has worked directly with the president, and staff and officials have worked closely with members of the administration on an ongoing basis, strengthening our relationship and discussing its importance to jobs on both sides of the border,” he wrote.
“We are committed to maintaining and growing our strong relationship in order to support growth and jobs in both our countries.”
The reported relationship between the two men comes at a fractious time; the U.S. media is full of whisperings of Bannon’s possible dismissal from the White House after last weekend’s deadly protests involving racist and neo-Nazi groups and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va.
Trump’s response to the protests — in which he claimed “both sides” were to blame for the violence that erupted — has been roundly criticized, while white supremacist leaders like former Ku Klux Klan head David Duke have praised the president for his “honesty and courage.”
Any friendship between Butts and Bannon would, on the surface, seem unlikely. Butts is one of the chief advisers to a feminist Liberal prime minister known for his “sunny ways,” and used to be the director of the World Wildlife Federation’s Canadian chapter.
Bannon, on the other hand, comes from a far-right populist background, and led a website that has published headlines like “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy” and once called a right-leaning commentator a “renegade Jew.”
He has described the site as “the platform of the alt-right,” a euphemism for white supremacist, anti-establishment political thought, and has since derided the mainstream media as the “opposition party.”
Yet at the same time, Bannon and Butts each has their leader’s ear as an adviser and is credited with helping pave their paths to power.
The New Yorker reported that Bannon sees Butts as a “sort of left-wing version of himself.” The article described Bannon’s push to get Trump to raise taxes on the wealthy, which was one of the Trudeau government’s first moves after it assumed power in 2015.
“There’s nothing better for a populist than a rich guy raising taxes on rich guys,” Butts told Bannon, according to the report.
Greg MacEachern, senior vice-president of government relations with Environics Communications, said the Trudeau government matched key staffers with U.S. administration officials after Trump was elected. It has previously been reported that Butts was matched with Bannon during this process.
And in the lead-up to this week’s first round of the talks to rehash the North American Free Trade Agreement, Justin Trudeau, his cabinet ministers and his top staffers have fanned out across the U.S. to make their case that the trilateral pact is good for jobs on both sides of the border.
MacEachern said a big reason the “friendship” report is getting attention is because Bannon and racist groups in the U.S. are prominent in the news. He added that getting close to people like Bannon is simply part of the job for someone like Butts.
“They don’t have the luxury that most Canadians have to be critical of President Trump,” he said, pointing to the stakes of the NAFTA renegotiations. The government has repeatedly credited the trade agreement with creating hundreds of billions of dollars in trade with the U.S.
“From all accounts, the Trudeau government, including ministers and staff, did a very aggressive push to get in early and get to know key players,” he said.
Bruce Anderson, chairman of Abacus Data and Summa Communications, said keeping open lines of communication with the U.S. government is a “perennial requirement” of Canadian administrations.
“To me it doesn’t really matter what the political DNA of these individuals is, it matters that they’re able to have a conversation,” he said.
No one’s laughing at Donald Trump anymore.
Joke’s over. But why did it take so painfully long — and a civil rights disaster— for a toxic presidency to stop being even remotely funny?
Trump’s buffoonery provided endless material for mockery on late night TV. But while his critics chortled, he had the last laugh on election night.
Now, his demagoguery is no laughing matter. And it’s long past time for my American friends to stop snickering from the sidelines.
In all seriousness, I appreciate political satire. Humour pricks the balloons of powerful politicians who take themselves too seriously.
But years of TV laugh tracks have turned politics into a gong show. And a reality television star who had been auditioning for the role was waiting in the wings.
The joke went too far. Will voters continue to laugh at the spectacle, or finally get serious about the tragedy being played out before their eyes?
Humour exacts a price if it divides people instead of uniting them: When you’re laughing at roughly half the American people, you’re lining up against them — and making enemies of them in a culture war without end.
All those skits on Saturday Night Live were on point, but ultimately unpersuasive. The Late Show With Stephen Colbert is supposed to be edgy, but tends to drive a wedge. The Daily Show’s humour is acidic, but it’s not activist.
In the right therapeutic dose, hilarity is an antidote to absurdity. But Americans have overdosed on humour for too long, addicted to an incapacitating drug that anaesthetizes them from the pain of racism, inequality, and alienation.
Laughing isn’t the answer anymore, because Trumpism isn’t all that funny — as even Jimmy Fallon discovered the other night. Give the Tonight Show host belated credit for his heartfelt monologue about the fallout from Charlottesville (even if he was trying to restore his lost credibility after famously tussling Trump’s hair in mid-campaign).
Chortling is too easy. The harder challenge is change — winning elections and influencing people.
More precisely, it’s not about changing presidents but changing the minds (and hopefully hearts) of the very voters who enabled and empowered him. Sitting back and laughing at Trump and his highly motivated base only forges a closer bond between them.
The danger of mockery is that it suggests superiority over the stupidity of Trump’s supporters: We get it, we’re all in on the joke because we’re on the same wavelength — and so much wiser than the ones we’re laughing at.
But if the other side is so dumb, why are they the ones in power?
The answer is that they understand the power of political engagement. Instead of just laughing, highly motivated people of faith, affluence, or anger are too busy praying, fundraising and agitating.
It’s impossible to spend two weeks in America, as I just did with American friends, without sharing their sense of despair. We’ve been there, which is why we have no right to feel superior.
Torontonians went through a similar cycle of political chaos when Rob Ford was mayor. He too played buffoon on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show while we laughed about his not so funny addictions and predilections.
Bad as they both turned out to be, Trump wasn’t a surprise. Unlike Ford — whose weaknesses weren’t widely understood by many voters — Americans knew what they were getting with Trump.
They watched him in nationally televised prime time debates, they heard his racist and misogynist rhetoric, yet still they made him president. The problem isn’t so much Trump as the American people who put him there, and the opportunistic apparatchiks who keep him there.
There’s nothing funny to be found in that political divide. Laughter alone isn’t a response, it’s a cop-out — akin to the Facebook fragmentation of online “likes,” or favouriting a Barack Obama tweet of a Nelson Mandela quotation.
Twitter and Facebook define “engagement” as someone clicking on a link, which must be laughable for serious political activists. Clicking is akin to chortling — makes you feel better, but offers only the illusion of involvement.
The truth about politics — whether in America or anywhere — is that clicks don’t count as votes, and elections aren’t won with laughs. If politics is just a joke, it will only desensitize and immobilize voters.
Politics depends on participation. It’s about idealism and activism, not apps and gags.
That means being informed and getting involved, donating time or money, and above all voting. It’s about tuning into the issues, not just TV skits. And screening the candidates on a ballot, not merely scrolling through a feed on Facebook.
Yes, levity preserves sanity. But if hilarity serves only to release pent-up frustration, without any relief from a political crisis, it’s not helping anyone.
And just as tears are not enough, jokes won’t change a thing.
Martin Regg Cohn's political column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. firstname.lastname@example.org , Twitter: @reggcohn
Martin Regg Cohn's political column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. email@example.com , Twitter: @reggcohn
Toronto Pearson Airport, Pearson Airport delays, Terminal 3, Toronto news, pearson baggage delays
The technical problems that afflicted the baggage system at Pearson airport’s Terminal 3 have been resolved, airport representatives said Thursday morning.
In a tweet, the airport said “operations are running well.”
The problem started Tuesday evening after the system experienced “intermittent technical issues” that affected departing flights.
Airport officials called in additional staff who were using a simplified process to speed up check-in as the technical issues are being resolved.
The issue persisted Wednesday and travellers took to social media to complain about the “unacceptable” delays.
The airport has apologized for the delays caused by the issues in the system.
The fragile fabric of Confederation has been torn — and not by politicians.
A massive century-old oil painting called The Fathers of Confederation hanging over the grand staircase at Queen’s Park was ripped when a work crew tearing down scaffolding from a paint job banged a sharp edge into the canvas.
Unless you’d rather believe that one of the fathers — Edward Whelan of Prince Edward Island — suddenly sprung to life and kicked a hole two or three fingers wide.
The oblong tear is just off the toe of Whelan’s boot in the lower left corner of the 6-by-3.5-metre piece unveiled by artist Fredrick S. Challener in 1919 after two years of work.
Reached by the Star in Bremen, Coutts could not estimate how much the project could cost until she returns to Canada in two weeks.
“Art conservation is expensive. It has to be perfect. It has to last forever,” she said Wednesday.
Forever has proven tough for the painting, which depicts the Quebec Conference of 1864 and features such historic notables as John A. Macdonald, later Canada’s first prime minister, and George Brown, founder of the Globe and Mail.
The damaged piece is a carefully crafted copy of the original by famous portrait artist Robert Harris, who was commissioned to paint it by the Canadian government in 1883 and 1884.
But, tragically, it burned in the 1916 fire that destroyed Parliament in Ottawa. Challener worked from Harris’s preparatory drawings to complete the copy viewed by thousands of tourists a year on tours of the Legislature.
The painting — which hangs two storeys up and is located across the hall from the Legislative chamber where MPPs meet — will have to come down for the repair, said Coutts, whose firm handled “at least” two dozen punctures from clients last year.
“It’s a pretty involved process. I just don’t know how involved yet.”
The accident occurred Monday night with a crew from a private company that has done work in the building before without incident, a Legislature official said.
“It’s unfortunate,” Jelena Bajcetic said, noting that a decision on who pays the bill will be worked out between the company and the Archives of Ontario.
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services said the painting will be sent offsite for the repair work at a cost yet to be determined.
“We will ensure that the necessary restoration is completed so that the painting can be returned as soon as possible,” said a spokeswoman, Anne-Marie Flanagan.
Looking at the damage, it’s hard to tell if there’s a flap of torn canvas hanging behind the painting that could be salvaged as part of the repair.
Typically, paintings get damaged in transit when protective boxes are impaled or when they’re left leaning against chairs and other objects, leaving them susceptible to accidents, Coutts said.
The history behind Challener’s copy dates to 17 days in October 1864, when delegates from what are now Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. gathered in Quebec City.
It was a follow-up meeting to one the previous month in Charlottetown, P.E.I., on a union of the provinces in British North America — an idea to which the Maritime provinces were receptive.
The men who later became known as the fathers of Confederation talked about the structure of government, including representation by population or rep by pop, a Senate based on regional equality, preserving ties with Great Britain and the appointment of a governor general by the Crown across the Atlantic.
A total of 72 resolutions emerged from the Quebec meeting and they became the basis of a constitution, according to the Legislature’s notes describing the painting.
The “Quebec Resolutions” were presented to the British government at a conference in London in 1865 and became key parts of the British North America Act passed by the British Parliament in March of 1867.
That set the stage for Canada’s birth less than four months later on July 1.
The painting is one of about 2,700 in the Archives of Ontario collection, which includes portraits of premiers and other pieces of art adorning the walls of the Legislature and other government buildings.
It takes a six-figure income to afford virtually any Toronto area home — even a condo — and that expense is presenting a considerable financial challenge to an important cohort of millennial consumers.
Separate studies from two real estate companies on Thursday paint pictures of the high income requirements of affording a home, and of the housing aspirations of Canada’s “peak millennials” — adults 25 to 30.
It takes a household income of more than $200,000 a year to carry the $1.15 million cost of the average detached house in the Toronto region, according to a report from TheRedPin brokerage.
Even the average condo, costing $576,000, requires an annual income of $92,925 to afford a $1,933 monthly mortgage, plus taxes, utilities and condo fees, according to the report.
Meantime, 59 per cent of those aged 25 to 30 in Ontario would like to own a detached house in the next five years, but only 30 per cent think they will be able to afford one, according a new Royal LePage report based on findings by Leger research.
According to TheRedPin, buyers need more than $150,000 a year to cover the cost of a home in half of 22 Toronto area municipalities.
The average Toronto home price, $864,228, is affordable to buyers with an annual income of $147,750 — though that average may be skewed lower by the large number of condos on the market.
The most expensive real estate in the region is in King Township. Buyers there need $264,000 a year to afford the monthly mortgage of $5,883 and other expenses for an average home price of $1.6 million.
In Oshawa, an annual income of $108,773 is enough to afford the average home price of $552,268.
TheRedPin study averaged home prices over the first seven months of the year, and assumed a 20 per cent down payment and a 2.99 per cent mortgage, amortized over 25 years. The income requirements took into account the areas’ average utility costs and property taxes and estimated condo fees based on a 900-square-foot condo townhouse and a 750-square-foot apartment.
Matching home prices to income levels gives buyers a more precise picture of what they can afford, said the brokerage’s Enzo Ceniti.
“It can be hard to grasp exactly how much you need to earn to be able to invest in a home. Information about home prices increasing or decreasing by a certain percentage isn’t as relevant or as personalized,” he said.
Drew Rankin, 29, is part of an age group that will grow by 17 per cent in Canada by 2021. He is among the 35 per cent in that cohort that already own a home, according to a report from Royal LePage.
Like 25 per cent of his contemporaries, Rankin and his girlfriend had help from family with the down on the one-bedroom-plus-den he had been renting near King St. and Spadina Ave. for about $465,000.
The 700-square-foot unit had the layout and location Rankin and his girlfriend wanted.
“In terms of where our mindset was, the lifestyle was top of mind, accessibility to friends, restaurants, even work. Sports, concerts, everything is right there,” he said.
But the condo isn’t big enough to raise a family.
“I grew up in London, Ont., in a middle-class neighbourhood with a yard and I don’t necessarily view that as an attainable lifestyle for me (in Toronto), at least not in the next 10 years,” said Rankin.
People in their late 20s face significant affordability barriers compared to their parents when it comes to housing in Toronto, said Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper. While cities have the best employment prospects for young adults, they are also the most expensive property markets.
The company’s report, he said, “is either a sobering insight into the challenges young people will face as they try to build homes and families or it’s a really optimistic view of Canadian economics. Two thirds of people say they’re going to have a difficult time buying a house because of affordability but nearly all of them want one — 87 per cent,” he said.
“More adults in Ontario than anywhere else in Canada hope to own a home in the short-term even though it’s the most expensive place in Canada to own a home,” said Soper.
Condo owner Rankin thinks Toronto real estate offers good value “relative to other global centres.”
“I have a lot of friends in New York,” he said, “and that’s a totally different scenario.”
ATLANTA—The U.S. Department of Justice says a Canadian man has been charged after allegedly flying to Atlanta in an attempt to have sex with a 13-year-old Georgia girl he met on the internet.
Officials say the 53-year-old Ontario man has been arraigned on federal charges of using the internet to entice a child for sexual activity and enticing the girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct over the internet.
Prosecutors allege Yves Joseph Legault met a Marietta, Ga., girl on Omegle, a free and anonymous online text and video chat tool, in July.
After moving to another site, it’s alleged he asked the teen to perform sexual acts on live video-streaming for him and eventually arranged to travel to Atlanta in order to have sex with her.
Legault was arrested on Aug. 11 after flying from Toronto to Atlanta and was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday.
Prosecutors say the girl’s mother had alerted the FBI to the alleged relationship after she intercepted a package sent her daughter from Canada.
“Cases like this one demonstrate the continued importance for parents to engage with their kids about their activities on the internet, including the apps they are using to chat and the people with whom they are chatting,” U.S. Attorney John Horn said in a release.
The FBI said Ontario Provincial Police, York regional police and Canada Border Services Agency assisted in the investigation.
“The investigation, arrest, and resulting federal charges involving Mr. Legault, a Canadian national, is an example of the great partnership and responsiveness of Canadian law enforcement authorities in helping the FBI carry out this mission,” said David J. LeValley, the special agent in charge of the investigation.
Following Legal Aid Ontario’s decision to defund the African Canadian Legal Clinic, members of the Black community are speaking out.
They include members of a panel consulting on the creation of a replacement clinic.
A committee of the Legal Aid Ontario board of directors decided to defund the clinic Wednesday because it failed to meet eight conditions imposed in 2014 to address financial mismanagement and poor governance.
Lawyer Roger Rowe called the turn of events “disappointing.”
“It’s real hard to get official funding for something that helps Black people, it’s real hard,” he said. “But it is what it is: There’s financial accountability that has to be addressed.”
Rowe is one of six Black Canadians advising Legal Aid on developing the new organization and ensuring there’s no disruption of legal services to the community. Other panel members include Black Lives Matter founder Sandy Hudson and Zanana Akande, the first Black woman elected to the Ontario legislature.
There’s no timeline for the new clinic, said Akande, who explained that new board members will be chosen by the community. In the meantime, clients can rely on the Human Rights Legal Support centre, members of the private bar and Legal Aid’s test case program.
Metro reported earlier this month that the African Canadian Legal Clinic’s funding was in jeopardy due to concerns dating back to 2009.
A 2013 audit by independent firm PwC found unusual purchases on a company credit card, including $754 for a diamond ring, charged by executive director Margaret Parsons, who provided no evidence to back up her claim she had paid it back.
Parsons rejected the audit’s finding that $120,000 set aside for vacant staff positions was instead used to give her bonuses over a four-year period.
Parsons did not respond to a request for comment on the decision.
In a previous interview with Metro, she denied any financial wrongdoing and said the clinic had been held to a “double standard” and treated unfairly by Legal Aid since it started in 1994.
Julian Falconer, who has represented Legal Aid in the matter, urged members of the community to look at the documents posted on the organization’s website, including the PwC audit.
“This is not a happy day, but I think it’s a necessary exercise,” he said.
“What we have to do is keep our eye on the ball, which is the needs or the unmet needs of very vulnerable people.”
Tiffany Gooch, a strategist for government relations firm Enterprise, said much of the conversation boils down to Parsons being a “lightning rod” for the community.
“A lot of the issues were coming back to her, and the institution couldn’t seem to separate itself from her. I do believe mistakes were made. This is more a death-by-a-thousand cuts situation, rather than one anywhere,” she said.
“I think we, as a community, need to have a larger conversation about transitional leadership,” she added.
Criminal defence lawyer Annamaria Enenajor was surprised by the decision.
“Even though there’s a promise to ensure that there will be no disruption in legal services to Black Ontarians, it’s troubling for me that you see the disbanding of an organization, rather than the leadership that was problematic,” said Enenajor.
“Why reinvent the wheel, unless it’s so rotten to the core?”
Oakville’s town council will vote Monday on whether to issue a notice of intention to designate the entire Glen Abbey golf course as a heritage site — potentially hindering plans to develop the property into housing and commercial space.
The golf course, designed by legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, has been home to 29 Canadian Opens since 1977 and is slated to host the tournament again next year.
Golf Canada has warned the town that designating Glen Abbey as a cultural heritage site could also affect the club’s ability to host future Canadian Opens.
Oakville’s heritage committee voted unanimously this week to recommend designating the entire golf course under the Ontario Heritage Act.
Mayor Rob Burton said this is just one step in a long process to “identify and conserve heritage attributes” of the 229-acre property. If council agrees with the recommendation Monday, the club owners can appeal the decision through the Conservation Review Board.
A heritage designation could prevent plans to redevelop the property. Glen Abbey’s owner, ClubLink Corp., wants to build 3,222 residential units and 122,000 square feet of new office and retail space on the site, leaving 124 acres for public green space.
ClubLink first proposed the development in late 2015, after Golf Canada said it was looking for a new long-term home for the Canadian Open.
The development has drawn protest from community members, who formed the “Save Glen Abbey” coalition last year. More than 7,000 people have signed an online petition to stop the development, which says it “will disembowel the proverbial heart of Oakville, scarring its cultural and natural legacy.”
The Ontario Municipal Board has deemed ClubLink’s application complete, and Oakville town council has a meeting planned for Sept. 26 to consider the application and make a decision.
The development application is separate from the heritage designation, said heritage committee chair Drew Bucknall, who says the heritage process began before ClubLink publically announced development plans.
In an emailed statement, ClubLink’s senior vice president Robert Visentin said their immediate concern is how the golf course’s day-to-day operations will be affected by the heritage approval process and the “unclear” heritage attributes, saying it would bring “chaos and uncertainty.”
A heritage designation could affect Glen Abbey’s ability to host the 2018 Canadian Open, wrote Golf Canada’s chief championship officer Bill Paul in a letter to the heritage committee.
Paul said he was concerned about being able to make changes to the course for next year’s tournament.
“The fact that there is now uncertainty regarding the possible implementation of these changes and that time is short means that we must review our plans for 2018, and beyond, and prepare contingency plans,” he said in the letter, dated Aug. 15.
Bucknall said he does not see how a heritage designation would “impose any great difficulties” on the club’s ability to host the Canadian Open, saying it’d still be possible to make changes to the course.
“(A heritage designation) doesn’t mean it’s frozen, it doesn’t mean it cannot be changed,” said Bucknall in an interview.
Glen Abbey is one of Canada’s most famous golf courses, and the site of Tiger Woods’ dramatic 18th hole shot to win the tournament in 2000.
“Jack Nicklaus has noted that he regards Glen Abbey as one of his most creative and important designs,” says a draft notice of intention, which calls the course a defining landmark of Oakville.
“It is one of the most significant works by one of golf’s most significant figures.”
WASHINGTON—In the morning, Donald Trump echoed the vocabulary of white supremacists. In the afternoon, he endorsed a fictional war crime against Muslims.
Trump’s allies have urged him to talk about jobs and tax reform. Instead, the president of the United States has decided to vigorously embrace the racial and religious animus that was central to his campaign success but has alienated and alarmed much of the country and the world.
His words in 2016 were extraordinary for a major-party candidate, and his words on Thursday were doubly shocking from a president. He triggered the latest round of outrage, moreover, as he was already six days into a self-created crisis over his beliefs about race.
“The president has options here,” Kevin Madden, former top spokesperson for Republican candidate Mitt Romney, said in an email. “One option is to allow his administration to become consumed by these controversies, the other is to refocus the message on the economic agenda, one rooted in jobs and growth. That first option is just not a viable one.”
On Thursday afternoon, Trump issued a relatively conventional condolence tweet in response to the Barcelona terrorist attack that has been claimed by Daesh (also known as the Islamic State). But 45 minutes later, he returned to anti-Muslim bigotry — asking people to research an invented U.S. massacre of Muslim terrorists with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood.
“Study what Gen. Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!”
It would be remarkable even if the story were true: the president advocating extrajudicial killing, involving religious prejudice, as a method of deterring terrorism.
But the story is fake, historians say. Trump was citing an internet hoax that has circulated in email forwards since at least 2001.
“For a guy who keeps shouting ‘fake news, fake news, fake news,’ what does he do? He tweets fake news,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Anti-Muslim sentiment is one of Trump’s “core messages,” Hooper said. The persistence of Trump’s rhetoric, Hooper said, has “really created a sense of being under siege in the Muslim community.”
Trump did not elaborate, this time, on what the late Pershing supposedly did. But he told a detailed fable at a campaign rally in February 2016.
He claimed then that Pershing had executed 49 Muslim prisoners during the U.S. occupation of the Philippines in the early 1900s, adding religious insult by smearing the bullets with the blood of an animal observant Muslims are forbidden to consume.
“And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people,” Trump said. “And the 50th person, he said, ‘You go back to your people and you tell them what happened.’ And for 25 years there wasn’t a problem, OK? Twenty-five years there wasn’t a problem.”
Republican legislators criticized him more strongly than they had all year after the wild Tuesday press conference in which he blamed “both sides” for the Saturday violence at a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Va. and claimed there were “very fine people,” who merely wanted to protect a local statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, marching alongside the neo-Nazis.
But Trump was unrepentant as ever. He leaned into the controversy Thursday morning, issuing a series of tweets in support of Confederate monuments — describing them not only as part of U.S. history but a “beautiful” part of U.S. “culture.”
“The beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!” he said.
Though it is common for Republican politicians to argue that Confederate monuments should be preserved as a matter of history, praise for the “culture” of the slaveholding South, and the “beauty” of secessionist leaders, is more commonly associated with white supremacists.
Trump’s comments were roughly in line with the inflammatory advice of chief strategist Steve Bannon. Bannon told the American Prospect magazine Tuesday that he wanted to keep Democrats talking about racism and “identity politics” while Trump presented a message of “economic nationalism.”
But Trump’s current message bears more resemblance to white nationalism than economic nationalism. As of Thursday evening, he had not spoken or tweeted this week about the NAFTA negotiations he initiated.
OTTAWA—The tide of migrants crossing into Quebec in search of asylum has grown into a rolling wave, as the federal and provincial governments face pressure to deal with thousands of newcomers who have arrived in just the past six weeks.
Newly released figures show the number of people crossing into the province has skyrocketed this summer. The RCMP intercepted nearly 3,000 people as they walked across the border in Quebec last month. A further 3,800 have come in the first half of August, the RCMP said.
That’s a big jump from June, when there were 781 RCMP interceptions in the province. It’s also more than 10 times the 245 people intercepted by police there in January.
Speaking to reporters Thursday in St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que., federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced the government will open a new shelter for migrants in Cornwall, a city of 46,000 in eastern Ontario near the Quebec border. Hundreds of asylum seekers crossing from the U.S. have already been housed in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, as well as in emergency tents set up at the border by the Canadian military.
Garneau also said there would be 20 new staffers in Montreal to help process asylum applications and that there will be a ministerial task force, which includes Quebec’s immigration minister, Kathleen Weill, her federal counterpart, Ahmed Hussen, and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, to help manage the situation.
“There’s no crisis, but it’s a situation that is extraordinary but is very well-managed,” Garneau said in French.
“We actually responded very quickly under the circumstances… One cannot anticipate this kind of event, but one must respond.”
The moves come as opposition critics continue to slam the government for being ill-prepared to deal with the rising number of people walking into Canada from the U.S. this year — many of them travelling through the country from all over the world, claiming to be fleeing the immigration policies of the Trump administration.
Conservative MP Michelle Rempel accused the government of “attempting to put a band-aid on a giant hole in a dam that has already burst.” She told the Star that new housing for asylum seekers will only encourage more to come and blamed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for creating a perception that Canada will be more welcoming to refugees.
She also said resources being taken up by the wave of people crossing from the U.S. — a country she pointed out is considered safe by the federal government — should be directed at more urgent asylum claimants.
“I don’t understand why the government is making an effort to set up shanty towns and refugee camps when we’re about to go into the winter, instead of saying: ‘This is illegal — we’re going to use all of the resources and processes, that have been long in place, to ensure that only those with legitimate claims are entering Canada,” Rempel said.
Jenny Kwan, an MP from B.C. and immigration critic for the NDP, said the government has failed to prepare for a situation it should have seen coming. For months, her party has called on the Liberals to abandon the Safe Third Country Agreement, which has a loophole that allows people coming from the U.S. to apply for asylum only if they avoid an official port of entry.
She called on the government to give the Immigration and Refugee Board more resources so it can process the glut of applicants efficiently. She also wants temporary work permits to be given out more quickly so migrants don’t have to rely on government support while they wait to hear if they’re accepted as refugees.
The government is “making people go through these irregular crossings, putting themselves at risk and putting the border communities in extremely stressful situations,” Kwan said.
“Nobody does this for fun. They’re doing this because they feel that they’re at risk. So we need to face that reality.”
She added, “The Liberals are more interested in looking like they’re progressive on refugees, than actually doing the hard work.”
The government announced Tuesday that the 13 Canadian consulates in the U.S. would disseminate information about Canada’s immigration system to people thinking about walking into the country. After being arrested and screened for security by officials, they will go through the regular hearing process. The message, said Garneau, is that not everyone will be given refugee status in Canada; many could be deported to their home countries.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Council for Refugees is also calling on Canada to withdraw from the Safe Third Country Agreement and boost resources for the refugee board. The group’s executive director, Janet Dench, said she’s concerned that the government is falling behind on eligibility claims, a process that typically happens within a day and that must be concluded before an asylum seeker can get in line for a hearing at the refugee board.
“This is putting huge pressures on people because they’re left in legal limbo,” she said.
According to the Immigration and Refugee Board, the current processing time for claimants — after they’ve been deemed eligible for a hearing — is six and a half months. As of March, there were more than 21,000 pending cases.
Dench said the changes announced by the government have not done enough to speed up the process and address the backlog. New money is needed to address the spike in applicants, she said.
“There’s only so much blood you can squeeze from a stone.”
In Canada as a whole, there were 7,500 RCMP interceptions for the first seven months of the year — 6,366 of them in Quebec, according to the immigration department.
If you tend to do a lot of standing at work, you may want to be sitting down to read this.
A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that workers who primarily stand on the job are twice as likely to have heart disease than workers who mainly sit.
That puts them more at risk of getting heart disease than smokers, said Peter Smith, a scientist from the Institute for Work and Health (IWH) and lead author of the study.
The study, by researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the IWH, followed 7,300 heart disease-free Ontario workers for 12 years, from 2003 to 2015, to compare their standing/sitting work habits with whether they developed heart disease.
The workers were respondents to the 2003 Canadian Community Health Survey, which collected a range of information on them from their work conditions and job title to their health and health behaviour.
In total, 3.4 per cent of workers developed heart disease. Of that, 6.6 per cent of workers who mainly stood — in jobs that ranged from cashiers to chefs and from nurses to bank tellers — and 2.8 per cent of those who mostly sat at work developed heart disease.
The risk of heart disease remained the same even after adjusting for factors like age, education, health conditions and ethnicity.
“There are a couple of different mechanisms by which prolonged standing can increase your risk of heart disease,” Smith said.
“One of them is by blood pooling in your legs and the other is by increased venous pressure in your body by trying to pump that blood back up to your heart and that increases oxidative stress.”
The results may come as a surprise to many after earlier studies found prolonged sitting can raise the risk of dying.
Smith acknowledged being sedentary is bad for health, but said not enough attention has been given to too much standing.
Hilary Poirier, a customer service agent at WestJet in Halifax, spends most of the workday on her feet.
“We don’t really sit down very frequently at all because we’re always out on the floor,” she said. Though she said she has “the best job ever,” all the standing puts a toll on her body: feet, back, hips, legs, everything.
The results came as a surprise to her.
“For something like heart issues I wasn’t imagining that because usually you’re on your feet you’re being healthy,” she said.
Karen Messing, an ergonomics expert and professor emeritus at the Université du Québec à Montréal, called the study “an important contribution.”
The volume of participants is both one of its strengths and its weaknesses though, she said that because of the size, it’s hard to know exactly what people’s working posture is.
“Control over your working posture is a really important variable that is really hard to study, so there’s a lot of complexity in the area of working postures and health,” she said.
“For example, when you talk about standing, would you say a hockey player stands at work? And what’s the difference between a hockey player standing at work and a supermarket cashier standing at work?” she asked.
“If you think about all the work we do across Canada to prevent people being exposed to smoke at work, I think one of the things we need to ask ourselves is how much are we doing to prevent people being exposed to prolonged standing,” Smith said.
That means increasing the perception that standing for long periods of time is actually a health hazard and giving people opportunities to sit at work, by providing chairs or stools they can use if they get tired.
The province’s worker compensation board has rescinded a decades-old policy that prevented Ontario miners from claiming for neurological diseases they believe were caused by years of exposure to toxic aluminum dust.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board will also commission an independent study to assess the development of neurological conditions resulting from exposure to the aluminum-based McIntyre powder, which was used extensively in the province’s northern mines between 1943 and 1980.
As previously reported by the Star, miners were routinely forced to inhale the powder, which was sold as a miracle antidote to lung disease. Historical documents suggest it was created by industry-sponsored Canadian scientists bent on slashing compensation costs in gold and uranium mines across the north.
“When a loved one becomes sick or gets hurt, it’s natural to ask why. We ask that question too, and we won’t leave any stone unturned until we are satisfied we have an answer based on evidence,” said Scott Bujeya, vice-president (health services) for the WSIB, which made the announcement Thursday.
About 10,000 workers were forced to inhale dust, which was blasted into a sealed room before miners were sent underground. Some have since claimed they were treated as “guinea pigs” in a human experiment aimed at cutting company costs. Until now, potential victims were unable to make successful claims at the WSIB because of a policy formed in 1993 that said insufficient evidence existed linking aluminum exposure to neurological disease.
“I’m glad some things are happening and moving forward,” said Janice Martell, who began advocating for workers two years ago after her own father, a former miner exposed to the dust, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He died from the disease in May.
“The time that it’s taken for this is frustrating because so many of the workers are dying. My dad is the most recent one that I’m aware of.”
In 2016, the WSIB commissioned an independent health consultancy to research existing science on aluminum powder. The review, published Thursday, did not find a link between aluminum exposure and the development of “adverse health conditions in general,” the board said.
But as a result of the research compiled by Martell, the board has now engaged experts from the Toronto-based Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC) to conduct a new study to investigate any connection between exposure to McIntyre powder and neurological disease.
Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn said he was encouraged by the WSIB’s announcement.
“Exposure to hazardous substances is a major cause of occupational illness. That’s why it is important to me, and everyone at the Ministry of Labour, that occupational diseases be treated with the same seriousness as traumatic injuries,” he said.
Of the 397 former miners who contacted Martell, around one-third suffered from a neurological disorder — and she says 14 have developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative and incurable condition, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, that slowly kills the ability to swallow, speak and breathe.
In Ontario, the prevalence of motor neuron disease, which includes ALS, is estimated at less than one in a thousand people.
Research conducted in the United Kingdom found “strong evidence” linking aluminum to Alzheimer’s when absorbed into the blood stream.
There are 53 pending WSIB claims for illnesses attributed to McIntyre Powder exposure. Because the 1993 policy is now revoked, the board says it will reach out to claimants to discuss next steps, including an option to have interim decisions made based on existing scientific evidence.
That evidence is still evolving. The OCRC study will not be complete until 2019, and McMaster University has also launched a project to test aluminum levels in surviving miners’ bodies using a non-invasive technique called neutron activation analysis.
Martell says more money is needed to help workers navigate the health care and compensation systems, including compiling evidence to help workers make claims. That effort is being spearheaded by Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, which is still waiting for its funding proposal to be approved by the Ministry of Labour.
“I’m certainly hoping that funding comes through very soon,” Martell said.
“I think occupational disease is such an invisible disease. People die at home, they die in nursing homes and hostels. They may not even realize that what they were exposed to is what’s killing them,” she added.
“I wanted to put a name and face to it. It’s brutal and ugly and people need to see that.”
The Muzzo family name will be emblazoned on a new Vaughan hospital wing after a joint multi-million-dollar donation from their charitable foundation was announced Thursday.
The Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital received a $15-million joint gift from the De Gasperis and Muzzo families, which will go towards building a new 1.2 million square feet facility. Construction began last fall, and the new hospital is scheduled to open in 2020.
The hospital’s west wing will be called the De Gasperis-Muzzo Tower in recognition of the families’ contributions.
“We are very grateful for this generosity, which will benefit the people of Vaughan and neighbouring communities for decades to come,” Ingrid Perry, president and CEO of the Mackenzie Health Foundation, said in a release.
The donation has been in the works for three years, and is the largest single contribution in the hospital’s history.
Name tributes to the Muzzo family appear across the GTA, including the Marco Muzzo Senior Memorial Woods and Park in Mississauga. Marco Muzzo Sr. was a titan in the construction and development industry, and died in 2005. There’s also the Marco Muzzo Atrium at the University of Toronto Mississauga’s library and the Muzzo Family Alumni Hall on the downtown Toronto campus.
The Muzzo name was in the news recently when Marco Muzzo was sentenced to 10 years in prison following a drunk driving crash that killed three young siblings and their grandfather in 2015.
All three children of Jennifer Neville-Lake — Daniel, 9, Harrison, 5, and Milagros, 2 — died in the crash with their 65-year-old grandfather, Gary.
At first glance, there are the visible signs marking the presence of a happy kid. A large height-marker with a cartoon giraffe plastered on a wall. Fourth, fifth and sixth birthday cards mounted side-by-side. Dozens of photographs of a young boy’s many silly faces, everywhere you look.
Then there are the signs of loss you’d have to be looking for to notice. A bicycle with the training wheels still on. The pristine white floor that he used as his dry-erase-marker canvas. His most prized possessions — two paper models of TTC vehicles and a stack of identical transit route maps — packed in a plastic grocery bag.
Everything about this simple, clean home points to the presence of an adored kid who should have grown many inches taller, celebrated many more birthdays and lived to express awe at the TTC subway.
Simon, a healthy six-year-old boy, was taken from his mother when he died in an apparent murder-suicide on July 31.
Simon and his father, Zlatan Cico, 58, were pronounced dead in Cico’s East York apartment last month. Though Simon’s parents were separated and he lived with his mom full time, he sometimes stayed with his father on weekends.
Police said the day after they were found that they were not looking for any other suspects in the case. Neighbours who knew the father and son were shocked by the event.
Simon’s mom, whose name the Star agreed not to publish to protect her privacy, dedicated every year of Simon’s too-short life to giving him every opportunity she could. Now she, with the support of her friend Glenn Watson, is trying to raise money to lay him to rest in a nice place.
The pair recently launched a campaign on GoFundMe with the goal of raising $20,000 that they say will go to Simon’s burial costs. As of Thursday afternoon, they have reached about 15 per cent of their goal.
“I just feel he is so innocent. I couldn’t protect him,” Simon’s mom told the Star in an interview this week at her dining table in the Scarborough home she shared with her son, while Watson sat beside her.
“So I want to try my best to give him a nice place to rest.”
Simon was his mom’s only family in Canada, and Watson described her devotion to the boy as absolute.
“Everything is for Simon,” Watson said. “And, as she says, it was hard to protect him from a threat that you wouldn’t think he needed protecting from.”
They want Simon to be remembered as the boy they knew: curious, sweet, and well-behaved.
His favourite thing in the world was the TTC.
“Every kid in his classroom, they all know Simon loves the subway, loves the TTC,” Simon’s mom said. He would pick up a new subway map whenever he could — no matter how many he already had — and used the floor in their living room to draw out the routes with dry-erase markers.
“Sometimes I tolerate and I let him do it, and sometimes I just mop that,” she said.
Simon’s memory for transit routes surprised even bus drivers, as he effortlessly rhymed off where each route was headed. His collection of route maps and paper TTC models will go with him in his coffin.
Simon’s mom described him as an exceptionally gentle, well-behaved kid.
“My friend had a little baby and the baby was five months, six months. Simon just like, touched the baby gently, looked at the baby,” she said.
Even when she asked him to do something he didn’t want to do, he’d agree without protest.
“Not like some children, who would say ‘no, I don’t want to do that.’ He just listened — he just understood.”
She believes that we can learn from Simon’s simple, happy nature.
“He’s happy easily,” she said. “Something — even just some small thing — can make him very happy. He’s not greedy.”
He also came up with the code word ‘toy’ to ask Glenn to take him for ice cream — a treat his mom seldom allowed. She was undeceived.
A meal from McDonald’s or a covert cup of ice cream was enough to put a huge smile on Simon’s face. The thought led the mom to think about life’s joys — large and small — that she wasn’t yet able to give Simon.
Top of the list was a long-anticipated trip to China, scheduled for next month. He began to ask his mom to take him when his other Chinese friends told him stories about travelling there.
“I said if you go to China, they have long trains — much faster much nicer,” Simon’s mom said. She and Simon would have made the long journey together, and visited her family for the first time since he was a baby.
His ticket will go unused, and now she just hopes to be able to bury him somewhere close enough to her home to visit on birthdays and holidays.
Peel Regional Police are searching for a 59-year-old Mississauga man who was supposed to return from a trip to Japan on August 11.
Russell Zurachenko’s family contacted police to report him missing after he failed to return as expected. He hasn’t been seen since Sunday, July 30.
Const. Bancroft Wright said investigators were trying to “track his whereabouts through the airport.”
“They believe he might be in Canada, but … (it) wasn’t determined whether or not he actually made it to Japan. The family believed that he was going to Japan. They don’t have any proof of that, that he either went or got back.”
In a news release, police said they and the family were concerned for Zurachenko’s well-being.
He is described as five-foot-nine, heavy build, with brown hair, a grey moustache and beard. He was wearing a black T-shirt and blue shorts the last time he was seen.
Police are asking anyone with information on his whereabouts to contact them immediately.
GO Transit buses have been involved in almost 900 collisions since 2014, and the agency’s bus drivers were at fault for nearly half of them.
According to figures provided by Metrolinx, the provincial organization in charge of GO, the service recorded 897 crashes between April 2014 and March of this year.
Of those, 46.5 per cent were deemed “preventable,” a term Metrolinx uses to describe a collision that the bus driver “failed to do everything reasonable and possible” to avoid.
GO’s rate of preventable crashes is higher than that of the TTC, which has determined that its operators are at fault for about one quarter of collisions involving its buses and streetcars.
Metrolinx and the TTC each conduct their own investigations into crashes, and Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said she couldn’t say why GO had a higher rate of preventable collisions, or how the TTC’s methodology might differ from that of her agency.
But she said “safety of our passengers, our staff and the public is always our first priority” and the agency’s goal “is to operate a safe, comfortable transit service and ensure our drivers are well trained and experienced professionals.”
The union that represents GO bus drivers did not a request for comment Thursday evening.
According to Aikins, before they get behind the wheel, GO’s roughly 870 bus drivers undergo “rigorous” safety training that exceeds Ministry of Transportation standards. It includes a seven-week course that drivers must complete before they start duty and recurring training every three years after that.
Drivers who are involved in a preventable collision, fall below agency standards, or are returning from an extended absence may also have to take refresher courses.
The figures provided by Metrolinx show that the number of annual GO bus crashes is on the rise. There were 313 collisions recorded over the course of the agency’s last fiscal year, which ended in March. That represents a 20-per-cent increase over the 261 collisions recorded in 2014-2015.
The vast majority of the crashes weren’t serious and didn’t involve any injuries. However, they included a fatal collision in February that killed a 32-year-old woman at the Union Station Bus Terminal in downtown Toronto, as well as a 2015 bus rollover on Highway 407 in Vaughan that left a 56-year-old female passenger dead.
The rollover was deemed not preventable, while the incident at the bus terminal is still under investigation. Metrolinx says these are the only two fatal bus crashes in GO’s 50-year history.
Aikins said that some increase in the number of collisions was expected, because Metrolinx has increased GO bus service in the past three years by about 5 per cent. The agency’s fleet of more than 500 buses travels roughly 50 million kilometres on city streets and highways throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area.
“Collision numbers can fluctuate year over year based on a number of factors” including issues outside of Metrolinx’s control like the weather, she said, adding that GO’s collision rate is “well below industry standards.”
Unlike the TTC, which is “self-insured” and pays for accident claims out of its operating budget, Metrolinx is insured for collisions through two private companies, QBE services Inc. and Markel Canada Ltd.
Aikins said that the agency pays insurance premiums of less than $3 million each year.
By the numbers
897: GO Transit bus collisions in three-year period ending March 2017
417: Number of collisions deemed to be the GO bus driver’s fault
50 million km: Distance GO buses travel on region’s roads each year
20 per cent: increase in number of GO bus collisions between 2014 and 2017
2: Number of fatal bus crashes in GO’s 50-year history
BARCELONA, SPAIN — Police shot and killed five people wearing fake bomb belts who staged a deadly car attack in a seaside resort in Spain’s Catalonia region Friday, just hours after a van plowed into pedestrians on a busy Barcelona promenade.
Spanish authorities said the back-to-back vehicle attacks — as well as an explosion earlier this week in a house elsewhere in Catalonia — were related and the work of a large terrorist group. Three people were arrested, but a manhunt was underway for the driver of the van used in Thursday’s Barcelona attack, which killed 13 people and injured 100 others. Daesh (also know as ISIS or ISIL) quickly claimed responsibility.
Global Affairs Canada says Canadians were among those “affected” in the attack.
“Our thoughts are with the Canadians who were affected by the terrorist attack that occurred in Barcelona, Spain,” Global Affairs spokesperson Austin Jean. He added that the government is in contact with family members to provide assistance.
It was unclear whether Canadians were killed or injured but Jean said “for privacy reasons, we are not able to release any further details.”
Jean said the Canadian government is communicating with local authorities to gather additional information.
Amid heavy security, Barcelona tried to move forward Friday, with its iconic Las Ramblas promenade quietly reopening to the public and King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy joining thousands of residents and visitors in observing a minute of silence in the city’s main square.
“I am not afraid! I am not afraid!” the crowd chanted in Catalan amid applause.
But the dual attacks unnerved a country that hasn’t seen an Islamic extremist attack since 2004, when Al-Qaeda-inspired bombers killed 192 people in co-ordinated assaults on Madrid’s commuter trains. Unlike France, Britain, Sweden and Germany, Spain has largely been spared, thanks in part to a crackdown that has netted some 200 suspected jihadis in recent years.
Authorities were still reeling from the Barcelona attack when police in the popular seaside town of Cambrils, about 130 kilometres to the south, fatally shot five people near the town’s boardwalk who had plowed into a group of tourists and locals with their blue Audi 3. Catalonia’s interior minister, Joaquim Forn, told Onda Cero radio they were wearing fake bomb belts.
One woman died Friday from her injuries, Catalan police said on Twitter. Five others were injured.
Cambrils Mayor Cami Mendoza said the town had taken precautions after the Barcelona attack, but that the suspects had centred their assault on the narrow path to the boardwalk, which is usually packed with locals and tourists late into the evening.
“We were on a terrace, like many others,” said bystander Jose Antonio Saez. “We heard the crash and intense gun shots, then the dead bodies on the floor, shot by the police. They had what looked like explosive belts on.”
Others described scenes of panic, and found safety inside bars and restaurants until police had secured the area.
Local resident Markel Artabe said he was heading to the seafront to get an ice cream when he heard the shots.
“We began to run. We saw one person lying on the pavement with a shot in his head, then 20 to 30 metres farther on we saw two more people, who must have been terrorists as they had explosive belts around them. We were worried so we hid.”
The Cambrils attack came soon after a white van veered onto Barcelona’s picturesque Las Ramblas promenade and mowed down pedestrians, zigzagging down the strip packed with locals and tourists from around the world. Catalonian authorities tweeted that the dead and injured in the two attacks were people of 34 different nationalities.
Forn told local radio RAC1 the Cambrils attack “follows the same trail. There is a connection.”
He told Onda Cero that the Cambrils and Barcelona attacks were being investigated together, as well as a Wednesday night explosion in the town of Alcanar in which one person was killed.
“We are not talking about a group of one or two people, but rather a numerous group,” he said.
Ford also suggested a possible connection to an incident Thursday in which the driver of a Ford Focus plowed through a police checkpoint leaving Barcelona after the attack, injuring two police officers. The driver was killed. Police initially said there was no connection to the Barcelona carnage, but Forn said an investigation was under way.
“There is a possibility (of a connection), but it is not confirmed,” he said.
The Barcelona attack at the peak of Spain’s tourist season left victims sprawled across the street, spattered with blood and writhing in pain from broken limbs. Others were ushered inside shops by officers with their guns drawn or fled in panic, screaming and carrying young children in their arms.
“It was clearly a terror attack, intended to kill as many people as possible,” Josep Lluis Trapero, a senior police official for Spain’s Catalonia region told reporters late Thursday.
Daesh said in a statement on its Aamaq news agency that the attack was carried out by its “soldiers” in response to the extremist group’s calls for followers to target countries participating in the coalition trying to drive it from Syria and Iraq.
A third Barcelona suspect was arrested Friday in the northern town of Ripoll, where one of the two detained on Thursday had also been nabbed and where the investigation appeared to be focusing Friday. The third arrest was made in Alcanar, where the gas explosion in a house was being investigated.
“There could be more people in Ripoll connected to the group,” Forn told TV3 television, adding that police were focusing their investigation on identifying the five dead in Cambrils as well as the driver of the Barcelona van.
Spanish public broadcaster RTVE and other news outlets named one of the detained in the Barcelona attack as Driss Oukabir, a French citizen of Moroccan origin. RTVE reported that Oukabir went to police in Ripoll to report that his identity documents had been stolen. Various Spanish media said the IDs with his name were found in the attack van and that he claimed his brother might have stolen them.
Citing police sources, Spain’s RTVE as well as El Pais and TV3 identified the brother, Moussa Oukabir, as the suspected driver of the van. Forn declined to comment on questions about him Friday, citing the ongoing investigation.
Media outlets ran photographs of Driss Oukabir they said police had issued to identify one of the suspects. The regional police told The Associated Press that they had not distributed the photograph. They refused to say if he was one of the two detained.
The driver, however, remained at large.
“We don’t know if the driver is still in Barcelona or not, or what direction he fled in,” Forn, the Catalan interior minister, told SER Radio. “We had local police on the scene, but we were unable to shoot him, as the Ramblas were packed with people.”
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called the killings a “savage terrorist attack” and said Spaniards “are not just united in mourning, but especially in the firm determination to beat those who want to rob us of our values and our way of life.”
After the afternoon attack, Las Ramblas went into lockdown. Swarms of officers brandishing hand guns and automatic weapons launched a manhunt in the downtown district, ordering stores and cafes and public transport to shut down.
By Friday morning, the promenade had reopened to the public, albeit under heavy surveillance and an unusual quiet.
Newsstands were open selling papers and souvenirs near Plaza de Catalunya, but the iconic flower shops that line the promenade remained shuttered. Vendors who typically sell counterfeit sneakers and soccer jerseys displayed on white sheets were nowhere to be found.
“We all feel fine, right?” said Tara Lanza, a New York tourist who arrived in Barcelona even after hearing of the attack.
“It’s sad,” John Lanza said, as the family stood outside the gated La Boqueria market. “You can tell it’s obviously quieter than it usually is, but I think people are trying to get on with their lives.”
At noon Friday, a minute of silence honouring the victims was observed at the Placa Catalunya, near the top of the Ramblas where the van attack started. Rajoy declared three days of national mourning.
Since the Madrid train bombings, the only deadly attacks had been bombings claimed by the Basque separatist group ETA that killed five people over the past decade. It declared a ceasefire in 2011.
“Unfortunately, Spaniards know the absurd and irrational pain that terrorism causes. We have received blows like this in recent years, but we also that terrorists can be beaten,” Rajoy said.
With files from Star staff
Four years ago, a long-time Toronto justice of the peace was slapped with a seven-day suspension without pay for interfering with a health inspection of a close friend’s restaurant.
Now, Tom Foulds finds himself once again in the crosshairs of the Justices of the Peace Review Council, this time facing allegations of intervening in an assault case where the complainant was his friend-turned-partner.
The public discipline hearing is set for October, but Foulds, who presides at Old City Hall, is looking to put a halt to those proceedings.
He’s filed an application for judicial review in Divisional Court, where he’s asking the judges to quash the decision of the council’s complaints committee to send his case to a discipline hearing. He also wants the court to order that a new complaints committee reconsider the complaint against him.
His grievances with the complaints committee are numerous.
“(The committee) exceeded its jurisdiction by making findings of fact and determinations of judicial misconduct, and did so prior to requesting a response from the applicant,” Foulds, who is representing himself in Divisional Court, argues in a factum recently filed in court.
“The complaint committee failed to fully assess the evidence or consider the applicant’s response in a meaningful way.”
Foulds, appointed in 1999, declined to comment to the Star through a court spokeswoman, who said Foulds is not currently presiding over cases.
Foulds also argues there is an appearance of bias on the part of the committee, saying two of its members previously sat on a different complaints committee that investigated a complaint against him, which was ultimately dismissed. Foulds alleged that the previous committee did not follow certain mandatory procedures in its investigation.
A council spokeswoman said the oversight body will argue that Foulds’ judicial review application should be quashed because it is premature.
After conducting an investigation, which included interviews with a number of witnesses and hiring an external lawyer, the complaints committee decided to send Foulds’ case to discipline in 2016, ruling that his actions could be perceived “as an attempt to abuse the office of justice of the peace.”
The allegations contained in the complaints committee decision, outlined in this story, have not yet been tested before a discipline panel.
The complaint against Foulds dates back to 2014, when Mr. A was charged with assaulting Ms. X. Neither of their names are included in the council’s notice of hearing. Mr. A, whose charges were eventually stayed by the Crown, complained to the review council that Foulds had intervened in his case because Ms. X was Foulds’ partner.
Foulds acknowledged in a response to the complaints committee that he “erred” in his approach to the case, but “vigorously” disputes much of the complaint against him.
The committee said there’s evidence to support the allegation that Foulds signed the information charging Mr. A with assault, without informing the police officer that he was involved with Ms. X and without audio-recording the officer’s attendance before him.
Foulds disputes that every routine attendance must be recorded. He admits in his factum to “mishandling a legal process” by allowing the information to be sworn before him, but that he viewed it as “a routine ministerial procedure, and he was simply a friend of (Ms. X) at that time.”
The JP then went to the Crown attorney’s office to talk about the case, but only near the end of his conversation with Crown attorney Michael Callaghan did he say that he knew the complainant and that the case should not be scheduled in front of him, according to the complaints committee.
“The committee notes that Mr. Callaghan’s perception was that His Worship was vague with respect to how he knew the complainant,” says the committee. “The evidence indicates that as he was leaving, he asked, ‘Oh, by the way, do you think it’s a problem that the information was sworn in front of me?’”
The committee said the Crown then had a new information sworn before a different JP. Callaghan, who became widely known for prosecuting ex-radio host Jian Ghomeshi on sexual assault charges last year, declined to comment to the Star.
Foulds says in his factum that he went to the Crown’s office to address the fact that the information was sworn before him, and that by that time, “the nature of (his) relationship with (Ms. X) had progressed beyond friendship.”
The committee said there’s evidence that Foulds reached out to Callaghan several other times, including to ask for an update on the case and seeking legal advice, but that Callaghan found the encounters inappropriate and declined to provide any information.
In his factum, Foulds also acknowledged his “mistake” in signing a subpoena to have Ms. X attend court and then discussing whether he could be present when she was served.
“(Foulds) provided the context in which he made these decisions, regarding the desperate state of (Ms. X’s) mental health, and his concern about protecting her from self-harm,” he said in his factum.
He argued he never sought to interfere in the case or direct Crown attorneys on what to do.
“The evidence shows that His Worship did not distance himself from the (Mr. A) case and instead actively inserted himself into the criminal process,” said the complaints committee.
“Further, the evidence suggests that His Worship’s involvement in the criminal case was calculated and deceptive. Specifically, His Worship only shared limited information at different stages to make it appear as though he was being up front when, in fact, he was not being completely honest or forthcoming.”
The committee said the Crown had to deal with a number of disclosure requests from Mr. A’s lawyer, who wanted Foulds’ personal emails in order “to get to the true story of” whether there was indeed a personal relationship between Foulds and Ms. X.
One Crown told the committee that Foulds was a “hindrance to the carriage of the case,” while Callaghan said that “for a very simple case, this became very complicated.”
The complaints committee said the evidence suggests that the costs of Mr. A’s defence “escalated and the Crown’s resources were overtaxed directly as a result of His Worship’s involvement in the proceedings.”
Montreal’s La Ronde amusement park says it has removed a carousel horse depicting an Indigenous man’s severed head in a bag.
The move comes after several complaints, including one by a resident of the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve near Montreal who shared a photo of it online this week.
Jessica Hernandez said she’d heard about its existence and saw it during a visit to the popular park Wednesday.
For her part, she said all she did was post photos on Facebook and Twitter showing a man’s head in a bag on the saddle.
“I wanted to see what people had to say,” Hernandez said Friday. “I thought: ‘how long has this been here? No one has said anything?’”
Hernandez, a mother of two, said the depiction was disturbing and shocking to see, particularly amid efforts to improve education about Indigenous culture.
“For us as Indigenous people, we know what that symbolizes, we’re taught about it and we’re educated on what an Indian head or scalp meant in history,” she said. “It incites a certain emotion in us when we see it.”
Hernandez says she was sad to learn it took multiple complaints, including some reportedly from park employees, to have the horse ultimately removed.
Julie Perrone, a spokeswoman for La Ronde, confirmed in an email the horse was taken out of commission. She didn’t provide any further details about the ride.
“The offensive symbol has since been removed and we apologize to our guests for this oversight,” she said Friday.
La Ronde, one of Canada’s largest amusement parks, is operated by U.S.-based Six Flags.