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    After more than 150 humanitarian trips to North Korea, a speech in the U.S. made Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim’s last journey there far different.

    He told an American audience that “you should not serve Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il like a God.”

    This was seen by the North Korean government as a crime against the state, and defamation of the Kim dynasty, which has been in power for almost seven decades, with Kim Jong-un now at the helm.

    Read more:

    ‘I ate 2,757 meals in isolation’: Hyeon Soo Lim’s address to his church after more than 2 years in North Korean prison

    Pastor greeted with cheers, chants at his Mississauga church after over two years in North Korean prison

    Freed Mississauga pastor will be back in church for Sunday service

    In his first interview with the Star since he was released from a North Korean jail earlier this month, Lim described the events leading up to his arrest more than two years ago.

    When Lim arrived in the northern city of Rajin in January, 2015, a senior officer approached him and asked for help.

    Lim said the officer told him: “We’ll talk about how you can help us more.”

    Soon after, Lim was arrested and detained in a hotel before he was taken to a detention centre, where he stayed for 10 months.

    At the detention centre, he went through series of interviews, and anyone in North Korea with ties to him was investigated. It was there that he was asked about his speech in the U.S.

    At Lim’s trial, he was sentenced to life in a hard-labour camp. He spent winters digging holes in the frozen ground, and the warmer months farming corn, potatoes, hot peppers and beans.

    At all times, two guards would watch him while he was working, and they would rarely speak to him. Only sometimes would an older guard make small talk with Lim, but his time in North Korea was mostly quiet and isolated.

    Lim’s spokesperson Lisa Pak, who was also at the interview at Light Presbyterian Church in Mississauga where he preaches, said the hard labour was to reform Lim.

    “There was no real purpose except to make his life difficult,” she said.

    Lim wore a gray uniform, which had more padding in the winter to accommodate the weather. His meals were either rice or noodles, but usually rice. The portions were small, until he lost 50 pounds over two months.

    “Then they gave me a little more rice,” Lim said.

    His routine was the same nearly every day.

    Wake up at 6 a.m.; clean and eat breakfast until 8 a.m.; work until 6 p.m., with an hour-long lunch and a half-hour break in the morning and afternoon; eat dinner at 7 p.m. From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., he was permitted “culture time.”

    “No TV, no radio, nothing,” he said, laughing.

    He spent that time reading the Bible. Then he would sleep at 10 and start again.

    He also had Sundays off, where he worshipped by himself.

    Lim spent time in the hospital while in North Korea, suffering from frostbite and soreness from the labour. He said that rest helped, and he did receive some medical care, like antibiotics and physiotherapy.

    On Aug. 9, Lim was freed, notified only 15 minutes in advance. North Korean officials did not speak to him when he left. Freedom felt like a miracle.

    “All of a sudden . . . he was being released, so to him it’s like the hand of God intervening because all these human efforts failed,” said Pak, referring to efforts from the Canadian government and Swedish officials, who act as Canada’s protecting power in North Korea since Ottawa has no embassy there.

    Lim expressed extreme gratitude to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and national security adviser Daniel Jean, who he said were instrumental in getting him home safely. He said Canadian officials did not ask him for many details about his experience.

    On his way home, Lim spent a night in Guam to keep his travel confidential. There, he began to catch up on current events. Guam was in the middle of an international crisis with North Korea threatening to strike American military targets there amid rising tensions with the U.S.

    Lim joked that it felt like North Korea was following him when Guam was in the news cycle.

    Lim says that his “mind is open” to going back to North Korea, where he had been going for 10 years before he was captured. He provided food and aid to people in North Korea, especially orphans whose parents had died.

    Although contemporary North Korean culture teaches that missionaries are Western spies, he was welcomed to the country without a visa because he provided aid that was needed.

    He said in the interview that he often thinks of other foreign prisoners he left behind. He believes the death of American college student Otto Warmbier after 17 months in detention in June shortly after he was released to the U.S. affected how Lim was fed.

    Lim also said he felt he was treated better because he was a Canadian.

    While in captivity, his granddaugher was born.

    “I cannot express, it’s overwhelming,” Lim said when he heard the news.


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    A top executive from Donald Trump’s real estate company emailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal spokesperson during the U.S. presidential campaign last year to ask for help advancing a stalled Trump Tower development project in Moscow, according to documents submitted to Congress on Monday.

    The request came in a mid-January 2016 email from Michael Cohen, one of Trump’s closest business advisers, who asked longtime Putin lieutenant Dmitry Peskov for assistance in reviving a deal that Cohen suggested was languishing.

    “Over the past few months I have been working with a company based in Russia regarding the development of a Trump Tower-Moscow project in Moscow City,” Cohen wrote to Peskov, according to a person familiar with the email. “Without getting into lengthy specifics, the communication between our two sides has stalled.

    “As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance. I respectfully request someone, preferably you, contact me so that I might discuss the specifics as well as arranging meetings with the appropriate individuals. I thank you in advance for your assistance and look forward to hearing from you soon,” Cohen wrote.

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

    Cohen’s email marks the most direct outreach documented by a top Trump aide to a similarly senior member of Putin’s government.

    Cohen told congressional investigators in a statement Monday that he did not recall receiving a response from Peskov or having further contact with Russian government officials about the project. The email, addressed to Peskov, appeared to have been sent to a general Kremlin press account.

    The note adds to the list of contacts between Trump associates and Russian officials that have been a focus of multiple congressional inquiries as well as an investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller exploring Russian interference in the 2016 election. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the Kremlin intervened to help elect Trump.

    Cohen’s email to Peskov provides an example of a Trump business official directly seeking Kremlin assistance in advancing Trump’s business interests.

    Cohen told congressional investigators that the deal was envisioned as a licensing project, in which Trump would have been paid for the use of his name by a Moscow-based developer called I.C. Expert Investment Co.

    Cohen said he discussed the deal three times with Trump, and that Trump signed a letter of intent with the company on Oct. 28, 2015. He said the Trump company began to solicit designs from architects and discuss financing.

    However, he said that the project was abandoned “for business reasons” when government permission was not secured, and that the matter was “not related in any way to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.”

    Cohen’s request to Peskov came as Trump was distinguishing himself on the campaign trail with his warm rhetoric about Putin.

    Cohen said in his statement to Congress that he wrote the email at the recommendation of Felix Sater, a Russian American businessman who was serving as a broker on the deal.

    In the statement, obtained by The Washington Post, Cohen said Sater suggested the outreach because a massive Trump development in Moscow would require Russian government approval.

    White House special counsel Ty Cobb said that Trump knew nothing about Cohen’s effort to enlist Peskov’s help.

    “The mere fact that there was no apparent response suggests this is a non-collusion story,” he said.

    Cohen has been one of Trump’s closest aides since 2007, serving as a business emissary, lawyer and sometimes spokesperson for Trump. Friends said Trump has treated Cohen like a member of his family.

    Cohen, who was executive vice president of the Trump Organization, did not have a formal role in Trump’s campaign. But he spoke with reporters as a defender of Trump and appeared on television as a surrogate for the candidate. He left the company shortly before Trump was inaugurated as president, and, since January, has served as one of Trump’s personal lawyers.

    In a statement to the Post, Cohen described the potential Moscow project as “simply one of many development opportunities that the Trump Organization considered and ultimately rejected.

    “It should come as no surprise that, over four decades, the Trump Organization has received and reviewed countless real estate development opportunities, both domestic and international,” he added.

    Cohen said he abandoned the project because he lost confidence that the Moscow developer would be able to obtain land, financing and government approvals. “It was a building proposal that did not succeed, and nothing more,” he said.

    Read more:Trump Organization sought deal on a Trump Tower in Moscow while he ran for president

    The Post reported Sunday that Cohen had been in negotiations with Sater and foreign investors to build a Trump Tower in the Russian capital from September 2015 through the end of January 2016, at the same time Trump was campaigning for president. Trump entered the race in June 2015, and by January 2016 he was leading in the polls for the Republican nomination.

    Cohen told congressional investigators that Sater “constantly” pushed him to travel to Moscow as part of the negotiations, but that he declined to do so.

    He said that Sater, who has attempted to broker Trump deals for more than a decade, was “prone to ‘salesmanship,’” and that, as a result, he did not routinely apprise others in the company about their interactions and never considered asking Trump to go to Moscow, as Sater had requested.

    A lawyer for Sater did not respond to requests for comment.

    Over email, Sater bragged to Cohen that he could get Putin to assist with the project and that it would help Trump’s presidential campaign, according to correspondence submitted to congressional investigators.

    “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote in a November 2015 email. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

    The Post on Sunday first reported on the existence of the emails, copies of which were published Monday by the New York Times.

    In another email published by the Times, and confirmed by the Post, Sater described accompanying Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump on a 2006 trip to Moscow. “I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin,” Sater wrote.

    A White House spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment, but in a statement to the Times, Ivanka Trump said she had taken a “brief tour” of the Kremlin but did not recall sitting in Putin’s chair.

    Donald Trump has tried to distance himself from Sater, a New York developer whose office was located in Trump Tower and who helped broker licensed Trump deals. Sater had served time in jail in the 1990s after a bar fight and pleaded guilty in 1998 to his role in Mafia-linked stock fraud. Federal officials have said he then cooperated on various national security and criminal investigations.

    In writing to Peskov, Cohen was reaching out to a Kremlin official considered one of the main gatekeepers to Putin.

    Peskov was appointed the head of the presidential press service in 2000, during Putin’s first term, and has served as a spokesperson for Putin in various roles since, staying with Putin during his four years as prime minister. Because he regularly travels with and speaks to Putin, he is a target for lobbyists and petitioners trying to attract the Russian president’s attention.

    “Aside from being the Kremlin’s mouthpiece, he’s definitely someone who is viewed as a senior lieutenant, an important oligarch in Putin’s power system,” said Steven Hall, who retired from the CIA in 2015 after 30 years of managing the agency’s Russia operations. “If you’re looking for someone who is close to Putin, Dmitry Peskov is as good as any of them.”

    Asked for comment about the Trump Tower negotiations, Amanda Miller, a spokesperson for the Trump organization, emphasized Monday that Cohen did not pursue the deal beyond its initial stages. “After the signing of a non-binding letter of intent . . . it was not significantly advanced (i.e., there was no site, no financing, and no development),” she wrote in an email to the Post. “To be clear, the Trump Organization has never had any real estate holdings or interests in Russia.”

    Still, Trump repeatedly tried for three decades to build in Russia. In 2013, he signed a preliminary agreement to build a tower in partnership with Aras Agalarov, a billionaire who had financed the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant when it was held in Moscow in 2013. Agalarov told the Post last year that his company’s deal with Trump was on hold because of the presidential campaign.

    A representative of Agalarov’s company attended a June 2016 meeting with top Trump aides and Russian lawyer organized by Donald Trump Jr., after he was told that the lawyer would provide damaging information about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton provided by the Russian government.

    Scott Balber, an attorney for Agalarov, said Agalarov and his company played no role in the 2015-16 Trump Tower proposal.


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    A tip from a member of the public has triggered the single largest drug seizure in the history of the Ontario Provincial Police.

    The force netted 1,062 kg of 97 per cent pure cocaine which had a wholesale value of $60 million and an estimated street value of $250 million, OPP commissioner Vince Hawkes said Monday at a press conference at OPP headquarters in Orillia.

    “This is a massive seizure – bigger than I’ve seen in my 33 years of policing,” Hawkes said.

    Armed tactical officers stood guard at the press conference near the wall of multi-coloured cocaine bricks on display. There was a further armed guard at the entranceway to the OPP complex.

    That cocaine will be destroyed at a secret location, Hawkes said.

    “There’s a lot of drugs out there and drugs are killing people,” Hawkes said.

    “It’s an amazing size seizure,” OPP deputy commissioner Rick Barnum said, adding the investigation is ongoing.

    The OPP declined to elaborate on the tip that started the massive operation.

    “Good information was received,” Barnum said.

    The initial arrests were made after a traffic stop on Highway 410 in May.

    The drug would have been cut down to between 30 and 40 per cent purity before it reached the streets, often with particularly deadly additives liken fentanyl, Barnum said.

    “With the amount of pure cocaine seized during Project HOPE, we’ve stopped many criminals from causing more harm to our communities while removing a quarter of a billion dollars from the criminal’s economy,” Hawkes said.

    Despite the massive amount of cocaine seized, there hasn’t been a noticeable change in the price of the drugs on the streets, Hawkes said.

    Most of the stones containing bricks of cocaine had a kilogram hidden inside. The most found in a single stone was six kilograms, Barnum said.

    Some of the stones were seized at a stone supply operation in Stoney Creek.

    “Certainly the business was set up to be a front or a cover,” Barnum said, adding it wasn’t known where the cocaine was initially produced.

    “There are definitely connections to Mexico and the Mexican cartels,” he said.

    The Mexican cartels have members living in the GTA, he said.

    The cocaine was smuggled in pallets of building stones.

    “Our dogs – CBSA dogs – never detected the cocaine,” Barnum said.

    He declined to say who would have distributed the drugs in Canada, except to say they are “extremely high-level organized crime groups.”

    The haul was called Project Hope and was in partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency, Peel Regional Police, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

    The cocaine was loaded onto ships in Argentina, destined for the Port of Montreal and then the GTA, Niagara Region and other parts of Canada, police said.

    Luis Enrique Karim-Altamirano, 52, of Vaughan has a bail hearing on Aug. 30. He is charged with importation of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for the purposes of trafficking and driving while disqualified.

    Mauricio Antonio Medina-Gatica, 36, of Brampton, has been freed on bail after being charged May 1 with importation of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance for the purposes of trafficking.

    Iban Orozco-Lomeli, 45, of Toronto was charged July 10 with importation of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance for the purposes of trafficking. He has also been released on bail.


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    Celebrated author Margaret Atwood, grocery store magnate Galen Weston, their spouses, and others have joined forces to fight a proposed mid-rise condo development in their beloved Annex neighbourhood.

    City planning staff is recommending Toronto and East York Community Council agree to alter city planning rules so the proposal can proceed to council for approval.

    “Overall, given the site and context, planning staff find the height and massing … to be acceptable,” says a staff report on next week’s community council agenda.

    Even if council approves the development, the battle could still play out at the Ontario Municipal Board, the provincial agency that has final say on all planning decisions in the province.

    The proposal calls for an existing two-storey commercial building at 321 Davenport Rd., south of Dupont St., to be demolished and replaced by an eight-storey building with 16 condo units and 30 parking spots in a two-level garage.

    The proposed structure exceeds height and density rules so requires zoning bylaw amendments, typical of most condo building applications in Toronto.

    “We have always believed that our development approach to 321 Davenport is the right one, and we will continue to advocate for our proposed scheme,” Danny Roth, a spokesman for Alterra Developments, wrote in an email.

    After the community raised concerns last winter, the developer revised the proposal, modifying the front and rear façades “to fit better within the surrounding context,” the staff report says.

    But several high-profile Annex residents, particularly those living in homes on Admiral Rd. with rear yards facing the Davenport property, are outraged by the proposal. They’ve sent emails, letters and a petition to city officials objecting to the “hulking presence.”

    “I join my neighbours in their concerns about setbacks that violate bylaws, and about privacy issues, and about the precedent such large violations of bylaws would set, not only for the neighbourhood but for the city,” Atwood wrote in a letter to local Councillor Joe Cressy, who sits on that community council. He could not be reached for comment Monday.

    Atwood included a link in her June 5 email to a newspaper story about a court case regarding shared trees.

    There are no trees on the proposed site. But the proposed development has an impact on six privately owned trees located on three neighbouring properties, the staff report says.

    “Neighbours must get permission to alter or damage a shared tree. It is against the law to act otherwise,” Atwood wrote, urging councillors to postpone a vote on the proposal back in June, pending further study on a tree “alleged” to be unhealthy. Without a proper assessment, “the developers may find themselves being sued,” she wrote. “That would be unfortunate; as such cases can drag on for a long time.”

    (On Monday, she wrote in an email to the Star it would be premature to comment further but said any statement would have to come from all neighbours.)

    Novelist Graeme Gibson, Atwood’s husband, suggested the proposed plans “hover close to a brutal and arrogant assault on a community that has been here since the 19th Century.”

    Canadian businessman Galen Weston Jr., chair and president of Loblaw Companies Ltd., and his wife Alexandra, live on nearby Bernard Ave. and sent an email to Cressy in June outlining their concerns.

    The development “designed as is, will change the neighbourhood in such a negative capacity and will devalue all of the assets we currently love about living here; it will no longer be the ideal place for our young family to grow up,” their email said.

    The couple added: “This building is an invasion on our privacy, our community and an environmental assault on our neighbourhood.”

    Artist/photographer Scott McFarland and his wife Cleophee Eaton, a member of the Eaton department store family, also emailed a long list of objections and suggestions to Cressy.

    If, for instance, there are balconies, they should face Davenport, or, if they are permitted west, “they should be Juliette-style balconies.” They warned city planners not to repeat mistakes made in the past.

    “We have made diligent efforts to communicate openly with our neighbours in the hopes of resolving any concerns they may have through the redevelopment process,” Roth’s emailed statement said.

    “That said, our respect for the process and our sincere desire to reach agreement with stakeholders does not mean that the future of this site should be left solely in the hands of a few vocal residents. There is a planning process established, with mechanisms for resolving disputes, and we are fully committed to proceeding with that process.”


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    If living proof that no good deed ever goes unpunished was needed, the dispatching of federal minister Jane Philpott to the troubled Indigenous front offers it.

    Just last week, Philpott — in her previous role as Justin Trudeau’s health minister — signed a funding agreement with Manitoba. Its Tory government was the last to resist a federal bid to set the terms under which Ottawa will transfer money for health care to the provinces for the next decade.

    Over her first months as health minister, she and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould also co-authored a legislative compromise on the delicate issue of medically assisted death.

    Read more:

    Trudeau shuffles cabinet, Indigenous Affairs department restructured

    Judy Foote resigns cabinet to help family face cancer

    Having resolved two thorny files to the satisfaction of the prime minister — something most of her ministerial colleagues have yet to achieve — Philpott will now get to put her skills to the test of salvaging the capital of good faith Trudeau brought to the Indigenous front before it is completely depleted.

    On Monday, she took charge of a new Indigenous services ministry to be carved out of Carolyn Bennett’s existing Indigenous affairs department.

    One of her tasks — to be undertaken jointly with Bennett — will be to set the floundering inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous girls and women back on track.

    The two will initially have to navigate in relatively uncharted waters. Legislation to create two departments where there has always been only one will have to be drafted and passed by Parliament. The mandate letters setting out their respective responsibilities are still a work in progress. The division of labour could make for some uneasy moments between the two ministers — one being a success story and the other not so much.

    On Monday, Trudeau’s choice of a rookie to take a portfolio as senior as the health ministry was the move that most puzzled many Parliament Hill insiders. This is Ginette Petitpas Taylor’s first cabinet appointment. The New Brunswick MP had been serving as parliamentary secretary to the minister of finance.

    Part of the explanation for the prime minister’s choice has to do with language skills.

    As health minister, Petitpas Taylor will be joining former Toronto police chief Bill Blair and Justice Minister Wilson-Raybould on the marijuana legalization front line. Her appointment ensures that at least one of the lead government members on the file is able to deliver its message in French.

    She will have her work cut out for her in Quebec where a storm over Trudeau’s determination to fulfil his promise to legalize marijuana by next summer could be brewing.

    The province has begun holding its own hearings into the plan and the initial public meetings have elicited a significant amount of unease over the federal timeline. The marijuana issue could surface in an upcoming federal byelection in Lac-Saint-Jean, the riding left vacant by former Conservative minister Denis Lebel.

    Rounding out the load of poisoned apples the prime minister distributed on Monday, B.C. MP Carla Qualtrough traded the low profile portfolio of sports and persons with disabilities for the public works and procurement department. She will have to try to sort out the mess that is the Phoenix pay system. Despite her predecessor’s repeated assurances, the pay woes of as many as half of the country’s public servants remain unresolved.

    This was Trudeau’s second major reshuffling of the cabinet he initially put together after his election victory almost two years ago. It was less than nine months ago that he rearranged the chairs on his upper deck — essentially to deal with the challenges emerging from Donald Trump’s nascent presidency.

    None of the 12 ministers who make up the special cabinet committee that was struck last January to oversee the Canada/U.S. file were reassigned on Monday, and none were added.

    That reflects that government’s sense that the current approach to Trumpism works as well as can be expected in the circumstances and that the cabinet team Trudeau assembled in January does cover all the bases.

    As an aside, National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan who misrepresented his role in the crafting of a major military operation in Afghanistan and was subsequently expected by some observers to be demoted at the first opportunity, has survived his misstep.

    The New Year shuffle signalled a major redeployment of government resources along the Canada/U.S. front. By comparison, Monday’s makeover — while more significant than expected — was only designed to fix some isolated trouble spots.

    Chantal Hébert is a national affairs writer. Her column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.


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    ORNGE caused the death of two pilots and two paramedics when the company failed to provide night vision goggles, the Crown attorney prosecuting Ontario’s air ambulance service has told a court.

    “Despite knowing that flight into total darkness was their No. 1 workplace risk, ORNGE did not give these pilots any way to see in the dark or to see the ground,” prosecutor Nick Devlin told the judge presiding over the labour code case.

    More than four years have passed since the 2013 crash that killed ORNGE captain Don Filliter, co-pilot Jacques Dupuy and flight paramedics Chris Snowball and Dustin Dagenais. They died shortly after taking off from Moosonee, Ont., headed to Attawapiskat.

    In a hard-hitting condemnation of ORNGE’s safety and management regime at the time, Devlin never mentioned former boss Chris Mazza, but one of his decisions was front and centre: buying 12 state-of-the-art Italian helicopters and outfitting only 10 for air ambulance use. The plan — a failed one, as it turned out — was to one day sell the other two choppers for a profit. That purchase and related matters are part of an almost six-year-old OPP criminal probe, which, despite a statement by the force in March that it was nearing conclusion, now shows no sign of ending.

    Read more:

    ORNGE urged to give night-vision goggles to pilots before chopper crash, court told

    ORNGE air ambulance crash ‘predictable and preventable,’ court told

    Five-year ORNGE criminal probe wrapping up

    “ORNGE spent millions of dollars on a money-losing, speculative purchase of non-(air ambulance) aircraft, rather than using those funds to install (night vision) capacity in its fleet,” Devlin said in his submission to court. The helicopters were purchased from AgustaWestland at a cost of $144 million in 2008. Mazza and other senior company executives were gone by early 2012.

    The air ambulance firm, which receives $172 million a year from the province, “failed the four men it sent out into the darkness,” Devlin said.

    Though it involves the high-pressure field of emergency medical transport by air, the case in Brampton court is in essence a workplace safety case, and the prosecution is taking place under the Canada Labour Code. The maximum penalty against a corporation is a $1-million fine — something that has struck observers as odd, since if a penalty is paid, it will in effect come from Ontario taxpayers.

    ORNGE has rejected Devlin’s claims, along with additional allegations that the two pilots were not properly trained or prepared for the flight.

    “The pilots had the training, testing, and experience they needed to fly by instruments,” ORNGE said in its submission to court Friday, prepared by lawyers Brian Gover and Fredrick Schumann. “In those circumstances, the employer complied with its duty to ensure employee safety.” The lawyers pointed out that aircraft regulators in Canada do not require pilots to be able to see the ground.

    ORNGE, in the wake of the crash, is in the process of outfitting its fleet and pilots with night vision capability.

    The job ORNGE was doing in Moosonee, a northern community near James Bay, was routine for the service, which is charged with picking up patients in emergencies and flying others between hospitals. Filliter and Dupuy were flying an older model Sikorsky chopper, not one of the brand new AW139s that Mazza, as ORNGE boss, had purchased.

    Neither type of helicopter was outfitted for night vision, though they had instruments that ORNGE maintains were sufficient for a safe flight.

    The Transportation Safety Board investigation of the crash found that shortly after midnight on May 31, 2013, the ORNGE chopper was dispatched from Moosonee to Attawapiskat to pick up an emergency patient. Investigators determined the aircraft climbed to 300 feet and the captain and first officer began carrying out post-takeoff checks. The paramedics on board likely would have been preparing for the medevac ahead in Attawapiskat.

    What was described as an “inadvertent descent” began as the chopper was banking left. During the turn, the captain noticed on the instruments that the turn angle was excessive and the first officer said he would correct it. Seconds before impact, the report states the captain “recognized that the aircraft was descending and called for the first officer to initiate a climb.” It was too late and the Sikorsky hit the ground, crumpling and bursting into flames.

    Night vision goggles, court heard, would have made it possible for the pilots to quickly orient themselves with the terrain.

    ORNGE spokesperson James MacDonald said that the air service is now fully operational with night vision goggles and modified aircraft at its bases in Sudbury, Kenora and Thunder Bay. ORNGE is aiming to have night vision capability in all chopper bases by the end of 2017.

    The court case has also delved into the previous management at ORNGE. Prosecutor Devlin said in his submission to court that ORNGE was “run by people with little or no relevant experience,” that three safety warnings concerning the Moosonee pilot’s state of mind, readiness and training were ignored, and that ORNGE had a “corporate culture of ignoring, attacking and ostracizing pilots and managers who expressed safety concerns.”

    ORNGE today is under different management, following a series of investigative stories by the Star that led to a massive overhaul of the agency and most senior-level executives being shown the door.

    As to the ongoing OPP criminal investigation of Mazza and others over alleged kickbacks and other matters, OPP officials did not return requests for comment last week. On Sunday, a media official with the OPP said an update would be provided this week.

    Mazza, a doctor, has bounced around various jobs in Ontario since leaving ORNGE. Once paid millions of dollars a year as a top executive, he has worked at a northern hospital in the emergency room and recently has been doing a stint as a sports medicine doctor in Mississauga.

    Kevin Donovan can be reached at 416-312-3503 or kdonovan@thestar.ca .


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    Outraged by the latest delay on your TTC commute? Tweeted at the TTC to share your anger? Then you’ve probably come across Ron Sly.

    Sly, 32, is one of six TTC customer service representatives who run the transit agency’s Twitter account @TTChelps for commuters who have questions about the service, complaints or compliments for employees who went above and beyond the call of duty. The account is active seven days a week, starting at 7 a.m.

    Sly has been on the job for two months, and despite the frustration he sometimes faces from passengers, he says he loves interacting with people all day.

    “Everyone gets a response basically, we work at it until we can solve it,” Sly said. “We’re a big massive corporation that you’re sending your issue into, but everyone is treating your issue as the most important one of the day when they’re working on it.”

    His Twitter signature is RA with a little rocket emoji beside it, and his everyday interactions with customers range from helping people find the right bus stop to apologizing to angry passengers when there’s a delay.

    The TTC has a customer service department with a staff of about 20 people, who, apart from running the Twitter account, answer the phones, write emails and letters, and speak to people in person.

    According to Sue Motahedin, the head of the customer service team, the TTC gets an average of 150 complaints per day.

    It depends on the week and transit conditions, but the most common complaints are usually service delays, streetcar issues, employee discourtesy, service and route changes and vehicle operation complaints. Once in a while, compliments make the top category, Motahedin said.

    When unexpected service interruptions happen — like on Aug. 10 when signal issues on Line 1 caused delays of at least 40 minutes for morning subway users that prompted even the mayor to apologize — the TTC can get more than 500 complaints in a day.

    Sly and the rest of the customer service team are on the front lines, trying to answer all of them.

    “When an issue arises that is a surprise to us, instead of 100 in a day you respond to 500 in a day, and they’re all really angry,” Sly said. “Unfortunately there’s not much we can do but make sure that they’re heard.”

    Sly said reading hundreds of angry tweets can get overwhelming, especially on rough days. But in those situations, he always reminds himself that tomorrow is a new day.

    “The vast majority of TTC trips are completed without a problem so we just take some solace in that and start again the next day,” he said.

    Sly recalled one interaction he had with a man who tweeted a gif of Zach Galifianakis flipping the bird during a rough morning on the TTC. Sly responded with a gif of Taylor Swift saying ‘sorry,’ and the passenger responded with a gif of Steve Harvey smiling.

    “It was short interaction, the TTC kind of ruined his morning, but with a little bit of humor and light-heartedness we can hopefully turn it back around and make it a positive experience,” Sly said. “It’s an interesting challenge on Twitter because you have less than 140 characters to judge what their tone is and how they’ll respond, you don’t want to send a light and fun message to someone who is very upset.”

    Robyn Crosby, a 38-year-old Fort York-area resident, tweets at the TTC about once a month, and said her communication with them has always been positive.

    “They’re always polite, they said ‘it happened to me yesterday,’ and that made me feel like they could relate to my issue,” Crosby said about an interaction she had with the Twitter account last week.

    Both Sly and Motahedin said they want people to know there are real people running the account, who answer the tweets and care about customer experience.

    “We are people behind the computer screen who are doing our very best to help,” Motahedin said. “We totally understand when people are frustrated, we’re all TTC riders ourselves.”


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    Jagmeet Singh wears a turban as mandated under the code of conduct for Sikh males.

    It is an article of faith, sacred, steeped in tradition and martial history, essentially intended to protect hair that must be kept in a natural, unaltered state: Uncut.

    (It should be noted that in India, home to 22 million Sikhs, roughly half the male population do not wear a turban.)

    Read more:

    Jagmeet Singh calls out NDP opponents on niqab issue in Quebec

    Religious rights may dominate remaining weeks of NDP leadership campaign: Hébert

    NDP leadership candidates debate Quebec religious accommodation bill

    A far cry from the face-concealing veil for Muslim women, the niqab — in Arabic, naqaba: Meaning to pierce, bore a hole or perforate.

    As in the netting panel that at least allows women to at least see, if not their own feet.

    There is no Muslim religious commandment compelling adult females to cover their faces, though it’s the law of the land in ultra patriarchal regimes such as Saudi Arabia.

    Intriguing then — and distressing to many of us — that Singh, the apparent front-runner for leadership of the federal NDP, has wrapped the vile niqab in a chimera of Charter rights and freedoms and Quebec human rights law.

    Last week, prior to the only French debate of the NDP leadership race, Singh told the Star he is unequivocally opposed to Quebec’s Bill 62, tabled two years ago, which would require anybody offering or receiving public services to do so with faces uncovered. The bill is admittedly confusing in proposed amendments, one of which might extend the face covering ban to public transit.

    Quebec is formally a distinct province where, given its past subordination to the Catholic Church, secularism is now vigorously embraced. The national assembly has the authority — unless the Supreme Court of Canada would dare to say differently — to pass laws enshrining secularism.

    Normally, hardcore NDPers talking to other hardcore NDPers would hold minimal interest for me. But the religious accommodation genie has come out of the bottle again — it never really went back in, even after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pulled the plug on a four-year legal fight by the previous Conservative government to force removal of the niqab when taking the citizenship oath, withdrawing a Stephen Harper request to the Supreme Court to hear an appeal on an issue lost in Federal Court.

    Equally dismaying are those Canadian women — including NDP leadership contender Niki Ashton — who either waffle over the niqab as a woman’s dress choice which should not be dictated by any government, or outright defend its virtues as a feminist protective against sexual objectification.

    This is absurdist, revisionist twaddle.

    How very disheartening that even highly intelligent people, when women’s rights clash with multicultural rights — religious accommodation — would cleave to the latter, which makes them precious little different from burka enslavers in Afghanistan.

    I’ve said it before and will repeat it again: Any woman who wears a niqab, purportedly because she chooses to do so and isn’t doing a man’s bidding, contributes to the erosion of all women’s rights in a secular society. A woman who opts not to show her face in public perpetuates the hideous concept that the rest of us are less virtuous, that our faces are so intimate a feature they should be hidden. She renders us lesser beings and thus unequal.

    There is enough ghettoization around. These women want to ghettoize their faces.

    Any society which buys into this fallacy is inheritently anti-woman, paternalistic and inside-out reactionary. As Trudeau famously said about his gender parity cabinet two years ago: “Because it’s 2015!”

    Canada did not invent civil rights nor perfect them, though we’ve arguably aggrandized multiculturalism beyond any reasonable doctrine. Trudeau prattles endlessly about “Canadian values” but goes berserk at the suggestion that those values might actually be even marginally codified.

    Perhaps we should pay heed to what other countries, with much longer histories of democracy, have decided on the niqab.

    Belgium, hardly a retrogressive nation, has banned it as incompatible “with social communication and more generally the establishment of human relations, which are indispensable for life in society.”

    That was the argument put before the European Court of Human Rights which last month unanimously ruled a niqab ban does not violate human rights.

    The European court, if anything, is often criticized for its over-weaning vigilance on human rights. The panel that heard this case included judges from Iceland, Estonia, Turkey, Montenegro, Monaco and Moldova. It is not a European Union institution; rather part of the Council of Europe, a 47-member state international organization founded in 1949 with the aim of upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

    They concluded the Belgium ban did not break any international rules forbidding discrimination.

    The decision noted the ban was “necessary in a democratic society” trying to protect “the rights and freedoms of others” and seeking to guarantee the conditions of “living together.”

    Belgium, as a state, had argued that it considered a full-face veil incompatible “with social communication and more generally the establishment of human relations, which were indispensable for life in society.”

    Whether a full-face veil is acceptable to the Belgian public, the court concluded, is a matter for state authorities to decide and not an international court. The woman who brought the case can appeal the decision to the Grand Chamber of the Court.

    The European court decision follows a rejection of a similar challenge against the veil ban in France. Two years ago, the court upheld the French ban in a country that is home to an estimated 5 million Muslims, but where only about 1,900 (according to 2009 research) women were affected by the proscription, a figure which has reportedly dropped by half “thanks to a major public information campaign,” French officials told the judges.

    Lawyers for the complainant insisting outlawing the full-face veil was contrary to six articles of the European convention; that forcing its removal was “inhumane and degrading, against the right of respect for family and private life, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of speech and discriminatory.”

    The European Court of Human Rights has also upheld France’s ban on head scarves in education establishments and a regulation requiring removal of scarves, veils and turbans for security checks.

    It’s ironic that some of the same people who passionately insist there should never be any curtailment of religious rights in the public realm simultaneously justify limiting free speech that is hateful.

    The niqab is hateful.

    Blinded by fervency, the NDP — and to a considerable extent the Liberals — have turned themselves into doctrinal pretzels.

    Outgoing NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s defence of the niqab during the last federal election contributed to the party’s plunging fortunes at the polls. He told the CBC Radio earlier this year his niqab stance “hurt us terribly . . . the polling that we did showed we dropped over 20 points in 48 hours here in Quebec because of the strong stand I took on the niqab.”

    The party lost most of the Quebec seats it had gained during the “Orange Wave” 2011 election under Jack Layton.

    Canadians have made it clear over and over in public polling that face veils are an affront to our values: 82 per cent of respondents in favour of removing the niqab during citizenships oaths, according to a 2015 Privy Council Office poll, but one from among many such pulse-takings with the same general results.

    That does not make an overwhelming majority of Canadians bigoted or intolerant or Islamophobic. It makes the NDP tent and the Liberal tent on this particular issue much too small and insufferable.

    Jagmeet Singh doesn’t care much for majority opinion. He told the Star last week: “Human rights shouldn’t be a matter of popularity. (Rights are) not supposed to be subject to the whims of the majority.”

    The sentiment is not wrong. But its application in this niche controversy is.

    But one reason why the NDP will never form a majority Canadian government.

    Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.


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    OTTAWA—Darshan Kang, a Calgary Liberal MP accused of sexually harassing a young female staffer, then offering her money to stay quiet with her allegations, broke his own silence Tuesday and committed to defend himself “at all costs.”

    In a short statement released by his office, Kang did not address the specific allegations against him — which were partly revealed Aug. 11 — and said he has not been able to appear in public because he was placed on stress-related medical leave.

    He also confirmed there is an “open, ongoing investigation” into the allegations.

    Read more:Liberal MP offered woman $100K to keep quiet about sexual harassment claim, father alleges

    “Since the allegations of sexual harassment were levelled against me I have been under a tremendous amount of stress and subsequently, I was placed on medical leave,” the statement said.

    “While I cannot comment directly on an open, ongoing investigation, I continue to proclaim my innocence and will defend my reputation at all costs.”

    Kang is accused of sexually harassing a young woman who worked in his Calgary constituency office for more than four years. The woman’s father told the Star on condition of anonymity that Kang offered her a series of payments of up to $100,000 to stay quiet with her allegations, which he said included numerous instances of unwelcome hugs and hand-holding, as well as an incident in June when he offered the woman wine and tried to take off her jacket.

    None of the allegations against Kang has been proven.

    The father said the Liberal party’s deputy whip in the House of Commons, Hamilton MP Filomena Tassi, travelled to Calgary in June to interview his daughter about her allegations.

    Tassi has not responded to interview requests from the Star this week.

    The NDP, meanwhile, called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “immediately remove” Kang from the Liberal caucus, pending the conclusion of an investigation.

    Sheila Malcolmson, the NDP’s Status of Women critic, questioned whether Kang’s continued presence in the Liberal fold means Trudeau is betraying his stated “zero tolerance” policy on harassment and misconduct on Parliament Hill.

    “How did the prime minister move from ‘zero tolerance’ in the past to ‘no comment’ now? There is no rationale.”

    Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Trudeau declined to say why Kang remains in the Liberal caucus. He said there is a “strong series of processes” in Parliament to deal with harassment allegations which has been put in place over the past two years.

    “The whip’s office is very much engaged, as it must be in this process, and we will allow this process to unfold as it should,” he said.

    Earlier this month, the Hill Times revealed that Kang is being investigated by the House of Commons human resources officer for alleged sexual harassment. The government whip’s office has confirmed it received the allegations.

    “We were made aware of the allegations and referred them, as per the House of Commons process, to the chief human resources officer (Pierre Parent),” the government whip’s chief-of-staff, Charles-Eric Lépine, said in an email Monday.

    It is not clear if Lépine was referring to the allegation of sexual harassment, the alleged offers of money, or both. He declined to answer any more questions on the matter Monday and Tuesday.

    The human resources office investigates claims of harassment, abuse of authority, misconduct and sexual harassment among MPs and Parliamentary employees, including workers in constituency offices.

    If a complaint is determined to meet the policy’s recommendation of harassment and attempted mediation doesn’t work, an investigation will take place, according to Parliament’s harassment policy.

    Each party has 15 days to appeal the conclusion of an investigation, the policy states.

    During the 2016-17 fiscal year, the office received 19 cases and deemed two serious enough for investigation, according to its most recent annual report. Both cases were found to be “not substantiated.”


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    It was June 2015, and Justin Trudeau, then leader of the third party and struggling in the polls, made what was seen by many at the time as a rather impulsive promise.

    He quickly pledged to implement all 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that had been released that day by Justice Murray Sinclair.

    Monday, more than 26 months after his pledge of reconciliation, a United Nations committee on the elimination of racial discrimination reported it was “alarmed” that the Trudeau government continues to ignore multiple decisions by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to close the gap in funding for child and family services of Indigenous children.

    Read more:

    Cabinet shuffle only targeted isolated trouble spots: Hébert

    Trudeau shuffles ministers, overhauls Indigenous Affairs, brings friend O’Regan into cabinet

    Judy Foote resigns cabinet to help family face cancer

    That’s quite a gap between expectations and delivery.

    Also Monday, Trudeau arrived at Rideau Hall and announced he would dissolve the “creaky old structures” of the Indigenous and Northern Affairs department, announced plans to kill the Indian Act and put one of his most trusted ministers into one of two new Indigenous portfolios.

    Are we about to witness yet another gap between expectations and delivery?

    There could be no loftier goal than Indigenous reconciliation and Trudeau’s government deserves credit for making it a priority.

    But there can be no tougher task for a government than trying to undo history, toss off the yoke of colonialism, address grievances and mistrust and deliver much-needed services quickly while dealing with an entrenched bureaucracy.

    All are needed to effect real change.

    When expectations collide with reality things can actually get worse.

    Trudeau either made history Monday or made an admission that, mid-mandate, true reconciliation and timely delivery of services remain as elusive as ever.

    The prime minister, of course, would never say the latter, but he did concede it would come as no surprise “that there are real challenges in terms of changing a relationship and improving a relationship and services that have foundered for decades, if not centuries.”

    Hayden King, an Anishinaabe educator in the faculty of arts at Ryerson University, told me there is a concern that this move is just another Liberal symbol that will be “wrapping us up in process.”

    Promises have been heard and discarded for decades. Under this government, the promises are yardsticks that allow Indigenous leaders to push for accountability.

    “I never invest in any hope in a Canadian government,” King says, “because there is a mountain of empirical evidence that governments since 1867 have been acting to extinguish Indigenous rights and communities.”

    Then there is Cindy Blackstock and her relentless fight to provide fairness for Indigenous children.

    She took the government to the human rights tribunal and won in February 2016. The tribunal ruled that Ottawa discriminated against Indigenous children by underfunding child welfare services and not providing the same level of health care on reserves as the rest of the country.

    In response, the Trudeau Liberals have spent more than $700,000 fighting the original order and three subsequent non-compliance orders, according to numbers obtained by NDP leadership candidate Charlie Angus.

    In June, the government took the tribunal to Federal Court over a ruling that linked inadequate health care to two suicides of 12-year-old girls in Wapekeka First Nation.

    “I look at this from a kid’s perspective,” Blackstock said. “Instead of helping me, Justin Trudeau is actually violating the law to thwart me. What kind of message is that sending to kids?”

    The ministers involved in that challenge are Carolyn Bennett and Jane Philpott, the two ministers appointed to the Indigenous files by Trudeau Monday.

    Their real task will be turning around a bureaucracy that sees itself as protectorate of the Canadian population, which puts it on a collision course with Indigenous needs and aspirations.

    It narrowly interprets court or tribunal rulings, it strangles political intentions with its own form of inertia, it is steeped in paternalism and it guards information, as Blackstock says, as if child welfare was a national security issue.

    The good news is that Philpott, as the minister of Indigenous services, said her first priority would be child and family services and health care.

    The better news is that this is a woman who is not only compassionate, but highly competent and clearly tough enough to deal with a bureaucracy if her hardball negotiating tactics with the provinces on health care funding are any gauge.

    The best news is that Philpott is not a woman who will want to preside over more symbolic actions. A woman of substance will want to deliver substance.

    Tim Harper writes on national affairs. He can be reached at tjharper77@gmail.com or Twitter: @nutgraf1


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    Every day Ken Teryan wakes up to smell the roses — both the real roses he sells in his Avenue Rd. shop, and the metaphorical roses reminding him that he owns one of no fewer than five flower shops competing for business on the same block.

    Kay & Young’s, Yang’s, Ken’s, Jong Young and Grower’s stand side-by-side on Avenue Rd. south of Davenport. Unlike the restaurants of Chinatown or the Danforth, there is no apparent logic to why they’ve congregated there.

    But the flower shops of “Av and Dav” have come to characterize the neighbourhood. The novelty draws regular customers from as far as Barrie, and even occasional tourists eager to check out Toronto’s “flower district.”

    “I think for Toronto, it’s great,” said Teryan, who owns Ken’s Flowers.

    “I would love to have cheese stores, five in a row. Or bakeries selling lots of croissants — that would be wonderful. For sure they would be the nicest croissants around,” he said, smiling broadly at the pastry-filled reverie.

    Teryan sees the tough competition and close proximity of the flower shops as an advantage to customers — and that keeps the shop owners on their toes.

    “It’s giving the signal to all of us to wake up early every morning, never sell anything dead, always keep the flower store so clean and nice and fresh,” he said. Neglect to do these things, and customers will simply go next door.

    Grace Young, owner of Kay & Young’s, the newest florist on the strip, agreed that the surrounding flower shops were a draw to setting up shop there.

    It seems to be working. On Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, the lines to get into any one of the Av and Dav flower shops get so long that the police show up to monitor crowds, Teryan said.

    It’s not unheard-of for small businesses in close proximity to become each other’s most serious competitors, and sometimes the contest gets tense. Last year a cocktail supply shop owner sued her direct neighbour, claiming he was trying to pass off his shop for her’s.

    Those who have lived near Av and Dav a long time might not remember exactly how or why the strip blossomed into flower row — but they’re not complaining.

    Diane Loeb, who has lived in the area for 38 years, recalls watching as produce shops and kitchen supply stores were replaced by florists over time.

    “Just the two minutes you take walking south through that block you’re hit with the most amazing scents and colours,” she said. “It lifts your spirits.

    “It’s amazing to me that five separate locations can keep going just a few yards from one another.”

    She sometimes worries that high-rise condo developers will change the landscape of the neighbourhood, and take the quaint flower shops with them.

    Loeb is a dedicated customer at Jong Young (“I always get a ‘hello’ when I go into my flower shop!”) and believes that each of the shops must thrive by carving out their own unique client base.

    Nevertheless, Milena Eglite, who owns Grower’s, described the competition between shop owners as “fierce.”

    With the alternatives right outside her door, Eglite said it can be especially difficult to contemplate minor price increases when things like hydro become more expensive.

    But she said the shops work hard to build their own unique base of customers. She serves hotels and shops in the nearby upscale Yorkville neighbourhood. Teryan, meanwhile, focuses on wedding orders.

    Rebecca Reuber, a strategic management professor at the University of Toronto, says “it’s probably not an easy existence” for the owners when similar businesses line up side-by-side.

    “You can’t be complacent because you have a competitor right beside you,” she said.

    But businesses may also benefit from their neighbours’ high reputations, Reuber said, which can help to turn areas of the city into “destinations” for certain products or services.

    “It’s probably in your interest that the competitor is quite good,” she said.

    With all five flower shops boasting reviews by customers who claim theirs is the best one, the flower shops at Av and Dav seem to be doing well by that measure.


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    WASHINGTON—U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis announced Tuesday that he is freezing President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military, saying that he will first establish a panel of experts to provide advice and recommendations on how to carry out Trump’s direction.

    The Pentagon confirmed the move in a statement attributed to Mattis, saying that the Pentagon will develop a study and implementation plan “as directed.” Soon-to-be arriving political appointees at the Defence Department “will play an important role in this effort.” The plan will address both the potential for transgender people looking to serve in the military for the first time, and transgender troops who already are serving.

    “Our focus must always be on what is best for the military’s combat effectiveness leading to victory on the battlefield,” Mattis said. “To that end, I will establish a panel of experts serving within the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to provide advice and recommendations on the implementation of the president’s direction.”

    Mattis added that panel members “will bring mature experience, most notably in combat and deployed operations, and seasoned judgment to this task.” The panel will “assemble and thoroughly analyze all pertinent data, quantifiable and non-quantifiable.”

    The Pentagon chief said that once the panel makes its recommendations and he consults with the secretary of homeland security, he will provide his advice to Trump. In the meantime, current policy regarding transgender service members will remain in place, Mattis said, meaning that those already serving can continue to do so.

    The issue has been especially sensitive since Trump announced on Twitter on July 26 that “after consultation with my Generals and military experts,” he would not allow transgender to serve in the the U.S. military “in any capacity.” White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders clarified later that day that no change would be made until an implementation policy was developed.

    Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, added the following day that transgender service members already serving will be treated with dignity and respect as the Pentagon sorts out its new policy, but that it would carry out Trump’s direction.

    Mattis had left the door open to some transgender service members continuing to serve, referring Aug. 14 in remarks to Pentagon reporters to Dunford’s statement when asked whether any transgender people would be forced out of the military.

    “The chairman immediately went out and said immediately, ‘Everyone stand fast until we get the direction,’ ” Mattis said. “I understand that this is probably more about your suspicion about what could be coming, but the fact is, we have received no direction that would indicate any harm to anybody right now.”

    The Obama administration repealed its ban on transgender service member serving in July 2016. A Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Pentagon found that there were between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender people among the 1.3 million on active duty, but Mattis has questioned whether the study is accurate.


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    The rain from Harvey is in a class of its own. The storm has unloaded at least 124 centimetres of rain southeast of Houston, the greatest amount ever recorded from a tropical weather system in the U.S., excluding Alaska and Hawaii. And it’s still raining.

    The National Hurricane Center broke the news:

    “A preliminary report from one Texas rain gauge has broken the Texas tropical cyclone rainfall record. Southeast of Houston, Mary’s Creek at Winding Road reported 49.32 inches (125.27 centimetres) as of 9 am CDT. This total is higher than the previous record of 48 inches set during tropical cyclone Amelia of 1978 at Medina, Texas.”

    The Hurricane Center only states that the 124-plus centimetres breaks the Texas record set in Medina in 1978, but the amount also represents the most from a tropical system in the Lower 48 states.

    Hawaii has logged isolated reports of greater amounts at high elevations from tropical systems, but the footprint from Harvey in Southeast Texas is much larger. It has produced nearly a metre of rain over most of the Houston region, affecting more than five million people.

    “The 3-to-4 day rainfall totals of greater than 40 inches (possible 50 inches in locations surrounding Santa Fe and Dickinson) are simply mind-blowing that has lead to the largest flood in Houston-Galveston history,” the National Weather Service office Serving Houston wrote.

    From the perspective of the amount of volume unloaded in the U.S. from a single storm, Harvey has no rival.

    John Neilsen-Gammon, the Texas state climatologist, found Harvey’s total rainfall concentrated over a 52,000-square-kilometre area over 72 hours represents nearly 19 times the daily discharge of the Mississippi River, by far the most of any tropical system ever recorded.

    The Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison determined that many areas of Southeast Texas have received rain that is expected to come around only once every 1,000 years (or having a 0.1 per cent probability of occurrence), assuming a stationary climate.

    This is truly an epic storm.


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    WASHINGTON—Two Canadian men are among more than a dozen people indicted Tuesday by a grand jury in Washington, D.C., for attacking protesters in May 2017 during a U.S. visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    The indictments charge the defendants with attacking peaceful demonstrators who had gathered on May 16 outside the home of the Turkish ambassador to await Erdogan’s arrival after he had met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House.

    The two Canadians named in the American court document are Mahmut Sami Ellialti and Ahmet Cengizhan Dereci.

    Read more:Two Toronto men charged in beating of anti-Erdogan protesters in Washington

    In June, police in the U.S. capital issued arrest warrants for Ellialti on charges of felony aggravated assault and felony assault with significant bodily injury and Dereci on charges of felony assault with significant bodily injury and misdemeanour assault or threatened assault in a menacing manner.

    Sixteen of the defendants named in Tuesday’s indictment had already been charged on June 13. Two of the defendants were arrested in June and face an initial court hearing on Sept. 7. The rest remain at large, including the two Canadians.

    The pair told the CBC last year that they are staunch supporters of Erdogan and had voted to elect him.

    “Recep Tayyip Erdogan was chosen by the Turkish people. We voted for him and we want him to be our president,” Dereci said at the time.

    All 19 defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, a felony punishable by a statutory maximum of 15 years in prison. Several face additional charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

    Several are members of Erdogan’s security detail who returned with him to Turkey, so it is unclear if any will face legal repercussions in the United States. However, they could end up being threatened with arrest if they return to the U.S. If any are still in the country, they could be expelled if Turkey refuses to waive diplomatic immunity.

    Video of the protest showed security guards and some Erdogan supporters attacking a small group of protesters with their fists and feet. Men in dark suits and others were recorded repeatedly kicking one woman as she lay curled on a sidewalk. Another wrenched a woman’s neck and threw her to the ground. A man with a bullhorn was repeatedly kicked in the face.

    After police struggled to protect the protesters and ordered the men in suits to retreat, several of the men dodged the officers and ran into the park to continue the attacks. In all, nine people were hurt.

    Police detained two members of Erdogan’s security detail, but released them shortly afterward. Two other men were arrested at the scene — one was charged with aggravated assault and the other was charged for assaulting a police officer.

    American officials strongly criticized Turkey’s government and Erdogan’s security forces for the violence; the State Department summoned Turkey’s U.S. ambassador to complain. The Turkish Foreign Ministry then summoned America’s ambassador to protest the treatment of the detained security guards.

    Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency said at the time that Erdogan’s security team moved in to disperse the protesters because “police did not heed to Turkish demands to intervene.” The Turkish Embassy claimed the demonstrators were “aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president.

    With files from The Canadian Press


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    A multimillion-dollar claim seeking damages against Omar Khadr for the death of a U.S. special forces soldier should be dismissed because it relies on false information and a conviction before Guantanamo’s controversial military courts, documents filed Tuesday state.

    Nathan Whitling, Khadr’s lawyer, wrote in the statement of defence to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that the Utah claim for $134.1 million (U.S.) “would never have existed but for the unlawful detention, abuse, torture, and other mistreatment of (Khadr) in Bagram and GTMO.”

    Khadr, now 30, was shot and captured in Afghanistan by U.S. forces on July 27, 2002, at the age of 15. Delta Force soldier Christopher Speer was fatally wounded during the firefight AND Sgt. Layne Morris was hit by shrapnel and lost sight in one eye. Khadr, grievously wounded and also blinded in one eye, was transferred to the U.S. base in Bagram, Afghanistan, where he received life-saving medical treatment and was interrogated for nearly three months before his transfer to Guantanamo, also known by the acronym GTMO.

    Read more:

    Omar Khadr to request loosened bail conditions, including unfettered access to sister

    Widow of U.S. soldier seeks enforcement of Utah judgment against Omar Khadr in Alberta

    Former PM Paul Martin regrets government’s early handling of Omar Khadr case

    Morris and Speer’s widow, Tabitha, brought a wrongful-death suit against Khadr, winning by default in 2015. (Khadr was detained at the time in Canada.) They are appealing to the Canadian courts to enforce the ruling.

    But Whitling wrote that part of their claim, stating that Khadr was the only person alive in the compound in Afghanistan when Speer was hit by a grenade, is false.

    “The evidence before the military commission confirmed that there was a combatant alive in the compound and firing his weapon at the U.S. combatants entering the compound, which individual was . . . in the same area from which the grenade had been thrown.”

    Khadr accepted a Pentagon plea deal in Guantanamo in 2010 for an eight-year-sentence and a chance to be repatriated to Canada in exchange for admitting that he threw the grenade. He said upon his return that he considered the plea deal the only way he would ever leave Guantanamo — and that he is unsure about his memories of the firefight. His lawyers have argued based on where he was in the compound, it would have been impossible for him to have thrown the grenade that hit Speer.

    Whitling, in his statement of defence against the Utah suit, further argues that Canada cannot enforce a judgment based on a conviction under the military commissions at Guantanamo.

    “The supposed U.S. common law of war relied upon by the U.S. prosecutors did not exist at the time of the alleged conduct (by Khadr), does not exist today, and is unknown to the international community of nations,” he wrote.

    Khadr received an apology, and along with his lawyers was given a $10.5-million settlement from Ottawa for his mistreatment by Canadian officials while held as a minor in Guantanamo.

    Canada’s Supreme Court has harshly condemned the federal government for its mistreatment of Khadr — under both past Liberal and Conservative governments.

    Khadr lives now in Edmonton, was recently married and plans to attend courses this fall to become a nurse.

    On Thursday, Whitling will ask an Edmonton judge to relax Khadr’s bail conditions to allow him to visit his sister, Zaynab, without supervision, when she visits Canada.

    Khadr can only have contact with Zaynab if his lawyers or bail supervisor is present and he argued in an affidavit before the court that this restriction is no longer required. “I am now an adult and I think independently,” he writes in the affidavit. “Even if the members of my family were to wish to influence my religious or other views, they would not be able to control or influence me in any negative manner.”

    He is also requesting fewer restrictions on his movement and access to the internet.


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    At SickKids hospital, a room with six babies is tremendously quiet—but far too full.

    “There’s no space for the equipment, there’s no space for the families,” said Dr. Estelle Gauda, head of SickKids’ neonatology division.

    “There’s just nowhere to breathe.”

    Swaddled in animal-patterned blankets, tubes run through the pre-term babies’ mouths and noses, helping the tiny humans stay alive. Screens monitor their levels as nurses feed and assess their status. The room has been specially constructed to create quieter acoustics and softer lighting, in order to decrease stimulation for the miniature patients.

    Born 24-25 weeks into their pregnancy, these premature infants can weigh as little as 500g at birth. They’ve been transported here from all across Ontario, often because they need neonatal surgeries that only SickKids can provide.

    Having six babies in one room is typical at SickKids these days, she said, but that’s not the norm for neonatal care. At Mount Sinai and Sunnybrook, for example, each baby has their own room (with exceptions for multiples). Gauda said she’d like to see four babies in each room at SickKids, potentially by making other rooms available.

    Hospitals across Ontario have seen a surge in infants needing high-level intensive care this summer, says the Ministry of Health, with Toronto’s level 3 NICUs—which care for the most seriously sick infants—hit hardest. While there’s been a surge in the past two months, Gauda said NICU capacity has been a “constant problem” at SickKids since she started at the hospital in March.

    “(The NICU) is overcrowded. It’s not up to standard with respect to space around babies, as well as allowing the best environment that we can create to decrease the state of families,” said Gauda, who said they’ve been having continuous conversations about needing more capacity.

    With better technologies, smaller and sicker babies are surviving more often, she said, but that means they often have to stay in the NICU for longer.

    Some hospitals with lower level NICUs are also often full, she said, so even if babies can be moved out faster, sometimes there’s nowhere for them to go.

    “There’s just demand everywhere,” said Gauda.

    Health ministry spokeperson David Jensen, told the Star last week he’s not aware of what caused Ontario’s recent sudden increase in NICU demand, but says there is no public health issue contributing to the surge.

    On Monday afternoon, there were 36 infants in SickKids’ NICU—two more than the government provides funding for.

    SickKids has 42 physical NICU beds, but the ministry only provides funding to staff 34 of them. In the past two months Gauda said SickKids has been treating about 38 NICU babies every day, and sometimes as many as 40. The unit has a flexible staffing model that can accommodate around 38 babies at a time, sometimes by bringing in nurses from different units. They make it work, she said, but it can be stressful.

    SickKids has had to move one baby to Ottawa in the past six weeks, she said, and at one point considered moving a baby out of province before they found space.

    “We are trying to present the best face that we can, but we also know that behind the scenes there are a lot of things that are stressed,” she said.

    Walking through the unit, Gauda points out the transport office, where calls “continuously” come in for babies who need to be brought to the hospital.

    A spokesperson said SickKids offers “the most comprehensive set of critical care services to the neonatal population in Ontario”—particularly those requiring complex surgery and sustained life support. SickKids is also the only hospital in Toronto that can do surgery on newborns.

    SickKids received a one-time $1.3 million in November 2015, in response to pressures from a growing volume of neonatal cardiac surgeries, a statement from Megan Primeau, spokesperson for the Toronto Central local health integration network said. The statement says the current surge is mainly from non-surgical cases across all three of Toronto’s level 3 NICUs and that local capacity improved over the weekend.

    Down the hall, Gauda points out another room, where babies who’ve had complications during delivery are undergoing “therapeutic hypothermia” their body temperature is cooled down for a few days to slow down brain activity to help with recovery in case of potential brain injury. About 70 babies undergo this therapy each year, said Gauda, and just a few weekends ago, there were five babies in the sub-unit.

    Over the past week, a surge in babies needing high level intensive care has drawn concern from doctors and parents. On Monday, the Ontario NDP called on the government to immediately increase funding for the province’s hospitals in light of the “crisis in neonatal intensive care.”

    Mount Sinai Hospital added two extra beds to its NICU over the weekend, and has plans to add two more by September; SickKids and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre also plan on adding two beds to their NICUs.

    Long term, Gauda said SickKids is in conversations and negotiations with the ministry of health about getting more resources for the neonatal unit. That might mean more money, she said, but it also could mean allocating money in different ways. It’s not just a SickKids issue, she said; the problems stem from demands across the province.

    “Not only do we have to improve the capacity here, but we have to improve the capacity of the other level 2 nurseries and the other level 3 nurseries,” said Gauda. “It has to be a really orchestrated system that has to be in place.”

    SickKids says that on average, the cost per day for a bed in its NICU is around $2,100.

    The hospital says it hopes to rebuild its neonatal unit as part of its “Project Horizon” redevelopment plans, although that will not be complete for another 10 years.


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    The Air Canada Centre’s days are numbered. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment announced Tuesday that as of July, the building that is home to Leafs and Raptors games will be known as Scotiabank Arena.

    And you know, there wasn’t a wet eye in the city when the news got around. Along Bay St., you could hear a resounding yawn emanate from Torontonians, a breeze sweeping under the rail bridge created by the co-ordinated shrugging of shoulders.

    One corporation who has nothing whatsoever to do with the building or its purpose will be exchanged for another. Who cares?

    Well, presumably Scotiabank cares, enough to pay a reported $800 million over 20 years for the naming rights. And it’s probably a good bet that MLSE, recipients of that money — roughly equivalent to the price of a pair of Leafs season tickets! — are excited about it. But I can’t say I can muster up any real emotion about it at all.

    And I’m a sentimental guy. Longtime readers will know I’m prone to getting misty eyed and eulogizing rusty old boats as they’re hauled out of the harbour and waxing nostalgic for half-abandoned malls. I’ve spent quiet moments reflecting on the removal of parking meters. I tend to notice the changing city and want to commemorate it.

    Back when Maple Leaf Gardens first closed, and then when it was announced it was being replaced by a grocery store, I was livid. It felt like some sacred ground was being sold out. I admit I still call the place the Blue Jays play the SkyDome, not in some grand anti-corporate protest gesture, but because it seems like the actual name of that building in my mind.

    And yet, the name Air Canada Centre holds no poetry, stirs no emotions, conjures no affection. From the time it opened and the building got its name, it was a pure cash transaction. A billboard we were all supposed to pronounce. From the beginning, it was a name completely divorced from the form, purpose and ownership of the place it named. So who cares?

    Gather ’round children, and I’ll tell you how, once upon a time, this would have seemed weird. Back when our phones were connected to the wall by a cord, and we all tied onions on our belts, the names of buildings were usually related directly to what they were or what they were used for or to who used them. So, for instance, the Toronto Maple Leafs played at Maple Leaf Gardens and the New York Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. The mall in downtown Toronto called the Eaton Centre had a giant department store in it called Eaton’s.

    Not every place was named for a tenant, but you could still often figure out the purpose (and often the location) of a building by what it was called: The Blue Jays originally played in a stadium at Exhibition Place called Exhibition Stadium, and then moved into a dome that opened up its roof to the sky called SkyDome.

    You see, the names seemed to mean something. Some of them were stupid names, but they were connected to what you’d do or see in them. Which might, eventually, be the kind of thing you’d eventually grow attached to. You know, a name that would evoke memories of what you experienced in a place.

    No one that I know of ever took an airline flight in the Air Canada Centre. And pity the person who wakes up out of a Rip Van Winkle slumber and goes into the new building on Bay marked Scotiabank next year looking for a mortgage. (Although, of course, if old Van Winkle decides to buy Leafs tickets while he’s there, he’ll need a mortgage, so there is that.)

    But here in 2017, no one names their sports venue after its location or after the team that plays in it anymore. Now the names are ads. Often enough, they are ads for the same products. In the NHL, as of 2018, there will be seven Canadian teams: two play in arenas named after Rogers, two in arenas named for Bell, and two in arenas named for Scotiabank. There’s one more that plays in an arena that used to be named for Scotiabank.

    Oddly, the team whose home is in the TD Garden, named for the Toronto Dominion Bank, plays in Boston. And BMO field, named for the Bank of Montreal, is in Toronto.

    Anyhow. Scotiabank Arena. It’s boring, but it’s probably fine as corporate sponsorships go. It feels, in a way, like Leafs and Raptors fans dodged a bullet. Because over the past decade or so, many of the corporate names attached to sports venues sound plain silly.

    Back in the 1990s, David Foster Wallace satirized the rising corporate naming rights trend in his novel Infinite Jest, depicting a future in which years were marked not by numbers but by names such as Year of the Trial Sized Dove Bar or Year of the Depends Adult Undergarment. Some sporting facilities are making the parody look less like ad absurdum and more like prophecy.

    Look at Jobing.com Arena (since renamed) in Phoenix, Petco Park in San Diego, O.co Coliseum in Oakland. Look at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, or the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Look at the KFC Yum! Center in Kentucky.

    The name Scotiabank Arena may smoosh two words together in the branding of the bank, but at least it doesn’t have any punctuation in the middle of it.

    The new name is a yawn. So was the old one. Let’s hope the games played inside the building are more exciting.

    Ten oddly named sports stadiums

    Branding rights run amok. The new Scotia Bank Arena (that’s the Air Canada Centre until July 1) has nothing on these arena names.

    Guaranteed Rate Field: Chicago White Sox, MLB

    Smoothie King Center: New Orleans Pelicans, NBA

    Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome: Minnesota Vikings, NFL

    Talking Stick Resort Arena: Phoenix Suns, NBA

    KFC Yum! Center: Louisville Cardinals, NCAA

    Quicken Loans Arena: Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA

    Petco Park: San Diego Padres, MLB

    Sports Authority Field at Mile High: Denver Broncos, NFL

    Whataburger Field: Corpus Christi Hooks, AA baseball

    University of Phoenix Stadium: Arizona Cardinals, NFL


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    Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca acknowledged Tuesday that “concerns have been raised” about Metrolinx’s decision to approve two new GO Transit stations despite internal reports that recommended they not be built.

    But in a letter to the transit agency’s chair, Del Duca stopped short of saying that the two stops, one of which is in the minister’s riding, should be removed from the list of 12 new GO Transit stations the province plans to build over the next decade.

    This week a Star investigation revealed that last year, Del Duca’s ministry pressured Metrolinx, an arm’s-length agency of the provincial government, into approving the two stations: Kirby, in the minister’s riding of Vaughan; and Lawrence East, a station in Scarborough backed by Mayor John Tory as part of his “SmartTrack” plan.

    Kirby would cost $98.4 million to build, while Lawrence East would cost about $23 million.

    “As we have always said, all proposed new stations require additional technical and planning analysis, environmental assessments, preliminary and detailed design and extensive community engagement,” Del Duca said in his letter Tuesday to Metrolinx board chair Rob Prichard.

    “That said, it is clear that concerns have been raised about the process by which the Kirby and Lawrence East stations were ultimately approved.”

    Del Duca wrote that he expects Metrolinx “will not enter into any contractual obligations” for either station until the agency is satisfied that land use policies and updated GO Transit service concepts justify building the stops.

    If the agency’s board and management aren’t convinced that the evidence supports the stations, then they “should be deferred to the next round of consideration at a future date,” the letter said.

    Del Duca didn’t specify what he meant by “concerns” about the stations. His office declined to answer follow-up questions Tuesday afternoon.

    A spokesperson for Metrolinx also declined to answer questions, but said the agency “will respond appropriately” to Del Duca’s memo.

    While the letter is the clearest acknowledgment yet from the provincial government that there may have been irregularities in the station approval process, Del Duca signalled he still supports building the stop in his riding.

    He wrote in the letter “there are several significant residential and employment developments” planned nearby, and the people “living or working in these new communities would likely be inclined to access a GO station at Kirby.”

    However, initial business cases Metrolinx commissioned last year showed both Kirby and Lawrence East would actually lead to a net loss of ridership on the GO network. They determined neither would attract enough new passengers to offset the number of riders who would stop taking the train because of the longer travel time the new stations would entail.

    Documents the Star obtained through a Freedom of Information request show the Metrolinx board voted at a secret meeting on June 15, 2016 not to build the two stops, but changed course after the transportation ministry unexpectedly sent the agency copies of press releases indicating that the following week the minister would announce the stations were going ahead.

    Metrolinx then redrafted reports to support the two stops, and days later the board reconvened in public and approved them as part of a package of 12 new stations under the $13.5-billion regional express rail expansion.

    Metrolinx didn’t publish the station business cases until nine months after the vote, by which time the Kirby report had been altered to appear more supportive. The agency never released a separate June 2016 report that explicitly recommended against building the two stops. The Star obtained a copy two months ago.

    At an unrelated announcement Tuesday morning, Premier Kathleen Wynne didn’t respond directly when a reporter asked whether she believed Del Duca had interfered in the approval process for political purposes.

    “Let me just be clear. Those stations will not be built unless the evidence is there,” she replied.

    “There has not been a final decision made.”

    In the wake of the Star’s investigation, critics have called for Metrolinx’s governance procedures to be overhauled to ensure greater accountability.

    “Every board meeting of Metrolinx should be open to the public. Every decision they make and its rationale should be transparent,” Ontario NDP urban transit critic Cheri DiNovo said Monday.

    In response to those calls, Wynne said Tuesday: “We can have that conversation.”

    She added that “there are public consultations and public meetings that Metrolinx holds.”

    Tory defended his support for the Lawrence East stop on Tuesday during a media availability in Scarborough.

    “I make no apologies whatsoever. In fact, I see it as an important part of my job to fight for every transit stop that I can get in the city of Toronto, whether it’s one that forms part of a TTC route or a GO transit route,” he said.

    For several months, in defence of building Lawrence East, Tory’s office has referenced a city analysis that appears to never have been published.

    The city provided the two-page analysis to the Star on Monday. It challenges some of the numbers in the Metrolinx business case for Lawrence East, but still concludes it would cause a net loss of GO ridership.

    It’s unclear why the city analysis, which city spokesperson Jackie DeSouza says was written in June 2016, was never published but used to brief the mayor’s office.

    Tory resisted the idea that there has been a lack of transparency in the transit planning process.

    “As far as I’m concerned, the reports that underlie a lot of those decisions, I’m quite happy that they should be made public,” he said. “You won’t find me resisting the release of those transit reports.”

    Tory said that until the Star’s report he was not aware the Metrolinx board originally voted against Lawrence East and Kirby.

    On Monday, the Progressive Conservatives asked the Ontario auditor general to perform a “full value for money audit” of Kirby and Lawrence East. A transit advocacy group made a similar request to the same provincial watchdog last week.


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    Margaret Atwood declined to comment Monday when the Star emailed her asking about her opposition to a proposed eight-storey luxury condo building in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood.

    But after the story was posted on the Star’s website, the literary icon went on the defensive on Twitter — in some cases sparring with critics who piled on and accused her of NIMBYism and ignoring Toronto’s affordable housing crisis.

    Some of the exchanges got a little testy, such as when Shawn Micallef, an author/urbanist and Toronto Star columnist, tweeted that Atwood had “strengthened the anti-housing backbone in this city with this politically sledgehammer opposition to an 8 storey bldn.”

    Read more:

    Atwood and neighbours are authors of a great NIMBY story: Teitel

    Midrise housing has bright future in Toronto — whether residents like it or not: Hume

    Atwood tweeted: “Now you’re just being silly. Or, I dunno – are you working for the developer or something?”

    Micallef responded that he was “in nobody’s pocket” and on Tuesday followed through on his promise to send her his latest book about Toronto.

    A sample of some of Atwood’s other tweets from Monday evening:

    In response to a tweetstorm by Globe and Mail architecture critic Alex Bozikovic attempting to explain Toronto’s population growth and zoning, Atwood tweeted:

    “To repeat: The neighbours don’t want the building to go right to the lot line + kill their trees. And Y to 8 storeys that respect setbacks.”

    When some Twitter users suggested age was a factor in the neighbourhood objection to the development, she responded:

    As part of a larger conversation, many people replied to Atwood’s tweets asking her to clarify her position, so she did.

    “Nobody is blocking the building. Many are trying to modify it. Have you seen the proposal?”

    “Maybe you should calculate the profit involved for the developer in destroying my neighbours’ trees.”

    “‘House others’ make it sound as if those housed are homeless. For a couple of million per unit, that’s far from the truth.”

    Many complained that Atwood and her neighbours had fallen prey to NIMBYism.

    In response to a tweet that suggested the city must build up, not out to accommodate the next generation, Atwood tweeted:

    “But what are you suggesting I do? Right now? Jump off a bridge to create space? But some rich person would reno my house. You know it.”

    “You want me to sell my house to a developer who’d put an apartment building on it? You think I bear some personal guilt for housing cycles?”

    Followed shortly by:

    “Never mind. Once I’m dead, market forces will take over, and I will doubtless be tortured in Hell for living in the wrong place.”

    Atwood later offered an alternate solution:


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    DUTTON, ONT.—A woman and child were killed and two other people were taken to hospital following a collision on Highway 401 in southwestern Ontario on Tuesday afternoon.

    Elgin County OPP say the crash occurred near the town of Dutton at about 4:30 p.m. when a pickup truck heading east crossed the centre median and struck a westbound van.

    Two people in the van, 42-year-old Sarah Payne and five-year-old Freya Payne of London, Ont., died of their injuries.

    A six-year-old boy in the van, William Payne, and the 56-year-old Cambridge, Ont., man driving the pickup were in stable condition.

    Provincial police say charges are pending.

    Highway 401 had been shut down because of the crash but was re-opened in both directions at about 11 p.m.


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