Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


Channel Description:

TOPSTORIES

older | 1 | .... | 1037 | 1038 | (Page 1039) | 1040 | 1041 | .... | 1060 | newer

    0 0


    A man facing attempted murder charges for allegedly ramming pedestrians with a car and stabbing a police officer in Edmonton last weekend was deported from the United States by immigration officials in 2011, The Associated Press reports.

    Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, a 30-year-old Somali refugee, crossed legally into Canada in 2012 at a border crossing and obtained refugee status, according to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. There was no information on Sharif at the time that would have raised any red flags to authorities.

    Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada later added that an immigration-related detention would not prevent someone from making an asylum claim in Canada.

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said a man named Abdullahi Hassan Sharif in the agency’s records was ordered to leave the U.S.

    Edmonton attack suspect case adjourned until November so he can find a lawyer

    Suspect in Edmonton attacks was investigated by RCMP in 2015

    Distinctions of terrorism matter: Analysis

    The names are spelled slightly differently, but a Canadian and U.S. government official — both of whom requested anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss details of the case — said it is the same man, according to Associated Press.

    A statement from ICE spokesperson Lauren Mack issued Tuesday night said Sharif was transferred on July 15, 2011 into ICE custody at Otay Mesa Detention Center, a Californian prison.

    It isn’t clear exactly why he was detained.

    “Sharif had no known criminal history at the time of his encounters with ICE,” the statement said.

    He was then ordered in September 2011 to be deported to Somalia. The statement said that Sharif “waived his right to appeal that decision,” but was released from custody because he was unlikely to be removed from the U.S. in the near future.

    Sharif was supposed to be deported on Jan. 21, 2012, according to ICE, but didn’t show up.

    “Efforts by (San Diego ICE officials) to locate him were not successful,” the statement said.

    Sharif is facing 11 charges, including attempted murder and dangerous driving, for allegedly ramming a traffic barrier and stabbing Const. Mike Chernyk, an Edmonton police officer directing traffic in front of a football game on Saturday.

    He appeared in court on Tuesday by video link. The case has been put over until Nov. 14 so Sharif can find a lawyer.

    Video of the fight with Chernyk released on Sunday shows him struggling with the suspect and, despite his injuries, trying to follow as the suspect fled the scene.

    The suspect was then allegedly spotted several hours later behind the wheel of a U-Haul van at a police checkpoint in northern Edmonton. During the ensuring chase with police, four pedestrians were allegedly struck by the van.

    Sharif was arrested after tactical officers tipped the van on its side, then used a stun grenade and a Taser to subdue him.

    None of the victims have died of their injuries. As of Monday, two of the pedestrians remained in hospital – one of whom had a fractured skull.

    Edmonton police have considered charging Sharif with terrorism-related offences because investigators found a Daesh flag in the car he was driving during the attack. However, no terror charges have been laid.

    Sharif was also investigated by the RCMP in 2015 for allegedly espousing extremist views, but was released because investigators did not believe he posed a threat.

    He is believed to have acted alone.

    With files from Star wire services.


    Edmonton terror suspect had been deported from U.S. in 2011Edmonton terror suspect had been deported from U.S. in 2011

    0 0


    Pressed against his body, Dr. Heather Gulish Melton felt the force of the bullet enter her husband’s back.

    She and Sonny Melton, 29, fell hard onto the trampled grass, his body shielding her from bullets and pounding feet on the final night of Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. All around them, people had fallen, suffering from gunshot wounds.

    “I believe Sonny was trying to save my life. I just can’t believe he’s gone,” Gulish Melton, 48, told the Star from Las Vegas.

    Read more:

    On gun control, Donald Trump has lost his marbles: DiManno

    ‘He saved my life:’ Manitoba woman praises Good Samaritan in Las Vegas shooting

    What was Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock’s motive? Investigators struggle to piece it together

    What Sonny did is one of the stories of heroism emerging from the Las Vegas shooting that killed 59 people — including four Canadians— and wounded more than 500. Amid the chaos, people risked their lives to save loved ones, and complete strangers, using pickup trucks as ambulances, applying CPR and first aid skills to save the wounded and helping the panicked find shelter.

    From a small town in Tennessee, Gulish Melton and her husband had been attending country music concerts and festivals all year. Route 91 featured one of Sonny’s favourite singers, Eric Church, so they made the trek to Las Vegas and stayed in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, 10 floors directly below gunman Stephen Paddock.

    Seconds before the shooting, they’d been singing and dancing at Jason Aldean’s concert.

    “The concert was really loud, lights were flashing and I heard a che-che-che. I thought maybe something was happening across the street or there were fireworks,” Gulish Melton said.

    She turned to her husband and asked, “Sonny, is that a gun?”

    He didn’t think so and for a moment they turned back towards the stage. Suddenly the music stopped, the lights went out and the crowd surged in a panic.

    “Sonny grabbed me from behind,” she said, and they started running away from the stage.

    He was running behind her, providing cover for his wife when he was shot in the back and collapsed on top of Gulish Melton.

    She didn’t stay sheltered under Sonny’s body for long. She twisted on top of him to perform CPR, calling out for help. Blood spilled from his mouth and he was still.

    “I think he died on the field,” said Gulish Melton. As a doctor, she knew the chance of survival “was almost zero,” but continued to hope.

    She can’t recall how much time passed before two men in their mid-20s ran her way, lifted Sonny across their shoulders and carried him to a nearby pickup truck.

    Gulish Melton jumped in beside him and clung on to the sides, as one of the men performed CPR, “barely hanging on because the tailgate was down.” The other crouched nearby. A third man drove them to the Spring Valley Hospital Medical Centre — through stop signs and traffic lights.

    Doctors and nurses ran to the truck when it arrived at the emergency department, bringing Sonny inside. Gulish Melton realized her clothes were soaked in blood. Nurses thought she’d been shot.

    Sonny was pronounced dead and Gulish Melton collapsed with grief, crying and screaming.

    “I just couldn’t believe it was happening. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I still feel like that sometimes.”

    She doesn’t know the names of the two men who helped her, but they stayed by her side all night.

    “They said to me Sonny will be part of their lives forever.”

    Gulish Melton said she’s speaking out because she doesn’t want only the shooter’s story to be heard. She wants people to know who her husband, a registered nurse, was — a hero.

    “Even in his last act, he was probably the kindest hearted and good person I knew in my life. Everybody who was ever in contact with him felt that way. He was just a genuine, good person.”

    Lindsay Padgett and Mark Jay

    As soon as the gunshots subsided, Lindsay Padgett and her fiancé Mark Jay bolted to her truck in a parking lot across the street from the venue, Padgett told ABC News.

    But they didn’t leave.

    “There were just people everywhere that needed help,” Padgett said in a Washington Post video.

    “Yeah, go ahead, put them all in the back,” she can be heard saying in a video Jay shot on his phone as people pleaded for help.

    They piled four wounded people into the bed of the truck, as well as the people caring for them. One man had suffered a bullet to the chest. One girl was shot in the leg. They’d later find out another of the victims was dead.

    “I had to go over curbs, I was doing everything I could to keep these people safe,” Jay said.

    Halfway there to the hospital, they saw a stopped ambulance and loaded the most critically injured people into it. Jay followed the ambulance to the hospital with the others.

    “There’s no way to make sense of it,” Padgett told the Washington Post.

    Jonathan Smith

    “Active shooter, active shooter!”

    Jonathan Smith kept shouting that as he focused on saving anyone within arm’s reach. The 30-year-old copy machine repairman grabbed people, telling them to follow him.

    Smith and a few others found shelter in a parking area and crouched behind a row of cars. But Smith abandoned the spot to help a few young girls who were exposed.

    That’s when he was shot in the neck.

    Now in Sunrise Hospital with a fractured collarbone, cracked rib and bruised lung, Smith will likely have to live with the bullet in his neck.

    Social media, and his family, quickly took to calling him a hero.

    “I don’t see myself that way,” Smith told the Washington Post. “I would want someone to do the same for me. No one deserves to lose a life coming to a country festival.”

    Anonymous

    There were many reports of heroism, but many have not stepped forward to take credit.

    Addison Short, 18, was running for her life when she got shot in the knee.

    From her hospital bed she told CNN that she yelled for her friend to keep running, before diving under a bar for cover.

    A man helped her wrap up her leg, using his belt as a tourniquet.

    “It was just gushing out blood everywhere,” she said. “He picked me up, over his shoulder, ran me to a taxi and brought me here to the hospital. It was just the scariest experience of my life.”

    Short never found out the man’s name, but says she would have died if it wasn’t for him.

    “If the guy that helped me is watching, I want to tell him how grateful I am for basically saving my life,” she said. “Thank you so much.”

    With files from Star wire services


    Acts of heroism emerge amid chaos of Las Vegas shootingActs of heroism emerge amid chaos of Las Vegas shooting

    0 0


    Commuters who transfer between GO Transit and the TTC are about to get a $1.50 break on their fares, the Star has learned.

    The provincial government has agreed to subsidize a co-fare agreement that will allow riders who use both agencies on a single trip to avoid paying two full-price fares.

    Instead, adult passengers on GO Transit and the Union Pearson Express who transfer to the TTC will pay a half price TTC fare of $1.50.

    Going the other way, riders switching from the TTC to GO Transit or the Union Pearson Express will be discounted $1.50 on their fares.

    The discount will apply only to riders who pay using the Presto fare card.

    A regular adult TTC ride using Presto costs $3. Fares on GO Transit and the Union Pearson Express vary depending on the distance travelled.

    Premier Kathleen Wynne, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca, and Toronto Mayor John Tory plan to announce the fare reduction on Friday morning.

    Del Duca told the Star on Tuesday night that the change is “fantastic news for the tens of thousands of people across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area that transfer ... for their daily commutes.”

    “These commuters will now not only enjoy enhanced service across the GO network, but also a substantial savings for choosing to take transit to get around the GTHA,” the minister said.

    Subsidizing the discount will cost the provincial treasury $18 million a year, and will affect 50,000 daily commuters who take the TTC and GO Transit or the UP Express.

    For average commuters, it could mean a savings of $720 a year.

    The change will be put in place to coincide with the opening of the Spadina subway extension to Vaughan, which will be the first TTC subway to cross municipal boundaries and will intersect with GO Transit service.

    The extension is scheduled to open on December 17, and once it’s in operation more GO Transit users are expected to be hopping aboard the TTC as part of their daily commute.

    The subsidy is consistent with Wynne’s plan to reduce gridlock by encouraging motorists to take public transit. At the same time, with an election set for June 7, 2018, it should be politically helpful to the governing Liberals, who hold most of the seats in the Greater Toronto Area.

    Contacted about the arrangement, a spokesperson for Mayor John Tory said it’s “a step in the right direction” toward the SmartTrack project. Tory promised during the election campaign that under his SmartTrack plan, transit riders would be able to board at GO stations within Toronto at the same price as taking the TTC.

    “This is the first step in fare integration, not the only step and not the end of the story, but a great beginning,” wrote Don Peat in an email.

    “The TTC's budget is protected and will not be negatively impacted. Ultimately, this agreement will mean if you ride a mix of the TTC, UP Express and GO to get around Toronto, transit will now be less expensive."

    Spokespeople for the TTC and Metrolinx, the provincial agency that operates GO Transit, declined to comment.

    GO Transit already has co-fare agreements with all other local transit agencies in the 905, but until this week’s announcement it lacked one with the TTC, which is by far the biggest transit operator in the region.

    Forcing riders who use both TTC and GO Transit to pay a double fare has been seen as a significant disincentive to more people taking public transit.

    Metrolinx, which is also responsible for transportation planning in the GTHA, has initiated a study of fare integration, with the ultimate goal of standardizing fare structures of all the agencies in the region and allowing passengers a “seamless” transit trip across municipal boundaries.

    A report presented to the agency’s board last month determined a new regionwide fare system would require changes to transit governance and funding models however, which are likely to be controversial and take years to implement.

    The report recommended less contentious measures in the short-term as part of a “step-by-step approach” to reduce barriers to transit use across municipal boundaries.

    They included creating a co-fare between the TTC and GO Transit, advice that the province appears to have followed.

    Other proposed measures were discounts for trips between the TTC and 905 transit agencies, and adjustments to GO’s fare structure.


    GO Transit users to get half-price fares on TTCGO Transit users to get half-price fares on TTC

    0 0


    WASHINGTON—He accused Puerto Ricans of throwing the federal budget “out of whack.”

    He suggested Puerto Rico had not experienced a “real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina, since a mere “16 people” had been confirmed dead.

    He told a family of hurricane victims to “have a good time.”

    He tossed paper towels to another group of victims, in a church, as if he was shooting basketball free throws.

    He told a third group of victims that they don’t need flashlights any longer, though 90 per cent of the island was still without power.

    He refused to speak to the mayor of San Juan.

    And, as usual, Donald Trump congratulated himself.

    Facing withering criticism for his delayed and then belligerent response to the Puerto Rican hurricane crisis, Trump’s Tuesday visit to San Juan was a chance to begin to repair the wounds he had caused over a week of tweeted insults.

    Instead he casually tore them open, a smile on his face.

    In a frequently abnormal afternoon on the island, Trump showed none of the scripted gravitas of his sombre Monday response to the massacre in Las Vegas. Speaking without notes, he behaved as if the ongoing crisis had long since been fixed by his own doing.

    It was vintage Trump — informal, freewheeling, self-centred, detached from facts, wholly unlike the behaviour of any other modern president.

    His supporters applauded again, pointing to his authenticity and moments of empathy. Puerto Ricans already upset with him before he landed were infuriated.

    “He takes two weeks to visit a disaster zone where 3.5 million American citizens live. He arrives with a smile on his face, makes fun of the situation, shows no empathy, lies and lies on camera as he does 24-7. And then throws paper towel rolls to people in need as if he was playing Go Fetch with dogs,” said Joel Isaac, 27, a New York actor who moved from Puerto Rico three years ago.

    Most of Isaac’s family is still on the island. He said he had never felt humiliated as a Puerto Rican until he watched Trump’s visit.

    “It’s the whole scene where the privileged white man comes to save the brown peasants after they’ve been begging, thirsty and hungry. It’s super disgusting to see, honestly,” he said.

    Trump began the day with a traditional kind of crisis event: a roundtable briefing with members of his Cabinet and Puerto Rican and military leaders. His presence and his response were applauded by Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello.

    “I want to personally thank you, Mr. President, because over the course of the past week you have called essentially every day to make sure we have what we need, to make sure that the resources are over here,” Rossello said.

    Trump, however, did nothing at the briefing to dispel criticism that he is not sincerely concerned about Puerto Ricans. In meandering remarks, he boasted about the F-35 warplanes the government is planning to procure, complimented pro-wrestling titan Vince McMahon, and again grumbled about the cost of the rebuilding effort — this time suggesting Puerto Ricans themselves were at fault.

    “Now, I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack,” he said. “Because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico. And that’s fine. We’ve saved a lot of lives.”

    Then he mused that Maria was different than “a real catastrophe like Katrina,” in which more than 1,800 people died.

    “Sixteen people versus in the thousands. You can be very proud of all of your people, all of our people working together. Sixteen versus literally thousands of people,” he said. “You can be very proud. Everybody around this table and everybody watching can really be very proud of what’s taken place in Puerto Rico.”

    The official death toll was increased Tuesday evening to 34 from the previous total of 16.

    A reporter for San Juan’s Center for Investigative Journalism found that at least dozens more were dead.

    Jeremy Konyndyk, chief of foreign disaster assistance under Barack Obama, wrote on Twitter: “THIS IS APPALLING. This is such a deeply wrong, deeply inappropriate, deeply disrespectful thing to say....that I hardly know where to start.”

    Trump proceeded to a chapel, where he handed out bags of rice. In the manner of a basketball player, he also tossed up several packages of paper towel.

    The pool reporter on scene said the crowd “enjoyed” Trump’s NBA impression. Other Puerto Ricans found the display disrespectful.

    “Does he think this is a show? A game? The first reaction that I had: why is he throwing things to Puerto Ricans like we’re animals?” said Frances Alvarado, 55, a Puerto Rican in North Carolina whose husband has spent three decades in the navy. Of Trump’s performance as a whole, she said, “It’s shameful. It’s degrading. It’s insulting.”

    Trump shook the hand of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, whom he has repeatedly disparaged as a poor leader and a Democratic partisan. Yulin Cruz said she told him, “This is about saving lives. It’s not about politics.”

    Trump didn’t respond, “then pointedly ignored her,” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported.

    As Trump’s motorcade passed, a lone protester held up a sign reading “You are a bad hombre.” He was greeted politely by the families he encountered on a brief neighbourhood walking tour, listening to one tell him about how they had been trapped in their house.

    Trump ended the visit with some additional applause for himself.

    “I think it meant a lot to the people of Puerto Rico that I was there. They really responded very nicely. And I guess it’s one of the few times anybody has done this. From what I am hearing it’s the first time that a sitting president has done something like this,” he said.


    Donald Trump compares Puerto Rico to ‘a real catastrophe like Katrina’ — and congratulates himself: AnalysisDonald Trump compares Puerto Rico to ‘a real catastrophe like Katrina’ — and congratulates himself: AnalysisDonald Trump compares Puerto Rico to ‘a real catastrophe like Katrina’ — and congratulates himself: AnalysisDonald Trump compares Puerto Rico to ‘a real catastrophe like Katrina’ — and congratulates himself: AnalysisDonald Trump compares Puerto Rico to ‘a real catastrophe like Katrina’ — and congratulates himself: AnalysisDonald Trump compares Puerto Rico to ‘a real catastrophe like Katrina’ — and congratulates himself: Analysis

    0 0


    Three troubled Ontario nursing homes — including a Mississauga home — have been ordered to stop accepting new residents due to substandard care.

    The crackdown came this week after the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care ordered each to “cease admissions,” meaning no new residents are allowed to move into the homes.

    The order affects two facilities operated by the Sharon Village Care Homes chain, Tyndall Nursing Home in Mississauga and Earls Court Long Term Care in London, along with a home from the Caressant Care chain in Fergus. Both companies sent written statements to the Star, saying they will work with the ministry to resolve the problems.

    Read more:

    Thousands of under-65 adults with physical disabilities are being forced into Ontario nursing homes: Ministry data

    Ontario nursing homes feed seniors on $8.33 a day

    Two lawsuits seek to lay some blame on nursing homes who hired Elizabeth Wettlaufer

    The cease admissions orders are not common. Of Ontario’s 630 long-term care homes, roughly five a year are stopped from accepting new residents.

    In Health Minister Eric Hoskin’s Oct. 3 letter to Sharon Village president Peter Schlegel, he called the results of the recent ministry inspection of Tyndall and Earls Court “deeply concerning.”

    The ministry has “determined that there is sufficient risk of harm to the residents’ health or well-being to warrant a Cease of Admissions,” Hoskins wrote.

    He highlighted problems at the London home, Earls Court, saying ministry inspectors found the staffing plan does not meet the residents’ care needs. “As a result, residents did not receive the care required,” Hoskins wrote.

    Proper staffing of Ontario long-term care homes in general has long been a complaint among workers, families and the residents who suffer from lack of care.

    Tyndall nursing home, located on Eglinton Ave. E. and Dixie Rd., had its annual inspection last January. The public report showed that inspectors spent 13 days in the home and found 51 violations, including problems with toileting, food, the use of restraints and communication with residents.

    Earls Court in London had a “cease admissions” order in 2016, which Hoskins cited in his letter to Schlegel. In its most recent inspection, posted online, the ministry found 20 violations. Caressant Care Fergus had 14 violations in its most recent public inspection report.

    The minister’s letter to Caressant Care president James Lavelle noted inspectors found “repeated” examples of resident neglect and a lack of cleanliness in the home and its furniture, but did not provide specific details.

    Hoskins also said the home had not complied with previous ministry orders related to managing residents with “responsive behaviours” and the prevention of falls.

    In both letters to Caressant Care and Sharon Village, Hoskin said, “As the president of a corporation that owns places that residents call home, you are entrusted with an enormous responsibility to provide high quality, dignified care to our cherished elderly family members, and our most valuable friends and neighbours,” he wrote.

    In a written statement emailed to the Star, Caressant Care said its management team is “working closely with the ministry to address certain compliance deficiencies. Our first priority is to provide a high level of care to our residents.”

    A statement from Schlegel, of Sharon Village Homes, said the ministry has “temporarily ceased” admissions “in order that we can rectify some areas of non-compliance. We support the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, in their efforts to ensure the public of high quality care in all Long-Term Care homes in the province.”

    These orders were filed a few days after the government introduced legislation that, if passed, would create tougher enforcement against nursing homes. The legislation would include hefty fines for corporations, ranging from $200,000 for first time offence and $500,000 for subsequent offences.

    It is currently in first reading and, if passed, likely won’t become law until early 2018, said Jane Meadus, a lawyer with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly.

    Unless the Strengthening Quality and Accountability for Patients Act becomes law, the “cease admissions” is one of the ministry’s best weapons, said Meadus.

    “Clearly, these homes are not able to clean up their act,” Meadus said. “The ministry has no choice but to say if you can’t meet the requirements then we can’t let you accept new residents.”

    She said cease admissions orders are considered serious action taken after repeated violations of provincial care regulations, because fewer residents can mean ministry funding cuts for the affected homes. It also impacts Ontario’s long waiting list, removing beds for residents who need a place to live.

    “I think that with all the problems we are seeing in the media with long term care homes, the ministry is finally getting the message,” Meadus said.

    In a statement to the Star about the ministry action, Hoskins said, “. . . it is completely unacceptable that these operators are not meeting the province’s standards. The distressing practice of failing to meet provincial standards will not be accepted in Ontario.”


    Three Ontario nursing homes ordered to stop new admissions because of substandard careThree Ontario nursing homes ordered to stop new admissions because of substandard care

    0 0


    Starting Oct. 11, permanent residents will be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship if they have lived in the country for three out of the previous five years.

    Also, applicants over 55 years of age are once again exempt from the language and knowledge tests for citizenship under the amended citizenship regulations to be announced by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen on Wednesday.

    The changes will be welcoming news for the many prospective applicants who have been holding off their applications since the newly elected Liberal government introduced Bill C-6 in March 2016 to reverse the more stringent changes adopted by its Conservative predecessor to restrict access to citizenship.

    Read more:

    We are Canadians, but it’s complicated

    Children applying for Canadian citizenship face hefty fee

    Canada faces dramatic drop in citizenship, prompting concerns about disengaged immigrants

    Citizenship applications are expected to go up, reversing the downward trend observed over the last few years after the Harper government raised the residency requirement for citizenship — requiring applicants to be in Canada for four years out of six — and stipulated that applicants between the ages of 14 and 64 must pass language and citizenship knowledge tests.

    Immigrant groups and advocates have said the more stringent rules discouraged newcomers’ full integration and participation in the electoral process.

    “Citizenship is the last step in immigrant integration. Those unnecessary obstacles put in place by the previous government are hurting us as a country,” Hussen told the Star in an interview Tuesday. “We are proud of these changes and are excited about it.”

    Another Liberal reform that takes effect next Wednesday is granting one year credit to international students, foreign workers and refugees for time spent in Canada before becoming permanent residents toward their residency requirements for citizenship.

    Despite the anticipated surge in citizenship applications as a result of the relaxed requirements, Hussen said the department will ensure resources are in place to respond to the increased intake. However, he insisted there is no plan to reduce the current $630 citizenship fee for adults and $100 for those under 18.

    The changes announced Wednesday are part of the amendments that received Royal Assent in June, including repealing the law that gave Ottawa the power to strip citizenship from naturalized citizens for crimes committed after citizenship has already been granted as well as handing over the power of citizenship revocation to the Federal Court from the immigration minister.

    According to government data, 108,635 people applied for Canadian citizenship in the year ended on March 31. Historically, citizenship applications received have averaged closer to 200,000 a year.


    New language and residency rules for Canadian citizenship kick in next weekNew language and residency rules for Canadian citizenship kick in next week

    0 0


    MONTREAL—How many storms of its own making can Justin Trudeau’s government sustain before it takes a lasting hit in public opinion?

    As they reach mid-mandate the ruling Liberals are apparently determined to find out.

    Over the past few weeks the government has marched in disorderly fashion to some poorly planned policy battles.

    If there was meant to be a consistent thread to its core messaging, it has been lost in the shuffle.

    It sometimes seems like the right hand is unaware of what the left hand is doing. Or in this instance that the left hemisphere of the collective Liberal brain trust is disconnected from the right one.

    Exhibit A: Finance Minister Bill Morneau has spent weeks defending his plan to make changes to the tax rules that govern private corporations and endured much opposition grief over it. Since Parliament reopened for the fall sitting the issue has dominated the agenda.

    The debate has played out against the backdrop of a furious small business backlash that the minister is still scrambling to appease.

    Through it all he and the prime minister have maintained that the proposed changes are inspired by the Liberal pursuit of tax fairness.

    But that pursuit does not extend to Canada’s cultural industries.

    Exhibit B: Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly had promised to adjust Canada’s cultural policy to the new realities of a digital world. Last week the main change she delivered was a sweet deal for Netflix.

    Under the arrangement she negotiated, the American video streaming giant will be spared the fiscal and Canadian content obligations under which its domestic competitors operate in exchange for a commitment to invest $100 million a year in Canadian productions.

    The arrangement has set off the first real Quebec backlash of Trudeau’s mandate.

    Under Joly’s deal, the American company is under no obligation to set part of the agreed-upon $100 million aside to meet a minimal French-language production quota.

    Moreover Canada’s fledging French-language streaming platforms must collect the sales taxes from their subscribers and Netflix does not.

    After her policy announcement Joly set out on a whirlwind tour of Montreal’s media studios. She might as well have packed a shovel to dig herself in.

    On Saturday, La Presse’s veteran columnist Alain Dubuc challenged the minister’s contention that all countries are struggling to find a way to tax companies like Netflix. The title of his column was “Mélanie Joly’s alternative facts”.

    “Joly bows to Netflix’s law”, was Le Devoir’s choice for a headline on the federal policy.

    On Sunday the minister’s appearance on Tout le monde en parle — Canada’s most-watched French language talk show — fell squarely in the cringe-worthy category.

    She was notably at a loss to reconcile the decision to put Netflix on a different more favorable fiscal footing than Canada’s industry players and her government’s tax equity mantra.

    Joly’s central talking point — in French as in English — has been that her government is committed to not increasing the tax burden of the middle class. There will not be a Netflix tax, she stated repeatedly.

    But what goes for couch potatoes does not apply to potheads.

    Exhibit C: Less than 24 hours after Joly appeared on TLMEP, the prime minister told his provincial counterparts of his intention to introduce a 10 per cent cannabis tax. (The tax would initially be $1 per gram on every purchase under $10). Proceeds would be shared on a 50/50 basis with provinces.

    Predictably Canada’s first ministers — soon to be joined by some big-city mayors — are ready to spend the next few months haggling over their respective share of the federal tax.

    Somewhat lost in this debate is the purported central objective of running the cannabis black market out of business by running a competitive legal one. That will be hard to do if the price of legal weed is inflated by a variety of government taxes.

    To look at polls these days is to get a confusing picture of where the federal parties stand in voting intentions. Over the same two-week period some have reported a healthy Liberal lead where others have found none.

    But if consistency in messaging and policy matters to voters the polling picture is bound to become clearer if not necessarily nicer for the Liberals.

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


    Tax changes and Netflix deal show the muddle Trudeau’s government has created: HébertTax changes and Netflix deal show the muddle Trudeau’s government has created: Hébert

    0 0


    The biggest showcase of the Beautiful Game could be coming to a soccer field near you in 2026.

    Toronto — with BMO Field as a possible venue — was one of four Canadian cities shortlisted Wednesday to become an official host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, as announced by a group hoping to bring the event to North America.

    Canada, Mexico and the United States, represented by the United Bid Committee, are competing against Morocco to host the expanded 48-team tournament. The committee whittled the list of contending cities down to 32 spots across the three nations.

    Edmonton, Montreal and Vancouver also made the cut, as did 25 U.S. cities and three in Mexico. Ottawa was one of nine cities not selected, after 41 places submitted bids to host the matches.

    If the committee’s bid is successful, at least 12 cities will be selected as venues for the games. The current proposal ensures 10 of the 80 World Cup matches would be played in Canada, with 10 more in Mexico. The U.S. would get the remaining 60, including all from the quarter-finals and beyond.

    “Having hosted every FIFA competition other than the FIFA World Cup, Canada has built a strong foundation across the country from which we can now draw on as a member of the United 2026 bid,” Canada Soccer president Steven Reed, who is also a board member for the bid, said in a statement.

    “Canada has proven itself to be a soccer nation and we are confident Canadians will come together to show, once again, the wonderful Canadian hospitality that has helped make each of our previous FIFA tournaments successful.”

    In August the committee sent out requests for information to 44 cities, asking for declarations of interest. The 41 interested cities were announced at the beginning of September.

    The 32 potential host cities that remain will now work with the committee on its bid strategy and vision, as well as with local officials to finalize the hosting document required by FIFA. Representatives from each city will head to Houston in November for a working session with the committee.

    Final bids from the selected cities are due in January. The bid committee plans to include 20 to 25 venues in its official bid to FIFA, due in March. Cities not selected could serve as locations for broadcast centres, team base camps or to host events, such as the preliminary or final draw.

    “The response from Canadian cities has been impressive and we are looking forward to working with our partners across the country as we move through the bid process to ensure as many Canadian cities are involved as possible,” said Canada Soccer’s general secretary, Peter Montopoli, the country’s bid director.

    “Once again, Canadians have shown support for soccer in this country and the desire to welcome soccer fans from around the world.”

    FIFA will announce the winner in June.

    Canada has previously hosted the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 2007, the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in 2014 and the 2015 Women’s World Cup, when matches were played at BC Place in Vancouver and Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

    The Canadian men’s national team is ranked 95th in the world. Its only previous appearance in a World Cup competition came in 1986 in Mexico, where it was knocked out after losing its three group stage matches.


    Toronto one of four Canadian cities shortlisted as possible World Cup sites in 2026Toronto one of four Canadian cities shortlisted as possible World Cup sites in 2026

    0 0


    Gordon Stuckless positioned himself as a father figure to his young victims, calling them “good boys” and telling them he loved them, a court heard Wednesday, as the latest trial for the convicted pedophile and former Maple Leaf Gardens employee began.

    Stuckless was found guilty in 1997 of sexually assaulting at least 24 boys while working as an usher at Maple Leaf Gardens between 1969 and 1988, and served two-thirds of a five-year prison sentence before being released in 2001.

    Several men have come forward since then, alleging Stuckless abused them when they were young.

    Stuckless was sentenced to six and a half years in prison in 2016 after pleading guilty to 100 charges related to the sexual abuse of 18 boys in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.

    The charges he now faces, which include multiple counts of buggery, sexual assault, gross indecency, and uttering death threats, are connected to the alleged abuse of three boys between 1978 and 1984, while Stuckless was an usher at Maple Leaf Gardens.

    Stuckless has pleaded not guilty to all the current charges, and his main opposition is to the buggery allegations, his lawyer Ari Goldkind said.

    On Wednesday morning a 51-year-old witness, whose identity is protected by the court, testified that Stuckless violated him at least 100 times over the course of about a year, around 1978 to 1979, when the witness was about 13 years old.

    Stuckless had caught the witness and his friends sneaking into the Gardens before a hockey game and told them he could get them into games and concerts any time they wanted, the witness said.

    The boys returned to the Gardens within a week. Stuckless led them to a sauna room in the arena and began fondling them and touching their privates, the witness testified.

    Stuckless, short and heavy, with grey hair and a thin grey moustache, leaned forward and shifted in his seat as the witness described in often graphic detail the various sexual acts, including molestation, oral sex and rape, which Stuckless allegedly perpetrated on the witness and his friends.

    Stuckless often gave the boys hockey memorabilia like sticks and gloves, and arranged for them to get autographs from visiting teams, the witness said.

    It seemed at the time like Stuckless cared about the boys, the witness said, and spoke them like a father would. “It felt great,” the witness testified, adding that he didn’t know his own father and that “a lot of us didn’t get” that kind of care at home.

    Stuckless “smoked drugs” with the boys and gave them pop and snacks, which may have been laced with drugs, the witness said, adding that he sometimes felt drowsy after having the food Stuckless gave him.

    Sometimes George Hannah, equipment manager for the Toronto Marlboros junior hockey team, took part in the abuse, the witness said. Hannah, who died in 1984, has previously been accused by Toronto police of participating with Stuckless in child sex abuse at the Gardens.

    Stuckless told the boys that what they were doing was “OK” and “nothing to be ashamed of,” but also said they would get into trouble if they told anyone what was going on, the witness testified.

    The witness spent years struggling with drug and alcohol addiction as a result of the abuse he allegedly experienced, he testified.

    He has a criminal record and has spent time in several Ontario jails, he said.

    The witness “buried” his experiences with Stuckless for nearly 20 years, until he ran into Stuckless inside a Brampton jail in “1996 or 1997,” he added.

    “It triggered my memory,” the witness said. “I started having nightmares, flashbacks, that (I still have).”

    The Crown is scheduled to call two other witnesses to testify about the abuse Stuckless allegedly perpetrated against them.


    New trial begins for latest allegations against Maple Leaf Gardens sex abuser Gordon StucklessNew trial begins for latest allegations against Maple Leaf Gardens sex abuser Gordon Stuckless

    0 0


    For 70 consecutive years alumni of RH King Academy have organized reunions, but this year went a step further: a group of fresh-faced students welcomed them back to the very place they all came to know one another, to commemorate the values of friendship instilled in them years before.

    With ginger ale in hand and tiaras donned the remaining class of 1947 — all in their late eighties — paid tribute to the legacy of a woman they credit as the glue that kept them together long after she died: their teacher, Alice Carnaghan.

    “She taught us how to do shorthand and how to use a typewriter,” said Norma Hardy, 87. “These gifts might have gone out-of-fashion, but Miss Carnaghan also taught us that friendship will never be obsolete.”

    The class originally had a count of 22 students; there were 10 at the gathering.

    “Through the years we have stayed friends, and we sincerely hope you have the same privilege we have enjoyed to make good friends while you’re at this place who will stay with you for a long, long time,” continued Hardy, addressing the current students.

    Carnaghan co-ordinated the first reunion — over the years, this eventually switched to Hardy, who planned the event Wednesday morning at the Scarborough high school, one of the oldest in the area, with a student body of 1,250. The school was formerly called Scarborough Collegiate.

    Students assisted the all-female party as they made their way to the school’s grounds, where a fresh plaque made out to the adored teacher hung from a newly planted tree.

    Simon Pan, 15, walked arm-in-arm with Mary Jean Zissoff, who inquired if he had a girlfriend.

    “I just wanted to see what it would be like to see 70 years of friendship,” he said. “The quality of it is really high, and compared to kids our age, there’s a huge contrast. It’s not quite the same,” adding that advances in technology can mean a decline in genuine social connection.

    Morgan Harris said some were “shocked” by the school’s transformation since graduation — particularly the number of computers in one of its labs.

    “After 70 years, you change a lot,” she said. “The school, technology. It’s pretty cool that they’ve all stayed in touch this long and are so committed.”

    Local school trustee Parthi Kandavel said the visit is a testament to the profound, lifelong impact teachers can have on their pupils.

    “In this day of the number of followers you have, it’s more about the quality of friendships that last the test of time,” he said. “A brilliant message to our, perhaps, newer students.”

    The school’s principal, David Rowan, called the students ambassadors for their maturity and inclination to help facilitate the event.

    “We have visitors quite frequently, so it’s one of the things I like to do: open up the school, showcase the students and the work teachers are doing,” he said.


    These women graduated from their Toronto high school in 1947 and they're still close friends todayThese women graduated from their Toronto high school in 1947 and they're still close friends todayThese women graduated from their Toronto high school in 1947 and they're still close friends todayThese women graduated from their Toronto high school in 1947 and they're still close friends todayThese women graduated from their Toronto high school in 1947 and they're still close friends todayThese women graduated from their Toronto high school in 1947 and they're still close friends today

    0 0


    Doctors deserve to be well paid.

    They work hard and study hard. Long years of medical training delay their earnings and advance their debt load.

    And as doctors keep reminding us, those hefty gross incomes are weighed down by steep overhead. To be fair, you have to deduct the cost of equipment and expenses to figure out their true earnings.

    But that’s still not the full story.

    No matter how often it’s mentioned in columns, people forget that most doctors also enjoy a special tax benefit unavailable to other workers. They get to incorporate themselves, treated like a small business that pays a much lower tax rate than regular rich folks get.

    Even better, they can share the wealth by “sprinkling” it among spouses and adult children — family members who aren’t necessarily part of the family business, but are typically taxed at a much lower rate.

    It’s a sweet deal for doctors, but unsavoury for the rest of us. There’s nothing illegal about it, but nothing right about tax dodges that exploit tax loopholes with surgical precision to shelter earnings.

    Now, the federal Liberals — who won an electoral mandate, fair and square, on a platform of tax fairness — say they want to recover the lost tax revenue. Doctors are crying foul, tying themselves into knots over loopholes.

    They are not alone — dentists, accountants and lawyers are also frothing. True, no one is crying for the Canadian Bar Association, which claims its lawyers really, really deserve the tax break too.

    But doctors occupy a special place in the public space, and they are apoplectic. Physicians were playing the victim card again this week as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met the premiers to discuss his planned tax reforms.

    The Ontario Medical Association head, Dr. Shawn Whatley, warns of a brain drain if doctors flee “an undesirable place to practice.” Dr. Nadia Alam, the OMA’s president-elect, says the government has declared “open season on doctors.”

    About 70 per cent of Ontario’s 29,000 practicing physicians have incorporated, most in the last 15 years after the province made a relatively obscure concession in fee negotiations allowing them to incorporate — and to let their spouses be shareholders. It was a convenient way to enrich doctors without depleting the provincial treasury, by quietly siphoning money away from federal tax revenues (though that ultimately affects Ontario’s tax take, too).

    The change mostly benefits higher-income specialists who would otherwise pay the highest marginal tax rate of more than 50 per cent on their hefty six-figure incomes — compared to the mom-and-pop small business tax rate of about 15 per cent. It allows doctors to redirect money from their private companies to their spouses or children as dividends, at a lower personal tax rate.

    The result is higher after-tax incomes, which doctors never mention when pointing out the discrepancy between gross and net pay. Doctors counter that they need the tax break to help save for their retirement, because they don’t get pensions like the rest of us (bearing in mind that 60 per cent of Canadians still don’t have a workplace pension).

    In fact, physicians (like lawyers) can access tens of thousands of dollars in RRSP tax shelters beyond the reach of most workers. The lack of physician pensions is a choice they made collectively a half-century ago, when they adamantly refused to be deemed government employees despite earning virtually all their income from public funds in a now archaic fee-for-service model.

    That income anachronism is debilitating for all sides — patients, doctors and the government. After years of brinkmanship, physicians are still without a provincial contract — doctors rejected the last deal negotiated by their official bargaining agent (the OMA), because the government sought to keep a lid on the overall growth of their pay envelope.

    Now, with a provincial election looming, Premier Kathleen Wynne is keen to negotiate a deal anew. Both sides have agreed on arbitration, but Ottawa’s proposed reforms have added a messy new wrinkle.

    Given that the province threw in that dubious tax dodge as a sweetener several years ago, an arbitrator might conclude that Queen’s Park is on the hook if Ottawa makes it dissolve. No matter that it was never a wise tax policy, or that many doctors are defending the indefensible with a straight face (until red in the face) — it was undoubtedly an inducement, and the OMA will demand to be compensated.

    But closing that loophole could open another door. If the federal proposals force doctors to revisit the historic contradictions in their tangled system of taxation and compensation, then why not re-examine the fee-for-service model that is a half-century out of date?

    Long overdue reforms to remuneration and taxation would not only be fair, but far more efficient for everyone in a health care system still stuck on piecework for patients. Doctors — and the people they serve — deserve at least as much.

    Martin Regg Cohn’s political column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. mcohn@thestar.ca, Twitter: @reggcohn


    Doctors deserve a better deal, not tax dodges: CohnDoctors deserve a better deal, not tax dodges: Cohn

    0 0


    Visible minorities make up more than half of Toronto’s population, but only 3.3 per cent of corporate boards and 9.2 per cent of the private sector’s senior management, a new study finds.

    While the percentage of women on large corporate boards has steadily grown, from 14.8 per cent in 2012 to 23.6 per cent in 2017, the representation of visible minorities in leadership has stalled, inching up from 2.8 per cent to 3.3 per cent over the five years, said the study by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, released Wednesday.

    “Diversity is more than gender,” said Wendy Cukier, the institute’s founder and professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management, at a forum on advancing diversity and inclusion in Canadian Business. “If you look at the minority representation on boards, it is not a pretty picture.”

    The six-year study, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, analyzed data on senior leaders from the largest organizations in Greater Montreal and the GTA in six sectors — elected, public, private, volunteer, education and agencies/boards/commissions.

    Although the representation of women has improved, the gains are primarily made by white women, said Cukier.

    “While equally represented in the workforce, white women outnumber racialized women 16 to 1 on corporate senior management teams,” noted Cukier.

    In Toronto, 24 per cent of companies have more than 30 per cent women on their boards while 28 per cent have none. By contrast, only 3 per cent of firms have 20 per cent visible minorities on their boards and 90 per cent have none.

    In Montreal, where minorities make up more than 20 per cent of the population, almost 10 per cent of corporate boards actually had more than 40 per cent women, while 25 per cent had none. Only 3 of 60 of the largest companies there had any racial minorities on their boards.

    “We have a problem,” said Cukier, adding that the research findings underline the significance of moving forward two government bills currently before the Parliament and Queen’s Park — that aim at tracking racial diversity data in organizations.

    Navdeep Bains, federal minister of innovation, science and economic development, said Bill C-25, which is now before the Senate, requires publicly traded corporation to report on diversity data and policies.

    “Diversity is not just the right thing to do. It has a strong economic case,” Bains told the Toronto forum attended by business leaders, diversity and industry experts. “Canadian competitiveness and strength and resourcefulness come from our people and diversity.”

    Michael Coteau, Ontario’s children and youth services minister and minister responsible for anti-racism, said Bill 114 will extend reporting requirements on race, gender and other demographic characteristics to provincially-funded agencies.

    “Eliminating systemic racism and advancing racial equity is integral to our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday life,” said Coteau, who was also on the panel. “We believe that data is the foundation of an effective strategy to advance inclusion.

    Tiffany Gooch, a public affairs consultant in Toronto, said she was not surprised by the little progress made by visible minorities as the hope was that changes would trickle down from gender diversity to other aspects of diversity representation.

    “You need a critical mass for any conversation to take on,” said Gooch, who believes both proposed government bills can help build a good foundation for meaningful conversations about organizational diversity.

    Andi Shi, executive director of the Chinese Professionals Association of Canada, was disappointed by the poor minority representation in leadership roles despite Canada’s celebrated pride in multiculturalism.

    “There is still the unconscious assumption that racial minorities are not good enough, and the fear that we are not going to perform as good as a white person,” said Shi. “We need quotas to force organizations to make changes.”

    Overall in 2017, women are faring well in taking senior leadership positions in all sectors in Toronto compared to private companies, representing 42 per cent in agencies, boards and commissions, 40.1 per cent in education, 42.5 per cent in the volunteer sector, 44.4 per cent in the public sector, and 41.5 per cent among elected officials.

    However, visible minority representation is still dismal in 2017 in all areas, accounting for just 17.2 per cent in agencies/boards/commission, 23.1 per cent in education, 12.3 per cent in the volunteer sector, 9 per cent in the public sector, and 29.8 per cent among elected officials.


    Minority representation on boards ‘not a pretty picture’: Ryerson study highlights lack of visible minoritiesMinority representation on boards ‘not a pretty picture’: Ryerson study highlights lack of visible minoritiesMinority representation on boards ‘not a pretty picture’: Ryerson study highlights lack of visible minoritiesMinority representation on boards ‘not a pretty picture’: Ryerson study highlights lack of visible minorities

    0 0


    In August an 18-year-old Englishwoman named Alicia Bettsworth lathered her face and body in three layers of “ultra dark” tanning lotion and fell asleep before she could wash the stuff off. According to the UK Sun, the paper she was later quoted in, Bettsworth woke up the next day in a panic. She had the complexion of a burnt yam. “Once I got over the shock I started laughing and thought it was hilarious,” she told the paper. “It’s such a ‘me’ thing to do.”

    It’s also such a teen thing to do: not only dousing oneself in cheap tanning lotion (every white adolescent girl has been there) but falling asleep when one really ought to stay awake. Napping at inappropriate times is practically a teenage right of passage. Sometimes it yields harmless, albeit embarrassing results (Bettsworth’s face has since returned to its natural hue). But other times oversleeping and the general exhaustion that compels it produces another not so harmless result: spotty attendance at school, irritability, and even anxiety and depression.

    The latter is the subject of a new study published in Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation, indicating that a major reason teens are sleepy and moody is not because God made them that way but because they go to school too early in the morning. The study, spearheaded by University of Rochester Medical Center professor Jack Peltz, suggests that teens who start school before 8:30 a.m. may be at a greater risk of experiencing depression and anxiety. The researchers collected data, via an online tool, from nearly 200 American students aged 14-17 and divided them into two groups: students who start school before 8:30 a.m. and students who start school after that time. The students were then asked to record their experiences regarding quality of sleep and mental health in a sleep diary. The result? Students who arrived later to school — after 8:30 — experienced fewer depression and anxiety symptoms than those who started earlier. In other words, a little more sleep can go a long way. It seems an obvious conclusion but it’s not.

    It’s not obvious because we tend to view extreme fatigue in teenagers the way we view scraped knees in little kids — as an inevitable fact of life. And an endearing one too. The sleepy teenager is a fixture in pop culture and even in this very newspaper: the syndicated comic strip, Zits, stars a shaggy haired high-schooler who is consistently bleary-eyed and beat. In one instalment he walks through his family’s kitchen with a mattress affixed to his back. Adolescence, we are led to believe, is sleep personified.

    But what if it doesn’t have to be? What if the negative consequences of teenage exhaustion, everything from napping at inappropriate times to flunking out of school to becoming depressed, aren’t the sole product of biology, but rather of a deeply flawed, man-made schedule? A schedule that serves working adults at the expense of their kids? Plenty of research now exists in addition to the study described above indicating that teens do not get enough sleep and that they might be adequately rested should school start a little later, but many Canadian high schools have not adjusted their start times to reflect this. They should.

    Of course scheduling isn’t everything. A 9 a.m. start time isn’t likely to improve a kid’s mental health if every night she falls asleep with her iPhone buzzing beneath her pillow after binge-watching 13 Reasons Why on her laptop in bed. It’s impossible to discuss sleep hygiene without addressing the enormous impact technology has had on our ability to get a decent rest. Scrolling social media in the dark under the covers and binge-watching shows before bed — these are widespread habits among parents and teens both (I know someone in her mid-60s who recently watched the entire first season of the sci-fi horror show, The Mist, on Netflix in a single day). In other words, teens aren’t the only demographic whose sleep is suffering at the moment.

    But they are the most vulnerable. We should amend our schedules to set them up for success. They’ll wake up refreshed, ready to learn and hopefully (for all the Alicia Bettsworths out there) the same colour as when they went to bed.

    Correction: In my Sept 28 column, “A smooth running TTC would be cooler than a hyperloop to Montreal” I suggested incorrectly that TTC streetcars derail on a regular basis, forcing drivers to leave their posts to get their vehicles back on track. According to the TTC, streetcars do not derail regularly, and when they do they are not repaired with passengers present. I mistook the operation of a manual switch (a process that does require the driver to leave the vehicle) for derailment. I apologize for the error.

    Emma Teitel is a national affairs columnist.


    Are teenagers really lazy and moody? Or is the schedule we impose on them deeply flawed?: TeitelAre teenagers really lazy and moody? Or is the schedule we impose on them deeply flawed?: Teitel

    0 0


    Jordan McIldoon always wanted to protect his nana.

    The adoration between the 23-year-old — killed in Sunday’s mass shooting in Nevada — and his grandmother in Vancouver was always palpable to his parents, who shared the detail among memories of their son on Wednesday.

    But when McIldoon’s parents left to bring their son’s body home from Nevada, the beloved grandparent described by the family as a “wee Scottish woman” had to stay behind. That’s where RCMP Sgt. Mitch Fox stepped up.

    “I was going to hire security because the media was coming to our house, and her house is in the back property,” Jordan’s mother, Angela McIldoon, told the Star. But a friend in the RCMP put her in touch with Fox first.

    Read more:

    Trump speaks in Vegas: ‘America is truly a nation in mourning’

    Stephen Paddock was instantly labelled a ‘lone wolf.’ Is that just code for a shooter who’s white? Analysis

    Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock’s girlfriend says she had no knowledge of attack

    Fox drove out right away to meet Jordan’s nana. While Angela and Alan have been in the U.S., Fox set up regular patrols past the house and made sure she had his direct line, “for anything she needs.”

    As the McIldoons process the loss of their only child, they’ve been met with waves of compassion from Vancouver to Las Vegas. To them, that’s Jordan’s legacy: leaving behind a story of love instead of violence or hatred.

    The 23-year-old grew up in Maple Ridge, B.C. on his family’s acreage. Before he died on Sunday, he’d been living there with his parents, his grandmother and his girlfriend Amber — who he adored, the family said.

    At any chance he was given, he’d zip off to their cabin in Missezula Lake.

    His parents will remember him there: where he flipped upside down on his bike, roared through the park, and drove around in a diesel truck with his cowboy boots on. They’ll remember a two-year-old who climbed up on the roof of a barn, and leapt into lakes before he knew how to swim.

    Sharing photographs of Jordan with the Star, Angela had special affection for ones that showed him, grinning, in crisp white snow around the cabin.

    The couple says they have no words to describe the pain of losing their son. But as they begin to put together the pieces of Sunday’s tragedy across the U.S. border, both friends and strangers have woven a safety net of comforts.

    A first class flight on Air Canada; a limo to take them to the police station. A beautiful suite, tucked away in the corner of the MGM hotel, where nobody could hear if the couple wept at their son’s loss. There would be no bill.

    At the family reunification centre in Vegas, bustling with supports from chaplains to assistance dogs, it would be easy to miss Paul Poteat. He’s been sleeping in his truck, Angela said, to make sure affected families have rides anywhere without cost.

    “He is kind and compassionate and has been an enormous help to us,” Angela wrote in an email. Each day, the couple met with a victim advocate from the Las Vegas Metro police. Her name was Peggy Wellman. She reminded them to eat, and offered wise advice during the first few days.

    And then there was the man in the blue vest.

    Paul Cunningham, from the Canadian consulate, landed in Las Vegas with a critical task. He and his team would be getting Jordan’s body home. Angela called the consular team’s arrival a sight for sore eyes.

    But any list of people the family has leaned on would be incomplete. “There are countless others whose paths we have crossed,” she wrote.

    “Our boy will leave a legacy of love and not hatred.”


    They lost their only son in the Las Vegas attack, now the McIldoon family of B.C. is finding support from Vancouver to VegasThey lost their only son in the Las Vegas attack, now the McIldoon family of B.C. is finding support from Vancouver to VegasThey lost their only son in the Las Vegas attack, now the McIldoon family of B.C. is finding support from Vancouver to VegasThey lost their only son in the Las Vegas attack, now the McIldoon family of B.C. is finding support from Vancouver to Vegas

    0 0


    Sidewalk Labs, a sister company of tech giant Google, is the preferred partner to build a high-tech “smart” neighbourhood on Toronto’s east downtown waterfront, the Star has learned.

    The board of Waterfront Toronto, the federal-provincial-city agency overseeing the so-called Quayside project, is expected to vote at an Oct. 20 meeting whether to confirm the agency’s staff recommendation arising from a rigorous competitive bid process launched in May.

    If confirmed by Waterfront Toronto’s board, the choice of a firm owned by Google holding company Alphabet Inc. would be a big high-tech feather in the cap of the city currently chasing the second headquarters of Amazon and other innovation opportunities.

    Quayside is envisioned by the agency as a testbed for cutting-edge technology as well as a bustling, functioning neighbourhood, with homes, offices, retail and cultural space, near Queens Quay E. and Parliament St.

    “This is very big news for more good jobs on our waterfront,” said Councillor Paula Fletcher. “Expediting plans for waterfront transit will be critical for its success.”

    A source familiar with the outcome of Waterfront Toronto’s request-for-proposal told the Star on Wednesday that Sidewalk Labs is Waterfront Toronto’s “preferred proponent” to help build the “precedent-setting waterfront community.”

    Waterfront Toronto, Google and Mayor John Tory’s office all refused comment Wednesday, citing confidentiality and the integrity of the bid process.

    Sidewalk Labs is Alphabet’s urban innovation unit, with a stated goal of “reimagining cities from the Internet up.”

    Dan Doctoroff, the company’s chief executive and co-founder, told a conference in New York City last May that his company was “looking into developing a large-scale district” to act as its smart city test bed.

    The community would be universally connected by broadband and could have, Doctoroff said, prefab modular housing, sensors to constantly monitor building performance, and robotic delivery services to cut residential storage space, website The Architects’ Newspaper reported in May.

    Improving transportation would be a focus, possibly with self-driving cars and design to encourage biking and walking, he told the conference. World-leading environmental sustainability could include thermal exchange systems to capture wasted building heat, and smart sensors to limit energy use.

    Waterfront Toronto says the 4.9-hectare (12-acre) site will be “a testbed for emerging technologies, materials and processes that will address these challenges and advance solutions that can be replicated in cities worldwide.”

    The agency said the winning bidder must propose plans to foster sustainability, resiliency and urban innovation; complete communities with a range of housing types for families of all sizes and income levels; economic development and prosperity driving innovation that will be rolled out to the rest of the world; and partnership and investment ensuring a solid financial foundation that secures revenue and manages financial risk.

    Development of the three publicly owned blocks at the east end of Queens Quay will eventually include redesign and reconstruction of the intersection of Queens Quay and Parliament Street.

    Toronto tech leaders at a Smart Cities event in Toronto last May said the city is on the cusp of a tech boom, noting talk of Google interest in the city and Uber’s decision to make Toronto a hub for driverless car research.


    Google firm poised to partner on Toronto high-tech neighbourhoodGoogle firm poised to partner on Toronto high-tech neighbourhood

    0 0


    WINNIPEG—Look, it’s just one game. Yes, the Leafs went up 6-0 before the poor Winnipeg Jets got on the board. Yes, Winnipeg came into the NHL season opener with so much hope: they had just re-signed 21-year-old star forward Nikolaj Ehlers to a seven-year, $42-million (U.S.) contract on Wednesday morning, and they talked about how they were on the rise. There were banners outside that said that and everything.

    And then the Leafs hung a touchdown on them, to start. Maybe the real trick to not blowing leads is to pile those leads a mile high. It was a weird, disjointed, 7-2 evisceration.

    “The first period was not great,” Leafs defenceman Ron Hainsey said. “We were kind of surviving with a little bit of luck and our goaltender. We got better, though.”

    Read more:

    Leafs' stars come out in opening rout of Jets

    Photos: Toronto Maple Leafs crush Winnipeg Jets in season opener

    Forward finally getting a Fehr shot with Leafs

    True, and true. They took four first-period penalties, and eight on the night. One of them was for Leo Komarov’s errant visor, and he joked, there goes his shot at the Lady Byng. Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen had to be spectacular. And then . . . uh . . .

    “After the first period we really got to where we wanted to be,” forward Mitch Marner said.

    Yes, you could say that. At times, they were cycling like Harlem Globetrotters. In the first period the tide was turned by Nazem Kadri’s power-play goal, then James van Riemsdyk’s off-the-faceoff goal. Oh, and Auston Matthews.

    “Opportunistic, I think,” Andersen said. “We have a lot of skill. No one’s doubting that.”

    Matthews opened with four goals in his rookie year, and this time all he did was push the game, pull it, move it where he wanted. Late in the first he circled out of the corner, dragging Dustin Byfuglien in his wake, and the referee had raised his arm for a penalty, and it was like the Jets just watched Matthews so intently that they forgot about William Nylander, all alone. 3-0.

    The fourth goal was a circus goal: Connor Carrick had zipped a 70-foot pass to Marner at the Jets blue line, and he slipped it to a flying Matthews, and as two Jets converged on Matthews — again, he pulls the game towards him — he flipped the puck to an open Patrick Marleau for a Zorro-style goal. Marleau scored the fifth one, too. Marner got the sixth, on a power play. After Winnipeg got a power-play goal, Matthews tipped in Toronto’s seventh.

    The Leafs won’t get to face Steve Mason every night. (It’s sure something that the Jets could conceivably have a goaltender controversy on day two.) It’s one game. One 7-2, blow-their-doors-off game. Lord, this is a dangerous team.

    “These guys can certainly score, our group of forwards,” Hainsey said. Asked if it was similar to Pittsburgh, where he played last year, Hainsey said, “a lot of good players who can score, yep. It’s very similar, where you have three lines on both teams where there’s no break for the other team’s players, as far as scoring chances, and speed, and creativity. So very similar in that regard.”

    Asked what it was like to face a team like that, he said, “it’s terrible. It’s awful.”

    These are the innocent days, before the big contract negotiations, before envy takes root, before things get too complicated. Right now, the Leafs’ stars are cheap, and if you want a prediction, Matthews will chase Connor McDavid all season, and in the contract realm. That he and McDavid were on a line with Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele at last year’s World Cup of Hockey remains an absurd, glimmering piece of hockey history.

    “Oh yeah, you could tell he was a special player,” Scheifele said of Matthews. “And I think the biggest thing that I took away from it was how hard he worked on his game. We’d be out shooting pucks for hours on end, and he was always out there, he was always working on things. That’s the biggest testament to him . . . how hard he wants to be the best. That’s what makes him the player that he is. I like to stay out there for hours on end, and he was always there with me. A pretty special thing to do with his clout and his skill level.

    “It’s the same for Connor, it’s the same for (Sidney) Crosby . . . and that’s what makes them the players that they are. That’s what all the best do. That’s what LeBron James does in his sport, that’s what Tom Brady does in his sport, that’s how you become the best in the world. And obviously Auston is someone who wants to be the best.

    “I’ve never had so much fun playing hockey in my life. It was some fun hockey to play, to be a part of. It was awesome. It was the battle level of a playoff game, but the skill level of an all-star game.”

    The Leafs didn’t quite look like Team North America, but boy, they were fun. Still, everyone needs to be cool, to stay cool. They won’t score seven every night. It’s not going to be this easy, and there’s work left to do.

    As Matthews said, “Can’t get too far ahead of yourself, but can’t live in the past, either.” One game, one team with bad goaltending. One game.

    Which just means it could be a hell of a thing to watch this team play the other 81, and more.


    One game for Leafs, but what a game: ArthurOne game for Leafs, but what a game: ArthurOne game for Leafs, but what a game: ArthurOne game for Leafs, but what a game: ArthurOne game for Leafs, but what a game: ArthurOne game for Leafs, but what a game: Arthur

    0 0


    There will be no “Rob Ford Memorial Stadium” in Toronto.

    City council rejected the proposal late Wednesday night to rename Centennial Park Stadium after the late Ward 2 Etobicoke North city councillor whose turbulent 2010-2014 term as mayor included revelations he smoked crack cocaine and lied about it for months.

    Mayor John Tory tabled the proposal, along with recommendations for consultation, saying that he knew it was controversial.

    Read more:

    ‘Rob Ford Memorial Stadium’ proposal triggers groans, gratitude

    He was a terrible mayor, but naming football stadium after Rob Ford fine by me: Keenan

    The proposal came at the request of the Ford family, Tory noted. “In all of my dealings as mayor ... I try to be generous and to put politics to the side,” the mayor, who beat Rob Ford’s brother Doug to become mayor in 2014, told council.

    Tory said he was “erring on the side of generosity.” He said Ford had his supporters, who saw him as a diligent public servant but, Tory said, he also recognized that Ford as mayor had done things “hurtful” to many people in Toronto.

    The only councillor to speak against the proposal, Jon Burnside, said he was doing so out of a conviction that council should not name things after politicians, whose job by definition is to help people.

    Councillor Joe Cressy made a successful motion to split Tory’s proposal into two parts — one specifically for the renaming of the stadium after Rob Ford and another that community members be consulted on ways to honour the memories of Pam McConnell and Ron Moeser, the other former councillors who died this council term.

    Council voted 11-24 on the Rob Ford proposal, while passing the latter one.

    Cressy said after the vote: “I got along with Rob and I considered him a colleague and I was devastated to hear that he passed so young, but considering many of the things that took place in his time as mayor I didn’t think it appropriate to name a kids’ football stadium after him.”

    Rob Ford was councillor for Ward 2 Etobicoke North for a decade, becoming equally famous for his hard work solving homeowners’ problems and his outrageous pronouncements and behaviour. Elected mayor in 2010, he sidelined his left-of-centre opponents and started pushing through a conservative agenda that included targeting low tax hikes and exacting concessions from city unions.

    But his mayoralty spiralled into scandal that made worldwide headlines after the Star revealed his substance abuse, which included smoking crack cocaine with gang members and public alcohol abuse. His football coaching and charitable foundation to help schools start football programs also generated headlines and he was banned from coaching by the Toronto District School Board.

    Ford went to rehab and was mounting a re-energized mayoral re-election bid when a cancer diagnosis forced him to seek his old council seat, instead. He died in March 2016.

    Last week, after the Star revealed Tory’s renaming proposal, Doug Ford, who served as Ward 2 councillor during his brother’s mayoral term and who plans to challenge Tory for the mayor’s seat in 2018, said: “Politics is politics. We’ve known John (Tory) and his family for over 25 years; he used to be a broadcaster and would kind of go after us once in a while, so, it’s politics.”

    “You’ve got to separate politics and something like this; it’s always a sensitive area for anyone, so we’re going to carry on.

    “We’re grateful. We’re appreciative, and we’ve very honoured.”


    No ‘Rob Ford Memorial Stadium’ in Toronto after council rejects renaming proposalNo ‘Rob Ford Memorial Stadium’ in Toronto after council rejects renaming proposal

    0 0

    The man, who can only be identified as K.C., will spend an indeterminate amount of time behind bars after a judge found he was in denial about his pedophilia and likely to reoffend.

    0 0


    The United States has a long history of gunmen shooting down dozens — sometimes hundreds — of people at one time.

    No, Las Vegas wasn’t actually ‘the worst mass shooting in U.S. history’: AnalysisNo, Las Vegas wasn’t actually ‘the worst mass shooting in U.S. history’: Analysis

    0 0


    Eugene Kim was last seen Monday morning when he dropped off his kids at school. That evening, his phone was traced to a phone tower near the park.

    Family searching for missing Markham man in Algonquin ParkFamily searching for missing Markham man in Algonquin Park

older | 1 | .... | 1037 | 1038 | (Page 1039) | 1040 | 1041 | .... | 1060 | newer