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- 10/10/17--06:44: _Trump says U.S. sho...
- 10/09/17--20:51: _Electric Leafs win ...
- 10/10/17--06:00: _Texas student charg...
- 10/10/17--07:56: _Catalan leader expe...
- 10/10/17--05:10: _More than 1,000 lea...
- 10/10/17--04:27: _Police investigatin...
- 10/09/17--16:00: _A raging house fire...
- 10/10/17--03:00: _Justice of the peac...
- 10/10/17--07:07: _As Trudeau heads to...
- 10/10/17--09:16: _Toronto teen identi...
- 10/10/17--09:02: _Mississauga teen li...
- 10/10/17--10:34: _Wynne downplays imp...
- 10/10/17--09:25: _New Yorker story de...
- 10/10/17--09:45: _Sears Canada to clo...
- 10/10/17--15:34: _Malala Yousafzai, N...
- 10/10/17--15:54: _Judge questions mer...
- 10/10/17--16:07: _What's at stake in ...
- 10/10/17--13:09: _Suspect identified ...
- 10/10/17--15:14: _Student mental heal...
- 10/10/17--15:00: _Should Toronto Isla...
- 10/10/17--06:44: Trump says U.S. should change tax law to punish NFL
- 10/09/17--20:51: Electric Leafs win ‘first real game’ of young season: Feschuk
- 10/10/17--06:00: Texas student charged with murder in campus officer’s death
- 10/10/17--04:27: Police investigating ‘suspicious’ death of man, 30, in Markham
- 10/10/17--09:16: Toronto teen identified in Etobicoke shooting death
- 10/10/17--09:45: Sears Canada to close its stores
- 10/10/17--16:07: What's at stake in an appeal of the city’s ward boundaries?
- New downtown wards give candidates that have been trying to break into downtown wards — several people have been waiting in the wings for years — more opportunities to run for open seats, as well as an open seat in Willowdale
- Incumbents in Mayor John Tory’s inner circle would be pitted against one another with the loss of a downtown ward in the area where Councillors Ana Bailao and Cesar Palacio currently hold seats along with Gord Perks, one of Tory’s most vocal critics
- 10/10/17--13:09: Suspect identified in killing of Toronto man in Belize
- 10/10/17--15:14: Student mental health needs growing, Ontario colleges say
- 10/10/17--15:00: Should Toronto Islands get ready for another flood?
WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump is suggesting the U.S. change its tax laws to punish organizations like the NFL if members are “disrespecting” the national anthem or flag.
The NFL gave up its federal tax-exempt status a few years ago and now files tax returns as a taxable entity. So it’s unlikely that Trump’s proposal, tweeted in the early hours Tuesday, would change anything.
Trump tweeted : “Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!”
Trump also tweeted Tuesday that ESPN ratings have “tanked” because of Jemele Hill, the anchor suspended for making political statements on social media.
While NFL viewership is down slightly, ESPN remains among the most popular cable networks, averaging 3 million viewers in prime time. The network has suffered subscriber losses over the last few years as some viewers have moved to streaming services from cable television.
Hill, an African-American co-host of the 6 p.m. broadcast of SportsCenter, received backlash last month after calling Trump a “white supremacist” in a series of tweets that referenced the president’s comments about a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
That comment prompted Trump to demand an apology from ESPN and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to call for Hill’s firing.
While ESPN took no formal action against Hill over the Trump comment, she did apologize to the network for the trouble her remarks had caused while standing by the tweets. ESPN cited that apology in announcing Hill’s suspension Monday, saying in a statement that ESPN employees had been “reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences.”
Hill targeted Jerry Jones on Twitter on Sunday after the Dallas Cowboys owner stated that players who disrespect the flag would not play for his team. She suggested fans who disagree with Jones should boycott the team’s advertisers and not buy the team’s merchandise.
She clarified Monday that she wasn’t calling for an NFL boycott.
Trump says U.S. should change tax law to punish NFL
They didn’t officially win it until Auston Matthews unfurled that highlight-reel cannon of a shot — a bullet wrister over the shoulder of Anton Forsberg that gave the Maple Leafs their third straight win of the three-game-old season, a 4-3 overtime victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
But make no mistake about Toronto’s performance Monday night against Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and the vestigial core of a team that has won three Stanley Cups since 2010. From the launch of the second period until Matthews lifted the Air Canada Centre crowd to its feet by placing the exclamation point on another in a line of memorable performances, the Maple Leafs didn’t just get the better of the play. The Leafs utterly dominated the game. They commanded possession, as measured by the percentage of total shot attempts, to the tune of 86 per cent after the first intermission. They ruled the shots-on-goal counter by more than double, 43-21.
A year ago around this time coach Mike Babcock raised eyebrows by comparing his rookie-laden team to the Blackhawks team of a decade ago that won a championship in the third year of the Toews-Kane era. On Monday night, after the Leafs fell behind 2-0 in a less-than-inspired first period, they looked ridiculously superior to what’s left of the Toews-Kane team.
“They were better than us early, obviously. Better sticks, better defensively, worked harder, were quicker than us — we were too slow early — but I thought we got engaged,” said Babcock after it was over. “We’ve got a pretty deep group so we were able to come at them pretty good.”
Frederik Andersen, the Leafs goaltender, called Monday’s win “the first real game” of the season, this after the Leafs scored a combined 15 goals in their opening two victories. If Toronto’s power play had been better than its 1-for-5 night, Monday’s squeaker of a win might have been a more resounding Toronto victory. Consider that Matthews led the game in puck possession with an 87 per cent mark, and that the star of the line against whom he was most consistently matched, Kane, was the game’s worst possession player at 14 per cent. Consider that Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner combined for 16 shots on goal while Toews and Kane combined for four.
And call it what it was: another indication that the Maple Leafs have arrived as a here-and-now force, and not simply a team with a bright future. It’s early, as the saying goes. But given the Blackhawks came into Monday’s game having scored 15 combined goals in their opening pair of wins — well, Monday amounted to a measuring stick worth considerable attention. One game, yes. But given the stature of the opponent and the one-sidedness of the final 40 minutes-plus, a milestone of sorts.
“I think the feeling in our room beforehand is — before the other team was coming in and you were hoping. Now you think you’ve got a chance. That’s just a different feel,” Babcock said after it was over.
Said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, speaking of the Leafs: “They’re good. They’re really good. They’ve got some amazing players.”
The game was barely eight minutes old before Andersen and his team found themselves down 2-0 on a couple of goals that were hardly glaring errors on the part of the man in the crease — the first Chicago goal bouncing off the tough-luck stick of teammate Mitch Marner, the second on a Toews snapper from point-blank range with Andersen’s goal stick lost behind the net.
And perhaps a younger version of Andersen — or last season’s assemblage of Leafs — would have been rattled by the ill fortune.
“When you’re younger, you think you’re going to play a 1-0 game every game. In reality, it’s not going to happen,” Andersen said. “It’s a matter of, not getting used to getting scored on, but getting used to processing it and moving on. That’s really what you’ve got to get good at.”
Before the Leafs found their legs, Andersen stopped Patrick Sharp on a first-period breakaway that could have made it 3-0. Still, for all their dominance of the puck — and thanks to the stellar play of Forsberg, Chicago’s backup to Corey Crawford — the Leafs were down 3-1 early in the third period before Connor Brown and James van Riemsdyk scored the goals that pulled them even.
Not that Chicago didn’t have its post-game gripes. Quenneville complained about the officials who ejected Toews from the faceoff circle on multiple occasions. And there was plenty of grumbling from both sides about the eight minor penalties doled out for slashing — four a side — as part of a league-mandated crackdown meant to facilitate more offence. But nobody on the home team lingered long on the topic of officiating.
“I thought as the game went on we got better and better and that’s the way we want to play,” said Matthews. “We were up against a pretty good hockey team, they’re a team that knows how to win, they’ve won before, so when you get in these tight games it’s a matter of inches. Definitely a big win for us as far as confidence goes and we just want to keep that momentum going.”
Indeed, it was an odd characteristic of last season’s Leafs that they owned a 3-22-2 record in games they trailed after two periods. Given their explosive offence, their inability to come from behind never made a lot of sense. So consider Monday night’s comeback victory a step in a resilient direction, not to mention a reminder that Matthews remains a shoot-first centreman of big-moment repute.
“I think that (game-winning) puck is still sitting back up there (buried in the opposing team’s net),” quipped Andersen. “Not a lot of guys can stop that puck in this league.”
Electric Leafs win ‘first real game’ of young season: FeschukElectric Leafs win ‘first real game’ of young season: FeschukElectric Leafs win ‘first real game’ of young season: FeschukElectric Leafs win ‘first real game’ of young season: Feschuk
LUBBOCK, TEXAS—A 19-year-old university student in West Texas was charged early Tuesday with capital murder of a peace officer in the fatal shooting of a police officer at the campus police station, where he was being questioned in a drug-related case, authorities said.
According to a Texas Tech University statement, campus police made a student welfare check Monday evening and, upon entering the room, found evidence of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Officers then took the suspect to the police station for a standard debriefing and to prepare to take him to the Lubbock County jail, Texas Tech police Chief Kyle Bonath said.
“During this time, the suspect pulled a gun and mortally shot an officer,” Bonath said. “The suspect fled on foot and later apprehended by ... (campus police) near the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum.”
The suspect, identified by the university as Hollis Daniels, was tackled by officers in a parking lot adjacent to the coliseum.
It is not clear if Daniels had the gun on him when he was taken to the police station or if he took the weapon from an officer. Online jail records don’t indicate whether he has an attorney to speak on his behalf.
“The family of the officer is in the thoughts and prayers of the Texas Tech community,” said Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec. “I want to express my deep appreciation to the Texas Tech Police Department, Lubbock Police Department, Lubbock Sherriff’s Office, and other state and federal law enforcement officials for their response.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also issued a statement about the shooting late Monday, saying “hearts go out to the family of the police officer killed.” Abbott also said he had mobilized state law enforcement resources to aid in the investigation.
Texas Tech is a public research university in the city of Lubbock.
Texas student charged with murder in campus officer’s death
BARCELONA, SPAIN—Catalonia’s regional leader was addressing parliament Tuesday in a highly anticipated session that could spell the birth of a new republic, marking a critical point in a decade-long standoff between Catalan separatists and Spain’s central authorities.
Security was tight in Barcelona and police cordoned a park surrounding the legislative building, where the Catalan President Carles Puigdemont is expected to walk a fine line when he addresses regional lawmakers.
The speech will need to appease the most radical separatist-minded supporters of his ruling coalition — but Puigdemont faces shutting down any possibility of negotiating with Spain if he adopts a hard line.
The Catalan leader is expected to declare independence from Spain, but hasn’t revealed the precise message he will deliver in the address at 6 p.m. local time, noon Eastern. Separatist lawmakers and activists have said they won’t be satisfied with anything short of a firm declaration.
A full declaration of secession — or an outright proclamation of a new Catalan Republic — would certainly be met with fierce opposition by central Spanish authorities, who could take the unprecedented step of suspending the self-government of Catalonia and taking over some or all powers in the region.
In Brussels, European Council President Donald Tusk pleaded directly with the Catalan leadership to choose dialogue rather than a divisive call for independence.
“I ask you to respect in your intentions the constitutional order and not to announce a decision that would make such a dialogue impossible,” he said.
A full declaration of secession — or an outright proclamation of a new Catalan Republic — would be met with fierce opposition by central Spanish authorities, who could take the unprecedented step of suspending the self-government of Catalonia and taking over some or all powers in the region.
Puigdemont himself could end up in prison.
Some 2.3 million Catalans — or 43 per cent of the electorate in the north-eastern region — turned out to vote in the Oct. 1 independence referendum, which the Spanish government said was illegal. Regional authorities say 90 per cent who voted were in favour and declared the results of the vote valid.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government had repeatedly refused to grant Catalonia permission to hold a referendum on grounds that it was unconstitutional since it would only poll a portion of Spain’s 46 million residents.
Catalonia’s separatists camp has grown in recent years, strengthened by Spain’s recent economic crisis and by Madrid’s rejection of attempts to increase self-rule in the region.
On Tuesday, about two dozen tractors flying secessionist flags paraded near parliament and a small but growing group of separatists gathered in the promenade next to Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf, where the movement’s main grassroots group has called for a rally.
The political deadlock has been compared in Spain to a “train collision” and has plunged the country into its deepest political crisis in more than four decades, since democratic rule was restored following the dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco.
In the streets of Barcelona, expectations were divided between those who want to see the birth of a new nation and others opposed to the idea. Some feared a drastic backlash from the Spanish central authorities.
“I am thrilled,” said Maria Redon, a 51-year-old office worker. “I’ve been waiting for this all my life. We have fought a lot to see an independent Catalonia.”
But Carlos Gabriel, a 36-year-old waiter, said that is “impossible.”
“He won’t do it. By doing so he would be diving into an empty pool,” he said referring to Puigdemont’s parliamentary address. “These people know it’s just a dream. Something very complicated. Something that will carry many negative consequences for all of us.”
In Catalonia and elsewhere in Spain, people were reading between the lines of politicians’ statements to try to figure out what’s next.
Analysts expected a declaration that would be solid in its wording but symbolic in terms of immediate effects, with Puigdemont perhaps laying out a road map for achieving full secession.
Even if Puigdemont declares independence, that won’t immediately lead to the creation of a new state because the Catalan government will need to figure out how to wrest control of its sovereignty from a Spanish government that has the law, and international support, on its side, said Joan Barcelo, a researcher of political conflicts at Washington University of St. Louis.
He said any declaration must be viewed through the lens of “the Catalan government’s long-term strategy of provoking an extraordinary and even clumsy reaction from central authorities” to build support.
The Catalan parliament’s governing board acknowledged Tuesday morning it had received the results of last week’s disputed independence referendum. But a parliamentary official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the board refrained from putting the results through normal parliamentary procedures to avoid any legal problems, because the referendum and its legal framework have been suspended by the national constitutional Court.
Hundreds of thousands have turned out for street protests in Barcelona and other towns in the past month to back Catalan independence and protest against police violence during the vote. Those committed to national unity have also staged separate, large-scale rallies.
The tension has already affected the economy, with dozens of companies relocating their corporate addresses to remain under Spanish and European laws if Catalonia manages to secede. The moves of the firms’ bases have not so far affected jobs or investments, but they don’t send a message of confidence in the Puigdemont government.
Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said on Tuesday he hoped “common sense” would prevail and blamed Puigemont’s “radical” and “irresponsible” government for the current standoff.
“This is not about independence, yes or no. This is about a rebellion against the rule of law,” de Guindos told reporters in Luxembourg, where he was meeting with European Union ministers. “And the rule of law is the foundation of coexistence, not only in Spain but in Europe.”
With files from the New York Times
Catalan leader expected to declare independence from Spain in crucial Tuesday speech
LAS VEGAS—More than a week after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history investigators are stumped about the key question: What led a 64-year-old high-stakes gambler to kill 58 people and wound hundreds of others at a country music concert?
It’s an answer they may never find.
The FBI and Las Vegas police have sorted through more than a thousand leads and examined Stephen Paddock’s politics, finances, any possible terrorist radicalization and his social behaviour. By Monday they had repeatedly searched his homes and interviewed his brother, girlfriend and others he’s done business with.
But the typical investigative avenues that have helped uncover the motive in past shootings have yielded few clues about Paddock, a professional gambler who spent nearly every waking hour playing video poker at casinos. That closeted existence has covered the trail for investigators.
“This individual purposely hid his actions leading up to this event and it is difficult for us to find the answers to those actions,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Monday, conceding he’s frustrated.
The FBI has brought in behavioural profilers as they continue questioning Paddock’s live-in girlfriend, Marilou Danley, about his gun purchases and what she may have noticed about his behaviour, Lombardo said.
Paddock had stockpiled 23 guns, a dozen of them modified to fire continuously like an automatic weapon inside his 32nd-floor Mandalay Bay hotel room, where he busted out two windows before opening fire on the crowd.
The sheriff changed the timeline of the shooting Monday, explaining that a security guard in the hotel’s hallway responding to a report of an open door heard drilling from Paddock’s room. Paddock, who had installed three cameras to monitor the approach to his suite, opened fire through the door, spraying 200 shots down the hall and wounding the guard, who alerted other security officials.
A few minutes later, Paddock began the 10-minute attack on those on the ground.
Previously the sheriff had said the guard’s arrival in the hallway may have caused Paddock to stop firing. He said Monday he didn’t know what prompted Paddock to end his deadly gunfire.
The gunman had shot at aviation fuel tanks, stocked his car with explosives and had personal protection gear as part of an escape plan, authorities said Monday.
Paddock’s life has remained somewhat of a mystery and most people who have interacted with him said nothing really stood out about him.
“It’s his actual normalcy that makes him a fascinating study,” said David Gomez, a former FBI profiler.
The small group people who knew Paddock well has said the one-time IRS agent and the son of a notorious bank robber did essentially nothing except gamble, sleep and travel between casinos. Investigators are sifting through every piece of Paddock’s life from birth to death, Lombardo has said.
“Every piece of information we get is one more piece of the puzzle,” the sheriff said Monday.
Experts say it is extremely unusual to have so few clues more than a week after a mass shooting. In past mass killings or terrorist attacks, killers left notes, social media postings and information on a computer, or even phoned police.
In this case, there was no suicide note, no manifesto, no evidence the gunman was motivated by any ideology and Paddock has no clear presence on social media, police said.
The FBI is working around-the-clock and a “comprehensive picture is being drawn as to the suspect’s mental state,” the sheriff said. Though at this point, they haven’t found any one particular event in Paddock’s life that triggered the shooting, he said.
Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said Monday an autopsy was done but could not discuss results of whether it yielded any clues to Paddocks actions.
But even as investigators work to try to figure out what might’ve led Paddock to commit the shooting, there may never be a clear answer.
“Sometimes there isn’t an understandable explanation for why someone commits a horrific crime,” Gomez said.
What has become very clear to investigators is that Paddock meticulously planned the attack. He requested an upper-floor room overlooking the country music festival and set up cameras inside and outside his room to watch for approaching officers.
After the shooting, police found a piece of paper on a nightstand in Paddock’s hotel room that contained a series of numbers that helped him calculate a more precise aim, accounting for the trajectory of shots being fired from that height and the distance between his room and the concert, a federal official said. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the details of the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
In not leaving behind an easily accessible manifesto, Paddock defied societal expectations that mass murderers will want their disturbed motives known to the world, said Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI profiler and hostage negotiator.
“The reason you want to engage in an attack is you want to be promoting your extremist ideology — you want publicity,” said Erroll Southers, director of homegrown violent extremism studies at the University of Southern California. “You want people to be afraid of what you believe and what you do.”
But although most killers may want to take credit for their act, Paddock might have revelled in the riddle he’s presented for investigators, Van Zandt said.
“He may even find some solace knowing that, ‘I’ve left so few footprints, they’re going to have a helluva time figuring out who I am.’ And that, in his challenged mind, might bring him a terrible level of satisfaction,” he said.
Despite the absence of easy answers, investigators may still be able to fill out a portrait of Paddock’s mindset in the coming weeks, Van Zandt said.
“Instead of a eureka moment, I think what investigators are doing is they’re putting an ounce of information at a time on the scale,” he said.
More than 1,000 leads later, authorities still stumped by Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock
York Regional Police said a U-Haul truck is a “vehicle of interest” in an investigation into the death of a 30-year-old man in Markham.
Witnesses told police an unconscious man was found lying on Stirling Cres., near Denison St. and Aldergrove Dr., just before 5 p.m. on Monday afternoon.
He was rushed to hospital without vital signs, according to York Region paramedics. The man was later pronounced dead.
Police said they received calls that there was a hit-and-run, but are now saying the cause of death has yet to be determined.
“Initially we were investigating this as a hit-and-run but then there were developments that a hit-and-run might not have happened,” said Staff Sgt. Greg Williams.
Police said the man’s death is being considered suspicious and that the major collisions and homicide units are investigating.
Const. Andy Pattenden told the Star on Tuesday that police are awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination of the victim. He said it’s unclear whether the man’s death is a homicide or the result of a hit-and-run.
With files from Alexandra Jonesand Brennan Doherty.
Police investigating ‘suspicious’ death of man, 30, in Markham
In the space of three days, a family of Syrian refugees who lost everything in a house fire has ridden an emotional roller-coaster, experiencing everything from frightening tragedy to overwhelming gratitude for the kindness of strangers.
On Sunday morning, Khaled Alawad did not know where to turn. “I have lost myself,” he said in an interview as he surveyed the scorched remains of his Mississauga townhome.
On Sunday night, local businessman Alex Haditaghi heard about Alawad’s plight. Deeply moved, Haditaghi, who came to Canada as a refugee from Iran in 1988, called the Star to say he would offer the family of five an apartment, rent-free for a year, in one of his North York buildings.
On Monday morning, Alawad, his wife and three children met their benefactor for the first time outside an apartment building on Sheppard Ave.
Haditaghi greeted the family, who were dressed in clothes donated by a friend, shaking their hands as he listed the reasons North York is a great place to live — it’s a family-oriented and multicultural area, close to schools and shopping, and close to the subway — before leading them indoors to choose an apartment.
He showed Alawad and his family a couple of options before they decided on a two-bedroom, second-floor unit with a balcony. While the apartment is small for a family of five and in need of some repairs, Haditaghi promised to have it cleaned, painted and furnished within a week. He’s also arranged for the family to have a free membership to the local YMCA.
While their parents beamed happily, the Alawad children rhymed off the apartment’s most enticing features.
“The balcony … outside, the environment is really nice,” said Odai, 11. “And there are a lot of plugs, so I could charge my stuff.”
Nine-year-old Marina said, “I like to live in buildings better than townhouses because like I hate stairs.
Mera, 4, didn’t say much, but seemed to enjoy running in circles around the living room.
The family will move in as soon as the unit is ready — by the end of this week, Haditaghi hopes.
He said he decided to reach out to them after reading in the Star about the family’s ordeal: the Saturday morning fire that claimed their home, all their belongings and documents, and the unsettling incident that preceded it.
Alawad initially suspected his family had been targeted after a man came to his home on Friday and argued with him about a bike that he said was his. The man then allegedly tried to break into the home. A man has been arrested in that incident, although police stress they are making no connection between that and the fire the next day.
The blaze is being investigated by the fire marshal’s office, police said Monday. In the meantime the family is staying with a friend.
“I know what it feels like not to have anything,” Haditaghi said. “My family was refugees and I know what it feels like to be a refugee and be homeless.”
Haditaghi, who once donated 1,400 turkeys to the Scott Mission, said he sees it as his duty to “help other humans.”
“I promise, these young kids … someday they’re going to do it for the next generation,” he said.
Haditaghi was 12 — just a year older than Alawad’s son, Odai, is now — when he came to Canada with his family in 1988.
He said his family spent the first three months living in a shelter. When they finally got a place of their own, they had no money for furniture.
“People were good to us,” he said, as he assured the Alawads: “You’ll be OK.”
Sure enough, people have stepped up to help the Syrian family as well. A GoFundMe page launched on Saturday, asking for help to rebuild their lives after the fire, had already surpassed its goal of $20,000 as of Monday.
Alawad is hopeful that his new home, closer to the city centre, will make it easier to find work. A petroleum engineer, he has 13 years of experience working in Abu Dhabi and Syria. While he’s had interviews since moving to Canada, he hasn’t found a job yet, and has been told it’s because he doesn’t have any Canadian experience.
Haditaghi has heard similar tales about the challenges refugees face finding work in their fields. His own mother was a teacher who wound up cleaning windows. Today, he knows a doctor from Syria who drives an Uber.
But he remains optimistic that things will work out for the Alawads.
“I believe in karma and good things will happen to good people,” he said.
A raging house fire left a Syrian family with nothing. One day later, a stranger gave them a home rent-free for one year
A Kenora justice of the peace is the subject of at least two formal complaints to Ontario’s JP oversight body for remarks he made to a lawyer in court that have been called “culturally insensitive” and “racist,” the Star has learned.
The remarks in question were made in bail court in August. Justice of the Peace Robert McNally was presiding, and Shannon McDunnough, who is Mi’kmaq, was attending as duty counsel — a legal aid-funded lawyer who can appear for accused persons who have not yet retained their own lawyers.
According to a court transcript, McNally said at one point: “Sometimes I think we’re in the middle of a Benny Hill set here. Nobody knows who Benny Hill is,” referring to the late British comedian.
When McDunnough told him that she knew who Benny Hill was, McNally replied: “Your ancestors probably scalped him or something.”
Those remarks are now the subject of formal complaints filed with the Justices of the Peace Review Council, the independent body tasked with investigating and disciplining JPs.
One is a joint complaint from Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services, McDunnough’s employer, and the Grand Council Treaty No. 3, while the other is from the Criminal Lawyers’ Association.
McNally’s comment used “obnoxious and racist language against an Indigenous female lawyer appearing before him that was a direct insult to her, to Mi’kmaq persons and to Indigenous persons in general,” reads the joint complaint.
“The nature of the comment is such that the only appropriate remedy is his removal from judicial office.”
The joint complaint also says that Kenora bail court “deals predominantly with Indigenous persons who are incarcerated at an astonishing rate in that district,” and that at any given time, 90 to 95 per cent of men remanded into custody in the northwestern Ontario city’s jail are Indigenous.
The Criminal Lawyers’ Association, which didn’t specify any particular punishment it is seeking in its complaint, said that it became aware of the remarks from a third party.
“It is our position that the above comment is culturally insensitive, racist, and entirely inappropriate,” association president Anthony Moustacalis wrote in the complaint letter.
“It is shocking that this comment was made on the record in a courtroom by a judicial official in Canada. It is also deeply troubling that this comment was made in Kenora, a community with a significant First Nations population.
“JP McNally’s comment is inexcusable no matter what his intention.”
McDunnough declined to comment to the Star. McNally also declined to comment. A spokesperson with the Ontario Court of Justice would not confirm if he is still presiding over cases.
“Given that you indicate that a complaint has been filed with the Justices of the Peace Review Council, it would be inappropriate for the court to comment about matters before the council,” said Kate Andrew. “It is important to respect the council’s independent due process.”
Duties of justices of the peace, who earn about $130,000 a year, include conducting bail hearings, signing off on search warrants and presiding over provincial offences matters, which do not lead to a criminal record.
McNally was appointed by the NDP provincial government in 1993. According to a news release at the time, he moved to Minaki, Ont., from Alberta in the 1970s, and was the owner of the Beaver House fishing lodge.
“He has played key volunteer roles in Minaki business development groups such as the Atikokan-Minaki Waterway Corp. in Fort Frances, and the Minaki Economic Resource Area Committee,” said the news release.
“In 1990, he received funding from the Ontario Heritage Foundation to help record the history and beliefs of the Islington people in Whitedog.”
The Justices of the Peace Review Council’s policy is that it will not confirm or deny that a particular complaint has been made to it, unless a complaints committee determines that there will be a discipline hearing, which is public, the council’s registrar told the Star.
“The council considers that in accordance with the statutory framework set out in the Justices of the Peace Act, the complaints process is confidential,” said registrar Marilyn King.
She said a complaint received by the council is assigned to a complaints committee made up of a judge, a justice of the peace, and a lawyer or community member.
Outcomes available to the committee include dismissing the complaint, referring it to the chief justice, or sending it to a public discipline hearing.
In the interim, the complaints committee can recommend to the regional senior justice that the JP not be assigned work, King said, but legislation requires that the JP still be paid.
If the outcome is anything other than a public discipline hearing, King pointed out that a summary of the complaint is included in the council’s annual report, which becomes public after being tabled in the legislature.
Those summaries do not include the name of the JP or any other identifying information. As previously reported by the Star, the Ministry of the Attorney General has repeatedly failed to promptly table the annual reports after receiving them from the review council.
For example, the JP review council’s 2014 annual report was made public only in February this year, despite the council delivering it to the ministry in November 2015.
Justice of the peace subject of complaints after remarks called 'culturally insensitive' and 'racist'
WASHINGTON—As he prepares to welcome Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump is musing again about terminating the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“I happen to think that NAFTA will have to be terminated if we’re going to make it good. Otherwise, I believe you can’t negotiate a good deal,” Trump told Forbes magazine in an interview published Tuesday.
“(The Trans-Pacific Partnership) would have been a large-scale version of NAFTA. It would have been a disaster. It’s a great honour to have — I consider that a great accomplishment, stopping that. And there are many people that agree with me. I like bilateral deals.”
Trump has threatened to terminate NAFTA on several numerous occasions, appearing to see such threats as a useful negotiating tactic.
The latest remark was slightly different. In the past, he has usually said he will cancel the agreement if the U.S. cannot secure a good deal. This time, he suggested that a good deal can only be secured after a cancellation.
Canadian officials have brushed off the Trump administration’s previous harsh rhetoric, saying such words are inevitable in any trade negotiation. And Trump has frequently declined to act on his musings about trade and other subjects.
Trump spoke amid growing concern that the negotiations could be headed for failure because of the Trump administration’s positions. The fourth round, scheduled to run Wednesday to Sunday, is seen as a crucial test of the level of U.S. interest in reaching an amended deal.
Trudeau will use the meeting to “explain really clearly to the president of the United States that Canada is not America’s problem,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told CTV on Sunday.
Trudeau is scheduled to arrive in Washington on Tuesday afternoon. His first event is an onstage interview about women’s economic empowerment at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, Trudeau, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Freeland are scheduled to participate in a roundtable discussion on gender equality. The prime minister and Freeland will then meet with the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee, an important committee on the trade file.
Next, Trudeau will proceed from the Capitol to the White House for a meeting with Trump that is scheduled for about an hour and a half.
Their time together will be shorter and less elaborate than in February, when Trudeau brought a large delegation of ministers and aides for his first meeting with Trump. A Trudeau official said the Fortune women’s summit, not the Trump meeting, was the original purpose of this visit.
Before heading to Mexico, Trudeau will hold a solo press conference at the Canadian embassy. Trudeau spokesperson Cameron Ahmad said the prime minister would have the prime minister would have been happy to hold the usual joint press conference with Trump, as they did in February, but the White House had “scheduling issues.”
Trump is expected to travel to Pennsylvania the same day for a speech on tax reform.
As Trudeau heads to Washington, Trump again muses that ‘NAFTA will have to be terminated’
Toronto police have identified a 16-year-old boy as the victim of a fatal shooting Sunday night in the parking lot of an Etobicoke elementary school.
Zakariye Ali, of Toronto, is the city’s 49th homicide victim of 2017.
The teen was found lying in the parking lot of Kingsview Village Junior School at around 11:40 p.m. He was taken to hospital, where he later died.
Two other males, aged 18 and 19, also suffered gunshot wounds, police said in a news release Tuesday. They were found just south of the school on Wincott Dr., and were taken to hospital with less severe injuries.
Councillor Michael Ford, who represents the ward, condemned the shooting in a statement issued Monday.
“For such a violent incident to take place in the parking lot of a junior elementary school is tragic,” he said. Ford said he would meet with city officials and Toronto police to discuss how to keep the area safe.
Ali’s killing was the second shooting death in the area in four days. Abdulkadir Bihi, 29, died in hospital Thursday after he was found suffering gunshot wounds in a car near Islington Ave. W. and Dixon Rd.
Det. Steve Matthews said Monday that it was too early to tell if there was a connection between the two shootings.
A post-mortem examination of Ali’s body is to be conducted on Tuesday.
Toronto teen identified in Etobicoke shooting death
A Canadian teen who admitted plotting to attack New York City landmarks suffered from drug addiction and mental health issues, newly released court documents show.
Letters from defence lawyers and a New York prosecutor filed with an American court show Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, of Mississauga, Ont., suffered a relapse in prison and tested positive for a prescription drug used in opioid-addiction treatments, a finding that led to the loss of family visitations for seven months.
The letters also said a psychiatrist and a psychologist visited the 19-year-old in prison, but details related to both his drug addiction and his mental health issues are redacted.
“He has a long history of drug use, drug treatment, and relapse,” his lawyers, Sabrina Shroff and Clay Kaminsky, wrote in a letter to Judge Richard Berman as they argued for the court to restore his family visits.
The lawyers noted that El Bahnasawy’s family had travelled frequently from Ontario to New York to visit him at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan until his visits were halted after a disciplinary hearing on Nov. 22, 2016.
The defence team also painted a picture of a lonely teen.
Save for an unspecified amount of time spent in an in-patient drug treatment program, his lawyers said the teen lived with his parents, Osama El Bahnasawy, Khadiga Metwally, and his older sister, Basma El Bahnasawy, for his entire life.
“He has no friends outside of his close-knit family,” the lawyers wrote.
Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy was born in Canada and spent much of his time in the country, but lived a few years in Kuwait, according to a transcript recently unsealed by the court. He told a judge he never finished Grade 11 in Canada.
On Friday, officials in the U.S. released details of El Bahnasawy’s guilty plea to multiple terrorism-related charges, which was heard by a New York court last October. The records were sealed as federal agents worried about tipping their hand to two other suspects who were outside the country.
Despite the various allusions to mental health issues in court documents, El Bahnasawy told a judge he felt well mentally and physically when he pleaded guilty. The judge deemed him mentally competent to enter the plea.
In late August, his lawyers argued for more time to prepare for sentencing, saying a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist “need more time for their work with Mr. El Bahnasawy to be helpful and meaningful to the court.”
“Mr. El Bahnasawy himself needs time for his condition to continue improving so that he can fully participate in his presentence interview and sentencing,” his lawyers wrote to judge on Aug. 25.
Details about both experts’ dealings with El Bahnasawy are redacted.
El Bahnasawy is scheduled to be sentenced in December.
U.S. authorities allege he and the two others accused in the case communicated through internet messaging applications, allegedly plotting to carry out bombing and shootings in heavily populated areas of New York City during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in 2016.
El Bahnasawy was communicating with an undercover FBI agent posing as an ISIS supporter and declared his allegiance to the terror group, court documents said.
He had shipped hydrogen peroxide for the construction of homemade explosives to the United States and had entered the country with his family on May 21, 2016, where he planned to meet up with the undercover agent to carry out the attacks. He was arrested that day.
The other two accused are identified as Talha Haroon, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen residing in Pakistan, and Russell Salic, 37, from the Philippines.
Mississauga teen linked to NYC terror plot suffered from drug addiction, mental health issues: documents
The decisions of two veteran cabinet ministers to retire before next June’s provincial election doesn’t mean key Liberals are losing confidence in their chances, Premier Kathleen Wynne says.
With her party struggling behind the Progressive Conservatives in most public opinion polls, Wynne portrayed the pending departures of Deputy Premier Deb Matthews and Treasury Board President Liz Sandals as personal choices by two women with long track records in public service.
“Every single one of my caucus members has a whole life outside of their political lives. Both Liz and Deb are grandmoms,” the premier said at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington on Monday.
“As a grandmother myself I can tell you there is nothing as rewarding as spending time with your grandchildren and wondering how much time you’re going to have. We don’t know how much time we’re going to have.”
Matthews, 63, and Sandals, 69, made their announcements Friday afternoon on the eve of the Thanksgiving long weekend with the Legislature not sitting this week.
Both said they remain confident about Liberal prospects, with Matthews re-affirming her commitment to co-chair the party’s re-election campaign.
Matthews has been one of Wynne’s most trusted advisors.
Sandals, from Guelph, has been a school trustee and MPP for almost 30 years and Matthews was first elected in London North Centre in 2003.
Wynne cautioned against reading too much into the departures, which follow a recent decision by Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid, 55, not to seek re-election. He suffered a mild heart attack last year.
“People give their time, they do an enormous amount, and then we need to, without rancour or criticism, let them make a decision that’s good for their families and good for themselves….we owe that,” the premier added.
“There are people across all party lines who have made a huge contribution and they deserve to be able to make a decision.”
Wynne insisted she has not set a deadline for other MPPs or cabinet ministers to decide if they are running again.
“People have to come to these decisions in their own time, in their own lives. I can’t dictate. Nor would I want to.”
The moves by Sandals and Matthews give their riding associations time to line up new candidates.
Matthews is the lone Liberal MPP in the London area, where New Democrats have gained two ridings from the governing party in recent years. Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner will run again in Guelph, hoping for an electoral breakthough with Sandals off the ballot.
Wynne downplays impact of veteran cabinet ministers not seeking re-election
NEW YORK—The New Yorker is reporting that Harvey Weinstein has previously raped three women, significantly intensifying the scandal surrounding the disgraced movie mogul. A representative for Weinstein vehemently denied the allegations in a statement to the magazine.
The expose, published Tuesday, detailed allegations not just of sexual harassment but of three incidents involving rape. Actress Asia Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans went on the record to allege Weinstein forced himself on them sexually. A third woman spoke anonymously.
Attorneys for Weinstein did not immediately return messages Tuesday. The New Yorker quoted Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister responding that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
The article also cited a 2015 audio recording made by the New York Police department wherein Weinstein admits to groping a model named Ambra Battilana Guiterrez.
New Yorker story details accusations of rape against film producer Harvey Weinstein
About 12,000 Sears employees will be out of work over the coming weeks, after the company announced Tuesday that it is going out of business.
“Following exhaustive efforts, no viable transaction for the company to continue as a going concern was received,” according to a press release from the company issued Tuesday.
As a result, Sears Canada, which has already closed 59 stores and announced the closure of another 11, will be seeking court approval on Friday to liquidate all its remaining assets.
“The Company deeply regrets this pending outcome and the resulting loss of jobs and store closures,” according to the brief press release.
Executive chairman Brandon Stranzl had been working on a bid to save the company. He was not available for comment on Tuesday.
According to an insider, the Stranzl deal would have saved thousands of jobs and offered relief to landlords, suppliers and consumers holding warranties. It also had financial backing.
While most of the 12,000 employees will be let go over a 10- to 14-week period as the liquidation sales wind down; most of the 800 head office jobs in Toronto will be eliminated next week.
About three-quarters of the 12,000 employees are part-time.
Employees were informed prior to the press release being issued, according to an insider.
Sears Canada to close its stores
Malala Yousafzai, the 20-year-old Pakistani activist who was shot by the Taliban for advocating girls’ education, began her studies at the University of Oxford this week.
Yousafzai, the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate, announced on Twitter on Monday that she was attending her first classes at the elite British institution. A picture of a laptop with three school books on logic accompanied the post.
“5 years ago, I was shot in an attempt to stop me from speaking out for girls’ education,” she wrote. “Today, I attend my first lectures at Oxford.”
Yousafzai was formally accepted to Lady Margaret Hall in August. It is the same Oxford college that Benazir Bhutto, who went on to become the first female prime minister of Pakistan, attended in the 1970s.
Clare Woodcock, a spokesperson for the university, confirmed on Tuesday that Yousafzai has enrolled at Oxford but said the school would make no further comment. Yousafzai had said in August that she would study philosophy, politics and economics.
At a young age, Yousafzai became a high-profile advocate for the education of girls. She appeared alongside her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, the owner of a girls’ school, in a 2009 New York Times documentary about the Taliban edict that forbade girls from attending classes.
Using a pen name, she wrote blog posts for the BBC about life in the Swat Valley, an area of Pakistan that was largely controlled at the time by the Taliban. In 2011, she was awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. It has since been renamed the National Malala Peace Prize.
But her efforts to bring change to the Swat Valley also made Yousafzai a target. On Oct. 9, 2012, when she was 15, a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus, asked for her by name and shot her in the head and neck.
Severely injured in the attack, Yousafzai was transferred to Britain for medical treatment. She settled with her family in Birmingham, England, in 2013, where she continued her education, according to the Malala Fund, an organization she founded in 2013.
The next year, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, alongside the Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi, for “her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”
She has met privately with former president Barack Obama and with Queen Elizabeth II, and on her 16th birthday gave a speech at the United Nations, which declared July 12th “Malala Day.”
But even extraordinary lives have their quotidian moments, and few things bring them out like the emotional ups and downs of starting college. (Obama said last month that leaving his daughter Malia at Harvard University had brought a tear to his eye.)
Last month, just days after posting pictures from the UN General Assembly and the offices of U.S. senators like Jeanne Shaheen and Patrick Leahy, Yousafzai sent an anxious request for help to her more than 987,000 followers on Twitter.
“Packing for university Any tips? Advice? Dos and dont’s?” She asked, adding the hashtag #HelpMalalaPack.
Part of the problem? “Some say overpack and some say pack less,” she said in a follow-up post. But there were two items she said she would definitely add to her suitcase: English Breakfast tea and flip-flops for the dormitory shower.
Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, attends her first lecture at Oxford
SUDBURY, ONT.—The judge deciding a case against two Ontario Liberals facing bribery charges under the Election Act questioned the merits of one of the charges against a former top staffer to the premier Tuesday.
Lawyers for Pat Sorbara, who was Premier Kathleen Wynne’s deputy chief of staff and Liberal campaign director, and local Liberal fundraiser Gerry Lougheed argued in court for the case to be tossed.
Their directed verdict application calls on the judge to dismiss the charges before the defence has even called any witnesses, arguing the Crown hasn’t proven its case. The judge is set to deliver his decision on Oct. 24.
Sorbara and Lougheed, who have pleaded not guilty, are accused of offering would-be candidate Andrew Olivier a job or appointment to step aside for Wynne’s preferred candidate in a 2015 byelection in Sudbury, Ont. That preferred candidate was Glenn Thibeault, then the NDP MP, and now the energy minister.
Sorbara also faces a second charge, alleging that she bribed Thibeault to become the candidate by arranging for paid jobs on the byelection campaign for two of his constituency staff.
Her lawyer argued the charge appears to rely solely on Thibeault asking Sorbara if paid campaign jobs were a possibility, while he was considering whether to run for the Liberals, and Sorbara replying that it was “doable.”
“We are having difficulty understanding why we’re here,” Brian Greenspan said.
Judge Howard Borenstein said Tuesday he was having a hard time seeing that as an offence.
“Why is that captured in section 96 (of the Election Act)?” he said in court. “(Section) 96 is called corruption. He’s not saying, ‘I want jobs for my family members, I want jobs for my friends.’”
“It seems to me that if something like this would be considered corruption or bribery, it’s extending these terms beyond what they seem reasonably capable of bearing,” Borenstein said later.
A factual response to a potential candidate is not an inducement and Sorbara made no promise to provide paid positions for Thibeault’s staff until after he decided to become the candidate, Greenspan said in his written submissions.
“To put it bluntly, the idea that Ms. Sorbara induced Mr. Thibeault to leave his role as a federal MP by promising modest one-time stipends for two staffers, totalling less than $5,000, is fanciful,” he wrote.
The charges faced by both Sorbara and Lougheed in relation to Olivier come down to the definition of a candidate under the law, Lougheed’s lawyer Michael Lacy argued.
It is contrary to the Election Act to offer a job “to induce a person to become a candidate, refrain from becoming a candidate or withdraw his or her candidacy” but it was a legal impossibility for Olivier to become the Liberal candidate, since the premier had already decided Thibeault would be appointed, Lacy said.
The definition of a candidate in the Election Act suggests someone isn’t a candidate under that law until an election writ has been issued, and Lacy noted that Sorbara and Lougheed spoke to Olivier roughly a month before the byelection was called.
Lacy argued the Crown is trying to broaden that definition and if the judge rules in their favour, it would drastically change how political parties operate.
“The Crown may not like the fact that internal party politics involve what some might describe (as) wheeling and dealing for the betterment of the party, but that’s not an offence in my submission,” Lacy said.
Lougheed, in a recorded conversation, told Olivier he was there on behalf of the premier to ask him to consider stepping aside for Thibeault and “in the course of that deliberation” he should consider “options in terms of appointments, jobs, whatever.”
Sorbara told Olivier they should have a broad discussion about what he would be interested in, be it a constituency office job, appointments to boards or commissions or a position on the party executive.
The Crown argued that Olivier could still have become the candidate if Thibeault refused or changed his mind, and that Sorbara was trying to identify what would really induce Thibeault to run.
Judge questions merits of charge against former top Wynne staffer in Sudbury byelection trial
The province’s most powerful tribunal will decide how the city will be carved up following a scheduled hearing that began this week.
The fate of the city’s ward boundaries will be decided based on evidence heard in a 95-person capacity room on the 16th floor of a Bay St. office tower that was mostly empty on Tuesday.
That decision of a rare three-member panel of the Ontario Municipal Board, which hears appeals on a broad range of land use planning issues, will determine boundaries for the upcoming 2018 election and beyond.
Here’s what you need to know:
Why are new boundaries important?
A petition from residents challenged the city’s existing ward structure in 2013, which got council’s attention because it raised the possibility of an appeal to the OMB, which has the power to dictate new boundaries.
The city decided to launch what became a more-than-two-year review of the current boundaries, hiring an external team of consultants.
The major consideration in deciding new boundaries is whether residents are being effectively represented. A Supreme Court of Canada decision set out important factors determining effective representation, most importantly voter parity — that all votes should have equal weight.
Today, parts of the city are growing at an unprecedented pace, which has created what the consultants say is a “serious imbalance” in the existing ward population sizes and therefore voter parity — a problem that expected growth only worsens over the next decade.
Adjusting the ward structure is meant to achieve acceptable voter parity while also taking into account other considerations of effective representation like natural boundaries, such as the Don River, and communities of interest, such as Regent Park.
What is the recommended option?
To achieve effective representation, a 47-ward option was recommended by the city’s consultants and approved by council in November.
That option would see four new wards created — three downtown and one in the North York neighbourhood of Willowdale. It would also see one western downtown ward removed. A total of seven wards would see no boundary changes at all.
This structure was designed to create a ward population range of 51,850 to 70,150 and change as little in as many ward boundaries as possible.
Why is there an OMB hearing?
Multiple appeals of council’s ward boundaries decision were filed by residents and also two city councillors — Justin Di Ciano (Ward 5 Etobicoke Lakeshore) and Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7 York West).
Some appellants have very specific requests for redrawing lines in their part of the city. Others have raised broader concerns about the consultative process. Several, like Di Ciano (who missed the November council vote) are arguing that a 25-ward structure that follows federal riding boundaries should be adopted instead.
What are the options?
The city’s consultants considered several other options include creating 58 smaller wards and a 25-ward option aligned with federal riding boundaries.
Most of these options, including the 25-ward option, were discounted by the city’s consultants because they did not achieve acceptable voter parity without significant adjustments.
What do the appeals mean for Toronto residents?
Most significantly, the new boundaries would shake up the election and a future council in two ways:
If the OMB rules against the city’s decision, it could be sent back to council for further review — which means new boundaries are unlikely to be in place for the 2018 election — or the OMB could dictate new boundaries, which may shake-up more election races or separate longstanding communities.
When will a decision be made?
The city’s clerk has made clear that in order to make sure everything is properly in place before the Oct. 22 election next year, a decision on boundaries needs to be finalized by Dec. 31.
Though Councillors Di Ciano and Mammoliti originally tried to have the timing pushed back, the city’s lawyer Brendan O’Callaghan succeeded in convincing the OMB members to hear the matter as soon as possible.
The hearing is scheduled for nine days with a decision expected before Dec. 31.
What's at stake in an appeal of the city’s ward boundaries?
A 52-year-old Belize man appeared in court Tuesday morning charged in the death of a Toronto man in Corozal, Belize last week.
Apolonio Kiou of Corozal was arrested on Oct. 6, according to Corozal police.
Thirty-eight-year-old Toronto man Gabriel Bochnia was shot and killed on Oct. 4 when he and his wife and three children were returning to their home in Chula Vista, which is about 135 km north of Belize City.
Bochnia died in hospital.
His wife, 27-year-old Jeshanah Maritza Zetina, and their children were not injured.
His sister Kate Bochnia said his body is on its way to Toronto and a visitation and funeral is planned for this weekend.
With files from Alex McKeen and Alanna Rizza
Suspect identified in killing of Toronto man in Belize
Ontario colleges are spending $160 million more than they receive from the government to provide mental health services and supports for students — a need that continues to grow and must be addressed, says a new report.
The report, released Tuesday, “is highlighting that we are seeing the acceleration of these challenges beyond what we might have expected to see,” said Linda Franklin, president of Colleges Ontario, which represents the province’s 24 public institutions.
At a time when general overall funding per student has been declining, colleges are “currently diverting significant funds from general operations and academic programming to provide student at-risk support programs and services,” says the report from Deloitte.
“This approach is not sustainable. As a result, colleges have pursued a number of innovations aimed at doing more with less.”
Including, it adds, “more proactive and holistic student support to address problems before a crisis occurs, expanding faculty and staff involvement, adopting new technological solutions, and building community partnerships that share resources and knowledge.”
The report also urges the provincial government to make sure that high school students are better prepared for the academic rigours of post-secondary life, “by encouraging the Ministry of Education to modify high school programs to better meet college requirements.”
Colleges Ontario first looked into the issue of student mental health five years ago, but felt an update was necessary because “over the intervening years, leaders in the college system, student leaders and faculty were saying to us that they were experiencing increasing levels of students coming to them with mental health (needs),” said Franklin.
Some students can’t find the supports they need in their local community, so they turn to the colleges, which provide services to those studying full- or part-time.
Franklin said colleges are looking for more funds, new pilot projects, as well as partnerships with the government and community agencies to better co-ordinate services.
A three-year, $720,000 pilot out of Humber College that began in 2012 provided “Mental Health First-Aid” training to college staff across the province, who then returned to their institutions to train others. About 3,000 in total took part, said Meg Houghton, associate dean of student wellness and equity at Humber.
“It’s helping people to understand what to ask, how to support someone experiencing distress… and referring and getting support,” and how to distinguish moderate distress and crisis situations, she said.
The report notes that half a million students attend colleges in this province, and “over time, this student population has become increasingly populated by non-traditional students at risk of not completing post-secondary education,” in particular students with learning and mental health disabilities, mature students, and those who are the first in their family to go beyond high school studies.
Deb Matthews, the provincial minister of advanced education and skills development, said she has heard “loud and clear at every campus” about the “need to better support mental health on campus.”
“There is no disputing that this is a huge issue on campus, right across our province,” she said in a statement to the Star.
Matthews noted that the government has worked with colleges and universities on a number of programs, and continues to boost funding.
“Colleges serve as an important ‘point of entry’ and resource for students who are seeking help with their mental health, often far from their home community or family supports,” said Matthews. “We will continue to work with colleges in the effort to improve the accessibility and quality of mental health supports for students.”
Student mental health needs growing, Ontario colleges say
Packed sandbags, some faded and frayed, still stand guard on Ward’s Island. While they are unnecessary for the moment as the receded lake laps gently at the shore, not so long ago they were an integral part of the island’s defence against flood waters.
Scientists say they could be needed again. As climate change progresses Environment Canada expects Lake Ontario’s average water level to decline slightly, but a changing climate also causes stronger storms and that means the Toronto Islands could face more flooding like the kind faced this spring and summer.
Michael Page, who has called the islands home since 1983, isn’t going anywhere, though. “I will be on the island until I die,” he said, sitting on his second-floor deck in the early October sun. “I really love living here, it’s a fabulous place.”
He wants an engineering solution that will protect the islands and their tight-knit community from future threats. And after the dramatic flooding this year, public bodies are mobilizing to figure out what those threats are and what can be done about them.
Environment Canada and other agencies that monitor the great lakes are planning further research to determine just how likely it is we’ll see Lake Ontario rise to similar levels again. Meanwhile, the Toronto Region and Conservation Authority has applied for funding to pay for a flood risk assessment on the islands, building on the lessons they learned this summer.
The task before them is not an easy one.
It was the “rain, rain, and more rain” in the spring that caused Lake Ontario to reach unprecedented levels this year — 75.9 metres above sea level — the highest the islands had seen since at least 1918, when the first reliable measurements of the lake were taken, said Frank Seglenieks, a water resources engineer with Environment and Climate Change Canada.
“We just got hit by storm after storm,” he said.
As Lake Ontario was rising, flooding in Ottawa and Montreal was at its peak, compounding the situation facing the islands.
The flooding to the east restricted how much water a dam in Cornwall, Ont. could release from Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River, which was already inundated with high waters from the Ottawa River. Lowering the lake by 10 cm would have raised the water in Montreal, where thousands of people had already been evacuated, by one metre, Seglenieks said.
So the water continued to rise in Lake Ontario. Later, its recession was hampered by higher-than-normal inflow from the other great lakes, prolonging the flooding.
“It was something that certainly caught us all by surprise,” said Rehana Rajabali, a senior engineer with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority flood risk team.
This spring was the first time this generation of TRCA flood duty officers, who are on call 24/7 to monitor weather and watershed conditions, faced lake-based flooding. Before, they focused on Toronto’s “flashy” network of rivers and creeks, receiving a bulletin about the lake levels from Environment Canada just once a month.
But the flood risk team adapted quickly to their new reality. They began monitoring the lake daily and used high-resolution elevation data to map the vulnerability of the islands to flooding.
While riverine flooding in the Toronto area happens quickly, as water runs swiftly along hard, impervious surfaces into rivers and creeks. Lake flooding is a “slower burn,” which means there was more time to put protective measures — like sandbags and sump pumps — in place, Rajabali said.
Islanders and staff from both the city and the TRCA spent hours filling sandbags and stacking them to protect homes and other infrastructure. Pumps were spread across the island. It was a community effort, Page said.
Despite those measures, the water kept coming.
At times the water levels were so high that standard emergency vehicles couldn’t reach parts of the islands, said Nancy Gaffney, who leads the TRCA’s watershed programs.
Some days, the waves crashed over the first line of sandbags on Ward’s Island and water seeped up from below, soaked up through the “great big sandy sponge,” Page said.
At the height of it, his front yard was a “duck pond” and 15 inches of water pooled below his house almost as fast as he could pump it out, warping the wood floors on the first level. It still smells musty and damp.
Climate models suggest the Toronto region will see more precipitation in the future, but that doesn’t tell us much about what will happen on Lake Ontario. To know that, you have to consider what’s going to happen on Lake Superior and Lake Huron, then Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and finally Lake Ontario.
“It’s one big system, you really have to study the whole thing,” Seglenieks said.
According to an international climate study of the upper great lakes, which Seglenieks was part of, the average water levels in Lake Ontario are expected to decline by up to 20 cm between 2035 and 2065 as evaporation outpace precipitation.
“There’s nothing that says it’s going to be hurricanes coming up to southern Ontario and deluging Lake Ontario with a big tsunami or anything like that, we definitely don’t see things like that, but in general we do see some stronger storms,” Seglenieks said.
He added that we should be prepared for the highest highs and the lowest lows, plus a “safety factor.”
The TRCA’s risk assessment, which is expected to kick off in March, is a first critical step, Rajabali said.
It will consider the range of possible lake levels and what areas are most at risk, ultimately, helping determine what permanent changes are needed to make the islands more resilient.
“You can’t stop the lake from going up or down there isn’t control over that but what you can do is understand how to… protect the islands,” Rajabali said.
In the short term, the city will raise the roads to ensure emergency vehicles can access all parts of the island during storms. They’re also planning to establish some long-term pump systems and protective berms, Gaffney said. Even before the flooding this year, they were considering offshore protection at Gilbraltar Point where storms have repeatedly pulled away at the sand, she added.
“Toronto Islands is actually pretty resilient in that it’s been suffering from this kind of abuse from wave action for years and years and really has held its ground,” Gaffney said.
The islanders have stood their ground too. If Page is the measure it will take more than an increased risk of flooding to chase them off. Worst comes to worst, he could raise his house further off the ground, he said.
Should Toronto Islands get ready for another flood?Should Toronto Islands get ready for another flood?Should Toronto Islands get ready for another flood?Should Toronto Islands get ready for another flood?