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    'Putting Your Best Foot Forward Act' would prohibit companies from requiring inappropriate shoes.

    Ontario employers won’t be able to make workers wear high heels if proposed bill passesOntario employers won’t be able to make workers wear high heels if proposed bill passes

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    Around 12,000 instructors, represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, are off the job, cancelling classes for hundreds of thousands.

    Ontario colleges preparing for a long strikeOntario colleges preparing for a long strike

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    North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador warned that “the entire U.S. mainland is within our firing range” and if the U.S. invades “it will not escape our severe punishment in any part of the globe.”

    ‘A nuclear war may break out any moment,’ North Korea says‘A nuclear war may break out any moment,’ North Korea says

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    The director’s misguided commentary on the Harvey Weinstein scandal is the perspective nobody asked for.

    Actually, Woody Allen, a witch hunt is exactly what Hollywood needs: MenonActually, Woody Allen, a witch hunt is exactly what Hollywood needs: Menon

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    “We’re sitting as hostages with a lot of time on our hands,” Boyle told The Associated Press in an email Monday, explaining a decision that has

    ‘Let’s make the best of this’: Ex-hostage Joshua Boyle explains why he and his wife had kids in captivity‘Let’s make the best of this’: Ex-hostage Joshua Boyle explains why he and his wife had kids in captivity

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    The scramble to stifle criticism of the reforms has the government suddenly promising to cut taxes as the prime minister relegates his finance minister to a cameo role in Stouffville.

    Trudeau and Morneau’s efforts to sugar-coat tax reforms turns into comedy of errors: HébertTrudeau and Morneau’s efforts to sugar-coat tax reforms turns into comedy of errors: Hébert

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    The two murder victims, Nighisti Semret and Rigat Ghirmay, knew each other. They also knew Adonay Zekarias.

    Prosecutors allege Toronto murder victim was silenced over previous killing: DiMannoProsecutors allege Toronto murder victim was silenced over previous killing: DiMannoProsecutors allege Toronto murder victim was silenced over previous killing: DiMannoProsecutors allege Toronto murder victim was silenced over previous killing: DiManno

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    The two aircraft manufacturers announced the partnership Monday evening, weeks after the United States announced 300 per cent preliminary duties on exports of the aircraft following a complaint from Airbus rival Boeing.

    European giant Airbus to buy majority stake in Bombardier’s CSeries programEuropean giant Airbus to buy majority stake in Bombardier’s CSeries program

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    He took it back. Immediately.

    Trump lied about Obama in another wild news conference. Then he did something unexpected: AnalysisTrump lied about Obama in another wild news conference. Then he did something unexpected: Analysis

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    Toronto city officials told a Queen’s Park committee Monday that reforms to the OMB, the province's powerful planning tribunal, can’t come soon enough, as the city continues to grow at an unprecedented rate and new development applications pour in at an increased pace.

    On Monday, the city’s acting chief planner Gregg Lintern and Councillor Josh Matlow both praised a government plan to overhaul the long-controversial Ontario Municipal Board, which has not seen substantial reform for more than 100 years.

    But there remain concerns about the limbo between new and old legislation as developers unhappy with the changes may be rushing to beat the government’s timeline to enact the new bill by the end of the year, a committee heard.

    “These reforms have been a very long time coming,” Matlow told the standing committee on social policy.

    Read more: Province plans to overhaul OMB and give more power to cities and citizens

    As province overhauls OMB, local zoning bylaws need updating

    Planning changes go in the right direction: Editorial

    He said the city has lacked the necessary tools to deal with unprecedented development and resulting growth that is currently taking place in his ward and in many parts of the downtown and North York

    “Over many years, ad hoc OMB decisions on individual sites in the Yonge-Eglinton area, which I represent, have set a narrative and have far too often created precedent for subsequent developments with little regard for wider context, or local needs for infrastructure and social services.”

    While the Yonge-Eglinton area has been slated for intensification by the province’s growth plan, the area exceeded those density targets the year they were created.

    That has left the city struggling to keep up with growth — local public schools are full, people are left waiting for the third or fourth subway on the Yonge line, and planners worry basic necessities like sewers and water pipes will reach capacity.

    The province’s proposed changes to legislation were tabled in May, drawing praise from planners, councillors and residents. The bill passed second reading in September and was forwarded to committee for debate.

    For more than a century, the OMB has had the final say in a wide range of planning issues and has the power to overrule council decisions.

    Most significantly, the changes, if passed, would require the body — to be renamed the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal — to have more regard for local decisions. It would scrap a practice called “de novo” hearings, or hearings “as new,” that essentially allow developers and other groups to have what critics call a “do over” when a council decision doesn’t go their way.

    Under the new rules, the OMB would instead consider whether a council decision was consistent with provincial and city rules. If not, the decision would be sent back to council.

    “The changes proposed by the bill will enable municipalities to focus on adopting planning principles, what we call proactive planning, to address growth and change,” said the city’s acting chief planner Lintern. “Currently a large amount of municipal time is spent at the OMB defending council-adopted policies approved by the province but which are appealed by parties who may not support the decision of the locally-elected officials.”

    Lintern said they are currently seeing an increase in applications and are requesting the province make clear a transition plan between old and new legislation.

    That plan is currently underway, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi told the committee, one that “doesn’t impact processes that may be at the tribunal as we speak.”

    That suggested a request from the city’s planning and growth committee headed to council next month that the new rules be retroactive to May is unlikely to succeed.

    Naqvi said they hope to have new legislation passed by the end of the year.

    The largest organizations representing developers also spoke at the committee Monday, arguing there would be “unintended consequences” in reforming the OMB and that providing more power to councils would see councillors pandering to local residents and “Not In My Backyard” (NIMBY) attitudes.

    City officials said the new rules would actually force council to make a thoughtful decision that could be backed up by the city’s own official plans and policies as well as provincial rules, knowing that’s the basis on which an appeal would be judged at a reformed tribunal.


    Toronto tells province that clear planning reforms are needed as soon as possibleToronto tells province that clear planning reforms are needed as soon as possible

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    Leanne Nicolle filed a complaint against the former Canadian Olympic Committee's president for sexual harassment, which led to a formal investigation and his resignation in 2015.

    Woman whose complaint started Marcel Aubut sexual harassment scandal speaks outWoman whose complaint started Marcel Aubut sexual harassment scandal speaks out

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    A top Dalton McGuinty aide dismissed concerns the energy minister was ignoring legal orders to disclose documents on the axing of two gas plants as “political bull----,” says the former head Ontario’s civil service.

    The bombshell testimony from one-time cabinet secretary Peter Wallace, now city manager for Toronto, came Monday at the criminal trial of David Livingston, chief of staff to McGuinty during his last months as premier.

    It was summer 2012 and McGuinty’s minority Liberals were under intense pressure from an opposition-controlled legislative committee to produce secret emails shedding light on reasons behind the controversial cancellations of the power plants in Oakville and Mississauga before the 2011 election.

    There was a “stark contrast” between “voluminous” boxes of documents revealed by energy ministry bureaucrats and the Ontario Power Authority, compared with “no disclosure” from the minister’s office, Wallace told Crown attorney Tom Lemon.

    The energy minister at the time was London lawyer Chris Bentley, although Wallace, cabinet secretary from 2011 to 2014, did not mention him by name.

    “I was acutely concerned I have a premier’s office and a minister’s office that may not be in compliance with a legally binding order,” Wallace continued, noting he was not sure if the political staff “has not fully understood…or ignored” the demand.

    Out of “an abundance of caution,” Wallace said he then had senior legal counsel in the cabinet office prepare three memos he would use to brief Livingston on the government’s responsibilities.

    The memos, presented in court, include an explanation of the legislative committee’s legal authority to compel the production of government records and responsibilities to retain proper records on official decisions.

    “I don’t think he found the conversation particularly useful,” Wallace told court as Livingston watched from several metres away with his legal team.

    “His language was ‘that’s political bull----.’”

    Wallace described the conversation as “tense.”

    Livingston and former deputy chief of staff Laura Miller are charged with breach of trust, mischief in relation to data and misuse of a computer system in the alleged wiping of hard drives in the McGuinty premier’s office before Premier Kathleen Wynne took power in February 2013.

    The defendants have pleaded not guilty. They face up to 10 years in prison. McGuinty was not under investigation and co-operated with police.

    Wallace said he and other bureaucrats “know we sent them an enormous number of documents,” making it “not credible” for the minister’s office to deny having emails requested by the committee of MPPs.

    Crown prosecutors have not yet produced evidence of any recovered emails in the trial, which is slated to continue into November. Ontario Provincial Police obtained search warrants and seized hard drives used in the premier’s office.

    The Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats accused the McGuinty government of cancelling the natural gas-fired power plants, which faced local opposition, at taxpayer expense to save Liberal seats in the 2011 election and allege a cover-up of the real reasons.

    Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk has reported the cancellations, and moving the plants to the Sarnia and Napanee areas, could cost up to $1.1 billion over 20 years.

    McGuinty has previously said the two plants were scrapped because they were located too close to residential areas.

    Wallace is back on the witness stand Tuesday.


    Top McGuinty aide dismissed gas plant concerns as Top McGuinty aide dismissed gas plant concerns as "political bull----"

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    All westbound lanes of Highway 401 are closed past Guelph Line following a five-vehicle collision that left the highway “very slippery.”

    The collision happened shortly before 9:30 a.m.

    “All the injuries are minor, but one vehicle is a transport truck, which has lost a load of diesel … and we have a diesel spill all across the highway.” says Sgt. Kerry Schmidt of the Ontario Provincial Police.

    Of the five vehicles involved, only one was a car, with the other four being commercial vehicles, some of which Schmidt says have been “completely destroyed” in the crash.

    “Speaking to the officers there, they say it’s like a bomb has gone off. There’s debris everywhere across the highway.”

    Cleanup crews are at work, but it could be several more hours before traffic can get through the westbound lanes, Schmidt says. He is asking drivers to avoid the area.

    The cause of the crash is not yet known.


    Highway 401 westbound closed at Guelph Line after crashHighway 401 westbound closed at Guelph Line after crash

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    York regional police say they’ve laid charges against the owners and staff of an unlicensed day support centre for people with disabilities.

    Police say they began investigating the Hope Centre in Vaughan in August after a family member reported concerns about possible abuse.

    They say additional alleged victims were identified during the investigation.

    Investigators say the owner, her son and her husband — who all worked at the centre — were arrested last Friday when officers executed a search warrant at the Hope Centre.

    A 47-year-old Vaughan woman is charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life, assault and fraud.

    A 27-year-old Vaughan man is charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life, forcible confinement and assault, while a 41-year-old man from Kleinberg, Ont., is charged with assault.


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    A 36-year-old man has been killed in a hit and run in Mississauga, police say.

    Peel police responded to Dixie Rd. at Rathburn Rd. E. shortly before 11:30 a.m. for reports of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle that failed to remain on scene. A man was found with serious injuries, which he later succumbed to in hospital.

    The man had been crossing west across Dixie Rd. when he was struck, Const. Bancroft Wright said. Police are still not sure which direction the vehicle was coming from.

    Reports from the scene suggested that the vehicle could have been either an SUV or a truck.

    “Until we have a better description of the vehicle, we’d rather not speculate on it,” Wright said.

    Police are still investigating, and urge anyone with information to come forward.


    Pedestrian killed in Mississauga hit and runPedestrian killed in Mississauga hit and run

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    Toronto’s shelter services have seen an unusual surge of refugee claimants over the past two years, and are struggling to keep up with them.

    According to a staff report heading to the city’s community development and recreation committee next week, the Shelter, Support, and Housing Administration (SSHA) is projecting that by the end of the year they will have overspent $10.33 million on motel and hotel contracts for the housing of refugee claimants.

    Between 2016 and September of this year, the number of refugees staying in city shelters on a daily average shot up from 456 to 1,271. This sent existing refugee shelters into full capacity and forced the city to rent an additional 275 rooms with about 900 beds, according to the report.

    Staff are recommending that council approve a $19-million funding proposal to prolong the response until the end of next year. City Council will vote on the proposal at its November meeting.

    “Staff believe the current spike in refugee claimants will continue into 2018,” Patricia Anderson, manager of partnership development and support at SSHA, told Metro in an email.

    She noted the majority in the new wave of refugee claimants are families from Nigeria, Eritrea and Ethiopia. There are geographic, political, economic and social factors that make people feel unsafe and want to seek better opportunities for themselves and their children, she added, including “things as natural disasters, floods, droughts, political instability, totalitarian governments, civil war, persecution due to race, religion, sexual orientation.”

    The new surge of refugee claimants looking for accommodation forced SSHA to create emergency agreements with housing companies in the city. In December 2016, the Toronto Plaza Hotel offered 70 rooms. In March 2017, Quality Hotel and Suites was brought on board with 105 rooms. In May 2017, Radisson Hotel offered 70 rooms, and will expand to 100 by mid-November.

    Anderson said the current financial pressures are a result of change in funding for emergency shelters. Before 2013, the province covered 80 per cent of the cost of any additional beds in the system. Now provincial funding is fixed.

    “While immigration policy is under federal and provincial jurisdiction, it is municipalities that are responsible for providing services to all their residents, regardless of their immigration status,” she explained.


    Toronto shelter services under pressure from surge of refugee claimantsToronto shelter services under pressure from surge of refugee claimants

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    TALLAHASSEE, FLA.—Citing past clashes and protests, Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency in advance of a speech white nationalist Richard Spencer is scheduled to give at the University of Florida.

    The state’s Republican governor warned in an executive order Monday that a “threat of a potential emergency is imminent” in Alachua County, in north Florida. Spencer is slated to speak at the campus on Thursday and his pending appearance has already sparked protests in the university town.

    Spencer participated in a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to deadly violence in August.

    Scott’s executive order will allow local law-enforcement authorities to partner with state and other law-enforcement agencies to provide security for the event. The university has already said it expects to spend $500,000 on security.

    Read more: White nationalist Richard Spencer leads march in Charlottesville to defend Lee statue

    White nationalist groups are planning to be ‘more active than ever’ after Charlottesville violence

    The governor is also activating the Florida National Guard to help with security if it is needed. Scott said he declared the emergency after discussing Spencer’s speech with Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell.

    “We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion, however, we have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority,” Scott said in a statement. “This executive order is an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and the entire community is prepared so everyone can stay safe.”

    Richard Spencer said the emergency declaration was “flattering” but “most likely overkill.”

    “I’m not a hurricane or an invading army, at least not literally,” he said during a telephone interview Monday.

    However, Spencer expressed concern that the emergency declaration could be used as a pretext for blocking his speech. He noted that Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe had declared a state of emergency on the day of the Charlottesville rally before Spencer and others could speak.

    “That was basically a means for suppressing the rally,” Spencer claimed.

    When he issued the declaration, McAuliffe had said via his Twitter account that he did it in order “to aid state response to violence” at the Charlottesville rally.

    University of Florida officials said it was the violence in Virginia that led them to reject a request from Spencer and his National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think-tank, to allow him to speak in September. After they threatened to sue, school officials said they would try to accommodate Spencer if he renewed his request for a different date.

    University of Florida President Kent Fuchs earlier this month asked students to stay away from the campus event. He wrote in an email that Spencer and his group seek only “to provoke a reaction.”

    Darnell said Scott’s executive order was not intended to “alarm anyone,” but to make sure that her office has the “resources and equipment to help us prepare for violence or widespread property damage.” Darnell said currently they are expecting both protesters and counterprotesters to show up in connection to Spencer’s appearance.

    “We are hoping this is a non-event,” Darnell said. “We are hoping this will go very smoothly and peacefully. But in the reality of this world we have to be well prepared.”


    Florida declares state of emergency ahead of Richard Spencer speech, white nationalist rallyFlorida declares state of emergency ahead of Richard Spencer speech, white nationalist rally

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    Lorinda Stewart was dismayed when the Hollywood ending she had played over and over again in her mind during the 460 days her daughter was held hostage in Somalia didn’t unfold as she envisioned.

    “I was shocked by the skeletal girl standing before me,” Stewart writes in her newly-released book, One Day Closer, about the time she first saw her freed daughter Amanda Lindhout in a Nairobi hospital in November 2009.

    “But hardest to bear was her eyes, surrounded by dark circles. They were haunted with experiences of pain and sadness that no one else could comprehend. Any fantasies I had held about Amanda’s release and our return to our ‘before’ life were shattered. We had a very long journey still ahead of us.”

    Stewart spoke to the Star Monday, alongside Lindhout, talking about that eight-year journey to heal and revealing the behind-the-scenes details of ransom negotiations that freed her daughter.

    They also offered compassion and advice for the families of Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle, whose story continues to unfold since the couple’s dramatic rescue Wednesday in Pakistan, along with their three children. The couple had been held for five years by the Afghanistan-based Haqqani network — their two sons and daughter were all born in captivity.

    “I truly hope for the families people will be kind and put down their judgments as people really don’t know the facts of the whole story,” Stewart said about the couple, who were kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2012, during a backpacking trip.

    “My experience of those first years post-release, it was really difficult to reintegrate and come back into the world fundamentally a changed person,” Lindhout said. “I found it difficult to access the kind of psychological care that I really needed after that kind of specific and unique trauma. I remember feeling quite lost and had really bad post-traumatic stress disorder, but not really understanding my condition.”

    She also remembers the “victim shaming” — questions as to why as a freelance journalist would venture into war-torn Somalia. “When I’m reading the commentary online for Josh and Caitlan my heart really goes out to them and I hope they’re trying to avoid it as much as possible and focus on their recovery.”

    Read more:

    Accused Lindhout kidnapper admitted receiving $10K of ransom: RCMP officer

    ‘We’re looking forward to a new lease on life,’ Joshua Boyle tells the Star after five-year kidnapping nightmare

    Star investigation: Held hostage

    Lindhout wrote a book about her ordeal, A House in the Sky, which has been a bestseller since 2013. Her mother’s memoir fills in the details of what she couldn’t have known during her agonizing captivity.

    Stewart’s book’s title was the mantra both she and her daughter, unbeknown to each other, would repeat to themselves each day: “One day closer” to release.

    Aside from being a love story between a mother who refused to lose hope and her strong-willed daughter, Stewart’s book is also an indictment of the Canadian government’s handling of the case.

    “I have a long list of people to forgive, coming out of this, and definitely I’m still struggling with the government, and how they handled us, how they managed us,” Stewart said Monday.

    Her intimate and detailed description of Ottawa’s involvement confirms what an eight-part Star investigation found in December. With more than 50 interviews to gather first-time accounts from families, hostages, witnesses, government, military, intelligence officials and private security consultants, the Star found that Ottawa’s kidnapping protocols were in dire need of an overhaul.

    In her book, she writes of how she put all her faith into Ottawa and followed the instructions of the RCMP, whose negotiators kept telling her they never had a failure in 17 years. She became the chief contact with the kidnappers and moved into a home that became their “war room,” which was staffed 24/7 with RCMP liaison officers.

    Sometimes her phone would ring constantly but she was told she could not answer and not told why. Stewart writes of her agony, breaking down at the thought of her daughter on the other end, thinking she had been abandoned.

    “At one point, the negotiator on duty that day told me that if I tried to answer the phone he would rip it out of the wall,” Stewart wrote. “That comment hurt and puzzled me. I had pretty much been a model co-operative agent.”

    Stewart was largely kept in the dark about what Ottawa was doing — but was then given the monumental and emotional task of being the main contact with the kidnappers.

    Above all, she was forbidden from trying to raise ransom money — which was the kidnappers’ demand. This caused friction with the family of Australian photographer Nigel Brennan, who was taken along with Lindhout.

    Then nearly a year after Lindhout was kidnapped, Ottawa told her that she should find a new place to live — the war room in Alberta was shutting down because, “the lack of progress no longer justifies our expense.”

    Stewart’s feeling of abandonment grew to “disgust” with Ottawa’s handling of the case.

    “After our unwavering allegiance to Ottawa, we began to realize the extent to which we had been skilfully managed through promises, lies and the philosophy of reciprocity,” she writes.

    Three hundred and forty days into her daughter’s captivity, she began fundraising and, along with Brennan’s family, hired the private security firm AKE. It told her negotiations for ransom typically lasted for three months, and they suggested hiring a Somali translator to help her talk with the kidnapper’s contact, who called himself “Adam.”

    “It changed things immediately. If we would have had a translator right at the very beginning, I’m sure we could have avoided all of the colossal misunderstandings” Stewart said Monday.

    Forty days and a ransom of about $600,000 later, Lindhout and Brennan were free.

    Although in principle both mother and daughter agree ransoms should not be paid and understand why governments cannot— they say relatives should not fear criminal sanctions if they decide to pay when their loved one’s life is at risk. “It’s against the law and punishable by jail time if you pay a ransom. Clearly we would feel that is really unfair and doesn’t serve anybody, because ransoms are going to be paid,” Lindhout said.

    While both Stewart and Lindhout’s books are heartbreaking, they say their lives now are the exact opposite. “Who we are today is because of the choices we make … and we choose to be happy after the fact,” Stewart said. “This is only a part of who we are, it’s not who we are.”

    As they talk to the journalists in Toronto this week about Stewart’s book, in Ottawa, the trial of one of Lindhout’s alleged kidnappers wraps up.

    The man Stewart knew by phone as “Adam,” was lured to Canada by the RCMP on a promise of his own book deal and arrested for her kidnapping upon arrival.

    Mother and daughter both testified earlier this month and say they are tremendously relieved that their involvement is over.

    “I’m definitely not attached to any outcome. But I never was,” Lindhout said about the verdict, as her mother agreed. “My healing was never contingent on those guys — any one of them — being in jail. I just trust the system and the process, as he too is living his destiny.”


    Mother of ex-hostage Amanda Lindhout speaks out on ‘victim shaming,’ Joshua Boyle and her ‘disgust’ with OttawaMother of ex-hostage Amanda Lindhout speaks out on ‘victim shaming,’ Joshua Boyle and her ‘disgust’ with Ottawa

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    OTTAWA—A new study suggests Victoria is the best city in Canada to be a woman, despite the wage gap between men and women there worsening slightly in recent years.

    The study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives looks at differences between men’s and women’s access to economic and personal security, education, health and positions of leadership in Canada’s 25 biggest cities.

    The CCPA says Victoria is the only city on the list where more women than men are employed, and they account for nearly half of all senior managers and elected officials.

    But it says the wage gap in the city is on par with the rest of the country, with women earning 73 per cent of what men do — slightly worse than five years ago.

    In Windsor, Ont., which ranked worst in the study, the wage gap is actually smaller than average, with women making about 75 per cent of what men earn.

    But the study says only 23 per cent of elected officials and 34 per cent of senior managers in the region are women, and women are more likely to be living below the poverty line than men.

    The CCPA also says that sexual assault is the only violent crime that’s not on the decline in Canada, and every city still struggles with high rates of sexual and domestic violence.

    “Statistics will never be a substitute for the full experience of lives lived. But as signposts they mark the spot where more attention is needed from our political leaders and policy-makers,” says study author Kate McInturff, a senior researcher at CCPA. “We hope they follow through.”

    Here is the CCPA’s ranking of the cities it studied:

    1. Victoria

    2. Gatineau

    3. Hamilton

    4. Kingston

    5. Vancouver

    6. Quebec City

    7. St. John’s

    8. Sherbrooke

    9. Halifax

    10. Toronto

    11. Ottawa

    12. London

    13. Kelowna

    14. Abbotsford-Mission

    15. Montreal

    16. St. Catharines-Niagara

    17. Winnipeg

    18. Edmonton

    19. Saskatoon

    20. Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo

    21. Regina

    22. Calgary

    23. Barrie

    24. Oshawa

    25. Windsor


    What is the best Canadian city for a woman? Toronto is ranked 10thWhat is the best Canadian city for a woman? Toronto is ranked 10th

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    OTTAWA—Finance Minister Bill Morneau says he’d be willing to make changes to his financial affairs if asked to do so by the federal ethics watchdog as pressure mounts over why he hasn’t put his substantial assets in a blind trust.

    Questions about Morneau’s holdings and his credibility continued to dog the Liberal minister during a news conference Tuesday in Montreal.

    The former businessman was even asked if the escalating ethics controversy had him reconsidering his career in politics.

    “Absolutely not,” Morneau said in French.

    “I know that we still have things to do and, for me, I have a great privilege to have the opportunity to be with a team that will do very important things for people here, for the rest of our country. I would like to continue with this work.”

    Rumours have been circulating around Parliament Hill that Morneau’s interest in politics has waned.

    Read more: Trudeau and Morneau’s efforts to sugar-coat tax reforms turns into comedy of errors: Hébert

    Should we know what the federal finance minister owns?

    A key player in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet and architect of the Liberal government’s economic agenda, Morneau has faced mounting questions about his financial holdings after a media report revealed he did not put his assets into a blind trust.

    The day he was named to cabinet in November 2015, Morneau told CBC he had communicated with the ethics commissioner about his holdings in his human resources company, Morneau Shepell. He said he expected to put them in a blind trust, much like former Liberal finance minister Paul Martin did with Canada Steamship Lines.

    Morneau said Tuesday that after he became minister, he did everything ethics commissioner Mary Dawson asked of him to avoid any conflicts of interest — and is willing to do more, if necessary.

    “I will continue to consider exactly what I have to do to be certain that I don’t have conflicts,” Morneau said. “That’s our system. To me, I think it works well and if she gives me more recommendations to change my affairs in the future, I will do it.”

    Around the same time that Morneau spoke in Montreal, opposition parties in Ottawa were demanding more clarity about Morneau’s financial holdings.

    New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen called it a “striking example” of the appearance of conflict of interest involving a cabinet minister, since Morneau remains involved in Morneau Shepell, which works in the field of pensions and pension shifting.

    “The appearance of conflict of interest in this case is worrisome, it is shocking,” said Cullen, who has called on Dawson to investigate Morneau over pension-reform legislation that could benefit the finance minister through shares he owns in his company.

    “These increases in targeted benefit plans — that’s what Bill C-27 deals with — directly benefit Morneau Shepell and directly benefit the finance minister.”

    The Conservatives demanded that Morneau publicly divulge everything he has submitted to the ethics commissioner since the Liberals took office in 2015.

    In particular, Tory MP Pierre Poilievre said Morneau should disclose who controls his interests in Morneau Shepell.

    “Minister Morneau has not told the nation what became of his $30 million in Morneau Shepell shares,” Poilievre said. “We’re just asking him to come clean with Canadians.”

    In the House of Commons, opposition parties have attacked Morneau over the lack of a blind trust, as well as last week’s revelation that he failed to disclose a private company that owns a family villa in France.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who defended Morneau at a joint news conference Monday to the point of awkwardly fielding questions on his behalf — insists his finance minister has followed all federal ethics rules.


    Morneau open to changing financial affairs as Conservatives, NDP demand ethics investigationMorneau open to changing financial affairs as Conservatives, NDP demand ethics investigation

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