- RSS Channel Showcase 6592645
- RSS Channel Showcase 1596603
- RSS Channel Showcase 9358791
- RSS Channel Showcase 2923462
Articles on this Page
- 07/21/17--08:23: _Toronto housing mar...
- 07/22/17--05:28: _Israeli troops in W...
- 07/22/17--14:50: _Errant U.S. bombing...
- 07/22/17--07:16: _How Toronto's chief...
- 07/22/17--08:06: _Trump denounces ‘il...
- 07/22/17--08:00: _Toronto man has bec...
- 07/22/17--04:00: _Charges stayed agai...
- 07/22/17--15:28: _21-year-old announc...
- 07/22/17--07:37: _Trump calls newly c...
- 07/22/17--14:42: _Four Toronto builde...
- 07/22/17--12:46: _Police ID body of w...
- 07/22/17--15:31: _Serial killer Eliza...
- 07/22/17--17:07: _Princes William and...
- 07/22/17--17:40: _Scaramucci purges T...
- 07/22/17--20:05: _Toronto FC let Rapi...
- 07/22/17--19:04: _Pedestrian struck b...
- 07/22/17--19:45: _Blue Jays walk away...
- 07/23/17--11:41: _One man dead, anoth...
- 07/23/17--09:56: _New mental health w...
- 07/23/17--11:03: _New citizenship stu...
- 07/21/17--08:23: Toronto housing market’s downturn may have an upside
- 07/22/17--05:28: Israeli troops in West Bank put on high alert after stabbing, unrest
- 07/22/17--07:16: How Toronto's chief medical officer became the people’s doctor
- 07/22/17--12:46: Police ID body of woman found near Brampton creek
- 07/22/17--17:40: Scaramucci purges Twitter account of tweets criticizing Trump
- 07/22/17--20:05: Toronto FC let Rapids escape with draw
- 07/22/17--19:04: Pedestrian struck by car in Mississauga
- 07/22/17--19:45: Blue Jays walk away extra-inning losers in Cleveland
- 07/23/17--11:41: One man dead, another arrested in single-car rollover in Oshawa
- 07/23/17--09:56: New mental health workers being sent to Pikangikum First Nation
Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper says that, like a lot of chief executives, he is prone to optimism.
But that didn’t stop him from calling Toronto the least healthy housing market in the country when prices were galloping ahead in the double digits in the first quarter of the year, peaking at 33 per cent year over year in March.
Soper says it’s not self-interest as a realtor that leads him to believe that Toronto’s slumped market will recover in the same way as Vancouver’s has. That market has lately rebounded after the B.C. government imposed a foreign buyers tax last summer, paving the way for Ontario to introduce a similar levy on non-resident transactions.
But does the situation today resemble the last big Canadian housing correction in 2009? Is it a crash rather than a bump? Soper doesn’t think so.
The last major national housing correction followed the global economic crisis in 2008. The conditions simply aren’t there this time for a major market meltdown in Canada, says Soper.
“It’s very rare to see employment improving, the economy expanding — to see inflation under control and to see a significant collapse of the housing market,” he said.
But he doesn’t deny there are unknowns — NAFTA, for example.
“The most obvious external downside risk is the trade negotiations between Canada and the U.S.,” he said.
“A significant negative outcome on trade wouldn’t have immediate impact on our economy, but it would have immediate impact on consumer confidence.”
Nor does Soper suggest that the recent Vancouver correction wasn’t serious.
“People say it wasn’t that bad (in Vancouver) because prices were only down by a couple of percentage points,” he said. “But they were going up by 30 per cent, so the trend reversed itself by some 30 to 35 per cent in weeks.
“It was a very significant change in the direction of that market and a significant downturn.”
Royal LePage calculates that the Vancouver housing correction took about $750 million out of the economy in ancillary spending such as home renovations, furnishings and lawyers fees.
In Ontario, the slowdown will continue for a while, says Lu Han at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
“The (Toronto area) market still needs time to absorb how the buyers and sellers are going to react to the policy,” said Han, who’s the academic director for the Centre for Real Estate and Urban Economics.
Toronto Real Estate Board’s mid-month numbers for July show sales down 39.3 per cent year over year in the first 14 days of the month. On Monday, the Canadian Real Estate Association said a 15 per cent drop in sales in June in the Toronto region led to the largest decline in national sales in seven years.
Provincial Liberal government policy, along with tighter lending restrictions and rising interest rates makes consumers more anxious in the short-term, but are all designed to ease affordability challenges longer term, says Han.
“The rising interest rate will increase the costs for borrowing, but the house price is going to be reduced in the longer run as a consequence of these policies. So, in that sense, it is going to make housing more affordable in the future,” she said.
While some sellers and buyers may have been caught in the sudden turnaround of the market this spring, the pause in the market frenzy is welcome, says James McKellar, a professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University.
“When I say this downturn is good news, I mean it begins to challenge some assumptions we’ve made that the house price will go up — that we can always afford more, that we can consume more,” he said.
In the 1950s, Canadians consumed about 300 sq. ft. of space per person. Today it is about 1,000 sq.ft.
The correction also gives governments some breathing room to reconsider the supply part of the equation, said McKellar.
More people, including the growing number of tech and creative sector workers, want to live in cities. Governments need to re-think what living there looks like apart from condo towers.
“On the one hand the province is saying 40 per cent of all growth must be directed into inner cities and, on the other hand, the city is saying we have to protect existing neighbourhoods. There’s a conflict at the policy level. We’re protecting these old neighbourhoods but we’re not re-generating them with new people,” he said.
McKellar contends that the current scenario has come as a shock because most Canadians don’t remember or have never seen it before. (He calls the 2008 housing market “a slight downturn.”)
“We haven’t had a downturn really since 1991. It took from 1991 until 2004 for house prices to recover. The problem is that most of us have thought the good times go forever. This is a good signal that gravity still exists,” he said.
Toronto realtor John Pasalis doesn’t discount the role of the press and social media in the almost overnight drop in home sales. Headlines about crashes and bubbles make consumers anxious.
“It probably pulled many buyers out of the market. In the past, when news wasn’t as timely and everyone relied on what friends were saying, it prolonged the run-up,” he said.
Pasalis was among the first Toronto-area realtors to raise concerns about the sustainability of the double-digit increases in the Toronto market. But he’s adamant that the doomsayers suggesting that values will decline severely are wrong.
“We’d have to have a massive depression,” he said.
He thinks the market will remain soft through the fall, but says there are signs that buyers are starting to look again and get ready to dip back into the market.
“The big unknown is what the listings are going to be like in the fall. I think we’re going to see a lot of new listings in the fall. A lot of the people who can’t sell now are going to re-list,” he said.
“If listings increase more than buyers increase you’re still going to have a soft market,” said Pasalis.
Whatever happens the rest of the year, Toronto housing is probably a safe bet, said Han.
“Toronto is a very attractive destination. It offers great consumption amenities but also great job opportunities,” she said. “When people try to buy a house here they’re not just buying a physical house, they’re buying this location — they’re buying the whole package including the infrastructure in the city, the transportation here, all the culture, the amenities here.
“That itself is a very strong fundamental that would sustain the house price growth here.”
JERUSALEM—Israel’s military fortified its troops in the West Bank and placed forces on high alert Saturday, a day after a Palestinian stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family and some of the worst Israeli-Palestinian clashes in years erupted over tensions at the Holy Land’s most contested shrine.
Following a relatively quiet day, violence resumed late Saturday near the epicentre of the current crisis in the Old City of Jerusalem. After hundreds of Muslim worshippers defiantly held their evening prayers outside the Jerusalem holy site, resuming their protest against security measures Israel imposed after a deadly attack there, clashes unfolded with police firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters.
No injuries were reported, but one Palestinian was killed in uncertain circumstances in other low-level clashes that took place throughout the day, including in the West Bank village of the 20-year-old Palestinian assailant who carried out the grisly stabbing spree. His father said he believes his son was motivated by a desire to protect the “honour” of the Jerusalem holy site.
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited the site of the attack, the Israeli settlement of Halamish, and consulted with top commanders. Lieberman said the attacker’s home would be demolished swiftly and called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn what he called a “slaughter.”
Disputes over the shrine, revered by Muslims and Jews, have set off major rounds of Israeli-Palestinian confrontations before. They were also at the root of the current violence which began last week when Arab gunmen fired from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen.
In response, Israel installed metal detectors at the gates of the 37-acre (15-hectare) walled compound, saying the devices were a needed security measure to prevent more attacks and were deployed routinely at holy sites around the world.
Muslims allege Israel was trying to expand its control at the Muslim-administered site under the guise of security — a claim Israel denies — and launched mass prayer protests.
On Friday, tensions boiled over and several thousand Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and in Jerusalem after noon prayers — the centrepiece of the Muslim religious week. Three Palestinians were killed and several dozen wounded in some of the worst street clashes in two years.
Late Friday evening, a Palestinian identified as Omar al-Abed jumped over the fence of the Halamish settlement and entered a home, surprising a family that was celebrating the birth of a new grandchild during their Sabbath dinner.
The Israeli military said the assailant killed a man and two of his adult children, while his wife was badly wounded. Their daughter-in-law hid in a separate room, sheltering her young children. A neighbour, an off-duty soldier, heard the screams, rushed to the home and opened fire, wounding al-Abed who was taken to an Israeli hospital, said the head of Israel’s rescue service.
Itai Orayon, a medic, said he found “blood everywhere” in the house. He told Israel’s Army Radio that three people were on the floor, unconscious “with deep stab wounds all over their bodies,” and that the medical team was unable to save them. TV footage showed the floor tiles drenched in blood. The victims have yet to be named.
On Saturday morning, Israeli troops searched the assailant’s family home in the West Bank village of Kobar and detained one of his brothers, the army said. Video footage released by the military shows soldiers leading away a handcuffed and blindfolded man.
The army said soldiers searched the house and measured it in preparation for demolition. Anticipating this, local residents said the family emptied its home of valuables. Later, clashes erupted as residents burned tires and hurled rocks at Israeli troops who had searched the home. The military says about 50 people attacked troops who fired back with rubber bullets and tear gas.
The assailant’s father said his son had been angered by the escalating violence at the Jerusalem shrine, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, and to Jews as the Temple Mount.
“The honour of Muslims is the only Haram,” Mohammed al-Abed said. “If it’s gone, the Muslims’ honour is gone. This was the motive for my son.”
Ibrahim al-Abed, an uncle of the assailant, said his nephew had been arrested three months ago by security forces of Abbas, the Palestinian leader who presides over autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The uncle said his nephew had spent two weeks in detention and was violently interrogated about alleged plans to attack Israelis before he was released.
The assailant said in a pre-attack Facebook post that he expected to be killed in the attack. He wrote that he wanted his body to be covered by a banner of the Islamic militant group Hamas.
Israel has repeatedly accused Abbas and his Palestinian Authority of permitting anti-Israeli incitement in the public Palestinian discourse.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the attack as “an act of terror, carried out by an animal who was incited with unfathomable hatred.”
Abbas has rejected Israeli incitement allegations, saying Israel’s 50-year-old occupation of lands sought for a Palestinian state is at the root of widespread Palestinian anger and helps drive violence.
Abbas is a staunch opponent of violence and in 12 years in power has stuck to security co-ordination between his forces and Israeli troops against a common enemy — Hamas.
On Friday evening, Abbas announced that he would “freeze” ties with Israel “on all levels” until the metal detectors are removed from the shrine, but did not say whether this means halting security co-ordination. Ending such ties would have far-reaching repercussions and sharply raise tensions with Israel.
Yossi Kuperwasser, a former director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, said these were likely empty words since the co-operation is “most of all important for the Palestinians”.
Even if largely meant for domestic Palestinian consumption, the Abbas announcement dealt a setback to fledgling efforts by the Trump administration to revive long-dormant Israeli-Palestinian talks on a peace deal.
Such efforts now seem moot as Israelis and Palestinians refuse to budge in the showdown over the shrine and violence threatens to escalate.
Israeli officials have said they would guarantee continued access to Muslim worshippers but have not said how huge crowds could speedily pass through metal detectors during busy periods.
Late Saturday, Israel’s Channel 2 TV reported that police would soon place an “alternative” to the detectors in an effort to lower tensions.
Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, who heads the Israeli defence body for Palestinian civilian affairs, also said Israel was open to alternatives as long as it “ensures the prevention of the next attack.”
KABUL—An errant U.S. airstrike confirmed by the Pentagon killed 12 Afghan National Police officers and wounded two others, as another 11 police were killed and six wounded in clashes with the Taliban, Afghan officials said Saturday.
The death toll in Friday’s airstrike was determined after a site inspection of the compound in the Gereshk district, said Helmand provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Safi.
The United States in a statement confirmed that the airstrike on the Security Forces compound occurred during a U.S.-supported operation against Taliban insurgents in the area. In the statement, the U.S. offered its condolences to the families of the security forces who were killed.
While much of Helmand province is under the control of Taliban, Afghan national security forces have been waging fierce battles to retake territory. NATO and U.S. troops are in Helmand to assist Afghan troops.
Safi told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that the dead were police officers who were operating with the army in the area. He said they had recaptured the post from the Taliban when the airstrike occurred. On Friday, the Helmand Gov. Hayatullah Hayat said it was believed the police officers were not in uniform, which may have resulted in mistakenly identifying them as Taliban fighters.
Among the Taliban fighters killed in fighting in Helmand’s Gereshk district was Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhunzada’s 25-year-old son Hafiz Abdur Rahman Khalid, according to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
Meanwhile, in northern Badakhshan province Gov. Ahmad Faisal Bigzad said Saturday that 11 police were killed and another six wounded during a roaring battle with Taliban insurgents in the remote Tagab region.
Bigzad said another 20 members of a local police force were missing following Friday’s firefight. It wasn’t immediately clear if they had been kidnapped or had escaped.
The area in which the fighting occurred is tucked inside a mountainous region where access is restricted and telephone contact is unsteady.
In western Farah province, a ferocious gun battle between the Afghan army and Taliban insurgents left six Afghan soldiers dead and 12 Taliban killed, said Mohammad Naser Mehri, spokesman for the provincial governor.
The five-hour battle Friday occurred after Taliban insurgents stormed a compound of the Afghan National Security Force in Pusht Rod district, he said.
A Taliban statement meanwhile claimed a victory and said 16 Afghan soldiers were killed. Taliban have in the past exaggerated their successes and the remoteness of the area makes it near impossible to independently verify.
Elsewhere, in neighbouring Kandahar province, insurgents kidnapped upward of 60 people in several attacks on buses that took place over the last four days, Samim Khpolwak, provincial governor’s spokesman said Saturday.
Seven passengers were killed, while another 20 people managed to escape, he said. The remaining 33 are still being held by insurgents.
Khpolwak said the buses were travelling from Kandahar’s Shah Wali Kot District to neighbouring Uruzgan province when they came under attack.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, nor is it known whether any ransom demands have been made.
Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission issued a statement condemning the attacks and warning they represented a human rights violation.
When Dr. Eileen de Villa was a medical student doing hospital rotations in the late 1990s, she came face to face with the horrors afflicting Toronto’s most vulnerable people.
Like the homeless man with diabetic vascular disease whose blood flow was so poor that maggots were feeding off the decaying tissue in his feet. Or the mentally ill woman who seemed to be doing better after a lengthy hospitalization only to commit suicide a couple weeks after being discharged.
De Villa’s eyes well up at the memories.
“(I saw) very complex medical situations that were clearly aggravated by social circumstances, income challenges, housing challenges, access to services challenges,” she says.
“That was very formative for me.”
Decades later, de Villa now has a vastly expanded role: As the city’s new medical officer of health, she is responsible for the well-being of 2.8 million Torontonians.
The 48-year-old oversees a department of 1,800 and an operating budget of $245 million — money used for a wide array of services, including combating West Nile virus and Lyme disease, ensuring food safety in restaurants, enforcing smoking regulations and preparing for a potential flu pandemic.
“She knows Toronto backwards and forwards, knows and understands the city’s diversity, knows and understands the social inequality issues,” says Coun. Joe Mihevc, who chairs Toronto’s board of health and led the search to replace the retired Dr. David McKeown. “What really impressed the selection committee is her focus on a science-based approach to public health.”
De Villa took over Canada’s largest municipal public health unit in late March. The job has the married mother of three young boys juggling responsibilities.
But she hasn’t forgotten the lessons learned as a University of Toronto med student: that an individual’s health can be determined by their social circumstances.
It is a notion that echoes the values imbued in her as a child.
Although de Villa had a privileged upbringing, her parents — Toronto cardiologist Dr. Maria Antonina “Nenette” de Villa, and her late father, Dr. Guillermo “Jun” de Villa, an obstetrician/gynecologist — drilled into her and brother Joey the importance of helping the less fortunate.
“I was raised in a household where the general teaching was, ‘You’ve been a very fortunate person; you’ve been afforded a great opportunity.’ And the expectation is to give back,” de Villa says during an interview at Toronto Public Health headquarters near Yonge and Dundas Sts.
Her childhood was filled with lively dinner table discussions about political tumult in the Philippines, the birthplace of her parents and older brother. Although de Villa was born in Boston — her parents had travelled to the U.S. for their medical residencies — the family returned to the Philippines in 1972. Her father had a large extended family there and wanted his kids to think of the country as home. That plan didn’t last long, however. In 1975, with the Philippines under martial law and the iron-fist rule of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the de Villas fled to Canada.
In Toronto, the de Villas became prominent members of the Filipino community. De Villa’s father joined a local anti-Marcos group in 1983 following the assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr. “These issues in the Philippines were front and centre in the minds of people here,” de Villa recalls.
By the early 1990s, de Villa’s mind was on her own career. She had completed a bachelor of science at McGill University, but the next step weighed heavily on her.
“Like many other young people, I thought, do I want to do exactly what my parents did (medicine)? Maybe not. There’s always a bit of forming your own identity, thinking that you don’t want to be constrained necessarily by your family’s history.”
A family friend mentioned that the United Nations offered internships. De Villa applied and got one in Vienna with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, which supports developing countries. Through this experience, she became interested in international health, or “community health” as it was termed at the time.
She then decided to purse a master’s degree in health science at U of T, specializing in health promotion. One of the requirements was securing work placements. She landed several more UN internships, including one with the secretariat for the International Conference on Population and Development.
“So I ended up with this wonderful blend of medical, health care and health system-related (knowledge) along with political and public policy aspects — which at the end of the day is public health,” says de Villa.
Embracing the idea of a medicine career, she entered U of T’s medical school. She graduated in 1998 and made one diversion — obtaining her MBA at the Schulich School of Business at York University — before beginning her residency, specializing in public health and preventive medicine.
One rotation landed her in the downtown head office of Toronto Public Health. That’s where de Villa first met the woman who would become a role model: Dr. Sheela Basrur, Toronto’s medical officer of health at the time.
De Villa witnessed Basrur’s leadership during both the garbage strike in the summer of 2002 and the SARS crisis in the spring/summer of 2003.
During the labour dispute, Basrur and her staff ordered cleanups when illegal dumping in public parks prompted concerns about rat infestations. During the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak — which killed 44 people in Canada and forced the quarantine of 25,000 Torontonians — Basrur became known for her highly visible leadership, her steady decision making and her calm, reassuring messaging.
“She talked openly with us (the public health team) about striking the right balance between making sure you’ve got public confidence and trust, while staying true to the evidence and the science.”
Basrur, who died in 2008 of a rare form of cancer, was a “master” at finding that balance, says de Villa.
In 2004, her residency completed, de Villa was appointed one of Peel Region’s associate medical officers of health. Her file included medical consultation, vaccination and prevention and control of communicable diseases such as TB, STDs and blood-borne infections. She was also responsible for helping to oversee the region’s air quality, and food and water safety.
Dr. Megan Ward, who began as an associate medical officer of health for Peel around the same time as de Villa and still holds the position, says de Villa helped to steer the department’s budget process and guide contract negotiations with public health nurses.
In her 10 years on the job, de Villa maintained an “extremely respectful” manner, especially in dealing with her staff, regardless of the individual’s role in the organization, says Ward.
“She’s extremely courteous to people. That comes out in terms of careful listening to what people are saying, (and) their perspective. She asks lots of questions, which demonstrates that she really wants to understand.”
Once, when de Villa had a heavy schedule of off-site meetings and was feeling detached from her staff, she got an espresso maker, put it on a push cart and visited different floors of Peel Region’s public health headquarters talking to staff and delivering coffee. “It was very friendly,” Ward recalls. “There was no agenda.”
It is a kindness she inherited from her father, Guillermo, who was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for his contributions to public life.When he died in 2006 at age 67, those gathered at his funeral heard that Guillermo never wanted his family wealth to stand out. Although his family could afford to buy him proper shoes for school, he refused to wear them, “not wanting to appear snobbish or spoiled,” his son Joey said at the service, according to local Filipino newspaper Filipiniana.
In her eulogy, de Villa said: “I can see how Dad’s love has been woven into many lives and returned many times over. If we take that love and do with it as he did, lending an ear, a hand or a shoulder to those who need it … and working together for the betterment of our community, then he will live on …”
And so his spirit lives on, not only in de Villa’s professional life, but her personal one as well. She has volunteered for a number of organizations including the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Carolyn Hammond, a close friend of de Villa’s for 10 years, describes her as calm, level-headed and approachable.
As an example, Hammond, a wine columnist for the Star, recalls the time she and de Villa were downtown chatting over cheesecake and latte. A stranger sitting beside de Villa said hello to her in French, not knowing if she could speak the language. She can, and the two launched into a conversation in which the man explained he was a visitor from the Ivory Coast.
De Villa “just has this incredible openness to everyone,” says Hammond. “A lot of people would be nervous about talking to a stranger and wouldn’t engage. But that’s the way she is.
“It’s moments like this that are always so refreshing to see in a person, and wonderful to see in a friend.”
De Villa’s openness extends to those in her west-end neighbourhood, including an elderly couple who live next door with their 60-year-old son, who is blind and mentally challenged.
For many years, the couple was a huge support to de Villa, her husband and sons.
“They were superb gardeners. They were my regular supply of the best lettuce, beans and tomatoes. They always took care of us … (then) time marched on and the roles needed to reverse. I’m now better able to provide them with support and assistance, and I do,’’ de Villa explains, adding others in the neighbourhood pitch in as well.
“They’re an extended branch of my family,” de Villa says.
A major part of her relationship with the family is going for walks with the son. He is a sports fan and has a collection of jerseys and caps that he likes to air out once a year. “We take them out, hang them on the line.... We sit and chat. That makes him happy and makes me happy.”
The couple’s older son, who doesn’t live at home and asked that the family not be identified, said his dad is 93 and his 89-year-old mom has mobility issues. The plan is to have his parents and younger brother stay in their home as long as possible, and the support from de Villa is helping make that happen.
“It’s a really warm relationship,” he says.
It’s an example of the “engaged citizen” de Villa aims to be.
As medical officer of health, “[I have] the great fortune of being able to work professionally in an area that actually is about city building and community building,” she says.
“To me, that is not a responsibility that stops when the work day is done.”
De Villa’s priorities
Toronto’s medical officer of health is one of the city’s top-paying civil service jobs.
De Villa, who made $290,104 in 2016 as Peel Region’s medical officer of health, according to the Sunshine List, took over the Toronto position in March after Dr. David McKeown retired last summer. McKeown’s salary in 2015 was $296,221.
But with the big salary comes big responsibilities. De Villa’s health priorities for the city include:
The opioid crisis
At the start of the year, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Toronto’s acting medical officer of health, said the opioid crisis “is having a devastating impact ... on our community.” Around the same time, Mayor John Tory identified reducing the number of overdoses as a vital public health issue. Opioids, alone or combined with other drugs, were blamed for 135 or 66 per cent of all accidental deaths in 2015 in Toronto, according to a Toronto public health report. To combat the problem, several agencies, including public health and the police, are working together this year. And Toronto is getting three medically supervised drug injection sites.
De Villa and Toronto’s board of health recently called on Ottawa to immediately decriminalize recreational pot possession until legislation to legalize and regulate cannabis comes into force in July 2018. Otherwise, young people arrested and convicted of possessing pot in the interim could be burdened with a criminal record that could impact their future job prospects, housing and economic status — and therefore their health.
Diabetes and heart disease
Referring to a 2014 report by medical officers of health in the GTA and Hamilton, de Villa notes there are 57,000 new cases of diabetes each year in the GTA and 7,000 new cases of heart disease. Together, treating these conditions costs about $1.4 billion per year, yet about a quarter of the cases could have been prevented through increased physical activity, she says. In a YouTube video, de Villa says physical activity has been “engineered out” of urban living. A lover of racquet sports and cycling, de Villa says many of us need to walk more and use more public transit and that workplaces need to encourage employees to be more active.
NORFOLK, VA.—A defiant President Donald Trump unleashed a flurry of nearly a dozen Tweets Saturday morning, asserting that he has the “complete power to pardon” aides, family members and possibly even himself — an apparent response to the special counsel’s widening Russia probe — and decrying “illegal leaks” in the “fake news.”
The president also lashed out at a new Washington Post report of previously undisclosed alleged contacts between Attorney General Jeff Sessions — at the time a U.S. senator and senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign — and a Russian official. In a Tweet, Trump called the disclosures an illegal new “intelligence leak,” part of his continuing effort to try to shift the public focus to what he claims is a partisan attempt to undermine his presidency.
The president’s defence of his pardoning authority came days after The Washington Post reported that he and his legal team have discussed his power to pardon those close to him, including himself.
Shortly after his Tweetstorm, which started just after 6:30 a.m. and latest nearly two hours, Trump flew to Norfolk, Va., where he injected a small dose of partisan politics into the ceremonial commissioning of a new naval warship.
Speaking aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford here, Trump extolled the virtues of the “wonderful, beautiful but very, very powerful” nuclear-powered warship — “We will win, win, win,” he said, “we will never lose” — but also decried the budget compromise known as sequestration, which requires mandatory and corresponding military and domestic cuts.
Trump promised to try to restore higher levels of military funding, but also urged the crowd of about 6,500 — many in uniform — to help him push this year’s budget, in which he said he will seek an additional $54 billion in defence spending, through Congress.
“I don’t mind getting a little hand, so call that congressman and call that senator and make sure you get it,” he said, to applause. “And by the way, you can also call those senators to make sure you get health care.”
But Trump’s brief appeal created a potentially awkward tableau at a commissioning event intended to be ceremonial — a commander in chief offering political remarks, and what could even be construed as an order, to the naval officers he commands.
The president’s 17-minute speech aboard the naval vessel here, as well as his frenzied social media assertions Saturday — which veered between proclamations of innocence and frustration — came as Trump is struggling to stabilize his presidency, just six months in. He and several family members, including his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, are facing mounting legal questions about their involvement in possible collusion between the president’s 2016 campaign and Russia.
And on Friday, Trump implemented the most dramatic, if potentially unintended, overhaul of his White House so far, installing wealthy financier Anthony Scaramucci as his new communications director — a move that set off an unexpected chain reaction of resignations (White House press secretary Sean Spicer) and promotions (deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, into Spicer’s spot at the podium).
Trump’s morning tweets began with an assertion that the president has “complete power to pardon” in an apparent allusion to the ongoing probe into his campaign’s contacts with Russian officials. And he lashed out at a new Washington Post report of previously undisclosed alleged contacts, calling the disclosures “illegal leaks” as he continues to try to shift the public focus to what he has said is a partisan attempt to undermine his presidency.
The president’s defence of his pardon powers came days after The Post reported that he and his legal team have discussed his power to pardon aides, family members and, possibly, even himself. Trump aides said the president is merely curious about his powers and the limits of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s attempt to tamper with the 2016 presidential election.
Currently, the discussions of pardoning authority by Trump’s legal team are purely theoretical, according to two people familiar with the ongoing conversations. But if Trump pardoned himself in the face of the ongoing Mueller investigation, it would set off a legal and political firestorm, first around the question of whether a president can use the constitutional pardon power in that way.
“While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS”
- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
In another tweet, Trump continued his campaign to discredit the investigation as based on leaks of information from political enemies aimed at undermining him. The Post reported late Friday that U.S. intelligence officials had collected information that Russia’s ambassador to the United States had told superiors that he had discussed campaign-related matters and policies important to Moscow last year with Jeff Sessions, then a senator who had endorsed Trump.
“A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post,this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions.These illegal leaks, like Comey’s, must stop!”
- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
As he has before, Trump also reiterated on Twitter his view that Hillary Clinton’s campaign should be under greater scrutiny, and he contended that his son Donald Trump Jr. “openly” disclosed emails concerning a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign — even though Trump Jr. did so after The New York Times obtained the emails and was preparing to publish a report on them.
Sessions, who is now attorney general, had initially failed to disclose his meetings with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during his confirmation process; when they were made public in news reports, he insisted he had met with Kislyak only in his capacity as a senator and had not discussed campaign issues. But The Post reported that U.S. intelligence agencies intercepted communications that showed Kislyak indicated he had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.
Trump has denounced what he has called illegal leaks in the ongoing FBI investigation into his campaign’s contacts with Russian officials. U.S. intelligence agencies have said Moscow meddled in the campaign, stealing thousands of emails and other documents from Democratic Party officials and releasing them publicly to embarrass the Democratic presidential nominee, Clinton, and to assist Trump. Trump has said repeatedly that he did not collude with Russian officials and called accounts of the meetings between his campaign and Russian operatives a partisan attack by Democrats to avenge their loss in the election. But he and some of his top aides have hired private criminal defence lawyers to deal with the probe.
In his tweet, Trump was referring to former FBI director James Comey, whom the president fired over his handling of the Russia probe. Comey later testified to Congress that he had felt pressure from Trump over the investigation and, after he was dismissed, released memos of his encounters with Trump to the media. The public disclosures helped lead to Mueller taking over the investigation. (Trump’s tweet also refers to Amazon.com, the online retailer led by Jeffrey Bezos, who also owns The Post.)
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on what she called a “wholly uncorroborated intelligence intercept” and reiterated that Sessions had not discussed interference in the election. Trump has been angered that Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe. The president told The New York Times this week that he would not have named Sessions as attorney general if he had known he would do so.
In yet another tweet, Trump attacked the Times for reports that Daesh, also known as ISIS or ISIL, leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose death in a Russian airstrike had been speculated last month, is still alive, according to Pentagon officials. Gen. Tony Thomas has told reporters that a Times story in 2015 about using certain data to track Daesh fighters that was gleaned in the Abu Sayaf raid resulted in U.S. forces losing the trail to Baghdadi. Thomas mentioned the issue again at the Aspen security forum this week Friday and his remarks were featured in a Fox News report, according to the Times.
The Pentagon raised no objections with The Times before the story was published, and no senior American official ever complained publicly about it until now.
“The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist,Al-Baghdadi.Their sick agenda over National Security”
- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
His tweets came a day after Sean Spicer resigned as press secretary in the wake of Trump’s hiring of New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as his communications director. Sarah Huckabee Sanders was promoted to the press secretary role.
Talking to John Bil will change the way you look at seafood. The co-owner of Honest Weight seafood restaurant and shop in The Junction got his start shucking and sorting oysters at an oyster farm nearly three decades ago. Since then, he has become the go-to seafood guy for some of Canada’s top restaurants such as Joe Beef, La Banane and Cabane à Sucre, the sister restaurant of Au Pied de Cochon.
Bil champions B.C. spot prawns, gulf shrimp and Ontario-raised shrimp over the cheaper black tiger variety that are harvested overseas often under questionable environmental and labour practices. He recommends mussels to his regular customers because they’re both affordable and sustainable.
The 49-year-old is putting his knowledge into a book, equipping seafood lovers with information on fishing practices, advancements in aquaculture and what it’s like to work in the fishing industry.
“It’s a passion project, whether it’s because I feel like I have limited time or it’s something I can leave behind, not to sound morbid,” he says from his home in the St. Clair Ave. W. area.
His lifelong goal is educating people on consuming sustainable seafood, but he’s not sure if he’ll be around much longer to continue his mission. Bil has Stage 4 melanoma, the most advanced stage of skin cancer, and it has spread to other organs and tissue.
These days, the former competitive cyclist and marathon runner can’t bike as far or run as fast as he’d like; part of his lungs have been removed along with two feet of intestine. There are days when he can’t get out of bed, when he has no desire to eat.
He needs another surgery to remove yet another tumour from his intestine. Over the last year, he has stepped back from his restaurant letting co-owner Victoria Bazan take over most of the management duties.
But Bil has outlived his original prognosis by a year, and has no plans to stop satisfyinghis of obsession championing the best seafood.
The go-to guy
The Toronto native grew up around farms, but never worked on one, although he always wanted to. After shucking oysters for two years at the Toronto dining institution Rodney’s Oyster House, in 1992 he drove to Prince Edward Island and got a job at an oyster farm cleaning mollusks in a cold and wet industrial building.
“I realized how important seafood is to those towns and the fabric of the Maritimes,” he says. “We can buy super cheap products from other countries, but then those towns that rely on the lobster or mussel plant wouldn’t exist. It became so important to promote these products.”
Five years later he was selling oysters — driving to Boston, New York, Toronto and Montreal to meet with chefs. During one trip to Montreal in 2000, Bil befriended Dave McMillan and Fred Morin, two chefs who five years later would enlist Bil to help open Joe Beef, now considered one of Canada’s best restaurants.
“Canada is one of the best places in the world to eat seafood and he’s one of the reasons why,” says McMillan, recalling how Bil would drive for hours to meet with a farmer to try some obscure species of oyster before bringing it to the restaurant. While Joe Beef was getting ready to open, Bil lived in Morin’s parents’ basement.
Morin later introduced Bil to Au Pied de Cochon’s celebrated chef Martin Picard and Bil was soon working the seafood bar at Picard’s offshoot restaurant Cabane à Sucre, a rural sugar shack an hour’s drive south of Montreal. Not wanting to make the long commute, Bil cleared a shelf in a closet at the restaurant and turned it into a bed, unbeknownst to Picard.
Bil’s accommodations were upgraded in 2010 at his next endeavour: The Michelin-starred M. Wells Steakhouse in New York City, co-owned by Hugue Dufour, a former chef at Picard’s restaurants. While the place was coming together, Bil lived in an Airstream trailer parked behind the restaurant. By now, Bil had a reputation among his chef friends as the guy who’d swoop in to do the odd jobs necessary to open a restaurant when time and money were running out.
A week before M. Wells was to open, Dufour was down with the flu so Bil took to overseeing the construction of a trout tank, rigging up the filter system and transferring 80 live trout from the hatchery in Long Island back to the restaurant in Queens. He spent the night adjusting the water pump and filter to make sure the fish stayed alive.
Bil returned to P.E.I. to open Ship to Shore, a seasonal seafood restaurant that En Route magazine named one of the best new restaurants of 2009 for highlighting the best of what the Maritimes has to offer.
Keep on shucking
It was during an oyster off-season visit in Toronto in 2013 that he noticed a bump on his back.
“I went to a clinic and two weeks later I got a call from Sunnybrook (Hospital) that it was cancerous,” he says. The cancer has spread to his lymph nodes. After a round of chemotherapy, the cancer was later found in his lungs.
He stayed in Toronto for treatment, but he didn’t slow down. He opened Honest Weight with Bazan in January 2015. Diners loved it for its simple preparation of seafood — pan-seared, raw or steamed — that showcased the fishes’ flavours.
It was here that Bil met his wife, Sheila Flaherty, a wine importer he knew through the food industry. She came to the newly opened restaurant with a congratulatory bottle of wine as a gesture of good will. In return, he asked her out.
“It’s a very unconventional first date when someone tells you they have Stage 4 melanoma,” she says. “But it wasn’t a reason not to pursue someone I had a big crush on. Who knows what’s going to happen to any of us? So we went on the second, third and fourth dates, and we got married last October.”
Flaherty describes Bil as someone who pushes the restaurant industry, whether it’s providing a memorable dining experience or improving working conditions in an industry notorious for low wages.
His servers and cooks already make above the current minimum wage and tips are pooled to get rid of the wage discrepancy between the front and back-of-house, resulting in the average wage being $20 to $25 an hour. He and Bazan also reimburse employees for dental work.
“This goes back to treating people who make your food well whether they’re cooks or farmers,” he says. “You have to care for both.”
In return, the restaurant industry has rallied around him. Last summer, as part of the Luminato arts festival, he and Morin turned the control room of the abandoned Hearn Generating Station in Toronto’s Port Lands into Le Le Pavillon, a luxurious French restaurant. To build a fully-functioning restaurant on the second floor of an abandoned power plant that had no kitchen, running water, or even a staircase to safely climb up was a logistical nightmare, but once everything was built to code — as McMillan puts it — “For two weeks it was the best restaurant in Canada.”
Diners literally ran into the Hearn to put their name on the restaurant’s wait-list, which was booked in minutes. Restaurant industry heavyweights such as The Black Hoof owner Jen Agg, Niagara College chef Michael Olson, and Montreal’s Nora Gray owners Ryan Gray and Emma Cardarelli worked as cooks and hosts. Just as Bil was there for his friends when they needed him, the restaurant community remains loyal to him.
McMillan has flown into town to be with a recuperating Bil at his home. When Bil was recovering from surgery at Sunnybook Health Science Centre last winter, Morin drove from Montreal to cook a steak dinner over a charcoal grill on the back of his truck in the hospital parking lot. Not to be outdone, the owners of Edulis, Tobey Nemeth and Michael Caballo, sent lunch — truffle soup and prunes soaked in Armagnac — to the hospital’s oncology wing.
“The nurses were so puzzled at the sight,” Bil recalls. “It really made it easier to get through the day and it’s impossible to thank people like that.”
The day after this interview, Bil and Flaherty were off to the Catskill Mountains for their long-overdue honeymoon — with a stop in Montreal to visit McMillan and Morin.
Bil has accepted that he likely won’t be around in the next two or three years, but continues to work on his book, help chefs with pop-ups around the city and build his decades-long reputation for upping the quality of seafood in Canada.
“Having opened Honest Weight and having done Le Pavillon, I think the takeaway won’t be that I have cancer,” he says. “I hope the story is about what I’ve done, not what I have.”
When Philip Alafe entered the Brantford police station at 6:50 p.m. on July 3, 2015, after being arrested, he told the booking officer he had mental health issues — depression and anxiety — as well as sickle cell anemia, a disease that leaves him in excruciating pain without his medications.
He said he was not suicidal; the booking officer described him to the court as sober and passive.
But after Staff Sgt. Cheney Venn took away Alafe’s blanket, mattress and, following a violent struggle, his thin, police-issued white jumpsuit, leaving him cold, naked and in pain for three hours, he tied his socks together in an attempt to fashion a noose.
“They were just treating me worse than an animal,” said Alafe, 27, in a recent interview. “I got stripped of everything . . . I just didn’t want to live anymore . . . I thought I was going to be in that situation forever.”
He finally got his jumpsuit back, four and a half hours after it was taken away.
After seeing the surveillance videos of Alafe’s holding cell, which were made court exhibits and documented the “cruel and unusual treatment,” Ontario Court Justice Ken Lenz found Alafe’s rights under sections 7 and 12 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms had been violated. The judge stayed the charges Alafe faced: dangerous driving and assault with a weapon for allegedly driving his vehicle at others.
Lenz’s scathing ruling, issued in April, condemned the behaviour of Venn, whom the judge found repeatedly violated police policies on the treatment of people in custody and people with mental health concerns.
Lenz described Alafe’s treatment as “egregious” and “clearly degrading to human dignity.”
“There was in this case nothing the defendant could do to stop his mistreatment even when he did behave as requested for extensive periods of time,” the judge said.
Venn, a police officer for 23 years, testified that removing blankets, mattresses and clothing was considered common practice in similar situations.
But, Lenz noted, Brantford police policy states that a blanket should not be provided only if there is a history of suicidal tendencies, the prisoner is exhibiting destructive behaviour and, in the opinion of the officer in charge, to provide a blanket may be harmful to the prisoner, any person, or the facility.
The policy says nothing about removing mattresses, and states that clothing may only be removed if the prisoner is suicidal, Lenz said in his ruling.
Venn admitted during cross-examination by Alafe’s lawyer, Josh Tuttle, that he was not concerned Alafe would self-harm until the sock incident, which came three hours after Alafe had been left naked in the cell, Lenz said.
“Frankly, looking at it on an overall basis, Officer Venn was bullying someone in his control because he could,” Lenz said. “This looks more like punishment than an attempt to elicit good behaviour.”
Without the cell videos, Lenz said, he would probably have simply believed the officer’s testimony.
“That it’s a difficult job is no excuse for the type of behaviour that took place that night,” Lenz said. “The defendant said he felt he was treated like an animal, and he was, and that he no longer trusts the police, a perception I’m beginning to share.”
Brantford chief of police Geoffrey Nelson has ordered an investigation into potential professional misconduct. That investigation remains ongoing, according to a media release sent in response to questions from the Star.
“Accordingly, no further comment will be made at this time,” the release said. Venn did not respond to direct requests for comment. He remains on regular duties.
A review of Brantford Police Service policy and training practices related to prisoner care and handling is also being undertaken, according to the release, with the findings to be presented to the Police Services Board.
When the Star sought access to the video exhibits at the heart of the court ruling, a lawyer for the Brantford Police Service argued that the faces of all police officers in the booking and cell videos should be obscured, citing concerns about the reputation of the officers and the ongoing internal investigation.
Lenz ordered the Star to obscure the faces of only the officers in the booking video since their conduct was not at issue in the case. However, the public is entitled to see for themselves the behaviour of the officers in the cell videos, he said.
Alafe was arrested in Mississauga on the afternoon of July 3, 2015, on an outstanding warrant, and transported by OPP officers to the Brantford police station. He arrived at 6:50 p.m. His urine-soaked pants and underwear had been removed.
Alafe was given medication for his sickle cell anemia and put in a holding cell at 7:23 p.m., the videos show. He remained well-behaved until about 11 p.m., when he started trying to attract the attention of an officer to get more medication or medical attention. Venn testified officers cannot hear any audio from the room where the cell surveillance videos are monitored.
Venn’s shift started at 10:30 p.m., and his first interaction with Alafe was at 11:21 p.m., when Venn aggressively yelled at Alafe and told him to stop throwing wet toilet paper at the camera.
“Your toilet paper will go, your mattress will go and so will your blanket. It’ll be a very frigging cold night,” he said.
Alafe continued being what the judge said was “a pain in the neck” by throwing wet toilet paper in his cell, but was not harming anyone. Venn returned to the cell and took away Alafe’s mattress and blanket. He gave Alafe one of his pills (Alafe had asked for more, as his prescription allows for two or three as needed) and told him he’d get his things back if he behaved.
Venn came back to the cell twice more in the next three hours, warning Alafe not to tie his jumpsuit to the bars of the cell and taking his T-shirt away when he tied it to the bars.
Venn testified he was concerned about clothing being on the bars concealing Alafe in case he wanted to self-harm and said Alafe was warned several times not to put anything on the bars.
At 3:01 a.m., there was a struggle that was “terrible to watch,” Lenz said in his ruling, as Venn forcefully took the jumpsuit away from Alafe using three punches. Alafe was left naked in the cell apart from his socks.
“I just didn’t feel that he was going to be compliant with my requests,” Venn testified in response to a question about why he did not return the blanket, mattress or jumpsuit when Alafe was behaving. “He hadn’t been all night and I didn’t see at that time where anything was going to change.”
Lenz found there were several times when Alafe was behaving and Venn could have returned the items, but he chose not to.
He also criticized Venn for deciding Alafe did not need medical attention without making any inquiries, or even Googling “sickle cell anemia.”
Venn told the court he thought “Mr. Alafe was attempting to get out of the cells in order to go to a more comfortable setting, that being a hospital or mental health (ward).”
In response to questions from Lenz, Venn testified that he knew Alafe had mental health issues as noted on the booking form, but never tried to find out what exactly that meant.
He also told the court that he never found out anything about sickle cell anemia, its symptoms and what could happen if medication was not taken.
A letter filed with the court by Alafe’s doctor said the disease causes abnormal red blood cells, which frequently block circulation to bones and joints, leading to tissue death, significant inflammation, severe pain and possibly permanent organ damage. These episodes are made worse by cold, dehydration and stress.
Alafe’s condition affects his hip joint in particular, his doctor wrote. He is on a regimen of strong painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants.
“Without these medications, even for a short period of time, his pain becomes unbearable,” the doctor wrote.
Lenz found it bizarre that Venn chose not to use his crisis intervention, which emphasizes dialogue and de-escalation. “If anything there was escalation and there was little or no type of reasonable dialogue as between the defendant and the officer,” Lenz said.
Venn’s interactions with Alafe were in stark contrast to the officers on the next shift, who came to take Alafe for fingerprinting at 7:30 a.m.
“It’s mutual respect,” one officer said in a calm voice, giving Alafe a jumpsuit and promising he would get his mattress back. “I’m not going to disrespect you and I don’t want you to disrespect me either.”
Once Alafe’s mattress and blanket were returned, he went to sleep.
Lenz noted in his ruling that Alafe has no criminal record and no history of anti-social behaviour.
In an interview, Alafe said he continues to deal with issues stemming from that night, which he calls the worst of his life.
He admits his misbehaving and attempts to provoke the officers into coming to his cell were “not the most mature,” but says he was tired, cold, hungry and just trying to get their attention so he could ask for his medication and blanket.
“They say you are innocent until proven guilty, but they had already convicted me and sentenced me for the rest of my life,” he said.
Alafe is from Nigeria and arrived in Canada in 2010 after his father died. He is currently applying for refugee status.
“I believe if I didn’t have the videos, no one would have believed me,” he said.
“People don’t believe it happens . . . especially in Canada.”
Darian Baskatawang says he was raised by the community in Whitesand First Nation, and now, after 21 years, he’s hoping to lead that community as chief — providing an ambiguous code doesn’t bar him.
Baskatawang announced his candidacy Wednesday. If elected, he’ll surpass Wade Cachagee as the youngest chief in Ontario’s history. Cachagee was elected to lead the Chapleau Cree First Nation when he was just 27.
For the 21-year-old Baskatawang, the bid for chief has been a long time coming.
“For better or for worse, I grew up on the reserve,” Baskatawang said in an interview with the Star. From his early years, he said, he was exposed to issues of addiction, child welfare and education.
“My mum was an alcoholic,” he said. “Or, I guess, still is. But it’s not as bad anymore. That, plus having younger sisters, meant playing a protection role.”
Baskatawang said his childhood on the reserve — where he was raised in large part by his great-grandmother — gives him “credence” to speak with politicians about the impact of their policies on Indigenous youth.
Since diving into politics at 16, Baskatawang has advised both Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his work with several youth councils as well as in positions within their government offices.
But policy may also be the main hurdle for Baskatawang in his quest to become chief.
A Whitesand membership code — written in 1986 — includes chief election guidelines that prohibit candidates younger than 25. The code has never formally been validated — while it exists on paper, it has never officially been put to a referendum or community vote.
The issue of its validity was brought before the Federal Court of Appeal six years ago, during the case of Diabo v. Whitesand First Nation. At the time, the court ruled that the question of its validity was purely academic, as there was no contesting party. Therefore, the court declined to rule on it.
Baskatawang worries that protest by his opponents over the code could cost him a place in the election. He expects the ballot in October to list four names, including current chief Allan Gustafson.
“Last election, he said he was only running again because he didn’t see any qualified candidates,” Baskatawang said. “So hopefully that changes when he sees his little protege running against him.”
For his part, Baskatawang hopes “identity politics” don’t factor into his campaign, particularly after he left Whitesand to study politics at Queen’s University.
“They might pull that card and say, ‘Well, who are you? Someone who left.’”
He said he hopes that he can impress upon the reserve’s youth that they’ll be supported to “go and do what you need” — but also that there’s something valuable in coming home to Whitesand.
“Growing up, I was always told go and get an education. ‘Don’t come back, there’s nothing for you,’” he said. “Five years later, I’ve got a degree, I’ve done a lot, and I feel like I’m ready to go back and start giving back.”
WASHINGTON—With praise and a blessing for the military, President Donald Trump helped hand over the USS Gerald R. Ford to the Navy on Saturday and said the state-of-the-art aircraft carrier will send a “100,000-ton message to the world” about America’s military might when it is ultimately deployed.
U.S. allies will rest easy, Trump said, but America’s enemies will “shake with fear” when they see the Ford cutting across the horizon.
The president, who is commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces, likened the $12.9 billion warship to “an incredible work of art” and boasted about the American labour that went into building a vessel that eventually will house thousands of sailors and crew members.
Trump’s participation in the ceremony also capped “Made in America” week at the White House, during which the president and administration officials sought to draw attention to the U.S. manufacturing industry.
“American steel and American hands have constructed this 100,000-ton message to the world,” Trump said of the Ford during a speech that praised the bravery and spirit of U.S. service members and referenced his desire for a buildup after years of spending restrictions.
“American might is second to none and we’re getting bigger and better and stronger every day of my administration. That I can tell you,” Trump told thousands of service members and guests, including former defence secretaries Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, and Govs. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia and Rick Snyder of Michigan, who were packed into the steamy hangar bay on the main deck.
“Wherever this vessel cuts through the horizon, our allies will rest easy and our enemies will shake with fear because everyone will know that America is coming, and America is coming strong,” Trump said.
After the speech, he put the Ford into commission and asked God to “bless and guide this warship and all who shall sail in her.” He was followed by Susan Ford Bales, the ship’s sponsor and daughter of the 38th president, whom the ship honours.
“There is no one, absolutely no one, who would be prouder of the commissioning of this mighty ship than the president of the United States, Gerald R. Ford,” she said. “I am honoured to give the command: ‘Officers and crew of the United States Gerald R. Ford, man our ship and bring her to life.’”
“Anchors Aweigh” played as row after row of sailors in crisp, white uniforms who had been standing in formation began filing off to man their stations. Sirens and bells sounded, horns blared and the U.S. flag was hoisted high above the deck.
Soon after, the captain was informed that the “ship is manned and ready and reports for duty to the fleet.”
Trump, who visited the carrier in March, told Time magazine this year that the Navy should revert to using steam catapults to launch fighter jets because some of the USS Ford’s state-of-the-art systems and technology “costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.”
Construction started in 2009 and was to be completed by September 2015 at a cost of $10.5 billion. The Navy has blamed the delays and budget overruns on the ship’s advanced systems and technology, including electromagnetic launch systems for jets and drones that will replace steam catapults.
The warship also has a smaller island that sits farther back on the ship to make it quicker to refuel, rearm and relaunch planes, and a nuclear power plant designed to allow cruising speeds of more than 30 knots and operation for 20 years without refuelling.
The vessel completed sea trials in April but still will go through a battery of tests and workups at sea before becoming ready for deployment, work that is expected to cost nearly $780 million and take more than four years to complete, congressional auditors said this month.
Docked at Naval Station Norfolk, the USS Ford eventually will house about 2,600 sailors, 600 fewer than the previous generation of aircraft carriers. The Navy says that will save more than $4 billion over the ship’s 50-year lifespan.
The air wing to support the Ford could add more personnel to the ship, which is designed to house more than 4,600 crew members.
The Ford was built at Newport News Shipbuilding, a giant Navy contractor in Virginia.
“I was with you four months ago and I knew that I had to be here today and I told you I’d be back to congratulate you and the crew and everybody involved in commissioning the newest, largest and most advanced aircraft carrier in the history of this world,” Trump said Saturday. “That’s a big achievement.”
Exploring how four of Toronto’s iconic names impacted future generations of their families, from a war-hero-turned-Maple Leafs owner to the settlers of Willowdale.
Anne Smythe, a Toronto artist, didn’t always appreciate her surname.
Her grandfather Conn Smythe fought in both world wars before taking up ownership of the Maple Leafs. He’s the namesake of the Stanley Cup’s top playoff performer trophy, in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and known for his philanthropy.
“When I was growing up it was mortifying,” Anne, 61, said. “As soon as you said your last name, boys wanted to date me because they thought they could get hockey tickets. First thing they ever said was ‘oh, are you related to?’ ”
Her stance has since changed.
“It took a long time to be proud of it but I certainly am now,” she added. “But less and less people remember. It doesn’t mean anything to most people. You’ve got to be pretty old to go ‘oh, are you related to?’ ”
Her father, Hugh Smythe, was Conn’s youngest son and became the Leafs’ doctor. While she describes her kids as “rabid hockey fans,” Anne never fell in love with the sport.
“I wasn’t a great teenager so they used to have to make me go,” she said, laughing.
Elizabeth Smythe Brinton, another of Conn’s granddaughters, grew up in Maple Leaf Gardens with her father Stafford — who became the team’s president.
“That was home,” she said of the Gardens. “I love being part of Leafs Nation. It means the world to me.”
Elizabeth describes Conn fondly: He was driven, obsessed with self-improvement, compulsive about his farm and softened by his wife Irene.
“He had such a pride in our military and his times serving with people shoulder to shoulder,” she said. “He thought Canada was just a fantastically wonderful country and that was rare in those times to hear that but we heard it constantly.”
She credits him for giving to those in need and sending letters to religious leaders to ask for the names of people too proud to ask for a handout so that he could anonymously send them money.
But his good nature didn’t always show.
“He was, um, in control,” Anne described. “He wasn’t particularly warm.”
Thomas Smythe, the eldest of his great-grandchildren, remembers him differently. He recalls visiting the Smythe farm in Caledon, Ont., on weekends until he was 10 and playing with the accessible chair that ran up the stairwell.
“He was just a really lovely old dude,” Thomas said, laughing and remembering his great-grandfather as someone who was youthful, had a great sense of humour and loved children, supporting charities like War Amps.
While Thomas — a television personality and designer — isn’t a huge hockey fan, his sister Christie is and they still have Conn’s season tickets to the Leafs.
Even three generations removed, he understands what it means to be a Smythe.
“The legacy of being Conn Smythe’s great-grandson is really actually one of service,” he said, pointing to Conn’s fortune left to his foundation — the board for which the Smythes now sit on — rather than to the family, in order to help support charities.
“He was a champion of the underdog,” Thomas finished. “We were all raised with the sense of ‘you don’t get to be here if you don’t contribute to community and country.’ ”
“Maple Leafs stood for courage; they stood for being almost like heroes and gladiators in our midst. It stood for character. It stood for a lot. And we were all expected to live up to that as kids,” echoed Elizabeth.
The Masseys have passed down their family names so often it can be hard to decipher Harts from Harts and Vincents from Vincents.
Raymond Massey’s grandfather (also Raymond) was the grandson of Hart Massey, one of Toronto’s builders and the man behind the agricultural equipment mammoth Massey Ferguson. Another of Hart’s grandsons, Vincent, was Canada’s first domestic-born governor general.
“I’m honoured to be named after the former governor general,” said Vincent Massey, great- nephew to Vincent Massey. “It makes me very proud.”
Their names live on through the historic Massey Hall, Massey St., Massey College, Hart House, and the hundreds of churches Raymond’s great-great-grandfather’s foundation helped build across the country.
The Massey Foundation took the money from Hart’s estate to “do things of social value, normally tied to education,” according to Raymond.
He recalls visiting Hart House as a teenager and flying from Vancouver, where his section of the family lives, to vote on the foundation’s board as his dad prepared to cede his seat to his children.
“It first served as a barracks in the war and now it’s a living, breathing institution that feels like a piece of Cambridge or Oxford,” he said of Hart House. “It’s such a cool place. I love it.”
Now 60, Raymond is the foundation’s co-chair and recently brought his niece on a visit to Toronto to tour through the family’s old mansion and its mausoleum at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
“It is wonderful that there are institutions in the city that the family had a hand in developing,” echoed John, another of Hart’s descendants.
But Raymond admits his family’s history isn’t spotless. Author Charlotte Gray documented the ‘The Massey Murder,’ the story of an 18-year-old domestic servant shooting a Massey patriarch in 1915.
Once, at a party, someone also accused Raymond of being the descendant of an anti-Semite.
“I’d never met her before, she had figured out who I was and she came up to me and said ‘finally, I get to face a Massey. I just want to tell you that you ruined my family. My father was a Jew and he was fired from the Massey factory and our family went through extreme hardship afterwards’ and I said ‘what, why, what’s going on?,’ ” Raymond recalled.
“I had no idea there might have been anything like that going on in the family.”
Still, while he now questions his family’s history, he’s proud.
“There may be some other things lurking in the background, I don’t know, but in general it’s a solid name that has done a lot of good things and some of that legacy is still continuing,” he finished.
And it will, he hopes, continue with his curious niece.
When Margot Rivers grew up in East York, her two older sisters went to school with two boys from around the corner.
And they were close, playing and fighting “all the time.”
What they didn’t know was that they were related, descendants of one of Toronto’s iconic names.
“It turned out it was my mom’s cousin’s two sons,” said Rivers. “All the time we were growing up, my mom’s aunt and her cousin would walk by our house. And they had no idea. It’s crazy.”
Decades later, Rivers was inspired by that coincidence — and her grandmother’s death in a mental institution before she was born — to look into her family history.
Now she knows her story.
She’s a Steele.
Her great-great-grandfather was John Cussons Steele, whose name is on a street that runs more than 77 kilometres east-west across the top of the city she grew up in, dividing Toronto from York Region.
Steele was born in the Bond Lake area in 1837 and settled at the corner of what’s now Yonge St. and Steeles Ave., where he bought and ran the Green Bush Inn — meeting place for the Upper Canada Rebellion — and much of the land around it after his father Thomas died.
Rivers’ daughter now lives on Glass St. in Aurora, Ont., a few blocks from where Steele, her great-great-great-grandfather passed away on Spruce St.
And Rivers wasn’t alone in her curiosity.
On Mortimer Ave. in the east end, Rivers grew up near another family namesake: Ferrier Ave.
Abigail Steele, J.C.’s granddaughter, married a Ferrier and settled much of what is now the Danforth (there was a ‘Ferrier Building’ before it became a Greek restaurant), Mimico and Islington.
Rivers, 55, and Deborah Ferrier, 65, have communicated online about their Steele ancestry.
Ferrier, too, has been doing research into their shared great-great grandfather.
“I’m Abigail Steele’s fifth-oldest grandchild,” Ferrier said proudly on a recent phone call before a family reunion. “We were here and helped build Toronto.”
Just south of Steeles Ave., descendants of the Cummer family have tracked their heritage to the founding of Cummer’s Settlement — later renamed Willowdale — and Cummer Ave., which starts on Yonge St., running east to Leslie St.
Tim Morris’s grandfather married Sarah Cummer, a descendant of Jacob Cummer, one of Toronto’s pioneers. Sarah’s father Samuel Cummer was the seventh child of David Cummer, who was the eighth of Jacob’s 14 kids.
Morris lived in Scarborough and Leaside before moving to the Beaches. He has visited the various burial sites of his ancestors in Willowdale.
“They’re pioneers, those people,” Morris, 70, said.
The family’s history is enshrined in ‘The Cummer Memoranda,’ a 1911 book that tracked how Jacob’s family arrived in, and built Willowdale, from Germany via Reading, Penn., in the fall of 1776.
Jacob’s father John is said to have refused command of William Lyon Mackenzie’s forces in the Mackenzie Rebellion in 1837, according to the book. Written by Wellington and Clyde Cummer and published for private circulation, it stands as “a record of the progenitors and descendants of Jacob Cummer, a Canadian pioneer.”
Ian Cummer lives in Manitoba, where his grandfather Amos (another grandson of Samuel’s) moved. He too has a copy of the family book.
“It has been passed down for generations,” said Ian, 59, of his great-great-grandfather’s folklore.
One day, he hopes to visit the family’s two Heritage Toronto plaques at McKee Public School and on the northwest corner of Doris Ave. and McKee Ave., as well as the church Jacob donated land for.
Eunice Lucas, another of Jacob’s ancestors, has tracked her heritage through her grandmother Francis Cummer. Lucas got her copy of the memoranda from her father.
Now 62, Lucas was born in Toronto and moved to Windsor when she was 12.
She attended Meadowvale School and lived in a retrofitted two-room garage on Zaph Ave. with no plumbing. But she didn’t know of her family’s late 1700s roots in the area until she began her genealogy research.
“Everything he did was of the most substantial character, for he worked for good foundations,” the inside of The Cummer Memoranda’s first page reads.
For that, Lucas speaks fondly of Jacob, her “entrepreneurial” ancestor.
“My father was an entrepreneur, he had his own business. I went into an entrepreneur and now have a couple of apartments that I rent out. My brother is an entrepreneur. It still runs in the lineage,” she said.
A body found near a creek in Brampton on Friday has been identified as a 28-year-old woman who went missing a few days earlier.
Peel Regional Police “positively confirmed” the identity of the woman as Kara Clark of Brampton. She was found by a passerby around 2:30 p.m. on Friday on the west side of the intersection of Castlemore Rd. and Humberwest Pkwy.
Police said Clark went missing on July 18 after she was last seen leaving a residence in the area around 1 a.m.
Const. Mark Fischer said her death is considered suspicious and the homicide bureau and missing persons bureau are involved in the investigation.
Fischer said an autopsy was to be performed Saturday to determine Clark’s cause of death.
“When the results come in and when the pathologist completes his or her investigation, we can better determine if it was a homicide,” Fischer said.
Castlemore Rd. was closed between Airport Rd. and Humberwest Pkwy. for the investigation but it reopened Saturday morning.
A misconduct hearing at the College of Nurses of Ontario on Tuesday may shed light on what steps the college took after being notified about medication mistakes made by serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer.
Wettlaufer — who was sentenced to life in prison last month for the murders of eight elderly patients, attempted murders of four others and two charges of aggravated assault — was fired from Caressant Care in 2014 for a “medication error.” She went on to kill one of the victims after her 2014 firing.
The panel will likely punish Wettlaufer severely, but what many want to know is why it didn’t do so well before she confessed to her crimes, without prompting, in September 2016, and voluntarily resigned her status as a registered nurse.
The college had been informed 30 months earlier that Wettlaufer had been fired from a nursing home for putting the life of a patient at risk. Yet she continued to work — and kill — as a fully licensed registered nurse, leading some observers of the college to bluntly question its ability to police the profession.
The college has repeatedly refused Star requests for interviews and information.
Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, a public policy advocacy group that represents 41,000 nurses and backs calls for an inquiry into the college’s actions, said the college must be transparent about everything that happened.
During the hearings, the college should tell the public who knew what, and what it did to stop Wettlaufer after learning that the nurse’s medication error was part of a pattern of behaviour, Grinspun said. The only way to make changes is by knowing exactly how the situation went so spectacularly wrong, she added.
“We cannot bring eight lives lost tragically back,” Grinspun said.
“We need to honour them by doing all we can to learn for the future so it never repeats again.”
Wettlaufer is accused of professional misconduct against a total of 14 patients whom she killed, attempted to kill or assaulted between 2007 and 2014 — acts she’s already admitted to in court.
Meanwhile, a provincial order from January that stopped the Caressant Care location in Woodstock, Ont., where Wettlaufer once worked, from admitting new patients remains in place. An inspection in March found that the home had failed to report reasonable suspicions of abuse or neglect of a resident, according to a report posted to a government database.
Caressant operates 15 nursing homes in Ontario.
Last month, Wettlaufer was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years for the crimes, which she committed by injecting her victims with overdoses of insulin — a gruesome method of murder, Justice Bruce Thomas noted during sentencing.
“It was a painful and contorting experience on the minds of the victims,” he said.
In the College of Nurses’ notice to Wettlaufer about the hearing, the organization said her actions were “disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional.”
A registered nurse since 1995, Wettlaufer resigned from the profession last fall, a day after police first learned of the crimes.
During her sentencing hearing, Thomas said Wettlaufer was the “shadow of death” passing over her patients. He also said she had diminished public faith in the entire nursing profession.
Should the college find the professional misconduct allegations against her to be true, it could formally prevent Wettlaufer from working as a nurse again.
As well, Wettlaufer may be fined up to $35,000, to be paid to the province’s finance minister. The college may also force her to reimburse its legal costs and the money it spent investigating her and holding the hearing.
Wettlaufer, who lived and committed most of her crimes in Woodstock, was charged with the murders, attempted murders and assaults in October 2016. A month earlier, she had confessed about some of the killings to staff at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, who passed the information on to police.
Wettlaufer’s murder victims ranged in age from 75 to 96. Their friends and relatives said they never suspected anything untoward about the deaths, and during victim impact statements, expressed deep devastation and a sense of betrayal from both Wettlaufer and the health-care system.
In addition to Wettlaufer’s life imprisonment for first-degree murder, she was also sentenced in June to 10 years for each of the four attempted murder counts and seven years for each of the two aggravated assault counts. All the sentences are to be served concurrently.
Wetlauffer had a troubled life before her arrest. She told several people — including a past girlfriend and a pastor — about her crimes, but none reported them to police until CAMH did so last year.
Now one of Canada’s most prolific serial killers, Wettlaufer is a recovering drug addict who has been to rehab twice and started attacking patients shortly after the end of her 10-year marriage in 2007. In court, she described feeling a “red surge” before killing, as well as euphoria once her victims were dead.
This hearing isn’t the only inquiry into Wettlaufer’s case. Ontario’s Liberal government has also promised to launch its own probe, and is currently trying to decide on the scope and terms of the review. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has said the provincial government should examine staffing levels, funding, long wait lists and other systemic issues affecting long-term-care homes.
With files from Sandro Contenta
With files from Sandro Contenta
LONDON—It was a typical phone call between two boys playing and their mother, who was on vacation in France. It was brief — the boys wanted to get back to playing with their cousins, not spend time on the phone chatting.
The brevity of that 1997 call troubles Prince William and Prince Harry to this day — for their mother, Princess Diana, would die in a car crash that night.
“Harry and I were in a desperate rush to say goodbye — you know, ‘See you later’ … If I’d known now obviously what was going to happen, I wouldn’t have been so blasé about it and everything else,” William says in a new documentary. “But that phone call sticks in my mind, quite heavily.”
Harry tells the filmmakers the final chat is something he will regret until the end of his days.
“Looking back on it now, it’s incredibly hard. I’ll have to sort of deal with that for the rest of my life,” Harry said. “Not knowing that was the last time I was going to speak to my mum. How differently that conversation would have panned out if I’d had even the slightest inkling her life was going to be taken that night.”
The ITV documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy will air Monday on British TV. Excerpts from the film, and new family photographs, were to be released Sunday.
The show is one of a series of tributes to Diana expected as the 20th anniversary of her death on Aug. 31, 1997, approaches.
It is only in the last year that William and Harry have spoken openly in public about their feelings about the sudden loss of their mother. William — second in line to the British throne after his father, Prince Charles — was 15 at the time. Harry was only 12.
The documentary chronicles Diana’s charitable works, including her historic outreach to AIDS victims and her campaign to ban landmines.
William and Harry also stress their mother’s fun-loving side, which they say the public generally didn’t see.
“Our mother was a total kid through and through. When everybody says to me, ‘So she was fun. Give us an example,’ all I can hear is her laugh in my head,” says Harry.
William tells a story that reveals the privileged life they led as children: one day, Diana surprised him by having three of the world’s top models waiting for him when he got home from school.
“She organized when I came home from school to have Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell waiting at the top of the stairs. I was probably a 12- or 13-year-old boy who had posters of them on his wall,” William said. “I went bright red and didn’t know quite what to say. And sort of fumbled and I think pretty much fell down the stairs on the way up.”
William says he frequently tells his children — Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 2 — about Diana so she can be a presence in her grandchildren’s lives.
“She’d be a lovely grandmother,” he said. “She’d absolutely love it. She’d love the children to bits.”
WASHINGTON—Anthony Scaramucci has purged his Twitter account of previous criticisms of U.S. President Donald Trump, saying he didn’t want to be a “distraction” for the White House in his new role as communications director.
Among the missives that disappeared into the digital ether on Saturday were a post referring to Trump’s campaign as a “spectacle,” another in 2012 imploring Democrat Hillary Clinton to run for president, and a tweet calling Trump ally Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, an “odd guy.”
“Full transparency: I’m deleting old tweets,” Scaramucci posted to the social media network. “Past views evolved & shouldn’t be a distraction. I serve @POTUS agenda & that’s all that matters.”
Among the casualties: a post saying he found the number of people who still believe climate change is a hoax “disheartening,” as well as a tweet arguing “walls don’t work” as immigration tools.
Scaramucci, 53, also deleted a tweet voicing support for “strong gun control laws” that had drawn the ire of a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, which offered the president a key endorsement during the campaign.
Conservative commentator Dana Loesch, in a post that itself has now been deleted, said she found it “concerning” that Scaramucci “has a contrary position” on Second Amendment rights from the president. “You’re talking about someone responsible for presenting President’s message to public,” she said in a second post that remains on the social media network.
While Scaramucci has removed many posts critical of the president or contrary to White House policies, others remain. That includes a tweet praising Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the probe into Russian meddling in the election — a move Trump said this week made him regret appointing Sessions to lead the Justice Department.
Scaramucci has also left up posts critical of the death penalty, which the president supports.
The new communications director was asked about his previous criticism of the president — and a particularly memorable moment when he called Trump a “hack politician” — during his first spin at the briefing room podium on Friday.
“I should have never said that about him,” Scaramucci said, adding that Trump brings it up to him “every 15 minutes.”
“Mr. President, if you’re listening, I personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that,” he continued, chalking the transgression up to political inexperience.
Trump, for his part, seemed undisturbed by the previous criticism from the new leader of his communications team.
“In all fairness to Anthony Scaramucci, he wanted to endorse me 1st, before the Republican Primaries started, but didn’t think I was running!” Trump wrote.
Scaramucci initially endorsed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush over Trump during the 2016 Republican primaries.
The New York financier and former host of Fox News’ revival of “Wall Street Week” has logged more than 16,000 tweets since joining Twitter in March 2009 — the same month as Trump, whose tweet count now exceeds 35,000.
Armando Cooper sat disconsolately at his locker after Toronto FC’s 1-1 tie with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night, hand on his head as he stared down at his phone.
Veteran defender Drew Moor gave him a pat as he went by. Acting coach Robin Fraser did the same. Cooper didn’t respond either time.
The Panamanian midfielder was no doubt reliving the 76th-minute giveaway that led to a Dominique Badji goal and the Rapids’ first point on the road this season as Colorado snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat.
Cooper, who had come on three minutes earlier when Jay Chapman hobbled off, attempted a pass that bounced off a Colorado player to Alan Gordon. One pass later, Badji held off defender Chris Mavinga and beat goalkeeper Clint Irwin low to the corner with a left-footed shot.
Cooper, who has had an up-and-down season in 2017, may have been the last TFC player to touch the ball on the goal but his teammates had their chances to put the game away after Chapman gave Toronto a 1-0 lead just five minutes into the game with his first ever MLS score.
Fraser acknowledged that turnovers are momentum-killers. But he refused to point the finger.
“Everybody has giveaways, everybody has bad moments,” said Fraser. “Everybody has things that lead to goals. It’s not like that moment defines them.”
“It was just not us at our best,” he said of the Toronto showing.
Fraser ran the sideline in the absence of Greg Vanney, who was serving a one-game ban after being ejected mid-week in New York.
With third-place New York City FC defeating second-place Chicago 2-1 earlier in the day, Toronto (11-3-7) missed an opportunity to pad its lead to four points atop the Eastern Conference. TFC, which now leads the Fire by two points, hosts NYCFC next Sunday.
On the plus side, Toronto remains unbeaten at BMO Field this season (7-0-3). Colorado (6-11-2) improved to 0-7-1 on the road this season thanks to just its third away goal of 2017.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult place to play,” said Colorado coach Pablo Mastroeni, whose team had not played since July 4. “I just thought that the response in the second half was fantastic, after a bit of a sluggish first half and getting our feet in there with a couple weeks of not playing. ... Overall I’m really happy with the performance and satisfied with the point.”
The offensively-challenged Rapids had done little to threaten Toronto prior to Badji’s goal before a loud crowd of 28,060.
Toronto outshot Colorado 15-9 but, like the Rapids, only managed to put four on target.
“There were a couple of chances we didn’t take advantage of but I don’t think we created enough chances,” said Toronto defender Eriq Zavaleta. “And then we fell asleep with a turnover.”
Fans booed loudly as one Colorado player after another went down injured after the tying goal, leading to five minutes of tense injury time.
TFC was bolstered by the return of striker Sebastian Giovinco and defender Nick Hagglund.
Giovinco had been questionable, after a lower back bruise that forced an early exit in Wednesday’s 2-2 tie with NYCFC. Hagglund had been out since May 13 when he tore the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in a collision with goalkeeper Alex Bono.
Bono was given the night off, with Irwin — a former Colorado player — making his fifth league start of the season.
Chapman opened the scoring in the fifth minute to cap off a goalmouth scramble triggered by a Giovinco ball into the box from the byline after a fine pass from Victor Vazquez. Goalkeeper Zac MacMath clawed away a Tsubasa Endoh shot but could not stop the Chapman header that followed.
The game bounced between scrappy and ill-tempered, with six-foot-seven Colorado centre back Axel Sjoberg and five-foot-four Giovinco at odds early on.
TFC was without captain Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Justin Morrow, all with the U.S. team at the Gold Cup. Fullback Steven Beitashour is recovering from pancreas surgery.
Toronto lost acting captain Benoit Cheyrou in the 38th minute with a potential calf injury after a clash of legs in a tackle.
TFC fullback Ashtone Morgan came on in the 69th minute for his 100th regular-season appearance.
Colorado was also without two designated players in goalkeeper Tim Howard (Gold Cup) and Albanian international forward Shkelzen Gashi (calf). Defenders Bobby Burling (foot) and Mekeil Williams (suspended) were also unavailable.
A group of Toronto supporters in the south stand wore white “No Argos at BMO” T-shirts. They had been told prior to the game that their “No Argos at BMO Field” sign was no longer welcome.
The club said it made the request out of respect to broadcaster TSN, which airs both MLS and CFL games.
One man is seriously injured after being struck by a car in Mississauga Saturday evening.
Peel Regional Police say the collision happened before 8:45 p.m. in the area of Hurontario St. and Absolute Ave., north of Burnhamthorpe Rd. E.
A 57-year-old man was rushed to a Toronto trauma centre with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Peel police Const. Lori Murphy said the driver of the car remained at the scene.
The intersection is closed for a police investigation.
CLEVELAND—The Blue Jays were in much more of a compete mode on Saturday night at Progressive Field, but the end result was still a 2-1 loss to the Indians in the bottom of the 10th inning, on a deep home run by Francisco Lindor off Danny Barnes.
Barnes has allowed a homer in three of four appearances on this road trip and it was the eighth walk-off win by a Jays opponent this season — the third of the 10-game trip that ends Sunday.
With Toronto’s starting pitchers looking to preserve the bullpen arms by consistently working deeper into games, it was not a good sign when manager John Gibbons was forced to visit his most reliable pitcher, Marcus Stroman, accompanied by trainer George Poulis with two runners on and one out in the fourth inning after just 51 pitches.
He stayed in.
“It’s the same thing. It’s a blister,” Stroman said. “I just kind of had to work around it, just found a way to manipulate the balls where I wasn’t aggravating it every pitch. When I really needed to go to it and get on that seam, I’d go to it. Just battled and had to work around it.”
Recall that on July 3 at Yankee Stadium, Stroman came out of a game after five innings with a mini-blister on his right hand. He was taken out as a precaution and later levelled a conspiracy-of-silence charge against the commissioner’s office, regarding the new baseballs made in Costa Rica that he believed were constructed differently in order to provide more offence — and, clearly, a side effect has been more blisters. Coincidentally, in the start before that Yankee Stadium effort he threw a career-high 119 pitches in Baltimore.
“It’s been up and down,” Stroman said. “It’s something you have to deal with. Obviously I’m not going to miss any starts, so I’ll do everything in my power to get better before the next start with our training staff and I’ll be ready to go.”
On Saturday, TV cameras caught Stroman studying his finger with a concerned look early in the game. After every inning, the dynamic 26-year-old would bounce off the field and head down the tunnel in the direction of the clubhouse. But he soldiered on, finishing six-plus innings for the 14th time in 20 starts.
The Long Island, N.Y., native powered his way through the first three innings, allowing just one hit that was erased on a double-play grounder. But in the fourth, with one out, he walked Lindor and allowed a bouncing single into right field by Michael Brantley, placing runners on the corners.
That was when Gibbons and the training staff paid a visit. Stroman went back to work and Edwin Encarnacion hit a sharp ground ball directly at third baseman Josh Donaldson. It looked like an inning-ending double play, but Donaldson bobbled the grounder and managed to retire only Encarnacion at first base, producing the game’s first run.
Stroman gutted it out and managed to hang in through 7 2/3 innings and 117 pitches before being relieved, with the game tied 1-1, by Ryan Tepera. He allowed five hits and five walks and pitched out of a second-and-third, one-out jam in the sixth inning. The Indians went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. It was much needed.
“My goal is to go nine every time. That’s the mentality,” Stroman said. “That’s why I work like I do. That’s why I put in as much work as I do between each and every start, to go out there and to be able to go deep and be able to give that bullpen a rest. I take extreme pride in that, and I’ve been able to do it over the last couple of starts. I’m looking forward to doing it from here on out.”
The starting rotation had been averaging just 4 2/3 innings over the previous 18 games. The last time they logged six-plus innings in back-to-back games was June 28 and 29: Stroman and J.A. Happ. The bullpen is running on fumes.
Meanwhile, the bats were silenced through seven innings by Indians right-hander Danny Salazar, just back from the disabled list after suffering from right shoulder soreness. It was his first appearance since pitching in relief at Kansas City on June 3.
Salazar faced the minimum 21 batters through seven innings, allowing just one hit, to Kevin Pillar, that was followed by a double-play grounder off the bat of Ryan Goins. Earlier in the season, the 27-year-old pitcher from the Dominican Republic had been roughed up at the Rogers Centre, allowing five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.
It was all-star Justin Smoak who evened the score for the Jays with his 27th home run, the first batter faced by lefty all-star Andrew Miller in the eighth.
“It kept us in the game,” said Smoak. “It gave us a chance to make a run there in the ninth, but we came up short there at the end. But he’s a great pitcher and I was honestly just trying to get a good pitch to hit, and it went my way tonight.”
The Indians fielded a diverse, United Nations starting lineup featuring five Dominicans, two Americans, a Puerto Rican, a Colombian and a Brazilian.
One man is dead and another has been arrested after a single-car rollover in Oshawa this morning.
Just after 3 a.m., a car that was travelling down Rossland Rd. at high speed lost control and flipped, rolling several times and striking a tree before finally coming to a stop, police say.
Of the four occupants, one man in his 40s was pronounced dead at the scene and a woman was transported to hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
The crash happened in a residential area, between Park Rd. and Gibbons St.
One man, a passenger in the car, fled the scene for unknown reasons. Considering the severity of the crash, police are concerned he may also have injuries.
The driver, who was uninjured, remained on the scene and was charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle resulting in death.
Police are still investigating, but say that more charges could be laid as they look into whether alcohol or drug impairment was a factor.
OTTAWA—Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins is announcing funding for 20 full-time mental health workers for Pikangikum First Nation— a remote community struggling with a suicide crisis and pressing mental health needs from about 380 people seeking counselling.
The mental health workers will be going to the reserve, located near the Ontario and Manitoba border, immediately at a cost of about $1.6 million dollars, Hoskins said.
“This can’t be an issue of jurisdiction,” Hoskins said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
“We heard directly from the chief ... as well as others that the situation on the ground in Pikangikum, just how grave it is and the need for trauma counselling as well as broader mental health supports for children and youth at risk.”
There are eight mental health workers on the ground at the moment jointly funded by the province and the federal government, he said.
Pikangikum has had a long-standing battle with suicide; at least four young people have taken their lives in the remote community recently.
Ontario is also announcing what it calls a new Indigenous youth and community wellness secretariat designed to co-ordinate and speed up government efforts while it also works with Indigenous partners and Ottawa, Hoskins said.
“It will become, essentially, a one-stop shop for ... our Indigenous partners if a response is required or if there is a circumstance that requires an urgent response,” he said.
“We expect next week it will start ... It will be a full-time secretariat to almost fast-track key files whether it is in health or education.”
Hoskins’ announcements come as he prepares to meet Monday in Ottawa with federal Health Minister Jane Philpott and Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler — the head of an umbrella organization representing 49 communities in northern Ontario.
The group is expected to sign a charter of principles aiming to transform the health care system for First Nations.
Philpott and Hoskins have both agreed profound change will be required to end the suicide crisis — although Indigenous health experts want to see concrete commitments out of Monday’s meeting, including more control at the level of First Nations.
Dr. Michael Kirlew, a physician based in Sioux Lookout, Ont., believes the Indigenous youth suicide crisis in northern Ontario and elsewhere will not be addressed unless there is a fundamental rethink of the way care is delivered on reserves.
“The health-care system ... First Nations people receive is not equal,” he said, noting Canada has grown accustomed to witnessing this injustice.
“It is inferior .... It is not equitable. The children, whether they are in Pikangikum, Summer Beaver, Wapekeka, they do not have access to mental health services they need, period.”
Indigenous health has been focused on measuring the number of dollars spent as opposed to health outcomes, added Dr. Alika Lafontaine, the past president of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada.
That needs to change, he said.
“When you’re talking about health transformation, what you’re really looking at is changing the intent of the system to achieve a different outcome,” he said.
“In Indigenous health, what you’re trying to do is create an outcome that’s different than our colonial outcome which was extinguishing the rights of Indigenous people through land and resources.”
Bob Nault, a Liberal MP who represents an Ontario riding that encompasses reserves including Pikangikum, agrees the health care system as it stands now is not capable of producing sustainable, long-term results.
He said he has been witnessing the same problem for the past 30 years, including as a former Indigenous affairs minister under former prime minister Jean Chretien.
“We can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and put a little Band-Aid on it and say ‘we’re doing it differently’,” he said. “We are not doing it differently so far, that I’ve seen.”
Communities have already put forward transformation proposals, Kirlew added.
“Communities know what is going to work for them,” he said. “Why can’t we help support those plans?”
OTTAWA—Respecting treaties with Indigenous Peoples, paying taxes and filling out the census are listed as mandatory obligations of Canadian citizenship in a draft version of a new study guide for the citizenship exam.
The working copy obtained by The Canadian Press suggests the federal government has completely overhauled the book used by prospective Canadians to prepare for the test.
The current “Discover Canada” guide dates back to 2011 when the previous Conservative government did its own overhaul designed to provide more information on Canadian values and history.
Some of the Conservatives’ insertions attracted controversy, including increased detail about the War of 1812 and a warning that certain “barbaric cultural practices,” such as honour killings and female genital mutilation, are crimes in Canada.
Getting rid of both those elements was what former Liberal Immigration Minister John McCallum had in mind when he said early in 2016 that the book was up for a rewrite. But although work has been underway for over a year, there’s no date set for publication of a final version.
In the draft version, the reference to barbaric cultural practices is gone, as is the inclusion of getting a job as one of the responsibilities of citizenship.
Instead, the proposed new guide breaks down the responsibilities of citizenship into two categories: voluntary and mandatory.
Voluntary responsibilities are listed as respecting the human rights of others, understanding official bilingualism and participating in the political process.
Obeying the law, serving on a jury, paying taxes, filling out the census and respecting treaties with Indigenous Peoples are mandatory.
“Today, Canadians, for example, can own their own homes and buy land thanks to treaties that the government negotiated,” the draft version says. “Every Canadian has responsibilities under those treaties as well. They are agreements of honour.”
The draft guide delves extensively into the history and present-day lives of Indigenous Peoples, including multiple references to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on residential schools and a lengthy section on what happened at those schools. The current guide contains a single paragraph.
The draft also devotes substantive sections to sad chapters of Canadian history when the Chinese, South Asians, Jews and disabled Canadians were discriminated against, references that were absent or exceptionally limited previously.
The new version also documents the evolution of the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups, as well as other sexual minorities. Bureaucrats had sought to include similar themes in the 2011 book but were overruled by then-immigration minister Jason Kenney, with their efforts reduced to a single line on gay marriage.
There’s also an entirely new section called “Quality of Life in Canada” that delves into the education system — including a pitch for people to save money for their children’s schooling — the history of medicare, descriptions of family life, leisure time, effects of the environment on Canadian arts and culture and even a paragraph seeking to explain Canadian humour.
Canadians like to make fun of themselves, the book notes.
“Humour and satire about the experience of Indigenous, racialized, refugee and immigration peoples and their experiences is growing in popularity,” the section says.
The rewrite is part of a much broader renewal of citizenship laws and process that is underway. In June, legislation passed that changed the age for those who need to pass the knowledge test for citizenship, among other things.
Briefing notes obtained separately from the draft copy show nearly every government department is being consulted for input into the guide. But the team inside the Immigration Department didn’t just look there.
They were also taking cues from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sharing copies of his remarks for themes to incorporate.
One of Trudeau’s often repeated mantras — “Canada has learned how to be strong not in spite of our differences, but because of them” — appears to be paraphrased directly in the opening section of the book: Canadians have learned how to be strong because of our differences.”
The briefing notes say the guide is to be released to mark Canada’s 150th birthday but elsewhere note that production time is at least four months once a final version has been approved.
A spokesperson for the Immigration Department stressed the importance of the consultations that have gone into the new guide.
“While this may take more time, this broader approach will result in a final product that better reflects Canada’s diversity and Indigenous history, as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” Lindsay Wemp said in an email.