Articles on this Page
- 08/14/17--12:30: _Merck, Intel, Under...
- 08/15/17--03:00: _Doctors propose pla...
- 08/15/17--09:14: _Falling tree kills ...
- 08/15/17--07:39: _Peel teachers urgin...
- 08/15/17--11:51: _Wynne not intereste...
- 08/15/17--13:04: _Toronto man arreste...
- 08/15/17--09:28: _Canadian killed in ...
- 08/15/17--11:02: _Edmonton boy thwart...
- 08/15/17--05:05: _‘We can’t go backwa...
- 08/15/17--11:26: _Metro grocery chain...
- 08/15/17--13:15: _Swedish hiker catch...
- 08/15/17--10:12: _Swiss hotel sparks ...
- 08/15/17--09:19: _Supporters of woman...
- 08/15/17--13:32: _‘What about the alt...
- 08/15/17--16:48: _1 man, 2 women inju...
- 08/15/17--14:57: _Pearson airport suf...
- 08/15/17--15:56: _If this phone rings...
- 08/15/17--14:40: _Is this the beginni...
- 08/15/17--14:22: _Some TTC employees ...
- 08/15/17--16:18: _Bombardier is takin...
- 08/15/17--03:00: Doctors propose plan to reveal top OHIP billers
- 08/15/17--09:14: Falling tree kills 12, injures 52 during festival in Portugal
- 08/15/17--07:39: Peel teachers urging province to deal with hot classrooms
- 08/15/17--11:51: Wynne not interested in raising taxes to pay for infrastructure
- 08/15/17--13:04: Toronto man arrested following Flemingdon Park shooting
- 08/15/17--13:15: Swedish hiker catches two glimpses of rare, elusive white moose
- 08/15/17--16:48: 1 man, 2 women injured in North York shooting, police say
- 08/15/17--14:57: Pearson airport suffers another close call on a runway
- 08/15/17--14:22: Some TTC employees reinstated after failing drug and alcohol tests
- 08/15/17--16:18: Bombardier is taking Metrolinx to court — again
Intel Corp.’s Brian Krzanich and Under Armour Inc.’s Kevin Plank became the latest chief executives to quit President Donald Trump’s council of U.S. business leaders, as membership on the panel has become enmeshed in the country’s volatile politics after violent riots in Virginia over the weekend.
The moves come hours after Merck & Co.’s Kenneth Frazier first stepped down from the business council. Plank’s departure is a particularly sharp rebuke to Trump, after the Under Armour executive earlier this year came under fire for commenting that the president was a “real asset” for the country.
“I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing,” Intel’s Krzanich said in a company blog post.
Plank said in a tweeted statement that “Under Armour engages in innovation and sport, not politics,” while Merck’s Frazier said he quit “as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
Trump responded to Frazier with a couple jabs, tweeting late Monday that “@Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S.”
Over the weekend, one woman was killed and many others were injured after a man in a car rammed a group of counterdemonstrators during a daylong melee in Charlottesville, Virginia. White supremacists and other hate groups had massed in the city to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Trump was widely criticized by U.S. lawmakers and other officials for not denouncing white supremacists in a statement on Saturday in which he said “many sides” were at fault for the violence. The president has repeatedly drawn fire for his relations with white nationalist groups and his handling of issues related to minorities.
Speaking from the White House on Monday, Trump denounced white supremacists and declared racism “evil.”
“To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held accountable,” Trump said, calling for unity in the wake of the tragedy.
The CEO departures show how corporate leaders are walking a narrow line in working with the Trump administration to help shape policy around taxes, immigration and other issues, while trying not to alienate customers in an increasingly tense political environment.
Plank’s position as a Trump supporter early this year sparked an uproar from shoppers and very public dissent among Under Armour’s athletes, including his most-valued sneaker pitchman, basketball star Stephen Curry. The CEO in a television interview had declared that Trump is “pro-business” and a “real asset.”
After a Wall Street analyst downgraded the company, Plank took out a full-page newspaper ad, saying his words praising Trump “did not accurately reflect” his intent. He said the company opposed the president’s executive order to ban refugees from certain countries.
The president’s council has included top executives from Boeing Co., Dow Chemical Co. and Johnson & Johnson. A handful of CEOs have stepped down from two White House business groups, which have met only sporadically, over political controversies.
The president hasn’t been shy about calling out businesses for perceived missteps. After his 2016 election victory Trump took aim at defence contractors Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp. for what he called the high cost of some aircraft, and muscled United Technologies Corp. unit Carrier into keeping a plant in Indiana after the company said it would be closed and production shifted to Mexico.
Trump created two CEO advisory groups early in his presidency. Blackstone Group CEO Steve Schwarzman leads one described as a strategy and policy forum, and Dow Chemical’s Andrew Liveris organized a manufacturing initiative. After an initial burst of activity and press attention, the councils have fizzled with neither meeting since April.
Earlier this year, Elon Musk of Tesla Inc. and Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger quit the strategy and policy panel after Trump said he would withdraw from the Paris climate pact. Former Uber Technologies Inc. CEO Travis Kalanick quit in February after Trump’s executive order on immigration.
Trump and a range of corporations have previously been at odds on other fronts.
The administration drew criticism from a wide swath of companies over its executive order restricting immigration. More than 160 technology firms, including Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc., and Google corporate parent Alphabet Inc. joined a legal brief criticizing the order. Technology firms have also criticized the administration’s efforts to restrict access to H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, and eliminate an Obama Administration program that would have provided visas for foreign entrepreneurs who received startup funding.
Other members of the Trump councils, including Lockheed Martin and PepsiCo Inc., declined to say whether they would follow the moves of the other executives in stepping down.
Merck has in the past taken stands on social issues. In 2012, the company’s foundation ended funding for the Boy Scouts of America over the group’s exclusion of gays from its leadership ranks. Frazier is a registered Democrat, according to Pennsylvania voter records.
Trump made U.S. drug prices an issue during the presidential campaign and after — at one point accusing drug companies of “getting away with murder.” While his rhetoric on the subject has cooled, the Food and Drug Administration has taken steps to try and bring more competition to the market for some drugs, and speed more generic drugs to the market.
Frazier, in December, said his company has a “restrained” approach to price increases, calling aggressive price increases a foolhardy move by the industry. In a company report published this year, Merck said it has a “long history of making our medicines and vaccines accessible and affordable through responsible pricing practices.”
For 2016, the list price on its drugs rose by 9.6 per cent on average while the net price, which more closely reflects what is paid by consumers, rose 5.5 per cent, according to the report.
Merck shares were up 0.7 per cent to $62.79 at 12:02 p.m. in New York, roughly in line with a broader advance in the U.S. stock market.
Toby Cosgrove, the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, plans to remain on the strategy and policy group, said Eileen Sheil, a spokeswoman for the health system. She said the group hasn’t met since April, and there are no meetings scheduled.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein also took to Twitter Monday in response to the violence, citing former president Abraham Lincoln. “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” wrote Blankfein, whose inaugural tweet in June expressed disapproval over Trump’s decision to ditch the Paris climate accord.
Ontario patients may soon learn how much some of the province’s highest billing doctors receive in taxpayer-funded OHIP payments.
If the Ontario Medical Association follows through on a proposal from some of its members, it would assist in publicly releasing the names of some top-billers, a move that would mark a dramatic reversal in its position that such disclosure would be a violation of personal privacy.
Doctors have been discussing the plan for more than a week on a social media site, the Star has learned.
Proponents say they are likely to lose a two-plus year court battle against the Star and the Ontario privacy commissioner to keep the names secret. They say they could “minimize the damage” by abruptly ending their legal fight and publicly releasing the names themselves.
Under the scheme, doctors would pre-emptively leak the names not to the Star, but to another news media outlet in a bid to obtain more favourable coverage than the proponents believe they might receive from the Star.
“Definitely open to the idea. Better for us to control the message,” OMA president Dr. Shawn Whatley wrote Aug. 5 on the Ontario Doctors Discussion Forum, a Facebook group with more than 10,400 members.
“We are discussing it this week,” he wrote in response to a request for the OMA get involved in the scheme.
But when the Star subsequently asked Whatley for an on-the-record comment about the strategy, his public relations office released a statement, indicating the organization is not acting on it:
“The matter regarding physician billings disclosure is still before the courts. We are pursuing leave to appeal. We continue to update members on court proceedings; any further strategy would need to go through a consultation with our members. The OMA is not actively consulting with our membership regarding the release of their billings prior to a court ruling.”
The Facebook forum is a vehicle for doctors — “as individuals” — to express frustrations and share ideas, the statement said. “There is a distinction between our own personal comments and the work of the OMA.”
Ontario lags behind other jurisdictions in making physician-identified billings public. British Columbia, Manitoba and New Brunswick proactively release the information annually. So does the United States. Newfoundland and P.E.I. are currently tackling the issue.
The damage-control strategy was pitched on the site on an account credited to Baseer Khan, who is a Vaughan ophthalmologist. He warned that the court battle — launched by the OMA as well as two other physician groups — is doomed and urged that doctors take control of how the names of top billers are made public. Describing himself as a top-100 biller, Khan wrote:
“Full disclosure — I am one of these individuals. I’ve spoken to a number of individuals in and out of our profession and I am of the strong opinion that the appeal from the OMA will be turned down and our names will be published.
“Invariably, the story will be played out negatively in the press and media — however IF we control the narrative, we can minimize the damage.”
Khan did not respond to numerous requests from the Star for an interview.
Physicians on the forum responded favourably to his idea.
“It’s a solid plan. Scoop the Star’s story. They spent a fortune fighting for this. Lick their lollipop before they have a chance to enjoy it,” wrote Toronto radiologist Dr. David Jacobs, vice-president of the Ontario Association of Radiologists.
Jacobs wrote on the forum that he had no intention of responding to a request from the Star for an interview.
In June, a three-judge panel of the Ontario Divisional Court ruled unanimously against the doctors in their bid to keep the names secret. The court ordered the doctors to pay the Star $50,000 in legal costs.
The following month, the doctors announced plans to continue their legal fight. They filed a notice of application for leave to appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal.
A court order preventing to Star from getting access to the names — which had been sought and obtained by the doctors — was extended so they could pursue their appeal.
On the Facebook forum, Khan urged that the highest paid doctors “voluntarily disclose our Billings . . . to a more balanced paper like the globe or sun.” He also suggested they disclose the number of services and visits rendered, taxes paid, cost of overhead and expenses and final net income.
Khan proposed that the OMA, which represents all of the province’s 29,000 practising physicians, get directly involved in the scheme, with the aim of portraying top billers in the best light:
“If enough of us agree, we can petition the OMA PR group to package this info and present it the best way possible.”
Explaining his logic: “We are going to lose this appeal anyways — if we withdraw the appeal and disclose then we . . . take the wind out of the star and (reporter Theresa Boyle’s) sails (and) stop look like we’re hiding things and playing into the characterization that we’re fraudulent — rather that we work our asses off.”
Khan suggested that doctors move quickly on the idea: “The summer is the best time to do this (because) people are thinking about different things . . . The bigger time spread we can created (sic) between this new story and negotiations — the better.”
A new round of negotiations between the OMA and province for a new fee contract is set to start next month. Doctors have been without a contract for more than three years.
Efforts to reach a deal have been acrimonious with one of the biggest stumbling blocks being how to address the significant disparities between what different classes of medical specialties receive in OHIP fee-for-service payments.
The Star’s efforts to make physician-identified payment data public began in 2014 with a Freedom-of-Information request to Ontario’s Health Ministry. The Star asked for the names, medical specialties and payment totals of the 100 top-billing doctors for the five most recent years available.
Payments to physicians are not the same as income as they do not take into account expenses for office rent, staff salaries and supplies.
The ministry provided information about medical specialties and payments, but denied access to names, reasoning the release would be an unjustified invasion of privacy. (The information provided showed ophthalmologists were the biggest billers, followed by diagnostic radiologists and then cardiologists.)
The Star successfully appealed that decision to Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC).
The three doctors’ groups then sought to get the IPC decision quashed through a judicial review.
In June’s ruling against the doctors, the Divisional Court rejected their argument that the Star had failed to establish a proper rationale for disclosure. Their argument ignored the well-established rationale that underlies access-to-information legislation, the court said.
“The rationale is that the public is entitled to information in the possession of their governments so that the public may, among other things, hold their governments accountable,” the decision stated.
The OMA announced the following month that it would try to get the decision overturned at the Ontario Court of Appeal. An email to members said:
“The (OMA) board continues to strongly disagree with the IPC adjudicator’s ruling that physician payment information is not personal information protected from disclosure. The board overwhelmingly decided that we must stand our ground and exhaust every possible avenue to fight for our members on this matter.”
Khan asked Whatley on the forum if the OMA could help stickhandle the plan by getting the top billers to work with the organization on it.
“Shawn: others on the list may not want to disclose their identity to me or anyone other (sic) doc, are you willing/able to assign someone at the OMA to compile a list of docs who are willing to do this?”
Whatley responded that the OMA would consider the idea.
Someone posting on the Facebook forum under the name “Rox Lab” wrote that the OMA’s public relations team already had the issue on its radar and urged any top billers interested in participating in a PR response to get in contact:
“OMA PR wanted to do a human interest piece on these doctors showing what services they provide. If you are interested to do this individually email the communications team.”
Rox Lab declined to respond to queries from the Star and advised a reporter to get in touch with the OMA for comment.
One of the main concerns doctors have expressed about disclosure of billings is that the public might not appreciate the distinction between OHIP payments and actual income.
“It is important to remember that disclosure of billings without context does not provide the public with an adequate picture, and may lead to a misunderstanding of billings versus income,” Whatley said in his statement to the Star.
“Without an understanding of each individual physician’s overhead costs, in addition to hours worked, one cannot truly interpret the data. The comments made on the Facebook forum are an example of grassroots brainstorming to provide this context. At the OMA, we are always looking to highlight the benefits each physician brings to their community.”
Star lawyer Iris Fischer said the paper has continued to make the distinction between OHIP payments and overhead.
“The Star has been clear in its reporting on this issue that payments from OHIP are not doctors’ take-home pay — which was also the evidence before the IPC and important to the finding that payment information is not ‘personal’ to doctors,” she stated when the doctors announced plans to appeal.
In Fischer’s closing arguments during the judicial review, she said the public and media should have access to billing information so they can ask questions, identify anomalies and confirm appropriateness.
“How many people is that doctor billing on behalf of? What is the size of his or her practice? What are the possible implications of billing (for working) 366 days a year?” Fischer asked, referring to a finding in last year's provincial auditor's report.
“Maybe the real reason is a high-billing doctor is actually overworked in an underserviced area. It's a structural problem that needs to be addressed by the ministry,” she said.
The provincial auditor’s report raised the issue of “problematic” billing, stating that nine specialists claimed they worked more than 360 days in the 2015/16 fiscal year. They included six doctors who billed OHIP for work they said they did on 366 days during the 2015/16 fiscal year (which had an extra day because 2016 was a leap year).
The report cited the case of an ophthalmologist who billed $6.6 million in 2014/15 and had previously been described by Health Minister Eric Hoskins as the province’s highest biller.
A Health Ministry audit of the 12 top billers, obtained by the Star last year through a separate Freedom-of-Information request, suggested they are overcharging OHIP.
Among “concerns” highlighted in the audit were: billing for “services not rendered,” upcoding or charging OHIP using fee codes for more expensive procedures; and charging for “medically unnecessary” services that the plan is not designed to fund.
In urging doctors to drop their appeal, Khan wrote on the forum that it would “allow OMA resources to be spent fighting fights ALL of us need such a corporation issues and negotiations.”
And it would “build good will (sic) with other docs in the province who don’t benefit from this fight,” he continued.
Reporter Theresa Boyle can be reached at email@example.com
Reporter Theresa Boyle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
LISBON, PORTUGAL—A huge tree crashed down on a popular religious festival on the Portuguese island of Madeira on Tuesday, killing 12 people and injuring 52 others, officials said.
The tree fell while a large crowd was gathered near the island’s capital of Funchal as part of the Nossa Senhora do Monte festival. It’s Madeira’s biggest annual festivity and was being held Monday and Tuesday, drawing large crowds to a church on Funchal’s outskirts.
Local media reports described the tree as an oak more than 200 years old. Regional authorities say they are investigating what caused it to come crashing down.
Regional health chief Pedro Ramos said seven people had serious injuries. Ramos said that of the 12 fatalities, 10 people died at the site of the accident. A child died en route to a local hospital, where a woman later died.
RTP public television showed images of emergency workers gathered under a group of tall trees on the Atlantic island. Ambulances were shown pulling away from the site while workers wielding chain saws cut away limbs from an enormous tree on the ground.
More televised images showed some people attending to the injured. Others appeared visibly shaken.
Miguel Albuquerque, the head of the regional government of Madeira, declared three days of mourning for the victims.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa shared his condolences for the victims on his Twitter account.
“I express my condolences for the victims of the accident in Madeira,” Costa said. “My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims.”
Costa said that the central government made contact with local authorities on the island to offer its support.
“The government has provided medical support given the high number of victims,” he said.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said he would travel to the island.
“I will go to Funchal today to learn more about what has happened, and, of course, to bring words of encouragement and comfort to those who have lost their loved ones,” he said in a message posted on the president’s official website.
Elementary teachers in Peel are worried about students sweltering in hot classrooms and are calling for measures to cool down Ontario’s elementary schools — including lobbying the provincial government for air conditioning funding, indoor temperature limits and an official heat stress plan.
“Last September was absolutely brutal,” said Chris Hoffman, who taught Grade 7 music in a portable at Tomken Road Middle School last year.
Hoffman, a vice president for the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario Peel local, said it’s hard to teach when all students can think about is how much they’re sweating.
“If I’m in there all day and it’s unbearable for me, I can only imagine the students.”
Elementary schools typically don’t have air conditioning in the classroom, said Lisa Marie Gonsalves, occupational health and safety teacher advisor for the Peel local.
She said classrooms can get extremely hot at times during the spring and early fall —sometimes well over 30 C— posing health hazards for students and staff and making it difficult for children to learn.
With temperatures rising each year, the Peel local presented motions for a vote Tuesday at the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario annual meeting — all of which passed in the afternoon.
The ETFO, through the Ontario Teachers’ Federation, will lobby the Ministry of Education for funding for air conditioning or other heat reduction systems in all elementary schools.
They also voted to lobby government for an upper indoor temperature limit at all elementary schools, at which point schools and boards would have to take action, “up to and including closing schools for the day.”
Another motion called for all elementary schools to have an official heat stress plan in place, so decisions aren’t left to individual administrators.
Heather Irwin, spokesperson for the education ministry, said it’s up to school boards to allocate funds to each school, and that boards are responsible for ensuring healthy and safe learning environments.
She said the ministry is spending a total of $1.4 billion in both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years on school renewal, and said boards can use this funding to install or repair air conditioning systems.
Of the 584 schools in the Toronto District School Board, about 125 are fully air conditioned, said TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird. Some schools are partially air conditioned, while others have no air conditioning.
Installing full air conditioning at every school would cost into the hundreds of millions of dollars and is “not currently in the cards,” said Bird, who says the TDSB has a repair backlog of more than $3 billion.
However, he said, the board is in the process of creating cooling stations in all remaining schools in large spaces such as gyms or libraries. The plan is expected to take five to seven years and would give students access to a “cooler area on days of extreme heat,” he said.
In the Peel District School Board, 19 of its 215 elementary schools are fully air conditioned, as are 27 of 38 secondary schools, said a spokesperson. In the Toronto Catholic District School Board, about 36 of its 200 schools have central air conditioning, a spokesperson said.
Last year, thousands of students across the GTA roasted in hot classrooms during a back-to-school heat wave in September. One Toronto teacher resorted to spending $500 of her own money on an air conditioning unit for her classroom, after temperatures hit more than 30C.
The GTA has had a cooler summer this year. However, Hoffman said global warming means classrooms will only get hotter in the coming decades.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 78,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province. More than 800 members are attending the organization’s annual meeting this week in Toronto, which runs from Monday to Thursday. The Peel Elementary Teachers’ Local represents more than 6,700 members, according to its website.
Raising the HST to help municipalities pay for road, arena and other infrastructure improvements would “fly in the face” of her efforts to ease pocketbook pressures on Ontarians, Premier Kathleen Wynne says.
She told local councillors from across the province at the annual convention of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario that she was surprised by the group’s call for a one-per-cent HST hike to raise $2.5 billion.
“I have not heard that discussion from mayors,” she said at the convention in Ottawa on Tuesday, a day after AMO president Lynn Dillon issued the challenge.
Wynne’s Liberal government, which is up for re-election next June 7, cut electricity bills 25 per cent this year after skyrocketing hydro prices infuriated consumers and fuelled attacks by opposition parties.
The premier said AMO’s push to raise the HST to 14 per cent from 13 would mean “constituents paying more taxes.”
“That’s why it’s not something that we’re going to look at.”
Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown and his NDP counterpart, Andrea Horwath, also said “no” to the association’s HST request Tuesday, preferring other ways to ease financial pressures on municipalities.
Wynne suggested a less drastic solution to find ways to fund local projects that are falling through the cracks in programs from the province.
“Let’s figure out what’s the best way for them to be paid for,” Wynne said. “There are billions of dollars that are flowing into municipalities right now. Let’s figure out what the gaps are.”
Solutions could include Ontario taking financial responsibility for some local roads that are more suited to being under provincial control and finding ways to help small municipalities to pay for arena and other recreational facilities, she said.
“In small municipalities it is very, very difficult to raise those funds,” Wynne acknowledged.
Although AMO’s board of directors unanimously supported the push for a one-per-cent rise in the HST to create a “local share,” the premier pointed out that there isn’t unanimous support at the convention.
“This room was divided; not everyone in the room believes that increasing the HST is the way to go.”
Dissenters included Deputy Mayor James Leduc of Bradford West-Gwillimbury and Timmins Mayor Steve Black.
“It’s still taxes,” Black said at a microphone on the convention floor as Wynne took questions from the audience.
“I don’t support that, either. I think there’s better ways,” Leduc told the crowd.
Brown told AMO delegates that a PC government would bring in reforms to a system called “joint and several liability” that have some municipalities closing recreational facilities because of high insurance premiums and fears of expensive lawsuits.
Orangeville, for example, has banned tobogganing on Murray’s Mountain. Under the concept of joint and several liability, a defendant who is only partially at fault may have to pay an entire damage settlement if other defendants don’t have the ability to pay.
That often leaves municipalities on the hook, said Brown, who pledged to find a way to protect local governments from “unfair and unaffordable settlements” while ensuring victims are “fairly compensated.”
Brown did not specify how this would be achieved but said he would consult widely on better solutions.
For the NDP, Horwath said her party, if elected, would “shoulder its fair share” of municipal programs for child care, transit and social housing.
A 22-year-old Toronto man has been arrested following a shooting near Flemingdon Park on Saturday that left one man in serious condition.
An unidentified man in his early 20s was found by police with a gunshot wound to his abdomen near Linkwood Ln. and St Dennis Dr. shortly before 6:30 p.m.
Di’on Jahil Wong was arrested Tuesday and is facing 14 charges including attempted murder and firearm related charges.
On Sunday police searched Wong’s home where they found 2.17 grams of cocaine, a shotgun with a folding stock, homemade ammunition, a bulletproof vest and paraphernalia used to produce illegal drugs.
Tammy Jane Mackay Chen, one of two Canadians killed during a terror attack in Burkina Faso is being remembered as a “passionate, charismatic and diligent” teacher by her former students and colleagues.
Chen, 34, was killed alongside her husband in an attack on a restaurant Sunday night in Ouagadougou. She was six months’ pregnant and a newlywed who was living in the country while finishing a doctorate at the University of Cambridge in England. Chen and her husband, Mehsen Fenaiche, who was a Senegalese citizen and a Muslim, were married last month in Ouagadougou.
Eighteen people were killed in the attack, which is being treated as a terrorist incident.
Chen taught at Glen Ames Senior Public School until 2013 when she left for the University of Cambridge, the Toronto District School Board said in a statement released Tuesday.
“Not only was she respected and well-liked by students, parents and colleagues, she was always willing to go the extra mile to help students,” the statement read.
Katrina Yablonski told the Star that Chen taught her Grade 8 French at Glen Ames, and it became one of her favourite classes.
“I was never really good at French, but she made me really excited to go to class,” Yablonski said. “You could tell she was so passionate about teaching.”
She said Chen’s teaching style made the students interested in learning the course material and that it also brought the class closer together.
“She was super fun, she would always been making jokes with us. She made sure everyone felt included and welcome.”
Chen, who was from Montreal, had previously taught at Swansea Junior Public School.
The other Canadian killed in the attack was Bilel Diffalah, who had been volunteering since November 2016 as a hygiene and bio-security adviser with a local organization known as the Interprofessional Poultry Organization, said the Montreal-based Centre for International Studies and Cooperation.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement Tuesday following the incident.
“Canada strongly condemns this heinous attack. People should not have to live in fear over their safety and security — no matter where they call home or where they travel. We will continue to work closely with the international community to fight terrorism and bring those responsible to justice,” he said.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I offer our condolences to the families and friends of those killed and wish a speedy recovery to all those injured.”
On Sunday evening, assailants arrived at the restaurant on motorcycles and began shooting randomly.
Local authorities say other foreigners killed include two Kuwaitis and one person each from France, Nigeria, Lebanon and Turkey. Seven Burkina Faso citizens were also killed and authorities said three other victims had not yet been identified.
Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists.
With files from Allan Woods
With files from Allan Woods
Edmonton police are praising the actions of a boy who they say thwarted the alleged abduction of his sister.
Police say a man allegedly took the 5-year-old girl who was riding her bike with her older brother on Saturday evening.
Officers say the man, who wasn’t known to the girl, took hold of her handle bars and led her away.
They say her brother went to get help from family members who chased the man and found the girl unharmed a block away.
A suspect was found in the area shortly thereafter and arrested.
Dusty Greg Chalifoux, who is 37, is charged with abducting a child under 14 and breaching recognizance.
Det. Manuel Illner, with the Edmonton police’s child protection section, praised the boy for acting quickly to protect his little sister.
“This young man followed his instincts and certainly did the right thing by running home and notifying family members immediately,” Illner said in a release Tuesday. “I encourage all parents to talk to their children about what to do in the event they are approached by a stranger.”
U.S. President Donald Trump has attacked a long list of people and groups, late-night comedians noted Monday in the aftermath of deadly weekend violence in Charlottesville, Va.
Yet it took him two days to condemn the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other white supremacy groups who had gathered there.
“Was that so hard? Why did that take two days?” asked Late Show host Stephen Colbert.
“It shouldn’t take longer for the president to do the right thing than it takes to get a package from Amazon,” said Seth Meyers of Late Night.
“He sounds like a kid whose parents made him apologize for egging their neighbour’s house,” said Jimmy Kimmel, host of Jimmy Kimmel Live!
“The whole thing is such a bummer because Nazis were like the last thing we all agreed on,” Meyers added. “Indiana Jones fought the Nazis and we love Indiana Jones!”
They rattled off lists of people the president had found easier to criticize.
Just in the last week, Meyers said, the president “slammed the Senate Majority Leader of his own party and got into a war of words with North Korea.” Trump, he noted, has previously excoriated the likes of former presidential candidate Jeb Bush and even “people who drink Diet Coke.”
Colbert’s list was longer: “Hillary Clinton, the New York Times, CNN, Joe Scarborough, Kristen Stewart and the cast of Hamilton, Diet Coke, Nordstrom not selling his daughter’s clothes, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, me, the state of New Hampshire, Gold Star families, Penn Jillette’s Las Vegas show, the movie Django Unchained, Meryl Streep and Lady Ghostbusters.”
As Kimmel said, “When Donald Trump is upset . . . he doesn’t keep it bottled up, he lets us know.”
While the comedians criticized the president as well as voiced their dismay over the weekend events that unfolded, there were elements of humour, too.
“We went into the weekend wondering about Kim Jong Un starting a war,” Kimmel said. “We came out of it wondering if our president was cutting eyeholes out of his bedsheets.”
A sombre moment
Jimmy Fallon gave the most serious of the monologues, saying it was his “responsibility to stand up against intolerance and extremism as a human being.”
As he watched the news about Charlottesville, with his daughters in the next room, Fallon said he thought, “How can I explain to them that there is so much hatred in this world?”
He commended “one brave woman,” Heather Heyer, 32, who was killed when a car slammed into a group of counterprotesters.
Fallon said ignoring the hateful behaviour exhibited at the rally is “just as bad as supporting it.”
He said all Americans need to “stand against what is wrong” and acknowledge that racism exists, in order “to show the next generation that we haven’t forgotten how hard people have fought for human rights.”
“We cannot do this,” Fallon said, seemingly on the verge of tears. “We can’t go backward. We can’t go backward.”
The tiki torches used by the white nationalists in a late-night march in Charlottesville caught the comedians’ attention, in part because the maker of the torches issued a statement saying it wasn’t “associated in any way” with the events that took place there.
“You know it’s bad when the thing you were angrily waving denounces you,” Meyers said. Then, taking aim at Trump, he added: “You didn’t have to rise to the level of FDR or JFK. All you had to do was show the same amount of courage and moral clarity as the people who make tiki torches. And you failed.”
Colbert echoed that sentiment. “It’s pretty troubling when a backyard decoration comes out swinging stronger against Nazis than the president of the United States,” he said.
“It’s really hard to come off as intimidating when you got torches from your mom’s patio,” Meyers said.
The comedians also poked fun at Trump’s initial public comments Saturday, in which he referred to the violence in Charlottesville as coming from “many sides.” He did not identify the groups he viewed as disruptive.
“How can you possibly say you condemn this in the strongest possible terms when you don’t even name the groups responsible or say what they did?” Colbert said. “I have seen angrier Yelp reviews. And they weren’t afraid to use the word ‘Nazi’ when describing how long their jalapeño poppers took.”
“There were two sides, not many sides,” Kimmel said. “And one of those sides had Nazis on it.”
“Mr. President, Mr. President, this is terrorism, not your order at KFC,” Colbert said to chuckles from the audience. Imitating Trump, he said: “I’d like the 10-piece bucket with potato wedges, fries, mash — you know what? Many sides. Many sides. Coleslaw.”
MONTREAL—Ontario’s third-largest grocery chain will accelerate its study of automation as it looks to cut costs to offset the provincial government’s plan to raise the minimum wage next year, the CEO of Metro Inc. said Tuesday.
Eric La Fleche said the industry is under the gun because there is little time to adjust to cost increases, especially when intensifying competition is straining margins.
Metro estimates an increase in the Ontario minimum wage to $14 per hour from the current rate of $11.40 will cost it about $45 million to $50 million on an annualized basis in 2018. The impact excludes any pressure to subsequently increase other salaries.
“It’s the pace that makes it a pretty big challenge but we’re confident that we’ll find some offsets on our own,” La Fleche said during a conference call about its third-quarter results.
The chain said it hasn’t calculated the full impact when the minimum wage rises to $15 an hour in January 2019.
The higher labour costs would account for about eight per cent of the $586 million in net earnings last year and more than a third of the $127 million paid out in dividends.
It’s just the latest cost pressure facing business after enduring several years of increased energy charges.
“As a team we will strive to mitigate this impact as much as we possibly can through productivity and cost reduction initiatives, but the size and pace of these increases pose a significant challenge,” La Fleche told analysts.
The Montreal-based chain said it “will spare no effort” to manage the labour costs but declined to specify whether the changes will have any impact on the number of employees. It has piloted the use of electronic tags on stores shelves and has considered automating its distribution centres.
La Fleche’s comments follow similar warnings by other retailers and a coalition representing a broad range of business groups.
Rival Loblaw Companies Ltd., which owns Shoppers Drug Mart and grocery chains including Loblaws and No Frills, has said it is mobilizing all its resources to offset the $190-million hit next year from higher minimum wages in Ontario and Alberta.
Discount retailer Dollarama Inc. said it won’t rule out raising prices if labour costs continue to climb, while Magna International has warned that higher costs could affect its business investments in the province.
Movie chain Cineplex Odeon Corp. last year raised ticket prices in response to higher minimum wages, which affect much of its workforce.
An economic analysis commissioned by the Keep Ontario Working Coalition found that 185,000 jobs could be at risk as Ontario businesses stand to take a $23-billion hit within two years of the implementation of Bill 148.
The coalition, which includes groups such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Council of Canada, said the changes proposed in the bill would force employers to find creative ways to cut costs, such as hiring less and increasing automation.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a national think tank, said research suggests the dire predictions are unlikely to pan out.
David Macdonald, the centre’s senior economist, has said there was little impact on employment from past minimum wage hikes and that forecasts fail to account for increased employee spending. The centre has said raising the minimum wage to $15 is only a start to addressing the 19 per cent cut in income between 2000 and 2015 among the bottom half of Ontario families raising children.
Metro’s net income for the 16 weeks ended July 1 rose 3.7 per cent to $183 million or 78 cents per share.
Overall sales edged up 1.4 per cent to $4.07 billion but same-store sales were down 0.2 per cent as poor weather caused store traffic to decrease.
Meanwhile, the company said it plans to expand its e-commerce offering to Ontario eventually, but wouldn’t say how soon that may come. By year-end, it plans to offer home delivery and store collection of online purchases in major urban areas of Quebec covering 60 per cent of the population.
Metro also said it is looking to expand its Adonis chain of Mediterranean-inspired food stores in both provinces next year after buying out its minority partners.
Hans Nilsson has spent three years trying to spot an elusive white moose in the town of Eda, in western Sweden. Last week he got lucky and crossed paths with the ghost-coloured herbivore two days in a row.
When Nilsson saw the moose the first time, he was amazed. On the second day, he was ready.
He whipped out a camera and shot video of the moose, well, being a moose. It waded into a nearby stream. It shook off water. It nibbled on some plants. Nilsson, of course, described the scene in more majestic terms.
“When I shot the video everything fell into place: the location, the light and the calmness,” Nilsson told the Local, a Swedish newspaper. “It was an experience to meet such a stately animal up close.”
According to the newspaper, this is the second white moose sighting that’s gone viral in Sweden this summer. In July, Jessica Hemlin photographed a white moose that regularly visits her garden in Munkeda, which is also in western Sweden.
Sweden has an estimated 400,000 moose, most of which unabashedly resemble Bullwinkle, the newspaper reported. But about 100 of them are mostly white, according to the BBC. Some of them have albinism, in which the body doesn’t produce a lot of melanin pigment. But many more have a recessive gene that causes mostly white fur interspersed with bits of brown, the Local reported.
According to National Geographic, the white colouring may be a form of natural selection, as flabbergasted hunters choose to let the white moose live, increasing their numbers. Moose in Sweden have no natural predators except humans.
“Hunters have chosen to not kill any moose that are light,” Göran Ericsson, a professor of elk and moose for the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, told the magazine. “It is kind of like dog breeding. They choose to select for traits that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred.”
And although this moose has made international headlines this week, it probably has never taken a moment to appreciate its rare colour.
Moose are colorblind.
GENEVA—Switzerland’s tourism office on Tuesday decried an “unfortunate” incident in which a small Alpine hotel posted a sign asking “Jewish guests” to shower before swimming in the hotel pool.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center demanded the closure of the Paradies Arosa hotel, and issued a statement calling on “the broader Jewish community and their Gentile friends to blacklist this horrific hotel.” On Twitter, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called for “justice” against the hotel’s management.
Officials said the hotel in the eastern town of Arosa had apologized for the incident and taken the sign down. Hotel management didn’t immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Swiss Tourism spokesman Markus Berger called the sign unacceptable, adding: “It always needs to stay in perspective: This is one unfortunate incident.”
Under the headline “To our Jewish Guests,” the sign read: “Please take a shower before you go swimming. If you break the rules, I am forced to cloes (sic) the swimming pool for you. Thank you for your understanding.”
Tzipi Livni, a former Israeli foreign minister, posted an image of the sign on her Facebook page and wrote that “there can be no tolerance and no indifference” to anti-Semitism and racism, in comments that also alluded also to violence around a white supremacist rally in Virginia in the United States.
We “must not let there be a place in the free world for Nazi flags or Ku Klux Klan masks or ugly signs in hotels directed at Jews only,” she wrote. “We cannot allow acts of hate against Jews around the world to become normal.”
The secretary-general of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities said it was “really a dumb thing” to do, but he called for calm.
“It’s somebody who really didn’t think a lot,” Jonathan Kreutner said in a phone interview.
He said that calls to close the hotel were “very exaggerated,” Kreutner said. “This is the most important thing now: To stay cool. Things happened that are not good. I don’t want to reduce the problem behind this, but it is very important to stay cool.”
Kreutner said that most of the Jews who visit the area are from Belgium, Britain, Israel, Switzerland and the U.S.
Berger, the tourism spokesman, cited a recent trend of Orthodox and other Jews travelling to four Alpine villages in the area in the summertime, including Davos of World Economic Forum fame. He said didn’t know the origin of the trend, but that numbers “definitely in the thousands” have grown in recent years. He said many area hotels serve kosher food, and that Jewish guests “feel well-treated” there.
“It’s just this one lady at this one hotel who was not on top of the situation,” Berger said. “It’s an isolated incident that doesn’t need for greater action to be taken.”
Switzerland’s foreign ministry, responding to a request for comment from The Associated Press, said that it has been in touch with the Israeli ambassador and “outlined to him that Switzerland condemns racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination in any form. Switzerland has been strongly committed for years — as it is at the moment, for example, within its presidency for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance — to raise awareness to the dangers of racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination.”
Staring straight ahead, never once looking back at the woman they were caught mocking or her phalanx of supporters, the two Toronto police officers accused of professional misconduct for spouting insults captured on their own cruiser’s dash camera appeared before a disciplinary hearing Tuesday.
Constables Sasa Sljivo and Matthew Saris are charged under the Police Services Act after they laughed and called Francie Munoz, a 29-year-old woman with Down syndrome, a half woman and a “little disfigured” in comments to each other during a traffic stop.
Their words and chuckles were discovered after Francie’s mother, Pamela Munoz, fought an alleged traffic violation and subsequently obtained dash cam video from the traffic stop in November 2016. The audio also recorded one of the officers referring to her daughter as “different.”
The officers, dressed in dark blue suits, made their first, brief appearance before the police disciplinary tribunal, which was packed with Munoz’s family and friends, including some with Down syndrome and their relatives.
The officers quickly left the hearing room after the minutes-long appearance, averting their eyes.
“I looked at them,” Francie Munoz said afterward. “They did not look at me.”
Toronto police documents detailing the charges allege that Sljivo was the officer doing the talking. He faces two charges under the Police Act: one for allegedly using “profane, abusive or insulting language” in contravention of the Ontario Human Rights Code and Toronto police policy, procedures and standards of conduct, and the second for allegedly acting in a disorderly manner likely to discredit Toronto police.
Saris faces one count for allegedly being “complicit” in Sljivo’s comments and failing to report his conduct to a superior.
Neither officer entered a plea Tuesday.
Last month, Sljivo and Saris sent a letter to the family apologizing for their “inexcusable remarks” and taking full responsibility.
Soon after the incident came to light, Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders addressed the officers’ comments, telling CP24 that they were not a “fair representation of what goes on on a day-to-day basis.”
The officers’ apology did not seem sincere, Pamela Munoz said. The family had asked for them to apologize in person and wanted their comments to be captured on video. If the officers were willing to do that, Munoz said, they would withdraw their complaint to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, which had resulted in the misconduct charges.
The officers, however, had not agreed to the family’s terms.
Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, said last month that Sljivo and Saris had made repeated attempts to arrange an in-person meeting with Francie Munoz and her family, and that the officers “have accepted responsibility for their comments from the beginning.”
“They have taken a lot of justified criticism from the public and their peers and regret their comments,” McCormack told the Star last month.
Professional misconduct charges before the police tribunal can result in penalties ranging from a reprimand to dismissal. After the hearing Tuesday, Pamela Munoz told reporters she hopes for the latter, though she doubts that will occur.
“In our hearts, a great outcome would have been for them to leave the Toronto Police Service because it’s shameful for police officers to feel that way,” she said.
The family feels buoyed by friends and supporters standing alongside them at the hearing, she continued, particularly relatives of other people with disabilities.
“It doesn’t just affect us. It affects our community,” she said. “(Other parents) are frightened about the repercussions: Will our kids be looked at differently by the police, will they not take care of them if they need help?” she said.
Faisal Bhabha, Munoz’s lawyer, said the family is participating in the process to ensure her voice is heard throughout. The family also wants a “guarantee that this won’t happen again in the future — that there aren’t more officers who hold these attitudes,” he said after the hearing.
It is not Sljivo’s first time coming under fire for comments made on the job. In 2013, the officer testified in court that he had stripped “hundreds” of people completely naked during searches — despite police policy stating that must not be done and a Supreme Court ruling stating no one should be stripped completely naked during a search.
The Supreme Court’s rules are intended to maintain the dignity of the person being searched. Toronto police policy stipulates that once a piece of clothing is removed, the person is searched along with the clothing, then it must be replaced before the officer performing the search removes another item of clothing.
The officer’s admission came during a drug trafficking trial, after which the judge raised concerns about the officer’s statements.
Sljivo was not charged under the Police Services Act in connection to his strip search comments.
Sljivo and Saris are due back before the tribunal next month. The Munoz family is also filing a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
Wendy Gillis can be reached at email@example.com
Wendy Gillis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON—Donald Trump was criticized around the country for the Saturday speech in which he faulted “many sides,” rather than white supremacists, for the violence in Charlottesville, Va.
When he finally relented two days later, giving a scripted address in which he specifically denounced the right-wing racists, he was applauded by many pundits. The racists themselves, though, kept smiling, saying Trump’s revised words were clearly insincere.
The racists were right.
On Tuesday, in the angriest public tirade of his two years in national politics, the president revealed that he meant what he had said in his first statement: the “other side,” made up of liberal and left-wing protesters, was just as responsible as the people with the swastikas.
“There is another side,” Trump said. “You can call them the left ... they came, violently attacking” the right, “swinging with clubs” and with baseball bats.
It was an astonishing spectacle even for the Trump era: the president of the United States vehemently defending an extremist demonstration in which some participants chanted “Jews will not replace us” and carried Nazi flags — and during which an alleged white supremacist is accused of murdering a peaceful counter protester and injuring numerous others.
“Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me,” Trump said. “Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”
Asked about the white supremacist “alt-right,” Trump challenged the journalist to “define alt-right” — and asked why there had been no blame placed on the “alt-left,” a term that is not in widespread use.
Trump appeared to be referring to the anti-fascist group called Antifa, which had a presence at the event and has been accused by others of initiating some of the violent skirmishes at the scene. Every other senior Republican, however, had joined Democrats, and witnesses, in declaring the white supremacists responsible for causing the violence – and only an alleged far-right activist has been charged with murder.
And he said that some of the participants in the racists’ rally were not racists at all, merely people opposed to the removal of a Charlottesville statue of Robert E. Lee, the general who commanded the forces of the pro-slavery Confederate secessionists.
In his most explicit endorsement of Confederate icons, he argued that removing statues of Lee would lead the country down a slippery slope.
“George Washington was a slave owner ... so will George Washington, now, lose his status?” Trump asked.
“You’re changing history. You’re changing culture,” he said, echoing the rhetoric of the white supremacists themselves.
The rant was all the more remarkable for the setting: a brief speech, at Trump Tower in New York City, on an executive order on infrastructure. Just minutes before his eruption, Trump had held up a flow chart in talking about how he planned to speed up the pace of projects.
But U.S. media reports had suggested that he had been unhappy that he had been pressured into delivering the conciliatory statement on Monday, and he could not contain himself. He became more and more agitated as reporters shouted questions.
At first, he simply argued that he had not waited too long to condemn the white supremacists. He said he needed to make sure he had “the facts” — though he was quick to label previous incidents acts of Islamic terror, even one in June that turned out to be a botched robbery.
He then told the media that they did not yet have all the facts themselves. Finally, and at length, he offered his own alternative version of what happened.
Three people are in non-life threatening condition after a shooting in North York, Tuesday evening.
At around 5:15 p.m., police received a call for gunshots heard in the Jane St. and Sheppard Ave. W. area, said Toronto police spokesperson Const. David Hopkinson.
“We had info that a number of shots were heard and that there were kids in the area,” said Hopkinson.
Police found shell casings at the scene, a residential area.
Hospkinson says that police then located three victims in a car — a man and two women — who were suffering from non-life threatening gunshots wounds.
According to investigators, the victims may have been taking themselves to the hospital when police found them.
Police say it’s too early in the investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Investigators are now looking for a black SUV that was seen fleeing the area.
OTTAWA—A U.S. regional jet, same runways at Pearson — and a quick radio warning from an air traffic controller to prevent a close call.
Safety officials are probing yet another runway incursion that happened Monday at Canada’s busiest airport, a virtual carbon copy of past incidents that have spurred a review of runway operations by the Transportation Safety Board.
“Again, very similar to the other incursions,” Ewan Tasker, the safety board’s regional manager for air investigations, said Tuesday.
In Monday’s incident, an Embraer 175 regional jet operated by Republic Airline, had landed on runway 24 left about 6:35 p.m. after a flight from Newark, N.J. The jet exited on to a taxiway at the end of the runway and a tower controller gave the pilots instructions to hold short of a parallel runway.
An Air Canada Boeing 787 bound for Zurich was cleared for departure on that parallel runway and began its take-off roll.
But as has happened many times before, the controller, concerned that the jet was going a “little fast” and wasn’t going to stop as instructed, issued fresh instructions, Tasker said.
“Brickyard 3553, please stop there,” the controller said, using the airline’s call sign, according to a recording on the website liveatc.net.
The jet stopped but just past the hold short line that marks the boundary to the protected runway environment. At the time, the Air Canada jet was halfway down the parallel runway, accelerating quickly for take-off, Tasker said.
Even if the regional jet entered the parallel runway, the Air Canada flight was safely airborne by that point, he said.
But Tasker said this latest event drives home the concerns around a recent rash of incursions involving the two parallel runways on the airport’s south side that has prompted the safety board to launch a special review of operations.
During busy periods, aircraft land on the outer runway and then taxi across the inner runway to reach the terminal buildings. But in almost two dozen occasions in recent years, aircraft have failed to stop as instructed on a taxiway.
“The direct risk of collision on this individual event again, not extremely high, but change the circumstances a bit and that severity changes significantly,” Tasker said.
The review is looking at a host of factors — pilot and controller procedures, human factors, airport design — to find ways to minimize the high rate of incursions.
One common factor — underscored by Monday’s incident — is that U.S. regional airlines are overwhelmingly involved in the majority of the incursions.
“That’s definitely something we need to analyze. Why is that? What are the U.S. crews used to? Are they used to something different?” Tasker said.
The fact prompted the head of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to write to regional airlines several years ago to alert them to the problem. The airport also made changes to lighting and pavement markings. “We need to look at how much of an effect that did have. That’s part of the ongoing work,” Tasker said.
In a statement Tuesday, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which operates Pearson, said it was taking additional steps to address the potential risks.
“We are stepping up our efforts with all parties in an attempt to address this situation as quickly as possible,” the statement said.
That includes reaching out to air carriers “to address the role they play in reducing incursions.”
The authority also wants a meeting “as soon as possible” with Nav Canada, to discuss their processes and “ways to heighten awareness with pilots crews in order to reduce incursions,” the authority said in a statement to the Star.
Transport Canada is aware of the incident that prompted the Transportation Safety Board to deploy a team of investigators to Lester B. Pearson International Airport. The department is supporting and cooperating with the Transportation Safety Board in their assessment of the incident and have appointed a minister’s observer who will obtain factual information from the ongoing assessment, identify any issues relevant to the Minister of Transport’s responsibilities, and coordinate the required support during the assessment.
Tasker said it’s certain that the quick intervention of controllers has prevented other runway incursions from happening.
Peter Duffey, president of the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association, which represents controllers, said such incidents underscore why controllers remain vigilant to ensure pilots are obeying instructions, especially in the fast-paced environment at Pearson.
“The controllers are banging stuff off and yet as that guy rolled off the runway, he saw what was happening when he passed the stop line,” Duffey told the Star.
“That is literally a split second decision and it is because they’re constantly going up and down the runways scanning for that exact sort of thing. It’s just part of what we do,” he said.
A call on this phone would only come from the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii to inform Guam of the impending strike.
If it were to ring, a blue light would flash and immediately set into motion a chain of emergency response procedures to alert all of Guam’s roughly 162,000 civilians of the threat within two minutes. The system includes mass notification sirens that are positioned around the island, radio and television emergency broadcasts, and emergency medical workers and village mayors equipped with mobile public address systems.
Workers at the Homeland Security office have been on 24-hour duty fielding questions from residents and the media since North Korea warned last week it was preparing a missile test that would create an “enveloping fire” in the waters off Guam.
“Guam has been through supertyphoons, an 8.2 earthquake, tsunami warnings — just about anything and everything that can threaten this tiny little island — so we’ve been conditioned to stay calm in a situation like this,” said Dee Cruz, the office’s grants manager and senior desk watch officer. “I’m not saying we look danger in the face and dare it to do its worst,” she added, “we just know what to do to prepare.”
But being ready for a ballistic missile strike is not like preparing for a typhoon. For one thing, tropical storms move at an average speed of about 20 kph, giving people in Guam several days to prepare. A ballistic missile launched from North Korea, however, would take just 17 minutes to hit the waters off the island.
“From the moment the sirens sound off, everyone should be ready to shelter in place,” Cruz said. “It’s important to make a plan now so that when it’s time for an emergency you’ll know what to do.”
Cruz detailed the preparations people needed to take.
“Create a family group chat so you can quickly communicate with each other instead of making individual calls,” Cruz suggested. “Make sure you have an emergency kit with basic supplies — small items like water and a first aid kit can save a life in an emergency situation.”
For many on the island, which is home to Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam, being prepared for an emergency is second nature, said Andrew Lee, a local firefighter and former Marine.
“The nature of my job is to be ready to respond in the capacity that we are able — that’s the way it is in any fire department, not just the Guam Fire Department,” he said. “At home, we have a bug-out bag prepared for an emergency, but we’re always hoping for the best,” he said, referring to the portable survival kits many families here have.
Despite North Korea’s threat to lob a missile toward Guam, many residents seem to be taking things in stride. Guam’s largest supermarket chain, Pay-Less Supermarkets, has not seen any unusual shopping activity in its eight stores, said Kathy Sgro, the company’s executive vice president.
“While we haven’t noticed an increase in sales of canned goods, bottled water, or emergency items such as candles and batteries, we have seen a small spike in sales of antacids and milk of magnesia, which makes me wonder if people are experiencing higher levels of anxiety than usual,” Sgro said.
Regine Biscoe Lee, a senator in Guam’s Legislature, thinks there is a heightened sense of anxiety among the people of Guam but said that her office had not received any calls regarding the North Korean threat.
“Here on Guam it’s business as usual, but that doesn’t mean we’re turning a blind eye to the situation,” she said. “Faith and family — that’s what people cling to here on Guam. When things get serious, we stick together, and we’re here for one another.”
Adding to anxieties, a local broadcaster conducted an unscheduled test on Tuesday of the emergency broadcast system and did not realize it went live.
Anthony Matanona, a baker who runs a traditional hotnu bakery in Inarajan, Guam’s oldest and best-preserved village from the Spanish era, noted that Guam’s history had inured people to coping with outside threats.
“Guam and our people have been through hell and back — and not just through the destruction of natural elements like typhoons and earthquakes,” Matanoma said as he greeted customers and took orders for coconut bread.
“We were colonized under Spain for 300 years and occupied by Japan for four years of war before we became Americanized,” he said. “We survived all of that, so I’m not worried. I still have to grate the coconut, I have to make sure I open up in the morning — I have to continue living.”
Some people on Guam are even seizing on the media’s current obsession with the territory to draw attention to the plight of Guam’s civilians, portraying them as innocent pawns in a fight between two nuclear-armed nations.
In a Facebook post that went viral, “An Open Letter From Guam to America,” Victoria-Lola M. Leon Guerrero wrote, “This land, this beautiful island everyone wants to bomb because of you, is my land, not yours.”
“I want to go to sleep peacefully knowing that my family is safe in our home,” she wrote. “So please, stop all this bomb talk. And instead, ask yourself why Guam is still your colony in 2017.”
These are (again) tough days for the Rebel Commander.
But this time it feels different for Ezra Levant and his Rebel Media because the appalling scene that unfolded in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend, threatens to wash away the house of sand his alternative media site is built upon.
Levant this week disavowed the alt-right movement following the Charlottesville invasion by neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists, resulting in the death of a young woman and two state troopers.
This after his “reporter” on the scene, Faith Goldy, seemed to be cheering on the white supremacists in the moments before a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
The alt-right used to be fun, when he first heard of it a year ago, Levant wrote in a memo posted on The Rebel website Monday. He thought it was a home for “unashamed right-wingedness, with a sense of humour.”
That sounds a little like an arsonist who used to burn down houses for fun, but now, a year later, has come to realize that matches cause fire.
Levant is nothing if not resilient. His following is devoted. He has not been slowed by lawsuits, forced apologies or social media attacks. Such controversy is his oxygen; his crack cocaine.
He was feeding off it again Tuesday: “Being controversial is part of our style — we’re Tabasco and the other guys are vanilla. Not everyone likes Tabasco, but those who like it, like it a lot.”
He says he is not losing any advertising revenue and, asked if he can survive, he says, “You must acknowledge the irony of being asked that by a legacy newspaper. We have more subscribers than the Star.”
But if The Rebel is becoming toxic, and there are signs it is, he will not come back this time.
He lost his co-founder, Brian Lilley, an Ottawa radio host who wrote Monday that if The Rebel’s “lack of editorial and behavioural judgment” is left unchecked it will destroy the site and all those around it.
“People didn’t just cross the line there,” he told me, “they jumped over the line.”
On Tuesday, Rebel freelancer Barbara Kay tweeted she too had resigned.
Conservative politicians, notably Michael Chong and even Chris Alexander of “lock her up” fame in Alberta, have vowed to shun The Rebel.
Doug Schweitzer, a candidate for the United Conservative Party in Alberta, called for a Rebel boycott and told his two better-known opponents, Jason Kenney and Brian Jean, to stop playing “footsie” with Levant’s website and condemn its coverage of Charlottesville.
Schweitzer could be playing wedge politics himself — both Jean and Kenney took to social media to condemn the violence and hate on the weekend — but his message garnered a lot of attention.
The city of Edmonton, Porter Airlines, the ski resort Whistler Blackcomb and Ottawa Tourism have pulled their ads from the site and others have changed their profiles so their automated systems will not follow potential customers there.
This was all building before Goldy’s live stream from the protest Saturday in which she mocks counter-protesters as she walks with them.
The supremacists had the permit for the demonstration, but it only takes chants of “Black Lives Matter” to be left alone by police, she says.
Police were trying to shut down the alt-right while counter-protesters were illegally on the street, she reports.
“There is freedom of assembly for one group and not the other,” she said. “If you’re the alt-right, you’re not allowed to talk about ideas.”
Then a woman was murdered.
Defending herself, Goldy wrote: “I do not bathe in tears of white guilt. That does not make me a white supremacist.
“I oppose state multiculturalism and affirmative action. That does not make me a racist.
“I reject cultural relativism. That does not make me a fascist.”
Gavin McInnes, best known in Canada for his Proud Boys who disrupted an Indigenous protest in Halifax on Canada Day, also disavowed the alt-right on the site.
He laid blame for the Charlottesville killing on the man behind the wheel of the car, but he had a list of blame and at No. 5 he had . . . feminists.
“One thing I can’t help but notice,” he tells his viewers, “is how empowered these women feel. Why are women at riots?” he asked.
This column would be the last place to look for a suggestion that free speech should be stifled.
But sometimes you forfeit the right to that speech and if the oxygen that keeps this hate and racism alive is extinguished, those who snuff it out should be applauded.
The Rebel cruise sets sail for the Caribbean in November. If you signed up, better hope it is refundable.
Tim Harper writes on national affairs. He can be reached at email@example.com , Twitter: @nutgraf1
Tim Harper writes on national affairs. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , Twitter: @nutgraf1
Being caught impaired at work is not necessarily the end of the line for TTC employees.
Three months into the transit agency’s controversial new random drug and alcohol testing policy, 17 out of the 680 transit workers checked have tested positive for being inebriated on the job, according to TTC figures.
Ten of the employees no longer work for the transit agency, having either resigned or been dismissed. Four cases are still under investigation.
But three of those who tested positive have been allowed to keep their jobs.
Under a TTC policy that is supported by labour law experts, workers who are impaired on the job aren’t fired if they can show that they have an addiction, which the TTC considers a disability.
“We don’t want anybody to be coming to work impaired, needless to say. But at the same time we want people to be healthy,” said TTC spokesperson Brad Ross.
“People have addictions. We want to help them.”
Ross said that for privacy reasons he couldn’t confirm whether the TTC reinstated the three workers because they admitted to a substance abuse problem, but that “any reinstatement after a positive test would almost certainly be for an addiction.”
If a worker who tests positive claims to have an addiction, their case is reviewed by an independent substance abuse professional, according to Ross.
TTC management and employee relations staff also review the case, and if it’s determined the addiction is genuine the employee is directed to enter a treatment program.
The worker can be cleared to return upon the completion of the program, but before doing so would be tested to ensure they’re free from drugs or alcohol.
The employee is then subject to unannounced drug and alcohol tests for a period of two years. Ross said each worker is dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but that an employee could be terminated if the test uncovers any alcohol or drug use.
Nadia Halum, an employment and human rights lawyer at the Toronto-based MacLeod Law Firm, said that the TTC is legally obligated to give special consideration to workers with addictions.
“Addiction has been recognized as a disability by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario,” she said.
“If someone has a disability and discloses that they have a disability, then the TTC — or any employer really — has a duty to accommodate that disability.”
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, which represents more than 10,000 TTC workers, opposes the random drug testing policy, which the union argues violates the rights of employees. An arbitration ruling on the policy is still pending.
But Local 113 secretary-treasurer Kevin Morton said that subjecting workers who have admitted to an addiction to unannounced tests is a sensible measure to protect public safety.
“I wouldn’t do it for a lifetime … but I would say (two years) is fair,” he said.
Of the 17 workers who have tested positive since the TTC introduced the random testing policy on May 8, five were found to have consumed alcohol, and12 were found to have used unspecified drugs. Two employees refused to be tested, which the TTC considers a violation of the policy that can result in disciplinary action.
The TTC is still waiting on the results of 24 drug tests, which take several days to process.
Two of the employees who tested positive were transit vehicle operators. One was non-union, meaning the person held a supervisory or management position.
The TTC says that the tests only determine whether someone is impaired at the time of the check, not whether they use drugs or alcohol on their own time.
Bombardier is taking Metrolinx to court for the second time this year, in the latest sign that the relationship between the Quebec-based rail manufacturer and the provincial transit agency has badly deteriorated.
In an application filed with the Ontario Divisional Courton Tuesday, Bombardier claims that Metrolinx, which is the government agency responsible for transit planning in the GTHA, unfairly prohibited it from bidding on a lucrative contract to operate its Toronto-area rail services.
“Metrolinx improperly, arbitrarily, unfairly, and unlawfully excluded Bombardier from participating in the Regional Express Rail (RER) operator procurement by designating Bombardier as … ineligible,” reads the company’s application.
“Bombardier has a right to compete in this procurement process on an equal footing and with the same rights as its competitors.”
Bombardier currently holds the contracts to operate Metrolinx’s GO Transit and UPX service until 2023.
Last month Metrolinx issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) to identify potential bidders to take over the lines after the current deals expire, by which time the agency plans to be well on its way to drastically expanding GO service as part of the RER program that is expected to quadruple the number weekly GO trips from 1,500 to 6,000 by 2025.
Metrolinx says it prohibited Bombardier and at least two other companies that provide maintenance for the rail lines from participating in the RFQ in order to avoid a conflict of interest.
“One of the main duties of the successful bidder will be to carry out an assessment of our current operations and service providers. A current operator cannot oversee this function objectively. That’s why Bombardier will not be eligible to fulfil that role,” wrote Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins in an email Tuesday.
A Bombardier spokesperson refused to answer the Star’s questions, on the grounds that the issue is now before the courts.
But the company’s application alleges that Metrolinx’s decision to exclude it from the RFQ violates the Crown corporation’s “statutory and other legal obligations to provide fair and equal access to procurement processes.”
Bombardier claims it would “suffer irreparable harm” if it is unable to participate, because it would miss out on a contract it estimates could be worth more than $2 billion. (Metrolinx would not confirm that figure.)
The application asks the court to quash Metrolinx’s designation of Bombardier as ineligible, to stay the procurement process, and to provide the company with a “reasonable opportunity” to participate in the RFQ.
Aikins said that Metrolinx has already agreed to extend the deadline by two weeks, to Sept. 12, in order to answer questions from other potential bidders.
The latest legal dispute between Metrolinx and Bombardier is separate from the bitter court battle that played out earlier this year over a delayed $770-million order for light rail vehicles (LRVs) to run on the Eglinton Crosstown and other Toronto-area light rail lines.
Metrolinx placed the order with Bombardier in 2010 but moved to cancel it last year, claiming that the company had defaulted by not delivering two prototype vehicles on time.
Bombardier denied it was in default and filed an injunction against Metrolinx in February.
In April a judge sided with the company, ruling that Metrolinx couldn’t terminate the deal for default without first going through the dispute resolution process set out in the contract.
That process is ongoing, but in May the province announced it would buy vehicles from Alstom, a Bombardier competitor, as a back up for the troubled Crosstown order.
Aikins stated that the decision to exclude Bombardier from the RER procurement was not retaliation for the court loss, saying in an email that the LRV dispute was a “very separate” issue.