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TOPSTORIES

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    WINNIPEG—The mayor of Winnipeg is calling for the resignation of a senator who wants Indigenous people to give up their status cards in exchange for Canadian citizenship.

    Brian Bowman said the comments by Conservative Sen. Lynn Beyak are damaging to the country’s reconciliation. If she won’t quit, he said, she should be better educated and understand that Indigenous people are indeed Canadians.

    “To have a member of the Canadian Senate be so incredibly ignorant about who Canadian citizens are is deeply offensive,” Bowman said Thursday.

    “At a minimum, she should be apologizing to Canadians — all Canadians.”

    Read more: Tory senator says ‘good deeds’ of residential schools were overshadowed

    Sen. Lynn Beyak asks residential school survivor about tax audit of First Nations spending

    Senator dumped from aboriginal issues committee for controversial views

    A letter signed by Beyak, and posted on her website Sept. 1, says: “None of us are leaving, so let’s stop the guilt and blame and find a way to live together.

    “Trade your status card for a Canadian citizenship, with a fair and negotiated payout to each Indigenous man, woman and child in Canada, to settle all the outstanding land claims and treaties, and move forward together just like the leaders already do in Ottawa,” Beyak wrote.

    “All Canadians are then free to preserve their cultures in their own communities, on their own time, with their own dime.”

    The senator from northwestern Ontario made headlines earlier this year for saying “some good” came out of Canada’s residential schools. She spoke in the Senate chamber about staff at the schools having good intentions and students having positive experiences.

    She was subsequently removed from the Senate’s Indigenous affairs committee.

    Bowman, who is Metis, encouraged others to speak out against Beyak. The mayor has been working to address race relations in his community since Maclean’s magazine dubbed it the most racist city in Canada in 2015.

    Requests for comment to Beyak’s office were not returned Thursday.

    But she did release an open letter that said she can’t take credit for an idea that came from former prime minister Pierre Trudeau’s 1969 White Paper that proposed repealing the Indian Act and all treaties. The idea was abandoned by the government in the face of sharp criticism from Indigenous communities.

    “I believe that it is brilliant and could form part of a path forward today,” wrote Beyak.

    “Other suggestions and solutions for moving forward in a positive way come through support letters from Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from coast to coast . . . What we have been doing is obviously not working, spending billions of dollars annually, yet filthy water and inadequate housing still a reality on too many reserves.”

    Sen. Larry Smith, leader of the Conservative Senate caucus, issued a statement on Twitter: “The personal opinions expressed by Senator Lynn Beyak do not reflect the positions of the Senate Conservative Caucus,” he said.

    “Accordingly, we have taken additional steps to address Senator Beyak’s ongoing role within our Caucus.”

    Ontario member of Parliament Charlie Angus, who is vying to lead the federal New Democrats, tweeted that Beyak has “no credibility, competence or fitness for public office.”


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    OTTAWA—Current U.S. policy directs the American military not to defend Canada if it is targeted in a ballistic missile attack, says the top Canadian officer at the North American Aerospace Defence Command.

    “We’re being told in Colorado Springs that the extant U.S. policy is not to defend Canada,” said Lt.-Gen. Pierre St-Amand, deputy commander of Colorado-based Norad.

    “That is the policy that’s stated to us. So that’s the fact that I can bring to the table.”

    St-Amand delivered that revelation Thursday during an appearance before the House of Commons defence committee, which is studying the extent to which Canada is ready for an attack by North Korea.

    The study comes after several provocative nuclear and ballistic missile tests by North Korea, which have stoked fears Canada could end up in the middle of a confrontation between the U.S. and the so-called hermit kingdom.

    Read more: UN says North Korea exported $325M in violation of sanctions

    Egypt cuts military ties with North Korea, report says

    Those tests have also resurrected questions over whether Canada should join the U.S. ballistic missile defence shield, which it famously opted out of in 2005 following a divisive national debate.

    St-Amand said Canadian and U.S. military personnel at Norad headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., work side-by-side detecting potential airborne threats to North America.

    But Canada would have no role in deciding what to do if North Korea or any other country fired a missile at North America, he said.

    Canadian military personnel would instead be forced to sit on the sidelines and watch as U.S. officials decided how to act.

    The general did acknowledge that U.S. officials could ultimately decide to intervene if a missile was heading toward Canada, but that the decision would likely be made in “the heat of the moment.”

    St-Amand’s comments appeared to confirm the worst fears of many people who believe it is time for Canada to join the U.S. ballistic missile defence shield.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seemed to all but close the door on joining ballistic missile defence last month when he said Canada’s position is “not going to be changed any time soon.”

    But that has not stopped various defence experts, retired military personnel and even some Liberal MPs from calling for Canada to embrace the missile shield to ensure the country’s protection.

    Earlier in the day, officials from Global Affairs Canada and National Defence warned the committee that it was likely only a matter of time before North Korea would be able to launch an attack on North America.

    But they also said that based on recent contacts with Pyongyang, the North Koreans do not see Canada as an enemy, but rather as a potential friend that has the ear of the U.S.

    Those contacts include a meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her North Korean counterpart in August.

    “There has been no direct threat to Canada,” said Mark Gwozdecky, assistant deputy minister of international security at Global Affairs Canada.

    “On the contrary, in recent contacts with the North Korean government ... the indications were that they perceived Canada as a peaceful and indeed a friendly country.”

    Pyongyang’s primary goal is self-preservation, the officials said, and it understands the consequences of a war with the United States or any other country.

    Yet the officials also said the risks of a miscalculation are high, and the Liberal government believes Canada has an important role in helping find a peaceful solution to the situation.

    That includes talks, but also trying to exert more pressure on the North Korean government — either through diplomatic isolation or economic sanctions — to give up its nuclear weapons.

    “We must convince Pyongyang that it can achieve its goals through peaceful diplomatic means,” said Mark Gwozdecky, assistant deputy minister of international security at Global Affairs Canada.


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    OTTAWA—It’s a sonic whodunit, with international ripples.

    Canadian and U.S. diplomats serving in Cuba have been afflicted by a weird sonic blast that has affected their health and put police agencies in both countries on the trail for the culprit.

    “A conspiracy theorist could have a field day,” said a former Canadian diplomat familiar with Cuba.

    “This has been so strange and bizarre from the very beginning,” he said, speaking on background because of the sensitivity of the issue.

    In March, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department began to hear reports about “bizarre” symptoms — headaches, nosebleeds, dizziness, ringing in the ears — affecting a number of its diplomats working in Havana.

    Read more:

    Mystery deepens in Cuba over ‘health attacks’ on U.S., Canadian diplomats

    Two more Americans were affected by health attacks in Cuba, Tillerson says

    At least one Canadian diplomat in Cuba also suffered hearing loss, Global Affairs says

    Canadian diplomats and family members were affected in the incidents, suggesting that residences may have been targeted as well as official embassy buildings.

    A Canadian government official, who spoke on background, declined to give to firm numbers on how many were affected but said, “it was not a one-off.”

    But he said Canadians involved in the incidents are in “fine health” now and there has not been a reoccurrence.

    “Clearly, whatever happened affected the Americans more deeply,” the official said.

    It’s not clear whether it was some form of electronic surveillance gone awry or a deliberate attempt to target diplomats. Nor is it clear who is behind the attacks. Cubans? Russians trying to make mischief?

    “What’s difficult to determine is what the cause was and then, who caused it . . . Anything is possible,” the official said.

    However, he said the Cubans have been “very eager” to collaborate with the investigation since being alerted to the incidents.

    The RCMP is investigating, working in collaboration with the U.S., including the FBI, and Cuban officials.

    The Associated Press reported Thursday that 21 U.S. diplomats have been victims in the mystery attacks.

    And it reported that the attacks had a “laser-like specificity” seemingly able to target specific parts of a building.

    During the incidents, diplomats felt vibrations and heard noises like ringing, high-pitched chirping, grinding — and sometimes nothing at all, The Associated Press said.

    The union that represents U.S. diplomats said it has met with 10 personnel who have suffered health effects from what it called “sonic harassment” against the U.S. embassy in Havana.

    Diagnoses include mild traumatic brain injury and permanent hearing loss, and symptoms include loss of balance, severe headaches, cognitive disruption and brain swelling, the American Foreign Service Association said.

    The association called on Washington to ensure care for those affected and “to work to ensure that these incidents cease and are not repeated.”

    Its counterpart in Canada — the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers — offered no details on the incidents, saying only that it works closely with the Foreign Affairs Department to “address this and other health and safety issues” affecting diplomats working abroad.

    Contrary to earlier published reports, the Canadians did not suffer hearing loss.

    The Canadian diplomat said he suspects some sort of technical mistake in a surveillance operation is the blame rather than a deliberate campaign to target and harm diplomats.

    “I think you had a surveillance operation that technologically went wrong, some sort of equipment malfunction, some mistake,” he said.

    He said that surveillance is a fact of life for diplomats posted abroad.

    “Lots of people engage in them. The Americans run massive signals intelligence operations around the world and spy on everybody. The Russians spy on everybody, the Chinese, the French, the Israelis, you name it,” he said.

    And yes, even the Canadians, keeping tabs on the activities of some foreign diplomats in Ottawa, he said.

    “If you’re a foreign diplomat, especially in a place like Cuba, in your daily life you have to assume that there are surveillance activities,” he said.

    “They can be more or less intrusive, they can be more or less electronic,” the former diplomat said.

    He said that it defies logic that the Cubans would deliberately target Canada, with whom they have long enjoyed warm relations, or Americans, at a time when President Donald Trump is re-evaluating the past administration’s policy of warming ties with the Caribbean nation.

    He said the Cubans were always respectful of diplomatic personnel and property. “There is no plausible motive to launch an aggressive campaign do to harm to foreign diplomats,” he said.

    Last month, the U.S. State Department said American personnel in Cuba had suffered a “variety of physical symptoms” in incidents that date back to late 2016.

    “Initially, when they started reporting what I will just call symptoms, it took time to figure out what it was, and this is still ongoing. So we’re monitoring it. We provide medical care and concern to those who believe that they have been affected by it, and we take this extremely seriously,” spokesperson Heather Nauert told an August briefing.

    She admitted at the time of the briefing, that American officials were in the dark about the cause of the incidents. “We’re taking that situation seriously and it’s under investigation right now,” she said.

    Yet, the U.S. government forced two Cuban diplomats to leave the embassy in Washington, apparently because two American diplomats were forced to return home from Havana.


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    After a brief hiatus during the summer, The Sherbourne Health Centre’s Health Bus has a new look and team, its level of medical services bolstered to meet the evolving needs of east Toronto.

    The specially-designed vehicle was delivered to the hospital this week from the U.S., and in mid-October, it will roll through the streets once again, tending to those who need it most, said Chantel Marshall, program director at the Sherbourne Health Centre, before a media event slated for late afternoon Thursday.

    The program, which has been in operation for over 20 years, serves Toronto’s most vulnerable and underserved people: the homeless and underhoused.

    Under its roof will work three full-time staff members instead of nine part-time positions. A nurse practitioner, a mental health counsellor and a program worker will work year-round from the vehicle. The first role is particularly important because they will able to treat and diagnose clients on the spot.

    “We can do more primary care on the bus now,” said Marshall. “It’s built to be a clinic space. Our other program just had a registered nurse. (Nurse Practitioners) can write prescriptions and do emergency diversion. They can work at an expanded scope.”

    They can also test for HIV, conduct pap smears, blood tests, and mend certain injuries, said Marshall.

    “You could only go so far,” said Emery Potter, the nurse practitioner, who had a stint in the former bus. “I think this bus will be able to meet people’s needs. We’re going to be a one-stop shop, see people where they are.”

    The two vehicles are completely different, Potter said — the new model is wheelchair accessible, for instance; on a desk sits two laptop computers; at the back is large office with various instruments adorning the walls.

    “I remember having to do an assessment for somebody and there was just this very uncomfortable bench in the old bus,” Potter said. “It was an RV, not a clinical space. It was what it was.”

    Tucked into an upper cabinet was a selection of naloxone kits containing easy to apply nasal sprays, which can stimulate someone’s breathing who’s overdosed on opioids. These can be used, too.

    “We never had naloxone on the last bus,” said Marshall. “It’s huge and timely,” calling the prevalence of opioid use a “crisis.”

    This example falls in step with the renewed program’s drive to be more inclusive.

    “We’re expanding our services to include communities that face various barriers to accessing health care, so that may be newcomer community, the LGBTQ community, as well as people who use substances or need support with mental health,” said Marshall.

    By newcomers she means residents of St. James Town, which has a large immigrant population.

    “They face barriers to accessing primary care because,” continued Marshall, “so there’s opportunities for our bus to service that area and connect them.”

    The team still has to determine a route, so it’s been reaching out to the community to establish a plan that works best, added Marshall.

    “There’s something exciting about exploring and assessing and meeting the needs of the community,” Potter said. “We’re going to try to be thoughtful. Part of it is making sure that we’re not going somewhere that’s over resourced.”


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    It is mid-morning in a packed upstairs kitchen at The 519 community centre and Kristen Ireland is brandishing an eggplant and making upbeat and practiced demands.

    “Somebody has got to cut the eggplant,” she declares, before flipping the tubular purple fruit into a set of ready hands, followed by an extremely large knife.

    “Knife skills, remember,” she said, offering it out handle first. “Pass it so you don’t kill somebody.”

    Ireland is a health promoter with the Inner City Family Health Team, a group of health professionals dedicated to caring for former or current residents of Seaton House and people who are experiencing homelessness.

    Brandon, who took and is diligently cutting the eggplant into cubes, is a health team client and has stayed for two years at Seaton House, Toronto’s largest shelter.

    At The 519 he is part of a team of chefs, working to learn how to prepare healthy and affordable meals, as part of a life skills program called Street Eats.

    “The most important thing is we learn from each other and master some skills,” said Brandon. People who don’t have housing, he felt it was important to say, are often isolated and lonely and benefit from group programs.

    The cooking program “warms my heart,” he said.

    Arnoldo Alcayaga, who at one time lived in an emergency shelter, was part of a group who came up with the workshop, with health team registered nurse Roxie Danielson and his own doctor.

    He was a health team client and wanted to find a way to give back because of the support he received.

    “Emotionally and spiritually you have to nourish your body and the best way to do that is to be aware of what you put in your body,” said Alcayaga, who is a chef.

    To do that properly, he said, you need to be instructed on how to pick, cook and find foods within your budget.

    Each session one of the men, all health team clients, picks out a recipe to make. Brandon chose pesto and pasta salad, topped with shredded cheese and tiny tomatoes from the health team’s garden.

    With Ireland’s help he coaches eight men through the hour and a bit it takes to turn out a pasta dish in a tiny and somewhat chaotic kitchen. The room is packed with jostling and laughing men, trying to communicate over the general din and a sputtering and roaring blender.

    The program runs every three weeks and is a partnership between the health team and The 519, a multi-service, city agency serving the LGBTQ community and other marginalized groups.

    The 519 donates the kitchen and the money for the food.

    “We have done everything from tamales to Chinese food,” as well as indigenous recipes, said Curran Stikuts, community organizer, who also does a fair bit of the grocery shopping.

    Stikuts said programs like Street Eats help provide a bit of additional food security for people struggling to get by in Toronto.

    He said in the last year The 519 provided more than 12,000 meals, just through their drop-in program and demand continues to rise.

    The men of Seaton House are facing an uncertain future. The shelter is scheduled for demolition in 2019, according to the city’s website. Construction is expected to take place from 2020 to 2023, provided council approves funding in 2018.

    There is a relocation plan in the works, but regardless of where they live many will continue to face the challenge of trying to live in Toronto on Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program.

    Most single men on ODSP who are living in social housing would be left with about $649 each month after paying rent. Those paying market rents would have far less.

    “ODSP just doesn’t cover the cost of living and eating well. It just doesn’t match what people need anymore,” said Danielson.

    Danielson, who helps run the class, said healthy food is a vital part of preserving health and preventing cardiovascular issues or conditions like diabetes from getting worse.

    Michael, a class participant and former Seaton House resident, now lives in supportive housing. In addition to ODSP, he receives what is known as a special food allowance, of $250 each month.

    “Seaton House was good to me in many ways,” particularly because of programs he was connected to, he said.

    He still relies on food banks for staple items, like pasta and rice and canned goods. The bulk of the allowance is spent on fresh produce and protein.

    One of the biggest appeals of the program, he said, is they are taught how to transform donated food items into decent meals, without a huge extra cost.

    “You get to meet people with a common purpose,” he said.


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    WASHINGTON — Shortly after learning in May that a special counsel had been appointed to investigate links between his campaign associates and Russia, U.S. President Trump berated Attorney General Jeff Sessions in an Oval Office meeting and said the attorney general should resign, according to current and former administration officials and others briefed on the matter.

    The president blamed the appointment of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, on Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the Justice Department’s Russia investigation — a move Trump believes was the moment his administration effectively lost control over the inquiry. Accusing Sessions of “disloyalty,” Trump unleashed a string of insults on his attorney general.

    Ashen and emotional, Sessions told the president he would quit and sent a resignation letter to the White House, according to four people who were told details of the meeting. Sessions would later tell associates that the demeaning way the president addressed him was the most humiliating experience in decades of public life.

    The Oval Office meeting, details of which have not previously been reported, shows the intensity of Trump’s emotions as the Russia investigation gained steam and how he appeared to immediately see Mueller’s appointment as a looming problem for his administration. It also illustrates the depth of antipathy Trump has had for Sessions — one of his earliest campaign supporters — and how the president interprets “disloyalty” within his circle of advisers.

    Trump ended up rejecting Sessions’s May resignation letter after senior members of his administration argued that dismissing the attorney general would only create more problems for a president who had already fired an FBI director and a national security adviser. Trump once again, in July, told aides he wanted to remove Sessions, but for a second time didn’t take action.

    The relationship between the two men has improved marginally since midsummer, as Sessions has made a public display of hunting for the leakers among the administration’s national security officials. His allies said that despite the humiliation, the attorney general has stayed in the job because he sees a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity as the nation’s top law enforcement official to toughen the country’s immigration policies.

    But he may be losing that battle as well. Sessions played a prominent role announcing the end of the Obama-era program that provided protection to the children of undocumented immigrants, only to see his boss backtrack on the policy. On Thursday morning, Trump confirmed he had reached a deal with Democrats to provide protections for the so-called “Dreamers.”

    This account is based on interviews with seven administration officials and others familiar with the interactions between Trump and Sessions in recent months who requested anonymity because they are not permitted to speak publicly about confidential conversations between the president and his aides. Politico first reported in July that Sessions had once offered his resignation letter, but the circumstances that prompted the letter — and Trump’s dressing down of the attorney general — have not previously been reported.

    Spokespeople for the White House and Justice Department declined to comment.

    The president’s outburst came in the middle of an Oval Office meeting Trump had with top advisers on May 17, to discuss candidates to take over the FBI after the president fired its director, James Comey, earlier that month. In addition to Sessions, Vice-President Mike Pence, Donald McGahn, the White House counsel, and several other aides attended the meeting.

    In the middle of the meeting, McGahn received a phone call from Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who had been overseeing the Russia investigation since Sessions recused himself from the inquiry months earlier. Sessions had stepped aside after it was revealed he had not provided accurate testimony to Congress about his meetings with the Russian ambassador during the presidential campaign.

    In the telephone call to McGahn, Rosenstein said he had decided to appoint Mueller to be a special counsel for the investigation. Congress had been putting pressure on Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel to put distance between the Trump administration and the Russia investigation, and just the day before The New York Times had revealed that Trump had once asked Comey to end the FBI’s investigation into Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser.

    When the phone call ended, McGahn relayed the news to the president and his aides. Almost immediately, Trump lobbed a volley of insults at Sessions, telling the attorney general it was his fault they were in the current situation. Trump told Sessions that choosing him to be attorney general was one of the worst decisions he had made, called him an “idiot,” and said that he should resign.

    An emotional Sessions told the president he would resign and left the Oval Office. That evening, as the Justice Department publicly announced the appointment of Mueller, the attorney general wrote a brief resignation letter to the president that was later sent to the White House. A person familiar with the events raised the possibility that Sessions had become emotional because the impact of his recusal was becoming clear.

    In the hours after the Oval Office meeting, however, Trump’s top advisers intervened to save Sessions’s job. Pence, Stephen Bannon, the president’s chief strategist at the time, and Reince Priebus, his chief of staff, all advised that accepting Sessions’s resignation would only sow more chaos inside the administration and rally Republicans in Congress against the president. Sessions, a former Alabama senator, served in the Senate for two decades.

    The president relented, and eventually returned the resignation letter to Sessions — with a handwritten response on it.

    For Sessions, the aggressiveness with which Trump has sought his removal was a blow. The son of a general store owner in a small town in Alabama, Sessions had long wanted to be the nation’s top federal law enforcement official or to serve in another top law enforcement or judicial post. He earned a reputation in the Senate as someone tough on immigration, and was the first senator to back Trump in the presidential campaign.

    But their relationship began to deteriorate little more than a month after Trump was sworn in as president, after Sessions’s announcement that he was recusing himself from the Russia inquiry caught Trump by surprise.

    The president spent months stewing about the recusal. In a July 19 interview with The Times, Trump said he never would have appointed Sessions to be attorney general if he knew he was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Trump called the decision “very unfair to the president.”

    Days after the Times interview, Trump told aides he wanted to replace Sessions. Some of the president’s aides, not sure if Trump really wanted the attorney general gone or was just working through his anger, were able to delay the firing until the president’s anger passed.

    But Trump continued his public attacks in the days that followed, including taking to Twitter to call him “weak”— a word that is among the harshest criticisms in Trump’s arsenal.

    Administration officials and some of Trump’s outside advisers have puzzled at Sessions’s decision to stay on. But people close to Sessions said that he did not leave because he had a chance to have an impact on what he sees as an issue of his career: curtailing legal and illegal immigration.

    In recent weeks, he has spearheaded the effort to undo what he believed to be the Obama administration’s dangerously lenient immigration policies, including the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals program.

    Sessions had no illusions about converting Trump to his side of the argument — Trump remains deeply ambivalent — and he had no illusions about repairing a damaged relationship he had once regarded as a friendship. But he told people he felt he had successfully pushed the president toward ending the Obama immigration policy, and thought it had given him increased leverage in the West Wing.

    The president agreed to terminate the program, and on Sept. 5 Sessions stood alone at a lectern — a moment that seemed to be a significant victory for the attorney general.

    But his satisfaction was fleeting. Trump quickly undercut Sessions in a tweet by saying he would reconsider whether or not to end the program, leading the attorney general to tell allies that he was frustrated that the president had muddled months of work leading to the announcement of the new policy.

    On Wednesday evening, Democrats announced they had reached a deal with the president to quickly extend protections for young undocumented immigrants.

    On Thursday morning, taking a vastly different position than the one Sessions had announced on Sept. 5, the president tweeted about the need for protections for people brought here “through no fault of their own.”


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    The Toronto Police Association is encouraging its members to wear union ball caps to protest what its president calls “empty promises” from police leadership to fix low staffing levels.

    “We want to see a sign of solidarity, a sign of unity. We want to send a message to the chief, the chair and the mayor that we are together on these issues,” Mike McCormack says in a video message to Toronto officers released Wednesday, announcing what he calls “phase two” of its protest against modernization plans within the Toronto Police Service.

    The move comes just over a month after the union released a joint statement with the Toronto Police Service and its civilian board announcing changes aimed at addressing problems with staffing levels, caused in part by a higher-than-anticipated number of staff departures.

    The central fix was a temporary lifting of a three-year hiring and promotions freeze. The statement announced 80 new officers would be recruited by the end of 2017.

    But McCormack now says the hiring and training schedule for the new recruits means all 80 won’t be on the road until January 2019.

    Meanwhile, 203 uniform members have left Toronto police this year and more are expected to depart by year’s end.

    “The carpet got pulled out from under our feet,” McCormack said in an interview Thursday.

    Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash would not comment on a timeline for the deployment of the new recruits. But he said Toronto police have received 116 applications since Tuesday, when the service officially announced the recruiting process had opened.

    Speaking to reporters Thursday, Mayor John Tory, who sits on the police board, said “every one of the issues” that the union expressed concerns about is being addressed “as we speak,” including the hiring of officers.

    A Toronto police news release this week said the service was “now accepting applications for the position of cadet-in-training,” but did not include any deadline for application, or any details about deployment.

    “The new recruits will support community-centric policing, diversity and inclusion as part of The Way Forward Action Plan,” said the news release, referring to the Toronto police’s modernization plan.

    Approved by the police board earlier this year, the action plan recommended no new uniform officers be hired over three years, the end goal to reduce the number of officers to about 4,750 by 2019.

    The union has said it has yet to see the data to show how that number was decided upon; as of July, the Toronto police employed 5,100 police officers.

    The modernization plan found $100 million in savings for the police service’s operating budget over three years, $60 million of which would come from the three-year freeze on hiring and a moratorium on promotions.

    The police union has for months been critical of the Way Forward plan, claiming officer ranks have been depleted to critically low levels, causing safety issues.

    With files from David Rider

    Wendy Gillis can be reached at wgillis@thestar.ca


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    One of Ireland’s most successful canine athletes has been banned from dog-racing indefinitely after three doping control tests found evidence of cocaine in his system, the BBC reported Thursday.

    Clonbrien Hero will now have some of his prize money and titles withheld, including his winnings from July’s Irish Laurels final at Cork, where he took home the top prize worth roughly $35,000 (U.S.).

    Of course, this is no fault of the dog’s. It’s Clonbrien Hero’s owner Kay Murphy and trainer Graham Holland who are facing the questions. They have denied they intentionally gave the dog drugs and are blaming accidental ingestion instead.

    Read more:

    $250M worth of cocaine hidden in cement blocks is the biggest seizure in its history, OPP says

    Stray pup races alongside man throughout seven-day ultra-marathon

    A fresh wrinkle: Bulldog racing comes to Toronto

    “We feel we are being victimized here for something we haven’t done,” Holland told the Times. “If you know you are going to be tested when you win a race, you are not going to administer cocaine to a greyhound. I’ve been training greyhounds for over 30 years and now I’m accused of doping them.”

    The three failed tests came from samples taken at the Curraheen Park Greyhound Stadium on June 25, July 1 and July 22, the latter date coinciding with the Laurels finding. Holland is not exactly sure how his dog may have ended up with cocaine in his system, but has one theory about how a winning dog might come into contact with the illegal drug.

    “You can pass traces of cocaine by handling money,” Holland told the Times. “When a dog wins a race, people are walking up to the dog and patting it on the head. If they have cocaine on their hands, they can pass that to the dog and it can come out in a urine sample.”

    That does not seem terribly likely, however. While a 2007 study showed trace of amounts of cocaine on 100 per cent of currency in circulation in Ireland, it’s unclear how probable it is that those trace amounts could be transmitted to a person’s hands, then to a dog’s head and eventually the dog’s bladder. For example, a 1997 study of U.S. currency by the Argonne National Laboratory said those small amounts were unlikely to rub off on hands because they become embedded in the fibres of the bill.

    Clonbrien Hero is not the first dog to test positive for cocaine. This year in Florida, at least 22 greyhounds tested positive for the substance.

    “The fact that we’re seeing this over and over again indicates the industry has a drug problem,” Carey Theil, executive director of industry watchdog group GREY2K USA Worldwide told The Washington Post in July.

    Thiel’s explanation of why dogs are getting popped for cocaine isn’t as innocent as Holland’s.

    “To me, this looks like race-fixing. There does seem to be a correlation between dogs testing positive and performance,” Theil said, noting a particular dog in Florida put up her two best times while on cocaine.

    There remains no evidence that cocaine boosts greyhound performance, however. Nor are there any studies that suggest cocaine would help human track and field stars. In fact, it may hurt.

    “Competitive athletics increases the potential of cocaine’s powerful adverse cardiovascular stimulating effects,” Dr. Gary Wadler, a New York University School of Medicine professor and lead author of the book Drugs and the Athlete, told ESPN once, “namely, life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms and heart attacks.”

    Unlike human athletes, however, Clonbrien Hero’s ban likely won’t be prolonged. According to the BBC, the Irish Greyhound Board will allow the dog to race again when he “has been passed clear.”


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    It really is hard for women to break the glass ceiling . . . even at an organization whose mandate is to accomplish that very thing.

    For the second time in a row, Catalyst Canada, a non-profit organization that pushes for the advancement of women in the workplace, has appointed a man to chair its advisory board.

    The Canadian arm of the 55-year-old global institute promoting gender equity in the boardroom and the executive suite announced Thursday that CIBC chief executive Victor Dodig has replaced former chair Bill Downe, the Bank of Montreal’s CEO, who is retiring from the bank this year and was the Catalyst chairperson.

    “Isn’t that interesting?” said Trish Hennessey, director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Ontario office, who has personally worked on the issue of income inequality for over a decade.

    “That is kind of ironic. As an organization, you might want your leader to be a reflection of your stated mandate,” she said.

    “It’s 2017 and the glass ceiling is a very real phenomenon in Canada.”

    Jeannie Collins-Ardern, the new interim CEO of Women in Capital Markets, agreed that “the optics aren’t the best.

    “It would have been nice to set an example to have a woman chair the board this time around, since they had a man the last time,” said Collins-Ardern. But she added that she has heard that Dodig is “a very supportive individual of women’s initiatives and he’s done a lot of good for the community.”

    Dodig was named the 2017 Catalyst Canada Honours Champion in recognition of his “exceptional contributions to accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion,” says a release from Catalyst.

    “He is a vocal advocate for gender diversity in the workplace and actively supports the advancement of talented women to executive roles and on boards,” the release says.

    The group’s Toronto-based executive director defended the move to name Dodig, who has been on the organization’s board of directors for the last three years, as board chairman, saying he’s a leader on the issue of gender diversity in the workplace.

    Tanya van Biesen said the decision was made after “a very thoughtful process” that included both male and female candidates for the position.

    “This is a real reflection of what we believe: that it’s critical to engage men in the dialogue of gender balance . . . to eradicate this problem. This is not just a women’s problem; it’s a societal problem,” said van Biesen in an interview.

    Catalyst Canada’s advisory board includes executives from top Canadian corporations, including McDonald’s Canada, BCE Inc. and soup titan Campbell Company of Canada.

    “We think he is a fantastic choice,” van Biesen said.

    “We don’t have an issue with the optics at all.”

    Hennessey questions the move, given that “there is a vast pool of talented women who are extremely qualified to fill a position like that.

    “If your mandate is to question hiring practices, you have to start at the top,” said Hennessey.

    The website for the organization, which has its global headquarters on Wall St. in New York City, boasts that “Catalyst is the most trusted resource for knowledge on gender, leadership, and inclusive leadership in the world.”

    “We (women) have to lead by example,” noted Collins-Ardern, whose organization is the largest network of women in the Canadian financial industry.

    Of the 19 members of Catalyst Canada’s advisory board, seven are women. About three per cent of Canadian-based public companies have women at the helm, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    Of the 17 directors who sit on the board at CIBC, where Dodig is CEO, seven are women.

    Dodig was unavailable for comment Thursday, but said in a statement that he is excited to “accelerate progress for women, improve gender balance in leadership roles and create more inclusive workplaces.”

    “It’s by building truly inclusive organizations and harnessing everyone’s talent that we will strengthen the Canadian economy and enable our country to compete on the global stage,” he added.


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    The criminal trial of two former key Dalton McGuinty aides in the gas plants case has been delayed one more time.

    It will now start Sept. 22 after problems with late disclosure of evidence to the defence by Crown prosecutors, Ontario Court Judge Timothy Lipson ruled Friday.

    “We’ve now come to the end of what was supposed to be the first week of the trial,” he added after a brief 20-minute hearing with lawyers.

    Laura Miller and David Livingston, the former aides to ex-premier McGuinty, are charged with deleting documents related to the government’s ‎decisions to scrap controversial gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga before the 2011 election.

    Both have pleaded not guilty. McGuinty was not charged and co-operated with the police investigation.

    As the trial was slated to begin on Monday of this week, defence lawyers asked Lipson for a seven-day adjournment but that did not give them adequate time to prepare for the trial.

    Now that evidence disclosure problems have been worked out, and “unnecessary witnesses” have been pruned from a list of people slated to testify, Lipson said the case should be completed in early November as previously scheduled.


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    Ontarians appear to be high on the sale of recreational marijuana being restricted to a provincial government monopoly, new poll suggests.

    Campaign Research found 51 per cent of those surveyed back Premier Kathleen Wynne’s new plan to have cannabis sold solely through standalone LCBO-operated stores and a website.

    “Media and the punditocracy… are suggesting that it’s inefficient and it’s bureaucratic and the antithesis of what most people wanted when, in actuality, the government is doing exactly what Ontarians want,” said Eli Yufest, CEO of Campaign Research.

    Read more: Liberals accused of using marijuana plan as smoke screen

    “The government appears to be on the right side of the issue,” Yufest said Thursday.

    About a third – 35 per cent – of those polled oppose the idea and 14 per cent had no opinion.

    The online poll of a panel of 1,133 Ontario voters was conducted between last Friday — the day the weed retail scheme was unveiled — and Monday. It is considered accurate to within 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

    Asked specifically where recreational marijuana should be sold after the federal government legalizes it next July 1, respondents were divided.

    A quarter — 24 per cent — said the “Cannabis Control Board of Ontario,” 10 per cent said existing LCBO liquor stores, 16 per cent said pharmacies, 19 per cent said “dispensaries,” which are currently operating illegally, while 2 per cent said convenience stores, 1 per cent said other shops, 6 per cent didn’t know, and 23 per cent oppose any sale of marijuana.

    Yufest said Wynne’s decision to limit pot to 40 LCBO-operated stores next year — rising to 150 by 2019 — appears to be contributing to her party’s slight bounce in the polls.

    “The minimum wage and pharmacare and all of the other stuff that the government has been rolling out over the last few months … coupled with this is what’s driving both her personal numbers and the party numbers up,” he said.

    With an election set for June 7, 2018, the pollster found Patrick Brown’s Progressive Conservatives at 38 per cent, Wynne’s Liberals at 33 per cent, Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats at 23 per cent and the Greens led by Mike Schreiner at 6 per cent.

    “We certainly see a tightening between those two parties,” said Yufest, referring to the Tories and the Liberals.

    Wynne’s personal approval ratings are still the lowest of the three major party leaders.

    The premier had 19 per cent approval, 67 per cent disapproval, and 14 per cent weren’t sure.

    Brown had 28 per cent approval, 22 per cent disapproval, and 50 per cent didn’t know.

    Horwath led the pack with 37 per cent approval, 19 per cent disapproval, and 43 per cent had no opinion.

    Yufest said the fact that half of respondents did not have any opinion on Brown suggests the Tories’ recent seven-figure television ad blitz has not had much impact.

    The slick commercials, which have aired during major league sporting events and prime-time programs, were designed to introduce the leader to voters.

    “Those messages aren’t breaking through and they’re not resonating among the electorate so whatever messages they put out there or whatever TV ads they bought don’t seem to be breaking through,” he said.

    “It doesn’t seem to be translating into higher awareness about Patrick Brown.”


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    “As far as I’m concerned the provincial regulators have been absolutely negligent in this area.”

    That’s Jim Aziz addressing Ontario regulations governing credit bureaus, specifically the information available to, and the protection of, consumers.

    Of course we’re talking about Equifax, the giant credit bureau currently in public relations meltdown as the result of a web “vulnerability” that allowed for the criminal hacking of information of as many as 143 million consumers.

    The hackers’ portal was a web application framework called Apache Struts. That’s bad news for Equifax.

    “This vulnerability was patched on 7 March 2017, the same day it was announced,” the Apache Software Foundation said in a press release. Yet Equifax revealed that the unauthorized access started much later, in mid-May, and continued for weeks, into July.

    The Apache release didn’t mince words: “The Equifax data compromise was due to their failure to install the security update provided in a timely manner.”

    So chances are this story is going to go down in ways similar to the Wells Fargo debacle. The CEO of Equifax, Rick Smith, will appear before a congressional committee. The vulnerability of consumers, as opposed to software, will be lamented. The proceedings will become heated. There will be calls for Smith’s resignation.

    For Jim Aziz, an international adviser on credit bureaus, the opportunity now is for the Ontario government to re-examine the ways in which its own governance of credit bureaus, by which I mean both Equifax and its competitor, TransUnion, falls short of international standards.

    Consumers who have found themselves ensnared in unhappy experiences with the bureaus will not be surprised.

    One reader, responding to Wednesday’s column on the data breach, complained that trying to set the record straight with Equifax over multiple credit cards on his credit report that were not his proved so exhausting that he just gave up. “It is a mess trying to deal with them,” he wrote.

    The province’s Consumer Reporting Act does nothing to spur the bureaus into action when information is wrong. When a consumer disputes the accuracy of the information, the act stipulates that the reporting agency “within a reasonable time shall use its best endeavors to confirm or complete the information.” (The italics are mine.)

    Back in the ’80s, Jim Aziz was the general manager of the Associated Credit Bureaus of Canada. These days he works with the International Monetary Fund and others setting up credit bureaus and credit agencies around the world.

    He has worked in 36 countries (Kosovo, Sudan). Canada, he says, doesn’t cut it. “In my activities, with different countries, we regulate the number of days to resolve disputed information in periods of 15 to 30 days,” he says.

    As it is, “there’s no incentive for the credit bureaus to be expedient in resolving consumer disputes.”

    And yet, the only way to validate the accuracy of the information is for the consumer herself to look at the file.

    It’s standard too for bureaus to inform consumers that after apprising one bureau of an error they should then move on and start the process over again with its competitor.

    “That doesn’t do it,” Aziz insists.

    It is the credit bureaus that should bear the obligation of informing each other of errors. “Not all credit granters check both files. If you’ve gone to TransUnion and found an error in your file but it’s not corrected by Equifax, then you could be harmed by the fact that it isn’t corrected, and vice versa.”

    Accessing one’s credit report in Canada is another reminder of how out of touch we are. In the U.S., the Fair Credit Reporting Act mandates that anyone can access, annually online, their credit report for free, and there’s a central website to help with that. There are three nationwide bureaus in the U.S., so the consumer can get all three at once, or spread them out throughout the year.

    In Ontario, an Equifax credit report is free only if the consumer submits an application by mail or, impractically, in person. The fee for accessing the report online is $15.50.

    “The government should step in and say, look, we’re here to protect consumers,” Aziz says. “That’s consumer information that’s in a lender’s data base that’s being shared with both Equifax and TransUnion so they can make a profit. They make a lot of money using your data and my data and this is the kind of thing from a consumer standpoint that they shouldn’t be charging for. If the government is concerned about protecting consumers they should take away that 15 bucks.”

    Enhancing access has other benefits — Aziz says research has shown that free credit reports lead to lower delinquency rates. Any initiatives that promote financial literacy, and increased financial smarts, are initiatives to the good. Ontario should join these modern times of which Aziz speaks. There is no down side.

    jenwells@thestar.ca


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    ST. LOUIS—A judge found a white former St. Louis police officer not guilty of first-degree murder on Friday in the death of a Black man who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011.

    The former officer, Jason Stockley, shot 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith five times. The officer said he saw Smith holding a gun and felt he was in imminent danger, but prosecutors said Stockley planted a gun in Smith’s car after he shot him.

    Assistant Circuit Attorney Robert Steele emphasized during the trial that police dash cam video of the chase captured Stockley saying he was “going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it.” Less than a minute later, the officer fatally shot Smith. Stockley’s lawyer dismissed the comment as “human emotions” amid a dangerous police pursuit.

    Stockley, 36, could have been sentenced to up to life in prison without parole. He left St. Louis’ police force in 2013 and moved to Houston.

    It is unusual for officers to be charged with killing suspects while on duty, and few officers have been convicted in such deaths. Stockley’s verdict was handed down by Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson, who oversaw the bench trial. Stockley requested that the case be heard by a judge rather than a jury despite objections from prosecutors.

    About 100 people have gathered in downtown St. Louis to protest the verdict.

    Among the protesters was the Rev. Clinton Stancil, who is Black. He’s a pastor at Wayman AME Church in St. Louis. He says, “Cops again are able to shoot our people down with impunity.”

    St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson says she hopes city residents will come together despite their differences over the acquittal of a white former police officer in the shooting death of a black man.

    Barricades went up on Aug. 28 around police headquarters, the courthouse where the trial was held, and other sites of recent or potential protests. Police said they were being proactive to ensure safety “due to recent events around the country.”

    The St. Louis area has a history of unrest in such cases, including after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014. Protests, some of them violent, erupted after the Black 18-year-old, who was unarmed, was killed by a white police officer. The officer wasn’t charged but later resigned.

    In Smith’s case, the encounter began when Stockley and his partner tried to corner Smith in a fast-food restaurant parking lot after seeing what appeared to be a drug deal. Stockley testified that he saw what he believed was a gun, and his partner yelled “gun!” as Smith backed into the police SUV twice to get away.

    Stockley’s attorney, Neil Bruntrager, argued that Smith, a parole violator with previous convictions for gun and drug crimes, tried to run over the two officers. Stockley fired seven shots as Smith sped away. A chase ensued.

    At the end of the chase, Stockley opened fire only when Smith, still in his car, refused commands to put up his hands and reached along the seat “in the area where the gun was,” Bruntrager said. Stockley said he climbed into Smith’s car and found a revolver stuffed between the centre console and passenger seat.

    But prosecutors questioned why Stockley dug into a bag in the back seat of the police SUV before returning to Smith’s car.

    The gun found in Smith’s car didn’t have his DNA on it, but it did have Stockley’s.

    “The gun was a plant,” Steele said.

    The case was among several in recent years in which a white officer killed a Black suspect. Officers were acquitted in recent police shooting trials in Minnesota, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. A case in Ohio twice ended with hung juries, and prosecutors have decided not to seek a third trial.

    The St. Louis police department said officers would be working 12-hour shifts starting Friday and Mayor Lyda Krewson said the State Highway Patrol and St. Louis County police would provide support, with the patrol handling any protests on state highways.

    Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, meanwhile, put the National Guard on standby in case of unrest. He and the mayor urged protesters to be peaceful, a sentiment echoed by Smith’s fiancée, Christina Wilson.

    Here’s a look at the case:

    THE SHOOTING

    Stockley and his partner saw what appeared to be a drug transaction in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant on Dec. 20, 2011. As the officers sought to corner Smith, he drove away. Stockley’s defence attorney, Neil Bruntrager, said the officers were nearly run over. Stockley fired at the fleeing car, then a car chase began.

    Police dash cam video captured Stockley saying, “going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it,” in the midst of the chase. As Smith’s car slowed, Stockley told his partner to slam the police SUV into it, and his partner did so. Stockley then got out of the SUV and fired five shots into Smith’s car, killing him.

    Bruntrager said Stockley fired only after Smith refused commands to put up his hands and reached along the seat toward an area where a gun was found. But prosecutors said Stockley planted the gun. Testing found Stockley’s DNA on the gun, but not Smith’s.

    DIFFERENT PASTS

    Stockley, now 36, graduated from a Catholic high school in nearby Belleville, Ill., then went to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After graduation, he served in Iraq, where he was injured and awarded the Army Bronze Star. Stockley joined the St. Louis Police Department in 2007. He resigned in 2013, about two years after the shooting, and moved to Houston.

    Smith had a 1-year-old daughter when he died. His family has not disclosed much about him. Court records show he had a criminal record that included convictions for unlawful possession of a firearm and drug distribution. At the time of the shooting, he was on probation for a theft charge related to a 2010 crime in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. In 2013, the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners reached a $900,000 (U.S.) settlement with Smith’s family, ending a wrongful-death lawsuit filed on behalf of Smith’s daughter.

    NEW EVIDENCE

    The circuit attorney’s office initially decided not to charge Stockley, but police internal affairs brought new evidence in March 2016. Then-Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce announced in May 2016 that Stockley was charged with first-degree murder.

    The new evidence wasn’t disclosed, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch obtained the dashboard camera video and published it soon after charges were announced. The footage outraged activists.

    Prosecutors opted not to pursue the death penalty. Stockley chose to have the case decided by a judge, rather than a jury, and the judge agreed despite the objections of prosecutors.

    RACIALLY CHARGED ISSUE

    Police and courts in the St. Louis area have been under scrutiny since the 2014 fatal shooting by police of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson. Brown, who was Black and unarmed, was fatally shot by a white officer after they skirmished in a street. Weeks of often-violent protests followed, and violence was renewed that November after a grand jury declined to indict the officer, who resigned that month.

    Since then, police have fatally shot several other Black suspects in St. Louis. Stockley is the only St. Louis police officer to be charged with murder in recent years.


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    Until fairly recently, I had stereotyped inane online commenters as ignoramuses living in their parents’ basements, and had assumed they existed on the fringes of society, only given charge after Donald Trump became U.S. president.

    Recent articulations in Canadian media have exposed the naiveté of my thinking, showing me that ignorance, specifically in terms of understanding racism and colonialism, coupled with an arrogant entitlement of deference have always occupied centre space.

    While I don’t usually waste my time or yours countering the work of other columnists, particularly those who use provocation as a tool to stave off their own impending irrelevance, I would like to tap a recent column in the National Post by Conrad Black as a poster story of white privilege. In it, Black declares racism practically dead in North America, and “as rare and unrigorous as the flat-earth society.”

    Read more:

    The problem with Jagmeet Singh’s ‘love and courage’ reaction to heckler: Paradkar

    New book on Canadian racism firmly refutes ‘We’re not as bad as the U.S.’ sentiment: Paradkar

    What white supremacy looks like minus the Charlottesville paraphernalia: Paradkar

    Black, for those who may not know, is not just a columnist. Like Trump he was a rich boy who grew into a rich man. As a newspaper magnate, he was once a societal leader, a larger-than-life success story that came to a crash when he was jailed for fraud in the U.S. He remains influential in some quarters, which avails him of a platform to express views on a variety of topics.

    Like Trump, he has fans who extend the Midas Touch philosophy to assume wealth or success in one field comes to mean expertise in all.

    Like Trump, he has haters. These are people who loathe his ethics, or his personality or his perceived betrayal of Canada.

    Neither side considers his lack of intellectual and emotional comprehension of racism as a reason to discount his views on that front.

    This is the ultimate white privilege: being vested with the intrinsic authority to speak on subjects you know nothing about, without consequence.

    Black denounces racism and says, “I cannot think of a more stupid and unjust reason for hiring or not hiring . . . than the ancient points of discrimination” such as race and gender.

    Good for him.

    But to say this and then say racism has been “reduced to a handful of deranged or sub-humanly stupid people,” ignores studies on discrimination in hiring practices in the labour market and visible outcomes of that discrimination.

    Black praises German largesse in taking in Middle Eastern refugees, but fails to note rising xenophobia in the rest of Europe. “The great nation ruled when I was born by the Nazis,” he says, “has in the last three years admitted a million penurious refugees from Africa and the Middle East.”

    He calls himself a historian yet ignores the role of those European nations now closing their doors to migrants in impoverishing Africa as well as the more modern role of the West in messing up the Middle East.

    That blindness to legacies of violence led him to lament that in Canada “native militants” had “reviled him as a racist” just because he had previously said “native civilization was barely entering the Bronze Age when the Europeans arrived in North America in the 16th century.”

    As in, he just doesn’t understand why imposing European settler yardsticks of progress and implicitly justifying European invasion that resulted in centuries of brutality cannot simply be considered fine and normal.

    Many who never experience racism view it as a now shunned but once socially acceptable reality of a bygone era, kind of like smoking in the ’60s.

    In line with that thinking, Black draws on history to say “most whites considered non-whites inferior, most Chinese considered non-Chinese inferior . . . I and a very large number of readers remember the murder of millions of Chinese and Cambodian and Vietnamese non-communists, and of Rwandans and Sudanese of a minority tribe or religion.”

    This reduction of racism to “We all have prejudices,” springs from a half-baked understanding of the subject. It creates false equivalence between groups, just like Trump did with “all sides” at Charlottesville.

    It results in ideas such as reverse racism — “racism against whites is acceptable,” Black says.

    I’m not surprised when ordinary people shoot off such ideas in their emails to me. I am disappointed, however, when a rich white man with the privilege and authority to open minds instead normalizes ignorance.

    All humans have prejudices and biases, of course they do. Humans discriminate. But racism isn’t just about human bias — it’s bias in the context of societal and historical power dynamics. It is also about supremacy, or the discrimination that is stitched into a socio-economic system that privileges one identity above others. In India, for instance, it benefits upper caste Hindus. In Singapore, it benefits Chinese. In Britain, it privileges men who attended private schools.

    In North America and many parts of the world, thanks to colonialism, it benefits whites.

    In my reading of them, serious newspapers no longer publish columns by men saying sexism is a relic of the past, or that glass ceilings are a feminist invention. Yet, such stories on racism by white people are allowed because delegitimizing progress on that front aligns with the interests of the existing racial hierarchy.

    “Power concedes nothing without a demand,” said the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1857. “It never did and it never will.”

    I understand when working-class whites chafe at the concept of white privilege. What privilege, if you’ve just lost a job and there are mouths to feed? I suspect some views would soften if they knew white privilege just means that in their exact same circumstance, a darker-skinned person is likely to be worse off.

    But when rich white people deny racism, it suggests white power is threatened. They attempt to derail advances by dictating the terms of conversation.

    Increasingly this is taking the form of discussions around, “Does racism exist?” It’s in their interest to keep everyone debating on square one rather than move on to, “What are we doing about it?”

    Shree Paradkar writes about discrimination and identity. You can follow her @shreeparadkar.


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    WASHINGTON—They would stand by and let him get impeached. Or boycott his hotels. Or maybe, a couple of them suggested, they would set their Make America Great Again caps on fire.

    Some of the most reliably Trumpian corners of the internet were raging Thursday as if they had signed up for the left-wing resistance. Just nine days after he had made them so happy, the champion of their anti-immigration fantasies had betrayed them.

    In a momentous move that could have major consequences for his political future, U.S. President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he is eager to make a deal with Democrats to protect the so-called Dreamers, the undocumented young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

    Read the latest news on U.S. President Donald Trump

    Not only that: he suggested that it was ridiculous that anyone would want to deport such upstanding and innocent residents.

    “Really!” he wrote incredulously on Twitter.

    Not only that: the self-proclaimed master negotiator did not plan to demand funding for his border wall as part of the deal to save Barack Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program he had campaigned on eliminating.

    “DACA now and the wall very soon,” he said at the White House after he returned from a visit to hurricane-ravaged Florida.

    And not only that: he refused to refer to DACA as “amnesty,” as he did throughout his campaign and his attorney general did last week when he announced Trump was getting rid of it.

    “The word,” he said, “is DACA.”

    The details of a possible deal had not yet been hammered out. But it was immediately clear that Trump’s turnabout would be the biggest early test of the loyalty of his base, much of which is hostile to immigration of all kinds.

    To some of his staunchest allies, the news smacked of unforgivable abandonment. They had celebrated Trump’s decision to end DACA, thinking he had sent the Dreamers on a path to deportation.

    Read more:

    Trump says he’s ‘fairly close’ to deal on young immigrants after meeting with Pelosi, Schumer

    ‘We send a report every morning to ICE’: Two Arizona Motel 6 locations reported guests to immigration officials, leading to at least 20 arrests

    U.S. Supreme Court upholds Trump administration’s ban on most refugees

    “Amnesty Don,” proclaimed an apoplectic Breitbart, the website run by former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon.

    “Why did we have an election,” moaned Mike Cernovich, the pro-Trump personality who traffics in conspiracy theories.

    “At this point, who DOESN’T want Trump impeached?” said far-right writer Ann Coulter, author of the book In Trump We Trust.

    “If (Associated Press) is correct,” Iowa Rep. Steve King said when news of the tentative deal first broke, “Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.”

    Pollsters cautioned that it was far too soon for such proclamations. Trump’s voters have proven to be willing to fall in line behind his own preferences, and not all of them are as hostile to DACA as his most aggressive supporters on Twitter. Polls suggest a firm majority of his voters believe Dreamers, so named for a legalization proposal called the DREAM Act, should be permitted to stay.

    “I can live with it either way, to be perfectly honest with you,” said Carl Hobson, 78, who for months displayed a large Trump sign at his gas station in Maryland.

    Hobson thinks Trump should be “damn tough” on illegal immigration, and he complains about tax money going toward services for illegal immigrants. But he said protecting the Dreamers is “the right thing to do.”

    “It’s a pretty raw deal to have a kid that’s lived here for several years and then try to throw them away. You can let them stay and let them go through the citizenship process just like the rest of us,” he said.

    Larry May, Republican chair in Nolan County, Texas, said he was “not in favour of essentially granting amnesty to the so-called Dreamers,” saying that most of them are adults who “need to be sent back.”

    But he said even a bad deal would have a “minimal” impact on Trump voters like himself. He said Trump will remain preferable to people like “communist Bernie Sanders or extreme socialist Hillary Clinton.”

    “There’s really not anyone any better. If his supporters are not going to support the communist Democrats, I don’t see they’re going to give up their support just because they disagree with something Trump may have done,” said May, 63, an accountant.

    DACA gives 690,000 people two-year work permits and protection from deportation. It was created by Obama without legislation. A Trump deal could well make the Dreamers far more secure than they are under the Obama program, granting them some sort of lasting legal status.

    Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi said she and Trump had come to an “understanding” that the Dreamers would get a path to citizenship. A Trump spokesperson said he was open to such a path “over a period of time.” But Trump muddied the waters, saying “we’re not looking at citizenship.”

    The context for Trump’s shift was especially infuriating to his conservative allies.

    He agreed to pursue a deal during a Wednesday dinner with Democratic leaders Pelosi and Chuck Schumer — who was heard saying Thursday, “He likes us. He likes me, anyway.” Irked with Republican leaders, Trump appeared to be eager to earn another round of the media praise he generated when he cut a budget deal with the Democrats last week.

    Dreamers were not ready to celebrate, noting that Trump often changes his mind and that congressional Republicans leaders had not bought in. The president’s regular shifts in tone and substance have frequently led pundits to wonder whether he is a new man, only to see him revert to the same old.

    “This is looking good. But Donald Trump is very unpredictable. I don’t want to get my hopes up,” said DACA recipient Miguel Mendez, 27, an electrical engineer in Texas.


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    It’s hard to go off the grid on a residential Riverdale street, but Rolf Paloheimo has managed for two decades.

    With no hookup to municipal water or sewage and only minimal use of Toronto Hydro electricity, Paloheimo’s three-bedroom home has been making green tech livable since 1996.

    “This is the most comfortable house I’ve ever lived in,” Paloheimo said. “Absolutely, bar none.”

    Paloheimo, 63, pays only one utility bill a month, for electricity. Thanks to the solar panels covering the front of his home, that bill can be as little as nothing to $10 during summer months. He’s not connected to, and doesn’t pay for, water or gas.

    His home, dubbed the Healthy House, was the result of a February 1992 competition held by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

    Two winners emerged — one each in Vancouver and Toronto. The winning designs promoted resident health and environmental sustainability, while remaining affordable and accessible to the general public.

    Toronto-based architect Martin Liefhebber was behind Toronto’s winning bid, but couldn’t find a builder until Paloheimo, a builder and project manager, volunteered.

    He and Liefhebber built the duplex, near Withrow Park, from the ground up, and Paloheimo agreed to move his young family into one of the two units.

    “We promised to make the house self-sufficient and not use any non-renewable fuel,” Paloheimo said.

    The other unit in Paloheimo and Liefhubber’s creation became an environmentally-friendly attraction with thousands of people touring through. Today, it’s a private residential home.

    “Despite the home’s high-tech appearance, most of the products and systems are simple and straightforward,” said Chris Ives, CMHC project manager, said in a Toronto Healthy House report published after the house was built.

    “Off-grid houses do not necessarily require hours of labour for upkeep. In fact, everything in the house is easy to maintain and available in today’s marketplace.”

    Duncan Hill, manager of housing needs policy research at CMHC, said an off-the-grid approach appeals to some — but not all.

    “To be off the grid is to be independent and to be independent means you have to install, operate, maintain and look after systems that you otherwise wouldn’t have to do,” Hill said, adding that most homeowners don’t want to deal with sewage.

    Hill said the Healthy House wasn’t so much about being independent as it was about showing what was possible.

    “It was more demonstrating that you could take a house to such low energy needs, water needs, produce so little sewage that it doesn’t need those connections,” Hill said. “So if anything, you’re trying to make a point.”

    Much of the Healthy House remains true to how it was built and later featured on a 1998 stamp.

    But those years haven’t passed without some “failed ideas,” Paloheimo said.

    Two fridges with outdoor compressors couldn’t keep food frozen in the summer and were replaced. There was also a short-lived “drying closet:” a small room with circulating air to dry clothes.

    Now living alone for most of the year, Paloheimo’s energy needs have decreased.

    Toronto Hydro supplements power collected by solar panels — the only aspect of his house that remains on the grid.

    Paloheimo recently installed an above-ground air to water heat pump that provides heat in the winter and cooling in the summer, and the steel corrugated ceilings help keep the house temperate.

    Heating the house is a lot like buying the right sleeping bag for the weather, Paloheimo explained.

    “You design the house so that you don’t really need to heat it too much.”

    Under the back patio, a water tank the size of a small truck collects rainwater from the slanted roof. The water is purified by a slow sand filter.

    “One of the reasons for using the rainwater is it tastes better,” Paloheimo said. “Also, it cleans your dishes better. It’s just way better.”

    The house can use approximately 120 litres of water a day, based on the size of the tank and Toronto’s 25-year rainfall pattern. The average Canadian household uses about 250 litres per person daily.

    “That was the reason we had to concentrate on water saving features and on recycling,” Paloheimo said.

    The house isn’t connected to municipal sewers, either. Waste and waste water is filtered and biologically treated in a self-contained system. Purified water is recycled back into the home’s toilets and washing machine. Sand, grit and indigestible waste needs to be pumped out every several years.

    The Healthy House is an anomaly on the quiet Riverdale street, but the popularity of the CMHC homes demonstrated the real-world viability of environmentally-friendly homes.

    “Nobody’s talking about this being something from outer space or quirky or technically complicated,” Hill said. “It’s more just a matter of when the market is ready now, to pick it up.”

    The CMHC’s Healthy House initiative was succeeded by an Equilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative. Much like the Healthy Houses, Equilibrium homes are energy-efficient and reduce environmental impacts.

    Ten demonstration housing projects have been constructed in Quebec, Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, B.C. and New Brunswick.

    The Equilibrium initiative ended a few years back, Hill said, adding that demonstration projects are always in the CMHC’s toolbox.

    Paloheimo said Toronto’s Healthy House is becoming too big for him now, but he’s sold on environment-friendly living.

    “I actually wouldn’t mind building another house,” he said.


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    SAINT-EUSTACHE, QUE.—Quebec provincial police have deployed canine units, divers and a helicopter in their search for a man and his six-year-old son who is the subject of an Amber Alert.

    Louka Fredette went missing at about 5:35 p.m. Thursday and police believe he is with Ugo Fredette, 41.

    Forensic teams inspected a white Ford F250 pickup truck but there was no sign of either father or son where the vehicle was abandoned in Lachute, northwest of Montreal.

    Read more:Quebec provincial police issue Amber Alert for missing 6-year-old boy

    Police spokesperson Ann Mathieu said the Amber Alert was still in effect and urged citizens across the province to remain vigilant in the event the pair boarded another vehicle.

    “Because these people are on the move and we don’t know how they’re getting around, we’re asking everyone to keep their eyes open,” Mathieu said.

    Provincial police confirmed that a woman found dead in a home in Saint-Eustache was the boy’s mother.

    They said Veronique Barbe, 41, was married to Fredette and that she had four children.

    A sign for a home daycare she operated was prominently displayed as forensic teams milled about in front of the residence.

    Police originally said Fredette and his son were captured on a surveillance camera at a Walmart in Saint-Eustache at about 7 p.m. Thursday. But they later said the images did not show that.

    Ugo Fredette, meanwhile, worked on a documentary about Cedrika Provencher, who was nine years old when she disappeared from her home in Trois-Rivieres 10 years ago. Her remains were found in a wooded area in December 2015.

    Her grandfather, Henri Provencher, who runs the Cedrika Provencher Foundation, posted an appeal on Facebook urging Fredette to turn over his son to police.

    “I appeal to your father’s heart, do not commit the irremediable,” Provencher said. “Thank you for acting as a responsible father Ugo. Think of your child.”

    Pina Arcamone, director of the Missing Children’s Network, says the Amber Alert program has been successful each time its been used since May 2003.

    “In each of these cases, all the children to date were recovered within hours of the deployment of the Amber Alert,” Arcamone said. “And we’re really hoping that with Louka, we can continue this track record.”

    Anyone with information is asked to call 911.


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    LONDON—Hundreds of British police embarked on a massive manhunt Friday, racing to find out who placed a homemade bomb on a packed London subway train during the morning rush hour.

    The explosion — labelled a terrorist attack by police — wounded 22 people and ignited a panicked stampede to safety. Experts said London may have escaped far worse carnage because it appeared that the bomb only partially exploded.

    “Clearly, this was a device that was intended to cause significant harm,” Prime Minister Theresa May said after chairing a meeting of the government’s COBRA emergency committee.

    Police called it a terrorist attack, the fifth in Britain this year.

    Read more: Terrorism-related arrests in U.K. hit record high, officials say

    Witnesses described seeing a “wall of fire” as the bomb — hidden in a plastic bucket inside a supermarket freezer bag — went off about 8:20 a.m. while the train was at the Parsons Green station in southwest London.

    It was not a large explosion, and British police and health officials said none of the injured was thought to be seriously hurt.

    The Metropolitan Police force said there had been no arrests so far, but hundreds of detectives, aided by intelligence agents, were looking at surveillance camera footage of the subway, carrying out forensic work and speaking to witnesses.

    It’s not clear whether the device was intended to explode when it did. The site of the blast was in a leafy, affluent part of the city, not near any of London’s top tourist sites. British media reported that the bomb included a timer.

    Photos taken inside the train show a white plastic bucket inside a foil-lined shopping bag. Flames and what appear to be wires emerge from the top.

    Terrorism analyst Magnus Ranstorp of the Swedish Defence University said that, from photos, it appeared the bomb did not fully detonate, as much of the device and its casing remained intact.

    “They were really lucky with this one, it could have really become much worse,” he said.

    Police were first alerted when commuters reported a noise and a flash aboard the District Line train. Commuter Lauren Hubbard was on the train when she heard a loud bang.

    “I looked around and this wall of fire was just coming towards us. You just run,” said Hubbard, who fled the above-ground station with her boyfriend.

    Others described “absolute chaos” as hundreds rushed to flee the danger.

    “I ended up squashed on the staircase. People were falling over, people fainting, crying, there were little kids clinging onto the back of me,” said Ryan Barnett, 25.

    Mark Rowley, head of counterterrorism for the Metropolitan Police, said “this was a detonation of an improvised explosive device.”

    He said 18 people had been injured, most with “flash burns.” Health officials later said four others hurt in the bombing went to the hospital themselves.

    Rowley said Britain’s domestic intelligence service, MI5, was helping with the investigation, which was being led by the police counter-terrorism unit. He gave no information about potential suspects, saying “It’s very much a live investigation.”

    U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that it was another attack “by a loser terrorist,” adding that “these are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard.”

    The London police force declined to comment on Trump’s suggestion that it knew about the attacker. May said it was not helpful “for anybody to speculate” on an ongoing investigation.

    Witness Chris Wildish told Sky News that he saw “out of the corner of my eye, a massive flash of flames that went up the side of the train,” followed by “an acrid chemical smell.”

    He said many of those on board were schoolchildren, who were knocked around as the crowd surged away from the fireball.

    Commuter Richard Aylmer-Hall said he saw several people injured, apparently trampled as they fled.

    “I saw crying women. There was lots of shouting and screaming, there was a bit of a crush on the stairs going down to the streets,” he said.

    During rush hour, the London Underground train can hold more than 800 people. Trains were suspended along a stretch of the line, and several homes were evacuated as police set up a 50-meter cordon around the scene while they secured the device.

    London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the city “utterly condemns the hideous individuals who attempt to use terror to harm us and destroy our way of life.”

    May said that Britain’s official threat level from terrorism remained at “severe,” meaning an attack is highly likely, and was not being raised to critical.

    The country’s threat level was briefly raised to critical, meaning an attack may be imminent, after a May 22 suicide bombing at Manchester Arena that killed 22 people.

    Friday’s attack is the fourth in London this year, after deadly vehicle attacks near Parliament, on London Bridge and near a mosque in Finsbury Park in north London.

    British authorities say they have foiled 19 plots since the middle of 2013, six of them since a van and knife attack on Westminster Bridge and Parliament in March, which killed five people.

    The London Underground has been targeted several times in the past, notably in July 2005, when suicide bombers blew themselves up on three subway trains and a bus, killing 52 people and themselves. Four more bombers tried a similar attack two weeks later, but their devices failed to fully explode.

    Last year Damon Smith, a student with an interest in weapons and Islamic extremism, left a knapsack filled with explosives and ball bearings on a London subway train. It failed to explode.

    In its recent Inspire magazine, Al Qaeda urged supporters to target trains.

    Separately, French counterterrorism authorities were investigating an attempted knife attack Friday on a soldier patrolling a large Paris subway interchange.

    The knife-wielding assailant tried to attack a soldier assigned to a special military force protecting prominent sites following deadly Islamic extremist attacks. He was quickly arrested and no one was hurt.


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    Premier Kathleen Wynne is giving Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown six weeks to retract his false statement that she is on “trial” in the Sudbury byelection bribery case.

    Wynne, who had threatened to serve Brown with a libel suit if he had not apologized by 5 p.m. Thursday, has extended that deadline until Oct. 24.

    “Earlier this week Patrick Brown made a statement about the premier that was false and defamatory,” Jennifer Beaudry, the premier’s director of media relations, wrote in an email Friday morning.

    “His conduct in the days following his remarks has been just as disappointing. As a public figure, he should recognize that defaming another politician is unacceptable,” continued Beaudry.

    “While Patrick Brown refuses to apologize, we are encouraged that media coverage and public discussion over the last 48 hours has covered just how wrong and misleading his comments were,” she added.

    “We continue to consider all of our options at this point in time, and will govern ourselves by the timelines set out in the Libel and Slander Act.”

    According to that provincial law, a notice of defamation must be served “within six weeks after the alleged libel has come to the plaintiff’s knowledge.”

    On Tuesday, Brown said Ontario had “a sitting premier sitting in trial” and that Wynne “stands trial” in Sudbury.

    His comments came as the premier was testifying as a Crown witness in a Sudbury courtroom where Patricia Sorbara, her former deputy chief of staff, and Liberal activist Gerry Lougheed are on trial for alleged Election Act violations. Both Sorbara and Lougheed deny any wrongdoing.

    Brown has dismissed her appearance in court as “a sorry spectacle” and has declined to correct his misstatement.

    “Regrettably, Kathleen Wynne compounded the problem by this threat of a lawsuit. Her baseless lawsuit will be ignored,” the Tory leader said Thursday.

    His refusal to set the record straight had Deb Matthews, the deputy premier, accusing him of bringing Trump-style politics to Ontario.

    “There is a principle in Canada that you do not make defamatory, misleading comments about another political leader,” Matthews said Thursday.

    “In Canada, we actually expect people to be honest. There is, south of the border, a change in that culture. I do not want to see that change coming to Canada,” she said.

    “He’s a lawyer — he knows exactly what he did. He knows that he said something that was not true about the premier.”

    Wynne’s lawyer, Jack Siegel, has said “this conduct by Patrick Brown is extremely disappointing.”

    “As a matter of law, a full and fair retraction prevents a plaintiff from recovering punitive damages,” Siegel said Thursday

    “Mr. Brown’s refusal to take that simple step therefore suggests that this was not an accident and that his remarks were deliberately made with the intention of harming the reputation of the premier.”

    On Wednesday, he served Brown with a letter stating that he “made a statement about the premier of Ontario that is false and defamatory.”

    “Contrary to your statement, Premier Wynne is not standing trial. Your statement is false and misleading and appears to have been made with the intention to harm the reputation of Ms. Wynne,” the lawyer wrote.

    Last week, Tory MPP Bill Walker (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound) was forced to apologize for comments he made on AM640 in Toronto when he erroneously said the premier was under investigation by police.

    Brown’s gaffe Tuesday came at a Queen’s Park scrum with reporters from the Star, CBC, The Canadian Press, Radio-Canada, Global, CP24, CTV, Globe and Mail, QP Briefing, TFO, Queen’s Park Today, Fairchild, CHCH, and Newstalk 1010.

    Prior to the 2014 election, Wynne launched a similar action against former PC leader Tim Hudak and MPP Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton) over comments related to the gas-plants scandal. That matter was settled in 2015.


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    DETROIT—An expert who has warned about dangerous lead levels in Flint, Michigan’s drinking water declared on Friday a qualified end to the crisis.

    Virginia Tech researcher Marc Edwards made the announcement at a news conference two years to the day after standing in front of City Hall with residents and other researchers to highlight serious lead contamination problem in the financially struggling industrial city’s water supply.

    Edwards acknowledged the symmetry of the situations yet cautioned against celebration. He recommended the continued use of filters and warned many residents will take a long time to regain trust in government officials who initially dismissed their concerns.

    Read more:

    Michigan sues Flint after city council refuses to approve water deal

    Michigan governor defends cabinet members charged in Flint water crisis

    Michigan’s health chief Nick Lyon, 4 others charged in Flint water crisis

    “Today, we have equally definitive data showing that the levels of these parameters currently in Flint water are now back to normal levels for a city with old lead pipes,” Edwards said. “Obviously, there is still a crisis of confidence among Flint residents that’s not going to be restored anytime soon. It’s beyond the reach of science to solve — it can only be addressed by years of trustworthy behaviour by government agencies, who unfortunately lost that trust, deservedly, in the first place.”

    Edwards’ team has collected samples from 138 Flint homes, with the fifth and likely final round last month. The testing showed that lead levels continued to stay well below the federal safety standard of 15 parts per billion.

    Flint’s water was tainted with lead for at least 18 months, starting in spring 2014. While under the control of state-appointed financial managers, the city tapped the Flint River as its water source while a new pipeline was being built to Lake Huron. But the river water wasn’t treated to reduce corrosion. As a result, lead leached from old pipes and fixtures.

    Elevated lead levels, which can cause miscarriage, developmental delays and other problems, were found in some children. The disaster has led to 15 current or former governmental officials being charged with crimes and lawsuits filed by numerous residents.

    A federal judge in March approved a landmark deal to replace lead and galvanized steel water lines at 18,000 homes by 2020. The city has so far replaced more than 3,000, part of the mayor’s plan to replace 6,000 this year.

    Edwards expressed concern for federal lead and copper rules, which he said are several years out of date. He praised cities and states working toward enacting stricter standards.

    He’s also working with many other cities that have similar lead levels in their water supply once found in Flint’s.

    “We all owe Flint a huge debt of gratitude for exposing this problem nationally,” he said.

    Edwards’ team also found that levels of bacteria Legionella, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, are back to those seen before the Flint water crisis. Some experts have linked Flint’s water to the disease, a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria that thrive in warm water and infect the lungs. There were nearly 100 cases in the Flint area, including 12 deaths, in 2014 and 2015.

    Flint resident Mona Munroe-Younis said she’s encouraged by her city’s progress but knows the structural, social and medical efforts must continue.

    “It’s a bit of a fear in the back of my head that people will just move on and forget Flint,” said Munroe-Younis, who works in public health. “We’ve got years to go in this recovery... There are still transitions we’re going through.”


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