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TOPSTORIES

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    OTTAWA—Shortly before Christmas last year, Guy Caron travelled to Toronto and met Jagmeet Singh for breakfast. The race for the leadership of the New Democratic Party was barely a whisper in the national consciousness, but it was front of mind for these men.

    Caron, a friendly 49-year-old MP from Rimouski, Que., had heard stories of the stylish, bike-riding Sikh politician who was deputy leader of the NDP at Queen’s Park. Though neither had yet committed to running for federal leader, both Caron and Singh were mulling it over.

    They had more to chew on that day than just breakfast.

    “I wanted to get the measure of the man, the person he is,” Caron recalled months later, speaking by phone as he boarded a bus from Calgary to Edmonton in the campaign’s final days.

    During their meeting, Caron said they spoke of the many challenges facing the party, especially in the wake of its deflating 2015 election loss and Tom Mulcair’s ouster as leader in a convention the following year — 52 per cent of members voted him out — that left Caron “stunned.”

    They spoke of Quebec, too, Caron said — his home province, where the party under Jack Layton achieved its previously unthinkable breakthrough in 2011, only to see so much crumble under Justin Trudeau’s Liberal tsunami four years later.

    At the time, Caron said he was ruminating on his newfound leadership ambition, and left the breakfast thinking it would be naive not to expect Singh — a social media celebrity in certain circles, with the pop culture power of a GQ magazine spread to boot — to jump in the race, too. But he also felt the contest might not have anybody with his own mix of “economic credibility” and appeal in Quebec, prerequisites in his mind to any shot at victory for the NDP.

    Now, just days before New Democrats start voting Monday for a new leader, Caron and Singh are on the ballot. The other two candidates, Niki Ashton and Charlie Angus, are experienced federal politicians who promise to reconnect with the party’s base and win back more than what was lost to the Liberals.

    Read more:The four candidates who would lead the NDP

    In a sense, just as Singh and Caron surveyed the party’s challenges over that December breakfast, the entire leadership race has been an exercise in how to negate the hurt of 2015; to find the champion that can charge back to the glory days of relevance and power proximity that the party attained under Layton.

    Each candidate has campaigned against the backdrop of past failure. Each has tried to convince their partisan family that they have the right recipe for the future.

    This contest, at its heart, is about how to cure disappointment.


    In Olivia Chow’s mind is a metaphor: three streams, each representing a distinct school of thought for the party’s future, need to convene to form a river. One flows with a vision of a grassroots, activist movement; the second has a requirement for electoral domination in Quebec; and the third involves expanding the party’s reach into new, diverse constituencies.

    All together, that river, if properly navigated, will lead the NDP to government.

    “We have four candidates that embody those three streams, some more than others,” Chow, a former MP and Layton’s widow, told the Star recently.

    “Who would best bring those together?”

    Chow’s criterion for success brings up a question that NDP politicians are asked all the time. Is this a party that should try to appeal to a broad pool of voters for the sake of winning power, or should it stick to a strict social democratic platform and be happy with a clump of seats in the back corner of the House?

    Ashton, a 35-year-old Manitoba MP, has the most left-leaning campaign. With tuition-free education, aggressive tax hikes, staunch opposition to new oil pipelines, and frequent talk of connecting with “grassroots” activism, she appears most aligned with Chow’s first “stream” for the party’s future.

    But Ashton twists the power-principle proposition into a different choice: relevance or irrelevance. She sees the millennial age group, which she defines as 35 and under, becoming Canada’s largest voting bloc in the next election. The NDP needs to connect with them, people she believes are focused on climate change, income inequality and precarious work.

    This is why she argues the biggest mistake in 2015 was allowing the Liberals to “out-left” the social democratic party. Trudeau caught the impulse for change and spoke to progressive Canadians and younger voters. The NDP didn’t. It’s now the third party, with 44 seats.

    “We lost touch with some of our clear principles, and I believe with people that support us,” Ashton said. “There’s much work to be done in building a movement. That is what we used to be.”

    Angus, a 54-year-old veteran MP from northern Ontario, also has framed his candidacy as one that would reconnect the party with its “grassroots.” For him, the party under Layton and Mulcair became overly oriented to the daily squabbles on Parliament Hill, a political machine detached from its roots. “I heard this all the time, that the only time the party went to the base was to raise money,” he said.

    “This raises a sort of existential questions for New Democrats,” he continued. “What is the future of our social democratic movement?”

    Caron is unequivocal: the NDP must strive for power in every election. If the pitches from Ashton and Angus represent Chow’s first “stream,” Caron’s is the second: he believes he alone has the right formula, a combination of coherent, left-wing economic policy and Quebec appeal as a francophone progressive.

    “I was at Jack (Layton)’s speech that launched his leadership bid” in 2002, Caron told the Star. “He had a vision of the future that we have to form government . . . we can’t do it without Quebec.”

    Yet his opponents all agree on the importance of Quebec. In fact, they agree on a lot. Each says inequality and climate change are among the biggest challenges this century. They nod at the mention of curbing greenhouse gas emissions, the need for electoral reform, and a push to achieve reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

    “The candidates agree on pretty much everything,” said Karl Bélanger, a fixture of the party’s parliamentary staff through the Layton era and much of Mulcair’s tenure.

    “New Democrats are looking at a difference in style and tone.”

    And that brings us to the third stream in Chow’s metaphor: breaking through to new supporters.


    The audience giggled, but Jagmeet Singh wasn’t smiling. It was late August, during the only entirely French debate of the campaign in Montreal, and Charlie Angus was needling him on whether he would still try to jump from Ontario to federal politics if he loses his leadership bid.

    “With respect,” he said, casting his eyes on Angus, “I will not lose.”

    Laughter spread through the room. Even Angus seemed to be chuckling.

    “When I win,” Singh continued, “I will run in the federal election.”

    “If you lose?” Angus inquired again.

    “I will not lose,” Singh deadpanned.

    The 38-year-old Ontario legislator was, for many observers, the presumed frontrunner even before he entered the race. Bélanger called Singh’s entry, in mid-May, the “game-changer.”

    “Before that it was like a phony war,” he said.

    It might seem strange a provincial politician who is not even the leader at that level would make such a splash. Hélène Laverdière, a Quebec MP who supports Singh, said she didn’t know much about him until he showed up in Ottawa around the time he formally launched his campaign. He came to her office, and she was impressed.

    “He wanted to listen, rather than talk,” she said. “What struck me the most with him — how could I say? — it’s the leadership side. It’s the human being.”

    Whatever it is, Singh appears to have resonated. His campaign claims to have brought in 47,000 new party members, of a total roughly 83,000 sign-ups during the campaign. In fundraising, too, there’s evidence he’s in the lead: Elections Canada numbers show he raked in more than $350,000 in the second quarter of the year. That’s more than Angus, Ashton and Caron combined.

    He has also experienced some campaign flashpoints, most strikingly early this month, when a video of his response to an incensed heckler went viral. A woman — later tied to an Islamophobic group, Rise Canada — stood at a Brampton campaign event and started shouting in Singh’s face about “Shariah” and said he’s “in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    Singh’s reaction has been widely parsed and praised. He calmly repeated to the woman, as she gesticulated and yelled in his face: “We love you. We support you.”

    Ian Capstick, a political strategist and long-time NDP insider who is neutral in the race, said the impact of the video — viewed at least 40 million times — cannot be overstated.

    Moments like that may also integral for the party’s longer-term goal of finding someone who can shine on a level with Trudeau, a political celebrity, said David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data in Ottawa. That’s important, given the history under Mulcair, when the play-it-safe strategy in 2015 backfired, Coletto added.

    “If I’m the New Democrats,” he said, “I want somebody who will get the attention of the public for a moment, and that moment is my chance to convince the public that Justin Trudeau is not as progressive as he says he is.”

    None of that is to say that Singh is a lock.

    Angus, for one, is critical of what he sees as Singh’s “too big to fail” campaign, a bid to win on the first ballot of the race, rather than building bridges with various constituencies to bring people together when the race is over. Party members will vote by ranked ballot, in a one-member, one-vote system. New rounds of voting will take place each week through October — with the last-place candidate being eliminated — until someone has more than 50-per-cent support.

    (Singh did not make himself available to be interviewed for this article.)

    Another factor is Quebec, key to the party’s electoral chances but marginal in the leadership race, with less than 10 per cent of NDP members in the province. “The paradox of this campaign,” said Farouk Karim, Guy Caron’s campaign spokesperson, “is that we know NDP members in Quebec will not elect the next leader, but Quebec will decide the next prime minister.”

    The province was at the centre of one of the biggest friction points of the campaign, when a debate in Quebec City over proposed restrictions on religious face coverings like the Mulsim niqab jumped into the leadership race.

    This was prompted by Caron, who put out a platform in late August on respecting Quebec’s distinctness as a nation within Canada. His proposal included a section on secularism, in which he explained how it has been a priority in Quebec since the official uncoupling of the Catholic Church from the provincial governing apparatus in the1960s. He said that, while he personally opposes the government telling people what they can wear, he would ultimately respect the Quebec National Assembly’s decision.

    This prompted a sharp discussion that echoed an element of the 2015 election: many believe the party’s declining fortunes in the province were due to Muclair’s firm stance against a niqab ban for citizenship ceremonies, being discussed at the time.

    Singh and Angus came out against the recent proposed legislation in Quebec, and predicted the courts would quash it. Ashton initially appeared to agree with Caron, but now says she’s against the idea in principle and trusts the National Assembly to make a decision that respects individual rights.

    The discussion is by no means settled. This week, Pierre Nantel, a Montreal-area MP, told Le Devoir he would consider ditching the NDP if the next leader doesn’t respect Quebec’s decision making.

    Statements like that may have fuelled a late surge of endorsements for Caron, who contends he’s the only one with a true understanding of Quebec’s political dynamic. Brian Topp, a prominent insider, former leader Alexa McDonough, and the Steelworkers union all backed him in the days after the secularism discussion broke out.

    There is also the practical question of French language ability, which appears to be of most concern to Angus and Singh.

    Many in the party feel that to fail in Quebec will be to return to the time when the NDP had no legitimate shot at power, thus the nuances of debates of identity and self-determination in the province need to be navigated with extreme care.

    As Coletto pointed out, the NDP has consistently trailed the Liberals in Quebec polls since Trudeau took power. “There has been a sea change,” he said. “Quebec (for the NDP) looks particularly daunting.”


    If Chow is right about her “three streams” prescription, whoever becomes the next leader needs to pull off something unprecedented for the party — enliven its social democratic base, appeal to new tranches of voters in places it has never won seats, and reclaim its Orange Wave success in Quebec.

    Back in March, at the first candidates debate in a hotel ballroom in Ottawa, none of the candidates mentioned Mulcair. They spoke instead and with great frequency, of Layton, who was practically beatified in the NDP for leading them to groundbreaking success.

    It’s been like that the whole campaign — reaching around the disappointment of the Mulcair era to try to embody the euphoria of a prior time.

    “It has interestingly become: who can be the closest to the next Jack Layton that we can possibly elect,” Capstick said. “That’s what the party has always been after: who can capture the imaginations of Canadians the way Jack Layton did.”

    In a matter of days, New Democrats will hope they have found the right person for that lofty task — catching the future by chasing the past.


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    The public was wiser, sooner, because of Mr. Justice Ian Nordheimer’s belief in open court decisions.

    From ordering the release of search warrant information linked to mayor Rob Ford to naming Ontario’s top-billing physicians, Nordheimer’s involvement in Superior Court rulings has, in key cases, granted the larger community access to information that some parties wanted to remain secret.

    Now, Nordheimer, a proponent of the public’s right to know, has a seat in the province’s top court.

    Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould has appointed Nordheimer a judge of the Court of Appeal of Ontario. The Toronto native spent 18 years as a judge of Toronto’s Superior Court of Justice and administrative judge of the Divisional Court.

    Toronto defence lawyer Daniel Brown said losing Nordheimer from Superior Court is bittersweet.

    “There are some judges the defence lawyers are happy to see in the courtroom and there are some judges the Crown attorneys are happy to see in the courtroom,” Brown said.

    “It seemed as though both defence lawyers and Crown attorney (were) happy to see Justice Nordheimer presiding over a case . . . . He’s balanced and fair and you feel like your argument is being heard when you appear before him and you feel like the result is a just one.”

    In a Department of Justice Canada statement released Friday, Nordheimer was described as rendering “numerous precedent-setting judgments in civil and criminal law, grappling with issues at the heart of Canada’s constitutional democracy, such as open court principle, the rights of the accused and treatment of lawfully assembled protesters.”

    Earlier this year, Nordheimer ruled on Canada’s practice of indefinite immigration detention in ordering the release of Kashif Ali, whom the government was unable to deport. The West African man, who had not been convicted of a crime, had spent more than seven years in a maximum-security jail.

    Nordheimer called the detention “unacceptable” and ruled that it violated Ali’s charter rights.

    “One thing is clear, and that is that Canada cannot purport to hold someone in detention forever,” Nordheimer said, reading from his decision in April.

    In 2013, Ford’s troubled life — there was a cellphone video of him smoking crack and allegations of drinking and driving, snorting cocaine, abusing staffers — was under scrutiny. The police were investigating the then-mayor and his friend, Sandro Lisi, in Project Brazen.

    Nordheimer presided over key rulings that ordered police documents to be made public. Following legal challenges from media outlets, including the Star, the judge wrote in a late November 2013 ruling:

    “We are dealing with the actions of the duly elected Mayor of the country’s largest city and the extensive investigation undertaken by the police into those actions,” Nordheimer said in his decision. “In terms of legal proceedings, it is hard to conceive of a matter that would be of more importance to the public interest, at this particular point in time, than the one that is presented by this case in the context in which is has unfolded.”

    Investigative reporter Kevin Donovan, who led the Star’s coverage of Ford, said Nordheimer’s “decisions over the years have given him the well-deserved reputation for championing the public’s access to the court system.”

    “He understands, in my opinion as an observer of some of these cases, the vital role of the media in informing the public about the goings on of the judicial system and the citizens caught up in it,” Donovan said.

    “We saw that at work in the Project Brazen-related search warrant cases.”


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    WASHINGTON—A European official said Saturday that the Trump administration has softened its stance on the Paris climate agreement and may not completely withdraw from it after all.

    But the White House quickly rebutted the report.

    “There has been no change in the United States’ position on the Paris agreement,” said Lindsay Walters, a White House spokesperson. “As the president has made abundantly clear, the United States is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favourable to our country.”

    At a ministerial summit in Montreal, where the United States was an observer, the European Union’s top climate official said the Trump administration had backed away from its announcement in June that it was abandoning the 2015 agreement.

    The U.S. “stated that they will not renegotiate the Paris accord, but they try to review the terms on which they could be engaged under this agreement,” said Miguel Arias Canete.

    It was not immediately clear how far that statement would go. Trump, when announcing his decision to withdraw, was adamant about the U.S. ignoring goals on limiting greenhouse gas emissions and other elements believed to contribute to global warming.

    At the time, it was seen as another abrogation of the United States’ pre-eminent role as a global leader.

    But Trump argued that the deal was bad for U.S. businesses and that it made Washington foot too much of the cost.

    Global warming is an issue with renewed political currency after Hurricane Harvey left epic floods in Houston and the Gulf Coast, and Hurricane Irma devastated parts of the Caribbean and left millions in Florida without power. Scientists say warmer waters may have intensified the force of the storms.


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    MINNEAPOLIS—Asked about nearing 40 home runs earlier this week, Justin Smoak marvelled at the number.

    For your average big leaguer, 20 homers is big. Thirty? That’s really big. Reaching 40 is elite.

    But when it comes to Josh Donaldson, numbers like those have come to be expected. There isn’t so much talk about the third baseman closing in on that “really big” 30-homer mark after hitting his 27th and 28th dingers of the year in the Blue Jays 7-2 win over the Minnesota Twins here Saturday night.

    Read more:

    Blue Jays’ bullpen shaping up to be effective, and cost-effective to boot: Griffin

    Donaldson is 8-for-13 in this series, which Toronto now leads 2-1. Nineteen of his home runs have come since the all-star break. His 17 long balls and 42 RBIs in the second half of this year — 55 games to date — already best the 14 home runs and 36 RBIs he managed over the final 66 games in 2016. Donaldson is one dinger away from matching the 20 he produced in the latter half of his 2015 MVP season.

    The only difference between those two years and 2017, where Donaldson’s overall number aren’t quite so spectacular, is the calf strain that kept him sidelined for much of the first half, said manager John Gibbons.

    “One thing about Josh, he’s as motivated as any player you’re ever going to run into,” Gibbons said. “It’s always important to him. He comes, shows up every night. He looks to punish the baseball. He looks to be one of the best players in the league.”

    Donaldson, whose future is likely to dominate off-season talk, is reminding that while this season may be more a forgettable one, the Blue Jays’ remain spoiled to have the third baseman within their ranks.

    He showed that in front of another pro-Toronto crowd early on Saturday night, hitting the first pitch he saw — a 93.5 mile per hour four-seam fastball from lefty Twins’ starter Adalberto Mejia — 438 feet, into the second deck at Target Field.

    Donaldson wasn’t the one Blue Jays player who looked back to their best after a topsy-turvy year. Right hander Marco Estrada allowed a pair of solo homers to Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar but nothing else on the night. He gave up just three hits and a walk, notching four strikeouts over eight innings, his longest outing sine June 2016.

    “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” the soon-to-be free agent said of his up and down year. “If I can finish strong, open up some eyes maybe, hopefully I get the chance to come back here.”

    Estrada, who has never thrown a complete game in his decade-long career, said taking him out a 101 pitches was the right move by Gibbons.

    Ever the competitor, though, he added: “Obviously I wanted the game.”

    By the time Minnesota put up its first run, Toronto had three. Donaldson scored the Blue Jays’ second run in the top of the fourth frame, cashed in by a Smoak double. The first baseman move to third after a single from Jose Bautista, who went 3-for-4 on the night, before Kendrys Morales hit an RBI single to put Toronto up 3-0. It was the end of the line for Mejia, who allowed the three runs off five hits over three frames.

    Toronto reached its final tally with a three-run eighth inning against reliever Trevor Hildenberger, twice loading the bases. Bautista, an error by Twins’ second baseman Brian Dozier and Morales scored pinch hitter Ezequial Carrera, Donaldson and Smoak, respectively.

    Donaldson’s second homer went over the centre field wall in the ninth. It was his 14th career multi-homer game and his fourth this season.

    “He’s starting to swing it a lot better as of late,” Estrada said. “It’s good to see; we need guys like that. Hopefully he keeps going.”

    MORE ON THESTAR.COM:

    Joe Biagini making his case for spot in Jays rotationEND


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    TOKYO—The anti-missile batteries deployed on the sprawling grounds of the Japanese defence ministry are a stark reminder that here, the dispute with North Korea goes beyond bombast and rhetoric.

    These PAC-3 portable batteries are a version of the Patriot missiles deployed against Iraqi Scuds during the Gulf War, upgraded to defend against ballistic missiles, the kind that North Korea is now believed to have in its arsenal.

    The batteries are meant to protect this sprawling city, one part of a defensive system to guard the country against anything fired from its erratic and provocative regional neighbour — a system that Japan is under pressure to upgrade in the face of North Korea’s increasingly capable missile and weapons technologies.

    Experts say the chances of an actual attack are low, but North Korea’s stepped-up weapons testing — including Friday’s missile launch — and Washington’s fiery response has put many on edge here, saying the threat is now at a new level.

    Ryoichi Oriki, a retired general who headed Japan’s self-defence forces, says the risk is “unprecedented.”

    “It’s really a critical time of crisis on the Korean peninsula,” said Oriki, who now serves as an executive adviser at Fujitsu.

    “North Korea’s missile technology has advanced. They can achieve longer range now and they can launch a missile anywhere now. They can even place a nuclear warhead — perhaps they have the technology now. Those changes are significant and those pose serious threats, not only to East Asia,” he told the Star during an interview in his Tokyo office prior to the most recent missile launch.

    Read more:

    North Korea launches missile over Japan

    North Korea threatens to sink Japan

    All options on the table, Trump warns

    Those concerns were driven home anew Friday as Japanese residents woke to word of yet another North Korean test that sent a missile arcing high over their country’s northern island of Hokkaido.

    Residents in the region were warned to take shelter while in Tokyo politicians protested North Korea’s continued provocations.

    “It is totally unacceptable that North Korea has once again conducted such an outrageous act,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters. “We have to make North Korea understand that if it continues along this path, it will not have a bright future.”

    It was a repeat of a test in August that sent a missile on a similar flight path over Hokkaido before splashing down in the northern Pacific.

    And like that test — conducted with no warning — this most recent missile launch sparked civil defence warnings, normally reserved for earthquakes and tsunamis, telling Japanese residents near the flight path to take cover.

    Just hours before the launch, North Korean had threatened to sink Japan. It was typical sabre-rattling from Pyongyang. But behind that bombast, an increasingly sophisticated weapons program has been taking shape.

    “We cannot deny their technological advancements,” Ryusuke Wakahoi, deputy director, strategic intelligence analysis division in Japan’s defence ministry.

    Friday’s missile launch was its farthest yet. And its Sept. 3 nuclear test was its biggest to date.

    “We see the technical maturity of their technologies. They may be able now to have a smaller nuclear warhead which can be mounted on the missile,” he told the Star, speaking through an interpreter.

    “Based on these facts, we understand that North Korea’s threat is immediate and at a grave level,” Wakahoi said.

    Until recently, Canadians tended to view the provocations of the North Korean regime as a regional problem. That perception is changing.

    MPs heard this week that it’s only a matter of time before North Korea has developed a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile able to reach North America.

    While the Kim Jong Un’s regime poses a “grave threat” to global security, for now there is no direct threat to Canada, federal officials told a defence committee meeting on Thursday.

    “On the contrary in recent contacts with the North Korean government . . . the indications were that they perceive Canada as a peaceful and indeed a friendly country,” Mark Gwozdecky, assistant deputy minister, international security and political affairs at Global Affairs Canada, told the committee.

    That might be cold comfort given the blunt warning that the U.S. is under no obligation to defend Canada against an incoming missile — errant or deliberate — that might be headed for its northern neighbour.

    “We’re being told . . . that the extant U.S. policy is not to defend Canada,” said, Lt.-Gen. Pierre St-Amand, the Canadian officer who serves as deputy commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

    Whether the U.S. would intercept a missile inbound to Canada is a decision that would be made by the Americans “in the heat of the moment,” he said.

    While North Korea is an isolated regime, cloaked in secrecy, experts say there’s no mystery in its motives to develop advanced weapons.

    “We should take what they say quite literally. They want to be accepted as a nuclear weapons state,” said Akihiko Tanaka, president of Tokyo’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

    “I think they believe acquiring that status will guarantee the survival of the regime.”

    Having nuclear capabilities and the missiles able to strike the United States resets the balance of power with Washington and helps keep his regime in place, experts say.

    “I don’t believe Kim Jong Un is interested in actually using nuclear weapons but his ultimate goal is establishing this system of having ICBM and nuclear weapons so he could show them as deterrence,” Oriki said.

    That viewed is echoed in Canada, too, where officials say North Korea is motivated by “its desire to survive.

    “While their rhetoric is colourful and their behaviour occasionally strikes us as peculiar, they’re no fools and they understand the consequences of that kind of an action,” Stephen Burt, assistant chief of defence intelligence, Canadian Forces Intelligence Command, told MPs in Ottawa.

    Still, U.S. President Donald Trump has openly talked of war with North Korea, vowing at one stage that threats from the isolated regime would be met with “fire and the fury like the world has never seen.”

    And he has warned that, “all options are on the table.”

    Here in Japan, views are divided on Washington’s tougher tone.

    “The attention that the Trump administration gives to the North Korea issue is, I think, positive,” Tanaka said.

    “What was called the strategic patience by the previous administration of the United States virtually allowed North Korea to do whatever it likes,” he told the Star in his university office.

    Others though fret that Trump’s heated rhetoric is now the wild card equation.

    “From the period of Bill Clinton to Bush junior to Obama, whatever the rhetoric was, the U.S. shared that this situation must be resolved by peaceable means,” said Hiroshi Nakanishi, dean of the School of Government at Kyoto University.

    “The biggest change is that the rhetoric and the attitude of the Trump administration . . . (is) talking openly about the military options,” he said in his university office.

    “That makes the confrontation rather different for us.”

    Canada is among those pressing for diplomatic efforts to resolve tensions, warning that heated rhetoric could cause events to spin out of control.

    “Currently, the risk is significant that misinterpretation of intent or miscalculation could lead to an escalation, including military conflict,” Gwozdecky told the Commons’ defence committee.

    And he warned that if such a conflict erupts, thousands could die “in a matter of minutes.”

    Experts shudder at the prospect of Western militaries attempting to strike at North Korea, saying the cost of such a move would be horrific.

    This week, the United Nations further tightened sanctions on North Korea, part of a continuing effort to use economic pressures to force the regime to comply with international orders to curb its weapons programs.

    And yet the country has seemingly been able to defy past sanctions to continue weapons development at an ever-increasing pace, raising questions how North Korea is able to skirt barriers.

    Tanaka said Canada and other Western nations can assist by helping developing nations that still trade with North Korea abide by sanctions.

    “In many developing countries, the export control of sensitive issues is generally very, very lax,” he said. “We might co-operate to help them to make export controls more effective.”

    But tightening sanctions carries its own risks. By cracking down on Chinese companies that trade with North Korea, Washington risks upsetting leaders in Beijing. “To kill one dragon, maybe we are producing another dragon,” Nakanishi said.

    And the economic pain could force North Korea further into a corner, he said. “The problem is that all the options are lousy, to say the least.”


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    What would American fashion designer Zac Posen whip up if he’s cooking dinner for you and actress Susan Sarandon?

    The answer to that cost a guest at Artists for Peace and Justice’s ninth annual Festival Gala between $25,000 and $60,000 to find out — one of numerous prizes in a celebrity-saturated charity auction at the ritzy evening affair held at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

    Fancy a hike up Peru’s Rainbow Mountain alongside supermodel Petra Nemcova? No problem. Itching for a VIP night with Paul McCartney in New Mexico, Paul Haggis and Ben Stiller on either arm as dates? Sure.

    All tallied, last Sunday’s razzle-dazzle list of perplexing activities raked in more than $300,000. Throw in $25,000 price tags for a table, $2,500 for a single ticket, plus sponsorships and pledges, and this year’s fundraising total hit $1.1 million, with all proceeds going to a school the organization built in Haiti.

    At one point, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. offered a visit to the set of his next project, serenading the audience with a rendition of “O Canada” and imploring them, of course, to show him the money.

    Many of the evening’s hosts — including Stiller, Haggis, Gooding, Morgan Spurlock, Yannick Bisson and George Stroumboulopoulos — pitched in to serve dinner to the well-heeled guests.

    This is what it takes to elicit donations during the Toronto International Film Festival, which is piggybacked each year by numerous charitable events, making good use of all the boldface names and media coverage already in town.

    “Before the earthquake hit in Haiti (in 2010), half the people didn’t even know where Haiti was,” co-organizer and PR magnate Natasha Koifman said, chatting with the Star by phone in the days before Sunday’s event.

    A decade ago, a fundraising event would be fortunate to pull in $50,000, Koifman says. Film festivals weren’t, in her eye, a traditional place to elicit charity. Most attendees were more interested in going to parties than being “particularly philanthropic.”

    “Often you see charity events where you spend more on the gala than you’re giving back,” she said, proudly noting that “every single dollar” spent at the annual APJ gala is accounted for.

    Using the sheen of the film festival to elicit donations isn’t unique to Artists for Peace and Justice. TIFF itself is a registered charity, and hosts a charitable Soiree the night before the event begins. This year’s featured actress Priyanka Chopra as guest of honour. The festival’s advancement office declined to speak about its charitable endeavours until after TIFF concludes on Sunday.

    Of course, not every TIFF-linked charity event piggybacking appears in the form of a gala — nor are they all particularly glamorous. As per tradition since 1998, the Canadian Film Centre founder, director Norman Jewison, hosted a barbecue on the first Sunday of the festival to celebrate its alumni. In recent years, the event has morphed into more of a fundraiser — “out of necessity,” spokesperson Cory Angeletti-Szasz explained.

    “It’s a very crowded market for fundraising, and we had to make use of the assets we already had,” she said. “We had the barbeque already in place.”

    This year’s event promised a glimpse of celebrities like Tatiana Maslany (who appeared this year in Stronger, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal), The Carter Effect director Sean Menard and the cast of Murdoch Mysteries.

    “It’s a major fundraising event for us,” Angeletti-Szasz said.

    The CFC declined to disclose the amount it raised during 2017’s sunny affair, or previous years, but said it was its second largest philanthropic event after an annual gala in February. Proceeds went to multidisciplinary programs for film, television, screen acting, music and digital media.

    Primarily, she added, the event was there to thank their sponsors and donors.

    “They benefit from recognition at the event,” she said, “because it’s a very popular event that draws a lot of individuals who are in town for TIFF.”


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    WASHINGTON—Even Insane Clown Posse couldn’t quite believe it.

    “We’re the good guys here today,” Violent J, one half of the widely loathed face-painting “horrorcore” rap duo, told the fans, known as “Juggalos,” who had gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial. “We’re actually in the right this time!”

    The Juggalos, so easy to make fun of, had a case: the feds were the real clowns. And for a surreal Washington afternoon, the colourful people of one of America’s most-mocked subcultures were being seen by powerful people as freedom fighters, weird makeup and all.

    Profane freedom fighters, yes. Two of the Juggalos’ Saturday refrains of choice: “You f---ed up” and “F--- that s---,” which they occasionally chanted in the direction of police helicopters, fingers extended skyward.

    But this was the exception. They were so cheerful that some of them insisted on hugging journalists. And their favourite chant was a single upbeat word: “family.”

    It was their response to the term the FBI insists describes them: gang.

    “We’re different,” said rally host Kevin Gill. “We’re not dangerous.”

    Hundreds of Juggalos had assembled for the demonstration and march in protest of a curious six-year-old FBI decision to include the Juggalos in their official national gang list, alongside such indisputably dangerous entities as MS-13.

    Read more:

    Insane Clown Posse sues U.S. government in defense of its fans

    White nationalist leader Richard Spencer says conservatives should protest against Trump — not for him

    The gang classification, Juggalos said, had led employers to force them out of jobs, convinced judges to deny them custody of their kids, and subjected them to police harassment for their Insane Clown Posse tattoos. One Virginia woman, Jessica Bonometti, said she had been fired as a probation officer because of Facebook posts about the band.

    “If horrorcore’s so scary,” she said, “why isn’t Stephen King in jail?”

    The classification was based on what the FBI called “sporadic, disorganized, individualistic” violence by people identifying as Juggalos. At the rally, Juggalos said criminals could be found among Justin Bieber’s “Beliebers,” Grateful Dead “Deadheads,” or any other large group.

    “I mean, look at the government. You’ve got bad people in there, right?” said Ryan Lee, 35, a Virginia construction worker, homeowner and father of three. “We’re here because we’re not bad. It’s all love and all family.”

    Many Insane Clown Posse fans are low-income white people. They said the Juggalos are a loving band of misfits, supportive and inclusive, mischaracterized by a mainstream society that rejected them even before some of them started painting their faces.

    “People fear what they don’t understand,” says Amy Puterbaugh, 36, of Ohio, whose sign read “F--- the FBI.”

    “We listen to scary music. People don’t know what to think about us. We just love our band, man,“ said Lee’s friend Jeff Feken, 33, whose sign read “Make America Whoop Again,” a reference to the “whoop whoop” call Juggalos use to say hello and applaud, because…

    Juggalos will be Juggalos. This was probably the only Washington protest in history at which marchers sprayed cheap pop into the air: Faygo, the Detroit beverage beloved by the Michigan-bred group.

    “America is a country of weirdos. Celebrate it,” Jacob Roman, 18, shouted into a megaphone, a bottle of Faygo in hand.

    Violent J and partner Shaggy 2 Dope cast the Juggalos as the defenders of Americans of all kinds, warning that the persecution of America’s “most hated people” would inevitably lead to the persecution of others. As usual, they railed against racism, homophobia and economic segregation.

    And, as usual, they cursed a lot. They also discussed “buttholes.” And they said the Juggalo activists should be so proud that they should perform sex acts on the “governmently-fine” lawn.

    “Let’s march, mothaf-----,” Violent J said to end the rally, and off the Juggalos went, demanding their rights.


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    London police say a second man has been arrested in connection with the London subway attack.

    Police said Sunday that a 21-year-old man was arrested late Saturday night in Hounslow in west London and is being held under the Terrorism Act. He is being questioned at a south London police station but has not been charged or identified.

    Two men are now in custody for possible roles in the bombing attack on a rush-hour subway train Friday morning that injured 29 people in London. An 18-year-old man was arrested Saturday in the departure area of the port of Dover, where ferries leave for France.

    The two arrests indicate police and security services believe the attack at the Parsons Green station was part of a co-ordinated plot, not the act of a single person.

    “We are still pursing numerous lines of enquiry and at a great pace,” counter-terrorism co-ordinator Neil Basu of the London police said late Saturday.

    Read more:

    Britain raises terror alert level to ‘critical’ after homemade bomb injures 29

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

    Britain’s terror threat level remains at “critical” — the highest level — meaning that authorities believe another attack is imminent. The official threat level is not likely to be lowered until police believe all of the plotters have been taken into custody.

    Police on Saturday launched a massive armed search in the southwestern London suburb of Sunbury. Neighbors were evacuated in a rush from the area and kept away for nearly 10 hours before they were allowed to return to their homes.

    The Islamic State says the attack Friday was carried out by one of its affiliated units. The improvised explosive device placed on the subway train only partially detonated, limiting the number of injuries.

    Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the casualties would have been far higher if the bomb had fully detonated. Frustrated by the string of terrorist attacks in recent months, she said officials will have to work harder to make bomb components more difficult to obtain.

    Britain has endured four other attacks this year, which have killed a total of 36 people. The other attacks in London — near Parliament, on London Bridge and near a mosque in Finsbury Park in north London — used vehicles and knives to kill and wound.


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    The father of a six-year-old boy who was the subject of an Amber Alert this week is staying overnight in an Ontario hospital after he sustained injuries Saturday afternoon following the court’s decision to transfer him back to Quebec.

    The man appeared in court Saturday morning for his bail hearing, and was awaiting the vehicle expected to transfer him when he became injured.

    At 1:30 p.m., the courts had made a decision upon releasing him into the custody of the Sûreté du Québec, Québec’s provincial police force. By 3:30 p.m., Sgt. Carolle Dionne, a spokesperson with the Ontario Provincial Police, had been told that the man had been taken to hospital by ambulance.

    “At this point there’s no information as to the type of injuries or the extent of his injuries,” said Dionne. She could not say how the injuries were sustained, but said that police were not looking for suspects regarding the injuries.

    The new timeline on transferring the father back to Quebec will depend on further medical evaluations to be done Sunday morning.

    Read more:

    Amber alert case ends with Quebec man arrested in Ontario

    The six-year-old boy vanished from St-Eustache, Que., on Thursday and his father was apprehended in Ontario nearly 24 hours later. By then, the body of the boy’s mother had also been discovered in the family home.

    Ontario police said they couldn’t comment on what charges the man might face in his home province, and police in Quebec did not respond to requests for comment on that matter. The Ontario Provincial Police say an investigation in their province is ongoing.

    Quebec provincial police are combing an area around Lachute for a missing 71-year-old man who previously used the car in which the missing child was found safe.

    Sgt. Claude Denis says a ground and air search is currently underway for Yvon Lacasse, adding that finding him is considered a top priority for the investigation.

    “For us, it is an emergency to find Mr. Lacasse,” Denis said from the scene of the search.

    Police have speculated that the child’s father may have dropped Lacasse off somewhere in his flight to eastern Ontario.

    The boy’s father made it from St-Eustache to the town of Griffith, Ont., about 150 kilometres west of Ottawa, before he was arrested.

    Police said they used ground and air support and deployed a spike belt to stop the father’s vehicle and that he was arrested after a short foot chase.

    Police said the child was found in the vehicle in good physical health and had been placed in care.

    The boy’s mother, who was married to his father, was found dead Thursday night in a home in St-Eustache, north of Montreal.

    Police said she had four children, including three before her relationship with the six-year-old’s father.

    With files from Alexandra Jones


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    BANGKOK—Bangladesh, facing an unprecedented influx of ethnic Rohingya, plans to build a vast camp to house about 400,000 refugees who have poured into the country during the past three weeks.

    The new settlements will be built within the next 10 days on 2,000 acres in the Cox’s Bazar district near Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar, officials have said. Officials plan to construct 14,000 shelters, each with the capacity to hold six families, with the help of international aid organizations and the Bangladesh military.

    Restrictions will be placed on any inhabitants of the planned settlement, the government said.

    Rohingya will not be permitted to leave the camp, even to live with family or friends. They will also be barred from travelling by vehicle in Bangladesh, landlords will be prohibited from renting to them and only those registered as refugees will qualify for official assistance.

    Poor and overpopulated, Bangladesh is no haven for the Rohingya, a long-persecuted Muslim minority from Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Camps were already overflowing with at least 400,000 Rohingya before the current exodus was provoked by Rohingya militants’ attacking Myanmar police posts and an army base on Aug. 25.

    The Myanmar military then began a campaign of village torchings, extrajudicial killings and gang rape, according to survivors and international rights groups. Witnesses and rights organizations have also accused the military of using helicopters to unleash a scorched-earth campaign, burning Rohingya villages.

    The United Nations described the actions against the Rohingya as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

    With a record number of Rohingya fleeing over the border into Bangladesh, arrivals have been forced to line the streets of local villages, begging for food and water, and the current settlements have reached capacity.

    Bangladesh stopped designating new refugees in the early 1990s, forcing hundreds of thousands to fend for themselves by cobbling together bits of tarpaulin and bamboo to build makeshift homes. This year, the government even debated a plan to confine all Rohingya refugees on a flood-prone uninhabited island.

    Aid groups have expressed worry about hunger and diseases such as cholera spreading through the squalid settlements in Bangladesh. The lack of an adequate sewage system is also compounding fears about public hygiene. The Bangladesh Department of Public Health Engineering said it would construct 500 temporary latrines, while the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has plans for 8,000 more.

    On Sept. 12, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh visited a Rohingya camp in Kutupalong, where she hugged refugees and lamented the deaths of women and children.

    “We want peace; we want good relations with our neighbouring countries,” she said. “But we can’t tolerate and accept any injustice.”

    Hasina is scheduled to attend the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday, where she is expected to ask for help from the international community to tackle the situation.

    Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Myanmar’s civilian administration, announced she would skip the annual meeting. Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has been criticized for defending the Myanmar military’s crackdown and for staying silent about the plight of the Rohingya.

    Hasina has urged Myanmar to take back the Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh, much as Myanmar did during some earlier waves of displacement. Much smaller populations of Hindus, Buddhists and animists living in Rakhine state in western Myanmar have also been displaced by the violence.

    On Friday, the Bangladesh government lodged a formal complaint with Myanmar about alleged violations of Bangladesh airspace by Myanmar military aircraft and drones. Myanmar dismissed a similar airspace protest this month.

    The Bangladesh government has also been holding two Myanmar photographers covering the Rohingya crisis for a German magazine.

    The two, Minzayar Oo and Hkun Lat, are accused of entering the country under false pretenses, on tourist visas. The Bangladeshi authorities have suggested that the two may be spies, a charge denied by their lawyers and families.


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    A man who was found without vital signs following a shooting inside a downtown restaurant Saturday evening has died.

    Police rushed to Michael’s on Simcoe near Simcoe St. and Adelaide St. W. around 9 p.m. after reports of shooting. When emergency services arrived, they found a man without vital signs.

    Paramedics rushed him to a hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries, police said.

    Witnesses told police they heard four to five shots fired when the shooting took place within the restaurant, which is located in Toronto’s entertainment district.

    Police are looking for one male suspect who fled the scene on foot. He is described to be in possession of a black handgun, possibly wearing a dark or grey hoodie. He was last seen travelling west on Pearl St.

    The Homicide Unit has taken over the investigation. They are asking for anyone who might have witnessed the shooting to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

    The restaurant was the scene of another dramatic shooting almost two years ago. Police described that incident as a targeted act.

    Two masked men entered the restaurant and opened fire, hitting a man and woman in their late 20s sitting at the back of the restaurant, police said at the time. Both victims survived the shooting.

    With files from Alexandra Jones


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    Right now, the city is conducting a survey about its parkland strategy (you can fill it out online or attend public meetings about it around the city). At the same time, it is entertaining a proposal from Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, chair of the parks committee, to allow people to buy and drink beer in public parks.

    So it seems an opportune time — as we enjoy the last few weeks of prime Toronto park season and reflect on our experiences of the summer — to offer a few suggestions. These are small ones — nothing so grandiose as a plan for new parks, or even new types of parks, and nothing so expensive, either. But from my picnic blanket under the trees, they seem like they’re small things that would make a huge difference to our enjoyment of park spaces.

    First off, yes, let people drink beer (or wine, or whatever) in parks. But don’t bother limiting it to some kind of rotating “beer truck” special events — as the proposal seems like it might — or otherwise bog it down in quicksand of overregulation. As my colleague at Metro, Matt Elliott, recently wrote, there’s every danger that the city will put up all kinds of fenced-off beer holding pens in corners of parks, or put so many rules and permits onto what can be drunk or sold and how that they suck all the fun out of what should be a way for people to have fun.

    Golf courses can already have their licensed area include all the playing areas and the grass around the clubhouse —essentially the whole course— so people can wander around with a beer while they play. The same seems like it would work just fine in public parks.

    Right now — famously at Trinity Bellwoods, but also even at my local family playground — many, many people routinely bring a bottle of wine or a tall can of IPA to the park. And it causes few problems that anyone can see. All the city has to do is change the law to conform to a relatively uncontroversial common practice.

    And then, to complement this, the city can go ahead and license sales concessions — truck-based or otherwise — as a service to park users and a source of cash, too.

    It was after I had kids that I realized parks serve roughly the same purpose in a community as pubs: they’re convenient local places to relax, blow off steam, celebrate, meet people, and catch up on neighbourhood news and gossip. Seems like there are relatively few reasons not to add another similarity to the list by letting people do those things over a beer if they want.

    Which brings us to my second suggestion. You know what else bars have? Bar stools. Chairs. Places for people to sit down while they socialize and pass the time.

    You know what Toronto’s parks don’t have enough of? Places to sit down, or things to sit on. Sure, there are a few wooden benches affixed in place here and there, and the odd well-placed rock. But as I wrote last summer, there really are relatively few places to have a seat in our public places, including in our parks.

    In New York City and Paris, cheap, movable chairs are a ubiquitous and well-used fixture of parks and public squares. And they are better than park benches specifically because there are lots of them and you can move them around — into the shade, or into conversation circles, or whatever — as you like. “People don’t care about the architectural design of a public space,” writer Jonathan Rowe observed, summarizing the work of legendary urbanist William H. Whyte. “What they do care about is one simple thing: places to sit.” We need more of them in our parks, particularly local neighbourhood drop-in parkettes where people stopping in spontaneously are less likely to have packed a picnic blanket or beach towel with them.

    Finally, if people are sitting around enjoying themselves and having a drink, they need something else. Something very basic in which the city has, in my experience, failed spectacularly. They need a decent place to go to the washroom.

    “A 5-year-old little girl needed to use the washroom,” a Toronto resident named Betty Lynn wrote me recently about a trip to High Park — one of the city’s flagship destination parks. “She went ahead of me and I was surprised to see her back off, and so hesitant to go into a stall and wouldn’t enter. I looked in and agreed . . . and, frankly was horrified at the sight. Not only unflushed and horribly smelly, but with huge amounts of toilet paper all over the floor, little clean toilet paper, water all over the floor and no lock on the doors! Of the wash basins only one had water (cold), the sinks were filthy and rusted and the floor looked like it hadn’t be cleaned (never mind painted) in decades.”

    If you’re from Toronto, it’s likely nothing about Lynn’s description will surprise you. It seems like in our public parks in particular, there are two states in which you find a public washroom.

    The first state is disgusting. As Lynn describes.

    The second state is locked. For much of the year, the toilets in many parks are closed unless they are attached to a specific facility like a pool or a skating rink that is open. I recall with amazement this spring, while the cherry trees were blooming in High Park, on the same weekend as the park’s baseball and soccer leagues opened their seasons, the park was full of people. Police had gated the entrances to car traffic because there was gridlock on the park roads. The walkways were like Union Station during the morning rush hour. The park was predictably full for the event-packed weekend. And the public washrooms were . . . not yet open for the season.

    Almost every fast-food joint and mom-and-pop diner in the city manages to keep restrooms open, and relatively clean, stocked with toilet paper, with functioning sinks and locking stall doors. It isn’t difficult or unreasonable to expect the city to manage the same thing in public facilities.

    There’s the three-point plan: let people have a drink, let them have a seat while they do it and give them a decent washroom facility for when they need it. It isn’t a grandiose parkland strategy, but it is an easy way to make our existing parks much better.

    Edward Keenan writes on city issues ekeenan@thestar.ca . Follow: @thekeenanwire


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    Money for nothing?

    Offering up to $1,400 a month with no strings attached to someone living in poverty may sound easy, says Kwame McKenzie, special adviser to Ontario’s basic income pilot project.

    “But it’s not,” says the respected psychiatrist, researcher and international expert on the social causes of illness, suicide and health equity.

    “We have spent a lot of time teaching people that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” McKenzie says. “You have to build techniques and strategies to reassure people that they aren’t going to be let down and it isn’t a scam.”

    About 28,000 residents in the Hamilton-Brantford and Thunder Bay areas have received 40-page application packages in the mail since Premier Kathleen Wynne launched the three-year initiative in late April. Recruitment in Lindsay, the third trial site, begins later this fall.

    The pilot is expected to cost $50 million a year and help the government determine whether a less intrusive and more trusting approach to delivering income support improves health, education and housing outcomes for low-income workers and people on welfare. The government also wants to see if providing an income floor below which nobody can fall improves job prospects for those living on low incomes.

    But so far, the randomized weekly mail-outs have resulted in relatively few applications and even fewer cheques in the hands of low-income Ontarians.

    Based on feedback from public information meetings over the summer, many of the packages landed in the mailboxes of people who aren’t eligible, either because they are too old or earning too much money.

    Up to 4,000 individuals ages 18 to 64 with after-tax incomes under about $34,000 (or under $48,000 for couples and under about $46,000 for a single person with a disability) will receive the provincial cash. Up to 4,000 others will get no extra money, but will be tracked as a control group.

    People with disabilities will receive an additional $500 a month. And the basic income will be reduced by 50 cents for every dollar earned until a participant is no longer financially eligible.

    The government won’t say how many have signed up or how many cheques were issued in July and August. But community agencies partnering with the government to raise awareness and help potential participants apply, say few low-income people with application forms have come forward for assistance.

    Mackenzie, who heads the Wellesley Institute health think-tank and is director of clinical health equity at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, says this isn’t unusual and that studies of this kind use randomized mail-outs as much for advertising as recruitment.

    It helps to get the word out, so when people are tapped in more targeted enrolment efforts, they know something about it, he says.

    “If you want to reach more marginalized populations you need a number of different ways of getting people talking about it,” he says.

    Last month, provincial officials began setting up open and targeted enrolment sessions in food banks and community agencies in Thunder Bay and Brantford. Lakehead Social Planning Council in Thunder Bay is also reaching out to potential participants over Facebook. Open enrolment sessions will start in Hamilton next week.

    The weekly mail-outs have changed to a “less intimidating” one-page letter inviting people to request an application package or visit the government’s basic income website for more information, said Karen Glass, the government’s senior bureaucrat on the file. Reminder postcards are being sent to those who received the initial package. And now, anyone living in the household, including an adult son or daughter — not just the person named on the envelope — will be eligible to apply.

    “What we learn from this pilot will help inform our longer-term plans for income security reform,” said Social Services Minister Helena Jaczek and Housing Minister Peter Milczyn, who are jointly leading the project.

    “At the same time, we will continue to look for ways to improve social assistance to better support the individuals and families who are relying on this system today,” they added in a joint statement.

    Trevor Beecraft, executive director of the Welcome Inn Community Centre, Brantford’s only emergency homeless shelter, hopes the pilot project’s targeted enrolment efforts reach his clients.

    “The people we serve have no addresses so those who could potentially benefit the most from the basic income have had no access to the application form,” said Beecraft. The centre’s 36-bed shelter in a local church provided 8,000 sleeps last year and has served 232 individual users so far this year.

    “It’s going to be a skewed result if they don’t have the homeless involved in the demographics of their study,” he said.

    In addition to having no address, many homeless people lack government-issued identification and most probably haven’t filed their 2016 taxes and won’t have a T1 tax return document needed to verify their income.

    “The other barrier for the demographic I work with is literacy . . . . There are a lot of barriers for those who could use this the most.”

    Beecraft says the study needs to learn what support homeless people would need if they suddenly saw their incomes jump.

    This comes from a greater concern among anti-poverty advocates that if the basic income proves successful for higher functioning people on low-incomes and eventually replaces welfare, services for the most vulnerable would be cut to pay for the change.

    “Just because you give them more money doesn’t take away the challenges of mental health or addictions that many of them face,” Beecraft says. “But it would make it much easier for organizations like ours to find them suitable housing that meets their needs.”

    Convincing them to apply for the pilot project, however, is another matter, he noted.

    Some are afraid to try it because there is no guarantee they will be chosen to get the extra money. Others can’t imagine moving into more secure housing and beginning to live a better life, only to see it taken away when the project ends in three years.

    “Everything they would have built up through the pilot would be lost. People with foresight are saying they don’t want to be in that situation, even if they would be better off in the short term,” Beecraft says.

    And for others it’s just paranoia. “It is hard for them to trust.”

    Thunder Bay resident Taras Harapyuk, who hasn’t worked since 2015 when he fell while lifting a ladder off his truck, received an application package in July and completed it about three weeks ago.

    The 57-year-old former heating and fireplace installer, who has been living on about $700 a month in welfare payments, is “praying” he will be among 4,000 chosen to receive the cash.

    “I was very happy to get (the application) because I really need temporary help,” he said by phone from his modest bungalow where he has lost heat, hydro and even water due to mounting bills he can no longer pay.

    A visiting nurse, who has been helping Harapyuk with pain management after back and shoulder surgery related to his injury, assisted with the application.

    “I know how to save. I know how to make money last. It would help me get back on my feet,” he said Friday after a physiotherapy appointment. “I am strong. I never give up. But I just need a little bit of help.”

    McKenzie, who is not being paid for his research advice to the government, says the project, believed to be the largest in the world at the moment, is a huge opportunity.

    “The people who are part of this basic income pilot are going to be helping Ontario set its course, but also leading Canada and maybe parts of the world in a different way of looking at how to provide securer lives for people in low income,” he said.

    “I hope all of the people who sign up will be thinking: Wow. This is big, eh? To be part of history.”


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    Ontario’s northern highway fell silent the day Terry Fox stopped running 30 years ago. No more rhythmic double hop, thump. No more waiting to see him crest a hill. No more cheers.

    He lay in a hospital bed — the same hospital where his right leg had been amputated three years earlier — still wearing his famous map of Canada T-shirt, an emblazoned love for his country.

    Terry had truly become a vessel for our hopes, and he was not doing well. He had two tumours in his chest. He coughed. Even though he still had slashes of sunburn, his face was drawn and strangely pale.

    Canada was trying to figure out what to do. What else but to run for him?

    Today, I’ll be where I usually am the third Sunday in September, joining hundreds of thousands of Canadians in the 30th running of the Terry Fox Run.

    Every year for 30 years. In Wilket Creek Park. In High Park. Even once in China. In the rain, but mostly in the sun.

    One year, while pregnant, I walked. What else was there to do the third Sunday in September? Then I went home and into labour.

    David is now 19. He’ll run with his brother Yusef in Halifax. Romea, their sister, will run in Montreal.

    I dread asking for donations. But this year, like every year, people just offered. When someone sends you pledge of $300 — as a friend did this week (her husband died of cancer) — well, you know you’re going to lace up your runners and head out the door. An 88-year-old woman who is very dear to me handed me a $50 bill. Didn’t have to ask her either.

    There’s more, of course.

    There’s the woman who spoke up at the Toronto International Film Festival last Sunday. She was at the premiere of Steve Nash’s film Into the Wind, a documentary about Terry Fox. She thanked the NBA star for his first feature film. Then she said she had two kids with cancer. For a moment, the theatre held its breath. She continued: her children are both alive and well, survivors, because of cancer research. We exhaled.

    The foundation created in his Terry’s name has raised more than $500 million for cancer research. Out of every dollar raised in Ontario, a full 92 cents goes to research.

    I don’t know what my fundraising totals are after thirty years of pledges. Not much, really. I do know that as much as the run is about the money, it’s also not about the money.

    Every year when I walk — the running ended some time ago — I think about Terry’s graceful heart. The running was about him, but somehow, through the alchemy of love, I suppose, he transformed it into being about all of us. I see that understanding when I meet the eyes of fellow runners, walkers, every September.

    We run, we walk, we give, because Terry did.

    Reporter Leslie Scrivener covered Terry Fox’s run for the Star and subsequently wrote Terry Fox: His Story.


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    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has won the People’s Choice prize at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday.

    The devastating dark comedy about revenge and redemption in small-town America beat out several other buzzworthy titles for the top honour.

    The first runner-up is I, Tonya, a mockumentary-style black comedy starring Margot Robbie as disgraced U.S. figure skater Tonya Harding.

    Second runner-up is coming-of-age tale Call Me By Your Name.

    The People’s Choice honour is often a predictor of Academy Award success.

    Last year’s winner was La La Land, which scored a record-tying 14 Oscar nominations earlier this year.

    The Los Angeles-set musical starring London, Ont., native Ryan Gosling went on to win six Oscars, including best actress for Emma Stone and the director prize for Damien Chazelle.

    In a historic gaffe, La La Land was mistakenly announced as the best picture winner at this year’s ceremony before the prize was awarded to Moonlight.

    MORE ON THESTAR.COM:

    High ideals met harsh reality at TIFF 2017: Howell

    Critical favourite Lady Bird snags three deals at TIFF

    Long Time Running a funny, uplifting look at the Hip’s last tour: review

    Capsule reviews from the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival


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    SOMERSET, N.J.—Top advisers to President Donald Trump on Sunday warned North Korea to give up its missile and nuclear weapons programs and to quit making threats against the U.S. and its allies or face destruction.

    The warnings came a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to continue the weapons programs, saying his country is nearing its goal of “equilibrium” in military force with the United States. They also come as world leaders begin arriving in New York for the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly this week, where the topic of North Korea will be high on the agenda.

    Trump will be making his first appearance at the UN General Assembly, his biggest moment on the world stage since January’s inauguration. He is scheduled to address the world body, which he has criticized as weak and incompetent, on Tuesday.

    Trump tweeted Sunday that he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in discussed North Korea during their latest telephone conversation on Saturday. Trump spoke with Moon from his New Jersey golf club, where aides said he spent the weekend preparing for his UN debut.

    Read more on U.S. President Donald Trump

    U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Kim is “going to have to give up his nuclear weapons because the president has said he’s not going to tolerate this regime threatening the United States and our citizens with a nuclear weapon.”

    Asked if that meant Trump would launch a military strike, McMaster said “he’s been very clear about that, that all options are on the table.”

    Kim has threatened Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific, and has fired two missiles over Japan, a U.S. ally in Asia, including one missile that was launched on Friday. North Korea also recently tested its most powerful bomb.

    Related: How Canada can help to defuse North Korean crisis: Walkom

    The UN Security Council has voted unanimously twice in recent weeks to tighten economic sanctions on North Korea, including targeting shipments of oil and other fuel used in missile testing. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said North Korea was starting to “feel the pinch.”

    But she also warned of a tougher U.S. response in the future, saying the Security Council has “pretty much exhausted” all of its options and that she would be happy to turn the matter over to Defence Secretary Jim Mattis “because he has plenty of military options.”

    Mattis said earlier this month, after Kim tested a hydrogen bomb, that the U.S. will answer any threat from the North with a “massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.”

    Trump has threatened to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea. Haley said that wasn’t an empty threat from the president but, when asked, she declined to describe the president’s intentions.

    “If North Korea keeps on with this reckless behaviour, if the United States has to defend itself or defend its allies in any way, North Korea will be destroyed and we all know that and none of us want that,” Haley said. “None of us want war. But we also have to look at the fact that you are dealing with someone who is being reckless, irresponsible and is continuing to give threats not only to the United States, but to all their allies, so something is going to have to be done.”

    In Sunday’s tweet, Trump said he asked Moon about “Rocket Man” — an apparent reference to Kim. Trump also tweeted that long lines for gas are forming in North Korea and called it “too bad.”

    The White House said after Trump’s tweet that he and Moon are committed to strengthening deterrence and defence capabilities, and maximizing economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea.

    Trump plans to sit down with Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the UN General Assembly session this week.

    Haley spoke on CNN’s State of the Union and McMaster appeared on ABC’s This Week.


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    Toronto police have identified the 54-year-old man shot and killed near Regent Park early Saturday morning.

    Everone Paul Mitchell was visiting a nearby residence when the shooting took place around Gerrard and River Sts., police said.

    Another victim, 57, was taken to trauma centre with non life-threatening injuries.

    Police are still gathering evidence and accessing video surveillance.


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    WASHINGTON —In the latest instance of U.S. President Donald Trump seeming to revel in the notion of physical attacks against perceived enemies, the president retweeted an animated GIF showing him hitting a golf ball that knocks down Hillary Clinton.

    Critics swiftly responded. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., appearing on ABC’s This Week, said: “It’s distressing to have a president that frankly will tweet and retweet things as juvenile as that.”

    The original Twitter post, from a user whose Twitter handle consists of an expletive, was sent last week and retweeted Sunday by the president, who is spending the weekend at his New Jersey golf property.

    A former Trump campaign strategist, David Urban, brushed off the controversy. “Retweets do not equal endorsements,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union.

    The president has previously taken to Twitter to retweet animations, including one that depicted him pummeling a figure with a CNN logo superimposed on his head. Another presidential Twitter share last month, later deleted, showed a train hitting a person, again with a CNN logo imposed on the figure’s head.

    Trump associates have previously dismissed criticism of such retweets, suggesting they were intended to be humorous.

    Clinton’s new book about the campaign was released last week, and Trump has repeatedly used Twitter to deride her as a sore loser.

    In the first part of the animation Trump retweeted on Sunday, the president is seen in golf attire, teeing off. The second shows footage of Clinton tripping as she boards a plane, with the video altered to show her being struck in the back with a golf ball.

    Read more news about U.S President Donald TrumpEND


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    PARIS—Four young American tourists were attacked with acid Sunday at a train station in the French city of Marseille, but French authorities so far do not think extremist views motivated the 41-year-old woman who was arrested as the alleged assailant, the local prosecutor’s office said.

    Two of the female tourists suffered facial injuries during the late morning attack at Marseille’s Saint Charles train station and one of the two also had a possible eye injury, a spokesperson for the Marseille prosecutor’s office told The Associated Press.

    She said all four of the women, who are in their 20s, were hospitalized, two of them for shock. The suspect was taken into police custody.

    The spokesperson spoke on condition of anonymity, per the custom of the French judicial system. She did not release more details about the victims, including where in the United States the tourists live.

    The Paris prosecutor’s office said that its counterterrorism division has decided for the time being not to assume jurisdiction for investigating the attack. The prosecutor’s office in the capital, which has responsibility for all terror-related cases in France, did not explain the reasoning behind the decision.

    The spokesperson for the Marseille prosecutor’s office said the suspect did not make any extremist threats or declarations during the attack. She said there were no obvious indications that the woman’s actions were terror-related.

    The Marseille fire department was alerted just after 11 a.m. and dispatched four vehicles and 14 firefighters to the train station, a department spokeswoman said.

    Two of the Americans were “slightly injured” with acid but did not require emergency medical treatment from medics at the scene, the spokesperson said. She requested anonymity in keeping with fire department protocol.

    Regional newspaper La Provence, quoting unidentified police officials, reported that the suspect had a history of mental health problems and noted that she remained at the site of the attack without trying to flee.

    A spokesperson for the United States embassy in Paris said the U.S. consulate in Marseille was in contact with French authorities.

    U.S. authorities in France are not immediately commenting on what happened to protect the privacy of the American tourists, embassy spokesman Alex Daniels said.

    Marseille is a port city in southern France that is closer to Barcelona than Paris.

    In previous incidents in Marseille, a driver deliberately rammed into two bus stops last month, killing a woman, but officials said it wasn’t terror-related.

    In April, French police said they thwarted an imminent “terror attack” and arrested two suspected radicals in Marseille just days before the first round of France’s presidential election. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters the two suspects “were getting ready to carry out an imminent, violent action.”

    In January 2016, a 15-year-old Turkish Kurd was arrested after attacking a Jewish teacher on a Marseille street. He told police he acted in the name of Daesh, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

    Read more: Terrorism doesn’t pay in Marseille, but organized crime does


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    MONTREAL—After years working birthday parties, private functions and public festivals, of making people laugh for profit as Yahou the clown, Guillaume Vermette decided to follow his dream.

    The 29-year-old from Trois-Rivières, Que., sold his entertainment company two years ago, launched a fundraising campaign, filled a backpack and dove into a new life marked by overwhelming misery, suffering, violence and desperation.

    Vermette, a full-time humanitarian clown, has never felt so enriched. He has never felt so enraged, either.

    Now his shows are for street kids in Haiti and Burkina Faso, Syrian refugees in Greece and Jordan, Burmese refugees in Thailand and Russian orphans living in ramshackle conditions.

    “Yes, it’s rough sometimes,” he admitted in a recent interview. “If you brought me a recipe to save the world I’d drop my clown nose and do it.”

    But the world ricochets from the ruins of Syria and Iraq, to the Rohingya Muslims fleeing a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Burma, to the heightened nuclear threat from North Korea. And Vermette’s red plastic nose, powder blue suit, red suspenders and, sometimes, ballerina’s pink tutu are never in the closet for long.

    In conversation he rants against injustice, exploitation, prejudice and intolerance. He says that what he has seen in the last year or so convinces him that the world is becoming an uglier place. Then he bursts out in an unbridled laugh.

    “You have to accept that you can’t change the world. You have to accept that the world is a horrible place,” he said. “To embody change is the best thing you can do—and to be positive. But to be honest, it’s getting harder and harder. I thought it would get easier but it’s not.”

    The first time he put on a costume was about 12 years ago while working as a summer camp counsellor in the Inuit community of Salluit in northern Quebec.

    He was a 17-year-old white kid working with Inuit youth not much younger than he was but who were already facing serious personal, social and substance-abuse issues. One day, Vermette went into the camp’s costume closet on his break, dressed up and started walking through the streets, marveling at the reaction.

    “It was fun, but I felt there was something more—a human contact,” he said. “It allows you to realize that we are all the same. We laugh at the same things. We are touched by the same things.”

    An idea was born. He took private clown courses, created his own entertainment company at the age of 19 and enrolled in university, studying psychology. It grew to the point where he had 30 performers working for him and no time to continue his studies.

    Some of the profits from Yahou Productions went to pay for humanitarian work, but he was frustrated by bureaucracy trying to get into hospitals and orphanages, where his tricks and gags might brighten someone’s day.

    In 2011, a friend slipped Vermette a piece of paper with a telephone number and the name of Patch AdamsPatch Adams, the American doctor and activist clown portrayed by Robin Williams in the 1998 movie. It took him two weeks to work up his courage.

    “I called and introduced myself as Guillaume the clown from Trois-Rivières in very bad English at the time. He listened to me and, at the end, asked me to come with him to Russia with about 40 other clowns to tour the orphanages,” Vermette said.

    In the years since, Vermette has been to Russia 17 times working with an organization called Maria’s Children, that visits orphanages and hospitals and helps the survivors of the 2004 Beslan school massacre in which about 330 people, including 180 children, were killed by Chechen terrorists after a three-day hostage situation.

    One of the kids, Ruslan, lost his father and sister in the Beslan attack. Ruslan’s only surviving relative, his mother, has never really recovered from the trauma, Vermette said.

    “I don’t do shows for him because it doesn’t interest him. He needs a presence. He needs a mother and a brother and that’s what I give him as best as I can.”

    Patch Adams, perhaps the world’s most famous humanitarian clown, is no longer just an inspiration for Vermette. He is a friend.

    “I think the strongest thing that Guillaume brings is that he really has a deeply loving heart for all people,” Adams said in a telephone interview.

    He’s also become well respected in the community of itinerant performers who cross paths in far-flung refugee camps or come together for humanitarian missions.

    “A clown like Guillaume could be making a really decent wage. Circus is back in a big way. With his skills and experience he could be absolutely packing away the money, but we don’t miss it so it’s not a sacrifice,” said Ash Perrin, founder of The Flying Seagull Project, a troupe that works with refugees in Europe.

    Perrin and Vermette first worked together in 2016 in northern Greece, where 14,000 refugees stayed in a makeshift camp, hoping to make asylum claims in Europe. Their common work ethic and concern for the children united them while performing up to eight shows a day in hot, difficult conditions.

    “(Children) pick up on the atmosphere of the parents,” Perrin said. “Parents are losing hope after they’ve been there a while. Hope is a thin resource in the camp.”

    One moment from that trip is etched in Vermette’s memory. While he was performing, surrounded by kids, a fight broke out and gunshots pierced the air. Everyone scrambled to safety, except Vermette, who couldn’t hear anything over the sounds of the children laughing.

    For that brief moment, he had removed his audience from their hostile and miserable reality and transported them to a place of happiness. And he had done his job.

    “I’m a clown. I distribute happiness and joy—a moment of normal childhood in the midst of chaos and suffering,” Vermette said. “So far that has been my focus, but I’m reflecting on that. I think I want to do more.”


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