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- 09/21/17--12:02: _Getting a NAFTA dea...
- 09/21/17--12:57: _On Trudeau’s tax re...
- 09/21/17--12:51: _A rookie’s guide to...
- 09/21/17--13:45: _Eighty-three per ce...
- 09/21/17--17:49: _Congo leads world i...
- 09/21/17--15:05: _Canadian British Vi...
- 09/21/17--10:02: _Buddhist mob attack...
- 09/21/17--15:59: _Donald Trump widens...
- 09/21/17--19:00: _Outgoing deputy chi...
- 09/21/17--18:23: _Quebec suspect char...
- 09/21/17--17:55: _Lawyer Jeremy Diamo...
- 09/21/17--13:40: _Parents fuming over...
- 09/22/17--07:22: _Why Toronto may not...
- 09/22/17--08:12: _Kim Jong Un threate...
- 09/22/17--08:44: _Ontario, Quebec, an...
- 09/22/17--10:16: _Theresa May tries t...
- 09/22/17--03:00: _It’s the third Invi...
- 09/22/17--03:00: _Food fight at Ashbr...
- 09/22/17--06:06: _Prince Harry in Tor...
- 09/22/17--08:55: _‘Catastrophic’: Mil...
- 09/21/17--12:02: Getting a NAFTA deal by 2018 is within reach, Canadian officials say
- 09/21/17--12:57: On Trudeau’s tax reform, the well-heeled kick back: Tim Harper
- 09/21/17--12:51: A rookie’s guide to the Invictus Games
- 09/21/17--15:59: Donald Trump widens U.S. sanctions on North Korea
- 09/21/17--13:40: Parents fuming over hardline on hockey rule change
- 09/22/17--07:22: Why Toronto may not be the best place for Amazon’s new HQ: Wells
- 09/22/17--08:44: Ontario, Quebec, and California ink climate-change deal
- 09/22/17--10:16: Theresa May tries to reboot Brexit, offers 2-year transition period
- 09/22/17--06:06: Prince Harry in Toronto setting the stage for Invictus Games
OTTAWA—Canadian government officials insist the American deadline for a new North American free trade deal by year’s end or early 2018 is within reach, as Canada gets set to host round three of NAFTA talks in Ottawa this weekend.
On the eve of those talks, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will meet with the original Canada-U.S. and North American free trade deal architects and negotiators in Toronto, including former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney, his former U.S. ambassadors Derek Burney and Allan Gotlieb, former finance minister Michael Wilson, former NAFTA negotiator John Weekes, and Don Campbell, former deputy minister of foreign affairs and international trade.
Freeland will also meet her NAFTA advisory council which includes former Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose and James Moore, former industry minister in the Stephen Harper-led Conservative government. Also in Toronto Friday, Navdeep Bains, Liberal innovation, science and economic development minister will sit down for a roundtable meeting with representatives of the autoworker sector in Toronto.
Canadian government sources downplayed pessimistic predictions from some industry sources that the time frame to reach a deal is too tight, given the lack of agreement to date, after just two rounds of meetings between negotiators.
One said it is premature to suggest any aspect of the talks has gone off the rails, because in fact progress has been made in areas of common ground, although negotiators have not finalized text even for those chapters.
As round three kicks off Saturday in Ottawa, with teams from Washington, D.C. and Mexico City arriving for negotiations scheduled to continue until Wednesday next week, officials say all the separate negotiating tables are still open.
They said progress was made in Mexico City and expectations at the senior levels of the Canadian government are that more progress will be made in Ottawa, although all three parties at the table have agreed not to make public statements on specific areas of agreement without signoff by their counterparts.
Getting a NAFTA deal by 2018 is within reach, Canadian officials say
On the eve of Parliament’s return, a quick drink with a prominent opponent of Justin Trudeau’s tax reforms brought consensus.
It would be one of those political meteors, we decided. Canadians are not paying attention and the tax reforms controversy would burn out in a couple of days.
A week later, we both have to admit we were wrong.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau is now accusing his opponents of “scare tactics,’’ terms like “class warfare” are being tossed around and Morneau and the prime minister are under attack for sheltering their own business and personal holdings.
In this case, the Liberals not only fumbled their messaging but miscalculated their target.
They may be well-heeled, but that merely allows them to more forcefully kick back.
And we’re again learning that nothing is certain but death and opposition to tax increases.
These are Canadians who do not consider themselves wealthy, who worked hard to get where they are today and hold influence in their communities.
They were playing by the rules and — even though this move was signalled by the Liberals in their 2015 platform — feel blindsided.
So the Liberals at mid-term are going to end “income sprinkling,’’ the practice of paying other members of the family to lower the tax bill, going after business owners who invest money in their company that is not being used for that business and ending the practice of income being treated as capital gains to lower the tax bill.
This is not to argue against tax fairness. The Liberals are doing the right thing, but again they have been knocked off course almost immediately after the Commons returned.
Those affected can eloquently state their case. And, in some cases, they can look beyond their own situation.
Ellen McGregor is the CEO of Mississauga’s Fielding Environmental, a clean tech company specializing in the recycling of waste solvents, glycols and refrigerants.
The company says it “strives to save the planet one molecule at a time.’’
The company was founded by her father in 1955, it’s now run by her and her brother and the third generation of McGregors are now involved in the business.
The company employs about 85 people at its Mississauga plant and a smaller operation just outside Pittsburgh.
Her opposition isn’t rooted in her wish for a bigger house, although she will certainly feel the effects of these changes.
But, she says, the government has to take a larger view of the potential damage to the economy from these changes.
She sees this as a threat to the clean tech industry in this country. She also sees it as a threat to the innovation economy. She believes it will chase investment money out of the country and south of the border.
The government is giving the impression that people like her ducked and hid and were doing something nefarious.
She believes the Liberals look at her as greedy, but she’s the type that digs into her own pocket to give to charity.
“All we did was structure by the rules,’’ she told me.
When Morneau speaks at the annual meeting of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce this weekend he’ll be in the room with a bevy of opponents including a couple of orchard owners named the country’s outstanding young farmers last year, a co-owner of an independent pharmacy who fears that women will suffer disproportionately under the reforms and a restaurant owner who rebuilt after fire destroyed his original eatery and works with a charity aiming to break the cycle of family violence.
He’ll be in the room with the CEO of a technology company who moved back to Canada to start her business and a fifth generation owner of a car dealership who now believes there will be no sixth generation.
They are not likely to win this battle.
The Canadian Labour Congress and some business groups, unlikely allies, back the move.
An Angus Reid Institute poll has Canadians split right down the middle on the issue, with half declaring the move will make the tax system fairer and half convinced it will hurt business investment. Even small business owners polled were not showing the outrage that is being channelled from the opposition benches this week.
The tax changes will go through. But this is sticking and Morneau may yet have to offer something else to cushion the blow. Memories for some voters are long.
Tim Harper writes on national affairs. email@example.com, Twitter: @nutgraf1
On Trudeau’s tax reform, the well-heeled kick back: Tim Harper
Let the Invictus Games begin: once we clear up some questions.
Starting with a big-production opening ceremony at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday and chugging along until the closing ceremonies on Sept. 30, the Games are about to stamp a significant presence on Toronto for the first time. But what are the games? Can anyone go see them? And how is the British monarchy involved?
Here’s your rookie’s guide to what’s going on.
Q: What’s actually happening over the next week?
A: Wounded war veterans and service members duking it out over adaptive sport, emotionally-charged ceremonies and planeloads of interesting people landing in Toronto from all over the world.
The Toronto games are the third iteration of Invictus, and are set to include more than 550 competitors from 17 countries. Twelve different sports are on the table — including golf, which hasn’t been an event in previous years.
Q: How’s Prince Harry involved in all this?
A: He’s the founder. Back in 2014, the fifth-in-line British royal established Invictus and held the inaugural event in London. The event didn’t actually run in 2015, but it picked back up in Orlando, FL last year.
Prince Harry served in Afghanistan in the later 2000’s and early 2010’s, a time in his life that sparked a feeling that later became Invictus.
In a piece the Prince wrote for the Star this summer, he writes about a day in particular when he was held on an airfield runway so the body of a Danish soldier could be loaded on board. Three British soldiers on the plane were also in induced comas.
That plane ride, he wrote, is where the idea for all this began.
Q: Alright, I’m interested. But how much is this going to cost me?
A: Wheelchair tennis fans, rejoice! For you — along with aficionados of archery, cycling, golf, and land rover driving challenges — tickets to sporting events at venues like Fort York, the Distillery District and Nathan Phillips Square are completely free.
Countless adjacent events are cropping up through the city, too. If you’re one of the first 230 people at the Four Seasons Centre on Sept. 27, you’ll see a Canadian Opera Company concert entirely free of charge.
If you’re willing to spend a little more, $25 will get you into any number of events from powerlifting to indoor rowing, as well as either the preliminaries or the finals of wheelchair basketball. To follow the action, see both for $50.
Big spenders can drop between $60 and $150 per person to the opening or closing ceremonies at the Air Canada Centre. As of Thursday, there are still tickets left to the opening ceremony, though the closing has sold out.
Q: Which is going to be better? The opening ceremony or the closing?
A: We’ve yet to determine the odds of Sarah McLaughlin singing I Will Remember You during her performance at the opening on Sept. 23, so this is a judgment call. What’s for sure is that she’ll be joined at the kickoff event by Alessia Cara, The Tenors, Laura Wright and La Bottine Souriante.
But the closing ceremony on Sept. 30 is bringing out some heavy hitters, too. We’re looking at performances from Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Kelly Clarkson, Coeur de Pirate and Bachman & Turner to start.
Either way, you’re getting an ACC show produced by Patrick Roberge — the man behind dazzling Grey Cup half-time shows and Olympic spectacles — coloured by the emotional stories of international service members.
On a practical level: leave early. With road closures, traffic will likely be a mess both days. No bags or water bottles will be allowed inside, either.
Q: Who else is in town?
A: If you thought TIFF drew out household names last week, buckle up for this one.
Beyond his royal highness, a wave of political figures are hitting Toronto. Former U.S. President Barack Obama and current First Lady Melania Trump will be in town to support American troops, with Trump leading the American delegation. (Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also in town next week for the Toronto leg of her new book tour.)
A slew of recognizable faces are landing in the city for We Day, an official partner for the Games. Kelly Clarkson, Penny Oleksiak, Ban Ki-Moon, Hedley, Andre De Grasse, George Takei, Vanessa Hudgens and Spencer West will take to the stage on Sept. 28 at the ACC before the big finale.
Officially, though, the ambassador of the Toronto games is actor Mike Myers.
Q: Mike Myers?
A: Mike Myers. He appeared at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando too, where he gave a speech about understanding and respecting service members. Kent Hehr, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, called Myers “a true Canadian talent” when the announcement came out this year.
Q: We want to know about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
A: Nope. There is no verified information on whether or not the Prince and his lady will be anywhere together in any official capacity. Tabloid speculation is more-or-less limited to the bare bones: Invictus is in Toronto. Markle lives in Toronto. Anything else is guesswork at this point.
Q: Do I cheer for Team Canada, like the Olympics?
A: Sure. There are 90 Canadian athletes on Team Canada for Invictus. All of them sustained a physical or mental health injury or illness while serving.
Athletes come from one of three groups: the Navy, the Army, or the Air Force. Some are rookies to the Invictus sports, and some are still in active duty.
But despite 17 different teams to choose from at Invictus, Canadian archery and sitting volleyball athlete Rob Sanders is adding one more. He’s said he’ll try to wear a number 14 during the team sports in honour of Dave Keon of the Toronto Maple Leafs — “one of the best players in Leafs history.”
Q: If I miss it this year, where’s the next one?
A: Sydney, Australia, next year. Pack earplugs for a long-haul flight.
A rookie’s guide to the Invictus Games
Across Ontario, 83 per cent of schools offer before- and after-class care for students, new statistics show — but in Toronto, only about three-quarters do, the lowest rate across the Greater Toronto Area.
The figures, based on early estimates, show Halton public and Catholic boards as well as the Dufferin-Peel Catholic board run after-care for kids ages 4 to 12 in all elementary schools — the highest rate in the GTA.
The Toronto public board has programs in 74 per cent of schools, with the Toronto Catholic board slightly higher at 76 per cent.
This is the first year that boards are mandated to offer after-hours care for students up to age 12, where demand warrants, run by the boards themselves, private licensed child-care centres or approved agencies that run recreational programs.
“This is an important milestone we have reached,” said Early Years Minister Indira Naidoo-Harris in announcing the new numbers. “… It’s a step forward toward giving Ontario families the quality care they want, during the hours they need … working parents rely on this kind of care at the beginning and end of their day.”
But in some areas — in particular in Toronto’s east end — parents continue to struggle to find spots.
Sara Ehrhardt, who is the administrator of the 300-member Toronto East Enders for Child Care, said her child is already on a wait-list for school-aged care not needed for another four years. The East York and Scarborough area has seen unusually high growth in preschool age children, she added.
“What we’re seeing on the ground is that while there may be spaces in many of the schools, the number of spaces are insufficient to meet the demand,” she said.
While pleased to see more spaces open up, her concern is also about the quality of care.
“It remains very unclear who is ensuring the quality of program,” she said. “It was even an issue before these changes. We want more spots, but we also want them to be safe spaces.”
Elaine Baxter-Trahair, general manager of Toronto children’s services, said the province sets the licensing standards, and the city monitors the quality.
Baxter-Trahair said staffing has also emerged as an issue, as before- and after-school care leads to the dreaded split shifts. Both the province and city are looking to create workforce strategies, looking in part at ways “to make it less precarious employment.”
Beaches-East York Councillor Janet Davis said additional spaces are welcome, but affordability is still an issue that needs to be addressed.
Percentage of schools in boards across Greater Toronto that have before- and after-school child care:
York Catholic – 98%
York public – 97%
Peel public – 79%
Dufferin-Peel Catholic - 100%
Halton public – 100%
Halton Catholic – 100 %
Toronto public – 74%
Toronto Catholic – 76%
Eighty-three per cent of Ontario schools now offer student care before and after class
BUNIA, CONGO—She had been orphaned by a brutal conflict, but the 14-year-old Congolese girl found refuge in a camp protected by United Nations peacekeepers.
The camp should have been safe the day she was raped. A delegation from the UN was paying a visit, and her grandmother had left her in charge of her siblings. That was the day, the girl says, that a Pakistani peacekeeper slipped inside their home and assaulted her in front of the other children.
But that was not the end of her story. Even though she reported the rape, the girl never got any help from the UN. She did become pregnant, however, and had a baby.
If the UN sexual abuse crisis has an epicentre, it is the Congo, where the scope of the problem first emerged 13 years ago—and where promised reforms have most clearly fallen short. Of the 2,000 sexual abuse and exploitation complaints made against UN peacekeepers and personnel worldwide over the past 12 years, more than 700 occurred in Congo, The Associated Press found. The embattled African nation is home to the UN’s largest peacekeeping force, which costs a staggering $1 billion (U.S.) a year.
The raped teenager’s experience is grimly emblematic of the underbelly of UN peacekeeping, and the organization as a whole. During a yearlong investigation, the AP found that despite promising reform for more than a decade, the UN failed to meet many of its pledges to stop the abuse or help victims, some of whom have been lost to a sprawling bureaucracy. Cases have disappeared or been handed off to the peacekeepers’ home countries — which often do nothing with them.
The attack on the 14-year-old was so brazen it still haunts the UN’s top human rights official more than a decade after hearing the girl’s story.
“What on earth would it take for this soldier not to do it—to have all the heads of the UN together, and he still does it?” asked Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, a member of the delegation that heard the girl’s testimony in 2004. One year later, he helped write a landmark report intended to curb sexual abuse and exploitation within the UN system.
With rare exceptions, victims interviewed by the AP received no help. Instead, many were banished from their families for having mixed-race children—who also are shunned, becoming a second generation of victims.
The AP even found a girl who was raped by two peacekeepers; she gave birth to two babies by the time she was 14.
To this day, the sexual violence by UN peacekeepers and personnel continues: Congo already accounts for nearly one-third of the 43 allegations made worldwide in 2017.
William L. Swing was in charge of the Congo mission between May 2003 and January 2008, a period when abuse allegations swelled in a country that has been torn by dictatorship, civil war and unrest for the last half-century.
“I take full responsibility for what happened,” Swing told the AP last week. “I knew at the time the buck stopped with me.”
Swing said the UN at times made it clear he should be relieved of his duties. Instead, he was named the head of the UN’s International Organization for Migration. Now, he sits on a new task force appointed to tackle the problem yet again. Swing insists the mistakes made during the early years of the Congo mission provided lessons that could shape new reforms.
“You can never make someone who has been sexually violated whole,” he said. “But you can give them a sense that the organization is trying to make them whole.”
The AP found that victims of car accidents involving UN vehicles are more likely to receive compensation than victims of rape. Why? Because those injuries were inflicted during the course of the UN worker’s “official duties.”
Although the UN has substantiated at least 41 cases of paternity worldwide since 2010, it can cite only one instance in which a paternity payment was made, according to online records of allegations. The AP independently confirmed a second paternity payment to a Haitian woman earlier this year.
Justice is even more elusive because the cases get referred to the alleged perpetrators’ home countries. Even after a UN investigation discovered a three-year child sex ring involving Sri Lankan peacekeepers in Haiti, Sri Lanka prosecuted no one, the AP’s investigation revealed.
Yet at the yearly UN General Assembly gathering in New York, Sri Lanka this week was named to the UN’s “circle of leadership” for the next reform effort.
Poor record-keeping has been a major obstacle to reform.
The UN had no record of the 14-year-old orphan who was raped on the day the top UN delegation visited. Officials did find another case with similar details, but said it was “unsubstantiated” at the time because the girl identified the wrong foreigner in a photo lineup. They did not know what became of the orphan.
But in just three days last month, the AP found a woman whose story closely matched the one that Zeid, the UN human rights official, found so unforgettable. She was inebriated and living in poverty. A relative has raised the daughter born as a result of rape as her own.
In an interview with the AP, the adoptive mother, Dorcas Zawadi, said she refuses to allow the girl near UN bases.
“The peacekeepers try to distract the girls with cookies, candy and milk to rape them,” she said.
“Daddy, Daddy, it’s my Daddy!”
In interviews with nearly a dozen women who said they were raped by peacekeepers, patterns quickly emerged.
A woman named Blandine said she was raped as a teenager and became pregnant. Her son Michael, now 8, only knows that the man was a foreigner from one of the U.N. peacekeeping missions that have been in Congo since his mother was a little girl.
Every time the boy sees a pale-skinned man, he cries out, “Daddy, Daddy, it’s my Daddy!”
“He thinks anyone with pale skin might be his father. He’ll hug any pale-skinned foreigner,” his mother said. She and the other nine sexual abuse victims interviewed in eastern Congo asked that only their first names be used because of what they endured.
Like his mother, the boy is shunned by villagers, left to play only with the other children of peacekeepers. In the eyes of the community the children of peacekeepers are “muzungus,” a Swahili word used to describe white people. The mothers babysit for one another, sharing responsibilities and the reality of being effectively sentenced to a lifetime of poverty from a single, violent moment in their youths.
The women told the AP stories of not being able to finish their studies, of being thrown out of their homes for getting pregnant, and of not being able to find husbands because of their mixed-race children. One thing they all want is financial help to raise their kids.
The key to that is establishing paternity, which is elusive for most now that their attackers have long since gone home to their own countries.
Blandine remembers looking at a lineup in hopes of identifying the man who raped her, a peacekeeper she said came from Morocco. But the U.N. said it had no record of her case.
“The U.N. had sent investigators around 2010 to investigate our case and they had promised they would take care of our children, but nothing ever followed,” she said.
A mother of two by age 14
When it comes to justice or transparency, the UN largely is powerless to force troop-contributing countries into action. As part of its investigation, the AP contacted nearly two dozen countries. None were willing to detail how many of their troops had been accused or the punishments imposed in substantiated cases, underscoring an overall lack of accountability.
Today, the UN says aid is provided to young girls and women even while they are awaiting paternity results. But that’s too little, too late for young women in Congo like Bora, who was raped and exploited by two peacekeepers and bore their babies while she was a child herself.
Bora was 11 years old the first time. She didn’t know where to turn. She had no idea she could file a complaint after being raped by a peacekeeper who had offered her bread and a banana. As a result, there was no physical evidence that could have confirmed the rape.
“It was the first man who ever touched me,” she recalled.
She gave birth to a son she named John. Estranged from her family, she could no longer go to school.
Two years later, when Bora was 13, another peacekeeper took advantage of her, and she became pregnant a second time. As she talked to an AP reporter, she looked away at a concrete wall in the bare room, telling the story of her life as if it had happened to someone else.
An uncle took custody of her children after seeing how the teen was struggling. At times, Bora has gone as long as a year without being able to visit.
“I’ll never forget what happened to me,” she said. “It is lodged in my heart.”
“I was afraid”
More than a decade after the peacekeeper scandal surfaced in 2004, the cases continued. In the Congolese village of Mavivi, about a dozen women, half of whom were minors at the time, said they had been impregnated by peacekeepers in recent years.
Among them is Noella, who sold bananas and mobile phone credit near the Tanzanians’ UN base after her parents could no longer afford her school fees.
Early one morning just days after her 15th birthday in December 2014, she said, a Tanzanian peacekeeper called out to her and offered her $20. She thought he wanted phone credit.
“A few minutes later, he threw himself on top of me and started to rape me,” she said. “I said nothing to my parents because I was afraid.”
In a rare move, she reported the rape and identified the peacekeeper she thought fathered her child. Tanzania went ahead and conducted DNA testing, but the test was not a match.
With no proof of paternity, Noella was kicked out of her parents’ home. Now she struggles to raise her 2-year-old child on her own.
The 14-year-old orphan who said she was raped by a Pakistani peacekeeper did not recover from her attack. Friends and relatives say she soon turned to alcohol to numb her pain. Zawadi says she whisked the child away when she still was a baby out of fear the mother would harm her.
“She only knows me as her mother, and I love her as my own child,” the woman said. “When I die, she will receive the same inheritance as my other children. They know her as my biological child, even with her pale skin.”
When Zawadi rescued the child, she gave the girl a new name, a name she prayed would give her a better life despite the circumstances of how she came into the world.
She called her Hope.
Congo leads world in sex abuse allegations made against UN peacekeepersCongo leads world in sex abuse allegations made against UN peacekeepersCongo leads world in sex abuse allegations made against UN peacekeepersCongo leads world in sex abuse allegations made against UN peacekeepers
Heartbroken residents are clearing away scattered pieces of buildings and trees on the British Virgin Islands — which braved two major hurricanes within two weeks, wiping out most homes.
Hurricane Maria struck the island Tuesday night destroying most of what was left after the first storm. It dragged the debris left behind by Hurricane Irma across the island — causing further road blocks and thrashing of homes.
“It’s like a nuclear bomb had gone off or a forest fire raged because there is nothing left in terms of wildlife and plants,” said Katelyn Woodman, a former Ajax, Ont., resident now teaching math on the islands.
“Cars are in the water and boats are on the land, trees have been pulled from their roots and flown into buildings, there are no roofs on probably 85 per cent of the houses.”
After wreaking havoc on the British Virgin Islands, Maria’s deadly path took it through Puerto Rico and lashed the Dominican Republic on Thursday morning. The deadly storm is expected to move into the Bahamas on Friday.
International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said that 6,000 Canadians who were in the path of Hurricane Maria were evacuated before the storm hit. She added that 168 Canadians who chose not to leave have requested federal assistance in the midst of the devastating storm that is ravaging the Caribbean.
Woodman was one of the Canadians who chose not to leave her island, where she has been living for three years. She wanted to help her students and the other residents with the cleanup.
She hid inside her concrete-walled home during both Category 5 hurricanes. By some miracle, she said, her home is still intact, even though many others in the area had been severely damaged.
“The entire time we could hear the debris being lifted off the land and we could hear all of the palm trees, shrapnel and rubble hitting our block,” she said. “It felt like you were in a box and someone was shaking it around like toy.”
With winds of 255 km/h, the most recent storm left many without a home. Several of Woodman’s students are currently living in the school, which is now a makeshift shelter.
Woodman said the second hurricane that hit the British Virgin Islands further shook up the islands — leaving the place unrecognizable. The night, now, she said, is eerily silent because the frogs and crickets are no longer there.
“It just looks like a landfill, as if someone has just taken their hand and wiped it completely across the island, it’s brown and bare, it just looks dead,” she said. “It’s sad and heartbreaking.”
Before the second storm struck, she said she could sense the fear people were feeling.
“You could feel it in the grocery store, in the lines and walking through town, people were nervous about this one as well,” she said. “A lot of people were more nervous about Maria, because they realized what a Category 5 could do.”
Former Quebec resident Guy-Paul Dubois was forced to flee his home on the British Virgin Islands where he lived for 15 years after Hurricane Irma struck. He experienced Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where he was sent after being evacuated.
“I had no roof, no more home, we were sleeping where it was wet everywhere in Tortola, I had to leave everything but a bag and my two dogs behind,” he said. “I don’t want to think about it anymore.”
After experiencing Irma in Tortola, Dubois said he felt that Puerto Rico was in better shape, despite reports that Maria knocked out electricity to the entire island and triggered landslides and floods.
“You can still see some green and trees here,” he said Thursday after the hurricane. “There are still some leaves on the trees but Tortola was brown like a bomb had exploded.”
With files from The Canadian Press
Canadian British Virgin Islands residents mop up after two devastating hurricanesCanadian British Virgin Islands residents mop up after two devastating hurricanes
DHAKA—A truck filled with aid for Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh veered off a road and fell into a ditch Thursday morning, killing at least nine aid workers, hours after another aid shipment in the refugees’ violence-wracked home state in Burma was attacked by a Buddhist mob.
Both shipments were from the International Committee of the Red Cross. Aid groups face different challenges on either side of the border: An influx of more than 420,000 refugees in less than a month in Bangladesh, and in Burma, government resistance and angry allegations from majority Buddhists that international organizations are favouring the long-persecuted Rohingya minority.
A Bangladeshi medical administrator, Aung Swi Prue, said six people died instantly in the truck crash near the border in southeastern Bandarban district. Three people died after reaching a hospital, and 10 others were injured and are receiving treatment.
ICRC spokeswoman Misada Saif said all of those killed were Bangladeshi workers hired to distribute food packages to 500 Rohingya families.
Saif said the truck belongs to the ICRC and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and was operated by a supplier who has been working for the two agencies for last couple of weeks. She said agency officials are “very shocked and sad.”
“Our thoughts are with the families of the dead. They were there to help the people who desperately need help,” she said.
The Rohingya exodus began Aug. 25, after Rohingya insurgent attacks on police set off a military crackdown.
Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands of homes have been burned in what many Rohingya have described as a systematic effort by Burma’s military to drive them out. The government has blamed the Rohingya, even saying they set fire to their own homes, but the UN and others accuse it of ethnic cleansing.
Most refugees have ended up in camps in the Bangladeshi district of Cox’s Bazar, which already had hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who had fled prior rounds of violence. Bandarban is a neighbouring district where thousands of Rohingya also have fled.
The violence in Burma occurred just across the border in Rakhine state, where police said a Buddhist mob threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at officers Wednesday night as they tried to block Red Cross supplies from being loaded onto a boat. The vessel was headed to an area where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have chased from their homes. No injuries were reported and police detained eight of the attackers.
Dozens of people arrived at a jetty in the Rakhine state capital, Sittwe, as a boat was being loaded bottled water, blankets, mosquito nets, food and other supplies. As the crowd swelled to 300, they started throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the officers, who responded by firing into the air, said police officer Phyo Wai Kyaw.
The government of the predominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million said police and several monks showed up to try to defuse tensions. The shipment ultimately was loaded and sent to northern Rakhine state.
Though Burma’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, told diplomats this week humanitarian assistance was being sent to those who remain in northern Rakhine, the government has blocked all UN assistance to the area, granting access to only the Red Cross.
Buddhists in Rakhine have accused international aid agencies of favouring Rohingya, a group who Burma and many of its people contend migrated illegally from Bangladesh.
“We are explaining to the community members who approached the boats about the activities of the Red Cross,” said Maria Cecilia Goin, a communications officer at the ICRC in Rangoon.
“It’s important for them to understand that we are working in neutral and impartial way,” she said, adding that the work is being done “with full transparency with the (Burmese) authorities.”
Suu Kyi’s speech this week in Naypyitaw, the capital, defended her government’s conduct in Rahkine state and avoided criticism of the military. The country’s top general went a step further, travelling to northern Rakhine on Thursday to praise security forces for their “gallant” efforts to defend Burma
At a meeting with military officials and their families in Buthiduang township, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Min Aung Hlaing said that more than a century ago when the area was a British colony, Rohingya — whom he referred to as “Bengalis” — were allowed to settle without restrictions.
“Later, the Bengali population exploded and the aliens tried to seize the land of local ethnics,” Min Aung Hlaing said, according to his office’s Facebook page. He described repeated army efforts since Burma’s independence in 1948 to “to crush the mujahedeen insurgents,” including in 2012 and last fall.
“Race cannot be swallowed by the ground, but only by another race,” he said. “All must be loyal to the state in serving their duties, so that such cases will never happen again.”
Buddhist mob attacks Red Cross shipment destined for Rohingya Muslims as 9 aid workers die in crash
NEW YORK—U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a widening of U.S. sanctions on North Korea on Thursday in an effort to constrict its trade with the outside world, as he presented a united front with South Korea and Japan and sought to forge a common strategy for confronting the isolated nuclear-armed state.
A new executive order he announced would target additional North Korean entities and suggested that he was still committed to rising economic pressure and diplomacy for now, rather than eventual covert or military action.
Two days earlier, Trump said the United States would “totally destroy North Korea” if it threatened the United States or its allies.
North Korea has tested a nuclear bomb and intercontinental ballistic missiles in recent weeks.
It remained doubtful that additional measures would change North Korea’s behaviour. The United States and other nations have imposed a wide array of economic and diplomatic sanctions on North Korea over the years, most recently when the UN Security Council approved a U.S.-drafted resolution last week.
The new sanctions order came as Trump hosted South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a show of solidarity on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. While the president is largely aligned with Abe, he has derided South Korea’s approach to the North as “appeasement,” declaring that “talking is not the answer.”
But no mention was made of that Thursday, and instead Trump declared that the United States and South Korea were “making a lot of progress” together.
The most important regional player, however, is not in New York: China’s President Xi Jinping. He skipped this year’s UN session. Still, Trump spent an hour on the telephone with him earlier in the week.
Moon, who has argued for more engagement with his northern neighbour and opposed a military strike that would endanger his own nation, praised Trump’s bellicose speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday.
“North Korea has continued to make provocations and this is extremely deplorable and this has angered both me and our people,” Moon said. “But the United States has responded firmly and in a very good way. You made a very strong speech and I believe the strength of your speech will also help contain North Korea.”
While embracing Trump’s speech, Moon earlier in the day urged world leaders in his own address to the General Assembly to “peacefully solve the North Korea nuclear issue,” to step up diplomatic pressure and to do everything possible to prevent war on the Korean Peninsula.
Moon told the audience that he had been born during the Korean War and that his father had died while displaced from home. He urged world leaders to increase sanctions so that North Korea is compelled to choose what he called “the path of dialogue.” And he urged Pyongyang to “abandon its hostile policies against other countries and give up its nuclear weapons program in a verifiable and irreversible way.”
The speech was a counterpoint to the Trump administration’s threats.
“All of our endeavours are to prevent the outbreak of war from breaking out and maintain peace,” Moon said. “In that respect, the situation surrounding the North Korean nuclear issue needs to be managed stably so that tensions will not become overly intensified or accidental military clashes will not destroy peace.”
Moon sought to reassure the North about the South’s ambitions.
“We do not desire the collapse of North Korea,” he said. “We will not seek unification by absorption or artificial means. If North Korea makes a decision even now to stand on the right side of history, we are ready to assist North Korea together with the international community.”
The speech came a day after North Korea likened Trump to a “dog barking.”
“Back home, we have a saying: The dog barks, but the caravan continues,” North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, told reporters in New York on Wednesday when asked about Trump’s speech. “If he thought he could scare us with the noise of a dog barking, well, he should be daydreaming.”
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence said Trump would focus on nonviolent options during Thursday’s meetings with South Korean and Japanese leaders. Pence told Fox News that they would talk about marshalling “the economic and diplomatic power of the region and the wider world to achieve a peaceable outcome.”
But he said Trump was serious about his threat.
“We do not desire a military conflict,” Pence said. “But the president has made it very clear, as he did at the UN this week, that all options are on the table and we are simply not going to tolerate a rogue regime in Pyongyang obtaining usable nuclear weapons that could be mounted on a ballistic missile and threaten the people of the United States or our allies.”
Nicholas Burns, an undersecretary of state under former president George W. Bush, said Trump’s meeting with the Japanese and South Korean leaders was critical.
“What has been missing in Trump’s North Korea strategy is a major diplomatic show of unity among these three countries,” he said. “By standing firmly beside South Korea and Japan, President Trump can strengthen our strategic deterrence against Pyongyang.”
Donald Trump widens U.S. sanctions on North Korea
Mike Federico thought he knew what he was signing on for when, at 20, he joined the ranks of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force in 1972. The job was primarily about security, he believed — the maintenance of order and the enforcement of laws.
“It soon became apparent that a lot of our work is social support, it’s community well-being,” the outgoing Deputy Police Chief said in an interview this week, his 7th floor police headquarters office nearly cleared out in advance of his retirement Friday.
“You make this realization fairly early on.”
In his 45 years with Toronto police, Federico has served in widely varying roles, including as an internal affairs investigator and leading the controversial and now-disbanded Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS). But his final years have seen him focus on police interactions with people in mental health crisis, work done amidst high-profile shootings and mounting calls for an end to fatal police encounters.
That included leading the implementation of a report commissioned after the death of Sammy Yatim, the 18-year-old shot dead on a streetcar by Toronto police officer James Forcillo, who was later convicted of attempted murder in the death (he has appealed the conviction).
The report, conducted by retired Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci, recommended changes aimed at ensuring zero deaths occur during police encounters with people in crisis. The document and its recommendations will be “guiding our response to people in crisis for the foreseeable future,” Federico said.
While he stresses that key societal changes are needed to help those with mental health challenges — greater investments in housing, education and health care — he’s realistic that policing today means officers are often front-line mental health workers. The Star spoke to the outgoing deputy chief about his suggestions to improve police interactions with people in crisis.
Calling it a move “virtually every police service” in Ontario is making, Federico says he “categorically and unreservedly” endorses equipping front-line officers with conducted energy weapons, the controversial tool better known as a Taser.
Currently only available to select few front-line supervisors and some members of specialized units, Toronto police asked its board for nearly 50 per cent more Tasers to allow more front-line officers access to the weapon. The board did not approve but called for greater community consultation on the weapon.
Critics raise serious concerns about the weapon, foremost among them the unknown health risks it poses, particularly to people with mental illness. Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit continues to probe the death of Rui Nabico, 31, who was killed after he was Tasered by a Toronto police officer. (The watchdog earlier this year cleared Toronto police in the death of Rodrigo Almonacid Gonzalez, who was Tasered eight times but whose death the coroner concluded was due to acute cocaine toxicity).
But equipping police with a less-lethal weapon has been recommended by jurors in coroner’s inquests into police-involved deaths, most recently the fatal Toronto police shooting of Andrew Loku.
Federico said having a Taser strapped to a cop’s belt does not mean they are “weaponizing” the police; it’s about giving officer another option to consider before deciding on the deadliest force. The emphasis will still be placed on officers attempting to communicate with a person in crisis and attempt to de-escalate a tense situation, Federico stresses.
“We all recognize that there are going to be some situations that force a police officer into using force, and so giving them a less injurious option is in my opinion very desirable.”
The lack of data on the intersection of mental health and race has been increasingly raised by critics as a serious blind spot, particularly when it comes to police use of force.
Late last year, a Toronto police board advisory committee comprising more than two dozen hospital leaders and mental-health professionals called upon the Toronto police and the board for greater demographic data to better understand police use of force on people with mental-health challenges. Their voices were added to a chorus already calling for race-based stats, including civil liberties groups and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Federico said he supports the collection of race-based statistics, saying Toronto police are in consultations with Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate on developing policies and processes for collecting such data in cases of police use of force, including Taser use.
“The more information you collect, the better your public policy decisions will be,” Federico said, adding he suspects there will be more areas where Toronto police collect race data.
Mobile crisis intervention
The expansion of the Mobile Crisis Intervention Units (MCIT) program has long been demanded by mental health advocates, lawyers, community groups and more.
In recent years Toronto police have expanded the hours of the program, which sees a mental-health nurse partnered with a specially trained police officer to respond to emergency calls involving people with mental health challenges, but the teams are still not available 24 hours a day.
The current hours of operation are determined by the volume of calls to ensure the teams are available during peak times. Toronto police are “doing what we can based on both affordability and the needs assessment,” Federico said.
“We have to be very mindful that the hospitals are a willing, genuine partner but one that is challenged and taxed with the cost of running a team,” Federico said, noting the hospital’s primary mandate is the delivery of health services “not supplying relief for police.”
But he says there is a commitment both from Toronto police and hospitals involved in the program to continue to evaluate expanding the hours. “We recognize that people’s health and welfare is a 24-hours-a-day need,” he said.
Wendy Gillis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Outgoing deputy chief Mike Federico ‘unreservedly’ endorses Tasers for front-line cops
MONTREAL—The man who fled authorities last week with his six-year-old boy and who was later charged in the slaying of the child’s mother is close to being released from hospital, his lawyer said Thursday.
Pierre Gauthier says his 41-year-old client called him from the Ottawa hospital where he had been staying since an alleged suicide attempt last week while in police custody.
The suspect had reportedly been in a coma.
Quebec police issued an Amber Alert for the suspect’s six-year-old boy after they discovered the body of the child’s mother last Thursday night in Saint-Eustache, Que., north of Montreal.
The child’s father was arrested Friday by Ontario provincial police and his son was found safe in a stolen vehicle in eastern Ontario.
The suspect was charged with second-degree murder after the boy’s mother was found dead.
He will be questioned by police regarding the disappearance of a 71-year-old man whose body was found Wednesday in Arundel, Que., about 100 kilometres northwest of Montreal.
Yvon Lacasse went missing Thursday in Lachute Que., after his vehicle was stolen.
Gauthier said his client will be brought to police headquarters “where he could have to answer to new charges.”
The suspect was supposed to appear in court on Wednesday but couldn’t due to his health.
He is scheduled to appear in court next week in Saint-Jerome, Que.
Quebec suspect charged with murder in Amber Alert case out of coma, lawyer says
High-profile personal injury lawyer Jeremy Diamond is facing a reprimand from the Law Society of Upper Canada and has been ordered to pay $25,000 in costs to the legal regulator for failing to co-operate fully with its investigation into his financial books.
In a decision rendered Thursday, Law Society Tribunal adjudicator Raj Anand noted that it took five formal requests by law society investigators over several months for Diamond to hand over documents concerning his referral fee operation dating back to October 2013.
“The law society has demonstrated a failure to co-operate by the respondent, who thereby breached his obligations as a licensee,” Anand wrote.
Jordan Whelan, a spokesperson for Diamond and Diamond Lawyers and president of public relations agency Grey Smoke Media, told the Star Thursday night that “after consulting with counsel, we will be appealing the decision.”
Diamond has been under investigation by the law society since October 2016 for allegations including “failing to adequately inform clients” about referral fees and “engaging in improper/misleading advertising,” according to documents filed as part of his disciplinary hearing in July. A spokesperson for the law society told the Star the lawyer remains under investigation despite Thursday’s ruling.
Lawyers in Ontario are self-regulated and must produce financial records to the law society when asked.
In his ruling, Anand recounted much of the law society’s correspondence with Diamond and his lawyers over a period of more than five months, including a letter from Diamond’s lawyer last November that stated that Diamond did not have a trust account, and that referral fees, including “upfront fees,” were deposited into his professional corporation’s general account, and that the firm “does not have trust receipt journals, general receipt journals, fees book, or client trust ledgers per se.”
Law society bylaws state that lawyers must maintain records showing all money received, including the date the money came in, how it came in and who it came from.
“In my view, as a matter of common sense, it was difficult to believe that Mr. Diamond’s professional corporation did not keep records of each referral fee that it received,” Anand wrote.
In December, a Star investigation revealed that Diamond’s firm had for many years been attracting thousands of would-be clients and then referring them out to other lawyers for sometimes hefty fees. Former clients the Star spoke to said they were often unaware they had been referred out, or that a fee had been paid. Diamond & Diamond has told the Star it has a growing roster of in-house lawyers to handle cases.
Anand credited Diamond with expressing his willingness to co-operate with investigators and the fact that he did not challenge the law society’s authority to request the information it was seeking.
However, it wasn’t until July 2017 when two forensic auditors with the law society met with Diamond and his bookkeeper that investigators concluded the firm did maintain records that contained information required for general receipts and disbursements journals.
“In my view . . . Mr. Diamond knew or should have known of the contents of the bylaw and his obligation to comply with it. He knew from the outset that the law society was investigating the referral process and the source, calculation and amount of referral fees he was collecting,” Anand wrote.
“The sequence of requests and responses represented a ‘cat and mouse game’ that has no place in the relationship between licensees and regulator.”
Lawyer Jeremy Diamond ordered to pay $25,000 in costs to Ontario law society
A pint-sized hockey jersey has been hanging in Jen McPetrie’s Stoney Creek kitchen for several days. It’s one piece among $500 worth of gear she’s hoping to dress her 6-year-old son, Brayden, in over the course of the long-anticipated hockey season.
But the sight of the jersey has filled her with dread since Tuesday, when she learned she will probably have to break it to Brayden he can’t play on the select team he made after trying out.
“It’s not because he’s not good enough. It’s not because of bad behaviour. It’s just because Hockey Canada didn’t let us know in advance” about mandated changes to hockey programming for kids age 4 to 6, McPetrie said Thursday.
She’s one of many parents across the GTA pushing back over abrupt changes that they say could force advanced child players into programs below their skill level, disrupting plans for everyone involved.
The Ontario Hockey Federation voted in March to implement Hockey Canada’s Initiation Program — the governing body’s official curriculum for young hockey players being introduced to the game — for all players 4 to 6 this season.
The program includes rules about how practices and games should be conducted for this group, with the most significant requirement that they play on half the rinkrather than full-ice play.
“This is an opportunity where kids can expand their abilities not just in hockey,” Phil McKee, the OHF executive director, said.
Parents don’t contest the benefits of the Initiation Program, which promises to give new players more opportunities at the puck. But they think rigid implementation of the program will inadvertently hurt young kids who already play beyond their age level.
The Initiation Program is a “phenomenal” idea for kids just starting out, McPetrie said, but “once they’ve mastered that skill you have to keep challenging them.”
McPetrie had enrolled Brayden in the full-ice program with Stoney Creek Minor Hockey when he was 5.
Local hockey programs say they weren’t told in advance they’d have to alter their programs immediately, which is why they let 6-year-old kids like Brayden try out for select teams that play full-ice.
Confusion and scrambling ensued when the OHF wrote a letter in July to associations, stating they would have to comply, or risk being barred from tournament participation for all their age levels.
For Bill Beaton, president of the Port Credit Hockey Association, that was the be-all-end-all.
“We were led to believe . . . this year would be a transition year,” Beaton said. “We will convert this year; it’s going to be difficult.”
Local programs now have to purchase and find storage for ice dividers so they can comply with the half-ice rules, and explain the program change to hundreds of parents.
“We’re volunteers. I think it’s a very hard line to take with volunteers,” Beaton said.
McKee admitted there was some confusion in the way the federation communicated the decision to its member leagues, but said it didn’t change the fact that the rules are now in place and enforceable.
Parents from across the GTA are lobbying the OHF to loosen the rules.
McKee said the federation will discus grandfathering this season’s players under the old rules at its meeting on Saturday, but no vote on the matter is scheduled.
“We’re taking into account comments from parents and individuals,” he said. “One way or another, we’ll provide clarification Monday as to what’s been discussed.”
Parents fuming over hardline on hockey rule change
Gifts are easy. They’re given, after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful. And if you do, it will probably be to the detriment of your choices.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos
The beauty contest launched by Jeff Bezos is a corporate experiment unmatched in modern times. The challenge of choice he has set for himself — or the gift he will bestow — is to select a site for a second Amazon headquarters, a new HQ, or HQ2 as Bezos calls it. Cities across the continent are going mad, garishly sashaying about with their attributes on display, Toronto among them.
Amazon has set a response deadline of Oct. 19 for cities to make their prettiest pitch. Or silliest. Gary, Indiana, placed an advertisement in the New York Times this week in the form of a letter from “Gary” to Mr. Jeff Bezos. “How are you?” the letter begins. “My name is Gary and I am a legacy city in the Northwest corner of Indiana. I was born in 1906 and my parents were Elbert Gary and U.S. Steel.”
Yet there’s something very right about the letter/ad from a city fallen on hard times, and it is this thought: “We can strike a mutually beneficial deal that changes the course of my future as well as the families who live here.”
As big cities rich in STEM grads and mass transit and housing availability itemize how they meet the requirements for an Amazon campus that will grow to 50,000 full-time employees, one wonders what differentiating characteristics could tip the balance.
Gary’s letter more modestly reminds Bezos that in making his choice he’s in a position to pull off a transformation of place, an experiment as sociological as it is corporate.
In an analysis piece posted to the Medium website, Lyman Stone crunches a whole lot of data leading to the conclusion that “every city is bad for Amazon and nobody can fulfill their [request for proposal].” Stone mapped metro areas with Amazon’s wish list as his guide. Seeking those cities with a large STEM pipeline generates a list that includes Minneapolis, Raleigh and Chicago. Metros with potentially sufficient housing supply to host Amazon draws the spotlight to Rochester, Charlotte, St. Louis.
I’m not being comprehensive here, but you get the idea.
“On the housing supply front, there are cities that have produced excess housing units, and then there are cities that are priced competitively, and there is no overlap between them,” Stone writes.
For a company driven by data points and metrics, it’s unlikely that any of this comes as news to Amazon. So what’s all this about, then? Stone suggests that what Bezos really seeks is a city that can have its growth path altered in a significant way, decisively, by Amazon.
Let’s put the spotlight more brightly on Bezos for a moment. All the energetic rah-rah city boosterism talk tends to overlook Bezos’s own corporate history, which is far from unblemished. An investigation in 2011 into Amazon’s Breinigsville, Penn., warehouse reported on conditions so overheated that paramedics were kept at the ready to treat dehydrated workers.
“Those who couldn't quickly cool off and return to work were sent home or taken out in stretchers and wheelchairs and transported to area hospitals,” the Morning Call reported. “And new applicants were ready to begin work at any time.”
An emergency room doctor notified federal health and safety regulators of the unsafe working environment at the warehouse. One employee compared the conditions to "working in a convection oven while blow-drying your hair."
After the story ran, the company made a substantial investment in warehouse cooling.
Other stories have documented the impact of Bezos’s leadership principles. Two years ago the New York Times reported on what the Times called a bruising and punishing workplace where fractiousness is encouraged.
The Times cited cases where workers with legitimate health issues — surgery, breast cancer, the birth of a stillborn child — were put on performance improvement plans. “Even as the company tests delivery by drone and ways to restock toilet paper at the push of a bathroom button, it is conducting a little-known experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers, redrawing the boundaries of what is acceptable.”
Last December, reporter Mary O’Connor went undercover for the Sunday Times, taking a job as a “picker” at Amazon’s warehouse in Scotland. She paid ₤10 a day for the bus that took her to the job, a bus that was arranged by the recruitment agency, earned ₤7 and change an hour, was not paid for her lunch break and was targeted for the four errors she made across 40 hours of “hunting and fetching.” Only one error per 40 hours is allowed before the worker’s performance becomes a disciplinary matter.
The Times pronounced Amazonia “a soulless world of back-breaking toil, petty rules, low pay and Orwellian surveillance.”
Nor did it help Amazon’s image that some workers at the distribution centre took to pitching tents nearby to avoid the transportation costs.
Bezos is one of the richest men in the world. And the company he runs reported net income of $2.4 billion (U.S.) on revenues of $136 billion last year. But he’s not known for his philanthropy. Two months ago he pondered, via Twitter, what he should do with his dough.
So maybe he’s decided he wants to be seen as a good guy, not just a parsimonious, obsessively focused entrepreneur with operations that sound as though they have been sprung from Modern Times.
If that’s the case, Toronto is not his best bet.
If that is the case, Bezos would be smart to consider a city poised for, and deserving of, transformation. Say, Detroit. Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans, is the guy behind that city’s bid.
In a statement released to the media, Gilbert said his team is working with the city of Windsor on a transnational submission. “Amazon will be able to draw employees from two countries rich in technology talent with diverse backgrounds while cementing it as the first major company in the world whose headquarters would literally share an international border.”
The hurdles are huge. To note just one, Amazon’s site requirements deem access to mass transit, never a priority in the birthplace of the car, a “core preference.” (Raise your hand if you’ve ever ridden the People Mover.)
And while Detroit has gained considerable positive press for enjoying a renaissance, that so-called resurgence is still in its unproved infancy.
All the more reason for Bezos to place a bet. This is his chance to remake a city. His potential contributions in education, skills training and internet connectivity are immeasurable. The potential, as corny as it may sound in his circles, to do good. That Ontario could play a part in this is a bonus, and a cause that the Wynne government should champion.
Why Toronto may not be the best place for Amazon’s new HQ: Wells
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in an extraordinary and direct rebuke, called U.S. President Donald Trump “deranged” and said he will “pay dearly” for his threats, a possible indication of more powerful weapons tests on the horizon.
Hours later, North Korea’s foreign minister reportedly said his country may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean to fulfil Kim’s vow to take the “highest-level” action against the United States.
Kim, in his statement, said Trump is “unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country.” He also described the U.S. president as “a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire.”
The dispatch was unusual in that it was written in the first person, albeit filtered through the North’s state media, which are part of propaganda efforts meant to glorify Kim. South Korea’s government said it was the first such direct address to the world by any North Korean leader.
Some analysts saw a clear sign that North Korea would ramp up its already brisk pace of weapons testing, which has included missiles meant to target U.S. forces throughout Asia and the U.S. mainland.
“I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the U.S. pay dearly for his speech calling for totally destroying the DPRK,” said the statement carried by North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Friday morning.
DPRK is the abbreviation of the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters on the sidelines of a United Nations gathering that his country’s response “could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific,” according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
Ri reportedly added that “We have no idea about what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong Un.”
Such a test would be considered a major provocation by Washington and its allies.
Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera noted such a test could mean a nuclear-armed missile flying over Japan. He said North Korea might conduct an H-bomb test with a medium-range or intercontinental ballistic missile, given its recent advances in missile and nuclear weapons development.
“We cannot deny the possibility it may fly over our country,” he said.
Vipin Narang, a nuclear strategy expert at MIT, said that such a test could pose a danger to shipping and aircraft, even if the North declared a keep-out zone.
“And if the test doesn’t go according to plan, you could have population at risk, too,” he said. “We are talking about putting a live nuclear warhead on a missile that has been tested only a handful of times. It is truly terrifying if something goes wrong.”
The statement by Kim Jong Un responded to Trump’s combative speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday where he mocked Kim as a “Rocket Man” on a “suicide mission,” and said that if “forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
Kim characterized Trump’s speech to the world body as “unprecedented rude nonsense.”
He said Trump’s remarks “have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.”
Kim said he is “thinking hard” about his response and that he would “tame the mentally deranged U. S. dotard with fire.”
Kim Dong-yub, a former South Korean military official who is now an analyst at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said Kim Jong Un’s statement indicated that North Korea will respond to Trump with its most aggressive missile test yet. That might include firing a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan to a range of around 7,000 kilometres to display a capability to reach Hawaii or Alaska.
The statement will further escalate the war of words between the adversaries as the North moves closer to perfecting a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike America.
In recent months, the North has launched a pair of still-developmental ICBMs it said were capable of striking the continental United States and a pair of intermediate-range missiles that soared over Japanese territory. Earlier this month, North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date drawing stiffer UN sanctions.
South Korea called Kim Jong Un’s rebuke a “reckless provocation” that would deepen his country’s international isolation and lead to its demise.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told reporters Friday that North Korea must immediately stop such provocations and return to talks on nuclear disarmament.
Kim Jong Un threatens hydrogen bomb test after Trump calls for ‘total destruction’ of North Korea
The most powerful sub-national leader in the world says he, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Quebec’s Philippe Couillard are “insurgent forces” in the global fight to curb climate change.
California Governor Jerry Brown — whose state has the world’s sixth-largest economy, larger than that of Canada, France or India — said it does not matter what President Donald Trump or the U.S. Congress does to try to derail efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Whatever anyone else does and whatever Mr. Trump does in Washington, China is on the move with a carbon market,” Brown said in Quebec City as California, Quebec, and Ontario signed an agreement to formally link their carbon markets.
“There’s a lot of money on the other side and that’s the status quo. We’re the insurgent forces transforming. That’s where it’s at. In our systems, the sub-national jurisdictions have a power,” he said, noting states and provinces can oversee clean-air standards, building codes, and promote electric vehicles.
As of Jan. 1, Ontario’s emissions cap programs will be integrated with Quebec and California, allowing the three jurisdictions to hold joint carbon auctions and harmonize regulations.
“This is the next step in a long and difficult journey to de-carbonize the economies of the world. We’re de-carbonizing our own economies but then setting in motion the example that will be picked up by other provinces, other states, and other regions around the world,” the governor said.
Wynne noted that while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is supportive of the current initiative, former prime minister Stephen Harper was not.
“Remember when I and Premier Couillard moved on this and made these decisions, we were living in a country that had a federal government that was not interested in working with us,” the premier said.
“That’s the importance of the sub-nationals,” she said.
“We are now standing here having agreed on creating the largest carbon market in North America. It is an extremely important step. The two largest provinces, the biggest state, working together.”
The Ontario-Quebec-California cap-and-trade alliance puts a price on carbon.
Under the system, businesses have greenhouse gas emission limits — or caps — and those who pollute less can sell or trade credits.
This should create an economic incentive to reduce emissions and, in time, an industry’s overall cap will be lowered in order to cut pollution.
“It’s very important to have this mechanism — a market-based approach — to reducing carbon. It’s efficient, it’s elegant, and it works,” said Brown.
Couillard pointed out that “carbon pricing is now an international movement.”
“I would like to say that it cannot be stopped. I think we are close to the tipping point with 60 per cent of the … world GDP (gross domestic product) soon covered by a carbon market,” he said.
But Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said he will scrap the accord if his party topples Wynne’s Liberals in the June 7, 2018 election because it “does nothing to protect the environment.”
“All it does is ships hundreds of millions of dollars into the California economy,” he said.
“We shouldn’t be subsidizing the wealthy in Beverly Hills, especially while families here at home are working harder, paying more, and getting less.”
Ontario, Quebec, and California ink climate-change deal
FLORENCE, ITALY—Britain is prepared to abide by European Union rules and pay into the bloc’s coffers for two years after leaving the EU in March 2019, Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday in a conciliatory speech intended to revive foundering exit talks.
The proposal got a positive, if muted, reception from the EU’s chief negotiator. But it raised hackles among pro-Brexit U.K. politicians, who accused May of delaying a divorce that is sought by a majority of British voters.
May travelled to Florence, Italy — birthplace of the Renaissance — in hopes of rebooting negotiations with the EU that have stalled over issues including the price the U.K. must pay to leave and the rights of EU citizens in Britain.
May’s speech was intended to kick-start the process before talks resume next week in Brussels. But while it was strong on praise for the EU and for shared European values, the few concrete details were far from addressing Brussels’ concerns.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the speech showed a “constructive spirit” but “must be translated into negotiating positions” to make real progress.
Standing in front of a backdrop reading “Shared History, Shared Challenges, Shared Future” in a hall at a Renaissance church, May said Britain and the EU share “a profound sense of responsibility” to ensure that their parting goes smoothly.
She urged the EU to be “creative” and forge a new economic relationship not based on any current trade model. She rejected both a free-trade deal like the one Canada has struck with the bloc and Norway-style membership in the EU’s single market.
She called instead for “an ambitious economic partnership which respects the freedoms and principles of the EU, and the wishes of the British people.”
May proposed a transition period of “around two years” after Britain leaves the EU for the two sides to work out the kinks in the final Brexit deal.
“People and businesses — both in the U.K. and in the EU — would benefit from a period to adjust to the new arrangements in a smooth and orderly way,” she said.
May also signalled willingness to pay a Brexit bill for leaving, saying Britain “will honour commitments we have made.”
She reassured EU members that they would not “need to pay more or receive less over the remainder of the current budget plan as a result of our decision to leave.” The current EU budget runs until 2020.
May did not cite a figure, and said “some of the claims made on this issue are exaggerated and unhelpful.” Reports of the amount the EU is seeking have gone as high as $120 billion.
May also called for a new security treaty between Britain and the EU, saying close co-operation is key to fighting crime, terrorism and military threats. Again, there were few details, just an acknowledgement that “there is no pre-existing model for co-operation” that fits the bill.
Britain is eager to begin hammering out future trade and security relationships, but EU officials say that can’t happen until there’s progress on three key divorce terms — the status of the border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, the financial settlement and the rights of more than 4 million EU and British citizens hit by Brexit.
When Britain leaves the bloc it will end the automatic right of EU nationals to live and work in the U.K., and that has left many worried for their futures. Previous assurances by Britain that EU nationals already in the country will be able to stay have been rejected as too vague by the EU.
“We want you to stay; we value you,” May said, adding that she wanted to write any deal on citizens’ rights into British law as a guarantee.
British negotiators hope EU leaders will decide at an October meeting that “sufficient progress” has been made on the divorce terms to move talks on to future relations and trade.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney called May’s speech “a positive contribution,” while Alexander Lambsdorff, a German vice-president of the European Parliament, said “it is a positive signal that Prime Minister May is finally making concrete suggestions for the Brexit negotiations.”
But Barnier suggested more still needed to be done.
“The sooner we reach an agreement on the principles of the orderly withdrawal in the different areas — and on the conditions of a possible transition period requested by the United Kingdom — the sooner we will be ready to engage in a constructive discussion on our future relationship,” he said.
Although the speech was directly aimed at the 27 other EU nations, none of their leaders was in the audience to listen to it. May brought along members of her Cabinet, which is split between advocates of a clean-break “hard Brexit” including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and those like Treasury chief Philip Hammond who favour compromise to soften the economic impact of Brexit. Both Johnson and Hammond watched May’s speech from the front row, and praised it afterward.
In Britain, May’s speech drew criticism from her opponents both to the right and the left.
Former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, a passionate euroskeptic, said it suggested Britain would leave the EU “in name only.”
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the transition period, but said that “15 months after the EU referendum the government is still no clearer about what our long-term relationship with the EU will look like.”
Theresa May tries to reboot Brexit, offers 2-year transition period
Transgender athlete Aaron Stewart is competing in the Invictus Games for the third time — but this is his first as a male.
The retired army sergeant from Missouri will be among 550 ill, injured or wounded servicemen and women from 17 nations who will take part in 12 adaptive sports over the next week in Toronto.
Discharged from the army in January 2015 due to a serious injury suffered earlier during a deployment to Kuwait, Stewart immediately began taking steps to change his identity and appearance — he had his breasts removed, had a hysterectomy, began hormone shots and legally changed his name from Bethany Erin Stewart to Aaron Edward Stewart.
As a transgender athlete, Stewart, who specializes in swimming and cycling and has won eight Invictus medals including two golds, will be competing in Toronto against other servicemen at a time of heated debate in the U.S. over whether transgender people should even be allowed to serve their country.
U.S. President Donald Trump ignited a storm of controversy in July when he tweeted he was reinstating a ban on transgender individuals in the military. He cited medical costs and “disruption” in the military as his reasons.
The move would reverse a policy — announced under former U.S. president Barack Obama and still under final review — that would allow them to serve openly. Transgender personnel, of whom there are 1,320 to 6,630 active members, according to a RAND study, remain in the U.S. military while the matter is being studied.
Stewart calls Trump’s ban “unjust.”
“As long as you can perform your job, it’s nobody’s business,” Stewart, 33, says in a lengthy phone interview from Missouri before setting out for Toronto. He agreed to speak to the Star before the Games got underway because he didn’t want to be constrained by spokespeople for the event, especially given his views on Trump’s transgender ban.
“Because you identify as a male when you were born female . . . we can’t die for (our) country. My country says you’re not good enough for that. It’s insulting.”
Stewart says that while serving as a female in the army there were fellow soldiers and some at higher ranks who knew he wanted to transition to a male, and had no problem with it.
“I have friends in the military who are transgender. They have awards, decorations, they’re pilots . . . I just don’t see how (being transgender) has any effect on their ability to do their job.”
Stewart wants to share his story so that other transgender individuals — in the military and otherwise — can be inspired by how he overcame adversity.
He was born a she, in Springfield, Mo., population 159,000, the third-largest city in the “Bible Belt” state. Stewart struggled with his identity, but knew that voicing his feelings was taboo.
During the interview, Stewart shied away from revealing too much about his parents, except to say he hasn’t spoken to them in several years. They live only 20 minutes away.
He’s also estranged from his sister, but close to his brother.
“I was home-schooled,” Stewart recalls of his sheltered upbringing, “and I wasn’t allowed anywhere except the church, basically.” His family switched churches several times, bouncing from Baptist, to Assemblies of God, non-denominational, to inter-denominational “whatever the flavour of the month was,” he says.
Though he was a girl named Bethany, wearing his hair in pigtails as a child and polishing his fingernails as a teenager, he was uncomfortable in that skin.
“I’ve always known since a young age that I was not who I wanted to be. Nothing fit how I felt,” Stewart says.
Around the time he turned 20, prompted by the horror of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the memory of his great-grandfather who served in the Second World War, Stewart decided to enlist.
“I’m proud to be an American, and as part of being American it was my duty to serve.”
He joined the air force in 2004, doing basic training in San Antonio, Texas. He later moved to Gulfport, Miss., to study air traffic control.
It was there that a female trainee began to suspect Stewart and a group of other women in the base’s living quarters were lesbians, and complained to higher-ups.
“I had short hair. I guess I looked like a lesbian,” he recalls.
This was under the Clinton administration’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which banned openly gay and lesbian individuals from serving in the military. (Canada’s armed forces lifted its ban on transgender and gay members in 1992.)
As many as 20 women were brought in for questioning, but not told why, Stewart recalls. “We were told . . . not to talk to each other about the matter.”
Roughly a month later, after an agonizing wait, lawyers told the women they were under investigation for violating the “don’t ask” policy.
Stewart denied the accusations. He had his dream career and didn’t want to lose it.
He had the choice of fighting the case before a military board of discipline, but losing would mean a dishonourable discharge and the risk of jail time, his lawyer told him. The other option was not fighting the case and accepting an honourable discharge, which Stewart did, in August 2005, as airman, first-class.
For the next two years Stewart petitioned the government to get back into the armed forces.In 2007, he was successful, but there were conditions. Still living as a female, Stewart was told by an army recruiter that he had to sign a waiver promising to marry a man, and set a wedding date.
Stewart chuckles now at the absurdity of such a pledge. “Looking back it’s amusing, but it’s also sad that it had to come to that. That you had to fight that hard to serve your country,” he says.
A close friend promised to stand in as “husband” but there was no wedding in the end. “Once I got approval to join the army — I swore in, took my oath — it wasn’t necessary to marry. No one followed up to ensure the marriage happened,” Stewart says.
In 2009, Stewart married a woman he met in New York, and the couple lived happily for a time. He was stationed in Kansas and lived with his wife in Missouri during his time off. “(We) didn’t look like a transgender couple or heterosexual couple because I hadn’t been physically able to move forward with the changes (to a male).”
His wife knew about his gender identity issues and was very supportive, he says.
Stewart was eventually promoted to sergeant before being deployed to Kuwait in 2010. While there, he seriously injured his back while moving equipment. The army wasn’t able to treat him properly in the field, so he was flown home in 2011, a devastating blow given how hard he’d fought to get back into the armed forces. He was sent to Utah to recover in a warrior transition program.
By this time, his marriage had ended — the separation during his assignments away hindered the relationship, Stewart says — and he was suffering emotionally and mentally.
“I had a lot of depression and anxiety. I didn’t handle the pain from my injury well. They said I couldn’t stay in the military because my injury meant I wasn’t deployable. I was of no value to the army. So, for the second time in a short number of years, I saw my military career ending. It was something I fought so hard for, so it was devastating.”
Despondent, he attempted suicide in July 2012, swallowing a combination of pills.
Staff Sgt. Leonard Cyre, another soldier in the transition unit, found Stewart passed out and managed to keep him alive until a nurse and ambulance arrived.
Stewart remained in a coma for several days before regaining consciousness. He recovered, and was stationed back in Kansas to continue the warrior transition program when his command asked for volunteers to participate in an upcoming competition in Las Vegas involving adaptive sports.
In 2014, Stewart competed in the Air Force Trials in Vegas and Army Trials in New York, the inaugural Invictus Games in the U.K. and the Warrior Games in Colorado. He performed well at all the competitions, including Invictus U.K. where he participated in recumbent cycling and swimming, taking two golds in cycling. At the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando, Fla., Stewart captured two silver medals in cycling and four swimming medals — three silver, one bronze.
The bike Stewart uses in cycling allows him to sit reclined, easing pressure on his back and shoulder. In swimming he adapts his moves to accommodate his injury.
Whenever he competes, he dedicates his performances to Cyre, the soldier who rescued him and whom Stewart befriended. Cyre died at home five months to the day after Stewart’s attempted suicide.
Cyre will be in Stewart’s thoughts as he competes in Toronto this week.
The exact number of transgender athletes to participate in Invictus isn’t known. However, everyone is welcome, says Michael Burns, CEO of the Toronto Games: “The responsibility of the organizing committee is to ensure that all of the competitors, families and guests coming to Toronto feel included, respected and have the finest experience possible that will help them with their healing and recovery.”
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump will attend the opening ceremonies Saturday, representing her husband who continues to stand by the ban.
Professor Angela Hattery, director of women and gender studies at George Mason University in Virginia, says the U.S. is “out of step” with most post-industrial societies in terms of dealing with LGBTQ issues.
“The resistance has come primarily from the religious right. The majority of people in the United States do not identify with the religious right, or ultra-conservative Christian faith, but (these groups) are very vocal,” she says.
Trump’s ban on transgender personnel in the military doesn’t make sense to her.
“There are thousands of trans people serving in the military doing their jobs. Why relieve people of their duty when they’re doing what you’re asking them to do — in a job a lot of other people frankly don’t want?” Hattery adds.
As the controversy over this issue swirls, Stewart, who legally changed his gender last year, is continuing his transition. He self-administers testosterone — one injection every week in the thigh — to maintain normal male levels. He is saving up for the $40,000 he’ll need for surgery to give him a functioning penis, a two-year process.
He lives in Missouri with his female partner, Emily — they were neighbours as children — and Emily’s daughter. The couple plan to marry in November.
Stewart, who receives medical retirement payments, is planning to go to school to study radiation therapy and hopes to find work in that field.
He is a caring, giving person who has a huge heart and loves people for who they are, says Capt. Kelly Elmlinger, 38, of San Antonio, who met Stewart at an adaptive games competition in New York in 2014.
Elmlinger, a cancer survivor who lost a leg, will also be participating in Toronto.
When Stewart was homeless for about two months in 2015 after leaving the army, and was living in his car, Elmlinger took him in.
“He’s my best friend,” she says.
Stewart says he’s “proud and excited” to be in his first Invictus Games as a man.
He anticipates tougher physical rigour given he’s going up against males, and he doesn’t expect to grab as many medals as his previous two Invictus performances.
“It will be completely different competition for me.”
It’s the third Invictus Games for this transgender athlete — but his first as a male
After clashing with city staff for years over its controversial Ashbridges Bay lease, Tuggs Inc. is now fighting restaurant giant Cara Operations Ltd., the Star has learned.
Amid claims and counter-claims in court documents is a demand from Tuggs that Cara immediately close Carters Landing, the popular restaurant Cara first opened in July 2016— with Tuggs’s blessing — on a prime boardwalk spot owned by the city at 1681 Lake Shore Blvd. E.
But Tuggs cannot take action to evict Carters Landing pending a trial, set for next February, to settle the messy contract dispute, a judge ruled in June.
It’s the latest twist in a sole-sourced contract that has made headlines for more than a decade and helped trigger a city rule change to prevent a repeat.
The dispute has also frozen city attempts to negotiate with Tuggs to buy back lease rights to concession and novelty sales in four city parks, something demanded by Beach residents frustrated at having to get Tuggs’s permission, and in some cases pay the company, to hold community and charity events on public land.
For local city councillor, Mary-Margaret McMahon, the new legal fight is “disappointing.”
“At this point Beach residents are just keen to get back control of their parkland,” said the Ward 32 Beaches-East York representative.
George Foulidis and his company Tuggs won a contract in 1986 to build and operate the Boardwalk Cafe at Woodbine Beach Park and summer food concessions at a nearby pool and park.
In 2007, then-councillor Sandra Bussin convinced her council colleagues to approve a 20-year, sole-sourced extension. City staff advised against the Tuggs-initiated deal but some councillors argued it was necessary to keep a “mom and pop” operation on the site rather than a big fast-food chain.
City staff, unable to come to terms with Foulidis, brought the lease back to council which, in 2010, voted 15-12 to proceed with it. Tuggs got the main restaurant spot along with concessions at Kew Gardens and D.D. Somerville pool plus exclusive rights to the sale of novelties, food and drinks at four parks — Woodbine Beach, Ashbridges Bay, Kew Gardens and Beaches.
Carters Landing opened July 1, 2016, alongside a new Foulidis-franchised Tim Hortons. The move angered some in the community because Tuggs had not yet got city permission to reassign the building part of its lease to Cara.
Last fall council approved the reassignment. Cara was to sublease back to Tuggs the part of the building that holds Foulidis’s Tim Hortons and adjoining Athens Café.
Council also voted to start negotiations with Tuggs for the city to regain rights over activities in the four parks.
But court documents reveal the lease reassignment was never signed, the Tuggs-Cara relationship broke down and Tuggs is trying to evict Carters Landing.
None of the allegations have been tested in court and both sides deny the other’s allegations. Foulidis has not responded to requests for comment. Cara said it could not comment on matters before the courts.
After Tuggs was unable to get city permission to reassign the lease within an agreed upon time frame, documents state, Tuggs and Cara signed an amended agreement to continue the relationship pending official approval.
But amid disagreement over several issues Tuggs “abruptly ended” negotiations on a final agreement and ordered Cara out, Cara says.
The restaurant chain says leaving would cost it the $825,000 it spent transforming a Foulidis seafood restaurant, which had replaced the Boardwalk Café, into Carters Landing, and could cost 110 restaurant staff their jobs.
Disputes chronicled by both sides in the documents involve proceeds from sponsorships, parking and alcohol sales; the paying of rent — Tuggs suggests Cara failed to pay “in a timely manner or at all” – and who should be the recipient of rent payments given a court order related to Foulidis’s contentious divorce proceedings.
“Cara has been acting in good faith and was ready, willing and able to close the transaction,” Cara states.
Tuggs filed a counterclaim, urging the court to allow it to give Cara 10 days’ notice to vacate the site.
Cara’s “last-minute attempt to appropriate certain right which it has not bargained for,” Tuggs says, and attempts to “fetter” Tugg’s bargaining position with the city for the parks rights, “patently demonstrated that there was no meeting of the minds and therefore no agreement on the fundamental terms,” of the lease reassignment, Tuggs alleges.
An update from city staff for next week’s meeting of the government management committee says staff tried to talk to Foulidis, on “a number of occasions”, about negotiating a return to city of food, beverage and sponsorship rights for the four parks.
“Following these conversations, staff have determined that there is no feasibility of negotiating terms acceptable to the city and that further discussions are not warranted,” the update concludes.
McMahon says her residents would balk at any deal giving Tuggs a portion of proceeds from community events until the company’s lease with the city expires in 2027.
“We had hoped for a quick and easy agreement and some kind of payment (to Tuggs) and it’s disappointing but not surprising that hasn’t happened,” she said. “I’ll continue to work with the community to try to hold events in a less cost-prohibitive, easier way.”
Food fight at Ashbridges Bay as restaurant owners battle over prime boardwalk location
Dozens of onlookers gathered outside a building in Toronto’s financial district Friday morning hoping to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry as the royal founder of the Invictus Games set the stage for the multi-sport competition that gets underway in the city this weekend.
The royal, however, appeared determined to keep the focus on the Games, and didn’t stop to interact with fans who cheered and called out to him.
The Games for wounded and sick soldiers, including current and veteran members of the forces, runs until Sept. 30 and marks the first time Canada hosts the event.
Harry attended a symposium on veterans’ issues Friday morning, arriving at the event under tight security. He smiled as he greeted and posed for photographs with athletes and their families.
A large group of bystanders gathered to catch a glimpse of the prince as he left the event, letting out a cheer as he walked swiftly by and into a waiting vehicle.
Adele Eccleston, who is originally from England, was among those who waited to see the royal.
“I just popped over from across the street just to see Prince Harry and show support for his support of the Invictus Games,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful that he’s taking a stand and supporting the efforts.”
Some in the crowd, however, said they had hoped to see a bit more of the prince.
“I wished he would have waved,” said Amanda Shovlin, who took a break from work to join those gathered outside the building.
“It was very quick, but I am sure he is very busy,” added her friend Melissa Barkley.
Harry is set to spend time with athletes training for the Games later on Friday.
On Saturday, Harry will visit Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health before meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Later in the evening he will attend the Games’ opening ceremony at the Air Canada Centre, which will feature performances by Sarah McLachlan, Alessia Cara and the Tenors.
Harry founded the Invictus Games in 2014 as a way to inspire and motivate wounded soldiers on their paths to recovery.
At least 550 competitors from 17 countries are slated to compete in 12 sports, including track and field, swimming and, in a first for the Invictus Games, golf.
Sporting event tickets cost $25 and both opening and closing ceremony tickets start at $60.
Closing ceremony performers include the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams and Kelly Clarkson.
The first Invictus Games were held in London, England, in 2014.
Prince Harry in Toronto setting the stage for Invictus Games
WASHINGTON—Bruce Brown, a Donald Trump devotee in rural Pennsylvania, thinks that Hillary Clinton should be “shot or put in prison” and that liberals have a “mental disease.”
He also thinks Trump’s latest health-care plan might kill him, at least leave him homeless.
Brown, 58, has severe diabetes, and he is awaiting a leg amputation. He and his 11-year-old son, who has autism, get health insurance from Medicaid, the program the new plan would subject to major cuts.
“I barely make it month to month as it is,” said Brown, who is unable to work. “I saw how many billions and billions they want to cut from Medicaid. I depend on Medicaid. Without Medicaid, I have nothing. I couldn’t afford any insurance.”
Democrats thought in July that they had crushed the Republican effort to eradicate Obamacare. The repeal push is suddenly back, with all its familiar-by-now rituals.
Patients, including Trump voters, say they are terrified. Policy experts say they are horrified. Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel is improbably driving the resistance. Key swing voters John McCain and Lisa Murkowski are facing immense pressure from all sides. And senior Republicans in Congress can’t really explain what it is they’re doing, but they insist it must be done.
There is one big difference this time: the substance. This plan is a special doozy — far more extreme, health-policy experts say, than the ones already rejected because they were themselves seen as imposing cuts too drastic.
While Republicans had claimed those previous proposals would have fulfilled their pledge to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, they had actually wanted to retain significant portions of Barack Obama’s signature law. This proposal, known as Graham-Cassidy, would tear Obamacare apart to produce a massive transformation of the U.S. health system.
Proponents say Graham-Cassidy would give individual states much-needed flexibility, and Trump says the bill “really will do it the right way.” But just about nobody outside of Republican circles likes it — not the insurance industry, not medical professionals, not the seniors’ lobby, not groups for people with cancer and disabilities, not scholars.
Jonathan Oberlander, a University of North Carolina professor who studies health policy and politics, described the early proposals as “terrible.” Graham-Cassidy, he said, is “catastrophic.”
“They, for seven years, have pledged to do this, and they’re committed to do it come hell or high water. And damn the consequences,” Oberlander said. “Including virtually universal opposition from the health-care industry, the incredibly low polling numbers, and the fact they don’t even have an analysis of what the impact of this bill would do.”
Facing a de facto deadline of Sept. 30, Senate Republicans are attempting to ram the bill through without committee hearings or an official estimate of how many people will lose coverage. But the conclusions of outside analysts have been scathing.
The bill would likely impose between $160 billion and $250 billion in cuts by 2026. In place of Obamacare’s key components — a Medicaid expansion to cover more low-income people and federal subsidies for low- and middle-income people to buy their own insurance — each state would be given a shrunken pile of money to spend on a health system of their own design.
A limit would be imposed on Medicaid spending, which until now has been available to everyone who qualifies. And states could ask for federal permission to free insurers from Obamacare’s restrictions — letting them again charge hefty prices to people with “pre-existing conditions” and refuse to cover “essential health benefits” like prescription drugs, hospitalization and addiction treatment.
While the majority of states would get less funding, Democratic states would be hurt worst: states that expanded Medicaid would essentially transfer funding to the Republican states that resisted expansion.
All of the funding would vanish in 2027, creating a giant health-care “cliff.” Healthy people would not be required to buy insurance anymore, so prices would almost certainly rise for sick people. And each state would be forced to develop its own system in two years, a timeline most experts say is unrealistic.
“Graham-Cassidy would likely be the biggest devolution of federal funding and responsibility to states, ever, for anything,” Larry Levitt, vice-president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which analyzes health policy, said on Twitter. “It’s hard to think of any other bill that commits so much federal money with so few details as Graham-Cassidy.”
The primary authors of the bill are South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, a physician.
Kimmel, whose baby son was born with a heart defect, has used his monologues this week to shame Cassidy for breaking a spring promise to only support legislation that would allow kids like Kimmel’s to get all the treatment they need no matter how much money their parents make.
Obamacare forbids insurers from imposing annual and lifetime limits on coverage — but only for “essential health benefits.” If a state got permission to take items off the “essential” list, the caps could come back.
“This guy, Bill Cassidy, just lied right to my face,” Kimmel said Tuesday.
Cassidy and Graham will debate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar on CNN on Monday night. To the dismay of some Democrats, Sanders picked last week to introduce a proposal for national single-payer health-care, providing Republicans a “socialist” foil to which to contrast their own plans.
He was not the only one distracted. The Graham-Cassidy push intensified as the liberal activist groups crucial in sinking the previous bills were turning their attention to fights over taxes and immigration. They have quickly swerved back to Obamacare — making phones “ring off the hook” in Republican senators’ offices, spending money “hand over fist” on web ads, and planning a “huge wave of protests” for senators’ return to Washington next week, said Ben Wikler, Washington director for progressive group MoveOn.org.
“Last Friday afternoon, I was concerned about whether the movement would be able to throw itself at the barricades fast enough. As of today, I’m very glad to say that the energy is there. People are tuned into this threat even with the crush of hurricanes and earthquakes and Russia-investigation news. There is an appropriate and enormous level of alarm and fight exploding from the grassroots,” Wikler said.
The target list is the same as it was last time. First and foremost are Alaska’s Murkowski, Arizona’s McCain and Maine’s Susan Collins, the three senators who cast the decisive votes against the last Republican bill. If they voted no once more, Graham-Cassidy would be dead, too.
The opposition may have a little breathing room: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, an idiosyncratic libertarian-leaning Republican, has lambasted the bill on Twitter. If he voted no, the opposition could afford to lose one of McCain, a close friend of Graham, or Murkowski, who has suggested she is truly undecided.
Brown, the Trump supporter, will be watching in fear, sincerely concerned his beloved president might send him to his death. Trump, he said, “just wants to pass it so it makes him look good.”
‘Catastrophic’: Millions at risk, again, as Trump and Republicans push new health bill‘Catastrophic’: Millions at risk, again, as Trump and Republicans push new health bill