Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel

Embed this content in your HTML


Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog

Channel Description:


older | 1 | .... | 1058 | 1059 | (Page 1060) | 1061 | 1062 | .... | 1083 | newer

    0 0

    WASHINGTON—U. S. President Donald Trump’s administration is making such unrealistic North American Free Trade Agreement demands that the negotiation is at risk of implosion, trade experts and the top American business lobby group are warning.

    As Canadian and Mexican negotiators join Trump’s team near Washington on Wednesday to begin a critical fourth round of talks, their work is surrounded by growing transcontinental pessimism about the chances of reaching a revised deal.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to emphasize the importance of the bilateral economic relationship, and the benefits of the trilateral agreement, when he meets with Trump at the White House on Wednesday. Trump, though, has greeted him with another threat, telling Forbes magazine that “NAFTA will have to be terminated if we’re going to make it good.”

    Read more:

    As Trudeau heads to Washington, Trump again muses that ‘NAFTA will have to be terminated’

    U.S. and Canada want NAFTA deal by end of year, Trump says

    Growing concerns that Trump’s bargaining positions are designed to kill NAFTA

    Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland declined Tuesday to speculate on the future of NAFTA or discuss Trump directly. But asked at a Washington event about a Republican senator’s claim that Trump’s recklessness threatens “World War III,” Freeland said: “I think that this is probably the most uncertain moment in international relations since the end of the Second World War.”

    Canadian officials have brushed off Trump’s rhetoric as negotiating bluster. Experts, however, say his professed disdain for the deal is being reflected in his negotiators’ actions to far — delaying the introduction of important proposals, then putting forth proposals obviously untenable to Canada and Mexico.

    The most important American complaint to date came Tuesday from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Republican-leaning business lobby. Speaking in Mexico City, president Thomas Donohue said he had no choice but to “ring the alarm bells” about “unnecessary and unacceptable” proposals from the U.S. side.

    “Heading into the negotiations, you could say that our strategy has been to speak softly and give the administration every opportunity, all the support, and just enough pressure to do the right thing. We’ve done that. We’ve been patient, cool-headed, and constructive. But let me be forceful and direct. There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal,” Donohue said.

    The proposals Donohue mentioned are among the ones that have caused consternation in the Canadian and Mexican governments. They include:

    • A rule requiring a hefty portion of automobiles to be made in the U.S. itself, not just in the NAFTA zone.

    • A “Buy American” rule saying Canadian and Mexican firms could not receive government contracts worth more than the government contracts secured by American firms in the other two countries, which are much smaller.

    Some of the U.S. proposals have not yet been put on the negotiating table. Trump’s team is expected to use this round — which runs Wednesday to next Tuesday (prolonged from the originally scheduled five days) at a hotel in the Washington suburb of Arlington, Va. — to offer its first official ideas on contentious topics like the “rules of origin” for cars.

    Lawrence Herman, a trade lawyer in Canada, said “most of the people I talk to are expecting that we may be very close to the precipice this week.” The problem, he said, is the posture expected to be taken by Trump’s team in service of his campaign promise to radically transform the agreement.

    Trump ran on an “America First” platform of economic nationalism and protectionism. As recently as August, he described NAFTA as the “worst trade deal ever made.” Herman said Trump’s public comments make it politically impossible for him to proclaim victory without being able to hold up major changes.

    “He basically wants Canada and Mexico to cave in on all his outrageous demands. And that is not going to happen,” Herman said.

    Bob Fisher, a U.S. negotiator for the original NAFTA talks and now managing director of Washington trade consulting firm Hills and Co., put the chances of success at “50-50.”

    A key question, Fisher said, is whether rumoured hard-line U.S. proposals are actual “red lines” or mere opening positions that are subject to negotiation.

    “I think it’s very clear that there are some people in the administration who would like to terminate the deal. I think there are some people who might view beginning the process of termination as one of several negotiating tactics they might use,” he said.

    Trudeau is scheduled to meet Wednesday not only with Trump but with the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. The committee would play a significant role in the event that a new agreement was indeed reached and had to be ratified by Congress — or, alternately, in the event that Trump actually announced his intention to withdraw from the current agreement.

    If Trump settles on withdrawal, there would be a mandatory six-month waiting period. Beyond that, there is no consensus on what would happen. Some experts believe Trump could act unilaterally, but others believe Congress would have to pass a law to rescind an agreement Congress approved in 1993.

    As he hinted to Forbes magazine in the interview published Tuesday, Trump could try to initiate the withdrawal process to increase pressure on the other two countries. Mexico, however, has said it will leave the negotiating table rather than talk under such conditions.

    Donald Trump’s ‘outrageous’ demands put NAFTA negotiations at risk of collapse, experts sayDonald Trump’s ‘outrageous’ demands put NAFTA negotiations at risk of collapse, experts say

    0 0

    A Toronto man has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of a gas attendant in North York in 2012.

    Max Edwin Tutiven pleaded not guilty, but admitted at trial that he hit and dragged Jayesh Prajapati, 44, with his SUV after stealing $112.85 worth of gas from the North York Shell station Sept. 15, 2012. Tutiven said he never saw the gas attendant near his vehicle, and did not realize he had hit a person until a couple of days later.

    Prajapati, 44, died in the hospital after Tutiven’s SUV dragged him down Roselawn Ave. for 78 metres. Prajapati’s body was then dislodged and Tutiven drove away.

    Jurors heard closing arguments Friday and then deliberated for six hours Tuesday before reaching a guilty verdict.

    “We are obviously very satisfied with the verdict the jury came back with,” said Toronto Homicide Det. Robert North outside the courthouse. “I thought we presented a very strong case against Mr. Tutiven. I am not overly surprised (of the verdict).”

    Tutiven was charged with second-degree murder in Montreal in 2015. A second-degree murder charge indicates a killing is intended but not planned.

    In his closing arguments, Tutiven’s defence lawyer Edward Sapiano urged the jury to find his client guilty of manslaughter, not murder, indicating Tutivan had no intent to kill Prajapati.

    Crown attorney Joseph Callaghan said in his closing argument that Tutiven’s testimony had been a “false narrative” — he saw Prajapati, felt the impact of hitting him and heard people yelling at him to stop.

    Resident of a nearby apartment building, Trevor Bell, testified he could hear the sound of Prajapati being dragged in the wheels of the SUV from his 18th-floor unit.

    Prajapati was a father and husband. A year after his death, his wife Vaishali Prajapati told the Star he was a caring man, who bathed and dressed her for a week when she broke her arm, played chess with their 12-year-old son every Sunday and worked six days a week.

    Regulars from the public housing building across the street said he’d let them pay later for a jug of milk or loaf of bread if they were short cash.

    Originally from India, he’d obtained his Canadian citizenship not long before he died.

    Tutiven will be sentenced Nov. 1.

    With files from Peter Goffin, Alyshah Hasham, Bryann Aguilar and Rosie DiManno.

    Suspect in gas-and-dash trial found guilty of second-degree murderSuspect in gas-and-dash trial found guilty of second-degree murder

    0 0

    WASHINGTON—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talked politely about U.S. President Donald Trump and talked up gender equality at the first event of his second official trip to Trump’s Washington.

    Interviewed onstage Tuesday night at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, Trudeau stuck to his usual script for discussing the president he will meet with on Wednesday: avoid controversy, emphasize common ground.

    Asked how he thinks about talking to Trump versus other world leaders, Trudeau said his method is “always consistent” — “look for areas of agreement.” He said he and Trump differ on some issues but were elected on similar promises to make life better for the middle class.

    “I have conversations with the president every few weeks on any number of things,” he said.

    Read more:

    Donald Trump’s ‘outrageous’ demands put NAFTA negotiations at risk of collapse as talks resume Wednesday, experts say

    Latest news on Donald Trump

    Trudeau did make a joke about his desire to avoid talking about the president in public. Asked, as usual, about his creative socks, he crowed that he had just “used up” five seconds of a Trump conversation.

    One of Trudeau’s answers underscored the vast personality gulf between the two leaders. Asked what he had learned from his father, late prime minister Pierre Trudeau, he said, “To trust people.” One of Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr., has said that Trump repeatedly told him as a child, “Never trust anybody.”

    Trudeau promoted his government’s proposal to include a chapter on gender in a revised North American Free Trade Agreement. When interviewer Pattie Sellers asked what such a chapter would mean, he said, “It means recognizing that trade has different impacts on women that it does on men.”

    He spoke of the importance of retaining, not merely recruiting, female politicians. Asked about advice for the female high school students from Washington who were in attendance, he encouraged them to persevere even though they will have to fight battles their male classmates do not.

    After the interview, Trudeau spoke to each of the 30-odd students seated at a centre table in the National Portrait Gallery courtyard, getting down on one knee to talk to many of them as they sat. Some of the students appeared overcome with emotion.

    “It’s overwhelming. But he makes it real comfortable, so it’s easy to talk to him,” said Akhayla Reynolds, 16.

    Trudeau’s talk at the event was the original reason for his Washington visit, his office said. His meeting with Trump was added later.

    “I was in town for this, just so you know,” he said, to laughter and applause, when Sellers first asked about the meeting.

    Trudeau is also scheduled to participate Wednesday morning in a discussion on gender equality. He will be joined by his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, and by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

    He will then speak to the members of the powerful House of Representatives ways and means committee, which has significant influence over trade, before meeting with Trump at the White House around 2 p.m.

    Trudeau talks gender equality (and a little about Trump) at Washington summitTrudeau talks gender equality (and a little about Trump) at Washington summit

    0 0

    The Toronto District School Board is completing a phase out of the word ‘chief’ from job titles, out of respect for Indigenous people.

    Titles such as chief financial officer, chief academic officer and chief communications officer will see the word ‘chief’ removed and replaced with ‘manager’ or something similar. The changes include 12 chief positions in the professional support services department where the word manager is now used.

    The work began a few years ago and is now concluding, TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird said.

    Dr. Duke Redbird, curator of Indigenous art and culture at the TDSB, said the change “fits with building a student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy and mutual respect — and that’s a quote from the Truth and Reconciliation (Commission) recommendations.” The commission was set up to examine the abuse suffered by aboriginal children in Canada’s former residential school system. Its final report made 94 recommendations.

    Redbird said the TDSB move solves two problems. First, job titles will more clearly describe what the job actually entails.

    Secondly, it respects the importance and recognizes the historical significance of the role of chief in Indigenous communities.

    “And it helps in our own community, that these designated titles … are recognized for what they actually are — which are earned titles that you get through a democratic process of an election.”

    The title of chief is earned and respected in the Indigenous community, Redbird said.

    “The word has a lot of meaning to our people,” he said. “Whenever we talk about a person who is a chief, it’s an incredibly important position. One of the things that we have found in the past is that the word chief was used as a slang, pejorative word, describing anyone who happened to be of Indigenous background.”

    When asked if he’d like to see the word chief switched out across the board, Redbird said the term is an English one.

    “It belongs to the English language. It belongs to the settlers. We do not have a problem with their use of their word for what they want to describe in their communities. We are only grateful to the Toronto District School Board, that they saw that it could be used in a derogatory term against our students.”

    Damien Lee, an assistant professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan, could not comment on the TDSB’s use of the word chief, but said the term carries “baggage.”

    “It has been used as a pejorative,” Lee said. “Some people will use it in a kind of demeaning way.”

    The term chief was not used by Indigenous peoples prior to colonization, he said.

    It appears in the Indian Act, a piece of legislation passed by the Parliament of Canada in 1876 meant “to get rid of Indigenous People,” Lee said.

    Under the Indian Act, the term chief carries the weight of “being forced to adopt an alien form of governance.”

    The Indian Act mandates that First Nations have a chief and council — a municipal style of government.

    “Indigenous communities do have, and always have had and continue to have their own inherent governance systems that don’t really look like a municipal government,” Lee said.

    Toronto District School Board phases out ‘chief’ titlesToronto District School Board phases out ‘chief’ titles

    0 0

    Toronto is eyeing private property in its quest to increase the urban tree canopy.

    A report heading to the city's parks and environment committee next week will detail a possible expansion of the partnership between the city and Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF), offering more free trees on private property. Funding would be submitted to future budget planning as part of the city's Tree Planting Strategy.

    The non-profit has operated in the GTA for 20 years, helping municipalities, school boards and private individuals plant and take care of trees. But it was only last year that council approved a partial grant of $50,000 for LEAF to help with private property plantings, tree maintenance and educational outreach programs. The grant was increased to $100,000 in 2017.

    “We've been running this program through small grants patched from here and there, so I'm really excited that there's the will on council to support efforts on private property for tree canopy,” said LEAF's executive director Janet McKay.

    “Most municipalities are finding that private property offers the most potential in terms of new planting space,” she said, noting Toronto has done “a great job” of planting on public spaces through its street tree-planting programs.

    Private properties such as backyards and greenspace at multi-unit residential buildings offer significant advantages, said McKay: There's more soil, fewer stresses from utilities overhead and underground and a lower chance of vandalism.

    The city's goal is to achieve 40 per cent tree canopy, but the city's coverage currently stands at about 27 per cent.

    In addition to providing free trees, McKay said a big part of the expansion would focus on caring for the existing tree population by providing residents with skills and information.

    “We don't want to compromise quality for quantity,” she said. “We have a long way to go, but I think that protecting what we have is very important. We have an amazing amount of canopy already, and if we're losing that we won't necessarily be able to make it up with new planting.”

    Toronto looks to expand tree planting on private propertiesToronto looks to expand tree planting on private properties

    0 0

    Things are looking up for Harvey Weinstein.

    You could say the slew of sexual harassment accusations against him reported in the New York Times last week had placed this blindingly high wattage Hollywood producer on the path to qualifying for the United States presidency.

    On Tuesday morning, he moved a few notches up on the predato-meter — from Donald Trump to Bill Cosby, after the New Yorker magazine published its own bombshell 10-month investigation revealing three allegations of rape among the 13 accusations of sexual misconduct, allegations that a representative for Weinstein denied.

    Oh, he was better than Cosby, though. Or so he thought. In the New Yorker, Weinstein’s temporary front-desk assistant Emily Nestor says that on her second day at work, after she rejected his advances, Weinstein told her he’d “never had to do anything like Bill Cosby” by which “she assumed that he meant he’d never drugged a woman” to coerce them, setting a strangely low bar for consent.

    As the floodgates opened, by Tuesday, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow were among those who alleged misconduct.

    Yet the now growing condemnation of Weinstein has been shamefully slow to arrive. The New York Times investigation was released Oct. 5. Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Company Oct. 8. It was only by Oct. 9 — a.k.a. a lifetime in a Hollywood news cycle — that major stars began their condemnation; presumably they had now deemed it safe enough to do so.

    The man who, a survey found, was thanked in Oscar acceptance speeches more frequently than God, must be puzzled by the A-listers distancing themselves from him, by the company that sacked him when he was doing exactly what he had always done. There’s nothing particularly novel about the casting couch phenomenon.

    “We’ve normalized this bad behaviour and we rationalize it because ‘look at the great contributions these guys are making,’” author Mark Lipton told the Los Angeles Times. He interviewed several of Weinstein’s employees for his book, Mean Men: The Perversion of America’s Self-Made Man.

    So let’s be clear here. Weinstein hasn’t lost out because he did wrong. He is being shunned because he was found out.

    Being somewhat discreet gave others licence to fete him as a genius. Exposed, he became a liability.

    His alleged behaviour may have flourished in an era when few dared to speak out, but it continued to be endured even as societal intolerance of sexual misconduct grew. Witness the reaction that followed Trump’s crassness caught on tape, or the outrage that followed sexual misconduct allegations at Fox News that felled CEO Roger Ailes and anchor-in-chief Bill O’Reilly.

    I shudder to think how many more such toxic power dynamics continue to flourish.

    On Monday, Meryl Streep called Weinstein’s behaviour “inexcusable,” but that “not everybody knew.”

    “If everybody knew, I don’t believe that all the investigative reporters in the entertainment and the hard news media would have neglected for decades to write about it,” she told HuffPost.

    Yet, French actress Emma de Caunes told the New Yorker, “I know that everybody — I mean everybody — in Hollywood knows that it’s happening.”

    And the New Yorker reporter Ronan Farrow wrote, “previous attempts by many publications, including The New Yorker, to investigate and publish the story over the years fell short of the demands of journalistic evidence. Too few women were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, monetary payoffs, and legal threats to suppress these myriad stories.”

    George Clooney said he had heard rumours but thought they “seemed like a way to smear the actresses and demean them by saying that they didn’t get the jobs based on their talent, so I took those rumours with a grain of salt,” he told the Daily Beast.

    Jessica Chastain said on Twitter, “I was warned from the beginning. The stories were everywhere. To deny that is to create an environment for it to happen again.”

    Men can have the privilege of distance. They can treat sexual misconduct rumours as gossip, innocuous word play, a sideshow with minimal impact on their lives or careers. For women, particularly those just launching their careers, it’s about the risk of bodily harm, emotional trauma and risk to financial freedom.

    Whom can they turn to for support? The Weinstein Company’s human resources? Dear HR boss: I need you to tell off the man whose money pays your mortgage and feeds your family.

    Paltrow — raised in a Hollywood family — was lucky to be able to turn to Brad Pitt for support after rejecting Weinstein’s advances. (Pitt asked Weinstein to lay off, the New York Times reported Tuesday.) If the film industry was truly a family as Hollywood types refer to it, vulnerable young women asked to trade sex for work, too, would be able to lean on established veterans such as, say, a Streep or Clooney.

    That doesn’t appear to be happening.

    It’s time for Hollywood to support an independent arms-length professional body with specialists in sexual harassment — and journalists. Yes, journalists.

    While the agency would offer free counsel for women reporting sexual misbehaviour, their reports would be investigated by the journalists. Those that pass the journalistic sniff test — they are defensible against libel — would be published on the agency’s website.

    I first came across this journalistic aspect to justice in an opinion piece in the New York Times last summer about bringing rapists to justice.

    In it the writer says, “It is time to accept that the criminal justice system may never be capable of providing justice for the vast majority of sexual assaults.”

    Given recent developments, it’s also time to accept that film industry networks are inadequate to the task of protecting women’s workplace rights in Hollywood.

    The show must go on, but without systemic supports in place, it can only be a diminished one.

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

    Harvey Weinstein being shunned not for wrongdoing, but for getting caught: ParadkarHarvey Weinstein being shunned not for wrongdoing, but for getting caught: Paradkar

    0 0

    Once a titan of Canadian retail, Sears Canada announced Tuesday that it is going out of business, putting 12,000 people out of work and shuttering all operations nationwide.

    Among the first to lose their jobs will be most of the 800 people at head office near Dundas Square, who will be let go next week. Liquidation sales at stores are scheduled to begin Oct. 19 and to take 10 to 14 weeks.

    More on Sears Canada

    The chain was forced into closure after a bid by executive chairman Brandon Stranzl to save the company was unsuccessful.

    “Following exhaustive efforts, no viable transaction for the company to continue as a going concern was received,” according to a press release from the company issued Tuesday.

    “The Company deeply regrets this pending outcome and the resulting loss of jobs and store closures.”

    Stranzl was not available for comment on Tuesday.

    The shutdown will not affect parts of the business that have been approved for sale since Sears sought creditor protection on June 22: SLH Transports, a standalone trucking and logistics company that services Sears Canada, will continue under new ownership, as will Corbeil Electrique and certain of the Sears Canada Home Improvement brands.

    Sears Canada has already closed 59 stores and announced the closure of another 11, including stores at Fairview Mall and Scarborough Town Centre, since obtaining protection from creditors in June. It will be seeking court approval on Friday to liquidate all its remaining assets.

    According to an insider, the Stranzl deal would have saved thousands of jobs and offered relief to landlords, suppliers and consumers holding warranties. It also had financial backing.

    About three-quarters of the 12,000 employees are part-time.

    Employees were informed prior to the press release being issued, according to an insider.

    Sears Canada going out of business, laying off 12,000Sears Canada going out of business, laying off 12,000

    0 0

    The Ontario government will commit $1 million in funding to assist Ontario miners who believe years of exposure to toxic aluminum dust left them with debilitating neurological diseases, the Star has learned

    The Ministry of Labour is expected to announce Wednesday that it will finance the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) to assess miners exposed to the substance known as McIntyre Powder establish whether their health conditions are linked to its use, and make compensation claims for work-related illnesses where possible.

    But miners who already made claims under previous guidelines will not be eligible to have their cases reopened.

    As previously reported by the Star, thousands of miners across northern Ontario’s gold and uranium mines were routinely forced to inhale the powder, which was sold as a miracle antidote to lung disease. Historical documents suggest it was created by industry-sponsored Canadian scientists bent on slashing compensation costs caused by illnesses like silicosis.

    Some workers have since claimed they were treated as “guinea pigs” in a human experiment aimed at cutting company costs.

    “When you tell people in today’s context and the workplace protections that we now have, it seems pretty unbelievable that this happened,” said Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn in an interview with the Star.

    “What workers didn’t have before is somebody to help them through the system and that’s where the approval of the funding (comes in).”

    The issue has been championed by Janice Martell, whose own father, a former miner exposed to the dust, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He died from the disease in May.

    Martell said she is pleased about the $1 million in new funding, although it is half what was originally requested by OHCOW.

    “It’s been frustrating the length of time it took to get here, and we’ve lost so many miners in between, but I’m grateful it’s finally here,” she told the Star.

    Until recently, potential victims were unable to make successful claims at the province’s worker compensation board because of a policy formed in 1993 that said insufficient evidence existed linking aluminum exposure to neurological disease.

    Martell said she is “livid” that the board has told her it will not reconsider compensation claims lodged before the policy was rescinded — including her own father’s claim.

    Martell said she has spent more than $10,000 of her own money to research and raise awareness about McIntyre Powder.

    “Why should it fall on us? I changed my whole life around. I quit my job to fight for this,” she said.

    Workplace Safety and Insurance Board spokesperson Christine Arnott said its focus is on “finding answers for people.”

    “That’s why we have commissioned scientific research to look specifically at McIntyre Powder and any connection to neurological disease,” she said. “Unfortunately, there is no conclusive scientific evidence to date.”

    Of the 397 former miners who have contacted Martell, around one-third suffered from a neurological disorder — and she says 14 have developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative and incurable condition, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, that slowly kills the ability to swallow, speak and breathe.

    In Ontario, the prevalence of motor neuron disease, which includes ALS, is estimated at less than one in a thousand people.

    Research conducted in the United Kingdom found “strong evidence” linking aluminum to Alzheimer’s disease when absorbed into the blood stream.

    In August, the WSIB announced it would rescind its policy and commission an independent study to assess the development of neurological conditions resulting from exposure to McIntyre Powder, which was used extensively between 1943 and 1980.

    Now that the policy has been reversed, the new funding will help workers build the necessary evidence to back up potential claims.

    “We’re obviously very pleased with this opportunity to intensify our efforts on behalf of the exposed miners,” said Dave Wilken, OHCOW’s chief operating officer. “We will do whatever we can to ensure that they get the answers they deserve.”

    Flynn said OHCOW would provide vital support for workers who were exposed to potentially harmful substances for years, often without their knowledge.

    “It’s not just statistics, it’s not just chemistry,” said Flynn. “It’s real people who have real lives.”

    Martell says that’s why she hopes to see more robust measures to prevent and address occupational illness in Ontario.

    “McIntyre Powder was swept under the carpet for years and years,” she said.

    “I’m grateful my father allowed himself to be shown in a vulnerable light so that other people could benefit from the brutal realities of occupational disease.”

    Ontario pledges $1M to help ailing miners exposed to toxic dustOntario pledges $1M to help ailing miners exposed to toxic dustOntario pledges $1M to help ailing miners exposed to toxic dustOntario pledges $1M to help ailing miners exposed to toxic dustOntario pledges $1M to help ailing miners exposed to toxic dustOntario pledges $1M to help ailing miners exposed to toxic dust

    0 0

    A maintenance worker said Wednesday he told hotel dispatchers to call police and report a gunman had opened fire with a rifle inside Mandalay Bay before the shooter began firing from his high-rise suite into a crowd at a nearby musical performance.

    The revised timeline has renewed questions about whether better communication might have allowed police to respond more quickly and take out the gunman before he committed the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

    Worker Stephen Schuck told NBC News that he was checking out a report of a jammed fire door on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay when he heard gunshots and a hotel security guard, who had been shot in the leg, peeked out from an alcove and told him to take cover.

    “As soon as I started to go to a door to my left the rounds started coming down the hallway,” Schuck said. “I could feel them pass right behind my head.

    “It was kind of relentless so I called over the radio what was going on,” he said. “As soon as the shooting stopped we made our way down the hallway and took cover again and then the shooting started again.”

    Police said Monday they believe gunman Stephen Paddock shot a hotel security guard through the door of his suite six minutes before he unleashed a barrage of bullets into the crowd of concert-goers, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more.

    The injured guard used his radio and possibly a hallway phone to call for help.

    That account differs dramatically from the one police gave last week when they said Paddock fired through the door of his room and injured the unarmed guard after shooting into the crowd.

    Read more:

    Concertgoers, family members begin collecting items left behind during Vegas shooting

    Could police have taken down the Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock sooner?

    Las Vegas gunman aimed at fuel tanks, had protective gear as part of escape plan, sheriff says

    The company that owns Mandalay Bay has questioned the new timeline.

    “We cannot be certain about the most recent timeline,” said Debra DeShong, a spokeswoman for MGM Resorts International. “We believe what is currently being expressed may not be accurate.”

    Las Vegas police did not respond Tuesday night to questions about the hotel’s statement.

    “Our officers got there as fast as they possibly could and they did what they were trained to do,” Las Vegas assistant sheriff Todd Fasulo said earlier Tuesday.

    Gunshots can be heard in the background as Schuck reported the shooting on his radio, telling a dispatcher: “Call the police, someone’s firing a gun up here. Someone’s firing a rifle on the 32nd floor down the hallway.”

    It was unclear if the hotel relayed the information to Las Vegas police, who did not respond to questions from The Associated Press about whether hotel security or anyone else in the hotel called 911 to report the gunfire.

    Joseph Giacalone, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a retired New York City police sergeant, said the new timeline “changes everything.”

    “There absolutely was an opportunity in that timeframe that some of this could’ve been mitigated,” he said.

    Nicole Rapp, whose mother was knocked to the ground and trampled at the country music concert said she’s “having a hard time wrapping my head around” why police changed the timeline of the shooting.

    “It’s very confusing to me that they are just discovering this a week later,” she said. “How did we not know this before? It’s traumatic for the victims and their families not to be sure of what happened.”

    The six minutes that passed between the hallway shooting and the start of the shooting into the crowd wouldn’t have been enough time for officers to stop the attack, said Ron Hosko, a former FBI assistant director who has worked on SWAT teams. Rather than rush in without a game plan, police would have been formulating the best response to the barricaded gunman, he said.

    “Maybe that’s enough time to get the first patrolman onto the floor but the first patrolman is not going to go knock on that customer’s door and say ‘What’s going on with 200 holes in the door?’” Hosko said.

    Undersheriff Kevin McMahill defended the hotel and said the encounter that night between Paddock and the security guard and maintenance man disrupted the gunman’s plans. Paddock fired more than 1,000 bullets and had more than 1,000 rounds left in his room, the undersheriff said.

    “I can tell you I’m confident that he was not able to fully execute his heinous plan and it certainly had everything to do with being disrupted,” McMahill said. He added: “I don’t think the hotel dropped the ball.”

    Mandalay Bay worker says he warned of shooter before Las Vegas massacreMandalay Bay worker says he warned of shooter before Las Vegas massacre

    0 0

    A 53-year-old man is facing multiple charges including two counts of attempted murder after an alleged assault on two children, a boy and a girl, in a North York home Saturday afternoon.

    Toronto police said they rushed to the area of Jane St. and Steeles Ave. W. just after 3 p.m. for reports of an assault. It is alleged the suspect was at home with the children, both under 10.

    Police said he allegedly struck the children on the head with a hammer, then choked them. Both children were taken to Sick Kids Hospital in life-threatening condition. They are expected to make a full recovery.

    The man has also been charged with two counts of assault with weapon, two counts of overcoming resistance by choking or suffocation, possession of a weapon, and two counts of uttering threats.

    The suspect’s identity was not released to protect the identity of the children, police said.

    He will appear in court at 1000 Finch Ave. W. on Thursday at 10 a.m.

    Man charged with attempted murder after two children allegedly struck with hammer, chokedMan charged with attempted murder after two children allegedly struck with hammer, choked

    0 0

    “Major Reinvention in Progress” says a sign in bold, capital letters, hanging above the entrance to a newly renovated Sears in Erin Mills Town Centre.

    The irony wasn’t lost on customers heading in and out of Canada’s failing department store on Tuesday afternoon, hours after Sears Canada announced its plans to close down all operations, putting its 12,000 store employees out of work. The news comes after Sears already closed 59 stores and announced the closure of another 11, including stores at Fairview Mall and Scarborough Town Centre.

    “Reinvention for who?” said Carolyn Hitchinson, a longtime Erin Mills resident, on her way into Sears. “That sign really irritates me. It is a misrepresentation of what they’re doing, getting ready to sell before Christmas and letting all those poor people go.”

    Liquidation sales at stores, including at Erin Mills Town Centre in Mississauga, are scheduled to begin Oct. 19 and would take 10 to 14 weeks to complete, pending court approval.

    As a watch repair licensee for Sears for the past three years, Shaukat Hussain was holding out hope that the department store would secure a buyer. However, as of Tuesday, Sears had been unsuccessful.

    Now, Hussain says his livelihood is in jeopardy. The 67-year-old isn’t sure he’ll be able to find a place to rent that’s as affordable or draws in as many customers as the small area off of Sears’ main lobby here.

    “There’s a tradition for customers of going to Sears to have their watches fixed and (the brand) Sears gives them extra trust and confidence in my service,” said Hussain who repairs as many as 50 watches a day.

    “It’s sad what’s happening. My customers say, ‘What will we do without Sears?’”

    Read more:

    Sears Canada pensioners still fighting for payout

    Sears pulls funding from student drama festival

    Laid off Sears Canada workers include Mike Myers' brother who starred in ad

    That’s a question Irene Ranieri, 87, doesn’t have an answer for on her way to pick up presents for a dozen grand- and great-grandchildren.

    She worked at the Square One Sears for 25 years, from the 1970s to mid-1990s. She said she “thoroughly enjoyed” working in the catalogue division, assisting customers who were picking up their ordered items.

    “At one time it was a thriving industry,” Ranieri, 87, said. “I’m very, very disappointed.”

    Shoppers Margaret and Jack Leishman both grew up in small Quebec towns and, as children, waited eagerly for the Sears catalogue to arrive. As a young married couple, they’d drop off their orders and pick up their purchases at the Sears office in Lachute. When they and their two daughters made the move to Mississauga 27 years ago, Sears was the first place where they shopped. In the first years of his retirement, Jack, 80, said he would wander over to browse “everything” — appliances, clothing, tools.

    “We’re devastated,” said Margaret, 75. “Really, honestly devastated.”

    The Sears catalogue is what defined Christmastime for Hitchinson when she grew up in the 1960s.

    “It was a big thing,” she said. “I’d wait for the catalogue and then cut, cut, cut and lay out all the things I wanted for Christmas.”

    Customers ‘devastated’ as Sears Canada announces plan to shutter all operationsCustomers ‘devastated’ as Sears Canada announces plan to shutter all operations

    0 0

    Toronto police have found the car used in a fatal hit-and-run last week and are now searching for its owner, investigators said Wednesday.

    A 63-year-old woman walking on a sidewalk was killed when a gray 2014 Nissan Rogue mounted a curb on York Mills Rd., west of Don Mills Rd. just after 11 p.m. on Oct. 4.

    “She was a resident of New Brunswick, and was having dinner with a work colleague,” Toronto police Const. Clint Stibbe said of the victim, via email.

    “When they left the restaurant on the south side of York Mills, the victim was discussing the pedestrian fatalities as a result of mid-block crossings.”

    Stibbe said the victim and her friend reached the intersection of York Mills and Don Mills, where the countdown timer had already begun.

    “The victim wanted to wait until the next walk signal to cross safely,” he said.

    The pair crossed the road and started walking west. Then the victim was hit.

    The driver fled the scene, police said. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Police previously said the car was blue.

    Investigators found the Nissan at an auto shop in Toronto on Friday, police said.

    It’s registered to 28-year-old Erin Wright of Toronto and has the Ontario licence plate BVVH 900, police said in a news release Wednesday. Wright is a person of interest, Stibbe said.

    “She has failed to report the collision as required under law, and she has not furnished any information in regards to the collision or who was operating the vehicle at the time,” he said.

    Stibbe said he doesn’t have any information about whether the car may have been stolen or driven by someone else, or if there are any other people of interest.

    The car has damage to its right front headlight, fog light area and right fender, said police.

    Investigators are now asking for the public’s help in tracking the car between 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 4 and 1:30 a.m. the next day. They’re also trying to figure out the whereabouts of the driver and any other possible occupants of the Nissan.

    Police say they’re also asking residents of certain streets in the York Mills area to contact police if they have surveillance footage of the area from the same time period. Those streets include Birchwood Ave., Fenn Ave., Gordon Rd., Munro Blvd., Old Yonge St., Owen Blvd., Upper Highland Cres. and York Mills Rd.

    Police locate car used in fatal hit-and-run that left 63-year-old dead on a Toronto sidewalkPolice locate car used in fatal hit-and-run that left 63-year-old dead on a Toronto sidewalk

    0 0

    U.S. President Donald Trump attacked NBC News on Wednesday, dismissing as “pure fiction” an explosive report that he had sought a massive increase in the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

    On Twitter, Trump also raised the possibility that he would support stripping the broadcast licenses of news networks that report what he believes to be inaccurate information. The tweets came after NBC News reported that Trump purportedly told senior national security advisers during a meeting last summer that he favoured what amounted to nearly a tenfold increase in nuclear weapons.

    Trump has previously challenged NBC’s reporting on the meeting, including a revelation that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson referred to the president as a “moron” after the meeting and considered resigning from the Cabinet. Tillerson said during a news conference that he never thought of quitting, but he did not confirm or deny making the remark about the president when directly asked about it by a reporter. The State Department’s spokeswoman subsequently denied that Tillerson had made that comment.

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

    NBC reported that Trump’s reaction over the nuclear stockpile came after senior advisers showed him information charting its steady decline in numbers since the 1960s during the meeting at the Pentagon in July.

    The report comes as Trump is preparing for an 11-day trip to Asia, where he will seek to bolster international support to pressure North Korea to curb its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons testing. During a speech at the United Nations last month, Trump said the United States was prepared to “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary and he derisively referred to dictator Kim Jong Un as the “rocket man.”

    Read more:

    North Korean hackers stole U.S.-South Korean war plans, lawmaker says

    Trump suggests IQ tests in response to Tillerson reportedly calling him a ‘moron’

    Japan debates whether it can rely on U.S. in Korea crisis: Walkom

    Tillerson said during a visit to Beijing two weeks ago that the administration was “probing” for channels of direct communication with Pyongyang to ratchet down tensions, but Trump quickly undercut the nation’s top diplomat, saying on Twitter that it was a waste of time.

    Trump is set to visit Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines in his trip early next month.

    Trump threatens to strip broadcast licences after NBC report on nuclear arsenalTrump threatens to strip broadcast licences after NBC report on nuclear arsenal

    0 0

    City transportation staff are recommending that council make the pilot project of Bloor St. bike lanes permanent, paving the way for what would be a huge victory for Toronto’s cycling advocates.

    A highly anticipated report released Wednesday morning determined that installing the lanes had increased cycling use in the project area by 56 per cent, with an average of 5,220 cyclists on weekdays. That makes the lanes the second busiest cycling facility in the city.

    Preliminary road safety data suggested that a primary goal of the pilot, “to improve safety and reduce risk for all road users,” was achieved. Collision rates have been reduced as a result of the lanes, and the project has “significantly increased levels of comfort and safety for both motorists and cyclists,” the report found.

    Although the lanes initially caused significant delays to drivers’ travel times, modifications to signal timing have since cut the increased travel times in half, the report found. During the most congested period of the afternoon rush hour, drivers’ travel time increased by just over 4 minutes.

    “The number of people cycling on Bloor Street has increased to a level that has made Bloor Street West one of the most well-travelled corridors in the city for cycling with a broad level of support for the facility from cyclists, drivers, pedestrians, and those who live in the area,” the report found.

    City staff said the project was so successful that council should consider expanding it.

    “The pilot project has demonstrated that a cycling facility can be successfully implemented on one of the busiest and most constrained sections of Bloor St. and should be considered for the full length of the Bloor/Danforth corridor,” it said.

    The report will go before the public works committee next week, with council expected to vote at its November meeting on whether to take up staff’s recommendation.

    Council approved the bike lanes on a trial basis last May in a vote of 38 to 3, following decades of advocacy from the city’s cycling community. The lanes were installed along a 2.4-kilometre stretch of Bloor between Avenue Rd. and Shaw St. in August, 2016, at a cost of $500,000.

    The pilot project was backed by the mayor, but he was adamant that if the data at the end of the trial period didn’t support the project he would advocate that it be removed.

    That led many of the project’s supporters to worry that the piece of infrastructure many consider the centrepiece of a growing bike lane network could be ripped out.

    Bloor bike lanes should stay, city report findsBloor bike lanes should stay, city report finds

    0 0

    CALGARY—A man and a woman face charges related to a quadruple homicide this summer that Calgary police have described as brutal and ruthless.

    Yu Chieh Liao, who also goes by Diana Liao, and Tewodros Mutugeta Kebede are charged with first-degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Hanock Afowerk, police said Wednesday.

    The pair also face three counts of accessory after the fact in the deaths of Cody Pfeiffer, 25, Glynnis Fox, 36, and Tiffany Ear, 39.

    “Although charges have been laid, the investigation is ongoing as police believe there are additional people involved,” Calgary police said.

    Read more: Calgary police recover three bodies after burning car put out in new subdivision

    Pfeiffer, Fox and Ear were found dead in a burned-out car at a suburban construction site on July 10 and police have said they may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fox and Ear were sisters from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation who relatives have said left behind 16 children between them.

    Afowerk, the car’s owner, was found two days later in a rural area west of the city. Police have said they believe he was the intended target and that he and Liao knew each other.

    Liao, 24, and Kebede, 25, are to appear in court on Nov. 2.

    Police say the investigation has spanned multiple provinces.

    They have said Liao has ties to Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Regina and Moose Jaw, Sask. She was arrested in Toronto in late July. Kebede had been arrested on an unrelated matter in that city days earlier.

    Investigators said shortly after the homicides that the accused were spotted in the Moose Jaw area and police asked people there to contact them if they found discarded clothing or documents that may have been burned.

    Man and woman charged in Calgary quadruple homicide, but investigation continuesMan and woman charged in Calgary quadruple homicide, but investigation continues

    0 0

    MONTREAL—Delta Air Lines says its deliveries of Bombardier CSeries aircraft may be delayed next year but that ultimately, it won’t be forced to pay the 300-per-cent preliminary duties recently announced by the U.S. Commerce Department.

    “We will not pay those tariffs and that is very clear,” CEO Ed Bastian said Wednesday during a conference call about its third-quarter results.

    He said the U.S. government’s decision is disappointing and doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that it’s still early in the process that is triggering a lot of political debate.

    Read more:

    Bombardier’s CSeries offers ‘unparalleled’ passenger experience. So why hasn’t it taken off?

    U.K. Labour Party rep calls Boeing a ‘subsidy junkie’ amid Bombardier battle

    Bombardier accuses Trump administration of ‘egregious overreach’ after new tariff put on U.S. CSeries sales

    “We intend to take the aircraft,” he told analysts. “I can’t tell you how this is going to eventually work out. There may be a delay in us taking the aircraft as we work through the issues with Bombardier, who is being a great partner in this.”

    Bastian added that he thinks the CSeries needs to come to market in the United States.

    “We believe it will come to market and we believe Delta will get it at the agreed contractual price,” he added.

    Delta signed a deal for up to 125 CS100s in 2016. The firm order for 75 aircraft had a list price of $5.6 billion (U.S.), although large orders typically secure steep discounts. Deliveries were scheduled to begin in the spring.

    “We’re not going to be forced to pay tariffs or anything of the ilk, so there should not be any concerns on our investors’ minds in that regard.”

    The comments from the largest CSeries customer come a day after U.S. aerospace giant Boeing launched a public-relations campaign to remind Canadians of its economic contribution to the country.

    The Chicago-based company said its multimedia efforts, which got underway on Tuesday, include traditional and digital media including television, radio and other digital platforms.

    Boeing Canada managing director Kim Westenskow said the company contributes about $4 billion annually to Canada’s economic growth and development. That represents almost 14 per cent of Canada’s entire aerospace economic impact.

    “What we accomplish together benefits Canada and the entire global aerospace industry. It is a compelling story that is overdue to be told,” she said in a news release.

    On its website, Bombardier says its direct contribution to Canadian GDP amounts to $8.3 billion.

    Boeing said it works with 560 Canadian suppliers that support 17,500 jobs, along with 2,000 people it employs.

    It said the company’s partnership dates back a century when founder Bill Boeing launched the world’s first international mail service between Vancouver and Seattle in a Boeing C-700.

    “Today, Boeing is the largest non-Canadian aerospace manufacturer in Canada,” Westenskow added, pointing to both commercial and military activities.

    “It is important that we share this story with the people of Canada.”

    In response to the trade challenge to Bombardier, the federal government has threatened to cancel the planned purchase of 18 Boeing Super Hornets to temporarily augment Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18s.

    Bombardier Inc. last week accused the Trump administration of overreach by siding with Boeing in its bid to shut the CSeries commercial jet out of the world’s largest airline market by effectively quadrupling the price of any of the planes sold in the United States.

    The U.S. Commerce Department added 79.82 per cent in preliminary anti-dumping duties to 219.63 per cent in preliminary countervailing tariffs once deliveries to Delta Air Lines begin next year.

    Boeing said it welcomed the decision affirming its view that Bombardier sold the CSeries to Delta at prices below production cost to illegally grab market share in the single-aisle airplane market.

    Bombardier has repeatedly stressed that Americans will be hurt by the tariffs because more than half the content on the 100- to 150-seat CSeries is sourced by U.S. suppliers, including Pratt & Whitney engines. The program is expected to generate more than US$30 billion in business over its life and support more than 22,700 American jobs in 19 states.

    Meanwhile, WestJet Airlines said Wednesday it has become the first commercial carrier in Canada to take delivery of the new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, one of 50 scheduled for delivery in the next four years.

    The 174-seat aircraft is expected to officially enter service on Nov. 9 with a flight from Calgary to Toronto.

    Air Canada has also placed orders for 33 Boeing 737 MAX 8s and 28 of the larger MAX 9s, with deliveries starting this year.

    Delta CEO says ‘We will not pay those tariffs’ on Bombardier CSeries orderDelta CEO says ‘We will not pay those tariffs’ on Bombardier CSeries order

    0 0

    Eminem offered a detailed and searing critique of U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday, using his rapping skills to lambaste the commander-in-chief and his policies during a performance broadcast as part of the BET Hip Hop Awards.

    In the 4 ½ -minute video, the acclaimed rapper issues an ultimatum to any of his fans who support Trump.

    “Any fan of mine who’s a supporter of his/ I’m drawing in the sand a line/ You’re either for or against/ And if you can’t decide who you like more/ And you’re split on who you should stand beside/ I’ll do it for you with this,” he finishes, his hand blurred as he presumably flips his middle finger.

    Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, threw out some expletives but also referred to numerous news stories and presidential actions during the rap delivered from a parking garage.

    He opens with anger: “That’s an awfully hot, coffee pot/ Should I drop it on Donald Trump?/ Probably not, but that’s all I got/ Until I come up with a solid (muted).”

    Eminem then rebuked Trump over numerous topics, including the president’s reaction to the tragedies in Puerto Ricoand Las Vegas, his criticism of protesting NFL players and his frequent golf trips. He accuses the president of racism and worries that he will cause a nuclear holocaust.

    He also issued a tribute to Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who stopped standing for the national anthem last year to protest racial injustice.

    “This is for Colin/ Ball up a fist,” Eminem said, raising his own fist.

    Eminem blasts U.S. President Donald Trump in new videoEminem blasts U.S. President Donald Trump in new video

    0 0

    WASHINGTON—Canada is a bigger export customer for the United States than China, Japan and the United Kingdom combined, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reminded an influential committee of the U.S. House of Representatives as the fourth round of continental trade talks kicked off in a suburb nearby.

    Their job, Trudeau said, is to make that crucial trade “easier.”

    Foreign leaders do not usually speak to House committees. Trudeau, however, has made a concerted effort in the Trump era to build alliances with American politicians other than the unpredictable president — a kind of protection against Trump’s protectionism.

    The Ways and Means Committee, which has responsibility for taxes and tariffs, would play a significant role in getting Congress to approve any new North American Free Trade Agreement deal or in attempting to thwart Trump from terminating the deal. There is growing concern among business groups and trade experts that Trump’s protectionist proposals could cause the talks to collapse.

    Trudeau called the committee “extremely important” to Canada.

    Read more:Donald Trump’s ‘outrageous’ demands put NAFTA negotiations at risk of collapse as talks resume Wednesday, experts say

    More than 30 of the committee’s 39 members were in attendance. Trudeau, greeted with polite applause, was seated next to Republican Rep. Kevin Brady, the committee chairman, who has called NAFTA “extremely beneficial to the United States” and Wednesday said he wants to turn it into a model for future agreements. Trump, conversely, has called it a “disaster” and the “worst trade deal ever made,” and he again threatened to terminate the deal in an interview published Tuesday.

    “We have to provide certainty for trade and investment to succeed,” Brady said in brief opening remarks.

    The lawmakers did some advocating of their own.

    Brady said he wanted better Canadian protection for American intellectual property and more access for the U.S. dairy industry to Canada’s tightly restricted domestic market. The top Democrat on the committee, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal, pushed for greater access to Canada for American cultural industries.

    After the meeting, Michigan Democratic Rep. Sander Levin said Trudeau had pushed back on the dairy issue during the 55-minute closed-door portion of the meeting, explaining why Canada wants to maintain its “present structure,” known as supply management.

    Trudeau was flanked by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Ambassador David MacNaughton. He departed after an hour, telling reporters the session “went very well.”

    Trudeau was scheduled to travel from the committee meeting to the White House for a photo opportunity with Trump and then an Oval Office meeting scheduled for just over an hour.

    Trudeau will proceed to the Canadian embassy for a solo news conference rather than the usual joint news conference with the president. The White House had “scheduling issues,” a Trudeau official said; Trump is scheduled to leave for a tax-reform speech in Pennsylvania immediately after the meeting.

    Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau began their day at a foundation’s roundtable discussion event in honour of International Day of the Girl.

    The NAFTA round, being held in a hotel in Arlington, Va., was extended on Tuesday to seven days from the original five in order to accommodate the schedules of top officials from the three countries. Trump’s negotiators are expected to introduce their first detailed proposals on automotive manufacturing, among other contentious matters.

    Remember that Canada is America’s biggest customer, Trudeau tells Congress in WashingtonRemember that Canada is America’s biggest customer, Trudeau tells Congress in Washington

    0 0

    Is Desmond Cole going to run for mayor?

    The question arises after his name popped up in a poll released Wednesday, which shows him with a level of support that would rank him near — or ahead of, depending how you look at the results — Doug Ford in his potential appeal to voters across the city. A little over a year out from election day, with the race so-far shaping up to be a rematch of the right between Ford and Mayor John Tory, activist, journalist and broadcaster Cole says he’s seriously thinking about it.

    Read more: Doug Ford will run for mayor in 2018 rematch

    Mayoral race will be more interesting if you know what goes on at city hall: Micallef

    Please, let’s not start talking about who’s going to win the 2018 Toronto mayoral election: Keenan

    “People approach me a lot and ask me,” says Cole. “There are a whole lot of people who are deeply unsatisfied in this city…at this point I’m still talking to people close to me and asking, ‘What do you think?’ I’m not at the stage yet where I can say I’ve decided.”

    It’s a big decision, obviously. And at this point, he certainly looks like a longshot to win. But the city could use the injection of energy, charisma, honesty and ideas Cole could bring to what could otherwise be an underwhelming race.

    Because so far it has looked like a bit of a snooze. The same poll that solicited opinions on Cole’s appeal, conducted by veteran pollster John Wright at his new firm Dart Insight and Communications for Newstalk 1010, shows 65 per cent of those asked believe John Tory deserves to be re-elected, including more than 60 per cent in every part of the city. (The poll surveyed 814 adults in Toronto through an online panel and claims to be considered accurate within 3.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.) Torontonians seem far from fed up with their mayor. In this atmosphere of general contentment with the staus quo, only Doug Ford has announced a decision to take Tory on, mounting a challenge from the taxaphobic, government-bashing right.

    On the left, there seems to be a current of vocal dissatisfaction with Tory, in both his priorities (such as his obsession with keeping property taxes low and road construction) and the slow pace of movement on social files such as public housing. Yet there has appeared to be no candidate emerging to champion that view. A series of possible candidates, some of whom considered it, some floated by the press and pollsters — former chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat, councilors Kristyn Wong-Tam, Joe Cressy, and Mike Layton, federal MP Adam Vaughan, even retired Maple Leafs and Raptors boss Richard Peddie — have decided not to run. There’s a sense among those who consider themselves progressive that 2018 will not be their year. Better, they think, to focus on winning city council races for like-minded allies and to wait Tory out and try again in 2022.

    There’s a certain logic to it, but in the meantime, how does a months-long, agenda-setting debate about the city’s priorities and future shape up when the only major participants are Tory and Ford? It seems we can expect a contest between right-of-centre and righter-of-centre. Tory’s strategy in such a contest would seem to obviously involve positioning himself just slightly left of Doug Ford, to pick up as many conservative voters as possible while still appearing to be the lesser of two evils to the left.

    I’d expect a lot of one-upmanship about who can best control spending, keep taxes low and make the city better for driving a car. I’d expect little-to-no serious discussion of how to best build the city and make it a better, more compassionate place to live. Certainly Tory would likely have nods to these things somewhere in the platform, to mop up the votes Ford isn’t bothering to compete for, but in the big battleground debates for votes that would determine what the city expects in the coming four years — that deliver the mandate a mayor would try to implement — I fear much of what I care about would be overlooked.

    The poll I mentioned above is not on a horserace “who would you vote for” question, but rather on who voters would consider voting for. It shows 30 per cent of Toronto voters say they would give Cole “a great deal” or “some” consideration. That’s significantly less than the 75 per cent who say they’d give that consideration to Tory, but pretty close (especially factoring in the margin of error) to the 36 per cent who would give that level of consideration to Doug Ford. And the reverse question shows Cole has perhaps a larger possible voting universe than Ford: 53 per cent of voters say they would give the former Etobicoke councillor no consideration at all, while only 30 per cent said they’d absolutely rule Cole out in the same way.

    Those aren’t juggernaut numbers, obviously. But for a man with a relatively lower political profile than Tory or Ford, and without even having announced he was thinking about running, it looks like he’d at least be up for consideration by plenty of voters. And in a campaign, things change. If there’s only one candidate on that end of the political spectrum, there’s a lot of experienced organizational and fundraising expertise that may be available to put to work.

    Cole says he’s not interested in running simply to make a point or to be the flag bearer for a lost cause. He wouldn’t run, he says, “unless I thought I could win.” But the lack of a candidate talking about the things that are important to him is a factor in his thinking. “Whether I run or not, it won’t be a good thing for our city if the only two candidates are John Tory and Rob Ford.”

    “There’s so much to be said on a number of issues,” he says. Issues he’s become prominent advocating about, such as policing and racial equity, he says, but also so much more. Transit and transit accessibility, libraries, housing. “John Tory brands himself as a good manager of the status quo,” Cole says, something he acknowledges might have been what a lot of city voters wanted after the tumultuous term of Rob Ford. But with that, he says, “That level of aspiration is just missing…we’ve stopped dreaming in this city… we just need to imagine something better for the city.”

    As he speaks in more detail about his approach, it sure sounds like he’d like to run. And Cole figures those reasons are not just what fires him up, they define the possible path to victory. “If we offer people a bolder politics, a lot of people will respond to it,” Cole says. They are hungry for it, he tells me.

    Some people will shake their head and say that’s a daydream. That there’s a good reason so many successful politicians adopt moderated middle-of-the-road policies and speak in careful, bland blah-blah-blahisms. But I’d sure like to see where Cole’s daydream goes.

    Perhaps he’ll decide to run. Perhaps not.

    But it sure would be nice if someone put that bolder politics to Toronto voters and at least see how they respond.

    Will Desmond Cole run for mayor? He’s thinking about it: KeenanWill Desmond Cole run for mayor? He’s thinking about it: Keenan

    0 0

    Toronto police responded to the collision downtown just after 7 p.m. Investigators said the collision happened between a City Sightseeing Toronto tour bus and a car.

    Woman in serious condition after double decker tour bus and car collideWoman in serious condition after double decker tour bus and car collide

older | 1 | .... | 1058 | 1059 | (Page 1060) | 1061 | 1062 | .... | 1083 | newer