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    A Newmarket man is facing a second-degree murder charge after a Georgina man was shot and killed Saturday evening.

    York Regional Police said they responded to a weapons call on Sheldon Ave., near Yonge St. and Davis Dr. in Newmarket around 9:50 p.m. When officers arrived, they found a man suffering from gunshot wounds.

    Paramedics rushed him to hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was identified as 30-year-old Cody Gionet.

    On Sunday, police said they arrested two men at a home close to the scene. Travis Whitman, 21, has been charged with second-degree murder. The other man was charged with unrelated offences, police said.

    Whitman was scheduled to appear in a Newmarket court on Monday.

    Investigators are looking for any additional witnesses who may have seen or heard anything during the incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact the homicide unit at 1-866-876-5423 ext. 7865 or Crime Stoppers.

    Man arrested in fatal Newmarket shootingMan arrested in fatal Newmarket shooting

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    The tepid response from federal leaders to Quebec’s ill-conceived and offensive Bill 62 tells us three truths about Canadian politics.

    They are not comfortable truths.

    It tells us that all three major party leaders may harbour suspicions that the bill forcing face coverings to be removed while accessing public services may be more popular both inside and outside Quebec than what might be expected.

    They may be right. This has all the trappings of a Donald Trump presidential run or a Brexit referendum in that the louder the protestations and the deeper the indignation of the mainstream pundits, editorial boards and the elite, the more popular the candidate or the legislation.

    Secondly, it tells us that the further from power one is, the easier it is to be the champion of rights and liberties.

    And thirdly, because it is Quebec, we know that any federal intervention is seen as a political third rail, which would not be the case if, say, a government in Manitoba or Nova Scotia had passed such legislation.

    This is particularly true when the Quebec premier is a federalist.

    No one wants to poke the hibernating PQ bear, everyone is leery of meddling in provincial jurisdiction, particularly when you have opposition parties who believe Premier Philippe Couillard’s absurd bill does not go far enough.

    Here’s another reason for federal leaders to bide their time and give answers by rote — the bill is almost certain to be challenged in court and will likely wend its way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

    Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could ask the court for an opinion on the constitutionality of the face-veil law, political prudence will mean he will wait for the court challenge to be generated from inside Quebec.

    This prudence, however, presumes that Canadians are sympathetic to political gyrations. They deserve full-throated condemnation.

    Trudeau, of course, is not alone. We have not heard anything remotely powerful from Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer or NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, either.

    The prime minister’s indignation over measures which infringe on Canadians’ rights and liberties was hot from his perch as leader of the third party but has significantly cooled now that he exercises power.

    In August 2013, responding to the Parti Québécois charter of values, Trudeau wrote in a Globe and Mail op-ed: “Church and state must be separate. But by what logic should we restrict the freedom of some Quebeckers to express their religious beliefs? Simply because they are not shared by the majority? This is a dangerous road, not just for religious minorities within Quebec, but for all minorities, everywhere.’’

    Early in the election year, 2015, Trudeau delivered a speech at McGill University in opposition to then-prime minister Stephen Harper’s anti-terror legislation.

    He said those who have argued that expanding liberty in this country would compromise our traditional values were wrong, “because working to gain freedom for our fellow citizens is a bedrock traditional value in this country. It is in large measure what it means to be Canadian.’’

    Last week, campaigning in Monday’s Lac-Saint-Jean by-election, Trudeau said he would study the “implications” of the bill. He said no government should tell a woman what or what not to wear, but he stayed far away from any federal intervention.

    Scheer has a more politically advantageous issue to talk about, the government’s climb down on small business tax reforms and Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s stock holdings.

    His is the most milquetoast of Bill 62 responses.

    “Ultimately, this will be up to Quebecers to pass judgment on. It is a provincial law from the provincial legislature,’’ he told a Kitchener radio interviewer.

    “We’ll see what happens in the courts.’’

    Singh has the distance of the third party when he tells the CBC “it’s important we don’t pick and choose when it comes to human rights, we stand up for the rights of all people, all communities, all the time.’’

    But for the NDP, the niqab has become kryptonite.

    Former leader Tom Mulcair’s opposition to Harper’s bid to ban the niqab from citizenship ceremonies cost him dearly in Quebec in 2015 and Bill 62 already roiled the NDP leadership race won by Singh — a man whose head covering could become a challenge for him in Quebec.

    This is what we have in late 2017 — three men weighing political calculations in Quebec.

    It’s great news if you’re big on provincial rights, not so great if you were looking for someone to take on a racist piece of legislation.

    Tim Harper writes on national affairs., Twitter: @nutgraf1

    Trudeau, Scheer and Singh do the math in Quebec and none champion an anti-racist stance: Tim HarperTrudeau, Scheer and Singh do the math in Quebec and none champion an anti-racist stance: Tim Harper

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    It’s been five years since the series finale of Gossip Girl— a salacious CW television series, based on books by Cecily von Ziegesar. Now, in midtown Toronto, the spirit of the teen drama is getting an unlikely revival.

    Miss Informed is a gossip site, and a social labyrinth for an adolescent world. It gives an outlandish glimpse into the lives of teenagers identified only by first names and initials — though one post indicated that last names were once used, as well.

    “Who am I?” an introductory page reads.

    “Well, I’m one of you, but I’m also only your new favorite source for the latest gossip on the social scene at the Midtown Toronto high schools, as well as it’s parties, gossip, stories, and finally, it’s hottest couples and people.”

    One post asks readers for more information about a fight between two girls, alluding that it may have been over romantic jealousy. The comments range from corrections on what school the teens attend to a play-by-play of one girl being flung away “like a tissue.”

    Notes of friends becoming mortal enemies follow. Other posts are warmer, pronouncing the “hottest couple” or a pair in a “lovely relationship.”

    But the site’s quippy gossip and snarky observations went awry one warm Saturday night in mid-September.

    Emergency calls poured in on Sept. 16 from the area around Rosedale Park. Stabbings, assaults and robberies were compounded by medical calls for unconscious and intoxicated teens. Police reported hundreds had arrived after receiving information across social media.

    All reported incidents involved victims between 15 and 16-years-old, and the suspects were approximately eight to 10 boys and girls in their late teens, wearing hoodies with bandanas covering their faces.

    Multiple parties in a number of weeks followed the same pattern, and police believe the suspects attend for the sole purpose of carrying out robberies and other criminal activity. They also have evidence leading them to believe there have been several unreported incidents of a similar nature.

    Staff Sgt. James Hogan of Toronto Police’s 53 Division says the Rosedale Park party was certainly aided by social media — but it wasn’t caused by it.

    “I certainly went to lots of parties in forests and fields without social media when I was younger. It’s not a new phenomenon; it’s just a different way of organizing it,” he explained.

    Hogan will be a panelist at a Tuesday night town-hall style event, run by the North Rosedale and neighbouring residents associations. The purpose of the evening, at Rosedale United Church, is to discuss Midtown teenagers’ use of social media and their safety in a digital age, given recent events.

    Police will also provide an update on their criminal investigation.

    Lewis Redford, president of the North Rosedale Residents Association, called Miss Informed “sort of a dark site I guess you’d call it — something a lot of adults and school supervisors weren’t really aware of.”

    On Friday, the author of Miss Informed posted a statement addressing several potential concerns, including the “Rosedale Jam” party. The author began by saying they didn’t take responsibility for what happened, but that they’d be altering their posts in future.

    “I have made the decision not to post about parties, but instead to SMS blast them only to the group of confirmed subscribers who are actually students in the grades invited,” the anonymous author wrote.

    “The last thing I want is a disaster.”

    They also wrote that they maintained a set of morals around the gossip they shared (using the example that they wouldn’t share a tip outing someone’s sexual orientation), that there was a site feature to request a post be taken down, and that “believe it or not, most people ask me to post about them.”

    Tracking the owner of the site leads to multiple stops: a listed phone number was previously used to advertise escort services in Vaughan, as recently as June 2016. The site itself is registered with a company based in Panama.

    The site focuses on five schools: North Toronto Collegiate Institute, Northern Secondary School, Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute, Rosedale Heights School of the Arts, Forest Hill Collegiate Institute and “BHHS,” which may be an acronym for Branksome Hall.

    Toronto District School Board said they’re aware of the gossip site, but don’t have control over the content posted to it.

    “It’s important to note that content posted online that has a negative impact on the climate of a school can result in possible disciplinary action in cases where the poster’s identity is known,” spokesperson Ryan Bird wrote.

    “In this specific case, the identity of the poster is not known by staff.”

    And though the meeting was spurred by the public-park parties in September, Hogan says that’s just the starting point.

    “It’s actually a much broader discussion. We get that that’s just a useful catalyst. It’s a much broader discussion about social media, and young people, and the implications of it.”

    Toronto’s Gossip Girl website scrutinized after ‘Rosedale Jam’ park party stabbingToronto’s Gossip Girl website scrutinized after ‘Rosedale Jam’ park party stabbing

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    A key aspect of the Law Society of Upper Canada's plan to address systemic racism in the legal profession is coming under fire.

    The issue is whether Ontario's legal regulator should be requiring lawyers and paralegals to adopt and abide by a so-called statement of principles that “acknowledges (their) obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, and in (their) behaviour towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public,” as described in an email sent last month by the law society to all licensees, reminding them that the statement is mandatory.

    Licensees can either adopt a statement of principles prepared by the law society, or come up with their own, but they must indicate whether it's been done in their annual report to the law society, the regulator says. They do not have to submit the actual statement to the law society for approval.

    The statement of principles was one of the recommendations stemming from a law society working group that looked into the challenges faced by racialized licensees, and which were adopted unanimously (with three abstentions) at the law society's board meeting last December.

    Toronto lawyer Joe Groia, a member of the board of directors (known as “benchers”), said he fully supports efforts to improve equality and diversity in the profession, but takes issue with the fact that the statement is mandatory. He will be bringing a motion at the board meeting this December that would allow an exemption for those who have a “conscientious objection” to the requirement, which is proving to become a divisive topic in the profession.

    “Not that these are not laudable objectives, because they are, and not that lawyers don't occupy a special position, they do, but I think that the real question is: Is this requirement, which I think amounts to compelled speech, compelled belief, is that something that the law society is allowed to do? And even if it is, is it something that the law society should do?” he told the Star.

    Groia's motion is being seconded by Ottawa lawyer Anne Vespry, herself a racialized licensee.

    “I believe I have a duty to act in a way that does not discriminate, but I do not believe that I have a duty to promote anything except maybe my own business,” Vespry told the Star, adding she will “stand up for this motion and any other motion that will make the recommendations make better sense.”

    Both Groia and Vespry were among the 19 benchers who had supported bencher Sidney Troister's unsuccessful motion to discuss and vote on each recommendation separately last December.

    “I have been approached by more lawyers and paralegals and asked to reconsider this initiative than I have on any other matter that's been before the law society in my time as a bencher,” Groia said. “Every single person I've spoken to have said ‘we are not opposed to the promotion of equality, we in fact support every effort, what we are opposed to do is being required to prepare a statement of principles that may indeed go against our faith, may go against our beliefs, may go against our conscience.’”

    Groia is already locked in another battle with the law society; the Supreme Court of Canada is set to hear on Nov. 6 his appeal of his incivility conviction for being rude in court and one-month suspension imposed by the law society tribunal. More than 3,600 lawyers elected him a bencher in 2015 as his case — which is being closely followed in legal circles — was making its way through the courts.

    The working group spent four years looking into challenges faced by racialized licensees, finding them “both long-standing and significant.” It came up with a total of 13 recommendations, three of which, including the statement of principles, are being implemented this year. Another mandatory recommendation requires “legal workplaces” with 10 or more licensees to develop and implement a human rights and diversity policy. The third recommendation, for licensees to participate in an “inclusion survey,” is optional.

    The statement of principles “forces people to think about what exactly is their obligation, to understand that they have such an obligation and to think about how they're going to implement it in their own practice,” said lawyer Paul Jonathan Saguil, chair of the law society's equity advisory group. “There's no debate about the fact that people can decide what words to use (in the statement), but to fail to acknowledge that you have an obligation to promote equality and inclusion, if people don't want to do that, if people say they don't have any such obligation, that to me is a serious flaw on their perception of what it means to be a lawyer in the 21st century in Ontario.”

    The law society has said change is needed now more than ever, as the number of racialized lawyers in Ontario has doubled — from 9 per cent of the profession in 2011, to 18 per cent in 2014.

    Licensees who don't come up with a statement of principles this year will receive a letter indicating their non-compliance, said treasurer Paul Schabas, the elected head of the regulator. Whether they will face penalties in the future remains to be seen.

    “We're trying to be positive and proactive,” he told the Star. “Our focus is on raising awareness and achieving the culture shift the working group recommended, which is make people aware of the challenges faced by racialized licensees in getting jobs and advancing in jobs. Our aim is simply to educate and raise awareness, we didn't bring this in to penalize.”

    Lawyers challenging part of Law Society of Upper Canada plan to address racism Lawyers challenging part of Law Society of Upper Canada plan to address racismLawyers challenging part of Law Society of Upper Canada plan to address racism Lawyers challenging part of Law Society of Upper Canada plan to address racism

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    Citing an urgent need to address gender-based harassment, discrimination and bullying, a group of current and former police officers has established a national advocacy group to support female cops in a workplace where they say women are too often treated as outsiders.

    The National Women in Law Enforcement Association will represent a growing group of women officers alleging discrimination and harassment on the job — and who believe there is little recourse, according to organizers.

    “Women in policing, they’re in distress right now,” says Waterloo police Const. Angelina Rivers, who is part of a proposed class-action lawsuit against the Waterloo police board and its union alleging gender-based bullying, misconduct and more.

    “Women are leaving policing in droves, and there’s a reason for that,” she says.

    Recent research examining the experience of female officers in Canada has raised concerns about the persistence of an “old boys” club’ within policing, even as more women sign onto the force.

    In her study of female police officers in Ontario, Lesley Bikos, a former London, Ont. officer now pursuing her PhD studying police culture at Western University, found officers regularly subjected to verbal harassment — including being called “badge bunny” or a “tomboy” — and having to withstand hearing sexist jokes. Women officers also had to work harder to earn the respect automatically granted to their male counterparts and hesitated calling for backup out of fear of being called weak, Bikos found.

    Officers who become mothers, meanwhile, face another set of challenges, including being passed over for promotions because of a perception they won’t be as dedicated, according to research out of Wilfrid Laurier University.

    The new women’s policing advocacy group seeks to be both a support network for female police officers and group lobbying for change at the municipal, provincial and federal levels, according to its founders.

    Rivers said the group was born out of the realization that the ongoing proposed lawsuit against Waterloo police will take years to work its way through the courts. That’s time female officers be facing discrimination do not have, she said.

    The proposed lawsuit, which is seeking more than $165 million on behalf of past and present female Waterloo police officers, alleges a sexist workplace culture that subjects some female staff to verbal, physical and sexual harassment.

    None of the allegations have been tested in court.

    The Waterloo Police Services Board has said it would challenge the suit, calling it “inappropriate” and saying filing a complaint under Ontario’s Police Services Act would have been “the appropriate means to deal with the allegations.”

    When the lawsuit was launched earlier this year, Waterloo Police Chief Bryan Larkin said some of the allegations had only just been brought to the force, while others had been dealt with through an independent law firm’s investigation.

    Rivers said that among the most pressing concerns for the new group is the lack of remedy for female officers who have experienced anything from verbal harassment to unwanted sexual advances or more. Raising the alarm bells by going to a supervisor and lodging a complaint, she said, can result in retaliation that’s only damaging for the officer herself.

    In her own case, Rivers alleges male officers began spreading rumours that she was having an affair with a colleague. In response, she alleges, her immediate superior sent her sexually explicit texts, including requests for her to send naked pictures.

    When she complained, Rivers claims she was reassigned to an undesirable position. She is currently on leave from the force.

    The retaliation to speaking out can be worse than the original offence, says Const. Kim Prodaniuk, an officer with the Calgary Police Service who helped establish the national advocacy group.

    Prodaniuk says she got a reputation as a “bitch” after speaking out against what she said was gender-based discrimination from a supervisor.

    “It spread around the police service that . . . I can’t be trusted. Basically a lot of prison mentality that you’re a ‘rat.’ That had a whole bunch of consequences for me as a police officer,” she said in an interview Monday.

    That included not being able to find a police partner when she was working in a high-crime area because she wasn’t seen as “trustworthy,” Prodaniuk said. She is currently on leave from the force.

    The Calgary Police Service told its civilian oversight commission earlier this year it would take action in response to allegations of gender discrimination within the force, including a review of its hiring and promotion policies and the establishment of an independent whistle-blowing program.

    Jen Magnus, a former Calgary officer who also helped establish the group, publicly resigned in February at a Calgary police commission meeting after coming forward with allegations of workplace harassment and bullying. Magnus claims her complaints were minimized when she went to superiors, and the subsequent retaliation she faced discouraged others from speaking out.

    “It was clear to me that the culture wasn’t going to change with one sole voice complaining,” she said. “You need a national association like this for people to find that strength and find that voice.”

    Wendy Gillis can be reached at

    With files from The Canadian Press

    Canadian female police band together to change ‘intolerable’ working conditionsCanadian female police band together to change ‘intolerable’ working conditions

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    The Ontario government has come to the rescue of overwhelmed hospitals with more money and beds — just as flu season is starting and pressure on the sector is growing even greater.

    Health Minister Eric Hoskins announced Monday that $100 million is being spent to open 1,235 hospital beds throughout the province. In Toronto, the plan includes reopening and repurposing two shuttered hospital sites: the University Health Network’s former Hillcrest site and Humber River Hospital’s former Finch site.

    The 1,235 new hospital beds are the equivalent of six medium-sized hospitals.

    Read more:

    Far too many hospital beds occupied by patients who don’t need to be there: report

    Health minister pledges more help to ease hospital overcrowding

    Will Finch Ave. site of old Humber River hospital reopen?

    “That will have a tremendous impact,” Hoskins said, noting that hospitals today are accepting more patients who are staying longer, particularly those who are vulnerable and aging.

    The Finch site of Humber River is being turned into a 150-bed rehabilitation facility, renamed the Reactivation Care Centre.

    Among the services to be provided at the Hillcrest site are some offered by community agencies, aimed at keeping patients out of long-term care and helping them return home, where they would rather be.

    Hoskins said some of the new beds will open in as soon as two weeks while all of the initiatives will roll out by the end of the calendar year.

    An additional $40 million is being spent on home care to prevent people from being admitted to hospital in the first place and to care for others after they have been discharged.

    Much of the announcement is aimed at moving “alternate-level-of-care patients” out of the hospital. They are typically seniors who no longer require acute hospital care and are waiting for long-term care, rehabilitation care or home care.

    For example, the ministry is helping to fund 207 affordable housing units for seniors who require additional community supports when after being discharged.

    Anthony Dale, president of the Ontario Hospital Association, welcomed the announcement.

    “Today’s announcement of a surge strategy will help address the unusual capacity challenge that hospitals and the wider health-care system is facing, in the short term,” he said, adding that it will allow for greater flexibility in dealing with what is expected to be a tough flu season.

    Because Australia has had a worse-than-normal flu season, it is expected that North America will also.

    “This winter, ongoing, extremely close collaboration and hospitals, government and the home and community sectors is essential – perhaps more than ever,” Dale continued, echoing Hoskins’s call for Ontarians to get a flu shot.

    This past year has been a particularly tough one for hospitals. They were forced to open beds in“unconventional spaces” such as meeting rooms to handle the large volume.

    Many of the province’s 143 hospitals were well over 100 per cent full last winter, and for some, the demand has not subsided.

    “While it is normal to see an increase in patient volumes in winter months, it is uncommon, if not unheard of, during the summer,” Dale said.

    Hoskins’s announcement comes just days after the release of Health Quality Ontario’s annual report, Measuring Up 2017, which highlighted “hospital capacity” as a significant problem in the province.

    The organization, which monitors the performance of Ontario’s health system, noted that patients spent on average 90 minutes longer in the ER this past year before being admitted to inpatient beds.

    It also warned that wait times are increasing for hip-and-knee replacement surgery.

    In question period on Monday, New Democrat MPP Gilles Bisson (Timmins—James Bay) said the government has underfunded hospitals for too long. He accused the government of taking steps now only because there is a crisis and because an election is coming next year.

    The Ontario Health Coalition said the government’s plan is only a “temporary band-aid” solution.

    “Ontario needs a long-term plan to rebuild capacity in our public hospitals to meet population need,” said coalition executive director Natalie Mehra.

    Ontario has been cutting hospital beds for decades to the point that it has the fewest beds in Canada per 1,000 population, and among the fewest in the developed world, she said.

    The coalition charges that the province is shrinking the publicly funded hospital sector while expanding health-care privatization.

    With files by Robert Benzie

    Hospitals getting more beds, more fundingHospitals getting more beds, more funding

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    OTTAWA—Opposition critics are hammering Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s decision to retain shares in Morneau Shepell, the big pension firm he used to run, saying he faced a “minefield” of potential conflicts.

    Those may have included the Liberal government’s decision to financially back Bombardier last winter to the tune of $372.5 million in interest-free loans for its CSeries and Global 7000 aircraft programs.

    Morneau Shepell, which bills itself as Canada’s largest administrator of retirement and benefits plans, administers “some” group insurance and pension benefits for Bombardier, a knowledgeable source who declined to speak on the record told the Star. The contract has been in place for over a decade and there has been no substantial change since the 2015 election, the source said.

    Read more:

    Morneau gets chippy as the light is shone on his finances

    Bill Morneau does the right thing two years too late: Tim Harper

    Two years in, Trudeau’s rookie ministers have accounted for much of the government’s grief: Hébert

    Neither Morneau Shepell nor Bombardier would discuss their contract, but Morneau Shepell’s copyright stamp is on the website portal for Bombardier employees to access information about their benefits.

    However, it is unclear whether Morneau participated in any of the government discussions around Ottawa’s repayable contribution for Bombardier or whether a so-called conflict-of-interest “screen” set up at the urging of the federal ethics commissioner Mary Dawson prevented Morneau from participating in those decisions.

    Dawson advised Morneau his chief of staff should act as his “screen” and advise when the minister cannot participate in discussions due to potential conflicts.

    Morneau’s office declined to answer directly whether Morneau participated in Bombardier discussions, and will only say the conflict-of-interest “screens” Dawson recommended “are in place and have been applied several times over the course of the last two years.”

    Dan Lauzon, communications director for Morneau, said “the screen protects against conflicts arising from dealings specifically with or related to Morneau Shepell, and each instance is reported directly to the Ethics commissioner.”

    Morneau said last Thursday he remembered “at least two times” being taken out of meetings, and was unaware of any requirement to report the recusals. There are no formal reports of “recusals” by Morneau published on Dawson’s website but the commissioner said Friday she only publishes instances when the screen fails to work in advance, and a minister has to step out of — or recuse from — a meeting or discussion.

    Morneau Shepell has worked with a range of clients in the public and private sectors. A news release from 2012 says the company had recently inked contracts to perform disability management services for Canada Post, provide pension administration technology to the Alberta government, and deliver pension administration services for small and mid-size clients through TD Bank.

    The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which has been critical of the Trudeau government’s proposed tax changes for private corporations, offers its 109,000 members access to voluntary retirement savings plans designed by Morneau Shepell. CFIB spokesperson Andy Radia said the organization also has a workplace safety program with Morneau Shepell with “several thousand” participants in Quebec.

    The Toronto Sun reported Friday Morneau Shepell similarly administers insurance and benefits for Bank of Canada employees — an institution Morneau indirectly has influence over because he appoints people to its board. However, in that case the bank had signed off last February on a four-year extension of the contract with Morneau Shepell.

    Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre said in an interview it is “extremely troubling” Morneau continues to hold shares “in a company with some vast tentacles in the Canadian economy.”

    “He is the most powerful financial decision maker in the government. He controls $300 billion of expenditures. He is the shareholder of the Bank of Canada, sells bonds to banks and other financial institutions and is one of the people in the government who approves massive subsidies to businesses like Bombardier, for example. These vast powers mean he should have no vested interest in any individual publicly traded company.”

    NDP ethics critic Nathan Cullen said in an interview Morneau ought to have recused himself from any dealings or conversations about government support for Bombardier.

    “If Bombardier is getting a forgivable loan, it’s going to help Bombardier out; if Morneau Shepell’s working for Bombardier, then it’s helping Morneau Shepell out.”

    Cullen said even if it is unknown whether Morneau participated in any conversations about Bombardier, it shows the finance minister’s poor judgment at the outset to keep his interests in a company “that has dealings right across the government of Canada.”

    Cullen said it amounted to Morneau “making the decision that he was going to be dodging a conflict-of-interest minefield every day.”

    The NDP has also put forward a motion in the House of Commons calling on Morneau to apologize for misleading Canadians about how his private assets were handled.

    With a file from Jenna Moon

    Morneau Shepell ties to Bombardier flag ‘minefield’ for finance minister: Opposition criticsMorneau Shepell ties to Bombardier flag ‘minefield’ for finance minister: Opposition critics

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    The U.S. may have the “worst president” it’s ever had, but feminist icon Gloria Steinem says she has seen progress in her fight for equality.

    It was clear, though, throughout Steinem’s speech to an almost full house at the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall that the work of challenging hierarchy is far from over.

    Slavery may have been abolished in the U.S., she said, but the racism that fuelled it hasn’t been addressed. “We have not done what seems to have been done in Germany, which is that every classroom, including very young kids, learn about the Holocaust and what that meant. They learn about the past. We don’t, not really.”

    Now in her 80s, Steinem has spent decades advocating for women’s rights and issues of equality around the world.

    Earlier in the day, she shared her experience with more than 600 students in Grades 7 to 12 at Toronto’s Branksome Hall, an all-girls private school, as part of its annual Rachel Phillips Belash speaker series, which features renowned women. Last year, Arianna Huffington addressed the students.

    This was the first year the school organized a complementary evening event open to the public.

    Throughout the evening, Steinem answered questions from both the audience and moderator Amanda Lang, a business journalist with Business News Network, entertaining and no doubt inspiring a rapt audience with her insights and dry sense of humour.

    Asked at one point what she thinks about the notion that women can have it all, Steinem said, “You can’t have it all if you have to do it all.”

    The structure of work is still set up for households with a sole male earner with someone at home cooking the meals, she said. “It’s not human nature to live in the hierarchical way we do,” she said.

    One solution is to give economic value to work in the home through tax deductions or refunds.

    For Grade 11 student Charley LaFayette, Steinem’s morning speech at Branksome Hall was “inspiring.”

    “I was mesmerized, it was phenomenal to see her speak. We were all so inspired,” she said. “It makes you feel like you need to do more.”

    The students were able to ask Steinem questions and LaFayette, who is a co-leader of the school’s gender studies club, asked about the effect U.S. President Donald Trump has had on women’s rights.

    Steinem, LaFayette said, told them that seeing someone who’s so against women’s rights has ignited a fire in both men and women and pushed them to start advocating for their rights.

    In that way, the movement has been strengthened, despite some concerning new bills, LaFayette said, recounting Steinem’s response to her question.

    “I really liked that answer,” she said, commenting on the optimistic way Steinem approaches her advocacy.

    “She’s very tenacious in the way that she fights for rights and the way that she advocates for women, but it’s also a very positive,” LaFayette said.

    Gloria Steinem on fighting Trump, and women ‘having it all’Gloria Steinem on fighting Trump, and women ‘having it all’

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    After 26 years, Roger Fowler finally has hope.

    The retired General Electric worker, who believes his cancer was caused by the two decades he spent working among toxic chemicals in the company’s Peterborough plant, received a call late last week saying his WSIB claim is being reviewed.

    But the roller-coaster ride he’s been on since the 1990s — having his claim turned down, being rejected again on appeal, then informed he would get a review, only to be told no because of the previous rejection — means the 71-year-old is still wary.

    Read more:

    Ailing GE Peterborough workers still waiting for justice, group says

    GE Peterborough plant was a symbol of opportunity. But did it make workers sick?

    WSIB to review more than 250 General Electric plant claims in Peterborough

    “After what I’ve been through, you can’t trust anybody until you see it in writing, or somebody calls me and says, ‘You are in,’ ” Fowler said in a telephone interview. “I’m worried in a hopeful way. I’m really nervous.”

    Fowler, a colorectal cancer survivor who worked at the plant for 22 years, is among hundreds of former employees between 1945 and 2000 who say their cancer or serious illness was a result of exposure to thousands of chemicals at the site.

    Their claims for compensation were earlier dismissed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. But in recent months, new research has found they were exposed to the toxic substances at unsafe levels — and about 40 of those chemicals have been linked to cancer — so the board decided to reconsider some 250 cases that had previously been denied.

    The WSIB has since looked at 16 of those cases, and so far 10 of them have been overturned, with six denials upheld. The rest of the 250 claimants have been told to expect letters in the mail this week as the reviews get underway.

    “It’s taken a while to get to this point, but I think we’re doing it the right way because we are now going to see an orderly progression,” Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said.

    In the past, he added, “there were no claims being dealt with … when you look at how far this dates back, now that the WSIB is starting to move through the process in an orderly way … if they can keep this pace” all should be dealt with by the end of the year or early spring.

    Last week, Fowler was part of a group who came to Queen’s Park to say the Ministry of Labour was dragging its feet and failing to make good on promises, such as $2 million in funding for a specialized team based in Peterborough to help workers with their WSIB claims.

    In 2016, the Star chronicled the “lethal legacy” of the Peterborough plant and, earlier this year, a study by the Unifor union found an “epidemic” of workplace illnesses for those who worked at the plant up until 2000, when it was decontaminated.

    The GE Peterborough plant was the area’s largest employer, and made diesel locomotive engines, nuclear reactor fuel cells and hydro generators, as well as appliances and other items. Over its 125-year history, the plant has employed tens of thousands of workers, and GE has said health and safety has always been the company’s “No. 1 priority.”

    The WSIB says that since 1993, about 80 per cent of some 2,400 GE claims were allowed, though critics have said the number of approved cancer claims is just one-quarter. Given the new findings, the WSIB is now looking at more than 250 rejected claims and urging workers who haven’t yet put in a claim to come forward.

    The WSIB says it has received more than 60 calls in the past month, and 30 new claims are now being processed.

    “New scientific research and information from the community is helping to shed new light on the substances people were exposed to,” said Aaron Lazarus of the WSIB. “We are working to thoroughly review each claim as quickly as possible so that people have answers and the benefits they may be entitled to.”

    The additional cases that have come forward may be reviewed under a different, expedited process, Flynn has said, and advocates have been urging automatic approval.

    Last Thursday during question period, New Democrat MPP Cindy Forster (Welland) asked why the workers and their families haven’t yet received compensation. She noted that while the WSIB has been rejecting claims, it has continued to give businesses a cut in premiums.

    What the workers have gone through is tragic, added NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “A lot of their colleagues have passed away over the years with terrible cancers and illnesses — it’s just horrifying.”

    She said the government needs to act much faster.

    “What they shouldn’t do is keep stringing them along,” she added. “What they shouldn’t do is give them false hope and make false promises and I think that’s why they are so frustrated — they really did believe that the government was going to step up to the plate and get the WSIB to proactively get these claims resolved and start ensuring that those who are left are able to get the compensation they deserve from the toxic exposures in the workplace.”

    GE Peterborough workers’ cancer cases get second lookGE Peterborough workers’ cancer cases get second look

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    “Dad, here’s Dellen.”

    From that winter day, maybe seven or eight years ago when his daughter introduced him to her date, standing in the doorway of their home, Clayton Babcock had never spoken to the young man again.

    Until Monday morning, in a downtown courtroom, with Babcock in the witness stand, recalling a daughter he last saw alive in June, 2012. No one has seen or heard from Laura Babcock in the past five years.

    The thin fellow asking the questions — lank brown hair, jeans resting on his bony hips, bookish spectacles — is Dellen Millard, on trial for first-degree murder in Laura’s presumed death.

    Read more: Laura Babcock killed for being odd woman out in love triangle, court hears

    He is representing himself. Thus Millard could cross-examine Clayton Babcock, first witness called in a trial which is expected to last a couple of months. Just as if he were a real lawyer, afforded all the courtesies of the court and the witness compelled to answer, whatever thoughts may have been running through his mind, whatever he was feeling in his gut.

    “Are you nervous, sir?” Millard, who’s pleaded not guilty, asked, to begin the tense exchange.

    Yes, he was.

    Millard: “Do you find this difficult?”

    Babcock, tersely: “Getting better at it.”

    Millard: “This can’t be easy for you, being asked questions by me, considering I’m the accused. Does this make it extra difficult?”

    Babcock: “No.”

    But how could it not be? So much time has passed since Babcock’s last conversation with Laura, on the phone, June 30, 2012. Parents never stop grieving the loss of a child, though, made all the worse when there’s no body to lay to rest.

    She was 23 years old.

    And this man is accused of having done ghastly things to her.

    The prosecution maintains that Millard and co-accused Mark Smich killed Laura on July 3 or 4, 2012, mere days after she left her beloved Maltese dog, Lacey, and an envelope stuffed with about $1,000 at her parents’ home while they were attending a family function. While she was still nominally living at home, Laura had for months been “couch-surfing”, crashing with friends, unwilling to abide by her parents’ rules, but popping in and out.

    A few weeks later, according to the Crown’s narrative, the two defendants disposed of Laura’s body in an incinerator intended for animal carcasses, dubbed by its manufacturer “The Eliminator.”

    In her opening address to the jury Monday, Crown attorney Jill Cameron quoted from a July 23, 2012 text message Millard sent to Smich: “The BBQ is ready for meat.”

    Twenty days earlier, Millard had set a reminder in his iPhone calendar: “Barn smell check.”

    It is believed Laura Babcock was cremated inside a hangar at Millard’s rural property near Kitchener.

    The jury was shown photos of Smich standing in front of “The Eliminator” and of an object wrapped in a long blue tarp — taken on Millard’s phone July 4 — the inference that Laura’s 5-foot-10 body was contained within.

    During the opening, the jury also watched a short segment from a video (not yet introduced into evidence) which court was told was made in September of 2012, depicting Smich performing a rap song. But the lyrics, said Cameron, had been composed July 23 on an iPad which had recently been loaned to Laura by an ex-boyfriend.

    The lyrics:

    The bitch started off all skin and bone,

    Now the bitch lay on some ashy stone.

    Last time I saw her’s outside the home

    And if you go swimming you can’t find her phone.

    Smich — who at one point Monday asked for a break because he was feeling ill — has also pleaded not guilty. He has his own defence lawyer.

    Millard and Smich had been best friends.

    Not that motive is necessary but the prosecution has a theory for why Laura Babcock vanished: She was allegedly the odd-woman out in a three-way love triangle, had told his current girlfriend she was still sleeping with Millard — many years after they’d first briefly dated — and the other woman, Christina Noudga, was upset about it.

    “First I am going to hurt her. Then I’ll make her leave,” Millard texted Noudga in April, two months before Laura disappeared. “I will remove her from our lives.”

    He asked another friend to keep tabs on Laura. Then he sent a message to his mechanic. “Soon I’m gonna want you to put together a homemade incinerator.” By May 25, it was ready for a test run. From Smich to Millard, via text: “We gotta bring something with bones in it.”

    Turns out the jerry-rigged thing allegedly didn’t work to their satisfaction. So Millard instructed his mechanic to buy a commercial version, paying $15,000 for it.

    There were so many dreadful details coming fast and furious on Day 1 of the trial that the core of it — a murdered woman — was almost obscured.

    Clayton Babcock tried his best to put some flesh on the bones — bones which have never been found.

    Laura, he said, was a bubbly young woman who had graduated from the University of Toronto and had ambitions of becoming an actress. Theirs was a happy family, he insisted, playing games together, taking trips; Laura and her dad even watched Say Yes to the Dress together.”

    Until things began to fall apart in 2011. She began rebelling against what he considered modest restrictions and, simultaneously, indications of mental health issues arose. “We couldn’t figure it out. She seemed agitated, couldn’t sit still.”

    Laura saw several therapists. “Nobody could pinpoint what was wrong with her. But you could tell she was not herself.”

    His daughter started spending nights away, claiming she was at her sorority house or with girlfriends. “She would never be gone for any length of time without letting us know where she was.”

    Laura’s peripatetic habits by 2012 — and a claim to her parents in late June that she was likely going away on a trip — was why the family waited for about a week before reporting her missing to police, her father explained.

    What Clayton Babcock didn’t know — and court heard Monday — was that Laura had begun working for an escort agency after breaking up with a yearlong boyfriend over the Christmas holiday in 2011. She seems to have been partying hard and doing drugs, running with the wrong crowd.

    The disintegration — like her manic mood swings — happened rapidly.

    On cross-examination, Millard attempted to allege figment of a happy home, picking up on the witness’s evidence that the Babcocks had their locks changed during the period when Laura was coming and going.

    “It wasn’t done to keep Laura out,” countered Babcock, noting that his daughter knew where the spare key was kept.

    Millard pivoted. “You’ve met me before?”

    Babcock: “Yes. You seemed decent. You stood there not much dissimilar to now. And then you left.”

    Millard: “Did she ever tell you she worked as a prostitute?”

    No, she had not.

    Millard: “You said she had a bubbly personality?”

    Babcock, glaring: “Would you say she didn’t?”

    Justice Michael Code directed Babcock to just answer Millard’s questions. He also admonished Millard for repetitive questions.

    Millard: “Did you ever hit her, abuse her in any way?”

    Babcock: “No I didn’t. It just wasn’t in my nature. Hitting my daughter is repugnant.”

    Millard suggested that Babcock was there to “give us a happy perfect image of the family in your home.”

    The witness acknowledged there were stresses, especially as his daughter’s personality shifted and she cast about for a cause.

    “I was really happy with our family. It was a good family. I was blessed for 53 years. And then this happened. So, I’m not as happy now.”

    Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

    Dreadful details come fast and furious on Day 1 of trial into Laura Babcock’s murder: DiMannoDreadful details come fast and furious on Day 1 of trial into Laura Babcock’s murder: DiManno

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    OTTAWA—Caitlan Coleman, the 31-year-old American woman who gave birth to her three children while held hostage by the Haqqani network, says she is breaking her silence to dispute statements made about her family’s captivity and the day they were rescued.

    “Right now everybody’s shunting blame and making claims. Pakistan says, no they were never in Pakistan, until the end. The U.S. says, no they were always in Pakistan; it was Pakistan’s responsibility. But neither of those are true,” she told the Star.

    During her first interview Monday since being rescued 12 days ago, Coleman added crucial details about the kidnapping case that has captured international attention and led to widespread speculation.

    While she said she is not ready to speak publicly about all aspects of her captivity, she is certain they were held in both Afghanistan and Pakistan and claims made by Islamabad and Washington, that they were rescued Oct. 11 after crossing the border are false. “We were not crossing into Pakistan that day. We had been in Pakistan for more than a year at that point.”

    Read more:

    After a lifetime in captivity, the children of Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman begin to heal

    ‘We’re looking forward to a new lease on life,’ Joshua Boyle tells the Star after five-year kidnapping nightmare

    What we know about the rescue of Canadian Joshua Boyle, his wife and their three children in Pakistan

    Coleman was kidnapped with her husband, Joshua Boyle, a Canadian, in October 2012 in Afghanistan. They were held for five years by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network before their dramatic rescue by Pakistani forces. She was pregnant when she was taken captive.

    Until reaching out to the Star, Coleman has shunned publicity, with the exception of Saturday night emails to her hometown paper about her memories of growing up in Pennsylvania. “Good friends and great times are not forgotten, even now,” she wrote to the York Daily Record.

    Her 34-year-old husband, however, began speaking just hours after landing in Toronto, telling journalists at the airport that his wife had been raped and one of his daughters murdered.

    His statement confirmed what the couple had darkly alluded to in letters and “proof-of-life” videos the captors released. Coleman said she had been “defiled” in front of her children and Boyle wrote vaguely of a terminated pregnancy.

    Coleman said Monday that the forced abortion was in retaliation for Boyle’s refusal of Haqqani network efforts to recruit him. “They were very angry because Joshua had been asked to join them, to work for them, and he said no,” she said. “They killed her by dosing the food. They put massive doses of estrogen in the food.”

    High levels of estrogen in a pregnancy can force a miscarriage and Coleman says once she lost her baby, whom the couple named “Martyr,” the kidnappers boasted about what they had done.

    The Taliban last week issued a statement refuting the claim, saying she miscarried naturally.

    Coleman said they kept her other two pregnancies secret, and Boyle delivered both her youngest son and daughter by flashlight as she quietly laboured in pain.

    Coleman spoke to the Star Monday alone on the grounds of Ottawa’s Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, as her husband cared for their sons, who are 4 and 2.

    All three of her children, including her months-old daughter, who slept in her lap for part of the interview, have been undergoing tests at the hospital and still adapting to a life free from captivity, which includes trips to a playground on the property. Coleman was also receiving medical attention but said she had been recovering.

    She said she’s aware of criticism on social media and elsewhere calling both her and Boyle reckless for travelling in Afghanistan while she was pregnant and then getting pregnant three more times while captive.

    “It was a decision we made. We did think about it and talk about it and it’s difficult to explain all the reasons, but, for me, a large part was the fact that it has always been important to me to have a large family,” she said. “This took our life away from us — this captivity with no end in sight. And so I felt that it was our best choice at that time. We didn’t know if we would have that opportunity when we came back. We didn’t know how long it would be. It was already unprecedented, so we couldn’t say, ‘Oh we’ll only be here a year or six months.’ ”

    During the interview, she at times laughed at the ridiculousness of a memory — at other times she grew quiet or simply said, “No comment.” She has continued to wear a hijab since returning to Canada but declined Monday to speak about whether she has converted to Islam.

    The couple’s willingness to talk so early after their harrowing ordeal is part of what makes this story unique, along with the fact that Boyle was once married to Zaynab Khadr, the sister of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr. Canadian Colin Rutherford, who was released in January 2016 after five years in captivity, has still not spoken publicly about his captivity. Amanda Lindhout, who spent 460 days held hostage in Somalia before her release in 2009, would eventually write a bestselling book and give talks about her survival. But she was hospitalized and underwent intense therapy — which she continues today — for many years before speaking openly.

    But Coleman said she hoped by speaking out she could help temper the politicking that is shaping the narrative of their kidnapping and rescue.

    Pakistan’s army issued a statement hours after the young family was freed and safe in Islamabad that claimed they were alerted by U.S. agencies that the kidnappers were crossing from Afghanistan, at the Kurram Agency border, into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in northwestern Pakistan.

    The next day, U.S. President Donald Trump hailed the rescue as “a positive moment for our country’s relationship with Pakistan.”

    “The Pakistani government’s co-operation is a sign that it is honouring America’s wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region,” he said in a statement.

    For some, the rescue was hailed as deft diplomacy and a direct line drawn from Trump’s hardline stance with Pakistan this summer, when he threatened that Islamabad had “much to lose” if it failed to co-operate on security issues in neighbouring Afghanistan.

    Coleman said they were moved quickly from Afghanistan to Pakistan after being kidnapped and the first six or seven months were among the most difficult.

    “They first took us out of Afghanistan; it was several days’ drive. They took us to Miran Shah, in Pakistan, where we were kept for more than a year,” she said, adding that Boyle understood some Farsi, which helped them understand at times where they were. “It was very bad. My husband and I were separated at that time. He wasn’t allowed to see Najaeshi or spend any time with us.”

    They named their oldest son Najaeshi Jonah.

    “Then we were moved to the north of Miran Shah, to the house of a man who said he was called Mahmoud. He was very nice to Najaeshi and would provide us with amenities we wouldn’t have otherwise,” she said. “He would take Najaeshi out to get him sunlight and nobody else did that at any other point.”

    In 2014 and 2015, the family was moved often. It was during this time, Coleman says, she had the forced abortion and was raped. “We had a pen they didn’t know about and we were taking little scraps of paper and trying to hand out notes to anyone and everyone that wasn’t one of the guards or commanders involved in killing Martyr,” she said. “But then they took us, separated us, and beat us and that was when the assault on me happened because they wanted us to stop.”

    From there, she says, they were moved to Spin Ghar, just over the border in Afghanistan, southeast of Kabul. They were often drugged for the transport and put in the trunk of a vehicle.

    “They were always saying you’ll go free in one week or two weeks and this was one of the times they said, ‘We’re going to this new place and one day, two day, maybe a week, you go free, you’re released.’ ”

    They gave the houses nicknames, so the Spin Ghar home became “House of One Day.” They were there for months.

    “Then they built a custom-built house for us. It was still close, in Spin Ghar. It was not good, not bad. It had problems, but no big problems … After that, we just stayed in a house for a short time, a day or two, because they were clearly running from something. One of them we called Dar el Fake Osama because one of their small commanders came but he was yelling that he was Osama bin Laden and we had to do everything he said,” Coleman said, shaking her head. “It was so bizarre.”

    In a place they called the Cat Hotel, as they believed it was a hotel, they could see the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was there that Coleman says the kidnappers acquired a “jingle truck,” one of the brightly painted trucks adorned with bells that are ubiquitous on Pakistan’s roads. They were taken back into Pakistan in an area between Kohat and Bannu, she said.

    They spent their final months there in what they called “Dar el Musa” (House of Musa). “Outside every day they were doing some training, or something was going on, and some guy was shouting and we laughed because whoever Musa was, he was not doing a good job,” she said. “He was always yelling, ‘No, no, no, Musa Musa.’ ”

    She said they were held mainly in that house from about November 2016 until just two days before the rescue, when they were transferred to “the Mud House,” where the windows were covered with wet, packed dirt.

    On Oct. 11, Coleman said, she was put in the trunk of the kidnappers’ car, after which some sort of car chase and gun battle broke out before they were freed.

    “Our first fear — why we were not poking our heads up and yelling for help — was our fear that it was another gang trying to kidnap us. Possibly just part of the Haqqani network fighting with another part. They’re all just bandits,” she said.

    “You’re a prisoner for so long, you’re so suspicious, I was still thinking we don’t know these people, we don’t know where they’re taking us.”

    When she finally realized they were Pakistani forces and she was free, she doesn’t remember breaking down, or exactly how she reacted.

    “I think I was mostly just in shock.”

    In first sit-down interview, Caitlan Coleman tells of forced abortion, disputes official account of her rescue in PakistanIn first sit-down interview, Caitlan Coleman tells of forced abortion, disputes official account of her rescue in Pakistan

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    Drew Doughty will probably not be a Toronto Maple Leaf during the tail end of his considerable prime, which may be a shame. Doughty jumbled up some words in a summer radio interview and said all Southern Ontario boys secretly want to play for the Leafs, and this got people excited because he is a free agent in 2019 and he is the sort of prime-time No. 1 defenceman a contending Leafs team could use.

    I mean, ask Drew Doughty.

    “To be honest, I never ever watch them play, but I see the highlights and whatnot, and you see that they’re in games where it’s 6-4 or 6-3, so they’re giving up over three goals a game, it seems like to me,” said the 27-year-old Doughty before his Los Angeles Kings lost 3-2 to the Leafs Monday night. “I don’t know if that’s the truth.”

    Read more:

    Leafs, Andersen hand Kings first regulation loss

    Roman Polak, Brooks Laich are comeback codgers

    There's no panic with Leafs over Mitch Marner's slow start

    Well, before Frederik Andersen made 36 saves and the Leafs held off a comeback, he was right. Doughty’s sense of the Leafs might have been as hazy as L.A. on a summer day, but they were at 3.50 goals against before Monday night. The Kings came in as the old champs resurrected, having allowed the fewest goals in the NHL while scoring lots. The Leafs came in as the prodigies, leading the league in goals, but trying to find a 200-foot game.

    They found something like it, in the end, after all the weird stuff. There was Toronto’s first goal, which came from Roman Polak — raised from the broken-legged dead, in his first game back — and Matt Martin, who later wiped out his best chance at a Gordie Howe hat trick by sliding into Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. There was the farce of Quick getting cuffed in the head and skating to and from the bench, never undergoing a concussion protocol, towards the end of the first period. He missed one shift.

    There were video reviews and a Mitch Marner rodeo goal that was disallowed and some good goaltending for the Leafs, for once. And when it was all sorted, after everything, the Leafs had a 3-2 victory, and it was earned. It was L.A.’s first loss in regulation in eight games.

    “I think we were good at keeping them to the outside,” Andersen said. “I thought we got better and better as the game went on.”

    “As the game went on, we got better,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said.

    “It feels good to beat a good team,” defenceman Morgan Rielly added.

    The Kings qualify. After coach Darryl Sutter’s honest but glum steamrolling system finally wore out, new coach John Stevens is giving the Kings a little more room to run, and they love it. Centre Anze Kopitar said the winning was the most fun part, but more offensive freedom got the juices flowing. Doughty said “this is the most fun I’ve had playing hockey since we won the Stanley Cup three, four years ago. We’re just having the time of our lives right now, but that all stops when we start losing.”

    They are big and fast and structurally rigorous, and they attack the other way with speed, and the Leafs were taken aback early. But they figured it out. Even Marner was loose and happy-looking for the first time in a while. As he said, “I just calmed down. I realized I was just throwing away the puck, and . . . I need to be more confident with the puck.”

    “No one needs Mitch to be a star more than me,” Babcock said. “But also, you’ve got to earn your right to be a star. You’ve got to be what you’re capable of. He knows we’re all pulling for him too, and he wants to be great.”

    While the Kings cut Toronto’s lead to 3-2 with just under eight minutes left, they didn’t crumple, and Andersen held fast. He needed that, too. As much as anything, this was what these Leafs look like with goaltending. Andersen came in with an .892 save percentage.

    When he’s good, this is a different team. When Marner plays with electricity, this is a different team. Hell, when Martin isn’t a liability, this is a different team. And more than anything, when they get just enough defensive discipline, enough cohesion, and enough goaltending, this is a different team. The two years the Kings won the Cup, they finished 29th and 26th in scoring. The Leafs were fifth last year and are first this season, by a lot. The Leafs won’t ever be L.A., old or new, but with some tightening and goaltending, they could be a Pittsburgh. Again, the Penguins allowed five more goals than Toronto last season, but led the league in scoring.

    However Toronto tries to do it, they probably won’t do it with Doughty. The team has searched for a No. 1 defenceman, but Doughty laid it all out: The Kings were his childhood team once they got Gretzky, he loves L.A., he loves his teammates, the staff, the organization. He said he wants to play in L.A. his whole career.

    “I think you just get to a comfort level and you’re just used to being in that city and everything about it,” said Doughty, on why hockey players tend not to leave. “That’s why we don’t want to leave. And we want to show that loyalty.”

    Of course, he also added, “but you never know what could happen.”

    He was asked if he was surprised former Shark Patrick Marleau, his old rival, left San Jose, and he said, “Maybe he saw a bright future in this team, kind of like everyone else around the league is seeing. And he wants to win a Cup. That’s probably why he left.”

    Yeah. Drew Doughty probably won’t ever play for Toronto. In that way, he’d be the same as Gretzky, as Stamkos, as all the other Ontario boys who never came home to the Leafs. The difference this time is you can imagine a world where they don’t need him to.

    Kings, Leafs coming from different ends to same goal: ArthurKings, Leafs coming from different ends to same goal: Arthur

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    Ontario will spend $21 million over three years on student transportation and other education support to boost outcomes for children and youth in foster care and group homes.

    The money will help school boards pay for busing so kids in the care won’t have to switch schools when they move. It will also help children’s aid societies hire educational liaison staff to develop education plans and co-ordinate school and community supports to ensure these vulnerable children and youth reach their full potential.

    “This funding will bring stability to students at a critical time that will enable them to focus on their education,” Education Minister Mitzie Hunter said in a statement Monday.

    “Students will also be able to maintain important relationships in school with friends, staff and educators, from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and beyond,” she said.

    Read more:

    Ontario’s most vulnerable children kept in the shadows

    School fundraising report says amounts raised far outpace government grants for needy areas

    Annie Kidder and People for Education have made a mark on Ontario schools, but have they become part of the system?

    The initiative, announced in Hamilton by Hunter and Children and Youth Services Minister Michael Coteau, comes three years after an ongoing Star investigation showed more than half of the province’s Crown wards had three or more unplanned school moves.

    Child welfare experts have pointed to such moves as among the factors behind the troubling high-school dropout rate for youth in care which has been stuck at over 50 per cent for more than a decade. Meanwhile, fewer than 14 per cent of Ontario high school students fail to graduate after five years, a figure that has dropped from 32 per cent since 2004.

    Former Crown ward Jane Kovarikova, 33, welcomed the change, as long as children have the choice.

    “I think it would help a lot of children who are socially integrated into their schools,” said Kovarikova, who attended four elementary schools and another five high schools, due to numerous moves in the foster care system.

    Although she isn’t sure the policy would have made her childhood any easier, Kovarikova said her younger brother “would have loved to have had the option to stay in his school.”

    “Now what I wish I would see with this policy is a plan to evaluate if it actually does shift high school graduation rates up,” added Kovarikova, who has formed an advocacy group to push for evidence-based policy in child protection.

    The office of Ontario’s Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth said young people in care have been demanding this change for decades.

    “School can be a place of refuge for children and youth in care,” said Trevor McAlmont, director of advocacy services for the office. Changing schools not only disrupts their education, but causes them to lose important social supports, friends, teachers and community, he added.

    Provincial funding for school liaison is a signal to all children and youth in care, no matter where they are in their schooling, that we expect them, and will support them, to achieve their full potential, he added.

    A provincial commission in 2012 noted schools are under no obligation to enrol a child or youth in care mid-way through the term, and found students were sometimes out of class for weeks when they were forced to switch schools.

    A Brantford youth interviewed by the Star in 2014 said she wasn’t allowed to start a new school until she signed a paper “promising to be a good kid.”

    Missing school is another barrier. Annual, government-mandated “Looking After Children” surveys known as OnLAC reveal a significant number of absentee days are due to CAS-related work: 15 per cent for meetings with child-care workers, 6 per cent for access visits from biological parents and 4 per cent due to completing the OnLAC survey. Appointments with mental-health workers were responsible for another 15 per cent of days off school.

    New school liaison staff should reduce such school absences, a ministry spokesman said.

    The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS), which represents Ontario’s 38 societies, said Monday’s announcement addresses many long-standing concerns raised by the sector.

    “We hope that it will specifically address the disruptions children in care experience in their day-to-day school lives that are the result of simply being in care,” said Wendy Miller, senior manager of government and stakeholder relations, at OACAS.

    The government is working with Indigenous partners to provide culturally appropriate services to Indigenous children and youth in care that support their educational success.

    There are 38 children’s aid societies and 10 Indigenous societies in Ontario. In 2016-17, there was an average of almost 14,000 children and youth in care.

    Ontario pledges $21 million to support students in foster care, group homesOntario pledges $21 million to support students in foster care, group homes

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    Here’s a little story:

    A kicks and punches B.

    B fight backs but is silenced through fair means and foul.

    B’s friend C roars in defence of B.

    That’s rude, cries A. Punish C.

    Think that’s fair?

    Who holds A accountable?

    I’d wager that kids in Grade 3 would have a pretty clear idea of where they would stand on this. But Dalhousie University in Halifax wrestled with it and found C’s words merited disciplinary review.

    Masuma Khan, the vice-president of the student council executive at Dalhousie, the activist who had led thousands in the streets to protest against high tuition fees, and who identifies more with Malcolm X than Martin Luther King, will face a disciplinary committee come November or December.

    The review comes over a now-deleted Facebook post in which she defended her motion to the students’ union to not celebrate Canada 150. She said she would not stand with “privileged white people,” or be proud of a country that is responsible for “over 400 years of genocide” and “the stealing of land.” For good measure she added the hashtags #unlearn150, #whitefragilitycankissmyass and #yourwhitetearsarentsacredthislandis.

    Unlearn 150. White fragility can kiss my ass. Your white tears aren’t sacred. This land is.

    Fierce words. Fighting words. Challenging words.

    Words worth censoring?

    A university investigation concluded that there was enough evidence for a committee to review Khan related to “unwelcome or persistent conduct that … would cause another person to feel demeaned, intimidated or harassed.”

    On Monday, statements of support poured in for Khan.

    “While our constitutional order offers protection to many kinds of speech, none is more valued and protected than political speech,” a group of 25 law professors from Dalhousie’s own Schulich School of Law wrote in a letter to the university’s senate.

    “Expression which challenges majoritarian views, traditions, and practices that have caused harms to marginalized and oppressed minorities lies at the very core of Canada’s constitutional commitment to the protection of political speech,” they wrote.

    “We write this letter to ask that Dalhousie University repeal its policies that use student discipline to suppress the freedom of expression of its students,” the Ontario Civil Liberties Association wrote in another letter to Dalhousie.

    “The irony in this situation – where a university that proclaims to value academic freedom and free speech penalizes a student for openly challenging oppressive power structures – would be laughable were it not deeply worrisome,” said the political organization Solidarity Halifax.

    If free speech is so vaunted in Canadian social and legal consciousness, why did Khan’s words cause anger in the first place? To my mind, it’s because Khan mentioned “white” in a not-complimentary way. And because her response didn’t cater to how white people felt about this.

    If you don’t know what “white fragility” means, the reaction to Khan’s statement is the definition of it. One of the triggers of fragility is when people of colour choose not to protect the racial feelings of white people when talking about race.

    The term “white fragility,” was coined by Robin DiAngelo, who taught multicultural education at Westfield State University in Massachusetts.

    White people move through a racialized world with an unracialized identity, she says. For example, white people see themselves as representing all of humanity, while they see people of colour as representing only their racial selves. This is why suggesting that a white person’s viewpoint comes from a racialized identity is seen as a challenge to their objectivity. These challenges are highly stressful and even intolerable, DiAngelo says. “White fragility,” then, is white pushback to regain racial position and equilibrium.

    How did this fragility unfold in the Dalhousie case?

    Khan’s initial motion last summer for students to not celebrate Canada Day was more a symbol of solidarity than an actual boycott given that it fell over the holidays. But it upset the good members of Nova Scotia Young Progressive Conservatives.

    “The Dalhousie Student Union should be helping instill pride in our country, not boycott it on our most significant national holiday,” the group said in a Facebook post. From an Indigenous perspective, Canada 150 celebrations are part of an ongoing colonial legacy, but perhaps this isn’t visible to those who have not learned history from multiple lenses.

    Khan responded, not with “love and courage,” but with rage. “At this point, f*** you all,” she said in her Facebook post before she unleashed her hashtags. “I stand by the motion I put forward.”

    A white graduate history student named Michael Smith complained to the university that “targeting ‘white people’ who celebrate Canada Day is blatant discrimination.”

    Arig al Shaibah, the vice-provost for student affairs, investigated and found that Khan’s “choice of language” was concerning but that she did not target a specific group. Challenging “white fragility” is not the issue, she said in a statement Monday.

    Does that mean using the f-word was the problem? And if it wasn’t Khan’s words, was it her tone? Is anyone policing the tone and content of the abuse being hurled at Khan?

    “People might say it wasn’t an appropriate response. You have to understand I deal with Islamophobia on the daily,” she told the Canadian Press. “I’m the one that gets called a terrorist when I walk down the street.”

    Khan was told she could attend training sessions on coalition-building and write a reflective essay on her learnings. She refused, and will now face a disciplinary hearing.

    “Suggesting I should take some training about how to talk about racism, that’s incredibly invalidating,” she said.

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

    Why did Masuma Khan’s post invite censure from Dalhousie if free speech is so vaunted?: ParadkarWhy did Masuma Khan’s post invite censure from Dalhousie if free speech is so vaunted?: Paradkar

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    Condo investors have backed away from the Toronto area in the wake of Ontario's new foreign buyers tax, but that hasn't halted construction of new homes in the region.

    Investor inquiries on the BuzzBuzzHome site dropped 52 per cent year over year in September and 42 per cent in the latest quarter compared to the same period in 2016, said a third-quarter report from the online development hub.

    But those inquiries had surged prior to the government's housing announcement in April, said BuzzBuzzHome.

    It reported there were about 168,000 new construction homes being planned or sold in the Toronto region in the third quarter — most in the condo sector — with only 36,295 single-family homes (detached, semi-detached and townhouses) available or in the pipeline.

    But, the report says, "rumours of the Great Toronto Housing Crash have been greatly exaggerated."

    "The GTA new construction market may need to undergo a slight price correction to accommodate the jitters caused by the (Ontario) Fair Housing plan," said the report.

    But research analyst Suleman Dawood said the company doesn't "see the calamitous crash happening that a lot of people foresaw."

    Despite a slowdown in sales and de-acceleration of prices following the government measures, the underlying housing market fundamentals remain strong with re-sale prices up 6 per cent in September, said Dawood.

    That was supported by 2 per cent population growth in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) that month and low Toronto (CMA) unemployment at 6.5 per cent in August.

    Dawood said he expects a brisk fall market in single-family homes as buyers try to avoid the new mortgage stress tests that take effect in January that will make it harder to qualify for a loan.

    The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announced last week that even applicants with a down payment of 20 per cent will have to qualify at a rate 2 per cent higher than the central bank's posted interest rate.

    But Dawood says single-family home buyers will likely back away from the market again in the New Year thanks to those tougher lending rules.

    "People will no longer be able to afford the bulk of the single-family inventory on the market," he said.

    He expects the high-rise market to be less affected.

    "Other than the luxury condominium market, most high-rise properties are still generally within reasonable affordability realm," said Dawood.

    BuzzBuzzHome shows that Peel Region had the most new construction single family homes on the market in the third quarter — 1,736 — compared to only 175 in the City of Toronto.

    The city continues, however, to dominate the condo market with 7,459 for sale in the third quarter and another 100,937 in the proposal stage.

    "Builder activity in Toronto is always going to be strong," he said. "(There is) lots of tech investment. There is always going to be lots of people interested in investing."

    New home sales in GTA slower but no crash in sight: ReportNew home sales in GTA slower but no crash in sight: Report

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    Under pressure from an activist investor to drive shareholder value using its vast real estate holdings, Hudson’s Bay Company announced Tuesday morning that it is selling its Lord & Taylor building on Fifth Avenue in New York City in a transaction valued more than $1 billion, according to the company.

    That is 30 per cent above the most recent appraised value, according to a press release from HBC.

    Read more: HBC under fire after CEO quits

    Hudson’s Bay under fire from investment firm after $201M loss in ‘very disappointing’ quarter

    The company also announced a $500 million (U.S.) equity investment in HBC by Rhône Capital and an agreement to lease space in retail stores to a company called WeWork, a global network of workspaces in buildings around the globe.

    The leasing arrangement with WeWork will begin with space in the Hudson’s Bay store on Queen Street in Toronto, the Hudson’s Bay store in downtown Vancouver and a Galeria Kaufhof in Frankfurt.

    According to a release from HBC, the transaction is expected to result in an aggregate of $1.6 billion of debt reduction and or incremental cash on the company’s balance sheet – and an increase in total liquidity of approximately $1.1 billion, according to a release from the company.

    On Monday, activist investor Land & Buildings threatened to call a shareholders meeting to possibly remove directors of the HBC board, following the announced departure Friday of chief executive officer Jerry Storch. Land & Buildings has been pressuring HBC to surface value in its real estate holdings.

    HBC to sell Fifth Avenue flagship Lord & Taylor store for more than $1 billionHBC to sell Fifth Avenue flagship Lord & Taylor store for more than $1 billion

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    OTTAWA—Blind dates are by definition risky, with so many looming questions, but a new TV show promises to raise the stakes even higher by hooking up opposing politicians who already disagree on a big public issue.

    Political Blind Date debuts Nov. 7 at 9 p.m. on TVO and . The six-episode first season features politicians from all levels of government who take each other on outings in an effort to bolster their perspective on a given issue.

    The first episode matches Conservative MP Garnett Genuis and Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, who travel to a weed dispensary and an industrial marijuana factory as they continuously bicker about the Trudeau government’s plan to legalize the drug.

    Other episodes include the likes of Toronto mayoral candidate Doug Ford, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Liberal MP Adam Vaughan, NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo and Toronto city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti.

    Aside from weed legalization, the show tackles meaty subjects like safe injection sites, transit, public housing and the prison system.

    The show is a co-production between Open Door Co. and Nomad Films. Executive producer and creator Tom Powers, of Open Door, said the inspiration for the show came from a series in British newspaper the Guardian, during that country’s 2015 election.

    Powers joined Mark Johnston and Amanda Handy from Nomad Films, and then signed on with the Toronto Star and TVO as partners for the series.

    “The challenge was to take that kernel of an idea and to build a television show around it,” Powers said.

    He added that the goal of the show is to knock politicians off their prepared scripts and to get them to grapple with issues in more honest ways. The producers also wanted to see if the “dates” could uncover common ground, and chip away at the impression, possibly gleaned from heated debates on Parliament Hill, that politicians of different partisan stripes don’t get along.

    “God forbid that they actually like each other,” Powers said with a laugh.

    “I don’t know whether it’s a naïve goal of ours, but it’s something that I think, when the show works at its best, that’s what happens.”

    Johnston, who directed the show, said he was particularly struck by how Singh and Ford connected. Their episode focuses on public transit, and includes a scene where Singh, an avid cyclist, attempts to get Ford, known for driving a super-sized SUV, to go on a bike ride through downtown streets.

    “I guess I would call it a wonderful surprise; the surprise I was hoping for,” Johnston said.

    Call it Tinder for policymakers: a new TV show sends Canadian politicians on blind ‘dates’ and sparks fly…over issuesCall it Tinder for policymakers: a new TV show sends Canadian politicians on blind ‘dates’ and sparks fly…over issues

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    SAN FRANCISCO—American aviation officials are investigating after an Air Canada flight from Montreal landed on a San Francisco runway after being told not to.

    Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says Air Canada flight 781 was inbound to San Francisco International Airport on Sunday night and was initially cleared for landing.

    Read more: Air Canada jet was within 100 feet of hitting 2 planes in San Francisco, report says

    ‘Close to the greatest aviation disaster in history:’ Air Canada pilot almost lands on busy taxiway

    But Gregor says air traffic control later instructed the Air Canada crew to abort the landing because the controller wasn’t sure whether a previous flight would have completely cleared the runway before the Air Canada jet reached it.

    He says the Air Canada crew did not acknowledge any of the controller’s instructions over the radio, so a supervisor then used a red light gun to alert the crew not to land.

    But again, the crew didn’t respond, and Gregor says the flight landed immediately.

    After landing, the Air Canada crew told the control tower that they had a radio problem.

    Gregor says that a radar replay showed the previous arrival was clear of the runway when the Air Canada flight landed.

    Representatives from Air Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    American officials investigating runway mix-up involving another Air Canada planeAmerican officials investigating runway mix-up involving another Air Canada plane

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    A 60-year-old Toronto man has been charged with manslaughter in the death of an 82-year-old woman in the Christie Pits area last week.

    Toronto police said, in a press release, that officers were called to the Shaw St. and Dupont St. area on Oct. 17 after a man reportedly assaulted the 82-year-old, as well as a 68-year-old woman.

    The 82-year-old woman was taken to hospital, police said. She died of her injuries on Friday.

    Police later identified her as Elsa Paolitto of Toronto.

    William Macciacchera is facing a single count of manslaughter.

    He appeared at the Old City Hall courthouse on Monday.

    Man, 60, charged after Christie Pits attackMan, 60, charged after Christie Pits attack

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    Ontario’s Early Years Centres are getting a rebranding — and 100 new locations.

    The province on Tuesday announced that it will be opening the new “EarlyON” sites over the next three years, and renaming existing sites, spending $140 million a year.

    Like the current Ontario Early Years parenting and literacy centres — which can be located in local schools — families will be able to access programs for young children and parenting supports.

    “Our new EarlyON centres will be innovative hubs for early years programs and services for families,” said Indira Naidoo-Harris, the minister responsible for early years and child care, in a written statement.

    “These family centres are part of our transformative plan to give all children the best possible start in life. They will be a vital resource for thousands of families and children in our communities.”

    Education Minister Mitzie Hunter called the centres a “one-stop shop, for parents and families, offering helpful information, programs and services — while supporting our vision for child care in Ontario and preparing our youngest learners for future success.”

    EarlyON Child and Family Centres will be the new name for early years centres, parenting and family literacy centres, child-care resource centres and “Better Beginnings, Better Futures,” all provincially funded initiatives.

    The early years centres, which target families with children from birth to age 6, were first opened 15 years ago. Programming is free of charge.

    Ontario’s Early Years Centres opening 100 new locations, will be rebranded Ontario’s Early Years Centres opening 100 new locations, will be rebrandedOntario’s Early Years Centres opening 100 new locations, will be rebranded Ontario’s Early Years Centres opening 100 new locations, will be rebranded

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