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Bike Share Toronto expanding by 70 stations

Posted on 12 August 2017 by admin

New bike share stations will be close to subway stations and streetcar stops, with funding from the city and Ottawa.

Toronto’s bike share system is getting a major expansion that will stretch the network from east Etobicoke to Scarborough’s western border.

Users of Bike Share Toronto and its distinctive black bicycles will get 70 new pick-up/drop-off stations this month, officials announced Wednesday.

The locations, chosen for their proximity to subway stations and streetcar stops, will bring the total number of stations to 270. They will stretch from Marine Parade Dr. on the waterfront, just west of the Humber River, across the city to Victoria Park Ave. north of Danforth Ave.

The City of Toronto and the federal government are each contributing $1.25 million toward 50 of the new stations, with the city kicking in an extra $1.5 million for the remainder.

It’s a remarkable comeback for a system that launched as Montreal export BIXI in 2011 but struggled financially with a small downtown network until it was rebranded as Bike Share Toronto under control of city-owned Toronto Parking Authority.

Last year the Ontario government contributed $4.9 million to double the network with 80 new stations and 800 new bikes.

Expansion seems to have paid off. The system recorded its highest-ever daily ridership — 6,490 — on June 21 and has grown to 9,500 active members. They took more than 1.1 million trips in the past year and have pedaled more than 16.8 million kilometres since the service first launched.

The system is meant to be an alternative to private bike use for short-haul trips and extensions to transit excursions. Riders use a credit card to unlock the bike and can return it to any station. People who buy $90 annual memberships can use a bike for up to 30 minutes without additional charges.

The system also eliminates cyclists’ worries about bike theft, a common problem in Toronto.

At the announcement, at a new station near Lansdowne subway station, Mayor John Tory said the new stations will help expand Torontonians’ transit options and, if fewer people drive, reduce “nightmarish” traffic congestion.

Expanding to suburban parts of Toronto offers a new option to homeowners, some of whom have multiple cars in the driveway, Tory said.

“I believe that the bike share program represents part of the answer to the transit unfriendly development of yesteryear… Riding a shared bike to the transit stop may well represent the answer to getting some of those residents in some of those areas out of their cars and onto the transit system,” he said.

Davenport MP Julie Dzerowicz, representing federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, echoed that message, saying: “We really do need to shift people out of their cars and onto transit and onto bikes.”

Bike share popularity seems to be part of an increased enthusiasm for cycling, driven at least in part by an increase in dedicated bike lanes.

Daniela Patino of Cycle Toronto welcomed the new stations and said her group would like to see even more in Toronto’s east end.

“People are starting to see that cycling is the best way to get from A to B for shorter trips,” Patino said.

City cyclists might soon have another bike-share option. Dropbike, an app-based “dockless” service with self-locking bikes that can be unlocked via smartphone, launched recently at the University of Toronto’s St. George campus. The company hopes to expand to other parts of Toronto.

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Posted on 12 August 2017 by admin

With a passion for improving human rights in their province, Toronto Youth for Human Rights (YHR) volunteers raised awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Toronto’s 11th Annual Youth Day Festival.

After Youth for Human Rights volunteers joined in the opening parade, members took to the stage at Yonge-Dundas Square in the heart of Toronto to perform a skit that brought the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to life. The presentation stressed four of the 30 rights enshrined in the UDHR: the right to education, the right to food and shelter, the right to public assembly and the right to expression. The skit was a living example of Human Rights #29 –the responsibility to let others know their human rights.

Throughout the day, young volunteers encouraged people to “pick a human right” by spinning the “Human Rights Wheel of Fortune” at their booth. And they helped them learn the importance of the rights they selected by giving them copies of What Are Human Rights? The booklet is a youth-friendly presentation of each of the 30 articles of the UDHR.

YHR volunteers also moved through the crowd, collecting signatures on a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to mandate human rights education throughout the province. “Human rights are based on the principle of respect for the individual,” said Nicole Crellin, YHR Toronto Director. She added, “By mandating human rights education, we can bridge the gap between the current state of human rights in the world and the ideals expressed in the UDHR.”

The Church of Scientology and Scientologists support United for Human Rights and its program for young people, Youth for Human Rights. They engage in collaborative efforts with government agencies and nongovernmental organizations to bring about broad-scale awareness and implementation of the UDHR written in 1948. This initiative has become one of the world’s largest nongovernmental human rights education program.

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Ottawa’s secret plan for what to do when the Queen dies

Posted on 03 August 2017 by admin

Ottawa stays mum on its planning for the death of Queen Elizabeth, though plans have been in the works for years.

OTTAWA—It’s the plan the federal government doesn’t want you to see and doesn’t want to talk about.

Details of Canada’s special forces operations in Iraq? Nope. The inside scoop on Canada’s negotiating strategy for upcoming trade talks with the United States? Not that, either.

Instead, the document kept under wraps outlines some of the planning for how the Canadian government will respond to the death of Queen Elizabeth.

Yet the Privy Council Office — the bureaucrats who support the Prime Minister’s Office and cabinet — has refused to reveal the internal plan meant to guide the government’s actions in the hours and days after the Queen dies.

That plan is a cabinet confidence, reserved for the eyes of cabinet ministers and senior advisers, the office said in response to an access to information request by the Star.

The office even refused to discuss whether bureaucrats have been meeting to discuss the topic. Asked for details about any committee established to oversee the planning, the Privy Council Office delayed its response, saying it needed four months to consult “other government institutions.”

The Star appealed the office’s decision to withhold all records to the information commissioner of Canada. But after a review, commission investigators deemed that the documents are indeed cabinet confidences that will be kept under wraps.

It’s no secret that the health of the Queen, age 91, has been on the minds of Canadian bureaucrats and politicians.

In announcing in April that Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, would be visiting Canada for July 1 celebrations, Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly said the Queen’s health did not allow her to make the trip.

“I understand that, of course, the Queen is ill,” Joly told CTV’s Power Play. She then clarified to say, “Well, not necessarily ill, but doesn’t have the capacity, the health, to come to Canada.”

Documents obtained from the Canadian Heritage Department reveal that backroom planning for the Queen’s death has been underway for several years, with broad consultations that have included the Canadian Armed Forces, Rideau Hall, the Privy Council Office, Buckingham Palace and Canada’s High Commission in London.

In 2012, Kevin MacLeod, at the time the Canadian secretary to the Queen, reviewed the “Succession of the Crown Plans.” In an email to Stephen Wallace, the secretary to the Governor General, MacLeod said he was “most impressed with its thoroughness.”

MacLeod passed along several suggestions to Wallace — all of them censored from the material released to the Star — but said, “all in all, this is a very strong document and, again, congratulations on a great effort.”

That planning has continued, with meetings and email exchanges, including several in 2016 with the subject line “Succession to the Throne” that included officials in the Heritage Department responsible for major events and commemorations.

Emails were also exchanged with the office of the Earl Marshal, who has a role in planning state ceremonies in the United Kingdom, including organizing the funeral of a monarch and the coronation of the new one.

Exact details of all those discussions and decisions were kept from the Star’s view. Dozens of pages provided under access to information were censored in their entirety on the grounds that their contents constituted advice to a cabinet minister.

The Privy Council Office declined to comment Friday on any of the planning, saying only that arrangements “concerning succession to the throne will be announced at an appropriate time” and conveying a wish for the Queen’s continued good health.

“PCO will work closely with Rideau Hall and all implicated government departments to ensure that appropriate measures are in place. The Government of Canada wishes Her Majesty the Queen a long and prosperous reign,” a council office spokesperson, Stéphane Shank, told the Star.

Rideau Hall, the home of the Governor General, was equally tight-lipped. “It will not be possible to share with you, at the present moment, details and the sequence of events pertaining to the death of Her Majesty the Queen,” said a spokesperson, Marie-Ève Létourneau.

The reluctance to comment is understandable, said one person familiar with some of the government’s work on the file.

“People don’t want to cast a lot of light on the subject because no one wants anyone to believe that the Queen is about to die,” the source said.

But the source, who spoke on background because of the sensitivity of the topic, said that developing contingency plans was simply good practice.

The source noted, for example, that when members of the Royal Family travel abroad, they pack mourning clothes with them, just in case. “If a death occurs in London, they have to be prepared,” he said.

Just as Ottawa has planned for the deaths of past prime ministers and governors general — often in consultation with those personalities themselves — it has laid plans for the death of the Queen.

“When the news comes that so-and-so has passed, there is an awful lot that has to be done in a very short prescribed period of time. The more planning you can do in advance to know who has to be called when and what happens in what order, so much the better,” the source said.

“The key players who will be involved know that they will have roles to play and I presume they are talking to each other on a fairly regular basis.”

That planning is almost certain to include the offices of the lieutenant-governors, who serve as the Queen’s representatives in each of the provinces.

The death of the Queen — who has reigned for 65 years — will have a profound effect on Canadians, predicted Garry Toffoli, vice-chairman and executive director of the Canadian Royal Heritage Trust.

“Most of us have never known any other monarch. It has defined our lives,” he said.

“Traumatic might not be the right word, but it will be emotional when it happens,” Toffoli said in an interview.

Given that her mother lived to 101, the Queen could have another decade ahead of her, he said. But he said it’s understandable that plans have been laid.

As for guidance on what to expect when she dies, Toffoli suggested looking to the death of the Queen’s father, King George VI, on Feb. 6, 1952 — the last time a reigning British monarch died.

The Heritage Department documents provided to the Star included an annex detailing some of the activities that unfolded on the Canadian end that year.

Within an hour of the official announcement of the king’s death in London, notifications went out to the prime minister and cabinet officials in Ottawa. The CBC was quickly instructed to ensure that radio programs would “immediately be altered in a manner suitable for the occasion.” That meant no ads, only “appropriate” music, news and announcements.

Public Works was contacted to ensure flags were lowered to half-mast on federal buildings. Work was started on proclamations: one to announce the death of the king and another to mark the accession of the Queen. The senior judge of the Supreme Court and the prime minister took oaths of allegiance to the new monarch.

The Canadian representatives at the king’s funeral included the Canadian high commissioner, Vincent Massey, who was the incoming governor general, as well as the minister of national defence and the secretary of state for external affairs. Prime minister Louis St.-Laurent did not attend the funeral.

A national day of mourning was declared and a ceremony held in Ottawa at the National War Memorial on the day of the funeral.

Toffoli expects some of those activities will occur in the wake of the Queen’s death, too. “There are things that will happen automatically and then there will be things that will be up to the government of the time to decide what to do,” he said.

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Sukhwant Thethi Nominated as Ontario Liberal Candidate in Brampton South

Posted on 26 July 2017 by admin

 Hundreds Of Supporters Joined By Premier Wynne And Provincial And Federal Ministers To Rally Around Newest Ontario Liberal Candidate

BRAMPTON — Community leader Sukhwant Thethi was nominated today to stand as the Ontario Liberal candidate for Brampton South in the next provincial election.

Thethi accepted the nomination surrounded by his family, hundreds of local supporters, Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Minister of Finance Charles Sousa, Ontario Minister of Seniors Dipika Damerla and federal Minister Navdeep Bains. In his speech to supporters, Thethi spoke passionately about his experiences as a new Canadian, the Ontario Liberal plan that is building a better, fairer province and the shameful things that Patrick Brown’s PCs are saying about Sikh candidates behind closed doors.

“I moved here in 1995 from India and waited tables. From an immigrant waiting tables to a successful banker standing here to run to be a Member of Provincial Parliament — this is what Canada is all about!” Thethi said. He added, “I look at Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal plan and I see the policies that will help even more people realize their dreams and seize opportunity, just like I did. As the father of two daughters in university, I know that by making college and university tuition free, the Ontario Liberal plan is going to help hundreds of thousands of young people secure their future.” Referring to the recent actions Ontario’s Liberal government has taken to deliver faster, better health care, new transit, a higher minimum wage and better protections for all workers, Thethi said “This Premier and her team are implementing a plan that supports our families and creates more fairness for people in Brampton and across Ontario.”

In enthusiastically welcoming Thethi to the team, Premier Wynne touched on aspects of Thethi’s life story, saying “Sukhwant knows what it is like to work your way to a better life in a new country. And I know how valuable it is to bring his perspective and ideas to Queen’s Park. One third of our team of Liberal MPPs were born outside of Canada. Every day I see how their different experiences help us in our quest to make life better for Ontario families. Sukhwant will be a strong voice for Brampton and a great help as we continue to fight for fairness and build Brampton up with the new transit, hospitals, schools and university campus that this exciting, growing community needs.”

Thethi also took aim at the recent Conservative nomination controversy in Hamilton, telling supporters it is now clear that Patrick Brown and his PCs will say anything to win votes from South Asians. Thethi was referring to an admission by the Conservative Party president that the PC Party blocked a turbaned Sikh candidate from winning the nomination in Hamilton because he was seen as “not reliable” and the “wrong demographic.” Thethi strongly condemned this as yet another incident that shows the PCs are not the inclusive party they claim to be, saying “Patrick Brown and his Conservatives pretend to reach out to the South Asian community when they want our votes, but this reveals their true colours. This is the kind of Conservative prejudice we must oppose. Whether you are a Sikh Canadian or a Muslim Canadian or someone whose family has been here for generations, there is no right or wrong demographic. We are all Canadians.”

Sukhwant Thethi immigrated to Canada from India in 1995. He has worked in food service, manufacturing, and owned a small business. He is now a mortgage specialist with the Royal Bank of Canada. Thethi believes strongly in giving back to the community that has given him so much opportunity. He volunteers and fundraises for causes that include the Peel Multicultural Council, the United Way, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and other organisations working to improve local health care. He also serves on the advisory board to select Ontario Justices of the Peace. Sukhwant Thethi and his wife, Rajinder, are the proud parents of two university-age daughters, Gurleen and Amarjot.

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Sister of man shot dead by Durham police makes plea against Taser use on day one of inquest

Posted on 22 July 2017 by admin

 “In my opinion, the people who are being shot and killed by police are not the people shooting back, they are the vulnerable sector of society,” said Joanne MacIsaac, sister of Michael MacIsaac, who was shot dead on an Ajax street in 2013.

Joanne MacIsaac came to the coroner’s inquest into the police shooting death of her brother Michael with a plea to the jury:

No more recommendations for arming all front-line officers with Tasers.

“In my opinion, the people who are being shot and killed by police are not the people shooting back, they are the vulnerable sector of society,” MacIsaac, the first witness on the stand, said Monday.

She said there needs to be specific recommendations about de-escalation, such as having officers move more slowly and not be so quick to shout at people who are clearly not responding.

“I don’t hate police officers,” she said on the stand. “I know it’s difficult to control a situation.”

Michael, 47, was shot dead by Durham police Const. Brian Taylor on an Ajax street in December 2013.

Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, cleared him of criminal wrongdoing.

Michael’s family believe he had suffered an epileptic seizure that day when he left his home naked, and they dispute the watchdog’s report that he was still carrying a broken table leg when shot by police.

MacIsaac also voiced concern with the effect a Taser could have possibly had on her brother given his seizure.

A recommendation to arm front-line officers with Tasers was recently made by the jury at the coroner’s inquest into the Toronto police shooting death of Andrew Loku. It had been proposed by the Toronto Police Association.

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Man involved in accident pulls shotgun on Good Samaritans, steals car

Posted on 22 July 2017 by admin

Several people who came to driver’s aid after a collision got a shotgun pulled on them instead, Toronto police say.

A group of Good Samaritans who tried to help a man after a collision got a shotgun pulled on them instead before he stole a vehicle, Toronto police say.

A driver of a green Ford Focus was in a collision in the Dufferin St. and Lawrence Ave. W. area just before 5 p.m. Saturday. When passersby tried to help the driver, police said he climbed out of the vehicle wielding a shotgun, pointing it at his would-be rescuers.

The man forced a woman out of her black Dodge Journey at gunpoint, and then fled the scene in her car.

Police described the man as around six feet tall, mid-30s, with a thin build and short dreadlocks. He wore dark pants and a red Blue Jays jersey that said “Bautista” on the back.

He was last seen in the stolen getaway car, with a license plate BVYP 766.

Police are asking anyone who sees him to immediately phone 911.


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Brampton MPs celebrate community at BBQ in Chinguacousy Park

Posted on 13 July 2017 by admin

Brampton Liberal Associations host second annual event.

Brampton – Brampton’s Liberal MPs gathered with community members in Chinguacousy Park today for the Second Annual Community Appreciation Barbeque. The event, hosted by four Brampton Liberal associations, was a chance for the MPs to reconnect with community members in a fun and celebratory way.

The event included speeches by Mr. Raj Grewal, Ms. Sonia Sidhu, Ms. Kamal Khera, and Ms. Ruby Sahota as well as special guest Hon. Minister Navdeep Bains.

Approximately 2,000 residents attended to meet with their Members of Parliament, and enjoy the summer weather in Brampton’s central and well-loved park. Each MP took the opportunity to thank their supporters, volunteers, staff and their respective Brampton Liberal riding associations for their dedication of time and energy to keep the Liberal flag waving in Brampton.

Following the celebrations on July 1st, of Canada’s 150, the festivities continued with special recognition of the 35th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The MPs told community members that while they represent different parts of Brampton, they work as one team to serve the people of the city. All Brampton residents are encouraged to reach out to their MPs, who are working hard on their behalf day after day.

The Brampton Liberal associations held this event in support of the Parliamentarians, and to celebrate the work they have done in Ottawa for their community.

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Sonia Sidhu launches Consultation on Canada’s Food Guide and Healthy Eating

Posted on 06 July 2017 by admin

Community members and stakeholders met in Brampton South for the first healthy eating consultation by MP Sidhu

Brampton, ON – Sonia Sidhu, MP for Brampton South, held the first consultation to revise Canada’s Food Guide, and to implement Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy with a focus on diabetes. The meeting, held at Sheridan College on Thursday June 29, was attended by a number of organizations and stakeholders in the community.

MP Sidhu chairs the All-Party Diabetes Caucus, which will be contributing to Health Canada’s study through consultations with community stakeholders on healthy eating and diabetes. The mandate of the Caucus is to analyze and provide recommendations to advance and advocate for diabetes related federal public policies. The goal is to eventually include all feedback in a report to the Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Philpott.

“As Chair of the All-Party Diabetes Caucus, we aim to analyze and provide recommendations to advance and advocate for diabetes-related federal public policies. We’re working closely with the Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Philpott to include all feedback from the consultations in a comprehensive report,” said MP Sidhu.

The consultation was attended by more than a dozen organizations and stakeholders in the community, including St. Michael’s Hospital, Region of Peel Chronic Disease Prevention, William Osler Health System, Medtronic, the Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board, and Diabetes Canada to name a few.

“Unhealthy eating is the leading risk factor for obesity and chronic diseases, including Type 2 Diabetes,” said MP Sidhu. “We must do more to understand and reduce the negative health impacts of our food choices, and our consultation is one step being taken by our Government to address this challenge,” she said.

This was the first of a series of consultations highlighting efforts to improve Canada’s food guide with a focus on diabetes. For more information, please

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MP Sahota Welcomes Minister Hussen to Brampton to Discuss the Passing of Bill C-6

Posted on 29 June 2017 by admin

A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian

23/06/2017 – Brampton, Ontario – Ms. Ruby Sahota, Member of Parliament for Brampton North, welcomed the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to Brampton to discuss Royal Assent of Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act.

“Our Government knows that one of the strongest pillars for successful integration into Canadian life is attaining Canadian citizenship,” said MP Sahota. “Bill C-6 reduces the time immigrants must be in Canada before being eligible for citizenship to 3 out of 5 years prior to applying. It also reduces the age range in which applicants must demonstrate knowledge of Canada and one of its official languages from 14-64 to 18-54.”

MP Sahota was pleased to have Minister Hussen on hand to discuss and clarify changes brought in with the passing of Bill C-6, and the positive impact it will have on her constituents and Canadians all across the country. This Bill repeals the barriers to citizenship that the previous Conservative Government put in place, and eliminates discriminatory two-tiered citizenship.

“The passing of this bill into law represents an important promise kept by our government,” remarked MP Sahota.” I am proud to have voted in favour of Bill C-6. This piece of legislation shows our Government’s commitment to streamline the citizenship process and enhance the integrity of the programme.”

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MTO in collaboration with aggregate and excavation sector working together review regulations

Posted on 04 June 2017 by admin

Ontario continues collaboration with the aggregate and excavation sector to balance the needs of industry, protect the province’s highway infrastructure and keep drivers safe.

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has worked with an array of sector stakeholders including shippers, carriers, and load brokers to develop an agreed upon approach. Over the next 18 months the ministry will be taking the following steps to help the industry meet the requirements of vehicle weights by:

•          Carrying out a review of the Safe, Productive, and Infrastructure Friendly (SPIF) Vehicle Weights and Dimensions Regulation

•          Testing the addition of axle and gross weight verification requirements for trucks hauling excavation materials in select ministry highway construction contracts

•          Implementing a new digital record to track maximum allowable weights for trucks carrying aggregate and excavation material

•          On a pilot basis, test the new digital record on a sample of 225 trucks during the 2017 construction season to determine if the new procedure helps improve compliance and analysing data collected during the pilot and make recommendations

•          Resume enforcement of vehicle weights and dimensions regulations for aggregate and excavation vehicles.

Keeping the province’s highways and roads safe is a top priority and a shared responsibility of all road users.


The announcement this morning by transportation Minster, Steven Del Duca of a consultation process with organizations in the aggregate and excavation industries including shippers, carries, and load brokers. It will provide a clear solution among drivers when it comes to weight compliance. All this will be done while continuing to protect our roads, infrastructure, and most importantly, ensure the safety of all drivers using our roads and highways.

It will benefit many residents in my riding that are either working or own businesses in these industries. By launching this consultation process, the outcome will be positive and we will continue working together as we move towards compliance. Bringing forward a solution will assist many drivers and business owners in Brampton-Springdale and throughout Ontario, that contribute to our local economies.”

- HarinderMalhi, MPP, Brampton-Springdale

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