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Strike forces more cancellations at Caesars Windsor

Posted on 09 May 2018 by admin

About 2,300 members of Unifor Local 444 walked off the job April 6 after rejecting a tentative agreement.

WINDSOR, Ont. — Caesars Windsor says it is postponing hotel reservations and concerts through the end of May due to an ongoing strike by employees.

About 2,300 members of Unifor Local 444 walked off the job April 6 after rejecting a tentative agreement by a vote of 59 per cent.

Caesars Windsor says hotel reservations booked through May 31 have been cancelled and affected guests will be contacted via email or phone as soon as possible.

The facility says shows by Pitbull, Lee Brice and Daniel O’Donnell will be rescheduled on dates to be determined.

The striking workers include dealers, cooks, housekeepers and janitors. Wages and working conditions are the key issues.

No talks are scheduled and the union said Monday that it continues to push Caesars management to return to the bargaining table.

Caesars Entertainment president Kevin Laforet says the latest postponements are a difficult message to send again.

“As with earlier decisions to postpone upcoming concerts and cancel hotel reservations, it is necessary in order to give our customers advance notice to make alternate plans.”

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Liberal elections bill aimed at tighter rules on spending, privacy

Posted on 02 May 2018 by admin

The federal government wants to make it easier for Canadians to vote while making it harder for political parties to spend vast sums to persuade them who to vote for.

OTTAWA—The federal Liberal government wants to make it easier for Canadians to cast a ballot, while making it harder for political parties to spend vast sums to persuade them who to vote for — or to violate their privacy.

Treasury Board President Scott Brison introduced a bill Monday meant to address several promises Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made on the campaign trail, including by tackling how much political parties and third-party advocacy groups can spend before and during election campaigns.

“We know that the protection of our electoral system is absolutely essential and over the years, we have seen new threats and new challenges appearing that may affect the integrity of our electoral system,” Trudeau said Monday in Vancouver.

Brison is acting as democratic institutions minister while Karina Gould, who usually fills that role, is on maternity leave.

The proposed legislation, if passed, would limit how much political parties can spend on partisan advertising leading up to the official campaign period, which would be about $1.5 million in 2019.

Third-party advocacy groups, meanwhile, would be limited to spending $10,000 per electoral district — up to $1 million in total — on partisan advertising, activities and election-related surveys.

After the writs are dropped, however, those third parties would be able to spend up to $500,000 in 2019, which is more than allowed now, but none of it could come from foreign entities.

The bill is also meant to modernize the Canada Elections Act to reflect the fact that a lot of campaigning now takes place online, introducing a number of new risks to the privacy of Canadians.

The proposed legislation, known as Bill C-76, would require all political parties to create and publish a policy on how they will protect the privacy of voters, including what information they are collecting from potential voters, how it will be safeguarded and how it will be used.

Bill C-76 also contains some measures to make voting more accessible, such as allowing advance polls to remain open for 12 hours, and creating a registry of Canadians between the ages of 14 to 17, who would be allowed to vote within the next few years.

The Liberal government introduced some reforms in November 2016, aimed at undoing some of what the Conservatives introduced through their Fair Elections Act — including restoring the use of the voter identification card as a valid piece of ID.

That bill, stalled at the introductory stage ever since, will be rolled into the new one.

The legislation does not, however, come through on the promise to create an independent commission to organize televised debates among party leaders.

Last week, the Institute for Research on Public Policy, which the Liberal government had tasked with hosting roundtables on the issue, released a report concluding it is more important to make sure that particular reform is done correctly than it is to do it quickly.

“The commission should be built to last,” said the report.

“It should be adaptable to evolving voter preferences, party configurations, and social context,” said the report. “It is more important, therefore, to get it right than to get it soon.”

The Liberals are confident the changes will be in place in time for Canadians to vote in the next federal election.

“We want to have these measures in place by the election in 2019, because Canadians expect elections to be reliable and safe,” Trudeau said.

But acting chief electoral officer Stephane Perrault said last week that anything meant to apply in 2019 should have been in place by now.

 

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U.S. adds Canada to priority watch list on intellectual property

Posted on 02 May 2018 by admin

The move comes as IP remains one of several issues to be resolved in heated NAFTA talks, and puts Canada on a list of 12 countries that could be subject to ‘intense bilateral engagement.’

The United States on Friday added Canada to a priority watch list of countries that it says have failed to enforce intellectual property rights, citing concerns over poor border control and pharmaceutical practices.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative moved Canada from its watch list to its priority watch list, which includes 11 other countries including China, India and Russia.

In a news release, the office criticized Canada for “failing to make progress on overcoming important IP enforcement challenges” such as border enforcement, particularly when it comes to inspecting or detaining counterfeit or pirated goods shipped through Canada.

It also cited procedures related to pharmaceuticals, copyright protection, and inadequate transparency regarding the protection of indications of origin.

The office’s priority watch list includes countries that the U.S. deems to have failed to protect or enforce intellectual property rights or otherwise denied market access to American creators.

The news release said the countries on the list would be the subject of what it called “intense bilateral engagement” during the coming year.

“This report sends a clear signal to our trading partners that the protection of Americans’ intellectual property rights is a top priority of the Trump Administration,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.

The report comes as Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has been engaged in heated talks over the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

A Canadian close to those talks has said intellectual property is one of several issues that remain unresolved, along with dispute settlement and the U.S. push for a sunset clause.

The Canadian government unveiled its long-awaited intellectual property strategy on Thursday, after committing $85 million over five years towards the initiative in its most recent budget.

In launching the measures, Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains called intellectual property the most valuable business asset in the knowledge economy.

The government’s plan includes amending laws to eliminate barriers surrounding intellectual property, as well as better tools to expand its use.

Ottawa also hopes to address what it calls “bad behaviour” in the country’s existing IP regime with help from legislative amendments to curb intimidation and inappropriate “trolling” of some businesses by patent holders.

Bains did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Canada’s placement on the priority watch list.

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Trudeau sells Trans Mountain pipeline as Amazon announces expansion in Vancouver

Posted on 02 May 2018 by admin

Amazon has announced it will expand its Vancouver technology hub and create 3,000 new high-tech jobs.

VANCOUVER — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promoted the expansion of retail giant Amazon’s technology hub in Vancouver on Monday as he used the region’s record-high gas prices to continue selling the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“I know that part of the challenge that folks across the Lower Mainland and B.C. are facing right now is related to the fact that we are connected so closely to the U.S. market and to what happens in the United States,” Trudeau said as the price of gas exceeded $1.60 a litre in the Vancouver area.

Canada currently ships oil only to the United States and loses about $15 billion annually by not exporting it to other markets through an expanded pipeline, Trudeau said.

 “That level of dependency at any time would be difficult but right now at a time of protectionism and unpredictability in the United States it makes sense to diversify our markets to new markets across Asia,” he said.

“We know that the alternative to a new pipeline would be more oil by rail, more oil by trucks. That’s not what anybody wants.”

British Columbia’s former Liberal government approved the pipeline project, but the current NDP government has asked the province’s highest court to determine if B.C. has the power to enact environmental laws that would restrict the flow of diluted bitumen through the province.

Getting the pipeline twinned involves “collaboration and respect for the provinces,” Trudeau said. “We’ve moved forward in a partnership way right across the country and we’ve demonstrated that we understand that the national interest involves getting our resources responsibly to new markets but it also involves, for example, putting a price on carbon pollution right across Canada.”

Trudeau said such incentives, along with lower-emissions vehicles and public-transit investments, lead to a cleaner environment and further economic growth, with projects such the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Before Trudeau spoke, Amazon’s general manager of web services Jesse Dougherty said the online retail giant would build a 38,000 square metre tower in Vancouver to house 3,000 people in new high-tech jobs.

He said the new corporate positions would be focused on e-commerce technology, cloud computing and machine learning, and employees will be working in the tower the company is building on the site of the city’s old post office.

The structure’s architectural heritage will be preserved, and the tower is expected to open in 2022, Dougherty said outside the former Canada Post building before Trudeau spoke.

“We chose to build and grow in Canada because we recognize the diverse and exceptionally talented workforce here,” he said.

“As a homegrown British Columbian and a software engineer, I am so proud of living and working in a city that is recognized worldwide as a first-rate global tech hub.”

Seattle-based Amazon opened its first software development site in Vancouver in 2011 and now has more than 1,000 employees.

Dougherty said the company will build on its relationships with top Canadian universities, which he said are producing some of the best computer engineering students in the world.

“We’ve hired many graduates from schools right here in British Columbia,” he said, citing the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University as well as the universities of Toronto, Waterloo, and McGill.

Amazon is expected to announce its second North American headquarters, dubbed HQ2, sometime this year, with Toronto as the only Canadian city on the list of 20 finalists.

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Doug Ford assured developers he plans to open up Greenbelt to housing development

Posted on 02 May 2018 by admin

PC leader said he will “open a big chunk” of protected GTHA farmland to build housing if the Progressive Conservatives win the June 7 election.

Doug Ford has privately assured developers he will “open a big chunk” of protected land in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to housing if the Progressive Conservatives win the June 7 election.

In a video recorded Feb. 12 and shared with the media Monday by the governing Liberals, Ford said the 800,000-hectare swath of environmentally sensitive and agricultural land known as the Greenbelt is “just farmer fields.”

“It’s right beside a community. We need to open that up and create a larger supply,” he said, noting that will lead to “price drops” in housing in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

“I’ve already talked to some of the biggest developers in the country, and, again, I wish I could say it’s my idea, but it was their idea as well,” the PC leader said in February.

“‘Give us property! We’ll build and we’ll drive the cost down.’ That’s my plan for affordable housing,” he said.

Speaking to reporters at a campaign event later in Whitby, Ford confirmed he was, indeed, looking at opening up the Greenbelt to development.

“I support the Greenbelt in a big way. Anything we may look at to reduce housing costs — because everyone knows housing costs (are) through the roof and there’s no more property available to build housing in Toronto or the GTA — it will be replaced,” he said.

“Anything that we will look at on the Greenbelt will be replaced, so there will still be an equal amount of Greenbelt.”

It was unclear how Ford could expand the Greenbelt if the preserved land is paved over for development.

Housing Minister Peter Milczyn pointed out, that as a city councillor when his late brother Rob Ford was mayor, the Tory leader wanted to redevelop Toronto’s port lands and build a massive Ferris wheel.

“It’s very disturbing how Doug makes policy and the implications and the repercussions of that policy, but I’ve seen Doug do this at city hall — whoever whispers a business idea into his … ear, that’s what he runs with,” said Milczyn, who served on council with Ford.

Environment Minister Chris Ballard, who disclosed the existence of the video to reporters at Queen’s Park, said it is proof that “Doug Ford has made secret promises to big developers.”

“Once elected premier, he will bulldoze a great swath of the Greenbelt and turn it into the largest condo farm this province has ever seen,” said Ballard, who represents Newmarket-Aurora.

“Ford’s promise to pave the Greenbelt, not only encourages sprawl, but it puts farmland, wild land and wetlands, including ravines and rivers currently protected, at risk of being encroached and even replaced by new suburban development,” he said.

NDP MPP Peter Tabuns (Toronto Danforth) said “the Greenbelt has to be defended if we’re going to have liveable cities in Ontario.”

“You have to curb sprawl. It doesn’t strike me as a practical suggestion. It sounds like something that a land speculator would be very happy with,” said Tabuns.

Former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty enshrined the Greenbelt in law in 2005 to curb urban sprawl and conserve environmentally sensitive lands.

While some farmers and many developers have warned that it unfairly impinges upon land use, others have argued the Greenbelt should be increased in size.

Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defence, said “the Greenbelt does not constrain housing supply or cause high house prices.”

“Municipal data shows that there is enough land available to provide for housing development within existing Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area urban boundaries until 2031,” said Gray.

“There are also abundant lands outside of towns and cities that are not within the Greenbelt that could be available for expansion after that date.”

Joe Vaccaro, chief executive of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, emphasized that its 4,000 member companies “support growing the Greenbelt through a science-based approach that protects significant environmental features.”

“OHBA, our local associations, our members and our industry are committed to working with all levels of government through a public process to build more housing supply and choice for Ontarians.”

 

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Suspected van driver Alek Minassian charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder, 13 counts of attempted murder

Posted on 26 April 2018 by admin

The Richmond Hill man, 25, stands accused of jumping the sidewalk with a rented van and ramming pedestrians along a 2.2 kilometre-stretch of Yonge St.

The man accused in the deadly van carnage on Yonge St. has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

Alek Minassian, 25, appeared briefly in court at 1000 Finch Ave. W., on Tuesday, wearing a white jumpsuit and with his hands cuffed behind him in the prisoner’s box.

He gave his name very quickly in court. Minassian’s eyes darted around as he listened to what the duty counsel was saying, but he wore a poker face expression.

Minassian’s next court appearance is via video May 10. He needs to find a lawyer and, given the seriousness of the charges, the justice of the peace told court that he was required to detain the accused.

Minassian was ordered not to have contact with any of the 13 attempt murder victims and when asked if he understood, he sharply said, “Yes.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if he had any family members in court.

A court documents didn’t identify the names of the murder victims, referring to each as an “unknown person.”

The document, known as the information did, however, include the names of the attempted murder victims.

Court records show he has no criminal record prior to these charges.

Toronto police are expected to update the media at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The Richmond Hill man is accused of jumping the sidewalk with a rented van and ramming pedestrians along a two-kilometre stretch of Yonge St., between Sheppard Ave. and Finch Ave. on Monday afternoon. Ten people were killed, while another 15 remain in hospital.

The suspect behind the wheel of the van later ditched the vehicle and got into a standoff with a police officer on Poyntz Ave. south of Sheppard Ave. Eyewitness video of the confrontation shows him asking the officer to “shoot me in the head,” claiming he had a gun in his pocket.

The officer arrested the suspect at the scene. The arresting police officer widely praised for his handling of the situation is Const. Ken Lam, the Star has confirmed.

Details are trickling in on the victims who were hit by the van.

The South Korean government confirmed on its official Facebook site that two of its nationals were killed, and another was injured.

At a special city council meeting Tuesday, Councillor Cesar Palacio rose to speak about one of the victims, Anne Marie D’Amico, the daughter of constituents Rocco and Carmela, who live in his Davenport ward.

D’Amico was one of three children and a friend of Palacio’s daughter.

 “When my daughter called me last night to share that particular news, it was so devastating,” Palacio said in the council chamber as he offered condolences to the family.

The councillor said he spoke to D’Amico’s father, Rocco, on Tuesday morning.

“It was clear that part of his life is gone,” Palacio said. “As he noted, he’s living the worst nightmare ever in his life.”

Earlier on Monday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Minassian’s name did not trigger any red flags relating to terrorism.

Goodale had described the incident as a “horrific attack” in an afternoon tweet offering praise to the Toronto police and condolences to the victims and their families. By nightfall, Goodale tempered his language.

“This incident that happened here on the street behind us was horrendous but it does not appear to be connected in any way to national security,” Goodale told reporters.

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders said the rampage “definitely looked deliberate.”

“There is nothing in our files, we’ve looked right across, and there’s nothing that we have on him right now,” he said.

The exact motive behind the horror remains unclear.

A source confirmed to the Star that a Facebook post from an Alek Minassian circulating on social media talking about “incel” and invoking U.S. mass murderer Elliot Rodger was indeed legitimate and published on Minassian’s profile before his acount was deleted.

“Incel” refers to an online community of the “involuntarily celibate,” or men who feel frustrated by their inability to find romantic relationships or sex.

Online community forums often feature misogynistic rhetoric and an online forum of 40,000 “incels’’ — which had posts like “all women are sluts” and “reasons why women are the embodiment of evil” — was banned in November by Reddit. The online community prohibits content that “encourages, glorifies, incites or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or group of people.”

A spokesperson for Facebook Canada said it immediately deleted the suspect’s account Monday afternoon.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders says a 25-year-old named Alek Minassian is in custody, after a van drove on busy sidewalks on Monday. Saunders says it appears to be a deliberate act. At least ten people were killed and 15 were injured. (The Associated Press)

“This is a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the people who have been affected. There is absolutely no place on our platform for people who commit such horrendous acts,” spokesperson Meg Sinclair said in an email.

A LinkedIn profile for a man of the same name states he is a student at Seneca College. According to Joseph Pham, 25, who took a computer programming class with Minassian at Seneca, he was at school just last week. He described him as “socially awkward.”

“He kept to himself. He didn’t really talk to anyone,” Pham said.

Friends of Minassian say he attended Sixteenth Avenue Public School in Richmond Hill, and then Thornlea Secondary School in Thornhill.

The Armenian Community Centre of Toronto released a statement saying it was “deeply saddened and disturbed by the senseless deaths and injuries.”

“We unequivocally condemn this and all acts of violence,” the statement said. “We commend the bravery and dedication of our first responders who, despite being faced with an unprecedented tragedy, saved lives with their heroic actions and rapid response.”

TTC subway trains will continue to bypass North York Centre station as the investigation continues. Beecroft Rd., which runs parallel to Yonge St. has been reopened.

U.S. President Donald Trump, at a ceremony outside the White House with French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters, “Our hearts are with the grieving families in Canada.”

“I want to express our deepest sympathies to the Canadian people following the horrendous tragedy in Toronto that claimed so many innocents lives,” Trump said.

With files from Sabrina Nanji, Jennifer Yang, Wendy Gillis, Daniel Dale, Alexandra Jones, Julien Gignac and Nicholas Keung.

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Toronto is in the ‘hearts and prayers’ of Canada, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Posted on 26 April 2018 by admin

Trudeau offered condolences to the victims of Monday’s “senseless attack and a horrific tragedy” and said it will prompt reviews on how to better protect Canadians from such incidents.

OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered condolences to the victims of Monday’s “senseless attack and horrific tragedy” and said it will prompt reviews on how to better protect Canadians from such incidents in the future.

A subdued Trudeau addressed reporters in the Commons’ foyer Tuesday morning, offering comfort for those affected by the incident, praise for those who responded while acknowledging the many questions that still exist.

“On behalf of all Canadians I offer my deepest heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of all those who were killed and we wish a full recovery to those injured and stand with the families and friends of the victims,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister also singled out emergency personnel who responded for handling an “extremely difficult situation with professionalism and bravery.”

“They faced danger without a moment of hesitation and there is no doubt their courage saved lives and prevented further injuries,” he said.

Trudeau said he spoke with both Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory Monday night. The prime minister said he would visit Toronto “as soon as it makes sense.

 “But right now, it’s very much an active ongoing situation and I wouldn’t want to distract or remove any personnel or focus away from the important work that is being done,” he said.

He said Canada’s biggest city has shown “strength and determination” and that all Canadians “stand united” with Toronto today.

 “I think all Canadians are with Toronto today, in our hearts and our prayers and our thoughts,” he said.

He said there are many unanswered questions but repeated the statement by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale that officials have no reason to suspect a national security motive was behind it.

“Obviously all Canadians . . . will continue to have questions about why this happened, what could possibly be the motive behind it,” Trudeau said.

“At this time we have no reason to suspect there is a national security element to this attack. But obviously the investigation continues,” he said.

He underscored what he called the “excellent collaboration” among governments and law enforcement agencies. “We’re continuing to monitor this closely.”

In their own statements, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also offered their thoughts for those killed and injured.

“I can only imagine the horror, fear and pain that this has caused to all those who were victims of the attack or those who witnessed it,” Scheer said.

“To those recovering in hospital, you are in our thoughts and we are praying for a fast and full recovery,” he said.

Scheer also highlighted the quick reaction of emergency personnel and singled out the police officer who faced off against the alleged driver of the van.

“The stories of bravery, selflessness, and kindness that have emerged have been an inspiration to an entire nation,” Scheer said.

Singh said he was “sickened” by the scene of violence in a part of the city he said he knows well.

“My heart breaks for the families of those murdered, who I can only imagine must be completely overwhelmed by this sudden and senseless loss,” Singh said in a statement.

“We will not let this attack sow hate or division amongst ourselves,” Singh said.

“Toronto, like Canada, is strong, diverse, loving and courageous, and this event will not change that. We will come together, we will mourn, we will seek justice, and we will remain strong,” the NDP leader said.

Trudeau called the incident an “attack” and said it would prompt discussions about “what we can do better, what we need to do.”

“Obviously we need to reflect on the change situations in which we’re in and do everything we can to keep Canadians safe but we cannot as Canadians choose to live in fear every single day as we go about our daily business,” Trudeau said.

“We need to focus on doing what we can . . . to keep Canadians safe while we stay true to the freedoms and values that we all as Canadians hold dear,” he said.

“We are pulling together and trying to find answers while keeping people safe,” Trudeau said.

Other cabinet ministers also reflected on Monday’s events as they arrived on Parliament Tuesday for a morning cabinet meeting.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who represents Toronto Centre, said the events hit home.

“As a Torontonian, I can tell you that my family was certainly scared yesterday, and we feel so much sympathy for the families that have been impacted by this really terrible tragedy. I want to let those families know that we’re thinking about them,” Morneau said.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau conceded the challenge of protecting residents against attacks when vehicles are used as the weapon.

“There’s no question that this is a situation that is very difficult to cover off that kind of situation, but you know, you cannot in life protect people against everything,” Garneau said.

“Our job is to try to do the best we can where we have some degree of control and that’s what we’ll continue to do in Canada,” he said.

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Patrick Brown sues CTV for $8M over sexual impropriety story

Posted on 26 April 2018 by admin

Former Progressive Conservative leader was forced to resign just hours after broadcast containing allegations from two women.

An “emotionally devastated” former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown has filed a lawsuit seeking $8 million in damages from CTV News.

Brown, who was forced to resign on Jan. 25, just hours after CTV broadcast a story alleging sexual impropriety with two women, filed a statement of claim Monday at the Barrie courthouse.

If the action is successful, it would be the largest libel award in Canadian history.

The lawsuit names CTV News president Wendy Freeman, anchor Lisa LaFlamme, reporters Glen McGregor, Rachel Aiello, and Travis Dhanraj, and four unnamed producers and editors.

It argues the network “falsely, maliciously, unfairly and irresponsibly broadcast” the stories that ended Brown’s tenure as the PC leader.

Brown has denied the allegations since an 81-second news conference held just 15 minutes before the Jan. 24 broadcast.

But his senior aides resigned en masse that night and he stepped down as party leader early the next morning, triggering a leadership race that ultimately saw Doug Ford take the party helm.

Bell Media’s director of communications, Matthew Garrow, said “CTV News stands by its reporting and will vigorously defend it in court.”

Brown’s 35-page statement of claim says that the Simcoe North MPP, who now sits at Queen’s Park as an independent, “continues to suffer from stress, anxiety, hurt, humiliation and embarrassment and was and is emotionally devastated.

“The swift demolition of his personal and professional reputation on national television left Mr. Brown in a complete state of shock and disbelief,” the suit said.

“Mr. Brown did not want to leave his home. He felt his world was crashing in on him,” it continued.

“Shunned in the political community, Mr. Brown was abandoned by his campaign team, forced to resign as leader of the (Ontario) PC Party, ejected from the Tory caucus, and cast aside from his political party.”

The lawsuit, which contains claims that have not been proven in court, also cites CTV’s “interference with the democratic process,” because Ontarians are voting in a June 7 election.

“Until the defendants destroyed his personal and professional reputation and demolished his political career, Mr. Brown was expected to become the next premier of Ontario.”

His lawyers charge that Brown “had no reasonable time to respond,” because he was “ambushed … mere hours before the scheduled Jan. 24 broadcast.”

The lawsuit says Brown’s chief of staff, Alykhan Velshi, first received an email from McGregor citing the allegations at 4:24 p.m. on the day of the broadcast, which aired at 10 p.m.

CTV reported that one of the women who alleged misconduct against Brown said she was in high school at the time she met him at a bar.

The woman later revised that recollection, telling CTV that she was 19, not 18, at the time of the encounter.

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Trudeau backs airstrikes by U.S., allies in Syria

Posted on 18 April 2018 by admin

Speaking at the Summit of the Americas in Peru, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday that Canada supports strikes aimed at damaging the Assad regime’s chemical weapons capability.

LIMA, PERU—Canada was told in advance that the U.S., Britain and France were planning to launch airstrikes against Syria, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday — but was not asked to participate.

“We were apprised in advance of the operation,” Trudeau told reporters at the end of a three-day visit to Peru. “We were very supportive. And there was no request for Canada to join as part of that operation.”

Canada stood behind its closest allies on Friday as the U.S., Britain and France launched airstrikes against Syria’s government in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of people.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced the strikes in a national address, and promised Washington was prepared to “sustain” pressure on the Syrian government until it stopped killing its own people with banned weapons.

Reporters on the ground in Damascus reported loud explosions and heavy smoke filling the sky over Syria’s capital after missiles slammed into what the U.S. claimed were suspected chemical weapon sites.

Syrian television said the attacks targeted a scientific research centre in Barzeh, near Damascus, and an army depot near Homs.

Shortly after the strikes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement condemning the use of chemical weapons in eastern Ghouta, where more than 40 people were killed and 500 injured — many of them children — on April 7.

 “Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau went on to promise that Canada would “continue to work with our international partners to further investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” adding: “Those responsible must be brought to justice.”

The prime minister was attending the Summit of the Americas in Peru, and was at a reception with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence shortly before the news broke that the U.S. was preparing to launch strikes.

The question of who is responsible for the chemical attack on the rebel-held enclave near Damascus, the second such attack in the past year, has become a central issue.

The Syrian government has denied responsibility for the attack while Russia has suggested Israel or Britain was to blame, the latter to justify increased western intervention into the country.

But Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas on Friday that Canada laid the blame squarely with Syrian President Bashar Assad, as well as his Russian and Iranian supporters.

“When it comes to this use of chemical weapons, it is clear to Canada that chemical weapons were used and that they were used by the Assad regime,” Freeland said.

The minister did not specify what evidence the government has to reach that conclusion, however, saying only that Canada is working with non-government organizations and others to collect evidence of war crimes in Syria.

“We have seen as a pattern in the world today is actors who behave in a reprehensible manner, then can be quite clever in trying to muddy the waters and in trying to dodge responsibility,” she added.

“Of course, it is important for Canada to be a country that acts based on facts. But it is equally important for us to be aware of the distraction tactics that some of the actors in the world are using today and to not allow those tactics to work.”

The strikes prompted swift condemnation from Syria and its allies, with Syrian state TV calling them a “blatant violation of international law.”

Russia’s U.S. embassy released a statement warning that the airstrikes would “not be left without consequences.” It said that “all responsibility” rests with Washington, London and Paris.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis described Friday night’s strikes as “a one-time shot,” but did not rule out further attacks.

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the attack as neither “about intervening in a civil war” nor “about regime change,” but a limited and targeted strike that “does not further escalate tensions in the region” and does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties.

“We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none,” May said.

The decision to strike, after days of deliberations, marked Trump’s second order to attack Syria; he authorized a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missiles to hit a single Syrian airfield in April 2017 in retaliation for Assad’s use of sarin gas against civilians.

Trump chastised Syria’s two main allies, Russia and Iran, for their roles in supporting “murderous dictators,” and noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had guaranteed a 2013 international agreement for Assad to get rid of all of his chemical weapons.

He called on Moscow to change course and join the West in seeking a more responsible regime in Damascus.

Friday’s strikes appear to signal Trump’s willingness to draw the United States more deeply into the Syrian conflict.

The participation of British and French forces enables Trump to assert a wider international commitment against the use of chemical weapons, but the multi-pronged attack carries the risk of Russian retaliation.

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Quebec preparing for up to 400 asylum seekers a day at the U.S. border this summer

Posted on 18 April 2018 by admin

Between Jan. 1 and April 14 of 2018, 6,074 asylum seekers have arrived in Quebec — three times more than the number of people that crossed the border in 2017.

MONTREAL—Quebec government is demanding that Ottawa come up with a new plan for handling asylum seekers with projections that up to 400 people each day could begin crossing into Canada this summer.

“Last year, we peaked at about 250 a day and that was considered massive,” said Quebec Immigration Minister David Heurtel. “Right now, there are projections on the table saying that we could go in the neighbourhood of 400 people per day.”

The province says it wants the federal government to investigate a suspected trafficking network that is helping refugee claimants — most of them Nigerian — to travel to the United States and sneak across the border into Canada at Roxham Road, which connects New York State with Quebec.

As if to underline the gravity of the problem, Heurtel said the 1,850-bed shelter system in the Montreal area will stop accepting new arrivals as of next week when the level of occupation hits 85 per cent.

“We can’t take this situation lightly. The new reality with migrants demands a new way of doing things. We are ready to work with the federal government to develop a new solution. The status quo is not acceptable,” he said.

Between Jan. 1 and April 14 of this year, 6,074 asylum seekers have arrived in Quebec, three times more than that which entered last year.

In 2017, the phenomenon of refugee claimants crossing into Quebec was mainly driven by Haitians living in the U.S. under a special immigration designation known as the Temporary Protected Status. Thousands of Haitian nationals fled into Canada from the U.S. last year after receiving warnings that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration intended to end their protected status and force them to return to Haiti.

Heurtel said that the majority of those arriving in Quebec now do not come from countries that have a protected status in the U.S.

 “Right now, the majority of asylum seekers we have had up till now come from Nigeria. They don’t speak French. Some of them have some English, but not necessarily,” he said.

Many are arriving in the U.S. and heading directly to Roxham Road. A significant portion of them also have no intention of remaining in Quebec if their refugee claim is accepted.

“We’ve had certain days where we’ve had people come to our centres, sometimes upwards of 40 per cent of the people are saying well, our intent is to go elsewhere in Canada.”

Heurtel said that Quebec has done more than its share to deal with the migrant influx over the past year. Now it’s time to spread he burden.

“If an asylum seeker already represents that their final destination is somewhere else in Canada, maybe the federal government should take notice of that and act on it,” Heurtel said.

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