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Thousands of Montrealers rally against proposals of incoming CAQ government

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

Thousands attended an anti-racism protest in downtown Montreal Sunday afternoon, expressing anger at proposals by the incoming Coalition Avenir Québec government that they say would affect immigrants and religious minorities in the province.

Many see the plans as racist and xenophobic.

“We are concerned about the CAQ election because they have been trying to divide Quebecers into real Quebecers and immigrants,” said Scott Weinstein of the Independent Jewish Voices, one of several groups at the demonstration.

After an historic win in last week’s provincial election, party leader Francois Legault reiterated plans to slash immigration by 20 per cent.  He also wants to impose a values and French language test for immigrants, the failure of which would leave them open to deportation.

Kheira Megdoud, a Muslim woman at the protest who wears a hijab, is fed up.

“Mr. Legault, he wanted to be elected and he knew that some Quebecers [are] fed up with immigration.”

But one of the party’s top priorities is a promised secularism charter.  It would ban civil servants in positions of authority from wearing visible religious items like head scarves.  Affected professions would include police officers, teachers and judges.

“We left our country many years ago to come build and be a part of this country, and build,” fumed Megdoud, who is worried for teachers who would be affected.  “We have the right to work and be part of this country.”

In response to criticism that such a plan would run afoul of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Legault vowed to invoke the notwithstanding clause.

“We’re gonna fight it,” said Marlihan lopez, one of the protesters.  “We’re gonna fight it to the end.”

These proposals, protesters say, set a tone that creates division and encourages racist groups to target minorities.  On Tuesday, a tweet by France’s far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, supporting the party on its proposals, forced Legault to reject any association with her.  Weinstein wasn’t impressed.

“The problem with his response,” Weinstein said, “is he says he rejects it but nothing has changed in terms of his policies.”

The protesters vow to do everything they can to prevent Legault from implementing his plans and this, they say, is just the start.

“Being on the street is just an afternoon of solidarity,” Weinstein told Global News. “The real work comes in our workplaces and in our communities.”

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Toronto Real Estate Board suing listings website Mongohouse for $2M

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

 TORONTO – The Toronto Real Estate Board is suing Mongohouse for $2 million, alleging that the anonymously-run property listings website is illegally accessing, copying and distributing its proprietary data.

The board, which represents more than 50,000 realtors across the Greater Toronto Area, filed the lawsuit last month in Federal Court asking for an immediate and permanent injunction for the popular website to be taken down.

In the statement of claim, TREB alleges that Mongohouse participates in an “orchestrated strategy to avoid and elude” the board’s multiple attempts over the past two years to shut it down.

It claims the website is infringing on the board’s copyrights by “employing various techniques to illegally data scrape” TREB’s proprietary information that it provides to its fee-paying members through its internal multiple-listings service (MLS). This data includes new property listings, descriptions, sold prices and photography.

It goes on to allege that Mongohouse is profiting by its daily “unauthorized access” of this information, which it then displays on its website for free.

Attempts to contact the website operator and the Toronto Real Estate Board for comment about the legal action have been unsuccessful.

“The information and content taken from TREB is used by Mongohouse to solicit people to use the Mongohouse site and is intended to draw public users to the site to generate advertising revenue,” according to claim.

“All of the information on the Mongohouse website for this purpose is only available from the TREB MLS system. There is no other means available for Mongohouse to obtain the information that is available and made publicly accessible through the Mongohouse website.”

TREB says it doesn’t know how Mongohouse is accessing the information, but it has evidence that it is from them because it placed “unique information” in its system and saw it appear on the Mongohouse website within 24 to 48 hours.

The board argues that it has spent “tens of millions” of dollars to create and maintain its MLS system and that it has suffered “injury and irreparable harm” when Mongohouse “continues to pass itself off as offering the same services…”

In addition to naming Mongohouse.com and Mongohouse.ca in its lawsuit, the claim also names the website’s unknown operators (John and Jane Doe); web server Digital Ocean Canada Inc. and its U.S. based subsidiaries as well as Sheng Lan Mai who is also known as Maxim Mai, of Richmond Hill, Ont.

The board claims that Mai is a software engineer at IBM and “appears to be the original author and creator of Mongohouse.” It is unclear whether he is currently the operator of the website.

The Mongohouse website has been down as of Oct. 1. In a message to its reported 50,000 users, the website apologized for the inconvenience.

“At the moment, Mongohouse is unable to comment and/or share more information until further instructions given,” said the message.

This lawsuit comes after the Supreme Court of Canada decided in August not to hear a case where TREB was fighting to prevent home sales data from being posted on realtors’ password-protected websites.

TREB had argued for seven years at three judicial bodies that allowing the data to be released would create privacy and copyright concerns, but the Competition Bureau insisted keeping the numbers under wraps was anti-competitive and stifled innovation.

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Cuts to flu season surge funding will make hallway medicine worse

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

QUEEN’S PARK — Overcrowded hospitals across the province are being asked to handle this year’s flu surge with fewer resources than last year, and the Ford government continues to signal that deep cuts are coming to Ontario’s health care system.

This week, the Ford government announced flu surge funding that falls $10 million short of funding from the previous year, despite increased pressure on hospitals across the province.

During question period on Thursday, Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath said that the shortfall – and Ford’s total lack of action on creating new permanent beds – is threatening to make things even worse at hospitals that were already struggling badly under Kathleen Wynne.

“For patients worried about whether a hospital bed will be there when they need it, this government’s approach to health care is concerning,” said Horwath. “Warning hospitals that lean financial times are coming is a warning that says ‘get ready for even more cuts.’”

Last year’s flu-season funding from Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals in October 2017 was $100 million. It was far too little, and only provided temporary beds. Now the Ford Tories are promising $10 million less, and trying to make it sound like a good thing.

“You can’t invest less in 2018 and expect things to be better for patients than they were in 2017,” said Horwath.

Today, asked about long-term solutions at Queen’s Park, the health minister talked about further cuts instead of more help for hospitals and patients.

“We’ve got to look under every stone and find out where we can find those savings,” said Christine Elliott of the health care system, echoing earlier warnings from Finance Minister Vic Fedeli that Ontarians will be asked to “make sacrifices” when it comes to public spending.

“‘Modernization,’ ‘transformation,’ and ‘efficiencies’ are the same words that the Liberal government used to cut our hospitals and our health care system,” said Horwath.

“People remember what happened the last time Conservatives controlled hospitals in Ontario. 6,000 nurses were fired as the Conservative premier compared them to outdated hula hoops. 28 hospitals were shuttered all over the province, closing 7,000 hospital beds. Ontarians deserve better. We have to do better.”

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Here’s the real reason behind Sonam Kapoor Ahuja’s break from Twitter

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

Sonam Kapoor Ahuja is one of our most vocal and outspoken celebrities. She’s someone who never shies from calling a spade a spade. She has many a time made use of her social media account to take a stand against wrongdoings. However, social media also comes with its fair share of negativity.

It seems that Sonam has decided to take a little break from it. She announced the same with a tweet which read, “I’m going off twitter for a while. It’s just too negative. Peace and love to all !”

The tweet doesn’t really come as a surprise as celebrities are constantly scrutinised for every action in the digital world. Recently, All India Bakchod, a popular YouTube channel issued a statement on Twitter, in which they apologised for not taking stern action against their former employee and comedian Utsav Chakraborty’s inappropriate tweets to several women, who came out on the social media platform. Sonam encouraged AIB’s initial statement on the issue where the group confessed that by lending a safe working environment to Chakraborty, they had shielded him from facing consequences. She applauded the tweet, which she later deleted. Sonam’s stance was not taken well by many on the platform. Her post regarding traffic in Mumbai garnered negative comments on Twitter as well. We hope that the negativity ends and social media becomes a healthier place to voice opinions.

 

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Shilpa Shetty OPENS UP about rumours of her relationship with Salman Khan

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

Shilpa Shetty and Salman Khan were once seen in as many as three to four films. Phir Milenge, Garv: Pride and Honour, Auzaar and Shaadi Karke Phas Gaya Yaar were some of them. Keeping in mind the constant presence of the couple on screen, this had fueled up relationship rumours between the two. Now, years later, Shilpa, who is now happily married to Raj Kundra, decided to speak up about her relationship with Salman Khan.

Firstly, Shilpa Shetty Kundra shunned the rumours about the two of them dating. While she did agree that she shares a great camaraderie with the superstar off screen, the actress maintained that they are good friends in real life. Recalling moments from their friendship, the actress stated that he has been one of her most trusted friends and have gone out for dinner and has hung around with him for quite some time.

However, she was also quick to add that she wouldn’t call any of it a date. On the other hand, Shilpa Shetty also spoke about the unique friendship that Salman Khan shared with her late father. She spoke about how Salman would visit her place at midnight and considering that she was fast asleep at that time, he would spend his time with her father, sharing a drink or two with him.

Reminiscing about the sad day when she had lost her father, Shilpa Shetty stated that Salman had visited her residence that day. And the first thing he did was to walk to the bar and put his head down there and cry.

On the other hand, coming to her friendship with Salman, she went on to describe the superstar as a humble, loving and a grounded human being. The actress made no qualms in asserting how she respects the actor.

As for the work front, Shilpa Shetty is continuing with her fitness love and has recently started hosting a show on blind dating, Hear Me Love Me.

 

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New report calls Liberals’ 2016 tax hike ‘revenue loser on a national scale’

Posted on 03 October 2018 by admin

The Liberal government’s 2016 tax hike on Canada’s top one per cent not only failed to yield the promised billions, but resulted in a net revenue loss for government coffers, according to a new report released by the C.D. Howe Institute.

After adjusting for economic changes and one-time factors, the paper estimates, based on 2016 tax data, that the Liberals’ new tax bracket for top earners creates $1.2 billion in new revenue for the federal government but a $1.3 billion loss for provincial governments.

As such, “the hike was a revenue loser on a national scale,” writes study author Alexandre Laurin, director of research at the Institute.

However, commenting on the results of the report, Finance Canada official Jack Aubry told Global News via email that “preliminary statistics for the 2017 tax year are broadly indicative of a substantial rebound in taxable income reported by high-income taxpayers in 2017.”

For now, though, “it is too early to quantify this effect,” Aubry added.

In December 2015, the Trudeau Liberals announced that the tax rate on income over $200,000 would go up four percentage points, from 29 per cent to 33 per cent. This was meant to help offset the revenue losses from the government’s signature “middle class tax cut,” which reduced the tax rate on incomes between about $45,000 and $90,000 by 1.5 percentage points, from 22 per cent down to 20.5 per cent.

Tax data from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) revealed this summer that Ottawa’s tax hike failed to live up to its revenue-boosting expectations in its first year of implementation. The numbers showed that high-income earners actually paid $4.6 billion less in federal tax in 2016, the first year the tax changes took effect. That was a far cry from the $3 billion in new revenue that the Liberal Party’s campaign platform said the new tax would raise.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s office, however, has maintained that the revenue drop for 2016 was a one-off event. Because the government announced the changes in late 2015, high-income taxpayers had an opportunity to shift some of their income to the 2015 tax year, thus partially avoiding the new tax bracket — at least temporarily.

Top earners are more likely to receive some of their income through dividends and to have some discretion over the timing of those dividend payouts. As a result, many decided to pay themselves through dividends in 2015, inflating tax revenues for that year and resulting in a drop the following year.

The recession in Alberta also likely took a toll on 2016 revenues, as a large chunk of Canada’s top earners live in that province.

But an analysis of the data that adjusts for the impact of the dividends maneuver and economic factors still shows that the tax hike would have fallen far short of the hype, according Laurin.

Laurin’s calculations show that the higher tax on Canada’s one-percenters would have added only $1.2 billion in fresh federal revenues. That’s just over a third what the Liberals initially predicted and slightly over half the $2 billion that a later, revised estimate from Morneau’s office said the tax would bring in during its first full year of implementation.

Worse, that $1.2 billion in federal revenue gains is less than the $1.3 billion in lost revenue that the tax hike would have cost the provinces, according to Laurin’s analysis.

Preliminary statistics for the 2017 tax year are broadly indicative of a substantial rebound in taxable income reported by high-income taxpayers in 2017, but it is too early to quantify this effect.

Studies have shown that top earners are more likely than lower-income taxpayers to react to tax increases by reducing their taxable income. This may be because the wealthy have access to more sophisticated tax advice, are more easily able to shift assets to lower-tax jurisdictions or can afford to simply decide to work less given that they get to keep less of their money.

Canada’s one-percenters appear to be no exception, and their efforts to minimize the impact of the higher federal tax rate resulted in lower taxable income at the provincial level as well. But because the provinces haven’t raised their top tax rate, provincial government coffers suffered a net revenue loss of $1.3 billion, Laurin’s analysis shows.

He adds that Ottawa could try to tackle the issue by pouring more resources into tax enforcement, although that would only make sense “to the extent that additional revenue collection from top earners exceeds the extra enforcement costs.”

Another option is to slightly lower the new 33 per cent tax rate so that the combined federal and provincial top tax rates fall around the 50 per cent mark. This “would cost little federally, while provinces would enjoy a [revenue] windfall,” Laurin writes.

Finally, Ottawa could raise the income threshold for the top tax rate — the current $205,800 — to $411,600. This would cost the federal government around $500 million a year, but pump around $700 million a year more into provincial budgets.

The latter would be “a major bonus in an environment where fiscally pressured provinces are pushing Ottawa for more cash,” writes Laurin.

 

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Ford PCs gearing up for sell-offs and privatization

Posted on 03 October 2018 by admin

QUEEN’S PARK – Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath said Wednesday she’s concerned that the Ford government’s recent review of the books is laying the groundwork for the privatization of public assets.

On the heels of Ford’s theatrical pronouncement that the deficit is deep and the province is in need of  cash, this week’s release of a review of the books recommended a “divestiture” and “Alternate Service Delivery” of the Government Business Enterprises – that’s the LCBO, Ontario Power Generation (OPG), and Ontario Lotteries and Gaming (OLG).

“Doug Ford didn’t campaign on selling public assets, and it wasn’t in the throne speech. But yesterday the President of the Treasury Board was happily telling reporters he’s ready to get started,” said Horwath, who raised the issue in question period on Wednesday, and noted that the LCBO is a profitable venture that helps fund Ontario’s health care system and schools.

“The LCBO brings in over $2 billion a year for the people of Ontario, yet the Conservatives’ high-priced consultants now say that they could sell it all for a ‘one-time cash payout,’” said Horwath.

“The last Conservative government never campaigned on selling the 407. But they did it anyway and stuck drivers with the bill – a bill they are still paying. In 2014 the Liberals ran an election campaign insisting they weren’t going to privatize Hydro One. Within months, they were doing exactly that.”

Horwath urged the Ford Tories to abandon any plan they’re cooking up in the back rooms to sell off any further public assets.

“Given the history of disastrous privatization in this province, does this government really believe that a fire sale of public assets makes a lick of sense?” she asked.

 

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Ford sounding deficit alarm to pave the way for cuts: NDP

Posted on 03 October 2018 by admin

QUEEN’S PARK – New Democrats say the Ford Tories’ theatrics over the state of the province’s books are designed to tee up massive cuts to health care, education, and more.

On Tuesday, the government released a hasty review of the books, singling out spending in health care, education, social services, and post-secondary education.

“Doug Ford is setting the stage for deep and painful cuts to our schools, our hospitals and the services we all rely on – and he’s going to claim that the deficit made him do it. No one is falling for his routine,” said NDP Finance Critic Sandy Shaw during question period on Tuesday.

In the wake of the election, the Ford Tories feigned shock over the provincial deficit, despite the Auditor General having consistently revealed the deficit numbers the Tories now pretend to be surprised by.

“The Ministry of Finance says they’re only adopting the auditor’s findings on a ‘provisional basis,’” said Deputy Leader Sara Singh, pointing out that it’s politically convenient for Ford to do so to justify cuts.

Those cuts were also set up last week in a speech to the Economic Club of Canada by Finance Minister Vic Fedeli, who warned that no one would be spared.

“It looks like we’re seeing a pattern here,” said Singh. “The premier is surprised by a deficit that no one else finds surprising. He agrees wholeheartedly with the auditor but only provisionally, and then he reserves the right to lower the deficit using the same method that the Liberals used.”

While signaling that he’s planning to cut health care, Ford has embraced the disastrous Liberal hydro borrowing scheme – a tactic to hide spending that will drive hydro rates through the roof in the near future, and cost the province an extra $40 billion.

With the government announcing a new select committee to investigate the provinces financial practices under the previous Liberal government, the NDP has introduced amendments that would empower the committee to also investigate the new government, while allowing non-government committee members to call witnesses of their own.

“If Mr. Ford is really interested in transparency, he would be interested in getting all of the facts, not just the facts that help his party. Why should families believe him when he refuses to do that?” asked Shaw.

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Urvashi Rautela gets trolled after she apologized over the Gigi Hadid post

Posted on 03 October 2018 by admin

Well, we all know what ensued during the past week, when our former beauty queen Urvashi Rautela ended up getting trolled massively for a major error on social media. A post of the actress where she was rumoured to be dating Ahaan Shetty had irked her and she shared a note along with one of the reports that mentioned about their alleged relationship. However, it wasn’t the media post that got trolled but what Urvashi Rautela had shared on her Instagram.

Urvashi Rautela had shared a post wherein she apparently shunned media reports for spreading rumours about her alleged affair. But her post resulted in a field day for netizens and social media lovers. Reason? Her post was the exact replica of the ones Gigi Hadid shared a couple of months ago. Gigi Hadid had slammed an Instagram page which was trolling her relationship with Zayn Malik. On the other hand, Urvashi Rautela ended up doing the copy paste job which didn’t go down well with Instagram audiences. They ended up lashing out at the actress for copying Gigi Hadid. Responding to that, Urvashi used the same platform to share her apology. She shared an Instagram story saying, “I’d like to apologise on behalf of my content writer/litterateur/biographer (due to his super hectic schedule) as he had no idea about @gigihadid. I feel terrible for this mistake.”

However, the said recent Instagram story too seems to have backfired badly for the Hate Story IV actress. It seems that the Instagramers are still laughing over Urvashi having her own biographer for her social media! We wonder what the actress has to say on that.

Coming to the work front, Urvashi Rautela is yet to announce her next project after Hate Story IV.

 

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“No one from Bollywood is SUPPORTING Tanushree Dutta, they are just showing sympathy” says Rakhi Sawant

Posted on 03 October 2018 by admin

Earlier this week, Tanushree Dutta shook the industry when she alleged that veteran actor Nana Patekar harassed her during a shoot. Following her revelations, a few from the industry took to Twitter to show their solidarity and express their disdain regarding such acts. However, Rakhi Sawant, who has been unleashing a slew of videos on social media proclaiming her love for Mike Tyson, recently held a press conference wherein she called Tanushree a blatant liar. If that wasn’t enough, Rakhi also stated that no one from Bollywood was supporting Tanushree, instead they were just showing their contempt for such matter.

Explaining her view Rakhi first questioned how such an incident can happen when on sets amid hundreds of people. Later talking about Bollywood celebrities supporting Dutta she added, “No Bollywood celebrity is supporting Tanushree Dutta. They are simply showing their sympathy. They have not seen what happened since this is a 10 year old story. So what they have done is remained neutral, they showed their sympathy that such a thing happened, because if they don’t, then you the media would say, ‘See this person doesn’t care about what happens’. This is why all they said was that it was sad that such a thing happened, if it did happen. They are not saying this because it is Tanushree Dutta. They would have said it had it been for anyone.”

Further talking about the same, Rakhi went on to add, “Nowhere have they (the Bollywood celebrities) said that Nana Patekar was wrong, or what he did was wrong. Now they cannot say that because he (Nana) did nothing wrong. And if he (Nana) wanted to do something like this he would have done the same with me, or for that matter so many other actresses he has worked with. Why would he single out Tanushree? In my opinion Tanushree did not want to do that particular track, she wanted to take drugs and get high. Even today I will tell the US immigration to check her (Tanushree) bags and see what all you will find. Check her blood and see how many drugs you will find”.

Moving on from the song sequence, Rakhi next spoke about Tanushree Dutta attacking people like Akshay Kumar and Farah Khan for working with Nana Patekar. “She isn’t worthy of being part of this industry, she keeps asking why are people still working with Nana Patekar, why? Are you jealous that all of them are getting work and now you…You has abused drugs so much that you have bloated up, you have destroyed so many homes in America and then you come here? Are you such a ‘Sati Savitri’? Because the whole Indian community in America knows what you are and what you do there, how you steal, how you take drugs, and live in other peoples’ houses.”

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