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Jeffrey Tambor says he doesn't see how he can return to the Amazon series "Transparent" following two allegations of sexual harassment against him. He also says that the idea that he would deliberately harass anyone is untrue. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Jeffrey Tambor suggests he’s leaving ‘Transparent’ following accusations

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 20th, 2017

Actor Jeffrey Tambor says he doesn’t see how he can return to the Amazon series “Transparent” following two allegations of sexual harassment against him.

In an ambiguous statement Sunday, Tambor referenced what he calls a “politicized atmosphere” that has afflicted the set. He also says that the idea that he would deliberately harass anyone is untrue.

Two women have come forward over the past few weeks to accuse Tambor of sexual harassment, including “Transparent” actress Trace Lysette and his former assistant.

Tambor has won two Emmys for portraying Maura Pfefferman in the highly regarded show, which is now in its fourth season. Many interpreted his words to mean that he was leaving the show, which has not been confirmed.

Representatives for Amazon did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

Trudeau to apologize to Canadians persecuted for being gay

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 20th, 2017

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and their children Ella-Grace and Xavier walk in the Pride parade in Toronto on June 25, 2017. The New Democrats say the LGBTQ community needs Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to back up his apology for past state-sanctioned discrimination with reparations for the harm they suffered over decades. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Martine Roy was just 20-years-old and less than a year into her chosen career as a medical assistant with the Canadian Armed Forces at CFB Borden when military police suddenly showed up at her workplace to arrest her.

They brought her to an interrogation room and demanded she admit she was a lesbian. They put her through psychological testing. Within a year she had been dishonourably discharged from the army.

Thirty-three years later she cannot hold back the tears as she prepares to hear an apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the House of Commons.

“It’s amazing,” Roy told The Canadian Press on Sunday afternoon, from her home in Montreal. “Even though if you fight all your life for that it’s always hard to believe it will happen.”

Trudeau confirmed on Twitter he will offer the apology to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited people who were forced out of the military or public service and some who were even prosecuted criminally for “gross indecency.”

Starting in the 1950s and lasting until 1992, thousands of Canadians in the military, RCMP, and across the civil service were fired. Roy refers to it as “the purge” by which the government tried to weed out people that it felt were susceptible to foreign intimidation and blackmail because of their sexual orientation.

The government developed a homosexuality test known as the “fruit machine,” which measured arousal to pornographic images in order to provide proof of sexual orientation to back up the reason for firing, or denying someone a promotion.

Roy said when the military police showed up at her door she didn’t even know what her sexual orientation was and the firing “entirely changed my life.”

She said she tried for five years to fight back but eventually she decided she wasn’t going to put any more energy into it.

“You really think you did a big big crime,” she said of the ordeal. “Sexual orientation has nothing to do with your skills.”

She said in 1992 when Canada changed the law she expected an apology but that didn’t happen until now.

“It means a lot,” said Roy, fighting tears. “It means even more coming from (Trudeau) because I know it’s going to come from his heart.”

Trudeau promised to issue the apology more than a year ago after Egale Canada, a group that advocates for the rights of sexual minorities, released a report on the matter and made a number of recommendations including that a formal apology be issued.

The government has been consulting with Egale and others to determine the best way to approach the apology.

A spokeswoman for Egale said on Sunday that having a date is “exciting.”

“We think it’s long overdue,” said Jennifer Boyce.

Canada is also facing a class action suit from more than 2,000 people who say they were persecuted by the federal government for their sexual orientation. Negotiations to settle that suit are underway.

Toronto Argos win wild East final over Riders

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 20th, 2017

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Cody Fajardo’s one-yard TD run with 23 seconds remaining rallied the Toronto Argonauts to a wild 25-21 East Division final win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday afternoon.

Toronto returns to the Grey Cup for the first time since winning the historic 100th championship game in 2012 at Rogers Centre.

The Argos will face the Calgary Stampeders, who advanced to the CFL championship game for a second straight year after coming back to defeat Edmonton Eskimos 32-28 in the West Division final.

Calgary was 2-0 versus the Argonauts in the 2017 regular season with wins of 23-7 and 41-24 in August.

Fajardo’s touchdown came after Christion Jones’ 79-yard punt return TD with 2:45 remaining put Saskatchewan ahead 21-18. Toronto starter Ricky Ray calmly marched the Argos to the Riders’ one-yard line, completing 7-of-8 passes for 67 yards to set up Fajardo’s winning run.

Toronto cemented the win when Akwasi Owusu-Ansah recovered Saskatchewan receiver Duron Carter’s attempted lateral.

The Argos were certainly opportunistic against Saskatchewan, with 17 of their points coming off turnovers, delighting the enthusiastic gathering of 24,929, the club’s largest crowd ever at BMO Field.

Among those attending were Maple Leafs’ players Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner and head coach Mike Babcock, who donned his Riders’ apparel sitting next to Argos owner Larry Tanenbaum, who’s also the chairman of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the Leafs.

Saskatchewan was attempting to become the first crossover team to reach the Grey Cup since the rule was adopted in 1996. The Riders were 2-0 versus Toronto this year and defeated the defending-champion Ottawa Redblacks 31-20 in last weekend’s East Division semifinal.

Saskatchewan won the toss and deferred, opting to have the 54-kilometre-an-hour north wind for the fourth. When the Riders got the ball with 12 minutes left at their 17-yard line, they trailed 18-3.

Brandon Bridge of Mississauga, Ont., cut the deficit to 18-10, finding Carter on an 11-yard TD pass at 5:57, capping a smart 93-yard, seven-play drive. It was the first playoff touchdown pass by a Canadian since Ottawa’s Russ Jackson did so in the ’69 Grey Cup game.

Saskatchewan pulled to within 18-13 on Tyler Crapigna’s 28-yard field goal with 4:44 remaining before going ahead on Jones’ TD. Bridge then hit Naaman Roosevelt for the two-point convert and three-point lead.

It was a disappointing end to the season for Saskatchewan starter Kevin Glenn, a 17-year veteran still in search of his first Grey Cup victory. Glenn threw three first-half interceptions _ one that was returned for a TD _ before being replaced for good to start the second half by Bridge.

Ray and Toronto running back James Wilder Jr. were already assured of spending Grey Cup week in Ottawa as East Division finalists for the outstanding player and rookie awards, respectively. Now, they’ll be accompanied by their teammates and look to cap head coach Marc Trestman’s fabulous first season with the Argonauts by celebrating a CFL championship.

Trestman will make a fourth Grey Cup appearance as a CFL head coach. His first three (and two wins) came with Montreal from 2008-12 before becoming the head coach of the NFL’s Chicago Bears.

Terrance Plummer and DeVier Posey had Toronto’s touchdowns. Lirim Hajrullahu added the converts and two field goals.

Crapigna booted two field goals and a convert.

Toronto converted two late Saskatchewan turnovers into 10 points and a 17-3 half-time lead despite playing into the brisk wind. Hajrullahu’s 35-yard field goal at 14:31 came after Cassius Vaughn’s interception at the Riders’ 23-yard line.

Ray’s hit Posey on a 17-yard TD strike at 13:47 to move Toronto ahead 14-3, capping a 63-yard, seven-play drive aided by unnecessary roughness and pass interference penalties against the Riders. That march was set up by Owusu-Ansah’s interception.

In fact, all of the first-half points came off the combined six turnovers (four interceptions, one fumble, one on downs). It was an especially tough half for Glenn, who was 6-of-13 passing for 87 yards and three interceptions.

Glenn was replaced by Bridge at 4:28 of the second after completing 6-of-11 passes for 87 yards and a pick. He returned later in the quarter but was picked off by Owusu-Ansah on his first pass attempt.

Toronto opened the game with the wind and moved the ball smartly before Wilder Jr. was stopped on third-and-one at the Saskatchewan 29-yard line. The Riders converted that into Crapigna’s 16-yard field goal to open the scoring.

But Plummer put Toronto ahead 7-3, returning a Glenn interception 39 yards for the TD at 9:56.

You’ve been warned: Grace period over on King Street

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 20th, 2017

A police officer issues a warning to a driver during the first week of the King Street Pilot Project (CityNews)

The grace period for drivers who disobey the rules of the King Street pilot project officially ended Monday morning.

All traffic on King Street between Jarvis and Bathurst streets is only allowed to travel a single block before being forced to turn right – no left turns and no through traffic is allowed. The pilot project aims to keep that stretch of road virtually car-free, allowing streetcars to move unhindered.

The TTC says more than 65,000 people use the King streetcar during the week, but traffic congestion slows the service down to a crawl.

Toronto police have been handing out warnings instead of fines over the past week as drivers adjusted to the new rules on the downtown street.

But starting Monday, there will be a no tolerance policy. Fines begin at $110 and come with two demerit points upon conviction.

Bill to end five week Ontario college strike passes

The Canadian Press | posted Sunday, Nov 19th, 2017

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Ontario has passed back-to-work legislation, ending a five-week college strike and paving the way for students to return to class.

The Liberal government first attempted to introduce the bill Thursday evening, after restarted talks between the colleges and the faculty’s union reached an impasse.

But unanimous consent of all parties was needed, and the NDP refused, leading the government to introduce the legislation Friday.

It was debated through special weekend sittings in which the NDP argued it takes away workers’ rights and only comes after the Liberals failed to bring the two sides together for five weeks.

The colleges have said they would need two days to restart classes, meaning students could be back on Tuesday.

Around 500,000 students have been out of class since the strike by 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians began Oct. 15.

TransCanada Keystone pipeline leaks 795,000 litres of crude oil in South Dakota

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 17th, 2017

TransCanada's Keystone pipeline facilities are seen in Hardisty, Alta., on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. TransCanada Corp. says its Keystone pipeline has leaked an estimated 795,000 litres of oil in Marshall County, S.D. The company says its crews shut down the pipeline early this morning after detecting a drop in pressure and are assessing the situation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

TransCanada Corp. said its original Keystone pipeline has leaked an estimated 795,000 litres of oil in Marshall County, S.D. just days before Nebraska is set to decide the fate of plans to expand the pipeline network.

The company said its crews shut down the Keystone pipeline system Thursday morning between Hardisty, Alta. to Cushing, Okla, and a line to Patoka, Ill. The line is expected to remain shut while it responds to the spill.

The leak comes as the Nebraska Public Service Commission is set to vote on the Keystone XL sequel on Nov. 20 to clear the last major regulatory hurdle for the $8 billion project. Keystone XL would route the pipeline on a more direct path through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines that feed Texas Gulf Coast refineries.

American environmental groups seized on the spill as evidence that their warnings against Keystone XL would come to pass. Among the groups, 350.org, which helped launch national protests against the project in the U.S.

“This is exactly the kind of disaster we can expect more of if Keystone XL is approved,” said the statement from 350.org Executive Director May Boeve. “No matter what TransCanada says, there’s no such thing as a safe fossil fuel pipeline.”

Among other concerns, opponents of Keystone XL say the pipeline would pass through the Sandhills, an ecologically fragile region in Nebraska of grass-covered sand dunes, and would cross the land of farmers and ranchers who don’t want it.

“Just days before the Nebraska Public Service Commissions decides on whether to approve Keystone XL we get a painful reminder of why no one wants a pipeline over their water supply,” said Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema.

The Sierra Club was also quick to condemn the spill, urging the commission not to vote for the project.

“We’ve always said it’s not a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but when, and today TransCanada is making our case for us,” said campaign director Kelly Martin.

After years of delay, and rejection by Barack Obama, the Keystone XL project was given the go-ahead by President Donald Trump this year, but it’s still mired in economic and legal hurdles. In addition to the regulatory process in Nebraska, it faces dwindling demand for oil that has already prompted TransCanada to cancel its biggest Canadian project, Energy East.

With files from Alexander Panetta in Washington

Is Santa here yet? Christmas season comes alive this weekend in Toronto

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 17th, 2017

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“Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?,” Charlie Brown says in A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Linus Van Pelt replies: “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.”

Grab hold of the Christmas spirit and never let go. The festivities are already underway, with the tree at the Eaton Centre already lit up and the Toronto Christmas Market opened for the holiday season. The big news (if you didn’t already know) is that Santa is on his way this weekend, one of many appearances he is making in the city. Now, all we need is some snow (don’t be a snow hater, remember what it felt like when you were a kid).


Events

Santa Claus Parade
The jolly St. Nick is mostly known for handing out presents, but it is his message of being kind to others and sharing happiness that people embrace around the world. And that’s what Santa will bring when he comes to Toronto on Sunday.

The 113th edition of the Santa Claus parade starts at 12:30 p.m. at Bloor and Christie streets. It then heads down Bloor to Queen’s Park Crescent East, University Avenue, Wellington Street, Yonge Street and ends at Front and Jarvis streets around 3-4 p.m. Click here for the parade route.

If you are coming to the parade from outside of the city, GO Transit will be running special train service on the Milton, Kitchener, Stouffville and Barrie lines. Round trip fares are $5 for children and seniors, $10 for adults, and $20 for a group.

Toronto Christmas Market
Shortbread, fudge, waffles, poutine, and gingerbread … is your mouth watering yet? Those are just some of the yummy treats you can indulge in at the Toronto Christmas Market, which opened at the Distillery District on Thursday. And what would a European-style Christmas market be without beer gardens and Glühwein (mulled wine)? Aside from the food and drinks, you can get merry with Christmas music performances and traditional dances. Several vendors will also be on hand, selling Christmas treats and ornaments. You can also meet up with Santa and bring along your pet on Tuesdays to pose for a photo with him. Admission to the market is free during weekdays with a $6 fee starting at 5 p.m. on Fridays and into the weekend. Revenue generated from the admission fees will go towards the event and three charities.

Holly Jolly Fun Run
Ahead of the Santa Claus parade, people will be getting into the Christmas spirit in the Holly Jolly Fun Run. Those taking part in the 5k event will run along the same route as the parade. The run starts at 11:45 a.m. on Bloor Street between Manning and Euclid avenues and ends on Bremner Boulevard at Maple Leaf Square. As an added bonus, after the run there will be snacks.

Christmas lights glow
Several neighbourhoods in the city get lit up for the holidays on Saturday, including at the main event in downtown Toronto. Join the Illuminite party at Yonge-Dundas Square as the tree is lit up during an evening of music and dancing. The events runs form 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Village of Yorkville Park at Cumberland and Bellair streets will also be illuminated, as lights will be turned on during the Holiday Magic event, which runs from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Refreshments are available for a $2 donation – money raised will go to the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research.yongedundas-tree2013

Road closures

Bloor Street West from Christie Street to Ossington Avenue will be closed from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday for the Santa Claus Parade. There will also be road closures from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. along the parade route, as well as for the staging area. Road closures will also in effect for the Holly Jolly Fun Run and other events. Click here for a full list.

Ontario men charged with human trafficking after string of incidents at hotels

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 17th, 2017

OPP Police officers on security detail walk past a cruiser outside the London, Ont. courthouse during the Bandidos biker trial on Thursday April 2, 2009. The trial is hearing about the first discovery of eight bodies in what prosecutors allege was an internal cleansing of the Bandidos outlaw motorcyle gang. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Dave Chidley

Ontario provincial police have charged two men with human trafficking offences in the Toronto area.

Officers say the pair were arrested after a series of incidents at hotels in the Durham region in October.

They say more charges are expected to be laid as the investigation unfolds.

Police have released few details, citing a court-imposed publication ban on the case.

Artem Sterekhov, 19, of Kleinburg, Ont., and Roman Culeanu, 22, of Bradford, Ont., are charged with trafficking in persons, advertising sexual services, uttering threats, extortion and procuring.

Investigators have asked anyone with information related to the case to contact the OPP’s Highway Services Division Crime Unit.

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