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How Facebook will be a battleground in the upcoming Ontario election

Cynthia Mulligan | posted Friday, Apr 20th, 2018

If you’re a Facebook user living in Ontario, there’s a strong chance you’ll see an ad from one of the provincial party leaders as we head into election season.

But you won’t see a random advertisement. It will likely be specifically catered to you based on your gender, age, where you live and what you do.

It’s called ‘microtargeting’ and political war rooms are getting more and more sophisticated at the practice. They can find you with laser precision and send you a tailor-made ad.

Here’s how it works: political parties can use the information from your profile and determine your age, where you live, and can assess your likes and shares to pinpoint your interests.

Facebook has 23 million users in Canada

Tom Yawney, with Toronto-based The Influence Agency, has experience buying ads and placing targeted advertisements on Facebook. He says advertising on Facebook is cheaper than traditional media and the messages also have the potential to be shared.

“It puts a lot of power in the hands of politicians and, apples-to-apples, it costs less typically than television, radio, billboards, and it’s more targeted,” said Yawney.

“Often times, whether it’s television, radio or newspapers, it’s one mass message to everybody, regardless of male, female, age, interests, it’s one mass message. So this is to really segment that message, make it more specific.”

Studies have shown that users are more likely to trust a post shared by a friend or family member.

Yawney believes after the fallout from the U.S. election, this style of advertising on social media will have to be regulated. The problem is: how do you regulate something that is global?

“A lot is known about us through Facebook… they say that if you aren’t paying for something you may be the product. So I think people need to keep that in mind when putting something online, if you’re not paying for the service, no monthly fee, then the info you willingly share is used as a mechanism to run advertisements.”

CityNews has checked to see how each party is using Facebook in this election.

Doug Ford’s Conservatives:

  • 65,000 people follow their page
  • It has live streaming video with reporter style stand-ups from the campaign and dozens of ads, including one specifically addressing healthcare for people in Brockville

 

Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals:

  • Nearly 12,000 people follow their page — the lowest of the three parties
  • There is video but none of it is live. As for ads, there are quite a few including one for Mitzie Hunter and targets people concerned about healthcare in Scarborough

 

Andrea Horwath’s NDP:

  • About 21,000 people follow their page
  • They have no ads but they do have video content

‘Dining of the future:’ Vegan restaurant boom fuelled by meat eaters

Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Apr 20th, 2018

Soon-to-be-opened Mexican vegan restaurant Rosalinda co-owners Jamie Cook (left) and Max Rimaldi (right) and restaurateur Grant van Gameren are shown in test kitchen in a recent handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Alexanandez MANDATORY CREDIT

Foodies say Canada is in the midst of a renaissance in plant-based dining as vegan restaurants sprout up across the country and traditional establishments update their menus to make them more animal-friendly.

But restaurateurs say the proliferation of options is being driven not by observant vegans, but by dabbling omnivores looking for appealing meat-free fare.

“I think we’re living in kind of a boom of veganism,” said Eva Lampert, director of vegan operations at the 5700 Inc., an events and hospitality company. “People are more curious about it, and thankfully, that has meant there’s more demand for it.”

Lampert is part of the team pushing to rebrand a stretch of the Parkdale neighbourhood in Toronto’s west end as “Vegandale,” which she describes as a “little mecca” of vegan businesses that will help redefine plant-based dining as far more than just “rabbit food.”

Vegans go beyond vegetarians in banning meat from their plates, also abstaining from animal products including eggs, dairy and honey.

The 5700 Inc. co-owns Doomie’s Toronto and Mythology Diner, side-by-side restaurants that serve veganized comfort classics made by two different chefs. Across the street is the company’s vegan retail boutique The Imperative.

Mythology’s menu includes faux Reuben sandwiches, eggs Benedict, and polenta poutine, while Doomie’s serves imitation chicken sandwiches and mac ‘n’ cheese balls. Soy, wheat and vegetables are used as substitutes for meat and dairy.

By the end of the year, Lampert said “Vegandale” plans to expand to six storefronts from three, with restaurants offering a range of cuisines and price points including diner fare, desserts and meat-free fast food.

“With our business model, we’re looking to get the non-vegans in first and foremost,” she said. “We’re really looking to bring in the skeptics and the people who are unsure of vegan food so they can kind of have that ‘aha’ moment and realize a lot of the things they already are enjoying are vegan.”

At the soon-to-be-opened Rosalinda in Toronto’s financial district, co-owners Max Rimaldi and Jamie Cook set out to create a Mexican vegan restaurant that could compete with any steakhouse in the city’s cutthroat dining scene.

“We take care of all the elements that are required for a good restaurant, period,” Rimaldi said. “It just happens to be vegan.”

More than a decade in the making, Rosalinda was borne out of what Rimaldi and Cook, who eat a largely plant-based diet, had perceived to be a sparse and uninspired vegan dining scene.

The partners behind the Pizzeria Libretto chain teamed up with restaurateur Grant van Gameren, whose portfolio of meat-heavy establishments earned him a reputation as Toronto’s “charcuterie king,” said Rimaldi.

While perhaps an unlikely partner, Rimaldi said van Gameren’s palate-pushing culinary approach was key to designing an eclectic menu that appeals to the meat-eating masses, not just “granola-eating people.”

“The people who come into the restaurant and say, ‘I typically eat at … a meat-based restaurant, and I love coming here because I don’t miss the meat,’ that’s going to be the biggest compliment we can hear.”

A vegan burger to be served at the soon-to-be-opened Rosalinda restaurant is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Alexa Fernando

A vegan burger to be served at the soon-to-be-opened Rosalinda restaurant is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Alexa Fernando

In Ottawa, there are more than 232 vegan-friendly restaurants and cafes, up from 186 last year, according to Ethical Tree, an online directory that tracks socially-conscious businesses in a few Ontario cities.

Co-founder Frank Ferris, who consults with businesses about targeting ethically minded consumers, said as plant-based diets become more popular, particularly among young people, non-vegan restaurants are adding animal-friendly options in a bid to regain market share.

He pointed to a recent study conducted by a Dalhousie University professor that showed more than seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians, and 2.3 per cent identify as vegan. The survey also suggested people younger than 35 were three times more likely to consider themselves vegetarians or vegans than people 49 or older.

Ferris said diners with diet restrictions can have disproportionate sway in group decisions about eating out, so for every vegan customer a restaurant can accommodate, the returns are often multiplied by all their omnivorous friends.

“These are deeply held beliefs,” said Ferris. “If a customer goes into your store or restaurant because they’re vegan … and you cater to that ethical preference, then they’re likely to stay loyal.”

Andrew Infantino, marketing director of Montreal-based Copper Branch, said his fast-casual franchise sees ethical concerns about the environment and animal welfare as “secondary benefits” of its vegan menu, instead emphasizing how plant-based “power foods” can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

With 17 locations in Ontario and Quebec, Copper Branch is on track to add eight more locations by the end of the year, Infantino said, and next year expects to double the size of its empire to 50 restaurants in other provinces.

Infantino said plant-based diets have emerged as “the new cool,” attracting endorsements from celebrities and athletes including Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel, who partnered with Copper Branch to talk about how her vegan diet fuelled her training for this year’s Olympics.

“There are so many benefits that I don’t see how a movement like this can just be a fad,” he said. “I hope it’s the dining of the future.”

Teen caught driving 110 km/hr in Brampton school zone: police

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Apr 20th, 2018

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Police have charged two separate drivers accused of speeding well above the 40 km/h speed limit in Brampton on Thursday.

Around 1 p.m., police allegedly clocked a Honda CRV going 110 km/h in a 40 km/h school zone near Sandalwood Parkway East and Torbram Road.

Around the same time, police said they caught a Volkswagen Jetta going 93 km/h in the same area.

Both the Honda driver, a 17-year-old boy, and the Volkswagen driver, a 20-year-old man, were charged with stunt driving. They had their licences suspended and their cars impounded for seven days.

The minimum penalty for stunt driving is a $2,000 fine and six demerit points for a first offence.

However, the fine can be as high as $10,000 and come with a six-month jail term and two-year licence suspension.

Taste of spring is coming, but will it stay?

Meredith Bond | posted Friday, Apr 20th, 2018

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The neverending winter appears to be coming to a close this weekend as Toronto is expected to see sustained double-digit temperatures and spring sunshine over the next week, but can we really put away the winter attire just yet?

CityNews Meteorologist Adam Stiles says it’s quite a sad state of affairs considering we are cherishing an average spring weather weekend, but it will be quite the stark contrast to the ice storm last weekend. However, there will be lots of sunshine to make up for the lower temperatures.

On Friday, it will be sunny with a high of 8 C and an overnight low of -2 C. It will be mainly sunny on Saturday as well with a high of 11 C, although we could see a few clouds. The overnight low will be -1 C.

And the forecast on Sunday calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 12 C and an overnight low of 1 C.

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A head’s up if you are planning on getting out and enjoying the weather this weekend, the DVP will be closed for spring maintenance.

Looking ahead, Stiles says you are probably safe to put away your shovel, but the mittens and hats should stay handy over the next couple of weeks.

In years past when spring has been delayed, it has only been a couple weeks before summer-like temperatures arrive. However this year, the lake temperatures will need a couple extra weeks to warm up, so a shift to summer won’t be happening right away. For gardeners out there, a decent growing season is expected as well.

 

Maple Leafs fall into 3-1 series hole, lose 3-1 to the Bruins

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Apr 20th, 2018

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) stops Toronto Maple Leafs centre William Nylander (29) during second period NHL round one playoff hockey action in Toronto on Thursday, April 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Brad Marchand scored the go-ahead goal in the second period and Tuukka Rask made 31 saves as the Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Thursday to grab a commanding 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk had the other goals for the Bruins, who can wrap up the Eastern Conference quarterfinal when they host Game 5 on Saturday at Boston’s TD Garden. David Pastrnak added two assists.

Game 6, if necessary, would be played Monday back at Air Canada Centre.

Tomas Plekanec replied for the Leafs, who got 18 stops from Frederik Andersen.

Patrice Bergeron, part of a top line that combined for 20 points in the Bruins’ two emphatic home victories to open the series, was a surprise late scratch with an upper-body injury. Riley Nash took his spot between Marchand and Pastrnak.

Marchand snapped a 1-1 tie for Boston with 3:05 left in the second after the Bruins were whistled for icing. Leafs head coach Mike Babcock put his top line, centred by Auston Matthews, out hoping to pounce on a tired group, but Nash won the draw to Adam McQuaid, whose clearing attempt up the boards skipped past Toronto defenceman Jake Gardiner.

Pastrnak moved in on a 2-on-1 with Marchand, faking a shot to draw the over-aggressive Nikita Zaitsev to him before feeding his linemate with a slick pass for a wide-open net.

The Leafs had a number of chances earlier in the period to push ahead _ including a Mitch Marner breakaway off a stretch pass from Morgan Rielly that Rask turned aside with the blocker _ but were unable to get one by Rask.

Boston then made it 3-1 at 4:17 of the third on another bad Toronto pinch. David Krejci blocked Travis Dermott’s shot and raced the other way on a 2-on-1 before finding DeBrusk, who beat a helpless Andersen after Roman Polak failed to block the pass across.

The speedy Leafs found their legs and space through the neutral zone in their 4-2 victory in Game 3 on Monday, but found it tough to find room against the Bruins again.

Pastrnak now has 11 points in the series (four goals, seven assists), while Marchand has seven (two goals, five assists) despite Boston’s top line getting shut out in Game 3.

The visitors stunned the Leafs just 28 second into the game to quiet an electric Air Canada Centre when Krug’s snapshot from the sideboards found its way past Nash and Plekanec in front before glancing in off Andersen’s shoulder.

Toronto eventually got going and tied the score at 7:43 when Marner fed a pass from his knees that was helped on by Patrick Marleau to Plekanec, who made no mistake over Rask’s blocker for his first goal since being acquired from Montreal prior to the trade deadline.

The Leafs kept coming and nearly grabbed the lead later in the period, but Rask shot out his pad to deny Zach Hyman from in close as Toronto outshot Boston 12-7 through the opening 20 minutes.

Man seriously injured in Scarborough shooting

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Apr 20th, 2018

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A man in his 20s is recovering in hospital after a shooting in Scarborough.

Emergency crews were called to Lawrence Avenue, just west of Pharmacy Avenue, around 1:15 a.m. on Friday.

Paramedics said the victim suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

According to Toronto police, the suspect fled the scene on foot before emergency crews arrived.

No suspect description has been released.

Police continue to investigate.

Composite sketch released after woman robbed at gunpoint in Mississauga

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Apr 19th, 2018

Peel-robbery-suspect-sketch-1

Peel police are on the hunt for a suspect after a shot was fired during a robbery in Mississauga.

It happened in the area of Ambler Drive and Kamato Road, which is not far from Tomken Road and Highway 401.

It was reported that the suspect met the female victim around 6 p.m. on Tuesday. The suspect was allegedly armed with a handgun and tried to rob the victim.

Police said a struggle ensued, causing a single bullet to be fired.

The suspect then fled the scene.

No one was injured in the robbery.

Police said the stray bullet became lodged in a door.

The suspect is in his mid 20s, about five feet 10 inches tall with a medium build, and a dark brown complexion. He has black wavy hair, which was messy at the time, dark eyes, no facial hair, and no piercings. He was last seen wearing dark pants, a black zip-up hoody or jacket, a hunting vest camouflage coloured (brown, green, beige) , and tan-coloured boots.

According to police, the suspect may use the name “Frank Whyte,” and also may frequent the Trethewey Drive area in Toronto.

Police worked with the witness to create a composite sketch of the suspect.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact investigators with the Central Robbery Bureau at 905-453-2121 (ext. 3410).

Ontario Premier Wynne calls Ford a ‘bully,’ says he’s just like Trump

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Apr 19th, 2018

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Tensions between Ontario’s premier and the leader of the Opposition escalated Wednesday as Kathleen Wynne accused Doug Ford of being just like U.S. President Donald Trump, in what experts predict is a glimpse of a hostile election campaign to come.

Wynne pushed back against Ford on Wednesday, when she was asked about comments the Tory leader made a day earlier in which he suggested some Liberals could face jail time if they pulled what he described as “shady tricks” with taxpayer dollars.

The premier called Ford a bully and a coward and said he’s borrowing from Trump’s playbook. She said his words are similar to Trump’s attacks on his opponent Hillary Clinton, which included repeated calls to “lock her up.”

“Doug Ford sounds like Donald Trump and that’s because he is like Donald Trump,” said Wynne. “He believes in an ugly, vicious brand of politics that traffics in smears and lies. He’ll say anything about anyone at any time because just like Trump, it is all about him.”

Wynne said she won’t make the same mistake Clinton did, and will instead fight back against that type of behaviour.

“I’m not going to go high. I’m not going to go low. I’m going to call that bullying behaviour out for what it is,” she said. “He may be Donald Trump, but I’m not Hillary Clinton … and Ontario is not the United States of America.”

The Progressive Conservatives dismissed the comparison to Trump as a bizarre and desperate election ploy meant to distract from the Liberals’ political record.

“Desperate, desperate person,” Ford said when asked about Wynne’s comments. “We’ve seen this trick before, she’s trying to hoodwink the people, she thinks she’s smarter than the people.”

Ford repeated his promise to order a full outside audit of government books if elected premier.

The Tory leader announced the proposed audit Tuesday, saying he didn’t trust the Liberals’ accounting and referencing the gas plants scandal that saw former premier Dalton McGuinty’s ex-chief of staff sentenced to four months in jail for deleting documents.

“If Kathleen Wynne tried to pull these kinds of shady tricks in private life, then there would be a few more Liberals joining David Livingston in jail. Ontario deserves answers about how big Kathleen Wynne’s mess really is,” Ford said Tuesday.

The latest exchange is just a sign of what will likely be a particularly nasty campaign, experts said, echoing the premier’s prediction of a “vicious” race to lead the province.

“This is a bad preview of what may be in store,” said Myer Siemiatycki, a political science professor at Toronto’s Ryerson University.

Ford knew exactly what he was evoking with his statement, Siemiatycki said.

“I think he was channelling – and I think he was consciously channelling – Donald Trump, knowing how effective that kind of slogan and rally cry was in galvanizing political support,” he said.

“On the other side, I think the very swift and strong defence and counter-attack coming from Kathleen Wynne, I think maybe on her side intended to rally women especially to her cause.”

A massive cultural shift has occurred since the 2016 U.S. election in the rise of the Me Too movement, creating a climate in which it may be easier to push back against behaviours that would have previously gone unchallenged, experts said.

“Is Wynne right to call someone out for bullying and using language that she’s finding offensive and inappropriate? I mean, it’s a strong position to be in and I think the public is more open to that kind of thing now,” said Laura Stephenson, a political science professor at the University of Western Ontario.

“I think this is going to be something that we may see more of,” she said.

It likely won’t sway those with more populist views, however, Stephenson said. “There’s a lot of people in Canada who don’t dislike Donald Trump, so if anything, this may actually might be playing to some strengths that I think would already have been coming out,” she said.

The Tories also suggested Wynne’s criticism of Trump could compromise sensitive NAFTA negotiations, but Stephenson said the premier’s comments are unlikely to stir trouble and may even go unnoticed by the president.

Still, Stephenson said, when it comes to Wynne fighting back, “What does she have to lose?”

After 15 years in power, the Liberals have been lagging in the polls and face an uphill battle in the June election.

The Tories have repeatedly criticized the Liberals for what they call reckless spending of public funds.

A key ratings agency, Moody’s Investor Services, downgraded its outlook on Ontario’s finances Wednesday to “negative” from “stable” in light of the Liberal government’s plan to run six consecutive multibillion-dollar deficits.

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