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Former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford announces he is publishing a book: "Ford Nation, Two Brothers, One Vision: The True Story of the People's Mayor," at a news confererce in Toronto, Sept.13, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Twitter shuts down second anti-Doug Ford account

CityNews | posted Thursday, Oct 12th, 2017

For the second time in the past several weeks, Twitter has shut down an account criticizing soon-to-be mayoral candidate Doug Ford.

The group behind @DougFordFacts got a notice from the social media site on Monday saying the account had been suspended.

They filed an appeal and got a reply saying the account was “in violation of the policy on impersonation” and would not be restored.

“[We were] surprised, mostly,” founder Simon Henderson told CityNews in an email. “We aren’t a parody site. We’ve published researched and sourced commentary for four years without issue. Impersonating the Fords would be counter-productive.”

According to Twitter’s policy, the bio and name for commentary accounts should clearly show the user is not affiliated with the subject by using words like “fake,” “fan” or “commentary.”

DougFordFacts said for that reason it superimposed its website name on its photo and didn’t tweet in the first person. The group also said it followed the accepted practice of adding the word “facts” to the handle of a commentary account as in @DonaldTrumpFact, @facts_donald, @TrudeauFacts, @HillaryFacts, @FactsByBernie and @NenshiFacts.

“It’s immediately obvious that this is a third-party political commentary account,” the group said in a post. “Nobody in their right mind would conclude that this is an official account.”

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Henderson said Twitter hasn’t provided him with any details about the decision or the complaint that triggered it — and he has no idea why the company hasn’t given him a chance to make changes to the account.

Now, he added, there’s no way to dispute the suspension as Twitter doesn’t offer mediation or independent review

“We have always responded in good faith to make adjustments as requested,” he said. “We’ve never tried to be deceptive.”

Twitter said it wouldn’t comment on individual accounts “for privacy and security reasons.”

About six weeks ago, Twitter suspended @DougFrod a satirical account mocking Ford. User Richard Feren appealed, but the account has not been reinstated.

“Twitter absolutely needs to protect users against trolls and malicious impersonation,” Henderson said. “But now politicians are abusing the rules to stifle public criticism, and that’s not right. We know that private commentary accounts are a small part of the political discourse but citizens still deserve a voice.”

Ford announced last month he would join the race for mayor in 2018. He also ran in 2014 to replace his brother Rob Ford, who had a terminal cancer, but lost to John Tory.

Ford has not responded to a request for comment.

Tourist bus crashes downtown, driver has serious injuries

CityNews | posted Thursday, Oct 12th, 2017

A double-decker bus crashed at Sherbourne and Gerrard streets on Oct. 11, 2017. Photo credit: Twitter/@Painkillaah

The driver of a double-decker tourist bus is in hospital after she was injured in a downtown crash.

The crash happened at Sherbourne and Gerrard streets just before 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

Police say the bus collided with a car, mounted the curb and struck a pole, bringing some hydro wires down.

The bus driver was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries. Her condition has been upgraded to serious but not life-threatening.

No other injuries were reported.

It’s unclear what led to the crash or if any charges will be laid.

Sherbourne remains closed between Dundas and Gerrard streets while police investigate.

City staff to deliver report on Bloor bike lanes Wednesday

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Oct 11th, 2017

Cyclists on the Bloor Street bike lanes. CITYNEWS

It could be the day of reckoning for the Bloor Street bike lanes.

City staff will reveal on Wednesday how the bike lanes have affected traffic and cycling rates downtown.

The Public Works Committee will receive a report on whether to make the lanes permanent. Next month city council will vote on the matter.

Last year, city council approved installing a separate bike lane along a 2.6-kilometre stretch of Bloor Steer West between Shaw Street and Avenue Road.

During public consultations in June, most cyclists said the pilot project has been a welcome addition.

“Since we’ve had the divided bike lanes, I feel much more confident,” cyclist Judith Butler told CityNews when public consultations were held on the project in June.

“I love it. I just sometimes come along to look at the shops and have coffee. I think it’s amazing.”

But not everyone was thrilled with the project.

“From Bay, all the way across to Shaw, it’s a disaster,” driver Rocco Catalano said.

“Traffic is just jammed right up and what (drivers are) doing is they’re going up side streets. Barton Street is like a highway.”

Coun. Joe Cressy, who helped spearhead the motion, said since the installation of the Bloor bike lanes the number of cyclists has been up, the degree of safety for both cyclists and drivers have been improved, and that there’s been a minimal impact on travel times.

In an effort to promote the lanes, Cycle Toronto kicked off the Tour de Bloor Passport this summer – a program designed to promote the Bloor bike lanes and support local businesses. The passport featured more than 70 businesses along Bloor where cyclists could get a stamp when they spent money.

Toronto airline expands daily service to 3 Ontario cities, including tech hub

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Oct 11th, 2017

A FlyGTA Airlines plane is seen at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport in an undated file photo. HANDOUT/Facebook

FlyGTA Airlines says it will soon fly daily to three new Ontario destinations out of Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport, including an 18-minute flight to technology hub Kitchener-Waterloo.

The Canadian airline says travellers will be able to fly with them from Toronto to Barrie’s Lake Simcoe Regional Airport and Region of Waterloo International Airport in Kitchener-Waterloo starting Nov. 6.

The company says flights to London International Airport in London, Ont., will commence in December.

FlyGTA has been offering eight daily flights to
Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Niagara District Airport since Sept. 2016.

Flights to Kitchener-Waterloo and Barrie will cost $129 each, including taxes and fees, and seat eight passengers, according to the company’s website.

The company also operates charter flights, aerial tours of Toronto and getaways to Niagara wineries.

Sears Canada to seek court approval to liquidate all remaining stores

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Oct 11th, 2017

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Sears Canada Inc. is applying for court approval to liquidate all of its remaining stores and assets after failing to find a buyer that would allow it to continue as a business.

The embattled retailer has been operating under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act since June.

The court overseeing Sears Canada’s operations is expected to hear a motion Friday seeking approval for the liquidation and wind down of the business.

Sears Canada said in a statement Tuesday it “deeply regrets this pending outcome and the resulting loss of jobs and store closures.”

The company wants to start the liquidation sales no later than Oct. 19 and expects them to continue for 10 to 14 weeks.

Last Tuesday, Sears received a revised bid from a buyer group led by its executive chairman Brandon Stranzl to buy the business as a going concern.

However, a lawyer for Sears Canada’s court-appointed monitor told the court last week said it would consider it but the company was running out of money and time.

Litigators for a group of lenders who have provided debtor-in-possession financing to Sears Canada to keep it afloat pushed for a liquidation agreement to be entered into by Oct. 7 at the latest. The lenders pushed for approval no later than Oct. 13, in order to liquidate before the crucial holiday season and maximize value.


Residents in Scarborough have their say on SmartTrack plan

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Oct 11th, 2017

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Mayor John Tory wants the public to get back on track with the talks of SmartTrack, announcing six new stations, including two in Scarborough.

SmartTrack was a marquee promise during Tory’s election campaign in 2014. He initially said shovels would be in the ground within two years.

Public consultation is underway this week, with the first held on Tuesday night at the Scarborough Civic Centre.

In a presentation, the city unveiled part of its plan which would see all-day, two-way service with trains every 6-10 minutes during peak periods and every 15 minutes during off-peak periods

The trains will also be electric, quieter and faster.

The idea is to use the existing GO rail corridors, which would see rapid transit along the Kitchener, Lakeshore East and Stouffeville lines as well as Eglinton Ave West.

However, some in attendance couldn’t help but voice their concerns over the project. They include worries about parking, noise, location and overall design

“They call this a meeting but it’s not a meeting” says Peter Thachuk, a concerned resident. “There’s no party at the table, no representative from communities at the table. They need to properly consult with communities”

And he’s not the only one – some members of City Council feel the same way.

“Their minds are made up” said Jim Karygiannis, who was surprised to see initial plans for parking at some of these stations altered.

“When they say here is a drawing with parking and then come back and say “oh there’s no parking” what consultation is that?”

For their part, the mayor and Metrolinx told CityNews everything discussed at the meetings will be taken into consideration.

“The only thing our minds have made up is that we are going to build SmartTrack and a subway extension” said Mayor Tory.

“The details of how things will happen, parking issues, noise issues are all on the table for discussion, that’s what these meetings are about”

Click here for information on the other meeting times and locations.

Trudeau says approach to Trump will be to find common ground on trade

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Oct 11th, 2017

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump chat at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will sit down with U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday to seek common ground as uncertainty looms over the future of NAFTA.

Trudeau and Trump are to meet at the White House as round four of talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement get underway a few kilometres away in Arlington, V.A.

But Trump has repeatedly signalled he’s rather rip up the deal before renegotiating it, casting a pall over the talks.

Trudeau told a summit for businesswomen in D.C. Tuesday night that he views his meeting with the president as a continuation of their efforts to find ways to mutually benefit both countries.

“President Trump got elected on many of the same goals I got elected on of making sure that people who don’t feel like the success and growth of the economy has worked for them do better,” he said.

“We don’t always have the same policy prescriptions to do that but in our desire to help the middle class and those working hard to join it we always find common ground.”

Trudeau will head into his meeting with Trump after talks with the influential House of Representatives’ Ways and Means committee, one of two bodies of U.S. lawmakers helping negotiators put forward the U.S. positions on trade.

Talks kick off Wednesday with a discussion of government procurement, already a thorny subject as U.S. negotiators suggested during the last round of talks in Ottawa they want to limit access to Canadians and Mexicans to U.S. projects.

After that, discussions will move onto developing remedies for trade disputes and on Saturday, the discussions are expected to turn to agriculture.

Trudeau said he sees room for modernizing the deal, but also to make it more progressive.

“Putting progressive elements into trade deals – labour protections, environmental protections – actually helps us make the case for trade and reassure people that the benefits of trade will be distributed more fairly and not just to the small number of people who’ve always benefited from it in the past.”

That Trudeau is in D.C. as NAFTA talks resume was something of a coincidence; the trip was originally planned in connection with the summit he attended Tuesday evening.

Prior to delving into trade issues Wednesday, he’s also meeting with an organization that promotes women’s education.

On Thursday, he’ll leave for Mexico, his first official visit to that country.

Sears Canada to seek court approval to liquidate all remaining stores

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Oct 10th, 2017

AppleMark

Sears Canada Inc. is applying for court approval to liquidate all of its remaining stores and assets after failing to find a buyer that would allow it to continue as a business.

The retailer has been operating under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act since June.

The court overseeing Sears Canada’s operations is expected to hear a motion Friday seeking approval for the liquidation and wind down of the business.

The company wants to start the liquidation sales no later than Oct. 19 and expects them to continue for 10 to 14 weeks.

Sears Canada says it regrets the pending outcome and the resulting loss of jobs and store closures.


Related stories:

Sears Canada assessing revised bid, receives creditor protection extension

Judge approves hardship fund for former Sears Canada employees

Sears Canada executive chairman steps down to make bid for retailer


More to come

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