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Police at the scene after a pedestrian was struck and killed in Mississauga. Peel Regional Police Twitter.

Two pedestrians struck and killed in GTA on Monday

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Dec 5th, 2017

Two pedestrians have been struck and killed in the GTA on Monday night in separate incidents.

The OPP’s Kerry Schmidt tells CityNews a woman in her 50s was struck and killed in the northbound collector’s lane of Highway 427 at Dundas Street West in Etobicoke.

It’s not yet clear why she was on the highway at the time.

When emergency crews arrived she was found without vital signs and died shortly after.

In a separate incident, a 41-year-old man was struck and killed by a vehicle at Hurontario Street and Brunel Road in Mississauga just after 5:30 p.m.

Peel regional police have cordoned off the area for an investigation.

1 dead, 2 critically injured after fire at TCH building in Lawrence Heights

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Dec 5th, 2017


One person has died and two people are fighting for their lives in hospital after a two-alarm fire at a Toronto Community Housing apartment building in Lawrence Heights.

Toronto police and firefighters were called to the building in the Flemington Road and Allen Road area around 9:40 p.m. on Monday.

Paramedics told 680 NEWS two males aged 16 and 18 and a woman in her 40s were rushed to hospital in life-threatening condition. One person died in hospital.

It is not yet known which person was pronounced dead in hospital.

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office has been called in to investigate.

Liberal Sherry Romanado says Tory MP James Bezan made sexual comments

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Dec 5th, 2017


Members of Parliament were shocked when Liberal MP Sherry Romanado stood in the House of Commons on Monday and revealed that Conservative defence critic James Bezan had made “unwanted comments” to her “that were sexual in nature.”

Earlier in the day, Bezan had made a vague apology saying he had made “an inappropriate and insensitive comment” at a public event earlier in the year.

He has since released a statement explaining that the incident happened in May during a photo op at Ottawa city hall. He says he made a flippant remark by saying  “this isn’t my idea of a threesome.”

Bezan says it was meant to be a partisan comment about being in a photo with a Liberal member of caucus. He claims he realized his comments were inappropriate and attempted to apologize to Romanado the next day but “was not afforded that opportunity.”

A formal complaint was made to the House of Commons Human Resources and a review was launched into his comments by the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO).

Bezan says the CHRO found that this was not a case of sexual harassment and no disciplinary action was recommended. He claims to have undergone sensitivity training and that he has apologized to Romanado both in person and in writing.

Romanado is not making any further comments.

Supreme Court allows full enforcement of Trump travel ban

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Dec 5th, 2017

FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2017, file photo, protesters gather at a rally in Washington. The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries. The justices say in an order on Dec. 4, that the policy can take full effect even as legal challenges against it make their way through the courts. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries.

The justices, with two dissenting votes, said Monday that the policy can take full effect even as legal challenges against it make their way through the courts. The action suggests the high court could uphold the latest version of the ban that Trump announced in September.

The ban applies to travellers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Lower courts had said people from those nations with a claim of a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States could not be kept out of the country. Grandparents, cousins and other relatives were among those courts said could not be excluded.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor would have left the lower court orders in place.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, will be holding arguments on the legality of the ban this week.

Both courts are dealing with the issue on an accelerated basis, and the Supreme Court noted it expects those courts to reach decisions “with appropriate dispatch.”

Quick resolution by appellate courts would allow the Supreme Court to hear and decide the issue this term, by the end of June.

Majority of Canadians back outright ban on guns in urban areas: Poll

CityNews | posted Monday, Dec 4th, 2017

OPP officers prepare to bag a firearm after Ontario Provincial Police host a news conference in Vaughan, Ont., on February 23, 2017. The majority of Canadians are in favour of a total ban on guns in urban areas, a new poll suggests. The EKOS/Canadian Press poll found 69 per cent of those surveyed agreed with the statement "I think that there should be a strict ban on guns in urban areas," with support highest in Quebec at 75 per cent and lowest in Alberta, at 47 per cent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

The vast majority of Canadians favours a total ban on guns in urban areas, a new poll suggests.

According to the poll, conducted by Ekos Research Associates for The Canadian Press, 69 per cent of those surveyed agreed with the statement “I think that there should be a strict ban on guns in urban areas.”

Support was highest in Quebec at 76 per cent and lowest in Alberta at 48 per cent.

The federal Liberals are currently at work on legislation to follow through on campaign commitments to tighten up restrictions on guns, though an earlier suggestion a new bill could be introduced before the end of the year now seems unlikely.

The Liberal plans don’t involve any kind of total ban and, indeed, no political party has ever suggested the idea, noted Ekos president Frank Graves.

But widespread support for the concept suggests there’s room to simply stop tinkering with existing gun laws and put in place something more ambitious, he said.

“I’m not saying the operationalization wouldn’t be complex but this isn’t a moon shot and it’s been done in other jurisdictions,” Graves said.

“I think Canadians would settle for something close — it wouldn’t have to be a strict ban, but anything to move the needle here.”

Guns are not involved in the vast majority of crimes in Canada but there have been increases in gun-related violence.

Statistics released last month showed that 2016 was the first time since 2012 that shootings were the most common method of homicide in Canada. Statistics Canada also reported that 2016 was the third year in a row that the number of firearm-related homicides rose.

The agency also reported last month that 587 people took their own lives with the use of a firearm in 2014, up from 544 the year before.

A standard response to why government doesn’t go further to crack down on guns is politics and the perception that urban Canadians view the issue far differently than rural dwellers, who use guns to hunt for food or protect themselves in remote regions beyond the every-day reach of law enforcement.

The political divide has played itself out repeatedly during national debates on gun control. In 2011, two NDP MPs from Thunder Bay, Ont., were disciplined when they broke ranks and voted in favour of the Conservative government’s legislation to repeal the gun registry.

During the Conservative leadership race earlier this year, a clear position on firearms-related policy was a must-have for candidates, many of whom actively courted firearms enthusiasts.

But the Ekos survey suggests there’s support across the political spectrum for restrictions that are limited to urban areas — 86 per cent of respondents who identified themselves as Liberals, 56 per cent of Conservatives and 75 per cent of New Democrats backed an urban ban.

The automated land line and cell phone survey of 2,287 Canadians was carried out Nov. 10-30 and is considered accurate within 2.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

In 2015, the federal Liberals made several campaign commitments related to firearms. They’ve fulfilled some, including a revamp of a national advisory board and increased funding to the provinces to address gun violence.

That money was announced last month at an event in Surrey, B.C., where a federal by-election is underway in a community that has a long-standing issue with guns and gangs.

The Liberals also pledged to require enhanced background checks for anyone seeking to buy a gun, and prospective buyers must also show a license. Those who sell guns would, among other things, be required to keep an inventory of stock and sales.

Their platform also promised to get more weapons off the streets by strengthening controls on handguns and assault weapons.

A group that includes family members of women killed at a shooting at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989, as well as survivors of a shooting at Montreal’s Dawson College in 2006 and one at a mosque in Quebec City last year gathered on Parliament Hill last week to press the Liberals to commit to a firm timeline for the changes.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said work is underway on related legislation.

“It is an important topic and efforts in the past in dealing with a topic that has the potential to, in some places, be controversial has ended up foundering,” he said.

“When I put forward the legislative package I want to make sure that it’s a package that will succeed. That’s my objective and we’ll get it done.”

People whose lives have been changed directly by gun violence say they’ve been waiting too long.

Fog blankets southern Ontario: Views from Toronto and the GTA

CityNews | posted Monday, Dec 4th, 2017

Photo courtesy: Jim Grace, Mississauga. Twitter.com/meesterjeem

The sky was a hazy shade of winter on Sunday morning, with Environment Canada issuing a fog warning for southern Ontario.

Toronto and the GTA as well as the cities of Cambridge, Hamilton and beyond are experiencing near zero visibility. The agency as well as police are advising drivers to be extra cautious – drive slow and maintain a safe following distance.

CityNews viewers from across the city and beyond shared what they saw or rather couldn’t see as they woke up in a literal haze:

Government confirms Canadian killed in Trinidad and Tobago

CityNews | posted Monday, Dec 4th, 2017

Map of Trinidad and Tobago where an Ontario man was found dead

A Canadian has been killed in Trinidad in what police are reportedly calling a homicide.

The Canadian government has confirmed the death, but officials say due to privacy laws they can provide few other details.

Two Trinidad and Tobago news stations identified the victim as 56-year-old Vishnu Narine, an Ontario resident.

On its website, the Daily Express said Narine was visiting his homeland when he was found dead Friday morning in Sainte Madeleine.

According to reports, police said he was found with obvious signs of trauma.

The Trinidad Guardian reported the body was discovered on a gravel road at a site earmarked for construction.

Narine’s family told police he was last seen alive on Thursday night and was carrying $10,000 in cash when he ventured out to meet someone.

Canadian officials in Port of Spain are in touch with local authorities and consular services are being provided to the family of the person who was killed.

Ontario will fall short of 2020 electric vehicle target, analysts say

CityNews | posted Monday, Dec 4th, 2017

A Nissan Leaf charges at an electric vehicle charging station (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer,File)

Ontario is envisioning a future in which millions of electric vehicles are on the roads, but analysts predict consumer uptake will remain far off the government target for 2020, despite tens of millions of dollars in subsidies.

The Liberal government has been encouraging electric vehicle sales by doling out $75 million in rebates to vehicle owners, offering various other incentives and programs, installing a network of charging stations and spending $1 million to open an electric vehicle education centre.

But that so far hasn’t translated into vast numbers of vehicles. The official data for 2017 isn’t yet available, but at the end of last year, electric vehicles represented less than one per cent of all passenger vehicle sales in Ontario.

In just two years, by 2020, the government hopes to see that number increase to five per cent.

It can’t be done, analysts say.

“The chances of meeting it aren’t low, they’re zero,” said auto industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers. “In the auto sector all roads lead to electric, it just happens to be that the road to serious acceptance of them is probably at least 2030 and more likely 2040, 2050.”

Tony Faria, an auto industry analyst at the University of Windsor, agrees that Ontario won’t meet its goal by 2020.

“We will almost assuredly get to five per cent electric vehicles purchased or on the road at some point in time, it’s just not going to be in the next couple of years,” he said. “We’re really wedded to our gasoline-driven vehicles because of the flexibility they give us distance wise, amazing availability of where you can fill up and so on.”

Range anxiety – a fear that an electric vehicle would run out of charge somewhere far from a charging station – is cited by analysts, the industry and government as one of the main reasons more people haven’t yet switched to electric vehicles.

The government announced in July 2016 that it would spend $20 million to build a network of 500 public charging stations along highways and at public places across the province by March 31, 2017.

But now, more than eight months after that self-imposed deadline, just two-thirds of the stations are in use.

Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said that timeline was “ambitious” and there have been challenges around the locations of some of the chargers, permits and construction delays, but he still believes the target can be met.

“We see what the numbers are currently, but again when you look at not only the demand we’ve seen over the last few months, but the forecasted demand for the next three or four years we do see and certainly do predict fairly sharp increases in people’s appetite for (electric) vehicles,” he said.

It takes time to get people to change their behaviours, Del Duca said.

“People get very comfortable in their patterns, both as commuters and when they’re making their product selections when they’re looking at cars,” he said. “I think there was always going to be the need for some time for a cultural shift.”

FleetCarma, a company that promotes electric vehicles, reports on quarterly sales numbers and found that in Ontario those numbers are up 96 per cent year-over-year for the first nine months of 2017.

In the second quarter, they reported electric vehicle sales represented about 0.7 per cent of the market.

“While these numbers may seem small compared to the total number of auto sales the thing to take note of here is the trajectory of the numbers,” they wrote.

The president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association said those numbers bode well and he believes there is a good chance of hitting the five per cent target in 2020. The industry itself is doing a lot to encourage sales, but for now the market demand is still very small and manufacturers are losing money on their production, said Mark Nantais.

“There’s a good deal of literature out there by independent parties to suggest that at this point in time vehicle manufacturers are losing anywhere from $10,000 to $14,000 per vehicle,” he said.

That will change over time as demand increases, he said.

“Sometimes we proceed with costly technologies that – while we might be losing money on them – we ultimately think that the market will improve, that the number of vehicles will increase, that the cost of the technology will come down,” Nantais said.

To increase sales, the government offers rebates of up to $14,000 for electric vehicles that cost up to $150,000.

In order to encourage customers to choose electric vehicles, auto dealers will often give buyers the rebate out of their own funds, but that has left some out hundreds of thousands of dollars, they say.

Frank Notte, with the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, said many dealers are waiting up to five or six months for the government to reimburse them. One dealer is owed more than $400,000, he said, and GM dealers in the Greater Toronto Area alone are owed about $2.3 million.

The Ministry of Transportation wouldn’t confirm those numbers, but said it is working to streamline the process so dealers can get reimbursed more quickly.

The province has also put $1 million toward the Plug’n Drive Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre in northern Toronto, where people can learn about and test drive electric vehicles. The centre said it has seen 1,600 test drives with more than 4,000 visitors since it opened this spring.

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