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Toronto police board approves revised carding policy that retains old data

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Nov 18th, 2016

The Toronto Police Services Board has approved a new carding policy that will allow police to retain data collected under the old system.

Police Chief Mark Saunders emerged from Thursday’s board meeting, saying the data can be useful in a variety of ways, and would only be accessed with great discretion.

“In order to get access to it, it has to go through me,” he said. “(We want) the public to have an understanding of why we are using the information.”

New provincial regulations on carding come into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, prohibiting officers from stopping any person to collect data based on race.

Police must also inform members of the public of their right not to talk with an officer. Refusing to co-operate cannot be used as a reason to compel information.

In a statement, Mayor John Tory said he “advocated for the deletion of the historical data” but added the board “received compelling advice related to the legal and practical rationale against deletion.

“I am satisfied that the resulting policy appropriately restricts access to this data and increases accountability and transparency around its use.”

Journalist, activist and vocal opponent of carding, Desmond Cole, derided the decision on Twitter, saying “the racist practice continues.”

With files from The Canadian Press 

Youngest ever MPP elected in Niagara byelection on Thursday

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Nov 18th, 2016

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The Progressive Conservatives have held the riding of Niagara West-Glanbrook in one of two byelections tonight, electing a 19-year-old student as the youngest ever member of the Ontario legislature.

Sam Oosterhoff, a social conservative who lives with his parents, easily held onto the Niagara riding that had been represented for the past 21 years by former Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak.

Oosterhoff led from the start, and with over 96 per cent of polls reporting had garnered more than 53 per cent of the vote, compared with 25 per cent for New Democrat Mike Thomas.

“Today we sent a very strong message to Premier (Kathleen) Wynne: people are fed up. People have had enough of soaring hydro rates. People have had enough of cuts to health care,” Oosterhoff said to cheering supporters at his campaign celebration in Grimbsy.

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said instead of campaigning on their record, the Liberals attacked Oosterhoff for his social conservative beliefs.

“The Liberals resorted to a smear campaign on Sam, but Sam focused on jobs. Sam focused on how we’re going to get Ontario back on its feet,” said Brown.

Brown had been accused of muzzling Oosterhoff after the home-schooled social conservative who lives with his parents won the party’s nomination, in part by courting people opposed to the 2015 update to Ontario’s sex ed curriculum.

Brown himself had flip-flopped on the sex ed issue in a September byelection in Toronto’s Scarborough-Rouge River riding, eventually saying he backs the curriculum changes. And he said Oosterhoff now supports the party’s position.

But Oosterhoff repeatedly refused to say if he would try to repeal the sex-ed update if the Conservatives win the 2018 general election.

He described himself as “100 per cent pro life,” but wouldn’t say if he’d vote with the Conservatives to support a Liberal bill that would update the definition of families to recognize the rights of same-sex couples by using the word parent in place of father or mother.

“We have a long-standing tradition within the PC party of allowing members to vote their conscience,” he said in a recent interview.

However, Brown said that while he likes some free votes, “I have asked my caucus to support the direction I’m taking as a party.”

Oosterhoff said his age was not an issue when he knocked on doors during the campaign, but he balked at questions about his home-schooling experience, and got defensive when pressed for details.

“You know what, the people who accepted my application and gave me big scholarships at Brock (University) seemed to like it okay,” he said.

When asked how much he got in scholarships, the teen responded: “That’s for me to know and you to find out.”

In tonight’s other byelection, Liberal Nathalie Des Rosier held on to the Liberal stronghold of Ottawa-Vanier, fending off a challenge from a former Ontario ombudsman.

With over 80 per cent of polls reporting, Des Rosier had over 48 per cent of the vote, compared with 28 per cent for Progressive Conservative Andre Marin.

Patrick Brown had called Ottawa-Vanier the safest Liberal seat in the province and hoped to embarrass Premier Kathleen Wynne by coming within 10 percentage points of the Liberals, but it was not to be.

At Des Rosiers’ victory party, Wynne said the new MPP will fight at the legislature for the values she has fought for her whole career, including a “fair and inclusive society.”

When asked if she is worried Oosterhoff will work against those values, Wynne was coy.

“All I can do as a politician, as a human being, is to stand up for what I believe in and gather people around me who share the same values and we are working in our party for that inclusive society,” she said.

 

Volkswagen to shed 30,000 jobs to cut costs after scandal

DAVID MCHUGH, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Friday, Nov 18th, 2016

In this photo taken Feb. 14, 2013, a Volkswagen logo is seen on the grill of a Volkswagen on display in Pittsburgh. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  says nearly 500,000 Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars built in the past seven year are intentionally violating clean air standards by using software that evades EPA emissions standards. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Automaker Volkswagen said Friday it will shed 30,000 jobs to cut costs as it tries to recover from its diesel emissions scandal and invests more in electric-powered vehicles and digital services.

Company officials said at a news conference at headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, that 23,000 of the job cuts will come in Germany. It said the measures will save some 3.7 billion euros ($4 billion) a year from 2020.

Volkswagen has agreed to pay $15 billion under a settlement with U.S. authorities and owners of some 500,000 vehicles with software that turned off emissions controls. Around 11 million cars worldwide have the deceptive software. The scandal has been a spur for the company to address problems such as excessively top-down management and excessive fixed costs at its manufacturing locations in Germany.

The company has said it aims to cut nonessential costs and investments and shift investment toward battery-powered cars and services such as car-sharing and ride-sharing.

CEO Matthias Mueller said it was “the biggest reform package in the history of our core brand.” In addition to Volkswagen, the company also makes cars under other brands including Porsche, Audi, SEAT, Skoda and Lamborghini.

Herber Diess, head of the core Volkswagen brand, said that Volkswagen had let its costs rise and “lost ground in terms of productivity.”

Volkswagen Group, with its multiple brands, has more than 600,000 employees but the cuts will mainly fall on its 120,000-strong German work force.

The company cut a deal with its powerful worker representatives under which future investment would be in Germany and the reduction in staff would rely on voluntary departures such as early retirement, with no firings.

Top employee representative Bernd Osterloh said that “the next generation of electric vehicles will be made here in Germany, not abroad.”

Other job cuts are foreseen in Brazil and Argentina.

Leonard Cohen died in his sleep after a fall, manager says

The Associated Press | posted Thursday, Nov 17th, 2016

Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen died in his sleep after falling down in the middle of the night at his Los Angeles home, his manager said Wednesday.

“The death was sudden, unexpected and peaceful,” manager Robert B. Kory said in a statement.

The details from Kory provided the first glimpse of how Cohen died. No cause was given last week in the initial announcement of his death.

The statement also said that Cohen died on Nov. 7 – three days before his passing was made public.

The singer, songwriter and poet behind “Hallelujah,” “Bird on a Wire” and “Suzanne” was 82 when he died. Cohen had been in declining health for much of the year, though he revealed few details.

He is survived by his children, Adam and Lorca, and his three grandchildren, Cassius, Viva and Lyon, the statement said.

Cohen was buried in Montreal in a small ceremony on Nov. 10, the same day his death was announced.

“With only immediate family and a few lifelong friends present, he was lowered into the ground in an unadorned pine box, next to his mother and father,” Adam Cohen wrote in a statement last week.

Cohen’s representatives say a memorial in Los Angeles is being planned.

Peel garbage collectors on strike

News staff | posted Thursday, Nov 17th, 2016

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Private waste collectors in a large part of Peel Region are now on strike after a midnight deadline came and went without a new agreement.

Talks between Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 183 and Emterra Waste Management broke down Wednesday afternoon.

Workers began picketing outside Emterra Environmental, at 1611 Britannia Rd. E. in Mississauga, before 5 a.m. on Thursday.

The job action affects more than 60 per cent of homes in Peel Region, including large sections of Mississauga, Brampton and all of Caledon. About 150,000 homes are affected. A map of the affected area can be seen below, or click here to view it.

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Garbage collection in the southern part of Peel is handled by a different company and not affected by the strike.

Residents are asked to put their garbage out according to their regular collection schedule. They can also drop off their garbage at one of the region’s community recycling centres, which will have extended hours for the duration of the strike. Residential disposal fees will not apply for garbage, recycling and yard waste during the strike.

Click here for the list of community recycling centres.

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Ontario PCs hope to unseat Liberals in two byelections, elect teen

ALLISON JONES AND KEITH LESLIE, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Nov 17th, 2016

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Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives hope to make history Thursday in two byelections, with a teenage candidate in the Niagara area and a former provincial ombudsman trying to take an Ottawa seat from the Liberals.

The Tories are expected to hold Niagara West-Glanbrook even with an upstart 19-year-old candidate stirring up controversy by taking social conservative stances that run contrary to PC leader Patrick Brown’s attempts at modernizing the party.

But the Tories are also taking a hard run at Ottawa-Vanier, which has elected only Liberals since 1971.

Former ombudsman Andre Marin is running under the PC banner there and is trying to capitalize on anger over rising electricity rates and the declining popularity of Premier Kathleen Wynne.

When he mentions Wynne’s name while campaigning, people “bristle,” Marin said. “They have a physical reaction.”

The Liberal candidate, civil liberties lawyer Nathalie Des Rosiers, acknowledged that hydro prices are a hurdle for her in the campaign.

“It’s normal at mid-mandate that one issue becomes a catalyst for disappointment on a variety of points of view, so in a byelection that usually is the case – there’s one issue that becomes the symbol of discontent,” she said.

The Liberal government announced an eight-per-cent rebate on electricity bills will come into effect Jan. 1, but it remains to be seen whether it is enough to satisfy the 94 per cent of Ontarians that government-commissioned polling shows are eager for hydro price relief.

The Liberal candidate in Niagara West-Glanbrook, Vicki Ringuette, was booed and jeered at a recent all candidates meeting when she talked about the rebate.

“It is not the kind of reaction I’m getting at the doors,” said Ringuette. “They want to talk about the issues that are important to this community, health care, schools, the fact that we’re getting increased day care spaces.”

But PC candidate Sam Oosterhoff – who would be the youngest person elected to the legislature – said rising electricity bills and anger over the installation of giant wind turbines in the riding are the top issues people bring up with him.

“People are upset and are worried about the direction the Liberals are taking Ontario,” he said. “People want a voice of change and I’m excited to be that voice.”

Oosterhoff, who describes himself as “100 per cent pro life,” said he agrees that Ontario’s sex-education curriculum needed to be updated, but he wouldn’t say if he’d work to repeal the changes if the Tories win the 2018 election.

“I think we need to ensure that we have a curriculum that was crafted in consultation with parents, and the Liberals have done a really bad job on that,” he said.

Oosterhoff, who beat out PC party president Rick Dykstra and a party vice-president to win the nomination, also refused to say where he stands on same-sex marriage, insisting it’s not an issue in the byelection.

The teenage candidate believes he can vote against his party’s positions in the legislature.

“I’m very proud of the PC party having a long-standing tradition of allowing open votes on matters of deeply held conscience,” he said.

The Liberals claim Oosterhoff started “sanitizing” his Twitter account to delete posts about his social conservative views, while some Conservatives accused Brown’s office of “muzzling” their candidate.

In Ottawa-Vanier, the Liberals took a screen capture of a now-deleted tweet showing Marin’s campaign manager holding a pro-Trump sign, and planned to use it to say the Tories’ values are not in line with the community’s.

Marin said he doesn’t perform “mind control” on his staff, who are free to do what they want.

“Listen, I’m just about as far from a Trump supporter as you could possibly imagine,” Marin said.

“(The Liberals) should look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘You know, we’re a lot like Trump’ because in many ways he won the election by being a slimy, sleazy smearer and Nathalie Des Rosiers should think twice before she embarks on that course of action.”

The NDP candidate in Ottawa-Vanier is Claude Bisson, brother of the party’s house leader in the legislature, Gilles Bisson. The New Democrat running in Niagara is former Hamilton police officer Mike Thomas, who signed a five-year membership in the Ontario PC party in September.

Six people arrested after shots fired near Moss Park

news staff | posted Wednesday, Nov 16th, 2016

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Six people were arrested after shots were fired near Moss Park.

It happened near Shuter and Sherbourne streets, just before 1 a.m. on Wednesday.

Witnesses reported hearing at least three shots. No one was injured.

As Toronto police investigated, and as a CityNews cameraman was there, a bag was thrown out of a window of a nearby apartment. Police say a gun was inside.

The six people arrested are facing weapons charges.

School failed student bombarded by racist Instagram messages, family says

ADRIAN GHOBRIAL | posted Wednesday, Nov 16th, 2016

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The father of a 14-year-old girl — who allegedly received hundreds of racist messages on her Instagram account — filmed his visit to his daughter’s school on Facebook to get the word out about the incident.

“I made sure if I went to the school, I’m going to be heard right away and this situation is going to get rectified,” said Shawn Howe.

Howe’s daughter Mataya Smith claims last year, when she was in Grade 8, she began receiving racist Instagram messages from two girls.

As she entered Grade 9 at an Oakville Catholic secondary school this year, she says the comments starting coming at her like daggers, in the high school’s halls and again on her Instagram account.

“Comments like, ‘Go cream your scaly, black skin.’ and ‘You’re my slave. Come massage my feet or I’ll hang you and throw fire at you,’” the teen said.

Mataya’s mother Rianne Smith says the school failed her daughter.

Smith says when she first heard about the comments on Friday, Nov. 4, she called and spoke with the school principal.

“The first day, I called and advised them (about what was going on), and they didn’t speak to my daughter,” she said.

“He advised me he would speak to my daughter and get it under control. 4:30 p.m. came around, I still hadn’t heard back from him. Nobody spoke to her about anything.”

Smith claims on the following Monday, she waited hours in the school’s office and was eventually told no one was available to speak with her.

Mataya said when she went to school the next day, students continued harassing and threatening her in the halls. She went to the vice principal’s office as a last resort, and says the VP partially put the blame on her for reacting to the alleged posts on Instagram.

The teen says the vice principal the ordered her to delete all of the messages from her Instagram account.

“She said that I can’t leave her office until I deleted everything,” Mataya said.

Rianne Smith says the family “would have been OK taking down the social media posts had the school spoken to us first and advised us that would have been in the best interest to kind of calm the situation down.

“However, we would have liked to have been able to make copies,” she said.

A few copies did survive. One post of a student asking Mataya why she hadn’t “jumped off a highway yet” and another proclaiming that “Trump would take care of” people like her.

The day after Mataya was forced to erase the messages, her father and aunt arrived at the school, calling for justice on Facebook Live.

Police were finally called, but on Howe. No charges were laid, but he admits he lost his cool.

“I actually went to the school with the intent to fight somebody,” he said. “I know that’s not legally right or possible so I had to do what I had to do to get the word out.”

The Halton Catholic District School Board refused to address the incident directly with CityNews because of concerns over student privacy.

But superintendent of education Camillo Cipriano did address the issue of Mataya being forced to erase her messages.

“If any child in any of our schools enters an administrator’s office and speaks of a bullying incident, it becomes the number one priority for that principal in that building,” he said.

“To ask if part of the process is to erase the video or online image? I can’t really speak to that because every situation is unique. Every situation calls for a principal or a vice principal to do what’s best for that child.”

Howe and Smith confirmed the school has spoken to the students who were allegedly sending the hateful messages, but the family has decided to pull Mataya from the school.

Mataya said she’s looking forward to a fresh start and had this message for the people who bullied her: “Stop what [you’re] doing because maybe somebody is not as strong as I am and they will hurt themselves.”

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