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Are you ready for the summer? Some rain but mostly warm weather in the forecast

NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Jun 21st, 2017

People enjoy the hot weather in Toronto on June 11, 2017. CITYNEWS
After all the rain and roller-coaster temperatures the GTA has seen since the spring, summer couldn’t have come any sooner.

Summer officially arrived at 12:24 a.m. on Wednesday. It is also the longest day of the year, with 15 hours of sunlight expected in the day.

The first day of summer will bring a mix of sun and cloud and a high of 24 C, 680 NEWS meteorologist Harold Hosein said.

He said that warmth will be typical during the height of the summer months, but to expect some active weather on very hot days.

“It appears to be a typical summer for July and August with temperatures in the mid- to high-20s. Expect some hot, dry days but also some thunderstorms, which could give us some heavy downpours,” Hosein said.

Last year, the City of Toronto issued 14 heat alerts and eight extreme heat alerts. So far this year, the city has had three heat alerts.

Hosein said the GTA won’t likely see the amount of rain the region experienced in the spring.

“We could see some rainy weather as head into the first few days of summer, but I expect that we will have some dry spells as we head into the later part of July,” he said.

Showers and isolated thunderstorms are in store for Thursday and Friday and daytime temperatures in the high-20s. There is a also a chance of showers over the weekend with temperatures in the low-20s.

While many are looking forward to the summer heat, mosquito season arrived early this season and experts predict it is going to be a bad one.

In April, Toronto and Region Conservation’s chief aquatic biologist said models indicate this summer will be worse than most and the mild winter is to blame for this early start.

The TRCA and public health departments across the region are most concerned about mosquito-borne illnesses, particularly the West Nile virus. They look for species of mosquitoes that can carry that disease; of the 67 species in Ontario, only about 13 carry it.

Britain’s Prince Philip admitted to hospital with infection

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jun 21st, 2017

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, arrives at the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto, Sunday, July 4, 2010. Prince Philip is planning a lightning trip to Toronto this spring. The Duke of Edinburgh will travel to the city on April 27 to present a new regimental colour to the Third Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, arrives in Toronto for a royal visit on April 26, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
Prince Philip has been admitted to a hospital for treatment of an infection and will not be able to attend the Queen’s Speech, Buckingham Palace said Wednesday.

Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, was admitted as a precautionary measure and is in good spirits, the palace said.

Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, is 96 and recently said he was stepping down from public events.

He has suffered heart ailments in the past. The palace said the infection is related to a pre-existing condition.

The queen is due to outline the government’s legislative agenda in her speech Wednesday. Prince Charles will attend in Philip’s place.

The palace said Philip is being treated at the King Edward VII Hospital in London after being admitted Tuesday night.

Queen Elizabeth II plans to attend the horse races at Royal Ascot on Wednesday afternoon, the palace said.

Related stories:

Britain’s Prince Philip to retire from royal duties

A list of Prince Philip’s visits to Canada over the years

Maclean’s: Prince Philip may be slowing down, but he’s not bowing out

Toronto authors Melanie Mah, Meaghan Strimas among Trillium Book Award winners

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jun 21st, 2017

File photo of library books on a shelf. CITYNEWS
Authors Melanie Mah and Meaghan Strimas are the English-language winners of this year’s Trillium Book Awards honouring Ontario-based writers.

Mah, who was born in Rocky Mountain House, Alta., and is now based in Toronto, was awarded the top honour in the literature category for her debut novel “The Sweetest One” (Cormorant Books). The story centres on a teen girl in a small Alberta town living with a crippling fear brought on by belief in a family curse after the deaths of three of her siblings and the departure of a fourth.

Strimas, who grew up in Owen Sound, Ont., and is also based in Toronto, won the poetry prize for her third collection “Yes or Nope” (Mansfield Press). She is an English professor at Humber College and the managing editor of the Humber Literary Review.

The French-language literature prize was awarded to Ottawa-based Jean Boisjoli for his debut novel “La Mesure du temps” (Editions Prise de parole), while the French-language children’s literature award went to Ottawa-born Pierre-Luc Belanger for “Ski, Blanche et avalanche” (Editions David).

Recipients of the Trillium Book Award for literature receive $20,000 and their respective publishers receive $2,500 to promote the winning titles. Poetry and children’s literature winners each receive $10,000, and their publisher $2,000 for promotion of the titles. Finalists in all categories receive a $500 honorarium.

Now in its 30th year, the Trillium Book Award is billed as Ontario’s highest literary honour, with past winners including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, the late Austin Clarke and Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro.

This year’s English-language jury included authors Cherie Dimaline, James Grainger, and 2016 Trillium Book Award poetry winner Soraya Peerbaye.

The French-language jury included authors Celine Forcier, Melchior Mbonimpa, and 2001 Trillium Book Award for literature winner Didier Leclair.

10 things about the Liberal government’s security bill introduced Tuesday

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jun 21st, 2017

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Ralph Goodale leaves after making a national security-related announcement in the foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
The Liberal government introduced long-anticipated security legislation Tuesday following consultations that drew comments from tens of thousands of Canadians. The wide-ranging package of measures would:

— Limit, but not scrap, a measure from the Harper Conservatives allowing the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to disrupt terror plots, not just gather information about them.

— Amend other contentious provisions of existing legislation that deal with information sharing, terrorist propaganda and promotion of terrorism.

— Roll the functions of existing watchdogs into a super-agency known as the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency.

— Empower the new watchdog to ensure more than a dozen federal security organizations are complying with the law.

— Create an intelligence commissioner, an independent agent who would authorize certain intelligence and cybersecurity activities — a measure intended to boost public confidence.

— Allow the public safety minister to assure parents their child is not on the no-fly list when confusion arises at the airport.

— Modernize the CSIS Act, establishing in law a regime authorizing activities — such as infiltration of a terrorist cell — that might otherwise break the law.

— Require CSIS to seek a judge’s permission to keep datasets primarily containing personal information about Canadians.

— Give the Communications Security Establishment’s cyberspies the power to take action against online threats to Canadian interests.

— Repeal a provision first passed following the 9/11 terrorist attacks that required a person to appear before a judge and answer questions.

Brussels train station blast being treated as terror attack

RAF CASERT AND LORNE COOK, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jun 21st, 2017

A soldier cordons off an area outside Gare Central in Brussels on June 20, 2017, after an explosion in the Belgian capital. AFP/Getty Images/Emmanuel Dunand
Belgian authorities said they foiled a “terror attack” Tuesday when soldiers shot and killed a suspect after a small explosion at a busy Brussels train station that continued a week of attacks in the capitals of Europe.

Federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said soldiers “neutralized” a male suspect at the Central Station immediately after the explosion there on Tuesday night. The man lay still for several hours while a bomb squad checked whether he was armed with more explosives.

Prosecutor’s spokeswoman Ine Van Wymersch confirmed his death early Wednesday and said no other explosives were found on his body. Some Belgian media had reported earlier that the suspect was wearing a bomb belt.

Belgium’s Crisis Center, which monitors security threats in the country, said based on initial information it did not see a need to raise the country’s terror threat to the highest level and kept it at the second-highest level.

Authorities set up a wide perimeter around the station, located near the city’s famed Grand Place square.

Van der Sypt said no one else was injured besides the suspect and the damage from the explosion was limited. The attack, which took place during a rare heatwave in Belgium, came around 8.30 p.m., well after the evening rush hour had dissipated.

Nicolas Van Herreweghen, who works for Belgium’s national rail company, said the male suspect was very agitated, yelling about jihadists and then “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” before blowing up something on a baggage trolley.

He said the man appeared to be 30 to 35 years of age.

The government agency that owns Belgium’s railways was warned by a train driver who saw people running across the rail lines inside the station, spokesman Arnaud Reymann told broadcaster RTL.

National newspaper La Libre Belgique quoted the prosecutor’s office as saying the suspect was wearing a backpack and an explosive belt. The information could not be immediately confirmed. Photos posted on social media showed a small fire in the station.

The Central Station is one of the busiest in the nation and soldiers could be seen patrolling there after the explosion. It was evacuated along with the Belgian capital’s Grand Place, a major tourist site about 200 metres (656 feet) away.

Rail company spokeswoman Elisa Roux said Tuesday evening that trains were diverted from the station and buses sent out to take passengers to the area.

Belgium has been on high alert since suicide bombers killed 32 people on the Brussels subway and at an airport in March 2016. Extra police and soldiers in camouflage gear have become a common sight in crowded areas.

There have been attacks in Paris and London in recent days, including the attack by a van driver who tried to run down worshippers outside a London mosque.

Details of upcoming royal visit by Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall released

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jun 20th, 2017

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla wave as they leave Winnipeg on May 21, 2014. Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will visit Canada this summer in time for the country’s birthday. Governor General David Johnston says they have accepted the government’s invitation to undertake a tour. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
The federal government has released a detailed itinerary for the upcoming royal visit by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla to Canada’s north, eastern Ontario and the National Capital Region for Canada Day festivities.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will begin their brief tour on June 29 in Nunavut where they will meet with Iqaluit residents who are working to preserve and promote Inuit language and culture.

The royals will also discuss climate change in the region and take part in discussions on women’s health before attending a community feast.

The following day, Charles and Camilla will meet with members of the Canadian Armed Forces at CFB Trenton in eastern Ontario and visit a farmers’ market and winery in the area.

Then, on Canada Day, July 1, the royals will open the Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History before taking part in the celebrations to mark Canada’s 150th birthday.

Prince Charles will then open the newly-renovated National Arts Centre and visit Ottawa-based e-commerce company Shopify before he and Camilla wrap up their tour by unveiling of The Queen’s Entrance at Rideau Hall — new front doors that symbolize 150 years of Canadian history.

This will be the 18th visit to Canada for the Prince of Wales, and the fourth for the Duchess of Cornwall.

Related stories:

Prince Charles, Camilla to visit in time for Canada 150 celebration
The royals are coming: A timeline of memorable visits to Canada over the years
RCMP tab for royal visit tops $2 million; no final government costs

New trial ordered in deadly stage collapse at Radiohead concert in Toronto

PAOLA LORIGGIO, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jun 20th, 2017

Emergency personnel are on scene near a collapsed stage at Downsview Park in Toronto on Saturday, June 16, 2012. A new trial has been ordered for those charged in a deadly stage collapse at an outdoor Radiohead concert in Toronto, sending the case back to square one five years after the grim incident. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
TORONTO – A new trial has been ordered for those charged in a deadly stage collapse at an outdoor Radiohead concert in Toronto, sending the case back to square one five years after the grim incident and just as the matter approached resolution.

A mistrial was declared after the presiding judge, Justice Shaun Nakatsuru, was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court this spring and found he no longer had jurisdiction over the case.

“It is with great regret that I have come to this decision. A lot of effort and resources have gone into this trial. We had nearly completed it,” Nakatsuru said in a decision released earlier this month.

“My appointment was unexpected and without notice. I know that the defendants have waited a long time for the final resolution of this case. So has the public,” he said.

“There are many compelling reasons why it would be in the best interests of justice for me to finish this. But I cannot.”

The entertainment company Live Nation, Toronto-area contractor Optex Staging and an engineer, Domenic Cugliari, were charged in 2013 with a total of 13 charges under the provincial Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The setback could put the case in jeopardy as one of the defence lawyers in the case, Scott Thompson, said they will be bringing an application to have the charges thrown out over unreasonable court delays.

That application is set to be heard in August. A similar application was rejected by Nakatsuru last fall.

If the new application is also unsuccessful, the new trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 5 and continue through May of next year.

The Ministry of Labour, which administers the Occupational Health and Safety Act, declined to comment on the case as it remains before the courts but said the right to be tried within a reasonable time is a fundamental part of the justice system.

“The Crown is always concerned about delays which interfere with that right,” a spokeswoman said in an email.

New time limits established by the Supreme Court of Canada last summer state that cases heard in provincial court should go to trial within 18 months and those heard in Superior Court should do so within 30 months.

Though the landmark decision in R v. Jordan dealt with criminal charges, the time limits it has set also apply to regulatory charges such as those under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, said Palma Paciocco, an assistant professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall law school.

That’s because Canada’s highest court had previously made it clear that the right to a timely trial applies to all charges, Paciocco said.

What is more likely to come into play in this case is the fact that two of the defendants are companies rather than people, she said.

Before the Jordan ruling, defendants had to demonstrate they experienced prejudice as a result of the delays, and it was understood that corporate defendants did not suffer in the way that accused people whose lives were disrupted did, she said.

But the new rules have eliminated that requirement, concluding that extreme delays are inherently prejudicial, she said.

“This opens up a bit of a question as to whether that rule applies directly to corporations,” she said.

The Supreme Court has also allowed for a transition period during which the courts may take the earlier rules into account when weighing cases that predate the Jordan ruling.

A British drum technician who was touring with Radiohead was killed and three other workers were hurt after part of a massive outdoor structure came crashing down during setup for the June 2012 concert at Downsview Park.

The falling debris crushed Scott Johnson, a drum technician in his 30s, whom the band called “a highly skilled and valued member” of its road crew.

Live Nation Canada, Live Nation Ontario and Optex Staging each face four counts alleging they failed to ensure the stage structure was being built in a safe manner.

Cugliari, the engineer, faces one count of endangering a worker as a result of allegedly negligent or incompetent advice or certification.

Radiohead postponed a portion of its European tour that year following Johnson’s death.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly said Nakatsuru was appointed to Superior Court late last year.

Feds stick with July 2018 deadline to legalize pot despite provincial worries

ANDY BLATCHFORD, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jun 20th, 2017

A man lights a marijuana joint as he participates in the 4/20 protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, April 20, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
The Trudeau government is sticking with its deadline to legalize recreational marijuana by July 2018, despite provincial fears that there’s not enough time to address the legal, social and health challenges of ending Canada’s pot prohibition.

The federal Liberals delivered that message Monday after Manitoba’s finance minister said he felt rushed by Ottawa’s tight timeline and asked for an extension.

In making his argument, Cameron Friesen said the provinces are bearing the bulk of the work involved, as well as the “very real” costs needed to create a regulated cannabis market.

The federal government introduced legislation in April, with a goal of legalizing and regulating the use of recreational marijuana by July 2018.

With the countdown underway, Friesen insisted there were still many unanswered questions on issues like public safety, enforcement and finding legal supplies of marijuana.

“We have one year on the clock to put all this in place,” Friesen said before a meeting in Ottawa with his federal and provincial counterparts to discuss, among other issues, how best to tax Canada’s forthcoming legal pot industry.

“This is a very significant shift in how we’ll operate, and we need to have that adequate time to develop the tools that we will need as a province to be able to implement this the correct way.”

Friesen said he had already raised the idea of an extension with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau and would push the issue again. Later in the day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself essentially snuffed out the idea.

“We gave everybody lots of time,” Trudeau said in Ottawa. “We’ve been working for a long time with all the provinces, with the municipalities… It’s time for us to move forward on this.”

Morneau acknowledged after the meeting that several of the provinces said there’s still much work to be done.

For provinces that aren’t ready in time for the “fixed date,” Morneau said, Ottawa will oversee a mail-order sales program. Consumers would be able to buy pot through a federally licensed producer and receive home delivery.

The legalization date, however, appears to be non-negotiable.

“We need to get a firm date out there,” he said. “We accept that there’s much work to be done, but we’ve started down that path… We believe that it’s entirely possible.”

Morneau said the ministers agreed to the principle that pot taxation should stay low to ensure the regulated market squeezes out the illegal activity.

The challenge will be identifying the sweet spot — where pot prices are high enough to cover government costs, but cheap enough to beat out the black market.

Morneau added that they have yet to determine how tax revenues would be shared between provinces and the federal government.

Provincial ministers have said they intend to push the feds to ensure they receive a share of pot-related tax revenue that fairly reflects the added costs provinces will have to assume on the road to legalization.

After the meeting, Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci said his province would be “ready” by July 2018.

Prior to the meeting, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa insisted he had yet to consider how much pot-related revenue his province could bring in because he’s been more concerned about ensuring legalization is handled properly.

“We’re going to be asking for fairness and flexibility, so that when there are some possible revenues that come from this that it’s properly shared,” Sousa said.

His Quebec counterpart, Carlos Leitao, said the provinces should receive most of the tax revenue from legalized pot because they will “have to shoulder most of the costs of putting in place regulations.”

The federal government has vowed to work with provinces on implementation and to commit more resources to needs such as public security, policing and educational campaigns. It has also argued that marijuana prohibition is very expensive and that legalization could significantly cut down on costs.

Ottawa has not shared details about how much tax revenue could be generated by a recreational pot market, nor has it publicly discussed its potential benefits for the wider economy.

But they have repeatedly said the primary goal is to get pot out of the hands of young Canadians and to cut off the criminal trade.

In addition to cannabis, the finance ministers also focused on how to improve information sharing between jurisdictions as a way to address tax avoidance, tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing.

They also spent time discussing the Canada-U.S. trade relationship and their respective experiences interacting with American officials, particularly anything related to upcoming NAFTA negotiations.

Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz also delivered a presentation for finance ministers Monday on the state of the economy.

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