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Canadian mayors take Trump to task over ‘very difficult’ NAFTA talks tweet

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Aug 28th, 2017

FILE – In this Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump waves as he walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington to board Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. and then onto Yuma, Ariz., to visit the U.S. border with Mexico and attend a rally in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
U.S. President Donald Trump again suggested the North American Free Trade Agreement be terminated, tweeting Sunday that both Canada and Mexico are being “very difficult,” but observers and political leaders didn’t appear to take the threat too seriously.

Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger and Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens both took Trump to task by issuing their own Twitter responses.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard brushed aside Trump’s comment.

“I think what we have to recognize is that the negotiations are going forward. You will not hear me react to his daily tweets or statements. I don’t think that would be very productive,” Couillard said as he arrived in Charlottetown for the annual meeting of New England governors and eastern premiers.

Couillard says the American governors he’s meeting with are eager to modernize and improve NAFTA.

“When we talk to governors, when business people talk to each other, the feeling is quite good and quite positive. Everybody recognizes that trade is beneficial for both Canada and the U.S.A.”

Trump has already threatened earlier this year to end NAFTA. At the time Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office said “heated rhetoric” is common in trade negotiations, her officials had little to add in response to Trump’s Sunday tweet.

Sunday’s tweet was the first time though that Trump has complained about Canada’s role in the talks, which began earlier this month between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

Sui Sui, an economics professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, said she doesn’t take Trump’s comments too seriously either, because these kind of talks “should be hard.”

“This is a pretty normal trade negotiation: each party fights (for) the best interests of their own country,” she said. “The Canadian government is just doing their job, same as the Mexican government.”

Robert Holleyman, former deputy trade czar under Barack Obama, also doesn’t expect Trump to follow through with his threat to withdraw the U.S. from the trade deal. In a Twitter post on Sunday morning, Holleyman cited agricultural interests and dissent from Congress as barriers to the president’s plan.

“Mark my words. He will not pull out of NAFTA,” he wrote.

Trade economist Dan Trefler, professor at the University of Toronto and senior research fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, agrees that Trump’s Twitter rhetoric is unlikely to translate to action. For one thing, the president is unlikely to receive the congressional approval he would need to act on a major trade agreement. “Congress has been more involved in these trade negotiations than it’s ever been involved in any previous trade negotiation,” Trefler says.

And while withdrawing from NAFTA would appeal to parts of Trump’s base – people who work in manufacturing jobs in states like Michigan and Wisconsin, for instance _ Trefler says it would alienate Trump’s many supporters in the farm belt.

Echoing Couillard, Trefler said that focusing on Trump’s inflammatory Twitter posts can detract from the things his administration is doing. “It’s easy for him to make these kinds of statements, because they play to the image,” he says.

“Trump has only one audience, and that’s the electorate.”

Battered by Harvey, Houston braces for even more flooding

MICHAEL GRACZYK, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Monday, Aug 28th, 2017

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An unidentified man helps Carlos Torres, in tube, get to dry ground after Torres drove his tractor-trailer into a freeway flooded by Tropical Storm Harvey near downtown Houston, Tex., on Aug. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
As the nation’s fourth-largest city braced for more rain and rescues Monday, officials started releasing even more water from reservoirs overwhelmed by Harvey even though the move aimed at protecting downtown Houston could make already devastating flooding worse around thousands of homes.

The strategic engineering move that officials said was planned for 2 a.m. local time came about 90 minutes early in one instance and a day early in another. Harvey, which made landfall late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and has lingered dropping heavy rain as a tropical storm, sent devastating floods pouring into Houston Sunday as rising water chased thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground and overwhelmed rescuers who could not keep up with the constant calls for help.

Harris and Fort Bend county officials initially said residents should be prepared for the influx of water that was scheduled to happen at Addicks around 2 a.m. Monday and a day later at Barker. Officials warned residents they should pack their cars Sunday night and wait for daylight Monday to leave.

“The idea is to prepare… pack up what you need and put it in your vehicle and when the sun comes up, get out,” said Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist for the Harris County Flood Control District. “And you don’t have to go far, you just need to get out of this area.”

Rescue scenes played out across the Houston area Sunday as floodwaters inundated the nation’s fourth-largest city following Hurricane Harvey.

Residents living near the Addicks and Barker reservoirs designed to help prevent flooding in downtown Houston, were warned Sunday that a controlled release from both reservoirs would cause additional street flooding and could spill into homes. Rising water levels and continuing rain was putting pressure on the dams that could cause a failure without the release.

The Army Corps of Engineers early Monday started the water releases at the reservoirs ahead of schedule after water levels increased dramatically in a few hours’ time, a Corps spokesman said. The timetable was moved up to prevent more homes from being affected by flooding from the reservoirs, Corps spokesman Jay Townsend said. He added that water levels were rising at a rate of more than six inches per hour in both reservoirs.

Meanwhile, officials in Fort Bend County, Houston’s southwestern suburbs, late Sunday issued widespread mandatory evacuation orders along the Brazos River levee districts. County officials were preparing for the river to reach major flood stages late Sunday. County Judge Robert Herbert said at a news conference that National Weather Service officials were predicting that the water could rise to 59 feet, three feet above 2016 records and what Herbert called an “800-year flood level.” Herbert said that amount of water would top the levees and carries a threat of levee failure.

On Sunday, incessant rain covered much of Houston in turbid, gray-green water and turned streets into rivers navigable only by boat. In a rescue effort that recalled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, helicopters landed near flooded freeways, airboats buzzed across submerged neighborhoods and high-water vehicles plowed through water-logged intersections. Some people managed with kayaks or canoes or swam.

Volunteers joined emergency teams to pull people from their homes or from the water was so widespread that authorities had trouble pinpointing the worst areas. They urged people to get on top of their houses to avoid becoming trapped in attics and to wave sheets or towels to draw attention to their location.

Judging from federal disaster declarations, the storm has so far affected about a quarter of the Texas population, or 6.8 million people in 18 counties. It was blamed for at least two deaths.

As the water rose, the National Weather Service issued another ominous forecast: Before the storm that arrived Friday as a Category 4 hurricane is gone, some parts of Houston and its suburbs could get as much as 50 inches (1.3 meters) of rain. That would be the highest amount ever recorded in Texas.

Some areas have already received about half that amount. Since Thursday, South Houston recorded nearly 25 inches (63 centimeters), and the suburbs of Santa Fe and Dayton got 69 centimeters.

“The breadth and intensity of this rainfall is beyond anything experienced before,” the National Weather Service said in a statement.

Average rainfall totals will end up around 40 inches (one metre) for Houston, weather service meteorologist Patrick Burke said.

The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, predicted that the aftermath of the storm would require FEMA’s involvement for years.

“This disaster’s going to be a landmark event,” Long said.

Rescuers had to give top priority to life-and-death situations, leaving many affected families to fend for themselves. And several hospitals in the Houston area were evacuated due to the rising waters.

It was not clear how many people were plucked from the floodwaters. Up to 1,200 people had to be rescued in Galveston County alone, said Mark Henry, the county judge, the county’s top administrative post.

Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center was quickly opened as a shelter. It was also used as a shelter for Katrina refugees in 2005.

Gillis Leho arrived there soaking wet. She said she awoke Sunday to find her downstairs flooded. She tried to move some belongings upstairs, then grabbed her grandchildren.

“When they told us the current was getting high, we had to bust a window to get out,” Leho said.

Some people used inflatable beach toys, rubber rafts and even air mattresses to get through the water to safety. Others waded while carrying trash bags stuffed with their belongings and small animals in picnic coolers.


Related stories:

Rescuers pluck hundreds from rising floodwaters in Houston

Menacing Hurricane Harvey slams into Texas Gulf Coast


Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said authorities had received more than 2,000 calls for help, with more coming in. He urged drivers to stay off roads to avoid adding to the number of those stranded.

“I don’t need to tell anyone this is a very, very serious and unprecedented storm,” Turner told a news conference. “We have several hundred structural flooding reports. We expect that number to rise pretty dramatically.”

The deteriorating situation was bound to provoke questions about the conflicting advice given by the governor and Houston leaders before the hurricane. Gov. Greg Abbott urged people to flee from Harvey’s path, but the Houston mayor issued no evacuation orders and told everyone to stay home.

The governor refused to point fingers on Sunday.

“Now is not the time to second-guess the decisions that were made,” Abbott, a Republican, said at a news conference in Austin. “What’s important is that everybody work together to ensure that we are going to, first, save lives and, second, help people across the state rebuild.”

The mayor, a Democrat, defended his decision, saying there was no way to know which parts of the city were most vulnerable.

“If you think the situation right now is bad, and you give an order to evacuate, you are creating a nightmare,” Turner said, citing the risks of sending the city’s 2.3 million inhabitants onto the highways at the same time.

The Coast Guard deployed five helicopters and asked for additional aircraft from New Orleans.

The White House announced that President Donald Trump would visit Texas on Tuesday. He met Sunday by teleconference with top administration officials to discuss federal support for response and recovery efforts.

The rescues unfolded a day after Harvey settled over the Texas coastline. The system weakened Saturday to a tropical storm.

On Sunday, it was virtually stationary about 40 kilometers northwest of Victoria, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of about 72.42 km/h, the hurricane center said.

Harvey was the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in 13 years and the strongest to strike Texas since 1961′s Hurricane Carla, the most powerful Texas hurricane on record.

The Associated Press’ Carla K. Johnson, Juan Lozano, Josh Replogle, Robert Ray, Peter Banda, Jamie Stengle and Claudia Lauer contributed to this story.

Mayweather vs. McGregor isn’t your typical mega-fight

Stephen Brunt | posted Friday, Aug 25th, 2017

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LAS VEGAS — Come to enough of these and the rhythm gets in your bones, the ritualistic build to the big event, as predictable as a mass. No, there weren’t “grand entrances” back in the day, and Joe Louis never heckled an opponent at a press conference, but in the last half century at least, a fight of any magnitude has been preceded by open work-outs, by interviews and a weigh-in, by confident predictions and expert prognostication and the arrival of the fancy, all building to that ecstatic moment when the seconds clear the ring and the bell sounds.

But this, Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Conor McGregor, despite all of the familiar signposts this week, feels very different.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. comes out of retirement to put his 49-0 unblemished record against UFC star Conor McGregor in a sanctioned boxing match. Watch it live on Sportsnet Pay-Per-View Aug. 26 at 9:00 p.m. ET.

It’s August for starters, the deadest month on the Las Vegas calendar, a time of year when only bargain hunters and degenerate gamblers make their way to the scorching Nevada dessert. Usually, these events happen in the spring or the fall, when the fight crowd compounds the bustling multitudes. Not so now. Having rushed to put this promotion together so the bout could take place before Canelo Alvarez meets Gennady Golovkin in the same T-Mobile Arena next month and before the Golden Knights start filling dates in their inaugural season, they’re starting from near zero, and it shows.

Only a few hundred fans and gawkers greeted the fighters at their public arrival on Tuesday, and only a handful hung around outside the casino showroom where they held the final pre-fight press conference on Wednesday.

Presumably that will change by the weekend, when, if nothing else, McGregor’s legions of Irish supporters will descend on the town, making merry and risking fatal sunburns. And even if the traditional boxing crowd turns up its nose at the prospect of the greatest fighter of his generation taking on a guy who has never entered the ring as a professional, there figures to be a surge of MMA fans who despite the long odds against their hero, will savour the opportunity to take the big stage and just maybe make the experts eat crow.

Madani joins T&S to break down last press conference from Mayweather-McGregor

There’s the unique historical dynamic. Normally, a significant championship fight is automatically slotted into the sport’s long and glorious legacy, with comparisons made back through the decades. This, by contrast, is a one-off, a novelty act, not quite as farcical as Muhammad Ali versus Antonio Inoki (though go back and look at that one – Inoki, in his own strange fashion, was certainly trying to win…), but insignificant when it comes to placing Mayweather’s career in a larger context. If he does indeed get the win to go 50-0, surpassing Rocky Marciano’s iconic record, most everyone will attach an asterisk.

But there is a real sense that this is a battle between the establishment and the usurper (albeit on the establishment’s turf and terms), the manifestation of something that’s been simmering since the Fertitta brothers bought the UFC, cleaned it up, legitimized it, marketed it brilliantly, and stole an entire generation out from under the noses of boxing promoters.

You can like both and appreciate both, but for the most part combat sport has remained divided between those two solitudes. If McGregor could somehow beat a boxer who is regarded by purists as a master technician, as a defensive and tactical genius, you’d never hear the end of it.

That’s the dream of the MMA crowd, and that’s probably the dream of a whole lot of other people as well, given that Mayweather is without argument a great athlete but a terrible human being. But it’s a possibility that boxing fans have barely even considered, so confident are they in Mayweather’s abilities. If he could handle everyone put in front of him during a 21-year-professional career, if he could handle power punchers and skilled boxers, fighters naturally bigger than him, younger than him, how can someone as apparently crude as McGregor make him break a sweat? Even the most die-hard of MMA devotees would agree that their man is at a significant disadvantage, that he will be far outside of his comfort zone while facing a massive challenge on Saturday night.

Which brings us to the other off-kilter aspect of this promotion.

Boxing history is filled with cases where a logical underdog is built up in order to suggest they have a real chance. That’s especially the case when one of the combatants is a big name, now apparently over the hill, a shadow of their former self. The truth is, they’re usually fighting for one last pay day, but instead all of the talk is about how great they look in the gym, how the old skills are coming back, how their knowledge and experience might be too much for the young pup across the ring, how what looks on paper like a mismatch could really turn into something special.

Usually – see Ali vs. Larry Holmes, or any number of Mike Tyson revivals – logic and father time prevail in the end. But the opposite happens just often enough, as it did the night George Foreman knocked out Michael Moorer and reclaimed the heavyweight title, that you can always get away with spinning promotional fairy tales.

Here, that’s been turned upside down. Mayweather is the relative old man. But because nearly everyone sees him as the runaway favourite, the promoters, including the fighter himself, have gone out of their way to argue that despite their being no supporting evidence, he may be slipping, may have slowed down several steps, and may not be taking fight seriously in any event. They went so far as to have Mayweather suggest in an ad that he would be found every night this week at a strip club he owns in town.

The strong shift in the betting line towards McGregor suggests that they’ve succeeded in closing the credibility gap, that there are more people today than there were yesterday who believe that The Notorious has a chance to step into the ring on Saturday night and do all of those things he’s been promising.

Your brain tells you one thing, but that little bit of nagging doubt they’ve seeded should be enough to keep the turnstiles spinning, the pay-per-view buys mounting. It’s all about the mystery, the anticipation, the imagining, the fact that you don’t really know, you can’t really know, until it happens.

A different path to the destination, different trappings and a different setting, but that part hasn’t changed at all.

What’s on in Toronto for the last weekend in August

SAMANTHA KNIGHT AND PATRICIA D'CUNHA | posted Friday, Aug 25th, 2017

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The 130th Canadian National Exhibition in 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Hudson
This is the last weekend of August, so make the most of it. Not sure what to do? Below are some of the events taking place in the city.

There are also two subway closures this weekend – one on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) on Saturday and another on Line 3 (Scarborough RT) on Sunday.


Events

CNE Food Truck Frenzy
The Food Truck Frenzy is taking over the CNE this weekend. The event features a wide variety of tasty treats and two dozen food trucks. Some of the trucks participating include BeaverTails, Eva’s Original Chimneys, Fidel Gastro, the Colossal Onion, and Chimney Stax. Eleven master brewers will sample their locally crafted beers. The Food Truck Frenzy runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday through Sunday, inside the historic Princes’ Gates in front of Beanfield Centre and Enercare Centre.

The food offerings at the Chimney Stax food truck at the CNE. Photo credit: CNE

 

2XU Toronto Women’s 10k/5k
Runners will be flocking to Sunnybrook Park this Saturday for the 2XU Toronto Women’s run. The event features a 10-kilometre run, which kicks off at 8 a.m., and a five-kilometre run that gets underway at 8:15 a.m. All registered participants will receive a 2XU technical running hat, a Foxy Originals finisher medal, a personalized race bib and access to the post-run party. All proceeds go toward the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario. This year’s goal is to raise over $50,000 for children and their families living with cancer.

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ
Fire up the BBQ! Beer, Bourbon and BBQ is a one-of-a-kind social summer experience being held at Ontario Place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The event features the best barbecue, ice-cold craft beers and refreshing bourbon cocktails. There will also be live country music, line dancing, mechanical bull riding, axe throwing and a grill-master school. Attendees must be 19 or older.

Tamil and Taiwan festivals
Learn more about the Tamil and Taiwanese cultures at two different festivals taking place this weekend. At Tamil Fest on Saturday and Sunday, more than 20 food vendors will dish out Tamil cuisine and street performances will bring up the energy. Explore the Tamil-Canadian story from the 1960s to the present at the mobile museum exhibit. The festival runs along Markham Road between Passmore and McNicoll avenues.

TaiwanFest is also taking place for three days starting on Friday at Harbourfront Centre. Chefs will show off their fusion cooking skills at the International Pan-Asian Culinary Invitational, while musicians perform a symphony reflecting on the influence of Japanese music in Taiwan, conducted by the award-winning Ken Hsieh. An exhibit will also showcase paper crafts and how the art form made its way from China to Japan, then on to Taiwan and the rest of the world. If you are missing face-to-face conversations, swap stories at the “friendship picnic.”

Films Under the Stars
If you missed the Sail-In Cinema last weekend, you can still catch a movie under the stars in Toronto this weekend, this time on the grounds of the Aga Khan Museum. Tap your feet to the music or dance alongside the penguins in “Happy Feet,” which will be screened at 9 p.m. on Saturday.

Mayweather vs. McGregor
Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will duke it out in their highly-anticipated boxing match at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Floyd Mayweather, left, and Conor McGregor exchange harsh words during a promotional tour stop in Toronto on July 12, 2017, for their upcoming boxing match in Las Vegas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

 

The big money for the two fighters will come from pay-per-view sales, and early indications are that it could break all records. Some 50 million people may watch in the United States alone, with millions more tuning in worldwide, including in Toronto. Below are some places in the city showing the fight.

TTC and road closures

Line 2 and 3 closures
A heads up for TTC riders – there are two subway closures this weekend. On Saturday, there will be no service on Line 2 between St. George and Broadview stations. The closure is because of bridge work on the Prince Edward Viaduct. Then on Sunday, Line 3 will be closed for track and infrastructure work. Shuttle buses and Wheel-Trans service will be running.

Road closures
Tamil Fest: Markham Road between McNicoll and Passmore avenues will be closed from 12:01 a.m. on Saturday to Monday at 5 a.m.

Bloorcourt Arts and Crafts Street Fair: Bloor Street West between Dufferin Street and Montrose Avenue will be closed Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

Leslieville Beer Festival: Dundas Street East from Logan to Carlaw avenue will be closed on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

With files from The Associated Press

Teacher fired after toddler wanders away from GTA daycare

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Aug 25th, 2017

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A teacher has been fired and a Keswick, Ont., daycare says it is implementing new protocols after a toddler managed to open a door, leave, and make it all the way home.

The three-year-old was not hurt.

However, it could have been worse, as he managed to leave his daycare without anyone at the school noticing. A viewer contacted CityNews after seeing a Facebook post by the child’s mother on Tuesday. Katelin Deborah posted about the incident expressing her outrage at the daycare.

CityNews spoke to a supervisor at Little Red School House Daycare, who did not want her name used but did confirm the incident occurred. They said the incident was serious, and the daycare was very concerned about the situation.

“The incident of child leaving the site unsupervised yesterday has left many of us in huge shock, with mixed emotions and questions of the quality of the service we provide to the local community of Keswick,” the daycare said in a letter to parents.

“We deeply regret that this incident happened and we are doing everything we can to ensure the safety, security and quality of care are maintained — and that something like this is to never happen again.”

The supervisor said the teacher has been fired, and an assistant staffer has also been removed from the room.

The daycare has also changed protocols for their doors. All doors must be locked at all times. All exits now have magnetic sensors and beep if the doors are opened.

They’ve also notified the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) and the Ministry of Education.

“The ministry is conducting a joint visit with the local CAS of this centre to follow-up on this incident,” a ministry spokesperson said. “The centre has seven exits, two with magnet alarms. It is our understanding that the centre has ordered five additional alarms for the remaining exits.”

The centre has been licensed since May 1998 and has had three complaints since then.

Deborah said her child will be switching daycares on Monday.

Review of controversial SRO program goes ahead despite angry opposition

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Aug 25th, 2017

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Police services board meeting, Thursday, August 24, 2017
Toronto’s police services board has approved a review of a controversial program that places police officers in certain schools in the city.

The board voted unanimously on Thursday to review the School Resource Officer program, with the assessment to be carried out by researchers at Toronto’s Ryerson University.

Toronto police first assigned officers to 30 high schools around the city in 2008 to improve safety and perceptions of the police. Thirty-seven Toronto officers are currently assigned to 75 schools in the city.

The meeting was interrupted several times by critics who claim minority students are intimidated and targeted by uniformed officers in their schools.

“Suspend the SRO program first, so that no other students have to be saddled with the burden of a discriminatory police force that’s in their schools,” said one of the deputants.

Others question if Ryerson University is the right choice for the review.

“It’s very curious to me that you’ve chosen Ryerson to conduct a review of this program when its the only university in Toronto that does not have a faculty of education.

Mayor John Tory says an independent review is the right thing to do.

“I do not believe it is a responsible way to make decisions to just decide we should close the program based on the say-so of people who come to the police services board and say that’s their view,” said Tory.

“If there are flaws in this program, which I acknowledge there probably are, then I trust that this study will identify those and we will be able to make the changes to the program as appropriate. But I support the program.”

The police chief says having officers in schools builds trust with students.

An interim report on the review’s findings is expected to be released in January.

Ontario announces $657M investment to social housing

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Aug 25th, 2017

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Mayor John Tory and Housing Minister Peter Milczyn announce provincial investment in social housing, Aug. 24, 2017. CITYNEWS
The province has announced a multi-million dollar investment in social housing.

Ontario is putting up to $657 million over five years toward social housing repairs and retrofits, with about half of the money going to Toronto.

Mayor John Tory said it’s money the city badly needs and these new funds will allow the city to upgrade both the living conditions and the well-being of those who live in social housing.

“Fundamentally, it is about a basic standard of living for some of our most vulnerable citizens. That’s what it’s been about since the beginning of the discussions,” Tory said on Thursday.

“Living in a properly repaired home, having a safe place to raise your family, feeling safe in your community, [and] feeling that your governments, plural, are showing you respect as a fellow citizen.”

Coun. Ana Bailão, Toronto’s housing advocate, said she welcomes the province’s efforts to be a part of the solution to the social housing repair crisis.

“This investment is an important step forward for the province in recognizing their key role in funding the repair and revitalization of social housing in Toronto”, Bailão said in a statement on Thursday.

“I welcome the province’s efforts to step-up and be part of the solution to the repair crisis in social housing. I look forward to working with Minister Milczyn in ensuring this program provides the necessary flexibility to directly respond to Toronto Community Housing’s urgent repair needs.”

Housing Minister Peter Milczyn said the money will come from cap-and-trade auction proceeds, which must be used for green programs.

“To keep people at the core of the decisions that we make as governments, we have to think in the long term. We have to invest in the long-term and we have to work together over the long term to deliver for the people of Ontario,” he said.

Tory has long been advocating for the need for more social housing money from the province, saying there is an approximately $2-billion repair backlog.

Tory said the housing minister was “off to a great start.”

“What we’re hearing today is good news for Toronto. I believe this announcement represents a strong indication that this premier – the premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne – this minister – Peter Milczyn – and this Ontario government has stepped forward on housing, especially as it regards the most vulnerable residents of Toronto Community Housing.”

Orchestra company draws ire for email suggesting ‘fit and slim’ vocalists can perform

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Aug 25th, 2017

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Email from Sheraton Cadwell Orchestra posted online draws ire, Aug. 22, 2017. Image courtesy: FACEBOOK
A Toronto performing arts company is being accused of body shaming after an email from its management that was posted online suggested it would only feature vocalists who are physically fit and slim in its boutique orchestras.

Sydney Dunitz, who has worked as a volunteer vocalist with Sheraton Cadwell Orchestra for about five years, says she received the email on Monday night and posted a screen shot of it on Facebook, where it has since been shared more than 500 times.

In the email, the company expresses concerns about two vocalists who they say are not “fit and slim,” asking that they refrain from wearing tight-fitting dresses while performing.

The email goes on to say the organization doesn’t have the same expectations of instrumental musicians because they are “essentially background wallpaper.”

Dunitz says she was disgusted by the email and has decided to no longer work as a vocalist with the group.

When asked for comment, Sheraton Cadwell Orchestra said in an email that its management was resigning and that the organization would be shutting down.

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