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Beer workers at Molson Coors in Toronto on strike after contract talks stall

CityNews | posted Friday, Jan 13th, 2017

Workers at Molson Coors in Toronto have walked off the job after a strike deadline came and went at noon ET on Thursday.

Some 320 employees of the brewery are on the picket line, comprising producers, brewers, packagers, maintenance and warehouse personnel at the Carlingview Drive facility.

The two sides have been negotiating since last October. The union has been without a contract since New Year’s Eve.

According to the union, the company is looking for a 7 per cent reduction in wages, pensions and benefits.

The union says it has offered up reductions in overtime pay and the hiring of more temporary workers. They’ve also offered to give the company 10 per cent co-pay for benefits.

Robert Folk, the president of the Canadian Union of Brewery and General Workers Local 325, which has represented the workers at the Carlingview facility for 55 years, accuses the company of bargaining in bad faith.

“They are trying to eliminate the middle class,” Folk tells CityNews.

Folk says this is the first labour dispute at the company since 1997. He says the decisions are coming from corporate offices in Colorado, where the mandate is to “lower wages.”

The union says there is no danger of a beer shortage in the short term, noting that the company has been storing beer off-site at two different warehouses in anticipation of a work stoppage.

Molson Coors produces 24 brands of beer including Canadian, Coors Light, Molson XXX and Rickard’s.

Teen boy shot in the neck in Moss Park

CityNews | posted Friday, Jan 13th, 2017


Toronto police are searching for a suspect after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the neck in Moss Park early Friday morning.

The shooting happened at Alfie’s Bar and Grill on Queen Street East near Sherbourne Avenue just before 1 a.m.

The teen was rushed to hospital with serious injuries, where he remains in stable condition.

So far, police have not released a description of the suspect.

Police will be reviewing surveillance cameras in the area to see if they captured images of gunman.

Event-filled weekend to chase away the January blues

Samantha Knight and News staff | posted Friday, Jan 13th, 2017


When is it too late to wish someone a Happy New Year? I would say right about now.

If you were into the cleanup mode last weekend after the holidays and didn’t get a chance to venture out, maybe this weekend is the time to get out of the house. There are several events taking place across the city to keep you entertained.

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival
#SeetheNorth this month at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The 16th annual Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival will be taking over for 14 days starting this Friday.

The festival celebrates and promotes contemporary Canadian cinema and raises awareness of Canadian achievements in film. Each feature and short film is chosen by a panel of filmmakers and industry professionals from across the country.

Some of the selections include “Nelly,” “It’s Only the End of the World,” and “Hello Destroyer.”

Toronto Tango Marathon
Get ready for three days and nights of non-stop tango this weekend at Lithuanian Hall. The annual Toronto Tango Marathon is back for its sixth year and promises an amazing weekend of Argentine tango with beautiful music, lots of dancing and delicious refreshments.

Five outstanding DJs will play the soundtrack for the event, which welcomes tango dancers from all over the world. The marathon kicks off on Friday at 9 p.m.

ROM Saturday Club
It might be the middle of winter, but it’s never too early for day camps. The Royal Ontario Museum’s Saturday Club kicks off its winter edition this weekend.

The original Royal Ontario Museum and the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal are shown in an undated file photo. HANDOUT/Tourism Toronto/Doug Brown.


The Saturday version of the ROM’S popular Summer Club includes hands-on educational activities, science experiments and more. The club offers a variety of morning, afternoon and full-day sessions. It runs from Jan. 14 to March 4.

Last Chance Stitch & Spoke Studio Sale
A local, handmade, eco-friendly shop is closing its doors for the last time this weekend. After five years, Stitch & Spoke in Trinity-Bellwoods is going out of business.

Lovers of pillows, bags, clothing and everything handmade are invited to come to the store for a last hurrah. The entire store will be at least 50 per cent off, including vintage pieces, fabric, fixtures and supplies.

Stitch & Spoke is located at 237 Crawford St., just south of Dundas Street. The “last chance” studio sale begins Saturday at 10 a.m.

Yoga and Painting
Is the new year already stressing you out? Maybe you need a dose of yoga and painting to relieve that tension and channel your creativity.

First, the yoga instructor will lead everyone through the downward dog, sun salutation and other poses for 45 minutes. Then, immerse yourself in a freestyle painting session on a 12×12 canvas.

The stress relieve combination takes place at Paintlounge Toronto East at Queen Street East and Jones Avenue on Sunday. The cost is $25 plus HST.

West Toronto Card and Collector Show
If you are a sports cards collector, then the memorabilia and collectibles show is the place to be on Sunday. The event is taking place at the Toronto Plaza Hotel on Wilson Avenue from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The show not only features the best in sporting cards, signed photos and pucks, jerseys, and Maple Leafs and Blue Jays collector items, but also gaming cards, comic books, movie memorabilia and retro toys. Admission to the show is free.

Wynne set to make changes to cabinet, expected to fill corrections post

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jan 12th, 2017


Premier Kathleen Wynne is expected to appoint a new corrections minister on Thursday and possibly make other changes to her cabinet.

David Orazietti resigned last month as community safety and correctional services minister and as MPP for Sault Ste. Marie, saying he was leaving for family reasons.

Wynne had temporarily appointed Labour Minister Kevin Flynn to handle the corrections file, but she is expected to name a permanent replacement.

Her itinerary for Thursday mentions a swearing-in ceremony for executive council members, suggesting more than one cabinet position will change hands.

A wide cabinet shuffle, however, is not expected.

Wynne will also have to call a byelection for Sault Ste. Marie by the end of the spring.

Orazietti was named to the corrections file in June – taking over for former minister Yasir Naqvi as he was promoted to Attorney General – at a time of increasing public scrutiny and anger over solitary confinement practices. He had to answer for the treatment of Adam Capay, an inmate held in segregation for four years in Thunder Bay. Orazietti recently announced he had tapped federal correctional investigator Howard Sapers to lead a provincial review into the use of segregation.

Several of Wynne’s cabinet ministers stepped down last summer when house prorogued.

Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur left politics altogether, while Seniors Minister Mario Sergio, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Ted McMeekin and cabinet chair Jim Bradley resigned from cabinet.

Related stories:

Exclusive: Ontario inmate dies in segregation

Ontario ombudsman opens investigation into use of solitary confinement in jails

Premier Wynne calls inmate’s 52-month segregation ‘extremely disturbing’

Trudeau to begin cross-country tour to reconnect with Canadians

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jan 12th, 2017


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launches a cross-country tour on Thursday to touch base with grassroots Canadians.

But his tour, starting in eastern Ontario, takes flight under suspicions that it’s all about helping the Liberal party add details about potential supporters and donors to its massive data base.

Liberal MPs in several cities Trudeau plans to visit have posted online invitations for those wanting to attend townhalls with the prime minister and they must provide their names, email addresses, postal codes and phone numbers in “mandatory” fields on the websites.

However, Trudeau spokesman Cameron Ahmad says no information collected on those sites is shared with the Liberal party of Canada. He says although registration is not required, MPs want contact information so updates can be sent in case of time or location changes.

But Conservative House leader Candice Bergen says she finds it “almost impossible to believe” contact data collected by Liberal MPs isn’t used for partisan purposes.

The first leg of Trudeau’s tour starts on Thursday in Ottawa and winds up in London, Ont., on Friday, with stops in such communities as Belleville, Kingston and Peterborough. The tour will also take the PM to Quebec, B.C. and the Prairies, then the Atlantic provinces and the North.

Related stories:

Trudeau shuffles cabinet, making Freeland foreign affairs minister

Canadians see better world reputation under Trudeau Liberals: survey

Trudeau aims to connect with Canadians in coffee shops, church basements

Olympian’s tweet causes Mayor Tory to reconsider potential pool closures

CityNews | posted Thursday, Jan 12th, 2017

Canada's Penny Oleksiak holds up her gold medal after her first-place finish in the women's 100m freestyle finals during the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Finding money in Toronto’s budget can be an Olympian task.

The city is facing a $91-million budget shortfall that’s prompted Mayor John Tory to look for savings wherever possible, including potentially closing 10 Toronto District School Board pools.

But a tweet from Canadian Olympic swimming sensation Penny Oleksiak could keep those school pools from being drained.

“It’s important to teach kids how to swim,” Oleksiak tweeted on Tuesday. “It saves lives and is a good physical activity.”

Oleksiak, 16, won four medals at the Summer Games in Rio, including a gold. Her impressive resume wasn’t lost on Mayor Tory.

Tory tweeted: “Gold medal message received…I’ve asked Budget Chief Gary Crawford to find a way to save these pools.”

Along with the 10 TDSB pools, 12 outdoor pools and 36 pools are also in jeopardy. If they were all closed, the city would pocket around $2 million in savings.

Oleksiak is a student at Monarch Park Collegiate in Toronto’s east end and developing her impressive swimming strokes in Toronto pools.

Councillors will debate the proposed cuts at their next meeting on February 15.

Official: Trump briefed on potentially compromising report

Eileen Sullivan and Deb Riechmann The Associated Press | posted Wednesday, Jan 11th, 2017


Top intelligence officials last week told President-elect Donald Trump about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about him, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not allowed to publicly discuss the matter.

The briefing about the document was first reported by CNN. A summary of the allegations was attached to a classified assessment of Russia’s attempts to meddle in the U.S. presidential election. Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed separately on the intelligence agency findings last week.

Shortly after news reports were published about the briefing, Trump tweeted: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!” Trump was expected to hold a previously scheduled news conference Wednesday to discuss his future plans regarding his role with the Trump Organization.

The unsubstantiated dossier on Trump was compiled by a former Western intelligence operative as part of an opposition research project originally financed by a Republican client who opposed Trump and later funded by Democrats, according to Mother Jones, which published an article about the report in October and said the operative had turned over the report to the FBI. The New York Times reported the operative had previously worked for British intelligence. The Associated Press has not been able to substantiate the information in the dossier, which misspelled the name of Russia’s largest bank.

The report had been circulating in Washington for months. In October, former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wrote the FBI asking the bureau to publicly disclose what it knew about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Reid was aware of the dossier before he wrote the letter, according to a person knowledgeable about the subject who spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

FBI Director James Comey earlier Tuesday refused to say whether the FBI was investigating any possible ties between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign, citing policy not to comment on what the FBI might or might not be doing.

Comey was pressed by Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee about whether the FBI was conducting an investigation. There was no mention during the hearing about the summary of the dossier, which was attached to the classified hacking assessment.

“I would never comment on investigations _ whether we have one or not _ in an open forum like this so I can’t answer one way or another,” Comey told the panel during his first public appearance before Congress since the election. In late October, Comey angered Democrats when he announced 11 days before the election that the FBI was looking at more emails as part of its investigation of Hillary Clinton.

Oregon Dem. Sen. Ron Wyden said the American people had a right to know about whether there is an FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia.

An active FBI investigation of the next president for ties between his campaign and a nation accused of meddling in the presidential election could further stoke mistrust in the legitimacy of the democratic process. It could also put Trump’s own FBI in the awkward position of examining the conduct of those closest to the commander-in-chief.

The FBI was among three U.S. intelligence agencies that collaborated on last week’s report on Russia’s election activity. It tied Russian President Vladimir Putin to the hacking of email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and individual Democrats like Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. It said there was no evidence the Russians tampered with vote tallies; the agencies said they couldn’t assess if Russia succeeded in influencing Americans to vote for Trump.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who opposed Trump in the GOP primary, said Russia’s activity wasn’t guided by its support for Trump, but rather “to influence and to potentially manipulate American public opinion for the purpose of discrediting individual political figures, sowing chaos and division in our politics, sowing doubts about the legitimacy of our elections.”

Democrats at the committee hearing focused their toughest questions on Comey, who was widely criticized for breaking FBI policy in his decision to notify Congress about additional information that came up related to Clinton. He is in the fourth year of a 10-year term, meaning he is expected to stay on in the Trump administration.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said Comey set a new standard by discussing the bureau’s activity related to Clinton’s private email server. That standard, she said, is the FBI discusses ongoing investigations when there is a “unique public interest in the transparency of that issue.”

The intelligence agencies’ findings on Russian hacking fit that standard, she argued.

“I’m not sure I can think of an issue of more serious public interest than this one,” Harris said. “This committee needs to understand what the FBI does and does not know about campaign communications with Russia.”

Sitting beside Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said, “Fair point.”

Forceful and tearful, Obama says goodbye in emotional speech

Josh Lederman, The Associated Press | posted Wednesday, Jan 11th, 2017

Barack Obama

Conceding disappointments during his presidency yet offering vigorous encouragement for the nation’s future, Barack Obama issued an emotional defence Tuesday night of his vision to Americans facing a moment of anxiety and a dramatic change in leadership.

Obama’s valedictory speech in his hometown of Chicago was a public meditation on the trials and triumphs, promises kept and promises broken that made up his eight years in the White House. Arguing his faith in America had been confirmed, Obama said he ends his tenure inspired by America’s “boundless capacity” for reinvention, and he declared: “The future should be ours.”

His delivery was forceful for most of his speech, but by the end he was wiping away tears as the crowd embraced him one last time.

Reflecting on the corrosive recent political campaign, he said, “That potential will be realized only if our democracy works. Only if our politics reflects the decency of our people. Only if all of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.”

He made no mention of Republican Donald Trump, who will replace him in just 10 days. But when he noted the imminence of that change and the crowd began booing, he responded, “No, no, no, no, no.” One of the nation’s great strengths, he said, “is the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next.”

Earlier, as the crowd of thousands chanted, “Four more years,” he simply smiled and said, “I can’t do that.”

Soon Obama and his family will exit the national stage, to be replaced by Trump, a man Obama had stridently argued poses a dire threat to the nation’s future. His near-apocalyptic warnings throughout the campaign have cast a continuing shadow over his post-election efforts to reassure Americans anxious about the future.

Indeed, much of what Obama accomplished over the past eight years _ from health care overhaul and environmental regulations to his nuclear deal with Iran _ could potentially be upended by Trump. So even as Obama seeks to define what his presidency meant for America, his legacy remains in question.

Even as Obama said farewell to the nation _ in a televised speech of just under an hour _ the anxiety felt by many Americans about the future was palpable, and not only in the Chicago convention centre where he stood in front of a giant presidential seal. The political world was reeling from new revelations about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about Trump.

Steeped in nostalgia, Obama’s return to Chicago was less a triumphant homecoming and more a bittersweet reunion bringing together Obama loyalists and loyal staffers, many of whom have long since left Obama’s service, moved on to new careers and started families. They came from across the country _ some on Air Force One, others on their own _ to be present for the last major moment of Obama’s presidency.

Seeking inspiration, Obama’s speechwriters spent weeks poring over Obama’s other momentous speeches, including his 2004 keynote at the Democratic National Convention and his 2008 speech after losing the New Hampshire primary to Hillary Clinton. They also revisited his 2015 address in Selma, Alabama, that both honoured America’s exceptionalism and acknowledged its painful history on civil rights.

After returning to Washington, Obama will have less than two weeks before he accompanies Trump in the presidential limousine to the Capitol for the new president’s swearing-in. After nearly a decade in the spotlight, Obama will become a private citizen, an elder statesman at 55. He plans to take some time off, write a book _ and immerse himself in a Democratic redistricting campaign.


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