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Exclusive: Mom outraged after six-year-old daughter handcuffed by police in school

Cynthia Mulligan and News staff | posted Friday, Feb 3rd, 2017

A mother says she’s devastated after her six-year-old daughter was handcuffed by two Peel police officers inside her school. But the force is defending the move, saying it was done to protect the child from self harm.

“No six-year-old little girl deserves that,” the child’s mother said in an exclusive interview with CityNews. “I’m ashamed for her, I tell her everyday it wasn’t her fault, she’s a good kid”

The incident happened at a Mississauga school in late September. The mother – whose name we are not revealing in order to protect the child’s identity – says her daughter has had problems at the school ever since she started junior kindergarten.

To protect the child’s identity, CityNews is not naming the school.

Letters of suspension from the school describe a child who “punched a staff member” and “assaulted students in the class by kicking, hitting and pulling their arms.” Her mother says her daughter has never exhibited any of that behaviour outside of school.

Since the age of four the child has been suspended four times, with police being called twice before the latest incident when she was handcuffed.

Peel police say officers tried de-escalation techniques with the little girl and handcuffed her because she was banging her head and they feared for her safety.

“The officers arrived on scene and found a young girl who was acting extremely violent – punching, hitting, biting, spitting. Their first priority is her safety,” said Peel police spokesperson Sgt. Josh Colley.

CityNews asked how long officers tried de-escalation before handcuffing the child and how long the cuffs were on, but have yet to recieve an answer.

Police did say the child was handcuffed at the ankles first and then the wrists.

When asked why the child could not have been left in the class with a door closed to calm her down, Colley noted the “potential weapons” available in the classroom that could be used to cause harm, such as desks and book cases.

The child’s father died when she was six months old. Her mother started having health problems as she began junior kindergarten, eventually being diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. She says a social worker told her that her daughter may have been experiencing separation anxiety. Her mother also wonders if bullying at the school triggered the behavioural issues.

The mother’s lawyers believe anti-black racism is the underlying cause of the troubles.

“There’s never, ever a situation where a six-year-old should be handcuffed, never,” said Danardo Jones.

“We see anti-black racism, we see it in child welfare, we see it in the educational system, we see it in the criminal justice system, we see it all over. And what’s particularly jarring to our moral conscience right now is that this level of anti-black racism is moving from something that impacts teenagers and adults right down to a little black girl, a little black female girl and that’s extremely jarring,” lawyer Lavinia Latham added.

A human rights complaint on behalf of the little girl has been filed.

“The police have to be held accountable for their behaviour,” said the child’s mother. “One of the teachers said to me ‘they’re the police. We didn’t know what to do. We couldn’t intervene.’”

At the request of the mother, the child was moved to a new school six weeks ago. She says the old school would call every day or every other day to tell her her daughter was in trouble. The new school hasn’t called once.

Lakeshore tops worst GO train line for delays in 2016

Shauna Hunt and Christine Chubb | posted Friday, Feb 3rd, 2017

When it comes to GO train delays, the Lakeshore line came out on top last year as the worst, according to Metrolinx.

Statistics released on Thursday by GO Transit broke down the types and amounts of delays the train service deals with annually.

The Lakeshore line, which runs west to Hamilton and east to Oshawa, experienced the worst delays of any other GO train lines in 2016.

“Last year we had difficulties, because of construction, along both Lakeshore lines,” Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins explained.

“In spite of the work that goes on down here, we don’t stop service. But you have to make adjustments and on time performance can suffer because of that.”

The previous year that distinction went to the Milton line.

But it wasn’t just Lakeshore line experiencing delays.

With 11,000 trips every week, 94 per cent of GO trains arrive within five minutes of the scheduled time. The six per cent of trains that arrive more than five minutes late added up to 47,242 minutes of delays in 2016. That’s the equivalent of just over 32 days.

Although that number may seem high, it’s down from 2015 which was 52,817 minutes.

However, it’s up from 2014 which saw 40,831 minutes of delays.

The average amount of time a train is delayed is 12 minutes.

Top Reasons

The top reason for delays in 2016? Weather related track and signal deficiencies.

Over 800 trains were delayed last year, and 71 trains cancelled, due to weather related track and signal deficiencies – delaying commuters a total of 164 hours.

“We have thousands of signals and switches across our 500 kilometre network. They are subject to the elements and they break down. For safety reasons, that’s something that’s a real priority for us,” Aikins explained.

“Sometimes you compromise on time performance for safety and that’s not going to change. We’re always going to do that.”

Suicides

Perhaps the most disturbing trend in 2016 was the increase in fatalities. Last year a record 22 fatalities were recorded – most of which were suicides.

“In 2016 it was a bad year for suicides for most rail companies (and) most transit companies … I don’t know why. Suicide is a really tragic problem that everyone has to deal with, including rail companies,” Aikins said.

Fatality investigations had a significant impact on service, delaying 329 trains and cancelling 129 in 2016. Although it was not the top reason for delays, it caused the highest average delay for transit users – adding up to 17 minutes on average per train.

“It is very traumatic for our staff, it is very difficult for our customers to go through, and some family is getting the worst news of their lives,” Aikins said.

Other reasons for delays include passenger volume, trespassers, medical emergencies and equipment related issues.

CTCN GO DELAYS GFX 2017FEB02 still for web

“Nuisance” Alarms

“Nuisance” alarms are another delay causing issue that Go transit deals with on a reoccurring basis. Aikins said they went down this year because of new signage posted on the train, but they do still happen.

“When people push the emergency alarms … it might only cause a 10 or 15 minute delay but it does cause delays and often it’s for kind of silly reasons. They think we have concierge on the train and ask for tips, they miss their stop, they forgot their lunch, the bathroom is out of toilet paper. So things that aren’t emergencies.”

“Some people will, believe it or not, pull the emergency break and that will cause at least a half hour delay,” Aikins continued.

And the delays are proving to be expensive for GO. Last year it forked over $1.3 million in credits to riders thanks to its 15 minutes or more delay policy. Over the last three years that number has totalled $4 million.

“Ideally we shouldn’t be giving any money back. We should be always on time and 94 per cent of GO trains and 98 per cent of UP Express trains are on time,” Aikins explained. “By industry standards we’re doing fairly well but not by our own standards. We want to do better than that.”

Over the past five years GO Transit has increased the number of trains across its system by 44 per cent. It’s annual ridership for both train and bus grew by nearly 20 million people – from 52 million to 70 million.

Metrolinx said that across the seven GO lines, they added 82 more trains, increasing the opportunity for delays.

Second funeral for mosque victims to be held in Quebec City

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Feb 3rd, 2017

A second funeral service in as many days will be held Friday afternoon to remember victims of the Quebec City mosque attack.

Mourners will gather to pay tribute to Mamadou Tanou Barry, Ibrahima Barry and Azzeddine Soufiane at the Quebec City convention centre.

A ceremony was held in Montreal on Thursday for Abdelkrim Hassane, Khaled Belkacemi and Aboubaker Thabti, the three other people shot to death last Sunday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the service the carnage has left Canada reeling in shock but has also unified the country in solidarity with Muslims.

Trudeau is scheduled to attend Friday’s event, which is set to begin at 1:20 p.m. after a prayer session.

The two Barry men were cousins and came from the same village in Guineau, while Soufiane was a grocer and butcher who was widely praised for often helping newcomers to the provincial capital.

The six victims, aged between 39 and 60, were killed when a gunman stormed the mosque and opened fire on men who were attending prayer. Authorities have refused to specify what type of firearm was used in the mass shooting.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, was arrested Sunday night following the massacre in which 19 people were also wounded, including two who were still in critical condition on Tuesday.

Bissonnette has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder using a restricted firearm.

Soldier opens fire outside Louvre, Paris police say

The Associated Press and News Staff | posted Friday, Feb 3rd, 2017

Paris police say a soldier opened fire outside the Louvre Museum after he was attacked by someone who was armed with a machete.

Initial media reports say that the attacker tried to enter the museum with a suitcase.

According to tweets from the interior ministry, the the soldier fired five bullets, seriously wounding the attacker to the stomach. The attacker allegedly had uttered threats and the soldier “opened fire to defend himself against the aggression.”

There were 250 people inside the museum at the time, the ministry tweeted. The ministry tweeted that the visitors were kept remote in parts of the secured museum and that they were being removed from “in small groups after the necessary checks.”

A second person was later arrested, the ministry tweeted. Further details weren’t available.

The museum in the centre of Paris is one of the French capital’s biggest tourist attractions.

Soldiers on patrol are part of security measures that have beefed-up in the wake of terror attacks in France in 2015 and 2016.

Funeral for three victims of mosque shooting to be held Thursday

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Feb 2nd, 2017

A funeral service will be held in Montreal Thursday for three of the six men shot to death in a Quebec City mosque.

Mayor Denis Coderre says the ceremony for Abdelkrim Hassane, Khaled Belkacemi and Aboubaker Thabti will be held at the Maurice-Richard Arena. It is expected to begin at 1 p.m. ET.

There will be prayers for the three other victims — Azzeddine Soufiane, Mamadou Tanou Barry and Ibrahima Barry.

A ceremony is expected in Quebec City on Friday.

 

It’s Groundhog Day, a day when many look to rodents to predict the end of winter

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Feb 2nd, 2017

Wiarton Willie predicted six more weeks of winter on Feb. 2, 2016. CITYNEWS

Thousands across the country are expected to turn to four-legged forecasters with names like Wiarton Willie and Shubenacadie Sam today to learn if spring is just around the corner.

Folklore has it that if the groundhog sees its shadow when it emerges from its burrow on Groundhog Day (Thursday), there will be six more weeks of winter.

If the groundhog doesn’t see its shadow, then tradition says spring is on the way.

In Wiarton, Ont., the festival leading up to this morning’s “official prediction” by the town’s albino groundhog — Willie — began on Jan. 27.

Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam has the honour of making the first North American prediction of the day due to the province’s time zone.

In Pennsylvania, it will be the 131st Groundhog Day at Gobbler’s Knob as Punxsutawney Phil reveals his prediction to the president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

PMO slams Fox News for tweet about Quebec City shooting suspect

JOANNA SMITH, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Feb 1st, 2017

A Canadian police officer talks to a woman after a shooting in a mosque at the Québec City Islamic cultural center on Sainte-Foy Street in Quebec City on Jan. 29, 2017. GETTY IMAGES/AFP/Alice Chiche

One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s senior officials took Fox News to task for describing the alleged gunman in the Quebec City shooting as Moroccan.

Kate Purchase, director of communications in the Prime Minister’s Office, pointed out the “false and misleading language” in a letter to Fox News Channel co-president Bill Shine that was released to the media Tuesday.

“Canada is an open, welcoming country that stands by its citizens,” Purchase wrote in the letter, which goes well beyond simply asking for a correction.

“We are a nation of millions of immigrants and refugees, of hundreds of cultures, languages and religions bound by one, unwavering, unshakable belief: we are stronger not in spite of our differences, but because of them.

“These tweets by Fox News dishonour the memory of the six victims and their families by spreading misinformation, playing identity politics, and perpetuating fear and division within our communities.”

Refet Kaplan, the managing director for FoxNews.com, issued an apology.

“FoxNews.com initially corrected the misreported information with a tweet and an update to the story on Monday,” Kaplan wrote a statement sent by email Tuesday evening.

“The earlier tweets have now been deleted. We regret the error.”

Purchase then thanked Fox News on Twitter.

The tweet had appeared to be a consequence of early police reports in the wake of the shooting that said two suspects had been taken into custody. Later reports said one of those people was not a suspect, but a witness.

Purchase noted the tweet appeared early Monday afternoon, but remained online even after police had confirmed that the sole suspect, Alexandre Bissonnette, is a 27-year-old man of French-Canadian origin.

Before it was deleted Tuesday evening, the tweet had been retweeted more than 900 times, and liked about 1,600 times. It also had about 7,200 replies, many of them pointing out the inaccuracy and calling for a correction.

fox-news-tweet

A subsequent tweet posted Monday evening noting the second person in custody had been cleared was retweeted only 72 times and had 162 likes.

The PMO’s interest in the earlier, incorrect tweet may have a lot to do with the fact that it also includes an image of Trudeau and his quote from the night of the shooting: “We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge.”

It also links to a story published on the Fox News website that includes the updated information and notes that the earlier detail about a second suspect came from other media reports.

The PMO would not comment further on the letter, but confirmed it did not send any similar letters to other media outlets that had reported – and since corrected or otherwise updated – similar earlier misinformation.

Meanwhile, a tweet from Montreal newspaper La Presse that also described one of the suspects as Moroccan was not deleted until sometime Tuesday evening, after Purchase shared her letter to Fox News. That one had been retweeted more than 500 times and liked nearly 300 times.

Purchase ended her letter by asking Fox News to either retract or update the tweet, but not before delivering a broader message that was likely intended for an audience much bigger than its named recipient.

“We need to remain focused on keeping our communities safe and united instead of trying to build walls and scapegoat communities,” she wrote.

Nor was the phrase about building walls the only veiled reference to U.S. President Donald Trump and his controversial comments and policies on immigration.

“Ramping up fear and closing our borders is not a solution,” Purchase wrote. “It distracts from the real issues that affect people’s day-to-day life.”

https://twitter.com/katepurchase/status/826558529641259009/

https://twitter.com/katepurchase/status/826558591368847360/

https://twitter.com/katepurchase/status/826558646494625794/

With a files from News Staff

Trump taps conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court

JULIE PACE AND MARK SHERMAN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Feb 1st, 2017

President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, a fast-rising conservative judge with a writer’s flair, to the Supreme Court Tuesday night, setting up a fierce fight with Democrats over a jurist who could shape America’s legal landscape for decades to come.

At 49, Gorsuch is the youngest Supreme Court nominee in a quarter-century. He’s known on the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for clear, colloquial writing, advocacy for court review of government regulations, defence of religious freedom and skepticism toward law enforcement.

“Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support,” Trump declared, announcing the nomination in his first televised prime-time address from the White House.

Gorsuch’s nomination was cheered by conservatives wary of Trump’s own fluid ideology. If confirmed by the Senate, he will fill the seat left vacant by the death last year of Antonin Scalia, long the right’s most powerful voice on the high court.

With Scalia’s wife, Maureen, sitting in the audience, Trump took care to praise the late justice. Gorsuch followed, calling Scalia a “lion of the law.”

Gorsuch thanked Trump for entrusting him with “a most solemn assignment.” Outlining his legal philosophy, he said: “It is the rule of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge.”

Some Democrats, still smarting over Trump’s unexpected victory in the presidential election, have vowed to mount a vigorous challenge to nearly any nominee to what they view as the court’s “stolen seat.” President Barack Obama nominated U.S. Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland for the vacancy after Scalia’s death, but Senate Republicans refused to consider the pick, saying the seat should be filled only after the November election.

Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer said he has “serious doubts” that Gorsuch is within what Democrats consider the legal mainstream, saying he “hewed to an ideological approach to jurisprudence that makes me skeptical that he can be a strong, independent justice on the court.”

Trump’s choice of Gorsuch marks perhaps the most significant decision of his young presidency, one with ramifications that could last long after he leaves office. After a reality television buildup to Tuesday’s announcement — including a senior Trump adviser saying more than one court candidate was heading to Washington ahead of the event— the actual reveal was traditional and drama-free.

For some Republicans, the prospect of filling one or more Supreme Court seats over the next four years has helped ease their concerns about Trump’s experience and temperament. Three justices are in their late 70s and early 80s, and a retirement would offer Trump the opportunity to cement conservative dominance of the court for many years.

Gorsuch would restore the court to the conservative tilt it held with Scalia on the bench. But he is not expected to call into question high-profile rulings on abortion, gay marriage and other issues in which the court has been divided 5-4 in recent years.

If confirmed, Gorsuch would join the court that is often the final arbiter for presidential policy. Justices upheld Obama’s signature health care law in 2012 and could eventually hear arguments over Trump’s controversial refugee and immigration executive order.

Gorsuch’s writings outside the court offer insight into his conservative leanings. He lashed out at liberals in a 2005 opinion piece for National Review, written before he became a federal judge.

“American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means for effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide to the use of vouchers for private-school education,” he wrote.

Gorsuch has won praise from conservatives for his defence of religious freedom, including in a case involving the Hobby Lobby craft stores. He voted in favour of privately held for-profit secular corporations, and individuals who owned or controlled them, who raised religious objections to paying for contraception for women covered under their health plans.

The judge also has written opinions that question 30 years of Supreme Court rulings that allow federal agencies to interpret laws and regulations. Gorsuch has said that federal bureaucrats have been allowed to accumulate too much power at the expense of Congress and the courts.

Like Scalia, Gorsuch identifies himself as a judge who tries to decide cases by interpreting the Constitution and laws as they were understood when written. He also has raised questions about criminal laws in a way that resembles Scalia’s approach to criminal law.

University of Michigan law professor Richard Primus said Gorsuch “may be the closest thing the new generation of conservative judges has to Antonin Scalia.”

Gorsuch, like the other eight justices on the court, has an Ivy League law degree. The Colorado native earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in three years, then a law degree from Harvard. He clerked for Supreme Court Justices Byron White, a fellow Coloradan, and Anthony Kennedy before earning a philosophy degree at Oxford University and working for a prominent Washington law firm.

He served for two years in George W. Bush’s Department of Justice before Bush nominated him to the appeals court. His mother was Anne Gorsuch Burford, who was head of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Reagan administration.

Gorsuch was among the 21 possible choices for the court Trump released during the campaign. Other finalists also came from that list, including Thomas Hardiman, who serves alongside Trump’s sister on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and William Pryor, a federal appeals court judge and Alabama’s attorney general from 1997 to 2004.

If Democrats decide to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination, his fate could rest in the hands of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Trump has encouraged McConnell to change the rules of the Senate and make it impossible to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee — a change known in the Senate as the “nuclear option.”

A conservative group already has announced plans to begin airing $2 million worth of ads in support of the nominee in Indiana, Missouri, Montana and North Dakota, four states that Trump won and in which Democrats will be defending their Senate seats in 2018.

AP writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.

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