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Bombardier to miss streetcar delivery target yet again

CityNews | posted Friday, Dec 22nd, 2017

CityNews has learned Bombardier will not meet its revised, scaled-back streetcar delivery target for 2017, once again disappointing the Toronto Transit Commission and delaying the rollout of new streetcars on Toronto streets.revised-BOMBARDIER-STREETCAR-DELAYS-768x423

The Montreal-based company originally committed to delivering 120 streetcars to the TTC by now, according to TTC spokesperson Brad Ross, but CityNews has learned Bombardier has only delivered 57 streetcars.

Bombardier recently announced it would provide 65 vehicles by the end of the year. Two weeks ago that number was downgraded to 64.

In a statement to CityNews, Bombardier said a total of 63 streetcars will be shipped to the TTC by December 31 and “three cars will arrive early January.”

A three-city investigation CityNews took part in found that Bombardier was having significant troubles delivering transit vehicles to both San Francisco and New York City.

Today’s revelation comes on the same day Metrolinx announced it has slashed its order of light rail transit vehicles from Bombardier from 182 to 76.

Const. James Forcillo facing additional charges in wake of breach of bail arrest

CityNews | posted Friday, Dec 22nd, 2017

A Toronto police officer found guilty of attempted murder in the fatal shooting of a teen on an empty streetcar has been charged with perjury and attempting to obstruct justice.

Toronto police said Thursday their professional standards unit began investigating Const. James Forcillo after the province’s police watchdog laid a charge in mid-November alleging he breached conditions of his bail.

Forcillo was sentenced to six years in prison last year for his role in the shooting of Sammy Yatim, an incident that set off a wave of public outrage after video of what happened went viral.

The officer had been out on bail under house arrest while he appealed his conviction, but had his bail revoked after police said he failed to live with his surety or notify officials of a change of address.

Forcillo’s lawyer, Michael Lacy, said the new charges were related to the same alleged incident regarding his bail, but declined further comment.

Forcillo, 34, was acquitted of second-degree murder in the death of Yatim, 18, but found guilty of attempted murder.

Court documents show the officer’s breach of bail conditions revolved around issues with where he was living.

He had been ordered, as a condition of his bail, to live with his now ex-wife.

Forcillo applied to have the conditions of his bail changed in order to live with his new fiancee, Sara Balderrama, at an apartment in north Toronto, according to court records.

Before his application could be conspired, investigators visited Balderrama’s apartment and found Forcillo there, court documents show.

He told investigators his new arrangement was “only temporary.”

Court documents allege it was Forcillo, not his fiancee, who had arranged the rental unit and signed the lease.

His appeal remains ongoing with a “fresh evidence phase” coming in the new year.

Forcillo is asking the appeal court to substitute a not-guilty verdict or order a new trial in his case.

He is also seeking a declaration that the mandatory minimum sentence for attempted murder is unconstitutional, and wants to be granted a suspended sentence. Barring that, he wants his sentence reduced to the minimum five years.

Former Toronto mayor June Rowlands dead at age 93

CityNews | posted Friday, Dec 22nd, 2017

The first female mayor of Toronto has died. June Rowlands was 93.

Bruce Rowlands says his mother died on Thursday night at a long-term care facility.

Rowlands was elected mayor in 1991 and served until 1994.

Her term as mayor was the culmination of a long career in municipal politics that started when she was elected to city council in 1976.

During her time on council she served as the city’s budget chief and was the first woman to head the Toronto Transit Commission and the Metropolitan Toronto Police Commission.

She also made her mark fighting for affordable housing and trying to preserve the city’s ravines and historical neighbourhoods.

Bruce Rowlands said his mother was a humble person who wanted to serve her community.

“She had a burning desire to make a contribution,” he said in an interview.

Rowlands was also a strong advocate for women and always spoke up to help the disadvantaged, her son said.

“Even socially she advocated for the disadvantaged, in terms of the kinds of conversations she got into around the dining room table,” he said.

“There wasn’t a lot of frivolous stuff generally speaking, we zeroed in on issues and that’s what she liked to talk about.”

Current Toronto Mayor John Tory called Rowlands a trailblazer.

“She helped build this city and blazed a trail as the first woman to serve as a TTC commissioner, budget chief, executive committee member, chair of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Commission and Mayor,” Tory said in a statement.

The family plans to organize a memorial service in the New Year.

Snowy, slippery conditions on last day before holiday break

CityNews | posted Friday, Dec 22nd, 2017

The last drive to work and school before the Christmas break will be a slow and slippery one on Friday.

Several centimetres of snow fell in the GTA overnight and Environment Canada says another 2-4 centimetres could fall by the end of the day.

Areas outside of the GTA could get up to 10 centimetres of snow by this evening.

Christmas came early for several students in the GTA. School buses were cancelled for several school boards, including the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the Toronto District School Board. Click here for a full list of cancellations.

A special weather statement remains in effect for several areas of the province, including Toronto and the GTA, on the first full day of winter. Winter officially arrived just before the noon hour on Thursday.

The snow is expected to become mixed with freezing drizzle in many areas and Environment Canada says freezing rain may become an issue by tonight.

The weather agency says motorists throughout the affected regions should prepare for reduced visibility and poor driving conditions.

Snow-covered roads and sidewalks in Toronto on Dec. 22, 2017. CITYNEWS

Snow-covered roads and sidewalks in Toronto on Dec. 22, 2017. CITYNEWS

Snow-covered roads and sidewalks in Toronto on Dec. 22, 2017. CITYNEWS

Snow-covered roads and sidewalks in Toronto on Dec. 22, 2017. CITYNEWS

Snow-covered roads and sidewalks in Toronto on Dec. 22, 2017. CITYNEWS

Snow-covered roads and sidewalks in Toronto on Dec. 22, 2017. CITYNEWS

Snow-covered roads and sidewalks in Toronto on Dec. 22, 2017. CITYNEWS

Snow-covered roads and sidewalks in Toronto on Dec. 22, 2017. CITYNEWS

 

2 more Canadian synagogues receive hate mail, bringing total to 12

CityNews | posted Thursday, Dec 21st, 2017

Two more synagogues reportedly received hate mail Wednesday, this time in Ottawa and Calgary, bringing the total number of synagogues receiving anti-Semitic letters to at least 12 across Canada, including four in Toronto.

Police in Calgary say they have a lead in the investigation as they believe the letter sent to the Calgary Jewish Federation was mailed from within southern Alberta because it was sorted at a Calgary distribution centre. Calgary’s hate crime unit is investigating in partnership with other police forces. Synagogues in Montreal, Kingston, Toronto, Hamilton, and Edmonton all received the same letter this week.

According to B’nai Brith Canada, Adath Israel Congregation and three other Toronto synagogues were sent a letter with the phrase “Jewry Must Perish” written around an image of a swastika inside a bleeding Star of David.

B’nai Brith Canada says Toronto police have launched an investigation as well.

Prime minister, other dignitaries set to attend Shermans’ memorial

CityNews | posted Thursday, Dec 21st, 2017

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be among thousands attending a memorial service Thursday for a billionaire philanthropist couple found dead in their Toronto home.

Police have released few details of the investigation into the deaths of Barry Sherman, 75, and his 70-year-old wife Honey last week.

They say autopsy results showed the couple died from ligature neck compression.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory also are planning to attend the tribute to the Shermans at a Mississauga trade and convention centre.

Barry Sherman was the founder of pharmaceutical giant Apotex.

He started the company in 1974 and grew it into the largest Canadian-owned drug company.

Car rams into pedestrians in Melbourne; up to 19 injured

CityNews | posted Thursday, Dec 21st, 2017

Two men were arrested in Australia after the SUV in which they were travelling rammed into pedestrians on a busy central Melbourne street Thursday, leaving 14 people injured in what police believe was a deliberate act.

Victoria state police said the driver of the vehicle and a second man were in custody after the incident, which occurred on Flinders Street in the city’s central business district just after 4:45 p.m. when the area was busy with Christmas shoppers.

Commander Russell Barrett told media that while the motive of the incident was not immediately clear, “at this stage we believe it was a deliberate act.”

Asked if police had ruled out terrorism as motivation, Barrett said only: “At this stage it’s early days in the investigation and the motivation is unknown.”

Barrett confirmed 14 people had been injured in the attack. Several were taken to hospitals, and two were in critical condition, including a pre-school aged boy with head injuries. Earlier media reports said up to 19 people had been injured.

Witnesses described horrific scenes from the incident, which started when the SUV ran a red light outside Flinders Street train station and sped up to hit pedestrians, striking more than a dozen people before crashing into a traffic barrier by a cable car stop.

“I was crossing Flinders Street on the way to the train station. I heard an engine rev behind me and heard a thump,” one man identified only as David said on ABC TV. He said he turned around saw “people literally getting thrown into the air as it hit them.”

Witnesses said when the car crashed it was rushed by bystanders who started pulling the two men out before police arrived a few minutes later.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sent a tweet calling the incident “shocking” and said his thoughts and prayers were with the victims and those treating them.

Police said officers have been deployed across the area and the site would be closed-off as a crime scene for some time.

“Police will continue to have a strong presence in the Melbourne CBD tonight,” Barrett said.

Woman struck and killed by car in Scarborough

CityNews | posted Thursday, Dec 21st, 2017

 A 59-year-old woman is dead after being struck by a car in Scarborough

Police say the woman was attempting to cross Passmore Avenue, west of Middlefield Road just after 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

Traffic services says the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

The car involved in the fatal accident remained on the scene.

No word yet if any charges will be laid.

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