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Province says no to Toronto road tolls, boosts gas tax fund for municipalities

The Canadian Press and News staff | posted Friday, Jan 27th, 2017

Premier Kathleen Wynne is denying Toronto’s request to charge tolls on two major commuter highways, but says Ontario municipalities will get a bigger share of gas tax money for transit.

Wynne said there weren’t enough commuter options in place to justify adding tolls to the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway, where Toronto Mayor John Tory has said he wanted to charge a $2 toll.

“The province is not supporting plans for municipal road tolls at this time,” the Liberal government said in a statement.

While not coming right out and saying “no” to tolls at a news conference on Friday morning, Wynne said commuters need to have reliable transit options in place before revenue generating measures like road tolls are implemented.

The premier said that starting in 2019, the share of the gas tax that goes to municipalities will increase from two cents per litre to four cents per litre by 2021. However, it won’t increase the tax that drivers pay at the pumps.

“We’re doubling the amount of money the province gives to local transit agencies through the provincial share of the existing gas tax,” Wynne said at the Richmond Hill Transit Facility on Friday.

“This is not an increase in gas tax; this is existing gas tax and we are doubling that share.”

Ontario currently commits $335 million of gas tax funding to about 100 municipalities for transit, which the province estimates would increase to $642 million in 2021-22.

As Wynne made the announcement, she and Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca stressed that their toll decision is about affordability, which, along with a promise to trim electricity bills, could signal a focus on pocketbook issues leading into the election.

Tory expressed displeasure with the decision in a statement issued Thursday night.

“If the Ontario government has decided to deny a regulatory change requested by the overwhelming majority of city council, the mayor would expect the provincial government to take serious and immediate action to address the city’s transit, transportation, childcare and housing needs,” the statement said.

Tory has previously said a $2 toll would raise about $200 million a year to help transit funding. The cost would be split between Toronto taxpayers and the 40 per cent of commuters from outside the city who use the DVP and Gardiner.

Related stories:

Wynne to deny Mayor Tory’s plan to toll DVP, Gardiner: report

Toronto city council endorses highway tolls, still needs provincial approval

Opposition parties warn Liberals against supporting tolls on Gardiner, DVP

TTC driver refuses passenger over broken Presto card readers

CityNews | posted Friday, Jan 27th, 2017

A Mississauga man says he feels humiliated after he was kicked off a TTC bus when he was unable to pay his fare due to malfunctioning Presto card readers.

John Malek says when he boarded the 74A Mt Pleasant bus on Sunday, he found both readers were out of service.

When he complained to the driver about the machines being broken for the second day in a row, the conversation grew heated.

A cellphone video capturing the last minute of a five-minute conversation shows an angry and confrontational Malek being kicked off the bus.

“It made me feel guilty,” Malek said. “(The driver) humiliated me in front of the other passengers, made it look like I’m trying to get a free ride, and that’s not the case at all.”

The TTC confirmed on Wednesday the driver was not following protocol when he kicked Malek off the bus.

As of Jan. 1, the TTC dropped its policy requiring users to have an alternative fare on hand in case its Presto machines aren’t working.

“If both card readers are down on the buses, it’s not the customer’s fault,” said TTC spokeswoman Heather Brown.

“They absolutely should be allowed to board and told to either tap at their transfer point or at the station destination.”

Brown said the TTC is currently experiencing a five-per-cent failure rate with Presto card readers.

The Presto rollout is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

On Thursday morning, the card reader was down on at least two streetcars: a 510 Spadina car and a 509 Queen’s Quay car (photo below)

A Presto card reader is out of service on Jan. 26, 2017. 680 NEWS/Diana Pereira

Inmate dies following fight at Toronto jail

CityNews | posted Friday, Jan 27th, 2017

The Toronto police homicide squad is investigating after an inmate died following a fight at a jail.

The fight happened at the Toronto South Detention Centre on Horner Avenue, near Kipling Avenue and the Gardiner Expressway. The fight started in the cells around 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, a police spokesperson told CityNews.

A man was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

His name has not been released, and there’s no word on charges.

Violent suspect escapes police custody at Toronto General Hospital

CityNews | posted Friday, Jan 27th, 2017

A violent suspect in a downtown break-and-enter investigation has escaped police custody.

Justin Yates, 39, allegedly broke into a business near Queen and Bay streets on Jan. 12.

Toronto police said Yates escaped just before 6:30 p.m. Thursday from Toronto General Hospital.

He was seen getting into a taxi and was dropped off near Yonge and Dundas streets.

Police said Yates is known to be violent and dangerous.

He is five-foot-nine, 200 pounds, with a beard, moustache and numerous tattoos. He was last seen wearing black track pants and a black shirt.

If you see him, do not approach. Call 911 immediately.

Richmond Hill refugee reunited with family after two years apart

Faiza Amin and News staff | posted Thursday, Jan 26th, 2017

A Richmond Hill man who fled Iraq two years ago was reunited with his family on Wednesday.

There was nothing Saadi Mado wanted more than to see his family safe again, and far away from a war that’s nowhere near over.

After two years of waiting, he finally got his wish. As Mado stood by the arrivals gate inside Toronto Pearson International Airport on Wednesday night, he got to hug his parents, two brothers, sister-in-law, a niece and nephew.

“It was an exciting moment, I really cried,” he told CityNews as his father Waleed Jasim Mado stood by his side.

“We are all happy, thank God, we thank you and we thank everyone in Canada,” Waleed Jasim Mado said, speaking in Arabic.

The family of Yazidi refugees have been living in a refugee camp in Turkey for the last few years. The Yazidi are a religious minority group living mostly in northern Iraq. They are also one of the biggest targets for ISIS.

Mado, along with his sister and brother, was able to make it to Canada in the summer of 2015, but was forced to leave the rest of the family behind.

“It was a horrible feeling because you don’t know when they’re going to kill or capture your family,” Mado said.

This family of seven is the first to be sponsored by Project Abraham, an initiative that falls under human rights NGO The Mozuud Freedom Foundation. The group raises awareness on the torturous life the Yazidi are faced with living under ISIS.

“These people are targeted, they’ve been massacred,” Debbie Rose, with Project Abraham said. “Women have been enslaved, boys have been kidnapped.”

Although the Mado’s have safely made it to Canada, the family and those who helped them get here call this a small victory. They say little has been done to protect the Yazidi people back home. Hundreds of thousands more are still in Iraq, facing persecution, while the ones who fled are currently stuck, living in refugee camps.

“We have no where to go and ask for help,” said Mirze Ismail, the head of the Yazidi Human Rights Organization-International.

Ismail joined forces with the Mozuud Freedom Foundation, and together reached out to the Canadian government, asking officials to provide aid the same way it had with previous refugees, most recently the thousands of Syrian refugees that arrived to Canada last year and bringing Kosovars to the country during the Balkan wars. The foundation says like Operation Parasol, they are hoping Yazidis at risk would be able to come to Canada without the bureaucratic red tape or private citizen sponsorship.

Ismail has been vocal about the lack of aid extended to the Yazidi people who are currently spread out throughout the Middle East.

In late October, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada committed to help bring vulnerable Yazidis to Canada within 120 days.

“Canada has made a commitment to resettle vulnerable persons who are survivors of Daesh (ISIS) which will include Yazidi, by February 22, 2017. We are working towards meeting that commitment,” the Ministry said in a statement.

CityNews asked the Ministry how many of those vulnerable individuals would be brought over to Canada, but we were told that information would come at the end of February.

Although Mado is lucky enough to have his family with him, he says he hopes the Canadian government honours that commitment.

“My family is going to be safe, but there’s thousands of Yazidas refugees in Turkey, Greece and Syria,” he said. “We want the Canadian government to help Yazidis refugees and protect them from ISIS.”

Rose, of Project Abraham, says that to date, $100,000 has been raised in support of bringing Yazidi refugees to Canada. The organization is hoping to bring six more families, made up of 20 individuals, through private sponsorship in the next 12 months.

Police apologize for officer’s comment about getting AIDS from saliva

CityNews | posted Thursday, Jan 26th, 2017

Toronto police have apologized on Twitter for their officer’s false comment about getting AIDS from saliva.

During an arrest on Tuesday, a 51 Division officer told a man who was videotaping the incident that the suspect was “going to spit in your face. You’re going to get AIDS.”

The AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) fired back on Twitter saying that’s not how the disease is transmitted.

The organization posted a poll asking if someone could get HIV from A) toilet seat, B) Saliva (spit), C) Skin-to-skin contact or D) None of the above.

The answer is D — none of the above.

The organization went on to say that the misunderstanding surrounding HIV transmission leads to stigma for those living with HIV, and that it “informs HIV non-disclosure laws.”

“While the science of HIV treatment and prevention have improved significantly, HIV stigma remains a challenge confronting many people living with HIV,” said Chris Thomas with the AIDS Committee of Toronto. “Given the video that surfaced showing a Toronto police officer relaying some severe misinformation about HIV transmission, it’s not hard to see why.”

“That officer’s misunderstanding of HIV transmission is the same misunderstanding that informs the laws that criminalize people living with HIV. The officer’s attitude is particularly alarming given that his job is to protect all Torontonians, including the most marginalized among us. And if this is what he said while being recorded, it’s alarming to think what is said in private.”

“We know there’s still a critical lack of awareness around HIV and other STIs, but the maliciousness with which this officer approached the subject is, I hope, increasingly rare.”

On Wednesday, night, police said their officer’s comment was “simply wrong” and they will bring in an HIV/AIDS expert for training.

So how is HIV spread?

HIV is spread by infected body fluids, such as:

  • blood
  • semen
  • fluid from the rectum
  • fluid from the vagina
  • breast milk


HIV can only spread when infected fluid from a person with HIV gets into the bloodstream of another person through broken skin, wet linings of the body (such as the vagina, rectum, or foreskin), and the opening of the penis.

If you have HIV, you can pass the virus to your baby during:

  • pregnancy
  • childbirth
  • breastfeeding


You can only spread HIV, not AIDS. That is, whether you have HIV or AIDS, you can only infect others with HIV.

HIV cannot be transmitted through:

  • casual, everyday contact
  • shaking hands, hugging, kissing
  • coughs, sneezes
  • giving blood
  • swimming pools, toilet seats
  • sharing eating utensils, water fountains
  • mosquitoes, other insects, or animal bites


Source: Health Canada

ACT has more information on their website about safer sex, needle use, blood transfusions, and pregnancy. Click here to read their fact sheet.

Emmy award-winning actor Mary Tyler Moore dies at 80

Frazier Moore, The Associated Press | posted Thursday, Jan 26th, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore, the star of TV’s beloved “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” whose comic realism helped revolutionize the depiction of women on the small screen, has died.

Moore died Wednesday with her husband and friends nearby, her publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said. She was 80.

Moore gained fame in the 1960s as the frazzled wife Laura Petrie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” In the 1970s, she created one of TV’s first career-woman sitcom heroines in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

She won seven Emmy awards over the years and was nominated for an Oscar for her 1980 portrayal of an affluent mother whose son is accidentally killed in “Ordinary People.”

She had battled diabetes for many years. In 2011, she underwent surgery to remove a benign tumour on the lining of her brain.

Moore’s first major TV role was on the classic sitcom “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” in which she played the young homemaker wife of Van Dyke’s character, comedy writer Rob Petrie, from 1961-66.

With her unerring gift for comedy, Moore seemed perfectly fashioned to the smarter wit of the new, post-Eisenhower age. As Laura, she traded in the housedress of countless sitcom wives and clad her dancer’s legs in Capri pants that were as fashionable as they were suited to a modern American woman.

Laura was a dream wife and mother, but not perfect. Viewers identified with her flustered moments and her protracted, plaintive cry to her husband: “Ohhhh, Robbbb!”

Moore’s chemistry with Van Dyke was unmistakable. Decades later, he spoke warmly of the chaste but palpable off-screen crush they shared during the show’s run.

They also appeared together in several TV specials over the years and in 2003, co-starred in a PBS production of the play “The Gin Game.”

But it was as Mary Richards, the plucky Minneapolis TV news producer on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1970-77), that Moore truly made her mark.

At a time when women’s liberation was catching on worldwide, her character brought to TV audiences an independent, 1970s career woman. Other than Marlo Thomas’ 1960s sitcom character “That Girl,” who at least had a steady boyfriend, there were few precedents.

Mary Richards was comfortable being single in her 30s, and while she dated, she wasn’t desperate to get married. She sparred affectionately with her gruff boss, Lou Grant, played by Ed Asner and addressed always as “Mr. Grant.” And millions agreed with the show’s theme song that she could “turn the world on with her smile.”

The show was filled with laughs. But no episode was more memorable than the bittersweet finale when new management fired the entire WJM News staff — everyone but the preening, clueless anchorman, Ted Baxter. Thus did the series dare to question whether Mary Richards actually did “make it after all.”

The series ran seven seasons and won 29 Emmys, a record that stood for a quarter century until “Frasier” broke it in 2002.

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” spawned the spin-offs “Rhoda,” (1974-78), starring Valerie Harper; “Phyllis” (1975-77), starring Cloris Leachman; and “Lou Grant” (1977-82), starring Asner in a rare drama spun off from a comedy.

Mary Richards “certainly was never a character that I had to develop when we were doing the show,” Moore said in a 1995 interview with The Associated Press. “Everything I did was by the seat of the pants. I reacted to every written situation the way I would have in real life.”

She likened being linked with that role to “growing up with a mother who is a very famous actress. There are all kinds of wonderful perks that go with it, and then there are little resentments, too.

“My life is inextricably intertwined with Mary Richards’, and probably always will be,” she said.

“Mary Tyler Moore” was the first in a series of acclaimed, award-winning shows she produced with her second husband, Grant Tinker, who died in November 2016, through their MTM Enterprises. (The meowing kitten at the end of the shows was a parody of the MGM lion.) “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Hill Street Blues,” “St. Elsewhere” and “WKRP in Cincinnati” are among the MTM series that followed.

Moore won her seventh Emmy in 1993, for supporting actress in a miniseries or special, for a Lifetime network movie, “Stolen Babies.” She had won two for “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and the other four for “Mary Tyler Moore.”

At the time, her seven tied her with former co-star Asner for the record of prime-time Emmy acting wins. Another co-star, Leachman, later surpassed them with eight prime-time Emmys in acting and variety show categories.

In 2012, Moore received the Screen Actors Guild’s lifetime achievement award.

Moore never achieved the individual success with a television series that she enjoyed with “Mary Tyler Moore.”

She starred in two different programs called “Mary” — one, a comedy/variety hour similar to “The Carol Burnett Show,” lasted only a few episodes in 1978. Another variety show, “The Mary Tyler Moore Hour,” spent a few months on the air in 1979.

The second “Mary,” a sitcom in which Moore played a divorced Chicago newspaper columnist, bounced between time slots for about six months before being cancelled in 1986.

Then in fall 1986, another flop: “Annie McGuire,” in which she played a divorced woman who had remarried for the second time. It lasted just two months.

She also asked to be written out of “New York News,” a drama set at a newspaper, which aired for two months in 1995.

On the big screen, Moore’s appearances were less frequent. She was a 1920s flapper in the hit 1967 musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and a nun who falls for Elvis Presley in “Change of Habit” in 1969.

She turned to serious drama in 1980’s “Ordinary People,” playing an affluent, bitter mother who loses a son in an accident. The film won the Oscar for best picture and best director for Robert Redford, and it earned Moore an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe. She also played the mother of a dying girl in 1982’s “Six Weeks” and real-life cancer survivor Betty Rollin in a 1978 TV movie, “First You Cry.”

Moore endured personal tragedy in real life, too. The same year “Ordinary People” came out, her only child, Richard, who’d had trouble in school and with drugs, accidentally shot himself at 24. Her younger sister, Elizabeth, died at 21 from a combination of a painkillers and alcohol.

In her 1995 autobiography “After All,” Moore admitted she helped her terminally ill brother try to commit suicide by feeding him ice cream laced with a deadly overdose of drugs. The attempt failed, and her 47-year-old brother, John, died three months later in 1992 of kidney cancer.

Moore herself lived with juvenile diabetes for some 40 years and told of her struggle in her 2009 book, “Growing Up Again.” She also spent five weeks at the Betty Ford Clinic in 1984 for alcohol abuse, writing that they “transformed my life — and gave me a chance to start growing up — even at my advanced age … of 45.”

She served as chairwoman of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International, supported embryonic stem cell research and was active in animal rights causes.

In 1983, Moore married cardiologist Robert Levine, who survives her. Her marriage to Tinker lasted from 1962 to 1981. Before that, she was married to Dick Meeker from 1955 to 1961.

Moore was born in 1936 in Brooklyn; the family moved to California when she was around 8 years old.

She began dancing lessons as a child and launched her career while still in her teens, appearing in TV commercials. In the mid-’50s, she was a dancing sprite called “Happy Hotpoint” in Hotpoint appliance ads.

One of her early TV series roles was as a secretary who was unseen, except for her legs, on “Richard Diamond, Private Detective.”

She arrived at “The Dick Van Dyke Show” at age 24, a dancer with few acting credits and scant evidence of any gift for being funny.

Decades later, Carl Reiner, who created the show, still marveled at the comic genius he discovered and nurtured.

“She was a very quick study,” he recalled in 2014. “It didn’t take her very long.”

It was start of a comic legacy.

In 1992, Moore received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A decade later, a life-size bronze statue went on display in Minneapolis, depicting her tossing her trademark tam into the air as she did in the opening credits of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

Suspect facing 9 charges after allegedly punching officer, sparking violent arrest caught on video

CityNews | posted Thursday, Jan 26th, 2017

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders has vowed there will be a “thorough” internal investigation after officers were captured on video stomping on and Tasering a man who didn’t appear to be resisting arrest.

“This investigation is going to be a thorough investigation,” Saunders said on Wednesday. “The officers have to be accountable for their actions.”

The incident began when police received a call about a man spitting at an employee at the Seaton House homeless shelter on George Street in downtown Toronto.

An officer responded to the call and approached the suspect. That’s when witnesses say the man began punching her in the face.

The officer who was punched was treated in hospital Tuesday for face and shoulder injuries, and police say she went back for further treatment on Wednesday.

With the help of passersby, police managed to tackle the man, who has since been identified as Andrew Henry, near Dundas and Church streets.

Henry, 43, of no fixed address, appeared in court via video on Wednesday. He’s facing a total of nine charges including uttering death threats, assault, assault a peace officer, mischief and damage to property.

CityNews has learned that court staff requested Henry appear by video from his jail cell due to safety concerns.


Henry is known to police and has previously been convicted on sex assault, child porn, assault and theft charges.

Bystander Karsa Dehghani told CityNews he helped police detain the suspect after he allegedly attacked an officer.

“His behaviour was aggressive,” he explained. “He immediately assumed a fighting stance and he started throwing punches … He hit (the officer) a couple of times.”

“It seemed pretty bad so I jumped in and tackled him … I was grabbing both his arms for about a minute or so until the police backup arrived.”

When that backup arrived, the suspect was placed in the back of a cruiser. But the situation would only escalate.

According to police spokesman Mark Pugash, Henry kicked out the window of the cruiser and then bit an officer.

Pugash believes the subsequent force used by officers, who Tasered Henry twice and stomped on his legs several times, was justified.

“We put him in the back of a police car, he kicked out the window of the police car,” Pugash said. “We got him out of the police car, he was on the ground, he still had an officer’s hand in his mouth, and so we Tasered him a second time to deal with that situation.

“He wouldn’t disengage and that’s why they Tasered him a second time.”

Pugash did admit, however, that police appeared to be intimidating witness Waseem Khan, who captured part of the dramatic arrest on his cellphone.

Khan says he was shocked to see police using such aggression when the suspect seemed to be immobile.

“The police officer starts stomping on him,” he said. “I’m thinking … that this guy is going to die. He was laid out. He was not moving whatsoever. I don’t even know if this guy was conscious.”

But it’s what happened next in the video that Pugash says crossed the line.

The officer holding the Taser hollers at Khan to “move back” and instructs another officer to “Get that guy out of my face.”

“I am not obstructing your arrest,” Khan replies.

Another officer approaches Khan and tells him to move back, to which Khan replies, “I’m a witness. I’m a witness.”

Two of the officers then say if he is a witness, they will have to seize his phone as evidence.





“He’s going to spit in your face, you’re going to get AIDS. Stop recording or I’m going to seize your phone as evidence,” one of the officers says.

Pugash said Khan was within his rights to film the takedown from a reasonable distance.

“The man taking the video was clearly some considerable distance away,” Pugash said. “He was not interfering in any way, and the officers have no legal authority to seize the phone and they shouldn’t have said that was a possibility. It isn’t a possibility.”

The situation is under investigation by the Toronto Police Professional Standards division, but the Special Investigations Unit will not be probing the arrest because no serious injuries were reported.

the video.

“I have a lot of questions and I’m going to need answers,” she said. “It’s a troubling video … but I do want to assure people that this means these officers are going to go through a long, long process.”

Mayor John Tory’s office released the following statement in response to the incident:

“The mayor has seen the video and finds it disconcerting. It’s important to keep in mind that we do not know the full context of what happened before or after the video footage. The mayor believes it is appropriate that the Toronto police will be reviewing the matter internally.”

Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder Sandy Hudson said the video was further evidence of the need for change within Toronto police.

“This is outrageous,” she said upon viewing the video. “This man is not moving. He’s being kicked. This is exactly the type of stuff that we’ve been talking about. This city needs to do something about it. The province needs to do something about it.

“We need systemic change. We need policy change and we need a complete culture shift.”

Meanwhile, police from 51 Division have apologized on Twitter for their officer’s false comment about getting AIDS from saliva. They said they will bring in an HIV/AIDS expert for training.

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