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Townhall held at Seneca College after outrage over auctioned cows

Faiza Amin | posted Thursday, Apr 12th, 2018

A group of Seneca College students met with faculty members Wednesday afternoon, after they say their plan to purchase four cows up for auction was thwart by the school.

The students wanted to purchase the cows and transfer them to a farm sanctuary.

“We adopt out all of our cats, dogs, and rodents at the end of the year,” Erika Landry, a student at Seneca, explained.

“Everybody finds a home, and for the calves it’s just been the way it is, that they go to slaughter.”

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Landry, a first-year student in the schools Veterinary Technology program, said she was told by staff to form an organization in order to purchase Bambi, Huey, Chester and Pongo at an upcoming auction.

The Student Organization for Animal Rights was created and through crowdfunding the group raised $3,000 within two months.

The group hoped to attend the auction to make the purchase.

However, Landry said the date had changed because the cows were entered in a new weight class.

“It happened immediately and they were sold pretty well immediately, so before we even knew that they had been entered in a new class, they had already been sold,” Landry said.

“(The college) did not want to let us purchase the cows outright, which is what we’re trying to change. They insisted, you have to go to the auction, you have to blend in and you have to bid against all these farmers and we accepted that.”

The college said the calves, along with the other animals on site at Seneca’s Animal Health Facility, are used for educational and training purposes, and are well-cared for.

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Program Coordinator Emma Brown said they can’t keep cows as they grow into adulthood and the animals end up going back into the food production stream, where they came from.

“We wouldn’t do an on the spot in visual sale to the students, that’s not part of our practices,” Brown explains.

“We have a lot of regulations that we have to adhere to, so in adherent to those, it isn’t something we would do.”

Brown said she’s disappointed things turned out this way for the group.

“They knew when they were leaving, they just weren’t at the auction to buy the cows, so that’s unfortunate for them,” Brown said.

“We know that they’re very disappointed. They did everything right so we’re disappointed for them too.”

As for who the cows were sold to, the college said they’re not privy to that information.

??? Regram @dawnjtan … My program consists of endless smoooooches ??

A post shared by Seneca College (@senecacollege) on

Trainer for Humboldt Broncos dies after crash; death toll now at 16

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Apr 12th, 2018

The athletic therapist for the Humboldt Broncos has become the 16th person to die following a horrific bus crash in Saskatchewan last week.

Relatives of Dayna Brons, 24, said they will remember her “joyful smile.”

Brons died Wednesday afternoon in a Saskatoon hospital from injuries sustained in Friday’s crash.

“She was surrounded by those she loved and those who loved her,” her family said in a statement. “Dayna will be forever remembered for her joyful smile, and her passion and love of sport.”

The team was on its way to a playoff game when the bus collided with a semi truck at an intersection near Tisdale, Sask.

Brons, who was from Lake Lenore, Sask., suffered serious head trauma and had undergone two surgeries.

She had been on a breathing apparatus and was in an induced coma.

Brons was extremely proud to be part of the Broncos team, her family said.

“Dayna’s family would like to thank the first responders, emergency staff, and all those who have cared for Dayna over these last few days for their support. And, they would like to thank everyone across Saskatchewan and Canada for their love and prayers during this very difficult time,” the family said.

The family requested privacy as it grieves.

Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy said in an interview that he spent about half an hour with Brons and her family when he visited the victims of the bus crash last week.

“We spent a lot of time in that room and it’s just sad, just sad,” said Kennedy, who has farmland in Saskatchewan.

He said Dayna was asleep while he was there but he visited with her family.

“I think there was hope for everyone but the injuries on that accident were significant for everyone.”

“It’s just sad. I was pulling for her. I was just hoping that she’d get through that.”

Lacrosse and soccer teams that Brons also worked with had offered their support for the keen, happy trainer on social media. So did Canadian women’s hockey Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser.

“‘The only girl on the boys team’ … Dayna I’ve been thinking of you a lot! Praying you pull through,” she said.

After the news was released by her family, Wickenheiser expressed her condolences.

“The worst news,” she wrote. “RIP Dayna. The boys will take care of you up there.”

Brons graduated from University of Regina, where she got a degree in Kinesiology and Health Studies. She also took an advanced certificate in Athletic Therapy at Mount Royal University in Calgary.

She joined the Broncos in 2016, according to media reports.

Toronto girl, 6, found safe after missing for several hours

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 11th, 2018

A six-year-old girl has been found safe after going missing from Scarborough for several hours on Tuesday.

The girl had been last seen at her mother’s apartment at Gilder and Lord Roberts drives, near Eglinton and Midland avenues, around 1 a.m. When the mother woke up just before 8 a.m., she was gone.

She was located just before 1 p.m. at Bathurst and Eglinton, which is located on the other side of the city from where she went missing.

Police say the girl approached a bystander looking for help and police were called.

She has not been reunited with her mother and police are consulting with Children’s Aid Society.

Paramedics have checked the child and she is OK.

Shortly before they found the girl, police had upgraded their search to a Level 3, which is the most urgent level with maximum resources.

 

Former Ontario Tory leadership candidate under fire for online comments

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Apr 11th, 2018

Former Ontario Tory leadership hopeful Tanya Granic Allen, who is now seeking a party nomination ahead of a spring provincial election, is defending herself after coming under fire for comments made online years ago about Muslims and gay marriage.

Granic Allen, a parental rights and anti-abortion advocate, denied Tuesday that posts and tweets in which she suggests gay marriage shouldn’t be legalized in the United Kingdom and says women should not wear burkas in public reflect Islamophobic or homophobic views.

“My concern…has always been about the freedom of religion, the freedom of conscience and freedom of expression and protecting those very important rights, which is why I opposed the banning of the niqab even though I personally take issue with it,” she told The Canadian Press.

Her online comments, which date back to 2013 and 2014, were condemned by the Liberals and New Democrats, who said it would be up to Tory Leader Doug Ford to decide whether he wants someone with those beliefs as a candidate.

Ford, meanwhile, said only that the sentiments expressed by Granic Allen, who is seeking to run in the Toronto-area riding of Mississauga Centre, do not reflect his views or those of the party.

“Our base is growing, and we want all Ontarians to feel like they have a place in our party,” he said in a statement.

Ford and Granic Allen were considered the more socially conservative candidates in the Tory leadership race, and Granic Allen was the only one to appear by Ford’s side as he was declared the winner in March.

In a 2013 post discussing Quebec’s controversial and ultimately unsuccessful proposal for a charter of values, Granic Allen described niqabs and burkas as “masks” that cover the face.

“I don’t believe people should dress like ninjas when going for an afternoon stroll. I don’t believe that people should dress like bank robbers when going to vote,” she said. “My daughter loves wearing a spider-man mask, but I forbid her from wearing it out in public.”

In another case, she linked to a news story about an attack on two teenage girls in Zanzibar, calling it “yet another reason not to vacation in a Muslim country.”

Granic Allen said Tuesday that she was voicing concerns about travelling to countries in which there have been terrorist attacks but not advocating against visiting Muslim countries specifically.

“I didn’t say people shouldn’t (go), I just said it’s perhaps a reason not to,” she said, adding that she wants to visit Egypt and see the pyramids.

She also denied that a tweet in which she wished the Queen would not allow gay marriage meant she opposed the practice. “Somebody wrote that gay marriage would force the Queen to break her oath and I simply said, ‘Well the Queen should keep her oath,’ because we should not lie,” she said.

Another tweet where Granic Allen expressed shock that Malta had passed a law allowing gay marriage and adoption “wasn’t anything pro or con,” she said, simply an observation on how quickly the country had acted on the issue.

Granic Allen would not, however, clarify whether she supports gay marriage, saying it is a federal issue. “It has nothing to do with this election and I don’t need to comment on that,” she said.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said such comments are unacceptable.

“The Conservatives will have to decide…how they will go forward, but that kind of behaviour, that kind of language, that kind of attitude I believe has no place in our society,” Wynne said.

Horwath said it was disappointing to see someone with views “that can be described as racist and homophobic” seeking public office.

“It’s certainly not something that I would be condoning as leader of my party,” she said.

Helen Kennedy, executive director of the LGBT rights advocacy group Egale, said Granic Allen’s statements were “very alarming” but not surprising given some of the opinions Granic Allen voiced during the leadership campaign.

This kind of speech “does a huge amount of harm, not only to the LGBT community, obviously, but she’s targeting other communities as well,” she said.

SIU investigating after Peel Police fire gunshots at car with stolen plates

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 11th, 2018

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is now investigating after peel police officers fired gunshots at a car with stolen licence plates in Brampton Tuesday afternoon, according to police.

Officers first responded to a call at around 3 p.m. in the Coachworks Crescent area near a car dealership where the vehicle was first spotted.

Peel police say an officer engaged the vehicle and it then drove towards him. The officer fired shots at the car and it fled the scene.

The unoccupied vehicle, reportedly an older model Ford Expedition, was later found with bullet holes on Chickadee Crescent near Kennedy and Mayfield Roads. Passersby called police.

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Officers are now looking to track down the two male suspects involved.

It is not known if the suspects are armed and a description is not available at this time.

The SIU tells CityNews investigators are still working to determine if the circumstances engage the Unit’s mandate.

Oshawa home gutted by fire

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 11th, 2018

A home in Oshawa has been gutted after a fire ripped through the structure.

Firefighters were called the house on Norwill Crescent just before 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

The platoon chief tells CityNews the occupant believes the fire started in the garage and spread very quickly into the home.

All four occupants were able to escape safely with no injuries.

A home next door sustained some fire damage as well.

Two drivers taken to hospital in Brampton crash

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 11th, 2018

Peel police say two drivers have been taken to hospital after a crash in Brampton.

Officers were called to Bovaird Drive East and Richvale Drive just after 8 p.m. Tuesday to a two vehicle collision.

A woman in her 20’s was taken to a trauma centre with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, while a man in his 40’s was taken to a local hospital with injuries.

Peel police are investigating the cause of the crash but have not closed any roads in the area.

Ontario realtors’ group calls for stronger protections against grow-ops

Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 10th, 2018

Ontario’s real estate agents want stronger rules to protect home buyers from purchasing a former marijuana grow-op – a situation they say will increase once cannabis is legalized this year.

The Ontario Real Estate Association, which represents the province’s 70,000 realtors, has proposed a series of changes it says can act as a “regulatory shield” and protect home buyers from health and safety risks linked to grow-ops. The group’s president, David Reid, said Monday that growing pot indoors requires high temperatures and humidity, which can create dangerous conditions that are hard for home buyers to detect.

“Former cannabis grow operations, even on a small scale, can pose significant health and safety issues for unsuspecting home buyers,” Reid said. “These risks are often masked by owners of existing grow operations when the property is sold, making it very difficult for home buyers and realtors to detect problems like mould and fungus.”

Reid said in Denver, Colorado – where marijuana has been legal since 2014 – police estimate one home in 10 grows pot inside.

“Make no bones about it, as of this summer more Ontarians are going to be growing legal pot at home,” he said. “Realtors would support a full ban on the home cultivation of marijuana, however we don’t expect the government of Ontario to take that step with legalization of recreational marijuana on the horizon.”

The group is instead asking the Ontario government to restrict the number of plants a home owner can grow in a condo or apartment unit 1,000 square feet or smaller to one plant, down from four.

Ministry of the Attorney General spokesman Brian Gray said in a statement that as the province approaches legalization it will continue to work with all sectors, including realtors, homeowners, and landlords to “ensure that people have the necessary information and protections in place to make informed decisions about buying and selling a home.”

Gray said that the province has adopted the federal government’s recommendation of allowing homeowners to cultivate four plants, but those plants must originate from licensed seed or seedling suppliers.

The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services is currently developing regulations to set qualifications for home inspectors and will consider the real estate association’s proposal as a part of that work, he added.

Reid said his group would also like home inspectors to receive training on how to spot the signs of a former marijuana grow operation.

“As a realtor, it’s unsettling not always being able to inform buyers that a home they’re considering was once a marijuana grow-op,” he said.

The association also wants to ensure all illegal cannabis operations are inspected by a building inspector, and it wants all municipalities to be required to register remediation work completed on a property. Once a home has been properly remediated, it can be removed from the list, Reid said.

The federal government introduced legislation in April 2017 with a goal of legalizing and regulating the use of recreational pot, but left it up to individual provinces to design their own distribution system and usage regulations.

Ontario was the first province to announce a detailed plan to sell and distribute recreational cannabis, and it sets the legal age to purchase it at 19.

The province plans to set up approximately 150 stand-alone cannabis stores by 2020. The first wave of 40 stores will open in July, with that number rising to 80 by July 2019.

Consumption of legal weed will not be allowed in public spaces or workplaces and should be confined to private residences, the province has said.

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