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Pride Toronto votes against police participation in 2019 Pride parade

NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Jan 23rd, 2019

Pride Toronto has voted against allowing police participation in the 2019 Pride parade.

The vote that took place on Tuesday night was a close one, with members voting 163 to 161 against having uniformed officers march in the annual event.

Toronto police officers have been banned from participating in the parade for the last two years.

Gary Kinsman from the No Pride in Policing Coalition told CityNews the results of Tuesday’s vote were initially meant to be binding for two years. However, during the meeting it was clarified that the vote would stand until Pride Toronto members choose to vote on the issue again.

Kinsman said in order to be a voting member, potential members must have volunteered with the Pride organization or pay a $10 fee and wait 60 days for membership to be activated. He claims the organization accepted 244 new members over the last few weeks.

Singer Chris Brown released in Paris after rape complaint


U.S. singer Chris Brown and two other people were released Tuesday from police custody after a woman filed a rape complaint against them, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

The Grammy-winning singer was detained Monday with two other suspects on potential charges of aggravated rape and drug infractions.

The Paris prosecutor’s office told The Associated Press that Brown has been authorized to leave France while the investigation is ongoing.

A post late Tuesday on Brown’s Instagram page strongly denied the accusations.


Brown’s publicists at Sony Music wouldn’t comment Tuesday on the complaint or say what Brown, 29, was doing in Paris. His U.S. attorney, Mark Geragos, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Brown has been in repeated legal trouble since pleading guilty to the felony assault in 2009 of his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. He completed his probation in that case in 2015, but has continued to have run-ins with police.

The woman who filed the Paris complaint said she met Brown and his friends overnight Jan. 15-16 at the club Le Crystal in the 8th arrondissement near the Champs-Elysees, and then they all went to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel near the Concorde Plaza in central Paris, according to a police official.

The Mandarin Oriental wouldn’t comment on the investigation, and Le Crystal couldn’t immediately be reached. There was no unusual activity outside either site.

One of Brown’s bodyguards is among the others detained in the Paris investigation, according to the official. They are being held by judicial police in the 17th arrondissement of northwest Paris, the official said.

The police official wasn’t authorized to be publicly named to discuss the investigation.

The detention was originally reported by French gossip magazine Closer.

Brown, who burst onto the music scene as a teen, won a Grammy Award in 2011 for best R&B album for “F.A.M.E.” and has nominations for other works. His hits include “Look at Me Now,” “Run It,” and numerous collaborations with other stars, including “Post to Be” and last year’s “Freaky Friday” with Lil Dicky.

He released a new single earlier this month and has a new album coming this year. Six of his albums have gone platinum.

He retains a huge following of devoted fans, including nearly 50 million followers on Instagram . He posted an Instagram photo Monday from Paris appearing to show him at a nightclub, among several recent posts. Followers responded with mixed messages to the rape accusation.

It’s the latest legal trouble for Brown, who was arrested at the end of a concert last year to face a felony battery charge involving a nightclub photographer.

In 2013, Brown was charged with misdemeanour assault after he was accused of striking a man outside a Washington hotel. He was ordered into rehab but was dismissed for violating facility rules. Brown spent 2 1/2 months in custody.

After he completed court-ordered anger-management classes, Brown was accused of throwing a brick at his mother’s car following a counselling session.

After Brown posted a picture to his Instagram followers in January 2018 showing his 3-year-old daughter, Royalty, cuddling with a pet monkey, California fish and wildlife agents seized the capuchin monkey named Fiji from his home in Los Angeles.

Brown was later handed a misdemeanour charge for lacking a permit for the primate. He is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 6 in Los Angeles.

Premier Ford defends carbon tax recession claims in wake of criticism

SHAWN JEFFORDS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 23rd, 2019

Premier Doug Ford doubled down Tuesday on his warning that a federal carbon tax will trigger a recession, lashing out at economists who said his claim was baseless.

His defence via social media came after he faced criticism from experts and the federal government for saying a carbon price will be an “economic disaster.”

“The threat of a carbon tax recession is real,” Ford wrote on Twitter. “The cost of goods that are made, farmed + transported in Ontario will go up with a carbon tax. The price will be paid by Ontarians.”

Ford’s initial comments, made during a speech at the Economic Club of Canada on Monday, led many experts to say there is no credible analysis to back up his claims. A number of studies suggest the carbon price will have a small impact on the national economy but will not cause a fiscal slowdown.

The premier, however, stood his ground.

“It’s hard to believe economists with theories that making everything more expensive is a good idea,” Ford tweeted Tuesday.

Ford has been a vocal critic of carbon pricing since he entered provincial politics last year. His Progressive Conservative government scrapped Ontario’s cap-and-trade system after it was elected, calling it a “cash grab” that didn’t help the environment, and has since launched a legal challenge of Ottawa’s carbon pricing plan.

The federal carbon tax, which goes into effect April 1, will impact Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and New Brunswick, which have not adopted their own carbon pricing plans.

In defending Ford’s comments in various media reports, the premier’s staff cited a report from the Conference Board of Canada which said the carbon tax will shrink Canada’s $2.1 trillion gross domestic product economy by $3 billion.

Robyn Gibbard, one of the study’s authors, challenged the premier’s staff’s assertions in an online post.

“At no point in our research paper do we say that the carbon tax could cause a recession,” he said. “We specifically describe the overall economic impact as ‘small.”’

The federal government has also disagreed with Ford’s claim, saying its plan will cut emissions and grow the economy.

University of British Columbia economics professor Kevin Milligan said the Ford government need only look west to see a carbon pricing system that has not adversely effected the economy.

“BC has had a carbon price for 10 years and we are leading the country in growth,” he said. “It doesn’t mean the carbon price is causing the growth but what it does mean is we can definitely rule out the case that a carbon price causes a recession.”

Ford said Monday that Ontario does not need a carbon tax to help it reach its emission targets, pointing to his government’s new climate change plan introduced late last year.

Under its plan, Ontario will use taxpayer dollars to spur private investment in clean technologies and create performance standards for large emitters. The province will spend $400 million over four years on a fund called the Ontario Carbon Trust, which aims to entice companies to invest in initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Niagara University opens its Vaughan location

NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Jan 22nd, 2019

The City of Vaughan has opened its doors to welcome its very first university.

Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua officially announced on Monday that Niagara University has expanded to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre.

“It has been my dream to bring a university to Vaughan. With focus, discipline and excellent partners, this dream has come true,” Bevilacqua said in a release.

“Today is the manifestation of what can be achieved through hard work, dedication and perseverance. It is a great day for our city and Niagara University as we take steps to take charge of our future.”

Monday marked the first day of classes at the new facility.

The 12,000 square foot space will have seven classrooms and welcome 300 students. It will also house faculty and administration offices along with student lounge areas.

The school will focus on education programs, with students enrolling in either the bachelor of professional studies in education or the Master of Science in education.

Human rights tribunal hearing challenge to rollback of sex-ed curriculum

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jan 22nd, 2019

Lawyers for a transgender girl fighting the Ontario government’s repeal of a modernized sex-ed curriculum argued Monday that the move has put their 11-year-old client in harm’s way because her classmates won’t be required to learn about gender identity.

In opening arguments at Ontario’s human rights tribunal, they said the Progressive Conservative government’s decision to roll back a version of the curriculum developed in 2015 in favour of one that does not include the word “transgender” suggests to the girl that her body is wrong.

The government argues that the curriculum currently being used by schools – which is based on one from 1998 – is not discriminatory, saying teachers are free to expand on what’s required by the document. A new curriculum is currently under development.

Lawyer Mika Imai said her client, a sixth-grader identified only as AB from small-town Ontario, was “extremely upset” when she learned that the modernized curriculum brought in by the previous Liberal regime was being scrapped.

“AB felt that the minister was putting trans students in the shadows,” Imai said.

The girl is being subjected to unequal treatment because those who are not transgender will learn about their sexual orientation in class while AB and others like her will not, Imai contended.

“No matter what happens this spring in AB’s sex-ed class, unlike her straight, cisgender peers, she is put in the position of fearing what will happen,” she said. “AB is scared of what will be said about her body, and whether her teacher will step in if kids tease her.”

Imai added that the tribunal will hear from experts, who will say that if kids don’t learn about queer and transgender people, they are more likely to bully their LGBTQ classmates.

And she said that the negative effects of the sex-ed curriculum repeal have already begun to play out for AB.

“AB has also already received negative messaging from the minister: that her body is wrong, that she doesn’t deserve to be taught about her body, that her peers don’t need to be taught about her body and that she doesn’t deserve to be protected from bullying,” Imai said.

Lawyers for the government argued that teachers make their own lesson plans, and language in the introduction of the curriculum opens the door for them to discuss LGBTQ issues.

They pointed to a line in the current curriculum that emphasizes the need for teachers to provide a physically and emotionally safe environment for learning “by emphasizing the importance of safety in physical activity, treating students with respect at all times, being sensitive to individual differences … and providing an inclusive learning environment.”

“This is not a script,” government lawyer Michael Dunn said of the curriculum. “There is not a list of prohibited words or phrases … Teachers are left to exercise professional judgment. The curriculum is a starting point.”

But interveners in the case – including the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, which represents the tens of thousands of primary school teachers in the province – argue that is not the case.

The federation said the fact that the government set up a so-called “snitch line” for parents to report teachers who are providing information not in the current curriculum means that the province was trying to mandate that students not learn about LGBTQ issues.

Dunn said the actual evidence of what goes on in AB’s school doesn’t bear out the argument that she faces discrimination, and that much of her lawyers’ argument is based on speculation and hypothesis.

He urged the adjudicators hearing the case to make a decision based only on the facts, and called for them to uphold the current version of the sex-ed curriculum as non-discriminatory.

The tribunal is set to hear the case over 10 days, with a decision planned for sometime in the spring.

The repeal of the modernized curriculum is also being fought in a separate court challenge. The case before the human rights tribunal, however, focuses solely on the repeal’s effect on LGBTQ students.

Deciem founder Brandon Truaxe dead at 40, says company executive

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jan 22nd, 2019

The mastermind responsible for turning Toronto beauty brand Deciem into a multi-million-dollar company that shook up the cosmetics industry has died.

Deciem chief operating officer Stephen Kaplan confirmed the death of 40-year-old founder Brandon Truaxe in an email to The Canadian Press on Monday and released a statement on social media calling Truaxe a “friend.”

“You touched our hearts, inspired our minds and made us believe that anything is possible. Thank you for every laugh, every learning and every moment of your genius,” the post said. “Whilst we can’t imagine a world without you, we promise to take care of each other and will work hard to continue your vision. May you finally be at peace. Love, (forever) your Deciem.”

Kaplan and the company did not disclose Truaxe’s cause of death, which the brand appeared to be marking by keeping stores closed on Monday. A sign hung in the window of at least one Toronto location saying, “Please don’t get mad. We are currently closed for an unforeseen concern.”

Truaxe, born Ali Roshan in Iran, founded Deciem in 2013, calling it the “Abnormal Beauty Company.”

It was Truaxe’s vision that fashioned Deciem’s popular The Ordinary line into the antithesis of most skincare brands – products come in plain white packaging with scientific sounding names and price tags that were much cheaper than rivals.

The products Deciem sold at the roughly 30 stores Truaxe opened around the globe ended up being touted by Kim Kardashian West and reportedly put the company on track to make $300 million in sales last year.

But his relationship with the beauty darling he had built become strained in recent months after he announced on Instagram in Oct. 2018 that he was closing all of its stores, citing alleged employee involvement in a “major criminal activity.” Further details about his claims have yet to be revealed, but a court recently appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to investigate the allegations.

The closures spurred outcry from Deciem fans and beauty behemoth Estee Lauder Companies Inc., which bought a 28 per cent stake in the brand in 2017 from Truaxe and Pasquale Cusano, an owner and manager of high-end jewellery stores in British Columbia.

In a bid to protect its investment, Estee Lauder headed to court twice in October, landing court orders removing Truaxe as the company’s chief executive officer, requiring him to stay away from Deciem properties and employees and reopening the stores.

Estee Lauder said its actions were prompted by hundreds of “outrageous, disturbing, defamatory, and/or offensive posts on Deciem’s social media accounts” and a profane email it claimed Truaxe sent to Estee Lauder’s founder, saying he would soon be in his hometown and predicting the demise of Estee Lauder and the Lauder family.

Truaxe never appeared in court to fight the orders, but in the months since posted copies of them and messages directed at Lauder on his Instagram page.

In the wake of the news of Truaxe’s death, Estee Lauder companies said in a statement to The Canadian Press that Truaxe was a “true genius.”

“We are incredibly saddened by the news of his passing. As the visionary behind Deciem, he positively impacted millions of people around the world with his creativity, brilliance and innovation,” the company said. “This is a profound loss for us all.”

Despite the turmoil, Deciem was long considered Truaxe’s biggest success.

Fresh from studying computer programming at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Truaxe, a serial entrepreneur, led a software development firm called Schematte Corporation and a nutritional supplements company called Organic Senses Ltd. The companies were dissolved in 2008 and 2007 for failure to comply with legislation requiring them to file annual returns, the federal ministry of innovation, science and economic development confirmed.

Then, in 2003, he founded Euoko Inc., which he billed as a maker of “scientifically advanced luxury skin treatments formulated as alternatives to clinical laser procedures and cosmetic injections.”

Its best selling cream came with a $525 price tag and was laced with snake venom, which it claimed reduced wrinkles. It was sold at high-end retailers Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman and Harrods.

He resigned from the brand in 2011 and next appeared with a new venture: Indeed Laboratories, a skincare company which aimed to “make people feel comfortable showing their real selves in front of HD cameras and behind their selfie sticks everywhere.”

The brand has lived on as one of Deciem’s competitors, but Truaxe parted ways with Indeed within three years, telling the Telegraph in 2017 that there was “significant negativity” and “I didn’t get along with my partners.”

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Premier Ford says carbon tax could plunge Canada into recession

RICHARD SOUTHERN | posted Tuesday, Jan 22nd, 2019

Premier Doug Ford used a noon hour speech at the Economic Club to warn that the Liberal’s federal carbon tax could plunge Canada into a recession.

“I am here today to ring the warning bell. The risk of a carbon tax recession is very real,” the premier said.

It’s a claim that some economists take issue with.

“I would be highly skeptical that a moderate carbon tax alone (especially if it is truly revenue neutral) could cause a recession,” said Doug Porter, Chief Economist at BMO.

Environment Minister Rod Phillips was unable to provide proof to back up the claim when pressed by reporters, but maintained that the tax is bad for the economy.

“Even the federal government, their analysis finds the carbon tax will have a negative impact on the economy,” Phillips said.

The Premier used the rest of the speech to tout what his government has accomplished, at one point claiming his government may be the best ever

“I can say with confidence that I would put our track record over the last six months up against any government in Canadian history.”

Over 1000 people attended the lunch, and arrived to find a stapled five page document on their seats listing the promises the government claims it has kept.

Brampton, Halton Hills and Aurora opt-in, Vaughan opts-out to retail cannabis stores

NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Jan 22nd, 2019

Brampton, Aurora and Halton Hills are three of the final GTA municipalities to opt-in to pot stores, while Vaughan has voted to opt-out on one of the final days to do so.

Municipalities have until Jan. 22 to make a decision whether brick-and-mortar marijuana stores would be allowed within their borders.

Brampton City Council voted 8-3, including Mayor Patrick Brown, in favour of allowing the shops.

Burlington, Toronto, Whitchurch-Stoufville, Ajax, Brock Township, Oshawa, and Clarington had previously opted in to allowing retail cannabis sales.

Whitby has yet to make a decision. If they don’t formally opt out by the 22nd, they will be considered to have opted in.

Initially, only 25 stores will be allowed to open in Ontario — five in Toronto and six in the Greater Toronto Area.

However, the provincial government has repeatedly said that the limit will be lifted once sufficient supply of marijuana can be assured.

It’s not known if there will be an eventual cap on stores or more regulations surrounding their locations. As it stands, cannabis stores must be 150 metres from schools, but municipalities have no say about their precise location.

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