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Pedestrian seriously injured after being struck by vehicle in Etobicoke

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Sep 30th, 2019

A pedestrian suffered serious injuries after being hit by a vehicle in Etobicoke on Sunday night.

Officers were called to the Kipling Avenue and Bethridge Road area for a collision around 9 p.m.

The pedestrian was taken to hospital via emergency run.

Northbound Kipling Avenue was closed from Belfield Road to Bethridge but has since reopened.

There is no word on whether the driver remained on scene or if any charges will be laid.

Scheer, Trudeau talk platforms, firearms in Toronto; Singh stays out west

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Sep 30th, 2019

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal election platform is out, and it’s brimming with talking points not only for Justin Trudeau, but for his political rivals as well.

There’s billions in new spending — $57 billion worth, according to Conservative math — to be financed in part by new taxes on the wealthy, large international corporations, foreign housing speculators and tech giants.

There’s billions in red ink, too: the platform projects a $27.4-billion deficit next year, falling to $21 billion by year 4 of what would be a second Liberal mandate, should Trudeau’s growth-and-investment approach win out over what he calls the cuts and austerity of Andrew Scheer’s Tories.

Scheer will no doubt have plenty to say today about what the Conservatives consider Liberal disregard for the federal balance sheet — an image Trudeau seemed to lean into Sunday as an important point of distinction between the two parties.

Trudeau, for his part, will be in Toronto talking to health care professionals about what he has promised a re-elected Liberal government would do about guns — a hot topic in a city that as of last weekend had seen 325 shooting incidents this year alone, 26 of them fatal, according to Toronto police data.

Scheer, who is also in the Toronto area, will be facing questions, too. The Liberals are trying to make hay with the fact that the Conservative leader never finished the licensing process to become an insurance broker, a job description he says he had before politics. The party says he was accredited, but left the industry before getting his licence.

Man found dead inside vehicle in Etobicoke, homicide investigating

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Sep 30th, 2019

The homicide unit is investigating after a man was found dead in a vehicle in Etobicoke on Sunday night.

Police responded to a call for assistance after paramedics discovered the man, who was without vital signs, in a plaza in the Kipling Avenue and Steeles Avenue West area around 10 p.m.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Early reports indicate the man has been stabbed.

There has been no word on suspects.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

Ontario educational workers begin work-to-rule campaign

Tina Yazdani and Dilshad Burman | posted Monday, Sep 30th, 2019

Tens of thousands of education workers across Ontario have begun a work-to-rule campaign in a bid to pressure the provincial government into making concessions in contract negotiations.

Talks between the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), school boards and the province ended Sunday night, according to a statement from Minister of Education Stephen Lecce.

The talks, which restarted Saturday, did not result in an agreement and Sunday marked the final effort to stave off a work-to-rule campaign.

The union representing 55,000 education support workers in Ontario will begin pulling back on various services Monday.

“It is deeply disappointing that CUPE has decided to end talks this weekend and proceed with a partial withdrawal of services, despite a limited number of outstanding items at the table,” Lecce’ statement read.

Clerical staff have been told not to supervise children or update the school’s websites and social media feeds. Education assistants will not allow classes to proceed and custodians will not pick up garbage outside or clean hallways offices and gyms.

The Toronto District School board issued a statement saying schools in the city will remain open and “principals and vice-principals will work together with staff to maintain a caring and positive school environment for students.”

The statement provided more details on the services that will be withdrawn including school compost and recycling programs, cutting grass and other ground maintenance duties and collecting money for school-related initiatives and fundraising. Click here for a full list of services that will be impacted during the work-to-rule campaign.

A spokeswoman for CUPE tells CityNews they have the support of parents who are “frustrated” and “sick of cuts.”

CUPE is just one of several unions locked in talks with the province and so far none have reached a deal.

The talks came as a result of the government ordering school boards to increase class sizes, which will mean almost 4000 fewer teachers in the system over four years.

Teen boy found stabbed near east-end high school

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Sep 27th, 2019

A teenage boy has been rushed to hospital with serious injuries after he was found suffering from stab wounds near an east-end high school.

Police were called to Neil McNeil Catholic High School on Victoria Park Avenue near Kingston Road just after 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

According to a witness who spoke with CityNews, the victim – believe to be 16-years-old – got into a verbal argument with a female student from nearby Notre Dame High School. The female then called her older brother who showed up with two other people and assaulted the teen.

“They all had knives and (expletive),” said the boy only identified as King. “They had their hands in their pockets. The youth who hit him with the baseball bat, he had a hammer in his side bag. Then he hit him with a baseball bat on his forehead and his arm. Then he got stabbed in his chest. They all hopped in a white van and left.”

Police say the victim was found inside the school but say the stabbing occurred at a nearby plaza, which has also been cordoned off by police tape.

The school was put in locked down as a precaution but that order was lifted just before 3 p.m.

The boy’s injuries are not considered life-threatening.

There is no word yet on suspects or if this incident is connected to the stabbing of a 17-year-old that took place almost seven kilometres away.

From Victoria to Montreal, climate marches dominate federal campaign Friday

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Sep 27th, 2019

Climate change will dominate the federal election campaign on Friday, with most of the leaders joining marches demanding cuts to greenhouse-gas emissions.

The exception is Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who’s spending the day in the suburbs of Vancouver for an announcement and campaign stops with candidates in Maple Ridge and Richmond, but not marching anywhere.

Justin Trudeau and Elizabeth May are in Montreal, along with teenaged Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Thunberg is marching in Montreal’s climate strike, which is likely to be Canada’s biggest.

Trudeau could face criticism there over his Liberal government’s spending billions of dollars to buy an oil pipeline project while the Liberals present themselves as Canada’s best choice for environmental policy.

The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh is spending a fourth straight day in British Columbia, beginning with an announcement on coast protection in Ladysmith, on Vancouver Island, before heading to a climate march in Victoria.

People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier is campaigning at home in Quebec’s Beauce region, where he’s striving to keep his seat after breaking away from the Conservatives last year.

#CityVote2019: housing affordability a high priority

MEREDITH BOND AND DILSHAD BURMAN | posted Friday, Sep 27th, 2019

Cost of living has become one of the dominant themes of the federal election campaign and in Toronto, where real estate prices are soaring and rents are sky high, housing affordability is one of the number one issues facing voters in the city.

All four parties have released extensive platforms filled with promises to make buying a home more affordable, should their government get elected.

The Conservatives pledged to return to 30-year mortgages for first-time home buyers to help lower monthly payments while also easing the stress test on mortgages. The Liberals say they will be implementing a tax on foreign buyers and the NDP has promised to do both.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has also announced they would spend $5 billion immediately towards their goal of building 500,000 affordable housing units in 10 years. The Green Party says they’ll build 25,000 new housing units and 15,000 renovated units every year for the next 10 years while providing rental assistance to 125,000 households.

While the promises may sound like positive solutions on paper, Professor of Public Policy at York University Thomas Klassen says governments have several limitations in terms of what they can actually deliver.

When it comes to housing, the main roadblock is the federal government can’t control a lot of factors that affect it.

“They can promise, they can say we have a plan. But that plan is much harder to put into place than you would expect,” said Klassen. “They don’t determine housing prices, they don’t even determine where housing and what housing is built. That is determined by city governments and the private sector.”

“It can decrease taxes, but I’m not sure people feel that as much at the end of the year,” he said.

Klassen goes so far as to say he believes one should not even pay attention to promises made on housing.

“Anything to do with housing-related promises, you can discount that, because that just isn’t something the government can do. It can’t control what a house or apartment will be sold for or rented for.”

In the riding of Parkdale-High Park, the issue of affordable housing hits home with many residents, as evidenced at a meeting held by the Parkdale Tenants Association on Monday.

Judith Penfold from the association says many people in the riding are spending more than 50 per cent of their income and in some cases, up to 90 per cent, on housing.

“They resort to food banks, they really have a hard time making it from pay cheque to pay cheque,” said Penfold. “If anyone loses an apartment, really, the next stop is the street. There’s no way you’ll get another one.”

Tenants in the area have fought back against skyrocketing rents, mobilizing in the hundreds to withhold rent from landlords who have attempted to increase rates above the government caps.

NDP candidate for Parkdale-High Park Paul Taylor says his party’s commitment to build 500,000 affordable housing units is the way to tackle housing affordability.

“We need more housing. This is why landlords, in terms of the rental situation, have all of the control. We just don’t have enough supply … so landlords are able to charge whatever they like,” said Taylor. “We really want to be able to come to the table with some dollars to be able to build more housing so there’s much more supply so people have choice and opportunity to access this type of housing. Every single person deserves a home and we need to be making sure we are working towards that.”

When asked how he plans to actually get units built, he says they will be coming to the table, along with the province, with the funds and working closely with those partners.

“We are in the middle of a house in crisis. People need action now and we need to make sure the richest of the rich who are benefiting from our current system are contributing to making things better,” said Taylor.

“Every single person deserves a home and we need to be making sure we are working towards that.”

Taylor also mentions that more affluent residents in the area say their children and grandchildren can’t afford to move out.

“When we’re looking at things like increasing the Home Buyers Tax Credit for first time home buyers and looking at extending mortgage terms to 30 years for Canada House and Mortgage Corporation mortgages for first time buyers, things like that allow people to live in the communities in which they have grown up,” said Taylor.

However Liberal candidate for Parkdale-High Park Arif Virani echoes Klassen regarding the lack of agency the federal government has when it comes to housing issues.

He says he hears about things like predatory developers, rent control or Ontario Municipal Board decisions, which fall under provincial control and over which the federal government has no jurisdiction.

However, as with several other services, the feds can write a cheque and he emphasized the steps already taken to alleviate housing issues in his riding.

“We put in a national housing strategy. They are billions of dollars in the strategy. We transferred $1.3 billion to the mayor of the city to help with the TCHC units. There are 365 Toronto Community Housing Corporation units in this riding. Most of them are in Parkdale,” he said, adding that those federal dollars also go toward maintenance, so that those unit don’t fall out of the rental supply market.

The riding of Parkdale-High Park is largely considered a two-way race between the Liberals and the NDP in the upcoming federal election.

Thousands expected to turn out for climate strike

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Sep 27th, 2019

Cities across Canada, including many in Ontario, will be taking part in a massive push for action on climate change Friday.

Climate marches will be taking place in at least 85 Canadian cities, including Toronto, Ottawa, Guelph, and Hamilton.

Thousands of Canadians are expected to take part in the events, which cap off a week of international protest and calls to do more to slow global warming.

Hundreds of rallies took place around the world last week, but most Canadian marches are happening today.

In Toronto, the rally will begin at 11 a.m. on Wellesley Street near Queen’s Park, followed by a march at 12 p.m.

Participants will walk south on Bay Street, west on Queen Street West, then north on University Avenue.

A celebration concert will take place at 2 p.m.

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