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Two-thirds of Canadians would support a COVID-19 curfew if pandemic severe: poll

CHRISTOPHER REYNOLDS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Nov 10th, 2020

More than two-thirds of Canadians say they would support a curfew if the COVID-19 pandemic became serious enough, according to a new poll.

The survey by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies found that 67 per cent of Canadians would back a temporary nighttime curfew — 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. — to curb viral spread in dire circumstances.

However, respondents’ enthusiasm varied by age, with young people less disposed to the notion.

Fifty-five per cent of respondents aged 18 to 34 said they would support a curfew, while three-quarters of those aged 55 and over endorsed it — including 80 per cent of those over 65.

Two out of three respondents between the ages of 35 and 54 also took to the idea.

The prospect of a curfew has been floated in several provinces, with Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister saying last week he was mulling it.

Pallister backed away from the possibility Monday after he asked Manitobans to weigh in via an online government survey.

Canadians in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec were less inclined support a curfew, with fewer than two-thirds of residents there giving the thumbs-up, the survey found.

Well over 70 per cent of respondents in B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces said they would back a curfew.

Nevertheless, majorities in all age groups, and in every part of the country, backed the idea if the COVID-19 pandemic were severe and public health officials recommended it.

The differences in opinion could relate in part to rules already in place in various regions.

“In Quebec, with bars and restaurants closed, there’s nothing to stay up for,” said Léger vice-president Christian Bourque.

“But in some provinces — Alberta, for example — a lot of places are still open.”

Canadians’ receptiveness to stricter COVID-19 measures has been a constant throughout the pandemic, and stands in stark contrast to waves of resistance in the United States.

“We’ve seen since the beginning of the current crisis that Canadians tend to be largely supportive of government initiatives,” Bourque said.

The differences north and south of the border speak to divergent national characteristics that are centuries old, he said.

“In Canada we have the Red Tory and very British collectivism that’s still part of our roots culturally. Whereas in the States there’s sort of a rejection of the state telling us what to do, that government has no business in my personal affairs,” Bourque said.

Conducted Nov. 6 to 8, the online poll surveyed 1,534 adult Canadians and 1,002 Americans. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Peel officer who accidentally recorded himself pleads guilty to ‘discreditable conduct’

JESSICA BRUNO AND ADRIAN GHOBRIAL | posted Tuesday, Nov 10th, 2020

The Peel police officer who accidentally recorded himself berating someone under arrest is now apologizing before an internal disciplinary tribunal.

In November 2018, Peel police officers arrested Masood Masad at his home after the food delivery driver was involved in a dispute at a Mississauga restaurant. At the time, Constable Bernard Trlaja unknowingly recorded himself making xenophobic statements to Masad on the suspect’s own cell phone.

The 15-minute recording was taken while the officer was in his squad car with Masad, driving him to the police station. In it, Trlaja says, “This kid obviously doesn’t understand the rule, nature and culture of Canada. If he wants to be violent and bring that violence with him, then he’s going to have to learn the way.”

According to an agreed statement of facts, the officer went to the Masad family home to speak to Masood after restaurant staff called police and asked them to tell Masood he was not to go to the restaurant ever again.

First, Trlaja called Masood, who responded in Arabic, a language the constable doesn’t know, according to the statement of facts. Then the officer called the house line. Masood’s mother picked up and said she was skeptical that Trlaja was in fact an officer, as the family often received fraudulent phone calls. The statement of facts indicates that while Trlaja was telling her how to call his police station to confirm his identity, she told him that if he were a real officer, he should come to the house. She then hung up on him.

After calling two other officers for backup and attending the Masad home, Trlaja arrested Masood. In the recording he says: “I came to your house with a different approach, but then when I got the arrogance of your mother and I got the arrogance of you – f*** buddy, don’t f*** with me now okay.”

In home security video showing the police cruisers in the family’s driveway, Trlaja and the two other responding officers can be seen holding Masood’s phone.

Masood had started a video recording on the phone when the police arrived at his home. One officer is seen in the video ending the recording and handing the phone to Trlaja.

The statement of facts says Trlaja then accidentally started a new recording when he placed the phone next to him inside the police cruiser.

In the recording, Trlaja asks Masood: “What’s your problem buddy? Are you r******d? Now you’re a mouse with your tail stuck between your a**hole.”

Shortly after Masood’s arrest, the charge was downgraded to mischief and then dropped by a Crown prosecutor.

In the statement of facts, Trlaja now agrees his actions were discreditable conduct under the service’s Code of Conduct.

The full agreed statement of facts is below:

Last year, Ontario’s Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) found reasonable grounds that Masood’s arrest was unlawful and that Trlaja’s conduct was discreditable — ordering Peel’s chief to hold a hearing.

At the time, Trlaja was involved in another disciplinary hearing for a separate incident, where its alleged he made inappropriate comments to a Peel police employee.

Meanwhile, the 17-year police veteran has been suspended with pay. He made more than $103,000 in 2019, according to Ontario’s sunshine list.

The tribunal prosecutor is not pursuing an unlawful arrest charge against Trlaja. The Masad Family has also received two letters of apology from the constable — one to Masood, and one to his father Bashar, who was home the night of the arrest and brought the OIPRD complaint.

“I truly apologize for how I spoke to you in your residence and more particularly the police cruiser,” the apology to Masood reads.

Read the full apology letter to Masood below:

In the letter to Bashar, Trlaja states: “My conversation with Masood in the residence and during the transportation was fueled by emotional frustration, not from any prejudice against your ethnicity or culture.”

Read the full apology letter to Masood’s father Bashar below:

Bashar says he appreciates the apology, and more than individual punishment of the officer, he wants to see systemic change in how police contact people by phone.

“It was written in strong words, the apology,” he says. “Regardless what the main aim of doing that is — whether to avoid punishment or whether it’s genuine … at least for us Constable Trlaja had the courage to come and say, ‘I’m sorry I did something wrong.’ Not everybody is capable of doing that.”

The hearing continues this week, and Peel police tell CityNews that the coming days will be used to hear evidence on how the officer should be penalized.

Murder trial for Alek Minassian, man accused in Toronto van attack, starts Tuesday

LIAM CASEY, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Nov 10th, 2020

The trial for the man who killed 10 people and hurt 16 others after driving a van down a Toronto sidewalk is set to get underway today.

Alek Minassian, 28, of Richmond Hill, faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.

He has admitted in court to planning and carrying out the attack on April 23, 2018.

The judge has said the case will turn on Minassian’s state of mind at the time.

He is expected to raise a defence of being not criminally responsible for his actions that day.

Minassian told a detective just hours after the incident that he carried out the attack as retribution against society because he was a lonely virgin who believed women wouldn’t have sex with him.

In a police interview that was made public, Minassian told the detective he had found solace in an online community for so-called “incels” men who were involuntarily celibate.

Minassian explained to the detective that incels were at the bottom rung of society, below so-called Chads, who are alpha males who slept with women, who are known as Staceys.

He said the Chads had to be killed in order to force the Staceys to have sex with men like him, the incels.

A mass attack would cause confusion in the world and allow the incels to rearrange the world order and come out on top, he told the detective.

Minassian’s trial will take place in front of a judge, Justice Anne Molloy, without a jury _ a rarity for first-degree murder trials.

The defence sought to have the case moved out of Toronto, arguing Minassian wouldn’t receive a fair trial with a jury pool of locals.

After negotiations, all sides agreed to proceed by way of a judge alone, thereby keeping the trial in Toronto.

The trial was set to begin in February, but difficulties getting Minassian’s psychological and medical records pushed it back to April.

The pandemic then shuttered courts, pushing the trial back to November.

With recent COVID-19 restrictions in place during the pandemic’s second wave, court opted for a trial on the Zoom videoconference software.

The trial will not be available to the public online, but anyone can watch a broadcast of the trial at a few rooms reserved at the downtown Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Man stabbed multiple times at party, police say

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Nov 9th, 2020

A man has been taken to the hospital after being stabbed multiple times at a party in Toronto’s Junction Triangle neighbourhood, police say.

Police tweeted at around 9:14 p.m. Sunday they were called to the Dupont Street and Campbell Avenue area for a report of a stabbing.

When officers arrived at the scene, they said they found a man with multiple stab wounds. He was transported to the hospital by Toronto Paramedic Services.

Police said they are searching for a male suspect with a slim build. He was seen wearing a grey sweater and fled the scene on foot.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police directly. Tips can also be left anonymously with Crime Stoppers.

 

Trump faces calls to work with Biden team on transition

WILL WEISSERT THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Monday, Nov 9th, 2020

President Donald Trump is facing pressure to co-operate with President-elect Joe Biden’s team to ensure a smooth transfer of power when the new administration takes office in January.

The General Services Administration is tasked with formally recognizing Biden as president-elect, which begins the transition. But the agency’s Trump-appointed administrator, Emily Murphy, has not started the process and has given no guidance on when she will do so.

That lack of clarity is fueling questions about whether Trump, who has not publicly recognized Biden’s victory and has falsely claimed the election was stolen, will impede Democrats as they try to establish a government.

There is little precedent in the modern era of a president erecting such hurdles for his successor. The stakes are especially high this year because Biden will take office amid a raging pandemic, which will require a comprehensive government response.

“America’s national security and economic interests depend on the federal government signalling clearly and swiftly that the United States government will respect the will of the American people and engage in a smooth and peaceful transfer of power,” Jen Psaki, a Biden transition aide, tweeted Sunday.

The advisory board of the nonpartisan Center for Presidential Transition also urged the Trump administration to “immediately begin the post-election transition process and the Biden team to take full advantage of the resources available under the Presidential Transition Act.”

Biden, who was elected the 46th president on Saturday, is taking steps to build a government despite questions about whether Trump will offer the traditional assistance.

He is focusing first on the virus, which has already killed nearly 240,000 Americans. Biden will announce details on Monday of a task force that will create a blueprint to attempt to bring the pandemic under control that he plans to begin implementing after assuming the presidency on Jan. 20.

Biden has already named a former surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, and an ex-Food and Drug Administration commissioner, David Kessler, as co-chairs.

Biden was also launching agency review teams, groups of transition staffers that have access to key agencies in the current administration. They will collect and review information such as budgetary and staffing decisions, pending regulations and other work in progress from current Trump administration staff at the departments to help Biden’s team prepare to transition.

But that process can’t begin in full until the GSA recognizes Biden as president-elect. The definition of what constitutes a clear election winner for the GSA is legally murky, making next steps unclear, especially in the short term.

The GSA’s leadership is supposed to act independently and in a nonpartisan manner, and at least some elements of the federal government already have begun implementing transition plans. Aviation officials, for instance, have restricted the airspace over Biden’s lakefront home in Wilmington, Delaware, while the Secret Service has begun using agents from its presidential protective detail for the president-elect and his family.

There were other signs that some leaders were preparing for a new administration.

Biden aides said the president-elect and transition team had been in touch with Republican lawmakers. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, one of Trump’s closest allies, opened a Cabinet meeting on Sunday by congratulating Biden, a former vice-president and longtime senator.

“I have a long and warm personal connection with Joe Biden for nearly 40 years, and I know him as a great friend of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

George W. Bush, the only living Republican former president, called Biden “a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country.”

But other Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, urged Trump to continue pursuing legal challenges related to the election, making a bumpy transition more likely.

Biden started his first full day as president-elect on Sunday by attending church at St. Joseph on the Brandywine near his home in Wilmington, as he does nearly every week. After the service, he visited the church cemetery where several family members have been laid to rest, including his son Beau.

He otherwise spent most of the day inside his home while some of his staff spent hours on a conference call focused on transition planning.

Those plans also may hinge on two Senate races in Georgia that have advanced to a Jan. 5 runoff. If Republicans hold those seats, they’ll likely retain the Senate majority and be in a position to slow confirmation of Biden’s top Cabinet choices and complicate his legislative goals, including sweeping calls for expanding access to health care and bolstering the post-pandemic economy with green jobs and infrastructure designed to combat climate change.

That could test Biden’s campaign pledge to move past the divisiveness of the Trump era and govern in a bipartisan manner.

During his victory speech on Saturday, he vowed to be a president who “seeks not to divide, but unify” and appealed to Trump supporters to “give each other a chance.”

Those close to Biden say he will navigate the period ahead by harnessing his sense of empathy that became a trademark of his campaign. Biden often spoke of the pain he experienced following the death of his wife and young daughter in a 1972 car crash, and Beau’s 2015 death due to brain cancer.

“My brother knows how to feel,” said Valerie Biden Owens, Biden’s sister and longtime top adviser. “Joe’s strength has been resilience and recovery and that’s what we need as a country.”

Man shot near Queen Street West and Niagara Street

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Nov 9th, 2020

A man has been shot in Toronto’s Trinity-Bellwoods neighbourhood, police say.

Police tweeted at around 5:35 p.m. that they had been called to the Queen Street West and Niagara Street area for a report that people had been seen shooting at each other.

When officers arrived, they found a man suffering from a gunshot wound.

EMS said they transported a man with serious, non-life-threatening injuries.

Several bullet casings were located as well.

Investigators are searching for one suspect in connection to this incident. Police describe the suspect as a male, about five-foot-eight-inches tall, with a slim build. He was wearing a black bandana over his face and a black vest. He was also carrying a handgun.

The incident remains under investigation.

 

‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek dies after battle with pancreatic cancer

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Nov 9th, 2020

Alex Trebek, who presided over the beloved quiz show “Jeopardy!” for more than 30 years with dapper charm and a touch of school-master strictness, died Sunday. He was 80.

Trebek, who announced in 2019 that he had advanced pancreatic cancer, died at his California home, surrounded by family and friends, “Jeopardy!” studio Sony said.

The Sudbury-born host, who made a point of informing fans about his health directly, spoke in a calm, even tone as he revealed his illness and hope for a cure in a video posted March 6, 2019.

In the video, Trebek said he was joining the 50,000 other Americans who receive such a diagnosis each year and that he recognized that the prognosis was not encouraging.

But Trebek said he intended to fight it and keep working, even joking that he needed to beat the disease because his “Jeopardy!” contract ran for three more years. Less than a week later, he opened the show with a message acknowledging the outpouring of kind words and prayers he’d received.

“Thanks to the – believe it or not – hundreds of thousands of people who have sent in tweets, texts, emails, cards and letters wishing me well,” Trebek said. “I’m a lucky guy.”

“Jeopardy!” bills itself as “America’s favourite quiz show” and captivated the public with a unique format in which contestants were told the answers and had to provide the questions on a variety of subjects, including movies, politics, history and popular culture.

They would answer by saying “What is … ?” or “Who is …. ?”

Trebek, who became its host in 1984, was a master of the format, engaging in friendly banter with contestants, appearing genuinely pleased when they answered correctly and, at the same time, moving the game along in a brisk no-nonsense fashion whenever people struggled for answers.

He never pretended to know the answers himself if he really didn’t, deferring to the show’s experts to decide whether a somewhat vague answer had come close enough to be counted as correct.

“I try not to take myself too seriously,” he told an interviewer in 2004. “I don’t want to come off as a pompous ass and indicate that I know everything when I don’t.”

The show was the brainstorm of Juann Griffin, wife of the late talk show host-entrepreneur Merv Griffin, who said she suggested to him one day that he create a game show where people were given the answers.

“Jeopardy!” debuted on NBC in 1964 with Art Fleming as emcee and was an immediate hit. It lasted until 1975, then was revived in syndication with Trebek.

Long identified by a full head of hair and trim moustache (though in 2001 he startled viewers by shaving his moustache, “completely on a whim”), Trebek was more than qualified for the job, having started his game show career on “Reach for the Top” in his native country.

Moving to the U.S. in 1973, he appeared on “The Wizard of Odds,” “High Rollers,” “The $128,000 Question” and “Double Dare.” Even during his run on “Jeopardy!”, Trebek worked on other shows. In the early 1990s, he was the host of three – “Jeopardy!”, “To Tell the Truth” and “Classic Concentration.”

“Jeopardy!” made him famous. He won five Emmys as its host, and received stars on both the Hollywood and Canadian walks of fame. In 2012, the show won a prestigious Peabody Award.

He taped his daily “Jeopardy!” shows at a frenetic pace, recording as many as 10 episodes (two weeks’ worth) in just two days. After what was described as a mild heart attack in 2007, he was back at work in just a month.

He posted a video in January 2018 announcing he’d undergone surgery for blood clots on the brain that followed a fall he’d taken. The show was on hiatus during his recovery.

It had yet to bring in a substitute host for Trebek – save once, when he and “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak swapped their TV jobs as an April’s Fool prank.

In 2012, Trebek acknowledged that he was considering retirement, but had been urged by friends to stay on so he could reach 30 years on the show. He still loved the job, he declared: “What’s not to love? You have the security of a familiar environment, a familiar format, but you have the excitement of new clues and new contestants on every program. You can’t beat that!”

Although many viewers considered him one of the key reasons for the show’s success, Trebek himself insisted he was only there to keep things moving.

“I’m introduced as the host of ‘Jeopardy!,’ not the star,” he said in a 2012 interview. “My job is to provide the atmosphere and assistance to the contestants to get them to perform at their very best,” he explained. “And if I’m successful doing that, I will be perceived as a nice guy and the audience will think of me as being a bit of a star.”

Statistics Canada to release October jobs report

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Nov 6th, 2020

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada will say this morning how the country’s job market fared in October, with experts expecting the pace of gains to slow from September.

Job growth in Canada accelerated rather than slowed down in September, as the economy added 378,000 jobs coming out of the summer.

That brought overall employment to within 720,000 of pre-pandemic levels, or about three-quarters of the three million jobs lost at the outset of the pandemic in Canada.

The gains also dropped the unemployment rate to nine per cent.

The country is expected to get a little closer to recouping the losses with the figures for October.

Financial data firm Refinitiv says the average economist estimate is for a gain of 100,000 jobs in October and an unemployment rate of 8.8 per cent.

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