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Man seriously injured in stabbing at Sherbourne and Dundas

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Dec 4th, 2019

A man in his 20s is in hospital after an early-morning stabbing on Sherbourne Street.

Emergency crews were called to scene, just south of Dundas Street East, around 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Toronto police said there was some sort of fight that began in a restaurant and ended up on the street.

The victim suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries.

No suspect information has been released.

Toronto Public Health calls for tougher regulations on vape products

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Dec 3rd, 2019

Stricter regulations on vaping may be coming after a new report recommends the product be regulated like cigarettes.

In the report, which will be presented to the Board of Health on Dec. 9, Toronto’s medical officer of health recommends the provincial and federal government amend the Smoke-Free Ontario Act to bring vape products closer in line to the strict regulations facing tobacco products.

Some of the recommendations include prohibiting the sale of flavoured vapour products (other than tobacco flavour) in stores that are accessible to minors; and implementing advertising and promotion restrictions.

This comes after several reports of vape-related illnesses.

“While aerosolized products, also known as e-cigarettes, are considered by some health authorities to be less harmful than combustible tobacco cigarettes, Health Canada and other health authorities have concluded that the long-term health effects from the use of aerosolized products are not yet fully known,” the report reads.

The report also calls for the City of Toronto to create bylaws similar to tobacco use, which would restrict the locations of where e-cigarettes can be smoked.

Coun. Joe Cressy voiced his support for tougher regulations for e-cigarettes on Twitter Monday.

“The more we learn about the health consequences of vaping, the worse it gets,” he tweeted.

“Thankfully, when it comes to regulating e-cigarettes we don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Decades of tobacco control has worked. Now, Governments must act to implement similar strict controls on vaping.”

One of the goals is to decrease the use of vape products by youth.

The report noted that from 2017-18, University of Waterloo researchers documented a 74 per cent increase in the proportion of Canadian youth reporting they had used aerosolized liquid products in the past month (from 8.4 per cent to 14.6 per cent).

Toronto Public Health isn’t the first organization to try to crack down on vape use this year.

Last month, New York City lawmakers voted to ban flavoured electronic cigarettes after a lawsuit halted a statewide ban.

Man charged with distracted driving 10 separate times

MARK DOUGLAS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Dec 3rd, 2019

A 57-year-old man is facing his 10th charge of distracted driving after being pulled over for driving with a cellphone to his ear Monday morning.

The man was stopped on the Fort Erie-bound QEW outside Hamilton shortly before 10 a.m.

Const. Kevin Westhead, who made the traffic stop, tells 680 NEWS the driver was doing about 100 km/h in terrible, slippery winter conditions and said he was talking to his mother.

The driver has nine previous distracted driving convictions and the last offense was in 2016. Westhead says the driver indicated he was in the snow removal industry and asked for a “break” since it had been a few years since the last one.

However, the man was issued the harshest ticket possible under the circumstances — a summons to go directly to court to explain himself to a justice of the peace. In this case the driver cannot simply pay the fine, but must present himself in court.

Because the previous nine distracted driving charges came years before the increase in fines and punishments that came into effect this year, Westhead says those nine offences would likely total about $1,500 in fines along with his insurance rates being “absolutely decimated.”

Further, while the justice can suspend the driver’s licence, they cannot revoke it entirely. Westhead says the driver told him he would fight it in court.

According to the Government of Ontario’s website the penalty for being convicted of distracted driving over three times drivers with A to G licences are:

a fine of $615, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
a fine of up to $3,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
six demerit points
30-day suspension

Infighting roils NATO as leaders gather in London

LORNE COOK AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Tuesday, Dec 3rd, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump and his NATO counterparts were gathering in London Tuesday to mark the alliance’s 70th birthday amid deep tensions as spats between leaders expose a lack of unity that risks undermining the military organization’s credibility.

For the third summit in a row, Trump is expected to renew demands that European allies and Canada step up defence spending. Meanwhile, lamenting NATO’s “brain death” due to a lack of U.S. leadership, French President Emmanuel Macron says NATO needs “a wake-up call.”

Macron insists that strategic questions must be addressed, like improving ties with Russia and how to handle an unpredictable ally like Turkey.

In turn, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out at Macron, and their very public argument bodes ill for a summit hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is deep into an electoral campaign and desperately wants to smooth things over.

Ankara raised the ire of its allies by invading northern Syria, and for buying Russian air defence systems with powerful computers aboard that suck up data and would compromise the military equipment of allies if they were stationed nearby.

Before heading to London, Erdogan suggested that Turkey might not back Poland and NATO’s Baltic allies — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — should they require defending unless the allies support Turkish concerns about Syrian Kurdish fighters, which Ankara sees as terrorists.

That threat raises new questions about NATO’s commitment to its collective defence clause — Article 5 — under which all allies vow to come to the aid of a member under attack. The clause has only ever been activated once, after the 9-11 attacks in the United States.

The two-day summit kicks off with receptions at Buckingham Palace and Downing Street later Tuesday. A short working session will be held at a golf resort in outer London on Wednesday. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and some leaders were taking part in a side event Tuesday morning

Trump is due to hold separate talks with Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte on the sidelines of the summit. Johnson is also set to host talks on Syria with Macron, Merkel and Erdogan later Tuesday.

AP Writer Suzan Fraser in Ankara contributed to this report.

Ontario introduces bill to protect farmers from animal rights activists

SHAWN JEFFORDS AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Dec 3rd, 2019

New legislation introduced Monday in Ontario would create so-called “animal protection zones” with increased fines for trespassing — a move applauded by farmers but roundly criticized by the animal rights activists who say it targets them.

Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman said the bill — dubbed the Security from Trespass and Animal Safety Act — would hike fines for trespassing on farms and food-processing facilities and make it illegal to obstruct trucks carrying farm animals.

The legislation comes after livestock producers pressed the government to take action to prosecute those who trespass on their properties and demonstrate at processing plants.

“Ontario farmers and agriculture workers deserve to be able to carry out the important work they do without fear for their safety,” Hardeman said. “These are the people who produce the food we eat every day, and I’ve reflected on their experiences and concerns when drafting this proposed bill.”

Under the legislation, fines for trespassing would be set at a maximum of $15,000 for a first offence and up to $25,000 for subsequent offences, compared to current maximum trespassing fines of $10,000.

The bill would also allow a court to order restitution for any injury, loss or damage caused as a result of an offence.

The proposed law would also increase protection for farmers against civil liability from people who are hurt while trespassing on their property.

Hardeman said the proposed law would help ensure the biosecurity of the province’s food supply while also striking a balance which ensures the right to protest.

“People have a right to participate in legal protests, but this does not include trespassing on farms and agriculture businesses or interfering with livestock in transport,” he said.

Ontario Federation of Agriculture spokesman Keith Currie said the farming community has been dealing with aggressive protests for years, and action was needed.

“As farmers, we respect the right of people to protest, however, when it encroaches on private property, endangering the safety of families, (and) farmers, … something needs to be done,” he said.

The executive director of animal protection group Animal Justice, however, said the legislation is “utterly chilling” and would restrict free speech if it becomes law.

Camille Labchuk said the bill would also make it illegal to gain access to a farm or processing plant under “false pretenses.” That would mean animal rights groups could not expose cases of abuse by using whistleblowers.

“For someone who gets a job and doesn’t disclose membership in an animal rights group, that could be an offence potentially punishable by huge fines,” she said.

Anita Krajnc, founder of the vegan advocacy group Toronto Pig Save, said part of the new bill seems targeted at just a few animal rights groups, including hers.

In 2015, Krajnc gained notoriety after being charged for giving water to pigs on their way to slaughter. She fought the mischief charges all the way to trial, where she was found not guilty because a judge found she didn’t harm the animals or prevent them from being slaughtered.

The new bill proposes to prohibit “interfering or interacting with farm animals being transported by a motor vehicle without explicit prior consent,” the government said.

Krajnc, who has been “bearing witness” to animals in transport trucks on their way to slaughter since 2011, said she’s not about to stop now.

“Bearing witness is about interacting and not looking away and looking into the faces of pigs, cows and chickens that are about to go to slaughter,” Krajnc said.

“We’ll continue to bear witness, stop trucks and give water to thirsty pigs, caress them and tell their story.”

Last week, Alberta introduced similar legislation, proposing to increase trespassing fines and send repeat offenders to jail for up to six months.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has said free speech must be protected, but when protesters trespass, create mischief and pose potential biohazards the government must act.

“When you harass people who are simply going about their jobs legally, none of that constitutes a legal and legitimate protest,” Kenney said. “All of that constitutes trespass and harassment.”

With files from Liam Casey

Snow plow driver arrested for impaired driving

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Dec 2nd, 2019

Snow plows were out in full force on Sunday, salting and clearing roadways as they try to clean up a day’s worth of bad weather.

But one snow plow driver was more than a little off route after police say he was arrested for crashing his vehicle into several parked cars and a pole.

He was found in a parking lot near Bathurst Street and Dell Park Avenue and was taken into custody for impaired driving.

No injuries have been reported in connection with this incident.

1 dead, several injured in 30-vehicle collision in Kingston

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Dec 2nd, 2019

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say one person is dead and several others were injured in a massive 30-vehicle collision in Kingston on Sunday.

The collisions happened in the westbound lanes of Highway 401 near the Joyceville Road exit around 3:30 p.m.

Frontenac county paramedics said multiple crews responded to the scene. They treated 16 patients who were transported to hospital, three of them in life-threatening condition. One patient was treated on scene and released.

Other people who were stranded on the road have been taken to a warming centre in Kingston.

The 401 westbound is shutdown from Joyceville exit 632 to Highway 15 for the investigation.

A winter weather travel advisory is still active in Kingston with up to 15 cm of snow expected by tonight.

Construction zone safety pilot project launches Monday in midtown

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Dec 2nd, 2019

The city is launching a pilot project on Monday, aimed at keeping traffic and workers moving efficiently through construction hotspots.

The Construction Hub Coordination pilot will begin at Yonge and Eglinton, where multiple work sites have resulted in gridlock and been blamed for a number of pedestrian fatalities.

An on-the-ground hub coordinator will review construction management plans, connect travellers with real-time information, collaborate with enforcement officers, and communicate any changes to local businesses and community members.

A similar project in Seattle is credited with saving the city more than $15 million and significantly speeding up construction days.

The pilot is set to run through 2020.

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