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NFL owners adopt new policy to address anthem protests

Paul Newberry, The Associated Press | posted Thursday, May 24th, 2018

NFL owners approved a new policy Thursday aimed at addressing the firestorm over national anthem protests sparked by Colin Kaepernick and polarized by President Trump, permitting players to stay in the locker room during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” but requiring them to stand if they come to the field.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the change was approved unanimously by the owners at their spring meeting in Atlanta, but it was met with immediate skepticism by the players’ union.

“We want people to be respectful of the national anthem. We want people to stand,” Goodell said. “That’s all personnel, and to make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That’s something that we think we owe. We’ve been very sensitive on making sure that we give players choices, but we do believe that moment is an important moment and one that we are going to focus on.”



New plan aims to preserve sunlight in downtown core

Adrian Ghobrial | posted Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Getting some sun on your face in the park is one of the few escapes for many living in the urban jungle.

But the much sought-after sun is sometimes cast in the shadows of high-rise apartment buildings especially with all the booming construction currently ongoing in the downtown core.

Now, 40 parks in Toronto’s core could be protected by the city from any potential development that might cast shade over Toronto’s green space thanks to a plan being voted on by city council. It’s all part of TOCore, a study four years in the making.

Toronto hasn’t had a new master plan since the 1970s. The boundaries of the TOCore plan span from Bathurst Street to the West, the DVP to the East, Dupont Street to the North and the lake to the south. It includes new setback for sidewalks of at least six metres at the base of mixed-use buildings.

It will also push some new condo towers to use the first five floors of a building for office space, schools, daycares, community centres and other mixed spaces other than residential units.

“One of the things we’re doing as we grow up as a city is reimaging how we grow up to make sure it’s liveable,” says councillor Joe Cressy. “Downtown Toronto has reached a tipping point in that we can handle more development in that only if it’s developed in a liveable way for the people that live and work here.”

Clara Romero, one of the authors of the proposal council is voting on, believes its vital to hold onto the sun we currently have shining down on our parks.

“We have a lot of opportunity here,” says Romero, who is a senior urban designer with Perkins & Will. “I think downtown is doing really well. Most of the streets are meeting the four and five hour target.”

There are others who believe the wording of the report may leave the door open for interpretation.

“I think what they’re trying to achieve is a good thing,” says Ralph Bouwmeester, who has a civil engineering firm that measures sun positions. “There has never been a mechanism by which to prevent a cumulative effect of shadows for multiple buildings and each addition of a little more new shadow results in a lot of shadow. This plan will go a long ways to prevent that but the way it’s worded could be seen to be over-restricted. It doesn’t look at how the park is used and in what areas and for how long.”

As for parks and playgrounds at city schools, they’re not part of the shade ban. The report recommends a further study of those areas. The city is expected to vote on the plan this week.

Liberals to reveal new allegations against Doug Ford in membership controversy

News Staff | posted Thursday, May 24th, 2018

There are new allegations implicating Ontario PC leader Doug Ford in another nomination and membership controversy.

In a brief statement issued Wednesday night, the Ontario Liberals say they plan to release a recording Thursday morning of Ford and Etobicoke Centre PC candidate Kinga Surma. However, no further details were provided as to what is contained in the recording.

CityNews attempted to reach Surma for comment regarding the allegations but did not receive an answer.

According to her website, Surma’s association with Ford dates all the way back to 2010 while she was working on his Rob Ford’s mayoral election campaign.

After losing out to Justin Di Ciano in the 2014 municipal elections in Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Surma went to work for Christine Elliot as she ran for the leadership of the Ontario PC party. Following Patrick Brown’s victory in the leadership contest, she joined his office in the role of Caucus Relations.

Surma captured the PC nomination in Etobicoke Centre in November 2016, drawing praise from Brown for her experience working at all three levels of government and for “being a tireless conservative activist.”

Ford has been under attack since allegations surfaced last week that Tory candidates may have used stolen customer information obtained as part of a data breach from a toll highway operator.

The controversy has already resulted in Brampton East candidate Simmer Sandhu’s abrupt resignation shortly after 407 Express Toll Route issued a statement about what it called an “internal theft of customer data” affecting 60,000 people.

Sandu was a former employee of the company.

When asked if the stolen data was used by some candidates to win nomination races, Ford said the party was “looking into this” and that questions on other candidates would have to be directed to them.

“This goes back to Patrick Brown,” Ford said at a campaign event last weekend. “You want to get answers on this, Patrick Brown was the leader under this whole group of people.”

NDP, Tories tied at 37 per cent support, new poll suggests

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, May 24th, 2018

The New Democrats have the same 37 per cent voter support as the Progressive Conservatives even though most people believe the Tories will win the Ontario election come June 7, a new poll suggests.

According to the Leger poll being released Thursday, the struggling Liberals trail with 21 per cent support.

While a sizable number of voter— more than one third of those asked — have yet to make a final decision about where their X will go come voting day, the survey indicates Andrew Horwath and her New Democrats are far and away the favoured second choice of voters.

The poll finds that 63 per cent of Liberals would vote NDP as second choice, while 40 per cent of Tories now led by Doug Ford said the same.

Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque said that’s a reflection of the antipathy respondents feel toward the Liberals, led by Kathleen Wynne.

“You can move from right to left as long as you avoid the Liberals,” Bourque said in an interview. “What I’m seeing here is that if there is still movement between now and election day — or even over the last weekend — it should favour the NDP at this point in the game.”

Horwath also leads handily in terms of who voters think would make the best premier. In all, 28 per cent of those asked named her, while 23 per cent — most men — said Ford. Wynne earned the nod from a mere 12 per cent. Horwath’s approval rating crosses all age groups.

Additionally, asked which leader has run the best campaign, 34 per cent opted to name Horwath, while 23 per cent gave Ford the nod and only nine per cent chose Wynne. Even among Conservative supporters, 59 per cent said Ford had run the best campaign.

“That’s not a whopping number,” Bourque said. “If you look at the Liberals, only 39 per cent feel Kathleen Wynne has led the best campaign.”

Bourque says the belief the Conservatives will win — 40 per cent indicated as much while just 13 per cent said the same for the other two parties — is likely a reflection of a narrative in place for month.

“That’s what they’ve been told since the start of the campaign — that the Ontario PCs would win,” Bourque said. “It’s probably fuelled the NDP vote (and) it probably takes the Liberals out of the equation.”

Despite Horwath’s performance and her party’s favoured second-choice status among supporters of the other two parties, Bourque said it is still too unpredictable to predict the New Democrats will end up in first place — at least in terms of the popular vote.

“It’s all up for grabs,” Bourque said.

The online Leger survey of 1,008 people eligible to vote in the Ontario election was done May 18 to May 22. The company says it used 2016 census data to weight the results by age, sex, mother tongue, region and education to ensure what it says is a representative sample of the population.

However, the polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.

City to use two college dorms to help with refugee housing crisis

News Staff | posted Thursday, May 24th, 2018

The city of Toronto has activated an emergency plan to provide temporary housing for the increasing number of refugee claimants arriving in Toronto.

James Kilgour, the director of Emergency Management for the city, says they will turn dorms at two Toronto colleges into temporary housing until the beginning of August.

Starting on Thursday, 400 beds at Centennial College Residence and Conference Centre in Scarborough will be used to temporarily house refugee claimants and new arrivals. Then on June 1, another 400 beds will become available at Humber College in Etobicoke.

Once students return for the start of school in the fall, the city says it will turn to municipal facilites, including community centres, to accommodate new arrivals.

The provincial government says it will commit up to half of the $6.3-million total cost of operating the contingency sites for the next 75 days. Most of those funds will be put towards Red Cross staffing costs.

“Toronto has a long history of welcoming refugees but the City can no longer absorb the cost and impact of the increasing numbers of refugee claimants coming into the country,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement.

“We have triggered our emergency protocol to help these families in their time of need, with some support from the Government of Ontario, but require the federal government to take immediate steps to permanently relieve this unprecedented pressure on the City’s shelter system.”

The city says as of April 19, 368 refugee claimants have entered the City’s shelter system and at the current rate of arrivals, the city projects that refugee claimants will represent more than 54 per cent of the City’s shelter population by November.

OPP lays over 11,000 driving charges in the week leading up to Victoria Day

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Provincial police say they laid more than 11,000 charges on Ontario highways during the week ending in the Victoria Day long weekend.

Officers say that total includes more than 10,600 speeding charges, about 175 of which were for driving 50 km/h or more over the speed limit.

They say both those figures are higher than in the same period last year.

Police say they also laid 726 seat belt charges, 424 distracted driving charges, and 124 impaired driving charges over the course of Canada Road Safety Week, which ran from May 15 to 21.

They say a road death that occurred in western Ontario last week is still under investigation.

Two more people died in an incident involving an off-road vehicle in northeastern Ontario.

Leaders campaigning for June 7 election in north, southwest and Toronto Wednesday

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

The major party leaders are spreading out across the province today as they campaign for the June 7 election in the face of polls indicating the New Democrats are on the rise as the governing Liberals falter.

Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne is to make an announcement in Toronto this morning, then head to Sudbury for an event at a distillery, and meet with supporters this evening in Thunder Bay.

Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford will be campaigning in the southwest, making an announcement in Woodslee and then heading to Kingsville for a meet and greet before attending a rally this evening in Chatham.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is in Toronto today where she’ll tour Seneca College this morning and then attend a town hall with young people this evening.

Two recent polls suggest the New Democrats now have the most support, along with the Progressive Conservatives. In the months before the campaign, polls had shown the Tories with a hefty lead, followed by the Liberals and the NDP.

Wynne — whose Liberals have fallen to third place in the polls — said at a campaign stop in Toronto on Tuesday that she was “not under any illusion that this is not a challenging election” for her party.

Pot-laced snacks brought to same elementary school twice

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

Durham police are hoping to educate parents after kids brought marijuana-laced snacks to the same elementary school on two separate occasions.

Police say on May 14, a Grade 6 student brought home-baked pot cookies to the Oshawa school as a treat.

They say that after eating the cookies, four young students — aged 11 and 12 — reported feeling “dizzy and euphoric.”

Investigators say they’ve learned that a parent had made the cookies for their spouse, who has a medical marijuana license and the cookies ended up in the student’s backpack by mistake.

The Children’s Aid Society was also called in to conduct a review as a part of the investigation

Police say that in a “completely separate incident involving other kids the week before,” THC-laced gummy bears were consumed in the same elementary school.

They say four kids in Grades 7 and 8 — aged 12 and 13 — reported feeling dizzy and euphoric after eating a gummy bear one of the students brought.

Investigators say they don’t yet know how the student got the gummy bears, as they were not made at home.

Police say they’re investigating the incidents, and have also taken the time to educate parents about “the dangers and risks of consuming psychoactive chemicals at such an early age.”

The Durham District School Board describes the incidents as “isolated” and said a police youth officer continues to monitor the situation.

The school board said Tuesday in a release that its schools “work proactively to educate students on the negative effects of drug use, misuse and abuse.”

“Drug use by students is a serious matter and is dealt with as such through progressive discipline and police intervention as necessary,” it said.

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