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City council votes in favour of making King Street pilot project permanent

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 17th, 2019

Toronto city council has voted in favour of making the King Street pilot project a permanent fixture of the downtown core.

The motion passed by a vote of 22-3 with only Michael Ford, Ford, Stephen Holyday and Jim Karygiannis voting against the project.

“For decades, people in this city have been calling for improvements on King and finally today after years of work and a long pilot,” Coun. Joe Cressy said.

“Not only is King going to be become a lot better but council just demonstrated that we’re willing to take big bold steps to move people quickly.”

The future of the King Street pilot project was debated at city council on Tuesday, following the unanimous approval from the mayor’s executive committee to make the pilot permanent.

Streetcars have been running freely along King, between Bathurst Street and Jarvis Street, for a year-and-a-half now.

Daily weekday TTC ridership on the 504 streetcar line has increased 16 per cent — to 84,000 riders daily — since November of 2017.

“This was the most comprehensively evaluated transit project in the history of our city and it was, according to our staff and unprecedented success,” Cressy said.

“For a mere $1.5 million, we moved 12,000 new people on the King streetcar. That’s like building a subway on a weekend.”

However, many business owners said the project has led to a big dip in revenues, due to the restriction of vehicular traffic.

They wanted to see the rules on cars lifted during the evenings and weekends.

That motion was also debated at city council on Tuesday but fell by a vote of 19-6.

Mayor John Tory said he will continue working with King Street businesses to make sure the area remains a popular destination.

Tory said that city officials have studied the pilot all the way through and have continued to make adjustments. He added that the impact on drivers was “minimal” in terms of travel time.

The TTC said if the project was approved, there were some enhancements they would like to see, including improved stops.

Police seek man who posed as delivery person and shot woman with crossbow

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Apr 16th, 2019

Police have released security video of an attempted murder suspect posing as a delivery person before shooting a 44-year-old Mississauga woman with a crossbow that was concealed in a box.

The incident took place on Nov. 7, 2018, on Bayberry Drive near Highway 401 and Winston Churchill Boulevard in Mississauga.

Peel Regional police Supt. Heather Ramore said it appears that the attack was targeted.

“This was not a random act,” she said. “Comments that were made to the victim by the suspect indicate that the victim was targeted and the suspect may have carried out the attack at the request of another individual. It is clear that this attack was meant to end the victim’s life.”

Police say the victim, who was home alone at the time, answered the front door at around 8 p.m. and had a brief conversation with the suspect, who was dressed all in white and wearing black gloves.

He was carrying a large box, feigning a delivery. But police say a powerful crossbow used to hunt large game was hidden in the box.

The two briefly exchanged words at the front door before the man fired the crossbow, hitting the woman with an arrow that caused life-threatening injuries.

The man then ran off before fleeing in a dark coloured pickup truck (pictured below.)

The victim was able to close the front door and call 911. She survived, but as Det. Sgt. Jim Kettles explained, her injuries were life altering.

“(She) spent several months in hospital,” he explained. “She’ll be in the recovery phase for the rest of her life. The injuries she sustained were absolutely devastating. It involved damage to a lot of her internal organs.

“Her life will never be the same.”

Kettles said it’s not yet clear if the suspect drove off on his own or was accompanied by a driver.

“The suspect may have attended with another individual,” he said. “This is something we are attempting to establish.”

Police are also trying to determine how many people may have been involved in planning the attack.

“There are potential motives that we have established,” Kettles said. “I can’t speak to those at this point in time.”

“We don’t know at this point how many people may have been involved in orchestrating this … that’s an important aspect of the investigation that we are trying to establish now.”

In the meantime, police are appealing to the public for help identifying the suspect, adding that aside from wearing a baseball cap, he did not conceal his face.

“His face does not appear to be covered,” Kettles said. “He is wearing a cap on his head, it’s somewhat distinctive in its design.”

Kettles said the victim did not recognize her attacker and she has cooperated fully with police.

If you know anything, contact Peel regional police or Crime Stoppers.

Legal Aid to stop taking on new immigration and refugee cases Tuesday after budget cut

Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 16th, 2019

The head of Legal Aid Ontario says a funding cut from the provincial government means the agency’s lawyers will stop accepting most new immigration and refugee clients beginning Tuesday.

Legal Aid CEO David Field says in a memo to staff today that the province has told the agency it can only use federal funding to cover new immigration and refugee services this year.

That federal funding totals between $13 million and $16.5 million, short of Legal Aid Ontario’s projected costs of between $30 million to $34 million on the services for the year.

A government spokesman says the federal government should fulfill its responsibility to newcomers by shouldering the costs of such cases.

Field says the agency will honour clients who are already being served and will help some additional clients in limited circumstances.

In its budget last week, the Progressive Conservative government eliminated the legal aid funding for refugee and immigration law services – a move lawyers with the organization called a “horrific” decimation.

The province is reducing funding to the organization by 30 per cent, meaning it will receive $133 million less in this fiscal year.

Describing the latest steps as an “interim measure,” Field said the organization would launch public consultations in order to find the best ways to cope with the pending financial shortfall.

“Without delay, we will be holding public consultations on these interim measures and ways to reduce costs, while providing high-quality service to as many clients as possible,” Field said in the memo. “The consultations will also help us determine which services to resume should federal government funding increase for refugee legal aid in Ontario, as well as provide feedback on the interim measures.”

Attorney General Caroline Mulroney outlined the funding changes in a letter to Field dated Friday. The letter said the province expects the federal government to fully fund immigration and refugee law services for cases before federal tribunals or in federal court.

“However, my ministry is eager to work with you to modernize the way these services are provided within federal funding levels, and we are amenable to LAO utilizing current provincial resources to transition to a system that is sustainable solely on federal funding,” she said.

Mulroney’s spokesman Jesse Robichaud reiterated the message on Monday.

“We continue to call on the Trudeau government to stand with newcomers in Ontario and to fulfill its clear constitutional responsibilities,” Robichaud said in a statement.

Mulroney’s letter also cited a drop in clientele as a reason for the funding cut. She noted the number of clients Legal Aid served declined by about 10 per cent between 2013 and 2018.

Decision day in Alberta: Voters head to polls in provincial election

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 16th, 2019

Voters are heading to the polls in the Alberta election Tuesday and advance turnouts suggest it could be busy at the ballot boxes.

Almost 700,000 people voted early in malls, airports, recreation centres, public buildings and even an Ikea store. That was well ahead of the 235,000 who came out early in the 2015 election that saw Rachel Notley’s NDP deliver a surprise knockout blow to the 44-year run of the Progressive Conservatives.

This time around, the Progressive Conservatives are no more.

The PCs merged with another right-centre party, the Wildrose, to create the new United Conservatives under former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney.

The four-week campaign focused on personal attacks and on Alberta’s fragile economy, which has been struggling for several years with sluggish oil prices and unemployment levels above seven per cent in Calgary and Edmonton.

Kenney has argued that Notley’s government has made a bad situation worse with higher taxes, more regulations and increases in minimum wage.

Notley, in turn, has said Kenney’s plan to freeze spending and pursue more private-care options in health care will have a profound impact on students in the classroom and on patients waiting for care.

The campaign also featured Alberta’s relationship with Ottawa, specifically Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Notley said her success working with Trudeau — or picking her fights with him as necessary — is what led to progress on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the B.C. coast. She expects construction to begin this year.

She said Kenney’s promise to challenge Trudeau in court on everything from the federal carbon tax to proposed energy industry rule changes is cynical, self-defeating shadow-boxing given the collaborative realities of political decision-making.

Kenney has campaigned on the “Trudeau-Notley alliance” that he says has turned Alberta into a doormat for Trudeau and other oil industry foes with no more than a faint and as yet unrealized promise of one pipeline expansion to the coast.

Notley has also tried to make Kenney’s character an issue. A number of his candidates have either quit or apologized for past comments that were anti-LGBTQ, anti-Islamic or sympathetic to white nationalism.

Kenney has called the attacks a “fear-and-smear” red herring to distract from the NDP’s economic track record of multibillion-dollar budget deficits and soaring debt.

On the political fringes are the Alberta Party and the Liberals, each of which elected one candidate to the legislature in 2015.

The Alberta Party, led by former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel, is running a full slate of candidates. It’s promising to be the safe centrist middle ground by combining the economic conservatism of the UCP with the social progressivism of the NDP.

The Liberals, led by lawyer David Khan, are running on a similar platform with one significant exception — a provincial sales tax.

History will be made no matter what.

Notley will either be the first Alberta NDP premier to win re-election or the first leader in the province to fail to win a renewed mandate on the first try.

Since its creation in 1905, Alberta has elected multi-term dynasties: the Liberals (1905-1921), the United Farmers of Alberta (1921-1935), the Social Credit (1935-1971) and the Progressive Conservatives from 1971 to 2015.

Toronto archbishop laments destruction of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 16th, 2019

The Archbishop of Toronto said Monday the fire that heavily damaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is a tragic event that has touched people everywhere.

“All around the world, all of us feel a certain sadness in our hearts at the thought of the people of Paris losing not only such an astonishing, most beautiful cathedral in the world, but their cathedral,” Thomas Cardinal Collins said. “It is their church.”

In Montreal, the bells of the city’s Notre-Dame Basilica rang out in solidarity this afternoon as the Paris landmark was consumed by flames.

Pastor Miguel Castellanos said in a post on the Montreal church’s Facebook page that he’s in shock over the news of the fire at Notre Dame de Paris, which he described as a jewel of architecture and an exceptional cultural, historical and religious symbol.

“My prayers are for the French people, the diocese of Paris, and everyone who will have to work hard to rebuild an international treasure, eternal and powerful,” Castellanos said.

“Our heritage is very fragile. Together, let’s take great care of it to preserve our treasures.”

Collins said a cathedral is meant to be a sign of beauty that leads to truth and goodness. He said the destruction has affected so many people because of its history and magnificence.

The archbishop pointed out that the fire has come in the week before Easter, the holiest time of the year for Christians.

The fire apparently erupted Monday in the roof of the medieval church, which was undergoing a major restoration. Flames and smoke could be seen engulfing the structure, with the spire collapsing into the church. The cause of the fire remains unclear.

Collins said he didn’t expect any type of special mass in light of the Notre Dame fire. He said that’s because the cathedral is bricks, stone and mortar that is beautiful and significant, but of most importance is the “suffering, death, and resurrection of the Lord.”

In addition to sharing a name with the French cathedral, Old Montreal’s gothic revival-style basilica owes its architectural inspiration to the two towers of Notre-Dame de Paris. Castellanos offered prayers to the French people and all those affected by the fire.

Ontario’s court challenge against federal carbon tax gets underway today

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Apr 15th, 2019

TORONTO — Ontario’s battle against Ottawa’s carbon tax gets underway in the province’s top court today.

The province’s Progressive Conservative government has denounced the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act as an illegal tax grab that will drive up the price of gasoline and heating fuel.

The federal Liberal government, on the other hand, insists it’s responding appropriately to an issue of national concern _ climate change.

The climate change law applies in provinces that have no carbon-pricing regimes of their own that meet national standards, and Ottawa says the legislation aims to “fill in the gaps” where provincial measures aren’t up to snuff.

But Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who is supported by like-minded counterparts in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, argues that Ottawa is intruding on provincial jurisdiction, among other things.

The proceedings in Ontario’s Court of Appeal are to last four days, and will be available to livestream.

A variety of interveners will be heard from, including provinces such as Saskatchewan and British Columbia, Alberta Conservatives, Indigenous organizations who point out they are acutely vulnerable to global warming, as well as business and environmental groups.

Tiger Woods captures fifth Masters golf title

Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press | posted Monday, Apr 15th, 2019

Fallen hero, crippled star, and now a Masters champion again.

Tiger Woods rallied to win the Masters for the fifth time Sunday, a comeback that goes well beyond the two-shot deficit he erased before a delirious audience at Augusta National that watched memories turn into reality.

Woods had gone nearly 11 years since he won his last major, 14 years since that green jacket was slipped over his Sunday red shirt. He made it worth the wait, closing with a 2-under 70 for a one-shot victory, and setting off a scene of raw emotion.

He scooped up 10-year-old Charlie, born a year after Woods won his 14th major at Torrey Pines in the 2008 U.S Open. He hugged his mother and then his 11-year-old daughter Sam, and everyone else in his camp that stood by him through a public divorce, an embarrassing DUI arrest from a concoction of painkillers and surgeries.

“WOOOOOOO!!!” Woods screamed as he headed for the scoring room with chants of “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger” echoing as loud as any of the roars on the back nine at Augusta National.

Woods lost his impeccable image to a sex scandal. He lost his health to four back surgeries that left him unable to get out of bed, much less swing a club, and he went two years without even playing a major. It was two years ago at the Masters when Woods said he needed a nerve block just to walk to the Champions Dinner. At that time, he thought his career is over.

Now the comeback is truly complete.

Woods won his 15th major, leaving three short of the standard set by Jack Nicklaus. It was his 81st victory on the PGA Tour, one title away from the career record held by Sam Snead.

“A big ‘well done’ from me to Tiger,” Nicklaus tweeted. “I am so happy for him and for the game of golf. This is just fantastic!!!”

It was the first time Woods won a major when trailing going into the final round, and he needed some help from Francesco Molinari, the 54-hole leader who still was up two shots heading into the heart of Amen Corner.

And that’s when all hell broke loose at Augusta.

Molinari’s tee shot on the par-3 12th never had a chance, hitting the bank and tumbling into Rae’s Creek for double bogey. Until then, Molinari had never trailed in a round that began early in threesomes to finish ahead of storms.

And then it seemed as though practically everyone had a chance.

Six players had a share of the lead at some point on the back. With the final group still in the 15th fairway, there was a five-way tie for the lead. And that’s when Woods seized control, again with plenty of help.

Molinari’s third shot clipped a tree and plopped straight down in the water for another double bogey. Woods hit onto the green, setting up a two-putt birdie for his first lead of the final round. Woods followed with a tee shot on the par-3 16th that rode down the slope next to the cup and settled two feet away for his final birdie.

That gave him a two-shot cushion, and no one was going to catch him.

Impaired driver crashes car into house in Mississauga

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Apr 15th, 2019

Peel police say an impaired driver crashed into a house in the East Credit area in Mississauga on Sunday evening.

Officers responded to a call on Cinnamon Road and Windsor Boulevard at 6:30 p.m.

A vehicle crashed into the the garage of a house and the driver got out of the car and fled the scene. A man in his 50s was arrested shortly after and charged with impaired driving.

Const. Bancroft Wright told 680 NEWS that the structure needs to be reinforced before the vehicle can be moved.

The house was unoccupied at the time of the crash and no injuries were reported.

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