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Man in stable condition after shooting near Kipling and Finch

News Staff | posted Thursday, Oct 3rd, 2019

A 31-year-old man is recovering in hospital after he was shot outside of an apartment complex in the city’s west end.

Police were called to the area of Kipling Avenue and Mount Olive Drive, north of Finch Avenue West, around 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Police said the victim was approached by two men wearing black hoodies, and one of them started shooting.

The victim was taken to hospital with serious injuries, but his condition has since been stabilized.

The man’s girlfriend was with him at the time but was not injured.

The suspects are still at-large but no descriptions have been released yet.

Former Vaughan mayor Di Biase facing corruption charge

News Staff | posted Thursday, Oct 3rd, 2019











The former mayor of Vaughan is facing breach of trust and corruption charges following an investigation into allegations of municipal corruption.

Ontario Provincial Police say an investigation began in April 2015 following a request for assistance from York Regional Police after the Integrity Commissioner for the City of Vaughan had received a complaint from a private citizen involving allegations of corruption by then municipal councillor Michael Di Biase.

The OPP have now charged Di Biase with one count each of Breach of Trust and Municipal Corruption. He is scheduled to appear in a Newmarket court at the end of the month.

“The OPP will not comment further in order to protect the integrity of the investigation and any ensuing court processes,” the force said in a statement Wednesday night.

Di Biase was elected mayor of Vaughan in 2003 but failed to win re-election three years later. He returned to city hall as a regional councillor in 2010.

In 2015, the Integrity Commissioner recommended Di Biase’s salary be suspended for three months, the stiffest penalty allowed, after a number of code of conduct violations.

In May 2017, Di Biase resigned as councillor and deputy mayor following allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment made by a city staffer.

Four federal party leaders square off in feisty French language debate

The Canadian Press and News Staff | posted Thursday, Oct 3rd, 2019

The separation of church and state – as well as questions about personal character – took the stage during the first French-language debate of the election campaign, the first time Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau faced off against his political rivals.

The controversial Quebec secularism law, known as Bill 21, that bans some public-sector employees from wearing religious symbols in the workplace, featured prominently in the first section of the debate, along with abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

Bill 21 is overwhelmingly popular among francophones in Quebec, where four federal leaders tried to make their marks with voters on Wednesday night, in a debate hosted by the private TVA television network and the Montreal newspaper Le Journal.

Conservative Andrew Scheer, New Democrat Jagmeet Singh and Yves-Francois Blanchet of the Bloc Quebecois joined Trudeau on stage as they appealed to voters in a province that could hold the key to their electoral fortunes in the Oct. 21 vote.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault has urged all federal party leaders to promise to stay out of the court challenges against the secularism law and none of the party leaders has called for immediate intervention in existing cases.

Only Trudeau has said a government he leads might seek to intervene and he defended that position Wednesday night.

“I do not want to close the door,” Trudeau said, to the federal government one day needing to defend the rights of Canadians.

“Because for me, the defence of rights, be they for women, for francophones outside of Quebec – the federal government has a role to play.”

Singh, who wears a turban as an expression of his Sikh faith, has said he would not intervene to challenge the law, despite opposing it.

Singh sought to counter any suggestion that his personal religion would get in the way of his strong support for secularism as a public value.

“I am for the separation between church and state,” said Singh, adding that he supports the rights of women to abortion, same-sex marriage and medical assistance in dying.

“I will defend these rights with all my strength,” he said.

Scheer said he would not impose a secularism law federally, but that he would also not intervene in the court challenges against it.

The debate became heated during a discussion about the fight against climate change, where Pierre Bruneau, the news anchor moderating the debate, noted Trudeau had portrayed himself as a champion of the environment but then bought a pipeline.

Last year, the Liberal government bought the Trans Mountain pipeline project from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion, after political opposition to expanding the existing pipeline between Alberta and the B.C. coast gave the company and its investors cold feet.

Trudeau argued that Canada needs time to transition away from fossil fuels and into a greener economy and said the proceeds from the pipeline will help pay for the changes needed to get there.

Scheer, who is in favour of building pipelines and has vowed to repeal the federal carbon tax the Liberals brought in for provinces that don’t have equivalent measures of their own, tried to undercut the Trudeau record on the environment in a different way, by noting the Liberal leader has two campaign planes.

“You are a fake environmentalist,” said Scheer.

Singh, meanwhile, took Scheer to task over his promise to create a national energy corridor to transport oil, gas, hydroelectricity and telecommunications from one coast to the other, which could be a tough sell in Quebec.

TransCanada Corporation had proposed the $15.7-billion Energy East pipeline to bring western crude through Quebec to New Brunswick before being shipped overseas, but the company abandoned the project more than a year ago citing market changes and government red tape.

The project faced a lot of opposition in Quebec and Legault has suggested that would be the case for any other proposed pipeline.

Singh accused Scheer of wanting to impose a pipeline on Quebec. Blanchet also went after Scheer by demanding to know how many more years he thinks Canada will need to extract and export fossil fuels.

Earlier, Scheer was put on the defensive as he was pressed by all his political rivals to elaborate on his personal views about abortion.

“Quebecers can be confident that a Conservative government would not reopen this debate,” Scheer said in one of the debate’s first exchanges, with Blanchet.

Scheer was pushed to clarify his stance on abortion this summer after it emerged that his Quebec lieutenant, Alain Rayes, had told candidates in the province that backbench MPs would not be allowed to bring forward any bills or motions on the issue.

That goes against party policy and created confusion until Scheer, a practising Catholic who has voted in favour of restricting abortion rights in the past, said he would oppose any attempt to reopen the debate should he become prime minister.

Scheer repeated that position on stage again Wednesday night, but his political rivals pressed him to go further.

That included Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who asked him directly whether he personally believes women should have the right to abortion.

“I have always been open about my personal views,” Scheer said.

None of the federal parties have seen much movement – either gains or losses – in opinion polls despite weeks of campaigning, which some experts attribute variously to a degree of comfort with the status quo as well as a rise in public disillusionment and strategic voting.

The Liberals and Conservatives remain locked in a fight for first place, hovering around 33 per cent support nationally, but with the Liberals apparently having a small edge because so much Conservative support is concentrated in the Prairie provinces.

A strong Liberal showing in Quebec, where polls show them with a small but consequential lead, could sustain the Liberals in power; a strong Conservative showing could sink them.

Trudeau was able to ride a wave of unhappiness with a decade of Conservative rule under Stephen Harper to power in 2015 in an election campaign that saw the NDP start in the lead before giving way to the Tories, until voters rallied behind the Liberals to give them the win.

Four years later, Trudeau’s record in office – including his broken promise on electoral reform and decision to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline – has turned off many of those same voters, especially progressives, who cast their ballots for the Liberals.

Despite that disappointment with Trudeau, Christian Bourque, executive vice-president of polling firm Leger, said there does not seem to be the same overwhelming drive for change that existed in 2015, when a majority of Canadians were ready for a new direction.

“So there’s this sort of comfort with the current government, even though some may be disappointed with the leader,” Bourque said. “So there’s no urge for that amount of change. And at the same time, there’s nobody convincing them of the need for change on the other side.”

Of course, even though it is past the halfway mark, the election campaign is far from over and Wednesday’s French-language debate was seen as an key opportunity for the four participating leaders to talk directly to Quebecers, in particular, and start gaining some momentum.

Ontario Human Rights Commission to make accessible education announcement

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Oct 3rd, 2019


TORONTO – Ontario’s human rights watchdog is to make an announcement this morning about accessible education.

No details were immediately available from the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

But in August 2018, the oversight body updated its education policy for the first time in 14 years and issued recommendations to help make the system more inclusive.

The policy says disabled students face barriers from primary school through to post-secondary education.

It says the system needs to modernize its approach to people with disabilities and do more to accommodate their diverse needs.

Today’s announcement will come at a news conference scheduled for 10:00 a.m.

Auston Matthews shines once again on Maple Leafs’ opening night

Sportsnet | posted Thursday, Oct 3rd, 2019

The only other three players to score in their first four season openers already have a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

That’s the company Auston Matthews now keeps in the NHL record book.

It may at first blush seem like trivia or coincidence that the Toronto Maple Leafs centre always grabs the spotlight when the bright lights first get fired up, but those around the organization insist it’s anything but.

Matthews is a unicorn who hones his craft with meticulous precision during the off-season. He and skills coach Darryl Belfry are famous for going under the hood in search of ways to tease more performance out of one of the NHL’s sleekest Lamborghini’s.

The results speak for themselves: An unfathomable nine goals — two of which came in Wednesday’s 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators — across the four curtain-raisers so far in his NHL career.

“He’s that kind of player, right?” said Leafs coach Mike Babcock. “He has the chance to be a generational player.”

“I guess as teammates you become a bit used to it, but I think when you take a step back and look at it, it’s pretty impressive,” added defenceman Morgan Rielly.

Matthews was a wrecking ball on the night John Tavares was officially unveiled as Leafs captain, and he joined Rielly and Mitch Marner as an alternate. He outshot the Senators 5-3 on his own during the second period and outscored them, 2-1.

There had been prevailing thought in these parts that he was in line for the “C” himself — including in this corner — at least until word surfaced last week about the complaint for disorderly conduct he received following a drunken incident outside his condo building in Scottsdale, Ariz., in May.

Matthews is alleged to have dropped his pants, but not his underwear, after he and a group of friends attempted to open the car of a female security guard.

It was an unfortunate, regrettable incident only made worse by the fact the Leafs front office got blindsided by the news when the story broke on Twitter. While that didn’t factor into the decision to make Tavares captain, general manager Kyle Dubas told reporters on Wednesday night, it did raise some questions about how Matthews might handle the very public nature of his job after a self-described “error in judgment.”

“I would like to think he put it behind him the day [he] owned it,” said Babcock. “I’m a big believer in that because we all make huge mistakes. The second you own it, you can fix it and that’s the whole key.

“What he did at the time or he didn’t, he owned it. That’s it, it’s done. You forgive yourself. You’ve got to love yourself first to share yourself with other people.”

This should not be confused with a redemption narrative or an attempt to find a silver lining. However, with the legal situation still pending in Arizona and Matthews’s side of the story still untold, it’s notable that the organization made a public show of faith by including him in its leadership group.

“I’m happy to be wearing a letter in general and just playing hockey with this team,” said Matthews. “We’ve got a special group.”

This has all of the makings of a special season. Matthews has already established himself as the NHL’s most dangerous 5-on-5 scorer and begins his fourth year playing alongside a rejuvenated William Nylander, who found him with a lovely 2-on-1 pass for his first goal against Ottawa.

It was Marner’s no-look cross-seam feed that opened a window for his second goal on the power play, albeit one that required Matthews to perfectly place his shot up under the bar behind Craig Anderson.

His night also included a goal post among a game-high 14 shot attempts. There was even a hint of one of his new tools when he appeared tempted to go for a lacrosse-style goal while circling behind the net in the second period.

“I think that’s one of the cool things about his game is that he works really hard at it during the summer and he comes back and he’s always doing a move or he always moves a bit different than he has in the past and that’s pretty impressive,” said Rielly. “When you think about how good he was last year to come back and appear to be better, it’s pretty cool.”

Scoring for a fourth-straight opening night put Matthews alongside Dit Clapper, Dave Andreychuk and Sergei Fedorov as those to have done it.

Four federal-party leaders gird for French-language debate tonight

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Oct 2nd, 2019

OTTAWA — Four federal leaders will take the stage in Montreal tonight for the first debate to feature Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

Conservative Andrew Scheer, New Democrat Jagmeet Singh, and Yves-Francois Blanchet of the Bloc Quebecois will face off with Trudeau at 8 p.m. Eastern time, in a debate hosted by the private TVA television network and the Montreal newspaper Le Journal.

That means they’re spending most of the day preparing, though the Liberals have a campaign announcement featuring cabinet minister Navdeep Bains in Toronto and the Tories have one planned with Scheer’s Quebec lieutenant Alain Rayes in Montreal.

Trudeau is planning a visit to a boxing gym for a photo op, and Singh is going on a walkabout at a market, ostensibly to buy snacks for his preparation team.

The organizers didn’t invite Green Leader Elizabeth May or the People’s Party’s Maxime Bernier, both of whom are campaigning in and around their home ridings for the day.

Tonight’s debate is the first of three where Trudeau will take part, with two more next week organized by the new federal debate commission headed by former governor general David Johnston.

After a summer of change, new-look Maple Leafs eager to get going

JOSHUA CLIPPERTON THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Oct 2nd, 2019

TORONTO — Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, Morgan Rielly and Frederik Andersen remain entrenched at the top of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ roster.

After that, some fans might need a program following a summer of upheaval.

The Leafs open the 2019-20 NHL season Wednesday night at home against the Ottawa Senators with no fewer than 13 different players in the lineup from a year ago.

That number is slightly skewed because William Nylander was in the midst of a contract impasse, while Zach Hyman (knee) and Travis Dermott (shoulder) are unavailable because of injury this year, but Toronto’s turnover has still been extreme.

“We’ve got a lot of new players, lots of new guys,” Matthews said Tuesday. “We have a new look to the team, I guess you could say, but every year you come in and there’s new faces, new guys that add different things to the squad.

“Everybody’s pretty excited to finally get going.”

Many of the moves made by Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas were related to the salary cap, while others were about remaking the roster.

Gone are some of head coach Mike Babcock’s most trusted veterans like Patrick Marleau, Ron Hainsey and Nazem Kadri. The additions include Tyson Barrie to complement Rielly on Toronto’s remade blue line that has five new faces from 12 months ago, and Alexander Kerfoot, who headlines a renovated bottom-6 forward group along with Jason Spezza.

“Training camp’s been very important for us,” Babcock said. “We think we’ve really made progress. That’s easy to say right now — the measure is coming up, the real test. Our guys have worked hard, they’ve been in tune with what we’re trying to get done.”

While the focus on the ice was about more jobs than normal being up for grabs, it’s been an eventful three weeks away from the rink since the Leafs opened camp.

A restricted free agent, Marner and the club agreed to a new six-year contract worth more than US$65.3 million to settle one of the biggest question marks heading into the season.

There has been lots of chatter about when Toronto will name a new captain — that’s expected to come down some time Wednesday — before news broke last week that Matthews, one of the team’s star centres along with Tavares, is facing a charge of disorderly conduct and disruptive behaviour stemming from an alleged May incident in his hometown of Scottsdale, Ariz.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

“I think everyone’s just happy to be back in this locker room,” said Marner, who clicked on a line with Tavares last season. “Everyone’s happy to get this thing rolling here. We’ve got a great opportunity ahead of us. We’ve just got to make sure we come ready to work every day.”

“You’re just anxious to finally get out there,” Matthews added. “Pre-season feels like it was longer than summer.”

Expectations remain high in Toronto for a team that has suffered consecutive seven-game exits in the first round of the playoffs at the hands of the Boston Bruins.

The Leafs will need Andersen to continue his steady play in goal and hope the defence corps of Rielly, Barrie, Jake Muzzin, Cody Ceci, Martin Marincin and rookie Rasmus Sandin doesn’t take long to find its footing.

Babcock said there could be some growing pains, but pointed to the St. Louis Blues, who won the Stanley Cup in June after sitting last in the standings in January, as proof the NHL is a marathon and not a sprint.

“There’s a belief,” said the coach. “Eventually it’s got to be your time, but you’ve got to work to make it your time and you’ve got to keep growing.

“Sometimes it doesn’t show in the first 20 games, even the first 40 games. But what you just do is you stay steady on the rudder and you keep grinding and getting better each and every day.”

Tavares said he knew when he signed his seven-year, US$77-million contract with Toronto in free agency back in July 2018 there would be changes, but also that the core would remain intact.

“We’ve got some of our young players that continue to grow and get better,” he said. “And we’ve brought in some really good players, whether it’s free agency or trades, that I think give us a very deep hockey team.”

The Leafs will take on four former teammates when the Senators hit the ice at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday — Hainsey, Connor Brown, Nikita Zaitsev and Tyler Ennis — while ex-Leafs assistant D.J. Smith is set to make his debut as an NHL bench boss with Ottawa.

“It’ll be weird,” Matthews said. “They were great teammates, great guys. A lot of us, we all still keep in touch. It’ll be a little bit weird facing off against them, but in the end you’re not going to have friends out there.

“You’ve got to go out there and win a hockey game … you can be buddies after.”

That will be the case more than usual this season after Toronto’s summer of change.

Toronto police say Amber Alert prompted complaints from the public again

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Oct 2nd, 2019

Toronto police say once again, they have received multiple calls from the public complaining about an Amber Alert.

The alert went out just before 5 p.m. Tuesday after five children were allegedly abducted by their father in the Niagara region.

TPS Media Relations Officer Alex Li posted about the calls on Twitter, telling people not to call police to complain.

“Instead, find compassion and have the understanding to help locate these children. Amber Alerts are issued for a reason,” read the tweet.

After a late night Amber Alert back in February ended tragically, almost 400 people called 9-1-1 to complain about being woken up by the alert.

Since then, police services have been forced to ask people not to call 9-1-1 in several alert instances.

In each of the five Amber Alerts that have been sent out this year in Ontario, police say the alerts were carefully thought out and integral in locating the children, with all but one found safe.

Each time one was issued, angry residents called 911, complaining that the jarring alerts rattled them out of bed.

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