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All eyes on Brown as Ontario legislature resumes ahead of spring election

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Feb 20th, 2018

TORONTO – As the Ontario legislature resumes sitting today for the final session before a spring election, all eyes will be on Patrick Brown — if the former Progressive Conservative leader shows up to take his set.

The 39-year-old politician from Barrie, Ont., will have to sit as an independent after being booted out of the Tory caucus last week — just hours before he declared his intention to run for his old job.

He stepped down from the leadership late last month amid allegations of sexual misconduct, but has since mounted a campaign to clear his name.

He has threatened to sue CTV News, which reported the allegations, but the network has said it stands by its reporting.

Brown’s entry into the leadership race threatens to overshadow his opponents — Toronto lawyer Caroline Mulroney, former Toronto councillor Doug Ford, former Tory legislator Christine Elliott and social conservative activist Tanya Granic Allen.

Online voting takes place early next month, with the winner to be announced March 10.

The Tory turmoil comes as all three parties gear up for a general election set for June 7.

Peel police investigate second Brampton shooting

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Feb 20th, 2018

Peel police are investigating a second shooting in Brampton on Monday.

Officers responded to a call for a shooting incident in the Almond Street and Vanderpool Crescent area around 8 p.m.

A 37-year-old Brampton man suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to a Toronto trauma centre.

Police believe the shooting took place in the street and say it is an isolated incident, with no immediate concern for public safety.

Police say at this time, there is no link to the shooting on Vodden Court earlier in the day and the investigation is ongoing.

Tactical and K-9 units are on scene and citizens are being asked to avoid the area.

Canada’s Sharpe wins gold in women’s ski halfpipe at Winter Olympics

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Feb 20th, 2018

Canadian freestyle skier Cassie Sharpe has won gold in the women’s ski halfpipe competition at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Sharpe, from Comox, B.C., finished with a score of 95.80 on a cool, sunny morning at Phoenix Park.

France’s Marie Martinod took silver after crashing in her final run, guaranteeing Sharpe the top spot. American Brita Sigourney won bronze.

Sharpe was the last skier to compete in the three-run final after winning the qualifying session a day earlier.

She set the tone early in the final, getting a 94.40 in her first run down the halfpipe and following it up with a 95.80 in the second.

The best of three runs is a skier’s final score in ski halfpipe.

Calgary’s Rosalind Groenewoud finished 10th overall.

17-year-old arrested in connection with east-end carjacking

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Feb 20th, 2018

A 17-year-old boy is facing numerous charges in connection with a carjacking in the city’s east-end.

The arrest stems from an incident that took place on Valentine’s day in the Woodbine and Danforth Avenues area.

Toronto police say a 29-year-old woman was returning to her car when she was allegedly accosted by a male who pushed her to the ground and began pulling her keys. A witness heard the woman screaming for help and tried to intervene, but the suspect reportedly threatened to shoot him. The suspect then drove away in the woman’s car.

The boy was arrested on Sunday and allegedly had an imitation firearm at the time of his arrest. He is facing a total of six charges including robbery, uttering threats and use of an imitation firearm.

The suspect cannot be named under the youth criminal justice act.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir win second Olympic ice dance gold

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Feb 20th, 2018

Canadian figure skating stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have won their second Olympic ice dancing title.

In what was likely their final competitive performance, Virtue and Moir captured a gold medal at the Pyeongchang Games after scoring 122.40 points in Tuesday’s free skate for a world-best combined score of 206.07.

Fans at the Gangneung Ice Arena roared during Virtue and Moir’s steamy skate to music from “Moulin Rouge” and they were all smiles as they took what will likely be the final bows of their illustrious career.

France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron were second with a combined score of 205.28.

American siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani finished third with a combined score of 192.59.

Virtue and Moir also won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. They settled for silver at the Sochi Games four years ago.

Virtue and Moir have said they will retire after Pyeongchang.

The duo also helped Canada to a gold medal in the team event last week.

Woman struck and killed in Mississauga hit-and-run

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Feb 16th, 2018

Peel police are looking for a vehicle that was involved in a fatal hit-and-run in Mississauga.

Emergency crews were called to the intersection of Mavis Road and Knotty Pine Grove, near Derry Road, around 8:40 p.m. on Thursday.

Police said it appears that the victim, a 61-year-old woman, was not crossing the street at a crosswalk when she was struck.

The woman suffered critical injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say the driver failed to remain at the scene and was last seen southbound on Mavis Road.

Witnesses told police the vehicle involved was a small, white, compact car and will have damage to the front windshield.

Investigators are asking anyone who may have witnesses the collision, or has dashcam video of the incident, or any information on the driver or the pedestrian’s actions just before the crash, to come forward and contact the Major Collision Bureau at (905) 453-2121, ext. 3710.

Police are also appealing for the driver to come forward and turn themselves in.

Severe turbulence injures two aboard Air Canada flight to Costa Rica

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Feb 16th, 2018

Two people were taken to hospital after an Air Canada Rouge flight encountered turbulence on the way to its destination in Costa Rica.

AC1806 was en route to San Jose when it encountered severe turbulence approximately 90 minutes into the flight, according to data from Flightradar24.com.

The plane then turned around just over Asheville, North Carolina and returned to Pearson airport, where it landed without incident.

Peel Paramedics say two flight attendants were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Air Canada says passengers have since departed to San Jose on another aircraft.

Tory leadership hopefuls tackle minimum wage, carbon tax in first debate

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Feb 16th, 2018

A Progressive Conservative government in Ontario would not implement a planned minimum wage increase next year, no matter who ends up winning the race to lead the party through the spring election.

In an hour-long debate Thursday, the four candidates vying for the top Tory post were united in their opposition to a key Liberal government promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in 2019.

The forum was the first chance for former Tory legislator Christine Elliott, lawyer Caroline Mulroney, former city councillor Doug Ford, and parental rights advocate Tanya Granic Allen to present themselves as the best choice to replace former leader Patrick Brown, who resigned last month amid sexual misconduct allegations.

The candidates provided few concrete details on their plans for the province but were clear about their intention to scrap the wage hike, saying the Liberal plan would hurt the province’s economy, particularly small businesses, which have complained about the January increase from $11.60 to $14 per hour.

Ford, the brother of notorious late Toronto mayor Rob Ford, called the wage hike a “tax grab” for Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals and said he would instead eliminate provincial income tax for those making minimum wage.

“That will benefit the companies, it will benefit the person leaving their office or their factory at the end of the day,” he said.

Mulroney, daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, said she would increase the minimum wage by 25 cents over four years, while Elliott also said she would phase in a hike gradually.

“The minimum wage law is a classic example of the way the Liberals have been governing this province, making decisions that help them in the short term – in this case their electoral chances – and hurt the rest of us in the long term,” Caroline Mulroney said. “Small businesses are suffering. It was too much too soon.”

While all four candidates said they opposed a carbon tax to replace the Liberals’ current cap and trade, none of them offered specifics on how they planned to make up for the estimated $4 billion from the tax that was to fund a 22 per cent income tax cut and other key election promises in the party’s platform.

Instead, all four suggested savings could be found by cutting waste from the Liberal provincial budget.

“In a $141 billion dollar budget, do you think we can find two or three per cent (in savings)?” Ford said.

Mulroney said she would deliver her own fully costed plan if she’s elected leader.

“This government needs to learn to do more with less,” she said.

Elliott, who recently served as the province’s health ombudsman, pitched herself as the experienced candidate best positioned to win the spring election.

“I know Kathleen Wynne. I’ve debated against her before,” she said, noting later that with an election in less than 100 days, the party could not afford a “leader-in-training.”

Granic Allen, an outspoken critic of the Liberals’ updated sex-education curriculum, pulled no punches during the debate, attacking Brown as a “corrupt leader” who alienated grassroots members with social conservative views and “left the party in tatters.”

Brown’s abrupt resignation in late January threw the Progressive Conservatives into turmoil, prompting a hastily called leadership race that will see a new leader in place by March 10. Brown has vehemently denied the allegations and has vowed to clear his name.

Genevieve Tellier, a political science professor at the University of Ottawa, said Thursday’s debate didn’t bring any major revelations but confirmed that the candidates appear split into two camps.

Elliott and Mulroney have positioned themselves as more moderate, centrist options, and seem to be addressing voters across the province, while Ford and Granic Allen, who lean more to the right, appeal to grassroots members, she said.

The candidates stopped short of making any detailed policy commitments, noting they would wait for further consultations on key issues, making it difficult to know where they stand, Tellier said.

“They’re cautious, they really don’t know where to go, what to target,” she said. “They are all unclear.”

In the next, and last debate, set for the end of the month, “they will have to come up with some more precise policy actions that they want to take,” she said.

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