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TORONTO STAR

Average price of a Toronto condo cracks $500,000 (mer., 26 juil. 2017)
The condo is continuing its ascent of the Toronto area real estate market with the average price of re-sale apartments cracking the $500,000 barrier in the second quarter this year. The average condo cost $532,032 — 28.1 per cent higher than the second quarter last year, according to a report from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) this week. In Toronto, which accounted for 72 per cent of second quarter condo sales, the average price was $566,513. Read more: New home sales soar in June, as condos dominate market Ontario to roll out new rules for condo boards Where the most (and least) expensive condo areas are along the subway Prices climbed as sales dropped 8 per cent in the same period and the number of listings increased less than 1 per cent. Their relative affordability makes condos attractive to many households, especially first-time buyers, said TREB. While the Toronto area is a buyer's market overall, sellers are still in the driver's seat of the condo sector, said Gurpreet Thind, director of business development for Condos.ca. Even with fewer sales of detached and semi-detached homes, prices for low-rise housing remain out of reach for many buyers, he said. There are areas where condos will sit on the market for two or three weeks. But every week there are stories among his fellow agents of competitive bids that raise prices over asking, said Thind. Those properties tend to be in more desirable neighbourhoods or buildings. Liberty Village and King St. W. are popular, especially buildings with good layouts and premium touches such as gas stoves. Two-bedroom units are sought after, said Thind. "Size is king. The expectation is (the buyer) is probably staying longer. They won't be able to afford a house. Whether they're first-time buyers or moving up, they want to try and buy as much square footage as possible," he said. The TREB report showed that one-bedroom and one-bedroom-plus-den apartments accounted for half of all sales and two bedrooms, including two-bedroom-with-den units, comprised 46 per cent of transactions. The average price of a one-bedroom-plus-den was about $450,000, about $200,000 less than a two-bedroom-plus-den unit. TREB points out that the condo rental market is also highly competitive. Rents on one- and two-bedroom apartments rose nearly 9 per cent but the number of lease transactions on the board's Multiple Listings Service remained about the same as the second quarter of 2016. "Average rents increased by much more than the rate of inflation," said Jason Mercer, the board's director of market analysis, in a news release. "Generally speaking, it has become harder to find a place to rent this year compared to last." The average one-bedroom condo rented for $1,861 a month and two-bedroom apartments went for $2,533 between the beginning of April and the end of June. Condos are also the leading new construction home product, representing 91 per cent of the new homes sold in June in the Toronto region, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) reported on Tuesday.
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Clipping of toe nails, no toilet paper, stinky food – here’s why the GO train alarm gets pressed (mer., 26 juil. 2017)
Catching someone clipping their toenails on the GO train may be gross, but it’s not a reason to push the emergency alarm. Nor is realizing you’ve forgotten your lunch. Or seeing someone put their feet on the seats. Or being annoyed by the smell of another passenger’s food. Yet amazingly, these are all reasons that riders cited over the past year for why they hit the emergency strip and stopped the train, according to Metrolinx, the provincial agency that operates GO Transit. Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins published a list of 10 bizarre excuses in a series of Twitter posts on Wednesday. They were culled from a canvass of GO control centre employees, transit safety officers, and train staff that she performs each year. Other strange justifications included passengers talking in the train’s “quiet zone,” the washroom running out of toilet paper, and “testing to see if it works.” The list is unscientific, but Aikins makes it public each year in order to educate passengers about the consequences of not using the emergency strip appropriately. Each time someone presses the strip, it can cause a delay of five to 10 minutes as staff attend to the coach and make sure nothing is seriously wrong. Pulling the emergency brake, which brings the train to a sudden stop, can cause delays of 30 minutes or more. In 2016, there were over 650 train trips affected by emergency alarms or emergency brakes, causing close to 150 hours in delays. It’s not clear how many of the alarms were for illegitimate reasons, but Aikins said a majority weren’t genuine emergencies. “Honestly, it’s pretty shocking,” Aikins said, of the excuses passengers give. She said one man who recently pushed the strip told train staff he simply wanted to test their response time. “He congratulated our staff that they arrived very quickly, and he got an appropriate lecture,” she said. “He was very apologetic.” That passenger got off with a warning, but not everyone is so lucky. Customers who hit the alarm without legitimate cause can be fined at least $150. The penalty can be into the thousands of dollars for more serious cases, such as if pulling the brake results in an injury to a passenger. Some people who mistakenly pull the alarm are genuinely confused about what it does. Customers often say they were trying to request the train to stop at the next station — which is appropriate on a TTC bus or streetcar but not on a GO train, which only makes scheduled stops. In other cases, passengers seem to instantly regret what they’ve done. GO staff report that in many instances when they attend to an emergency alarm, no one wants to own up to pressing it. “You get there and everybody’s looking out the window, up on the ceiling, down on the floor,” Aikins said. There are legitimate reasons to press the alarm or pull the train’s emergency brake, such as if a passenger needs medical attention, witnesses vandalism or a fight, or sees a suspicious package. But if the situation doesn’t fall into one of those categories and customers are still considering pushing the alarm, Aikins has a message: “Don’t do it.” “All it’s going to do is delay everyone, including yourself. It can cause a dangerous situation, and you could be fined. It could cost you money.”
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Rolling Stone gazes fondly, but not deeply, at Justin Trudeau: Menon (mer., 26 juil. 2017)
Justin Trudeau is on the new cover of Rolling Stone and please don’t beat yourself up for experiencing a rush of conflicted feelings. On the upside, it’s always refreshing when the U.S. media glance over the border and devotes ink — in this case, nearly 7,000 words — to what is a foreign story. There is no free trade when it comes to media coverage. In Canada, we cover America as if it’s our most important province. Read more: Justin Trudeau lands on the cover of Rolling Stone But in America, unless a story is sensational enough to elbow its way into the domestic spotlight — a vicious road-rage beating in Peterborough, say, that’s captured on video — the U.S. media tend to ignore us the way a high school quarterback might brush past the treasurer of the chess club on his way to wolfing down a burger and fries in the caf. America gorges on itself and we are starved for attention. So when the mikes and the cameras do clear customs, when Canada is filtered through the prism of stateside outlets, we are on high alert for any distortions and errors, big and small. (In the Rolling Stone opus, there was a reference to the “Royal Canadian Mountain Police,” which I suppose should not be confused with CSIS, or the “Canadian Security Igloo Service.”) You see, when it comes to covering Trudeau, the U.S. media are now so grateful he’s not Donald Trump, they continue to lionize him in a way that is failing readers on both sides of the border who may believe incompetence is not a zero-sum game. Sure, your guy is a demonic clown. We get that. But you know what? Our guy is not exactly keeping his promises or doing anything that might place this country on a solid footing for future generations. This is something the U.S. media can’t grasp in the fog of Trump. From the opening paragraphs to the unending subtext to the panting cover-line query — “Why Can’t He Be Our President?” — the Rolling Stone profile of Trudeau that landed on Wednesday is so glowingly submissive, so blindingly quixotic, that even if you tool around in a T-shirt that reads “Sunny Ways,” you might be wise to put on shades while skimming to avoid damaging your retinas. This two-state media dynamic is clear: It’s much easier for Canadian media to cover Trump than it is for U.S. media to cover Trudeau. Trump is so detached from all reasonable standards of decency and intelligence that he is a cartoon villain. He is a fool on the hill who hurls thunderbolts from his social media citadel, insults that are invariably powered by paranoid scorn and delusions of grandeur because, in the absence of any real accomplishments for this White House, unhinged tweets are all he’s got left. Trump is presidential in the same way my cat is a Tiffany lamp. His supporters believe the fake media is on a witch hunt — that their beloved leader is under siege by diabolical elites who are waging partisan warfare. They are mistaken: From the start of this doomed odyssey, Donald Trump has been under siege by Donald Trump. His ineptitude, naked greed, lunatic ego-cravings and severe allergies to both policy and hard work have exposed intractable failings as both an elected official and a human no sensible person would now choose to defend. This makes covering him easy, albeit exhausting: Watch him shoot himself in the foot and document the bloodshed. Repeat. Repeat again. Anything less is journalistic malpractice. But for the U.S. media, in both the crosshairs of Trump’s incontinent rage and the vortex of his death spiral, covering Trudeau is not as straightforward. There is no obvious monster. Whether he’s on the cover of GQ, in an issue devoted to “The Most Stylish Men Alive” or brooding in black and white in Vogue as “The New Young Face of Canadian Politics,” the U.S. media have already chalked out Trudeau’s silhouette in a fairy tale imagining that continues to endure. In style and temperament, Trudeau is the anti-Trump. He projects idealism on the world stage. He is not vile, at least not in any personal sense. And this yearning for an anti-Trump to call their own means the U.S. media are glossing over or ignoring the troubling similarities between both leaders, not the least of which is an obsession with celebrity that is ultimately counterproductive to governance. Yes, Trump is obviously repulsive. But is there not something also repulsive in walking back electoral reform or dithering on Indigenous crises or blowing through taxpayer dollars with the fiscal restraint my young daughters exhibit at Toys ‘R’ Us? If Trudeau ever spends a little less time sitting for cover stories or making cameos on award shows and podcasts, he might start breaking fewer promises. In Canada, day after day, the media hold a flame-thrower to Trump’s toes. But as we can see from this Rolling Stone profile, America only has a concert lighter it holds up in the darkness while cheering on Trudeau. The attention might be nice. But a bit more neighbourly honesty would be even better. vmenon@thestar.ca
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Trump says ‘medical costs’ are the main reason to ban transgender troops. The military spends five times more on Viagra (mer., 26 juil. 2017)
WASHINGTON—On Twitter Wednesday morning President Donald Trump announced a ban on transgender people serving in the military, citing “medical costs” as the primary driver of the decision. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” the president wrote. Read the latest news on U.S. President Donald Trump While Trump didn’t offer any numbers to support this claim, a Defense Department-commissioned study published last year by the Rand Corp. provides exhaustive estimates of transgender servicemembers’ potential medical costs. Considering the prevalence of transgender servicemembers among the active duty military and the typical health care costs for gender transition-related medical treatment, the Rand study estimated that these treatments would cost the military between $2.4 million and $8.4 million (U.S.) annually. The study didn’t include estimates of these costs for reservists, due to “their highly limited military health care eligibility.” It also didn’t include estimates for retirees or military family members, because many of those individuals may also have “limited eligibility” for care via military treatment facilities. “The implication is that even in the most extreme scenario that we were able to identify ... we expect only a 0.13-per cent ($8.4 million out of $6.2 billion) increase in health care spending,” Rand’s authors concluded. By contrast, total military spending on erectile dysfunction medicines amounts to $84 million annually, according to an analysis by the Military Times — 10 times the cost of annual transition-related medical care for active duty transgender servicemembers. The military spends $41.6 million annually on Viagra alone, according to the Military Times analysis — roughly five times the estimated spending on transition-related medical care for transgender troops. Looked at another way, the upper estimate for annual transgender medical costs in the military amounts to less than one-tenth of the price of a new F-35 fighter jet. Or, a thousandth of 1 per cent of the Defense Department’s annual budget. The price of providing medical care to transgender servicemembers, in other words, is negligible, and hardly “tremendous” as the president put it.
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Markham residents have beef with huge cow sculpture (mer., 26 juil. 2017)
Residents of a Markham neighbourhood want a towering cow sculpture installed 10 days ago by the city to just moooove on. The unhappy people gathered Tuesday night to give local councillor Alan Ho, who voted last year to approve the chrome statue, a piece of their collective mind. Ho was in huge backtrack mode as resident after resident slammed him for supporting the statue in a large parkette on Charity Cres. in the Cathedraltown neighbourhood. He urged them to gather a petition opposing the artwork and to head to council at its first meeting in September to tell elected officials exactly what they think. The cow, called Charity, Perpetuation of Perfection, was apparently a prize-winning milker for the donor and the statue is dubbed “Brookview Tony Charity.” Under intense questioning from residents at the site of the statue, Ho admitted the donation of the statue was valued at $1.2 million. But he insisted the donation cost the City of Markham and taxpayers nothing. Residents were udderly unimpressed. Tammy Armes, a member of the Cathedraltown Ratepayers Association, said the sculpture caught everyone by surprise. “This is really a shock for us; it’s not a small cow. It does not belong in this community,” Armes said. Danny Da Silva, who lives right in the sightline of the sculpture, was blunt in his assessment of it: “I hate it. I don’t like to be forced to look at this, but I have to unless I don’t want to come out of my house anymore. “I think it’s actually kind of disturbing looking. I come from a Christian background and this is actually one of the worst things you can do, is to raise a calf; it’s facing the cathedral. Who’s going to want to buy the house, there’s very little to admire,” he added. Da Silva suggested it be moved to another location, like the carousel in downtown Markham. Ho said he believed the statue belonged in another location but that the donor insisted on the current location and council agreed. He said if the statue does get moved it’s not clear whether the donor or the city will have to pay the cost. Markham Economist & Sun
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Family says testimony from three police officers at shooting inquest is inconsistent (mer., 26 juil. 2017)
At the conclusion of the coroner's inquest testimony Wednesday of the officers who were at the scene of the police shooting death of Michael MacIsaac, his family's demand for answers remained unchanged. MacIsaac, 47, was shot dead on an Ajax street on Dec. 2, 2013 by Durham region police Const. Brian Taylor, who said a naked MacIsaac was advancing on him with a metal table leg. Taylor was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit. On Tuesday, Const. Jeffrey Williams, who was parked behind Taylor on Dring St. that day, said he could not recall if MacIsaac said anything to Taylor before being shot, but that he was “marching” toward the police cruisers. Williams testified he did hear Taylor say something to MacIsaac, however. “I don't know what he said, I know it was his voice, and just after I heard two pops,” Williams testified. Then on Wednesday, Const. Mark Brown, a designated “mental health response officer” who was parked behind Williams, testified he heard Taylor identify the men as police officers and that he heard MacIsaac shouting. “I did hear him yell something, but didn't hear what he actually yelled,” Brown testified, saying MacIsaac was “running slightly faster than a jog” down a driveway toward police and holding the table leg like a baseball bat. Taylor himself testified last week that he remembered issuing and hearing the police challenge — “Police. Don't move.” And he testified that MacIsaac was saying to him, “Come on, come on.” It has also been previously pointed out at the inquest that Taylor cannot be heard shouting commands and MacIsaac cannot be heard saying anything on a 911 call that was placed by a civilian at the scene of the shooting and that the call was analyzed by a forensic scientist for the family, who found no breaks or alterations in the recording. Taylor has speculated that the call dropped and did not capture everything that was said. “I think none of their stories match,” MacIsaac's sister, Joanne, told reporters Wednesday. “I'd like to say it's surprising that the SIU didn't have a lot more questions with this, but it seems to be the way the SIU handles these situations.” The SIU does not comment on probes that are the subject of a coroner's inquest, and it has also never said in the past if it listened to, or even obtained, the 911 call. Wednesday was an especially emotional day for the MacIsaac family, sitting in the front rows of the courtroom. Some family members, overcome by emotion, left during parts of Brown's testimony. Like Williams the day before him, Brown testified that his focus, after the shooting, was on helping MacIsaac. He said that once MacIsaac fell to the ground, he removed the table leg while the other officers remained with their guns drawn. “I took control of Mr. MacIsaac, I took hold of his hands and he was actively resisting and not listening,” Brown testified, saying he was trying to administer first aid along with Williams. He said the only word from MacIsaac that he could make out was “pain.” The term “actively resisting” sparked a wave of sobbing from the MacIsaac family. “Michael was met with such a lack of compassion, empathy and caring by these three men, right after he was shot,” Joanne MacIsaac told reporters. “When he's naked, and cold and on the ground and you're pushing in on his abdomen after he's been shot, to use the phrase that he was still ‘actively resisting,’ my God, what is the matter with these people? What is the matter with each of them?” Williams testified Tuesday that he retrieved first aid kits from the police vehicles and attempted to speak to MacIsaac, who was yelling but was incomprehensible. “At that point it was my job to save his life,” Williams said. “He did eventually start speaking to me, he told me his name was Michael. I told him ‘I'm trying to help you, we have help on the way’ . . . I asked him what had happened. He told me he was hot.” Coroner's counsel Troy Harrison asked how long it took for an ambulance to arrive. “I couldn't tell you,” Williams said. “It was upsetting and chaotic.” Williams said that when the ambulance did arrive, he jumped in the driver's seat, offering to drive to the hospital so that the two paramedics could focus on MacIsaac. But one of his superiors at the scene had another officer drive and ordered Williams back to the police division because of his involvement in the shooting. Under cross-examination by Anita Szigeti, lawyer for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's Empowerment Council, it was pointed out to Williams that the first time an officer tried to calm MacIsaac down by asking his name and talking about help was after he had already been shot. On Wednesday, Szigeti questioned Brown on his knowledge of mental health issues and individuals in crisis, suggesting he has stereotyped or negative perceptions of persons with mental health issues, which he denied. The officer testified earlier that he received a 40-hour training course in either 2005 or 2006 to be designated a mental health response officer, which consisted largely of meeting the various agencies that can help individuals in crisis. He said he hasn't taken any refresher courses since then. Szigeti listed some of the observations Brown made to the SIU as to why he believed MacIsaac may have mental health issues, including glossy eyes and speaking gibberish. “(These observations) could also be consistent with being shot, though,” she said. After her cross-examination, Szigeti turned and quietly apologized to the MacIsaac family. The inquest continues.
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‘You are my favourite president’: The White House just read a 9-year-old’s letter to Trump out loud at the press briefing (mer., 26 juil. 2017)
The White House wants America to know that U.S. President Donald Trump has the support of a 9-year-old named Dylan. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was last week named Trump’s new press secretary, opened Wednesday’s White House press briefing by reading a letter of praise she said was from the child. “I’m 9 years old and you are my favourite president,” Sanders read. “I like you so much I had a birthday about you.” With reporters looking on, Sanders then answered a few questions Dylan had posed in his letter, including, “how big is the White House?” and, “how much money do you have?” “I don’t know why people don’t like you,” she continued reading. “You seem really nice. Can we be friends?” Read more:Trump’s attacks on Sessions, Mueller raise concerns about ‘authoritarian’ tactics Sanders spent much of Wednesday’s briefing addressing questions about Trump’s plan to bar transgender individuals from the U.S. military. In a series of morning tweets, Trump had earlier said he wants transgender people barred from serving “in any capacity.” Sanders described the move as a “military decision” and said Trump was concerned the current policy “erodes military readiness and military cohesion.” She said the secretary of defence was notified yesterday after Trump made the decision. Later in the press briefing, Sanders said she would end proceedings early if reporters continued to ask questions about the transgender issue. Here’s the full text of Dylan’s letter, complete with spelling errors: Dear President Trump My name is Dylan (redacted) but every body calls me pickle. I’m 9 years old and you are my fovrit President. I like you so much I had a birthday about you. My cake was the shap of your hat. How old ar you? How big is the white hose? Ho much monny do you have? I dont now why people don’t like you. You seme nice can we be friends? My pitcher is in here so if you see me you can say hi. Your friend Dylan With files from The Associated Press
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‘You’re my angel, you saved me!,’ woman shouted to driver charged in fatal hit and run (mer., 26 juil. 2017)
The woman at the centre of an extraordinary case, in which a split-second decision left one man dead, says she would not be alive today if it weren’t for the “angel” who ran her alleged assailant down with his car. Alicia Aquino says that Anthony Kiss, the man who hit and killed Dario Romero in June, and who now faces charges of manslaughter in his death, was the only passerby to answer her calls for help. “I owe my life to him,” Aquino told the Star in an emotional interview Tuesday. “He has four children, and it’s not fair to charge this man.” Aquino, a hotel room attendant who was on her way to work in the early hours of June 7, said she decided to speak to the Star after hearing how the charges have negatively affected Kiss’s life. She felt compelled to tell her story, she said, because she could not imagine Kiss being sent to prison, away from his four children, for several years. She also wanted to add her perspective to a story that has been playing out, and debated, online. In a previous interview with the Star — details of which were corroborated by his girlfriend, who was in the car at the time — Kiss, 31, said he ran Romero down because he saw him wielding a knife and chasing a woman into the street. He did it, Kiss said, to save her life. Neither Kiss’s nor Aquino’s version of events have been tested in court. Kiss is charged with impaired operation of a motor vehicle causing death, over 80 mgs operation of a motor vehicle causing death and failure to stop at scene of accident causing death. Kiss told the Star he had a few beers at a concert that night, but wasn’t impaired. He said he blew just over the legal limit. He said he left the scene of the crash before he was arrested because he was in “straight shock” and panicked. He is out on bail and will return to court Aug. 3. In her telling of the story, 59-year-old Aquino did not provide granular details of what happened during the alleged attack out of respect for police requests to not compromise evidence in the case. She was advised by criminal lawyer, Daniel Brown, whom her family reached out to after seeing his comments on the case in a Star article. “She wanted a lawyer to help her tell the story within the boundaries of what she was allowed to share, but without compromising the integrity of the investigation,” said Brown, who is not being paid for his work. Romero’s brother-in-law, who didn’t want to be named citing the nature of his work with children, said the public can’t know the full story because Romero is dead. “People should remember that Dario isn’t here to give his account of the story,” he said. “These stories can influence potential jurors.” The alleged attack took place around 4:30 a.m. at the bus stop near Eglinton Ave W. and Black Creek Dr. Aquino said she was on her way to work at a downtown hotel, where she has been working for 27 years. She had been taking this particular route for seven years. At the time, she was standing by the bus stop texting with her girlfriend, who was asking her to pick up two coffees — one black, one double double. “Usually I will go and stay in the shelter, but this time something told me ‘no, stand at the bus stop don’t go to the shelter,’ ” she said. That’s when she noticed a man approaching. Initially, she thought nothing of it. “When I see this gentleman coming towards me, I don’t think (anything) because I meet all kinds of people in the morning,” she said. Romero, 37, spoke to Aquino, she said, but “he wasn’t making any sense.” Romero’s family has previously told the Star that he was a wonderful father to a young son, and that he had been diagnosed with extreme paranoia. He said two sentences to her, Aquino said, adding she did not respond to him. She had never seen him before. Aquino said that Romero then pulled out a knife and tried to slash at her. She says she ran away from him, but he knocked her to the ground on the street and kicked and stomped her. “I’m screaming and I see cars passing by, nobody stopped,” she said, through tears. “I was calling for help.” She fought with Romero on the ground and managed to get away. Romero continued to chase her and tripped her, and she fell down again, this time on the median, she said. “And I hear this thing, ‘boom!’ behind me,” she said. At that point, Aquino, a single mother of five and grandmother to seven, said she thought it was over. “I just crossed my arms, and I said ‘I’m dead, I’m not going to see my grandchildren and my kids,’ ” she said, adding that she had not yet seen her youngest granddaughter, who had just been born and was still in the hospital. “A few seconds later I open up my eyes and I can feel that I was in a lot of pain. I have no idea what had happened.” Aquino was not stabbed during the altercation. Her injuries to the lower half of her body were caused by the attacker kicking and tripping her, she said. The “boom” she heard, she now knows, she said, was Kiss driving into Romero. The next thing Aquino said she remembers were three men surrounding her, two of them construction workers. “It’s okay, you’re okay,” she remembers one of the men telling her. She asked them to call the police, and they told her they already had. Aquino said she then asked one of the men helping her to take her to the driver of the car, but he told her to wait for an ambulance instead. She says she yelled in the direction of where she believed Kiss was — but she doesn’t know for sure if it was him because her glasses were knocked off and she could only see shadows. “ ‘You’re my angel, you saved me!,’ ” Aquino said she remembered shouting. Of Kiss, she added, “he’s the only one who put his family on the side to save me, to do something for me.” An ambulance took Aquino to St. Joseph’s hospital, where she stayed for a couple of hours. She says that she has trouble walking and that her physical injuries have prevented her from returning to work — a job that requires physical exertion. The hotel where she works provided her sick leave at a portion of her salary for six weeks, but it has now expired and she is struggling to pay basic bills. She has had to give up her weekend jobs cleaning houses. The incident has also taken a drastic toll on her mental health, she said. She is not eating or sleeping properly and is afraid to leave the house alone. “I’m 59, I feel like 80 now,” she said. “I have sweats, I wake up sweating, I have to have someone around 24/7.” Adding to her stress is her knowing that Kiss is facing jail time for what he did, she said, adding she would be “devastated” if he was convicted: “It’s not fair when somebody stood up to the plate.” In response to online comments the public has made that Kiss should have just honked his horn, Aquino said she does not believe it would have made a difference. “I was the target, so no matter what other people did, I don’t think so,” she said. Brown, the lawyer who advised Aquino, said he believes that what Kiss did was “well within the boundaries of the law.” “In Canadian law, the use of deadly force is only permitted in very rare circumstances — for example, where it is necessary to protect someone from death or serious bodily harm,” Brown said in an email to the Star. “Some of the factors a judge will consider in assessing this defence include whether the use of force was imminent and whether there were other means available to respond to the potential use of force. In this case, Mr. Kiss could not have done anything less to stop this vicious attack. While tragic, the facts completely support Mr. Kiss’s response to this violent encounter.” Toronto police declined to comment on the case. Aquino said she has made it clear to the Toronto police officers investigating the case that she would like to meet Kiss. The police told her that would compromise the case. Said Aquino: “I feel this (interview) is the only way for now to get it out there so people can understand why he did what he did.”
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Wynne promises small-business relief to offset minimum wage hike (mer., 26 juil. 2017)
Premier Kathleen Wynne is pledging to minimize the impact on small business of the looming increase to the minimum wage. “We’re going to work with small businesses and in the fall, we’ll bring forward some initiatives that will help business to get through this transition,” Wynne told Newstalk 1010 on Wednesday. “There are some other things that we can do to support small businesses through the transition,” the premier said without offering specifics. As part of the government’s sweeping labour reforms, the $11.40-an-hour minimum wage will rise to $14 on Jan. 1 and to $15 in 2019. That hike has many business groups worried. “With a planned 32 per cent increase in the minimum wage over the next 18 months, business owners are predicting a struggle to quickly generate the revenue required to match rising labour costs,” warned the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Ashley Challinor. “This means that a significant number of businesses fear they cannot keep their doors open,” Challinor told an all-party legislative committee studying the reforms last Friday. “The pending legislation will create winners and losers, job losses, increased costs of consumer goods, and economic hardship.” Loblaw chair and CEO Galen Weston Jr., whose company operates Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart, predicted Wednesday the company’s labour costs could jump by $190 million next year. “We are flagging a significant set of financial headwinds and the organization is mobilizing all of its resources to see whether or not it can close that gap,” he said. At Friday’s legislative hearing at Queen’s Park, veteran restaurateur Fred Luk said small businesses simply cannot afford such a rapid rise in labour costs. “My only concern is to survive past Jan. 1, 2018. How do I raise my menu prices to pay for this increase? I don’t know how to do it,” said Luk, owner of Fred’s Not Here on King St. West. “Out of the 25 employees that I have, two employees are less-skilled employees and are still paid above minimum wage. The rest are paid above the new proposed minimum wage already. I’m paying my employees $15, $16, $17 right now,” he told the committee. Even so, once the minimum wage rate jumps, Luk said his wage tab will jump. “This is what small business is all about. You can make money one year; the next year, you might not, because of the razor-thin margins you run on.” Small Business Minister Jeff Leal insisted the province is listening to such concerns and will act upon them as the legislation is fine-tuned this fall. “As we always do, we have been meeting with small businesses and stakeholders like the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to listen directly to their suggestions and ideas about how we can further grow Ontario’s economy and build strong local economies,” said Leal, who is also agriculture minister. “We were also actively monitoring the presentations being made to the standing committee on Bill 148 and will be undertaking a review of the submissions made for ideas on how we can better support small businesses,” he said. With files from The Canadian Press
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Let the people paddleboard, Beach residents, the lake doesn’t belong to you: Teitel (mar., 25 juil. 2017)
Toronto’s east end “Beach” neighbourhood is home to more than a few yoga studios, but this doesn’t mean its residents are particularly flexible. For proof, look no further than the paddleboard-kiosk dispute plaguing the boardwalk at Balsam Ave. and Hubbard Blvd. It’s here that a small group of residents who live directly across from the lake are upset about the present location of iPaddle Adventures, a new business that rents paddleboards and kayaks to beachgoers, a business the residents say is obstructing their view of the water. “Paddleboard kiosk dispute” may sound like the lowest stakes event in human history, but I assure you, it’s of great consequence to anyone who believes a city’s main attractions should serve all of its inhabitants, as opposed to a lucky few. Among those who hold this view is Brian Quinn, the CEO of iPaddle Adventures. The city recently granted Quinn permission to park his kiosk on the grass behind the boardwalk. Today, that business is thriving. He says he rents paddleboard and kayak equipment to a minimum of 40 people everyday, beachgoers from all over the city and several tourists as well. (I looked at the binder in his office and it was jam-packed with rental slips.) But, says Quinn, some residents continue to complain that their view of the lake has suffered as a result of his being there. One resident in particular, a woman named Viola Bracegirdle, a beach resident with a formerly unobstructed view, described the situation to the CBC like this: “It’s terrible. He (Quinn) should have been down someplace else. They can go down further. Why are they picking on us? We are the most expensive houses here and the taxes are the highest here. I’m fed up.” Quinn alleges that some residents are so fed up they’ve “screamed profanities” at him and frightened his customers; he even called the non-emergency police service, and told the complaining residents to expect a letter from his lawyer if they continue to interfere with his business. I took the streetcar to the Beach this week, so I could see for myself the alleged blight that is iPaddle Adventures, but here’s what I saw instead: Quinn sitting on a bench eating a sandwich, a Bluetooth radio of some kind humming quietly beside him. And behind him, the kiosk itself, modestly sized, decorated with Canadian flags and upright kayak paddles. It was hard to believe this was the blemish on the horizon that beach residents are so incensed about. But then I remembered I was in Toronto, possibly the NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) capital of the world. “(Residents) came out with a sign saying they wanted us removed from the beach and that I was an eyesore,” Quinn told me. An eyesore! God forbid anyone should have to abide an eyesore from his or her porch, so that families from all over the city and, presumably, all over the world can enjoy a boat ride on a public beach. NIMBYism of this order makes me think Torontonians are so averse to so-called “eyesores” we’d probably reject a city proposal for a giant ray gun if an asteroid were hurtling toward the downtown core, because the thing might obstruct somebody’s view of the CN Tower. In other words, in Toronto, we seem to love nothing more than cutting off our nose to spite our face. It doesn’t help that in addition to NIMBYism we have an obsession with so-called “villages.” In his book Frontier City, urbanist and Toronto Star columnist Shawn Micallef writes, “Toronto has what might be called a village fetish, where neighbourhoods insist, despite all evidence to the contrary, that they are indeed a village.” You could argue that one of Toronto’s most attractive features — its network of distinct neighbourhoods — is also the very thing that stalls its progress. If you have a village mentality in a big city, as some residents in the picturesque Beach evidently do, you forget that your “village” belongs to a sprawling metropolis and the populace at large is entitled to the attractions and resources therein. You forget that your view of the lake is not in fact, your view. It’s everybody’s view. The Beach is a neighbourhood in Toronto, it’s not Muskoka. “They don’t own this boardwalk,” Quinn says about the residents who want him to move his kiosk out of their line of sight. “The city owns this boardwalk. This is for people. This is to get people out doing things.” Amen. Let the people paddleboard. Emma Teitel is a national affairs columnist.
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Toronto housing market downturn will be short-lived, CMHC says (mer., 26 juil. 2017)
The federal housing agency says the current downturn in Toronto’s housing market is expected to be short-lived. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) says Toronto property prices, which have fallen over the last couple of months, should pick up again as demand bounces back. The Ontario government introduced measures in the spring, including a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers, to cool down a market that many regarded was overheating. Read more:Toronto housing market’s downturn may have an upside CMHC says similar policy changes introduced in Vancouver last year reduced the number of foreign buyers in that city, but Greater Vancouver’s housing market has since pushed back up. In its latest housing market assessment released today, CMHC kept its overall risk rating for the national housing market at strong. The report, which is based on data from the first three months of this year, precedes the Ontario government housing rules introduced in the spring.
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Groundbreaking in utero heart surgery saves baby’s life at Sick Kids Hospital (mer., 26 juil. 2017)
An anatomy scan is routine for pregnant women at 20 weeks. That was when Kristine Barry learned her baby had a heart defect that would require what’s believed to be the world’s first use of in utero surgery to treat this condition. Doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children and Mount Sinai Hospital were quick to assure Barry, 25, and her husband, Christopher Havill, 27, that they could fix the problem. They diagnosed the couple’s first child, Sebastian Havill, now 9 weeks old, with severe complete transposition of the great arteries (TGA). It’s a congenital heart defect that occurs when the pulmonary artery and aorta are switched, and the heart can’t adequately circulate blood through the body. Barry said her first thoughts were “Why me, why my baby?” To fix the problem, surgeons normally perform open-heart surgery on the infant to switch the arteries within a week of birth. But there was a complication in this case. All the walls in Sebastian’s heart were closed shut, meaning his blood wouldn’t get oxygen after his birth, which could have led to severe brain damage or death within minutes. “Previously, doctors had the baby born by C-section and then rushed it over to Sick Kids for a balloon procedure,” Barry said. “If he was born over at Mount Sinai, he wouldn’t have enough time to be moved to Sick Kids. He likely wasn’t going to make it.” So the doctors — Edgar Jaeggi, Rajiv Chaturvedi and Greg Ryan — devised a different plan to save her baby. On May 18, Barry went into the operating room, and Sebastian had what’s believed to be the world’s first balloon atrial septoplasty surgery in utero to treat TGA. With ultrasound guidance, the doctors inserted a needle into Barry’s uterus and into Sebastian’s heart to blow up a tiny ballon, making a hole about 3.5 millimetres wide in his atrial septum. This allowed the blood and oxygen to circulate properly, a temporary fix until they could perform surgery after birth. About 30 medical staff were there to assist in the procedure, including surgeons, cardiologists, a person with an incubator and a doctor to do a caesarean section in the likely case that Barry had to give birth early. “I was weirdly calm. I put all my belief in that it was going to work, but I went in with the mindset that I was having a baby that day,” Barry said. “The way they described our options for that day, I had a two-out-of-three chance for having a baby, so I went in thinking, ‘I could be meeting my son today.’” Just 20 minutes later, the surgery was over and the room erupted in applause, said Barry, who cried when she realized that her baby could be born healthy. Five days after the surgery, Barry was induced into labour and gave birth to Sebastian only 10 minutes in. “He came out pink and screaming, and I was just in shock. I didn’t believe that was what was going to happen,” she said. A week after his birth, Sebastian successfully underwent the open-heart surgery that babies with congenital TGA must have, and he was sent home the week after. About three babies a year in Ontario have the same extreme case of congenial heart defect that Sebastian has. His parents will take him to a neuro-development program at Sick Kids to make sure he’s hitting all his milestones at 6, 12, 18, 24 and 36 months old. Barry and Havill have been told that Sebastian may run into issues at any stage in his development, but in general he is expected to lead a normal life. If Sebastian has any development problems, Barry said, the doctors at Sick Kids can help by teaching them exercises to do at home, or sending a support worker to help with speech or physiotherapy. “They want us to let him be a kid and run around and get his blood pumping and his heart working really well. They don’t want us bubble-wrapping him and being too protective,” Barry said. “They want him to live a normal life as much as possible.”
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Former Nazi Helmut Oberlander stripped of citizenship again (mer., 26 juil. 2017)
WATERLOO—Canada has once again stripped Helmut Oberlander, 93, of his citizenship for serving in a Nazi death squad and lying about it to enter Canada. It’s the fourth time the government has taken this step after Oberlander defeated the government in court three times to restore his citizenship. For the fourth time Oberlander is going to court to overturn the political decision, made this time by the federal cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Read more: Helmut Oberlander, ex Nazi death squad member, once again wins chance to keep Canadian citizenship Father was never charged with war crime, family says “We are determined to deny safe haven in Canada to war criminals and persons believed to have committed or been complicit in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide,” Pierre Deveau, spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, said in a statement. Liberal and Conservative governments have been pursuing the retired Waterloo developer since 1995 in a case that’s into its third decade and fourth prime minister. Oberlander’s lawyers suspected the government was poised to announce its decision when two RCMP officers surprised Oberlander last month by appearing at his door and asking to speak with him. “I suppose they were trying to determine if he was still of sound mind and health and could receive the decision,” said Ron Poulton, Oberlander’s lawyer. Poulton said Oberlander felt intimidated and called his daughter to his home. The pair asked police why they came. “They were kind of cagey about it and we couldn’t really get any answers on it, but we knew something was coming,” he said. The police left. In 1995, the government announced its prosecution days after two RCMP officers surprised Oberlander by visiting him at home to talk about the Second World War. Oberlander is an ethnic German born and raised in Ukraine under Soviet rule. He served as a decorated, low-level interpreter in a mobile death squad that murdered at least 23,000 civilians, mostly Jews, between 1941 and 1943. He says he was conscripted by invading Germans the month he turned 18 in 1942. He denies participating in war crimes and denies lying about it to immigrate in 1954. Oberlander was made a German citizen in 1944 to honour his service. Canada made him a citizen in 1960. No evidence was presented to a court that Oberlander personally participated in war crimes. In 2000, a court found that he lied about his membership in the death squad before entering Canada, where he pursued a successful career as a developer. “We thank and applaud the Government of Canada,” Shimon Koffler Fogel, chief executive of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said in a statement. Fogel said Oberlander has “been exploiting our judicial process to avoid prosecution in Germany. There is no statute of limitations for such heinous crimes, and the government deserves credit for its tireless efforts in this case. “This latest development is an important milestone in bringing a measure of justice to his many victims and their families.” The decision distressed Ernst Friedel, a director with the German-Canadian Congress, who said Oberlander is being unfairly prosecuted for translations he provided as a young man without a choice. “This has nothing to do with justice,” Friedel said. “I compare it to the Middle Ages, to declare someone something bad, and to go after that person relentlessly.” Trudeau said in 2016 that his government is committed to prosecuting immigrants such as Oberlander who lie about their past to become citizens. “There is one condition in which citizenship can be revoked, and that is when it was acquired based on fraud, misinformation and not representing clearly who one was,” Trudeau said while visiting Waterloo. “And that is at the core of this case I’m sure . . . Canadians are rightly proud, not just of our citizenship, but of the values that are articulated by that citizenship, and we have to make sure that we’re doing everything to defend the principles and values that it mean to be Canadian.” Poulton said it’s remarkable the government is still pursuing Oberlander after he defeated them in court three times. “Given his age and the number of times they’ve lost, I’ve never seen the government pursue someone like this to such a degree,” he said. While the federal cabinet argues it has the right to strip Oberlander’s citizenship because he lied to get it, courts have repeatedly told cabinet it must also weigh other factors, such as Oberlander’s level of complicity in the death squad. Poulton said the government’s latest decision “ignores and misstates evidence. They really stretched this time to try to find him complicit.” Last fall, the government gave Oberlander 90 days to respond to a government report and to explain why his citizenship should not be revoked. He did this and cabinet chose to revoke his citizenship again, on June 20. “We also know the value of Canadian citizenship and cannot allow anyone to defraud the system or diminish its integrity,” said Deveau, spokesperson for the government. “We don’t take citizenship revocation lightly, but it is necessary in cases of fraud and serious misrepresentation.” Oberlander is seeking a judicial review of cabinet’s decision, as he has done previously. A court hearing is expected in the fall or early 2018. Bernie Farber, former chief executive of the Canadian Jewish Congress, blames Federal Court of Appeal rulings rather than government failures for a case that’s dragged on for decades. He’s heartened that governments have not given up, but expects Oberlander may die before the prosecution concludes. “The government sends a strong message in this day and age to would-be war criminals and would-be alleged war criminals that they will be hunted ’til their dying days,” he said. Farber argues against seeing Oberlander as 93. “We ought not to think of him as he is today. We ought to remember him and those others who participated in the murder of tens of thousands of people as they were: young, vibrant bullies and alleged murderers,” he said. “To think about them in their old age denies really the sweet lives of those that were caught up in the web of mass murder that the Nazis perpetrated. They never got to live. He did.”
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