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Toronto cop guilty of assault made Sunshine List while suspended (mar., 25 avril 2017)
An incident in which an on-duty Toronto police sergeant assaulted a man in a Scarborough parking lot and then drove away, leaving the victim collapsed on the ground, came to light after an account from a bystander and Toronto Community Housing Corporation surveillance footage, according to recently filed court documents. Last week, Toronto police Sgt. Robert Goudie pleaded guilty to assaulting Hamza Sheikh, then 47, outside the man’s residence in October 2015, an incident that began with Goudie approaching Sheikh believing he had been driving while impaired. In January 2016, Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) charged Goudie with assault causing bodily harm and failing to provide the necessities of life; the latter charge was dropped at the request of the Crown prosecutor, while Goudie pleaded guilty to assault. “The defendant’s application of force to Mr. Sheikh was unjustified and excessive,” reads an agreed statement of facts filed in court last week. The veteran police officer has been given a conditional discharge, meaning he is now subject to six months’ probation, which includes a ban on contacting Sheikh. He was also ordered to pay a $100 victim surcharge to Sheikh. Goudie has been suspended with pay from the Toronto Police Service since November 2015. Nonetheless, he made Ontario’s Sunshine List in 2016, earning $116,000. Meaghan Gray, a spokesperson for the Toronto Police, said in an email the suspension is under review now that the criminal case has concluded and the police service can proceed with a related disciplinary charge. Goudie faces one count of discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act for being charged with a criminal offence. According to the summary of facts filed in court, Goudie was alone on patrol just after 4 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2015, when he spotted Sheikh’s vehicle and believed he was an impaired driver. Goudie, driving a marked police vehicle, followed him into the parking area near 10 Gordonridge Place, near Danforth and Brimley Rds., then approached Sheikh after he parked his car, the court document states. Surveillance footage, though low quality and shot from a distance, captured a 33-second discussion between Goudie and Sheikh, who was standing near his car with the driver’s side door open. Then, Goudie “took hold” of Sheikh and forced him to the ground on a grassy boulevard near the cars, then pinned him with his right knee for 20 seconds and “appeared to search him.” Goudie got up off of Sheikh, shone his flashlight into the man’s vehicle, then removed a crutch from inside and “tossed it towards” Sheikh. Court heard that Sheikh had pre-existing spinal injuries. Sheikh “remained prone and motionless on the ground” at this time, according to the documents. The officer then walked back to his car and drove off. Goudie never reported the stop or arrested Sheikh, although he had reasonable grounds to do so, according to the court documents. “(Goudie) believed at that time that Mr. Sheikh was conscious,” according to the statement of facts. Sheikh remained on the ground in the same position for 30 minutes, until a Toronto police car and ambulance arrived in response to an emergency call. Paramedics found Sheikh on the ground wearing a neck brace, and noticed a strong odour of alcohol and signs of impairment. The court documents do not explain who made the emergency call, but a document filed with the Toronto Police Services Board agenda last week states police and paramedics were summoned to the scene by a 4:13 a.m. call reporting an officer had assaulted a member of the public. Police and paramedics arrived at 4:34 a.m. According to the police board document, which summarizes the internal probe that must take place after every SIU investigation, the officers who responded were then directed by a superior to leave and “the incident was abandoned without further investigation or documentation,” the report states. That superior was later identified as Goudie, according to the police board document. In an interview Monday, Goudie’s lawyer Gary Clewley vehemently disputed the contents of the Toronto police board document, saying that whoever wrote it “had nothing to do with the investigation.” “I can tell you this much for sure: officer Goudie did not terminate or interfere with the investigation of this incident. Period.” Clewley also stressed that the court did not find as fact that Sheikh lost consciousness following the assault. According to the court document, Sheikh was taken to a hospital, where he refused assessment and voluntarily left before he saw a doctor. The Crown prosecutor was unable to prove Goudie’s use of force caused Sheikh any bodily harm, according to the court document. Sheikh claimed that he had no memory of the incident. At a medical appointment three days after the incident, Sheikh exhibited no signs of a head injury, the court document states. Sheikh said he contacted police to complain about the incident only after he was informed about what transpired by the neighbour who witnessed it. Sheikh’s complaint generated an investigation by the Toronto police Criminal Investigations Bureau. Two weeks later, Toronto Community Housing informed police about the contents of its surveillance footage of the incident, according to the police board document. The SIU was contacted the following day and took over the investigation. Goudie was suspended the same day. The sergeant’s professional misconduct hearing continues. Wendy Gillis can be reached at wgillis@thestar.ca
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Black students hindered by academic streaming, suspensions: Report (mar., 25 avril 2017)
Black children in the GTA may start kindergarten feeling confident and excited to learn, but too many are “gradually worn down” by schools that stream them into applied courses and suspend them at much higher rates than other students, says a new report from York University. The report found that while academic streaming was supposed to have ended in 1999, black students are twice as likely to be enrolled in applied instead of academic courses compared to their counterparts from other racial backgrounds. And they are more than twice as likely to have been suspended from school at least once during high school. “Black students face an achievement and opportunity gap in GTA schools,” says the study led by York University professor Carl James. “All evidence point(s) to the need for action if the decades-old problem is to be addressed.” The findings were based on data from the Toronto District School Board — the only board to regularly collect race-based statistics, though a similar move is underway at the Peel District School Board. Consultations with 324 black parents, community members, educators, school trustees and students indicated “the same patterns exist in other GTA school boards,” said James. Because much of the information in the 80-page report was produced by the TDSB’s research department, it comes as no surprise to director of education John Malloy. “We aren’t running away from what the data is telling us, we’re willing to face it,” he said in an interview. He said the board’s new equity framework plan launched last fall involves a sweeping review of everything from board policies to personal attitudes among staff and the barriers students of different backgrounds face when it comes to accessing programs and courses. Streaming, which places students in academic or university-bound courses instead of the more hands-on applied courses based on perceived ability, is a key piece, he said. The practice has been found to hit low-income kids and certain racial groups such as black students hardest. Several high schools in Toronto have already launched pilot projects to end streaming in some Grade 9 and 10 courses, so that students aren’t making decisions so early that will affect their futures. And two years ago, a TDSB report called for streaming to be phased out and undertook to expand the pilots. But there are currently only about five in place. “I think we are beginning to get a groundswell of support,” says Monday Gala, principal of C.W. Jefferys Collegiate, which was the first to begin a destreaming initiative and no longer offers applied options in Grade 9 geography, English, science or French or Grade 10 history, English and science. But across the system, it’s one change “I wish would move faster,” added Gala. The school provides extra tutoring and lunchtime and after-school support and has seen pass rates increase across the board. A similar result took place at Runnymede Collegiate, which this year offered only academic English to Grade 9 students and is hoping to add geography next year, said principal Paul Edwards. Eliminating streaming is one of the many recommendations in the new York University report, which also calls for mandatory collection of race-based data by all school boards to illuminate barriers; use of alternative discipline measures, steps to diversify the teaching workforce, and ministry and board policies to address anti-black racism. Among its other findings: Between 2006 and 2011 — the latest period for which TDSB data is available — only 53 per cent of black students were in an academic stream program versus 81 per cent of white students and 80 per cent of other racial groups. Forty-two per cent of black students had been suspended at least once during high school compared with 18 per cent of white students and 15 per cent of other racial groups. It also cited more recent stats showing almost half the 213 students expelled in the five-year period ending in 2015-16 were black. Sixty-nine per cent of black students graduated between 2006 and 2011 versus 87 per cent of other non-white students and 84 per cent of white students. Twenty per cent — twice as many as the other groups — dropped out. Fifty-eight per cent of black kids did not apply to post-secondary school versus 41 per cent in the other two groups.
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The 19 strangest things Donald Trump said in his surreal 100-days interview (lun., 24 avril 2017)
WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump did an Oval Office interview with Associated Press reporter Julie Pace to discuss his first 100 days in office. He made some news, offering praise of far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and promising to act soon on tax reform. The interview is most notable, though, for its immense weirdness. The extended transcript, which was published on Sunday, is surreal — replete with lies, exaggerations, non-sequiturs and rambling asides. The complete list of every false thing Donald Trump has said as president For your reading pleasure, or perhaps reading alarm, we have compiled the 19 strangest parts. The full transcript follows. 1. Trump remembers and then immediately forgets how many missiles he fired at Syria: “When it came time to, as an example, send out the 59 missiles, the Tomahawks in Syria. I’m saying to myself, ‘You know, this is more than just like, 79 missiles. This is death that’s involved,’” he said. 2. Trump talks about watching CNN, then boasts of not watching CNN: Trump, a renowned television addict, explained to Pace that he never thought he had “the ability” to do what he said he had done: stop watching CNN, a network he says is unfair to him. But Pace pointed out that he had just talked, in this same interview, about watching CNN. (Those remarks aren’t in the transcript; Pace says they came during an off-the-record portion.) “Where? Where?” Trump asked. “Two minutes ago,” Pace informed him. Trump’s bewildering response: “No, they treat me so badly. No, I just said that. No, I, what’d I say, I stopped watching them. But I don’t watch CNN anymore.” 3. Trump says he doesn’t talk to European leaders about the Iran deal, then that he did: Trump continued to gripe about the Iran nuclear deal the U.S. and other world powers struck with Iran during the tenure of Barack Obama. Asked what Germany’s Angela Merkel or the United Kingdom’s Theresa May say about the deal, Trump responded, “I don’t talk to them about it.” But when Pace followed up — “You don’t talk to them about the Iran deal?” — Trump quickly said he does talk to them about it. “I mention it, but it’s very personal when I talk to them, you know, it’s confidential,” he said. 4. Trump disassociates himself from his own “Contract With The American Voter”: Two weeks before voting day, Trump issued a “Contract With The American Voter” that listed all of the things he promised to accomplish in his first 100 days. The contract includes his very own signature. But when Pace asked whether he should be held accountable for the promises in the contract, Trump suggested he had nothing to do with it. “Somebody, yeah, somebody put out the concept of a 100-day plan,” he said. 5. Trump explains he only called NATO obsolete because he didn’t know what he was talking about: Trump rattled U.S. allies with his insistence as a candidate that the NATO military alliance was “obsolete.” He explained to Pace that he only did so because he was “not knowing much about NATO,” which he now knows much about. (“People don’t go around asking about NATO,” he said, “if I’m building a building in Manhattan, right?”) The explanation is especially outlandish because of what Trump said at a CNN town hall at the time: “I understand this stuff. I mean, I really do understand this stuff. NATO is obsolete.” 6. Trump falsely claims terrorism didn’t exist before 1949: Trump has long falsely claimed that NATO did not start dealing with terrorism until he complained as a 2016 candidate that it was not doing so. This time, he added a new whopper: “You know, back when they did NATO there was no such thing as terrorism.” 7. Trump uses the phrase “a super-duper”: The president insisted that his giant wall on the Mexican border would cost less than $10 billion — but more, perhaps, “if I do a super-duper, higher, better, better security, everything else.” 8. Trump suggests his first address to Congress was one of the best speeches in the history of the House of Representatives: “A lot of the people have said that, some people said it was the single best speech ever made in that chamber,” he said. 9. Trump says “most people don’t even think of NAFTA in terms of Canada”: There are a mere three countries in the North American Free Trade Agreement: the U.S., Canada and Mexico. But Trump, long obsessed with Mexico, only recently started talking about Canada and NAFTA, and he has a tendency to project his own thinking, or non-thinking, onto the broader population. It wasn’t his only odd claim on the subject: He also said Wisconsin and New York dairy farmers are “getting killed by NAFTA,” though Canadian dairy isn’t part of the deal at all. 10. Trump repeats his lie about F-35 savings: The U.S. government was on track to cut the price of the troubled F-35 fighter jet program regardless of who was elected president. Trump, though, has falsely claimedat least a dozen times that his superlative negotiating skills are single-handedly responsible for these savings. “Because of me,” he told Pace. “I mean, because that’s what I do.” 11. Trump falsely claims he had never heard of WikiLeaks until last year: WikiLeaks has been the subject of major controversy since it published secret U.S. military videos and documents in 2010. Trump, though, claimed he had “never heard of WikiLeaks”— “never heard of it,” he repeated — until the organization released emails hacked from Democratic officials during the 2016 campaign. At best, this would be a confession of ignorance; in fact, it is untrue. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski uncovered a 2010 interview in which he called WikiLeaks “disgraceful.” 12. Trump says he thought the press would get friendlier when he became the Republican nominee: For reasons entirely unknown, Trump said he thought the media would get softer on him once he won the Republican primary and became the party’s general election candidate. “I said, you know, when I won, I said, ‘Well the one thing good is now I’ll get good press.’ And it got worse. So that was one thing that a little bit of a surprise to me,” he said. 13. Trump calls the media “very stupid” for pointing out his China flip-flop: Trump repeatedly said during his campaign that he would immediately designate China as a currency manipulator for deliberately devaluing its yuan — even though every expert pointed out that China was not doing so any more. Trump flip-flopped two weeks ago, finally agreeing that China is not attempting devaluation … but told Pace that the media is the ignorant one here. “You know, very specific formula. You would think it’s like generalities, it’s not. They have — they’ve actually — their currency’s gone up,” he said. 14. Trump insults show he just booked interview on, boasts he got the best ratings since 9/11: Shortly before this transcript was released on Sunday, Politico reported that Trump would do an interview this week with John Dickerson, host of the CBS show Face the Nation. In the AP interview, Trump twice disparagingly called it “Deface the Nation” — and bragged that one of his appearances on the show earned the best ratings since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. “It’s the highest for ‘Deface the Nation’ since the World Trade Center. Since the World Trade Center came down. It’s a tremendous advantage,” he said. 15. Trump claims the Electoral College is biased toward Democrats: Republicans can have a hard time in the Electoral College because they are unpopular with many Americans. Trump, though, portrayed the existence of liberal states as a kind of systemic unfairness. “You start off by losing in New York and California, no matter who it is. If, if Abe Lincoln came back to life, he would lose New York and he would lose California,” he said. “The Electoral College is so skewed in favour of a Democrat that it’s very, very hard.” 16. Trump “whatever”s critics who worry that he’s too quick to declare incidents to be acts of terrorism: “By the way, I’m 10-0 for that,” he said. “I’ve called every one of them. Every time they said I called it way too early and then it turns out I’m ... Whatever. Whatever. In the meantime, I’m here and they’re not.” 17. Trump repeats his obviously false claim about a Democratic congressman: Trump met earlier in April with Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who has been highly critical of him. He told Pace, as he told others earlier, that Cummings told him he would be the greatest president of all time. “He said you will be — in front of five, six people — he said you will be the greatest president in the history of this country,” Trump repeated. Pace had to point out to him that Cummings’s hypothetical was used to couch a sharp rebuke. “I have said repeatedly,” Cummings told the Washington Post, “that he could be a great president if, if, if he takes steps to truly represent all Americans rather than continuing on the divisive and harmful path he is currently on.” 18. Trump suggests we should count differently: Trump twice called the 100-days figure an “artificial barrier” — and suggested that he is only at 60 days on health care, since the first 30-ish days don’t really count. “I’ve been here 92 days but I’ve only been working on the health care, you know I had to get like a little bit of grounding right? Health care started after 30 day(s), so I’ve been working on health care for 60 days,” he said. 19. “Unintelligible”: Sixteen times during the interview, the AP recorded a Trump remark as “unintelligible,” a notation that is highly unusual for a one-on-one interview in a silent setting like the Oval Office. Pace explained to the Star that one of Trump’s aides, who did not want his or her comments included in the transcript, kept talking at the same time as him. This is itself highly unusual. Full transcript of Trump’s interview with the Associated Press A transcript of an Oval Office interview Friday with President Donald Trump by AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace. Where the audio recording of the interview is unclear, ellipses or a notation that the recording was unintelligible are used. AP: I do want to talk to you about the 100 days. TRUMP: Good. AP: I want to ask a few questions on some topics that are happening toward the end of the interview. TRUMP: Did you see Aya (Hijazi, an Egyptian-American charity worker who had been detained in the country for nearly three years) ... AP: Can you tell me a little bit about how that came about? TRUMP: No, just — you know, I asked the government to let her out. ... TRUMP: You know Obama worked on it for three years, got zippo, zero. AP: How did you hear about this story? TRUMP: Many people, human rights people, are talking about it. It’s an incredible thing, especially when you meet her. You realize — I mean, she was in a rough place. AP: Did you have to strike a deal with (Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah) el-Sissi over this? TRUMP: No. No deal. He was here. He — I said, “I really would appreciate it if you would look into this and let her out.” And as you know, she went through a trial. And anyway, she was let go. And not only she, it was a total of eight people. ... TRUMP: Yeah, it’s funny: One of the best chemistries I had was with (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel. (Crosstalk) AP: Really? TRUMP: Chancellor Merkel. TRUMP: And I guess somebody shouted out, “Shake her hand, shake her hand,” you know. But I never heard it. But I had already shaken her hand four times. You know, because we were together for a long time. AP: Did you expect you would have good chemistry with her? TRUMP: No. Because, um, I’m at odds on, you know, the NATO payments and I’m at odds on immigration. We had unbelievable chemistry. And people have given me credit for having great chemistry with all of the leaders, including el-Sissi. ... TRUMP: So it was a great thing to see that happen. AP: Do you feel like you have changed the office of the presidency, how the presidency can be used to effect change? TRUMP: I think the 100 days is, you know, it’s an artificial barrier. It’s not very meaningful. I think I’ve established amazing relationships that will be used the four or eight years, whatever period of time I’m here. I think for that I would be getting very high marks because I’ve established great relationships with countries, as President el-Sissi has shown and others have shown. Well, if you look at the president of China, people said they’ve never seen anything like what’s going on right now. I really liked him a lot. I think he liked me. We have a great chemistry together. ... TRUMP: I’ve developed great relationships with all of these leaders. Nobody’s written that. In fact, they said, “Oh, well, he’s not treating them nicely,” because on NATO, I want them to pay up. But I still get along with them great, and they will pay up. In fact, with the Italian prime minister yesterday, you saw, we were joking, “Come on, you have to pay up, you have to pay up.” He’ll pay. AP: Did he say that? In your meeting? Your private meeting? TRUMP: He’s going to end up paying. But you know, nobody ever asked the question. Nobody asked. Nobody ever asked him to pay up. So it’s a different kind of a presidency. AP: Do you feel like that’s one thing that you’ve changed, that you maybe are actually asking the direct questions about some of these things? TRUMP: Yeah. Let me give me an example. A little before I took office there was a terrible article about the F-35 fighter jet. It was hundreds of billions of dollars over budget. It was seven years behind schedule. It was a disaster. So I called in Lockheed and I said, “I’m sorry, we’re going to have to bid this out to another company, namely Boeing,” or whoever else. But Boeing. And I called in Boeing and I started getting competing offers back and forth. ... TRUMP: I saved $725 million on the 90 planes. Just 90. Now there are 3,000 planes that are going to be ordered. On 90 planes I saved $725 million. It’s actually a little bit more than that, but it’s $725 million. Gen. Mattis, who had to sign the deal when it came to his office, said, “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.” We went from a company that wanted more money for the planes to a company that cut. And the reason they cut — same planes, same everything — was because of me. I mean, because that’s what I do. TRUMP: Now if you multiply that times 3,000 planes, you know this is on 90 planes. In fact, when the Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe of Japan came in because they bought a certain number of those ... The first thing he said to me, because it was right at the time I did it, he said, “Could I thank you?” I said, “What?” He said, “You saved us $100 million.” Because they got a $100 million savings on the 10 or 12 planes that they (bought). Nobody wrote that story. Now you know that’s a saving of billions and billions of dollars, many billions of dollars over the course of — it’s between 2,500 and 3,000 planes will be the final order. But this was only 90 of those 2,500 planes. AP: And you expect those savings to carry out across that full order? TRUMP: More. I’m gonna get more than that. This was a thing that was out of control and now it’s great. And the woman that runs Lockheed, Marillyn (Hewson), she was great. But all of a sudden it was a different kind of a thing. You know? AP: Do you feel like you’ve been able to apply that kind of a relationship to your dealings with Congress as well? TRUMP: I have great relationships with Congress. I think we’re doing very well and I think we have a great foundation for future things. We’re going to be applying, I shouldn’t tell you this, but we’re going to be announcing, probably on Wednesday, tax reform. And it’s — we’ve worked on it long and hard. And you’ve got to understand, I’ve only been here now 93 days, 92 days. President Obama took 17 months to do Obamacare. I’ve been here 92 days but I’ve only been working on the health care, you know I had to get like a little bit of grounding right? Health care started after 30 day(s), so I’ve been working on health care for 60 days. ... You know, we’re very close. And it’s a great plan, you know, we have to get it approved. AP: Is it this deal that’s between the Tuesday Group and the Freedom Caucus, is that the deal you’re looking at? TRUMP: So the Republican Party has various groups, all great people. They’re great people. But some are moderate, some are very conservative. The Democrats don’t seem to have that nearly as much. You know the Democrats have, they don’t have that. The Republicans do have that. And I think it’s fine. But you know there’s a pretty vast area in there. And I have a great relationship with all of them. Now, we have government not closing. I think we’ll be in great shape on that. It’s going very well. Obviously, that takes precedent. AP: That takes precedent over health care? For next week? TRUMP: Yeah, sure. Next week. Because the hundred days is just an artificial barrier. The press keeps talking about the hundred days. But we’ve done a lot. You have a list of things. I don’t have to read it. AP: You did put out though, as a candidate, you put out a 100-day plan. Do you feel like you should be held accountable to that plan? TRUMP: Somebody, yeah, somebody put out the concept of a hundred-day plan. But yeah. Well, I’m mostly there on most items. Go over the items, and I’ll talk to you ... (Crosstalk.) TRUMP: But things change. There has to be flexibility. Let me give you an example. President Xi, we have a, like, a really great relationship. For me to call him a currency manipulator and then say, “By the way, I’d like you to solve the North Korean problem,” doesn’t work. So you have to have a certain flexibility, Number One. Number Two, from the time I took office till now, you know, it’s a very exact thing. It’s not like generalities. Do you want a Coke or anything? AP: I’m OK, thank you. No. ... TRUMP: But President Xi, from the time I took office, he has not, they have not been currency manipulators. Because there’s a certain respect because he knew I would do something or whatever. But more importantly than him not being a currency manipulator the bigger picture, bigger than even currency manipulation, if he’s helping us with North Korea, with nuclear and all of the things that go along with it, who would call, what am I going to do, say, “By the way, would you help us with North Korea? And also, you’re a currency manipulator.” It doesn’t work that way. AP: Right. TRUMP: And the media, some of them get it, in all fairness. But you know some of them either don’t get it, in which case they’re very stupid people, or they just don’t want to say it. You know because of a couple of them said, “He didn’t call them a currency manipulator.” Well, for two reasons. Number One, he’s not, since my time. You know, very specific formula. You would think it’s like generalities, it’s not. They have — they’ve actually — their currency’s gone up. So it’s a very, very specific formula. And I said, “How badly have they been,” ... they said, “Since you got to office they have not manipulated their currency.” That’s Number One, but much more important, they are working with us on North Korea. Now maybe that’ll work out or maybe it won’t. Can you imagine? ... AP: So in terms of the 100-day plan that you did put out during the campaign, do you feel, though, that people should hold you accountable to this in terms of judging success? TRUMP: No, because much of the foundation’s been laid. Things came up. I’ll give you an example. I didn’t put Supreme Court judge on the 100 (day) plan, and I got a Supreme Court judge. AP: I think it’s on there. TRUMP: I don’t know. ... AP: “Begin the process of selecting.” You actually exceeded on this one. This says, “Begin the process of selecting a replacement.” TRUMP: That’s the biggest thing I’ve done. AP: Do you consider that your biggest success? TRUMP: Well, I — first of all I think he’s a great man. I think he will be a great, great justice of the Supreme Court. I have always heard that the selection and the affirmation of a Supreme Court judge is the biggest thing a president can do. Don’t forget, he could be there for 40 years. ... He’s a young man. I’ve always heard that that’s the biggest thing. Now, I would say that defence is the biggest thing. You know, to be honest, there are a number of things. But I’ve always heard that the highest calling is the nomination of a Supreme Court justice. I’ve done one in my first 70 days. TRUMP: Our military is so proud. They were not proud at all. They had their heads down. Now they have their heads up. ... TRUMP: I’m rebuilding the military. We have great people. We have great things in place. We have tremendous borders. I mention the F-35 because if I can save $725 million — look at that, that’s a massive amount of money. And I’ll save more as we make more planes. If I can save that on a small number of planes — Gen. (Jim) Mattis (the defence secretary) said, “I’ve never seen anything like this,” because he had to sign the ultimate (unintelligible) ... He had to sign the ultimate, you know. He said, “I’ve never seen anything like this before, as long as I’ve been in the military.” You know, that kind of cutting. AP: Right. TRUMP: Now, if I can do that (unintelligible) ... As an example, the aircraft carriers, billions of dollars, the Gerald Ford, billions and billions over budget. That won’t happen. AP: Is that something you’re going to take on? TRUMP: (unintelligible) But as we order the other ones, because they want to order 12, the other ones are going to come in much less expensive. ... AP: Can I ask you, over your first 100 days — you’re not quite there yet — how do you feel like the office has changed you? TRUMP: Well the one thing I would say — and I say this to people — I never realized how big it was. Everything’s so (unintelligible) like, you know the orders are so massive. I was talking to — AP: You mean the responsibility of it, or do you mean — TRUMP: Number One, there’s great responsibility. When it came time to, as an example, send out the 59 missiles, the Tomahawks in Syria. I’m saying to myself, “You know, this is more than just like, 79 (sic) missiles. This is death that’s involved,” because people could have been killed. This is risk that’s involved, because if the missile goes off and goes in a city or goes in a civilian area — you know, the boats were hundreds of miles away — and if this missile goes off and lands in the middle of a town or a hamlet ... every decision is much harder than you’d normally make. (unintelligible) ... This is involving death and life and so many things. ... So it’s far more responsibility. (unintelligible) ... The financial cost of everything is so massive, every agency. This is thousands of times bigger, the United States, than the biggest company in the world. The second-largest company in the world is the Defence Department. The third-largest company in the world is Social Security. The fourth-largest — you know, you go down the list. AP: Right. TRUMP. It’s massive. And every agency is, like, bigger than any company. So you know, I really just see the bigness of it all, but also the responsibility. And the human responsibility. You know, the human life that’s involved in some of the decisions. AP: You’ve talked a little bit about the way that you’ve brought some business skills into the office. Is there anything from your business background that just doesn’t translate into the presidency, that just simply is not applicable to this job? TRUMP: Well in business, you don’t necessarily need heart, whereas here, almost everything affects people. So if you’re talking about health care — you have health care in business but you’re trying to just negotiate a good price on health care, et cetera, et cetera. You’re providing health. This is (unintelligible). Here, everything, pretty much everything you do in government, involves heart, whereas in business, most things don’t involve heart. AP: What’s that switch been like for you? TRUMP: In fact, in business you’re actually better off without it. AP: What’s making that switch been like for you? TRUMP: You have to love people. And if you love people, such a big responsibility. (unintelligible) You can take any single thing, including even taxes. I mean we’re going to be doing major tax reform. Here’s part of your story, it’s going to be a big (unintelligible). Everybody’s saying, “Oh, he’s delaying.” I’m not delaying anything. I’ll tell you the other thing is (unintelligible). I used to get great press. I get the worst press. I get such dishonest reporting with the media. That’s another thing that really has — I’ve never had anything like it before. It happened during the primaries, and I said, you know, when I won, I said, “Well the one thing good is now I’ll get good press.” And it got worse. (unintelligible) So that was one thing that a little bit of a surprise to me. I thought the press would become better, and it actually, in my opinion, got more nasty. AP: But in terms of tax reform, how are you going to roll that out next week? TRUMP: Well I’m going to roll (out) probably on Wednesday, around Wednesday of next week, we’re putting out a massive tax reform — business and for people — we want to do both. We’ve been working on it (unintelligible). Secretary Mnuchin is a very talented person, very smart. Very successful (unintelligible). ... We’re going to be putting that out on Wednesday or shortly thereafter. Let me leave a little room just in case (unintelligible). ... And that’s a big story, because a lot of people think I’m going to put it out much later. AP: Do you have any details on that in terms of rates? TRUMP: Only in terms that it will be a massive tax cut. It will be bigger, I believe, than any tax cut ever. Maybe the biggest tax cut we’ve ever had. ... AP: Obviously, that’s going to come in a week where you’re going to be running up against the deadline for keeping the government open. If you get a bill on your desk that does not include funding for the wall, will you sign it? TRUMP: I don’t know yet. People want the border wall. My base definitely wants the border wall, my base really wants it — you’ve been to many of the rallies. OK, the thing they want more than anything is the wall. My base, which is a big base; I think my base is 45 per cent. You know, it’s funny. The Democrats, they have a big advantage in the electoral college. Big, big, big advantage. I’ve always said the popular vote would be a lot easier than the electoral college. The electoral college — but it’s a whole different campaign (unintelligible). The electoral college is very difficult for a Republican to win, and I will tell you, the people want to see it. They want to see the wall, they want to see security. Now, it just came out that they’re 73 per cent down. ... That’s a tremendous achievement. ... Look at this, in 100 days, that down to the lowest in 17 years and it’s going lower. Now, people aren’t coming because they know they’re not going to get through, and there isn’t crime. You know the migration up to the border is horrible for women, you know that? (Unintelligible.) Now, much of that’s stopped because they can’t get through. AP: It sounds like maybe you’re beginning to send a message that if you do get a spending bill that doesn’t have border funding in there, you would sign it. TRUMP: Well, first of all, the wall will cost much less than the numbers I’m seeing. I’m seeing numbers, I mean, this wall is not going to be that expensive. AP: What do you think the estimate on it would be? TRUMP: Oh I’m seeing numbers — $24 billion, I think I’ll do it for $10 billion or less. That’s not a lot of money relative to what we’re talking about. If we stop 1 per cent of the drugs from coming in — and we’ll stop all of it. But if we stop 1 per cent of the drugs because we have the wall — they’re coming around in certain areas, but if you have a wall, they can’t do it because it’s a real wall. That’s a tremendously good investment, 1 per cent. The drugs pouring through on the southern border are unbelievable. We’re becoming a drug culture, there’s so much. And most of it’s coming from the southern border. The wall will stop the drugs. AP: But, just trying to nail you down on it one more time, will you sign a spending bill if it doesn’t have — TRUMP: I don’t want to comment. I just don’t know yet. I mean, I have to see what’s going on. I really do. But the wall’s a very important thing to — not only my base, but to the people. And even if it wasn’t, I mean I’ll do things that aren’t necessarily popular. ... The wall is very important to stopping drugs. AP: If you don’t have a funding stream, your message to your base is what? TRUMP: My base understands the wall is going to get built, whether I have it funded here or if I get it funded shortly thereafter, that wall’s getting built, OK? One hundred per cent. One hundred per cent it’s getting built. And it’s also getting built for much less money — I hope you get this — than these people are estimating. The opponents are talking $25 billion for the wall. It’s not going to cost anywhere near that. AP: You think $10 billion or less. TRUMP: I think $10 billion or less. And if I do a super-duper, higher, better, better security, everything else, maybe it goes a little bit more. But it’s not going to be anywhere near (those) kind of numbers. And they’re using those numbers; they’re using the high numbers to make it sound impalatable (sic). And the fact it’s going to cost much less money, just like the airplane I told you about, which I hope you can write about. (Off-the-record discussion.) TRUMP: They had a quote from me that NATO’s obsolete. But they didn’t say why it was obsolete. I was on Wolf Blitzer, very fair interview, the first time I was ever asked about NATO, because I wasn’t in government. People don’t go around asking about NATO if I’m building a building in Manhattan, right? So they asked me, Wolf ... asked me about NATO, and I said two things. NATO’s obsolete — not knowing much about NATO, now I know a lot about NATO — NATO is obsolete, and I said, “And the reason it’s obsolete is because of the fact they don’t focus on terrorism.” You know, back when they did NATO there was no such thing as terrorism. AP: What specifically has NATO changed? TRUMP: (Cites Wall Street Journal article) ... I did an interview with Wolf Blitzer, and I said NATO was obsolete — I said two things — obsolete, and the country’s aren’t paying. I was right about both. I took such heat for about three days on both, because nobody ever criticized NATO. I took heat like you wouldn’t believe. And then some expert on NATO said, “You know, Trump is right.” But I said it was obsolete because they weren’t focused on terror. ... It’s not fair that we’re paying close to 4 per cent and other countries that are more directly affected are paying 1 per cent when they’re supposed to be paying 2 per cent. And I’m very strong on it and I’m going to be very strong on it when I go there in a month.” AP: This morning you tweeted that after the possible terrorist attack in Paris, that it will have a big effect on the upcoming French election. What did you mean by that? TRUMP: Well, I think it will have a big effect on who people are going to vote for in the election. AP: Do you think it’s going to help Marine Le Pen? TRUMP: I think so. AP: Do you believe that she should be the president? TRUMP: No, I have no comment on that, but I think that it’ll probably help her because she is the strongest on borders and she is the strongest on what’s been going on in France. AP: Do you worry at all that by saying that, that a terrorist attack would have an impact on a democratic election, that it would actually embolden terrorists to try to —. TRUMP: No. Look, everybody is making predictions who is going to win. I am no different than you, you could say the same thing. ... AP: I just wonder if you are encouraging, you are the president of the United States, so to say that you worry that it encourages terrorists ... TRUMP: No, I am no different than — no, I think it discourages terrorists, I think it discourages. I think what we’ve done on the border discourages it. I think that my stance on having people come in to this country that we have no idea who they are and in certain cases you will have radical Islamic terrorism. I’m not going to have it in this country. I’m not going to let what happened to France and other places happen here. And it’s already largely, you know — we have tens — we have hundreds of thousands of people that have been allowed into our country that should not be here. They shouldn’t be here. We have people allowed into our country with no documentation whatsoever. They have no documentation and they were allowed under the previous administrations, they were allowed into our country. It’s a big mistake. AP: Just so that I am clear. You are not endorsing her for the office, but you are — TRUMP: I am not endorsing her and I didn’t mention her name. AP: Right, I just wanted to make sure I have that clear. TRUMP: I believe whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism and whoever is the toughest at the borders will do well at the election. I am not saying that person is going to win, she is not even favoured to win, you know. Right now, she is in second place. AP: I have a question on the markets, actually. One thing that I think has been different about this White House is that you do point to the markets as a sign of progress. Do you worry, though — I mean, the markets go up and down. TRUMP: You live by the sword, you die by the sword, to a certain extent. But we create a lot of jobs, 500,000 jobs as of two months ago, and plenty created since. Five hundred thousand. ... As an example, Ford, General Motors. I’ve had cases where the gentleman from China, Ma, Jack Ma (chairman of Alibaba Group), he comes up, he says, “Only because of you am I making this massive investment.” Intel, only because of you. ... The press never writes that. AP: What about NAFTA? What’s the plan on NAFTA? TRUMP: What would you like to know? AP: I would like to know what your plan is in terms of renegotiating. TRUMP: I am very upset with NAFTA. I think NAFTA has been a catastrophic trade deal for the United States, trading agreement for the United States. It hurts us with Canada, and it hurts us with Mexico. Most people don’t even think of NAFTA in terms of Canada. You saw what happened yesterday in my statements, because if you look at the dairy farmers in Wisconsin and upstate New York, they are getting killed by NAFTA. AP: Is your plan still, though, to renegotiate the whole deal? TRUMP: I am going to either renegotiate it or I am going to terminate it. AP: Termination is still on the table. TRUMP: Absolutely. If they don’t treat fairly, I am terminating NAFTA. AP: What’s a timeline for that decision? TRUMP: It’s a six-month termination clause, I have the right to do it, it’s a six-month clause. AP: If I could fit a couple of more topics. Jeff Sessions, your attorney general, is taking a tougher line suddenly on Julian Assange, saying that arresting him is a priority. You were supportive of what WikiLeaks was doing during the campaign with the release of the Clinton emails. Do you think that arresting Assange is a priority for the United States? TRUMP: When WikiLeaks came out ... never heard of WikiLeaks, never heard of it. When WikiLeaks came out, all I was just saying is, “Well, look at all this information here, this is pretty good stuff.” You know, they tried to hack the Republican, the RNC, but we had good defences. They didn’t have defences, which is pretty bad management. But we had good defences, they tried to hack both of them. They weren’t able to get through to Republicans. No, I found it very interesting when I read this stuff and I said, “Wow.” It was just a figure of speech. I said, “Well, look at this. It’s good reading.” AP: But that didn’t mean that you supported what Assange is doing? TRUMP: No, I don’t support or unsupport. It was just information. They shouldn’t have allowed it to get out. If they had the proper defensive devices on their internet, you know, equipment, they wouldn’t even allow the FBI. How about this — they get hacked, and the FBI goes to see them, and they won’t let the FBI see their server. But do you understand, nobody ever writes it. Why wouldn’t (former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John) Podesta and Hillary Clinton allow the FBI to see the server? They brought in another company that I hear is Ukrainian-based. AP: CrowdStrike? TRUMP: That’s what I heard. I heard it’s owned by a very rich Ukrainian, that’s what I heard. But they brought in another company to investigate the server. Why didn’t they allow the FBI in to investigate the server? I mean, there is so many things that nobody writes about. It’s incredible. AP: Can I just ask you, though — do you believe it is a priority for the United States, or it should be a priority, to arrest Julian Assange? TRUMP: I am not involved in that decision, but if Jeff Sessions wants to do it, it’s OK with me. I didn’t know about that decision, but if they want to do it, it’s OK with me. AP: On Iran, which is another thing you talked a lot on the campaign — TRUMP: And the other thing that we should go after is the leakers. ... AP: On Iran, you also talked about it quite a bit on the campaign trail. And you said in the press conference yesterday that you think that Iran is violating the spirit of the agreement. When you say that, do you mean in terms of the actual nuclear accord, or do you mean what they are doing in the region? TRUMP: In terms of what they are doing all over the Middle East and beyond. AP: So you believe that they are complying with the agreement? TRUMP: No, I don’t say that. I say that I believe they have broken the spirit of the agreement. There is a spirit to agreements, and they have broken it. AP: In terms of what they are doing elsewhere in the Middle East? TRUMP: In terms of what they are doing of all over. AP: When you talk to European leaders, when you talk to Merkel, for example, or Teresa May, what do they say about the nuclear deal? Do they want you to stay in that deal? TRUMP: I don’t talk to them about it. AP: You don’t talk to them about the Iran deal? TRUMP: I mention it, but it’s very personal when I talk to them, you know, it’s confidential. No, they have their own opinions. I don’t say that they are different than my opinions, but I’d rather have you ask them that question. AP: At this point, do you believe that you will stay in the nuclear deal? TRUMP: It’s possible that we won’t. AP: Dreamers, you’ve talked about them, you’ve talked about heart earlier. This is one area where you have talked — TRUMP: No, we aren’t looking to do anything right now. Look, the dreamers ... this is an interesting case, they left and they came back and he’s got some problems, it’s a little different than the dreamer case, right? But we are putting MS-13 in jail and getting them the hell out of our country. They’ve taken over towns and cities and we are being really brutal with MS-13, and that’s what we should be. They are a bad group, and somebody said they are as bad as Al Qaeda, which is a hell of a reference. So we are moving criminals out of our country and we are getting them out in record numbers and those are the people we are after. We are not after the dreamers, we are after the criminals. AP: And that’s going to be the policy of your administration to allow the dreamers to stay? TRUMP: Yes. Yes. That’s our policy. I am not saying ... long-term, we are going to have to fix the problem, the whole immigration problem. But I will tell you: Right now we have a great gentleman, one of my real stars is Gen. (John) Kelly, now (Homeland Security) Secretary Kelly. We are down 73 per cent at the border, we are cleaning out cities and towns of hard-line criminals, some of the worst people on earth, people that rape and kill women, people that are killing people just for the sake of having fun. They are being thrown in jails and they are being ... all over the country and nobody’s ever done it like us, so we are being unbelievably thorough with that. We are out in Long Island cleaning out the MS-13 scum, they are all scum, that’s probably the worst gang anywhere on Earth. ... AP: A lot of the dreamers have been hoping to hear something from you. I don’t want to give them the wrong message with this. TRUMP: Here is what they can hear: The dreamers should rest easy. OK? I’ll give you that. The dreamers should rest easy. ... (An aide talks about the president’s address to Congress.) TRUMP: A lot of the people have said that, some people said it was the single best speech ever made in that chamber. AP: You seem like you enjoyed it. TRUMP: I did. I did. I believed in it and I enjoyed it. It was a great feeling to introduce the wife of a great young soldier who died getting us very valuable information. Have you seen the tremendous success? ... That’s another thing that nobody talks about. Have you seen the tremendous success we’ve had in the Middle East with the ISIS (an abbreviation for the Islamic State group)? When (current Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al) Abadi left from Iraq, he said Trump has more success in eight weeks than Obama had in eight years. ... We have had tremendous success, but we don’t talk about it. We don’t talk about it. AP: Do you mean you don’t talk about it personally because you don’t want to talk about it? TRUMP: I don’t talk about it. No. And the generals don’t talk about it. AP: You had put a request into the Pentagon to put forward an ISIS plan within 30 days. I know they have sent that over. Have you accepted a plan? Are you moving forward on a strategy? TRUMP: We have a very strong plan, but we cannot talk about it, Julie. AP: So you have decided on a plan? TRUMP: Remember how many times have you been to the speech where I talked about Mosul. AP: Right. TRUMP. Right. Mosul. Four months we are going in, three months. We are still fighting Mosul. You know why? Because they were prepared. If we would have gone in and just done it, it would have been over three months ago. AP: Can you say generally what the strategy is? Should people — TRUMP: Generally is we have got to get rid of ISIS. We have no choice. And other terrorist organizations. AP: Should Americans who are serving in the military expect that you are going to increase troop numbers in the Middle East to fight ISIS? TRUMP: No, not much. AP: In terms of the strategy, though, that you have accepted, it sounds like, from the generals — TRUMP: Well, they’ve also accepted my strategy. AP: Does that involve more troops on the ground, it sounds like? TRUMP: Not many. AP: So a small increase? TRUMP: It could be an increase, then an increase. But not many more. I want to do the job, but not many more. ... This is an important story. I’ve done a lot. I’ve done more than any other president in the first 100 days and I think the first 100 days is an artificial barrier. And I’m scheduled ... the foundations have been set to do some great things. With foreign countries. Look at, look at President Xi. I mean ... AP: What do you think it was about your chemistry? TRUMP: We had good chemistry. Now I don’t know that I think that’s going to produce results but you’ve got a good chance. AP: Uh-huh. TRUMP: Look, he turned down many coal ships. These massive coal ships are coming where they get a lot of their income. They’re coming into China and they’re being turned away. That’s never happened before. The fuel, the oil, so many different things. You saw the editorial they had in their paper saying they cannot be allowed to have nuclear, you know, et cetera. People have said they’ve never seen this ever before in China. We have the same relationship with others. There’s a great foundation that’s built. Great foundation. And I think it’s going to produce tremendous results for our country. AP: One more 100 days question. TRUMP: That’s fine. AP: ... is do you think you have the right team in place for your next 100 days? TRUMP: Yes. I think my team has been, well, I have different teams. I think my military team has been treated with great respect. As they should be. I think my other team hasn’t been treated with the respect that they should get. We have some very talented people, and very diverse people. AP: Do you mean your White House team when you say that? TRUMP: Yeah, my White House team. I think Reince (Priebus) has been doing an excellent job. I think that, you know, this is a very tough environment not caused necessarily by me. Although the election has, you know, look, the Democrats had a tremendous opportunity because the electoral college, as I said, is so skewed to them. You start off by losing in New York and California, no matter who it is. If, if Abe Lincoln came back to life, he would lose New York and he would lose California. It’s just the registration, there’s nothing you can do. So you’re losing the two biggest states, that’s where you start. OK. The Electoral College is so skewed in favour of a Democrat that it’s very, very hard. Look at Obama’s number in the Electoral College. His numbers on the win were ... but the Electoral College numbers were massive. You lose New York, you lose Illinois. Illinois is impossible to win. And you look at, so now you lose New York, Illinois, no matter what you do, and California. Right. And you say, man. Now you have to win Florida, you have to win Ohio, you have to win North Carolina. You have to win all these states, and then I won Wisconsin and Michigan and all of these other places, but you remember there was no way to, there was no way to 270. AP: Right. TRUMP: So she had this massive advantage, she spent hundreds of millions of dollars more money than I spent. Hundreds of millions ... Yeah. Or more, actually because we were $375 she was at $2.2 billion. But whatever. She spent massive amounts of money more and she lost. Solidly lost, because you know it wasn’t 270, it was 306. So there’s anger. But there was massive anger before I got there, so it’s not easy for a White House staff to realize that you are going into a situation where you are going to be at no, where are going to get no votes. I mean, here’s a judge who is No. 1 at Columbia, No. 1 at Harvard and an Oxford scholar. And he got three votes. AP: Three Democratic votes, but yeah. TRUMP: Three Democratic votes. OK. He’s an Oxford scholar at the highest level. The No. 1, you know, one of the great academics, one of the great writers. No bad decisions with all ... nothing. He’s like a ... AP: Do you think that you can break through that? I mean this — TRUMP: Yeah, I do. AP: Is one of the biggest challenges for a president. TRUMP: I think (I) can to an extent. But there’s a, there’s a basic hard-line core that you can’t break though, OK, that you can’t break through. There’s a hard-line group you can’t break through, you can’t. It’s sad. You can’t. Look, I met with Congressman Cummings and I really liked him, a lot. Elijah Cummings (of Maryland). I really liked him a lot. And during the conversation because we have a very strong mutual feeling on drug prices. He came to see me, at my invitation, because I saw him talking about, he came to see me about drug prices because drug prices are ridiculous. And I am going to get them way, way, way down and he liked that. He said you will be the greatest president. He said you will be, in front of five, six people, he said you will be the greatest president in the history of this country. AP: He disputed that slightly. TRUMP: That’s what he said. I mean, what can I tell you? AP: Yeah. TRUMP: There’s six people sitting here. What did he, what, what do you mean by slightly? AP: He said, he said that he felt like you could be a great president if and then — TRUMP: Well he said, you’ll be the greatest president in the history of, but you know what, I’ll take that also, but that you could be. But he said, will be the greatest president but I would also accept the other. In other words, if you do your job, but I accept that. Then I watched him interviewed and it was like he never even was here. It’s incredible. I watched him interviewed a week later and it’s like he was never in my office. And you can even say that. AP: And that’s one of the difficulties I think presidents have had is that you can have these personal relationships with people from the other party, but then it’s hard to actually change how people vote or change how people — TRUMP: No I have, it’s interesting, I have, seem to get very high ratings. I definitely. You know Chris Wallace had 9.2 million people, it’s the highest in the history of the show. I have all the ratings for all those morning shows. When I go, they go double, triple. Chris Wallace, look back during the Army-Navy football game, I did his show that morning. AP: I remember, right. TRUMP: It had 9.2 million people. It’s the highest they’ve ever had. On any, on air, (CBS “Face the Nation” host John) Dickerson had 5.2 million people. It’s the highest for “Face the Nation” or as I call it, “Deface the Nation.” It’s the highest for “Deface the Nation” since the World Trade Center. Since the World Trade Center came down. It’s a tremendous advantage. I have learned one thing, because I get treated very unfairly, that’s what I call it, the fake media. And the fake media is not all of the media. You know they tried to say that the fake media was all the, no. The fake media is some of you. I could tell you who it is, 100 per cent. Sometimes you’re fake, but — but the fake media is some of the media. It bears no relationship to the truth. It’s not that Fox treats me well, it’s that Fox is the most accurate. AP: Do you believe that? That Fox — TRUMP: I do. I get treated so badly. Yesterday, about the thing, you know when I said it’s a terrorism ... it may be. I said it may be a terrorist attack and MSNBC, I heard, went crazy, “He called it a terrorist attack.” They thought it was a bank robbery. By the way, I’m 10-0 for that. I’ve called every one of them. Every time they said I called it way too early and then it turns out I’m ... Whatever. Whatever. In the meantime, I’m here and they’re not. AP: Do you feel that one of the things with cable is there’s such real-time reaction with everything you say? TRUMP: Yeah. AP: Can you separate that sometimes from that actual decision? TRUMP: The one thing — AP: That you have to do — TRUMP: OK. The one thing I’ve learned to do that I never thought I had the ability to do. I don’t watch CNN anymore. AP: You just said you did. TRUMP: No. No, I, if I’m passing it, what did I just say (inaudible)? AP: You just said — TRUMP: Where? Where? AP: Two minutes ago. TRUMP: No, they treat me so badly. No, I just said that. No, I, what’d I say, I stopped watching them. But I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC. I don’t watch it. Now I heard yesterday that MSNBC, you know, they tell me what’s going on. AP: Right. TRUMP: In fact, they also did. I never thought I had the ability to not watch. Like, people think I watch (MSNBC’s) “Morning Joe.” I don’t watch “Morning Joe.” I never thought I had the ability to, and who used to treat me great by the way, when I played the game. I never thought I had the ability to not watch what is unpleasant, if it’s about me. Or pleasant. But when I see it’s such false reporting and such bad reporting and false reporting that I’ve developed an ability that I never thought I had. I don’t watch things that are unpleasant. I just don’t watch them. AP: And do you feel like that’s, that’s because of the office that you now occupy — TRUMP: No. AP: That you’ve made that change? TRUMP: I don’t know why it is, but I’ve developed that ability, and it’s happened over the last, over the last year. AP: That’s interesting. TRUMP: And I don’t watch things that I know are going to be unpleasant. CNN has covered me unfairly and incorrectly and I don’t watch them anymore. A lot of people don’t watch them anymore, they’re now in third place. But I’ve created something where people are watching ... but I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC anymore. I don’t watch things, and I never thought I had that ability. I always thought I’d watch. AP: Sure. TRUMP: I just don’t. And that’s taken place over the last year. And you know what that is, that’s a great, it’s a great thing because you leave, you leave for work in the morning you know, you’re, you don’t watch this total negativity. I never thought I’d be able to do that and for me, it’s so easy to do now. Just don’t watch. AP: That’s interesting. TRUMP: Maybe it’s because I’m here. I don’t know
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French presidential candidate Le Pen steps down as head of National Front party (lun., 24 avril 2017)
PARIS—A day after mainstream parties were dealt a heavy defeat in the French presidential election, far-right leader Marine Le Pen, one of the two candidates to advance to a runoff, condemned the parties’ calls to unite against her and support her rival, independent centrist Emmanuel Macron. Le Pen’s statement on Monday denouncing “the old and completely rotten Republican Front” — the coalition of mainstream parties allied against her — sums up her challenge in the May 7 runoff. So far, not a single rival party has called for its voters to support Le Pen. And she has no plausible major reservoir of votes to add to the 21.3 per cent she received in the first round of voting, though she is expected to gain some voters from defeated centre-right candidate François Fillon. Perhaps in an effort to broaden her appeal to voters from outside the far-right National Front’s traditional constituencies, Le Pen announced on Twitter Monday that she was temporarily stepping down as the party’s leader so she could run as a candidate for “all the French.” Read more: Marine Le Pen, shown here voting in Sunday's, will step down from head of National Front Back Macron to prevent Le Pen 'risk', says Hollande French presidential candidate Le Pen steps down as head of National Front party “Tonight, I am not the president of the National Front, I am the presidential candidate, the one who wants to gather all the French around a project of hope, of prosperity, of security,” she said in an interview on French television. Most of Le Pen’s rivals have gathered around the effort to defeat her. Only one major candidate has resisted calls to unite against her: Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the firebrand hard-left candidate who came in fourth and who has pointedly refused to support Macron, saying instead that he would seek the opinion of his supporters through his website. Similarly, traditionalist Roman Catholic organizations that backed Fillon refused to endorse Macron on Monday. Some of Le Pen’s advisers said, in interviews with French media Monday, that they were hoping to lure some of the supporters of the defeated Mélenchon, whose populist program bore similarities to that of Le Pen: hostility to the European Union, NATO and the forces of globalization; and a forgiving attitude toward Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. Many of Mélenchon’s supporters may have little fondness for Le Pen, but in interviews they expressed equal disdain for the pro-free market Macron. “For me, Le Pen, Macron, it’s the same,” said Olivia Scemama, a musician from the 18th Arrondissement of Paris who said she voted for Mélenchon on Sunday. “With Macron, it’s the extremism of banks, of finance.” The election results published Monday suggested another hurdle for Le Pen to overcome: a sharp urban-rural divide in the vote, with voters in France’s major cities heavily favouring her rivals. The geography and sociology of her support was similar to Donald Trump’s support in the 2016 U.S. presidential race. She won more départements — between a county and a state in French political geography — than Macron, and she won the working-class vote. But she did poorly in what French sociologists call “Winner’s France” — urban, employed, well-educated and pro-European. She received less than 5 per cent of the vote in Paris, less than 8 per cent in Bordeaux and less than 9 per cent in Lyon. Stock markets opened higher Monday across Europe, a sign that investors were relieved by Macron’s strong showing. Le Pen wants France to leave the euro currency zone, a prospect that created unease on international markets in the prelude to the first round of voting. Polls released Monday showed that about 60 per cent of voters supported Macron, compared with less than 40 per cent for Le Pen. A live televised debate between the candidates is set for May 3. In Hénin-Beaumont, the northern French city where Le Pen won 46 per cent of the vote and whose National Front mayor is one of her top advisers, even supporters were pessimistic about her chances in the runoff. “It’s a bummer,” said Jean-Louis Devienne, 72. “If people could come here and see how good the National Front has been for our town, they would understand how good it can be for our country.” On Monday, Le Pen continued to emphasize the anti-immigrant and antiglobalization views that propelled her into the second round, and she denounced the efforts of the mainstream parties to keep her out of the presidency. “The old and completely rotten Republican Front, which no one wants, and which the French have pushed away with exceptional violence, is trying to coalesce around Mr. Macron,” Le Pen said in Rouvroy, a town in the deindustrialized north of France where her message tends to resonate with voters. Le Pen also called Macron “weak” on terrorism, an issue that drew renewed attention days before the first round of voting, when a gunman on the Champs-Élysées, in central Paris, killed a police officer. President François Hollande is scheduled to pay tribute to the fallen officer at a ceremony Tuesday. His office said Macron and Le Pen are expected to attend. Macron, who has never held elective office, came first among 11 candidates, with 24 per cent of the vote. Le Pen was second, with 21.3 per cent, according to final results tallied Monday by the Interior Ministry. Fillon, the centre-right candidate who was once seen as the front-runner, before a scandal erupted involving public funds paid to his family, finished third at 20 per cent. He was followed by Mélenchon at 19.6 per cent and the Socialist candidate, Benoît Hamon, at 6.4 per cent. The mainstream parties were left struggling to pick up the pieces after their poor showing. On the right, many were quick to blame their candidate, Fillon, who refused to drop out of the race after the embezzlement scandal. Fillon’s Republicans party called on Monday for people to vote against Le Pen, without explicitly encouraging its supporters to vote for Macron. But many prominent politicians had, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, already directly called on Sunday for voters to support Macron. The Socialists and the Republicans will now be looking to elections in June, when French voters will elect the members of the National Assembly, France’s lower and more powerful house of Parliament. Those legislative elections could present a bigger challenge for Macron than winning the second round of the presidential election. He has vowed to field candidates in all 577 districts. But his political movement is barely a year old, and he is up against the established parties, which are weakened but still have extensive political networks. Although Macron is seen as an overwhelming favourite in the second round of the presidential election, he was warned not to take victory for granted and — after he spent Monday night with supporters at a chic restaurant in the wealthy 6th Arrondissement of Paris — not to celebrate too much, too soon. Macron has to avoid making “the same mistake as Hillary Clinton,” the newspaper Le Monde wrote in an editorial on Monday, arguing that Clinton had not sufficiently addressed the popularity of her opponent Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party primaries.
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Better Raptors revert to the Norm: Arthur (mar., 25 avril 2017)
The seven-foot Brazilian with the sea anemone hair and the non-stop smile listened intently, his face sober and serious. Lucas (Bebe) Nogueira would joke later that he asked Raptors teammate Norman Powell to adopt him when he gets his next contract, because Bebe always jokes. But mostly, his dinner-plate eyes wide, he listened. “I just ask him, how,” said Nogueira, after Toronto’s 118-93 blowout of the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 of their first-round series. “Because I think he’s the best value in the league. He makes $900,000. And tonight he plays like a $20-million player. I struggle with my focus and my confidence, and I see him in here every day. Every day. He doesn’t play, but he never complains. I’m not saying that just because I’m in front of you. He never complains. And he’s an inspiration to me. He is really an inspiration.” Powell had just exploded for a playoff career-high 25 points, along with four rebounds, four assists, three steals, one block on 8-for-11 shooting. He was fearless, defiant, effective. It was the defining game of his young career, and he sat in his leather chair in a white shirt and an off-white jacket waiting to join his all-star teammates on the post-game podium. And Bebe, the joker, came over to ask advice. “He’s talked to me about how he’s proud of me and how I motivated him,” said the second-year Powell, in a quiet moment. “But he really came to me about how he feels about me, and everything I’ve been through, and how I came to work, and my focus, and my potential. So I just tried to give him a little motivational words to keep his focus ... I just told him about keeping goals in mind, setting expectations for himself, no matter what anybody says. Seeing the bigger picture and working towards that, no matter what happens.” Powell wasn’t the only reason Toronto won the game, but he was a reason. This team has struggled with its confidence in this series, especially moving and shooting the ball in the face of Milwaukee’s long-limbed blitzing. Houston coach Mike D’Antoni likes to say that the ball finds energy, and when it does, it changes everything. It’s the mysticism of basketball, the intangible, the ineffable, but not the ineff-up-a-ble. And in this game, with point guard Kyle Lowry working through back stiffness, and DeMar DeRozan off to a cold start, it was the other Raptors who set the tone. Serge Ibaka opened with a three and a driving dunk. DeMarre Carroll was even hitting floaters. And Powell, with his don’t-ask-questions style, never seemed to have a moment of doubt. Early in the game Powell, who is six-foot-four in shoes, drove and tried to score over Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is approximately 19 feet tall with his arms outstretched. It didn’t work, but I bet Norm Powell wouldn’t blink if he opened a door and found a tiger on the other side. And as the game went on, with the Raptors moving the ball, Powell found more cracks than anyone. Powell started 18 games when DeRozan was injured, and then was put back under glass: he played a combined six minutes in the first two games of the series. He’s at a combined 68 the last two games. “I think Powell has come in with a lot of energy on both sides of the ball,” said Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd. “They are feeding off of that ... he’s picked them up here in the last couple of games, just with his energy and his spirit. Somehow we have to match that. We’ve got to have someone who can match his spirit to give us a chance.” Despite some hiccups the Raptors led nearly wire to wire, and looked like the team they are supposed to be. When they made shots, they seemed more likely to share the ball, starting with Lowry and DeRozan. The ball found energy, and eventually everyone joined in. This was the Raptors team that is better than the Bucks, and should know it. “I think that’s the biggest thing and the most important thing, is just sharing the ball, and the more you share the ball the more guys get confidence in themselves and the more Kyle and DeMar trust us,” said Carroll, who had 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting. “So we just got to keep doing it, keep trying to gel.” It is also the deepest Raptors team in franchise history, and Powell is one of the pieces. After his three-pointer to make it 70-55 with eight minutes left in the third — the sixth of seven straight made three-pointers over two games — he stared down the Bucks bench. Confidence. With 4:42 left and the game almost out of reach, he drove baseline and dunked over approximately 27 combined feet of Milwaukee Bucks. Norm. He dunked one last time with 36 seconds left, a valedictory. Finally, a real Raptors playoff blowout. Afterwards, Powell talked about studying tapes of Kyle Korver and Larry Bird to improve his three-point shooting, which wasn’t a strength when he came into the league. He talked about extra work and adjustments, but also shooting it like he meant it. And before that Bebe wandered over, and asked his 23-year-old teammate for advice. “It means a lot,” said Powell. “He’s very open, expressive about his feelings, and I didn’t know what he was going to talk about. It’s something special when the guys around you see your work, and see everything that you’re going through, and how you’re pushing, and being an inspiration to them. It means a lot. It definitely hit home for me. It just makes me want to be that much better teammate to him, and to the rest of the guys.” Norm couldn’t get over Antetokounmpo when he tried, but the Raptors could. They should know they are the better team, now. All they need to do is believe it.
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Elite teen soccer team suspended after ‘roughhousing’ video surfaces (mar., 25 avril 2017)
An elite youth soccer team was temporarily suspended after video surfaced that appeared to show players beating a teammate. The Vaughan Soccer Club suspended its team of 14- and 15-year-olds while staff tried to find out what happened and who was involved, said club executive vice-president Pat Di Rauso. After meeting with parents and players Monday night, club staff determined that the incident began as roughhousing and “got out of hand,” Di Rauso said. Club staff will meet Tuesday to discuss possible punishments for the individual players involved. “They’re good kids,” Di Rauso said, adding that he does not want to see any of the players unfairly labelled as troublemakers. The video shows several teenage boys laughing and mugging for the camera in a hotel hallway. “Let’s get him,” says one boy. The door to one of the hotel rooms opens and a shoving match appears to break out between a boy who was in the room and some of the boys in the hallway. At least three of the boys end up on the bed inside the room. Punches appear to be exchanged. Eventually the boy from the room is pinned by one of the others. Near the end of the video, he is seen lying on the bed holding his stomach and groaning while the other boys leave the room. Di Rauso told the Star that the incident took place while the team was in Italy for a tournament between April 8 and 18. “When I left these kids, these guys were singing and hugging. These guys were a team,” Di Rauso said. “When I saw this (video) I went, ‘Where did this come from?’ ” The trip was chaperoned by coaches and the players’ parents, said Di Rauso, who accompanied the team on the first half of the trip. “All the parents were present,” Di Rauso added. “That’s why we don’t understand ... Why did none of the children go to the parents?” Club officials were first made aware of the video late Saturday night, after a media outlet showed it to them, said Di Rauso. It seems that one of the players sent the video to a friend, whose mother saw it and notified the media, he said. Di Rauso said that the club has not contacted police about the video and that, to his knowledge, no one else has either. “If the parent wants to press charges, we welcome them,” he said. The team seen in the video is part of the Ontario Player Development League, a prestigious program for teenage soccer players working their way towards college scholarships, a spot on provincial or national teams or even a professional soccer career. Registration fees at the Vaughan Soccer Club are approximately $3,600 per year, said Di Rauso.
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Trudeau says his father used connections to help brother Michel avoid criminal record after pot charge (mar., 25 avril 2017)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his younger brother, Michel, was able to avoid a criminal record after he was caught with marijuana because of his father’s connections. Trudeau revealed the little-known fact about his brother, who died in a B.C. avalanche about 20 years ago, during a broadcast interview with Vice Media on Monday night about the government’s plan to legalize marijuana. He said six months before Michel’s death, he was charged with possession of marijuana after he was involved in a collision on the highway while he was driving home to Montreal from the West Coast. Police had found a Sucrets box with a couple of joints inside when they were helping him collect his belongings that were scattered across the highway. Trudeau said his father contacted his friends in the legal community to get Michel a good lawyer. “He was very confident that we were able to make those charges go away,” Trudeau said of his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. “We were able to do that because we had resources, my dad had a couple connections and we were confident that my little brother wasn’t going to be saddled with a criminal record for life.” Trudeau used the anecdote to highlight how minorities and people with little means often don’t have the option to clear their name in the justice system — something he said legalizing the drug will help fix. “That’s one of the fundamental unfairnesses of this current system is that it affects different communities in a different way,” he said. Trudeau stuck to his government’s stance that the move to legalize marijuana for recreational use by July 1, 2018, doesn’t mean lax law enforcement during the transition period. However, he suggested that the government will look at ways to help people charged with marijuana possession. Although he did not give specifics, he said the government would only look into the matter once the laws have been changed. “Until we actually change the law, we can’t take steps towards moving retroactively,” Trudeau said. “In the meantime, our focus is on making sure we’re changing the legislation to fix what’s broken about a system that is hurting Canadians ... and then we’ll take steps to look at what we can do for those people who have criminal records for something that would no longer be criminal.” The newly tabled legislation will allow people 18 and older to publicly possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, or its equivalent in non-dried form.
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Trump threatens 20 per cent tariff on Canadian softwood lumber (lun., 24 avril 2017)
The United States has fired the opening shot in a latest softwood-lumber war against Canada, with the Trump administration announcing its first batch of duties on imported wood in the neighbourhood of 20 per cent. The move was expected: the historic dispute over lumber pricing has led to once-a-decade trade skirmishes over the issue, resulting in American duties, then the inevitable court battles, and ultimately negotiated settlements. What wasn’t expected Monday was the enthusiasm with which the new American administration flung itself into the lumber hostilities, touting its incoming countervailing duties as an example of U.S. President Donald Trump’s tough, America-first trade posture. Read more: What Donald Trump’s anti-Canada rant means: Walkom Canada in for rougher NAFTA talks than Trump suggested, trade experts say Trump underscored the impending move by announcing it to a gathering of conservative media on the eve of the expected announcement. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also highlighted it in an interview. Then came a statement that said U.S. Customs will begin collecting cash deposits from Canadian logging companies because they receive a range of subsidies — most of them allegedly about 20 per cent. “It has been a bad week for U.S.-Canada trade relations,” said Ross, in a statement that went out of its way to link this dispute to one involving dairy, and tying it all to broader complaints about NAFTA. “This is not our idea of a properly functioning free trade agreement.” This entire dispute will play out amid the backdrop of a bigger trade file — the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Neither lumber nor dairy are part of the current NAFTA, and different actors would want to add provisions on one or the other. What comes after Monday’s countervailing duties is a study of possible anti-dumping duties, followed by a final determination by the U.S. Commerce Department as early as Sept. 7, and ultimately one of three possible outcomes: an agreement, a surprise retreat from the U.S. government, or a potential years-long court battle. Canada’s government condemned the announcement. In a statement, the federal government called the move unfair, baseless, unfounded and it promised help for its industry. “The Government of Canada strongly disagrees with (this) decision to impose an unfair and punitive duty,” said Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr. “The accusations are baseless and unfounded.” He said the action hurts people in both countries — not only Canada’s lumber sector that employs hundreds of thousands, but also American homebuyers, who must now pay more for wood. The buildup to this new lumber war began with the 2015 expiry of a decade-old agreement. It stems from a fundamental, long-standing dispute over whether Canadian companies’ access to public land constitutes a subsidy. The U.S. administration delivered its long-awaited verdict Monday; it concluded Canadian companies benefit from subsidies ranging from three per cent in the case of J.D. Irving Ltd., to a high of 24.12 per cent for West Fraser Mills, with most companies coming in around 19.88 per cent. Duties will be collected retroactively, too — the U.S. says it will gather them for the previous 90 days. Industry analysts have been expecting the combined duties, Monday’s and the upcoming ones, to range between 30 and 40 per cent. In Canada, pressure will mount on the federal government. The Liberals have adopted an understated, under-the-radar approach to dealing with Trump. Now they’re being pressed into an open dispute, all while dealing with multiple sensitive Canada-U.S. files: softwood negotiations, upcoming NAFTA renegotiations, complaints about Canadian dairy, and a frustrated lumber industry at home. There are already requests for financial help for Canada’s forestry sector. A government source said conversations are underway, but there won’t be an immediate announcement on that front. The Canadian government will wait to see the details of various punitive measures before calculating the aid amount. It took the federal government more than a year to announce the first of two aid packages after duties were imposed in 2001. The statement from Ottawa late Monday promised immediate help through existing programs — like one that finances exporters, and an innovation-related program to develop the use of wood in tall buildings. Ministers are also travelling to China, the United Kingdom and Europe to promote market diversification. A federal-provincial task force intends to meet this week. Quebec Economic Development Minister Dominique Anglade urged Ottawa to help forest companies, but said Monday the province will act immediately: “Day 1, we will be there to support the industry,” she said in an interview. Meanwhile, Ontario named former federal trade minister Jim Peterson as its chief softwood lumber negotiator on Monday. He joins former federal cabinet minister David Emerson who represents B.C. and former U.S. Ambassador Raymond Chretien who is Quebec’s negotiator. Unifor union president Jerry Dias called on Ottawa to respond to the duties to avoid a repeat of the situation when 15,000 were laid off within months of a combined duty of 27 per cent being imposed in the early 2000s. “It’s hard to exaggerate the impact tariffs will have on hundreds of small communities. The federal government needs to have a plan in place and act swiftly,” he said in a news release. However, provinces aren’t in total agreement about financial support. British Columbia has said it is cautious out of fear that assistance will be construed by the Americans as unfairly helping the Canadian industry. B.C. producers such as West Fraser Timber and Canfor are in a stronger position to weather a U.S. trade battle because they have purchased sawmills in the U.S. and expanded exports to China. In Central Canada, sawmills tend to be smaller, don’t have as much cash flow to pay duties and are therefore more at risk of closing, experts say. That’s why Ontario and Quebec producers have been pushing Ottawa to provide loan guarantees to help them pay duties and stay in business.
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Review application process for special arts high schools, trustee urges TDSB (mar., 25 avril 2017)
A Toronto District School Board trustee is calling for the board to review its application process for special arts high schools, after an OISE study highlighted that kids who attend such schools are overwhelmingly white and from high-income families. Scarborough trustee Parthi Kandavel called the results of the study “concerning” but said they come at a good time as the board is reviewing equity and has hired an outside consultant to do public consultations. “If you come from an affluent family that is able to afford the piano, ballet, art classes, singing, whatever it is, your application is going to look much stronger than those other folks who may not have the experience,” he said. He also recommended that the school board build another arts school in a low-income area. TDSB director of education John Malloy said the Integrated Equity Framework will come back in the fall with recommendations on how to address equity beyond just arts schools. “We understand that we need to make changes,” he said. “It’s important for our community to know that the changes required are complex, but we’re committed to making them, and at the end of the day all of our students need to have access to our programs.” The study, published Monday in the peer reviewed Education Policy Analysis Archives, found that in the three arts schools analyzed for the report, students were overwhelmingly white and upper class. Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder Yusra Khogali said the results are not surprising but “validating.” As a spoken word artist, the 24-year-old discovered the art form through her community and YouTube videos and not from her TDSB education. She said the cost of equipment, such as musical instruments, can also mean minority student miss out on arts training. And they may be less included to take risks in the arts if they come from marginalized backgrounds. “This is something that also affects that. We’re not able to take a shot at our dreams though art,” she said. A separate study led by York University professor Carl James published last Friday, found 39 per cent of black students were enrolled in applied courses, while 81 per cent of white students were in university-track academic courses. Looking at data from 2006 to 2011, the study also found 42 per cent of black students had been suspended at least once by the time they finished high school, compared to 18 per cent of white students.
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Ontario launches basic income pilot for 4,000 in Hamilton, Thunder Bay, Lindsay (lun., 24 avril 2017)
Ontario’s long-awaited basic income pilot project will include 4,000 low-income people in the Hamilton area, Thunder Bay and Lindsay, who will each receive up to $17,000 annually with no strings attached, starting as early as this summer. Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the three-year experiment in Hamilton on Monday as part of a major speech on how the Liberal government plans to ensure all Ontarians, including those struggling in low-wage, precarious work, benefit from the province’s balanced budget and improved economy. “It’s not an extravagant sum by any means. For a single person, we are talking about just under $17,000 a year, but even that amount may make a real difference to someone who is striving to reach for a better life,” she said. “The project will explore the effectiveness of providing a basic income to people who are currently living on low incomes, whether they are working or not,” she said. “People participating in our pilot communities will receive a minimum amount of income each year — a basic income, no matter what.” Under the plan, single adults between the ages of 18 and 64 will receive up to $16,989 annually and couples will receive up to $24,027. People with disabilities will receive an additional $6,000. Single people would have to earn less than about $34,000 to qualify and the income cut-off for couples would be about $48,000, according to a government spokeswoman. First announced in the 2016 budget, the pilot is expected to cost $50 million a year and help the government determine whether a streamlined approach to delivering income support improves health, education and housing outcomes for vulnerable workers and those on social assistance. The pilot also wants to see if providing an income floor below which nobody can fall improves job prospects for those living on low incomes. A similar experiment in Manitoba in the 1970s showed a drop in hospital use, particularly for mental health problems, as well as increased high school completion in the test community of Dauphin. “We want to find out whether a basic income makes a positive difference in people’s lives . . . and whether it is an approach that deserves to be adopted across our province as a whole,” Wynne added. During questioning by community members at Hamilton’s historic LiUNA Station, Wynne said there would be regular updates on the pilot and that Ontarians would know how the government plans to proceed by the end of the experiment. Since about 70 per cent of low-income Ontarians are working, the government expects a similar proportion of participants will be employed or self-employed, said Social Services Minister Helena Jaczek who is leading the project with Housing Minister Chris Ballard. The basic income amount represents 75 per cent of the province’s low-income measure, or poverty line, of about $22,653 for a single person in 2016. (The low-income measure is equal to half the median income in the province, adjusted for family size.) Participants will be able to increase their total income through work, while their basic income payment decreases by 50 cents with every dollar they earn. For example, a single person earning $10,000 a year from a part-time job would receive an additional $11,989 in basic income ($16,989 minus $5,000) for a total income of $21,989, according to the government. Opposition party leaders were generally supportive of the idea, but said they would be watching closely as the pilot project rolls out this spring and summer in Thunder Bay and the Hamilton area, including Brantford and Brant County. Lindsay will join the project in the fall. A basic income pilot for First Nations is being developed in collaboration with community partners and will likely be announced later in the year. Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said former Conservative senator Hugh Segal’s involvement as a government adviser on the plan gives him confidence “because he’s a sharp individual.” The NDP has long backed the concept, Leader Andrea Horwath noted. But she wondered why the government set the basic income amount below the poverty line. “I’m very, very worried that the government puts a pilot project in place that doesn’t even meet the basic (needs) of people,” she told reporters Queen’s Park. “How do you bring people out of poverty when you’re not even giving them a basic income that meets the poverty line,” she added. Those on social assistance will be able to keep their drug cards and other benefits. But Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan payments will be deducted from the basic income dollar for dollar. Participants in the pilot will be randomly chosen by mail in the test communities. Homeless people will be eligible if a shelter is chosen during the randomized selection process, officials said. Participation is voluntary and no one will be worse off. About 1,000 households will be chosen in the Hamilton area and another 1,000 will be invited to participate in Thunder Bay. About 2,000 are expected to take part in Lindsay, where larger community impacts of the basic income will be studied. Participants must be living in one of the test locations for the past 12 months or longer to be eligible. Payments will begin in the Hamilton and Thunder Bay areas this summer, while participants in Lindsay will be recruited in the fall. Basic income champions welcomed the premier’s announcement, especially the plan to allow participants on social assistance to keep their existing benefits. “We are pleased to see that it is basic income-plus,” said Sheila Regehr of Basic Income Canada Network. “I’m pretty confident they have got a lot of the details worked out. We are very excited to see this getting started.” Social Policy expert John Stapleton, a member of Jaczek’s income security reform working group, said he is anxious to see if a basic income is a better alternative to social assistance. “We’re finally going to get information to see if this is the right thing to do to replace the welfare system as we know it in Ontario,” he said. Advocates for those with mental health problems were pleased the pilot will measure health outcomes. “There is a link between income and health,” said Camille Quenneville, of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario division. “Those with lower incomes generally report poorer physical and mental health than those in the higher income.” Nearly half of all people receiving benefits from the Ontario Disability Support Program live with a mental illness, she added. Anti-poverty activists said the government must ensure prospective participants currently living on social assistance fully understand the trade-offs involved in exchanging their welfare cheque for a basic income. “For the small number of people on social assistance who will be selected, the additional income and the elimination of the punitive and regressive rules will be a welcome change,” said Jennefer Laidley of the Income Security Advocacy Centre, a legal clinic that advocates for people on social assistance. “But each person will have to be well informed about the possibility of losing access to other important benefits they might currently receive,” she said, adding every person’s situation will be different. The most pressing issue, besides reforming the entire system, Laidley said, is that everyone on social assistance needs a significant increase in their benefits now. “The basic income pilot cannot be a reason for government to delay making immediate investments to improve the lives of people they know are living on meagre, sub-poverty incomes.” she said. “I’m hoping we’ll see that kind of investment in the budget on Thursday.” Ontario is among several areas in the world experimenting with the idea of a minimum or basic income, including Finland, which began a two-year pilot in January. Kenya, the Netherlands and Scotland are also considering a test. With files Kristin Rushowy
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Nurse’s lawyer challenges Michael Leblanc’s version of events (mar., 25 avril 2017)
After nurse Joanna Flynn took Michael Leblanc’s wife off life support on March 2, 2014, she told him she was sorry for his loss and hugged him, Leblanc testified Monday. At the time he had no idea something had gone wrong. Deanna Leblanc, 39, had been taken off life support by Flynn without the authorization of a doctor at the Georgian Bay General Hospital — a fact admitted at Flynn’s manslaughter trial in Barrie. “I didn’t think there would be an investigation,” defence lawyer Samantha Peeris quoted Leblanc as saying after charges were laid in April 2015. “I didn’t realize anybody had done anything wrong.” Read More: Husband of Deanna Leblanc describes his wife’s final hours to jury Jury must weigh whether nurse who took Deanna Leblanc off life support caused her death Flynn, 51, is on trial for manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death, accused of causing Deanna Leblanc’s death by taking her off life support without a doctor’s permission after coercing consent from Michael Leblanc. She has pleaded not guilty. On Monday, Flynn’s lawyer Peeris disputed Michael’s testimony that Flynn pressured him into making a quick decision to take his wife off life support, and that she told him he could either have his wife die peacefully or watch her heart explode. Peeris also challenged his testimony that the first time he learned that Deanna was brain-dead and on life-support was from Flynn. Michael, 51, testified last week that a doctor had told him not to give up hope and stressed that Deanna was young and strong. Instead, Peeris suggested that multiple doctors and nurses had told Michael that Deanna had suffered severe brain damage and that she was both brain-dead and unresponsive. A doctor, she suggested, told Michael there was no hope. Michael said he was told Deanna had suffered brain damage, possibly severe brain damage, but until Flynn no one had told him she would not recover. Peeris suggested that after Flynn started her night shift at 7 p.m., she pulled Michael away to talk to him about a do-not-resuscitate order. Michael told Flynn that he was just waiting for another family member to arrive to say his goodbyes before “pulling the plug,” Peeris said. Michael said he did not say that. “That is like putting oil into a car after the engine has blown up,” Peeris suggested he told Flynn after Flynn explained that a doctor had taken some fluid from Deanna’s leg to check for an infection. Michael also denied saying those words, but recalls the doctor examining Deanna’s knee — she had been in for a routine knee operation at a Newmarket hospital two days prior. When Michael and Deanna’s two teenage sons came to say their goodbyes that evening, Peeris said Flynn reassured them that Deanna was in no pain. “When Flynn came back into the room she suggested to you that you sleep on your decision and that you should revisit it with the doctor … in the morning,” Peeris said. Michael said that didn’t happen. “You indicated that nothing was going to change, that the whole family was there and that Deanna wouldn’t want this,” Peeris said. Michael said that when he said Deanna wouldn’t want this, he was responding to a question from Flynn about what Deanna would want in this situation. Peeris suggested that Flynn again asked if Michael needed more time to think about it, and that Michael responded that he was sure. Michael denied this. All he said he recalled saying to Flynn about deciding to take Deanna off life support was: “OK” or nodding his head. Michael maintained that he was not sure what word Flynn used to describe what was going to happen to his wife’s heart — but said that his understanding was that it would explode. Peeris also suggested Michael discussed the possibility of having to take Deanna off life-support with Deanna’s father. Michael said he did not recall that and did not recall having a conversation with any family member about life support. Deanna Leblanc died at 8:15 p.m. after being admitted to the hospital early on the morning of the same day with her vital signs absent, the jury has heard. It took 2.5 hours to resuscitate her, an emergency room doctor has testified. The trial continues.
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TTC makes it harder for drivers to enter the Queens Quay streetcar tunnel (lun., 24 avril 2017)
Drivers who end up stuck in the streetcar tunnel at Queens Quay can’t say they weren’t warned. Over the weekend the TTC installed a number of additional deterrents aimed at preventing drivers from getting into the tunnel. The measures come two months after the transit agency had to extricate an SUV from the underground Queens Quay station, after its driver abandoned it there sometime before 4 a.m. on a Thursday morning. It took hours to remove the car, disrupting morning rush hour service on the 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina routes. The driver later returned, and according to the TTC he claimed he had merely been following his GPS. “Well we never say never . . . but certainly the steps that we’ve taken are going to make it very difficult to accidentally drive down that tunnel,” said TTC spokesperson Stuart Green. Since 2014, there have been 25 instances of cars blocking tunnels on the streetcar network. Of those, 22 took place at Queens Quay, where streetcars go underground to access Union Station. Many of the drivers who end up stuck are from out of town and simply unfamiliar with the area, according to Green. There may be other reasons someone would make the mistake, however. “There have been reports of people who are intoxicated and certainly some of the times are such that they would be later in the night or early in the morning so people may not be paying full attention to the road,” Green said. It can take between 15 minutes and five hours to remove the vehicles. In February the TTC had to call in a special crane. The driver was fined $425. Steps the TTC took this weekend include lowering the lights on both sides of the entrance so that they’re more visible to drivers, installing a rectangular pole topped with a flashing light in the centre of the tracks, and carving out deep “rumble strips” at the approach to the tunnel that would be hard for any driver to ignore. Further west, the agency also added “do not enter” signage and a centre pole on the streetcar right-of-way at York St., where drivers sometimes mistakenly enter the tracks. Green couldn’t immediately say how much the work cost, but said it is “covered within our budget.”
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Trudeau and Trump are watching the vote in France, but for different reasons: Hébert (lun., 24 avril 2017)
MONTREAL—It is a sign of the times that a Canadian prime minister and an American president are cheering for different candidates in the upcoming second round of France’s presidential election — and that their contrary preferences are so transparent. Donald Trump has all but given Marine Le Pen a formal endorsement. In an interview with The Associated Press just ahead of Sunday’s first-round vote, he described the leader of France’s far right party as the “strongest on borders, and the strongest on what’s been going on in France.” Their history is one of reciprocal admiration. Trump likes the National Front’s anti-immigration bias, its anti-free-trade stance and its determination to have France follow the United Kingdom out of the European Union. So did about one in five French voters. On Sunday they helped Le Pen secure the second place with 21.3 per cent of the vote and a spot on the May 7 final round of voting. Le Pen has been one of the president’s most vocal European cheerleaders. She believed his victory, coming as it did on the heels of the U.K. vote to leave the European Union, would give her campaign a big boost. It did not really turn out that way. Sunday’s score was the best National Front showing in a presidential vote, but it fell short of the big breakthrough the far-right party had hoped for. If this vote offered a measure of sorts of Trump’s populist coattails, those have been shrinking over his first 100 days in office. Justin Trudeau has been discreet about the French presidential contest. But it goes without saying that the prime minister has no time for Le Pen. She has few fans among Canada’s mainstream politicians. It was considered a given that she would make it to the second round of voting. Until Sunday, it was not clear which of the other three main contenders in the French election battle would face off against the National Front leader in the make-or-break May vote. From Trudeau’s perspective, the first-round victory of centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron — with 24 per cent of the vote — and the probability that he will be the next French president is a win-win. Less than three percentage points separated Macron from his National Front rival in the first round. But that narrow margin is misleading. The anybody-but-Le Pen vote is projected to propel Macron to a decisive victory on May 7. If those projections pan out in two weeks, Trudeau will gain a like-minded ally in a strategic position on the international game board. Macron resigned from France’s socialist government to create his centrist En Marche movement less than a year ago. He campaigned on a pro-EU platform. On issues ranging from diversity to immigration, national security and the balance between the mitigation of climate change and the need for industrial development, he and Trudeau essentially sing from the same hymn book. There are other similarities. The presidential favourite is only 39 years old. Both he and Trudeau are rising stars of the new guard that is (belatedly) taking over from the baby-boomer generation. The contrast with Trump (and the rest of the recent American presidential slate) could not be more striking. Macron built his victory on the ruins of the two parties that have successively run France for three decades. He campaigned as an outsider. Neither of the candidates running for France’s main parties qualified for the second round. Benoît Hamon, who carried the banner of the incumbent Socialists, lost with barely 6 per cent of the vote. Trudeau, by comparison, leads the Canadian party that has spent the most time in power federally. He could be described as an insider by birth. But both he and Macron similarly beat long odds to vault to the front of the pack, and each campaigned on a variation of sunny ways. Macron was the only presidential candidate to openly support CETA, the Canada-EU free trade agreement negotiated under Stephen Harper and subsequently nurtured by the Trudeau government. It still has to clear some hurdles before it is cast in stone. With Macron in the Elysée, the odds of that happening would be better. A note in closing: Quebec’s Parti Québécois spent decades nurturing the goodwill of France’s traditional parties for the province’s independence project. Based on Sunday’s vote, that section of its sovereignty infrastructure has also not aged well. Chantal Hébert is a national affairs writer. Her column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
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