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Daily Canada Newswatch

Warning: MagpieRSS: Failed to parse RSS file. (Invalid character at line 320, column 31) in D:\Hosted Sites\canadaka.net\www\includes\rss_fetch\rss_fetch.inc on line 238 Submit News to CKA News NDP accused of trying to stifle conflicts as two more staffers file lawsuits - News1130
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 22:01:34 GMT

NDP accused of trying to stifle conflicts as two more staffers file lawsuits
News1130
OTTAWA (NEWS1130) ? Two more former NDP staffers who say they were unfairly dismissed have accused the party of trying to convince them not to file a complaint against the elected members who employed them. Bouchra Taibi, who was working for MP ...

and more »
Submit News to CKA News Bixi proposes 5-year plan that will cost $2.9 million per year - Montreal Gazette
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 21:56:48 GMT

Montreal Gazette

Bixi proposes 5-year plan that will cost $2.9 million per year
Montreal Gazette
Bixi Montreal's board of directors has a five-year plan to ensure the future of the city's bike-sharing program. If approved, it will cost taxpayers $2.9 million per year to keep Bixi alive until 2019. The company's Montreal operations have been under the city's ...
Bixi recommends return of bike-sharing service in 2015CBC.ca
Pushing for Bixi bikes to return with a 5-year planCJAD
Bixi Montreal asks the city for nearly $3M/year to keep runningCTV News

all 4 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Independent investigation underway into fatal police shooting - News1130
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 21:39:08 GMT

News1130

Independent investigation underway into fatal police shooting
News1130
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) ? It will be another six to nine months before we know whether charges will be recommended against a Vancouver Police officer involved in a deadly shooting Saturday. The Independent Investigations Office is handling the case ...
Man dies after being shot by Vancouver policeCBC.ca
Man carrying 2x4 fatally shot by Vancouver policeCTV News
Investigators probe fatal Saturday police shooting in East Vancouver (with video)The Province
MetroNews Canada -DigitalJournal.com -The Globe and Mail
all 24 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Quebec budget review proposes $2.3B in government program cuts - CBC.ca
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 21:13:12 GMT

CBC.ca

Quebec budget review proposes $2.3B in government program cuts
CBC.ca
Opposition parties and industry groups say budget cuts proposed by the Robillard commission go too far and may compromise the province's ability to serve its population's needs. The budget review commission, led by Lucienne Robillard, released its ...
Quebec program review recommends $2.3 billion in spending cutsCTV News
Program review committee recommends $2.3 Billion dollars in cuts.CJAD
Government committee outlines plan for $2.3B in budget cutsMontreal Gazette
580 CFRA Radio
all 32 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Ottawa pledges $200-million to aid veterans with mental health issues - The Globe and Mail
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 21:07:10 GMT

CBC.ca

Ottawa pledges $200-million to aid veterans with mental health issues
The Globe and Mail
The federal government is spending $200-million over five years to help veterans suffering from operational stress issues, including a new facility in Halifax that will assess and treat those with the mental health disorder. Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino ...
Lapsed veterans funds 'not lost': FantinoHamilton Spectator
Local Legion president says new funding for vets may not be enough580 CFRA Radio
Feds to spend $200-million on boosting mental health support for soldiers ? but ...National Post
CTV News -CBC.ca
all 66 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Victoria judge says he?s astonished by careless attitude in U.S. toward guns
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 20:51:47 Z
A Victoria provincial court judge has told an American lawyer in training he is astonished by the careless attitude he and many of his countrymen have toward firearms.
Submit News to CKA News Police seek help to find missing sailor
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 20:31:21 Z
Vancouver Police are asking for the public's help to find a missing sailor.
Submit News to CKA News Canadian soldier died doing mechanic work on military vehicle - CTV News
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 20:30:18 GMT

CBC.ca

Canadian soldier died doing mechanic work on military vehicle
CTV News
A Canadian soldier who died in an accident at CFB Petawawa on Friday was performing maintenance on a patrol vehicle at the time of his death. Craftsman Kyle Sinclair, 27, was injured while working on a Coyote light armoured vehicle in the tank hangar at ...
Kyle Sinclair died in 'freak accident' at CFB PetawawaCBC.ca
UPDATED: Accident caused death of solider, officials say580 CFRA Radio
Canadian soldier killed at CFB Petawawa died while doing mechanic workNewstalk 1010
The Globe and Mail -Huffington Post Canada
all 90 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Canadian soldier died doing mechanic work on military vehicle
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 15:29:00 -0500
A Canadian soldier who died in an accident at CFB Petawawa on Friday was performing maintenance on a patrol vehicle at the time of his death.
Submit News to CKA News 'Rapidly intensifying disturbance' to bring rain, wind to Ontario - CBC.ca
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 20:27:41 GMT

CBC.ca

'Rapidly intensifying disturbance' to bring rain, wind to Ontario
CBC.ca
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Hamilton and the rest of southern Ontario as rain, wind and mild conditions are expected Sunday night and Monday. Rain, at times heavy, will hit southwestern Ontario Sunday evening and ...
Heavy rain coming overnight, Environment Canada says580 CFRA Radio
High winds, heavy rain forecastSimcoe Reformer
High winds, heavy rain forecast Sunday night and MondayNiagarathisweek.com
CP24 Toronto's Breaking News -Woodstock Sentinel Review
all 14 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Feds to spend $200-million on boosting mental health support for soldiers ? but watchdog says it?s ?not enough?
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 19:49:44 +0000
The announcement comes just days after veterans learned that the federal department responsible for their care and benefits was unable to spend upwards of $1.1 billion of its budget over seven years
Submit News to CKA News Former Winnipeg musician releasing album for daughter killed in Sandy Hook
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 14:46:00 -0500
The father of a young girl who was shot and killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting is releasing an album dedicated to his daughter called 'Beautiful Life.'
Submit News to CKA News Woman jailed in Iran over men's volleyball game released on bail
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 14:45:05 -0500
Iranian authorities released a British-Iranian woman on bail on Sunday, the semi-official ISNA news agency said.
Submit News to CKA News Pacquiao closer to Mayweather megafight after punishing Algieri
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 14:40:40 EST

MACAU—Manny Pacquiao is done taking the high road, tired of pretending he doesn’t care.

At long last he has Floyd Mayweather Jr. right where he wants him, and this time he’s not about to let him slip away without a fight.

“I think it’s time to say something,” Pacquiao said Sunday after dispatching Chris Algieri in convincing fashion in this Chinese casino town. “The fans deserve that fight. It’s time to make that fight happen.”

Whether it actually happens, of course, depends on Mayweather agreeing to sign on the bottom line. And for the better part of five years now, Mayweather has given one excuse after another when it comes to making the one fight boxing fans really want.

He thought Pacquiao might be on steroids, and refused to deal with his promoter. When Pacquiao got knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez, Mayweather said it wasn’t worth his time to even mention his name.

But now Mayweather may be boxed into a corner for a number of reasons and from a number of angles. The pressure will be on to make the fight some time in the first half of next year or forever draw the wrath of the fans who contribute to his massive paycheques.

And suddenly the prospect of boxing’s richest fight ever doesn’t seem like such a far-fetched fantasy after all.

“Answer the telephone — it’s as simple as that,” promoter Bob Arum said when asked what it would take to make the fight. “If boxing is to be considered a major sport then the fight has to happen. The nonsense needs to cease. There are no excuses any more.”

Mayweather opened the door ever so slightly to the fight after his win over Marcos Maidana in September, saying that he might be open to the possibility.

“If the Pacquiao fight happens, it happens,” Mayweather said. “You can ask the same questions and get the same answers. I call my own shots.”

There remain a number of obstacles to actually making it happen, though, not the least of which is Mayweather’s willingness to risk his unblemished mark near the end of his career. There are issues with promoters, TV contracts, purse splits and legacies.

But Arum has been in exploratory talks with Les Moonves, the head of CBS Corp., which owns the Showtime network that Mayweather is contractually obligated to for two more fights.

And the fact is that both fighters have pretty much run out of opponents that boxing fans will pay good money for pay-per-view to see. That wouldn’t be the case in a megafight that would break all records and make both fighters paydays far more than the $20 million to $30 million they’ve routinely been getting.

“I get asked about it wherever I go,” Arum said of Pacquiao-Mayweather. “If I’m on a plane the person next to me will ask me. I go to the restroom and the attendant asks me.”

Neither fighter is the same as he was five years ago, when the clamour first began for the fight. Age has taken a toll, if ever so slightly, on their reflexes and speed. But they both have plenty left, as Pacquiao showed when he knocked down Algieri six times on his way to a decision so lopsided that they were measuring it in terms of touchdowns and field goals.

“The man is exactly what he was billed as,” Algieri said after Pacquiao cut short his Rocky story in front of Sylvester Stallone himself. “He’s a great champion and one of the great fighters of his era.”

Algieri’s game plan was to weather the storm early against Pacquiao and try to win the fight late, but he did not implement it well. Algieri ran most of the fight and was unwilling to exchange with Pacquiao, and was out of the bout before it reached the fourth round.

It was a signature win for Pacquiao, one he needed badly. His own plan was to show he still has power after going five years without a knockout and he kept putting Algieri down even if he could not finally put him away.

Afterward, Pacquiao stood in the ring and mimicked a Foot Locker commercial he stars in, where he jumps up and down and excitedly cries out “He’s going to fight me? Yes! Yes!”

Not so fast, maybe. A lot of things would still have to happen to make the fight actually happen. The chances of it falling apart are still greater than it coming together.

But it may be time for boxing fans to start getting at least a little bit excited, too.

Submit News to CKA News Birds, leaks, trees damaging Manitoba legislature - CBC.ca
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 19:36:24 GMT

CBC.ca

Birds, leaks, trees damaging Manitoba legislature
CBC.ca
Pigeon poop, leaking ceilings and damp, insect-infested trees are slowly degrading what is considered "the most important building" in Manitoba. The provincial legislature ? a "priceless monument that Manitobans would be unlikely to reproduce" ? is ...
Birds, leaks, trees damaging Manitoba legislature; province considering rehabThompson Citizen

all 10 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Cab strikes skateboarder in Oshawa - Toronto Star
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 19:18:18 GMT

CTV News

Cab strikes skateboarder in Oshawa
Toronto Star
A 20-year-old man was taken to local hospital and then to a Toronto trauma centre late Saturday with life-threatening injuries after being struck by a taxicab while riding a skateboard in Oshawa. The Durham Regional Police Service was called to the scene on ...
Police seek witnesses after skateboarder suffers life-threatening injuriesCTV News
Skateboarder struck by car in OshawaToronto Sun
Oshawa skateboarder seriously injured after collision with carCBC.ca
680 News -durhamregion.com -Newstalk 1010
all 9 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Boy, 12, with fake gun dies after being shot by Cleveland police
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 14:14:00 -0500
A 12-year-old boy shot by police after apparently grabbing what turned out to be a replica gun died from his wounds Sunday, a day after officers responded to an emergency call about a someone waving a "probably fake" gun at a playground.
Submit News to CKA News Canadian and allied warplanes have ?radically limited? ability of ISIS to operate in Iraq, Jason Kenney says
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 18:10:51 +0000
Coalition warplanes make it much harder for ISIS to move 'out in the open' and use its tanks and artillery, Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney told religious community leaders
Submit News to CKA News Canadian soldier dies after freak accident at CFB Petawawa
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 12:45:35 -0500
Craftsman Kyle Sinclair, 27, was changing a vehicle?s oil Friday night when one of the seats unexpectedly ejected and caused him to suffer severe head trauma
Submit News to CKA News Feds to spend $200 million on improving mental health assistance to soldiers
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 12:36:37 -0500

The government announced Sunday that it will spend $200 million on improving mental health assistance to members of Canada's military and its veterans.
Submit News to CKA News Fantino: $1.1 billion in lapsed funding for veterans 'not lost money'
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 11:27:00 -0500
Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino said Sunday the department's $1.1 billion dollars in unused funding over seven years is "not lost money."
Submit News to CKA News Consider threat of Assad in fight against ISIS, former Israeli PM urges
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 11:18:00 -0500
Former Israeli prime minister and defence minister Ehud Barak says that while there is an urgent need to fight ISIS, the world cannot disregard other regional threats, especially Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Submit News to CKA News #VanSun360 Instagram winners: Dogs at play
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 16:10:36 Z
This week's assignment was capture one's canine companion enjoying the great outdoors. While I suggested dogs on the fields and at the beach I did not expect a pup on the water. A tip for the future. Dog portraits look stronger if you do not crop off your dog's ears.
Submit News to CKA News Canada moving toward American-style inequality, U.S. economist suggests
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 11:08:00 -0500
A prominent U.S. political economist says Canada is moving toward American-style inequality, and believes austerity economics and tax cuts for corporations are making the problem worse.
Submit News to CKA News Feds to spend $200M more on military mental health programs
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 10:59:54 EST

OTTAWA—The federal government has announced $200 million over six years to support mental health needs of military members, veterans and their families.

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces also announced Sunday that an additional $16.7 million in ongoing funds will be available to support forces members, veterans, and their families.

“We cannot forget those who have returned to Canada forever changed by their experience, by their service, experiences that many of us could never imagine or endure,” said justice minister Peter MacKay at a press conference in Halifax Sunday morning.

The government says some of the money will fund completely digitizing the health records of all serving personnel, investing in brain imaging technology and extending access to Military Family Resource Centres.

It also says there will be additional investments in research aimed at finding better treatments and faster recoveries for serving members and veterans with mental health conditions.

Among the areas of research that will be undertaken is looking at how forces members transition from military to civilian life with an emphasis on those with service in Afghanistan.

The research will also look at the causes and prevention of veteran suicides, and ways to improve the recognition, diagnosis, treatment and well-being of veterans with mental health conditions.

The announcement says the Canadian Forces will hire additional staff to help educate serving members and their families in managing their reactions to stress, and recognizing mental duress.

The announcement comes just days after veterans learned that the federal department responsible for their care and benefits was unable to spend upwards of $1.1 billion of its budget over seven years.

Like other departments unable to spend their appropriation within the budget year, Veterans Affairs was required to return its unspent funds to the treasury.

The Royal Canadian Legion wrote Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino on Thursday, demanding a detailed accounting of which programs had lapsed funding and why.

The figures put before Parliament show the veterans department handed back a relatively small percentage of its budget in 2005-06, but shortly after the Conservatives were elected the figure spiked to 8.2 per cent of allocation.

Mike Blais, head of watchdog group Canadians Veterans Advocacy, said the measures announced Sunday would provide a “marginal benefit” to veterans but stop short of what is needed.

“This is seriously not enough. It’s not enough resourcing, it’s not enough effort put forward in accepting this obligation” to mental health.

An Auditor General’s report on mental health services and benefits for veterans is due out Tuesday, and Blais said the funding roll-out was timed to get ahead of what is expected to be a scathing review.

“I think this is not an act of good faith — it’s an act that they’re responding to what’s going to be a very unfavourable Auditor General’s report,” he said.

Also announced Sunday was a new operational stress injury clinic, slated to open in Halifax in the fall of 2015.

In addition to the clinic in Halifax, Veterans Affairs Canada will expand satellite services in nine locations throughout the country, which are funded by Veterans Affairs, but are operated by provincial health authorities.

There are currently outpatient clinics in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, London, Ont., Ottawa, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Que., Quebec City, and Fredericton.

With files from Sam Colbert

Submit News to CKA News Ottawa pledges $200-million to aid veterans with mental health issues
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 10:12:40 -0500
A new facility will be built in Halifax that will assess and treat those suffering from operational stress issues
Submit News to CKA News Marion Barry, former Washington, D.C. mayor notorious for crack incident, dead at 78
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 09:32:40 EST

WASHINGTON—Divisive and flamboyant, maddening and beloved, Marion Barry outshone every politician in the 40-year history of District of Columbia self-rule. But for many, his legacy was not defined by the accomplishments and failures of his four terms as mayor and long service on the D.C. Council.

Instead, Barry will be remembered for a single night in a downtown Washington hotel room and the grainy video that showed him lighting a crack pipe in the company of a much-younger woman. When FBI agents burst in, he referred to her with an expletive. She “set me up,” Barry said.

Barry died Sunday at 78. His family said in statement that Barry died shortly after midnight at the United Medical Center, after having been released from Howard University Hospital on Saturday. No cause of death was given, but his spokeswoman LaToya Foster said he collapsed outside his home.

Speaking at a 4 a.m. press conference at United Medical Center, the city’s mayor-elect Muriel Bowser called Barry an “inspiration to so many people and a fighter for people.”

“Mr. Barry, I can say this, lived up until the minute the way he wanted to live,” said Bowser, who had served with Barry on the D.C. Council.

The year was 1990, and crack cocaine had exploded in the district, turning it into the nation’s murder capital. In his third term, the man known as the “Mayor for Life” became a symbol of a foundering city.

Federal authorities had been investigating him for years for his alleged ties to drug suspects, and while he denied using drugs, his late-night partying was taking a toll on his job performance.

The arrest and subsequent conviction — a jury deadlocked on most counts, convicting him of a single count of drug possession — was a turning point for Barry. He had been elected to his first term as mayor in 1978 with broad support from across the city. With his good looks, charisma and background in the civil rights movement, he was embraced the dynamic leader the city’s young government needed. The Washington Post endorsed him in each of his first three mayoral runs, although the 1986 endorsement was unenthusiastic.

Barry’s six-month term in federal prison was hardly the end of his political career. But it forever changed how it was perceived. To some, he was a pariah and an embarrassment. But to many district residents, particularly lower-income blacks, he was still a hero, someone unfairly persecuted for personal failures.

Barry returned to the D.C. Council in 1992, representing the poorest of the city’s eight wards. Two years later, he won his fourth and final term as mayor. The electorate was starkly divided along racial lines, and Barry advised those who had not supported his candidacy to “get over it.”

“Marion Barry changed America with his unmitigated gall to stand up in the ashes of where he had fallen and come back to win,” poet Maya Angelou said in 1999.

Barry’s triumph, though, was short-lived. In 1995, with the city flirting with bankruptcy from years of bloated, unaccountable government, much of it under Barry, Congress stripped him of much of his power and installed a financial control board. Barry held authority over little more than the city’s parks, libraries and community-access cable TV station. He decided against seeking a fifth term.

Barry spent a few years working as a municipal bond consultant, but he couldn’t stay away from politics. In 2004, he returned to the council, again representing Ward 8, where he remained beloved. Many constituents still referred to him as “Mayor Barry,” and he was re-elected in 2008 and 2012.

Barry was born March 6, 1936, to Marion and Mattie Barry, in the small Mississippi delta town of Itta Bena, and was raised in Memphis, Tenn., after the death of his father, a sharecropper.

While an undergraduate at LeMoyne College (now LeMoyne-Owen College), Barry picked up the nickname “Shep” in reference to Soviet propagandist Dmitri Shepilov for his ardent support of the civil rights movement. Barry began using Shepilov as his middle name.

Barry did graduate work in chemistry at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., earning a master’s degree. He left school short of a doctorate to work in the civil rights movement.

His political rise began in 1960, when he became the first national chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, which sent young people into the South to register black voters and became known as one of the most militant civil rights groups of that era.

Barry’s work with the committee brought him to Washington, where he became immersed in local issues, joining boycotts of the bus system and leading rallies in support of the city’s fledgling home rule efforts.

In 1970, The Post wrote: “Four years ago widely considered a young Black Power Militant with almost no constituency, (Barry) has become a man who is listened to — if not fully accepted — on all sides.”

Barry’s activism propelled him into local politics, first as a member of the Board of Education and then in 1974 as a member of the first elected city council organized under home rule legislation.

In 1977, he was wounded by a shotgun blast in the Hanafi Muslim takeover of D.C.’s city hall. A young reporter was killed. The shooting was credited with strengthening him politically.

In 1978, he defeated incumbent Mayor Walter Washington — the city’s first home rule mayor — in the Democratic primary and went on to easily win the general election.

Barry’s early years in office were marked by improvement in many city services and a dramatic expansion of the government payroll, creating a thriving black middle class in the nation’s capital. Barry established a summer jobs program that gave many young people their first work experience and earned him political capital.

In his second term, the district’s finances were rockier, and some of his appointees were caught up in corruption scandals.

The city’s drug-fuelled decline mirrored Barry’s battles with his personal demons, leading to the infamous hotel room arrest on Jan. 19, 1990. The video of Barry was widely distributed to the media and made him infamous worldwide.

A few months after his arrest, longtime civil rights advocate and educator Roger Wilkins, a past supporter, wrote in The Post: “Marion Barry used the elders and lied to the young. He has manipulated thousands of others with his cynical use of charges of racism to defend his malodorous personal failures.”

Even after his comeback, controversy continued to dog Barry. Several times after his 1990 arrest, Barry sought treatment or counselling for problems with prescription medications or other substances. In 2002, he made an attempt to seek an at-large seat on the D.C. Council but abandoned his bid amid allegations of renewed illegal drug use.

In 2006, Barry was given three years of probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanour charges for failing to file tax returns from 1999 to 2004. As part of a plea bargain, he agreed to file future federal and local tax returns annually, a promise prosecutors later said he had failed to keep.

In 2010, he was censured by the council and stripped of his committee assignments for steering a government contract to a former girlfriend. The council censured him again in 2013 for accepting cash gifts from city contractors.

Barry played the role of elder statesman in his later years on the council, but he sometimes exasperated his colleagues with his wavering attention at meetings and frequent, rambling references to his tenure as mayor.

He suffered numerous health problems over the years. In addition to kidney failure, he survived prostate cancer, undergoing surgery in 1995 and a follow-up procedure in 2000. In late 2011, he underwent minor surgery on his urinary tract. In early 2014, he spent several weeks in hospitals and a rehabilitation centre battling infections and related complications.

In a statement Sunday, current Mayor Vincent C. Gray expressed deep sadness after learning about Barry’s death. Gray spoke with Barry’s wife, Cora Masters Barry, late Saturday and shared his condolences and sympathies with her. The couple was long estranged but never divorced.

“Marion was not just a colleague but also was a friend with whom I shared many fond moments about governing the city,” Gray said. “He loved the District of Columbia and so many Washingtonians loved him.”

Mayor Gray said that he would work with Barry’s family and the Council to plan official ceremonies “worthy of a true statesman of the District of Columbia.”

Barry was married four times and is survived by his wife, Cora, and one son, Marion Christopher Barry.

Associated Press reporter Jessica Gresko contributed to this report.

Submit News to CKA News Ottawa announces $200M in funding for soldiers' mental health services
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 09:25:00 -0500
The federal government has announced it will invest about $200 million over the next six years to expand mental health services and research for Canada's veterans, members of the military and their families.
Submit News to CKA News HIV prevention drug Truvada focus of controversy
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 09:00:00 EST

Len Tooley remembers anxiety-filled days as his next HIV test approached, time spent racking his brain, trying to recall if he’d done something against his better judgment that could have exposed him to infection.

Tooley, 33, is a sexually active gay guy living in downtown Toronto. As someone who works as an HIV educator, tester and counsellor and did a master’s degree in public health focused on gay men and HIV, he understood the importance of using a condom during sex.

He just wasn’t, he readily admits, perfect at it.

“We all want to mitigate risks in our lives,” he says. “But it’s not as easy as it looks on paper.”

So two years ago, he convinced his doctor, after a thorough assessment, to provide him with Truvada, a drug already being used to treat people who are HIV-positive and one shown to be highly effective at preventing the transmission of HIV.

Some consider it a revolution in protection against HIV, but it has also led to some polarizing debates in the world of AIDS activism. Last week, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), based in Los Angeles, rolled out print ads in seven U.S. markets challenging the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on its recommendation of the drug.

Known as PrEP, which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis, Truvada stops infection if it is taken properly before exposure. James Wilton, co-ordinator of biomedical science of HIV prevention at CATIE, a leading Canadian source for HIV information, says there is “a lot of evidence . . . that PrEP taken consistently and correctly can reduce risk of transmission by over 90 per cent.”

Truvada, taken as a daily pill, continues to be studied and will be the focus of a year-long clinical trial just getting underway at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital.

“The drug prevents HIV from being able to replicate in your body,” explains Tooley, who remains HIV-negative. “So, if you’re exposed to HIV and the drug is in your system, the virus can’t replicate enough to get a foothold in your immune system.”

Truvada has been approved by Health Canada as a treatment for HIV but not as PrEP to prevent its transmission. It is not illegal for doctors to provide it for that use by writing what is called an off-label prescription. It costs between $800 and $900 a month, or about $30 a pill.

Tooley considers himself fortunate he has a drug plan that pays for Truvada and a gay family physician accustomed to dealing with HIV issues. He must still have regular testing for HIV because if he did become positive, the virus could quickly adapt and become resistant to the drugs he is taking.

“PrEP is one part of what I really consider a huge change in the way that we look at, understand and address HIV,” says Tooley, the co-ordinator of community health-promotion programming at CATIE.

“Nobody is saying we should give up condoms and PrEP is the only option. But what we are saying is that PrEP is effective and it is an option and it is important to acknowledge that.”

Awareness of PrEP has been growing, especially since it was approved in 2012 in the United States and endorsed by both the CDC and the World Healthy Organization. The CDC recommended PrEP for as many as 500,000 high-risk American men who have sex with men. Information provided by Gilead Sciences, Truvada’s manufacturer, shows that 3,253 unique individuals began taking the drug as PrEP in the U.S. between Jan. 1, 2012, and March 31, 2014. That number comes from a survey of 55 per cent of the nation’s retail pharmacies.

No numbers are available in Canada, but Dr. Darrell Tan, who will lead the St. Mike’s demonstration project, says the use of PrEP in Toronto “is not widespread but it is definitely increasing.”

Gilead has not made an application to Health Canada for approval of Truvada as PrEP.

On Halloween, the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) rolled out an education campaign about PrEP, visiting several clubs in Toronto’s Gay Village around Church and Wellesley Sts. to promote conversations about what it calls “an important new prevention tool.” It also posted an extensive information package on its website

“It’s very much the hot topic in the HIV-prevention community,” says Chris Thomas, an ACT spokesperson involved in community education.

“I don’t think we so much encourage it as we make known what the reality of using it is. I think we see it as a strategy that you can use to reduce your risk of contracting HIV. It’s not something where we are going to put all of our eggs in the basket. We continue to encourage the use of condoms and other types of safe sex practices.”

While some herald PrEP as a huge breakthrough in the fight against the spread of HIV, there are dissenting voices, the loudest of which likely belongs to Michael Weinstein, president of L.A.’s AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Weinstein has dismissed Truvada as a “party drug” and called it a “public health disaster in the making.” Then came last week’s ads in the form of an open letter to the CDC titled: “What If You’re Wrong About PrEP?”

In the letter, the AHF challenged the CDC’s recommendations as a public health strategy because of “consistently bad adherence by study subjects.”

Not only does the AHF fear the pills will not be taken properly, but it is also concerned that PrEP will create a culture in which men who have sex with men will move away from using condoms, and that that will lead to an increase in other sexually transmitted infections.

“Men would prefer to have sex without condoms,” Weinstein said in an interview last week. “That’s a given. So if you give people a get-out-of-jail-free card, they’re going to use it. You can actually do harm by discouraging some people who are currently protecting themselves from not using condoms.”

Weinstein said PrEP, if not adhered to correctly, will give men a false sense of security and they’ll engage in unsafe sex.

“We felt the warning had to be put out there.”

Some in the HIV-prevention community have dismissed Weinstein as a pariah, an attention-seeking contrarian interested mostly in promoting himself and his foundation. A recent New York Times article suggested Weinstein’s “vociferous opposition to PrEP has made him perhaps the most hated man in the AIDS business.”

The paper quoted one veteran activist saying, “I consider him a menace to HIV prevention.”

“Prevention is a thankless job,” counters Weinstein. “But it’s a moral responsibility.”

The ACT info package reinforces that PrEP is “added protection” and “encourages guys to continue using condoms in addition to taking PrEP.”

Thomas says that in his work with ACT, his experience is that men using PrEP are not taking more chances with their sexual health.

“In terms of it fostering a risk-infused environment, that’s not something that we’ve seen immediately. The people who are interested in PrEP are extremely conscious of their health. They are fantastic stewards of their own well-being. This is may be one of the reasons why they are interested or using PrEP in the first place.”

Against that backdrop of differing views, Dr. Darrell Tan is about to begin a trial at St. Michael’s to clinically assess PrEP, a study that will coincidentally address concerns raised in the AHF open letter.

Over the next year, 50 Toronto men who have sex with men with follow a regimen of PrEP, and Tan, an infectious diseases physician and clinical scientist at the hospital, will monitor their adherence to the drug and whether it changes their aversion to sexual risk. He’ll also look at whether any of the subjects develop a resistance to the drug.

“There has continued to be some debate about PrEP . . . ” he says. “There are a lot of concerns that people have about whether it is a good thing to do or not.

“To base policy decisions on speculation about how people will or will not behave in the future is not the ideal route to go. I think we really need to collect the data to answer those important, realistic questions.”

Tan says that the HIV infection rate among gay men in Toronto is about 17 to 18 per cent and that, he says, “rivals what we see in the hardest hit countries of Africa.

“Clearly, it’s a problem and we have to do something about it. It really speaks to the need for new interventions.”

“I think that at a population level, (PrEP) has the potential to be a game-changer. I think the other way to look at it is at the individual level. Every single infection that is prevented is a game-changer for that individual.”

Tooley agrees that it is important to raise questions and have frank discussions, but he is concerned that a letter like the one published by the AHF might discourage some men from pursuing a protection option that could be perfect for them.

“Unfortunately, we are still living in a world where HIV transmission still happens,” he says. “It’s a reality and for guys who are at risk of HIV, I think it would be a real shame for them to not consider PrEP because of a letter written by the AHF.”

Tooley, who spoke to the Star as an individual who has made his life in HIV prevention rather than as a representative of CATIE, says his use of a pre-exposure prophylaxis has “profoundly impacted my sense of well-being.

“It’s given me a level of confidence and security that was a pie-in-the-sky dream before and that is a pretty significant thing for a young gay man who grew up in the shadow of an epidemic that wiped out a lot of people in the community before he really got into that community.

“I wouldn’t necessarily go so far as to say that PrEP a game-changer for the HIV movement, but in some ways for me, it’s been a personal game-changer,” continues Tooley. “If you look at the stories of people who use PrEP, that’s not an uncommon thing and that’s a really hopeful thing.”

Submit News to CKA News As Buffalo continues to clear snow, residents brace for flooding
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 08:28:00 -0500
Buffalo is making significant progress clearing streets still clogged from an epic storm left more than 7 feet of snow even as a flooding threat looms, the city's mayor said Sunday.
Submit News to CKA News Rohani: Extremists abusing Canada's multiculturalism
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 13:00:28 Z
The recent terror attacks in Montreal and Ottawa and the subsequent strong response from Canadians across the country must be a wake-up call for us to rethink what it is that we share as a democratic nation. What is the one underlying principle that our soldiers fought for, our leaders hoped for and what immigration and diversity were intended for?
Submit News to CKA News Japan earthquake destroyed 50 homes, injured more than 40 people
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:23:00 -0500
The damage from an overnight earthquake in a mountainous area of central Japan that hosted the 1998 winter Olympics proved more extensive than initially thought. A daylight assessment Sunday found at least 50 homes destroyed in two villages, and 41 people injured across the region, officials said.
Submit News to CKA News Man dies after altercation with police in East Vancouver
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 10:50:32 Z
The Independent Investigations Office has taken over the case of a 51-year old man who died after an altercation with police in East Vancouver.
Submit News to CKA News Most Canadians support our troops being in Iraq, poll finds
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 05:00:00 EST

About two-thirds of Canadians support the mission in Iraq and consider the Islamic State a threat to Canada that must be confronted overseas, a new poll says.

Days after Canada’s third bombing mission destroyed a warehouse and training ground in northern Iraq Tuesday, a Forum Research poll found 66 per cent of voters agree with the Canadian effort to combat the Islamic State, also known as ISIL. Our contribution to this war effort includes bombing missions by six CF-18 fighter jets.

The survey found that 30 per cent do not agree with the mission — a position mirrored by 40 per cent of voters aged 18-34, and 37 per cent of those polled in Quebec.

The poll also discovered more Canadians agree that ISIL poses a direct threat to Canada today (67 per cent) than did in a September poll (56 per cent).

About two thirds of voters support the claim that the Islamic State must be combatted in Iraq to stop the group from spreading into Canada.

A strong majority of Canadians — 70 per cent — believe the country needs tougher anti-terrorism laws.

Of those polled, 72 per cent agree that Canadians deemed “high risk,”who might travel abroad to participate in jihadist movements, should have their passports revoked. And 86 per cent agree that such individuals should not be allowed back into Canada once they have left.

Voters were evenly divided on whether attacks on Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent justified Canada’s involvement in the U.S.-led mission in Iraq.

Forum put Ben Franklin’s famous adage to voters: “Those who give up their freedom for security deserve neither freedom nor security.” Less than half — 45 per cent — agree with Franklin, a quarter do not and just under one-third have no opinion on the statement.

The poll was taken by telephone using an interactive voice response survey on Nov. 19 and 20. The sample was made up of a random selection of 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and older. Forum said its results are accurate plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

With files from The Canadian Press

Submit News to CKA News Cosby allegations recast decades-old view of cultural icon
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:02:00 EST

They didn’t see a comedian. They saw the “king of the world.”

Long before there was a Dr. Cliff Huxtable, before rumpled sweaters and a collective anointing as America’s dad, Bill Cosby was magnified a hundredfold in the eyes of the young models and actresses he pulled into his orbit. For them, he embodied the hippest of the 1960s and ’70s Hollywood scene, a mega-star with the power to make somebodies out of nobodies.

He partied with Hugh Hefner and was a regular at the magazine mogul’s Playboy Mansion bacchanals. He co-owned a restaurant and hit the hottest clubs. He sizzled.

Those wild, largely forgotten days clash with the avuncular image that has been Cosby’s most enduring impression on American culture. And they have been jarringly cast in a wholly different light as a torrent of women have told — and in some cases retold — graphic, highly detailed stories of alleged abuse by Cosby.

Sixteen women have publicly stated that Cosby, now 77, sexually assaulted them, with 12 saying he drugged them first and another saying he tried to drug her. The Washington Post has interviewed five of those women, including a former Playboy Playmate who has never spoken publicly about her allegations. The women agreed to speak on the record and to have their identities revealed. The Post also has reviewed court records that shed light on the accusations of a former director of women’s basketball operations at Temple University who assembled 13 “Jane Doe” accusers in 2005 to testify on her behalf about their allegations against Cosby.

The accusations, some of which Cosby has denied and others he has declined to discuss, span the arc of the comedy legend’s career, from his pioneering years as the first black star of a network television drama in 1965 to the mid-2000s, when Cosby was firmly entrenched as an elder statesman of the entertainment industry, a scolding public conscience of the African American community and a philanthropist. They also span a monumental generational shift in perceptions — from the sexually unrestrained ’60s to an era when the idea of date rape is well understood.

The saga of the abuse allegations is set in locales that speak to Cosby’s wealth and fame: a Hollywood-studio bungalow, a chauffeured limousine, luxury hotels, a New York City brownstone. But it also stretches into unexpected places, such as an obscure Denver talent agency that referred two of Cosby’s future accusers to the star for mentoring.

The allegations are strung together by perceptible patterns that appear and reappear with remarkable consistency: mostly young, white women without family nearby; drugs offered as palliatives; resistance and pursuit; accusers worrying that no one would believe them; lifelong trauma. There is also a pattern of intense response by Cosby’s team of attorneys and publicists, who have used the media and the courts to attack the credibility of his accusers.

Martin Singer, an attorney for Cosby, issued a statement Friday defending his client and assailing the news media.

“The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity,” he said. “These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.

“Lawsuits are filed against people in the public eye every day. There has never been a shortage of lawyers willing to represent people with claims against rich, powerful men, so it makes no sense that not one of these new women who just came forward for the first time now ever asserted a legal claim back at the time they allege they had been sexually assaulted.

“This situation is an unprecedented example of the media’s breakneck rush to run stories without any corroboration or adherence to traditional journalistic standards. Over and over again, we have refuted these new unsubstantiated stories with documentary evidence, only to have a new uncorroborated story crop up out of the woodwork. When will it end? It is long past time for this media vilification of Mr. Cosby to stop.”

During an interview on Friday with Florida Today, Cosby said: “I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos. People should fact-check. People shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t answer to innuendos.”

If his accusers are to be believed, the earliest allegations against Cosby remained hidden for decades, private artifacts of an era when women were less likely to publicly accuse men they knew of sexual misdeeds and society was less likely to believe them. But they have flared periodically throughout the past nine years, both because of changing attitudes and, particularly over the past month, because of social media’s ability to transform a story into a viral phenomenon almost impossible to suppress or control.

The allegations represent a reshaping of Cosby’s legacy. Cosby built his fame on a family-friendly comedic persona. He has lectured black youths about proper behavior. He has been honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom and been lauded for making the largest donation ever by an African American to a historically black college, Spelman College in Atlanta.

But since the avalanche of accusations this month, there has been mostly thundering silence from his longtime allies. An exception is Weldon Latham, a prominent Washington attorney and Cosby friend. He noted in an interview with The Washington Post that his friend has never been charged with a crime and wondered whether “some of the women coming out now, seem to be making it up.”

“What you’re hearing is clearly not the entire truth, and how much of it is true, you have no idea,” Latham said.

“I’m pained,” said Virginia Ali, owner of Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street in Washington, which Cosby has frequented since he was 21. “He has been part of the family for many, many years. I’ve always found him a very kind, generous person. I like to say he shares his humanity.”

The influential producers of “The Cosby Show,” the ‘80s sitcom that made Cosby famous as a family man, issued a brief statement. “These recent news reports are beyond our knowledge or comprehension,” Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner said Thursday.

Cosby was on the verge of what appeared to be a comeback this year, but projects scheduled for NBC and Netflix have been postponed or canceled in the fallout. Several of Cosby’s upcoming comedy shows have been canceled, but when he took the stage Friday in Melbourne, Florida, he received a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd.

Americans who sat in front of their television sets on Sept. 15, 1965, had never seen anything like Alexander Scott, the jet-setting international spy. Black stars had appeared on their screens before but never in a leading role, and this one happened to be a 28-year-old comic who just three years earlier had dropped out of Temple University.

The reaction to Cosby’s breakthrough as a co-star appearing on equal footing with a white actor, Robert Culp, reflected a nation still haltingly emerging from its segregationist past. Some Southern television stations banned the program because of Cosby’s prominent role, but much of the nation embraced it, making “I Spy” a hit.

“At Howard University, we used to go wild when we saw a soul brother with a gun allowed to shoot back,” Latham once said.

The Hollywood establishment went wild, too, awarding lead-actor Emmys to Cosby in all three seasons that the program aired.

The writer

Soon he would have his own program (“The Bill Cosby Show”) and all the trappings that went along with it, including his own Hollywood-studio bungalow. A teenage comedy writer named Joan Tarshis was more than thrilled to get an invite to that private hideaway in 1969.

Tarshis was only 19, but she had already written monologues for Godfrey Cambridge, one of a handful of nationally prominent black comedians in the mid- and late-1960s, she said in an interview with The Washington Post. But getting to hang out with Cosby was almost like taking an express elevator to the penthouse without stopping at the upper floors.

Cosby was a familiar face on the party circuit, knocking around with Hefner, author Shel Silverstein and John Dante, the second-in-command at Playboy, according to “Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream,” by Steven Watts.

“Hef and his three buddies loved to fly up to [Playboy’s resort on Wisconsin’s Lake Geneva], catch a show, and throw a party for the Bunnies and performers,” Watts wrote.

Cosby was also hitting it big with comedy records, though in hindsight one of his riffs seems particularly insensitive. On his 1969 record, “It’s True! It’s True!,” Cosby joked about drugging women with Spanish Fly, a purported aphrodisiac. Cosby tells the story of a character who convinced him of its powers by recounting how he had slipped some into the drink of a woman named “Crazy Mary.” After that, Cosby said, he’d “go to a party, see five girls standing alone” and think, “Boy, if I had a whole jug of Spanish Fly I’d light that corner up over there.” The audience roars with laughter.

At a lunch at Cosby’s bungalow, Tarshis recalled, he urged her to mix a beer with her bloody mary.

“We call that a redeye,” she said he told her.

Cosby invited her to the set of his new show, and then went back to his bungalow to work on some jokes about earthquakes, since Los Angeles had recently been hit by tremors.

“I said, ‘Sure!’ “ recalled Tarshis, who first disclosed her accusations this month in a column for the website Hollywood Elsewhere. “I mean, I had written for Godfrey Cambridge and now I was going to write for Bill Cosby!”

In the bungalow, Tarshis said, Cosby made her another redeye. “I don’t know what was in that drink, but it knocked me out. The next thing I remember after having that drink was waking up on his couch,” she said. “I was really foggy. He was trying to take my underwear off.”

She tried to talk her way out of an unwanted sexual encounter, she said. She made up a story about having a genital infection.

“’If you have sex with me, your wife will know,’ “ she recalled telling him. “He didn’t miss a beat. He knew exactly how to respond. He made me give him oral sex. It was pretty horrible.”

She told no one. Instead, she went home to Brooklyn, New York.

A few weeks later, Cosby called her house and spoke to her mother, who had no idea what had allegedly happened on that couch in the bungalow, Tarshis said. Cosby told Tarshis’s mother that he wanted to take her daughter to the Westbury Music Fair on Long Island to hear him deliver a monologue to which Tarshis had made a small writing contribution.

“She was over the moon,” Tarshis said of her mother. “She was so excited.”

Looking back through the prism of four decades, Tarshis, now 66, wonders why she went. “I didn’t know how to handle it,” she said. “I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to be in a theater. It’s going to be safe.’ I didn’t see any way out.”

A limousine picked her up at her mother’s and took her to Cosby’s New York hotel room at the Sherry-Netherland, Tarshis recalled. Tarshis — who has acknowledged having a drinking problem but says she has been sober since 1988 — remembered being “nervous and uncomfortable.” She had a drink with him to calm down because she was so uneasy about being in his presence after the first alleged assault, she said. By the time they got to the theater, she was feeling so unsteady that she had to leave, she said. She asked the limousine driver to take her back to the car. She lay down.

“The next thing I know, I’m in his hotel room, in his bed, naked,” Tarshis said.

She said she believed he had sexually assaulted her.

“My first thought was, ‘How do I get out of here?’ “ she said. “Also, ‘How do I get out of here safely?’ I didn’t want to aggravate him. I didn’t know what he’d do.”

John Milward, a freelance reporter and author, confirmed that Tarshis told him about her Cosby allegations in the early 1980s, though he never wrote about them. And, Tarshis said, she never contacted the police.

“Who was going to believe me?” she said. “If he was a regular joe, I might have done something.”

One of Cosby’s attorneys, John Schmitt, issued a statement last week saying that repeating old allegations “does not make them true.”

The waitress

She wanted an adventure. With high school graduation behind her, Linda Traitz and a group of friends left Miami Beach in 1969 to see what it would be like to live in California.

She took a job as a waitress. It wasn’t about the job; it was about the place, a place filled with stars, a place that glittered.

Traitz worked at Cafe Figaro, a West Hollywood spot that was notable, in part, because of Cosby, who co-owned it and made it his hangout for business meetings.

“I was young and star-struck,” Traitz, now 63, recalled in an interview with The Washington Post.

Traitz’s year of adventure coincided with Cosby’s emergence as a solo phenomenon. He was no longer Culp’s co-star or merely a clever comic; he was showing he could do it all: conceive, write and act. NBC debuted an animated TV movie version of his brainchild, “Fat Albert.” His situation comedy, “The Bill Cosby Show,” launched, and he was about to win his fourth Emmy for a television special he headlined. He even did a Crest toothpaste ad. Everything he touched glistened.

In the midst of all that, Traitz said, Cosby chatted her up one day at his restaurant and offered a ride home. She could not have imagined saying anything but yes.

The minutiae of that day are carved into her mind. She even remembers what she was wearing: a long “hippie days” peasant skirt. She climbed into Cosby’s Rolls Royce and he suggested they drive out to the beach, Traitz recalled. Once they parked at the beach, he opened a briefcase, she said.

“It had assorted sections in it, with pills and tablets in it, different colors arranged and assorted into compartments,” she recalled. “He offered me pills and said it would help me to relax, and I kept refusing but he kept offering.”

Cosby “lunged” at her, she said, “grabbed my chest, grabbed me in the front all over.”

“I was crying and horrified,” she said. She broke free, she said, and tumbled out of the car. She ran down the beach with Cosby in pursuit, but she tripped on that long peasant skirt and fell onto the sand, she said.

Cosby agreed to take her home. Her skirt was torn. Walking back to the car, they passed a block filled with shops. Cosby bought her a new skirt, she said.

They rode in silence. “He froze me out,” she said. He never tried anything again, she said, but Traitz could not keep the incident to herself. She told her co-workers and her family what happened at the time. She decided not to go to the police.

“It was a different time,” her brother, Jim Traitz, told The Washington Post. “We all also knew this was a really big guy with a big PR operation and lawyers, and that he could crush us — that he would crush us — and her.”

Life has not been easy for Linda Traitz, who has a history of drug addiction. In the past decade, she has amassed a criminal record with multiple convictions, mostly related to prescription drugs, according to Florida court records. She received a five-year prison term, serving from 2008 to 2012.

“I know there will be people who are going to say: ‘You have a drug problem. Why should we believe you?’ “ she said of her decision to go public now.

Just as the allegations against Cosby span generational shifts in attitudes about what constitutes out-of-bounds behavior, they also span historic shifts in how information is disseminated. At the time when Traitz alleges Cosby assaulted her, there was no such thing as social media.

But this month, two events compelled her to make a public statement, Traitz said. First, the comedian Hannibal Buress touched off a social-media frenzy by asking an audience at one of his shows to Google “Bill Cosby rapist.” Then, on Nov. 13, The Washington Post published a first-person account by another accuser, Barbara Bowman. Traitz, furious about the attacks on Bowman and other Cosby accusers, posted her story on Facebook.

Singer, Cosby’s attorney, called Traitz “the latest example of people coming out of the woodwork with unsubstantiated or fabricated stories about my client.”

He added, “There was no briefcase of drugs and the story is absurd.”

The Playmates

Victoria Valentino was living what appeared to be a version of the Hollywood dream. Playboy magazine picked her as Playmate of the Month for September 1963 when she was just 19. The next year, she helped open the original Playboy Club as a bunny on the Sunset Strip on New Year’s Eve.

But by the end of the decade, she had drifted away from those glitzy heights, she recalled in an interview with The Washington Post. In September 1969, her 6-year-old son, Tony, had drowned in a swimming pool. She battled a deep depression, she recalled.

Francesca Emerson, a fellow Playboy bunny who befriended Valentino at the Playboy Club, sensed her despondency. Emerson, who is black, said she was one of the first “chocolate Bunnies” of the 1960s and had trained Valentino in her role as a “Bunny instructor.”

Emerson had a plan to lift Valentino’s spirits. “I want you to meet my friend, Bill Cosby,” she said.

Emerson and Cosby had hit it off at the Playboy Club. “He always gave me $100 tips, and he tried to get me to come down to the studio to read for his show, but I was always so nervous.”

After Emerson lost her job at the club in 1968, she said, a chauffeur arrived at her home and handed her an envelope. Inside was $1,000 and a note. “This is for you so you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Love, Cos,” Emerson said it read.

“That’s the Bill Cosby I knew,” Emerson said. “He was a perfect gentleman.”

She said she introduced her “stunning” friend Valentino to Cosby in January 1970 at Cafe Figaro. Weeks later, she said, she met Cosby there again. Valentino said she was with her friend and roommate at the time, an aspiring actress named Meg Foster. She said Cosby offered to pay for massages for the women at a local spa and then sent a limousine to pick them up for dinner.

Valentino said they had dinner at a restaurant called Sneaky Pete’s. They ordered steaks and wine, and toward the end of dinner, Valentino said, Cosby offered her and Foster red pills.

“He was trying to cheer me up, and he stuck a pill in my mouth,” she said. “He said, ‘This will make us all feel better.’ ”

She and Foster each took a pill, and Cosby did, too, she said.

“We were slurring words. I couldn’t function,” she recalled, adding that Cosby said he would take them home but instead drove them to an apartment in the hills above the Chateau Marmont hotel. Valentino said Cosby wanted to show them some memorabilia from I Spy.

Once inside, Valentino said, Foster passed out. The room was spinning, and Valentino said she remembered feeling as if she was going to throw up. She said she saw Cosby sitting in a love seat near Foster and she noticed that he had an erection.

“I reached out, grabbing him, trying to get his attention, trying to distract him,” Valentino said. “He came over to me and sat down on the love seat and opened his fly and grabbed my head and pushed my head down. And then he turned me over. It was like a waking nightmare.”

She protested but could not stop him, she said. Cosby slipped out alone, telling Valentino to call a cab if she wanted to go home, she said.

Valentino said she never called the police. “What kind of credibility did I have?” she said. “In those days, it was always the rape victim who wound up being victimized. You didn’t want to go to the police. That’s the last thing you wanted to do back then.”

She was too embarrassed to tell most of her friends, but she did tell Emerson — the woman who had introduced her to Cosby.

Emerson, who lives in Australia, confirmed Valentino’s recollection in an interview with The Washington Post.

“I remember she said that he had drugged her and she came to and he was trying to rape Meg and she pulled him off,” Emerson said. “But I feel devastated that I didn’t do anything or say anything.”

Foster, an actress known for roles in TV shows such as Cagney and Lacey and movies, including The Osterman Weekend, declined an interview request.

About 10 years ago, Valentino was contacted by another former Playboy Playmate, Charlotte Kemp, Miss December 1982, who said she was writing a book called Centerfold Memories.

In an interview, Kemp — whose real last name is Helmkamp — said she videotaped an interview with Valentino during which she talked about her alleged encounter with Cosby. Helmkamp said the account she gave matches the account Valentino provided to The Washington Post.

Valentino, now 71, said she decided to come forward after seeing Bowman’s allegations in The Washington Post.

“Every time I hear his name mentioned and see him getting an honorary doctorate and see him as this father figure, it makes me nauseated,” Valentino said. “It’s so humiliating. Forty-four years later it makes me feel shameful.”

When contacted by The Washington Post about Valentino’s allegations, Cosby’s lawyer responded by issuing the broad denial to the recent accusations.

The protege

He liked to watch her brush her hair, Tamara Green recalled. Cosby would sit and watch her pull the brush through her long, thick blond locks as she sang lyrics made famous by the sultry, smoky-voiced jazz great Julie London.

“You need to be taught. You need to be groomed,” Green remembered him telling her.

Green was in her early 20s when she met Cosby through a mutual friend, a Los Angeles doctor, she said. “He was king of the world,” Green said in an interview with The Washington Post. “Full of himself. I Spy. Man about town.”

When Green met Cosby — in 1969 0r 1970, she said — she was doing some modelling and singing. Los Angeles felt like the host of one long, awesome party. Knowing Cosby made it even more awesome.

“We slept all day and were up all night,” Green said.

It was a “very hippie-dippy, very free-love” time, Green said. The big shots in her circle of celebrity friends kept “stables of girls,” Green said. “They had a total disrespect for the girls.” Green did not want to be Cosby’s girl.

Green went to work for Cosby in the early 1970s, she said. She was supposed to be raising money from investors for a new club Cosby intended to open.

She called Cosby one day to say she was feeling sick and was going to go home. He told her she would feel better if she ate something and invited her to join him at Cafe Figaro, she said. When she arrived, he gave her some red and grey pills, saying they were over-the-counter decongestants, she recalled.

Cosby drove Green to her apartment and she started to feel woozy, she said. “I remember him being all smarmy: ‘Let me help you take off all your clothes,’ ” she recalled.

“I couldn’t control my body. I couldn’t run,” Green recalled. “. . . He was naked. I was naked on my bed. His hands were all over me.”

Cosby penetrated her vagina with his fingers and fondled his penis in front of her, Green said. She screamed in protest, she said. “You’re going to have to kill me,” she remembers telling him. But he would not stop, she said, until she managed to upend a table lamp.

Cosby tossed down two $100 bills as he left, a gesture that Green took as a deep insult, she said. She did not think of herself as a girl who could be bought, but she felt helpless to do anything. She feared Cosby’s power. But there was another thing that she fretted about. Her young brother was dying from cystic fibrosis, and the day after the alleged incident, Cosby visited him at the children’s hospital where he was being treated, showing up with gifts and entertaining the other young patients, Green said. Her brother adored the star, and knowing Cosby gave him a certain cachet in the hospital ward and garnered him extra attention from nurses in his final days, she said. She worried about jeopardizing all that.

Green, now 66, went on to become an attorney and got married. She is retired in Southern California, where she grapples with Parkinson’s disease and with the echoes of that long-ago alleged incident. She said she is forever checking the perimeter of her home. She still sleeps in her clothes.

Another Cosby attorney, Walter Phillips Jr., called Green’s allegations “absolutely false.”

“Mr. Cosby does not know the name Tamara Green or Tamara Lucier [her maiden name] and the incident she describes did not happen,” Phillips said in a statement issued this past week. He said it was “irresponsible” to publish an “uncorroborated story of an incident that is alleged to have happened thirty years ago.”

Cosby’s legal team has also questioned Green’s credibility because her law licence was suspended in 2004. Green said that the suspension resulted from an overdraft related to her depositing a retainer check in the wrong account and that her licence was reinstated.

Cosby’s team has also used legal-ethics issues to question the credibility of a more recent accuser who is now a lawyer — Louisa Moritz, an actress who appeared in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. On Thursday, Moritz told the website TMZ that Cosby forced her to have oral sex in a dressing room of The Tonight Show in 1971. Singer, Cosby’s attorney, questioned her credibility because she had been disciplined by the California State Bar last year in a dispute over a legal fee.

The agency

Jo Farrell pursued clients so relentlessly that she became known as the “red-headed barracuda.” She operated her JF Images talent agency far from Hollywood in Denver, but she wielded such clout that she could make or break careers.

Farrell plays one of the more unusual roles in the decades-long drama of Cosby and his accusers. She referred two women to Cosby who later alleged he sexually abused them: Barbara Bowman and Beth Ferrier.

Farrell is now 83 and suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s, according to her daughter, Kathleen, who said in a recent interview with The Washington Post that her mother retired five years ago and knew nothing about the claims of sexual abuse until they appeared in People magazine in 2006. “It’s mind-boggling,” Jo Farrell told the magazine at the time. “I don’t set up interviews in bars. Here I am pulled in on this, and it makes me sad because my reputation has always been golden in this city.”

Farrell’s relationship to Cosby dates back decades. She first met him at the Turn of the Century nightclub, which was near her talent agency. Kathleen Farrell said Cosby worked with a number of the agency’s young female clients through the years, taking them on outings and asking them to auditions. She said she had heard allegations that other men — photographers and bookers — had abused actresses. But she said her mother never mentioned any complaints about Cosby. If she had heard complaints, she said, her mother would have severed her relationship with Cosby “to protect the girls.”

“Nobody ever addressed with her that there was an issue,” Kathleen Farrell said. “She’s a mother hen; she would have addressed it.”

Farrell discovered Bowman, then 13, at a 1980 beauty pageant.

“She pulled me over and said, ‘What’s your name?’ “ Bowman, now 47, recalled in an interview. “She said I looked like a movie star. That was quite a compliment for a scrawny little kid trying to make it. . . . I was feeling really glamorous.”

She said Cosby came to town in 1984 and Farrell took Bowman, 17 at the time, to a comedy club for an audition. Bowman said she prepared a monologue and performed before one of the most famous comedians in the country in a small conference room tucked away inside the comedy club.

But she made an impression. Both Farrell and Cosby gushed that she was destined for big things in the business and advised that she move to New York, where she could hone her craft. Cosby also took her to the New York set of The Cosby Show.

“That was the bait: the promise of an audition, being seen and adored by a big name,” Bowman said. “And he enjoyed knowing that people knew he was the one who was discovering hot new talent.

She said she was “terrified” of Cosby and Farrell. “They isolated me and made me totally dependent on them,” she said.

At the time, Cosby was in the process of becoming the biggest television star in the world. The Cosby Show had debuted the year before, introducing viewers to his career-defining role as Cliff Huxtable.

“At a time when the situation comedy was supposed to be moribund on television, The Cosby Show has leapt to No. 1 in a single season,” New York Times critic John Connor wrote in May 1985. “At a time when blacks were once again being considered ratings liabilities by benighted television executives, the middle-class Huxtables have become the most popular family in the United States. And at a time when so many comedians are toppling into a kind of smutty permissiveness, Mr. Cosby is making the nation laugh by paring ordinary life to its extraordinary essentials. It is indeed a truly nice development.”

Bowman said she saw an entirely different persona from the one Cosby played on television. Once, while at his brownstone in New York City, she said she blacked out after one glass of wine and awoke to find herself wearing nothing but her underpants and a man’s T-shirt.

In another alleged incident in Atlantic City, N.J., she said Cosby pinned her down on a hotel bed while she screamed for help and he struggled to pull down his pants.

“I furiously tried to wrestle from his grasp until he eventually gave up,” she said in an interview with The Washington Post.

Cosby called her “a baby,” Bowman said, then he told her to go home to Denver.

At first, Bowman said she was in denial that the alleged assaults had taken place. She then convinced herself that she did what she needed to do to make it in the entertainment business. She said she also became financially dependent on Cosby and her agent.

“They were subsidizing me in New York until I started booking jobs,” she said.

When asked why she did not come forward sooner, Bowman said she did not think anyone would believe her.

Cosby’s attorneys had previously called her claims “absolutely untrue.”

In the years after the alleged assault of Bowman, Cosby rose to heights that were almost unimaginable. In 1987, The Cosby Show went into syndication, and within five years it had pulled in $1 billion in syndication fees, with hundreds of millions reportedly going to Cosby.

The lawsuit

Andrea Constand was stressed. She held down a big job at Temple University as operations director of the women’s basketball team. But she wanted career advice, according to court documents filed in a 2005 civil suit that Constand filed against Cosby. She decided to confide in a man who had not only become her close friend but was also Temple royalty.

Cosby had attended Temple before dropping out in the early 1960s to pursue his comedy career, but he had remained in close contact with his hometown university, serving on the board of trustees since the early 1980s.

Constand became friends with Cosby a year after her arrival on the Philadelphia campus in 2001. They sometimes dined alone together, according to court records.

In January 2004, the records state, Cosby invited her to his home in suburban Philadelphia. Constand alleges that Cosby offered her three blue pills. He said they were an herbal medication and would relax her, according to her court filing; she hesitated but finally took his advice.

Within a short period of time, her “knees began to shake, her limbs felt immobile, she felt dizzy and weak, and she began to feel only barely conscious,” Constand’s attorneys wrote.

Constand accused Cosby of leading her to a sofa, then touching “her breasts and vaginal area.” She said he “rubbed his penis against her hand, and digitally penetrated her,” the court records state.

All the while, she “remained in a semi-conscious state,” her attorneys wrote.

Constand said she lost consciousness afterward until 4 a.m., when she awoke “feeling raw in and around her vaginal area,” the court records state. Also, “her clothes and undergarments were in disarray,” according to the records.

When she awoke, there was Cosby, she said. He was in his bathrobe, the court records state. She said she left.

According to court records, Cosby said he and Constand spent time together, but his attorneys denied the claims that he drugged and assaulted her. He said he had merely given her 1 ½ tablets of Benadryl, an over-the-counter antihistamine.

In Cosby’s account of his evening with Constand during the court case, he denied appearing in only his bathrobe and he said he gave her a “homemade blueberry muffin and a cup of hot tea,” according to court records.

Constand, now 41, went on to leave her job at Temple, moving back to her native Canada. One year later, in January 2005, she filed a complaint against Cosby with a police department in Ontario.

That complaint was followed by a criminal inquiry in Montgomery County, Pa. Law enforcement officials interviewed Constand and Cosby.

“I thought, in my gut, that she was telling the truth,” Bruce Castor Jr., the Montgomery County district attorney at the time, said in a recent interview with The Washington Post. “I was absolutely certain that she believed that Cosby had taken advantage of her, but there were not enough details.”

Castor lacked physical evidence, and he thought any possible case would be hampered by the long delay in filing a complaint. In February 2005, he announced that he would not be prosecuting Cosby.

After the 2005 criminal case was resolved, Cosby resumed a tough-love tour he had put on hold when news of Constand’s allegations broke. The national tour consisted of free speeches where large audiences gathered to hear Cosby speak about the failures of black parents and black youths. He had been ridiculing African American politicians, accusing them of too often blaming “systematic racism” for his community’s problems.

But the next month, Cosby’s own actions were again scrutinized. And this time, it would not be just one woman pointing a finger at him. Constand’s civil lawsuit, filed in March 2005, would eventually include 13 Jane Does who agreed to testify against Cosby. The women came from points across the country: Ventura, Calif.; Monument, Colo.; Spring Hill, Fla.

Green, the one-time model who had said Cosby had drugged her in the early 1970s, had offered to testify without maintaining anonymity. All told, Green said she has spoken with 20 accusers; all of them, she said, asserted that they had been drugged by the comedian.

Constand’s attorneys were spotting patterns, too. In their court filings, they asserted that a common theme among the Jane Does was that “they were victimized after being conned by the Cosby image.”

In court documents, Cosby’s attorneys said their client “vigorously denies” her allegations that he “drugged her and sexually assaulted her” and “adamantly denies engaging in sexual misconduct.”

In November 2006, Constand and Cosby reached an undisclosed settlement. Constand and her attorney declined to be interviewed for this article.

Constand’s settlement largely made the Cosby story go away. There would be isolated reports, but the image of Cosby as an accused sex offender seemed destined to be relegated to a historical footnote until the jokes by Buress — a popular but hardly A-list 31-year-old comedian — went viral this month.

Since then, the names of nine more accusers have surfaced, including the model Janice Dickinson, who told Entertainment Tonight that Cosby drugged and raped her in Lake Tahoe, Calif. in 1982. To back up her accusation, she produced Polaroids of Cosby in a checkered robe.

Cosby’s attorneys rushed to keep pace with the allegations, repeatedly saying they had no merit. “Janice Dickinson’s story accusing Bill Cosby of rape is a complete lie,” Singer said in a statement.

Three of the women who spoke to The Washington Post — Traitz, Tarshis and Valentino — also made their first widely distributed public statements about the allegations this month.

At the two university campuses most associated with Cosby, there was a pinched terseness from administrators. Temple would say only that Cosby remained on its board. Two weeks after Buress’ comedy routine reignited the sex-allegations controversy, a Temple student, Grace Holleran, published an editorial in the school newspaper calling on university officials to stop supporting Cosby. The university “seems to be banking on Cosby’s star power, remembering him for his colourful sweaters and Pudding Pops as it fails to acknowledge his muddy backstory,” Holleran wrote.

At Spelman College — where Cosby made history in 1988 with a $20 million donation, the largest by an African American to a historically black college — the president’s office would not say whether the endowed professorship named for Cosby and his wife would continue.

The educator who holds that endowed chair at Spelman predicted in an interview that the sexual-assault allegations ultimately would not define Cosby.

“I’m not worried about being the Cosby chair,” said Aku Kadogo, Spelman’s Cosby Endowed Professor in the Arts. “It’s not a worry to me. It’s a difficult time for him. But it ain’t the end of the world. If Hillary can run for president — she went through all that rigmarole. People forget easily.”

But, in the universe of Bill Cosby, it has become clear that not everyone forgets.

Submit News to CKA News Inside the career of Motherisk founder Dr. Gideon Koren
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 23:41:00 EST

Dr. Gideon Koren is as complex as his field of work.

To some, he is a prominent doctor and workhorse who built the Hospital for Sick Children’s Motherisk program into a leading world authority on drugs and pregnant and lactating women, who has authored or co-authored hundreds of articles and book chapters and has travelled to numerous speaking engagements around the world.

To his young patients at Sick Kids, he’s the jolly man with the guitar singing at hospital theatrical events he organizes that it’s OK to be different. To others, Koren, 67, is a prickly person who does not take well to criticism, has adopted a controversial stance on the use of antidepressants for pregnant women and who was disciplined for authoring anonymous and infamous “poison pen” letters to a former colleague and her supporters in the late 1990s.

Koren’s name surfaced against last month after the Ontario Court of Appeal cleared a mother of convictions of administering a near lethal dose of cocaine to her 2-year-old son. A crucial part of the case against Tamara Broomfield was an analysis conducted on a sample of her son Malique’s hair by Motherisk that apparently showed Malique had been exposed to cocaine over a long period of time. The appeal court delivered its ruling after new evidence from an Alberta toxicologist seriously questioned the validity of Motherisk’s evidence and testing methods.

That decision has thrust Motherisk, which has counselled more than 200,000 women since it was founded in 1985 and often conducts hair tests for child protection cases, and its high-profile director, into the spotlight. The provincial government has said it is “looking at” the appeal court decision.

Koren has so far remained silent. His lawyer, Darryl Cruz, told the Star in an email on Friday that Koren “does not intend to comment or participate in your story.”

When trying to discover who is the physician so heavily relied upon as an expert witness in past court cases — once described by a judge as an “excellent pediatric pharmacologist” — and whose name is displayed prominently on many scholarly articles about drugs and expectant mothers, the answer depends on whom you ask.

“He’s an interesting guy,” said Dr. Michael Rieder, a professor of pediatrics and pharmacology at Western University who has known “Gidi” for more than 30 years. “He’s a passionate guy. He’s very bright, has a lot of energy, and is an outside-of the-box thinker. He’s a friend. I like him. He’s not a detail guy; he’s more of a big-picture guy. He’s refreshingly honest, and I think he’s passionately concerned for the right reasons.”

Rieder points to the founding of Motherisk in 1985 as a prime example of that passion. Koren had arrived at Sick Kids from Israel a few years earlier to train in pediatric pharmacology and toxicology. Rieder was also there at the time. According to his 147-page resumé, filed at Broomfield’s 2009 trial, Koren studied medicine at the Sackler School in Tel Aviv and did a residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric nephrology at Tel Hashomer Hospital, also in Tel Aviv.

The father of four also served as a medic in the Israel Defence Forces in the mid-1960s, as well as a year as a flight surgeon with the Israeli Air Force, according to the resumé.

Motherisk was “Gidi’s baby,” as Rieder put it, founded out of what he called an “unmet need” in the division of pharmacology for expectant mothers needing information on drug safety.

“The division would get these requests and we really didn’t have any good way to respond to it,” he said. “It was totally shoestring at first. It was one person answering the phone. (Koren) was the guy who organized it, did most of the early calls, raised the money, secured the funding to perpetuate it, and has been the director since forever.”

Since Motherisk came into being, Koren’s stature in the medical community has grown exponentially. According to his Sick Kids biography, he is a professor of pediatrics, pharmacology, pharmacy and medicine who has taught at the University of Toronto and Western University, has trained pediatricians in more than 40 countries and is currently a supervisor to five master of science, 16 PhD students and nine postgraduate trainees. He has written more than 1,400 peer-reviewed papers, according to a biography on the Motherisk website.

Koren has received numerous awards. In 2011, he received a Top Achievements in Health Research Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, saying at the time: “It feels great when your country says to you, through its highest research authority: You have changed the lives of many Canadian women and their families.” In 2012, he became the first Canadian scientist to receive the Sumner Yaffe Lifetime Achievement Award in Pediatric Pharmacology.

A 2013 Ontario Superior Court ruling from a case in which Koren was an expert witness indicates that Motherisk is staffed by 70 researchers, professors and students, receiving up to 200 phone calls a day from doctors and citizens.

“Dr. Koren is on numerous professional boards, editorial boards, is a reviewer for all the respected journals regarding articles his field. He, of course, has written extensively in his field,” reads the decision from Justice John McCartney. “He estimates he has received some $55 million (in) research grants. He has testified as an expert in his field in numerous cases.”

Extramural grants listed in Koren’s resumé include funds for studies and research from major drug companies such as Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Duchesnay.

Koren has also written books, plays and musicals for children, dating back to his time in Israel in the 1970s. He wrote the musical Tails: A Furry Tale on Furry Tails, about self-esteem and being different, first mounted in 1992. It is performed weekly in the hospital’s Bear Theatre featuring health-care professionals.

“The play is very life affirming,” Koren told the Star in 1997. “For me, it’s one of the most powerful experiences of my life. You cannot think of a group who need it more. Here are kids who haven’t smiled for days. Parents who are worried about new treatments and diagnosis.”

Said Rieder: “If you look at Gidi interacting with children, that’s what says it all.”

Dr. Michèle Brill-Edwards, a former senior physician responsible for drug approvals at Health Canada who trained alongside Koren at Sick Kids, described him as being “just all work, but in a very pleasant way. He’s a friendly guy, emotionally tuned into people, very generous.”

She would initially defend him in what would become a nasty fight involving colleagues, Sick Kids and the University of Toronto that made front-page headlines at the time and is still talked about today in the medical community in Canada and overseas.

Between mid-October 1998 to mid-May 1999, five anonymous letters were sent to Dr. Nancy Olivieri, her supporters at Sick Kids, other hospital staff and the media calling Olivieri and her supporters, among other things, “unethical” and “a group of pigs.”

There were suspicions almost immediately that the letters, which were typed and contained spelling errors, had been sent by Koren. He had worked with Olivieri on a drug study for generic drug maker Apotex, but the pair ended up disagreeing on the drug’s effectiveness, with Olivieri wanting to go public with her concerns about potentially harmful side-effects. Apotex terminated her clinical trials, but she published her findings anyway in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Koren at first denied having sent the letters when approached by the hospital. Brill-Edwards recalls thinking at the time that Koren could not possibly have been the letters’ author, saying, “Gidi would simply not stoop to that level of behaviour.”

But when she was shown one of the letters and saw the spelling errors — “that was one of Gidi’s hallmarks” — she began to grow suspicious. Another alarm bell went off in her head when she talked about the letters with Koren, saying she had “never seen him so agitated in my life.” She said he was pacing the floor and coughing incessantly.

“That is so out of character,” she said. “Gidi is a very calm, cool individual, very little fazes him. So he could be flying off to Japan for a conference in the next five minutes, but he would stand and talk to you in a quite focused and calm way.”

The nail in the coffin came when Olivieri and her supporters sent the envelopes for DNA testing. Brill-Edwards said they were able to match the DNA from those envelopes to an envelope containing a letter Koren had sent her in 1999. The Olivieri group went to the university administration with the results, and then to the police. Koren confessed on Dec. 17, 1999. Olivieri declined to comment for this story.

“I felt throughout that my actions in support of Nancy and Sick Kids were my only choice,” said one of the group’s members, Dr. Brenda Gallie, who suggested sending the envelopes for DNA testing. “I could do nothing else but support Nancy and the issue that was in front of us all. Otherwise, I would never be able to sleep.”

According to a 2003 report from a College of Physicians and Surgeons’ disciplinary committee, Koren was suspended from Sick Kids for five months, two of which were without pay, a chair endowed in his name was removed, he was ordered to make some restitution, and he resigned two leadership positions at the hospital. But he remained director of Motherisk.

The college’s disciplinary panel found him guilty of professional misconduct and officially reprimanded him for the so-called “poison pen” letters, ordering him to pay $2,500, the partial cost of the disciplinary hearing. The panel also agreed with a University of Toronto finding of research misconduct related to Koren’s decision to unilaterally publish findings concerning the efficacy of deferiprone, the drug he and Olivieri were tasked with studying. The committee made clear that the act was not fraudulent.

In its decision, the college’s four-member panel said it was “deeply troubled by the case” and had “seriously considered” imposing a more severe punishment.

“It defies belief that an individual of Dr. Koren’s professed character and integrity could author such vicious diatribes against his colleagues as he did in the ‘poison pen letters,’ ” reads the decision. “His actions were childish, vindictive and dishonest.”

Koren later told The Globe and Mailthat he felt he had been “publicly defamed and vilified” by Olivieri and her four supporters, and felt his only way to fight back was by sending the letters.

“We were told not to talk to the media ever [by the hospital] which I religiously regarded,” he told the Globe. “The only way I could express myself was in those letters. It was inappropriate and unbecoming. . . but when you are attacked savagely by five people over three years, you may do these things.”

Those who know him say Koren can become defensive when his work comes under criticism. A former medical trainee of Koren’s, who asked to remain anonymous, said “he doesn’t like to be challenged” and that when there are disagreements over his conclusions, “he seems to take it personally.” Even the judge at the Broomfield trial, who described Koren’s evidence as “credible and compelling,” said “on occasion, his demeanour was abrupt and defensive.”

His critics say he has been particularly sensitive to criticism of Motherisk’s studies showing antidepressants during pregnancy are generally not as harmful as the actual mental illness.

In a 1998 Star article headlined “Antidepressants don’t endanger fetus, report says,” Koren said many doctors, worried about possible harm to the fetus, will take their patients off antidepressants.

“Unfortunately, that’s still a common practice because people are afraid of drugs in pregnancy,” he said. “However, depression in pregnancy can be a very severe illness. I’ve seen in my career women who tried to commit suicide when they were taken off (these drugs) cold turkey. Clearly, advice to just stop medication, when women need it, is not good.”

Fears about birth defects have often been voiced when talking about antidepressants and pregnancy, but a 2006 piece on Motherisk’s website notes: “To date, no selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) has been associated with increased risk of major congenital malformations, including cardiovascular anomalies.”

A 2010 Motherisk piece on its website reviewing the evidence on the antidepressant Paxil concludes “accumulated evidence from different types of studies does not suggest that paroxetine (Paxil) is associated with an increased risk of heart defects.” The article followed a 2009 decision by a U.S. jury ordering drug maker GlaxoSmithKline to pay $2.5 million in damages to the family of Lyam Kilker, a 3-year-old born with heart defects that his mother blamed on the drug.

“(Koren) has obviously been publishing on antidepressants and pregnancy, and so do I, but we disagree on data,” said Anick Bérard, who holds a chair on pregnancy and medications at the Université de Montréal and who has worked on studies with Koren in the past. “The main thing here is that we have overwhelming data on the risks of taking these drugs, and a low amount of data on the benefits.”

Bérard said she worked with Koren and others on a study last year dealing with pregnant women and antidepressants. When she circulated the study’s findings among the group, that one in five pregnant women who continue taking antidepressants remain depressed, she said Koren “didn’t believe in the data” and dropped out as a co-investigator. She said the study will likely be published next year.

Those who know Koren say they’re not sure how he’ll weather this latest controversy over Motherisk’s hair-testing analysis. What is obvious to some, including Brill-Edwards, is that an external investigation is needed.

“The integrity of the entire system is at risk if we don’t face up to these kinds of events,” she said. “In the long run, Sick Kids is far too important an asset to our society to let it suffer under this kind of mistrust.”

Submit News to CKA News Paying it forward for Abby. One family?s quest to create positive energy for their very sick daughter
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 23:33:22 EST

Becky Eveson dropped a five-dollar bill in the hallway at Sick Kids with a note: “Money you found to make you smile. Buy a coffee/tea and don’t forget to spread the smile and pay it forward.”

It was one of the small acts of kindness she and her husband, Craig, undertake every day in the hopes that positive energy will surround their daughter. They buy coffee for strangers, a sandwich for the man sitting in the cold, a coat for a hardworking woman in their hometown.

“We don’t buy everyone a coat,” Becky says, laughing. “We don’t have a huge budget.”

Abby, 17 months, was born with a rare congenital heart defect that severely limits the blood flow to her lungs. She had her third open-heart surgery three weeks ago and remains connected to a ventilator, her mother by her side, holding her hand.

The toddler has a beaming smile that announces to the world she is so happy to be here. It is a dimply grin that belies the surgeries, 911 calls and hospital stays that have been a part of her life. It is a smile that has disappeared and, in its absence, her parents are trying to spread it.

“We’re not overly religious people. We’re thankful everyone is saying prayers. I actually said one myself for the first time in 20 years,” says her dad, Craig Eveson, from his Schomberg home. “The positive energy thing — we’re a big fan of.”

Making a stranger happy is a way to feel some sense of control, a way to feel a flicker of goodness in a terrible time.

Abby’s cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Glen Van Arsdell, sees parents respond in all kinds of ways. Some have a “dignified stress response,” some have a “stressful stress response,” some have a “religious stress response.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody facing this kind of dire circumstance and paying it forward,” he says. “They’ve been very gracefully dealing with something tremendously difficult.”

The Evesons’ grace takes the form of coffees and lottery tickets purchased anonymously for strangers. It is a chain of kindness their friends, family and acquaintances have taken up on their behalf. It has spread from downtown Toronto, throughout York and Durham regions, and has washed ashore on a Mexican beach at sunset, in the form of shiny, colourful pesos.

It is a plea to the universe. Help Abby get well.

Becky Eveson walks instinctively toward a window in the far reaches of the Sick Kids atrium. She doesn’t wear makeup and her curly brown hair is pulled back. With two children, this is how she always is, regardless of the 5 a.m. drives down Highway 400 to the hospital every morning. One of her only adornments is a necklace with her children’s initials that hangs around her neck.

Craig Eveson drives a snowplow for the Township of King and is also a volunteer firefighter. Becky works in long-term care but has taken a leave to be with Abby. They have lots of help from friends, family and the community. Food is dropped off at the Evesons’ home, and friends and family offer to watch Abby’s 3-year-old big brother, Charlie.

A normal human heart has two large arteries — the pulmonary artery, which sends blood to the lungs, and the aorta, which sends blood to the rest of the body. Abby was born without the main pulmonary artery. The left and right lung branches (usually big like an “arm”) were tiny, says Van Arsdell. Nature “compromised,” he says, by making small “finger” arteries, which struggle to deliver enough blood to her lungs.

“She came out and went blue almost immediately,” says Craig. Abby’s first open-heart surgery happened 14 hours after birth, followed by another surgery a couple of months after that. Then she spent about a year at home, with lots of checkups and several surgeries in between.

On Oct. 28, the team at Sick Kids wove the small finger arteries of Abby’s heart into a bigger “arm.” Even after the surgery, the arteries are still so small that blood flow remains a problem. Abby was put on an intensive form of life support that took over for her heart and lungs.

She has transitioned to a ventilator but her heart is still swollen and her body is battling infection. When it is safe to close her chest — that will be a big milestone in her recovery — Abby will be taken off the breathing machine to see if she can breathe on her own.

Her specific condition is rare. Of the 140,000 births per year in Ontario, Sick Kids might see five similar patients. Right now, there is no solution and no long-term plan, but it is not a situation of “zero hope.” Abby’s medical team want to see her recover from this surgery first. Then when she requires another intervention they will determine what they can do to get her blood oxygen count higher.

For now, she remains in critical care with one-to-one nursing.

On Oct. 28, as surgeons wove Abby’s tiny arteries into something more sturdy, a stranger in Waterloo ate a free lunch. It was an accident, really. In all of the stress of the day, Becky had forgotten the outfit she had wanted to anonymously give to another “heart family” at the hospital. There is a certain degree of superstition in these acts and this was an important day. She sent a private Facebook message to her friend Kristen Dorscht, to see if she could help out.

“I knew she was upset that she forget her pay-it-forward at her house,” says Dorscht, who met the Evesons in July 2013, when their newborn daughters shared a room with two other babies at Sick Kids.

On her lunch break, Dorscht went to a busy McDonald’s and drove to the pickup window, asking to pay for the car behind.

“You wonder who it might be, what their reaction might be. You never know the answer.”

On Nov. 13, Lea and Rick Steenhoek were walking a deserted beach in Mexico when Lea noticed something colourful in the water. Mexican pesos, likely from a swimmer’s pocket.

The Schomberg couple know the Evesons through their daughter, and knew there had been trouble after Abby’s surgery. While they were in Mexico, their daughter emailed about the idea of paying it forward.

Now, money was washing ashore as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

“We have to find a positive home for this,” Lea said to her husband.

They dried the bills in their towels and put the equivalent of $30 U.S. in an envelope and gave it to a man who worked at their resort. It wasn’t a tip, they said. It was a gift on behalf of somebody special.

Last Saturday, at Jay’s Variety in Pottageville, a town near Schomberg, Abby’s face was taped to a coffee decanter with the words “We believe in Abby. Free coffee for Abby.”

Christine and Ajay Dhamrait, who own the variety store and gas station, have a son around Abby’s age. Their station is a short drive from the Evesons’ place and Craig pops in sometimes.

There were about 30 people who drank a coffee on Abby’s behalf that morning. But they didn’t keep the $1.50 they’d normally pay. A box for donations to Sick Kids, left on the counter, contained $100.

“It was just a little thing,” Ajay Dhamrait says, wearing a black Blue Jays hat, as he tends the counter. “Everything you can send their way, right?”

In Uxbridge, Ont., about an hour’s drive due east, Mike Lind was standing in line with his children to get their photo taken with Santa.

When he went to pay, he was told there was a surprise. He figured a local business might be sponsoring the pictures, but he was handed a letter.

“Pay it forward to honour Abby. Please accept this small gift from someone you don’t know,” the note began, describing Abby’s condition.

Lind’s nephew had to have open-heart surgery when he was only 12 hours old.

“He’s a healthy 3-year-old now, so I hope everything works out for Abby as well,” he said.

He posted the photo on a Facebook page dedicated to Abby, as the note suggested.

“It’s a really nice feeling,” he says. “I am looking to pay it forward. I’ll see an opportunity and I’ll do it.”

In addition to all of these gestures, masses and prayers have been offered from Markham to Australia, and healers around the world are meditating.

“I had someone ask me before her surgery, ‘Do you think she’ll be okay?’ I said, ‘Yes, I think she’ll be okay.’ I didn’t know how she would get to that point, but I still feel like she’ll be okay,” Becky says.

Earlier this week, as a grey wall of snow hit the city, Becky was getting ready to leave the hospital. Someone had given her a gift card for coffee, anonymously, and she thought she’d treat herself for the bad drive home. Standing in line behind her were two members of hospital housekeeping staff. She used her card to pay for their crackers and cheese.

“I left smiling,” she says. “It just makes you feel good, which helps when you’re in a not-so-good place with yourself.”

“More people doing nice things for each other — the world becomes a better place,” Craig says.

For the Evesons, this is the way through. A smile, sent out to the world, in the hopes their daughter’s will soon return.

Submit News to CKA News Student's story spurred commitment to tackle sex assault at Lakehead University
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 23:30:00 EST

THUNDER BAY—He sat four seats to the left of her in the class of 30 students.

The man Sarah says raped her months earlier in the basement of his parent’s home in the spring of her third university year. The fellow student she claims threatened to take photos of her half-dressed and tell everyone at school she was a “slut.”

“On the first day of class I just started crying,” she said in an interview. “I cried in front of all my university peers and I just couldn’t control it.”

Sarah, 23, who asked that the Star not publish her real name, said she pleaded with her program chair at Lakehead University to help her choose classes where her alleged rapist was not registered. It was the summer of 2012, leading up to her final year at school.

She didn’t want to contact the police, go through the stress of an investigation or a court process that sees fewer than half of those charged found guilty. She said she didn’t want to face her alleged attacker in court while she was going to school with him, either. She particularly didn’t want her conservative family knowing what happened.

Sarah’s experience prompted Lakehead to create a comprehensive policy for dealing with sexual assault. The Star’s ongoing investigation into how Canadian post-secondary institutions are failing sexual assault victims found that up until Friday, of 78 universities surveyed across the country, Lakehead and eight others were the only universities in Canada with special policies. None of the 24 public Ontario colleges surveyed by the Star had a special policy.

On Friday, two more, Queen’s and the University of Saskatchewan, committed to developing strong policies and the provincial groups that represent publicly funded Ontario universities and public colleges have launched reviews of existing policies and set up special meetings to tackle the issue. The national body representing universities across Canada has said it will respond Monday.

When Sarah contacted her program chair two years ago to request help with her schedule, she told him in an email that she had been assaulted by a classmate. “My main concern is making the classroom environment as safe a place as possible so I may be successful with my education,” she wrote.

She said she was told by the chair that helping her with a class schedule would violate her alleged rapist’s privacy rights. And that nothing could be done unless she made it a “legal battle.” He suggested she use a security escort around campus, she recalls.

It was her first of several interactions with different Lakehead staff and faculty.

“The whole process made me feel horrible,” she said. “Like no one wanted to deal with me, like no one knew how to deal with me.”

“A lot of women will look back and say thank you to her,” Lakehead President Brian Stevenson told the Star in a recent interview.

Stevenson first learned about Sarah’s story when he opened the local paper in the fall of 2013 and read an anonymous letter she had written upon her graduation, describing what it felt like being in a class with the man she says raped her.

“It was during these months that I realized that rape is nearly more heinous than murder, because victims die over the course of their lifetime rather than right away,” it read.

Stevenson, a father of two girls, recalls how reading the letter was “heart wrenching.” Within 48 hours he formed a task force.

“The thing that struck me was there was a gap in policy,” he told the Star.

Before the policy changes were adopted, Lakehead, which has nearly 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled between its Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses, was like most post-secondary institutions in Canada. There was a single reference to “non-consensual sexual intercourse” buried in a wider code of conduct that also deals with drug possession and plagiarism.

The task force found that the code of conduct already covered options for an investigation and possible sanctions if someone wanted to make a formal complaint against a student, but staff didn’t know much about it. Sarah says she dealt with three different staff and faculty members and none told her about this option. She says she would have considered a formal complaint to the university because it would not have upended her life in the way a criminal investigation would.

What they needed, the task force found, was the supplemental sexual misconduct policy they released in June. It spells out the rights of victims coming forward, including a promise for academic accommodation, and the responsibilities of staff. And clearly articulates how a complaint can be launched and what may come of it if the school finds a student guilty after investigation. Sanctions range from admonishment, to restrictions on a student’s movements around campus, to expulsion. And decisions are made on a “preponderance of evidence” instead of the exacting standards of reasonable doubt in a criminal case.

“Careful investigation can work well,” said Lori Chambers, the women’s studies professor who led the task force, adding the school would need overwhelming evidence for expulsion.

Chambers said the new policy was created to ensure that if someone came forward in distress they would be treated with dignity, be given the support they needed and that all options would be presented to them.

The policy also includes a commitment to education. While the university’s Gender Issues Centre had previously held education sessions, they were neither consistent nor campus wide. This September, the school started holding mandatory hour-long sessions for students in residence to go over the policy and talk about consent. Information brochures have been made for all staff.

“We know that sexual assault is actually endemic on campuses across the country and right across North America. We need to talk about it to make it stop,” said Chambers. “We can’t solve the problem unless everyone gets comfortable and knowledgeable.”

In a lengthy interview and several follow-up conversations with the Star, Sarah, who graduated last year and is now living and working in Thunder Bay, recounted what she says happened to her in the basement bedroom and her interactions with the school.

She showed the Star documents from the sexual assault centre that treated her over the course of a year in case she contracted chlamydia or gonorrhea. And information sheets she got from her counsellor on how to cope with flashbacks (“know you are not crazy,” says one of the tips).

The following is her account of what happened.

One day in the spring of 2012, at around 1 p.m., Sarah drove to a classmate’s home to pick him up so they could go to the library to work on a school project. When she arrived he texted, telling her to come inside because he wasn’t ready. She did, without any hesitation.

It was pitch black in his basement room. The windows were boarded up with wood. He threw her on the bed, held her down and started tearing her clothes off, she said.

“He turned into this person who I had no idea who he was and I was terrified to do anything,” she said in an interview.

She told him to stop. He threatened her. Told her he would take pictures of her, send them to everyone at school and tell them she was a slut.

“I asked him to stop and he wouldn’t and he told me that he wasn’t going to stop until he was done because it was ‘too nice and warm inside me,’ ” she said.

When it was over, “he kind of laughed and said, ‘You can go now.’ ”

The summer leading up to her final year at school, Sarah was filled with anxiety, worried she would end up in the same class he was in. It was difficult for her to muster the courage to write her chair, an older male. She also contacted a woman in human resources who she says tried to help by contacting the dean of her program. Again she was told there was nothing the school could do.

On the first day of classes, her alleged attacker pretended he didn’t know her. It was as if they had never met, she says.

The idea of writing exams so close to him made her feel ill. She went back to her program chair, crying this time, requesting she be allowed to take her tests in another room. She offered him the documents from the sexual assault centre as proof, she says.

The chair refused her request, she says. Sarah says she then went to the ombudsman, who was sympathetic and suggested she get a doctor’s note. A doctor wrote her a note saying she had anxiety and depression and she was allowed to write her tests in the school’s learning-assisted centre.

“I paid thousands of dollars to attend (Lakehead University) for the past four years,” she wrote in her letter to the local newspaper, adding she doesn’t blame the university for the actions of a fellow student.

“I blame (Lakehead) for the aftermath which could have been prevented if faculty was trained in how to deal with these situations,” Sarah wrote.

The chair of Sarah’s program did not return a request for comment. But Chambers, the professor who helped lead the task force, says she believes the errors made in Sarah’s case were “errors of ignorance, not ill intent.”

Chambers adds that since the new policy was created, professors (some of whom are fairly conservative male faculty members), have come into her office to thank her.

Asked how the university balances a presumption of innocence with supporting and accommodating students who say they have been sexually assaulted, Stevenson, the university’s president, says he doesn’t see why a school can’t do both.

“It doesn’t infringe on anybody else’s rights but it helps her,” he says. “All we’re saying is, ‘We will do our best to accommodate you; we will believe you.’ ”

Stevenson said he thinks dealing with the issue of a sexual assault in a meaningful way could have a spillover effect, with students taking what they learn with them when they graduate.

“This is our time,” he said. “What we have to do now is . . . try to understand the problem, propose a solution and implement that.”

Sarah has always loved to run. The sport has now become a therapy.

“I was very lifeless for the longest time,” she says, of the months that followed the day she says she was raped. She still sleeps with the television on, preferring to wake up to the weather channel than a dark room.

Rehashing what happened to her has not been easy. She is glad she told her story.

“Something very good came out of it.”

Emily Mathieu can be reached at 416-869-4896 or emathieu@thestar.ca

Jayme Poisson can be reached at 416-814-2725 or jpoisson@thestar.ca

Submit News to CKA News Leafs handle Wings with effort worth saluting: DiManno
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 22:23:48 EST

Marquee draft pick William Nylander took a skate-whack in the head in Sweden and hearts seized in Toronto.

Joffrey Lupul pulled over in the rain on Dundas Street to change a flat tire for an octogenarian motorist, possibly damn near giving the old geezer a heart attack as well. In the movies that’s called meeting cute.

Up-yours down-sticks continued to reverberate around town, the snub that keeps on giving in the media echo chamber.

You know, just another uneventful day in Leafland.

Oh yeah, a hockey game against Original Six rival Detroit at the Air Canada Centre Saturday night, too.

Drama Queens: 4.

Red Wings: 1.

Which puts the Leafs one slim point behind the Wings in the standings, solidly in the Eastern Conference middle crush of things — a fact of which some hysterics need reminding since so much of the “white noise” surrounding the blue and white arises from the margins of hockey in Toronto.

Even those spectacular one-two debacles against Buffalo and Nashville last week, when the sky was falling, are so … 15 minutes ago.

Guess what. The sky stayed up. And the sticks came back up as the Leafs skated off with their 4-1 victory, first time they’ve defeated the Motor City crew in three attempts this fall. Until that moment, the cliffhanger question was: Will they or won’t they?

They did. Kiss-kiss.

Nothing to boo or jeer about here in a closely and tensely contested inter-division affair, a taut 1-1 knot into the third, then 2-1 for much of the frame, as momentum swung back to the home side after tilting in Detroit’s favour in the second, Toronto seizing on the energy and blessed relief of a short-handed goal by Tyler Bozak, unassisted, at 3:44 of the final frame, followed by a marvelous unassisted goal from Peter Holland, followed by an empty-netter from Bozak.

Followed by the rapprochement between team and fans, which captain Dion Phaneuf said later had been discussed in the dressing room earlier in the day, just as the players had made a covenant on Thursday to stiff the in-house ACC audience, although they’ve since claimed — disingenuously — that it was never meant as a silent snipe aimed at fans, not at all.

As if . . . not.

“That was something we talked about in our room,” said Phaneuf. “We did not want to disrespect our fans at all. We know how much support that we have and that’s our new thing now. We wanted to change it up and that’s what we’re doing now.”

Clear as mud. And of minor consequence, really.

The two points are what matters, two Ws in a row as Toronto rises Lazarus-like from the toes-up mordant state of back-to-back catastrophes, with all the face-clawing and hair-pulling that ensued.

“They’re points that were really big in the standings,” said Phaneuf.

“We knew we had to get the points because we owed them,” he admitted, referring to an OT loss at the Joe a month ago after Toronto tied the game with seconds remaining and their goalie pulled.

“We’re chasing them. To stay composed and to stay to the course of our system and to stay disciplined to the way we want to play — we did a lot of good things. And we want to build on them. A couple of games ago, we weren’t anywhere near where we wanted to be.”

A couple of games ago they were dead and buried, Randy Carlyle was being pitch-forked out of town, the radio call-ins wanted everybody from Phil Kessel to Jake Gardiner traded for who-cares-what in return and Brendan Shanahan was “in the bunker,” as in not peeking over the parapet as media and fans caterwauled and players pretended their stick statement was no stick statement, nor had there been any push-back intended against the jersey-tossing and the LET’S GO RAPTORS chants and what many Leafs complained was carrying the can for four decades-plus of hockey ineptitude — a past that is a different country, alien to the Leafs of today.

But the first rule about Maple Leaf fight-back club is you don’t talk about the fight-back club.

To talk about this game is to salute (sorry) the efforts of Bozak, with his seventh and eighth goals of the season — including Toronto’s fourth short-handed goal of the 2014-15 campaign — plus a second goal and 13th point by Leo Komarov, rapidly turning into a fan favourite his second time ’round these parts.

“Some really good efforts by, obviously, Bozie,” continued Phaneuf, referring to the short-handed heroics, chipping the puck past Niklas Kronwall at the blue line and taking a direct bead on Jimmy Howard in the Detroit net, Bozak cleverly dipping his shoulder as if to go backhand but lifting it over Howard’s right shoulder instead.

“That’s a huge goal for our hockey team,” said Phaneuf. “The momentum in the second period shifted their way, but we did a very good job of sticking with it and turning the tide of momentum. That’s really where it started, that goal. With that goal, we kept coming instead of sitting back.”

Taking treatment post-game, Bozak issued a quote from the therapy room: “It was another huge game for us. We wanted to improve our record at home and be a tougher team to play at home. I thought we built off our Tampa Bay game (Thursday) and played a good, hard game here tonight against a very good team.”

It was Carlyle — just about heave-ho’ed 48 hours earlier — who out-wiled his counterpart, Mike Babcock (put forward as Toronto’s next-season coach by his boosters in the chattering class). With the benefit of last change, Carlyle shrewdly juggled between Bozak and Holland to check-thwart Toronto’s nemesis, Red Wing captain Henrik Zetterberg, while leaning heavily on the D-team of Phaneuf and Cody Franson, especially after Roman Polak was lost to a lower- body injury in the second period after getting tangled along the boards with Tomas Tatar, who scored after emerging from the pile. Alarmingly, Carlyle said of that injury post-game: “Serious enough that he’ll be out for a while.”

Toronto now boasts an 8-0 record when scoring first. That augured well when Komarov got the Leafs on the scoreboard at 11:30 of the opening period, after Mike Santorelli carried the puck down the wing. “Just went to the net and it bounced in, so it feels good.”

Holland’s goal at 3-1 was impressive, as he first created the turnover and then protected the puck with his body — mostly with his butt — against a Red Wing backcheck. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw Jimmy Howard had gone down so he shot high. “The biggest thing was creating that turnover and making a good defensive play. Obviously the goal was the cherry on the icing.”

At the buzzer, the Leafs clustered around Jonathan Bernier in celebration.

Then they lifted their sticks to the crowd, which roared in return.

All forgiven and forgotten, I guess. Love ya. Love ya back.

At least until whatever melodrama unfolds in the days ahead.

“I’m just waiting for the next one,” said Carlyle of surviving this past week’s Maple Leaf Monologues. “What’s coming next.”

Submit News to CKA News Couple learns wedding officiator unauthorized after ?mortifying? marriage ceremony
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 20:41:00 EST

Nearly three months after their summertime wedding, Jessica and Casey O’Donnell aren’t quite sure if they’re actually married.

In the Peterborough couple’s own words, the newlyweds are “sort of” spouses.

“Un-frickin-believable,” said Casey, 33, when discussing the events that led to their marital limbo.

“To be honest, it feels surreal, like — did this actually happen? What the hell?”

What happened is this: In the rush to organize an outdoor wedding in August, they took to Kijiji to hire an officiator named George T. Casselman to oversee their ceremony and legally confirm their nuptials.

That resulted in what Casey calls a “trainwreck” at the altar. As portrayed in a video of the ceremony, Casselman stumbled over his words and seemed to utter incoherent sentences. He briefly misplaced the wedding rings, then dropped them to the grass at his feet. At one point he lost his place in his notes, prompting Jessica to mutter, “Couldn’t you just make it up?”

That was hard enough, Jessica recalled. But then, on Monday, the couple says they received a call from Service Ontario telling them Casselman was not authorized to marry people in the province. The O’Donnells say they now have to go to family court and apply for an “order of validity” to finally make their marriage official, an ordeal Casey expects to cost “about $500.”

They have since put out a call of their own on Kijiji, warning others who may have been married by Casselman that their wedding might not be entirely official.

“It was all pretty horrible, and I had kind of swept it under the rug,” said Jessica, 27. “This is just reopening the wound.”

The Star tried repeatedly to contact Casselman, who didn’t return voice mails or text messages on Friday or Saturday.

The situation isn’t unprecedented in the province. Last year, the Ministry of Government Services revealed that more than 830 weddings between 1990 and March 2013 had been officiated by people not authorized to oversee marriages.

Cynthia Vukets, spokesperson for Service Ontario, declined to speak specifically about the Casselman-O’Donnell case, citing privacy rules.

She did say that the agency routinely checks its records and reaches out to couples when they find evidence of an unauthorized marriage officiator. These couples are still considered legally married, Vukets said, but they must apply to the courts to “determine that the marriage is valid” before the province can recognize the union.

In cases where the officiator believed they had marriage authorization, Service Ontario tells them how to get registered through a “recognized” religious institution, Vukets said.

It is a crime in Ontario, however, to knowingly “solemnize” a marriage without the authority to do so. In August, a Dorchester, Ont., woman plead guilty to six counts of knowingly marrying people without authorization and was sentenced to 12 months probation, the Woodstock Sentinel-Review reported.

For privacy reasons, Vukets declined to discuss whether Casselman knew he wasn’t authorized to marry people. But she added there are websites in Ontario that aren’t recognized by Service Ontario that claim to “ordain” marriage officiators in the province.

In a text message to Casey late Friday — which he forwarded to the Star — Casselman says he was certified by the “United National Church of Canada,” which has a website that will “ordain” people to perform marriages for $139.99.

The organization is not authorized to certify marriage officiants in Ontario, Vukets said. The United National Church was unavailable for comment Saturday.

A man named George Thomas Casselman also registered a “ceremonial officiant” business in July called “Enduring Moments.” The listed address on the business document is a low-income apartment building in Peterborough.

After dating for a decade, Casey and Jessica got engaged in February. Two months later they took to the Internet to hire an officiator. They found Casselman’s post “The Wedding Officiant,” in which he says he is a “family man” available to oversee weddings and funerals to help create “your perfect ceremony.”

“We went to his place to meet him,” said Jessica. “He seemed like a pretty reasonable guy, down to earth . . . a little eccentric.”

The couple says they decided to book him and handed over a $75 deposit on a total fee of $250.

Everything seemed fine, said Casey, until they contacted him about a ceremony rehearsal. According to Jessica, Casselman “insisted that wasn’t necessary, that we’re a young couple and we don’t need to spend the extra money” hiring him for a dry run. Jessica said Casselman assured them it would be fine, so they had the rehearsal without him.

In retrospect, that was the first “red flag,” Casey said.

Then came their wedding day, with the ceremony Jessica calls “mortifying.” Casselman, who arrived at the wedding with a woman Casey described as “scantily-clad” in “six-inch heels,” is seen in the YouTube video reading from a book, flanked by the couple at an altar in their friend’s backyard. After bungling the delivery of his notes and drawing sporadic laughter from the crowd Casselman concludes: “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you great honour and great joy and privilege to announce to you, Mr. and Mrs. Jessica O’Donnell.”

Casey is then seen shrugging his shoulders. “I’m taking her name,” he says.

“He just dropped the ball completely,” Casey told the Star. “It seemed like (it took) an eternity.”

After the wedding, Casey and Jessica said they repeatedly tried to contact Casselman. They said he responded three days later with a text message, which Casey sent to the Star. Casselman explained he now realizes he should have done a rehearsal. He also refers to “my heart diabetes,” saying he had a “mild heart attack” after the ceremony, and that he is “truly sorry about that day.”

The couple refused to pay Casselman his entire fee after the ceremony, and Casey said they demanded their $75 deposit back, but didn’t receive the cash.

“It’s a little easier pill for me to swallow,” said Casey. “For Jess, she’s dreamed about (her wedding) her whole life, and for him to make a mockery of it . . . I’m still kind of in shock about it.”

Submit News to CKA News Video: Should Uber Taxis be allowed to operate?
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:48:54 Z
Yellow Cabs in Vancouver explains why they are concerned about the operation of Uber taxis.
Submit News to CKA News Security forum discusses freedom-terrorism surveillance balance - CANOE
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:29:41 GMT

CTV News

Security forum discusses freedom-terrorism surveillance balance
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HALIFAX - The world's leading military minds gathered in Halifax to talk about terrorism, freedom and technology this weekend, while a terrorist organization taunted them all online. On Saturday, the head of the United States National Security Agency (NSA) ...
The three most important discussions at the Halifax International Security ForumThe Globe and Mail
The 2014 Halifax International Security Forum ConcludesHalifax International Security Forum
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Submit News to CKA News Security forum discusses freedom-terrorism surveillance balance
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 19:24:41 -0500

Security forum discusses freedom-terrorism surveillance balance
Submit News to CKA News Quebec budget-slashing review recommends $2.3B in cuts to municipalities, farmers
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 23:35:49 +0000
Quebec municipalities and farmers are among those targeted by an advisory group set up to review government programs and cut spending
Submit News to CKA News B.C. taxi owners wield clout to fight Uber (with video)
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 23:30:39 Z
To many economists and consumer advocates, the debate over whether to let Uber, the hyper-aggressive $18-billion San Francisco upstart shaking up the global taxi industry, operate in B.C. should end in a resounding yes. More competition and choice should, in theory at least, mean better service and lower prices in cities like Vancouver, where it’s often maddeningly difficult to find a cab.
Submit News to CKA News Vaughn Palmer: Premier uses legislature appearance to toy with New Democrats
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 23:30:16 Z
VICTORIA — For an entire question period one day this week, Premier Christy Clark took to the floor to answer for the B.C. Liberal side, and alternatively taunted and toyed with the New Democratic Party Opposition. From the outset Wednesday, Clark saw where the New Democrats were headed with a line of questions about the government’s ethnic outreach scandal, and refused to play along.
Submit News to CKA News Review: Motley Crue and Alice Cooper offer a night at the rock museum in Vancouver
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 23:30:05 Z
There’s an inherent sense of falsehood to major farewell tours, especially in rock.
Submit News to CKA News Ottawa shooter ?confrontational? at North Vancouver construction site
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 23:29:50 Z
Before he was addicted to crack and sleeping in shelters on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the Parliament Hill shooter was known as a “confrontational” member of a construction crew making good money on a seven-kilometre tunnelling job in North Vancouver.
Submit News to CKA News Mad Picker in Vancouver cleans out 40 years of finds with auction
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 23:28:30 Z
VANCOUVER - It's the mother of all closet clean-outs.
Submit News to CKA News Harper offers condolences for soldier killed in work accident at CFB Petawawa
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 22:30:54 +0000
A Petawawa-based soldier died Friday night in an apparent work-related accident, according to reports

Canadian Editorial/Opinion Newswatch

Warning: MagpieRSS: Failed to parse RSS file. (Undeclared entity error at line 56, column 54) in D:\Hosted Sites\canadaka.net\www\includes\rss_fetch\rss_fetch.inc on line 238 Submit News to CKA News Pacquiao closer to Mayweather megafight after punishing Algieri
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 14:40:40 EST

MACAU—Manny Pacquiao is done taking the high road, tired of pretending he doesn’t care.

At long last he has Floyd Mayweather Jr. right where he wants him, and this time he’s not about to let him slip away without a fight.

“I think it’s time to say something,” Pacquiao said Sunday after dispatching Chris Algieri in convincing fashion in this Chinese casino town. “The fans deserve that fight. It’s time to make that fight happen.”

Whether it actually happens, of course, depends on Mayweather agreeing to sign on the bottom line. And for the better part of five years now, Mayweather has given one excuse after another when it comes to making the one fight boxing fans really want.

He thought Pacquiao might be on steroids, and refused to deal with his promoter. When Pacquiao got knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez, Mayweather said it wasn’t worth his time to even mention his name.

But now Mayweather may be boxed into a corner for a number of reasons and from a number of angles. The pressure will be on to make the fight some time in the first half of next year or forever draw the wrath of the fans who contribute to his massive paycheques.

And suddenly the prospect of boxing’s richest fight ever doesn’t seem like such a far-fetched fantasy after all.

“Answer the telephone — it’s as simple as that,” promoter Bob Arum said when asked what it would take to make the fight. “If boxing is to be considered a major sport then the fight has to happen. The nonsense needs to cease. There are no excuses any more.”

Mayweather opened the door ever so slightly to the fight after his win over Marcos Maidana in September, saying that he might be open to the possibility.

“If the Pacquiao fight happens, it happens,” Mayweather said. “You can ask the same questions and get the same answers. I call my own shots.”

There remain a number of obstacles to actually making it happen, though, not the least of which is Mayweather’s willingness to risk his unblemished mark near the end of his career. There are issues with promoters, TV contracts, purse splits and legacies.

But Arum has been in exploratory talks with Les Moonves, the head of CBS Corp., which owns the Showtime network that Mayweather is contractually obligated to for two more fights.

And the fact is that both fighters have pretty much run out of opponents that boxing fans will pay good money for pay-per-view to see. That wouldn’t be the case in a megafight that would break all records and make both fighters paydays far more than the $20 million to $30 million they’ve routinely been getting.

“I get asked about it wherever I go,” Arum said of Pacquiao-Mayweather. “If I’m on a plane the person next to me will ask me. I go to the restroom and the attendant asks me.”

Neither fighter is the same as he was five years ago, when the clamour first began for the fight. Age has taken a toll, if ever so slightly, on their reflexes and speed. But they both have plenty left, as Pacquiao showed when he knocked down Algieri six times on his way to a decision so lopsided that they were measuring it in terms of touchdowns and field goals.

“The man is exactly what he was billed as,” Algieri said after Pacquiao cut short his Rocky story in front of Sylvester Stallone himself. “He’s a great champion and one of the great fighters of his era.”

Algieri’s game plan was to weather the storm early against Pacquiao and try to win the fight late, but he did not implement it well. Algieri ran most of the fight and was unwilling to exchange with Pacquiao, and was out of the bout before it reached the fourth round.

It was a signature win for Pacquiao, one he needed badly. His own plan was to show he still has power after going five years without a knockout and he kept putting Algieri down even if he could not finally put him away.

Afterward, Pacquiao stood in the ring and mimicked a Foot Locker commercial he stars in, where he jumps up and down and excitedly cries out “He’s going to fight me? Yes! Yes!”

Not so fast, maybe. A lot of things would still have to happen to make the fight actually happen. The chances of it falling apart are still greater than it coming together.

But it may be time for boxing fans to start getting at least a little bit excited, too.

Submit News to CKA News Feds to spend $200M more on military mental health programs
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 10:59:54 EST

OTTAWA—The federal government has announced $200 million over six years to support mental health needs of military members, veterans and their families.

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces also announced Sunday that an additional $16.7 million in ongoing funds will be available to support forces members, veterans and their families.

“We cannot forget those who have returned to Canada forever changed by their experience, by their service, experiences that many of us could never imagine or endure,” said justice minister Peter MacKay at a press conference in Halifax Sunday morning.

The government says some of the money will fund completely digitizing the health records of all serving personnel, investing in brain imaging technology and extending access to Military Family Resource Centres.

It also says there will be additional investments in research aimed at finding better treatments and faster recoveries for serving members and veterans with mental health conditions.

Among the areas of research that will be undertaken is looking at how forces members transition from military to civilian life with an emphasis on those with service in Afghanistan.

The research will also look at the causes and prevention of veteran suicides, and ways to improve the recognition, diagnosis, treatment and well-being of veterans with mental health conditions.

The announcement says the Canadian Forces will hire additional staff to help educate serving members and their families in managing their reactions to stress, and recognizing mental duress.

The announcement comes just days after veterans learned that the federal department responsible for their care and benefits was unable to spend upwards of $1.1 billion of its budget over seven years.

But Fantino told a news conference in Halifax that the funding is recycled back into programs for veterans.

“(The lapsed funding) has taken on a life of its own. It’s totally false in the context that it’s been portrayed,” said Fantino at a press conference in Halifax announcing the $200 million initiative. “We are not in any way, shape, or form disadvantaging any veteran who does need help.”

Like other departments unable to spend their appropriation within the budget year, Veterans Affairs was required to return its unspent funds to Canada’s Treasury.

On Thursday, the Royal Canadian Legion wrote to Fantino, demanding a detailed accounting of which programs had lapsed funding and why.

The figures put before Parliament show the veterans department handed back a relatively small percentage of its budget in 2005-06, but shortly after the Conservatives were elected, the figure spiked to 8.2 per cent of allocation.

Mike Blais, head of watchdog group Canadians Veterans Advocacy, said the measures announced Sunday would provide a “marginal benefit” to veterans but stop short of what is needed.

“This is seriously not enough. It’s not enough resourcing, it’s not enough effort put forward in accepting this obligation” to mental health, Blais said.

An auditor general’s report on mental health services and benefits for veterans is due out Tuesday, and Blais said the funding rollout was timed to get ahead of what is expected to be a scathing review.

“I think this is not an act of good faith — it’s an act that they’re responding to what’s going to be a very unfavourable auditor general’s report,” he said.

Also announced Sunday was a new operational stress injury clinic, slated to open in Halifax in the fall of 2015.

In addition to the clinic in Halifax, Veterans Affairs Canada will expand satellite services in nine locations throughout the country, which are funded by Veterans Affairs, but are operated by provincial health authorities.

There are currently outpatient clinics in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, London, Ont., Ottawa, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Que., Quebec City and Fredericton.

Related:

Most Canadians support our troops being in Iraq, poll finds.

With files from Sam Colbert

Submit News to CKA News Marion Barry, former Washington, D.C. mayor notorious for crack incident, dead at 78
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 09:32:40 EST

WASHINGTON—Divisive and flamboyant, maddening and beloved, Marion Barry outshone every politician in the 40-year history of District of Columbia self-rule. But for many, his legacy was not defined by the accomplishments and failures of his four terms as mayor and long service on the D.C. Council.

Instead, Barry will be remembered for a single night in a downtown Washington hotel room and the grainy video that showed him lighting a crack pipe in the company of a much-younger woman. When FBI agents burst in, he referred to her with an expletive. She “set me up,” Barry said.

Barry died Sunday at 78. His family said in statement that Barry died shortly after midnight at the United Medical Center, after having been released from Howard University Hospital on Saturday. No cause of death was given, but his spokeswoman LaToya Foster said he collapsed outside his home.

Speaking at a 4 a.m. press conference at United Medical Center, the city’s mayor-elect Muriel Bowser called Barry an “inspiration to so many people and a fighter for people.”

“Mr. Barry, I can say this, lived up until the minute the way he wanted to live,” said Bowser, who had served with Barry on the D.C. Council.

The year was 1990, and crack cocaine had exploded in the district, turning it into the nation’s murder capital. In his third term, the man known as the “Mayor for Life” became a symbol of a foundering city.

Federal authorities had been investigating him for years for his alleged ties to drug suspects, and while he denied using drugs, his late-night partying was taking a toll on his job performance.

The arrest and subsequent conviction — a jury deadlocked on most counts, convicting him of a single count of drug possession — was a turning point for Barry. He had been elected to his first term as mayor in 1978 with broad support from across the city. With his good looks, charisma and background in the civil rights movement, he was embraced the dynamic leader the city’s young government needed. The Washington Post endorsed him in each of his first three mayoral runs, although the 1986 endorsement was unenthusiastic.

Barry’s six-month term in federal prison was hardly the end of his political career. But it forever changed how it was perceived. To some, he was a pariah and an embarrassment. But to many district residents, particularly lower-income blacks, he was still a hero, someone unfairly persecuted for personal failures.

Barry returned to the D.C. Council in 1992, representing the poorest of the city’s eight wards. Two years later, he won his fourth and final term as mayor. The electorate was starkly divided along racial lines, and Barry advised those who had not supported his candidacy to “get over it.”

“Marion Barry changed America with his unmitigated gall to stand up in the ashes of where he had fallen and come back to win,” poet Maya Angelou said in 1999.

Barry’s triumph, though, was short-lived. In 1995, with the city flirting with bankruptcy from years of bloated, unaccountable government, much of it under Barry, Congress stripped him of much of his power and installed a financial control board. Barry held authority over little more than the city’s parks, libraries and community-access cable TV station. He decided against seeking a fifth term.

Barry spent a few years working as a municipal bond consultant, but he couldn’t stay away from politics. In 2004, he returned to the council, again representing Ward 8, where he remained beloved. Many constituents still referred to him as “Mayor Barry,” and he was re-elected in 2008 and 2012.

Barry was born March 6, 1936, to Marion and Mattie Barry, in the small Mississippi delta town of Itta Bena, and was raised in Memphis, Tenn., after the death of his father, a sharecropper.

While an undergraduate at LeMoyne College (now LeMoyne-Owen College), Barry picked up the nickname “Shep” in reference to Soviet propagandist Dmitri Shepilov for his ardent support of the civil rights movement. Barry began using Shepilov as his middle name.

Barry did graduate work in chemistry at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., earning a master’s degree. He left school short of a doctorate to work in the civil rights movement.

His political rise began in 1960, when he became the first national chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, which sent young people into the South to register black voters and became known as one of the most militant civil rights groups of that era.

Barry’s work with the committee brought him to Washington, where he became immersed in local issues, joining boycotts of the bus system and leading rallies in support of the city’s fledgling home rule efforts.

In 1970, The Post wrote: “Four years ago widely considered a young Black Power Militant with almost no constituency, (Barry) has become a man who is listened to — if not fully accepted — on all sides.”

Barry’s activism propelled him into local politics, first as a member of the Board of Education and then in 1974 as a member of the first elected city council organized under home rule legislation.

In 1977, he was wounded by a shotgun blast in the Hanafi Muslim takeover of D.C.’s city hall. A young reporter was killed. The shooting was credited with strengthening him politically.

In 1978, he defeated incumbent Mayor Walter Washington — the city’s first home rule mayor — in the Democratic primary and went on to easily win the general election.

Barry’s early years in office were marked by improvement in many city services and a dramatic expansion of the government payroll, creating a thriving black middle class in the nation’s capital. Barry established a summer jobs program that gave many young people their first work experience and earned him political capital.

In his second term, the district’s finances were rockier, and some of his appointees were caught up in corruption scandals.

The city’s drug-fuelled decline mirrored Barry’s battles with his personal demons, leading to the infamous hotel room arrest on Jan. 19, 1990. The video of Barry was widely distributed to the media and made him infamous worldwide.

A few months after his arrest, longtime civil rights advocate and educator Roger Wilkins, a past supporter, wrote in The Post: “Marion Barry used the elders and lied to the young. He has manipulated thousands of others with his cynical use of charges of racism to defend his malodorous personal failures.”

Even after his comeback, controversy continued to dog Barry. Several times after his 1990 arrest, Barry sought treatment or counselling for problems with prescription medications or other substances. In 2002, he made an attempt to seek an at-large seat on the D.C. Council but abandoned his bid amid allegations of renewed illegal drug use.

In 2006, Barry was given three years of probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanour charges for failing to file tax returns from 1999 to 2004. As part of a plea bargain, he agreed to file future federal and local tax returns annually, a promise prosecutors later said he had failed to keep.

In 2010, he was censured by the council and stripped of his committee assignments for steering a government contract to a former girlfriend. The council censured him again in 2013 for accepting cash gifts from city contractors.

Barry played the role of elder statesman in his later years on the council, but he sometimes exasperated his colleagues with his wavering attention at meetings and frequent, rambling references to his tenure as mayor.

He suffered numerous health problems over the years. In addition to kidney failure, he survived prostate cancer, undergoing surgery in 1995 and a follow-up procedure in 2000. In late 2011, he underwent minor surgery on his urinary tract. In early 2014, he spent several weeks in hospitals and a rehabilitation centre battling infections and related complications.

In a statement Sunday, current Mayor Vincent C. Gray expressed deep sadness after learning about Barry’s death. Gray spoke with Barry’s wife, Cora Masters Barry, late Saturday and shared his condolences and sympathies with her. The couple was long estranged but never divorced.

“Marion was not just a colleague but also was a friend with whom I shared many fond moments about governing the city,” Gray said. “He loved the District of Columbia and so many Washingtonians loved him.”

Mayor Gray said that he would work with Barry’s family and the Council to plan official ceremonies “worthy of a true statesman of the District of Columbia.”

Barry was married four times and is survived by his wife, Cora, and one son, Marion Christopher Barry.

Associated Press reporter Jessica Gresko contributed to this report.

Submit News to CKA News HIV prevention drug Truvada focus of controversy
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 09:00:00 EST

Len Tooley remembers anxiety-filled days as his next HIV test approached, time spent racking his brain, trying to recall if he’d done something against his better judgment that could have exposed him to infection.

Tooley, 33, is a sexually active gay guy living in downtown Toronto. As someone who works as an HIV educator, tester and counsellor and did a master’s degree in public health focused on gay men and HIV, he understood the importance of using a condom during sex.

He just wasn’t, he readily admits, perfect at it.

“We all want to mitigate risks in our lives,” he says. “But it’s not as easy as it looks on paper.”

So two years ago, he convinced his doctor, after a thorough assessment, to provide him with Truvada, a drug already being used to treat people who are HIV-positive and one shown to be highly effective at preventing the transmission of HIV.

Some consider it a revolution in protection against HIV, but it has also led to some polarizing debates in the world of AIDS activism. Last week, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), based in Los Angeles, rolled out print ads in seven U.S. markets challenging the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on its recommendation of the drug.

Known as PrEP, which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis, Truvada stops infection if it is taken properly before exposure. James Wilton, co-ordinator of biomedical science of HIV prevention at CATIE, a leading Canadian source for HIV information, says there is “a lot of evidence . . . that PrEP taken consistently and correctly can reduce risk of transmission by over 90 per cent.”

Truvada, taken as a daily pill, continues to be studied and will be the focus of a year-long clinical trial just getting underway at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital.

“The drug prevents HIV from being able to replicate in your body,” explains Tooley, who remains HIV-negative. “So, if you’re exposed to HIV and the drug is in your system, the virus can’t replicate enough to get a foothold in your immune system.”

Truvada has been approved by Health Canada as a treatment for HIV but not as PrEP to prevent its transmission. It is not illegal for doctors to provide it for that use by writing what is called an off-label prescription. It costs between $800 and $900 a month, or about $30 a pill.

Tooley considers himself fortunate he has a drug plan that pays for Truvada and a gay family physician accustomed to dealing with HIV issues. He must still have regular testing for HIV because if he did become positive, the virus could quickly adapt and become resistant to the drugs he is taking.

“PrEP is one part of what I really consider a huge change in the way that we look at, understand and address HIV,” says Tooley, the co-ordinator of community health-promotion programming at CATIE.

“Nobody is saying we should give up condoms and PrEP is the only option. But what we are saying is that PrEP is effective and it is an option and it is important to acknowledge that.”

Awareness of PrEP has been growing, especially since it was approved in 2012 in the United States and endorsed by both the CDC and the World Healthy Organization. The CDC recommended PrEP for as many as 500,000 high-risk American men who have sex with men. Information provided by Gilead Sciences, Truvada’s manufacturer, shows that 3,253 unique individuals began taking the drug as PrEP in the U.S. between Jan. 1, 2012, and March 31, 2014. That number comes from a survey of 55 per cent of the nation’s retail pharmacies.

No numbers are available in Canada, but Dr. Darrell Tan, who will lead the St. Mike’s demonstration project, says the use of PrEP in Toronto “is not widespread but it is definitely increasing.”

Gilead has not made an application to Health Canada for approval of Truvada as PrEP.

On Halloween, the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) rolled out an education campaign about PrEP, visiting several clubs in Toronto’s Gay Village around Church and Wellesley Sts. to promote conversations about what it calls “an important new prevention tool.” It also posted an extensive information package on its website

“It’s very much the hot topic in the HIV-prevention community,” says Chris Thomas, an ACT spokesperson involved in community education.

“I don’t think we so much encourage it as we make known what the reality of using it is. I think we see it as a strategy that you can use to reduce your risk of contracting HIV. It’s not something where we are going to put all of our eggs in the basket. We continue to encourage the use of condoms and other types of safe sex practices.”

While some herald PrEP as a huge breakthrough in the fight against the spread of HIV, there are dissenting voices, the loudest of which likely belongs to Michael Weinstein, president of L.A.’s AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Weinstein has dismissed Truvada as a “party drug” and called it a “public health disaster in the making.” Then came last week’s ads in the form of an open letter to the CDC titled: “What If You’re Wrong About PrEP?”

In the letter, the AHF challenged the CDC’s recommendations as a public health strategy because of “consistently bad adherence by study subjects.”

Not only does the AHF fear the pills will not be taken properly, but it is also concerned that PrEP will create a culture in which men who have sex with men will move away from using condoms, and that that will lead to an increase in other sexually transmitted infections.

“Men would prefer to have sex without condoms,” Weinstein said in an interview last week. “That’s a given. So if you give people a get-out-of-jail-free card, they’re going to use it. You can actually do harm by discouraging some people who are currently protecting themselves from not using condoms.”

Weinstein said PrEP, if not adhered to correctly, will give men a false sense of security and they’ll engage in unsafe sex.

“We felt the warning had to be put out there.”

Some in the HIV-prevention community have dismissed Weinstein as a pariah, an attention-seeking contrarian interested mostly in promoting himself and his foundation. A recent New York Times article suggested Weinstein’s “vociferous opposition to PrEP has made him perhaps the most hated man in the AIDS business.”

The paper quoted one veteran activist saying, “I consider him a menace to HIV prevention.”

“Prevention is a thankless job,” counters Weinstein. “But it’s a moral responsibility.”

The ACT info package reinforces that PrEP is “added protection” and “encourages guys to continue using condoms in addition to taking PrEP.”

Thomas says that in his work with ACT, his experience is that men using PrEP are not taking more chances with their sexual health.

“In terms of it fostering a risk-infused environment, that’s not something that we’ve seen immediately. The people who are interested in PrEP are extremely conscious of their health. They are fantastic stewards of their own well-being. This is may be one of the reasons why they are interested or using PrEP in the first place.”

Against that backdrop of differing views, Dr. Darrell Tan is about to begin a trial at St. Michael’s to clinically assess PrEP, a study that will coincidentally address concerns raised in the AHF open letter.

Over the next year, 50 Toronto men who have sex with men with follow a regimen of PrEP, and Tan, an infectious diseases physician and clinical scientist at the hospital, will monitor their adherence to the drug and whether it changes their aversion to sexual risk. He’ll also look at whether any of the subjects develop a resistance to the drug.

“There has continued to be some debate about PrEP . . . ” he says. “There are a lot of concerns that people have about whether it is a good thing to do or not.

“To base policy decisions on speculation about how people will or will not behave in the future is not the ideal route to go. I think we really need to collect the data to answer those important, realistic questions.”

Tan says that the HIV infection rate among gay men in Toronto is about 17 to 18 per cent and that, he says, “rivals what we see in the hardest hit countries of Africa.

“Clearly, it’s a problem and we have to do something about it. It really speaks to the need for new interventions.”

“I think that at a population level, (PrEP) has the potential to be a game-changer. I think the other way to look at it is at the individual level. Every single infection that is prevented is a game-changer for that individual.”

Tooley agrees that it is important to raise questions and have frank discussions, but he is concerned that a letter like the one published by the AHF might discourage some men from pursuing a protection option that could be perfect for them.

“Unfortunately, we are still living in a world where HIV transmission still happens,” he says. “It’s a reality and for guys who are at risk of HIV, I think it would be a real shame for them to not consider PrEP because of a letter written by the AHF.”

Tooley, who spoke to the Star as an individual who has made his life in HIV prevention rather than as a representative of CATIE, says his use of a pre-exposure prophylaxis has “profoundly impacted my sense of well-being.

“It’s given me a level of confidence and security that was a pie-in-the-sky dream before and that is a pretty significant thing for a young gay man who grew up in the shadow of an epidemic that wiped out a lot of people in the community before he really got into that community.

“I wouldn’t necessarily go so far as to say that PrEP a game-changer for the HIV movement, but in some ways for me, it’s been a personal game-changer,” continues Tooley. “If you look at the stories of people who use PrEP, that’s not an uncommon thing and that’s a really hopeful thing.”

Submit News to CKA News Most Canadians support our troops being in Iraq, poll finds
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 05:00:00 EST

About two-thirds of Canadians support the mission in Iraq and consider the Islamic State a threat to Canada that must be confronted overseas, a new poll says.

Days after Canada’s third bombing mission destroyed a warehouse and training ground in northern Iraq Tuesday, a Forum Research poll found 66 per cent of voters agree with the Canadian effort to combat the Islamic State, also known as ISIL. Our contribution to this war effort includes bombing missions by six CF-18 fighter jets.

The survey found that 30 per cent do not agree with the mission — a position mirrored by 40 per cent of voters aged 18-34, and 37 per cent of those polled in Quebec.

The poll also discovered more Canadians agree that ISIL poses a direct threat to Canada today (67 per cent) than did in a September poll (56 per cent).

About two thirds of voters support the claim that the Islamic State must be combatted in Iraq to stop the group from spreading into Canada.

A strong majority of Canadians — 70 per cent — believe the country needs tougher anti-terrorism laws.

Of those polled, 72 per cent agree that Canadians deemed “high risk,”who might travel abroad to participate in jihadist movements, should have their passports revoked. And 86 per cent agree that such individuals should not be allowed back into Canada once they have left.

Voters were evenly divided on whether attacks on Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent justified Canada’s involvement in the U.S.-led mission in Iraq.

Forum put Ben Franklin’s famous adage to voters: “Those who give up their freedom for security deserve neither freedom nor security.” Less than half — 45 per cent — agree with Franklin, a quarter do not and just under one-third have no opinion on the statement.

The poll was taken by telephone using an interactive voice response survey on Nov. 19 and 20. The sample was made up of a random selection of 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and older. Forum said its results are accurate plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

With files from The Canadian Press

Submit News to CKA News Cosby allegations recast decades-old view of cultural icon
Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:02:00 EST

They didn’t see a comedian. They saw the “king of the world.”

Long before there was a Dr. Cliff Huxtable, before rumpled sweaters and a collective anointing as America’s dad, Bill Cosby was magnified a hundredfold in the eyes of the young models and actresses he pulled into his orbit. For them, he embodied the hippest of the 1960s and ’70s Hollywood scene, a mega-star with the power to make somebodies out of nobodies.

He partied with Hugh Hefner and was a regular at the magazine mogul’s Playboy Mansion bacchanals. He co-owned a restaurant and hit the hottest clubs. He sizzled.

Those wild, largely forgotten days clash with the avuncular image that has been Cosby’s most enduring impression on American culture. And they have been jarringly cast in a wholly different light as a torrent of women have told — and in some cases retold — graphic, highly detailed stories of alleged abuse by Cosby.

Sixteen women have publicly stated that Cosby, now 77, sexually assaulted them, with 12 saying he drugged them first and another saying he tried to drug her. The Washington Post has interviewed five of those women, including a former Playboy Playmate who has never spoken publicly about her allegations. The women agreed to speak on the record and to have their identities revealed. The Post also has reviewed court records that shed light on the accusations of a former director of women’s basketball operations at Temple University who assembled 13 “Jane Doe” accusers in 2005 to testify on her behalf about their allegations against Cosby.

The accusations, some of which Cosby has denied and others he has declined to discuss, span the arc of the comedy legend’s career, from his pioneering years as the first black star of a network television drama in 1965 to the mid-2000s, when Cosby was firmly entrenched as an elder statesman of the entertainment industry, a scolding public conscience of the African American community and a philanthropist. They also span a monumental generational shift in perceptions — from the sexually unrestrained ’60s to an era when the idea of date rape is well understood.

The saga of the abuse allegations is set in locales that speak to Cosby’s wealth and fame: a Hollywood-studio bungalow, a chauffeured limousine, luxury hotels, a New York City brownstone. But it also stretches into unexpected places, such as an obscure Denver talent agency that referred two of Cosby’s future accusers to the star for mentoring.

The allegations are strung together by perceptible patterns that appear and reappear with remarkable consistency: mostly young, white women without family nearby; drugs offered as palliatives; resistance and pursuit; accusers worrying that no one would believe them; lifelong trauma. There is also a pattern of intense response by Cosby’s team of attorneys and publicists, who have used the media and the courts to attack the credibility of his accusers.

Martin Singer, an attorney for Cosby, issued a statement Friday defending his client and assailing the news media.

“The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity,” he said. “These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.

“Lawsuits are filed against people in the public eye every day. There has never been a shortage of lawyers willing to represent people with claims against rich, powerful men, so it makes no sense that not one of these new women who just came forward for the first time now ever asserted a legal claim back at the time they allege they had been sexually assaulted.

“This situation is an unprecedented example of the media’s breakneck rush to run stories without any corroboration or adherence to traditional journalistic standards. Over and over again, we have refuted these new unsubstantiated stories with documentary evidence, only to have a new uncorroborated story crop up out of the woodwork. When will it end? It is long past time for this media vilification of Mr. Cosby to stop.”

During an interview on Friday with Florida Today, Cosby said: “I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos. People should fact-check. People shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t answer to innuendos.”

If his accusers are to be believed, the earliest allegations against Cosby remained hidden for decades, private artifacts of an era when women were less likely to publicly accuse men they knew of sexual misdeeds and society was less likely to believe them. But they have flared periodically throughout the past nine years, both because of changing attitudes and, particularly over the past month, because of social media’s ability to transform a story into a viral phenomenon almost impossible to suppress or control.

The allegations represent a reshaping of Cosby’s legacy. Cosby built his fame on a family-friendly comedic persona. He has lectured black youths about proper behavior. He has been honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom and been lauded for making the largest donation ever by an African American to a historically black college, Spelman College in Atlanta.

But since the avalanche of accusations this month, there has been mostly thundering silence from his longtime allies. An exception is Weldon Latham, a prominent Washington attorney and Cosby friend. He noted in an interview with The Washington Post that his friend has never been charged with a crime and wondered whether “some of the women coming out now, seem to be making it up.”

“What you’re hearing is clearly not the entire truth, and how much of it is true, you have no idea,” Latham said.

“I’m pained,” said Virginia Ali, owner of Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street in Washington, which Cosby has frequented since he was 21. “He has been part of the family for many, many years. I’ve always found him a very kind, generous person. I like to say he shares his humanity.”

The influential producers of “The Cosby Show,” the ‘80s sitcom that made Cosby famous as a family man, issued a brief statement. “These recent news reports are beyond our knowledge or comprehension,” Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner said Thursday.

Cosby was on the verge of what appeared to be a comeback this year, but projects scheduled for NBC and Netflix have been postponed or canceled in the fallout. Several of Cosby’s upcoming comedy shows have been canceled, but when he took the stage Friday in Melbourne, Florida, he received a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd.

Americans who sat in front of their television sets on Sept. 15, 1965, had never seen anything like Alexander Scott, the jet-setting international spy. Black stars had appeared on their screens before but never in a leading role, and this one happened to be a 28-year-old comic who just three years earlier had dropped out of Temple University.

The reaction to Cosby’s breakthrough as a co-star appearing on equal footing with a white actor, Robert Culp, reflected a nation still haltingly emerging from its segregationist past. Some Southern television stations banned the program because of Cosby’s prominent role, but much of the nation embraced it, making “I Spy” a hit.

“At Howard University, we used to go wild when we saw a soul brother with a gun allowed to shoot back,” Latham once said.

The Hollywood establishment went wild, too, awarding lead-actor Emmys to Cosby in all three seasons that the program aired.

The writer

Soon he would have his own program (“The Bill Cosby Show”) and all the trappings that went along with it, including his own Hollywood-studio bungalow. A teenage comedy writer named Joan Tarshis was more than thrilled to get an invite to that private hideaway in 1969.

Tarshis was only 19, but she had already written monologues for Godfrey Cambridge, one of a handful of nationally prominent black comedians in the mid- and late-1960s, she said in an interview with The Washington Post. But getting to hang out with Cosby was almost like taking an express elevator to the penthouse without stopping at the upper floors.

Cosby was a familiar face on the party circuit, knocking around with Hefner, author Shel Silverstein and John Dante, the second-in-command at Playboy, according to “Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream,” by Steven Watts.

“Hef and his three buddies loved to fly up to [Playboy’s resort on Wisconsin’s Lake Geneva], catch a show, and throw a party for the Bunnies and performers,” Watts wrote.

Cosby was also hitting it big with comedy records, though in hindsight one of his riffs seems particularly insensitive. On his 1969 record, “It’s True! It’s True!,” Cosby joked about drugging women with Spanish Fly, a purported aphrodisiac. Cosby tells the story of a character who convinced him of its powers by recounting how he had slipped some into the drink of a woman named “Crazy Mary.” After that, Cosby said, he’d “go to a party, see five girls standing alone” and think, “Boy, if I had a whole jug of Spanish Fly I’d light that corner up over there.” The audience roars with laughter.

At a lunch at Cosby’s bungalow, Tarshis recalled, he urged her to mix a beer with her bloody mary.

“We call that a redeye,” she said he told her.

Cosby invited her to the set of his new show, and then went back to his bungalow to work on some jokes about earthquakes, since Los Angeles had recently been hit by tremors.

“I said, ‘Sure!’ “ recalled Tarshis, who first disclosed her accusations this month in a column for the website Hollywood Elsewhere. “I mean, I had written for Godfrey Cambridge and now I was going to write for Bill Cosby!”

In the bungalow, Tarshis said, Cosby made her another redeye. “I don’t know what was in that drink, but it knocked me out. The next thing I remember after having that drink was waking up on his couch,” she said. “I was really foggy. He was trying to take my underwear off.”

She tried to talk her way out of an unwanted sexual encounter, she said. She made up a story about having a genital infection.

“’If you have sex with me, your wife will know,’ “ she recalled telling him. “He didn’t miss a beat. He knew exactly how to respond. He made me give him oral sex. It was pretty horrible.”

She told no one. Instead, she went home to Brooklyn, New York.

A few weeks later, Cosby called her house and spoke to her mother, who had no idea what had allegedly happened on that couch in the bungalow, Tarshis said. Cosby told Tarshis’s mother that he wanted to take her daughter to the Westbury Music Fair on Long Island to hear him deliver a monologue to which Tarshis had made a small writing contribution.

“She was over the moon,” Tarshis said of her mother. “She was so excited.”

Looking back through the prism of four decades, Tarshis, now 66, wonders why she went. “I didn’t know how to handle it,” she said. “I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to be in a theater. It’s going to be safe.’ I didn’t see any way out.”

A limousine picked her up at her mother’s and took her to Cosby’s New York hotel room at the Sherry-Netherland, Tarshis recalled. Tarshis — who has acknowledged having a drinking problem but says she has been sober since 1988 — remembered being “nervous and uncomfortable.” She had a drink with him to calm down because she was so uneasy about being in his presence after the first alleged assault, she said. By the time they got to the theater, she was feeling so unsteady that she had to leave, she said. She asked the limousine driver to take her back to the car. She lay down.

“The next thing I know, I’m in his hotel room, in his bed, naked,” Tarshis said.

She said she believed he had sexually assaulted her.

“My first thought was, ‘How do I get out of here?’ “ she said. “Also, ‘How do I get out of here safely?’ I didn’t want to aggravate him. I didn’t know what he’d do.”

John Milward, a freelance reporter and author, confirmed that Tarshis told him about her Cosby allegations in the early 1980s, though he never wrote about them. And, Tarshis said, she never contacted the police.

“Who was going to believe me?” she said. “If he was a regular joe, I might have done something.”

One of Cosby’s attorneys, John Schmitt, issued a statement last week saying that repeating old allegations “does not make them true.”

The waitress

She wanted an adventure. With high school graduation behind her, Linda Traitz and a group of friends left Miami Beach in 1969 to see what it would be like to live in California.

She took a job as a waitress. It wasn’t about the job; it was about the place, a place filled with stars, a place that glittered.

Traitz worked at Cafe Figaro, a West Hollywood spot that was notable, in part, because of Cosby, who co-owned it and made it his hangout for business meetings.

“I was young and star-struck,” Traitz, now 63, recalled in an interview with The Washington Post.

Traitz’s year of adventure coincided with Cosby’s emergence as a solo phenomenon. He was no longer Culp’s co-star or merely a clever comic; he was showing he could do it all: conceive, write and act. NBC debuted an animated TV movie version of his brainchild, “Fat Albert.” His situation comedy, “The Bill Cosby Show,” launched, and he was about to win his fourth Emmy for a television special he headlined. He even did a Crest toothpaste ad. Everything he touched glistened.

In the midst of all that, Traitz said, Cosby chatted her up one day at his restaurant and offered a ride home. She could not have imagined saying anything but yes.

The minutiae of that day are carved into her mind. She even remembers what she was wearing: a long “hippie days” peasant skirt. She climbed into Cosby’s Rolls Royce and he suggested they drive out to the beach, Traitz recalled. Once they parked at the beach, he opened a briefcase, she said.

“It had assorted sections in it, with pills and tablets in it, different colors arranged and assorted into compartments,” she recalled. “He offered me pills and said it would help me to relax, and I kept refusing but he kept offering.”

Cosby “lunged” at her, she said, “grabbed my chest, grabbed me in the front all over.”

“I was crying and horrified,” she said. She broke free, she said, and tumbled out of the car. She ran down the beach with Cosby in pursuit, but she tripped on that long peasant skirt and fell onto the sand, she said.

Cosby agreed to take her home. Her skirt was torn. Walking back to the car, they passed a block filled with shops. Cosby bought her a new skirt, she said.

They rode in silence. “He froze me out,” she said. He never tried anything again, she said, but Traitz could not keep the incident to herself. She told her co-workers and her family what happened at the time. She decided not to go to the police.

“It was a different time,” her brother, Jim Traitz, told The Washington Post. “We all also knew this was a really big guy with a big PR operation and lawyers, and that he could crush us — that he would crush us — and her.”

Life has not been easy for Linda Traitz, who has a history of drug addiction. In the past decade, she has amassed a criminal record with multiple convictions, mostly related to prescription drugs, according to Florida court records. She received a five-year prison term, serving from 2008 to 2012.

“I know there will be people who are going to say: ‘You have a drug problem. Why should we believe you?’ “ she said of her decision to go public now.

Just as the allegations against Cosby span generational shifts in attitudes about what constitutes out-of-bounds behavior, they also span historic shifts in how information is disseminated. At the time when Traitz alleges Cosby assaulted her, there was no such thing as social media.

But this month, two events compelled her to make a public statement, Traitz said. First, the comedian Hannibal Buress touched off a social-media frenzy by asking an audience at one of his shows to Google “Bill Cosby rapist.” Then, on Nov. 13, The Washington Post published a first-person account by another accuser, Barbara Bowman. Traitz, furious about the attacks on Bowman and other Cosby accusers, posted her story on Facebook.

Singer, Cosby’s attorney, called Traitz “the latest example of people coming out of the woodwork with unsubstantiated or fabricated stories about my client.”

He added, “There was no briefcase of drugs and the story is absurd.”

The Playmates

Victoria Valentino was living what appeared to be a version of the Hollywood dream. Playboy magazine picked her as Playmate of the Month for September 1963 when she was just 19. The next year, she helped open the original Playboy Club as a bunny on the Sunset Strip on New Year’s Eve.

But by the end of the decade, she had drifted away from those glitzy heights, she recalled in an interview with The Washington Post. In September 1969, her 6-year-old son, Tony, had drowned in a swimming pool. She battled a deep depression, she recalled.

Francesca Emerson, a fellow Playboy bunny who befriended Valentino at the Playboy Club, sensed her despondency. Emerson, who is black, said she was one of the first “chocolate Bunnies” of the 1960s and had trained Valentino in her role as a “Bunny instructor.”

Emerson had a plan to lift Valentino’s spirits. “I want you to meet my friend, Bill Cosby,” she said.

Emerson and Cosby had hit it off at the Playboy Club. “He always gave me $100 tips, and he tried to get me to come down to the studio to read for his show, but I was always so nervous.”

After Emerson lost her job at the club in 1968, she said, a chauffeur arrived at her home and handed her an envelope. Inside was $1,000 and a note. “This is for you so you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Love, Cos,” Emerson said it read.

“That’s the Bill Cosby I knew,” Emerson said. “He was a perfect gentleman.”

She said she introduced her “stunning” friend Valentino to Cosby in January 1970 at Cafe Figaro. Weeks later, she said, she met Cosby there again. Valentino said she was with her friend and roommate at the time, an aspiring actress named Meg Foster. She said Cosby offered to pay for massages for the women at a local spa and then sent a limousine to pick them up for dinner.

Valentino said they had dinner at a restaurant called Sneaky Pete’s. They ordered steaks and wine, and toward the end of dinner, Valentino said, Cosby offered her and Foster red pills.

“He was trying to cheer me up, and he stuck a pill in my mouth,” she said. “He said, ‘This will make us all feel better.’ ”

She and Foster each took a pill, and Cosby did, too, she said.

“We were slurring words. I couldn’t function,” she recalled, adding that Cosby said he would take them home but instead drove them to an apartment in the hills above the Chateau Marmont hotel. Valentino said Cosby wanted to show them some memorabilia from I Spy.

Once inside, Valentino said, Foster passed out. The room was spinning, and Valentino said she remembered feeling as if she was going to throw up. She said she saw Cosby sitting in a love seat near Foster and she noticed that he had an erection.

“I reached out, grabbing him, trying to get his attention, trying to distract him,” Valentino said. “He came over to me and sat down on the love seat and opened his fly and grabbed my head and pushed my head down. And then he turned me over. It was like a waking nightmare.”

She protested but could not stop him, she said. Cosby slipped out alone, telling Valentino to call a cab if she wanted to go home, she said.

Valentino said she never called the police. “What kind of credibility did I have?” she said. “In those days, it was always the rape victim who wound up being victimized. You didn’t want to go to the police. That’s the last thing you wanted to do back then.”

She was too embarrassed to tell most of her friends, but she did tell Emerson — the woman who had introduced her to Cosby.

Emerson, who lives in Australia, confirmed Valentino’s recollection in an interview with The Washington Post.

“I remember she said that he had drugged her and she came to and he was trying to rape Meg and she pulled him off,” Emerson said. “But I feel devastated that I didn’t do anything or say anything.”

Foster, an actress known for roles in TV shows such as Cagney and Lacey and movies, including The Osterman Weekend, declined an interview request.

About 10 years ago, Valentino was contacted by another former Playboy Playmate, Charlotte Kemp, Miss December 1982, who said she was writing a book called Centerfold Memories.

In an interview, Kemp — whose real last name is Helmkamp — said she videotaped an interview with Valentino during which she talked about her alleged encounter with Cosby. Helmkamp said the account she gave matches the account Valentino provided to The Washington Post.

Valentino, now 71, said she decided to come forward after seeing Bowman’s allegations in The Washington Post.

“Every time I hear his name mentioned and see him getting an honorary doctorate and see him as this father figure, it makes me nauseated,” Valentino said. “It’s so humiliating. Forty-four years later it makes me feel shameful.”

When contacted by The Washington Post about Valentino’s allegations, Cosby’s lawyer responded by issuing the broad denial to the recent accusations.

The protege

He liked to watch her brush her hair, Tamara Green recalled. Cosby would sit and watch her pull the brush through her long, thick blond locks as she sang lyrics made famous by the sultry, smoky-voiced jazz great Julie London.

“You need to be taught. You need to be groomed,” Green remembered him telling her.

Green was in her early 20s when she met Cosby through a mutual friend, a Los Angeles doctor, she said. “He was king of the world,” Green said in an interview with The Washington Post. “Full of himself. I Spy. Man about town.”

When Green met Cosby — in 1969 0r 1970, she said — she was doing some modelling and singing. Los Angeles felt like the host of one long, awesome party. Knowing Cosby made it even more awesome.

“We slept all day and were up all night,” Green said.

It was a “very hippie-dippy, very free-love” time, Green said. The big shots in her circle of celebrity friends kept “stables of girls,” Green said. “They had a total disrespect for the girls.” Green did not want to be Cosby’s girl.

Green went to work for Cosby in the early 1970s, she said. She was supposed to be raising money from investors for a new club Cosby intended to open.

She called Cosby one day to say she was feeling sick and was going to go home. He told her she would feel better if she ate something and invited her to join him at Cafe Figaro, she said. When she arrived, he gave her some red and grey pills, saying they were over-the-counter decongestants, she recalled.

Cosby drove Green to her apartment and she started to feel woozy, she said. “I remember him being all smarmy: ‘Let me help you take off all your clothes,’ ” she recalled.

“I couldn’t control my body. I couldn’t run,” Green recalled. “. . . He was naked. I was naked on my bed. His hands were all over me.”

Cosby penetrated her vagina with his fingers and fondled his penis in front of her, Green said. She screamed in protest, she said. “You’re going to have to kill me,” she remembers telling him. But he would not stop, she said, until she managed to upend a table lamp.

Cosby tossed down two $100 bills as he left, a gesture that Green took as a deep insult, she said. She did not think of herself as a girl who could be bought, but she felt helpless to do anything. She feared Cosby’s power. But there was another thing that she fretted about. Her young brother was dying from cystic fibrosis, and the day after the alleged incident, Cosby visited him at the children’s hospital where he was being treated, showing up with gifts and entertaining the other young patients, Green said. Her brother adored the star, and knowing Cosby gave him a certain cachet in the hospital ward and garnered him extra attention from nurses in his final days, she said. She worried about jeopardizing all that.

Green, now 66, went on to become an attorney and got married. She is retired in Southern California, where she grapples with Parkinson’s disease and with the echoes of that long-ago alleged incident. She said she is forever checking the perimeter of her home. She still sleeps in her clothes.

Another Cosby attorney, Walter Phillips Jr., called Green’s allegations “absolutely false.”

“Mr. Cosby does not know the name Tamara Green or Tamara Lucier [her maiden name] and the incident she describes did not happen,” Phillips said in a statement issued this past week. He said it was “irresponsible” to publish an “uncorroborated story of an incident that is alleged to have happened thirty years ago.”

Cosby’s legal team has also questioned Green’s credibility because her law licence was suspended in 2004. Green said that the suspension resulted from an overdraft related to her depositing a retainer check in the wrong account and that her licence was reinstated.

Cosby’s team has also used legal-ethics issues to question the credibility of a more recent accuser who is now a lawyer — Louisa Moritz, an actress who appeared in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. On Thursday, Moritz told the website TMZ that Cosby forced her to have oral sex in a dressing room of The Tonight Show in 1971. Singer, Cosby’s attorney, questioned her credibility because she had been disciplined by the California State Bar last year in a dispute over a legal fee.

The agency

Jo Farrell pursued clients so relentlessly that she became known as the “red-headed barracuda.” She operated her JF Images talent agency far from Hollywood in Denver, but she wielded such clout that she could make or break careers.

Farrell plays one of the more unusual roles in the decades-long drama of Cosby and his accusers. She referred two women to Cosby who later alleged he sexually abused them: Barbara Bowman and Beth Ferrier.

Farrell is now 83 and suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s, according to her daughter, Kathleen, who said in a recent interview with The Washington Post that her mother retired five years ago and knew nothing about the claims of sexual abuse until they appeared in People magazine in 2006. “It’s mind-boggling,” Jo Farrell told the magazine at the time. “I don’t set up interviews in bars. Here I am pulled in on this, and it makes me sad because my reputation has always been golden in this city.”

Farrell’s relationship to Cosby dates back decades. She first met him at the Turn of the Century nightclub, which was near her talent agency. Kathleen Farrell said Cosby worked with a number of the agency’s young female clients through the years, taking them on outings and asking them to auditions. She said she had heard allegations that other men — photographers and bookers — had abused actresses. But she said her mother never mentioned any complaints about Cosby. If she had heard complaints, she said, her mother would have severed her relationship with Cosby “to protect the girls.”

“Nobody ever addressed with her that there was an issue,” Kathleen Farrell said. “She’s a mother hen; she would have addressed it.”

Farrell discovered Bowman, then 13, at a 1980 beauty pageant.

“She pulled me over and said, ‘What’s your name?’ “ Bowman, now 47, recalled in an interview. “She said I looked like a movie star. That was quite a compliment for a scrawny little kid trying to make it. . . . I was feeling really glamorous.”

She said Cosby came to town in 1984 and Farrell took Bowman, 17 at the time, to a comedy club for an audition. Bowman said she prepared a monologue and performed before one of the most famous comedians in the country in a small conference room tucked away inside the comedy club.

But she made an impression. Both Farrell and Cosby gushed that she was destined for big things in the business and advised that she move to New York, where she could hone her craft. Cosby also took her to the New York set of The Cosby Show.

“That was the bait: the promise of an audition, being seen and adored by a big name,” Bowman said. “And he enjoyed knowing that people knew he was the one who was discovering hot new talent.

She said she was “terrified” of Cosby and Farrell. “They isolated me and made me totally dependent on them,” she said.

At the time, Cosby was in the process of becoming the biggest television star in the world. The Cosby Show had debuted the year before, introducing viewers to his career-defining role as Cliff Huxtable.

“At a time when the situation comedy was supposed to be moribund on television, The Cosby Show has leapt to No. 1 in a single season,” New York Times critic John Connor wrote in May 1985. “At a time when blacks were once again being considered ratings liabilities by benighted television executives, the middle-class Huxtables have become the most popular family in the United States. And at a time when so many comedians are toppling into a kind of smutty permissiveness, Mr. Cosby is making the nation laugh by paring ordinary life to its extraordinary essentials. It is indeed a truly nice development.”

Bowman said she saw an entirely different persona from the one Cosby played on television. Once, while at his brownstone in New York City, she said she blacked out after one glass of wine and awoke to find herself wearing nothing but her underpants and a man’s T-shirt.

In another alleged incident in Atlantic City, N.J., she said Cosby pinned her down on a hotel bed while she screamed for help and he struggled to pull down his pants.

“I furiously tried to wrestle from his grasp until he eventually gave up,” she said in an interview with The Washington Post.

Cosby called her “a baby,” Bowman said, then he told her to go home to Denver.

At first, Bowman said she was in denial that the alleged assaults had taken place. She then convinced herself that she did what she needed to do to make it in the entertainment business. She said she also became financially dependent on Cosby and her agent.

“They were subsidizing me in New York until I started booking jobs,” she said.

When asked why she did not come forward sooner, Bowman said she did not think anyone would believe her.

Cosby’s attorneys had previously called her claims “absolutely untrue.”

In the years after the alleged assault of Bowman, Cosby rose to heights that were almost unimaginable. In 1987, The Cosby Show went into syndication, and within five years it had pulled in $1 billion in syndication fees, with hundreds of millions reportedly going to Cosby.

The lawsuit

Andrea Constand was stressed. She held down a big job at Temple University as operations director of the women’s basketball team. But she wanted career advice, according to court documents filed in a 2005 civil suit that Constand filed against Cosby. She decided to confide in a man who had not only become her close friend but was also Temple royalty.

Cosby had attended Temple before dropping out in the early 1960s to pursue his comedy career, but he had remained in close contact with his hometown university, serving on the board of trustees since the early 1980s.

Constand became friends with Cosby a year after her arrival on the Philadelphia campus in 2001. They sometimes dined alone together, according to court records.

In January 2004, the records state, Cosby invited her to his home in suburban Philadelphia. Constand alleges that Cosby offered her three blue pills. He said they were an herbal medication and would relax her, according to her court filing; she hesitated but finally took his advice.

Within a short period of time, her “knees began to shake, her limbs felt immobile, she felt dizzy and weak, and she began to feel only barely conscious,” Constand’s attorneys wrote.

Constand accused Cosby of leading her to a sofa, then touching “her breasts and vaginal area.” She said he “rubbed his penis against her hand, and digitally penetrated her,” the court records state.

All the while, she “remained in a semi-conscious state,” her attorneys wrote.

Constand said she lost consciousness afterward until 4 a.m., when she awoke “feeling raw in and around her vaginal area,” the court records state. Also, “her clothes and undergarments were in disarray,” according to the records.

When she awoke, there was Cosby, she said. He was in his bathrobe, the court records state. She said she left.

According to court records, Cosby said he and Constand spent time together, but his attorneys denied the claims that he drugged and assaulted her. He said he had merely given her 1 ½ tablets of Benadryl, an over-the-counter antihistamine.

In Cosby’s account of his evening with Constand during the court case, he denied appearing in only his bathrobe and he said he gave her a “homemade blueberry muffin and a cup of hot tea,” according to court records.

Constand, now 41, went on to leave her job at Temple, moving back to her native Canada. One year later, in January 2005, she filed a complaint against Cosby with a police department in Ontario.

That complaint was followed by a criminal inquiry in Montgomery County, Pa. Law enforcement officials interviewed Constand and Cosby.

“I thought, in my gut, that she was telling the truth,” Bruce Castor Jr., the Montgomery County district attorney at the time, said in a recent interview with The Washington Post. “I was absolutely certain that she believed that Cosby had taken advantage of her, but there were not enough details.”

Castor lacked physical evidence, and he thought any possible case would be hampered by the long delay in filing a complaint. In February 2005, he announced that he would not be prosecuting Cosby.

After the 2005 criminal case was resolved, Cosby resumed a tough-love tour he had put on hold when news of Constand’s allegations broke. The national tour consisted of free speeches where large audiences gathered to hear Cosby speak about the failures of black parents and black youths. He had been ridiculing African American politicians, accusing them of too often blaming “systematic racism” for his community’s problems.

But the next month, Cosby’s own actions were again scrutinized. And this time, it would not be just one woman pointing a finger at him. Constand’s civil lawsuit, filed in March 2005, would eventually include 13 Jane Does who agreed to testify against Cosby. The women came from points across the country: Ventura, Calif.; Monument, Colo.; Spring Hill, Fla.

Green, the one-time model who had said Cosby had drugged her in the early 1970s, had offered to testify without maintaining anonymity. All told, Green said she has spoken with 20 accusers; all of them, she said, asserted that they had been drugged by the comedian.

Constand’s attorneys were spotting patterns, too. In their court filings, they asserted that a common theme among the Jane Does was that “they were victimized after being conned by the Cosby image.”

In court documents, Cosby’s attorneys said their client “vigorously denies” her allegations that he “drugged her and sexually assaulted her” and “adamantly denies engaging in sexual misconduct.”

In November 2006, Constand and Cosby reached an undisclosed settlement. Constand and her attorney declined to be interviewed for this article.

Constand’s settlement largely made the Cosby story go away. There would be isolated reports, but the image of Cosby as an accused sex offender seemed destined to be relegated to a historical footnote until the jokes by Buress — a popular but hardly A-list 31-year-old comedian — went viral this month.

Since then, the names of nine more accusers have surfaced, including the model Janice Dickinson, who told Entertainment Tonight that Cosby drugged and raped her in Lake Tahoe, Calif. in 1982. To back up her accusation, she produced Polaroids of Cosby in a checkered robe.

Cosby’s attorneys rushed to keep pace with the allegations, repeatedly saying they had no merit. “Janice Dickinson’s story accusing Bill Cosby of rape is a complete lie,” Singer said in a statement.

Three of the women who spoke to The Washington Post — Traitz, Tarshis and Valentino — also made their first widely distributed public statements about the allegations this month.

At the two university campuses most associated with Cosby, there was a pinched terseness from administrators. Temple would say only that Cosby remained on its board. Two weeks after Buress’ comedy routine reignited the sex-allegations controversy, a Temple student, Grace Holleran, published an editorial in the school newspaper calling on university officials to stop supporting Cosby. The university “seems to be banking on Cosby’s star power, remembering him for his colourful sweaters and Pudding Pops as it fails to acknowledge his muddy backstory,” Holleran wrote.

At Spelman College — where Cosby made history in 1988 with a $20 million donation, the largest by an African American to a historically black college — the president’s office would not say whether the endowed professorship named for Cosby and his wife would continue.

The educator who holds that endowed chair at Spelman predicted in an interview that the sexual-assault allegations ultimately would not define Cosby.

“I’m not worried about being the Cosby chair,” said Aku Kadogo, Spelman’s Cosby Endowed Professor in the Arts. “It’s not a worry to me. It’s a difficult time for him. But it ain’t the end of the world. If Hillary can run for president — she went through all that rigmarole. People forget easily.”

But, in the universe of Bill Cosby, it has become clear that not everyone forgets.

Submit News to CKA News Inside the career of Motherisk founder Dr. Gideon Koren
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 23:41:00 EST

Dr. Gideon Koren is as complex as his field of work.

To some, he is a prominent doctor and workhorse who built the Hospital for Sick Children’s Motherisk program into a leading world authority on drugs and pregnant and lactating women, who has authored or co-authored hundreds of articles and book chapters and has travelled to numerous speaking engagements around the world.

To his young patients at Sick Kids, he’s the jolly man with the guitar singing at hospital theatrical events he organizes that it’s OK to be different. To others, Koren, 67, is a prickly person who does not take well to criticism, has adopted a controversial stance on the use of antidepressants for pregnant women and who was disciplined for authoring anonymous and infamous “poison pen” letters to a former colleague and her supporters in the late 1990s.

Koren’s name surfaced against last month after the Ontario Court of Appeal cleared a mother of convictions of administering a near lethal dose of cocaine to her 2-year-old son. A crucial part of the case against Tamara Broomfield was an analysis conducted on a sample of her son Malique’s hair by Motherisk that apparently showed Malique had been exposed to cocaine over a long period of time. The appeal court delivered its ruling after new evidence from an Alberta toxicologist seriously questioned the validity of Motherisk’s evidence and testing methods.

That decision has thrust Motherisk, which has counselled more than 200,000 women since it was founded in 1985 and often conducts hair tests for child protection cases, and its high-profile director, into the spotlight. The provincial government has said it is “looking at” the appeal court decision.

Koren has so far remained silent. His lawyer, Darryl Cruz, told the Star in an email on Friday that Koren “does not intend to comment or participate in your story.”

When trying to discover who is the physician so heavily relied upon as an expert witness in past court cases — once described by a judge as an “excellent pediatric pharmacologist” — and whose name is displayed prominently on many scholarly articles about drugs and expectant mothers, the answer depends on whom you ask.

“He’s an interesting guy,” said Dr. Michael Rieder, a professor of pediatrics and pharmacology at Western University who has known “Gidi” for more than 30 years. “He’s a passionate guy. He’s very bright, has a lot of energy, and is an outside-of the-box thinker. He’s a friend. I like him. He’s not a detail guy; he’s more of a big-picture guy. He’s refreshingly honest, and I think he’s passionately concerned for the right reasons.”

Rieder points to the founding of Motherisk in 1985 as a prime example of that passion. Koren had arrived at Sick Kids from Israel a few years earlier to train in pediatric pharmacology and toxicology. Rieder was also there at the time. According to his 147-page resumé, filed at Broomfield’s 2009 trial, Koren studied medicine at the Sackler School in Tel Aviv and did a residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric nephrology at Tel Hashomer Hospital, also in Tel Aviv.

The father of four also served as a medic in the Israel Defence Forces in the mid-1960s, as well as a year as a flight surgeon with the Israeli Air Force, according to the resumé.

Motherisk was “Gidi’s baby,” as Rieder put it, founded out of what he called an “unmet need” in the division of pharmacology for expectant mothers needing information on drug safety.

“The division would get these requests and we really didn’t have any good way to respond to it,” he said. “It was totally shoestring at first. It was one person answering the phone. (Koren) was the guy who organized it, did most of the early calls, raised the money, secured the funding to perpetuate it, and has been the director since forever.”

Since Motherisk came into being, Koren’s stature in the medical community has grown exponentially. According to his Sick Kids biography, he is a professor of pediatrics, pharmacology, pharmacy and medicine who has taught at the University of Toronto and Western University, has trained pediatricians in more than 40 countries and is currently a supervisor to five master of science, 16 PhD students and nine postgraduate trainees. He has written more than 1,400 peer-reviewed papers, according to a biography on the Motherisk website.

Koren has received numerous awards. In 2011, he received a Top Achievements in Health Research Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, saying at the time: “It feels great when your country says to you, through its highest research authority: You have changed the lives of many Canadian women and their families.” In 2012, he became the first Canadian scientist to receive the Sumner Yaffe Lifetime Achievement Award in Pediatric Pharmacology.

A 2013 Ontario Superior Court ruling from a case in which Koren was an expert witness indicates that Motherisk is staffed by 70 researchers, professors and students, receiving up to 200 phone calls a day from doctors and citizens.

“Dr. Koren is on numerous professional boards, editorial boards, is a reviewer for all the respected journals regarding articles his field. He, of course, has written extensively in his field,” reads the decision from Justice John McCartney. “He estimates he has received some $55 million (in) research grants. He has testified as an expert in his field in numerous cases.”

Extramural grants listed in Koren’s resumé include funds for studies and research from major drug companies such as Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Duchesnay.

Koren has also written books, plays and musicals for children, dating back to his time in Israel in the 1970s. He wrote the musical Tails: A Furry Tale on Furry Tails, about self-esteem and being different, first mounted in 1992. It is performed weekly in the hospital’s Bear Theatre featuring health-care professionals.

“The play is very life affirming,” Koren told the Star in 1997. “For me, it’s one of the most powerful experiences of my life. You cannot think of a group who need it more. Here are kids who haven’t smiled for days. Parents who are worried about new treatments and diagnosis.”

Said Rieder: “If you look at Gidi interacting with children, that’s what says it all.”

Dr. Michèle Brill-Edwards, a former senior physician responsible for drug approvals at Health Canada who trained alongside Koren at Sick Kids, described him as being “just all work, but in a very pleasant way. He’s a friendly guy, emotionally tuned into people, very generous.”

She would initially defend him in what would become a nasty fight involving colleagues, Sick Kids and the University of Toronto that made front-page headlines at the time and is still talked about today in the medical community in Canada and overseas.

Between mid-October 1998 to mid-May 1999, five anonymous letters were sent to Dr. Nancy Olivieri, her supporters at Sick Kids, other hospital staff and the media calling Olivieri and her supporters, among other things, “unethical” and “a group of pigs.”

There were suspicions almost immediately that the letters, which were typed and contained spelling errors, had been sent by Koren. He had worked with Olivieri on a drug study for generic drug maker Apotex, but the pair ended up disagreeing on the drug’s effectiveness, with Olivieri wanting to go public with her concerns about potentially harmful side-effects. Apotex terminated her clinical trials, but she published her findings anyway in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Koren at first denied having sent the letters when approached by the hospital. Brill-Edwards recalls thinking at the time that Koren could not possibly have been the letters’ author, saying, “Gidi would simply not stoop to that level of behaviour.”

But when she was shown one of the letters and saw the spelling errors — “that was one of Gidi’s hallmarks” — she began to grow suspicious. Another alarm bell went off in her head when she talked about the letters with Koren, saying she had “never seen him so agitated in my life.” She said he was pacing the floor and coughing incessantly.

“That is so out of character,” she said. “Gidi is a very calm, cool individual, very little fazes him. So he could be flying off to Japan for a conference in the next five minutes, but he would stand and talk to you in a quite focused and calm way.”

The nail in the coffin came when Olivieri and her supporters sent the envelopes for DNA testing. Brill-Edwards said they were able to match the DNA from those envelopes to an envelope containing a letter Koren had sent her in 1999. The Olivieri group went to the university administration with the results, and then to the police. Koren confessed on Dec. 17, 1999. Olivieri declined to comment for this story.

“I felt throughout that my actions in support of Nancy and Sick Kids were my only choice,” said one of the group’s members, Dr. Brenda Gallie, who suggested sending the envelopes for DNA testing. “I could do nothing else but support Nancy and the issue that was in front of us all. Otherwise, I would never be able to sleep.”

According to a 2003 report from a College of Physicians and Surgeons’ disciplinary committee, Koren was suspended from Sick Kids for five months, two of which were without pay, a chair endowed in his name was removed, he was ordered to make some restitution, and he resigned two leadership positions at the hospital. But he remained director of Motherisk.

The college’s disciplinary panel found him guilty of professional misconduct and officially reprimanded him for the so-called “poison pen” letters, ordering him to pay $2,500, the partial cost of the disciplinary hearing. The panel also agreed with a University of Toronto finding of research misconduct related to Koren’s decision to unilaterally publish findings concerning the efficacy of deferiprone, the drug he and Olivieri were tasked with studying. The committee made clear that the act was not fraudulent.

In its decision, the college’s four-member panel said it was “deeply troubled by the case” and had “seriously considered” imposing a more severe punishment.

“It defies belief that an individual of Dr. Koren’s professed character and integrity could author such vicious diatribes against his colleagues as he did in the ‘poison pen letters,’ ” reads the decision. “His actions were childish, vindictive and dishonest.”

Koren later told The Globe and Mailthat he felt he had been “publicly defamed and vilified” by Olivieri and her four supporters, and felt his only way to fight back was by sending the letters.

“We were told not to talk to the media ever [by the hospital] which I religiously regarded,” he told the Globe. “The only way I could express myself was in those letters. It was inappropriate and unbecoming. . . but when you are attacked savagely by five people over three years, you may do these things.”

Those who know him say Koren can become defensive when his work comes under criticism. A former medical trainee of Koren’s, who asked to remain anonymous, said “he doesn’t like to be challenged” and that when there are disagreements over his conclusions, “he seems to take it personally.” Even the judge at the Broomfield trial, who described Koren’s evidence as “credible and compelling,” said “on occasion, his demeanour was abrupt and defensive.”

His critics say he has been particularly sensitive to criticism of Motherisk’s studies showing antidepressants during pregnancy are generally not as harmful as the actual mental illness.

In a 1998 Star article headlined “Antidepressants don’t endanger fetus, report says,” Koren said many doctors, worried about possible harm to the fetus, will take their patients off antidepressants.

“Unfortunately, that’s still a common practice because people are afraid of drugs in pregnancy,” he said. “However, depression in pregnancy can be a very severe illness. I’ve seen in my career women who tried to commit suicide when they were taken off (these drugs) cold turkey. Clearly, advice to just stop medication, when women need it, is not good.”

Fears about birth defects have often been voiced when talking about antidepressants and pregnancy, but a 2006 piece on Motherisk’s website notes: “To date, no selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) has been associated with increased risk of major congenital malformations, including cardiovascular anomalies.”

A 2010 Motherisk piece on its website reviewing the evidence on the antidepressant Paxil concludes “accumulated evidence from different types of studies does not suggest that paroxetine (Paxil) is associated with an increased risk of heart defects.” The article followed a 2009 decision by a U.S. jury ordering drug maker GlaxoSmithKline to pay $2.5 million in damages to the family of Lyam Kilker, a 3-year-old born with heart defects that his mother blamed on the drug.

“(Koren) has obviously been publishing on antidepressants and pregnancy, and so do I, but we disagree on data,” said Anick Bérard, who holds a chair on pregnancy and medications at the Université de Montréal and who has worked on studies with Koren in the past. “The main thing here is that we have overwhelming data on the risks of taking these drugs, and a low amount of data on the benefits.”

Bérard said she worked with Koren and others on a study last year dealing with pregnant women and antidepressants. When she circulated the study’s findings among the group, that one in five pregnant women who continue taking antidepressants remain depressed, she said Koren “didn’t believe in the data” and dropped out as a co-investigator. She said the study will likely be published next year.

Those who know Koren say they’re not sure how he’ll weather this latest controversy over Motherisk’s hair-testing analysis. What is obvious to some, including Brill-Edwards, is that an external investigation is needed.

“The integrity of the entire system is at risk if we don’t face up to these kinds of events,” she said. “In the long run, Sick Kids is far too important an asset to our society to let it suffer under this kind of mistrust.”

Submit News to CKA News Paying it forward for Abby. One family?s quest to create positive energy for their very sick daughter
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 23:33:22 EST

Becky Eveson dropped a five-dollar bill in the hallway at Sick Kids with a note: “Money you found to make you smile. Buy a coffee/tea and don’t forget to spread the smile and pay it forward.”

It was one of the small acts of kindness she and her husband, Craig, undertake every day in the hopes that positive energy will surround their daughter. They buy coffee for strangers, a sandwich for the man sitting in the cold, a coat for a hardworking woman in their hometown.

“We don’t buy everyone a coat,” Becky says, laughing. “We don’t have a huge budget.”

Abby, 17 months, was born with a rare congenital heart defect that severely limits the blood flow to her lungs. She had her third open-heart surgery three weeks ago and remains connected to a ventilator, her mother by her side, holding her hand.

The toddler has a beaming smile that announces to the world she is so happy to be here. It is a dimply grin that belies the surgeries, 911 calls and hospital stays that have been a part of her life. It is a smile that has disappeared and, in its absence, her parents are trying to spread it.

“We’re not overly religious people. We’re thankful everyone is saying prayers. I actually said one myself for the first time in 20 years,” says her dad, Craig Eveson, from his Schomberg home. “The positive energy thing — we’re a big fan of.”

Making a stranger happy is a way to feel some sense of control, a way to feel a flicker of goodness in a terrible time.

Abby’s cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Glen Van Arsdell, sees parents respond in all kinds of ways. Some have a “dignified stress response,” some have a “stressful stress response,” some have a “religious stress response.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody facing this kind of dire circumstance and paying it forward,” he says. “They’ve been very gracefully dealing with something tremendously difficult.”

The Evesons’ grace takes the form of coffees and lottery tickets purchased anonymously for strangers. It is a chain of kindness their friends, family and acquaintances have taken up on their behalf. It has spread from downtown Toronto, throughout York and Durham regions, and has washed ashore on a Mexican beach at sunset, in the form of shiny, colourful pesos.

It is a plea to the universe. Help Abby get well.

Becky Eveson walks instinctively toward a window in the far reaches of the Sick Kids atrium. She doesn’t wear makeup and her curly brown hair is pulled back. With two children, this is how she always is, regardless of the 5 a.m. drives down Highway 400 to the hospital every morning. One of her only adornments is a necklace with her children’s initials that hangs around her neck.

Craig Eveson drives a snowplow for the Township of King and is also a volunteer firefighter. Becky works in long-term care but has taken a leave to be with Abby. They have lots of help from friends, family and the community. Food is dropped off at the Evesons’ home, and friends and family offer to watch Abby’s 3-year-old big brother, Charlie.

A normal human heart has two large arteries — the pulmonary artery, which sends blood to the lungs, and the aorta, which sends blood to the rest of the body. Abby was born without the main pulmonary artery. The left and right lung branches (usually big like an “arm”) were tiny, says Van Arsdell. Nature “compromised,” he says, by making small “finger” arteries, which struggle to deliver enough blood to her lungs.

“She came out and went blue almost immediately,” says Craig. Abby’s first open-heart surgery happened 14 hours after birth, followed by another surgery a couple of months after that. Then she spent about a year at home, with lots of checkups and several surgeries in between.

On Oct. 28, the team at Sick Kids wove the small finger arteries of Abby’s heart into a bigger “arm.” Even after the surgery, the arteries are still so small that blood flow remains a problem. Abby was put on an intensive form of life support that took over for her heart and lungs.

She has transitioned to a ventilator but her heart is still swollen and her body is battling infection. When it is safe to close her chest — that will be a big milestone in her recovery — Abby will be taken off the breathing machine to see if she can breathe on her own.

Her specific condition is rare. Of the 140,000 births per year in Ontario, Sick Kids might see five similar patients. Right now, there is no solution and no long-term plan, but it is not a situation of “zero hope.” Abby’s medical team want to see her recover from this surgery first. Then when she requires another intervention they will determine what they can do to get her blood oxygen count higher.

For now, she remains in critical care with one-to-one nursing.

On Oct. 28, as surgeons wove Abby’s tiny arteries into something more sturdy, a stranger in Waterloo ate a free lunch. It was an accident, really. In all of the stress of the day, Becky had forgotten the outfit she had wanted to anonymously give to another “heart family” at the hospital. There is a certain degree of superstition in these acts and this was an important day. She sent a private Facebook message to her friend Kristen Dorscht, to see if she could help out.

“I knew she was upset that she forget her pay-it-forward at her house,” says Dorscht, who met the Evesons in July 2013, when their newborn daughters shared a room with two other babies at Sick Kids.

On her lunch break, Dorscht went to a busy McDonald’s and drove to the pickup window, asking to pay for the car behind.

“You wonder who it might be, what their reaction might be. You never know the answer.”

On Nov. 13, Lea and Rick Steenhoek were walking a deserted beach in Mexico when Lea noticed something colourful in the water. Mexican pesos, likely from a swimmer’s pocket.

The Schomberg couple know the Evesons through their daughter, and knew there had been trouble after Abby’s surgery. While they were in Mexico, their daughter emailed about the idea of paying it forward.

Now, money was washing ashore as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

“We have to find a positive home for this,” Lea said to her husband.

They dried the bills in their towels and put the equivalent of $30 U.S. in an envelope and gave it to a man who worked at their resort. It wasn’t a tip, they said. It was a gift on behalf of somebody special.

Last Saturday, at Jay’s Variety in Pottageville, a town near Schomberg, Abby’s face was taped to a coffee decanter with the words “We believe in Abby. Free coffee for Abby.”

Christine and Ajay Dhamrait, who own the variety store and gas station, have a son around Abby’s age. Their station is a short drive from the Evesons’ place and Craig pops in sometimes.

There were about 30 people who drank a coffee on Abby’s behalf that morning. But they didn’t keep the $1.50 they’d normally pay. A box for donations to Sick Kids, left on the counter, contained $100.

“It was just a little thing,” Ajay Dhamrait says, wearing a black Blue Jays hat, as he tends the counter. “Everything you can send their way, right?”

In Uxbridge, Ont., about an hour’s drive due east, Mike Lind was standing in line with his children to get their photo taken with Santa.

When he went to pay, he was told there was a surprise. He figured a local business might be sponsoring the pictures, but he was handed a letter.

“Pay it forward to honour Abby. Please accept this small gift from someone you don’t know,” the note began, describing Abby’s condition.

Lind’s nephew had to have open-heart surgery when he was only 12 hours old.

“He’s a healthy 3-year-old now, so I hope everything works out for Abby as well,” he said.

He posted the photo on a Facebook page dedicated to Abby, as the note suggested.

“It’s a really nice feeling,” he says. “I am looking to pay it forward. I’ll see an opportunity and I’ll do it.”

In addition to all of these gestures, masses and prayers have been offered from Markham to Australia, and healers around the world are meditating.

“I had someone ask me before her surgery, ‘Do you think she’ll be okay?’ I said, ‘Yes, I think she’ll be okay.’ I didn’t know how she would get to that point, but I still feel like she’ll be okay,” Becky says.

Earlier this week, as a grey wall of snow hit the city, Becky was getting ready to leave the hospital. Someone had given her a gift card for coffee, anonymously, and she thought she’d treat herself for the bad drive home. Standing in line behind her were two members of hospital housekeeping staff. She used her card to pay for their crackers and cheese.

“I left smiling,” she says. “It just makes you feel good, which helps when you’re in a not-so-good place with yourself.”

“More people doing nice things for each other — the world becomes a better place,” Craig says.

For the Evesons, this is the way through. A smile, sent out to the world, in the hopes their daughter’s will soon return.

Submit News to CKA News Student's story spurred commitment to tackle sex assault at Lakehead University
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 23:30:00 EST

THUNDER BAY—He sat four seats to the left of her in the class of 30 students.

The man Sarah says raped her months earlier in the basement of his parent’s home in the spring of her third university year. The fellow student she claims threatened to take photos of her half-dressed and tell everyone at school she was a “slut.”

“On the first day of class I just started crying,” she said in an interview. “I cried in front of all my university peers and I just couldn’t control it.”

Sarah, 23, who asked that the Star not publish her real name, said she pleaded with her program chair at Lakehead University to help her choose classes where her alleged rapist was not registered. It was the summer of 2012, leading up to her final year at school.

She didn’t want to contact the police, go through the stress of an investigation or a court process that sees fewer than half of those charged found guilty. She said she didn’t want to face her alleged attacker in court while she was going to school with him, either. She particularly didn’t want her conservative family knowing what happened.

Sarah’s experience prompted Lakehead to create a comprehensive policy for dealing with sexual assault. The Star’s ongoing investigation into how Canadian post-secondary institutions are failing sexual assault victims found that up until Friday, of 78 universities surveyed across the country, Lakehead and eight others were the only universities in Canada with special policies. None of the 24 public Ontario colleges surveyed by the Star had a special policy.

On Friday, two more, Queen’s and the University of Saskatchewan, committed to developing strong policies and the provincial groups that represent publicly funded Ontario universities and public colleges have launched reviews of existing policies and set up special meetings to tackle the issue. The national body representing universities across Canada has said it will respond Monday.

When Sarah contacted her program chair two years ago to request help with her schedule, she told him in an email that she had been assaulted by a classmate. “My main concern is making the classroom environment as safe a place as possible so I may be successful with my education,” she wrote.

She said she was told by the chair that helping her with a class schedule would violate her alleged rapist’s privacy rights. And that nothing could be done unless she made it a “legal battle.” He suggested she use a security escort around campus, she recalls.

It was her first of several interactions with different Lakehead staff and faculty.

“The whole process made me feel horrible,” she said. “Like no one wanted to deal with me, like no one knew how to deal with me.”

“A lot of women will look back and say thank you to her,” Lakehead President Brian Stevenson told the Star in a recent interview.

Stevenson first learned about Sarah’s story when he opened the local paper in the fall of 2013 and read an anonymous letter she had written upon her graduation, describing what it felt like being in a class with the man she says raped her.

“It was during these months that I realized that rape is nearly more heinous than murder, because victims die over the course of their lifetime rather than right away,” it read.

Stevenson, a father of two girls, recalls how reading the letter was “heart wrenching.” Within 48 hours he formed a task force.

“The thing that struck me was there was a gap in policy,” he told the Star.

Before the policy changes were adopted, Lakehead, which has nearly 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled between its Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses, was like most post-secondary institutions in Canada. There was a single reference to “non-consensual sexual intercourse” buried in a wider code of conduct that also deals with drug possession and plagiarism.

The task force found that the code of conduct already covered options for an investigation and possible sanctions if someone wanted to make a formal complaint against a student, but staff didn’t know much about it. Sarah says she dealt with three different staff and faculty members and none told her about this option. She says she would have considered a formal complaint to the university because it would not have upended her life in the way a criminal investigation would.

What they needed, the task force found, was the supplemental sexual misconduct policy they released in June. It spells out the rights of victims coming forward, including a promise for academic accommodation, and the responsibilities of staff. And clearly articulates how a complaint can be launched and what may come of it if the school finds a student guilty after investigation. Sanctions range from admonishment, to restrictions on a student’s movements around campus, to expulsion. And decisions are made on a “preponderance of evidence” instead of the exacting standards of reasonable doubt in a criminal case.

“Careful investigation can work well,” said Lori Chambers, the women’s studies professor who led the task force, adding the school would need overwhelming evidence for expulsion.

Chambers said the new policy was created to ensure that if someone came forward in distress they would be treated with dignity, be given the support they needed and that all options would be presented to them.

The policy also includes a commitment to education. While the university’s Gender Issues Centre had previously held education sessions, they were neither consistent nor campus wide. This September, the school started holding mandatory hour-long sessions for students in residence to go over the policy and talk about consent. Information brochures have been made for all staff.

“We know that sexual assault is actually endemic on campuses across the country and right across North America. We need to talk about it to make it stop,” said Chambers. “We can’t solve the problem unless everyone gets comfortable and knowledgeable.”

In a lengthy interview and several follow-up conversations with the Star, Sarah, who graduated last year and is now living and working in Thunder Bay, recounted what she says happened to her in the basement bedroom and her interactions with the school.

She showed the Star documents from the sexual assault centre that treated her over the course of a year in case she contracted chlamydia or gonorrhea. And information sheets she got from her counsellor on how to cope with flashbacks (“know you are not crazy,” says one of the tips).

The following is her account of what happened.

One day in the spring of 2012, at around 1 p.m., Sarah drove to a classmate’s home to pick him up so they could go to the library to work on a school project. When she arrived he texted, telling her to come inside because he wasn’t ready. She did, without any hesitation.

It was pitch black in his basement room. The windows were boarded up with wood. He threw her on the bed, held her down and started tearing her clothes off, she said.

“He turned into this person who I had no idea who he was and I was terrified to do anything,” she said in an interview.

She told him to stop. He threatened her. Told her he would take pictures of her, send them to everyone at school and tell them she was a slut.

“I asked him to stop and he wouldn’t and he told me that he wasn’t going to stop until he was done because it was ‘too nice and warm inside me,’ ” she said.

When it was over, “he kind of laughed and said, ‘You can go now.’ ”

The summer leading up to her final year at school, Sarah was filled with anxiety, worried she would end up in the same class he was in. It was difficult for her to muster the courage to write her chair, an older male. She also contacted a woman in human resources who she says tried to help by contacting the dean of her program. Again she was told there was nothing the school could do.

On the first day of classes, her alleged attacker pretended he didn’t know her. It was as if they had never met, she says.

The idea of writing exams so close to him made her feel ill. She went back to her program chair, crying this time, requesting she be allowed to take her tests in another room. She offered him the documents from the sexual assault centre as proof, she says.

The chair refused her request, she says. Sarah says she then went to the ombudsman, who was sympathetic and suggested she get a doctor’s note. A doctor wrote her a note saying she had anxiety and depression and she was allowed to write her tests in the school’s learning-assisted centre.

“I paid thousands of dollars to attend (Lakehead University) for the past four years,” she wrote in her letter to the local newspaper, adding she doesn’t blame the university for the actions of a fellow student.

“I blame (Lakehead) for the aftermath which could have been prevented if faculty was trained in how to deal with these situations,” Sarah wrote.

The chair of Sarah’s program did not return a request for comment. But Chambers, the professor who helped lead the task force, says she believes the errors made in Sarah’s case were “errors of ignorance, not ill intent.”

Chambers adds that since the new policy was created, professors (some of whom are fairly conservative male faculty members), have come into her office to thank her.

Asked how the university balances a presumption of innocence with supporting and accommodating students who say they have been sexually assaulted, Stevenson, the university’s president, says he doesn’t see why a school can’t do both.

“It doesn’t infringe on anybody else’s rights but it helps her,” he says. “All we’re saying is, ‘We will do our best to accommodate you; we will believe you.’ ”

Stevenson said he thinks dealing with the issue of a sexual assault in a meaningful way could have a spillover effect, with students taking what they learn with them when they graduate.

“This is our time,” he said. “What we have to do now is . . . try to understand the problem, propose a solution and implement that.”

Sarah has always loved to run. The sport has now become a therapy.

“I was very lifeless for the longest time,” she says, of the months that followed the day she says she was raped. She still sleeps with the television on, preferring to wake up to the weather channel than a dark room.

Rehashing what happened to her has not been easy. She is glad she told her story.

“Something very good came out of it.”

Emily Mathieu can be reached at 416-869-4896 or emathieu@thestar.ca

Jayme Poisson can be reached at 416-814-2725 or jpoisson@thestar.ca

Submit News to CKA News Leafs handle Wings with effort worth saluting: DiManno
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 22:23:48 EST

Marquee draft pick William Nylander took a skate-whack in the head in Sweden and hearts seized in Toronto.

Joffrey Lupul pulled over in the rain on Dundas Street to change a flat tire for an octogenarian motorist, possibly damn near giving the old geezer a heart attack as well. In the movies that’s called meeting cute.

Up-yours down-sticks continued to reverberate around town, the snub that keeps on giving in the media echo chamber.

You know, just another uneventful day in Leafland.

Oh yeah, a hockey game against Original Six rival Detroit at the Air Canada Centre Saturday night, too.

Drama Queens: 4.

Red Wings: 1.

Which puts the Leafs one slim point behind the Wings in the standings, solidly in the Eastern Conference middle crush of things — a fact of which some hysterics need reminding since so much of the “white noise” surrounding the blue and white arises from the margins of hockey in Toronto.

Even those spectacular one-two debacles against Buffalo and Nashville last week, when the sky was falling, are so … 15 minutes ago.

Guess what. The sky stayed up. And the sticks came back up as the Leafs skated off with their 4-1 victory, first time they’ve defeated the Motor City crew in three attempts this fall. Until that moment, the cliffhanger question was: Will they or won’t they?

They did. Kiss-kiss.

Nothing to boo or jeer about here in a closely and tensely contested inter-division affair, a taut 1-1 knot into the third, then 2-1 for much of the frame, as momentum swung back to the home side after tilting in Detroit’s favour in the second, Toronto seizing on the energy and blessed relief of a short-handed goal by Tyler Bozak, unassisted, at 3:44 of the final frame, followed by a marvelous unassisted goal from Peter Holland, followed by an empty-netter from Bozak.

Followed by the rapprochement between team and fans, which captain Dion Phaneuf said later had been discussed in the dressing room earlier in the day, just as the players had made a covenant on Thursday to stiff the in-house ACC audience, although they’ve since claimed — disingenuously — that it was never meant as a silent snipe aimed at fans, not at all.

As if . . . not.

“That was something we talked about in our room,” said Phaneuf. “We did not want to disrespect our fans at all. We know how much support that we have and that’s our new thing now. We wanted to change it up and that’s what we’re doing now.”

Clear as mud. And of minor consequence, really.

The two points are what matters, two Ws in a row as Toronto rises Lazarus-like from the toes-up mordant state of back-to-back catastrophes, with all the face-clawing and hair-pulling that ensued.

“They’re points that were really big in the standings,” said Phaneuf.

“We knew we had to get the points because we owed them,” he admitted, referring to an OT loss at the Joe a month ago after Toronto tied the game with seconds remaining and their goalie pulled.

“We’re chasing them. To stay composed and to stay to the course of our system and to stay disciplined to the way we want to play — we did a lot of good things. And we want to build on them. A couple of games ago, we weren’t anywhere near where we wanted to be.”

A couple of games ago they were dead and buried, Randy Carlyle was being pitch-forked out of town, the radio call-ins wanted everybody from Phil Kessel to Jake Gardiner traded for who-cares-what in return and Brendan Shanahan was “in the bunker,” as in not peeking over the parapet as media and fans caterwauled and players pretended their stick statement was no stick statement, nor had there been any push-back intended against the jersey-tossing and the LET’S GO RAPTORS chants and what many Leafs complained was carrying the can for four decades-plus of hockey ineptitude — a past that is a different country, alien to the Leafs of today.

But the first rule about Maple Leaf fight-back club is you don’t talk about the fight-back club.

To talk about this game is to salute (sorry) the efforts of Bozak, with his seventh and eighth goals of the season — including Toronto’s fourth short-handed goal of the 2014-15 campaign — plus a second goal and 13th point by Leo Komarov, rapidly turning into a fan favourite his second time ’round these parts.

“Some really good efforts by, obviously, Bozie,” continued Phaneuf, referring to the short-handed heroics, chipping the puck past Niklas Kronwall at the blue line and taking a direct bead on Jimmy Howard in the Detroit net, Bozak cleverly dipping his shoulder as if to go backhand but lifting it over Howard’s right shoulder instead.

“That’s a huge goal for our hockey team,” said Phaneuf. “The momentum in the second period shifted their way, but we did a very good job of sticking with it and turning the tide of momentum. That’s really where it started, that goal. With that goal, we kept coming instead of sitting back.”

Taking treatment post-game, Bozak issued a quote from the therapy room: “It was another huge game for us. We wanted to improve our record at home and be a tougher team to play at home. I thought we built off our Tampa Bay game (Thursday) and played a good, hard game here tonight against a very good team.”

It was Carlyle — just about heave-ho’ed 48 hours earlier — who out-wiled his counterpart, Mike Babcock (put forward as Toronto’s next-season coach by his boosters in the chattering class). With the benefit of last change, Carlyle shrewdly juggled between Bozak and Holland to check-thwart Toronto’s nemesis, Red Wing captain Henrik Zetterberg, while leaning heavily on the D-team of Phaneuf and Cody Franson, especially after Roman Polak was lost to a lower- body injury in the second period after getting tangled along the boards with Tomas Tatar, who scored after emerging from the pile. Alarmingly, Carlyle said of that injury post-game: “Serious enough that he’ll be out for a while.”

Toronto now boasts an 8-0 record when scoring first. That augured well when Komarov got the Leafs on the scoreboard at 11:30 of the opening period, after Mike Santorelli carried the puck down the wing. “Just went to the net and it bounced in, so it feels good.”

Holland’s goal at 3-1 was impressive, as he first created the turnover and then protected the puck with his body — mostly with his butt — against a Red Wing backcheck. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw Jimmy Howard had gone down so he shot high. “The biggest thing was creating that turnover and making a good defensive play. Obviously the goal was the cherry on the icing.”

At the buzzer, the Leafs clustered around Jonathan Bernier in celebration.

Then they lifted their sticks to the crowd, which roared in return.

All forgiven and forgotten, I guess. Love ya. Love ya back.

At least until whatever melodrama unfolds in the days ahead.

“I’m just waiting for the next one,” said Carlyle of surviving this past week’s Maple Leaf Monologues. “What’s coming next.”

Submit News to CKA News Couple learns wedding officiator unauthorized after ?mortifying? marriage ceremony
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 20:41:00 EST

Nearly three months after their summertime wedding, Jessica and Casey O’Donnell aren’t quite sure if they’re actually married.

In the Peterborough couple’s own words, the newlyweds are “sort of” spouses.

“Un-frickin-believable,” said Casey, 33, when discussing the events that led to their marital limbo.

“To be honest, it feels surreal, like — did this actually happen? What the hell?”

What happened is this: In the rush to organize an outdoor wedding in August, they took to Kijiji to hire an officiator named George T. Casselman to oversee their ceremony and legally confirm their nuptials.

That resulted in what Casey calls a “trainwreck” at the altar. As portrayed in a video of the ceremony, Casselman stumbled over his words and seemed to utter incoherent sentences. He briefly misplaced the wedding rings, then dropped them to the grass at his feet. At one point he lost his place in his notes, prompting Jessica to mutter, “Couldn’t you just make it up?”

That was hard enough, Jessica recalled. But then, on Monday, the couple says they received a call from Service Ontario telling them Casselman was not authorized to marry people in the province. The O’Donnells say they now have to go to family court and apply for an “order of validity” to finally make their marriage official, an ordeal Casey expects to cost “about $500.”

They have since put out a call of their own on Kijiji, warning others who may have been married by Casselman that their wedding might not be entirely official.

“It was all pretty horrible, and I had kind of swept it under the rug,” said Jessica, 27. “This is just reopening the wound.”

The Star tried repeatedly to contact Casselman, who didn’t return voice mails or text messages on Friday or Saturday.

The situation isn’t unprecedented in the province. Last year, the Ministry of Government Services revealed that more than 830 weddings between 1990 and March 2013 had been officiated by people not authorized to oversee marriages.

Cynthia Vukets, spokesperson for Service Ontario, declined to speak specifically about the Casselman-O’Donnell case, citing privacy rules.

She did say that the agency routinely checks its records and reaches out to couples when they find evidence of an unauthorized marriage officiator. These couples are still considered legally married, Vukets said, but they must apply to the courts to “determine that the marriage is valid” before the province can recognize the union.

In cases where the officiator believed they had marriage authorization, Service Ontario tells them how to get registered through a “recognized” religious institution, Vukets said.

It is a crime in Ontario, however, to knowingly “solemnize” a marriage without the authority to do so. In August, a Dorchester, Ont., woman plead guilty to six counts of knowingly marrying people without authorization and was sentenced to 12 months probation, the Woodstock Sentinel-Review reported.

For privacy reasons, Vukets declined to discuss whether Casselman knew he wasn’t authorized to marry people. But she added there are websites in Ontario that aren’t recognized by Service Ontario that claim to “ordain” marriage officiators in the province.

In a text message to Casey late Friday — which he forwarded to the Star — Casselman says he was certified by the “United National Church of Canada,” which has a website that will “ordain” people to perform marriages for $139.99.

The organization is not authorized to certify marriage officiants in Ontario, Vukets said. The United National Church was unavailable for comment Saturday.

A man named George Thomas Casselman also registered a “ceremonial officiant” business in July called “Enduring Moments.” The listed address on the business document is a low-income apartment building in Peterborough.

After dating for a decade, Casey and Jessica got engaged in February. Two months later they took to the Internet to hire an officiator. They found Casselman’s post “The Wedding Officiant,” in which he says he is a “family man” available to oversee weddings and funerals to help create “your perfect ceremony.”

“We went to his place to meet him,” said Jessica. “He seemed like a pretty reasonable guy, down to earth . . . a little eccentric.”

The couple says they decided to book him and handed over a $75 deposit on a total fee of $250.

Everything seemed fine, said Casey, until they contacted him about a ceremony rehearsal. According to Jessica, Casselman “insisted that wasn’t necessary, that we’re a young couple and we don’t need to spend the extra money” hiring him for a dry run. Jessica said Casselman assured them it would be fine, so they had the rehearsal without him.

In retrospect, that was the first “red flag,” Casey said.

Then came their wedding day, with the ceremony Jessica calls “mortifying.” Casselman, who arrived at the wedding with a woman Casey described as “scantily-clad” in “six-inch heels,” is seen in the YouTube video reading from a book, flanked by the couple at an altar in their friend’s backyard. After bungling the delivery of his notes and drawing sporadic laughter from the crowd Casselman concludes: “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you great honour and great joy and privilege to announce to you, Mr. and Mrs. Jessica O’Donnell.”

Casey is then seen shrugging his shoulders. “I’m taking her name,” he says.

“He just dropped the ball completely,” Casey told the Star. “It seemed like (it took) an eternity.”

After the wedding, Casey and Jessica said they repeatedly tried to contact Casselman. They said he responded three days later with a text message, which Casey sent to the Star. Casselman explained he now realizes he should have done a rehearsal. He also refers to “my heart diabetes,” saying he had a “mild heart attack” after the ceremony, and that he is “truly sorry about that day.”

The couple refused to pay Casselman his entire fee after the ceremony, and Casey said they demanded their $75 deposit back, but didn’t receive the cash.

“It’s a little easier pill for me to swallow,” said Casey. “For Jess, she’s dreamed about (her wedding) her whole life, and for him to make a mockery of it . . . I’m still kind of in shock about it.”

Submit News to CKA News Quebec-Ontario alliance trumps Stephen Harper snub: Cohn
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 16:22:22 EST

Behold the bonhomie and amity between two premiers and their cabinets in Toronto this week: Seven months after Quebec’s spring election, the spectre of separatism has transmogrified into full-fledged federalism.

There’s a reason the Quebec-Ontario summit turned into a meeting of minds and ministers: Kathleen Wynne and Philippe Couillard are simpatico both in style and substance.

Beyond the good will, there are good works on offer:

Ontario and Quebec signed an unprecedented deal to swap 500 megawatts of electricity during peak periods by way of bartering. They compared notes on climate change. And they celebrated Ontario’s francophone face in a way that touched, viscerally, the visiting French Quebecers.

At ground level, it is a federalist fantasy come true. Together, they are laying the groundwork for a Central Canadian axis of power (sharing) that is both political and electrical — with environmental and electoral benefits.

But at another level — the federal level — their new entente cordiale between Canada’s two biggest provinces underscores a vacuum of national leadership in Ottawa. While the two premiers are partners, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stands apart — a spectator among interlocutors.

On the eve of the Toronto summit, Harper delivered a bizarre snub to Wynne by refusing her overtures for a federal-provincial meeting. With her request unrequited, the spurned premier went public with their correspondence — pointedly asking why Canada’s biggest province, with 13 million people, can’t get federal face time.

Then she got down to business with Couillard — showing that where there is political will, there can be policy headway.

As noted in this space Thursday, the two provinces have agreed to swap generating capacity to complement each others’ seasonal peaks (Quebec’s greatest power consumption is during the winter heating season, while Ontario maxes out when air conditioner are turned up in summer heat). The 500-megawatt deal amounts to a large-sized power plant that Ontario will not have to build to cope with those seasonal peaks in future.

Beyond the substance, the deal has symbolic value: The era of electricity separatism in Ontario (which coincided with Quebec’s separatist political impulses) is coming to an end. Wynne has signalled that she wants both provinces to explore more trade in renewable energy at the right price. Both provinces have also doubled the reserve of standby electricity that can be acquired on short notice by either side.

Beyond the basics of buying and selling power, they will collaborate on the complexities of a cap and trade regime to curb emissions of greenhouse gases. Ontario has led the way in closing coal-fired generators but hasn’t taken the next step of imposing a price on carbon, while Quebec has repositioned itself as a clearinghouse for cap and trade auctions.

Despite the electoral risks, Ontario is increasingly confident that a less visible cap and trade regime for large industrial polluters — as opposed to a carbon tax that is more conspicuous at the consumer level — will be more politically palatable, and possibly inevitable. With the U.S. and China finally getting serious about reducing greenhouse gases, Wynne believes the tide is turning — and that the prime minister’s continued resistance to tougher emissions targets will leave him offside not only with the world, but other provinces.

Beyond Central Canada’s environmental entente, there is an emerging détente with Alberta under the leadership of its new premier, Jim Prentice. The early signals are that Prentice, who will be visiting his Ontario and Quebec counterparts within the next couple of weeks, may be more onside with carbon emissions as he seeks their support for an Energy East pipeline from Alberta.

The triangulation between Canada’s three most economically important provinces underscores the extent to which Harper is not only abdicating a leadership role but avoiding a conversational role. The last time he called up Wynne was to ask her (along with other premiers) to stay out of Quebec’s spring election (she did). Now she is close to Couillard the victor, yet closed out by Harper the avoider.

Not only do Harper and Wynne lack chemistry personally, they disagree on almost every policy — from pension enhancements to transit disbursements. By depriving her of a direct dialogue, Harper has made his churlishness a talking point.

Should a prime minister ignore Ontario, which holds more federal seats than most other provinces combined, while making time for other premiers? Can Harper blackball a premier with a recent electoral mandate yet still be a prudent steward of the national interest?

The fruits of the Quebec-Ontario friendship show that good politics can be good governance. The absence of an Ottawa-Ontario dialogue raises the risk that grudge politics will lead to bad governance.

When Quebec and Ontario work together, Couillard argues, Canada wins. If Ottawa and Ontario don’t work together — or talk to each other — it’s self-evidently a missed opportunity. And Canada inevitably loses.

Perhaps it now falls to the premier of Quebec — having becalmed separatist impulses at home — to play the role of federalist peacemaker by bringing Queen’s Park and Ottawa together again.

Martin Regg Cohn?s Ontario politics column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. mcohn@thestar.ca , Twitter: @reggcohn

Submit News to CKA News Playwright Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman on losing the two most important women in her life
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 00:01:00 EST

At a memorial service in September at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille for playwright and actor Linda Griffiths, who had recently died of cancer at 61, a young woman took the stage for the final speech of the evening.

“Hi, I’m Charlotte,” she said. “And I am lucky and unlucky.” The young woman was playwright Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman, 29. Her good luck involved being mothered by two remarkable women. The bad luck? She lost them both to cancer. You could say she knows a thing or two about grief. “You love big, you lose big,” says Charlotte with a smile.

The story of Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman and Linda Griffiths is a love story that, as actor/director Karen Hines, who directed Griffiths in her final play said, “expands your definition of love.”

Show me the precise words in the English dictionary to define a mother-daughter relationship that is not biological, is about two intensely creative women, one older, one in her 20s, is so filled with declarations of love it sometimes seems romantic (albeit platonic) and has an unusually tragic twist. There aren’t any, so let’s make it up as we go along.

Linda Griffiths was an inspiring and singular talent in Canadian theatre, a one-woman creative explosion, who catapulted to fame in the 1970s with Maggie and Pierre, a solo show that explored the relationship between Margaret and Pierre Trudeau. She did brave, interesting work throughout her career.

Last fall, with breast cancer that had metastasized to her liver, Griffiths acted in her final play, Heaven Above, Heaven Below, so weak from chemotherapy that she had to have anti-nausea pills hidden all over the stage.

Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman is a gifted playwright, endearingly open. “Oh I’m all in, it’s a nightmare most of the time,” she laughs self-consciously as we chat over tea — and then coffee — during an intense afternoon at Kalendar, a favourite College Street café that she and Linda used to frequent.

Corbeil-Coleman has a cultural pedigree. She is the only child of noted Canadian actor and director Layne Coleman and Carole Corbeil, an incandescent journalist and author who died at 47 in 2000 of cancer when Charlotte was just 15.

After her mother’s death, Charlotte was devastated. How can you lose your mother at 15 just when you need her most, just when you’re becoming a woman? “She told me we loved each other and I would be all right,” said Charlotte, who relied on a transparent and loving relationship with her Dad, “an amazing aunt,” and a wonderful circle of friends who held her close.

For Charlotte, the death of her mother Carole was inextricably tied up with her becoming a writer. She was still a teenager when she wrote Scratch, an offbeat, beautifully written play (nominated for a Governor General’s award) about a teenage girl with long curly hair who was both losing her mom and battling a persistent case of head lice. Both situations command the daughter’s attention equally. “You want tragedy?” asks a character in Scratch. “Watch me put on a sweater or eat my Corn flakes. True tragedy lives in the ordinary.”

After her mother’s death, as Charlotte said in her eulogy for Linda, “there was this space, this void, this pain, but Linda never tried to fill it. She was so careful. We were careful.”

Charlotte had grown up with many women in her life, but by the time she was in her early 20s, Linda, a long-time family friend (and former girlfriend) of her Dad’s, whom she had known since birth, had assumed a more central role in Charlotte’s life.

They went for lunches, Linda showed up at Charlotte’s important events. “She bought me shoes,” Charlotte said at the memorial, “because I always bought the worst ones, my feet arrived to her covered in blisters and she would say, “NO, darling, just no.”

The two women had weekly dates for dinner and talked about men and art and life. Griffiths never gave advice directly. She was more subtle than that. And Charlotte never felt she had to live up to a desired or expected version of herself, perhaps one key difference from many mother-daughter relationships. If Linda was demanding and fiercely focused on herself as an artist, she was softer and very present with Charlotte. “She was never egocentric with me,” she says.

When Charlotte, at 22, contracted malaria and flew back extremely sick from a refugee camp in Ghana where she had been working with a dance troupe, Linda helped nurse her through it, providing doctors and alternative medicine tips. Linda gave Charlotte a home whenever she was in town. (Charlotte and Layne had sold the family home.) They spent hours in Linda’s house in the Annex, watching old movies and TV series — Dexter was a favourite — curled up together on the floor.

There was a physicality to this love — lots of hugging and cuddling — that when Charlotte describes it, reminds me of me and my grown daughter just needing to hold hands or feel each other’s presence.

Then, about two-and-a-half years ago, everything changed. Linda and Charlotte were having dinner at home and Linda said, “I have to tell you something.” “Is it bad,” asked Charlotte? “Let’s not use words like bad,” said Linda as she began to cry. “And I knew right then it was cancer.”

“Linda said, ‘I don’t want you to go through this again,’” recalls Charlotte. “And in that moment, she became a mother.”

Charlotte had been too young and protected to be a primary caregiver to her mother and she hadn’t known for a long time how sick her mother really was. Today, denial in any relationship is the one thing she cannot tolerate.

As Charlotte saw it, the next phase was all about choice. Linda, who’d had loving relationships but no children, had made a choice to love her. “There’s bravery in that choice,” said Charlotte. Now Charlotte had a choice.

She knew she wanted to be involved in Linda’s illness, but how much? She went away for a month or so to Europe to work, and she asked herself: “Can I do this again?”

She could, she did. She and her dad accompanied Linda to Surrey, B.C., where she underwent alternative therapy. Back home, Charlotte took Linda to many of her chemotherapy appointments, where they cackled about life’s absurdities. They called themselves “chemo chumps” because they hadn’t gone to orientation and had arrived at the first session expecting to leave in an hour. Linda had a plane to catch.

Charlotte and Linda were always searching for a way to describe their relationship to others and maybe to themselves. For a time, they daringly called each other, “the love of my life” which led, joked Charlotte at the memorial, to a misunderstanding with a doctor who “thought we were lesbian lovers having a real May/December romance.”

Then they switched to “non-biological mother/daughter” which sounded like adoption. Finally they went for it and became what they felt: “mother and daughter.”

They didn’t talk about how much time Linda had. “We always said we’re just going to approach it with as much joy and love as possible.”

“I knew,” said Charlotte, “the pain was going to be the pain and it would come no matter what.”

Linda, according to friends, knew pretty quickly that her cancer had spread to her liver. “She wasn’t completely honest about that,” said Charlotte, now with a shrug.

You can’t help but wonder how losing Linda to cancer compared to losing her mom, and what Charlotte learned from that first staggering loss that helped her deal with the second one.

As a teenager, the pain of even anticipating her mom dying was so vast and frightening, says Charlotte, “I was impatient for it to be over. I wanted the ocean of pain to stop.” Afterward, even though she was 15, Charlotte wanted to have a child. “There was this hole, what do I do with this excessive love? I knew I couldn’t, of course.”

Afterward, she had eating troubles; she was afraid of her feelings.

With Linda, who came to rely more and more on Charlotte, making her the executor of her estate, leaving her the house, allowing her to help make central decisions around her treatment, dealing with her illness was a different experience from the start.

They had been extremely close for a decade but Charlotte was a woman now. She was able to physically care for Linda — gently bathing her — in a way she hadn’t with her mom.

One thing Charlotte had no time for was false hope and Linda knew that. “I knew from what happened with my mom that Linda’s time was getting closer. I said to her, ‘you are very, very sick.’”

One night in September, 11 days before her death, Charlotte took Linda in a wheelchair down to Kalendar for dinner. “Getting her out the door was just a huge ordeal.”

It was a beautiful night and they barely ate but they were so happy to be there. Soon after, Linda was moved to Bridgepoint Hospital where she died. “There was no magic moment, no important last words,” said Charlotte. The thing about death is not what you said, but what you don’t get to say ever again: “I wake up every morning thinking how absurd it is that I will never get to see this person again.”

Charlotte admits in the café: “I am so bored of grief.” But, she said, “you can’t outsmart it, it comes and gets you.”

From the last time, she learned not to live in a mausoleum, surrounded by your loved one’s objects. She’s already had the house painted; Linda’s things are packed up, her papers are being sent to Guelph University, just as her mother’s were. “How did I end up with two unfinished novels of two extraordinary women?” she asks. “You have to laugh.”

She fears “being associated with grief.” Yet she also feels she has a special wealth of knowledge about loss and grieving. “I could really help my friends.”

She has pressing work to do — putting the finishing touches on Twisted, a play she’s co written with Joseph Jomo Pierre, a modern day streets of Toronto take on Oliver Twist going up at Factory Theatre in February, plus some screenplays. “I’m hungry to return to my life.”

The loss of her mother has been fully integrated into who she is. “I used to obsess about her, but now when I think of her, it’s just pleasurable, not an everyday ache.”

With Linda, of course, it’s just starting. Who knows what this time will be like? “It’s a different loss.”

In Linda’s play Heaven Above, Heaven Below, there’s a line at the end that Charlotte loves that echoes her own words in Scratch, about tragedy living in the ordinary: “Now I think real life is the prayer.”

It means that all we have is the every day, the sunlight streaming into the kitchen, the words we speak to those we love even as we know we’re going to lose them.

Charlotte said at the memorial: “Towards the end, we were both too fatigued to explain ourselves, explain how there are no right words for our relationship. So we let the word mother hold us. Let it be true and untrue. I have a mother and I have a Linda. I am so lucky to have had two mothers and unlucky to have lost them both too soon.”

Submit News to CKA News Canada?s wild digital frontier needs policing
Wed, 09 Feb 2011 03:08:26 Z
John Ivison: The copyright bill has a number of provisions that are far less favourable to Canada’s performers and creators, who are about to see take a big hit to their pocket-books
Submit News to CKA News Election buzz, stale rhetoric ? Parliament has deja vu all over again
Tue, 01 Feb 2011 11:42:28 Z
John Ivison: If you missed Question Period Monday, don’t worry — you have a golden opportunity to miss it again Tuesday
Submit News to CKA News Death of Personal Responsibility: Think outside the lunchbox
Thu, 27 Jan 2011 14:50:39 Z
Neil Seeman: So what should the role of the state be in combating obesity? It’s time to think outside of the lunchbox, and try a whole new idea: healthy living vouchers, or HLVs
Submit News to CKA News Don?t give Quebec a nickel
Wed, 26 Jan 2011 23:57:55 Z
Jonathan Kay: If Harper says no to the Bloc's demands, he will be going to the voters as a man of principle who stood his ground on a subject far more important to this country than corporate tax rates
Submit News to CKA News Stelmach more than a victim of changing attitudes
Wed, 26 Jan 2011 03:38:13 Z
Kevin Libin: Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach bet the fortune of his party’s unparalleled political dynasty on a leadership strategy that failed to pan out
Submit News to CKA News Dave Taylor a mixed blessing for fledgling Alberta Party
Tue, 25 Jan 2011 02:34:30 Z
Kevin Libin: The addition of former Liberal MLA Dave Taylor to the Alberta party gives it a legitimacy boost, but does the outspoken former radio personality fit with the party's post-partisan dreams?
Submit News to CKA News Playing by China's rules
Sun, 23 Jan 2011 19:21:17 Z
Rex Murphy: China has reached an agreement with the Newfoundland government to begin the importation of seal and seal products into its potentially vast market. This is both very good and rare news for Newfoundland sealers
Submit News to CKA News Canada: Nanny AND wimpy state?
Thu, 20 Jan 2011 20:08:14 Z
Before, there actually had to be a violent protest before public institutions caved in and cancelled controversial events. Now, a group of unhinged zealots make a couple of angry phone calls and – poof! – they silence free speech and free assembly
Submit News to CKA News Executives probably not swayed by Liberal tax plan
Tue, 18 Jan 2011 23:54:00 Z
Scott Stinson: It’s a safe bet that Mr. Ignatieff did not win many converts with his tax-increase sales pitch to Canadian executives on Tuesday. This is not a great surprise
Submit News to CKA News Conservatives missed the call for more civilized debate
Mon, 17 Jan 2011 19:58:11 Z
Kelly McParland: The federal Conservatives’ brain trust must have been somewhere else when President Barack Obama delivered his speech in Arizona last week, calling for greater civility in political debate.
Submit News to CKA News Harper's five years: Canadians better off, even if they don't feel it
Sat, 15 Jan 2011 13:21:36 Z
John Ivison: Jan. 23 marks the fifth anniversary of Stephen Harper’s 2006 election victory and in early February, he will pass Lester B. Pearson’s time in office to become Canada’s 11th longest-serving Prime Minister

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