Canada Newswatch

The CKA Canada Newswatch is a companion to our in-house Canada News system.
The Newswatch is a collection of various Canadian news feeds in one convenient location.


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Daily Canada Newswatch

Submit News to CKA News Analysis: Couillard sets tone for what lies ahead
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 01:33:16 Z
To most Quebec voters, as one analyst recently noted, Philippe Couillard remains an enigmatic figure. Comfortable in the world of big ideas and concepts, he so far does not fit the mould of a vote-hungry, winner-take-all politician.
Submit News to CKA News Credit card skimmers found on parking pay stations in New Westminster
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 01:24:51 Z
New Westminster is asking anyone who has recently used their credit card at a parking meter to check their statement carefully after card skimmers were discovered at two pay stations in the eastern part of the city.
Submit News to CKA News Premier Couillard warns of ?difficult changes? ahead
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 01:21:16 Z
Sworn in Wednesday as Quebec's 31st premier, along with his new 26-minister cabinet, Philippe Couillard warned of "difficult changes" ahead, saying Quebecers have been "spending more than our means for a long time."
Submit News to CKA News Students lose recess in some B.C. school districts
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:09:00 -0400
Union president slams move by administrators as unnecessary and inappropriate, says teachers weren?t consulted about supervision schedules
Submit News to CKA News Lawrence Hong laid to rest: ?He was my brother ? and he was a great one?
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 01:01:31 Z
“Remember to smile, to play to your strengths and approach each day with unfaltering optimism. Remember to take time for others around you, take a second to have a genuine connection, to buy a coffee or grab a beer, to […]
Submit News to CKA News Disciplinary committee hearing for Montreal surgeon begins
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 01:01:06 Z
WITH VIDEO: It has been four years since Ivan Todorov died following surgery to remove part of his liver by a prominent Montreal specialist.
Submit News to CKA News Police working with thief to recover thousands of stolen artifacts
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:00:00 -0400
John Mark Tillmann robbed antique stores, small museums, libraries ? even the Nova Scotia legislature. As Jane Taber reports, after decades of living ?a very good lifestyle? and driving the ?best cars,? he is behind bars and helping investigators figure out where 7,000 pieces came from
Submit News to CKA News Construction union linked to firm with alleged Mafia ties
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:00:00 EDT

Canada’s largest construction union signed an unusual agreement two years ago with a private labour firm connected to what police have described as one of the country’s top organized crime figures.

The Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) entered into a collective bargaining agreement in 2012 with Construction Labour Force (CLF), a company tied to reputed crime family head Cosimo Commisso, the Star and the CBC’s fifth estate have learned.

Commisso was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and other crimes in the 1980s and remains on the police radar as “one of the heads” of an “Italian-based traditional organized crime group.”

Prompted by questions from the two news outlets, LiUNA’s massive Toronto local has asked police to investigate whether organized crime controls CLF.

Questions about the relationship have also triggered repercussions at CLF.

This week, Giomino Commisso, a nephew of Cosimo and general manager of CLF, told the Star his company had lost its contracts with builders “due to the investigation you have conducted.”

“I have been stripped of my responsibility I had at CLF,” he said in an email. “My name has been negatively portrayed since the start of your investigation and the company which was offering me a bright future has been destroyed.”

CLF supplies labourers to GTA job sites for general cleanup work on a temporary or long-term basis. A construction union deal with a labour supply company — rather than directly with a builder — has been called “odd” and “contradicting” by industry insiders.

Decades of Mafia infiltration within LiUNA’s international union based in Washington, D.C., led to a strict ethical code in the 1990s prohibiting association with known organized crime figures.

On March 12, union officials in Toronto sent a letter to the deputy commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police seeking “assistance to investigate and determine, if you see fit, whether (CLF) is controlled by organized crime or whether (it) is of interest to the OPP Organized Crime and Enforcement Bureau or the OPP generally.”

In a letter dated March 27, the OPP advised the union local that their inquiry had been forwarded to the Toronto Police Service, which “may request the assistance of the OPP if they deem necessary.”

“I can confirm we’ve received the document you’ve referred to,” Toronto Police spokesperson Mark Pugash said this week. “I’m not able to discuss this any further at this point.”

LiUNA’s Toronto Local 183 — with 40,000 members across the GTA — has also contacted its senior legal counsel in Washington, D.C., asking if the agreement breaches the union’s ethical code prohibiting union employees from “knowingly associating with any member or associate of any organized crime syndicate.”

While the Commisso name is not found on the provincial corporate registration of CLF, Cosimo Commisso is named as a company representative in LiUNA documents obtained by the Star and the CBC.

In two rare interviews — including his first face-to-face meeting with a journalist — Commisso, 69, said he isn’t a company official but has represented CLF in “one or two meetings” with the union and assists his brother and nephew with the firm’s operations.

“If I can find work for them, I find work for them. I have no problem with that,” he said during an interview in a north Toronto coffee shop.

His 1981 conviction for conspiring to kill two mobsters resulted in an eight-year jail sentence. Three years later, he received concurrent sentences ranging from three to eight years after convictions for counselling to commit murder conspiracy, conspiring to set fire to a building, obstructing a police officer and uttering a death threat.

Commisso’s brother, Michael Commisso, 67, was also convicted for conspiracy to commit murder in the same 1981 case and received a two-and-a-half-year sentence. He has since been pardoned. Giomino described him as a “part owner” of CLF.

“Let’s put it this way,” Cosimo said in an interview last month, “if my brother needs me, I’ll be there 100 per cent.”

This week, he said in an email to the Star: “I went thinking I was gonna help my nephew, instead . . . I have caused my nephew harm.”

LiUNA names Cosimo Commisso as the contact for the company in two separate documents.

Cosimo said he doesn’t know why his name is on those documents.

In the two interviews with the Star, Cosimo acknowledged his criminal past for which, he said, “I did my time.” He said police routinely monitor his activities and he suspects his phone is being tapped.

He vigorously denies being an organized crime boss.

“What makes you think I’m organized crime? What is organized crime?” he said. “I know how I’m making my living . . . Believe me, if I was doing those things, the RCMP would (have arrested) me by now.”

Documents supporting a 2004 search warrant detail how the RCMP investigated Cosimo Commisso and his associates for alleged involvement in “murder, extortion, drug trafficking, gambling and fraud along with other criminal offences.”

The allegations were never tested in court and no charges were laid.

His name appears again as a “person of interest” in a 2008 RCMP-led organized crime investigation called O’Peggio.

And in 2011, Toronto police monitored Cosimo’s activities while conducting surveillance at a high-profile wedding anniversary party of a well-known Mafia figure.

A police intelligence report noted Cosimo, whom they describe as “executive of the Commisso et al Organized Crime Group,” was in attendance.

Officials with CLF and LiUNA have expressed some discomfort with their agreement. And outside observers are puzzled by the arrangement and the reasons behind it.

Construction companies on unionized projects normally hire workers directly from unions, not from subcontractors like CLF.

That direct relationship improves work quality and availability of manpower and typically eliminates bureaucracy and overhead, industry experts say. Builders pay wages to the workers and remit money for benefits to the union.

“To do it another way is really odd,” said an operator of a labour supply company for non-union projects in Ontario who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of industry reprisals. “It makes no sense. There would have to be other reasons.”

Builders who have signed collective bargaining agreements with LiUNA must pay the same wage rates and benefits to all union members who work for those companies. That would include any subcontractors such as CLF.

The genesis of the deal between LiUNA and CLF remains a mystery. Neither side would comment.

It’s clear that the relationship has triggered concerns inside LiUNA about potential association with organized crime. A sweeping U.S. government investigation into LiUNA in the 1990s revealed organized crime’s extensive control of the union’s operations south of the border. It led to firings and some reform.

Joe Mancinelli, a LiUNA international vice-president and Canadian regional manager, declined to be interviewed for this story. But he responded to questions about CLF in writing saying he has had no direct dealings with CLF and does not know the principals behind it.

“LiUNA does not investigate who a company’s principals are since our interests lie in representing the workers as members of LiUNA,” wrote Mancinelli.

As regional manager for central and eastern Canada, Mancinelli oversees LiUNA locals such as Toronto’s Local 183. But locals operate with autonomy, including the election of executive boards.

Citing LiUNA’s International Code of Best Practices and Ethics, Mancinelli said the ban on organized crime involvement does not restrict union officials from associating with “barred” organized crime figures if they are discussing “the negotiation, execution or management of a collective bargaining agreement.”

A letter dated March 24 from Local 183 officials to LiUNA’s general counsel in Washington, D.C., seeks advice on whether a formal relationship with CLF “is contrary to the constitution or the code of ethics” given that the union has “entered into a collective agreement with an employer who, taking the assertion at its highest, may have or does have links to organized crime.”

The letter seeks the advice of counsel Theodore T. Green on “what level of inquiry is required of a LiUNA local before entering into a collective agreement with a particular employer or employer association.” It further asks whether there is anything in the LiUNA constitution preventing the local from “obtaining bargaining rights against a labour supply company.”

The letter says that while there is nothing preventing a union from representing employees of a private labour supplier, it is “preferable to organize the builder or contractor directly” and calls companies like CLF “a regrettable reality in the construction and non-construction industries in Ontario.”

“Labour supply companies are a relatively new creature and what is really required are legislative amendments to prevent their use or existence,” reads the letter signed by Local 183 business manager Jack Oliveira, who declined a request for an interview.

CLF manager Giomino Commisso said he didn’t know why a union would enter into a relationship with a labour supply company like his to provide workers.

“That’s a good question,” he said. “It’s one that I’m not really able to speak on . . . it’s rather contradicting.”

Over the past two years, Local 183 has filed three grievances against CLF for alleged violations of the agreement, including “employing persons who are not members of the union to perform work,” “refusing to make remittances to the union” and failing to pay the “proper wage and overtime rates to each of its employees.”

All three grievances are in arbitration, said Local 183 lawyer John Evans.

Giomino Commisso said the grievances are rooted in the “uncomfortable relationship that we have with the union because we are essentially offering the same service.”

His uncle Cosimo was less charitable, calling unions a “cancer” and criticizing LiUNA’s treatment of CLF.

“God knows how much problems they give us,” he said in one interview. “They are the people that do wrong. They are the people that they don’t care about the workers. They care about themselves.”

According to CLF’s corporate registration documents, the company was established in 2009 with Joe Ieradi listed as the only official principal.

The Star requested an interview in writing with Ieradi. Through his lawyer, he said allegations of a relationship between his company and organized crime “is without merit.”

Cosimo and Giomino Commisso described Ieradi as a long-time family friend with a history in the construction industry.

Michael Commisso joined Ieradi in the company’s operations and later brought in his son Giomino, who said he managed the company’s daily operations.

Michael declined to be interviewed.

Giomino said that while his uncle Cosimo is not an official principal of the company, he offered assistance with advice and guidance.

“He’s my uncle and if I need advice or if I need help in a certain situation when his expertise will come in handy, then . . . he will advise me on how to go about things,” Giomino said last month.

In an interview at CLF’s offices in Toronto last month, Giomino dismissed the organized crime connections with the Commisso name, calling the inference “an attack on my family and it’s completely inconsiderate to the realities of things.”

He described himself as “a young entrepreneur who is just trying to make a living and support myself and help my family at the same time.”

CLF had about 10 labourers and is “a completely legitimate company,” Giomino said in the email this week. “It’s just unfortunate that the things that have happened in the past in my family keep being thrown back in our face . . . We’ve moved on from the mistakes that my family has made.”

“Ten good men who all have families which they support through CLF we’re forced to be let go due to a shortage of work” caused by the Star/CBC investigation.

One LiUNA labourer who worked on job sites alongside CLF workers, and who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said there was a “rift” between union members and workers from the labour firm.

There was little clarity, he said, on why the CLF workers, many of them new migrants to Canada from the Philippines, had been hired.

“The union reps have never . . . explained to us what CLF is exactly,” he said. “Anytime a union rep would come on the site and the CLF members were there, the union reps would ask who they were. The CLF member would say they were supplied by the Construction Labour Force and that would be the end of the conversation.”

Robert Cribb can be reached at: rcribb@thestar.ca

Submit News to CKA News In pictures: 'We're definitely running the Antiques Road Show,' RCMP says
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:00:00 -0400
RCMP officers are working with John Mark Tillman to recover thousands of items stolen from antique stores, museums, and even the Nova Scotia legislature
Submit News to CKA News Activist Ottawa lawyer targeted by military over positive review of his book
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:56:20 Z
By David Pugliese Ottawa Citizen The efforts of an Ottawa lawyer to advocate for families battling the military justice system rankled National Defence so much that even a mildly positive review of his book sparked a plan to counter that […]
Submit News to CKA News Lawrence Hong laid to rest: ?He was my brother ? and he was a great one?
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:53:15 Z
“Remember to smile, to play to your strengths and approach each day with unfaltering optimism. Remember to take time for others around you, take a second to have a genuine connection, to buy a coffee or grab a beer, to […]
Submit News to CKA News Dozens of living and dead rabbits found in home
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 20:50:50 -0400

Police called to a Kingston, Ont., area home because of a foul odour discovered a case of animal abuse.
Submit News to CKA News Highway of Tears cries out for public shuttle bus
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:46:25 Z
Nearly 18 months after Missing Women Commissioner Wally Oppal urged that a public shuttle bus begin running along the notorious Highway of Tears, local mayors and First Nations leaders say they’ve yet to see any action from the B.C. government. In his November 2012 report, Oppal recommended that the province immediately implement an “enhanced public transit system to provide a safer travel option connecting Northern communities, particularly along Highway 16,” where 18 women have been murdered or gone missing in recent decades.
Submit News to CKA News New medical marijuana system encounters growing pains with 2 RCMP seizures and recall
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:34:34 Z
It hasn’t been a month and already Canada’s fledgling commercial medical marijuana industry has seen two large RCMP seizures and the recall, due to “quality control” issues, of products from a company that now seems to have vanished. Licensed commercial […]
Submit News to CKA News Time to retire claims that Canada?s middle class is ?struggling?
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:25:58 Z
“The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction,” the New York Times reported Tuesday, citing groundbreaking new research tracking incomes in the developed economies. And who do you suppose might have stolen its […]
Submit News to CKA News Mulcair demands probe of disappearing emails in Senate affair
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:25:30 Z
OTTAWA — NDP Leader Tom Mulcair wants an investigation into disappearing and reappearing emails linked to the Mike Duffy Senate expenses affair. His demand on Wednesday followed a story in the Citizen about government records that appear to show Privy […]
Submit News to CKA News Harper to meet with Couillard on Thursday
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:20:52 Z
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will have a private meeting with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard on Thursday, an aide to Harper has confirmed.
Submit News to CKA News A dream car, reborn: Cadillac Biarritz restored in Abbotsford
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:20:49 Z
Rick and Daryl Francoeur restore a lot of vintage vehicles. Their shop, 360 Fabrication, usually has about 70 projects on the go at any one time. “It’s raining Camaros right now. There’s five or six in here,” said Rick Francoeur.
Submit News to CKA News Transport Canada orders 5,000 tanker cars off the rail system
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:19:51 Z
By Jeff Lacroix-Wilson Ottawa Citizen OTTAWA — Transport Canada has announced new regulations tightening safety on Canada’s railways, beginning with ordering the 5,000 most dangerous tanker cars off the rails. The new rules also cover speed limits, route assessments, emergency response […]
Submit News to CKA News Metro Vancouver Koreans to hold a candlelight vigil for ferry disaster victims
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:19:50 Z
Metro Vancouver's Korean community will hold a candlelight vigil on Saturday, April 26, to remember the victims of last week's Sewol ferry disaster in South Korea, organizers said Wednesday.
Submit News to CKA News Three B.C. buildings among architecture award winners
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:19:48 Z
Three B.C. projects have won recognition in a national competition that honours the best in Canadian architecture. The buildings — the Tula House on Quadra Island designed by Patkau Architects; North Vancouver’s City Hall by Micheal Green, now of Michael Green Architecture; and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Centre for Drug Research and Development at the University of B.C. by Saucier + Perrotte Architectes and Hughes Condon Marler Architects — are being recognized with Governor General’s Medals in Architecture.
Submit News to CKA News Free the Children ambassador hasn?t let amputations slow him down
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:19:22 Z
Spencer West's message for children in Quebec: You can make a difference.
Submit News to CKA News New repair project adds to N.D.G. traffic headaches
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:19:20 Z
The long season of traffic headaches for residents of the Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough will extend into the summer and beyond.
Submit News to CKA News Attack sheds light on plight of Montreal sex workers
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:18:39 Z
It was just before sunrise on Tuesday in eastern Montreal when police received the call.
Submit News to CKA News Rosemont?La-Petite-Patrie to cull clothing collection bins
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:18:03 Z
In an effort to stem the proliferation of metal bins used for the collection of second-hand clothing on its territory, RosemontLa-Petite-Patrie will become the latest Montreal borough to regulate their placement and cut their numbers, starting next month. The residential borough, located just to the north of the Olympic Stadium, has seen the numbers of bins on its sidewalks and parking lots grow from a few three years ago to 67 today. Almost half of them were plunked on city-owned land without permission from the borough.
Submit News to CKA News Red chamber reckoning: Top court ready to rumble on fate of the Senate
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:17:36 Z
OTTAWA — In a historic ruling Friday, Canada’s top court will lay out the roadmap the country must follow for changing or abolishing the Senate. What the Supreme Court of Canada decides will determine whether the Conservative government can make good […]
Submit News to CKA News Photos: Classic heritage homes of Vancouver
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:16:54 Z
The wrecking ball has destroyed many of the city’s older homes in recent years, victims of the overheated development and real estate markets. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the city’s most prominent heritage residences, including apartment buildings and hotels.
Submit News to CKA News Teen stowaway had no clue he was in Maui: airport official
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 20:11:00 -0400
A teenager who defied the odds, surviving a flight from California to Hawaii tucked in a jetliner's wheel well, was disoriented, thirsty and could barely walk after the freezing, low-pressure ordeal, airport officials who reviewed video of his arrival said Wednesday.
Submit News to CKA News Neighbourhood rose to the occasion in Sammy Yatim case
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:04:26 Z
TORONTO — In the wider discussion about The Effects of Rob Ford Upon Toronto, there has been a thread of concern that the slash-and-burn mayor, blind to the hard-won charms of a walkable, livable and tolerant city and ever on guard […]
Submit News to CKA News New medical marijuana system encounters growing pains with RCMP seizures, recall
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:54:55 Z
It hasn’t been a month and already Canada’s fledgling commercial medical marijuana industry has seen two large RCMP seizures and the recall, due to “quality control” issues, of products from a company that now seems to have vanished.
Submit News to CKA News Forum to discuss new visions for hospitals on Mount Royal
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:44:25 Z
For as long as Montreal’s two superhospitals have been under discussion, it has been clear that new uses must be found for the buildings that house the Royal Victoria Hospital on Mount Royal and the Hotel-Dieu Hospital on St-Urbain St.
Submit News to CKA News Canada?s response in Ukraine and Africa is a lesson in foreign policy priorities
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:43:04 Z
OTTAWA — Canada’s international priorities were on stark display Wednesday as the federal government announced new measures in response to the situation in Ukraine, while sidestepping calls to help prevent another genocide in Africa. Up to 500 observers will be […]
Submit News to CKA News Scarf that pasta or rice: tips for the final Sun Run countdown
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:41:28 Z
The months of training are nearly over and the big day is almost here. Is there anything participants can do during these last few days and hours in order to get the best results possible in the Sun Run? The Sun’s Bethany Lindsay asked Rainy Kent, Burnaby coordinator for SportMedBC’s RunWalk training program, for her advice about eating, running, resting and planning in the final days leading up to the race. Responses have been edited for length.
Submit News to CKA News Sun Run: Memories of pain, loss spur positive runner
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:40:27 Z
Almost 10 years ago to the day of this year’s Sun Run, Danielle Buchanan woke up in a Mexican hospital not knowing if she would live or die. Young, buoyant, her life was floating on a cloud until it came to a crashing halt as she slammed a Jet Ski into an unmarked concrete dock in the middle of the ocean.
Submit News to CKA News Meet three B.C. residents who have competed in every Sun Run since its launch in 1985
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:40:07 Z
As the Vancouver Sun Run celebrates its 30th anniversary on Sunday, there are three participants who might have extra cause to celebrate. Through rain or shine, Ernest Lemieux, Phil Crawford and Victor Kirkman have taken part in every run since the first. All three struggle with injuries, but they plan to take part again this year. Here are their stories:
Submit News to CKA News Brazil's new Internet 'Bill of Rights' protects privacy, ensures net neutrality
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:37:46 -0400
Brazil's president signed into law on Wednesday a "Bill of Rights" for the digital age that aims to protect online privacy and promote the Internet as a public utility by barring telecommunications companies from charging for preferential access to their networks.
Submit News to CKA News Logistics: Everything you need to know about Sunday?s Sun Run
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:32:20 Z
RACE PACKAGE PICKUP IS LOCATED AT BC PLACE STADIUM’S EAST ENTRANCE Individual race package pickup is at BC Place Stadium for three days only. At BC Place, you will collect your race number, T-shirt and timing tag at our Vancouver Sun Run Fair. The fair runs 4-8 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Access to the Sun Run Fair is at the East Entrance located under Gate C. Admission to the fair is free and there will be plenty to see and learn about the Sun Run. The official Vancouver Sun Run merchandise booth will be selling technical running gear and souvenir items. T-shirts not collected before race day will be forfeited.
Submit News to CKA News Justin Trudeau's middle class claims contradicted in study - Toronto Sun
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:26:04 GMT

Toronto Sun

Justin Trudeau's middle class claims contradicted in study
Toronto Sun
Justing Trudeau Liberal leader Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill on April 9, 2014. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie). Article. Tweet. Change text size for the story; Print this story. Report an error ...
Time to retire claims that Canada's middle class is 'struggling'Montreal Gazette
William Watson: Canada's booming middle class undermines Justin TrudeauFinancial Post
Making sense of Canada's middle-class distress debate: WalkomToronto Star
Chron.com
all 117 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Heartbroken friends and family bid a final farewell to Lawrence Hong - 660 News
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:19:31 GMT

660 News

Heartbroken friends and family bid a final farewell to Lawrence Hong
660 News
He was described as a social butterfly, who loved fashion and had a passion for cycling and urban planning. A service was held for Lawrence Hong, a victim of the Brentwood tragedy, Wednesday afternoon at Centre Street Church. Lawrence's younger ...
Students defer exams in wake of Calgary stabbingsTheChronicleHerald.ca
Calgary stabbing victim's keen fashion sense shines through at his funeralEdmonton Journal
Last victim of Brentwood homicide laid to restCTV News
Sun News Network -Mississauga
all 21 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Teacher pleads guilty to sex charges - Toronto Sun
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:15:56 GMT

Toronto Sun

Teacher pleads guilty to sex charges
Toronto Sun
Kim Gervais Former elementary school teacher Kim Gervais, 37, of Timmins, is led by officers from the Timmins Superior Court of Justice on Wednesday after pleading guilty to sex charges involving four young male students. She was sentenced to seven ...

and more »
Submit News to CKA News Saskatoon man angrily throws tarp over public art that consists of two large bundles of garbage
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:14:39 +0000
'I don?t need more garbage making our neighbourhood look like that,' local resident Luke Coupal said after his Easter Sunday installation of the tarp
Submit News to CKA News NDP want to see Canadian Forces peacekeepers in Central African Republic - CTV News
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:13:29 GMT

CTV News

NDP want to see Canadian Forces peacekeepers in Central African Republic
CTV News
OTTAWA -- The federal New Democrats want to see Canadian Forces peacekeepers on the ground in the Central African Republic to prevent genocide. Paul Dewar, the NDP's foreign affairs critic, urged the government to respond to a United Nations call for ...
Canada's response in Ukraine and Africa is a lesson in foreign policy prioritiesMontreal Gazette

all 14 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Pizza joint owner: No one was fired to make room
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:10:13 -0400

Pizza joint owner: No one was fired
Submit News to CKA News Paquet unaware of corruption: Charbonneau testimony
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:05:04 Z
A project to rebuild the Acadie Circle in the early 2000s was seemingly rife with corruption, but a former public servant who signed off on numerous stages of the work says he never suspected that taxpayers were being cheated out of millions.
Submit News to CKA News Criminal charges considered after peewee hockey brawl
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:02:46 +0000

A black eye for minor hockey in Winnipeg

The post Criminal charges considered after peewee hockey brawl appeared first on Macleans.ca.

Submit News to CKA News McDonald's halts use of foreign workers - The Globe and Mail
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:01:45 GMT

Vancouver Sun

McDonald's halts use of foreign workers
The Globe and Mail
McDonald's Canada has suspended further use of the temporary foreign worker program after criticism that several franchises at the fast-food chain were favouring foreign workers over seemingly qualified Canadian applicants. The company said it would ...
Kenney reiterates vow to get tough on temporary foreign worker abusersMontreal Gazette
Despite criticism, Kenney standing by temporary foreign worker programCTV News
UPDATE 1-McDonald's Canada freezes use of foreign worker planReuters
CBC.ca -Reuters Canada
all 117 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News McDonald?s halts use of foreign workers
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:00:38 -0400
Fast-food chain agrees to third-party audit on use of TFW program, but intends to continue participation
Submit News to CKA News ?Butler Mansion? where Calgary stabbings took place was a haven for young adults with bright futures
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:00:35 +0000
When news of Calgary?s worst mass murder spread last week, Kyle Nylund took a call from his grandmother
Submit News to CKA News Why Rob Ford won't win re-election: Hepburn
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:00:00 EDT

Take a deep breath and relax, Toronto.

That?s because, despite all his bluster about sweeping to victory, Rob Ford won?t be re-elected as mayor when voters go to the polls in October.

Indeed, Ford stands a real chance of finishing a poor third in the race and could end up playing more of a role as a spoiler than being a viable contender for the mayor?s office.

Outrageous? Impossible?

As much as Ford Nation will cry unfair, defeat for Ford is the most likely outcome of this race that pits the crack-smoking, ill-mannered mayor against top contenders Olivia Chow and John Tory.

Clearly, many Toronto residents are deeply worried that the mayor could win this election. Those concerns seem to be even more exaggerated among those ?elites,? ?lefties? and ?downtowners? Ford uses as verbal punching bags in his campaign speeches.

Their fears aren?t totally groundless.

They are based on early polls that suggest Ford has a voter approval rating forever stuck between 40 and 45 per cent, regardless of what shame he brings on himself and the city, on television images of 1,500 wildly cheering Ford enthusiasts at his campaign kick-off event, of scenes of people clamouring for Ford bobbleheads and lining up to take ?selfies? photos with the mayor wherever he shows up.

Added to that is the international ?celebrity? status that Ford has garnered after appearing on U.S. late-night shows.

Taken together, they might suggest Ford could be re-elected, coming up the middle as Chow and Tory ? and Karen Stintz and David Soknacki to a lesser extent ? split the anti-Ford vote.

But there are many reasons why voters who oppose Ford shouldn?t be worried.

Ford has no growth potential in the polls; he lacks support from any major community, political, religious or academic leader; every newspaper, including the Toronto Sun, which endorsed him in 2010, opposes his candidacy; and his lone main campaign message of controlling city hall spending can be easily usurped by other candidates.

Key is Ford?s apparent inability to attract new supporters or win back those who have left him because they are disgusted with his scandal-ridden personal life.

To win, Ford needs to capture 37-42 per cent of the votes in the Oct. 27 election. Currently, only 23-27 per cent of Toronto voters say they would actually vote for him in the election. To be re-elected, Ford must improve that number by about 50 per cent.

But where does that extra support come from? An Ipsos Reid poll in December conducted on behalf of CTV News indicated 61 per cent of voters would never consider voting for Ford. Also, Ford is the second choice of few voters polled compared with Chow and Tory.

In the 2010 election, Ford got 47 per cent of the votes. Many of them held their noses when they cast their ballots for Ford, disliking his personal failings but loving his message of ?Stop the Gravy Train.?

Many of those voters now admit they made a grave error in voting for him. Those voters won?t make that mistake again.

To date, Ford has done nothing to try to win them back. Rather, he is frantically trying to solidify his core base, playing up his ?celebrity? and bashing the ?elites? he claims are out to get him.

Also, the bulk of Ford?s supporters are young, lower income, less educated, male and from outer parts of suburbs such as Scarborough and North York. All these groups are the least likely to vote in an election, which greatly hurts Ford?s campaign efforts.

So why are Ford?s approval ratings still so high, at 40-45 per cent?

It?s because most Toronto residents believe city hall is failing to take vigilant care of their tax dollars. To that end, Ford is seen as the guy who really cares about this issue.

So far, his challengers seem to be campaigning as if this election is all about Ford?s personal behaviour and subways. In reality, though, it?s about Ford?s message, namely cutting waste.

With Ford, voters like the message but hate the behaviour. With Chow, voters like the behaviour but are wary about her message on spending. With Tory, they like the behaviour but aren?t sure of the message.

If Tory and Chow can convince voters they are serious about cutting waste, then they will blunt any pipe dream Ford has about expanding his voter base back to where it was in 2010.

No doubt, Ford will remain a big factor in the race because of his message. At the same time, election campaigns really do matter, as Tory knows from his failed 2003 mayoral bid.

Ultimately, though, barring any unforeseen implosion by both Chow and Tory, Ford?s days as mayor will soon be over ? and the city can relax again.

Bob Hepburn's column appears Thursday. bhepburn@thestar.ca

Submit News to CKA News Don Macpherson: Choosing a new inner circle - Montreal Gazette
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 22:58:10 GMT

Montreal Gazette

Don Macpherson: Choosing a new inner circle
Montreal Gazette
In terms of political power and influence in Liberal governments in Quebec, women and minorities lost ground on Wednesday when new Premier Philippe Couillard presented his cabinet. The previous Liberal premier, Jean Charest, had set precedent by ...
Couillard names cabinet; warns of tough economic decisions aheadCTV News
Quebec premier unveils cabinetGlobalnews.ca
Couillard becomes Quebec premier and warns of tough economic decisionsCalgary Herald
Vancouver Sun
all 36 news articles »

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 Construction union linked to firm with alleged Mafia ties
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:00:00 EDT

Canada’s largest construction union signed an unusual agreement two years ago with a private labour firm connected to what police have described as one of the country’s top organized crime figures.

The Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) entered into a collective bargaining agreement in 2012 with Construction Labour Force (CLF), a company tied to reputed crime family head Cosimo Commisso, the Star and the CBC’s fifth estate have learned.

Commisso was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and other crimes in the 1980s and remains on the police radar as “one of the heads” of an “Italian-based traditional organized crime group.”

Prompted by questions from the two news outlets, LiUNA’s massive Toronto local has asked police to investigate whether organized crime controls CLF.

Questions about the relationship have also triggered repercussions at CLF.

This week, Giomino Commisso, a nephew of Cosimo and general manager of CLF, told the Star his company had lost its contracts with builders “due to the investigation you have conducted.”

“I have been stripped of my responsibility I had at CLF,” he said in an email. “My name has been negatively portrayed since the start of your investigation and the company which was offering me a bright future has been destroyed.”

CLF supplies labourers to GTA job sites for general cleanup work on a temporary or long-term basis. A construction union deal with a labour supply company — rather than directly with a builder — has been called “odd” and “contradicting” by industry insiders.

Decades of Mafia infiltration within LiUNA’s international union based in Washington, D.C., led to a strict ethical code in the 1990s prohibiting association with known organized crime figures.

On March 12, union officials in Toronto sent a letter to the deputy commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police seeking “assistance to investigate and determine, if you see fit, whether (CLF) is controlled by organized crime or whether (it) is of interest to the OPP Organized Crime and Enforcement Bureau or the OPP generally.”

In a letter dated March 27, the OPP advised the union local that their inquiry had been forwarded to the Toronto Police Service, which “may request the assistance of the OPP if they deem necessary.”

“I can confirm we’ve received the document you’ve referred to,” Toronto Police spokesperson Mark Pugash said this week. “I’m not able to discuss this any further at this point.”

LiUNA’s Toronto Local 183 — with 40,000 members across the GTA — has also contacted its senior legal counsel in Washington, D.C., asking if the agreement breaches the union’s ethical code prohibiting union employees from “knowingly associating with any member or associate of any organized crime syndicate.”

While the Commisso name is not found on the provincial corporate registration of CLF, Cosimo Commisso is named as a company representative in LiUNA documents obtained by the Star and the CBC.

In two rare interviews — including his first face-to-face meeting with a journalist — Commisso, 69, said he isn’t a company official but has represented CLF in “one or two meetings” with the union and assists his brother and nephew with the firm’s operations.

“If I can find work for them, I find work for them. I have no problem with that,” he said during an interview in a north Toronto coffee shop.

His 1981 conviction for conspiring to kill two mobsters resulted in an eight-year jail sentence. Three years later, he received concurrent sentences ranging from three to eight years after convictions for counselling to commit murder conspiracy, conspiring to set fire to a building, obstructing a police officer and uttering a death threat.

Commisso’s brother, Michael Commisso, 67, was also convicted for conspiracy to commit murder in the same 1981 case and received a two-and-a-half-year sentence. He has since been pardoned. Giomino described him as a “part owner” of CLF.

“Let’s put it this way,” Cosimo said in an interview last month, “if my brother needs me, I’ll be there 100 per cent.”

This week, he said in an email to the Star: “I went thinking I was gonna help my nephew, instead . . . I have caused my nephew harm.”

LiUNA names Cosimo Commisso as the contact for the company in two separate documents.

Cosimo said he doesn’t know why his name is on those documents.

In the two interviews with the Star, Cosimo acknowledged his criminal past for which, he said, “I did my time.” He said police routinely monitor his activities and he suspects his phone is being tapped.

He vigorously denies being an organized crime boss.

“What makes you think I’m organized crime? What is organized crime?” he said. “I know how I’m making my living . . . Believe me, if I was doing those things, the RCMP would (have arrested) me by now.”

Documents supporting a 2004 search warrant detail how the RCMP investigated Cosimo Commisso and his associates for alleged involvement in “murder, extortion, drug trafficking, gambling and fraud along with other criminal offences.”

The allegations were never tested in court and no charges were laid.

His name appears again as a “person of interest” in a 2008 RCMP-led organized crime investigation called O’Peggio.

And in 2011, Toronto police monitored Cosimo’s activities while conducting surveillance at a high-profile wedding anniversary party of a well-known Mafia figure.

A police intelligence report noted Cosimo, whom they describe as “executive of the Commisso et al Organized Crime Group,” was in attendance.

Officials with CLF and LiUNA have expressed some discomfort with their agreement. And outside observers are puzzled by the arrangement and the reasons behind it.

Construction companies on unionized projects normally hire workers directly from unions, not from subcontractors like CLF.

That direct relationship improves work quality and availability of manpower and typically eliminates bureaucracy and overhead, industry experts say. Builders pay wages to the workers and remit money for benefits to the union.

“To do it another way is really odd,” said an operator of a labour supply company for non-union projects in Ontario who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of industry reprisals. “It makes no sense. There would have to be other reasons.”

Builders who have signed collective bargaining agreements with LiUNA must pay the same wage rates and benefits to all union members who work for those companies. That would include any subcontractors such as CLF.

The genesis of the deal between LiUNA and CLF remains a mystery. Neither side would comment.

It’s clear that the relationship has triggered concerns inside LiUNA about potential association with organized crime. A sweeping U.S. government investigation into LiUNA in the 1990s revealed organized crime’s extensive control of the union’s operations south of the border. It led to firings and some reform.

Joe Mancinelli, a LiUNA international vice-president and Canadian regional manager, declined to be interviewed for this story. But he responded to questions about CLF in writing saying he has had no direct dealings with CLF and does not know the principals behind it.

“LiUNA does not investigate who a company’s principals are since our interests lie in representing the workers as members of LiUNA,” wrote Mancinelli.

As regional manager for central and eastern Canada, Mancinelli oversees LiUNA locals such as Toronto’s Local 183. But locals operate with autonomy, including the election of executive boards.

Citing LiUNA’s International Code of Best Practices and Ethics, Mancinelli said the ban on organized crime involvement does not restrict union officials from associating with “barred” organized crime figures if they are discussing “the negotiation, execution or management of a collective bargaining agreement.”

A letter dated March 24 from Local 183 officials to LiUNA’s general counsel in Washington, D.C., seeks advice on whether a formal relationship with CLF “is contrary to the constitution or the code of ethics” given that the union has “entered into a collective agreement with an employer who, taking the assertion at its highest, may have or does have links to organized crime.”

The letter seeks the advice of counsel Theodore T. Green on “what level of inquiry is required of a LiUNA local before entering into a collective agreement with a particular employer or employer association.” It further asks whether there is anything in the LiUNA constitution preventing the local from “obtaining bargaining rights against a labour supply company.”

The letter says that while there is nothing preventing a union from representing employees of a private labour supplier, it is “preferable to organize the builder or contractor directly” and calls companies like CLF “a regrettable reality in the construction and non-construction industries in Ontario.”

“Labour supply companies are a relatively new creature and what is really required are legislative amendments to prevent their use or existence,” reads the letter signed by Local 183 business manager Jack Oliveira, who declined a request for an interview.

CLF manager Giomino Commisso said he didn’t know why a union would enter into a relationship with a labour supply company like his to provide workers.

“That’s a good question,” he said. “It’s one that I’m not really able to speak on . . . it’s rather contradicting.”

Over the past two years, Local 183 has filed three grievances against CLF for alleged violations of the agreement, including “employing persons who are not members of the union to perform work,” “refusing to make remittances to the union” and failing to pay the “proper wage and overtime rates to each of its employees.”

All three grievances are in arbitration, said Local 183 lawyer John Evans.

Giomino Commisso said the grievances are rooted in the “uncomfortable relationship that we have with the union because we are essentially offering the same service.”

His uncle Cosimo was less charitable, calling unions a “cancer” and criticizing LiUNA’s treatment of CLF.

“God knows how much problems they give us,” he said in one interview. “They are the people that do wrong. They are the people that they don’t care about the workers. They care about themselves.”

According to CLF’s corporate registration documents, the company was established in 2009 with Joe Ieradi listed as the only official principal.

The Star requested an interview in writing with Ieradi. Through his lawyer, he said allegations of a relationship between his company and organized crime “is without merit.”

Cosimo and Giomino Commisso described Ieradi as a long-time family friend with a history in the construction industry.

Michael Commisso joined Ieradi in the company’s operations and later brought in his son Giomino, who said he managed the company’s daily operations.

Michael declined to be interviewed.

Giomino said that while his uncle Cosimo is not an official principal of the company, he offered assistance with advice and guidance.

“He’s my uncle and if I need advice or if I need help in a certain situation when his expertise will come in handy, then . . . he will advise me on how to go about things,” Giomino said last month.

In an interview at CLF’s offices in Toronto last month, Giomino dismissed the organized crime connections with the Commisso name, calling the inference “an attack on my family and it’s completely inconsiderate to the realities of things.”

He described himself as “a young entrepreneur who is just trying to make a living and support myself and help my family at the same time.”

CLF had about 10 labourers and is “a completely legitimate company,” Giomino said in the email this week. “It’s just unfortunate that the things that have happened in the past in my family keep being thrown back in our face . . . We’ve moved on from the mistakes that my family has made.”

“Ten good men who all have families which they support through CLF we’re forced to be let go due to a shortage of work” caused by the Star/CBC investigation.

One LiUNA labourer who worked on job sites alongside CLF workers, and who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said there was a “rift” between union members and workers from the labour firm.

There was little clarity, he said, on why the CLF workers, many of them new migrants to Canada from the Philippines, had been hired.

“The union reps have never . . . explained to us what CLF is exactly,” he said. “Anytime a union rep would come on the site and the CLF members were there, the union reps would ask who they were. The CLF member would say they were supplied by the Construction Labour Force and that would be the end of the conversation.”

Robert Cribb can be reached at: rcribb@thestar.ca

Submit News to CKA News Why Rob Ford won't win re-election: Hepburn
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:00:00 EDT

Take a deep breath and relax, Toronto.

That?s because, despite all his bluster about sweeping to victory, Rob Ford won?t be re-elected as mayor when voters go to the polls in October.

Indeed, Ford stands a real chance of finishing a poor third in the race and could end up playing more of a role as a spoiler than being a viable contender for the mayor?s office.

Outrageous? Impossible?

As much as Ford Nation will cry unfair, defeat for Ford is the most likely outcome of this race that pits the crack-smoking, ill-mannered mayor against top contenders Olivia Chow and John Tory.

Clearly, many Toronto residents are deeply worried that the mayor could win this election. Those concerns seem to be even more exaggerated among those ?elites,? ?lefties? and ?downtowners? Ford uses as verbal punching bags in his campaign speeches.

Their fears aren?t totally groundless.

They are based on early polls that suggest Ford has a voter approval rating forever stuck between 40 and 45 per cent, regardless of what shame he brings on himself and the city, on television images of 1,500 wildly cheering Ford enthusiasts at his campaign kick-off event, of scenes of people clamouring for Ford bobbleheads and lining up to take ?selfies? photos with the mayor wherever he shows up.

Added to that is the international ?celebrity? status that Ford has garnered after appearing on U.S. late-night shows.

Taken together, they might suggest Ford could be re-elected, coming up the middle as Chow and Tory ? and Karen Stintz and David Soknacki to a lesser extent ? split the anti-Ford vote.

But there are many reasons why voters who oppose Ford shouldn?t be worried.

Ford has no growth potential in the polls; he lacks support from any major community, political, religious or academic leader; every newspaper, including the Toronto Sun, which endorsed him in 2010, opposes his candidacy; and his lone main campaign message of controlling city hall spending can be easily usurped by other candidates.

Key is Ford?s apparent inability to attract new supporters or win back those who have left him because they are disgusted with his scandal-ridden personal life.

To win, Ford needs to capture 37-42 per cent of the votes in the Oct. 27 election. Currently, only 23-27 per cent of Toronto voters say they would actually vote for him in the election. To be re-elected, Ford must improve that number by about 50 per cent.

But where does that extra support come from? An Ipsos Reid poll in December conducted on behalf of CTV News indicated 61 per cent of voters would never consider voting for Ford. Also, Ford is the second choice of few voters polled compared with Chow and Tory.

In the 2010 election, Ford got 47 per cent of the votes. Many of them held their noses when they cast their ballots for Ford, disliking his personal failings but loving his message of ?Stop the Gravy Train.?

Many of those voters now admit they made a grave error in voting for him. Those voters won?t make that mistake again.

To date, Ford has done nothing to try to win them back. Rather, he is frantically trying to solidify his core base, playing up his ?celebrity? and bashing the ?elites? he claims are out to get him.

Also, the bulk of Ford?s supporters are young, lower income, less educated, male and from outer parts of suburbs such as Scarborough and North York. All these groups are the least likely to vote in an election, which greatly hurts Ford?s campaign efforts.

So why are Ford?s approval ratings still so high, at 40-45 per cent?

It?s because most Toronto residents believe city hall is failing to take vigilant care of their tax dollars. To that end, Ford is seen as the guy who really cares about this issue.

So far, his challengers seem to be campaigning as if this election is all about Ford?s personal behaviour and subways. In reality, though, it?s about Ford?s message, namely cutting waste.

With Ford, voters like the message but hate the behaviour. With Chow, voters like the behaviour but are wary about her message on spending. With Tory, they like the behaviour but aren?t sure of the message.

If Tory and Chow can convince voters they are serious about cutting waste, then they will blunt any pipe dream Ford has about expanding his voter base back to where it was in 2010.

No doubt, Ford will remain a big factor in the race because of his message. At the same time, election campaigns really do matter, as Tory knows from his failed 2003 mayoral bid.

Ultimately, though, barring any unforeseen implosion by both Chow and Tory, Ford?s days as mayor will soon be over ? and the city can relax again.

Bob Hepburn's column appears Thursday. bhepburn@thestar.ca

Submit News to CKA News Four Seasons soars to new heights of ?extreme luxury? with private jet
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:28:48 EDT

The Four Seasons hotel chain has lofty ambitions: It’s taking its brand to the skies.

The Toronto-based luxury hotelier is offering dream tours via a private Boeing 757 jet that will whisk up to 52 guests to cities around the world, staying, of course, at Four Seasons properties.

“The Four Seasons Jet will attract Four Seasons guests and modern luxury travellers who have an insatiable curiosity for new experiences,” said Susan Helstab, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts executive vice-president of marketing, in an email.

“These travellers want ultimate personalization paired with seamless, genuine and intuitive service delivery,” Helstab said. “They embody a spirit of adventure and discovery, but want their experiences delivered in elegant, relaxed surroundings.”

The travel business has always courted the super-rich, whether it was the famous Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul, crossing the Atlantic on a luxury liner, or staying at an exclusive resort in the Caribbean.

“Luxury has never really gone away. It’s always been there,” said George Minakakis, who specializes in premium retailing.

By adding a private jet service, it certainly adds glamour. “It is a market that is all experiential,” he said. “It is niche. It’s extreme luxury.”

The hotel chain is taking reservations for three trips so far, with the first one scheduled for next February. It’s a 24-day trip that starts in Los Angeles and ends in London, with nine stops in between, including Hawaii, Bora Bora, Sydney, Bali and the Taj Mahal in India.

The price tag is $119,000 (U.S.) per person based on double occupancy. If you’re travelling alone, there is a $11,000 single-supplement surcharge.

The Four Seasons emphasizes that the price includes rooms, airfare and all meals. A professional chef is on board as well as a concierge who can help organize tee times, private excursions and spa treatments, all from the jet thanks to a Wi-Fi connection in the air.

While the hotelier offered its first private jet tour back in 2012, this time, the Four Seasons is branding the leased plane in black, complete with the Four Seasons tree logo on the tail.

Helstab added these are guests who value their most precious commodity —time.

“No matter the affluence, time is the one thing you cannot buy,” she said, adding the Four Seasons jet will help travellers bypass the hassles of layovers, connections, delays and inflexible schedules.

For those more interested in the arts, the Four Seasons has a 16-day trip focused on European museums and theatres in cities like Paris, St. Petersburg and Lisbon. This trip includes a backstage pass to Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and a performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Prague. The total price is $69,000 (U.S.) per person based on double occupancy.

It is also offering a 24-day trip that starts in Seattle and ends in New York, making stops in places like Tokyo, Beijing and the Maldives. This trip includes a stay at a safari lodge in the Serengeti, and a visit to a medina in Marrakech, Morroco.

So far, Toronto isn’t on any scheduled tours, but it’s possible.

“Each trip is designed to give guests an unforgettable experience in different areas of the world, with a balance of urban and resort properties for a diverse itinerary offering something for everyone,” Helstab said.

See other business stories on thestar.com

Submit News to CKA News Practical nurse charged with identity theft; already faced 52 similar charges
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:58:12 EDT

Police say a registered practical nurse at a health care facility in Halton Region is facing a dozen new fraud-related charges.

Halton police say a woman who was a patient at the facility where the accused was employed had her identity and credit cards compromised in January 2013.

Police say the information came to light after the accused was investigated for similar acts at another facility.

The accused, who was out on bail for 52 criminal charges, was arrested and charged on Wednesday.

The new charges against Victor Manzo include possession of credit card data, use of credit card data, attempted fraud, and identity theft.

Submit News to CKA News Toronto airport tunnel problems known since 2012
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:37:36 EDT

Just days after the Toronto Port Authority said a harsh winter would push completion of the island airport tunnel into 2015, it was revealed other problems were known as far back as summer 2012 when digging began.

The $82.5-million pedestrian tunnel was scheduled to open this August, but port authority director of infrastructure Ken Lundy told the Star cold weather forced workers to spend hours hacking at built-up ice in the two main tunnel shafts, causing a delay. Board chair Mark McQueen tweeted a photo of ice-covered tunnel shafts in late March when he announced a “Winter 14/15 opening.”

The National Post first reported that metal leftovers from a 79-year-old partial tunnel, contaminated soil and a failure to win exemptions from the city’s noise curfew to work around the clock were behind the lengthy delay.

When the 240-metre tunnel was announced, spring 2014 was the projected completion date. Last summer, it was changed to August 2014 and now possibly early 2015.

The existing problems were “compounded” by the severe cold weather, said a statement from the contractor, PCL Constructors Canada Inc.

The port authority says it would have mentioned the other delays but wasn’t asked about them specifically.

“We’re not out there promoting the delays,” said Lundy. “It’s a very important project for the port authority and for the local community.”

Construction on a tunnel at the foot of Bathurst St. began in 1935. Digging started under the harbour’s Western Gap, which separates the mainland from the island. The hole was filled in after a new federal government cancelled the project in 1936.

In 2012, crews struck sheet metal pilings that had been underwater for nearly eight decades.

The same year, PCL applied for an exemption to the noise bylaw that would have allowed crews to work overnight from February to July 2012. It was rejected in June.

A second request to work evenings and Saturdays until 11 p.m. between August 2012 and February 2013 was also rejected, according to Municipal Licensing and Standards records. In March 2013, some work was permitted until 11 p.m.

In other words, the problems were known well before the winter set in.

“They were told before they even applied for this tunnel there wouldn’t be any overnight construction,” said Councillor Adam Vaughan, who said he wasn’t surprised by the lack of clarity.

“When you ask them (the port authority) for details, they tell you it’s private even though they’re a public institution,” he said.

According to lien documents, the tunnelling company also placed a $10.2-million lien against the federal agency in March for “services or materials that have been supplied” at the tunnel site but not paid for. It has since been secured by a bond but remains active, Lundy said.

The tunnelling company, Technicore Underground Inc., has been issued a legal directive by the port authority not to speak to the media, said vice-president Gary Benner, declining to comment further.

Submit News to CKA News Man wanted for murder and decapitation should be extradited, judge rules
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:34:06 EDT

A man wanted for a grisly murder and decapitation in the United States over 15 years ago should be extradited, a Toronto judge ruled Wednesday.

But 36-year-old Kai Guo-Huang, who maintains his innocence, won’t be going anywhere soon. His lawyer said he is considering an appeal of the Superior Court judge’s decision, and he is also waiting for the federal justice minister to sign off on the extradition.

Huang was arrested following a routine traffic stop in Scarborough in August 2012, where he was living at the time. According to police, he identified himself as Yu Chen, 30. After taking a breathalyzer test, he was arrested for driving over the blood-alcohol limit and fingerprinted.

Police say the prints matched those of a man, Kai Guo-Huang, wanted in the 1998 murder and dismemberment of 28-year-old Hoi Yang in the basement of a restaurant in Philadelphia’s Chinatown district. Yang’s head and torso were later found in dumpsters in New Jersey.

According to a Philadelphia Inquirer article from August 1998, police arrived to the scene of a blood-spattered basement, and reportedly found seven bloodied butcher knives and a meat cleaver.

Huang, who police allege was in the company of his brother at the time of the slaying, was charged with murder, conspiracy, possession of an instrument of crime and abuse of a corpse. He denies the allegations and has not been tried in court. His brother has yet to be apprehended.

Huang’s lawyer, Ravin Pillay, said he will ask Justice Minister Peter MacKay to seek assurances that Huang will not face the death penalty if he is sent back to Pennsylvania. MacKay is constitutionally required to seek and obtain those assurances, according to the justice department.

At some point after 1998, Huang fled to China, and entered Canada as a refugee claimant in 2006 using fake travel documents. He became a permanent resident in 2010. He has been in custody since his 2012 arrest.

“It’s been very difficult for him,” said Pillay. “He’s obviously facing the weight of a tremendously serious allegation. . . . This has been a difficult process which he will continue to fight and continue to exhaust whatever resources he has.”

With files from Jayme Poisson and Andrew Livingstone

Submit News to CKA News Georgia gun law allows firearms in churches, bars, government buildings
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:28:12 EDT

In Georgia, it will soon be legal to carry a gun in more places — including bars, churches and government buildings — following Gov. Nathan Deal’s signing Wednesday of a bill celebrated by supporters as a victory for the Second Amendment but decried by critics as the “guns-everywhere bill.”

“We Georgians believe in the right of people to defend themselves, and we believe in the Second Amendment,” Deal said. The measure drew national attention because of its sweep and its passage after a number of high-profile shootings around the country.

The Safe Carry Protection Act, which takes effect July 1, will allow licensed gun owners to take firearms into houses of worship if the congregation allows it, into bars unless the owner objects, into non-secure areas of airports, and into government buildings, except past security checkpoints.

More at thestar.com:

Former New York mayor Bloomberg funds gun control group to counter NRA

The National Rifle Association called the legislation the “most comprehensive pro-gun bill in Georgia state history.” Jerry Henry, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org, a group that pushed for the bill’s passage, said by phone that the law will “give the law-abiding citizen more protection in more places.”

The law also would permit schools to arm staff members and lower the age from 21 to 18 for active members of the military to obtain gun licences. It would forbid the confiscation of firearms during an emergency, a response to authorities taking guns in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The measure also would offer defendants an “absolute defence” in court if a gun is used in the face of a violent attack.

The gun debate has intensified in the wake of high-profile gun violence, such as the shooting rampages at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Since the beginning of the year, six states have strengthened gun laws while six states, including Georgia, have relaxed restrictions, according to the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The moves underscore how the regulation of firearms often divides the country by geography.

Four states, meanwhile, have enacted laws that strengthened some regulations but eased others.

On Wednesday, Deal said the Georgia legislation would “protect law-abiding citizens by expanding the number of places they can carry their guns.” The governor received 3,012 letters, emails and phone calls urging him to sign the bill and 1,887 asking him to veto it, according to his office.

“To say that we’re disappointed is an understatement,” Kathryn Grant, Georgia state director of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, said in an interview.

At the Somewhere in Augusta Bar & Grill, where a sign is posted on the front door reading “No Weapons Permitted,” co-owner Cynthia Fiske said that she doesn’t like the idea of guns in bars.

“When people are drinking, tempers can flare high,” she told the Los Angeles Times.

A number of religious leaders expressed concern about the bill. Asked how the new law reflected what is happening in Georgia, Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, responded: “In a word, insanity.”

“The mother of Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in our sanctuary in 1974 while playing the Lord’s Prayer one Sunday morning,” he said in an interview. “She was killed by a deranged teenager who had access to a gun but not enough access to mental health care. Forty years later, I think that problem is exacerbated by the signing of this law.”

Deal’s signing of the bill was expected, given that the Republican governor has an A rating from the NRA and is up for re-election. His Democratic challenger, state Sen. Jason Carter, who is the grandson of former president Jimmy Carter, also supported the bill.

Submit News to CKA News Five people rushed to hospital after Caledon crash
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:23:39 EDT

Five people were rushed to hospital Tuesday evening after a three-vehicle collision in Caledon, according to Peel EMS.

Paramedics said they were called to Airport Rd., near King St., around 9 p.m. One person was airlifted by ORNGE to a trauma centre in critical condition. The other four people suffered minor injuries.

Submit News to CKA News The Dish: Chicken pad Thai from Thai Express
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:14:00 EDT

Dish: Chicken pad Thai

Restaurant: Thai Express

Location: More than 200 in Canada

Price: $7.88

The emails began to arrive in March.

Why — oh, why — some of you wanted to know, was The Dish picking on Thai Express, the popular quick-serve restaurant known for its fresh-made, Asian-inspired meals.

The queries stemmed from a 2011 column that revealed the number of calories lurking in the restaurant’s chicken pad Thai. At that time, Thai Express did not share nutrition numbers for its meals.

According to our laboratory analysis, the meal — again, at that time — contained 1,131 calories, 40 grams of fat and 1,000 milligrams more sodium than the recommended daily allotment.

The nutrition expert who reviewed the calorie data rendered her verdict without compassion and with little room for error.

“There is nothing redeeming about this meal,” said registered dietitian Shannon Crocker.

“You could eat four burgers from McDonalds and still have consumed fewer calories and less fat and sodium than what’s found in this meal.”

That could have been the end of the story.

But this 2011 column — more than any other — has prompted people to contact The Dish. Some question the nutrition numbers. Others plead for a retest. All hope that I can somehow make their much-loved pad Thai a healthy meal.

In mid-March, the three-year-old column resurfaced online in a big way, quickly becoming the top-shared Star story on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, according to the Star’s social media team editor Shauna Rempel. In one week, thousands of people shared the story, making it one of the most-clicked stories on the Star’s website during that period.

Kerry Campbell, a journalist with CBC Charlottetown, posted the 2011 column on his Facebook page in March.

A Thai Express had recently opened in Charlottetown and colleagues were flocking to the restaurant for quick and tasty meals. He was shocked to find out the chicken pad Thai contained about 1,000 calories.

“It never dawned on me that a dish like pad Thai could be so bad for you,” he says.

“I try to keep on top of the food I’m eating, but sometimes the fact-checking lags behind the enjoyment of the meal.”

Jennifer Taylor, a registered dietitian and chair of applied human sciences at the University of Prince Edward Island, wrote to The Dish after seeing the 2011 column on Campbell’s Facebook page.

She questioned whether The Dish had published accurate nutrition numbers, since they differ from those now posted by Thai Express.

Others, too, were curious. One reader even accused me of making up the 2011 information.

So, what to do but send another chicken pad Thai from Thai Express to the lab for analysis.

Here are the results, with apologies to all the optimistic diners who had hoped for a happier outcome.

According to the 2014 analysis, the chicken pad Thai contains 1,030 calories, 33 grams of fat and 2,538 milligrams of sodium. That’s still double the number of calories that should be consumed in one meal, about half the amount of fat the average woman requires in one day and 1,000 milligrams more sodium than the recommended daily allotment.

Crocker, the registered dietitian, says three years later, her verdict on the pad Thai remains the same: Diners get a lot of calories with little nutritional benefit.

“It’s a container of noodles — so refined carbohydrates — with no vegetables and loaded with salty sauce, all for 1,000 calories. That’s totally not worth it.”

She says the nutrition information posted online by Thai Express is likely confusing to most diners since it requires a calculator to add up the data for each of a meal’s individual components. According to the restaurant, the chicken pad Thai — that’s sauce plus chicken plus egg plus tofu plus noodles — has 983 calories, 43 grams of fat and 1,260 milligrams of sodium.

And, Crocker adds, the sodium numbers are misleading since the restaurant uses grams, rather than milligrams, to highlight a meal’s salt content.

“If they posted sodium in milligrams, diners would quickly see how salty this food is,” says Crocker, pointing out 2.9 grams (the amount of sodium in a meal-sized tom yum soup) intuitively looks a lot safer than 2,900 milligrams.

Taylor believes the laboratory analysis presents an accurate picture of the pad Thai’s nutrition profile.

She too agrees Thai Express is doing a disservice to diners by posting nutrition information for a meal’s individual components, rather than for the meal itself. In fact, at first glance, Taylor believed the entrée contained just 420 calories — a number that only reflects the pad Thai sauce.

“You need to have a fair bit of motivation just to figure it all out,” she says. “We can’t expect consumers to do math to figure out what to eat.”

As for Campbell, the journalist says he won’t eat any more pad Thai from Thai Express.

“As a consumer, we carry a lot of power in the dollars we spend,” he says. “I would hope that fast food restaurants get this message, that customers like me will leave them for nutritional reasons.

“If they made this pad Thai a little bit healthier, I probably would enjoy it just as much. But now I’m not enjoying it at all because I won’t eat it.”

Do you want to have a dish tested? Contact us at mogilvie@thestar.ca

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 725 grams

Calories: 1,030

Fat: 33 grams

Sodium: 2,538 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 137 grams

Protein: 47 grams

Submit News to CKA News Canada sending hundreds of monitors to Ukraine presidential election
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 15:21:16 EDT

OTTAWA—Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada will send up to 500 people to monitor Ukraine's presidential election next month.

He says the Canadian delegation will include up to 338 people in an election observation mission.

Another group of up to 150 observers and 12 parliamentarians will be sent to join a election-monitoring mission from the Organization for Security Co-operation in Europe.

The election is scheduled for May 25 and comes amid growing concerns about separatist tensions in the eastern part of the country.

Russia officially annexed Crimea last month and there are concerns it may have its sights on more of the country.

Harper has taken a hard line against Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying his regime is a threat to world peace.

Submit News to CKA News Mississauga mansion goes on auction block ? again
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:48:14 EDT

It?s 18,000 square feet of French-inspired grandeur that just can?t seem to sell.

A Mississauga mansion at 2290 Saxony Ct. that supposedly sold last January for $6.2 million ? less than it cost to build ? is back on the auction block.

And this time it?s sharing the stage with an upscale neighbour, a resort-like, 9,000 square-foot home on prime Doulton Drive whose owner is looking for some quick action after eight months on the Multiple Listings Service without a bite.

The deal for so-called Saxony Manor, which drew daylong lineups for the unusual auction last January 26, is on the verge of collapse. The buyer has been unable to come up with final financing. Their money is apparently tied up in overseas banks.

As a result, they stand to lose over $100,000 in deposits if another bidder emerges at this second, joint auction, planned for August 27 at 2 p.m. at Oakridge Public School in Mississauga.

MORE ON THESTAR.COM:

Is the Canadian housing boom ending?

What happened when Bridle Path homeowner put entire contents of mansion on auction

The sale of the custom-built Doulton Drive home was already in the works when the owner of Saxony Manor ? a custom homebuilder who has a $5.2 million mortgage on the property, according to land registry records ? asked to try a second auction.

In addition to the soaring glass, Doulton Drive home, which sits on 1.5 acres of land overlooking the Credit River, auction house Ritchies will be selling off a Rolls-Royce, Birkin bags and Fabergé egg and fine jewelry.

?Both houses are different ? one is modern and one is traditional, so they won?t compete with each other,? said veteran Mississauga realtor Sam McDadi, who originally listed both houses on the MLS. In the case of Saxony, he even had a previous deal back in late 2013 which also fell through.

?We just want to get this done. Both sellers are very motivated.?

Kashif Khan, managing director of Ritchies, who oversaw the January auction and will also oversee the joint auction, said some ?hiccups? and ?problems? are to be expected.

?My perspective is long term. I realize this house auction concept is new and novel for Canada and it will take a while to be accepted. It?s normal to have resistance and hiccups and problems when you?re trying to change the system.?

Submit News to CKA News Paramedics respond to ?medical call? at Stephen Harper?s house
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:20:00 EDT

OTTAWA—The RCMP is confirming that paramedics were called to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s residence early Sunday morning amidst media reports that an 18-year-old woman was severely intoxicated.

In a statement, RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Lucy Shorey said an ambulance responded to 24 Sussex Drive She did not describe the nature of the call but said that it did not involve Harper or his family.

“This was a medical call and not a police matter. It did not involve any of our protectees,” Shorey said in a statement.

MORE ON THESTAR.COM:

Laureen Harper heckled at ‘cat video’ festival

Residents of 24 Sussex Drive say they’re just ordinary folk

A Quebec radio station reported that the emergency call involved an intoxicated 18-year-old woman, who was taken to hospital.

J.P. Trottier, a spokesperson for the Ottawa Paramedic Service, confirmed that paramedics took a patient to hospital but said he could not provide details about the gender, age or condition because of patient confidentiality.

“Because of the potential identification of the patient, we can’t talk about it,” he said in an interview.

It’s believed that Harper’s son Ben celebrated his 18th birthday on Saturday. Harper and wife Laureen also have a daughter, Rachel, who is three years younger.

Jason MacDonald, Harper’s director of communications, declined to comment on the report and would not say whether Harper or his wife were home at the time of the incident.

The legal drinking age in Ontario is 19.

Submit News to CKA News LIVE: Blue Jays-Orioles game blog
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 10:49:19 EDT

Mobile users can click here for baseball writer Mark Zwolinski’s blog from the Jays-Orioles game at Rogers Centre.

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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