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 Craving Cinematic Silliness? Try 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' (in Culture)
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 23:26:00Z
Willing to let your critical mind lapse into quasi-vegetation? This might be your film.
Submit News to CKA News Russian investigators probe possible motives for killing of Putin critic
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 07:15:00 -0500
Russia's top investigative body said Saturday it is looking into several possible motives for the killing of prominent opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, including an attempt to destabilize the state, Islamic extremism, the Ukraine conflict and his personal life.
Submit News to CKA News Time to Retire the Seniors' Discount? (in News)
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 08:20:00Z
With many older Canadians better off than their kids, it might be time to end those price breaks.
Submit News to CKA News Eight Lessons for Progressives Inspired by Syriza (in Opinion)
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 08:10:00Z
Greek rebels took a remarkable stand against status-quo capitalism.
Submit News to CKA News ICBC rules for religious headgear remain shrouded in mystery
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 06:45:17 Z
Surrey resident Obi Canuel made international headlines last year when the Insurance Corp. of B.C. refused to let him wear a spaghetti strainer on his head in his driver’s license photograph.=
Submit News to CKA News Leonard Nimoy remembered at Vancouver's nerdiest bar
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 06:42:14 Z
Trekkies gathered Friday at Vancouver’s nerdiest bar in memory of late Star Trek actor Leonard Nemoy.
Submit News to CKA News Cosmic cabin fever: Getting to Mars isn?t the hard part ? it?s living there
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 06:07:12 +0000
Cramped in an air-locked bubble on a one-way trip into the toxic atmosphere of mars, an astronaut could take leave of his senses, like Apollo 13 meets The Shining
Submit News to CKA News Wounded veterans told to verify condition every three years - Macleans.ca
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 05:44:14 GMT

CBC.ca

Wounded veterans told to verify condition every three years
Macleans.ca
OTTAWA ? A wounded soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan will have to verify his condition and the kind of support needed, including his wheelchair, to Veterans Affairs every three years, rather than annually under a policy change. The revision was ...
Veterans will need to verify lost limbs every 3 years, instead of annuallyCBC.ca
Wounded vets and amputees told to verify condition and needs every 3 yearsHamilton Spectator
Canada tells vets without limbs to prove it - every three yearsReuters Canada

all 32 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Quebec woman says she felt ?like an animal? when judge lectured her about wearing hijab
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 05:37:10 Z
'When I’m sitting alone, I will cry, because always I’m remembering the judge, how she was talking to me,' Rania El-Alloul, 47, said in an interview
Submit News to CKA News Andrew Coyne: The problem with so-cons: Why can?t they just be more like pundits?
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 05:25:04 Z
Social Conservatives have a right to their opinions, however disquieting it may be to uptight party grandees and squeamish members of the press
Submit News to CKA News Stephen Maher: Harper and aboriginals not in same room, let alone on same page - National Post
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 05:11:18 GMT

National Post

Stephen Maher: Harper and aboriginals not in same room, let alone on same page
National Post
On Friday afternoon, Stephen Harper went to Rideau Hall to present the Public Service of Canada's Outstanding Achievement Award to Ian Burney, assistant deputy minister of trade. The prime minister did not have time, or judge it appropriate, to attend ...
Aboriginal, federal, provincial leaders agree to keep talking about murdered ...Toronto Star
Round table on missing indigenous women results in few concrete stepsThe Globe and Mail
Politicians fall short of concrete proposals to battle violence against aboriginal ...Ottawa Citizen
APTN National News -CBC.ca -CTV News
all 175 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News University of Toronto instructor and speaker boosts ?alternative vaccines?
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 00:00:00 -0500
Homeopath headlines Scarborough conference
Submit News to CKA News Wounded veterans told to verify condition every three years
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 04:59:37 +0000

Injured veterans, including amputees, will have to verify their condition every three years to receive support

The post Wounded veterans told to verify condition every three years appeared first on Macleans.ca.

Submit News to CKA News Some police softening approach to illegal immigrants, as more cities consider providing ?sanctuary?
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 04:37:23 Z
Strict conditions have been imposed on when Vancouver transit officers can turn over someone to border agents. In some cases, officers will just let illegal migrants go
Submit News to CKA News Some police softening approach to illegal immigrants, as more cities consider providing ?sanctuary?
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 04:37:23 Z
Strict conditions have been imposed on when Vancouver transit officers can turn over someone to border agents. In some cases, officers will just let illegal migrants go
Submit News to CKA News Father describes trying to save his children from fatal Quebec fire - Toronto Sun
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 04:33:04 GMT

CBC.ca

Father describes trying to save his children from fatal Quebec fire
Toronto Sun
GRACEFIELD, Que. -- Eric Courtney's hands and face were still charred from battling the blaze a night earlier. Freshly out of the hospital and surrounded by his family on Friday, the Gracefield, Que. father took a deep breath and started to recall how he tried to ...
Police say two bodies found in debris of Quebec fire where children reported ...Hamilton Spectator
'Those two little angels, they're not here anymore': Children die in Gracefield fire ...Ottawa Citizen
Gracefield, Que., house fire: 2 bodies found in search for siblingsCBC.ca
580 CFRA Radio
all 61 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Father describes trying to save his children from fatal Quebec fire
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:31:23 -0500

Eric Courtney's hands and face were still charred from battling the blaze a night earlier.
Submit News to CKA News Does possible Maple Leaf Forever link make these historical art?
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 04:27:46 Z
In Ottawa, two national museums turned down a gift of bowls made from the tree that some have contended inspired The Maple Leaf Forever. But a Toronto museum accepted them.
Submit News to CKA News Kinder Morgan still dealing with 1,200 written requests from intervenors on pipeline twinning
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 04:01:31 Z
Kinder Morgan’s failure to answer about 600 written questions from the City of Vancouver and Burnaby is another example of the National Energy Board’s flawed review of the company’s plans to twin its Trans Mountain pipeline. That’s the view of Vancouver deputy city manager Sadhu Johnston, who is frustrated that the NEB is only allowing written questions and not oral cross-examination of Kinder Morgan experts in an attempt to keep the review moving along.
Submit News to CKA News No financial disclosure required from transit plebiscite rivals
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 03:59:39 Z
When Ralph Drew, the only mayor the tiny village of Belcarra has ever known, ran for re-election again in November, he ran possibly the cheapest election campaign ever. He collected no donations but spent $271.23 out of his own pocket to print and mail out brochures. It worked; he won over his rival, Michael Robson, 183 to 138 votes. At the other end of the spectrum, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson’s Vision Vancouver party ran the most expensive campaign in B.C. civic history, spending $3.4 million and racking up the largest deficit, too, at nearly $500,000.
Submit News to CKA News WWII veteran Ernest Cote wanted civilian burial
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:57:56 -0500

Ernest Cote lived his life as a soldier but he will be interred as a civilian following a private funeral expected to be brimming with dignitaries and supporters.
Submit News to CKA News B.C. highways could double as ?butterflyways,? say conservationists
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 03:57:14 Z
Conservationists are hoping to convert B.C.’s highways, rail corridors and power line right-of-ways to “butterflyways” for migrating Monarchs by planting milkweed. A year ago, Monarch populations hit a historic low of just 30 million, down from more than one billion less than 20 years ago, according to the David Suzuki Foundation. The butterflies migrate from Mexico to the southern edges of Canada every spring, but the increasing rarity of their main food source along migratory routes appears to be contributing to population decline. The summer range of the Monarch extends across the southern quarter of B.C.
Submit News to CKA News Suspect arrested over texts sent to Christine Elliott campaign workers - Toronto Star
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 03:54:17 GMT

Toronto Star

Suspect arrested over texts sent to Christine Elliott campaign workers
Toronto Star
An arrest has been made over what the Ontario Progressive Conservatives say were a series of threatening text messages sent to the leadership campaign of Tory MPP Christine Elliott. Campaign spokesman Mike Ras says the texts were allegedly sent to a ...
Suspect arrested over harassment allegations against Christine ElliottCP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Person arrested for threatening Christine ElliottNewstalk 1010
Deadline looms to join PC party to vote in leadership racewww.insidebrockville.com/

all 12 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News ?Soft security? measures also needed to battle home-grown radicalism, experts say
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:47:50 EST

OTTAWA—To many it was a mystery how Andre Poulin, a young man in his early 20s from Timmins, ended up dead on an ISIS battlefield in Syria in the summer of 2013.

To the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security, and Society (TSAS) it was an opportunity to put together more pieces of the radicalization puzzle.

So far, that puzzle points to a two-stage radicalization process where social media is a factor — not a decisive one, but where social contacts are key. And as the puzzle pieces fall into place, researchers believe work like this will show the way forward to a country seeking to stop those like Poulin in their midst.

In Poulin’s odd case, the researchers discovered what the news media did not.

Confidential interviews by TSAS researchers with people who were contacts of Poulin’s showed that the man who converted to Islam in 2008 and changed his name to Abu Muslim travelled to Toronto, where he lived for almost a year not long before he travelled to Syria in 2012.

They discovered Poulin was a housemate of three young men of Somali background who themselves “had radicalized” and whom researchers now believe were forces in Poulin’s radicalization.

They do not know all their names, and even if they did, strict confidentiality and ethics rules govern their work, meaning they cannot reveal the identities of anyone they engage with. These terrorism researchers are delving into the phenomenon of Canadian foreign fighters. So far, the project has collected the stories, contacts and backgrounds of 12 Canadians fighting abroad, many of whom have been interviewed while still in Syria or Iraq.

Funded in part by a federal agency, Defence Research and Development Canada, it is valuable empirical research, building on years of scholarly work into groups like the IRA.

Though CSIS and the RCMP were initially skeptical it would turn up much new, Lorne Dawson, a professor at the University of Waterloo, says the project, in its early stages, is already revealing interesting patterns that could point to ways — or times — when de-radicalization intervention measures might be effective.

For starters, radicalization does not appear to occur solely as a result of watching slick propaganda, says Dawson.

Poulin actually stars in one of those ISIS propaganda films, entitled, “The Chosen Few of Different Lands,” released after his death. It features Poulin’s call to arms to fellow Canadians with a now-familiar plea — later to be echoed by John Maguire, an Ottawa convert who also travelled to Syria to join ISIS, also known as Islamic State.

“I watched hockey. I went to the cottage in the summertime. I liked to fish,” says Poulin. “I was like your everyday, regular Canadian before Islam.”

Dawson and Professor Daniel Hiebert of the University of British Columbia, co-directors of the terrorism study centre, say slick films and social media may be powerful elements but, on their own, do not drive young people who are “everyday, regular Canadians” to acts of extremist violence.

There’s no simple profile of who becomes radicalized to the point of taking up arms, but Dawson said the research shows there is “still an extremely strong role for local inspirational leaders and figures” — friends, peers, mentors. “Very few people radicalize online exclusively,” said Dawson. “It takes face to face interaction.”

They point to the group of four young men in London, Ontario, two of whom died in a terrorist assault on a gas plant in Algeria, the group in Calgary, the group in Ottawa, and now, this week’s revelations of a group of young people who left Quebec to fight with Islamic State.

“We’re dealing with a cluster phenomenon. We’re dealing with a situation where group dynamics are absolutely crucial,” Dawson says.

It comes into play when young people are on a “quest for significance,” searching for their identity. In some cases they may be “drifters” but in many more cases, researchers have found individuals from an immigrant background struggling to “manage two worlds” or “two identities.”

In many of the Canadian cases, the youth are from respectable, middle-class, relatively privileged families, with good levels of educational achievement, perhaps with no prior criminal record or psychological problems. They may have been quite religious as children, and as teenagers are not stereotypical rebels. They wouldn’t be the kind who would up in a street gang. Personal trauma and crises may be “catalysts” but not the source of the radicalization. And there’s no evidence so far that youths have become radicalized in schools.

But they adopt a strong sense of “morality and religiosity. It is not a matter of Islam,” says Dawson, but there’s no question their motivation is “fundamentally religious” and their “conception of religion encompasses political action.”

Often, they undergo a “significant intensification of religion” or a religious conversion as a way of consolidating their new personal identity.

At a certain point in that struggle they are open to the jihadi narrative, says Dawson, because “they are emotionally in turmoil, frustrated and the narrative has a clean simple emotional appeal: ‘what’s bad, what’s good, what do I have to do, what will be the great reward for doing so.’ The fact that they’re compelled to sacrifice for it doesn’t turn them off, it appeals to them.”

They’re looking for a “grand heroic cause, a kind of cause that’s missing from our world. It’s a cosmic cause literally, in the case of ISIS, and then they are willing to throw down their lives because the meaningfulness of that cause transcends everything else.”

But before it gets to that point, research shows, young people will role play, try on the new “jihadi identity” for size. They haven’t completely internalized it yet.

It’s at this point that Dawson and Hiebert believe there is an opportunity for families, friends and mentors to step in, and perhaps turn the tide, for better or worse.

It would take an immense public education effort and support for families and Muslim communities to have difficult conversations, to provide support and resources. Dawson draws the comparison to how we now approach suicide. Just as parents and teachers should never ignore a 14- or 15-year-old who says he’s going to kill himself, Canadians have to respond to young people espousing sympathetic feelings for extremist ideologies from the get-go.

“If someone says, ‘Anyone who is not a Sunni is a kuffar and they should all be killed,’ that’s not a line you let pass. The trouble is if your only recourse right now is to phone the police or the RCMP, it’s not going to happen,” says Dawson.

That’s because the Canadian government has chosen to focus on “hard security” — boosting investigative powers, intelligence gathering, arrest powers. There is no provision in the Conservative government’s massive anti-terror Bill C-51 to provide new resources for de-radicalization programs — the kind of “soft security” measures that Dawson, Hiebert and others say are key.

By that they mean interventions involving law enforcement, teachers, social workers and psychiatrists — resources that are woefully lacking at the moment for Muslim communities across Canada, the Senate committee has heard.

The researchers say Ottawa should look to other countries, pointing to a program in Britain called Channel that draws in police, social workers, psychiatrists and teachers “to deal with the other aspects of that person’s life that need to be fixed, to get them to divert from that path towards radicalization and violence.”

“That’s expensive, but, again: an ounce of prevention, a pound of cure.”

And they urged continued funding for research projects such as theirs. “We don’t adequately understand radicalization yet,” said Dawson. “To put it in simple terms, we’re very worried . . . . If you don’t have a fine enough conception of what’s causing the problem, it’s difficult to develop the most effective counter measures.”

Submit News to CKA News Stephen Maher: Harper and aboriginals not in same room, let alone on same page
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 03:46:24 Z
The PM did not have time, or judge it appropriate, to attend the national roundtable on missing and murdered aboriginal women, which took place in Ottawa
Submit News to CKA News Stephen Maher: Harper and aboriginals not in same room, let alone on same page
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 03:45:28 +0000
The PM did not have time, or judge it appropriate, to attend the national roundtable on missing and murdered aboriginal women, which took place in Ottawa
Submit News to CKA News The niqab gambit
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 03:33:58 +0000

How Stephen Harper is betting the politics of fear can help him win the next campaign

The post The niqab gambit appeared first on Macleans.ca.

Submit News to CKA News Toronto Mayor John Tory set to appear on 22 Minutes
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:33:10 -0500

Toronto Mayor John Tory's 22 Minutes segment seems to have gone better than Rob Ford's run-in with the comedy troupe.
Submit News to CKA News Greece: No country for young people
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 03:31:38 +0000

Many of the brightest minds in Greece are leaving the country for opportunities abroad. That will only make it harder for the economy to ever recover.

The post Greece: No country for young people appeared first on Macleans.ca.

Submit News to CKA News Infected sheep may have come from U.S., not Ontario farm where officials slaughtered entire flock, court hears
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 03:28:47 +0000
The bizarre case of a flock of rare sheep ? purportedly stolen to thwart a federal kill order ? was adjourned after government documents were submitted in court
Submit News to CKA News The simple secrets to happiness
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 03:27:28 +0000

Turns out a better life rests on habits

The post The simple secrets to happiness appeared first on Macleans.ca.

Submit News to CKA News Lethal Warriors hand Raptors dose of reality: Arthur
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:22:20 EST

Alvin Gentry had to stop talking for a second because there was a big bag of popcorn in the middle of the locker room, and someone was going to knock the stuff everywhere. The assistant coach stashed it under a table, careful not to spill. When the Golden State Warriors come to town, you may need popcorn. It’s a show, most nights.

“When (new coach) Steve (Kerr) got us together, the big thing was we wanted to have ball movement,” said Gentry, who coached the Phoenix Suns from 2008 to 2013. “We wanted to move the ball, and not isolation stuff. So we got together and we incorporated stuff he did in Chicago when he played there, and from San Antonio, and some of the stuff we did in Phoenix, and some of the stuff we did in Phoenix when he was there. We looked at our personnel and thought, how can we best win? We really want ball movement.

“Miami won this way. San Antonio won. As a fan, I love watching Atlanta play. I love watching San Antonio still. They’re still a good team to watch from a pure basketball standpoint.”

Pure basketball is what Golden State is going for, and the Warriors have the tools. Steph Curry is where it starts, because he manipulates the ball like few ever have, in ways that stretch the boundaries of possibility. Klay Thompson is an assassin. Draymond Green is a Swiss Army knife with a cudgel attached.

And the connective tissue is defence at one end, and passing at the other. The ball skims from place to place, skipping, looping, slicing, and eventually finding a capable set of hands. On one possession in the first half of their 113-89 evisceration of the Toronto Raptors, the Warriors passed the ball seven times in a matter of seconds, the ball never touching the floor, before Thompson drilled a three from the corner. It can be basketball ballet. Golden State had as many assists as the Raptors had field goals.

“That’s what we try to do, is give our guys a lot of leeway, and once in a while rein them in,” said Kerr, who was lured away from TV to become a coach again. “But the last thing I wanted to do coming in was put the reins on completely, and take these guys’ spirit away, take their swagger away. So it’s a constant balancing act, and for me as a new coach with a team that was already good, I’ve just tried to take my time and be really patient, and let these guys figure it out as they go.

“And the progress has been remarkable. Our turnovers are way down since early in the season, we lead the league in assists, our passes per game are way up since last year. So I’m really proud of our guys, and how far we’ve come. But we still have a ways to go.”

Golden State leads the league in defensive efficiency, up two spots from last season, even while playing the fastest basketball in the NBA. But it’s the offensive improvement that’s propelled them to the best record in the league. The Warriors were 12th in offensive efficiency last season, which Kerr knows off the top of his head.

They’re second this year. Golden State is throwing over 68 more passes per game this season, up 28 per cent. They lead the league in assists, in assist chances, and in secondary assists — the quick pass that leads to the pass — by a wide margin.

“Ball movement, passing the basketball — I mean, that’s the way the game is meant to be played,” says Gentry.

On Steve Nash’s Phoenix Suns teams they used to say the ball finds energy. While Raptors coach Dwane Casey compares Curry’s passing to Pistol Pete Maravich, Curry’s coaches say the closest overall comparable is Nash.

“He’s maybe a more offensive-minded Nash,” says Kerr. “But the skill set, the bravado, the fearlessness to go with the shooting and the ball handling was very Nash-like, and it’s one of the reasons I was excited to come here, was to coach him and work with him.”

“I showed him a lot of stuff on Steve at the start of the season,” says Gentry.

Nash, for the record, lists Curry as one of his three favourite players to watch, along with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Gentry says Curry can’t quite see as far into the immediate basketball future as Nash — the pass that leads to the pass, the play after this play — but he’s getting there.

“The more playoff experience he gets, the more he’ll get it,” says Nash. “He’ll manipulate the game and fourth quarter even more than he does now.”

Sounds like fun. Friday night was an incredibly one-sided show, but it was a show. The Raptors, of course, usually score with iso basketball. The Golden State scouting board read, “much of what they do reverts to 1-on-1.”

“We didn’t share the ball the way we usually do. When we share the ball, that’s where we’re at our best,” said DeMar DeRozan, who spent too much time attacking alone. “Golden State showed a great example of it. They moved the ball extremely well . . . that’s the way we’ve got to get back to playing, not be so stagnant. For myself, too.”

Iso may yet become Toronto’s fatal flaw. Of course, Friday night, everything was fatal. But at least the killers were fun to watch.

Submit News to CKA News Manitoba bus beheader Vince Li could be moved to group home, gets more ... - Hamilton Spectator
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 03:22:15 GMT

Hamilton Spectator

Manitoba bus beheader Vince Li could be moved to group home, gets more ...
Hamilton Spectator
It is no secret that the Taj Mahal is a monument of love, built by a Mogul... Latest Living Stories SEE MORE · Amazing value from South Africa's reds and whites · Yelapa, Mexico: Exquisite, inexpensive dining way out of the way · Bata museum says new exhibit ...
Bus beheader Vince Li awarded unsupervised trips to WinnipegCANOE
Vince Li, Greyhound bus killer, granted unsupervised passes to WinnipegCBC.ca
Coming soon to Winnipeg: Vince Li?St. Catharines Standard
Edmonton Journal -Castanet.net -Winnipeg Sun
all 74 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Small island, big bet: How PEI lost its online gambling gamble
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:15:40 -0500
If the plan worked out, it was supposed to transform the birthplace of Confederation into the centre of a lucrative online gambling business in Canada. The five-year saga unfolded largely in secret, until it unravelled in securities court
Submit News to CKA News Vancouver bus drivers deny service to woman with service dog - CTV News
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 03:12:26 GMT

Vancouver bus drivers deny service to woman with service dog
CTV News
A B.C. woman who is hearing impaired and suffers from vertigo says she wasn't allowed on a Metro Vancouver bus on Wednesday because her service dog didn't have a vest. Lisa Arlin was surprised when a driver in New Westminster, B.C., wouldn't let her ...

and more »
Submit News to CKA News Space oddity: astronaut Chris Hadfield?s flight suit bought in vintage store
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:10:36 EST

Call it a cosmic connection.

Former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s flight suit mysteriously shows up in local thrift shop, where it languishes unnoticed.

A space medical researcher on her lunch break happens to see it. And buys it for $40.

“Apparently it was there for some time, because it was on sale, 50 per cent off,” said Dr. Julielynn Wong, who picked up the bargain earlier this month at Public Butter, a Queen St. W. vintage clothing store.

She still can’t believe her good fortune.

“I kept the price tag on because it’s a good laugh,” she said Friday. “You see it’s $80 and then it goes down to $40.”

Wong knew it was a real flight suit because she has one herself from a stint running simulated Mars missions at the Ontario Science Centre Challenger Learning Centre. (She currently works with 3D printers designing medical equipment for use in remote locations, including space.)

All the same, Wong — who trained in space medicine at the Johnson Space Center in Texas in 2012 when Hadfield was there — admits she was skeptical when she saw his name emblazoned on the front.

She inspected the flight suit more closely and noticed how the badges were worn and became more convinced. “And then I thought, I know Chris. Why don’t I just ask him?”

After an exchange of Facebook messages and photos, Hadfield confirmed it was his suit — but the former astronaut was just as surprised as Wong about where it had turned up.

“Maybe it inadvertently got put in a donations bag or something. I’ll ask my family and staff,” he informed her. “Glad you ended up with it — especially on sale.”

Hadfield gave one of his flight suits to the Ontario Science Centre, which has it on display. But Wong, who is launching a new 3D printing activity at the centre, is thrilled to have her own.

“I can bring it out and share it with people. They can touch it and take “selfies” with it,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to inspire the next generation of space pioneers.”

Submit News to CKA News At parallel Missing Women summit, chilling stories and calls for action
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 02:44:00 Z
When CeeJai Julian ran from Robert Pickton’s farm in 1994 she never looked back. “I knew that he was going to kill me — something in my gut told me, ‘Run, CeeJai, run, he’s going to kill you,’ and then I took off.” Julian got away but many of her friends did not. Her difficult story was […]
Submit News to CKA News Andrew Coyne: The problem with so-cons: Why can?t they just be more like pundits?
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 02:24:53 +0000
Social Conservatives have a right to their opinions, however disquieting it may be to uptight party grandees and squeamish members of the press
Submit News to CKA News Oct. 22 gunman buried in Libya, cousin says
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 02:15:37 Z
The body of Oct. 22 gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau has been buried in Libya.
Submit News to CKA News NDP wants Supreme Court to intervene in satellite offices dispute
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 02:06:53 Z
The NDP is attempting the legal equivalent of a Hail Mary pass to resolve its ongoing dispute with a House of Commons board over the costs of the party’s satellite offices. The New Democrats announced Friday evening that they have asked Justice Minister Peter MacKay to refer the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada for […]
Submit News to CKA News Buttock-boosting case nears its painful end: DiManno
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:02:19 EST

The buttock enhancement procedure can perhaps be described as half-assed: A caulking gun, a syringe, Krazy Glue and silicone oil.

Injection of the lift-and-shape gel occurred in motel rooms.

But for the clients who sought a perky derriere, the endgame was played out in emergency departments, attached to IV antibiotic drips during lengthy hospital admissions, repeated surgeries, chronic pain, complicated abscesses, disfigurement and the prospect of lifelong health complications.

It was assault with a weapon: A needle and an illegal substance — PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate), approved for use in Canada only in bone-reconstruction surgery.

Marilyn Ely Reid was pumping the toxic substance into women’s fannies.

Caulking gun attached to a syringe, plunge and infuse, all the while assuring there’d be no ill effects. “Just a nice plump butt.”

The 49-year-old is neither doctor nor nurse. She did, however, present herself as an angel of shape-shifting miracles for droopy-bum “patients” unhappy with their bodies.

“You cannot do this to the naïve and the trusting,” Crown attorney Allison MacPherson told a sentencing hearing Friday. “The law is geared to protect the lambs, not the lions. She preyed on the naïve like a wolf.”

Reid has pleaded guilty to eight counts of aggravated assault.

MacPherson: “She wounded them. She maimed them. She endangered their lives. And she continues to endanger their lives.”

The slight-built Venezuelan-born Reid — she also faces deportation — has been in custody for two and a half years. Her lawyer, Calvin Berry, has asked for time served — at the going rate of 1:5 to 1 — and three years probation. The crown seeks a prison sentence of 10 to 12 years. Justice Jane Kelly has reserved her decision until March 26.

Reid told Kelly on Friday that she is oh so sorry.

“I have no excuse. I never tried to hurt anybody. Most of those girls were my friends. I never lied to them. I never told them I was a doctor.

“If I knew today what I didn’t know then, I would not do it.”

A pre-sentencing report entered as an exhibit describes Reid as somewhat less than oh so sorry. “The subject expression of remorse may be ingenuous as revealed by her efforts to excuse her behavior,” states the report, from Reid’s probation officer.

A mitigating factor offered by Barry is the abusive relationship Reid was in with an abusive and drug-addicted boyfriend.

MacPherson countered that it was all about the money. Reid charged — and demanded cash up front — from $3,500 to $7,200, depending on the number of injections required, purportedly because some backsides were more resistant to the treatment so more product was needed, though discounts were offered.

It remains unclear how Reid came by her knowledge of PMMA, though it should be noted that her ex-husband was a petroleum engineer. The substance, not approved for cosmetic surgery, is usually obtained in liquid form from South American countries. Reid would arrive for the motel appointments carrying it — and the other tools of her trade — in a silver cosmetics travelling case.

Some clients were originally pleased with the result, recommending the procedure to friends and relatives. Inevitably, though, the horrible after-effects would become evident, necessitating removal of the gel to the extent possible. But the diffuse substance, an industrial silicone, having seeped into muscle and tissue, can’t ever be completely evacuated, which is why it lingers as a health threat. Unlike contained silicone implants for breast augmentation, it can’t be removed in one surgical scoop.

Only one of the affected clients, a former professional dancer, provided a victim impact statement Friday, her identity protected by a publication ban. She described the lesions and acute pain she’s suffered since, recurring infections and mental anguish. “I felt betrayed by the accused. I lost my self-confidence and my motivation in life, given that I have so many complexes concerning my buttocks, the way it has become . . . I am even traumatized to show myself naked before my partner.”

The agreed statement of facts tells of another woman who was sent to Reid by her sister, who had already undergone the procedure after seeing Reid’s online advertisement with before-and-after photos.

Lying on a towel on the motel room bed, the victim watched Reid fill a syringe that was inserted into her buttock. Reid then took a caulking gun and attached it to the syringe. “The liquid was very thick and as (Reid) was pumping the product into the victim’s body a loud pop occurred and the victim winced in pain as liquid leaked out of the caulking gun,” says the statement.

Reid removed the needle from the caulking gun, pumped air out of the syringe, then screen it back into the gun and continued pumping.

That woman fell immediately ill (as did her sister later, with a leg abscess). Within days, unable to walk, in intolerable pain, she was taken to hospital by ambulance. A CT scan revealed tracks of air within the fat and muscle in her buttocks. Though a surgeon cleared the infection, the symptoms ultimately worsened and would spend four weeks receiving antibiotics intravenously in hospital. The attending doctor — who said the woman could have died from complications had she not sought medical treatment in time — was so concerned that he summoned police, who launched their investigation.

Subsequently, other Reid clients who saw the news coverage came forward with stories of hospitalizations, ghastly abscesses, cysts and leakage from the syringe perforations, which in at least one instance Reid tried to stanch with Krazy Glue.

On that occasion, the woman recalled how the gun-and-syringe device malfunctioned, and the contents “started squirting out.” When the area punctured continued to leak for days, Reid applied glue to a bandage and stuck it on the incision.

In the pre-sentencing report, Reid is described as having been born with both male and female sexual organs — a hermaphrodite. Raised as a female, her mother says Reid underwent surgery for the condition at a young age. Reid told the probation officer she didn’t remember that, had only learned of the medical procedure when in her 20s, preparing to marry, but had long wondered about the deep tone of her voice.

Reid, who lived in England for years with her ex-husband and later allegedly practiced as a nurse in Spain — though she can’t find the documents proving that — and always claimed to be her own walking advertisement best client, baring her bottom to patients so they could inspect her handiwork.

Evidence to that boast was not presented in court.

Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Submit News to CKA News NDP wants Supreme Court to intervene in satellite offices dispute - Ottawa Citizen
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:57:29 GMT

Ottawa Citizen

NDP wants Supreme Court to intervene in satellite offices dispute
Ottawa Citizen
The NDP is attempting the legal equivalent of a Hail Mary pass to resolve its ongoing dispute with a House of Commons board over the costs of the party's satellite offices. The New Democrats announced Friday evening that they have asked Justice Minister ...
NDP wants Supreme Court opinion on fight over parliamentary resourcesThe Globe and Mail
NDP escalates fight over satellite officesSimilkameen Spotlight

all 17 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Procedure spat leaves hearings on anti-terror bill up in air
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:50:49 Z
The start of public hearings on the government’s anti-terror bill is in question.
Submit News to CKA News Canadian pre-owned submarine fleet finally ready for operations - The Globe and Mail
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:50:45 GMT

CBC.ca

Canadian pre-owned submarine fleet finally ready for operations
The Globe and Mail
Canada's trouble-plagued submarine fleet, once the butt of jokes after a slew of problems, has finally managed to right itself. For the first time since they were purchased in 1998, the Royal Canadian Navy has reached a stage where three of its four ...
Canada's navy is marking what it calls a 'milestone' for its controversy-plagued ...CBC.ca
Canadian Submarines Ready to Hit the Wide Open SeaKelownaNow
Navy says Canada's submarines ready to perform nationally, globallymysask.com

all 20 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Malak Karsh's photo collection to be preserved for history
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:47:18 Z
Library and Archives Canada will announce Sunday the purchase of more than 200,000 photographic images from Malak's vast collection of transparencies, negatives and prints.
Submit News to CKA News Whalley student relentless in rallying troops for the Sun Run
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:42:37 Z
Every so often, out of the rubble of a city, a bright star shines. Shaun Renshaw, a 16-year-old student at Kwantlen Park secondary in the Whalley area of Surrey, is proof that if you have a good family, adults who believe in you, and if you believe in yourself, anything is possible.
Submit News to CKA News B.C.?s Mount Polley mine confirms layoffs on the table if it can?t reopen soon
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:41:33 Z
VICTORIA — Workers at the Mount Polley mine could face layoffs starting April 1, the mine owners confirm. Imperials Metals, which operates the gold and copper mine near Williams Lake, said it will finish repairs to the breached section of its tailings dam around April 1 and, without a permit from government to partly restart the mine, won’t be able to retain all of its approximately 300 employees.
Submit News to CKA News Letters to a Younger Me: Jill Krop
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:40:32 Z
Global B.C.'s Jill Krop says trust your instincts and learn from life's lessons.
Submit News to CKA News Video: Tech Toys ? 3D Drone technology created by SFU students
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:40:24 Z
Digital Life writer Gillian Shaw takes a look at cutting edge technology for the security industry and first responders use in emergencies. SFU university students and co-founders of Avian Robotics created the 3D frame to print the device they can make it at a fraction of the cost of conventional drones.
Submit News to CKA News University of Ottawa tries to stop $6M hockey team lawsuit
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:39:09 -0500

The University of Ottawa is trying to stop a $6-million class action lawsuit launched by members of its men's hockey team, which hasn't been allowed to play since early 2014.

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 ?Soft security? measures also needed to battle home-grown radicalism, experts say
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:47:50 EST

OTTAWA—To many it was a mystery how Andre Poulin, a young man in his early 20s from Timmins, ended up dead on an ISIS battlefield in Syria in the summer of 2013.

To the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security, and Society (TSAS) it was an opportunity to put together more pieces of the radicalization puzzle.

So far, that puzzle points to a two-stage radicalization process where social media is a factor — not a decisive one, but where social contacts are key. And as the puzzle pieces fall into place, researchers believe work like this will show the way forward to a country seeking to stop those like Poulin in their midst.

In Poulin’s odd case, the researchers discovered what the news media did not.

Confidential interviews by TSAS researchers with people who were contacts of Poulin’s showed that the man who converted to Islam in 2008 and changed his name to Abu Muslim travelled to Toronto, where he lived for almost a year not long before he travelled to Syria in 2012.

They discovered Poulin was a housemate of three young men of Somali background who themselves “had radicalized” and whom researchers now believe were forces in Poulin’s radicalization.

They do not know all their names, and even if they did, strict confidentiality and ethics rules govern their work, meaning they cannot reveal the identities of anyone they engage with. These terrorism researchers are delving into the phenomenon of Canadian foreign fighters. So far, the project has collected the stories, contacts and backgrounds of 12 Canadians fighting abroad, many of whom have been interviewed while still in Syria or Iraq.

Funded in part by a federal agency, Defence Research and Development Canada, it is valuable empirical research, building on years of scholarly work into groups like the IRA.

Though CSIS and the RCMP were initially skeptical it would turn up much new, Lorne Dawson, a professor at the University of Waterloo, says the project, in its early stages, is already revealing interesting patterns that could point to ways — or times — when de-radicalization intervention measures might be effective.

For starters, radicalization does not appear to occur solely as a result of watching slick propaganda, says Dawson.

Poulin actually stars in one of those ISIS propaganda films, entitled, “The Chosen Few of Different Lands,” released after his death. It features Poulin’s call to arms to fellow Canadians with a now-familiar plea — later to be echoed by John Maguire, an Ottawa convert who also travelled to Syria to join ISIS, also known as Islamic State.

“I watched hockey. I went to the cottage in the summertime. I liked to fish,” says Poulin. “I was like your everyday, regular Canadian before Islam.”

Dawson and Professor Daniel Hiebert of the University of British Columbia, co-directors of the terrorism study centre, say slick films and social media may be powerful elements but, on their own, do not drive young people who are “everyday, regular Canadians” to acts of extremist violence.

There’s no simple profile of who becomes radicalized to the point of taking up arms, but Dawson said the research shows there is “still an extremely strong role for local inspirational leaders and figures” — friends, peers, mentors. “Very few people radicalize online exclusively,” said Dawson. “It takes face to face interaction.”

They point to the group of four young men in London, Ontario, two of whom died in a terrorist assault on a gas plant in Algeria, the group in Calgary, the group in Ottawa, and now, this week’s revelations of a group of young people who left Quebec to fight with Islamic State.

“We’re dealing with a cluster phenomenon. We’re dealing with a situation where group dynamics are absolutely crucial,” Dawson says.

It comes into play when young people are on a “quest for significance,” searching for their identity. In some cases they may be “drifters” but in many more cases, researchers have found individuals from an immigrant background struggling to “manage two worlds” or “two identities.”

In many of the Canadian cases, the youth are from respectable, middle-class, relatively privileged families, with good levels of educational achievement, perhaps with no prior criminal record or psychological problems. They may have been quite religious as children, and as teenagers are not stereotypical rebels. They wouldn’t be the kind who would up in a street gang. Personal trauma and crises may be “catalysts” but not the source of the radicalization. And there’s no evidence so far that youths have become radicalized in schools.

But they adopt a strong sense of “morality and religiosity. It is not a matter of Islam,” says Dawson, but there’s no question their motivation is “fundamentally religious” and their “conception of religion encompasses political action.”

Often, they undergo a “significant intensification of religion” or a religious conversion as a way of consolidating their new personal identity.

At a certain point in that struggle they are open to the jihadi narrative, says Dawson, because “they are emotionally in turmoil, frustrated and the narrative has a clean simple emotional appeal: ‘what’s bad, what’s good, what do I have to do, what will be the great reward for doing so.’ The fact that they’re compelled to sacrifice for it doesn’t turn them off, it appeals to them.”

They’re looking for a “grand heroic cause, a kind of cause that’s missing from our world. It’s a cosmic cause literally, in the case of ISIS, and then they are willing to throw down their lives because the meaningfulness of that cause transcends everything else.”

But before it gets to that point, research shows, young people will role play, try on the new “jihadi identity” for size. They haven’t completely internalized it yet.

It’s at this point that Dawson and Hiebert believe there is an opportunity for families, friends and mentors to step in, and perhaps turn the tide, for better or worse.

It would take an immense public education effort and support for families and Muslim communities to have difficult conversations, to provide support and resources. Dawson draws the comparison to how we now approach suicide. Just as parents and teachers should never ignore a 14- or 15-year-old who says he’s going to kill himself, Canadians have to respond to young people espousing sympathetic feelings for extremist ideologies from the get-go.

“If someone says, ‘Anyone who is not a Sunni is a kuffar and they should all be killed,’ that’s not a line you let pass. The trouble is if your only recourse right now is to phone the police or the RCMP, it’s not going to happen,” says Dawson.

That’s because the Canadian government has chosen to focus on “hard security” — boosting investigative powers, intelligence gathering, arrest powers. There is no provision in the Conservative government’s massive anti-terror Bill C-51 to provide new resources for de-radicalization programs — the kind of “soft security” measures that Dawson, Hiebert and others say are key.

By that they mean interventions involving law enforcement, teachers, social workers and psychiatrists — resources that are woefully lacking at the moment for Muslim communities across Canada, the Senate committee has heard.

The researchers say Ottawa should look to other countries, pointing to a program in Britain called Channel that draws in police, social workers, psychiatrists and teachers “to deal with the other aspects of that person’s life that need to be fixed, to get them to divert from that path towards radicalization and violence.”

“That’s expensive, but, again: an ounce of prevention, a pound of cure.”

And they urged continued funding for research projects such as theirs. “We don’t adequately understand radicalization yet,” said Dawson. “To put it in simple terms, we’re very worried . . . . If you don’t have a fine enough conception of what’s causing the problem, it’s difficult to develop the most effective counter measures.”

Submit News to CKA News Lethal Warriors hand Raptors dose of reality: Arthur
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:22:20 EST

Alvin Gentry had to stop talking for a second because there was a big bag of popcorn in the middle of the locker room, and someone was going to knock the stuff everywhere. The assistant coach stashed it under a table, careful not to spill. When the Golden State Warriors come to town, you may need popcorn. It’s a show, most nights.

“When (new coach) Steve (Kerr) got us together, the big thing was we wanted to have ball movement,” said Gentry, who coached the Phoenix Suns from 2008 to 2013. “We wanted to move the ball, and not isolation stuff. So we got together and we incorporated stuff he did in Chicago when he played there, and from San Antonio, and some of the stuff we did in Phoenix, and some of the stuff we did in Phoenix when he was there. We looked at our personnel and thought, how can we best win? We really want ball movement.

“Miami won this way. San Antonio won. As a fan, I love watching Atlanta play. I love watching San Antonio still. They’re still a good team to watch from a pure basketball standpoint.”

Pure basketball is what Golden State is going for, and the Warriors have the tools. Steph Curry is where it starts, because he manipulates the ball like few ever have, in ways that stretch the boundaries of possibility. Klay Thompson is an assassin. Draymond Green is a Swiss Army knife with a cudgel attached.

And the connective tissue is defence at one end, and passing at the other. The ball skims from place to place, skipping, looping, slicing, and eventually finding a capable set of hands. On one possession in the first half of their 113-89 evisceration of the Toronto Raptors, the Warriors passed the ball seven times in a matter of seconds, the ball never touching the floor, before Thompson drilled a three from the corner. It can be basketball ballet. Golden State had as many assists as the Raptors had field goals.

“That’s what we try to do, is give our guys a lot of leeway, and once in a while rein them in,” said Kerr, who was lured away from TV to become a coach again. “But the last thing I wanted to do coming in was put the reins on completely, and take these guys’ spirit away, take their swagger away. So it’s a constant balancing act, and for me as a new coach with a team that was already good, I’ve just tried to take my time and be really patient, and let these guys figure it out as they go.

“And the progress has been remarkable. Our turnovers are way down since early in the season, we lead the league in assists, our passes per game are way up since last year. So I’m really proud of our guys, and how far we’ve come. But we still have a ways to go.”

Golden State leads the league in defensive efficiency, up two spots from last season, even while playing the fastest basketball in the NBA. But it’s the offensive improvement that’s propelled them to the best record in the league. The Warriors were 12th in offensive efficiency last season, which Kerr knows off the top of his head.

They’re second this year. Golden State is throwing over 68 more passes per game this season, up 28 per cent. They lead the league in assists, in assist chances, and in secondary assists — the quick pass that leads to the pass — by a wide margin.

“Ball movement, passing the basketball — I mean, that’s the way the game is meant to be played,” says Gentry.

On Steve Nash’s Phoenix Suns teams they used to say the ball finds energy. While Raptors coach Dwane Casey compares Curry’s passing to Pistol Pete Maravich, Curry’s coaches say the closest overall comparable is Nash.

“He’s maybe a more offensive-minded Nash,” says Kerr. “But the skill set, the bravado, the fearlessness to go with the shooting and the ball handling was very Nash-like, and it’s one of the reasons I was excited to come here, was to coach him and work with him.”

“I showed him a lot of stuff on Steve at the start of the season,” says Gentry.

Nash, for the record, lists Curry as one of his three favourite players to watch, along with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Gentry says Curry can’t quite see as far into the immediate basketball future as Nash — the pass that leads to the pass, the play after this play — but he’s getting there.

“The more playoff experience he gets, the more he’ll get it,” says Nash. “He’ll manipulate the game and fourth quarter even more than he does now.”

Sounds like fun. Friday night was an incredibly one-sided show, but it was a show. The Raptors, of course, usually score with iso basketball. The Golden State scouting board read, “much of what they do reverts to 1-on-1.”

“We didn’t share the ball the way we usually do. When we share the ball, that’s where we’re at our best,” said DeMar DeRozan, who spent too much time attacking alone. “Golden State showed a great example of it. They moved the ball extremely well . . . that’s the way we’ve got to get back to playing, not be so stagnant. For myself, too.”

Iso may yet become Toronto’s fatal flaw. Of course, Friday night, everything was fatal. But at least the killers were fun to watch.

Submit News to CKA News Space oddity: astronaut Chris Hadfield?s flight suit bought in vintage store
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:10:36 EST

Call it a cosmic connection.

Former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s flight suit mysteriously shows up in local thrift shop, where it languishes unnoticed.

A space medical researcher on her lunch break happens to see it. And buys it for $40.

“Apparently it was there for some time, because it was on sale, 50 per cent off,” said Dr. Julielynn Wong, who picked up the bargain earlier this month at Public Butter, a Queen St. W. vintage clothing store.

She still can’t believe her good fortune.

“I kept the price tag on because it’s a good laugh,” she said Friday. “You see it’s $80 and then it goes down to $40.”

Wong knew it was a real flight suit because she has one herself from a stint running simulated Mars missions at the Ontario Science Centre Challenger Learning Centre. (She currently works with 3D printers designing medical equipment for use in remote locations, including space.)

All the same, Wong — who trained in space medicine at the Johnson Space Center in Texas in 2012 when Hadfield was there — admits she was skeptical when she saw his name emblazoned on the front.

She inspected the flight suit more closely and noticed how the badges were worn and became more convinced. “And then I thought, I know Chris. Why don’t I just ask him?”

After an exchange of Facebook messages and photos, Hadfield confirmed it was his suit — but the former astronaut was just as surprised as Wong about where it had turned up.

“Maybe it inadvertently got put in a donations bag or something. I’ll ask my family and staff,” he informed her. “Glad you ended up with it — especially on sale.”

Hadfield gave one of his flight suits to the Ontario Science Centre, which has it on display. But Wong, who is launching a new 3D printing activity at the centre, is thrilled to have her own.

“I can bring it out and share it with people. They can touch it and take “selfies” with it,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to inspire the next generation of space pioneers.”

Submit News to CKA News Buttock-boosting case nears its painful end: DiManno
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:02:19 EST

The buttock enhancement procedure can perhaps be described as half-assed: A caulking gun, a syringe, Krazy Glue and silicone oil.

Injection of the lift-and-shape gel occurred in motel rooms.

But for the clients who sought a perky derriere, the endgame was played out in emergency departments, attached to IV antibiotic drips during lengthy hospital admissions, repeated surgeries, chronic pain, complicated abscesses, disfigurement and the prospect of lifelong health complications.

It was assault with a weapon: A needle and an illegal substance — PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate), approved for use in Canada only in bone-reconstruction surgery.

Marilyn Ely Reid was pumping the toxic substance into women’s fannies.

Caulking gun attached to a syringe, plunge and infuse, all the while assuring there’d be no ill effects. “Just a nice plump butt.”

The 49-year-old is neither doctor nor nurse. She did, however, present herself as an angel of shape-shifting miracles for droopy-bum “patients” unhappy with their bodies.

“You cannot do this to the naïve and the trusting,” Crown attorney Allison MacPherson told a sentencing hearing Friday. “The law is geared to protect the lambs, not the lions. She preyed on the naïve like a wolf.”

Reid has pleaded guilty to eight counts of aggravated assault.

MacPherson: “She wounded them. She maimed them. She endangered their lives. And she continues to endanger their lives.”

The slight-built Venezuelan-born Reid — she also faces deportation — has been in custody for two and a half years. Her lawyer, Calvin Berry, has asked for time served — at the going rate of 1:5 to 1 — and three years probation. The crown seeks a prison sentence of 10 to 12 years. Justice Jane Kelly has reserved her decision until March 26.

Reid told Kelly on Friday that she is oh so sorry.

“I have no excuse. I never tried to hurt anybody. Most of those girls were my friends. I never lied to them. I never told them I was a doctor.

“If I knew today what I didn’t know then, I would not do it.”

A pre-sentencing report entered as an exhibit describes Reid as somewhat less than oh so sorry. “The subject expression of remorse may be ingenuous as revealed by her efforts to excuse her behavior,” states the report, from Reid’s probation officer.

A mitigating factor offered by Barry is the abusive relationship Reid was in with an abusive and drug-addicted boyfriend.

MacPherson countered that it was all about the money. Reid charged — and demanded cash up front — from $3,500 to $7,200, depending on the number of injections required, purportedly because some backsides were more resistant to the treatment so more product was needed, though discounts were offered.

It remains unclear how Reid came by her knowledge of PMMA, though it should be noted that her ex-husband was a petroleum engineer. The substance, not approved for cosmetic surgery, is usually obtained in liquid form from South American countries. Reid would arrive for the motel appointments carrying it — and the other tools of her trade — in a silver cosmetics travelling case.

Some clients were originally pleased with the result, recommending the procedure to friends and relatives. Inevitably, though, the horrible after-effects would become evident, necessitating removal of the gel to the extent possible. But the diffuse substance, an industrial silicone, having seeped into muscle and tissue, can’t ever be completely evacuated, which is why it lingers as a health threat. Unlike contained silicone implants for breast augmentation, it can’t be removed in one surgical scoop.

Only one of the affected clients, a former professional dancer, provided a victim impact statement Friday, her identity protected by a publication ban. She described the lesions and acute pain she’s suffered since, recurring infections and mental anguish. “I felt betrayed by the accused. I lost my self-confidence and my motivation in life, given that I have so many complexes concerning my buttocks, the way it has become . . . I am even traumatized to show myself naked before my partner.”

The agreed statement of facts tells of another woman who was sent to Reid by her sister, who had already undergone the procedure after seeing Reid’s online advertisement with before-and-after photos.

Lying on a towel on the motel room bed, the victim watched Reid fill a syringe that was inserted into her buttock. Reid then took a caulking gun and attached it to the syringe. “The liquid was very thick and as (Reid) was pumping the product into the victim’s body a loud pop occurred and the victim winced in pain as liquid leaked out of the caulking gun,” says the statement.

Reid removed the needle from the caulking gun, pumped air out of the syringe, then screen it back into the gun and continued pumping.

That woman fell immediately ill (as did her sister later, with a leg abscess). Within days, unable to walk, in intolerable pain, she was taken to hospital by ambulance. A CT scan revealed tracks of air within the fat and muscle in her buttocks. Though a surgeon cleared the infection, the symptoms ultimately worsened and would spend four weeks receiving antibiotics intravenously in hospital. The attending doctor — who said the woman could have died from complications had she not sought medical treatment in time — was so concerned that he summoned police, who launched their investigation.

Subsequently, other Reid clients who saw the news coverage came forward with stories of hospitalizations, ghastly abscesses, cysts and leakage from the syringe perforations, which in at least one instance Reid tried to stanch with Krazy Glue.

On that occasion, the woman recalled how the gun-and-syringe device malfunctioned, and the contents “started squirting out.” When the area punctured continued to leak for days, Reid applied glue to a bandage and stuck it on the incision.

In the pre-sentencing report, Reid is described as having been born with both male and female sexual organs — a hermaphrodite. Raised as a female, her mother says Reid underwent surgery for the condition at a young age. Reid told the probation officer she didn’t remember that, had only learned of the medical procedure when in her 20s, preparing to marry, but had long wondered about the deep tone of her voice.

Reid, who lived in England for years with her ex-husband and later allegedly practiced as a nurse in Spain — though she can’t find the documents proving that — and always claimed to be her own walking advertisement best client, baring her bottom to patients so they could inspect her handiwork.

Evidence to that boast was not presented in court.

Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Submit News to CKA News Dean Blundell Q&A: Radio host returns with few regrets
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:31:32 EST

As Dean Blundell gets set to be the new host of the morning show on Sportsnet 590 The FAN, the station is running commercials of the on-air personality with duct tape over his mouth and the tag line: “Reprogrammed.”

After a sit-down interview with Blundell on Friday, we might add “chastened, but unrepentant.” The former shock jock on the Edge 102.1 has been out of work since last January, when a number of controversies caused him to lose his job after more than 13 years at the Corus-owned station.

Blundell spent time with his family, started a podcast and began filling in at Sportsnet in the summer of 2014. That was a trial run, which led to his new show Dean Blundell and Co., announced in January. On Friday, it was also announced that he will be joined on the air by Sportsnet personalities George Rusic, Kayla Harris and producer Ryan Fabro.

Blundell comes with a lot of baggage after several broadcast complaints for crude attempts at humour, which were often labelled homophobic. Today, after time to consider his actions, he doesn’t apologize for the comments but does say that he has learned from those incidents and doesn’t want to be “hurtful.”

While there are many who won’t change their mind about Blundell based on his previous body of work, he says he’s excited about this opportunity, talking about it like it’s a dream come true.

For Rogers and Sportsnet radio, which already dominate the local airwaves over TSN 1050, this is a calculated gamble. Their hope is that his new persona won’t turn off his followers, and that Blundell’s old fans are willing to follow him to this new gig.

We’ll give Blundell some credit. If there is one media outlet he has reason to dislike it is the Toronto Star, which led coverage of the sex assault case that was jeopardized because of offensive jokes on Blundell’s show. His former producer, Derek Welsman, was the jury foreman. The incident led to Blundell’s firing.

Nothing was off-limits in Friday’s question-and-answer session. Blundell didn’t duck any questions.

Are you a homophobe?

No (laughs), absolutely not. And you know, it’s interesting, that’s been the hurtful part of this thing. People have used that word liberally about me. (The people who called me that) didn’t listen to 13 years of what we did. They didn’t listen to the fact that we had tons of alternative lifestyle guests, hosts and co-hosts. They didn’t listen to us chastise Rob Ford for not going to Pride. They didn’t listen to us consistently and always side with the LGBT community. People who listened to our show — someone who knows who I am, someone that is a fan of what we have done — knows that any of the humour that we dished out, we dished out to every category, to every group, and it was humour. It was a joke.

Do you regret any of the gay jokes you made?

I regret some of the insensitivities involved and some of the subjects of humour that we used. Times change. I regret that people misrepresented what I was. I regret people misinterpreted a lot of the stuff that was said. But more importantly I regret using negativity, or certain groups to be portrayed in a negative way, even in humour.

The easiest thing you could have done was issue an apology. Why haven’t you?

No. For what? What did I get fired for? A man sexually assaulted people. We chastised a criminal. Had that man sexually assaulted women, we wouldn’t be sitting here today. I didn’t make a gay joke. I didn’t go after a victim. I went after a predator who went to jail and was convicted by a jury for assaulting people.

One of the victims from that case called me after I wrote the first story about your new job, and he said he was appalled that you are going to be allowed back on the air.

That’s fine. That’s his opinion. Everyone is allowed it.

A sports-related controversy you had to deal with was about Kristians Pelss (an Oilers prospect who died in his native Latvia. At first, he was reported missing and Blundell made a joke that it was because he didn’t want to be in Edmonton. He later apologized.) What did you learn from that?

Maybe wait for an outcome before you say something. I think that was a great learning experience for me, and I truly apologize, because I had no idea. That was just a joke about Edmonton being cold and a crappy place to live — and I lived there, so I can say it with authority. There’s a sensitivity that I have today that I didn’t have before. That’s common sense. I don’t want to hurt anybody. I don’t want to be hateful. I don’t want to make light of something that could be devastating to a family or a group of people. It’s not in me anymore.

What is going to be different about the new show?

I think I am about 10 pounds heavier. I think lots. One of the things that I wasn’t allowed to do in the old format was sports. Apparently the fastest thing you can do to turn off an alternative rock format is to talk sports, and I love sports. I’m a sports head. I watch the SportsCentre loop every morning. I am a diehard Oilers fan. I played university sports. I love to golf. I love the drama with sports. The drama involved in a win or a loss and then dissecting it, with a group of people that love it as much as you, is something I’ve wanted to do my whole life.

There have been rumours that it was difficult to find people who wanted to work with you.

Not at all. We had hundreds of applications. We had people from across Canada come in and the great part of this company, this place is full of talented people, and some people aren’t getting heard . . . the people we were using to get used to the format were the best people. Like George Rusic, he is brilliant and the funniest person I’ve ever worked with. Kayla Harris has been here for years, and she is as knowledgeable about sports as anybody I have ever met. She was one of four female candidates and had the lowest profile of the four, and it was a no-brainer as well. Our producer, Ryan Fabro, is phenomenal. I’m only as good as all of those people. They deserve a ton of credit, and they beat out a ton of people who have been doing morning radio in markets across Canada.

Submit News to CKA News Leonard Nimoy?s Mr. Spock became an enduring TV character
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:25:39 EST

Spock is dead.

This is not the first time. In the 1982 movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, fans reacted with genuine outrage and sadness when the Vulcan died of radiation poisoning.

He was subsequently resurrected in later iterations of the enduring science fiction franchise.

The practice run did not make it easier. This time it is for real. And it seemed fitting that actor Leonard Nimoy’s last tweet on Monday ended with the acronym LLAP.

“Live long and prosper” (or Dif-tor heh smusma in Vulcan) was the salutation that his formidable alter ego, also known as Mr. Spock, made famous on the television show Star Trek.

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It also makes for a poignant epitaph. Nimoy died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Friday in his Los Angeles home. He was 83.

To say that just a year short of half a century, Star Trek remains a cultural phenomenon is something of an understatement.

Much of that popularity was due to a grim-faced, ruthlessly logical and emotionally unavailable alien on a starship whose five-year mission was to seek new worlds. He also made bowl cuts impossibly cool.

The influence of the show, which premiered in 1966, remains supremely significant. It is the codex of the Big Bang Theory generation and is referenced in the comic book and sci-fi-laden TV schedules of today. It also had meaning in the hallways of NASA, academia and beyond.

Nimoy’s resonant voice and regal bearing made the half-human, half-Vulcan Spock a truly noble creation. The character’s strict adherence to logic helped to create a foil where philosophy intersected with science and the show was able to examine contemporary social issues that still resonate. That included race, slavery and euthanasia.

Nimoy received three Emmy Award nominations for his portrayal and TV Guide named Spock one of the 50 greatest TV characters of all time.

Nimoy’s final tweet was poetic, yet, like his counterpart, entirely logical in his stoic acceptance of the inevitable.

“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved. Except in memory. LLAP.”

He had already announced on Twitter last year that he had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused by smoking. He encouraged fans to quit.

Despite its outsized impact, the original Star Trek had a remarkably brief run, ending in 1969 after dwindling ratings. It would only start to gain popularity in syndication. Ardent fans calling themselves Trekkers (or sometimes the less preferred Trekkies) would blossom into a full-fledged movement, spawning the dawn of the convention era where fans dressed in costume (cosplay) are now a ubiquitous part of the cultural landscape.

Nimoy proved to be the perfect foil to Captain James T. Kirk, played by Canadian William Shatner.

“I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humour, his talent, and his capacity to love,” Shatner tweeted on Friday.

Nimoy’s science officer character was sidekick to the swashbuckling Kirk. Spock was the more enigmatic character.

While Shatner’s enthusiastic acting bordered on the excruciatingly cheesy, Nimoy’s cerebral minimalism was a study in grace. With the arch of an eyebrow, Mr. Spock made us understand that playing dress-up with spandex and being surrounded by coloured styrofoam rocks could be grand entertainment as well as cultural statement.

After the TV show ended, Nimoy would play Spock in eight Star Trek feature films as well as an animated series. He also directed two of the movies, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

But Nimoy had a somewhat ambivalent relationship to his character. He wrote two books, I Am Not Spock (1975) and, two decades later, I Am Spock, discussing his complex relationship with the character.

Nimoy struggled not to be defined by Spock as much as he came to accept and be grateful for the chance to play someone so seminal in contemporary culture.

After the cancellation of Star Trek, he starred in other TV shows such as Mission: Impossible. He also appeared in the theatre, wrote poetry and was an avid photographer and musician.

Nimoy was born in March 26, 1931 in Boston, Mass., to Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Ukraine. His father was a barber, his mother a homemaker.

Before Star Trek, he had minor TV roles in Bonanza, Rawhide and Perry Mason. In his 20s, he was also teaching method acting when Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry came calling.

Nimoy wasn’t sure if the pointy ears were for him at first, he would later say in an interview. He wanted to be a serious actor. But it turns out he was an inspired choice: as the son of immigrant outsiders, he already understood what it was to be like to be an alien.

The famous Vulcan salute was something that he originated in the premiere of the second season. In his autobiography, Nimoy said he based that on a priestly blessing that he remembered when his grandfather took him to an Orthodox synagogue when he was a child.

Thanks to Nimoy, Spock will live on in the collective consciousness, far beyond the fictional United Federation of Planets.

“My heart is broken,” said Zachary Quinto, who plays a young Spock in the rebooted Star Trek film series. “May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

Jonathan Frakes, who starred in Star Trek: The Next Generation, said simply “RIP to the Best First Officer.”

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted: “Leonard, you lived long and prospered and were an inspiration to me and to millions. Rest in peace.”

Submit News to CKA News Sports giant Angelo Mosca copes with Alzheimer?s
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 18:33:06 EST

ST. CATHARINES, ONT.—There had been small signs of memory loss before, but it was an incident in January that scared the hell out of Helen Mosca.

Her husband — the legendary former Hamilton Tiger-Cat, a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and one of the league’s most beloved and notorious figures — didn’t recognize her.

She had spent a week away in Florida, leaving Mosca, a reluctant traveller, at home with his adult daughter. And when Helen Mosca walked into their lakefront bungalow, her husband of 16 years thought she was his daughter.

“He said, ‘You’ve got the same hairdresser as my wife because your hair looks exactly the same,’ ” Helen recalled. It took two days for him to remember his wife.

There had been other incidents in the months before: In the middle of the night, Mosca would wake up in a panic not knowing where he was; or find himself driving on a highway at more than 140 km/h before he realized he was going way too fast.

And then a few weeks ago, Mosca was knocked to the ground when his car — which he thought was safely in park on his sloped driveway — rolled into him.

That was enough for Helen.

Terrified that her husband would kill himself, or someone else, she took Mosca for an MRI test to find out what was going on. On Wednesday, they sat together in a clinic to receive the results.

Mosca was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, less than two weeks after his 78th birthday.

“The MRI showed a lot of brain damage,” Mosca said. “I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t bitter; I was hurting. This was a real tough day.”

When the doctor saw how badly damaged Mosca’s brain was, he asked: “Did you get in a lot of fights as a kid?” The doctor didn’t know that Mosca was, for years, one of the most feared defensive linemen in the CFL — and followed that up with a career as a pro wrestler.

On the suggestion of doctors and his wife, Mosca decided then and there to give up his driver’s licence.

“I have to give him credit for making that decision, because that was tough,” Helen said.

They are still digesting the diagnosis. Those with this type of dementia live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Mosca’s long-term memory is still sharp. While showing off his memorabilia, the CFL legend clearly enjoyed talking about the past, often wisecracking to keep the mood light.

“Opinions are like a--holes,” he said at one point, breaking into a grin. “Everyone’s got one.”

Despite the difficult news of that morning, Helen Mosca said it was good that a reporter and photographer were visiting and that he didn’t break his appointment.

“It was a good distraction,” she said.

Mosca doesn’t need to go far. He’s a homebody, but they are considering moving closer to Niagara-on-the-Lake, where shops are more accessible and he can ride his new motorized scooter.

“It’s too secluded here,” Helen said, gazing out the window at a large deck that overlooks Lake Ontario.

Mosca, listed at six-foot-four when he was on the Ticats roster, is slightly stooped and uses a cane — which he famously wielded against former B.C. Lions quarterback Joe Kapp over an old grudge. He weighs 315 pounds now, 40 pounds over his playing weight.

Dressed in a sweatshirt and sweat pants, Mosca lifts his pant legs to reveal two badly scarred knees; those rebuilt joints, and two artificial shoulders, are testament to the physical punishment he took over the years. An artificial hip may be next.

What Mosca didn’t know was how badly his brain was being damaged.

Alzheimer’s is similar to CTE, but the symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy usually appear in younger athletes and involve problems with impulse control and aggression instead of mostly memory loss.

CTE has been found in more than 20 deceased professional football players, the New York Times has reported. The NFL, which settled a class-action concussion lawsuit by retired players for an estimated $1 billion, expects about 6,000 former players to develop Alzheimer’s disease or moderate dementia in the coming decades.

In hockey, the deaths of Bob Probert and Derek Boogaard were related to CTE and Steve Montador died Feb. 15 at age 35 after lingering concussion symptoms. Like Montador, Mosca said he would consider donating his brain to science.

Through the turmoil, his wife has been Mosca’s rock. They met in 1996 in the middle of the football field when Mosca by then a much-loved alumnus — was signing autographs after a Ticats game.

Mosca had been divorced twice. Helen was previously married. Mosca was taken by her and asked her to call him.

“You know what? I don’t call men,” Helen said, but deftly slipped her business card into his pocket. A month later, Mosca called to arrange a date.

Helen was a little surprised when he showed up with three grandchildren in tow. It didn’t make for the most romantic evening, but it reflected how much family meant to him. They were married in 1998.

Between them they have sevenchildren and 13 grandchildren, including newborn twins that Mosca recently cradled in his arms like footballs.

“He’s a teddy bear,” Helen said, quietly so Mosca didn’t hear.

Mosca said he sometimes gets teary-eyed at family functions, and it seems like a big step for him to admit this. After all, he has cultivated a tough image.

After the 2011 scuffle with Kapp, Helen was at home when the flood of calls came in, and the video of the fight turned into a YouTube sensation.

“The first thing my wife says to me is, ‘What the hell is going on down there?’ ” Mosca said with a big belly laugh.

Helen is thankful that no real harm came to her husband.

“What people don’t realize is that there was a plate-glass window behind the curtain,” she said, “and he was very lucky he didn’t fall through that.”

Talk turned to the recent death of John Barrow, another legendary Ticat, and the issue of aging. Mosca fumbled for words.

“No, it never really bothered me,” he said. “It’s just that … How can I put it?”

Silence. More than 30 seconds went by.

Helen, seated next to him, wonders what he’ll say. Is this too much? Did he forget the question? Or should we just move on?

“Yeah,” Mosca said. “Next question.”

Submit News to CKA News Brampton councillors shocked by secret staff decision to hand over $480k
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 18:23:00 EST

Brampton councillors are demanding answers to allegations in a lawsuit that city staff spent — and lost — $480,000 to secure land for a developer’s planned $500 million downtown redevelopment project, without ever informing council.

Two councillors who have been sharp critics of the project, which is the focus of a $28.5-million lawsuit against the city and an upcoming auditor general’s report, were shocked by the allegations. The lawsuit is now before the courts.

“I believe that staff could not come to council and come for permission (to transfer the money) because it was illegal,” Councillor John Sprovieri said, referring to statements contained in the lawsuit documents that suggest staff gave $480,000 to Dominus Construction in 2011 without council’s approval, so the company could secure an option on a parcel of land. The land was part of Dominus’s proposal for phase two of the development plan.

Staff had recommended Dominus for the project. Moments before councillors voted in March 2011 to endorse the recommendation, then-city treasurer Mo Lewis, responding to questions, told them the company had secured the land. However, documents filed during the lawsuit process suggest that Dominus had not yet secured the land.

In an affidavit dated Jan. 30, 2015, Julian Patteson, Brampton’s chief of public services, said the city funded the $480,000 for the land option. Staff did not seek council’s approval because the money was taken “from an already approved open capital account, designated for city hall expansion land acquisition and design,” Patteson’s affidavit says.

The money was forfeited last October, when the option expired.The city is now trying to buy the land, earlier estimated by Patteson to be worth $2 million, but the Star could not confirm if a sale had been finalized.

Neither Lewis nor Patteson have responded to questions from the Star.

“I believe it to be unprecedented for staff to make a decision to spend nearly half a million dollars from a previously approved capital account without council’s express authority,” Councillor Elaine Moore said. “And why they never even bothered to tell us about the move, is beyond explanation.”

Sprovieri said that no matter what, staff should have kept council in the loop. “If they had come to council for permission, like they should have done, I never would have consented to put up $480,000 to qualify Dominus for the job,” he said.

“Had I known then what I know now, that they never had the land secured in March when we initially selected them and then staff secretly planned to pay the $480,000 so Dominus could secure the land, I never would have voted in favour. I see what staff did being totally a deception.”

Moore called the staff actions “very disturbing.”

“It begs the question of which capital account was used, what was the original balance of the account, how much remains and what other capital acquisitions have been made without council’s approval or knowledge. We need the truth to come out, either in the lawsuit or the auditor general’s report.”

The auditor general hired by the city, George Rust-D’Eye, was supposed to have completed his report on allegations surrounding the project in December. It has twice been delayed and it’s unclear when it will be ready.

The Star has asked Brampton city staff to provide details of the $480,000 transaction, including account balances, and how it was made public in annual budget documents, as well as who authorized the payment. The city has yet to provide any information.

In an earlier examination, Patteson said the sale price for the land was set at $2 million. The purchase price did not include the $480,000 that was forfeited in October.

The lawsuit, launched by Inzola Group in 2011, claims it was unfairly disqualified from the project’s bidding process. The city denies the lawsuit’s allegations.

Submit News to CKA News Barrie dad builds 150-metre luge track in his backyard
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:48:40 EST

Mike Rae’s backyard is a massive, frozen human pinball machine.

The Barrie dad has spent over 100 hours carving a 500-foot luge track into his backyard hill, complete with turns that send kids vertical, walls that just barely stop sledders from flying off the track and a chute that sends kids hurtling down at speeds of 25 km/h.

“Your teeth get cold because you can’t stop smiling,” said family friend Skye Polson, 19, who visited the Rae’s legendary track on a sunny Wednesday afternoon.

Rae decided to build the track after the family moved from a Toronto condo to the Barrie home in 2007. He wanted to put in a skating rink but the property was too sloped, so he set his sights on speedier pursuits — a toboggan hill.

“Every year, our technique got a little bit better,” said Rae. “I’ve gotten smarter.”

By all accounts, it’s now a full-blown luge track, with banked curves and steep inclines — though the family uses snowtubes instead of luge sleds to plunge down the hill.

This year, it’s faster than ever.

“This one’s faster. That one’s scarier,” Rae told his teenaged visitors, Skye and his brother, Waas, pointing to the two branches of the track.

“Big air bro!” yelled one of the boys as they flew down the track, noses scrunched up and hands gripping tubes as they sailed around corners.

Rae’s sons, 14-year-old Aidan and 15-year-old Devin, are also big fans of the track — pushing their limits to see who can fly highest up the walls — but some of the novelty has worn off, said Rae.

The kids now regard the labour-intensive “family affair” of building up the track as somewhat of a chore, he said.

The family started building this year’s track in November at first snowfall, dumping garbage bins of snow along the bank walls and sending Aidan and Devin down in tubes to smooth out the chute.

Rae, a stand-up paddle board instructor by summer and freelance photographer/graphic designer the rest of the time, spends two hours a day on grooming — the work involves shoveling excess snow and icing up the chute by sprinkling water — for a total of around 150 hours annually.

But it’s worth it.

“I totally enjoy people’s yells of joy when they come down,” said Rae. “Especially someone is going down for their first time — just the look on their face is payment enough for me.”

There’s even an obstacle-course element to the track — a plastic bottle that hangs from a metal pole on an 8-foot high wall tempts ambitious lugers who try to grab it as they shoot around the corner.

“People will destroy their bodies and their careers to try to grab that (bottle),” said Rae.

Only one person has ever been injured on the track — a nurse who emerged from her flipped-over tube with a bloody nose. She insisted she was OK, said Rae.

But Rae does try to mitigate risk. He builds the walls high and encourages sliders to wear helmets. His lawyer wife approves of the set-up, he said.

“I think I broke the hill,” said Skye, laughing as he crashed into a wall.

“Oh man, I almost flew over to the other side,” said Waas, 14.

Before Torontonians with tiny backyards get too envious, Rae admits the track spreads out onto two neighbouring wooded properties, giving his neighbours access to the runs.

Rae said he won’t be renting out the run to outsiders, due to concerns about liability, but he hosts luge parties twice a year to raise money for charities, such as Pancreatic Cancer Canada. He’s raised more than $3,200 over three years.

As for whether he’d trade his bumpy backyard for an ice rink today, Rae’s answer is decisive: no way.

“Skating seems so pedestrian compared to this now,” he said with a smile.

BY THE NUMBERS:

500 feet (152 metres): The entire length of the forked track. For comparison, the world’s tallest roller coaster, Kingda Ka at Six Flags in New Jersey, rises to a height of 456 feet (139 metres).

400: The number of garbage cans-worth of snow Rae has pilled up to create the track this winter.

15-20 seconds: The average time it takes to slide down the track, depending on which point you start.

25 km/h: The top average speed people have been clocked at going down the track.

Submit News to CKA News Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov shot dead in Moscow
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:41:11 EST

MOSCOW—Boris Nemtsov, a charismatic Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down Saturday near the Kremlin. He was killed just a day before a planned protest against Putin’s rule.

News of the assassination immediately ignited a fury among opposition figures, who assailed the Kremlin for creating an atmosphere of intolerance toward any dissent in the country.

Putin himself quickly offered his condolences and called the murder a provocation, ordering Russia’s law enforcement chiefs to oversee the probe.

“Putin noted that this cruel murder has all the makings of a contract hit and is extremely provocative,” presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies.

Nemtsov, a 55-year-old former deputy prime minister, had assailed the government’s inefficiency, rampant corruption and the Kremlin’s Ukraine policy, which has strained relations between Russia and the West to a degree unseen since Cold War times.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Facebook that he was shocked by the killing of Nemtsov, who he called a friend and a “bridge” between the two countries.

Nemtsov’s lawyer Vadim Prokhorov said the politician had received threats on social networks and told police about them, but authorities didn’t take any steps to protect him.

The Russian Interior Ministry, which oversees Russia’s police force, said that Nemtsov was killed by four shots in the back from a passing car as he was walking over a bridge outside the Kremlin shortly after midnight.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Yelena Alexeyeva told reporters that Nemtsov was walking with a female acquaintance, a Ukrainian citizen, when a vehicle drove up and unidentified assailants shot him dead.

The woman wasn’t hurt.

Mikhail Kasyanov, a former Russian prime minister now also in opposition, said he was shocked.

“In the 21st century, a leader of the opposition is being demonstratively shot just outside the walls of the Kremlin!” Kasyanov told reporters as Nemtsov’s body placed in a plastic bag was removed on a cold rainy night, as the Kremlin bells chimed nearby. “The country is roiling into the abyss.”

Kasyanov said the opposition march set for Sunday would proceed as planned.

Garry Kasparov, a former chess champion who worked with Nemtsov to organize protests against Putin and now lives in the United States, tweeted: “Devastated to hear of the brutal murder of my long-time opposition colleague Boris Nemtsov. Shot 4 times, once for each child he leaves.”

Opposition activist Ilya Yashin said on Ekho Moskvy radio that he last spoke with Nemtsov two days before the killing. Nemtsov was working on a report presenting evidence that he believed proved Russia’s direct involvement in the separatist rebellion that erupted in eastern Ukraine last year.

Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of backing the rebels with troops and weapons. Moscow has denied the accusations, but large numbers of sophisticated heavy weapons in the rebels’ possession has strained the credibility of its denials.

Yashin said he had no doubt that Nemtsov’s murder was politically motivated.

“Boris Nemtsov was a stark opposition leader who criticized the most important state officials in our country, including President Vladimir Putin. As we have seen, such criticism in Russia is dangerous for one’s life,” he said.

Political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky told Ekho Mosvky radio station that he did not believe that Nemtsov’s death would in any way serve Putin’s interests.

“But the atmosphere of hatred toward alternative thinkers that has formed over the past year, since the annexation of Crimea, may have played its role,” Belkovsky said, referring to the surge of intense and officially endorsed nationalist discourse in Russia since it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

Nemtsov served as a deputy prime minister in the 1990s and once was seen as a possible successor to Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s first elected president. After Putin was first elected in 2000, Nemtsov became one of the most vocal critics of his rule. He helped organize street protests and exposed official corruption.

He was one of the organizers of the Spring March opposition protest set for Sunday, which comes amid a severe economic downturn in Russia caused by low oil prices and Western sanctions.

Submit News to CKA News Aboriginal, federal, provincial leaders agree to keep talking about murdered women
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:08:40 EST

OTTAWA—Premier Kathleen Wynne says more could have been done at the national roundtable on missing and murdered aboriginal women, and suggests the Conservative government stood in the way of more concrete action.

“There is more that we can do and I feel impatient, because I think we know what those things are and I think we need to push ourselves very hard, in the coming months, to make sure that we live up to our own expectations and we can hold each other accountable,” Wynne told reporters at the end of the one-day gathering in Ottawa of provincial, territorial and federal politicians, aboriginal leaders and families of victims.

The framework that came out of the meeting — a commitment to dialogue and action on prevention and awareness, community safety and policing and the justice system — is primarily an agreement to keep talking.

There will be a nationwide prevention and awareness campaign, a national task force to share best practices on policing and justice and another roundtable by the end of 2016 to assess their progress.

Dawn Harvard, the interim president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, said there is only one way she will be measuring their success.

“I hope and pray that the rates will go down — that I won’t be opening my newspapers every morning to find yet another young woman who has been taken from us. That will be the sign. That is the measurable outcome that we will see as progress,” Harvard said Friday at the news conference.

Wynne pointed to 10 proposals Ontario brought to the table to address the problem that has seen nearly 1,200 aboriginal women and girls missing or murdered in the past three decades, according to the RCMP.

That included a plan to reduce the number of aboriginal children in foster care, a socio-economic action plan for aboriginal women and girls, and greater financial support for First Nations policing.

When asked what got in the way, Wynne pointedly referred to the absence of federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt and Status of Women Minister Kellie Leitch, who had attended the roundtable but held their own news conference at another hotel across the street in downtown Ottawa.

“The fact is that the provinces and territories and aboriginal organizations across the country are working very hard on these issues. We have joined together . . . . We are on the same page. We are working now to find a partner in the federal government,” Wynne said.

Leitch said the federal government did not attend the closing press conference with aboriginal groups out of “respect” for the families of missing and murdered women.

“I am quite confident that if we stood at a podium, you would only ask us questions,” Leitch told reporters Friday evening.

“We have been asked numerous questions here today. I think it’s extremely important that Canadians hear from these families, that Canadians hear what travesties they’ve experienced and what their needs are.”

Leitch also reiterated the Conservative government’s opposition to a national inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women, and, in a statement, said conversations she had over the course of the two-day meeting moved her to action.

When pressed on what new action the government was taking on the issue, however, Leitch admitted she was referring to the $25-million action plan the Conservatives unveiled last September and that it remains unchanged by what transpired at the national roundtable.

“Our action plan is put into place as of April 1, 2015, and so that is what we will be doing,” Leitch said.

“It’s an action plan that we developed working with families.”

There was cautious optimism from aboriginal representatives around the table.

“It is a start. It’s not the inquiry, so we’ll keep pushing for that, but it’s an action plan,” said National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations.

There had been frustration and disappointment expressed by family members who were excluded from the roundtable, but Judy Maas, who was selected to attend the roundtable, said those at the meeting “spoke loud and clear.”

“We are hopeful. We always are and I think just by the fact that we are here, we still have our hand out to say we still are in this relationship together and we will walk into this together,” said Maas, whose sister, Cynthia Maas, was murdered in 2010 in Prince George, B.C.

With files from Alex Boutilier

Submit News to CKA News Tunnels: A short guide to Toronto?s nether regions
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:30:00 EST

Dark, dingy and shrouded in mystery, tunnels guard a city’s secrets.

As authorities in Toronto work to determine who built the bunker recently discovered near York University and why, amateur sleuths are busy offering up their own theories. The fascination is understandable, according Wayne Reeves, chief curator of Toronto’s Museums and Heritage Services.

“There’s just something mysterious about the idea of these; they tend to be dark and often wet places,” says Reeves, who has studied the sewage systems here extensively.

“If your light goes out, you’re really going to be in a pickle.”

In fact, Toronto is a city of tunnels, each with its own back story. And they’re not all the same, adds Reeves.

“The architecture of some of these amazing tunnels — some are circular, some are egg-shaped, some are semi-circular, some have round arches. It’s all part of Toronto’s engineering history.”

With that in mind, here’s the scoop on a few of the city’s lesser known tunnels:

Existing tunnels

Casa Loma

A drafty, 240-metre tunnel connects the castle to its hunting lodge and stables, including the garage, potting shed, stalls and carriage and tack rooms. But during World War Two, it was the gateway to a top-secret intelligence operation.

The Allies Anti-Submarine Detection Investigation Committee (ASDIC) used sonar equipment to detect the location of German U-boats. After its production site in London, England, was bombed, the decision was made to set up shop in Canada. William Corman, a Canadian engineer, was tasked with finding a suitable headquarters. He chose Casa Loma.

“He famously said, ‘Who would suspect a freak castle?’” says castle curator Jaclyn Furlong. ASDIC worked in the stables, using the tunnel as a thoroughfare. At the time, Casa Loma served as an event venue, hosting weekly dance parties every Friday. Only a handful of people knew about ASDIC, says Furlong.

The people working on it came in at scattered hours to avoid raising suspicion. Maintenance signs were posted at the tunnel entrance to keep the public out.

These days, the tunnel is open to visitors. An exhibit on “Toronto’s darker days” features photographs that depict the Prohibition era, the Great Depression, the Plague, the Great Toronto Fire and Toronto’s first plane crash.

Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital

The hospital was made up of a series of cottages built in 1889 with tunnels linking them below. Staff used the underground pathways to travel between the buildings in poor weather. After the hospital shut down in 1979, the tunnels fell into disrepair. They were fixed when Humber College took over the property.

“They house the operations, the guts of the college, the pipes and electrical and that,” says Tom Haxell, event coordinator for the Lakeshore campus. Shipping and receiving for the college also takes place in the tunnels, which span 390 metres, and are open to the public during Doors Open Toronto and Culture Days.

Queen’s Park

A VIP tunnel of sorts, accessible only with a government ID, is used by officials to travel between the legislative building and Whitney Block. The tunnel was built in 1928, when Whitney Block was created to house government departments. It also connects to the Queen’s Park subway station and was once open to the public, but that’s no longer the case.

In the 1960s, the government built a mock bomb shelter near University Ave. and College St. to show people how they could protect themselves.

“The public had a great number of concerns back in the ’60s about nuclear confrontation,” explains David Bogart, spokesman for the Ontario Legislative Assembly.

Bay Lower

Constructed in 1966 as part of the original University Y line, this ghost subway station sits beneath the current Bay station. Its purpose was to allow trains to transfer from the Yonge line to the Bloor-Danforth line, but the brief “interlining” experiment led to delays and other problems, and Bay Lower was soon shut down. It still sees plenty of action, particularly from the film industry.

“Every time you see a TV commercial that shows people getting off a subway train, 95 per cent of the time it’s going to be Bay Lower,” says TTC spokesman Danny Nicholson.

Hollywood movies like Resident Evil Retribution, Johnny Mnemonic, and Max Payne all feature scenes shot in Bay Lower.

Queen Lower

A concrete shell of a streetcar station, Queen Lower was dug out in the 1950s. The goal was to run a streetcar underground along Queen St. from Trinity Bellwoods Park to Carlaw Ave.

But “settlements changed,” says Nicholson, and it was decided that a subway line along Bloor would better serve the population. The Queen Lower station was never used.

Mythical tunnels

For years, there were stories about a tunnel connecting historic Fort York to the Wheat Sheaf Tavern.

“That’s not true,” says curator Reeves. “The origins are really, really obscure, but people look down at a sewer grate and say ‘I bet there’s a tunnel that runs here.’” Similarly, urban legend has it that there was a tunnel between Union Station and the King Edward Hotel.

“There was supposed to be a link that carriages would go through,” says Reeves.

On second thought, maybe not

On at least a couple of occasions, officials have backtracked on their tunnel visions.

In 1935, work got underway for a tunnel connecting the city to the Toronto Island airport.

According to Ports Toronto, “a long ditch was hollowed out along what is now the roadway Eireann Quay towards the seawall of the Western Channel, while another ditch was burrowed on the island side leading to the north seawall.” But a federal election soon afterward ousted Prime Minister R.B. Bennett in favour of William Lyon Mackenize. The latter ditched the tunnel plans and had the holes backfilled. (A new pedestrian tunnel is now nearing completion.)

The would-be Eglinton West subway line met the same fate. Excavating began in late summer of 1994, but when Mike Harris took over the premier’s office, he called the project off. (A tunnel is now under construction for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.)

Submit News to CKA News Ontario farmland under threat as demand for housing grows
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:00:00 EST

The sign outside the modest East Gwillimbury bungalow, Howards’ Farm, is a beloved beacon for local residents who make the pilgrimage to this concession road regularly for eggs, beef and pork raised as local as it gets — just a few metres from the front door.

Don Howard, 65, represents the fifth generation to herd livestock and till the fertile soil of the sprawling fields north of Newmarket. He grew up on the family homestead just two kilometres away.

His great-grandfather, Stephen Howard Jr., was the son of one of the first Quaker settlers in the area. Don’s 89-year-old mother still lives in the historic Howard farmhouse, with its original brick bake oven.

But likely not much longer. She sold the property to a developer eight years ago. She and her son have barely spoken since.

Howard and his wife, Deb, are still farming, but on borrowed time. He rents all the 300 acres (121 hectares) he tends near the house he has owned on the 2nd Concession for 40 years.

That farmland is now owned by developers. They are banking that urban sprawl will soon find a new home among the York Region towns and hamlets that form an island, slated for development, right in the heart of Ontario’s 10-year-old protected Greenbelt zone.

Minto Communities has owned land within that island for more than seven years. Earlier this month, it launched sales for the first phase of its new Queen’s Landing residential project on a field just up the 2nd Concession from Don Howard’s place. More than 1,300 keen buyers lined the road.

Some spent two nights sleeping in their cars, desperate to be first in line for 90 affordable detached houses and townhomes in what will eventually be a 660-residence community, just a 50-minute GO Train commute from downtown Toronto.

While Minto sales staff erected a tent and brought in heaters, coffee and doughnuts to keep the crowd comfortable during one of the coldest days of the year, Howard and his wife watched the “circus” — and their future — flash before their eyes.

“Time’s ticking, for sure,” he says. “I think farmers here accept that their days are numbered, but we’re going to have to work with these people when they move in, until we get pushed out ourselves by all the crap of having people living so close.”

Already the Howards have felt the pressure of urban expansion — drivers edging impatiently behind their tractor, couples walking dogs through their fields.

East Gwillimbury and other rural areas like it that are not part of the Greenbelt could soon prove to be an unlikely ground zero in a months-long discussion, about to kick off across the Greater Golden Horseshoe, of both existing and future growth in this booming region of the province.

Over the next few weeks, the Ontario government will hold a series of public meetings in towns and cities across Canada’s most populated and fastest-growing area, where the population stood at 8.7 million in 2011 but is projected to hit almost 13.5 million by 2041.

The meetings are all part of a critical and combined review of the 10-year-old Greenbelt Plan and Places to Grow legislation, as well as the Oak Ridges Moraine and Niagara Escarpment plans aimed at protecting sensitive environmental and agricultural areas from encroaching development.

Already the battle lines are drawn.

Environmental and grassroots groups like Food & Water First, the David Suzuki Foundation and a coalition of councillors, Municipal Leaders for the Greenbelt, are calling for stronger protections and even expansion of the more than 1.8-million-acre (728,400-hectare) Greenbelt, which rings the GTA from Niagara in the west to Northumberland County in the east and Lake Simcoe to the north.

There are also calls to make some or all 113,000 acres of so-called Whitebelt — lands between the urbanized edges of the GTA and the Greenbelt — into a “food belt” so that farmland and future food production are better buffered from the big city.

Food and Water First, which grew out of the grassroots movement that in 2012 helped stop the Melancthon mega-quarry and the destruction of 2,300 acres of prime farmland near Orangeville, now has a new mission.

It’s proposing a 10-year moratorium on rezoning any more prime Class 1 farmland — like that owned by developers in East Gwillimbury — for residential expansion, “to let everyone breathe and make sure we’re doing the right things,” says Carl Cosack, a founder of the group and an Orangeville-area rancher.

“I expect people will engage in this conversation like they never have before,” adds Cosack of the upcoming planning review. “We’re just learning through social media that what we have to say does matter, and that if we engage in a good conversation we can move the sticks.

“We need to really look at how planning has been playing out already and develop better planning directives so we have the ability to grow the food that Ontarians need.”

But the review will be much bigger — and much more political — than that. There are expected to be calls for the appointment of a regional planning czar to better integrate planning decisions for the good of the whole Golden Horseshoe.

There will be lots of talk about the “unintended consequences” of the existing legislation: the leapfrogging of development over the Greenbelt into small communities often ill-equipped to deal with rapid growth; the dramatic shift to condo construction at the expense of houses; the escalating price — a record average of $705,813 — for a newly built house in the GTA.

“This is the connect-the-dots conversation we need to have with the government and the municipalities and everyone who wants to talk about growth,” says Joe Vaccaro, CEO of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association and an executive with the Building Industry and Land Development Association.

“We’re all in favour of the Greenbelt and the growth plan and accommodating the additional millions of people the province says are coming here over the next few decades. But as you do that math you have to ask: where are we going to put all of those people? Not all of them are going to live in condos.”

In fact, there needs to be some creative new model of intensification that goes beyond what’s now become largely just two extremes of new housing — suburban detached homes and taller, small condos, says Cherise Burda, regional director of the non-profit Pembina Institute, which is preparing a presentation for the review.

Pembina is now looking at ideas ranging from tax incentives to development-fee discounts that might spur developers to build more affordable choices, such as stacked townhouses and mid-rise condo buildings better suited to families.

Critical to the whole question of how — and exactly where — the region grows in the next few decades is Metrolinx’s $50-billion Big Move plan for expanding and better integrating GO and municipal transit systems across the region. It isn’t officially part of these public discussions.

“I think there is an opportunity in this review to focus on how to use our existing infrastructure and transit to better shape our region instead of continuing to grow at the outer edges,” where costly roads, schools and hospitals have to be added, says Marcy Burchfield, executive director of the non-profit think-tank the Neptis Foundation.

“We didn’t have the Big Move at the time of the growth plan. It provides an opportunity to be more strategic in how and where growth is allocated. We’re going to effectively have subways running to the suburbs (under a $10 billion-plus plan to electrify and improve GO Train service in the next decade), so why are we still focusing growth on the edges and not taking that population growth and allocating it to existing areas?”

There will be lots of debate and data — most of it, apparently, from non-governmental organizations rather than the province itself — about what’s working and what’s not, nine years into the growth plan.

“What we’ve tended to see is business-as-usual planning,” says University of Toronto professor Philippa Campsie, who has co-authored a number of Neptis reports raising concerns about how the growth plan is being implemented in some communities.

Too many municipalities are still approving subdivisions on the outskirts of the regions — requiring costly new services — rather than making it a priority to fill in unused and underutilized lands closer to already existing services, she notes.

Developers are expected to stress, yet again, that they are running out of land to build all the housing needed to accommodate population growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The Minto sales show, if nothing else, that there is in fact far more demand for traditional family homes than there is supply right now.

Neptis says there is more than enough vacant land to last to 2041 and beyond — it has identified 264,000 acres approved or designated for development — arguing there is no pressing need to expand urban borders any closer to the Greenbelt and Whitebelt lands.

The problem, stresses Joe Vaccaro of the Homebuilders’ Association, is much of it is tied up by “government inertia” — everything from a lack of sewers, roads and other infrastructure to service the sites, to lengthy and costly Ontario Municipal Board appeals over whether proposed developments can even go ahead.

Pratiti Ahrie and her husband, Vikas, know there is a need for balance — that not every farmer’s field can be paved over for subdivisions.

But they are stark examples of how housing affordability, and even intensification, is actually pushing some families to the outer limits.

They have been living in an apartment at Kennedy Rd. and Hwy. 401 in Scarborough since their 5-year-old daughter, Arya, was born. But they long for the open spaces where they grew up — Pratiti in what was, at the time, the brand new suburbs of Richmond Hill, Vikas in a rural area of India.

“We wanted to be free of all the big buildings, the busy subway, the chaos and the traffic,” says Pratiti, 32.

During a visit to a friend’s Newmarket farm, the couple discovered signs for Minto’s Queen’s Landing, located far enough away from the recently extended Hwy. 404 to feel like country, but close enough to the East Gwillimbury GO Train station to get downtown, where Vikas is studying to be a programmer analyst at George Brown College and Pratiti works for a company that does employee background checks.

Over the course of three months, the anxious first-time buyers explored the area by car and tested the train at rush hour. When the first 90 homes went on sale this month, right across from a bucolic farm not yet owned by a developer, Vikas realized competition was going to be fierce.

Some 7,500 people had pre-registered to indicate their interest for townhouses and detached homes on 36- and 43-foot lots, starting in the low $300,000s. Vikas called his wife on a Thursday afternoon to say he was going to sleep in the car until sales opened on Saturday.

By the time she arrived that evening with clothes, sleeping bags and food, others had arrived, too, and Vikas was getting an early start meeting his new neighbours. On the Saturday, they snagged a 2,150-square-foot townhouse on a 35-by-91 foot lot for $481,000, with construction to start next year.

“I’ve been in this business for 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Amanda Wilson Watkins, vice-president of marketing and sales for Minto Communities. “We could see people on social media saying they were going to get in line.”

Some 7,000 homes are planned for the surrounding area over time as developers such as Minto come to see it as ripe for development now that the 404 extension is open, the GO Train station is nearby and the York-Durham sewer extension is being pushed north through East Gwillimbury.

“It’s countryside,” says Wilson Watkins. “It’s not been developed. This is pent-up demand we’re seeing because of that.

“There is still a very strong appetite for people to have traditional family homes.”

ONTARIO’S GREENBELT PLAN

The Greenbelt is one of the world’s largest protected swaths of green space, forests, wetlands and watersheds. Legislation creating the more than 1.8-million-acre area was passed by the Dalton McGuinty government on Feb. 28, 2005, with provision for a 10-year review.

As of 2011, it was home to 5,500 farms and more than half of Ontario’s prime Class 1 farmland, much of it in the fertile Holland Marsh area.

It contains just 7 per cent of all Ontario farmland but accounts for 55 per cent of the province’s fruit production and 13 per cent of its vegetable crops, according to the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.

Beef, dairy and hog operations have been in decline since 2001, going down faster than in the rest of the province. As of 2014, there had been a 43-per-cent decline in dairy farms, a 31-per-cent drop in beef farms and a 62-per-cent drop in pig farms, according to the foundation.

The David Suzuki Foundation has called the Greenbelt “a massive carbon storehouse,” with some $4.5 billion in environmental benefits. Its forests and wetlands combined store enough tonnes of carbon to offset the annual emissions of 33 million cars and trucks.

PLACES TO GROW

The program was created in 2006 with the aim of reining in urban sprawl, reducing dependence on the car, revitalizing downtowns and creating more walkable, compact neighbourhoods within easy reach of transit.

Places to Grow established a planning framework and set boundaries, region by region, for accommodating what’s expected to be some 13.5 million people living in the Greater Golden Horseshoe by 2041. It called for a combination of higher-density redevelopment on existing urbanized land — as has happened with condo and infill construction in Toronto — and set goals of 50 people and jobs combined per hectare for any new so-called greenfield development, largely in the more suburban regions of the GTA.

There’s considerable debate about what’s working and what’s not but surprisingly little hard data, so far at least, even from the provincial government.

Submit News to CKA News U of T teaching assistants on strike after rejecting deal
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 01:37:34 EST

Teaching assistants at the University of Toronto have rejected a tentative deal reached by their union and are officially on strike.

About 1,000 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3902 attended a Friday afternoon meeting to decide whether or not the tentative deal would be sent to a unit-wide ratification vote, and 90 per cent of attendees voted against it.

“We don’t have hard numbers,” said Erin Black, chair of CUPE 3902’s executive committee. “It wasn’t necessary to physically count the hands because it was so very clear.”

Picket lines are expected to start on Monday. The strike will effectively shut down tutorials, labs, and some classes in their entirety for thousands of students at Canada’s largest university, in all three of its campuses — downtown, Scarborough and Mississauga.

“Tutorials, and lab demonstrations will cease running,” said Black. “A percentage of the membership are instructors in their own right, and those classes will cease running entirely — not just the tutorial component.”

“We also have invigilators who will no longer be invigilating exams,” she added.

TAs also do much of the marking of undergraduate tests and assignments, which increase at this time of year in the final, critical weeks of the academic year.

Hundreds of the university’s 6,000 teaching assistants turned out Friday afternoon to hear details of a deal their union had reached early Friday morning — then voted against it, prompting a flurry of tweets “We’re on strike!” Notice of the rejection was immediately posted on the union’s Facebook page.

Presuming TAs do walk off the job starting Monday, it’s not clear whether other faculty members — tenured professors or contract professors — would honour the picket lines. The 1,000 contract professors also belong to CUPE 3902 but they reached a deal with the university last week.

The U of T administration has said that in the event of a strike by TAs, classes will continue, with adjustments made if necessary to the way courses are delivered and marked.

Althea Blackburn-Evans, director of news and media relations at the U of T, expressed her disappointment at news of the strike, saying the university believed its latest offer had met the criteria of being a “fair and reasonable” renewal collective agreement.

CUPE3902 had posted a message on its website saying both sides reached the agreement just hours after the union’s midnight strike deadline.

However, the bargaining team’s decision was overruled by members at the meeting Friday afternoon at the university’s Convocation Hall.

The last time the U of T’s teaching assistants walked off the job was in 2000 when they were on the picket lines for three and a half weeks.

CUPE 3902 was seeking a wage hike to bring the $15,000 stipend members receive closer to the $23,000 low-income cut-off amount that Statistics Canada sets as a living wage for single workers in big cities.

“(Members) were most dissatisfied (the tentative agreement) did not address what they perceived to be the core issue of increases to the graduate funding package model,” said Black, adding, “As a result, they would continue to exist quite below the poverty line, so they want to make their voice heard about how unacceptable that is on the picket line now.”

“On average, a TA (teaching assistant) makes 30 per cent below a Toronto living wage,” said Black in a YouTube message about the bargaining issues.

Yet “TAs, sessional lecturers and course instructors do 60 per cent of the teaching, but for only 3.5 per cent of the university’s budget . . . We are the ones who bridge the gap between teaching and understanding but the U of T is making it difficult for us to do our jobs.”

At York, 3,700 teaching assistants and contract faculty in CUPE 3903 will strike Tuesday if talks over the weekend fail to produce a deal there.

Many undergraduate students at U of T, especially those in upper years, are concerned about the impact the strike will have on their expected graduation dates.

“As a student it's not an ideal situation, especially if you are in need of specific courses in order to graduate,” says Najiba Sardar, vice-president equity for the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU).

However, Sardar continues, it is important for students to stand in solidarity with TAs, whose “working conditions essentially translate to our learning conditions.”

UTSU president Yolen Bollo-Kamara echoes this sentiment.

“It’s unfair that the people doing 60 per cent of the teaching at U of T are making less than poverty-level wages,” she says. “I implore the university to negotiate in good faith with CUPE 3902 and offer them decent compensation for the work they’re doing.”

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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