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‚??Sexually abusive‚?? dentist was once voted best in Vaughan

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:00:00 EDT

Dr. Paul Sclodnick claims on his website that it’s the “positive atmosphere he creates with his caring manner and extensive dental experience” that has brought so many patients into his Maple clinic, including actress Neve Campbell.

Ask some of Sclodnick’s former patients and employees about atmosphere and you might get an entirely different response.

Sclodnick, the principal dentist at Maple Dental Health, admitted this week to having had sex with one patient, while acting in a “predatory and sexually abusive manner” toward another former patient/employee.

The dentist, who was once voted “best in Vaughan” by readers of the Vaughan Citizen and is a past president of the York Region Dental Society, is now finished.

The discipline panel of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario yanked his licence following a joint submission from lawyers for the college and Sclodnick.

Lawyer Matthew Wilton acknowledged that there was no other penalty available for his client. Sex with a patient is a cardinal sin in the health professions and the law calls for the mandatory revocation of the practitioner’s licence.

“Your professional misconduct is a matter of profound concern,” the panel’s chair, Dr. Richard Hunter, told Sclodnick in a public reprimand.

“It is completely unacceptable to your fellow dentists and to the public. You have brought discredit to the entire profession and to yourself. Public confidence in this profession has been put in jeopardy.”

Sclodnick, who received his licence in 1979, declined to address the panel.

One day while he was in the office with a now-former employee, whose identity is covered by a publication ban, he pulled back the woman’s scrub pants and then tugged at the waistband of her underwear, saying he wanted to see what colour they were, according to an agreed statement of facts.

In another instance, he was alone with the woman in an elevator when he said “we have eight seconds alone together,” and then kissed her without her consent.

And then there was the time she gave him a drive home and he “inappropriately put his hand on her leg,” according to the statement of facts. When he got out of the car, he told her “he did not know how he would be able to work because he had a boner.”

The woman recalled that Sclodnick made other sexually inappropriate comments and gestures in her presence at other times as well, according to the statement.

The panel noted that the woman was vulnerable after her husband died, leaving her the sole wage-earner and caregiver for her daughter.

“This episode had a negative impact on her life, and left her physically and emotionally drained and deeply traumatized,” said the college’s lawyer, Christine Mainville, reading from a victim impact statement.

The woman sought counselling as a result of Sclodnick’s actions, she said.

Regarding the patient Sclodnick had sex with, the statement of facts said he was involved in a sexual relationship with her over a number of years.

In relation to a third complainant, also a former patient and employee, Slodnick admitted to touching her hip while she was reaching for a binder, and that this constituted professional misconduct.

“This is deeply concerning behaviour that has spanned a number of years and targeted more than one patient and employee,” Mainville told the panel.

Sclodnick was convicted in criminal court of simple assault on a former patient and given a conditional discharge and 12 months probation, according to the Ministry of the Attorney General.

He had been required to practise in the presence of a college-approved monitor pending the outcome at the discipline hearing.

United passenger was dragged off plane with ‚??minimal but necessary force,‚?? police say

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:46:28 EDT

The Chicago Department of Aviation is defending the officers in the infamous United Airlines video, saying they used “minimal but necessary force” when they dragged a passenger off a flight.

A report from the department describes what the officers say happened earlier this month on United Express Flight 3411. It says that the passenger, David Dao, was “aggressive” and “violently” swung his arms at officers, who then had to forcibly remove him from the plane.

The encounter, captured on videos taken by other passengers, and the airline company’s handling of the aftermath set off international outrage and a prolonged public relations nightmare for United.

According to the report, flight crews called security officers because a passenger, Dao, was yelling and refusing to leave the aircraft. A United official earlier told passengers that it needed four volunteers to give up their seats for off-duty crew members. But no one volunteered, so the airline chose the passengers. Three agreed to leave, but Dao, a 69-year-old Kentucky resident, refused.

Three officers tried several times to convince Dao to give up his seat, the report says.

“I’m not leaving this flight that I paid money for. I don’t care if I get arrested,” he told one of the officers, according to the report.

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The report says Dao became increasingly combative and began swinging his arms with his fists closed after one of the officers tried to grab him. It says the officer was able to pull Dao up from his seat and toward the aisle, but then lost his grip because Dao kept fighting.

That’s when Dao fell and hit his mouth on the armrest, according to the report, which was posted online by the Chicago Tribune.

At some point, Dao went limp. Disturbing videos taken by other passengers show him bleeding from the mouth as he was dragged off the plane.

The report says Dao was taken to the jet bridge, where he lay down and told the officers that he’s diabetic. At some point, it said, he ran back to the aircraft, held onto to a pole inside and said, “I’m not getting off the plane. Just kill me. I want to go home.”

Dao was again removed from the plane and eventually agreed to be taken to a hospital.

The incident happened April 9 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, on a plane that was headed to Louisville. The officers involved have been placed on leave.

Outrage over the incident was compounded by the airline company’s initially muted response to it. United’s chief executive, Oscar Munoz, released a statement the following day apologizing for “having to re-accomodate” the passengers. In a letter he sent to his employees, Munoz appeared to blame Dao, saying he “refused” to co-operate after he was “politely asked” to leave, prompting flight crews to call for help.

Two days after the incident, Munoz issued a more humbled apology, saying he was “disturbed” by what happened and that he “deeply” apologizes to Dao. By then, United’s stock prices had plummeted and outrage had reached China, where public anger was fuelled by reports that Dao is Asian. He is originally from Vietnam.

United has since changed its policies so that crew members will no longer be allowed to displace passengers who are already seated on the plane. Off-duty airline crews are now required to check in at least an hour before a flight leaves. The purpose is to avoid having to find a seat for a crew member after all the passengers have already boarded.

United also will no longer ask law enforcement officers to remove passengers from flights “unless it is a matter of safety and security,” according to a statement.

Munoz, who was awarded “Communicator of the Year” by PRWeek just a month before the public relations debacle, also promised further review of the airline’s policies and to release a public report by Sunday.

But Munoz’s assurances have so far done little to convince lawmakers that broader changes aren’t necessary.

A group of Democratic senators said this week that United hasn’t responded to its questions about the incident.

“I am disappointed and troubled that United Airlines has so far failed to answer basic questions about the troubling incident aboard Flight 3411,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan. “No passenger should ever experience the mistreatment that we all saw on that United flight. I will continue to use all of the tools at my disposal, including introducing legislation later this week, to help prevent such an incident from happening again and to strengthen consumer protections for the flying public.”

Hassan, along with Sens. Brian Schatz, Dick Durbin, and Charles E. Schumer, sent a letter to Munoz demanding a more detailed account of what happened on the plane and a clearer understanding of the airline’s policy on removing ticketed passengers after they’ve boarded a flight. The senators have yet to receive a response.

United and the Chicago Department of Aviation also have not responded to a separate set of questions from leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee.

In a letter sent to leaders of the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security, Munoz outlined concrete actions the airline has taken in light of the dragging incident. He said United will provide answers no later than Thursday.

Likewise, Ginger S. Evans, head of the Chicago Department of Aviation, which manages O’Hare, and the three officers involved in the incident, also had asked for more time to respond.

A few lawmakers have indicated plans to introduce legislation in response to the incident.

Rep. Neal Dunn said last week that he plans to introduce a bill that would prohibit airlines from involuntarily removing paying passengers off a flight to make room for other passengers or crew members when there are no empty seats left.

“Passengers should have the peace of mind to know they will not be dragged off a plane once they’re in their seat,” Dunn said in a statement.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal had sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao demanding a “swift, sweeping investigation into United Airlines and the industry practices that led to this incident.”

Blumenthal said in an earlier statement that he’s working on a “passenger bill of rights.”

Dao, a doctor from Kentucky, suffered a serious concussion, a broken nose and other injuries. He also lost two of his teeth, according to his attorney, Thomas Demetrio.

Demetrio had said that his client will “probably” sue United.

Whittamore‚??s Farm closing at the end of the season

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:06:44 EDT

Whittamore’s Farm is offering their customers one last season to enjoy the family farm before they close their gates in November.

The 2017 season kicks off on May 3, inviting customers in for one last chance to experience the recognized Whittamore family Farm Shop, Fun Farm Yard, Pick-Your-Own and fall Pumpkinland activities.

Whittamore family has been farming the land at 8100 Steeles Ave. since 1804.

The 330-acre farm located next to the Rouge River Valley has been offering a pick-your-own strawberry and raspberry operation since the mid 1950s.

The Whittamore’s Farm is known for its various attractions including pick-your-own fruits and vegetables, a Farm Shop featuring freshly picked produce, baked goods and preserves, as well as farm-themed activities including the Fun Farm Yard and fall time Pumpkinland.

“We have been offering this experience to families in Markham and across the GTA for over 60 years. We are making the change to rebalance our lives and pursue other interests and opportunities,” said Mike Whittamore, the farm’s Pick-Your-Own owner/operator.

The Whittamores will continue to own and farm the land. But the Farm Shop, Fun Farm Yard, Pick-Your-Own and Pumpkinland facilities will close in November.

“It has been a privilege to operate this business, and we are grateful for our loyal customers, our amazing employees and everyone who has been part of the Whittamore’s Farm family,” said Frank Whittamore, owner/operator of Whittamore’s Farm Shop and Fun Farm Yard.

Coghlan‚??s dive over Cardinals‚?? catcher helps Jays stun St. Louis: Griffin

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:30:55 EDT

ST. LOUIS—He hadn’t had a chance to count the text messages yet, but Chris Coghlan’s phone was already blowing up in his locker with friends, family and well-wishers by the time he finished doing the media rounds following the Blue Jays’ 6-5 inter-league win over the Cardinals on Tuesday at Busch Stadium.

Coghlan had just scored one of the most memorable runs in the modern history of the 24-hour sports cycle, diving over catcher Yadier Molina who had the baseball ready to make a tag, somersaulting over the all-star receiver, landing headfirst on home plate, rolling to his feet, checking the umpire’s call and then giving a broad safe sign as he raced back to the Jays’ dugout. Unbelievable theatre.

“Last second really,” Coghlan admitted. “I was coming around third. I looked to my left to see where the ball was and I thought it was going to beat me. Then probably the last step or two I saw Yadi go down and your first thought’s like, OK I’m going to run him over because he’s right over the plate. Then I was thinking since he was down, why don’t you jump and I just jumped. Then the rest was history. I was joking. I was trying to do my best Willie Mays Hayes impersonation.”

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Coghlan admitted the only time he had really imagined a play like that was as a kid growing up. Other than what he actually did, which needs to be appreciated in slow motion to understand the spontaneous athleticism, his other option was to run Molina over. But Coghlan had a personal history watching what happened to Buster Posey that precluded him from taking that more violent course of action.

“Those are all the thoughts that I had,” Coghlan said. “It was run him over! Oh, wait I don’t know. He’s in front of the plate. Oh he’s down, so maybe I can jump. OK let’s jump. All like that. But it’s tough.

“I mean I could have run him over because he was right in the middle, there’s no other place to go. But I was there when Buster got knocked up. I was on deck (in San Francisco) when that happened. You don’t want to ever see any of that stuff, but at the end of the day, man, I’ve got to score that run some way, somehow. So I was grateful to do that in a way nobody got hurt.”

Another teammate with a solid appreciation for Coghlan’s aerial display was starting pitcher Marco Estrada, who worked six solid innings, with no decision.

“It was a crazy game, it was awesome to watch,” Estrada said. “When I saw Coghlan do a front flip over Molina it was like I saw a unicorn. It’s just something that doesn’t happen. You might not ever see that again, so I’m glad I saw it. I’m going to remember that forever. It was awesome.”

The Jays had every reason to play like a tired bunch at the start of this game. Their team charter had touched down at Lambert International just after 6 a.m. following a night game in Anaheim. Only Estrada had flown ahead of the team and had a good night’s sleep. He was rested.

Unfortunately for the Jays, the long-time member of the Brewers, Estrada had shared much time in the NL Central with the Cardinals. The 33-year-old right-hander entered Tuesday’s contest winless in 17 appearances — eight starts — against St. Louis. He was 0-2, 3.51 ERA in 33-1/3 innings at Busch Stadium. The winless streak continued, despite a well-pitched six-inning no decision.

“I guess I’ve had my chances,” Estrada said of his winless record vs. the Cards. “I don’t really care, to be honest with you. It means nothing to me. We won today. That’s all that matters. Wins and losses, I can’t care about them. I still don’t have one and I really don’t care. It is what it is. Last year my record wasn’t that great. I thought I had a pretty good year. Wins and losses don’t mean anything to me.”

Over his past three starts, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia catching, Estrada has a 0.95 ERA in 18 innings, including a streak of 14 shutout innings.

Tuesday’s game was pretty awesome to watch. In addition to Coghlan’s convincing imitation of Superman flying over top of Molina there was the sight of pitcher Marcus Stroman grabbing a bat and pinch-hitting for Jason Grilli.

Stroman had apparently been lobbying Gibbons for an at-bat when he realized he would not be pitching in the three St. Louis games. He worked the count to 2-2 then yanked a bad breaking ball into the left field corner for a double, his first career hit, coming around to score the winning run on an error by Aledmys Diaz.

“I was just excited that we were on our way to getting a victory,” Stroman said after breezing into a room off to the side in the visitors clubhouse and high-fiving all the Jays coaches. “Especially after a long travel day, coming from the west coast to get a win in the first game here, I feel like that’s pretty big. Hopefully it’s a huge momentum shift for us.”

There was also a certain giddiness in the dugout among teammates when Stroman got back there after giving the Jays the lead in the 11th.

“It was like a little party in there,” Stroman said. “A lot of emotions going on. A lot of people say I shouldn’t show those emotions, but I’m going to continue to do it no matter what anybody says, always. Yeah, it’s my brothers out there. We’ve got to win. It was a huge win. Just happy top come out on the top end of it.”

So this is how Jays play when they’re sleep-deprived. Russ Martin started at third base. Chris Coghlan created a piece of baseball lore for himself and Marcus Stroman doubled and scored the winning run.

We’ll give Stroman the last word on his impressions of the Coghlan show.

“That was one of the most unbelievable live plays I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said. “Something you see in video games and movies where guys kind of go right over the catcher. You never see it happen in a big-league game, so that was crazy. I think we were all in kind of awe.”

Other news for the Jays before the game was Martin making his first start at third base since May 5, 2013, back when he was a Pirate. It was his eighth overall start at the hot corner and, really, why not?

Ever since Josh Donaldson was sidelined, April 14, the Jays had started three different players at third base — Darwin Barney seven times, Chris Coghlan five times and Ryan Goins once. With Troy Tulowitzki on the DL, Goins has been doing a great job defensively at short, but neither of the other two has exactly been Brooks Robinson. So why not Martin, who since April 8, when he homered vs. the Red Sox, had hit .353, with a 1.182 OPS and six runs scored in five games.

Starter Aaron Sanchez, who threw from the mound at Busch Stadium on Tuesday, looks well on the way to making his return. Sanchez threw a simulated game of two innings and 30 pitches, sitting down between two 15-pitch segments.

“He was able to throw his curveball and it was sharp, it was tight and he said it felt great,” pitching coach Pete Walker said. “Obviously a great sign and looking forward to possibly throwing another side on Friday and go from there. Once it’s healed, it’s let’s go. It’s not like an arm or shoulder injury.”

The earliest that Sanchez would be able to start is on Sunday. The coaching staff will discuss the possibility, but the likelihood is Sanchez will need another side session before he’s ready to contribute again.

LCBO workers vote 93% to strike over contract demands

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 23:25:52 EDT

Liquor Control Board of Ontario staff have voted 93 per cent in favour of a strike as their union continues to bargain for a new collective agreement.

Voting by members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union was held Monday and Tuesday.

Denise Davis, the head of the OPSEU bargaining team, says they will now return to negotiations with a strong mandate from the workers.

The vote was called by the union in late March after what they described as management’s “complete lack of respect for workers.”

The union has long railed against the government’s move to sell beer, wine and cider in grocery stores, calling it “creeping privatization.”

OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas says he hopes the strike vote will “wake up this management team to the reality of the situation.”

“The people of Ontario built the LCBO, paid for the LCBO, and own the LCBO. We’re not about to let the Wynne government destroy it through this piecemeal privatization.”

The union represents 7,500 LCBO staff whose last contract expired on March 31.

Ontario budget to pump millions into child care subsidies

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:00:00 EDT

Thursday’s provincial budget will make child care more affordable for Ontario families by earmarking millions of dollars in new money for fee subsidies, the Star has learned.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Indira Naidoo-Harris, minister responsible for early years and child care, will outline the government’s five-year child-care spending plan during a pre-budget announcement at the downtown Toronto YMCA Wednesday afternoon.

This year’s funding will focus on providing immediate relief to Ontario families struggling with the high cost of child care while the government works with municipalities to expand the system over the coming years, sources told the Star.

Child-care advocates were at Queen’s Park Tuesday, urging the government to invest at least $200 million for operating costs and $500 million to build new spaces to kick-start last year’s pledge to create 100,000 licensed spots over the next five years.

“We have a child-care crisis here in Ontario — we have the highest child-care fees in the country, spaces for only one-quarter of kids, and early childhood educators’ wages and working conditions are far too paltry for the professional and vital work that they do in our communities,” said Carolyn Ferns of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.

“We are expecting big things from this Ontario budget and we’re expecting (Premier) Kathleen Wynne to finally deliver on her child-care promises.”

While about 15,400 children wait for daycare subsidies in Toronto, more than 4,000 spaces are vacant because parents can’t afford fees that run as high as $20,000 a year.

“Child care cannot wait,” said Ferns, who is expecting her first child — due in June — and already looking at a one- to two-year waitlist for daycare.

The government’s five-year plan aims to double the number of spaces for children under age 4 so that 40 per cent of infants, toddlers and preschoolers young children in the province have access to licensed child care.

Ontario expects to spend between $1 billion and $3 billion on capital and between $600 million and $750 million in annual operating expenses on the new spaces by 2021.

The province currently spends more than $1 billion annually on 350,000 licensed daycare spaces, including about 72,000 spots in Toronto.

The education ministry has already held consultations across the province to hear from families about other child-care changes they’d like to see, Naidoo-Harris said.

“The real work is underway … we are looking at quality, affordability, accessibility and responsiveness because we know that families out there need support and are facing challenges when it comes to child care,” said Naidoo-Harris, in an interview on Tuesday.

“This is a priority for our government, a priority for me,” she said, adding her ministry’s work will “transform the way we deliver child care in this province.”

But the province must ante up some funds immediately in the budget and not “back-end” the bulk of the money, said NDP MPP Catherine Fife, her party’s early years critic.

“If everything is tied to around election time — families can’t wait for the politics to play themselves out on the child-care file,” she said in an interview. “We need an infusion of cash this year.”

The NDP will also push the government to commit funds for not-for-profit daycares only, Fife said, adding “our commitment is to making sure that every dollar goes toward children, not toward profit.”

Ferns is hoping that in addition to the funding, the government will also outline a long-term plan to make the system more affordable for families “either in the form of more subsidies — but better than that would be a commitment to really building an affordable fee scale for families.”

During the province’s public consultations, Naidoo-Harris said she heard several concerns from parents — from not enough places to not enough spaces.

“In other areas of the province, in some of the more urban areas, it was an affordability question, where people were really having a hard time making those ends meet and being able to pay for the child care (they needed),” she said.

But in Windsor, families were asking for daycare outside of 9-to-5 — after school and into the evening, and services for parents who have seasonal jobs or work part-time.

“All of that feedback is something we are looking at very closely because the bottom line is we want to create a system that works for all Ontario families,” Naidoo-Harris said.

‚??See you in the Supreme Court,‚?? Trump tweets, after judge hands him his third major defeat in federal court

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 11:54:00 EDT

SAN FRANCISCO—For the third time in two months, a federal judge has knocked down an immigration order by U.S. President Donald Trump and used Trump’s own language against him.

In a ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick quoted Trump to support his decision to block the president’s order to withhold funding from “sanctuary cities” that do not co-operate with U.S. immigration officials.

Read the latest news on U.S. President Donald Trump

Trump called the sanctuary cities order a “weapon” against communities that disagree with his preferred immigration policy, Orrick said. The judge also cited a February interview in which he said the president threatened to cut off funding to California, saying the state “in many ways is out of control.”

The first comment was evidence that the administration intended the executive order to apply broadly to all sorts of federal funding, and not a relatively small pot of grant money as the Department of Justice had argued, the judge said.

The second statement showed the two California governments that sued to block the order — San Francisco and Santa Clara County — had good reason to believe they would be targeted, Orrick said.

Orrick’s ruling was another immigration policy setback for the administration as it approaches its 100th day in office later this month. The sanctuary city order was among a flurry of immigration measures Trump signed in January, including a ban on travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries and a directive calling for a wall on the Mexican border.

Trump reacted to the decision on Twitter on Wednesday morning, calling the decision “ridiculous” and saying he would take his fight to the highest court, tweeting: “See you in the Supreme Court.”

Trump tweeted: “First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings.”

Trump tweeted that the 9th circuit has “a terrible record of being overturned (close to 80 per cent).”

He said, “They used to call this ‘judge shopping!’ Messy system.” That was apparently a reference to the 9th circuit’s liberal reputation and rulings that have often irked conservatives.”

Trump’s words were also cited by federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii, who last month blocked his revised ban on new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii and U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland said comments by Trump supported the allegation that the ban was aimed at Muslims.

Orrick’s preliminary injunction against the sanctuary cities order will stay in place while the lawsuits by San Francisco and Santa Clara work their way through court.

The government hasn’t cut off any money yet or declared any communities sanctuary cities. But the Justice Department sent letters last week advising communities to prove they are in compliance. California was informed it could lose $18.2 million.

Orrick said Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress.

Even if the president could do so, those conditions would have to be clearly related to the funds at issue and not coercive, as the executive order appeared to be, Orrick said.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus described the ruling as another example of the “9th Circuit going bananas.”

The administration has often criticized the 9th circuit. Orrick does not sit on that court but his district is in the territory of the appeals court, which has ruled against one version of Trump’s travel ban.

“The idea that an agency can’t put in some reasonable restriction on how some of these moneys are spent is something that will be overturned eventually, and we will win at the Supreme Court level at some point,” Priebus said.

The Trump administration says sanctuary cities allow dangerous criminals back on the street and that the order is needed to keep the country safe. San Francisco and other sanctuary cities say turning local police into immigration officers erodes the trust that is needed to get people to report crime.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera praised the ruling and said the president was “forced to back down.”

“This is why we have courts — to halt the overreach of a president and an attorney general who either don’t understand the Constitution or chose to ignore it,” Herrera said in a statement.

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman leaked cabinet secrets to shipbuilding exec, RCMP allege

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:30:32 EDT

OTTAWA—Vice-Admiral Mark Norman leaked secret cabinet confidences to an executive with a Quebec shipbuilding firm and coached him on how to use the media to pressure the Liberal government to move ahead with a supply ship contract that he favoured, a court document alleges.

An RCMP affidavit made public Wednesday sheds new light on the police investigation that forced Norman’s surprise removal as the second-in-command of Canada’s military in January.

And it provides a window into the cutthroat, high-stakes world of military procurement, where companies wield political influence and backroom discussions in the fight for lucrative contracts.

But now Norman’s long military career is under a cloud and in limbo as Mounties probe his alleged role in leaking classified information to Spencer Fraser, CEO of Project Resolve Inc., which was created by the Chantier Davie shipyard in Quebec to manage construction of an interim supply ship for the Canadian navy.

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In the affidavit, RCMP Cpl. Matthieu Boulanger alleges that Norman “contrary to his obligation” as a public official, used his position as a senior navy officer to “willfully provide, on an ongoing basis, information subject to cabinet confidence” to Fraser.

“I believe Norman did this to influence decision-makers within government to adopt his preferred outcome,” the police officer states.

Norman gave Fraser “continuous updates” of secret information related to the supply ship, known as auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR), directed the executive to discredit a critic of the project and “advised Fraser on the amount of pressure to apply toward government through the media.”

Boulanger alleges that Norman leaked confidential information about the ship contract to Fraser so that he could compel the new government to approve the deal for the new ship without delay.

“Norman was opposed to the delay in the AOR process proposed by cabinet and leaked information subject to cabinet confidence in order to achieve the result he wanted personally,” Boulanger wrote.

Boulanger, attached to the RCMP unit that handles sensitive and international investigations, says he has “reasonable” grounds to suspect two individuals leaked classified information, though the other person is not named.

That information ended up in the possession of Brian Mersereau, a lobbyist working for Hill and Knowlton Strategies, a firm that represented Chantier Davie, and Fraser.

According to the affidavit, the RCMP are investigating potential wrongdoing that includes breach of trust by a public officer, under the Criminal Code, and wrongful communication of information and allowing possession of document, two offences under the security of information act.

At the heart of the leaks is a contract given to Chantier Davie shipyard in Quebec to retrofit a private ship to serve as an ocean-going delivery vessel to carry fuel and supplies to Canadian warships deployed on missions.

There was an urgent need for the stopgap measure after the unexpected loss of HMCS Protecteur and HMCS Preserver, two resupply ships taken out of service in 2014, leaving the navy with no means to replenish its vessels at sea. The navy has ordered two new supply ships but they won’t be in service until 2021.

The RCMP say they suspect Norman leaked the classified cabinet information to Fraser, who in turn provided updates to the shipbuilding team in Quebec.

“A review of Fraser’s emails demonstrates that Fraser had a source of information he referred to as ‘our friend’ and that this source, I believe, was Norman,” the affidavit states.

Norman, it’s alleged, supplied Fraser with insider knowledge of the ship contract, providing the shipyard with “insight” on how to mitigate concerns. The relationship was “more than simply professional,” the RCMP say, with emails revealing “an established and personal relationship.”

In a series of emails dating back to 2015, Norman helped coach Fraser on how to influence the government, telling him at one point that a news release was “appropriate and accurate . . . keeps the heat on. Just don’t overplay your hand.”

That demonstrates that Norman “instructed Fraser on the appropriate amount of pressure to be applied using the media,” the RCMP say.

“Norman orchestrated a plan to influence public opinion and for Davie to regain favourable ground with the decision-makers within the government and ultimately influence the decision taken by ministers,” Cpl. Boulanger wrote.

The affidavit describes how newly-appointed cabinet ministers of the Liberal government met on Nov. 19, 2015 and considered delaying the Chantier Davie deal. The document also details how shipbuilding competitors were contacting ministers to voice their opposition to the deal and their desire to put in bids of their own on the supply ship contract.

The next day, CBC journalist James Cudmore published an article online with the headline “Davie interim supply ship $700M deal delayed by Liberals.” The article outlined how the Harper-era agreement with the shipbuilder was a sole-source contract, and that a decision to delay could leave the navy without a proper oil supply ship for some time.

This article, which contained secret cabinet information, “appears calculated to apply pressure on the government” to approve the deal, Cpl. Boulanger wrote. He also wrote that Norman emailed Fraser to give him a heads up about Cudmore’s reporting more than half an hour before the article was published.

Later that day, in an email to Fraser, Norman wrote that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is “having kittens” about confidential cabinet information in Cudmore’s article.

Norman wrote that an internal investigation into the leak was being launched “as they execute a witch hunt for who quoted who … sigh,” the affidavit shows.

Treasury Board President Scott Brison later told investigators that the leak of information “impacted our ability to do our work.”

After obtaining approval from a judge last year, police executed a search warrant at Norman’s Ottawa residence in January, looking for iPads, cellphones, computers and “other electronic storage devices.”

The Mounties were after the devices to demonstrate that Norman communicated protected information to “unauthorized” parties, including Fraser. That information, relating to the shipbuilding project, was “protected by cabinet confidences and should not have been disseminated to the public.”

Such evidence will “demonstrates that Norman’s conduct represented a serious and marked departure from the standards expected of an individual in the official’s position of trust,” the affidavit states.

But the affidavit suggests that Norman was the target of the police probe even before then. In October, 2016, the police were granted authority to “covertly” gain access to Norman’s iPad and cellphone although no data was ever obtained from the devices.

Norman was abruptly removed as the second-in-command of Canada's military in January with no explanation.

The allegations laid out in the affidavit have not been proven in court. Norman has not been charged with a crime as a result on the investigation.

In a February statement, his lawyer Marie Henein denied Norman had done anything wrong and said he looks being “cleared.”

“Vice-Admiral Norman looks forward to being cleared and unequivocally denies any wrongdoing. He has at all times served his country honourably and with the sole objective of advancing the national interest and the protection of Canada,” Henein said.

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff, has said little about his decision to remove Norman from his post, saying only that it was the “right thing to do.”

The White House wants people to know Trump is thinking about pulling out of NAFTA entirely

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:27:41 EDT

WASHINGTON—The White House is telling U.S. media that it’s weighing a plan to pull out of NAFTA.

A number of media outlets are reporting that U.S. President Donald Trump is considering an executive order to withdraw from the trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Read the latest news on U.S. President Donald Trump

But those same reports say Trump hasn’t decided yet.

CNN and Politico say he might simply go ahead with renegotiations, as planned.

As a result, it remains unclear whether he’s seriously considering a pullout, or simply using it as a threat.

The White House is frustrated with Congress, which has yet to confirm Trump’s trade czar and approve a 90-day notice to start NAFTA talks; the administration says it will be hard to get a deal as the Mexican election approaches.

Tim Hortons‚?? owner reports revenue above estimates at $1 billion

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 08:23:15 EDT

Leslie Patton and Craig GiammonaBloomberg

NEW YORK—The owner of Tim Hortons and Burger King is reporting flat sales at its established locations in the first quarter, but a 9-per-cent increase in revenue, which was above analyst estimates.

Shares of Restaurant Brands International Inc., tumbled the most since August 2015 after Burger King’s same-store sales fell 0.1 per cent in the first three months of the year. That trailed the 1.5 per cent gain estimated by analysts, according to Consensus Metrix.

The burger chain is facing more U.S. fast-food competition, especially for cheap deals. McDonald’s Corp. has been advertising $1 (U.S.) and $2 drink specials, while Wendy’s Co. has had success with its four-for-$4 meal. Grocery deflation is also roiling the industry because it’s increasingly cheap for consumers to eat at home. In the U.S., Burger King same-store sales fell 2.2 per cent, according to a statement Wednesday. Analysts estimated a 0.3 per cent drop for the U.S. and Canada combined.

Read more:

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In contrast, McDonald’s reported a 4 per cent gain in same-store sales last quarter on Tuesday, topping analysts’ projections. Its drink promotions and a revamped Big Mac sandwich helped fuel growth.

Burger King, meanwhile, offered a new crispy chicken sandwich last month and has added a shake made with Froot Loops to its menu in a bid to drive restaurant traffic.

“The business will always be competitive,” Restaurant Brands chief executive officer Daniel Schwartz said in an interview. “But regardless of what going on at the macro level, it's our job to drive sales growth and profitability growth for our restaurants.”

Restaurant Brands shares fell as much as 7.6 per cent to $54 in New York trading, the biggest intraday decline in 20 months. The Oakville, Ont.-based company had gained 23 per cent this year through Tuesday’s close.

Same-store sales also dropped at Restaurant Brands’ Tim Hortons. They fell 0.1 per cent, while analysts projected a 0.8 per cent gain.

The company added 30 Burger King locations and 31 Tim Hortons in the quarter, which may have helped it surpass analysts’ projections for profit and revenue. Earnings climbed to 36 cents a share, excluding certain items, topping estimates by 2 cents. Sales rose to $1 billion, compared with the average prediction of $989.4 million.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, which Restaurant Brands bought earlier this year for $1.8 billion, is seen as a potential growth engine for the company. But it, too, posted a drop in same-store sales during the period, with the measure falling 0.2 per cent. The plan is for the 2,600-location Popeyes to be independently managed in the U.S.

With files from The Canadian Press

Chrystia Freeland shoots back after U.S. tariff, ‚??The reality is the United States needs our lumber‚??

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 09:30:25 EDT

OTTAWA—Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is shooting back at Donald Trump’s anti-Canadian trade rhetoric saying she will be “tough and strong” in fighting for Canada’s economic interests with the U.S.

Freeland also says she is optimistic a new softwood lumber deal can reached, and that it will be a win for Canada and the United States.

Freeland says she has had discussions with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in recent days and some progress has been made, but there’s no sign of a deal yet.

Trump has criticized Canada’s lumber and dairy policies, saying the latter is a “disgrace” that is hurting U.S. dairy farmers.

Ross has said that lumber and dairy have erupted as irritants because they are not properly addressed in the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump has threatened to scrap if it can’t be renegotiated.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he told Trump in a Tuesday phone call that the U.S. commerce department levelled “baseless allegations” when it imposed new, unfair duties on Canadian softwood this week.

“It’s good to treat people with respect,” Freeland said today in a conference call from Berlin, where she was attending G20 meetings.

“Having said that, I want to assure you, and I want to assure Canadians that I am absolutely firm and absolutely tough and strong.”

Freeland says the U.S. is dependent on Canadian softwood because its own industry can’t meet its domestic demand.

“Lumber prices are high right now, and the reality is the United States needs our lumber,” she said. “Middle class Americans who want to buy a house need Canadian lumber to do that.”

Woodbine Racetrack lands to be site of ‚??a city within city‚?? in latest plan

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:34:10 EDT

The future of the Woodbine Racetrack lands was mapped out Tuesday, amid hopes that this development will go forward unlike past attempts.

Woodbine’s privately owned 275-hectare site will “continue to be the ultimate destination for horse racing and gaming” with 81 hectares devoted to horse racing operations, according to a news release. But it will also include “entertainment and cultural offerings, food and dining, hotel, shopping, office space, post-secondary education, recreation, health, wellness, and urban residential living.”

The development, led by Woodbine Entertainment Group in collaboration with others, will be a “city within a city.” It has been divided into phases, said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment Group. The first phase will include the expanded gaming district, along with entertainment and hospitality venues.

But similar development attempts have been made in the past.

In 2013, a Baltimore developer scrapped plans for Woodbine Live!, a massive shopping and entertainment complex.

Hopes of replacing Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation slot machines at Woodbine with a full casino were also dashed that year when council rejected that along with a downtown casino. But council later reconsidered, opening the door to a casino by a 25-19 vote amid fears for the track’s future.

OLG is currently seeking a private sector service provider to operate the Slots at Woodbine Racetrack site and to propose an expanded entertainment development, consistent with the City of Toronto’s conditions. The private sector provider is expected to be named in September, Lawson said.

The gaming expansion, Lawson said, is one of the reasons he believes the development will succeed, as it is “the trigger needed to generate a lot of excitement and economic activity around Rexdale, in an area that needs it.”

Woodbine is also in a good position for development, according to Lawson, with the potential for more public transportation in the area, including talks of Pearson International Airport becoming a mega hub.

Lawson said a “shovel could be in the ground” as early as the end of 2018.

“As a result of our previous activity on the property, we’re further ahead in the game because we’ve done a lot of the studies that are required,” Lawson said.

With the development, Lawson said they expect visitor numbers to rise from about six million a year to 12 to 14 million. This increase will help “make sure the horse business thrives for the next 20, 30 years,” Lawson said.

“We can get those visitors coming for food and beverage and entertainment to say ‘Let’s go over to the horse race. I’ve never been to a horse race before.’ ”

Ward 2 Councillor Michael Ford said he is “completely on board” with this project which he believes ‘is vital to the health and prosperity of Etobicoke North and the city of Toronto.”

“It’s a substantial investment in jobs for the community,” Ford said. “It’s an incredibly well-rounded development that will serve not only the residents of northern Etobicoke but across our city and region.”

Woman rescued from crane at Wellesley and Church

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:40:00 EDT

Firefighter Rob Wonfor describes himself as a “bit of a monkey,” and his climbing skills came in handy Wednesday morning when he rescued a woman perched on a crane high above a downtown Toronto construction site.

The woman was brought to the ground by Wonfor, 52, just before 8:30 a.m., after a 2 ½ hour rescue operation just east of the Wellesley subway station, near Church St.

Hundreds of onlookers snapped photos and cheered Wonfor, an acting captain, after he rappelled down from the crane’s block with the woman after placing her in a safety harness.

The woman, who appeared to be in her twenties, was calm as the pair touched ground. She was handcuffed and led to a stretcher, before being loaded into an ambulance and taken away.

Wonfor was checked out briefly by paramedics before speaking to reporters at the scene, where he described the person he’d just rescued as “a brave girl.”

“She said, ‘I just want to get down,’” Wonfor said. “She was great.”

It wasn’t immediately clear why the woman had gone up the crane, and the firefighter said “we didn’t get into discussing that.”

The angle of the crane made the height at which the woman was trapped difficult to estimate, but Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said the block on which she was perched was at least 12 storeys above the ground.

Wonfor was calm after the ordeal, quipping, “I moisturize,” when asked by reporters about his age.

Asked how he got the assignment, he said, “I was volun-told: ‘You’re going up.’”

Wonfor also had praise for the Toronto police Emergency Task Force negotiator who scaled the crane along with him, and talked to both the firefighter and the woman to help them remain calm.

“He was like a late-night talk show host, the way he talked, kept her really calm,” said Wonfor, comparing the police officer’s voice to that of the late legendary crooner Perry Como.

The initial plan was for Wonfor to climb up to the crane’s block and make sure the woman didn’t fall as it was lowered to a patch of grass in the nearby Paul Kane House Parkette.

But shortly after 8 a.m., concerns about lowering the block with two people on it prompted a change on plan. Instead, Wonfor placed the woman in a safety harness and secured her to him before rappelling to the ground below.

“It takes a lot of dexterity…as our rescuers get cold, it gets harder on them,” said Pegg, who described Wonfor as “one of our best.”

The incident began with a call to police around 4 a.m. that a person had been spotted on the crane.

The woman had apparently climbed on to the top of the crane, and then lowered herself onto the block using the cable from which it is suspended, said Insp. Colin Greenaway.

According to Pegg, a senior captain passed him following the woman’s successful rescue and told him: “You know, there isn’t a textbook for this, but I’m pretty sure we just wrote it.”

Toronto police Const. Craig Brister said the woman was arrested for mischief. Her name was not immediately released. After being assessed at hospital, she was expected to be taken to a police station to be formally charged.

Wonfor, on the other hand, was planning to be in his goalie equipment within a few hours.

“We’ve got a game at 11, so I don’t want to be late,” he said.

With files from Brennan Doherty and Andrej Ivanov