A judge has upheld a Toronto police officer’s conviction for assaulting a man during the G20 summit protests but ruled that he will not serve jail time.
Superior Court Justice Brian O’Marra overturned the 45-day jail sentence and instead ordered Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani, 34, to serve a year of probation and perform 75 hours of community service.
As the decision was read, Andalib-Goortani dropped his head into his hands, at one point resting his head on the table.
Reasons for O’Marra’s decision will follow at a later date, he said.
In September 2013, Andalib-Goortani was convicted of using excessive force in arresting Adam Nobody as he protested on the lawn of Queen’s Park in June 2012.
Ontario Court Justice Louise Botham said her decision largely hinged on video footage captured of the assault.
In December 2013, Andalib-Goortani was sentenced to serve 45 days in jail but was released on bail pending appeal that same day.
Andalib-Goortani faced a second assault charge for allegedly striking a woman with his baton but that charge was withdrawn by the Crown last year.
He continues to face a disciplinary hearing before a police tribunal.
Mike McCormack, head of the police union, said that that they will examine the decision and look at the next steps, including a possible appeal.
Crown prosecutor Shawn Porter said all options are being considered.
In Brampton City Hall “Our Father who art in heaven” has been replaced with: “Inspire us to decisions which establish and maintain a city of prosperity and righteousness where freedom prevails and where justice rules. Amen.”
On Wednesday, when that invocation was recited it drew scorn from residents as the word “shame” rang throughout a packed council chamber and people questioned why the Lord’s Prayer was recently replaced. The move to a more secular prayer has pitted many in this deeply diverse, and often divided city against each other.
“You have ripped a 130-year tradition right out from under us,” charged Greta Archer, who spoke on behalf of those in attendance, firing her words at councillors, particularly Mayor Linda Jeffrey.
“The majority of people that we have spoken to in Brampton are shocked that the Lord’s Prayer was taken out,” Archer stated, exhorting council to have a proper public debate before any final decision is cemented. “This was removed so quickly and quietly.”According to three councillors the Star spoke with, Jeffrey asked all members of council, around the time she took office after winning October’s election, if they wanted to keep the Lord’s Prayer.
“I told her I am a practising Catholic, I go to church,” said Councillor John Sprovieri. “Is it appropriate to recite ‘Our Father’ in the council chamber? It’s a nice gesture, it keeps in mind the tradition and that we still respect the faith community, believers in God. But is it an appropriate prayer for Brampton, today, with our multi-faith community? I understand that a lot of councillors didn’t care one way or another.
“If it’s put to a vote I would suggest we keep the Lord’s Prayer and also ask the Sikh community, the Muslim community, the Hindu community and all other groups to come up with another prayer that we could also recite. But this one we’re now using, what is that? It’s not praying to anyone, not even Santa Claus. I told the mayor I will not recite it. I didn’t recite it today.”
Jeffrey was asked about her position and claims from members of the public that she pushed for the removal of the Lord’s Prayer for political reasons.
A statement from her office read: “In 1999 the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that the practice of reciting the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of municipal meetings was unconstitutional as it contravened the freedom of conscience and religion provision in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
The Supreme Court of Canada is currently set to establish a precedent for all municipalities in a case out of Saguenay, Que., with a decision expected by the summer.
The statement from Jeffrey’s office pointed out that the new invocation being used in Brampton is the same one that is used in the Ontario Legislature.
Responding to blanket statements by members of the public after Wednesday’s meeting that all of Brampton’s faith communities support the reciting of the Lord’s Prayer and it is only “non-believers” who want it removed, Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon, a practising Sikh, refuted that claim.
“Our mayor consulted with council, without any exterior influence or pressures, and it was decided that we should go with a universal, non-denominational prayer, which I support.”
Archer and others brought a petition Wednesday, addressed to Jeffrey, with 5,000 signatures, demanding the Lord’s Prayer be brought back for recitation at the beginning of council meetings.
Brampton and Mississauga, where council recently decided to keep reciting the Lord’s Prayer, are two of the only cities in the GTA that still follow the practice.
Council decided on Wednesday to refer the issue to a standing committee that will address it next week.
Brampton's non-denominational prayer
“We gather today to reaffirm our commitment of service to our City and the
people who live here. Give to each member of this council a strong and abiding
sense of the great responsibilities laid upon us. Guide us here in our deliberations.
Give us a deep and thorough understanding of the needs of the people we serve.
Help us to use power wisely and well. Inspire us to decisions which establish and
maintain a city of prosperity and righteousness where freedom prevails and
where justice rules. Amen.”
City of Brampton
The Lord's Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Canadians tired of being denied American Super Bowl ads will get to see what all the fuss is about — just not yet.
Starting in 2017, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will no longer allow broadcasters to request simultaneous substitution during the Super Bowl.
The announcement was made during a speech on the future of television at the London Chamber of Commerce Thursday morning by CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais.
The speech heralded three major changes to CRTC television regulations, stemming from a 15-month dialogue called “Let’s Talk TV” that the commission had with Canadians about what they liked — and didn’t like — about Canadian television. The discussions capture, in the era of YouTube and Netflix, a growing desire for a freedom to choose what one watches, when and where.
But he also warned that, while Canadians demand change, there are stalwarts who want the system to remain the same.
“Those that previously enjoyed entitlements under the old system often make the loudest objections to the new system, set up the strongest roadblocks, and dig in their heels deepest,” he said.
1. Stricter requirements for simultaneous substitution.
For many Canadians, simultaneous substitution — switching American signals for Canadian signals during commercial breaks — is the bane of the sporting season.
This is how it works:
The CRTC allows broadcasters who air American programming (such as CTV or Global) to request distributors (such as Bell or Rogers) to switch over to a Canadian signal during commercial breaks.
Broadcasters love this, because it keeps ad revenues in-house. Blais said simultaneous substitution is worth $250 million annually across the industry.
But Canadians hate it.
Slip-ups in signalling times can cause fans to miss the big play or overtime goal.
And what kind of democracy would deny its citizens the joys of “Wassup,” the Geico gecko or Ali Landry eating Doritos?
Blais said that while Canadians loathe it, the financial cost of ending simultaneous substitution is too great. Instead, new regulations will hope to end some of its biggest annoyances.
Starting in the 2016 football season (so the 2017 Super Bowl), simultaneous substitutions will be banned. It’s the only time during the year when broadcasters will not be allowed to request simultaneous substitution.
Furthermore, Blais said, the CRTC will adopt a “zero-tolerance approach to substantial mistakes.”
If the final touchdown gets cut off because the game ran long and the signal switches to commercial break too soon, broadcasters or distributors could be held responsible and forced to offer their customers a rebate.
2. Over-the-air television will remain free
The CRTC had previously toyed with the idea of allowing local television stations to shut down transmitters that broadcast their signal over the airwaves free, Blais said.
But that didn’t go over well. About 95 per cent of Canadians said that access to over-the-air television was important, Blais said.
Local television stations (who are largely responsible free air signals) get between 40 and 50 per cent of television viewing between the hours of 7 and 11 p.m., Blais said.
Although local free programming is popular, Blais said over-the-air television can’t last forever.
“The future of television lies more toward viewer-centric, on-demand models than the scheduled broadcasts such as those provided by OTA,” he said in London.
3. No preferences for provider’s own programming
Blais also responded to two challenges made by Canadians to the practices of mobile phone and content providers.
Both applications alleged that mobile providers Bell and Vidéotron gave “unfair” preference to their own video content by letting users watch it free on their phones, while charging for video content from other sources, such as YouTube.
The CRTC agrees.
From now on, providers will not be allowed to discount their own content and charge for others, Blais said.
“When the impetus to innovate steps on the toes of the principle of fair and open access to content, we will intervene,” he said.
OTTAWA—The Conservative government knew the temporary foreign worker program was causing pressure on youth employment almost a year before reforming the program, documents show.
In an August 2013 briefing note for Employment Minister Jason Kenney, department officials warned that industries which commonly employ young Canadians are also among the employers hiring the most temporary foreign workers.
“Five of the top six industries that employ the most youth were also in the top half of (temporary foreign worker) program users,” reads the document, prepared shortly after Kenney was appointed to the department.
Critics of the temporary foreign worker program have raised concerns that employers were hiring lower-paid foreign workers, rather than Canadian workers. Kenney’s office says reforms made in June 2014, almost one year after the internal briefing, have specifically addressed the issue.
The industries listed as employing a large proportion of youth and foreign workers include accommodation and food service, construction, information and cultural industries, as well as the unspecified “other services.”
The internal documents were obtained by the Opposition New Democrats under access to information law. According to the NDP, the documents prove the governing Conservatives were aware of problems with the temporary foreign worker program — specifically as it relates to youth employment — but took no action until media reports exposed abuse of the system.
“The minister knew what the issue was, because the issue was raised with him. But he selectively chose to ignore the information he had,” said MP Jinny Sims, the NDP’s critic for employment and social development. “It’s only when the story was broken out in the media by CBC that suddenly he couldn’t ignore it anymore.”
Kenney’s director of communications, Alexandra Fortier, disputed the opposition claims. She said the government’s June 2014 overhaul of the system directly addressed the issue of employers hiring lower-paid foreign workers over young Canadians.
“One of our key changes is forcing employers to demonstrate that they tried to recruit Canadian youth and other under-represented groups, like aboriginals and Canadians with disabilities,” Fortier wrote in an email.
“For the first time since the launch of this program in 1973, employers will have to disclose how many Canadians, including young people, applied for a job and will have to explain concretely why they were not hired.”
The documents note that excluding young people from entry-level positions delays the development of the so-called “non-cognitive” skills people pick up on the job: self-management, teamwork, persistence and problem-solving, among others.
“Employers often look for a combination of cognitive and non-cognitive skills acquired through experience and education,” the document reads. “The lack of these skills can mean difficulty with labour market attachment and the loss of opportunity for further skill development. And lack of employment can lead to both cognitive and non-cognitive skill loss over time.”
The national youth unemployment rate was 13.3 per cent in December, essentially unchanged from a year before and almost double the national unemployment rate of 6.6 per cent.
In 2012 — the most recent data available when the briefing note was prepared — Canada fell near the average for youth unemployment among OECD countries, with 20.1 per cent for those aged 15 to 19, and 11 per cent for those aged 20 to 24. Some groups faced higher unemployment rates, such as aboriginal youth (20.9 per cent), recent immigrant youth (22.7 per cent) and youth with disabilities (23 per cent).
Toronto is transforming from a mostly middle-income city into an island of wealth surrounded by increasingly poor pockets of suburb, 42 years of data reveals.
The long-term trend to 2012 shows average incomes rising dramatically in the city core and north up the centre, while plunging in the inner suburbs, particularly northwest Etobicoke and northeast Scarborough.
“We have 28 per cent of the city going significantly up in income and a different part, comprising 40 per cent, where income drops, in a trend that produces what we call the divided city,” says Hulchanski, a professor of housing and community development in the faculty of social work.
“If income inequality grows, this is what happens — our income buys choice of house or apartment or neighbourhood, and you see that reflected in the map ...
“Instead of living together harmoniously, with mutual respect, we are setting up two extreme lifestyles — one where people struggle just to get by and another where every option in the world is open to them. No country is ever perfect in terms of equality, but we’re going in the opposite direction.”
The data, presented here for the first time, updates Hulchanski’s “Three Cities” research showing that mostly middle-income 1980s Toronto has been transformed into three zones: a prosperous core, a shrinking middle-income belt, and swaths of increasingly poor suburbs.
Between 1970 and 1990, average incomes jumped significantly in only about 13 per cent of Toronto’s 500-plus “census tract” neighbourhoods.
Slightly more, 19 per cent, saw incomes drop significantly, while most Torontonians, in 67 per cent of the census tracts, saw earnings change only modestly.
Expanding the time frame to 1970 to 2012 exposes a dramatic shift.
Middle-income communities across the city began to evaporate. Neighbourhoods with relatively stable average income shrank by more than half, to 32 per cent of the census tracts.
The percentage of neighbourhoods where residents’ average incomes skyrocketed more than doubled. At the same time, the percentage of neighbourhoods where people were getting much poorer also doubled.
Yorkville, which transformed from downtown hippie haven to posh shopping district favoured by the jet set, saw the biggest surge in average incomes. Part of Thorncliffe Park, which became a landing pad for newly arrived immigrants, saw the biggest income drop.
When the city snapshot is narrowed to only 2012, just under half of Toronto is considered low-income — well under the $46,666-per-year average — while 21 per cent is high-income and only 30 per cent is middle.
“What I call City No. 2 — the middle-income city — is simply disappearing,” Hulchanski says.
Gentrification is only one of the root causes, he says, listing provincial and federal policy changes since 1990 that he believes were intended to further enrich society’s top earners.
They include de-industrialization via free trade; low wages in the increasingly deregulated labour market; tax cuts benefiting the rich; cuts in social spending and social program transfers; and the “offshoring” of corporation profits to avoid Canadian taxes.
Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey was disqualified from the US PGA Championship after the second round for failing to "recreate his lie" after removing a ball from sand.
American Scott Verplank withdrew from the US PGA Championship with a hip problem half-way through his second round at the Ocean Course.
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