• Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. CBC photo.Panicked councillors, harried staffers, a cancelled trip to Boston and … an earthquake?

    When the revelation that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was caught smoking crack on video first hit the city in May, it was a chaotic time for the Big Smoke. So chaotic, in fact, that the city suffered through an earthquake and no one seemed to notice.

    While there isn't really a connection between the May 17 earthquake and reports from the Toronto Star and Gawker of a video showing Ford smoke crack cocaine, details of the earthquake were among a frenetic series of emails passed between Ford's inner circle in the days after the crack video revelation.

    The Toronto Sun has obtained more than 7,000 pages of staff emails from May and June through a freedom of information request. And while the emails don't necessarily break any new ground on the simmering crack scandal, they do offer insight into the chaos it caused in the Mayor's Office.

    More on Rob Ford:

    Read More »from Rob Ford staff emails show crack scandal caused chaos, buried Boston friendship agreement
  • A girl pulls her case to the evacuation centre at the Roseau River First Nation in 2011. (CP/John Woods)

    It's been almost three years since spring flooding in Manitoba inundated First Nations reserves but some 2,000 people are still living in temporary housing, and the cost to Ottawa has reached $90 million and counting.

    The situation is frustrating Manitoba Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton, who told The Canadian Press that Ottawa could save money in the long run by doing more to protect reserves against flooding.

    “First Nations are chronically underfunded when it comes to infrastructure,” Ashton said in an interview with CP. “If you are looking at a longer-term fix . . . you’re into the tens of millions of dollars. But the alternative is what we’ve seen where, year after year, those First Nations are impacted by flooding.”

    Evacuees have been out of their homes since March 2011. Most are living in hotels and temporary housing scattered around the province at a cost to the federal government of $1.5 million a month for food and shelter, CP reported.

    [ Related: Debts go unpaid as

    Read More »from Aboriginals displaced by Manitoba floods still not home as housing bill tops $90 million
  • Garth Drabinsky in 2003.

    It's been a mixed month for Garth Drabinsky.

    The once powerful movie and theatre mogul may have lost his bid to reclaim his Order of Canada, but he'll finally be able to sleep in his own bed at home.

    Drabinsky, who was jailed in 2011 for fraud, was granted full parole on Monday, the Toronto Star reports. Up to now, he was required to live in a halfway house four nights a week.

    “We're satisfied your risk [of re-offending] is manageable,” Linda Lennon, one of the two Parole Board of Canada panel members who ruled on his application, told Drabinsky, the Star said.

    Drabinsky, with business partner and friend Myron Gottlieb, was convicted in 2009 with falsifying the books of their company, Livent Inc. It went bankrupt in 1998 and investors lost an estimated $500 million.

    He was released on day parole last February and first tried for full parole last December.

    [ Related: Parole board unconvinced Garth Drabinsky has changed his ways ]

    However, the parole board panel's initial hearing resulted in a

    Read More »from Fallen theatre mogul Garth Drabinsky wins full parole from Livent fraud sentence
  • [ UPDATE 5:10 p.m. ET: Toronto's Economic Development Committee voted on Monday to "indefinitely defer" further debate into hosting the 2024 Olympics - essentially ending a possible bid. The question of whether to consider hosting the 2025 World Expo has been sent to city council for further debate. ]

    With the 2014 Winter Games about to get underway in Sochi, Russia, we can forgive the decision makers at Toronto City Hall for getting swept away with Olympic fever. But they should pump the breaks when it comes to making any plans to host a future iteration of the international spectacle.

    We're just not ready to bask under the glow of an Olympic halo.

    Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly told reporters On Monday that the city should wait until after the Pan Am Games are completed in 2015 before we even consider the question. Mayor Rob Ford had previously taken the same stance, saying he was skeptical of the cost to even start the bidding process and suggesting our focus should be on the Pan Am Games.

    Read More »from Should Toronto bid on the 2024 Olympic Games or 2025 Expo?
  • Richard Kachkar is shown in an undated photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-FacebookExpect the law-and-order crowd to watch closely how an Ontario Appeal Court panel decides the legal battle over whether cop-killer Richard Kachkar should get escorted passes from a psychiatric hospital.

    The Conservative government is determined to shorten the leash that holds those deemed not criminally responsible for heinous acts because of a mental disorder.

    The Appeal Court heard arguments Monday in the Crown's appeal of a decision to grant Kachkar escorted trips into the community less than a year after being locked up in the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, in Whitby.

    A jury last March found Kachkar not criminally responsible for the Jaunary 2011 killing of Toronto police Sgt. Ryan Russell.

    [ Related: Richard Kachkar found not criminally responsible of killing Toronto officer with snowplow ]

    Russell was out of his cruiser and trying to stop Kachkar, who'd stolen a snowplow-equipped truck. Video from a camera in Russell's car showed the plow do a U-turn and drive

    Read More »from Crown challenges decision to grant cop-killer Richard Kachkar escorted leave from psychiatric hospital
  • This is frankly very bizarre. Toronto police are on the hunt for a break-and-enter suspect who smashed his way into a business, attempted to decorate a ping-pong table in wrapping paper and left seven hours later.

    Toronto police say several Mac laptops and a Microsoft tablet were stolen in the incident, but that doesn't really explain the series of events that began shortly after midnight on New Year's Day.

    Recently-released surveillance video shows a visibly-upset suspect, wearing a t-shirt and vest, kick a hole in a door window before climbing through and into a Liberty Village business at around 2:30 a.m.

    Once inside, the suspect is seen unrolling wrapping paper over a ping pong table. A time stamp on the surveillance video suggests he left the scene seven hours after breaking in, wearing a jacket and carrying a duffel bag.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Toronto police at 416-808-1400. Anyone who received a second-hand ping-pong table as a belated Christmas present should

    Read More »from Break-and-enter suspect caught on video wrapping ping-pong table
  • The mysterious disappearance of Jeffrey Boucher stretches into its second week, with a police investigation and massive ground search finding few leads, little hope and even fewer answers.

    One week into the intensive search for the Whitby, Ont., teacher and still nothing. No hints, no tips about where he might be or where he might have gone. No paper trail or outstanding motive to suggest he purposely disappeared. No signs of a struggle, signs of a body; no signs of anything.

    It is as if Boucher simply vanished from the face of the Earth one week ago today.

    "We have very few leads to go on," Det. Sgt. Mitch Martin told reporters on Monday. "I've been doing this for a while and Mr. Boucher quite simply appears to have vanished."

    The Durham Regional Police Service announced on Monday that they would scale back their ground search, but said they would continue the investigation until Boucher is found.

    Police searched diligently for a week, launching a ground and air patrol almost immediately

    Read More »from Where is Jeffrey Boucher? One week in, still no leads
  • Neil Young is in Calgary this Sunday for the last in his series of anti-oil sands concerts.

    Dogged by controversy, Canadian rock legend's "Honour the Treaties" tour is in support of northern Alberta's Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. It is aimed at helping the Chipewyan raise funds for a court fight to block the expansion of Shell Oil's Jackpine oil sands mine, upstream of the First Nation's reserve.

    The First Nation contends oil sands extraction is destroying its way of life and it has not been consulted on the expansion, as required under a series of Supreme Court rulings and under terms of a treaty it signed with the Crown.

    Chief Allan Adam joined Young and prominent environmentalist David Suzuki at a news conference before a Friday night concert in Regina. Adam was wearing a hoodie sweatshirt with the slogan "Got Land? Thank an Indian," which was briefly banned from a Regina school because it was deemed provocative, CBC News reported.

    "This shirt is reality," Young said. "There is

    Read More »from Canadians should fact-check Neil Young’s anti-oil sands rap, industry’s pronouncements
  • CBC photoIs suggesting assault victims should stay out of back alleys a form of victim blaming, or simply good advice? That question was raised in Edmonton this week after several women were assaulted by an unknown assailant.

    Edmonton police put out a public warning after three women were attacked in the same southwest Edmonton neighbourhood. Police said the latest assault occurred on the evening of Jan. 14, while a 29-year-old woman was walking alone down an alleyway. Police say she was grabbed from behind and thrown to the grown by a man wearing dark clothes and gloves. She managed to escape after a brief struggle.

    The incident is believed to be linked to two other attacks in the same neighbourhood – which occurred on Jan. 9 and Nov. 8. Local news reports a fourth woman was similarly attacked on Jan. 15 but did not file a police report.

    According to the Edmonton Journal, Det. Jerrid Maze suggested the attacks were avoidable. He said, "Alleys aren't meant for people to walk down."

    He added for

    Read More »from Edmonton police under fire for ‘victim-blaming’ after spate of assaults
  • Yasmin Nakhuda leaves Ontario Superior Court in Oshawa, Ont.

    Poor Yasmin Nakhuda. She lost her monkey and now she's losing a bundle of cash.

    The Toronto real estate lawyer has been ordered to pay $83,000 in legal costs to a primate sanctuary that she sued unsuccessfully last year to get back Darwin, the sheepskin coat-wearing Japanese macaque confiscated after escaping her car in an Ikea parking lot in December 2012. That's on top of her own legal expenses.

    Darwin became a YouTube sensation as he scampered around the entrance to the Swedish furnishings store clad in a shearling jacket.

    Darwin was picked up by a Toronto animal-control officer and Nakhuda apparently agreed to give up ownership of the monkey, who was taken to the Story Book Farm primate sanctuary, where he now lives.

    [ Related: Darwin to remain at Ontario primate sanctuary, judge rules ]

    But Nakhuda sued the sanctuary to get him back, claiming she was duped into surrendering Darwin voluntarily, believing animal-control authorities had the power to seize him.

    According to the Darling

    Read More »from Ikea monkey Darwin’s ‘mother’ facing $83,000 tab to pay sanctuary’s legal costs


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