• The city of Toronto will never forget the mayhem that ensued three years ago, when the G20 Summit came to town and the downtown core was wrecked apart by overbearing police forces and demonstrators, some violent and acting with ill intention and others simply treated like they were.

    What followed was the largest mass arrest in Canadian history, when more than 1,000 demonstrators were taken into custody, often forcefully, and held in pens before, most frequently, being released without charges.

    Police tactics used during that weekend in June 2010 have been criticized, police actions have been questioned. And this week, a police officer was convicted for his actions.

    One police officer.

    Toronto police Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani was found guilty of assault with a weapon for the attack on demonstrator Adam Nobody, who was kicked, punched and beaten by a collection of officers while in a zone deemed to be a safe protest area.

    Based strongly on video taken of the incident, Judge Louise Botham

    Read More »from Police actions at Toronto’s G20 Summit: Does one guilty verdict get justice served?
  • Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson was joined by police chief Jim Chu for the announcement on Friday morning. Vancouver's mayor and chief of police are sounding the alarm about a mental health crisis.

    Mayor Gregor Robertson and Chief Jim Chu held a news conference Friday to plead with the B.C. and federal governments for more resources to deal with people suffering from severe, untreated mental illness.

    Police, often the front-line people in dealing with mentally disturbed people, see a growing problem, Chu said in a news release.

    “The police are becoming the first point of contact for those who are severely mentally ill, and that is wrong," the chief said. "These people require health care, support, and medical treatment, not the criminal justice system."

    “The police should not, and cannot, continue to be the first point of contact," added Robertson, who also chairs the Vancouver Police Board. "Lives are being put at risk and we need senior levels of government to step up and provide the resources they are responsible for.”

    The mayor and chief made their comments as the VPD issued an updated

    Read More »from Vancouver mayor, police chief say city facing mental-health crisis
  • I rolled my eyes when I read that Vancouver's posh Fairmount Waterfront Hotel had advertised for restaurant busboys to work as unpaid interns.

    "Exceptional service and cuisine are hallmarks of The Fairmont Waterfront dining experience," read the ad, posted briefly on the hotel web site's careers section, according to CBC News.

    "As a Busperson, you will take pride in the integral role you play in supporting your Food and Beverage Colleagues and 'setting the stage' for a truly memorable meal."

    The Twitter reaction was predictable.

    The head of Vancouver Community College's culinary arts department endorsed the idea of unpaid intern "buspersons" as a way

    Read More »from Unpaid restaurant busboy intern: valuable educational experience or just free labour?
  • Ontario's ombudsman Andre Marin says he accepts the apology of a Durham Regional Police officer who insulted him online.

    A tense and bizarre public standoff between an Ontario police force and the province's ombudsman appears to have come to a conclusion after an officer said to have anonymously attacked the ombudsman online offered an "unconditional" apology.

    Andre Marin accepted the apology from the previously unidentified officer before publicly outing him as Det. Jeff Caplan, a member of the Durham Regional Police Service's Major Fraud Unit.

    “The officer in question reached out to me to arrange a meeting and I met with him Thursday,” Marin said in a statement.

    “He apologized unconditionally for his actions and told me he regrets posting those tweets. I believe the apology to be heartfelt and sincere, and I am happy to accept it.”

    Marin told reporters on Friday that he felt the Durham Regional Police Service still owed him an apology over the incident. Durham police officials have previously questioned the way Marin handled himself after being insulted on Twitter.

    [ Related: Ontario hospital woos workers

    Read More »from Ontario ombudsman outs the real police officer who insulted him online
  • Rob Ford takes on Hulk Hogan in an arm-wrestling match to promote Fan Expo in Toronto on Friday August 23, 2013

    According to a spectacularly propaganda-like video broadcasting at Toronto City Hall, Mayor Rob Ford has had an extremely fun and successful summer.

    Ford's office released a poignant video on Friday, celebrating the city's successful summer and more specifically the mayor’s role in it all.

    Ford tweeted out a link to the video, titled "Summer of Ford," and it is currently being streamed on a massive big-screen television in the window of Ford's office at City Hall.

    Set to music, the nearly three-minute video highlights the delights of the past few months, all those successful moments like fishing with Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, arm wrestling Hulk Hogan and his annual Ford Fest party.

    Missing from the video are scenes of the mayor ducking questions about an alleged crack video, images from the

    Read More »from Toronto mayor releases ‘Summer of Ford’ video celebrating himself
  • Darwin the Ikea Monkey will remain in an Ontario animal sanctuary after a judge decided on Friday that the exotic animal should not be returned to its former owner.

    "Surrogate mother" Yasmin Nakhuda had been fighting to have the monkey returned to her after it was seized by animal control officers in December, following the animal’s internationally-celebrated dalliance through an Ikea parking lot while dressed in a shearling coat.

    Her battle was doubtful from the start, having previously lost a bid for temporary custody, but it became more unlikely after the province announced plans to introduce stricter pet ownership laws earlier this summer.

    On Friday, Ontario Superior Court Judge Mary Vallee ruled against returning Darwin to the family who raised him, fed him and dressed him in darling costumes before he got free outside the furniture store and made international headlines in December.

    [ Related: Ikea monkey custody decision expected today ]

    "(Case law) states that the nature of an Read More »from Darwin the Ikea Monkey to remain at Ontario primate sanctuary, judge rules
  • Bill Hume, part of the Bomber Command in WWII (CBC)

    Two news item this week related to Canada's oldest veterans struck me as an indication of the governments hypocritical attitude (and by extension, ours) towards the country's revered warriors.

    After seven decades, Ottawa is finally getting around to recognizing the heroism of Canadian airmen who served in Bomber Command, one of the most dangerous arms of the Allied effort in the Second World War.

    But in honouring the the surviving Bomber Command vets, the Conservatives ensured they got maximum PR bang for their buck, apparently at the expense of some of those very men who were forced to wait to get their awards because it didn't suit the government's photo-op schedule.

    Meanwhile, the last surviving veteran of the Canadian fighting unit that challenged fascism in Spain on the eve of the Second World War died in unhonoured anonymity earlier this month after a lifetime of official non-recognition.

    The Conservative government gets criticized regularly for wrapping itself in the flag when it

    Read More »from Canadian Bomber Command vets endure a final snub from Ottawa
  • Alberta councillor Jason Gariepy. (Photo courtesy Twitter)Alberta now has its own Anthony Weiner.

    The political career of an Edmonton-area municipal councillor is in jeopardy after he revealed he'd had a cyber-sex relationship with a woman he never met in person, which included explicit emails and texts as well as nude photos of himself.

    Jason Gariepy, who sits on the council for Strathcona County, which includes the Edmonton bedroom community of Sherwood Park, made the disclosure at a Tuesday-night council meeting, the Sherwood Park News reported.

    The confession was prompted by the arrival of packages of the material sent to Strathcona County and to his wife with a warning that he should not stand for re-election this fall. Nominations are scheduled for Sept. 23, the News reported.

    Rather than cave in to blackmail, Gariepy appears to have decided to get out front of the scandal.

    “I accept responsibility and apologize for my actions, but I cannot accept the deliberate actions to bully, intimidate and coerce me,” a shaken Gariepy told council.


    Read More »from Alberta municipal politician caught in Weiner-like sex scandal
  • A court battle to have documents related to a massive Toronto police drug investigation, with potential ties to Mayor Rob Ford, released to the public moved forward today, although its pace remains at a cautious crawl and its outcome is more uncertain than ever.

    Lawyers representing several media organizations continued to press for the Crown to release documents related to Project Traveller, a massive raid against alleged gang members in a north-end Toronto neighbourhood.

    Several names and addresses targeted in the sweep have been connected to Ford after Gawker and the Toronto Star reported viewing a video of the mayor smoking from a crack pipe.

    The files are expected to shed light on what prompted police to execute a series of search warrants in mid-June, which led to the arrest of some 40 people. Included in the arrests were two men who appeared in a photo with Ford that accompanied reports of the existence of a crack tape.

    CBC News reports that lawyers representing several people

    Read More »from Public release of Project Traveller drug bust documents opposed
  • A young B.C. woman who's been painted as a serial killer in waiting wants some of the probation restrictions she's under loosened.

    Kayla Bourque, originally from Prince George, B.C., spent nine months in custody for killing two of her pets and making threats against people.

    She was released in January on three years probation under a strict set of 46 conditions conditions that include being banned from using computers or cellphones with Internet access, from possessing duct tape and from concealing her past from anyone she befriends.

    Bourque, who's described as a psychopathic narcissist, was also ordered to undergo treatment, but a psychologist who saw her testified during sentencing that she expressed no remorse for her actions and that she might need lifetime supervision.

    [ Related: Killer in waiting: How should society deal with Kayla Bourque? ]

    But her lawyer has gone to the B.C. Court of Appeal to argue that short leash the 23-year-old former criminology student is on, including a

    Read More »from B.C. woman dubbed ‘serial killer in waiting’ appealing ban on owning pets


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