Five more questions Rob Ford has yet to answer – Toronto

TORONTO – Rob Ford is expected to make his return to Toronto city hall Monday after a two month absence to fight a “problem with alcohol.”

He’s scheduled a press conference for that afternoon, but his staff informed reporters they won’t be allowed to ask questions – and if they do, he won’t answer.

Well here are five questions we were planning to ask him at that press conference:

1. Was the treatment for more than a “problem with alcohol”?

Ford has spent the last two months in rehab for what he originally called a “problem with alcohol.” But, as he admitted in November, he’s also smoked crack. In the ruckus that followed his admission, he promised never to do it again, but was allegedly filmed again smoking what might be crack cocaine.

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2. What were you doing hanging out in cottage country?

The mayor has been photographed dozens of times over the last two months posing with people in cottage country while he was supposed to be in an intensive treatment facility – a facility he told Joe Warmington was “amazing,” reminded him of football camp and apparently allowed him to continue calling constituents.

3. Why was Lee Anne McRobb driving your Cadillac Escalade?

McRobb was pulled over while driving Ford’s black Cadillac Escalade on a Tuesday afternoon in Bracebridge and charged with impaired driving.

She wasn’t charged with stealing the car and was apparently given permission to drive the SUV.

4. What about the recent allegations of influence peddling at city hall?

Allegations have emerged in the last two months that Rob and brother Doug Ford have used their influence at city hall to try and help a company, they were doing business with, secure city contracts.

The Globe and Mail alleged the mayor and his brother helped “lobby city staff” on behalf of the company.

5. Do you think Torontonians still trust you?

Rob Ford has lied about cussing at strangers at a Toronto Maple Leafs game, being charged with impaired driving in Florida, being drunk at the Taste of the Danforth, about how light rail transit would affect roads in Scarborough, and his use of crack cocaine.

Will Torontonians trust him again despite all of these incidents?


Will you resign?

In the mayor’s prolonged absence, his brother Doug has been promising that the ongoing mayoral campaign “doesn’t start” until the mayor gets back. He’s also promised there are “tens of thousands” of people who are willing to volunteer for the Ford campaign.

A recent poll has Ford second among candidates behind only Olivia Chow but 58 per cent of respondents also wanted him to resign.

However, it looks like the mayor is unlikely to do so, and has said in the past the only poll that matters is on election day.

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RCMP privately apologize for code name ‘Project Clemenza’ – Montreal

MONTREAL – The RCMP are apologizing for the code name used to describe its latest anti-Mafia bust in Quebec.

The force’s commanding officer in the province has written a letter to the National Congress of Italian Canadians Quebec chapter, apologizing for calling the sweep “Project Clemenza.”

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READ MORE: RCMP arrest 31 suspects in organized crime raids in Quebec; 3 remain at large

The Italian group’s Quebec chapter complained in writing more than a week ago after receiving what it says was numerous complaints from the community about negative stereotyping of the Italian community by the police.

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Police described the alleged criminal organizations in a release as being linked to Italian-based organized crime in Montreal.

The project code name refers to Peter Clemenza, a fictional character from the novel and movie The Godfather, which is the sweeping saga of an Italian crime family.

Watch: RCMP arrest dozens in ‘Project Clemenza’

The RCMP has not made the apology public, but confirmed the existence of the letter. The community organization has released a copy.

In it, Francois Deschenes, assistant commissioner and commanding officer for the Quebec detachment, says the police force meant no harm and measures have been taken to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The organization says it is satisfied with the RCMP response to its concerns and believes the force has understood the code name only serves to reinforce long-standing stereotypes.

The RCMP intercepted more than one million private PIN to PIN messages as part of an anti-Mafia sweep against two organizations that led to more than 30 arrests earlier this month.

The accused face different charges that include gangsterism, conspiracy, drug importation, trafficking, possession, kidnapping, forcible confinement, possession of weapons and explosives, arson, extortion and assault.

©2014The Canadian Press

What are European Fire Ants and how to get rid of them – Toronto

WATCH: Exterminator Bryan Calvert says fire ants pack a nasty bite and getting rid of them is a job for professionals

TORONTO – A family in Newmarket is dealing with an aggressive ant species – the European Fire Ant – has colonized the area behind their home.

As the name suggests, the ants aren’t native to North America and it is unclear how they made it to Canada.

Dr. Gary Umphrey, a professor at the University of Guelph, first came upon the European fire ant – or myrmica rubra – in the 1970s in Meaford.

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Since then they’ve spread along the borders of Lake Ontario, including Toronto and Whitby.

“They seem to do very well in areas near water,” he said. “They develop pretty good size populations and they’re pretty aggressive ants.”

The ants are mainly red in colour and have a slightly darker head. They live under stones and deep – about three to four feet down – in soil.

“They are obnoxious as sin and they sting,” Umphrey said.

Bryan Calvert has been working as an exterminator in York for close to 30 years and says fire ants “really don’t have a particular purpose.”

The fire ant colonies can range from single queen colonies of upwards of 150,000 ants or multi-queen colonies with close to 300,000 ants.

And they spread quickly.

“Once they have found themselves in an area, and usually they started off in a parkland, so maybe it was transplanting trees. But they’ll take over a backyard pretty quickly,” he said. “They’ll expand about, as an estimate, maybe 100 feet every year or two.”

European Fire Ants sting

European fire ants set themselves apart from other ants because of their potent sting. They aren’t the only ant in Ontario to sting, but as Umphrey points out, they are quick to use their stinger while other ants rarely use them or have a sting so weak it’s hardly felt.

The European Fire Ant will readily sting humans, livestock or pets – making them a problem in urban areas.

The sting can leave an inflamed red area up to four inches in diameter.

“Once they are there, you don’t really want to go near them,” Calvert said.

European Fire Ants in urban areas

The town of Richmond Hill has a management plan for dealing with the ants before they become a “serious problem.”

The town’s plan suggests ants native to North America may not be able to defend their food and resources against the aggressive ant.

The city of Markham suggests keeping yards clear of waste, accumulated branches or decaying vegetation because they all give the ants a place to thrive.

How do you get rid of European Fire Ants?

Getting rid of the invasive ants isn’t easy.

“What they’re selling over the counter really won’t work,” Calvert said.

Calvert, as an exterminator, recommends calling a professional to “soak” an infested area two or three times a year with a chemical mixture.  He said his products are far stronger than anything that can be bought at a store.

“That means you have to dump five litres of a mixture in any given spot and you have to repeatedly do it so that that solution soaks down to the very bottom to get the full nest,” he said. “We do places on a yearly basis, again, two or three times a year, to knock off the populations.”

– With files from The Canadian Press 

UPDATE: Cause of affordable housing condo fire in Fort McMurray determined – Edmonton

Watch above: The developers of a Fort McMurray housing complex destroyed by fire say its loss is a big hit to the community. It was slated to become affordable housing in a market that’s already strapped for living space. Quinn Ohler reports.

EDMONTON – A fire that broke out at a condo building in Fort McMurray Friday afternoon destroyed what was going to be an affordable housing complex.

“We anticipate that the cost to rebuild the structure will be in the vicinity of $15 to $18 million, is the best guess we have at the time,” said Ben Dutton, CEO of the Casman Group, which was constructing the building.

Around the lunch hour, a huge plume of black smoke could be seen billowing from the Siltstone Place complex — a 174-unit development in the Timberlea neighbourhood.

While the four-level building was not yet occupied by tenants, the fire did cause damage to around 80 units. It was one of two apartment-style condo buildings that was part of the project.

“We will be pushing next week to recover the site as quickly as we can and move forward to occupancy with the units that were not damaged in the fire,” Dutton said.

“Fort McMurray does need affordable housing, so the project is quite significant in terms of the needs of the community.”

Huge plumes of dark smoke could be seen coming out of the Fort McMurray condo complex Friday afternoon.

Mark Hussey

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    Woman killed in Fort McMurray fire

Construction crews were at the scene when it started; however, an evacuation plan was put into effect, and all contractors and employees managed to escape without injury.

One firefighter suffered a minor injury to his arm.

Witnesses say fire crews were quick to respond, bringing the flames under control by 3:30 p.m.

On Monday, officials said the investigation had determined that the fire started after a piece of equipment hit a gas line at the Casman Construction project. The soil mixer tore a six-inch gash in the line and released natural gas into the air. The mixer also struck the main building’s power line and other utility lines. A spark from the mixer’s teeth ignited the gas and started the fire.

The building was fully sprinklered, but the sprinkler system had not yet been charged.

WATCH: Shaw’s Craig Momney, who lives just down the street from the fire in Fort McMurray, captured the following footage for Global News.

Crews from Fort McMurray’s Regional Emergency Services, Saprae Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Syncrude and Suncor were on scene providing support.

Fire crews were expected to remain on scene through the night, putting out hot spots and making sure the building is safe.

This isn’t the first fire in Fort McMurray to destroy dozens of suites. Back in February 2012, fire ripped through the north wing of Parsons Landing.

READ MORE: Property manager fined in Fort McMurray condo fire

Investigators determined that fire was started on a balcony either by a propane barbecue or improperly disposed of smoking materials.

With files from Quinn Ohler, Global News

New Brunswick approves B.C. law school

ST. ANDREWS, N.B. – The New Brunswick Law Society has voted to accredit a controversial law school proposed in British Columbia.

Trinity Western, a privately funded university with about 4,000 students in B.C.’s Fraser Valley, plans to open a law school in the fall of 2016, but it has faced resistance over its so-called community covenant, which all students are required to sign.

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The covenant includes a pledge not to engage in sex outside of marriage — defined in the document as between a man and a woman. Students can face discipline for violating the covenant, either on or off campus, according to the school’s student handbook.

In announcing the decision Friday, New Brunswick Law Society President John Malone said the council will always recognize both religious freedoms and the right to sexual orientation without discrimination.

“No matter which law school they graduate from, all articled students complete law society training and evaluation. This includes the core aspects of professional responsibility, including non-discrimination,” Malone wrote in an emailed statement.

“Council also gave consideration to preliminary approval of the Trinity Law School program by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. As well, the province of British Columbia has accredited the proposed law degree.”

He said submissions were received from lawyers both for and against accreditation.

The law society received 96 written submissions and nine requests to make presentations when the motion was considered Friday as part of its annual meeting in St. Andrews.

In a statement, university president Bob Kuhn said the decision in New Brunswick was made after a “thoughtful and measured expression of views.”

“Evangelical Christianity is an important part of the Canadian cultural mosaic,” he said. “In a free and democratic society the faith of TWU graduates cannot preclude them from practicing law.”

Earlier this month, lawyers in British Columbia objected to the university’s plans to open a law school.

In April, the Law Society of Upper Canada’s board of directors voted not to accredit graduates from the school, while the council of Nova Scotia’s law society voted not to accredit graduates unless the school either exempts law students from its covenant or removes the offending passage from the document.

The school has launched legal challenges of the decisions in Ontario and Nova Scotia.

High risk sex offender, who has broken probation before, now living in Richmond

Richmond RCMP are warning the public about a high-risk sex offender who will be living in the community.

Thirty-two-year-old Kosta Tsekouras must stay away from children and can only be out in the community with a court-appointed supervisor or a responsible family member.

He has previously been released on a peace bond for incidents dating back to 2010, however he breached the conditions of his release and was sentenced to jail for six months.

Tsekouras is 6’3 tall and weighs 220 pounds. He has dark brown hair and brown eyes.

Cpl. Stephanie Ashton of the Richmond RCMP says they are concerned because Tsekouras does have a criminal record with a sexual offence conviction and has several times failed to comply with a probation order.

Ashton says public safety comes first and so they are advising the public so they can take the necessary steps if approached by Tsekouras.

The court-ordered conditions are:

He must not be in the company of anyone or anywhere private with someone under the age of 16.He is not to attend within a one block radius area of any library, public park, swimming pool,school ground, playground, or community centre where persons under the age of 16 years are present, or can reasonably be expected to be present, unless you are in the company of a parent, or another person who has been approved in advance by your Probation Officer.He is not to be outside of his residence without a designated probation staff member or family member.

If anyone sees Kosta Tsekouras breaching the conditions of his release, call 9-1-1 immediately.

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WATCH: Track and field star runs 800-metre race while 34 weeks pregnant – National

WATCH: Alysia Montano runs 800-metre race at U.S. Track and Field Championships while 8-months pregnant

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Alysia Montano will have a heck of a story to tell her first child.

Thirty-four weeks pregnant, Montano ran the 800 metres Thursday in the U.S. Track and Field Championships. The five-time national champion finished in 2 minutes, 32.13 seconds – nearly 35 seconds slower than her personal best of 1:57.34 in 2010 in Monaco.

“I've been running throughout my pregnancy and I felt really, really good during the whole process,” Montano said after the qualifying heat.

Alysia Montano smiles during the women’s 800 meter run at the USATF Outdoor Championships on June 26, 2014 in Sacramento, California.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

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That the 28-year-old former University of California star finished last in her heat didn’t matter one bit to the crowd gathered at Hornet Stadium. Trailing the lead pack by more than 120 metres for most of the race, Montano received a rousing ovation as she finished her first lap and the cheering grew louder when she finally crossed the finish line.

“I just didn’t want to get lapped and be the first person to get lapped in the 800,” said Montano, the 800 national champion the past four years.

She was never close to being lapped, taking a nice relaxed pace from the start and maintaining it throughout.

That was according to the plan Montano laid out after consulting with her physician. Not only did doctors give Montano the OK to run, they encouraged her.

“That took away any fear of what the outside world might think about a woman running during her pregnancy,” Montano said. “What I found out mostly was that exercising during pregnancy is actually much better for the mom and the baby. … I did all the things I normally do … I just happened to be pregnant. This is my normal this year.”

©2014The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan Roughriders offensive line remains a wall

REGINA – The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ offensive line isn’t getting a lot of media attention, and that suits quarterback Darian Durant just fine.

With much of the buzz in Regina centred on big changes on both sides of the football, the starting fivesome on the Riders’ dependable offensive line remains intact for a third consecutive season.

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Tackles Xavier Fulton and Ben Heenan, guards Brendon LaBatte and Chris Best, along with centre Dominic Picard will once again provide protection for Durant as the Roughriders open up their defence of their Grey Cup title Sunday at home against Hamilton.

“Those guys don’t get a lot of the publicity that a lot of us get, but they’re the unsung heroes on this team,” Durant said. “Everything starts up front with this team and everyone here knows that.”

“I feel good just knowing that I’m behind a wall like that. All of those guys have been all-stars at some point, so that makes me a lot more comfortable being behind them.

“The holes that they can open up for the running game gives us that balance we’ll need to be successful.”

Elsewhere the Riders are less stable. Injuries and key departures mean the Riders’ offence will see a handful of first-year CFLers in Sunday’s game, including the possibility of three new receivers and a fresh face at running back.

Durant explained he and the new receivers are working to find chemistry, and the three new running backs on the roster are learning the schemes and blocking tendencies.

Meanwhile, the offensive linemen are already ahead of the curve at this stage of the game. Having worked alongside the same guys for a few years allows such luxuries.

“We’re starting to evolve with some of our stuff where we’re able to work in dummy calls or multiple calls that mean the same thing,” said LaBatte, the league’s most outstanding lineman in 2013.

“When you can expand on some of your concepts you can really start to get into a defensive lineman’s head just by what you’re saying and how you communicate.”

Durant will work with offensive co-ordinator George Cortez for the second straight season, continuity the 31-year-old quarterback hasn’t experienced since he became the full-time starter in 2009.

But a few key Riders that were a part of the second highest-scoring offence in the league a year ago are gone.

Kory Sheets, the MVP from the Grey Cup game, who was second in rushing yards during the regular season, signed with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders during the off-season.

Speedy slotback Weston Dressler, one of three Riders who eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards a season ago, signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Future Hall of Fame receiver Geroy Simon retired prior to training camp.

Best said as long as the line does its part, the Riders’ offence will be fine.

“If we keep Darian clean in the pocket and if we open up some holes for the guys to run the ball then we’re going to have a lot of success,” said Best, an eight-year veteran on the Riders’ offensive line.

“It warms our heart when we see those guys get picked as all-stars or pile up the stats because it means we did a good job.

“It takes a while to embrace that kind of job as an O-lineman, but once you figure it out you’ll get to celebrate in the end zone with them.”

Just how much celebrating Durant and the Riders’ offence will do this season remains to be seen. The receiving corps returns Taj Smith, Rob Bagg and Chris Getzlaf, although Getzlaf missed a good chunk of training camp with an injury. He has been limited in practices this week, too.

Running backs Keith Toston, Anthony Allen and the recently signed Hugh Charles are battling for the starter’s job. All three are new in Green and White this season.

“The dynamic of (the offence) is different,” Durant said. “We’re missing No.1 (Sheets) and No. 7 (Dressler). I guess that’s the obvious part. We have a different identity, we have new guys and we have to find out what we’re good at and what we need to work on.”

No work required along the offensive line.

NOTES: Former Riders linebacker Jerrell Freeman, now a member of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, will lead the team onto the field on Sunday. At halftime, members of the 2013 Grey Cup championship team will be introduced, along with players from the championship teams from 1966, 1989 and 2007.

©2014The Canadian Press

London Drugs donates $10,000 after two North Shore Rescue caches vandalized – BC

London Drugs is stepping in with a $10,000 donation after two North Shore Rescue caches have been vandalized in the span of a few days.

At some point over the weekend, someone broke into a cache located in a remote area in Hanes Valley and stole $15,000 worth of equipment that included sleeping bags, first aid kits, rescue ropes and a chainsaw.

A helicopter emergency landing pad at the site was also vandalized.

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On Thursday, another cache in North Vancouver was broken into. Some supplies were taken and a lock has been smashed.

North Shore Rescue says it will take $7,000 to repair the damage and replace what was stolen.

Clint Mahlman, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of London Drugs, says they are donating the money to help replace stolen equipment.

“It would be horrible to find out that heading into the long weekend and with so many people in the backcountry, a rescuer may be put in harm’s way because of someone’s senseless act,” he says.

Mahlman says having served as a search and rescue volunteer himself, he understands the repercussions of the theft.

“When I was growing up on the Sunshine Coast, I volunteered for a local search and rescue team,” he says. “I remember going to the North Shore for some training, because even back then, they were seen as one of the preeminent groups…I certainly understand firsthand how hard these volunteers work to acquire the equipment and what a devastating blow it is when you have vandalism like what occurred.”

Montreal firefighters tell mayor he’s no longer welcome at fires – Montreal

MONTREAL — The firefighters’ union in Montreal said Thursday that the city’s mayor is no longer welcome at the scene of fires and has been asked to return his fireproof suit and hard hat.

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“I regret to inform you that Montreal firefighters have fully lost confidence in you,” said Ronald Martin, the president of the Association des pompiers de Montréal in a statement. “[We] are asking you to immediately stop turning up at scenes of accidents and significant fires that take place in Montreal.”

According to the firefighters’ union president, it was an unanimous decision that also included a request from the city’s firefighters to return the fireproof yellow suit and hard hat, “as you are no longer considered worthy of wearing them.”

READ MORE: Montreal mayor live-tweets major fire near Bell Centre

Coderre is well known for showing up at fires in Montreal and then sharing updates with the city via social media.

At the scene of a fire in downtown Montreal in February, he had his photo taken wearing full firefighting regalia and a hard had with “Mayor” emblazoned on it.

The statement from the Montreal firefighters’ union was released after tempers flared over Quebec’s proposed changes to municipal employee pensions.

The provincial government tabled a bill on June 12, hoping to reform municipal pension plans and reduce deficits by forcing employees to share the cost of the pensions with the government.

Watch: Union representative Marc Ranger talks pension issues 

Bill 3 suggests that municipalities and employees would split pension contributions 50-50. Unions are concerned because this could double employee pension contributions and those municipal employees who have already retired could have indexed pension increases put on hold.

After the bill was tabled, 80 firefighters resigned, while hundreds of employees, including firefighters and police officers protested outside City Hall on June 17.

Hundreds of city workers in Montreal participated in protests with firefighters lighting hats on fire to show their frustration with proposed pension reforms on June 17, 2014.

Global News

Hundreds of city workers in Montreal participated in protests with firefighters lighting hats on fire to show their frustration with proposed pension reforms on June 17, 2014.

Global News

Hundreds of city workers in Montreal participated in protests with firefighters lighting hats on fire to show their frustration with proposed pension reforms on June 17, 2014.

Global News

Hundreds of city workers in Montreal participated in protests with firefighters lighting hats on fire to show their frustration with proposed pension reforms on June 17, 2014.

Global News

Hundreds of city workers in Montreal participated in protests with firefighters lighting hats on fire to show their frustration with proposed pension reforms on June 17, 2014.

Global News

Hundreds of city workers in Montreal participated in protests with firefighters lighting hats on fire to show their frustration with proposed pension reforms on June 17, 2014.

Global News

Hundreds of city workers in Montreal participated in protests with firefighters lighting hats on fire to show their frustration with proposed pension reforms on June 17, 2014.

Global News

Hundreds of city workers in Montreal participated in protests with firefighters lighting hats on fire to show their frustration with proposed pension reforms on June 17, 2014.

Global News

Read the statement from the Association des pompiers de Montréal in full below [in French].

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