By Nicholas Köhler - Friday, May 24, 2013 - 0 Comments
With the dismissal of his longtime aide and, until yesterday, chief of staff Mark Towhey, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is growing increasingly isolated.
Many news sources are now reporting that Ford fired Towhey, who has been at Ford’s side since his successful 2010 mayoral campaign, after Towhey pressed him to enter rehab, and balked at the mayor’s plan to arrange a party for his high school football team in the wake of the Toronto Catholic District School Board’s decision to drop him from his coaching position with the Don Bosco Eagles.
Ford’s world has been crumbling ever since Gawker and the Toronto Star published reports that a video exists showing the mayor allegedly smoking from a glass crack pipe; he is said to be most distraught, however, over the loss of his coaching job. Now Ford’s executive committee, a cabinet-like inner circle of councillors, is said to be examining ways it can govern in the mayor’s absence. Maclean’s spoke with Ryerson University politics prof Myer Siemiatycki about the options available to council in this case.
Q: First, is there any precedent for this kind of thing—a council, or executive, looking at how to bypass a troubled mayor?
A: The emphasis is on “this”? And the answer is no. The past two and half years have stretched the boundaries of what anyone who has observed city politics in this country could think was conceivable as a course of conduct on the part of a mayor. So there’s no question that we are into new territory here, unchartered waters.
Q: Some are comparing this to other mayoral mishaps—while Mel Lastman was mayor of Toronto, for example, it was found that he’d been engaged in a longtime extramarital affair, which had produced twin boys, and he made awkward comments, like about how he was afraid he’d be boiled in a cauldron during a visit to Africa?
A: There have been occasional missteps and faux pas. The current mayor takes it to a totally new and different level, in the range of personal behaviour, violation of norms, of civic government and administration. I guess what this mayor appears to have done, unlike any previous mayor, is cross lines of legality, whether it’s campaign spending, whether it’s issues of conflict of interest, whether it’s how he drives his car, whether it’s how he comports himself in private.
Q: So you can’t think of a case where a city council or executive committee has looked into options in terms of governing without a mayor?
A: There have been instances of other municipal politicians in Ontario who have been charged with various things, and even convicted. But whether that then requires them to give up their elected office position, the case practice on that appears to be—no. The only provision in the law is if a municipal elected official goes to jail, then that person can be removed from their position because they’re not physically available to hold their seat. That’s the legality of it.
Then there’s another dimension to this: what can you get away with, what kind of heat can a municipal politician withstand before they decide that the pressures are too great, the public scorn and scrutiny is too acute, and they are going to resign? This is where a municipal council can censure another member, it can call on a member of council to be forthright and give full disclosure of their behaviour, as Toronto is doing. But there is no recall mechanism.
Q: You have to be physically unavailable?
A: You’d have to be in the slammer. Now you could argue that this is a good thing for democracy. The people elected somebody and it shouldn’t be the whims of other politicians to decide to throw somebody out of a position that they have been elected to. But on the other hand, if a large enough number of peers of a sitting elected official make it clear that they believe that a colleague of theirs has behaved in a way that it no longer compatible with that person continuing to hold public office, then that starts to ratchet up the political heat on the position.
Q: You could argue that that happened in Mayor Ford’s case a long time ago. And he is also somebody who is immune to shame, and I think shame is the regulating factor in most normal situations. So therefore what can either council or executive committee do in that kind of case?
A: The larger the number of other members of council who name his leadership and his behaviour as incompatible with the best interests of the city, then the more likely it is that public support and public confidence in the mayor will erode. It’s no longer the usual suspects who are criticizing the mayor. In a world where the mayor himself is slow to perceive any wrong that he may have committed, when large enough numbers of his peers, including those who have been his allies, begin to speak out against him, his continuation may, even to him, become seen as increasingly untenable.
Q: I know I’m asking you to see into the future, but what’s the most likely scenario—how does this play out?
A: I think we have gotten to a point where … We know predictions are worthless. I do not believe the mayor is for his office for a much longer period of time.
Q: You see him resigning?
A: I see him either resigning or announcing that he wishes to take a leave, to deal with various issues, and would claim at this point that he looks forward to returning to office and championing the good fine causes he has been proposing all along. The impregnable fortress of his own sense of entitlement and righteousness I think is under siege.
Q: Looking back on his career I can’t see any precedent for his folding unless absolutely forced to do so.
A: Well, he’s going to have to ask himself does he really want to have a life where he has to go underground, be in hiding, if he ever turns up in his office he has to find a way of secretly getting from the parking lot into his office—is that the kind of life he wants?
By Emily Senger - Friday, May 24, 2013 at 11:55 AM - 0 Comments
Liam Gallagher, the ornery former vocalist from Oasis, isn’t a huge Daft Punk fan. Nor is he a fan or the band’s No. 1 single “Get Lucky,” the first from the band’s latest album Random Access Memories.
Speaking to Sony’s MU streaming service, Gallagher, who now fronts the band Beady Eye, said he could write “Get Lucky” in no time.
“I’d write that in a f–king hour,” Gallagher said. ”I don’t know what the fuss is about, you know what I mean? It’s like f–k off, give me a f–king break.”
Nor is Gallagher a fan of the French electronic group’s decision to perform while wearing the trademark robot helmets, which obscure the band members faces. “Take your f–ing helmet off,” he instructed. “Let’s see what you look like sans helmet, whatever you’re called.”
Daft Punk musicians Guy Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter should be able to brush off the barrage of F-bombs pretty easily. Early sales show Random Access Memories, which was released on May 20, is on track to become the fastest-selling album of 2013, reports The Independent.
By Colin Perkel and Will Campbell, The Canadian Press - Friday, May 24, 2013 at 11:17 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Calling it “urgent” that the city’s beleaguered mayor address the crack video scandal raging around him, Toronto’s deputy mayor said Friday residents are becoming increasingly concerned about the situation.
Doug Holyday said council’s executive committee would be issuing a formal statement aimed at reassuring people, and that it would also urge Mayor Rob Ford to address the week-old allegations that he smoked crack cocaine.
“If the mayor has another version, he should be out there putting that forward so the people can make a decision,” Holyday said.
“At this point it hasn’t happened, but I think the longer that goes on, the worse it gets.”
By Nick Taylor-Vaisey - Friday, May 24, 2013 at 9:56 AM - 0 Comments
Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period, when opposition and government MPs trade barbs and take names for 45 minutes every day. Today, QP runs from 11 a.m. until just past 12 p.m. We tell you who to watch, we stream it live, and we liveblog all the action. Once a week, we’ll feature a guest blogger to sort through the madness. The whole thing only matters if you participate. Read our morning tease to catch up on the issues of the day, and then chime in on Twitter with #QP.
By Nick Taylor-Vaisey - Friday, May 24, 2013 at 9:50 AM - 0 Comments
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s alleged dalliance with crack cocaine isn’t his first flirtation with political disaster. He’s proven to be a survivor despite a rocky career at City Hall. If he survives his latest public shaming, however, Ford wouldn’t be the first politician to laugh his way to a longer career in politics. Here are five politicians who beat the odds.
1. Gordon Campbell. In January 2003, after serving as British Columbia’s premier for two years, Campbell was caught drunk driving on Maui. He’d consumed three martinis, jacked up his blood-alcohol level to twice the legal limit, and drove erratically—as well as over the speed limit. For his sins, Campbell pleaded no contest and was fined $50. He was also haunted by infamous mug shots that were released to the public. Despite calls from Mothers Against Drunk Driving for the then-premier’s resignation, Campbell went on to win successive majority governments in 2005 and 2009.
2. Maxime Bernier. Julie Couillard made headlines when she appeared with her then-boyfriend, Bernier, as he was sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs at Rideau Hall in August 2007. Less than a year later, Bernier resigned his post after leaving sensitive documents at Couillard’s home. It didn’t help the Quebec MP’s case that Couillard had been connected to members of the Hells Angels, a salacious detail that might have buried anyone’s political career. Bernier, however, was back in cabinet in May 2011 as Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism.
3. Richard Hatfield. New Brunswick’s longtime premier survived his share of scandals throughout his 17-year reign. He’s said to have spent over five months outside of his province in 1979, and “Disco Dick” partied at New York’s famous Studio 54 club. The controversy that sent Hatfield packing—his party lost every seat in the 1987 election—came during 1984, when police found 35 grams of marijuana in his baggage. He was acquitted on the charges. Hatfield’s career was briefly resurrected when Prime Minister Brian Mulroney appointed him to the Senate in 1990.
4. Francis Fox. Fox’s resignation from federal cabinet in 1978 involved a tangled web of intrigue. When his girlfriend sought an abortion, Fox–who was then Solicitor General of Canada—forged her then-husband’s signature on a document granting permission for the procedure. Two years later, Fox was back in cabinet, where he served in a number of roles until the Liberal government was defeated in the 1984 election. Nineteen years later, Fox was appointed to the Senate, where he served until 2011.
5. John Powell. A former mayor of Toronto, Powell killed a man in cold blood. The fatal shot to the head, however, served only to make Powell more popular. The man he shot, Anthony Anderson, was a rebel captain in 1838. The shooting was only a month out from the election that vaulted Powell to mayor.
By Emily Senger - Friday, May 24, 2013 at 9:32 AM - 0 Comments
Both Google and Facebook both want to know where you are, as the companies reportedly eye Israeli mapping app Waze.
The reports that Google is looking at a deal with Waze, an app which allows users to share real-time traffic and mapping information with other users, come after rumours earlier this month that the company was finalizing talks with Facebook to make a deal which could be worth as much as $1 billion.
The potential bidding war indicates the desire of both Google and Facebook to acquire mobile apps, as consumers increasingly use online services on their smartphones, reports Bloomberg News.
Waze already has 40 million users, reports Bloomberg.
Previously, there were also rumours that Apple was going to buy Waze, but that deal reportedly fell through in January.
By Nick Taylor-Vaisey - Friday, May 24, 2013 at 8:58 AM - 0 Comments
When you’re right smack dab in the middle of a relentless series of furious news cycles, and powerful politicians you don’t like are being accused of indiscretions that you think should cost them their jobs, there’s a point at which you start to believe it might happen. Kind of like when the Toronto Maple Leafs are ahead 4-1 with 10 minutes to go, and you start to think they might be able to win.
Until they don’t.
Anyone who’s calling for blood in Ottawa or Toronto might get their wish, but we’re reminded by a pair of National Post columnists this morning that both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his team, and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford—the former more than the latter, by a wide margin—have a good shot at emerging intact from their current conundrums.
John Ivison is inclined to believe that Harper’s telling the truth when he says he had no knowledge of his former chief of staff’s decision to cover Senator Mike Duffy’s improperly claimed expenses with a personal cheque worth $90,000. “If no new information emerges that connects the Prime Minister to the $90,000 cheque,” writes Ivison, “it may be that the scandal has crested.” And with two years before the next election, the moribund Conservatives have plenty of time to rebound.
Jonathan Kay thinks Ford will never (ever) resign from office, if only because he’s locked into an “existential struggle against left-wing Toronto snobs who always have hated everything about him.” That kind of battle doesn’t discourage a guy like Ford, says Kay. “Like all true warriors, he will keep on fighting till the very day—if it ever comes—that he is led out of City Hall in handcuffs. And even then, I’m not so sure.”
Survivors are survivors. They often outlast those furious news cycles. Then again, the news doesn’t seem to be showing any sign of letting up.
By Emily Senger - Friday, May 24, 2013 at 8:54 AM - 0 Comments
The world is learning more about the soldier who was the victim of a horrific knife attack in London Wednesday, as family members spoke about Lee Rigby, a military drummer, who was just 25 years of age.
Rigby was married and had a two-year-old son Jack, whom he was looking forward to spending the weekend with, his wife Rebecca told reporters Friday. “I love Lee and always will. I am proud to be his wife and he was due to come up this weekend so we could continue our future together as a family,” she said. “He was a devoted father to our son Jack and we will both miss him terribly.”
Rigby was a drummer with the Royal Fusiliers regiment had served in Cyprus and Afghanistan. His wife and stepfather expressed disbelief that he would die on the streets of London, just steps outside the army base where he was posted.
As the family gave a tearful press conference Friday, elsewhere, the second suspect in the attack against Rigby was named as Michael Adebowale, 22, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The other suspect involved in the attack, in which onlookers watched two men hit Rigby with a car outside the Woolwich army barracks in southeast London and then stab him, was identified the day before as Michael Olumide Adebolajo, 28.
Video taken by onlookers shows one of the men justifying the attack as Rigby lay on the ground, saying it was retribution for the crimes enacted upon Muslims by the British military.
Both of the suspects allegedly involved in the attack were gunned down by police and remain in hospital under police guard. They remain too badly injured to speak to police at this time, reports The Guardian.
Both men who have been identified are British citizens of Nigerian descent, reports say.
In total, four people have been arrested by police during their investigation into the attack: three men, aged 29, 22 and 28, and a 29-year-old woman.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, May 24, 2013 at 7:00 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Fraud was definitely a factor in the rash of misleading robocalls that bedevilled voters in six federal ridings in the 2011 election, but not enough of one to justify overturning the results, a Federal Court judge has decided.
The ruling, released late Thursday, left both sides in the dispute — the Conservative party in one corner, the voters who fielded the calls in the other — claiming victory of a sort.
Though fraud was at play as a result of the robocalls, the scale didn’t justify wiping out the results of voting, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley concluded.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:39 PM - 0 Comments
MONTREAL – A huge boil-water advisory affecting 1.3 million people in Montreal, described by local officials as unprecedented in the recorded history of the city, was lifted late Thursday.
City officials ended the two-day-old advisory at 10:15 p.m., after tests concluded the water quality was fine.
Mayor Michael Applebaum said the warning had been issued as a precaution after an abnormal drop in levels inside a filtration plant under renovation.
“You can drink the water,” Applebaum told a news conference.
“If you open your tap and see it’s a little bit brown, just let the tap run for a bit.”
Applebaum said the city is now trying to determine what happened to cause the water volume to drop at the Atwater plant, the second-biggest in the country.
The mayor was making his first public appearance in days. He had planned to take the week off while mourning the death of his brother following a lengthy illness. Applebaum thanked the media and public for respecting his family’s privacy.
Officials had feared the water might be contaminated by sediments that trickled into the system. They said the tests confirmed Thursday that it was free of e-Coli and other serious bacteria.
Locals had been venting their frustration for two days. Many found relief in dark humour about the state of affairs in their scandal-plagued city.
One lengthy La Presse newspaper column bitterly decried the quality of governance in the city, before concluding with a joke: at least the mayor doesn’t smoke crack.
The advisory, which followed repeated subway disruptions and reports of corruption in the city, resulted in a flurry of comments on Twitter. Many struck a humorous note: “Even the water is corrupt in Montreal,” tweeted a number of people, including Marcel Carrier.
There were also jokes that drew parallels between brown envelopes, like the kind being described at the Charbonneau inquiry, and the brown water.
The incident started at the west-end Atwater station. It was shut down around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday after levels dropped, causing sediments to enter the supply.
City officials had said from the start that the advisory was a preventive measure. They said Montrealers were able to drink the water after it had been boiled for a minute.
“We have no indication that any citizens were affected by drinking the water that circulated,” said Christian Dubois, the municipal public-safety director, earlier Thursday.
“But we’re not taking any risks.”
The advisory resulted in a surge in demand for bottled water. Several Montreal grocery stores said they were running out.
One major grocery chain said the demand for bottled water underwent an astronomical increase _ by about 25 to 50 times _ since the advisory came into effect.
The company told The Canadian Press that it had sent 40 trucks to Montreal carrying a total of one million water bottles to deal with the demand.
Montreal did not wind up distributing bottled water because there was no need, according to city officials.
“There isn’t a water shortage,” said city spokesperson Valerie De Gagne.
“Water-filtration plants are working at full capacity.”
The city was still preparing for the worst mid-day Thursday, preparing a “gameplan” in case the advisory had been extended, she said.
The impact was being felt at coffee shops, which had to turn away customers. It also prompted a more urgent call to action among advocates for the homeless.
One youth shelter, Dans la rue, recognized the potential impact on the poor.
“As soon as (the shelter’s team) learned about it, they went to get large water bottles,” said group spokeswoman Dorothy Massimo.
The shelter, which serves about 150 meals per day, uses water coolers.
Massimo said the shelter had enough water to last another day.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:48 PM - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – Alberta’s Opposition Wildrose Party says it has paid a $90,000 penalty imposed by federal regulators for violating automated phone call rules.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says Wildrose broke the rules in 2011 and before, during and after the April 2012 provincial election.
Wildrose party president David Yager says the company that made the automated calls assured the party that it was following the rules.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:44 PM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – The chief of staff to embattled Mayor Rob Ford was escorted by security from city hall premises Thursday amid swirling allegations the mayor had been caught on videotape smoking crack cocaine.
Mark Towhey, one of Ford’s closest advisers whose background is in crisis management, refused to explain his sudden departure after more than a year in the position.
“I am no longer the chief of staff,” Towhey said as he left the building. “I did not resign.”
Ford himself remained silent again Thursday before leaving city hall late in the afternoon.
His office also did little to explain why the mayor was replacing Towhey, who had been his adviser when he ran for the office.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:43 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged for the first time Thursday that “perhaps” he could have responded more quickly to the news that his trusted chief of staff had footed the $90,000 bill for Sen. Mike Duffy’s disallowed housing expenses.
Harper conceded that he could have accepted the resignation of former right-hand man Nigel Wright earlier than he ultimately did — four days after Harper and the rest of Canada learned the stunning news about the personal cheque Wright wrote the senator.
Related link: David Tkachuk on Mike Duffy, Nigel Wright and the Senate
Harper has insisted that he was neither informed nor consulted about the arrangement, but until now, he has never explained why the Prime Minister’s Office stood so staunchly by Wright in the days that immediately followed the stunning revelation.
“He should have told me earlier; that’s why I accepted his resignation,” Harper said. “Upon reflection, should I have reached that conclusion earlier? Perhaps.”
By Emily Senger - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 7:09 PM - 0 Comments
A 103-year-old ban on gay youths joining the Boy Scouts has been lifted following a vote by delegates at the group’s annual general meeting in Grapevine, Texas.
More than 1,400 scout leaders from around the United States voted on the decision, according to the New York Times, with the proposed change garnering the support of more than 60 per cent of voters.
The discussion about whether to the lift the ban on openly gay scout members had been ongoing, with an earlier scheduled vote in February postponed so that 1,400 members could vote in a secret ballot, rather than just the national executive board. The organization’s ban on openly gay leaders remains in place.
The issue has been a divisive one in the organization, as many Boy Scout troops are at least partially funded by Christian groups, which oppose homosexuality. Ahead of today’s vote, opponents and proponents gathered for a rallies in Grapevine in an attempt to sway voters.
The push to allow gay membership had gained some high-profile supporters, including President Barack Obama.
The Mormon church and the Catholic Church — two major sponsors of the Boy Scouts – had said they would not pull support for the organization, as long as the ban was lifted for gay scout members only and did not extend to gay scout leaders.
In March, Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen cancelled a scheduled gig at the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree over the organization’s anti-gay policies. Rock band Train also cancelled a scheduled appearance at the same show.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 6:56 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Mike Duffy is blowing off any talk of his voluntary resignation from the Senate amid an expense scandal that has reached all the way to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Duffy spoke out Thursday, his first public comments since resigning from the Conservative caucus last week after it was revealed he had made inappropriate expense claims and then paid them off with a $90,000 “gift” from Stephen Harper’s chief of staff.
A number of Conservative MPs, including Heritage Minister James Moore, have said Duffy should quit his $132,000-a-year appointment.
But the former broadcaster, pursued by a gaggle of reporters and TV cameras out the Senate’s front doors, literally blew out air in apparent exasperation when asked if he felt he should resign.
“I’m doing my job. So I’ll see you at work next week,” Duffy said. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:22 PM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – The chief of staff to embattled Mayor Rob Ford was escorted by security from city hall premises Thursday as allegations the mayor had been caught on videotape smoking crack cocaine continued to swirl.
Mark Towhey said he did not resign but his departure had not come as a shock to him.
“The mayor and I spoke about it this afternoon,” Towhey said as reporters trailed him through the underground parking lot.
Towhey refused to elaborate on the conversation or say what advice he had given Ford about the alleged cellphone video.
By Jessica Allen - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:13 PM - 0 Comments
CNN has released new information about Stroumboulopoulos, their new Friday night show hosted by the CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos.
“The new talk show will explore the worlds of art, pop culture, politics, tech news and sports, through the eyes and the words of their most interesting figures,” promises CNN. “George Stroumboulopoulos is praised for being a masterful interviewer, whose intimate style keeps guests at ease and audiences intrigued.”
The show, which will have an initial 10-week run, “will bring viewers compelling interviews with Keanu Reeves, Martin Short, Betty White, Bill Maher, Sharon Stone, as well as author Eckhardt Tolle, and filmmaker Werner Herzog among others”
Stroumboulopoulos premieres on June 9th in a good time slot–10:00 p.m., right after Anthony Bourdain’s popular Parts Unknown. Beginning on June 14, however, episodes will air in their regular time slot of 11:00 p.m.
CNN says the show’s first guests will include rapper Wiz Khalifa, actress Ellen Page and Walking Dead comic book author Robert Kirkman.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:42 PM - 0 Comments
A British soldier was killed Wednesday after he stepped off the Woolwich army barracks in southeast London. Horrified spectators looked on as two men reportedly attacked the soldier, hitting him with a car and then using a meat cleaver and knives to stab and cut him. During their attack, the men reportedly claimed to be acting in the interests of Islam, seeking revenge for British military action in Muslim countries.
Here’s what is known:
Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the attacks Thursday. In a speech outside 10 Downing Street after an emergency meeting, Cameron said: “What happened in Woolwich yesterday has sickened us all. The people who did this were trying to divide us. They should know something like this will only bring us together, make us stronger.” He went on to say that the attack was “a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country.”
By Nick Taylor-Vaisey - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:17 AM - 0 Comments
Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period, when opposition and government MPs trade barbs and take names for 45 minutes every day. Today, QP runs from 2 p.m. until just past 3 p.m. We tell you who to watch, we stream it live, and we liveblog all the action. Once a week, we’ll feature a guest blogger to sort through the madness. The whole thing only matters if you participate. Read our morning tease to catch up on the issues of the day, and then chime in on Twitter with #QP.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 10:47 AM - 0 Comments
HAMILTON – A second suspect has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tim Bosma, a Hamilton father who took two men on a test drive and never returned.
Mark Smich, 25, appeared in court today in Hamilton.
Lawyer Tom Dungey says Smich will plead not guilty, adding, “We will be defending this case vigorously.”
Smich’s next court appearance was set for June 13, the same day the other suspect in the case is to appear.
Dellen Millard, 27, is charged with first-degree murder as well as forcible confinement and theft of a vehicle. His lawyer has said his client will also plead not guilty. Continue…
By Emily Senger - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 10:32 AM - 0 Comments
A boil-water order remains in effect for a second day for most of the city of Montreal, and it will remain in effect until at least the evening, as city officials deal with problems at the Atwater filtration plant.
Water test results are expected later Thursday and will take some time to analyze after that, meaning that citizens “will be going to bed” without knowing if the water is safe, reports CTV Montreal.
The boil-water order began Wednesday around 10:30 a.m., after routine maintenance at the Atwater filtration plant — the province’s largest — went wrong. Sediment, which is likely non-toxic and probably doesn’t contain bacteria, was released into the water supply when levels in a reservoir got too low, reports The Gazette. The result was murky water and a boil-water order affecting an estimated 1.8 million residents.
The extended order, which tells citizens to boil any water used for drinking for a minimum of one minute, had Montrealers grumbling Thursday morning.
Notably, Tim Horton’s and Starbucks stopped serving coffee, much to the horror of early risers who used Twitter to voice their displeasure.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:48 AM - 0 Comments
An 80-year-old man from Japan has become the oldest person ever to climb Mount Everest.
Yuichiro Miura reached the top of the world’s highest peak Thursday morning, accompanied by his son, Gota.
His achievement pushed 76-year-old Nepalese man Min Bahadur Sherchan out of the record-holding spot. Sherchan climbed Everest in 2008.
However, Miura’s record may be short-lived. Sherchan, who is now 81, plans to attempt another summit beginning next week.
This is Miura’s third summit. He reached the peak in 2003 at age 70 and again in 2008 when he was 75.
By Nick Taylor-Vaisey - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 8:18 AM - 0 Comments
This morning, let’s play a fun game. I’m still workshopping its title, but the working moniker is What’s Bob Fife Working on Today? We can’t know, obviously, since we’re not inside the brain of CTV’s Ottawa bureau chief. But the man has been a machine for the past week—well, longer than that, but for this morning’s purposes, let’s stick to the Mike Duffy Affair.
Fife’s broken every major story in the past week that has made headaches, and occasionally migraines, for Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Nigel Wright, the PM’s former chief of staff; and Senator Mike Duffy. Fife’s the guy who told us about the $90,000 personal cheque Wright passed along to Duffy, to cover the repayment of improperly claimed expenses. Fife told us a few other things, too, and then last night reported that two Senators—David Tkachuk and Carolyn Stewart Olsen—ordered edits to a report of the Senate’s internal economy committee.
That report reviewed an audit of Duffy’s expenses. The unedited version, which found its way to reporters’ hands, was much more critical of Duffy than the final copy that Tkachuk and Stewart Olsen reportedly had “whitewashed,” or “sanitized,” or whatever else you want to call selective editing. Worth noting is that Stewart Olsen is a former PMO operative. None of this makes things easier for the government.
So, what comes next in this saga? Your best bet is to go ask Bob Fife. Thanks for playing.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 6:00 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The Tory-dominated, closed-door Senate committee studying Mike Duffy’s improper housing expenses deleted a specific reference to his failure to co-operate with auditors before releasing its report to the public.
Duffy, meanwhile, said Wednesday he’s pleased that same committee will be reviewing his expenses once again.
A draft of the internal economy committee’s report from earlier this month, obtained by The Canadian Press, shows the sections of the report that were later dropped.
By The Associated Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:54 AM - 0 Comments
DHAKA, Bangladesh – The defects and errors that led to the world’s deadliest garment-industry accident extend from the swampy ground the doomed Rana Plaza was built on, to “extremely poor quality” construction materials, to the massive, vibrating equipment operating when the eight-story building collapsed, a committee appointed by Bangladesh’s government concluded.
The committee recommended life prison sentences for the owners of the building and the five garment factories that operated there, though the charges they currently face carry a maximum seven-year term. Their report, submitted to the government Wednesday, says nothing about the role that an inadequate regulatory system played in the April 24 collapse, which left more than 1,100 people dead.
The disaster highlighted the hazardous working conditions in Bangladesh’s $20 billion garment industry and the lack of safety for millions of workers who are paid as low as $38 a month. The 1,127 killed at Rana Plaza in the Dhaka suburb of Savar are among at least 1,800 Bangladesh garment-industry workers killed in fires or building collapses since 2005.