Scarborough subway price tag now $3.35B, but Toronto’s mayor vows to forge ahead

Activists critical of the Scarborough subway plan confronted John Tory face-to-face Tuesday, but the mayor and several councillors fired back at anyone trying to slow the project down.

Tory held a news conference at Kennedy Station, where commuters do what he called the “Scarborough shuffle” to transfer from the subway to the Scarborough RT. The subway plan would eliminate that by extending the Bloor-Danforth line by one stop, Scarborough Centre.

A new report, set to be debated by Tory’s executive committee next week, lists the subway’s new price tag as $3.346 billion — a cost which includes a new bus terminal design the report says would best unlock the value of the land around the terminal stop. That’s up from staff’s previous estimate of $3.2 billion.

The report also recommends using the McCowan corridor alignment for the future subway.

Toronto Scarborough RT

Kennedy Station serves as the connection point between the TTC subway and the Scarborough RT. (John Rieti/CBC)

Tory called on councillors to back those plans so design work for the subway can begin as soon as possible, saying it would be “scandalous” for anyone to try to derail the work.

“We are building the Scarborough subway extension because it’s the right thing to do,” Tory told reporters.

“It’s just being done far later than it should have been.”

Brenda Thompson, of the group Scarborough Transit Action — an offshoot of TTC Riders, grilled the mayor about the project’s costs, and called on him to go back to a light rail plan that would have featured several stops.

“What about the station at Ellesmere? What about the station at Centennial College?” Thompson asked the mayor, who replied that those stops would eventually be covered by SmartTrack or other options.

“There are going to be more new transit stations in Scarborough when this is finished,” Tory said.

That response wasn’t enough for Thompson, who said she thinks the subway is an “irresponsible” use of money.

‘The density and demand is here,’ Scarborough resident says

Toronto Mayor John Tory Scarborough Councillors

Tory, third right, was joined by three Scarborough councillors who support the subway extension, from left: Glenn De Baeremaeker, Michelle Holland and Neethan Shan. (John Rieti/CBC)

However, Ryan Singh of the pro-subway group Connect Scarborough, praised Tory for pushing the project forward.

“It’s about time that we get something built in Scarborough,” he said, noting the RT was built in 1985 and nothing has been done since.

“The density and demand is here to build a subway.”

TTC Chair Josh Colle and Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker also spoke in favour of the subway.

De Baeremaeker noted that 19 of the 20 politicians elected in Scarborough support the subway.

City council’s next meeting is set for early March. 

‘My mom thought I was dead’: Man run down by SUV in road rage hit and run speaks

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Timothy Tyler struggles to describe what was going through his mind when he was deliberately run down by a complete stranger in an SUV and sent flying through the air like a rag doll.

“It’s just way too much to explain,” he said on Tuesday, just days after the road rage hit-and-run in Saint John that was captured on video and is being widely circulated on social media.

“I just, I don’t know, I couldn’t believe that I got hit by a car,” he said. “I have to go see a shrink now because of it … because of the terror in my mind.”

Tyler, 23, suffered a dislocated shoulder, but realizes it could have been much worse — and just as he’s been getting his life back on track, staying off drugs and out of trouble with the law, holding down a steady job, with a baby on the way.

He says he keeps reliving the moment of impact with the black Audi SUV in nightmares. “The same thing over and over.”

A 69-year-old man is now behind bars, awaiting sentencing for assaulting Tyler with his SUV on Feb. 23, dangerous driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

Altercation over getting baby in car seat

Tyler says it all started over a parking spot at a doctor’s office in Grand Bay-Westfield.

He says he was with his best friend, who took his three-month-old son to the doctor that morning. When they were leaving, they temporarily parked perpendicularly behind the SUV while his friend’s girlfriend was getting the baby secured into a car seat.

When the SUV owner saw he was blocked in, he “started freaking out and making a big deal about it,” said Tyler. “He was just being ignorant and freaking and swearing in front of the” baby and Tyler’s friend’s other 18-month-old son.

‘He threatened me and said I’m going to be in the ground and then all of a sudden, he hit me with his car.’ – Timothy Tyler

The man said something “right rude” to the girlfriend, “like calling her a name or something and my best friend, he told him to shut up for a minute; it’s only going to take a minute to put the baby in a car seat.”

Tyler says another older man in a van witnessed the verbal exchange and told them not to worry, to take their time.

But the SUV owner “just lost it from there and followed us and tried running us off the road,” with the baby and the toddler on board, said Tyler.

“He was trying to rear-end us and then he got in front of us and locked up his brakes, trying to get us to rear-end him, he was trying to ram the side where the kids were,” he said.

30-minute chase

The SUV chased their white Volkswagen Jetta all the way to Coldbrook Crescent on the city’s east side, he said — about a 30-minute eastward drive, according to Google Maps.

When they parked and got out of the car, Tyler says there was another war of words. “He threatened me and said I’m going to be in the ground and then all of a sudden, he hit me with his car.”

Tyler’s friend’s girlfriend, who on the phone with Saint John police at the time and videotaping the confrontation, screamed, “Oh my God, he just hit my friend.”

“He smoked him,” she told the dispatcher, as she ran over to Tyler’s side. “Are you OK?” she cried out.

“I can’t move my arm,” replied Tyler, who was splayed on the asphalt, his right arm outstretched.

The 35-second video of the hit and run was posted on YouTube on Friday and had more than 216,000 views, as of mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

It was also picked up Sunday by WorldStarHipHop.com, where it has been viewed nearly 292,000 times and generated 2,073 comments.

‘I completely changed my life’

Timothy Tyler, 23, of Saint John

Timothy Tyler, 23, of Saint John, says he can’t work at his snow removal/landscaping job after his shoulder was dislocated in the hit and run. (Facebook)

Tyler was taken to the hospital, where he underwent X-rays. He says he has to keep his arm in a sling, go for physiotherapy and consult a surgeon in March.

“I can’t sleep because of the pain and I can’t take nothing for the pain because I used to be an addict,” he said. “I was on methadone for four years and I’ve been off methadone for a year and a half, so I don’t want to do nothing to relapse.”

Tyler said he got hooked on Dilaudid, which he was prescribed after he was stabbed multiple times outside a party on Cedar Street in the city’s north end in 2012.

“I almost died before and my mom thought I was dead this time,” he said.

“The last two years, I completely changed my life,” said Tyler, who spent time in jail for a variety of drug, weapons and violence offences.

“I haven’t been getting into trouble,” he said, crediting “a lot of thinking,” and getting his priorities straight.

“I’m trying to spend time with my mom and work and have a kid on the way” in two months.

Gene Williams, who was arrested about a half hour after the incident, pleaded guilty on Feb. 24 to assault with a weapon, dangerous driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

Williams also pleaded guilty to two outstanding charges stemming from a domestic violence incident on Aug. 22, 2016 — assaulting a woman and resisting arrest.

He remains remanded in custody until his sentencing hearing, scheduled for April 10 at 9:30 a.m. Tyler says he plans to submit a victim impact statement for the judge’s consideration.

Williams’ lawyer, David Lutz, declined to comment.

Woman dies after assault, Calgary’s 4th homicide of year

Calgary police are investigating the city’s fourth homicide of the year, after a woman who was assaulted in Brentwood on Feb. 22 succumbed to her injuries.

Police said they were called to 4820 Northland Drive N.W. around 1:20 a.m. after a security guard found the woman “in distress” outside a bank. 

The woman, identified as Trisheena Simon, 28, of Calgary, was rushed to hospital. She died on Feb. 24, according to police.

An autopsy determined her death was a homicide. 

Investigators don’t believe the attack was random and are asking for anyone with information on the incident, or on Simon’s whereabouts in the days and hours leading to the stabbing, to contact police at 403-266-1234 or anonymously at Crime Stoppers

Too much ‘shaming’ at Steinbach Pride, says MLA who will not attend

Manitoba’s health minister said Tuesday he will not attend a Pride Parade in his constituency this summer because there has been too much shaming of people who don’t participate.

Kelvin Goertzen cited family commitments last year when he declined an invitation to the first Pride Parade in Steinbach, a city with conservative religious roots southeast of Winnipeg.

Goertzen said in a written statement he again has plans that coincide with this year’s event — scheduled for July 15 — but would not attend even if he were available.

“I am in Kansas City, Missouri, on the scheduled date of this year’s Pride (event). However, even if I was available to attend, I would not,” Goertzen’s statement reads.

“Last year’s Steinbach Pride speeches, which I listened to in their entirety, contained many thoughtful comments about making all communities safe for all people.

“But in addition to these, there were many speeches by politicians and former political candidates that spent time criticizing those who did not attend the event. I wouldn’t stand on a stage at any non-partisan event that dedicated so much of its time to shaming individuals. Pride should be about pride, not shaming.”

Goertzen, who was not available for an interview, faced criticism for not attending last year’s parade, as did Steinbach Mayor Chris Goertzen and Conservative MP Ted Falk. The mayor said he had a prior commitment. Falk initially said he would be busy at a nearby frog-jumping festival and later added he would not go because of his “values of faith, family and community.”

Criticism of elected officials does not amount to shame, Steinbach Pride spokeswoman Michelle McHale said Tuesday.

“I see that as holding your elected officials accountable, not shaming them,” she said.

“I’d be curious to know specifically what it was that he felt was shaming.”

Kelvin Goertzen, Manitoba health minister

Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen, who is the Progressive Conservative MLA for Steinbach, had cited a ‘previous personal commitment’ for not attending the inaugural Steinbach Pride event in 2016. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Last year’s event — one of many across the country celebrating the rights of LGBTQ people — drew an estimated crowd of 3,000 in a city of 14,000. Many of the attendees came from Winnipeg.

McHale, one of the organizers, has since announced she is considering a run for the Manitoba NDP leadership, which will be decided in September.

“Regardless of whether I was considering pursuing the NDP leadership or not … this is an issue I would still have something to say about.”

Goertzen said he has offered to meet with organizers of the event in Steinbach.

“The invitation was acknowledged but not pursued,” he said in the statement.

“I will continue to work for all Manitobans in a way that focuses on respecting individuals, not trying to shame them.”

Man convicted of killing daughter in clash over hijab dies in Ontario prison

An Ontario man convicted of murdering his 16-year-old daughter in 2007 has died in prison.

Correctional Services of Canada confirmed Tuesday in an email that Muhammad Parvez died last Wednesday, but did not provide the cause of death. He was 67.

Parvez was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder in the death of his daughter, Aqsa, in Mississauga. He began serving his sentence in June 2010.

His son, Waqas, 26, was also sentenced to life for second-degree murder. Both the father and the son pleaded guilty.

Aqsa, a Grade 11 student, was strangled to death in her bedroom in the family home. She was attacked after her brother took her home from a school bus stop.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Bruce Durno, who sentenced the father and son, called the murder “twisted and repugnant.”

to-aqsa-parvez2

Aqsa Parvez, 16, of Mississauga, Ont., was killed after she experienced conflict at home over “cultural difference,” according to an agreed statement of facts. ((Facebook))

According to an agreed statement of facts presented in court, Aqsa had been experiencing conflict at home and clashed with her family because she chose to wear Western-style clothing and didn’t want to cover her hair with the traditional hijab head scarf.

Correctional Services said Parvez was an inmate at Beaver Creek Institution in Gravenhurst, Ont.

Next of kin have been notified.

Correctional services said police and the coroner have been notified and it will review the circumstances of the death.

‘We’ve just had a whole family wiped out’: Alberta village stunned by highway crash

A deep sadness settled over a small Alberta village on Tuesday as word spread that five local residents, including a family of four, had been killed in highway crash.

All five victims killed in the head-on collision were from Amisk, a village of about 200 people in east-central Alberta.

Among the dead was a well-known local family, identified by relatives as Tim Carson, 52, and his wife, Michelle, 44, their daughter, Niki, 12, and their son Shawn, aged nine.

“It’s been a rough day,” Beth Carson, a relative, told CBC News. “We’ve just had a whole family wiped out.”

Bill Rock

The crash will have a significant impact on the town, said Amisk Mayor Bill Rock. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

Amisk Mayor Bill Rock said the village council has already started to discuss how best to remember the victims.

“They are very well known in the community — most of them lived in the community all their lives,” he said. “It’s so shocking and surreal that it’s very difficult to determine what we’re going to do yet.

“It’s going to affect our town significantly.”

The collision between an SUV and a car happened on Highway 13 at Range Road 92, southeast of Hardisty, at about 7 p.m. Monday.

The westbound SUV carrying a lone occupant crossed the centre line and collided head-on with an eastbound car carrying four occupants, police said.

Tim Carson was driving the car. His wife and children were the passengers.

The SUV caught on fire and went into the ditch. Firefighters put out the blaze.

All five were pronounced dead at the scene, RCMP said.

​Rock said the man in the SUV also lived in the village. But RCMP said further details about his identity will not be released until an autopsy has been completed.

‘Our heartfelt condolences’

The Carson children attended Hughenden Public School, a small school in Hughenden, nine kilometres southeast of Amisk. The school has an enrolment of 143 students.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of two of our students as a result of an accident on the evening of Feb. 27, 2017,” Bob Allen, superintendent of Buffalo Trail Public Schools, said in a statement.

“The school community is close knit and this tragedy has had a significant impact on many of the students and staff,” Allen said.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of those involved in this tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with them and the school community as they grieve.” 

A crisis response team is providing support and counselling to students and staff who need it, the statement said.

Victims well-known in community

Longtime Amisk resident Don Anholt said the people who died were well known in the village. 

“We only have about 200 people in town and all of the victims lived right in the town of Amisk,” Anholt said.

“It’s not outsiders, it was all locals in a small community.”

The village is about 24 kilometres southeast of the town of Hardisty.

“Everybody’s just kind of finding out, and nobody knows what to think or what to say, and

[everybody wants] answers about what happened,” Anholt said.

Highway crash

The SUV crossed the centre line before hitting the car and catching fire. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

RCMP continue to investigate. Killam RCMP victim services attended the scene and continue to assist, police said.

“As a police officer, motor vehicle collisions are very, very difficult,” said RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Ronald Bumbry. “One fatality is too many. In this case we have five.

“Our thoughts are with the family members of the deceased, and the community of Amisk during this extremely difficult time.”

Road and weather conditions do not appear to have been factors, the release said.

Traffic on Highway 13 was rerouted after the crash but the highway has since reopened.

Hardisty is 200 km southeast of Edmonton.

Grand opening of Vancouver’s Trump Tower draws protesters, police

Over 100 people gathered outside the Trump Tower on West Georgia Street in Vancouver this morning to protest the grand opening of the luxury hotel branded with the name of the U.S. president.

Police

Police arrive Tuesday morning at the Trump Tower on West Georgia Street in Vancouver. (Meera Bains/CBC)

“I came to show my love and spread kindness and to [ask him] not be a bully to the rest of the world,” said protester Henry Ho.

“I feel he’s lost in hate, lost in ego and lost in insanity,” said protester Kelly Shearers.

Dozens of sticky notes with messages like “Not Welcome in Vancouver” were stuck to the outside of the hotel. 

Trump Tower opening

A woman adds a sticky note with her message to the wall of Trump Tower during a demonstration in Vancouver. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

The group outside chanted “We want peace” and sang O Canada while police stood by.

Inside, Trump’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric spoke and took part in the official ribbon cutting amid heavy security. 

Donald Jr. told the assembled media, “I’d like to thank the press — just kidding.”

Eric called Vancouver an “amazing city befitting of the Trump brand.”

Eric Danziger, CEO of Trump Hotel Collection, mistakenly bragged that the Trump Tower was “the first hotel to open in Vancouver in six years.” Hotel Blu on Robson Street opened in 2014.

Danziger also erroneously praised Vancouver as the city with world’s biggest hockey stick. In fact, the world’s biggest hockey stick (and puck) is in Duncan on Vancouver Island.

Reporters were not permitted to ask questions at the event.

A separate “Resist4peace” rally and march are scheduled to begin at Jack Poole Plaza at 4 p.m. PT.

Ontario government to consult fans about event ticket selling, buying

The Ontario government wants input from the public to develop “practical solutions” for giving people a “fair shot” at buying tickets for concerts, sports and other events, says Attorney General Yasir Naqvi.

Navqi told a news conference Tuesday the government will consult fans about accessibility, affordability, transparency and enforcement, with the goal of introducing legislation in the spring. 

“Ontario is home to some of the best artists, performers and athletes in the world,” he said, then listed many of the popular concert, sports and theatre events in the province.

“From the Hip to Drake and Bieber to the Jays, the Raptors, and of course, the Sens, I’m from Ottawa, to great performances like Come From Away, The Book of Mormon and The Bodyguard, we have a lot to be proud of. But we also have a real problem when it comes to fans getting a fair shot at buying tickets.”

Come From Away

Sometimes resale sites are the only way to get tickets to popular performances, like Come From Away, a musical that tells the story of the people of Gander, Nfld., who opened their hearts and homes to stranded plane passengers on 9/11. (Matthew Murphy)

Naqvi, speaking at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto, urged members of the public to go to ontario.ca/tickets to fill out an online survey.

The issue of ticket scalping was in high drive last year when Kingston, Ont., band the Tragically Hip announced a series of cross-country concerts featuring lead singer Gord Downie, who had announced he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. 

“What happened with the Hip’s Man Machine Poem tour really, really personally bugged me,” said Naqvi. “Tickets to shows across Canada were bought up in seconds and then reappeared immediately on resale sites at hugely inflated prices, prices that were out of reach for a lot of fans.”

Naqvi said the internet has led to a greater variety of options for people who want to buy tickets quickly, but it also has created a platform for “scalper bots.” He said the underground technology scoops up huge blocks of tickets, shutting out regular fans who are forced to go to expensive ticket resellers.

“Fans deserve a fair shot at getting tickets to seeing their favourite band, sports team, or performance, but right now, the rules around buying and selling tickets online are not doing enough for fans.They are not putting them first. Our government is going to change that,” said Naqvi.

MUSIC Downies Doctor 20160811

The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie performs during the first stop of the Man Machine Poem Tour in Victoria on July 22, 2016. Attorney General Yasir Naqvi says what happened with Hip tour tickets ‘really, really bugged’ him. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

He said the province wants to change the rules, namely the Ticket Speculation Act, but will consult the public first. According to the website, Ontario residents have until March 15 to complete the survey.

“I really want practical solutions,” he said.

Naqvi was joined Tuesday by Kingston MPP Sophie Kiwala, who has introduced a private member’s bill aimed at banning the scalper bots.

Last October, Naqvi promised that legislation would be introduced by this spring to try to protect consumers — although he admitted it would be tough to stop resellers operating in other jurisdictions.

Naqvi said he wanted to consult with colleagues in other jurisdictions like New York, which is also struggling with the issue.  

Naqvi said there’s no easy way to stop people operating in other jurisdictions from using computer software to make bulk purchases of tickets to resell at above face value.

New rules will build on private member’s bill

The government’s legislation is expected to build on a private member’s bill by Kiwala that also was aimed at banning “scalper bots.”

Candiens-Leafs-07012017

The Ontario government wants fans to have a ‘fair shot’ at tickets to events, including hockey games. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Bill 22: The Ticket Speculation Amendment Act (Purchase and Sale Requirements), 2016, would prohibit the use of software that bypasses security measures on ticket-selling websites.

It would also require that the face value cost of tickets be disclosed in resale offers.

The bill, which has been referred to a standing committee, has passed second reading in the Ontario Legislature.

In a news release, the provincial government said it will also talk to artists and entertainment industry representatives about ticket selling and reselling and ways to change the laws. 

CBC’s Marketplace investigated ticket sales last October, shortly after Naqvi announced the province would table legislation to combat ticket-buying software used by resellers. 

To watch the full Marketplace investigation, visit cbc.ca/Marketplace.
 

Ontario attorney general to consult fans about event ticket selling, buying

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi says the Ontario government wants input from the public to develop “practical solutions” for giving people a “fair shot” at buying tickets for concerts, sports and other events.

Navqi said the government will consult fans about accessibility, affordability, transparency and enforcement, with the goal of introducing legislation in the spring. 

“Ontario has some of the best artists, performers and athletes in the world, from the Hip to Drake to Bieber to the Jays, the Raptors. We have a lot to be proud of. But we also have a problem with fans getting a fair shot at buying tickets,” he said.

Naqvi, speaking at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto, urged fans to go to ontario.ca/tickets.

“I really want practical solutions,” he said.

Naqvi was joined Tuesday by Kingston MPP Sophie Kiwala, who has introduced a private member’s bill aimed at banning “scalper bots” that scoop up huge blocks of tickets, shutting out regular fans who are forced to go to expensive ticket resellers.

Last October, Naqvi promised that legislation would be introduced by this spring to try to protect consumers — although he admitted it would be tough to stop resellers operating in other jurisdictions.

Naqvi said he wanted to consult with colleagues in other jurisdictions like New York, which is also struggling with the issue.  

Issue arose before Hip tour

He said he was “bugged” when Tragically Hip fans were shut out of initial ticket sales for the Canadian band’s farewell tour last summer.

Naqvi said there’s no easy way to stop people operating in other jurisdictions from using computer software to make bulk purchases of tickets to resell at above face value.

But he feels strongly that the province needs to do something to try to protect consumers and ensure they get a “fair shot” at buying tickets to big events.

The government’s legislation is expected to build on a private member’s bill by Kiwala that also was aimed at banning “scalper bots.”

Private member’s bill focuses on software

Bill 22: The Ticket Speculation Amendment Act (Purchase and Sale Requirements), 2016, would prohibit the use of software that bypasses security measures on ticket-selling websites.

It would also require that the face value cost of tickets be disclosed in resale offers.

The bill, which has been referred to a standing committee, has passed second reading in the Ontario Legislature.

Ontario attorney general speaks on event ticket selling, buying

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi is making an announcement this morning about the buying and selling of concert and other tickets in Ontario.

Naqvi is joined by Kingston MPP Sophie Kiwala, who has introduced a private member’s bill aimed at banning “scalper bots” that scoop up huge blocks of tickets, shutting out regular fans who are forced to go to expensive ticket resellers.

Last October, Naqvi promised that legislation would be introduced by this spring to try to protect consumers — although he admitted it would be tough to stop resellers operating in other jurisdictions.

Naqvi said he wanted to consult with colleagues in other jurisdictions like New York, which is also struggling with the issue.  

Issue arose before Hip tour

He said he was “bugged” when Tragically Hip fans were shut out of initial ticket sales for the Canadian band’s farewell tour last summer.

 Yasir Naqvi

Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi will speak Tuesday about the buying and selling of concert and other tickets in Ontario. (Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Naqvi said there’s no easy way to stop people operating in other jurisdictions from using computer software to make bulk purchases of tickets to resell at above face value.

But he feels strongly that the province needs to do something to try to protect consumers and ensure they get a “fair shot” at buying tickets to big events.

The government’s legislation is expected to build on a private member’s bill by Kiwala that also was aimed at banning “scalper bots.”

Private member’s bill focuses on software

Bill 22: The Ticket Speculation Amendment Act (Purchase and Sale Requirements), 2016, would prohibit the use of software that bypasses security measures on ticket-selling websites.

It would also require that the face value cost of tickets be disclosed in resale offers.

The bill, which has been referred to a standing committee, has passed second reading in the Ontario Legislature.