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Doug Ford parts ways with another top aide as sex scandals continue to roil premier’s office

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Doug Ford has parted ways with another top aide as the fallout from two sex scandals continues to roil the premier’s office.

John Sinclair, who was executive director of the Progressive Conservative caucus bureau, left Thursday night.

John Sinclair, former executive director of the Progressive Conservative’s caucus bureau has left his post on Nov. 8, 2018. Sinclair left after Premier Doug Ford indicated he did not speak up soon enough about the conduct of Andrew Kimber, who had been the premier’s executive director of issues management.
John Sinclair, former executive director of the Progressive Conservative’s caucus bureau has left his post on Nov. 8, 2018. Sinclair left after Premier Doug Ford indicated he did not speak up soon enough about the conduct of Andrew Kimber, who had been the premier’s executive director of issues management.  (John Sinclair (Twitter))

Sources told the Star Friday that the well-regarded Sinclair exited after an irate Ford felt he did not speak up soon enough about the misbehaviour of Andrew Kimber, who had been the premier’s executive director of issues management.

Kimber departed Nov. 2 after it was revealed he sent unsolicited and sexually charged texts to at least five female Tory staffers.

Included in the texts were photographs of Kimber, who was married in September, in his underwear. He has since apologized for the “unacceptable” conduct and vowed to “seek the help I need going forward.”

Wilson has not been available for comment since Ford asked for his resignation from cabinet and the PC caucus a week ago.

Sinclair, described by associates as “a good guy,” appears to be collateral damage in an ongoing internal probe of Conservative activities.

He did not immediately reply to a Star query seeking comment Friday morning.

His alleged transgression was that he did not flag Kimber’s inappropriate actions online as soon as he became aware of them.

Conservative insiders, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the internal machinations, said other Ford aides were surprised when Sinclair provided them with additional information on Kimber’s after-hours conduct.

But with an already erratic premier’s office further crippled by a mood of recrimination, Sinclair’s friends say it is unfair that he was singled out.

One source noted there is always gossip in political offices where the mix of long hours in close quarters can lead to questionable conduct.

Former minister Jim Wilson (pictured) was ousted from caucus along with Andrew Kimber, Premier Doug Ford's executive director of issues management and legislative affairs, due to inappropriate behaviour.
Former minister Jim Wilson (pictured) was ousted from caucus along with Andrew Kimber, Premier Doug Ford’s executive director of issues management and legislative affairs, due to inappropriate behaviour.  (Rene Johnston / Toronto Star)

Ford, however, was furious with Kimber, whom he had grown to trust and whose wedding he attended in September.

“Doug feels a sense of betrayal,” said one Ford friend.

That has led to a hunt to root out anyone and everyone who may have been aware of what was happening.

Ford was asked earlier this week about the screening of potential cabinet ministers and political staff to make sure their backgrounds are clean.

“We have a pretty good vetting process, but there can always be improvements anywhere,” the premier replied during a news conference Wednesday at an air force museum next door to CFB Trenton.

“I would say we can always improve, which we’re doing,” he added, urging any staff who have allegations to come forward as an independent firm conducts an investigation into the accusations against Wilson and Kimber.

Regarding Wilson, Ford told reporters he had no idea that the Queen’s Park veteran,who was first elected in 1990 and served as a cabinet minister in the previous Harris and Eves governments, had problems.

“I didn’t know. But when that happened, I don’t care who it was. I don’t care if he was there for 40 years. We acted decisively.”

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

Rob Ferguson is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robferguson1



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A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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