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What makes Tory men go from public prudes to pests in private?

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A flood of sexual harassment has swept over male Conservative politicians federal and provincial, leaving everyone soaked in distaste and sudsing in dubious fluids. Now the oak flooring is ruined, just ruined. They’ll repair it, but they know it’s going to flood again.

There is something about being a prude in public that makes men go over the top in private, but cellphones are no longer secure. Men call teenage girls sluts for doing what these men did.

I’ll start with that hussy, Conservative MP Tony Clement from sexy Parry Sound—Muskoka, formerly shadow justice critic, former Stephen Harper senior minister and former Ontario minister of health. Most famous for spending $100,000 of public money intended for a G8 summit in Huntsville on a fine gazebo an hour away in tiny Orrville, Clement defended the indefensible. He may have to live in the gazebo for the next while. Can someone send him a pumpable airbed and some towels?

And now this. I met Clement once, involuntarily, and he angered and creeped me out. Women he followed online late into the night were equally repelled by his greasy “pervy uncle” behaviour, as Martin Patriquin of iPolitics put it. There was a photo of Clement shirtless and a weird exchange about a hand sanitizer bottle and its liquid contents, and here we draw a veil.

A social conservative, he called himself “a six or a seven out of 10” when it came to abortion rights. So a man who expected to rule over women who consorted with male fluids to their cost was himself hunting young women online to consort with his.

I remember one Conservative MPP, whose identity I will conceal, being a hardline anti-abortionist who boasted about his long-suffering and obedient wife. When his sex account site was hacked, the sex ad he had placed read, “I can eat a peach for hours.”

Remember, the bigger the front, the bigger the back.

Clement lied to Conservative leader Andrew Scheer that the sexual blackmail he faced after he sent sex photos and a video was a one-off. In fact, he was being tracked by unknown persons for his online leering in the summer.

I felt sorry for Scheer taking Clement at his word. Women know not to trust men like that. Shouldn’t men know too? Perhaps men don’t wade in personal waters, don’t overthink them.

We turn to Premier Doug Ford’s senior adviser, Andrew Kimber, who sexted at least five female colleagues, some with selfies of him in his underwear. I asked male Star reporters what kind of underwear, but they said they hadn’t delved at that level.

Sex pest Anthony Weiner wore grey boxer briefs, not bad. I imagine Kimber in boxer shorts, old-fashioned briefs, jockstraps or even tangas, and each one is worth a shudder, but not as bad as a Clement sex video so really, he did the Conservatives a big horny favour.

Next up is Jim Wilson, Ford’s economic development minister, who did something so horrible to a male staffer that he was fired almost on the spot. I wish to know, because I’m imagining a lit candle and a claw hammer. Disabuse me, please.

I don’t know why Clement, Kimber and Wilson did these things, some repeatedly. The fear must have been intense but still they persisted. Was it erotic? They’re like the family that keeps going back to Hill House, which is haunted, and what does the house do? It extorts them.

And now we come to the weird part. When Ford announced Kimber’s firing, he said “He lasted about a minute when we found out.” When he referred to Kimber and Wilson, he said, “They’re gone, they’re done. See ya later.”

Almost everything Ford has done since he became premier-elect has appalled me and my gang on the centre-left. He and I are chalk and cheese, we are petroleum jelly and meringue, we are a clot in the Conservative lung i.e., a pulmonary embolism. We are at variance.

But when I read what Ford had said, I felt a great wrench. Never in my life has an editor ever defended me against a harasser or a groper. At no time did an editor use those crisp, exultant phrases that would have freed me mentally and emotionally.

I have a lot of time for this version of Ford. I don’t know what else will emerge from these government offices — they’re like beartraps — and I don’t know Ford’s motive in firing these men fast. But the speed and decisiveness were a balm.

Heather Mallick is a columnist based in Toronto covering current affairs. Follow her on Twitter: @HeatherMallick



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Peel Police charge father of dead girl, 11, with first-degree murder

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An eleven-year-old girl is dead, and her father facing a charge of first degree murder, in a case that has shaken the region.

Riya Rajkumar was supposed to be celebrating her birthday, but, instead, became the subject of a late-night Amber Alert on Thursday night.

Peel Region police said they have found the body of 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar, seen here with her father Roopesh Rajkumar, hours after an Amber Alert was issued late Thursday night.
Peel Region police said they have found the body of 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar, seen here with her father Roopesh Rajkumar, hours after an Amber Alert was issued late Thursday night.  (Peel Regional Police)

She was found in her father’s home in Brampton on Hansen Rd. N., near Marshall Dr., hours after she vanished while in the care of 41-year-old Roopesh Rajkumar.

In front of the brown brick duplex, Friday, pink and white balloons blew in the wind, tied to a tree in front of the home, next to a growing pile of flowers and a bright pink teddy bear.

“Riya was like the princess of the family,” Roopesh’s cousin Ryan Ashadalli told reporters outside the home.

“She was just full of positive energy. She always had a smile wherever she went, he said, adding she had just returned from a vacation at Disneyland.

“I loved her.”

Police found the body of 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar in this Brampton home on Hansen Rd. N. early Friday morning.
Police found the body of 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar in this Brampton home on Hansen Rd. N. early Friday morning.  (Toronto Star)

Officers had to force their way into her father’s home around 11 p.m. Thursday evening. Rajkumar was arrested by Orillia OPP shortly after midnight, almost 130 km. away. He was suffering from a “medical issue,” Const. Danny Marttini told reporters outside Peel Police 22 division.

The birthdays of the girl and her mother fell on the Thursday.

“It’s very heart-wrenching,” said Marttini, who added that, in the final analysis, there’s a mother “moving forward without her daughter.”

Amber alerts were sent out late Thursday night and early Friday morning for 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar.
Amber alerts were sent out late Thursday night and early Friday morning for 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar.

Meadowvale Village Public School posted a statement on its website saying “this tragedy has brought tremendous sadness to the students and staff” and that grief counsellors will be at the school for as long as needed.

“Riya was a well-liked student, and her death is deeply felt by everyone at the school,” the statement read. “Even students who did not personally know Riya will also be affected by this tragedy.”

Rajkumar was taken into police custody shortly after midnight. He was taken to a hospital and then a trauma centre.

Police have charged him with first-degree murder in the death of his daughter.

The girl did not live with her father on a full-time basis, police said, but was dropped off at a Mississauga gas station at about 3 p.m.

“In a tragic situation like this, when your daughter goes to spend her birthday, especially on Valentine’s Day, with her father and you expect your child to come home, my heart aches for this family,” Const. Akhil Mooken told reporters shortly after the body was found.

“As a parent, I can’t even begin to imagine what the mom is going through, and it’s something that we never want to be involved in, but it’s a terrible situation.”

Police said Riya’s mother called the authorities when the pair did not return at 6:30 p.m., and reported that Rajkumar made comments indicating he could cause harm to himself and his daughter.

“That obviously set off alarms,” Marttini told reporters earlier. “It was of extreme concern, which is why she attended the division, saying ‘I’ve got that information and I’m concerned for the well-being of my daughter.’ ”

After police took measures such as searching where the two were last seen, pinpointing the location of the father’s cell phone and checking areas they were known to frequent, they asked for an Amber Alert to be issued.

Police visited the father’s home at around 7 p.m., but did not receive a response when they knocked on the door. At about 11 p.m., Marttini said, police forced entry into the house and found the girl’s body.

“At that point in the investigation, we had received enough information that they felt that the 11-year-old girl would, in fact, be in the residence and was in need of assistance,” Marttini said. “So, with that threat to somebody’s life, they were able to force entry.”

Asked how long the girl had been dead before police found her, Marttini said she didn’t have the exact timeline, and more will come out after the postmortem.

Emergency Management Ontario sent out an Amber Alert on mobile devices just after 11:30 p.m.

Read more: Late-night Amber Alert prompted multiple complaints to 911

“Peel Regional Police activate AMBER Alert. Victim is Riya Rajkumar age 11. Suspect is Roopesh Rajkumar age 41. Vehicle is silver Honda civic plate #ARBV 598. Last known location Eastbound 401. If observed, please call 911,” the alert read.

Peel police had requested an Amber Alert to be issued by OPP earlier in the evening, but the notification was not sent until after 11 p.m., Marttini said in a phone interview. She could not confirm what time they submitted the form.

A tip from the public, following the alert, led to Rajkumar’s arrest shortly after midnight by OPP near Orillia.

The brown brick house on Hansen Rd. N. was blocked off with police tape Friday morning, as was the side street, Crawford Dr.

Residents of the quiet residential neighbourhood were shocked.

Emmanuel Okafor saw the Amber Alert on TV late Thursday night and said he was praying it would have a positive ending.

“It’s unimaginable,” said Okafor, who didn’t know the family, but has a 6-year-old daughter of his own.

“No parent should ever have to bury their kid.”

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie tweeted that “there are absolutely no words to explain the senseless and tragic loss of young innocent Riya.

“As a mother of three, this makes me sick to my stomach. My heart grieves for the mother and family,” Crombie tweeted.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown thanked Peel police and the OPP for the quick arrest.

“Words cannot describe such a senseless and horrific act,” Brown tweeted.

With files from Marjan Asadullah, Ilya Banares and the Brampton Guardian

Stefanie Marotta is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @StefanieMarotta

May Warren is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @maywarren11



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Edmonton’s funicular was a popular river valley ride in its first year: report – Edmonton

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The river valley funicular proved a “popular destination” in its first year of operation, according to a City of Edmonton report.

But it also faced a number of challenges.

Successes

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“As of Nov. 25, 2018, the funicular had made 114,038 trips, either up or down the track,” reads a report from the city’s citizen services and community and recreation facilities departments. “During point counts, staff recorded as many as 135 passengers using the funicular in an hour and as many as 28 trips in an hour.”

The report looked at who uses the funicular and found 22 per cent of its users ride it as part of their commute to work. Thirty-one percent of the funicular’s users take it to access the North Saskatchewan River valley.

The funicular, the top of which is located at 100 Street north of the river valley, opened to the public in December 2017. The project cost $24 million and received funding from all three levels of government as well as the River Valley Alliance.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s river valley funicular opens to public, on time and on budget

Watch below: (From Dec. 9, 2017) There is now a new way for Edmontonians to experience the biggest green space in the city. The river valley has its very own funicular, which officially opened to the public on Saturday. Julia Wong has more.






The report said it “has increased access to the river valley for Edmontonians and visitors and has created a landmark and connection between downtown
and the river valley. ”

While the report spelled out the transport method’s successes, it also highlighted ongoing challenges, including misuse of its emergency stop button, door malfunctions and system failures.

Challenges

In total, the funicular experienced 116 system failures in its first year and experienced an emergency stop 322 times. There were 112 instances of door, wind or overload issues and 15 elevator emergencies. The site experienced one emergency over its first 12 months, however, the report did not elaborate on what that entailed.

READ MORE: Edmonton funicular vandalism leads to questions about graffiti response

Watch below: (From August 2018) Broken glass and graffiti could be spotted at Edmonton’s funicular recently and some of the damage has been there for moths. As Fletcher Kent reports, some people want the city to do a better job of cleaning up after vandals.






“Staff responded to approximately 550 alarms during the funicular’s first year of operation,” the report reads. “It should be noted that this location experienced the second highest number of alarms reported for the City of Edmonton in 2018.”

According to the review, over 57 per cent of alarms were a result of the funicular’s users pressing pressing the emergency stop button.

“These incidents resulted in temporary stoppages until the system was reset,” the report says. Of the door, wind or overloading issues, the report found that the majority of those related to door problems, often tied to ice and snow buildup and sensor problems.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s funicular ‘sluggish’ when colder than -25 C

Costs

The report notes that the funicular’s annual operating budget was projected to be between $480,000 and $960,000.

“During the first year, the total operating cost for the funicular and site was $716,468, or three per cent of the total project cost,” the report reads. “As this infrastructure remains new to Edmonton, it is expected that there will be some fluctuations in the annual operating costs.

“A three-year comparison will be required to confirm long term operating costs.”

The lion’s share of the funicular’s costs in its first year were tied to “preventative maintenance and daily start-up.” That represented over $345,000 of the money spent. The second-leading cost associated with the mechanized river access infrastructure was “non-emergency breakdown response and repair,” at over $112,000.

The future

The city has taken efforts to enhance the funicular over the past two months. Some of the steps taken included installing a “heating loop” in the door sill to stop ice from forming at the lower doors, installing a glass roof over the lower doors to reduce issues caused by winter weather and installing markers at the staircase for people with visual impairments.

The report says that in its second year, the funicular’s operational efficiency will continue to be assessed and processes will be improved while community engagement about the infrastructure will continue.

READ MORE: Song sings praises of Edmonton’s funicular, becomes social media sensation

Watch below: (From Dec. 20, 2017) It’s Edmonton’s newest attraction and now, a song about the river valley funicular could become the city’s latest viral video. ‘Fun Funicular’ has received thousands of views on Facebook since it was posted a few days ago.






© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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Canada’s main stock index reaches highest level since Oct. 5

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Canada’s main stock index posted a triple-digit gain Friday after oil hit a three-month high to extend the market’s winning streak to six weeks.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 142.26 points to 15,838.24, after hitting a peak during the day of 15,866.60. That’s the highest level since Oct. 5.

The Toronto market is just 4.4 per cent off the all-time high set last July and up 10.6 per cent so far this year.

Allan Small, senior investment adviser at HollisWealth, foresees the positive momentum continuing as long as geopolitical issues, especially the trade dispute between the U.S. and China, remain positive.

« Yes the year-to-date numbers look really strong in such a short period of time, but we’re just getting back to where we were trading at the end of the summer and early fall, » he said in an interview.

« Let’s get back from the highs … and that’s where things start to get a little bit more dicey. You may see the market start to trade sideways for a little bit until we get some sort of clarity on future and I think that’s where we kind of stall out. »

North American markets increased by as much as 1.7 per cent on continuing optimism about a trade deal with China after U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters he might extend the March 2 deadline for the imposition of tariffs, said Small.

We’ve heard some positive things come out of the administration over the past few days and I think it is no doubt that that’s what’s carrying the markets higher.– Allan Small, senior investment adviser at HollisWealth

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 443.86 points at 25,883.25. The S&P 500 index was up 29.87 points at 2,775.60, while the Nasdaq composite was up 45.46 points at 7,472.41.

« We’ve heard some positive things come out of the administration over the past few days and I think it is no doubt that that’s what’s carrying the markets higher, » said Small.

Energy sector gains

In Toronto, the key energy sector gained 3.2 per cent as Frontera Energy Corp. increased eight per cent, followed by Encana Corp., Canadian Natural Resources and Suncor Energy Inc.

The April crude contract was up $1.19 at $55.98 US per barrel, the highest level since mid-November on a weaker U.S. dollar and support from production curtailments by OPEC.

The March natural gas contract was up 5.2 cents at $2.62 per mmBTU.

The Canadian dollar traded at an average of 75.38 cents US, compared with an average of 75.20 cents US on Thursday.

The April gold contract was up $8.20 at $1,322.10 an ounce and the March copper contract was 2.4 cents at $2.80 a pound.

The Toronto market had widespread gains as industrials and financials rose.

The positive streak was also extended for another week on strong corporate earnings from several firms, including TransCanada Corp. and Manulife Financial Corp. In addition to beating analyst estimates, several raised their dividends and share buybacks.

« All the stuff that’s great for investors and adding to this positive feel for the market, » he added.



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