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Top court hears grim details of Cindy Gladue’s last hours as it considers new murder trial



Details of a murder trial that saw the sexual history of the victim, Cindy Gladue, presented to the jury — and her torn vaginal tissue entered as evidence — played out before the Supreme Court of Canada today as the justices heard arguments on whether her accused killer should face a new trial.

Bradley Barton, an Ontario trucker, was acquitted of murdering Gladue, a 36-year-old Indigenous sex trade worker who bled to death in the bathtub of Barton’s Edmonton motel room on June 21, 2011. The case sparked country-wide protests and emotional debate around Canada’s sexual assault laws and the lack of protection they afford Indigenous women.

Today, a series of lawyers intervening in the case presented their arguments to the Supreme Court of Canada. Gladue’s death, they said, is a symbol of the poverty, abuse and lack of dignity suffered by Indigenous women.

Julie McGregor, representing the Assembly of First Nations, called on the justices to send a message to lower courts across the land.

« This case demonstrates, with shocking and disturbing detail, that these women and girls don’t receive the same protections under the law, » she said. « Rather, their privacy and equality rights get blatantly violated by the same individuals charged with ensuring the laws of this country are upheld. »

Gladue bled out from an 11 cm wound to her vaginal wall. Her vaginal tissue was admitted as evidence at trial, sparking outrage about the indignity to her body.

Graphic details of the sexual act with Barton the night before the fatal encounter were also presented to the jury, without first holding a separate hearing to determine their admissibility in court.

Cindy Gladue, 36, was found dead in the bathtub of a motel room in Edmonton in 2011. (Facebook)

Section 276 of the Criminal Code, known as the « rape shield law, » prohibits the admission of evidence about a victim’s sexual activity that could infer the victim is more likely to have given consent, or is less worthy of being believed.

Supreme Court justices posed tough questions about why those intricate details of Gladue’s sexual past were both openly disclosed and deemed relevant in Barton’s trial.

Concerns around ‘consent’

Justice Andromache Karakatsanis suggested past activity should not be a factor.

« The fact that someone is a prostitute, and may have engaged in sexual activity in a commercially based transaction on a previous occasion, how is that possibly relevant to the issues this jury had to decide? » she asked.

Justice Michael Moldaver said facts of past sexual history are permitted as evidence in narrowly limited circumstances because of their potential for prejudice. In this case, he said, that prudence got « all skipped over. »

Moldaver also noted that consent on one occasion does not extend to another, and that in the second encounter, Barton admitted the act of inserting his hand into Gladue’s vagina was « more extreme and forceful. »

« It would be a mistake of law to say she consented the night before, therefore I can assume she’s going to consent tonight. That is classic error of law. That is rape mythology, » Moldaver said.

Peter Sankoff, one of two lawyers representing Barton, said the defence only elaborated on details of the sexual activity after the Crown told the court Gladue was a prostitute and that it was the second of two sexual encounters between the two that ended in her death.

He said the appeals process, which overturned Barton’s acquittal and ordered a new trial, was flawed because it accepted « alternative theories » from the Crown that hadn’t been raised at trial. Ordering Barton to be tried again amounts to « double jeopardy, » Sankoff said.

‘Erroneous narrative’

Sankoff said an « erroneous narrative » has developed around the case.

« In spite of the many important social issues raised by these parties in their submissions, I would suggest to you this appeal is actually what can go wrong when appellate courts go forget their role in the adversarial system and ignore due process standards in an effort to reach outcomes they regard as more desirable, » he said.

Lawyers for the Alberta government said the trial judge made several errors and omissions in his charge to the jury regarding absence of motive, the accused’s conduct after the act and what constitutes consent.

Jean Teillet, representing the Women of the Metis Nation, called the act of presenting Gladue’s body tissue in court « horrific. »

« The dismemberment of an Indigenous woman’s body and the use of it as evidence in a trial was an assault by the state on an Indigenous woman, » she said. « It has shocked the conscience of the country and I say it has brought this system of justice into disrepute. »

The Supreme Court will weigh the arguments — which included submissions from 15 intervenors — before issuing a judgment. Justice Sheilah Martin did not sit on the bench because she served on the three-member Alberta appeal court that overturned Barton’s acquittal.

Jean Teillet, representing the Women of the Metis Nation, called the act of presenting Gladue’s body tissue in court « horrific. » (Brian Morris/CBC)

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Ballot points: your questions answered about voting in Toronto’s election




After a tumultuous six-month election campaign, voting day — Monday, Oct. 22 — is upon us.

Voters will decide which of the 35 candidates will be mayor, and who out of more than 250 candidates will win one of 25 councillor seats for the next four years.

Here’s everything you need to know to cast your ballot.

When do I vote?

Polls are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Where do I vote?

You must vote in the ward you live in. Each of the 25 wards has multiple voting stations. To find locations close to you, visit

Am I eligible to vote in the Toronto municipal election?

Any Canadian citizen 18 years or older who is a resident of Toronto, or owns or rents property in the city, is a spouse of someone who owns or rents property in the city, and isn’t prohibited from voting under any law can vote in the municipal election.

People cannot vote if they’re serving a sentence of incarceration, convicted of a corrupt practice under the Municipal Elections Act, or as a corporation. They also cannot vote acting as an executor or trustee, except if they’re a voting proxy.

Students attending school in Toronto can vote both in the city and in the municipality they call home. Toronto residents attending school elsewhere can still vote in Toronto’s municipal election, and can appoint another voter to proxy vote on their behalf.

Am I eligible to vote in the Toronto school board election?

The same eligibility rules apply as in the municipal election with the exception that only owners or tenants of residential, not commercial, property can vote for a trustee.

People are allowed to vote for the same school board once, and must be a “separate school board supporter” or spouse of one to vote for trustees outside the English public school board system.

In order to support another school board (such as Catholic or French language), people must have already directed their property taxes to another system. To vote for a Catholic school board trustee, you must also be Roman Catholic. To vote for a French school board trustee, you must be a French language rights holder, or the spouse of one.

I didn’t receive a voter information card. Can I still vote?

Yes. A voter information card is not mandatory, although it speeds up the voting process at the poll site.

What identification do I need to bring to vote?

You are required to show documentation with your name and Toronto address, such as a driver’s licence, tax documents, bank account statement, utility bill or payment stub. Your documentation doesn’t have to have a photo.

I can’t make it out to vote. Can I still cast a ballot?

Yes. Eligible voters who are unable to vote for any reason can appoint another eligible voter to vote on their behalf by submitting a proxy appointment form and providing identification to the city clerk by 4:30 p.m.

Forms can be picked up in person during regular business hours at city clerk office locations: Election Services at 89 Northline Rd., city hall at 100 Queen St. W., Etobicoke Civic Centre at 399 The West Mall, North York Civic Centre at 5100 Yonge St. or the Scarborough Civic Centre at 150 Borough Dr. They can also be obtained by calling 416-338-1111 or emailing

Am I allowed to leave work to vote?

Yes. You are entitled to three hours to vote.

I have a disability, or other special needs. Can I still vote?

Yes. If you are unable to go inside a voting place, election officials can meet you at your vehicle or outside the building.

Inside voting places, voter assisted terminals provide a way for you to vote independently, offering a touchscreen, audio, Braille key pad, sip-puff tube device, rocker paddle-foot switch and zoom features.

For more information on accessibility, contact the city at or 416-338-1111 ext. 6.

How do I find out the winners?

The city and the Star will post live election results on their websites starting at 8 p.m. Oct. 22.

Samantha Beattie is a city hall reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @samantha_kb

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Ontario to keep funding supervised drug consumption sites, health minister says




Ontario will keep funding supervised drug consumption sites, but their focus will change to help users receive treatment and get rehabilitated, Health Minister Christine Elliott said Monday morning.

Existing sites will also have to reapply to continue operating, Elliott said.

« While critical, simply preventing overdoses is not enough. We need longer-term solutions to this problem, » she said about the reason behind rebranding the sites to focus on consumption and treatment services. 

« Lives are being lost every day, and opioid addiction, if left unchecked, creates a new burden on our health-care system.

« We don’t truly save a person’s life until they are free of addiction. »

Toronto and Ottawa have supervised consumption sites. 

London has a temporary overdose prevention site while it awaits approval of a permanent site. 

The province has capped the number of sites at 21.

There will not be any new funding for the rebranded sites, Elliott said, and most existing sites already comply with the new model. Those sites cost the province $31 million. 

The new sites will include harm-reduction services such as supervised consumption services and will connect people with treatment and health services, Elliott said. 

« Government cannot turn a blind eye to the crisis is happening in front of us. Absent a safe and controlled environment, [people] will continue to use local business, parks, homes and libraries to inject at serious risk to themselves and others. »

Currently, 19 sites are operating and can apply to the province to continue. Three sites — in St. Catharines, Thunder Bay and in Parkdale in Toronto — were paused while Elliott reviewed supervised consumption. Those will be allowed to open, she said. 

« Pop-up sites and tents will not be allowed and this will be strictly enforced. »

The sites will be subject to random audits. They’ll also have to report back to the province about who is using them. 

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Kremlin concerned over Trump’s decision to leave nuclear arms treaty




MOSCOW—The Kremlin says it is concerned about U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty.

Trump announced on Saturday that the United States would walk away from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that the U.S. and the Soviet Union signed in 1987 in a major step to ease Cold War tensions.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters on Monday that Putin is denying Trump’s allegations that Russia has violated terms of the treaty. Peskov says the U.S. withdrawal from the treaty would “make the world a more dangerous place.”

The Kremlin’s comments came as U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton began his visit to Russia on Monday. Peskov said Russian officials are anxious to hear Bolton’s explanations for Trump’s decision.

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