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Ontario teens fled their allegedly abusive father in Hungary. Now they could be deported back




Elizabeth Alamasy and her two teenage sons Adam and Marton fled Hungary in 2011 after years of alleged physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their father.

This included multiple instances of inappropriate touching and molestation, the two boys said.

“When [our father] got mad, it was just anything goes. It was anything. The nearest wall, person, couch, whatever. He would just hit or push a person,” Adam said, describing an incident in which he says his father threw his mother into a glass cabinet.

“I was scared for her. I’m scared for us,” he said. “He was always controlling and at times [it] really seemed like no one can stop him.”

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Elizabeth says she remembers being severely beaten by her then husband.

“He hit me with a broom and I was unconscious,” she said.

But the refugee judge who heard their case thought Elizabeth was lying: about the reasons for her divorce, the details of what happened between her and her ex-husband and the sexual abuse the boys allegedly experienced.

The judge said it was clear something happened that caused Elizabeth to leave her ex-husband, but none of her other claims were believable, he said.

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“The panel finds that the events as recounted have not occurred and that the female claimant has used the circumstances of a routine divorce as the basis for a specious claim for protection,” wrote IRB judge Reid Rossi in his June 2018 decision.

Rossi also said Elizabeth wasn’t believable because she agreed to a divorce settlement giving her husband visitation rights and because she agreed to let him take the boys on vacation after she learned about the alleged sexual abuse. Rossi said this was inconsistent with the behaviour of someone trying to protect their children.

Hungarian mother describes alleged physical abuse from ex-husband

Because of this decision, the family is set to be deported on Feb. 3 by the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA).

Global News attempted to contact Rossi but received no response.

IRB spokesperson Anna Pape, meanwhile, said Rossi is prohibited from discussing his work, adding that for him to do so would violate the Board’s code of conduct.

“The Board is unable to address any specific refugee protection claims publicly,” Pape said. “The decisions and reasons rendered by the Board’s independent members speak for themselves.”

Family waited 7 years for claim to be heard

The Almassy’s are what’s known as “legacy” refugee claimants, meaning they filed their application for asylum before December 15, 2012, when the government implemented a new system for reviewing refugee claims.

But because of a lack of resources and a backlog of more than 32,000 legacy claims at the IRB, they were living in Canada for 7 years before the IRB heard their case.

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Their claim was heard by Rossi, a member of the Legacy Task Force, a group of roughly 33 retired IRB judges brought back to deal with the last of these outstanding claims.

He said the fact Elizabeth continued to work alongside her ex-husband after reporting the alleged abuse – even though she says she was financially dependent upon him – was not credible. He also said she was lying about the trauma she and her family endured because she did not behave the way he thought an abused woman should.

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Elizabeth’s claim that she sought protection from the police was also “fabricated,” Rossi said. He also ruled that consultations with a doctor, psychiatrist and a lawyer describing abuse the family endured did not constitute evidence needed to prove her claim.

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“What is so incredulous to the panel is that the female claimant allegedly worried about a lawsuit from a sex offender and pedophile as her reason for not seeking assistance,” Rossi said. “If her anger and distress were as great as she alleged at the hearing, it makes no sense that the female claimant would then agree to work alongside her ex-husband.”

Because their claim is a legacy case, the family was denied the right to appeal Rossi’s decision. And if sent back to Hungary, they fear Elizabeth could be arrested because she took her children to Canada without her ex-husband’s permission.

Ongoing problems at the IRB

The Almassy’s decision came on the heels of a series of reports published by Global News in 2018 in which lawyers accused other IRB judges of not following the rules, including allegations of “sexist” and “aggressive” behaviour against one former Board member.

Then, in December, Global News received more than 1,300 pages of documents under access-to-information laws related to complaints involving the conduct of judges at the IRB from 2012-2017. More than 400 pages of those documents were completely withheld.

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Buried in the documents were details of complaints the IRB received from three of its employees who said they overheard an immigration judge make a sexist and “upsetting” comment during a training session held in 2015 on how to handle cases involving sexual assault.

“When participants said that the case was dismissed [because] the witness was unreliable, the member in question said it was ‘because she’s a slut,’” the complainants said.

Despite acknowledging the comment was made, the Board said it could not take any disciplinary action because it could not confirm with absolute certainty who made the comment and in what context it was said.

‘Serious problems’ with decision-making

Following the 2018 Global News investigation, then-head of the IRB Paul Aterman said things would be done differently at the Board and the bad behaviour of a few should not take away from the good work done by the majority of decision-makers.

Almassy’s lawyer, Lorne Waldman, said some refugee judges at the Board – including Rossi — continue to deliver problematic decisions, employing stereotypes and outdated views on how victims should behave.

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Waldman said the decision in the Almassy’s case violates the IRB’s guidelines for dealing with victims of alleged gender-based violence .

“We deal with a lot of people who’ve suffered abuse and the one thing we’ve learned is it’s very dangerous to make assumptions about how people are going to react,” Waldman said.

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Waldman said Rossi’s decision is an example of a judge imposing his own ideas about how a battered person should behave when confronted with abuse, something he says the law strictly prohibits.

“What we see in this case, and in other similar cases, is that members say this is the way I would react and I’d expect you to react in the same way,” he said. “That’s completely wrong.”

Deepa Mattoo, an immigration lawyer who specializes in cases involving victims of sexual and gender-based violence, agrees it’s wrong for judges to assess cases based on their own expectations of how someone should behave.

“[It’s] more than just stereotypes,” Mattoo said. “What I see time and again is there’s a lot of trivializing of women’s experiences.”

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According to Pape, members of the Legacy Task Force participate in several days of “refresher courses” before being allowed to hear cases again. Depending on experience, these courses task force members are required to take can vary.

Since returning to the Board, Rossi has taken courses in values and ethics, how to assess claimants’ credibility, IRB rules, and up-to-date case law.

Almassys fighting to remain in Canada

About to graduate high school, Adam Almassy was recently awarded a $2,000 annual scholarship to study mechanical engineering at Carleton University.

But if the family is sent back to Hungary, both Adam and his brother will be placed in Grade 9. According to a letter from Hungarian school officials, neither Adam nor Marton have the required courses to graduate high school in Hungary.

The boys say they also worry their dad could target the family if they return — making worse the severe depression and anxiety both boys were recently diagnosed with.

“He would put us through abuse, myself and especially my brother,” Adam said.

WATCH: Teen refugee from Saudi Arabia says she wants to live ‘normal, private life’ in Canada. Jamie Mauracher reports.

Marton, meanwhile, worries he could be placed back in his father’s custody if his mother is arrested upon their return to Hungary.

Waldman has applied to the Federal Court for intervention and the family has submitted a humanitarian and compassionate application to remain in Canada. They’ve also asked the CBSA to delay their deportation.

But with only days left before their scheduled removal date, they worry none of these decisions will come soon enough.

They’re asking Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen to intervene in their case, at least until their application to stay in Canada can be heard.

“It’s seven or eight years that we spent here we’ll not get back,” Adam said. “Canada provided such a barrier between [my father] and us that can protect us in such a way that no other country can.”

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


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Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme




Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year




In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal




MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.


The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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