Calgary orthodontists stepping up after patients allege they paid for services they didn’t receive – Calgary


The Alberta Dental Association and College (ADA&C) says it’s “aware of a disruption” at a Calgary orthodontist’s office that has drawn outcries online over services that were allegedly paid for but not completed.

In an email confirmed to Global News from late January, Dr. Richard Halpern writes to his patients that “for several personal reasons I am no longer able to provide you with orthodontic care.”

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On a number of online review sites, commenters who claim they were patients say they paid for services that were not finished by the time of that email and beyond.

“We understand patients have been given contradictory information and are understandably confused and frustrated,” read a statement from ADA&C CEO Dr. Randall Croutze.

“The ADA&C, along with the Alberta Society of Orthodontists (ASO), have reached out to the larger orthodontic community in Calgary and area to help provide resources for these patients, including being as accommodating as possible regarding treatment fees.”

When asked to provide his side of the situation, Dr. Halpern said he “cannot provide any comment.”

In an email, ASO President Greg Barnett said: “the most heartbreaking cases are the ones who have paid up front, or at least are done paying their contract, but still have braces on and require months of further treatment, retainers, etc.”

“Orthodontists are aware of this terrible situation and are jumping in to help,” Barnett’s email read.

“We understand the frustration and sense of panic patients are having and want to reassure them that the rest of the profession in Calgary and beyond is stepping up to help.”

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The ADA&C is advising any impacted patients to not postpone any treatment they need because of this incident. Halpern’s office will open again next Tuesday after the long weekend for patients to access their records.

Halpern’s late January email also states that patients would be left in the care of two other orthodontists, who told Global news in a statement that their “concern for the patients that would be left stranded required us to step in an interim basis to assess the unfortunate decision.”

The ADA&C is now working with “the orthodontists involved to ensure continuity of care for these patients, and that the integrity of patients’ records are upheld,” according to Croutze’s statement.

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


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Autism group says Ontario minister warned of 4 ‘long’ years if they didn’t publicly back changes


An association of behaviour analysts says Ontario’s minister in charge of the autism program told them it would be a long four years for them if they did not publicly support recent changes.

The Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis says in a note to members today that Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod and her staff requested a quote of support a few days before the new program was announced.

They say the request came without providing full details of the new program — which they say will leave many children without the level of therapy they need.

The association says MacLeod and her staff indicated that failure to provide a supportive quote would result in « four long years » for the organization.

MacLeod’s office did not immediately provide a response. MacLeod announced last week that in order to clear a backlog of 23,000 children waiting for publicly funded autism therapy, families will get up to $140,000 to pay for treatment, though funding will be subject to annual caps that families and advocates say will fall far short of what’s needed for intensive therapy.

The funding is dependent on age, rather than individual needs for varying levels of intensity. Families will receive a maximum of $140,000 for a child in treatment from the ages of two to 18, also dependent on family income, but advocates say intensive therapy can cost up to $80,000 per year.

Families will receive up to $20,000 a year until their child turns six. From that time until they are 18 it would be up to $5,000 a year.

 ‘We were expecting more’ 

MacLeod also reportedly told the Waterloo Region Record that Autism Ontario was among the organizations that support her plan, but the group released a statement saying that isn’t true.

« Autism Ontario neither proposed nor endorsed the announced changes to the (Ontario Autism Program) and is concerned about the impact these changes will have on children and families accessing the program, » it said in a statement.

The president-elect of the Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis said when her group met with government officials ahead of the policy announcement, they were disappointed in the tone.

 « Our meeting with the minister’s staff and the minister was prescriptive in nature, basically letting us know the direction of the changes, » said Kendra Thomson. « We were expecting more of a collaborative consultation process, given the gravity of the file. »


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Autism group says minister warned of ‘long, hard four years’ if they didn’t support changes


Behaviour analysts say children’s minister Lisa MacLeod and her staff threatened to make their lives miserable for the next four years if they didn’t endorse the government’s changes to autism services.

In a memo to members Wednesday, the board of the Ontario Association for Behavioural Analysts said “the minister and her staff requested that ONTABA provide a quote of support, without providing full details on the program, and indicated that failure to do so would result in “four long years’ for the organization.”

It went on to say that “the minister also indicated that if a quote of support was not forthcoming, a communication that behaviour analysts are ‘self-interested’ would be released from her office … In spite of the implied risk, the organization refused.”

One analyst who attended the meeting said it was more “akin to dealing with a mob boss than an elected official.”

The rift with ONTABA is part of an escalating division between the Ford government and some in the autism community in the wake of its overhaul to the system, which MacLeod has pledged will clear the massive wait list for services in two years.

Parents of children with autism are also feeling bruised by the government’s dismissal of the Ontario Autism Coalition, a grassroots Facebook group of parent advocates, as “professional protesters.”

A senior source in the community and social services ministry said staff had met with ONTABA four times — and had provided details of the coming changes, and was under the understanding a supportive quote was planned. However, the source said, different representatives attended the final meeting and the tone changed.

The government “had a number of productive and cordial meetings” with the therapists as well as others in the autism community, from parents to service providers, said the source.

The source did not recall MacLeod saying that should the group not provide public support, rocky relations would ensue.

“She certainly said that we are committed to this plan,” said the source.

Several service providers and hospitals provided endorsements of the plan.

Meanwhile, the government faced more opposition from Autism Ontario, which said despite ministry claims, the organization will not be managing intake or dispersing money to families over the next year while the province overhauls autism funding.

Autism Ontario said its statement is aimed at correcting a “number of misunderstandings or assumptions,” since the government announced age-based funding caps to clear a therapy wait list of 23,000 kids, the organization said.

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The organization came under fire from angry parents last week when MacLeod suggested Autism Ontario was playing an integral part in her government’s plan to shift control of provincial funding for autism services from regional agencies to parents.

In at least one media interview, MacLeod said Autism Ontario will be directly involved with the new funding regime.

Under the changes announced by MacLeod Feb. 6, children with autism up to age 6 will receive lifetime caps of up to $140,000 until age 18, while those over age 6 will get $55,000. Funding will be aimed at low- to moderate-income families with those earning more than $250,000 no longer eligible, she said.

But parents, whose noisy protests in 2016 convinced the previous Liberal government to reverse a similar age-based funding scheme, say the Progressive Conservative plan makes the same mistake. They say the new funding falls woefully short of meeting the needs of children with complex needs whose therapy may cost as much as $80,000 a year. And it may be too much for others. It will likely mean cuts to 8,400 children currently receiving help with no funding cap, they add.

In a statement, ministry officials confirmed Autism Ontario will not be directly involved with the wait list or the funding.

Autism Ontario has been supporting families and people with autism in Ontario for the past 46 years and has parent representatives across the province through 25 local chapters, said spokesperson Katharine Buchan. It supports and advocates on behalf of both children and adults with autism through workshops, training and individual support, she added.

Social media attacks against the organization’s staff and volunteers, many of whom are also parents with autistic children, have been difficult, she said.

One part-time Autism Ontario staffer in a local chapter, who is a mother of an autistic child, called police over what she felt were threatening Facebook posts from another mother, Buchan confirmed.

“The anger is justified, but I’m not sure it makes sense to be directing it at one another when we need to be working together ensure that all children’s needs are met,” she said.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the government should not be “labelling groups of parents who are doing their best for their children as professional protesters.

“It’s despicable. Shameful.” she added.

“They are using these tactics to try to besmirch these parents, parents who are very worried about their children,” she said in an interview

She called analysts’ claim they were pressured to endorse the autism overhaul “strong arming professionals in the autism field, trying to knuckle them down and prevent them from providing their professional opinion on the government’s changes.”

Kendra Thomson, the incoming president of ONTABA, said her organization was not provided with any details about how their profession would be regulated, and because they weren’t told what the government’s planned registry would look like, they could not publicly support it.

As for allegations ONTABA is a lobby group, she said it is a non-profit that represents a number of professionals and promotes evidence-based services.

She also said the group was not “meaningfully consulted” on the autism changes, and despite the discord, “if we were given the opportunity to provide meaningful conversation, that would surpass the tone and anything (communicated) to date.”

She said ONTABA’s representatives left that final meeting feeling very disappointed, though “the tone was consistent with previous meetings with myself and others.”

Louis Busch, a past-president of ONTABA who attended the final meeting with the minister and her staff, said he went as a “private citizen” and that it was a tense meeting from the outset, unlike any he has attended with the past five ministers to hold this portfolio.

Busch, a board-certified behaviour analyst who works with adults, said after pressing for details, they were told a regulatory college would not be announced, but a website would provide a list “which is not regulation.”

Busch noted that MacLeod said without public support from ONTABA, “it’s going to be a long, hard four years for you.”

“This was more akin to meeting with a mob boss than an elected official,” Busch said.

Meanwhile, at a Wednesday announcement on Ontario’s fiscal situation, Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said there will no additional funding for autism services beyond the $321 million announced last week.

“There were 23,000 families with children with autism who received no help whatsoever, so this plan is a fair, sustainable, and equitable plan,” said Fedeli, noting it has been well-received in his hometown of North Bay.

“We all don’t have the same services that are readily available in the south, so we’ve delivered on that. That’s why at home they’re very happy with this plan,” the treasurer said.

With files from Robert Benzie

Laurie Monsebraaten is a Toronto-based reporter covering social justice. Follow her on Twitter: @lmonseb

Kristin Rushowy is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow her on Twitter: @krushowy


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Conservative Party reverses course on Trost, now says MP didn’t leak list to firearms group


A year and a half after it accused one of its MPs of leaking a list of Conservative Party members to a firearms rights group, the party has changed course and now says Brad Trost had nothing to do with the leak.

‘In short, [the Leadership Election Organizing Committee] does not believe there is evidence that the Trost Campaign was responsible for leaking of the membership list, and … this matter is now closed, » said a statement by party spokesman Cory Hann.

In June of 2017, the Conservative Party alleged that the office of former party leadership candidate Brad Trost, the MP for Saskatoon University, gave a list of the party’s members to the National Firearms Association.

The Conservative Party used a practice called « salting » to trace unauthorized releases of its membership list: each leadership campaign received a slightly different copy of the list to allow officials to pinpoint leaks.

Trost, who finished fourth in the leadership contest, was ordered to pay a fine of $50,000 and an additional $22,000 to cover the party’s legal costs.

Trost’s campaign asked the courts to launch a judicial review of the party’s decision. The courts declined. In a decision released in May, 2018, the Ontario Superior Court said it couldn’t launch a judicial review of Trost’s case because the dispute involved a private organization.

The socially conservative Saskatchewan MP maintained his innocence and threatened to take his battle to the Supreme Court of Canada if necessary to clear his name.

‘Insufficient evidence’

According to a statement from the party’s organizing committee, the list possessed by the National Firearms Association was the copy of the list given to Trost’s campaign, but « there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the Trost Campaign was the source of its leak. »

« Accordingly, the non-compliance ruling against the Trost Campaign by LEOC on June 8, 2017 has been overturned, » Hann said in a statement.

« The Conservative Party of Canada and the Trost Campaign have come to a settlement with regards to the financial aspects of the decision, including the fine and the judicially awarded costs from a related legal action. »

Despite the fact that his dispute with the party has been settled, Trost won’t be representing the Conservatives in the next election. He’s one of a handful of incumbent Conservative MPs who had to fight to run again for the party in the 2019 election. Trost lost the nomination battle to provincial politician Corey Tochor.

‘We’re extremely pleased’

While Trost initially suggested elements within the party were trying to oust him, he ultimately blamed the loss of his nomination on himself, saying he was « too complacent. »

Joseph C. Ben-Ami, Trost’s former campaign manager, told CBC News that it had been their argument from the outset that the campaign was not the only body to have access to Trost’s salted version of the list.

« We’re extremely pleased. Its exactly what we’ve said all along, » said Ben-Ami. « We never were in a position to dispute whether or not the list that was obtained by the National Firearms Association was the same that the party had provided to us.

« Our position was always that we were not, certainly, the only people with a copy of that list and we were not the source, and that was it … So we’re very happy. It’s taken a while, but there it is. »


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Claire Fitzsimmons Is the Sexual Wellness Guide We Didn’t Know We Needed


In Person of Interest, we talk to the people catching our eye right now about what they’re doing, eating, reading, and loving. Next up is Claire Fitzsimmons, founder and director of Salty, a newsletter and online publication exploring modern dating, sex, and relationships for women, trans, and non-binary people.

In the world of wellness, there’s a bit of an illusion when it comes to sex. Everyone and their mother is glowing, doing tantric yoga, and looking “accidentally” cute with their S.O. in matching, sustainably made leisurewear—but is anyone talking about, uh, the sex itself?

Claire Fitzsimmons is.

Photo courtesy of Salty

Fitzsimmons is the founder of Salty, a weekly-ish newsletter and online publication full of the sex and dating advice we all wanted but were afraid to ask for, like texting templates that help you set boundaries and essays about how kink can help heal emotional trauma. Fitzsimmons herself is a powerhouse non-binary femme and a staple of the NYC fashion and nightlife scene. “I’m not a Cosmopolitan girl, I’m not Alluring, I’m not Glamorous, and I’m not in Vogue, that’s for sure,” she tells me in an e-mail. Instead, Ms. Fitz (as she is commonly known) is all about amplifying non-cis-heteronormative voices that are not often heard. “Collaboration means listening to others first,” Fitzsimmons says.

Sustaining a digital platform that highlights NSFW content that isn’t porn has been incredibly challenging, and Fitzsimmons has encountered obstacles (i.e., the patriarchy) every step of the way. Salty kept getting booted from mass e-mail platforms, and Instagram/Facebook refused to allow promotional posts (and kept deleting photos with even the hint of a nipple). Then hackers deleted their whole site after Salty broke an important #MeToo story. Still, the bright, brash voice of Salty cuts through the millennial pink clouds of other sex and dating sites. “Salt is visceral and human,” says Fitzsimmons. “Sweat is salty, tears are salty, sex tastes salty.”

Here’s what Ms. Fitz has to say about sex and saltiness in all its forms.

What keeps me going despite the haters… is all the amazing supporters who are super vocal. There are hackers, MRAs, trolls, and tone police, too. It comes with the territory. If you’re on the internet all day, it’s easy to think the world is full of assholes, but the thing to remember when it all seems too much is that you don’t hear the people who don’t say anything. Most people are reasonable and kind. There are way more silent supporters than there are people who want to bring you down. And I know that because I see the numbers, and I read the lovely messages from our community.

I’ve learned… to stop trying to please everyone. In the beginning of Salty I would get so upset if someone said something mean or rude about our mission, but over time I’ve come to realize that no matter what you do, someone is going to have a problem with it, so you might as well just do you.

I blow off steam by… riding my bike through Brooklyn. Oh and masturbating, duh!

Sexual wellness is… essential for your mental wellness.

My favorite sex toy is… my faithful rabbit! (I’m old school).

I’m always snacking on… CBD gummies. They are my JAM! Also iced tea. After I quit booze and coffee a year ago (#soberlife) I’ve become hopelessly addicted to iced tea. I like really shitty American iced tea from Dunkin Donuts (sorry, Healthyish). But it’s better than the alternatives. I snack on popcorn, too.


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Peckish Eggs Are Everything We Didn’t Know We Wanted in a Snack | Healthyish


It hurts for me to even remember, let alone publicly reveal, a period I call Life Before Eggs. But yes, there was a time when those little chicken embryos were just Not. My. Thing. I was particularly opposed to the chalky, crumbly yolks that my young tastebuds associated with garden soil, and I’d beg my my good, protein-peddling Ma for “just the whites, pleeeeaase.”

It wasn’t until recently, when I tried Peckish, that all that changed. These aren’t just any eggs! Peckish—a direct-to-consumer, hard-boiled egg company incubated by Jon Sebastiani’s Sonoma Brands—sells organic, free-range, and certified-humane eggs in very pretty packaging. These eggs are boiled to perfection (okay, so they’re definitely on the well-done side. But who wants UPS to handle your jammy yolks, anyway?). According to VP of Brand Lauren Egan, nerdy chefs closely monitor cooking temperatures from start to finish. The resulting eggs are “exactly how we love to make them at home—not too hard and not too soft,” she says.


Photo by Chelsea Kyle

Just look at that savory sprinkle.

“But wait a minute,” you’re thinking. “What about those yolks you always hated?” Inside each of their Peck Packs, along with two individually wrapped eggs, comes a container of sprinkles in one of five flavors: Everything (yep, like the bagel), Fried Rice, Rancheros, Salt & Pepitas, and Maple Waffles. You just dunk your egg, bite, and repeat. The toppings are all gluten and refined sugar free, paleo, keto, and Whole30, too. They’re made from things like organic quinoa crispies, roasted pepitas, and dehydrated veggies. And the only sweeteners you’ll ever see are coconut sugar and maple syrup.

Aside from a quick snack, Peckish eggs and toppings are also easily incorporated into (sprinkled on) meals. Egan suggests adding the Fried Rice eggs to a quick ramen or the Everything flavor into a sandwich. “Rancheros on avocado toast is a crowd favorite,” she says.

So sue me: I love hard-boiled eggs now.

Back in Australia, we’d call this pivot a “Steve Bradbury.” It’s is a complex and culturally niche reference. But in this analogy, Peckish is Steve, triumphantly skating from underdog into the gold medal slot. Honestly, you just have to watch it.

Buy it: Peckish eggs are available in multiple local retailers, and via their website.

All products featured on Healthyish are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


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Man admits he dismembered woman whose remains were found behind a Riverdale meat shop, but says he didn’t kill her


Ian Albert Ohab has admitted in court he dismembered the body of a 30-year-old woman whose partial remains were found behind a meat shop in Riverdale and on a conveyor belt at a North York recycling plant.

But while the 40-year-old pleaded guilty to indignity to a body, he pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder of Melissa Cooper sometime between April 15 and 19, 2016.

Prosecutors say Melissa Cooper, 30, was killed sometime between April 15 and 19, 2016. Her partial remains were found in a waste bin behind a meat shop on Broadview Ave.
Prosecutors say Melissa Cooper, 30, was killed sometime between April 15 and 19, 2016. Her partial remains were found in a waste bin behind a meat shop on Broadview Ave.  (TORONTO POLICE SERVICE)

Ohab originally pleaded not guilty to both charges last week as jury selection was getting underway.

On the opening day of the jury trial Monday, the prosecution outlined the anticipated evidence in a case Crown attorney Bev Richards said is “about a young woman who is killed by a man she encounters by chance in the elevator of an apartment building.”

“The man who killed and cut up her body with a hack saw is the accused in this trial, Ian Albert Ohab,” Richards said.

Cooper went to that building at 220 Oak St., near Gerrard and River Sts., around midnight April 14, 2016, to visit a friend who, like herself, battled alcohol and drug addiction. Richards said that friend, Maurice Liberty, will testify Cooper left his 18th-floor apartment after about a half-hour and told him “I’ll be back.”

Read more: Why was a publication ban imposed on Melissa Cooper’s identity?

Cooper, who had other friends in the building, appeared fine, was not high or drunk and left her backpack behind, Richards told the jury.

Surveillance footage shows Ohab joined by Cooper on an elevator on the 15th floor around 1:35 a.m., Richards said. “There appears to be some interaction between them. A minute later both Melissa and Ian Ohab get off the elevator at the 23rd floor and turn left in the direction of Ian Ohab’s apartment,” she said. “She is never seen alive again.”

On Saturday, April 16, 2016, security footage recorded Ohab “coming and going” in various locations throughout the building, Richards said. On one occasion, she said, Ohab was captured carrying a distinctive large gym bag, and other times he can be seen with a large shopping cart wheeling out an item wrapped in a plastic bag. He was also seen throwing items into garbage dumpsters at 220 Oak St., the prosecutor said.

The Crown also alleges Ohab that day rode his bicycle to a hardware store on Parliament St. and purchased a 10-inch tubular hacksaw that he used to cut up Cooper’s body and dispose of in various locations, including the lower half of her torso in a waste bin behind Charlie’s Meat Shop at 383 Broadview Ave. Her arm was discovered in a bag on a conveyor belt at the North York recycling plant. No other body parts, including her head, have been found.

A neighbour will testify Ohab came to his apartment around that time, although he does not remember the exact date, twice asking to borrow soap and bleach, Richards said.

A forensic pathologist will testify he cannot provide a cause of death “given the limited tissues” available, nor was he able to rule out any cause of death, nor pinpoint the time of death. Cooper’s mother, Michelle Ball, reported her daughter missing after she failed to show up for dinner at her grandmother’s or respond to phone calls or texts.

Cooper’s DNA was also found under floor tiles in the Ohab’s bathroom, Richards told the jury.

Richards said while Cooper struggled with addiction issues since she was 14, and was living on the streets for a period of time, she had begun rebuilding her life.

She had her own basement apartment where she lived with her cat and was going to counselling for severe anxiety issues. She was also learning to manage her money and budget wisely and volunteering at a mission with her grandmother.

Ohab is a tall man who wears his thick black hair swept back. He was wearing a dark suit, glasses and took notes during Richards’ opening address.

The Crown’s case will include witness testimony, video surveillance footage, diagrams and photographs, Richards said.

Betsy Powell is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and courts. Follow her on Twitter: @powellbetsy


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17 Sleeper Hit Recipes You May Have Forgotten About—But We Didn’t


Carla Lalli Music submitted a recipe that slides under the radar because it’s TOO BEAUTIFUL. “I don’t understand why more people don’t make this,” she said. “Oh wait, maybe it’s because you have to perfectly slice a bunch of potatoes, par-cook them in batches with homemade clarified butter, then shingle them in a mesmerizing spiral pattern, working in layers and drizzling with more butter all the time. Once that’s accomplished, you have to cook it in stages, first on the stovetop and finally in the oven. But: My word. When this thing comes out of the oven it is a testament to everything holy about potatoes, butter, and salt, and why they belong together, forever.”


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This man says Toronto police left him with a broken nose and a serious eye injury. His lawyer wants to know why they didn’t tell the SIU


Toronto police Const. David Hopkinson, speaking generally on Toronto Police Service policy, said police are expected to notify the SIU as soon as they’re aware that an injury might be serious or when they’re uncertain of an injury’s severity but recognize there’s a possibility it could fall under the SIU’s mandate.

On the SIU’s website, it states they are also to be notified if “a prolonged delay is likely before the seriousness of the injury can be assessed,” so that they can monitor the situation.

SIU investigators interviewed Clarke on Dec. 17. He also filed a complaint with the Office of the Independent Review Director on Dec. 20.

Clarke said police charged him at the Scarborough hospital and released him from custody on a promise to appear in court,

This story is based on police and medical documents provided to the Star by Clarke, from an interview with him in his lawyer’s office and his written account given to the OIPRD.

“Given this case is now under investigation by the SIU and by Professional Standards I am unable to offer any comment on the allegations that have been brought forward,” Toronto police spokesperson Meaghan Gray said.

Once the SIU becomes involved, police typically do not release information on a case. None of Clarke’s allegations have been proven in court.

The knocking began after 8 p.m.

“Somebody was calling, ‘Joe, hey Joe,’” Clarke told the OIPRD. Through the apartment door’s peephole, he said he saw a woman, whom he later learned was a plainclothes police officer. She had a pony tail, and was not wearing identification, he said.

“I thought maybe this was a crazy person,” Clarke, who lives with a cousin in a 10th-floor apartment unit, told the Star. He said he hoped the woman would leave, but the knocking continued, along with more calls for a “Joe.”

Clarke said he went back to the door and heard it being unlocked from the outside. He tried to lock the door, but it was unlocked again.

“And then, she just come in and I see all the police officers pointing a gun at me,” Clarke said.

Clarke said several officers in plainclothes — at least two women and three men — entered the apartment, when one male officer then put his gun in his holster and “just starts swinging,” said Clarke.

In his complaint, Clarke estimates being punched 20 times, including to his head and face, by a number of officers. He said he was down on the floor and recalls being kicked and held in a headlock.

It felt, he told the Star, “like my eye was coming out of my head.”

In his complaint, Clarke said it was while they were punching that the officers identified themselves as police.

He said he recalls an officer yelling, “Toronto police, stop resisting arrest.” To which he said he responded: “I’m not fighting, I’m not fighting,” and said, “I can’t breathe. You’re choking me.”

Clarke said he put his hands behind his back, was handcuffed and seated in a chair. He said “there was another police officer standing up and he had his gun on me, the whole time.” The female officer from the peephole, he said, looked at his facial injuries and said: “Whoa, which one of us did that?”

Clarke said the police — he said he doesn’t know the identities of any of the plainclothes officers — were looking for drugs and the brother of his roommate, who was on probation but had never lived there.

Clarke presented the Star with a copy of the search warrant, which does not list a name.

A police photographer arrived and documented the search while Clarke sat with his injuries.

“After they finished the searching, they say, ‘Oh, we don’t have him in custody no more. Take the handcuffs off and just wait. The paramedics are coming.’ And I was sitting there waiting on the paramedics,” Clarke said.

Clarke said he was seen by medical staff at The Scarborough Hospital who determined the eye damage required reconstructive work that would have to wait for morning, when a plastic surgeon would be on shift.

After about two hours at the hospital, Clarke said two plainclothes officers whom he did not recognize from the apartment search told him he was being charged with obstructing and resisting a police officer. He said the officers then asked him to sign a release form that meant he would not immediately have to go to the station to be booked or held for bail.

In his complaint, Clarke said police told him if he didn’t sign, they would take him to the station and his eye damage could become worse. Clarke said he signed after more than an hour.

Clarke was due to appear again at a police station to be fingerprinted and booked on the obstruct and resist charge, and has a first court appearance on Jan. 11.

Clarke said he had a first surgery in the morning after the incident and may require a second. He said he was also treated for a “nasal fracture.” According to a doctor’s report, he reported no change in vision in his left eye at the time, but he said that has since changed.

“I can’t see things closely, so it’s, like, foggy, and there’s a lot of pain,” Clarke said, adding he is suffering from headaches and doesn’t think he can see well enough to drive a car. Followup appointments with his doctor and an ophthalmologist are coming, he said.

Clarke said he has not returned to his apartment, fearing someone might let themselves in. “It’s kind of scary,” he said. He doesn’t think he can return to any kind of work for now and is now looking at going on social assistance.

In a recent report into Toronto police use of force, the Ontario Human Rights Commission — part of its ongoing inquiry into racial discrimination and racial profiling by the service — found “themes” in a review of SIU director’s reports related to police and Black citizens. In a number of cases, the SIU stated there was a “lack of legal basis” for police stopping and detaining a civilian at the beginning of an encounter, and “laying charges against the civilian that are without merit.”

Singh, Clarke’s lawyer, said he’s concerned he was the one who notified the SIU of the incident — as in the case of an off-duty Toronto police officer charged with beating Dafonte Miller, a Black teen, in Durham. Miller lost an eye in that incident, but it was his lawyer who contacted SIU.

“I had to take the initiative, and I have to thank the SIU for being very open and transparent and moving quick on this,” Singh told the Star. “But how often does this happen, and if I wasn’t offering my services to Mr. Clarke, would he get justice? It’s a huge concern that incidents like this go unreported, and even if they get reported, they go unassisted.”

SIU investigations can takes several months to complete. The SIU director then decides if any criminal charges are warranted.

“These allegations really bother me due to the nature of them, whereby (police are) attending an address for someone who is not wanted by police, they don’t identify themselves as police at the door, and then once they enter the apartment, there’s no attempt to ascertain his identity, ensure safety,” said Singh. “It’s just straight violence, as alleged by Mr. Clarke.”

With files from Alexandra Jones

Jim Rankin is a reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @Jleerankin


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Would-be lawyer concedes she ‘didn’t get the whole civility thing at all’ at Law Society of Ontario hearing


As, indeed, the bang-for-bucks wasn’t even addressed by the three-headed Law Society tribunal hearing, although the raunchy details are flat-out boasted on Guo’s social media platforms.

The good character hearing was focused on Guo’s behaviour, whilst she was working as an articling student from July to December 2015, and complaints filed with the Law Society by a handful of its members.

Among Guo’s code of conduct infractions: That she leaked confidential disclosure information about a case from a private lawyer-to-lawyer Criminal Lawyers’ Association website onto her widely read Twitter account and responded “uncivilly” to a pair of lawyers who’d urged her to knock it off, according to the agreed statement of facts; that she’d once been arrested (but not charged) for giving the finger to staff at a civil court clerk’s office, ticked off after waiting some four hours to be served; that she’d “scooped” another lawyer’s client from a courthouse, which is not allowed; that she’d tweeted about her “girl crush” on a female judge, her former professor at Osgoode Hall Law School; that she’d made stroppy remarks on social media about a Crown counsel (identifying that person by name) and suggesting “the entire administration of justice is corrupt,” and that she’d been fired from a law firm where she’d worked as a student five years ago, for wearing “totally inappropriate, ultra-revealing clothing, which made staff uncomfortable.”

Now those are allegations — well, agreed facts — that a law tribunal could sink its teeth into. They are not remotely concerned — it ain’t their lookout — about the sexual moonlighting. That is, presumably, part of Guo’s alternate reality. Robes by day, peel by night.

The petite 28-year-old fidgeted restlessly as defense lawyer Kris Borg-Olivier dove into the ASF, appearing to quiver like a tuning fork from the tip of her tiny ponytail to the bottom of her red-soled pumps (Louboutines), furiously jiggling one foot. Had difficulty walking on those heels, though, galumphing to the witness chair. That ballyhooed dexterity seems to quit at the ankles.

“I started my Twitter just as a way to document things I was going through,” Guo began. This was an entry point to the CLA website issue, in which she shot back at the complainant: “Dude, don’t compare me to yourself. It’s so f- insulting.” Also called him a “psychotic f-.”

Definitely a sling wide of the civil and respectful deportment allegedly expected among the lawyerly class.

“I overstepped my bounds a bit and made some catty comments,” Guo conceded.

Everyone on the CLA list saw the exchange. “A lot of people said I was out of line.” But she added: “As a young female in the profession, you’re often told what to do by older men.”

More specifically, as per the riposte, privileged white men.

“I wanted to retain my voice,” Guo explained of her hostile attitude. “But I guess in doing so, I said some things that I shouldn’t have.”

If she had a curl on her forehead, she’d be twirling it.

Guo was full of regrets, appropriately couched, yesterday. Like that thing about girl-crushing on a judge, using the jurist’s first name in a tweet. “I understand now that I shouldn’t be trying to establish a familiarity with a member of the bench.”

As for the Crown she dissed by name, Guo, sounding very much like the social justice warriors she claims (on social media) to dislike, said she was angry that a significant detail about the accused allegedly being beaten by a cop had been withheld from the public. “I shouldn’t put my personal duty out there. It doesn’t get me anywhere. All I succeeded in doing was ticking people off …. Showing respect to senior members of the bar is also important.”

And about that almost-arrest? She’d been trying to file a statement of defense for the lawyer under whom she’d been articling. The set -up involved taking a number to be served and the clerks were just lazing around. Guo confronted a couple of them. “They told me to sit back down. I gave one of them the finger.”

A security guard was summoned to remove her. Guo demanded to know on what authority he was acting. “I didn’t think I was that disorderly. I wasn’t screaming. I did make a disrespectful gesture.”

That got her ejected, and, she says, knocked to the ground outside when she tried to take a photo of the security guard’s badge number. Meanwhile, her car was being towed.

Again and again, Guo acknowledged, her unwillingness to go meekly has landed her in trouble. But since 2015, she’s been taking sessions with a certified executive coach, found a lawyer-mentor and has been seeing a therapist to address attitude issues. She took a break from the law but has since completed her articling with another lawyer.

“Obviously, I understand better now how the justice system works. I’ve come to expect that things will take time. I’m working on become a more patient person … less antagonism doing things.”

On the younger version of herself: “If I thought I was in the right, then it was okay for me to say anything. Obviously that approach has failed me. I now go about things with a more reserved approach.”

The “coach,” in particular, has imparted valuable advice: “You can’t take on the world alone. You can’t alienate everybody. It backfired on me.”

See, she was just so frustrated with the sluggish and autocratic judicial system. “Taking things personally, over-compensating for my lack of power in the system. It made me feel insignificant, even though I know I had a lot to offer. I wanted to show the profession that I deserved the respect I wanted.”

That was why, as well, she launched a website onto which she downloaded stories about miscarriages of justice, naming names. “I wanted to bring transparency to the legal system, which I think it needs more of.”

The website still exists, although the look-at-this-stuff links have been removed.

Guo’s character predicament pretty much boils down to this: “I didn’t get the whole civility thing at all.”

More than ever, said Guo, this experience has doubled-down her desire to be a lawyer. “I’ve been tested. I’ve had my chance to look back and reflect on it. I definitely would love the chance to practice criminal law, if I get it. It’s my love and my passion.”

Passion to spare, it seems, on that other thing.

From her webpage: “I guess I was destined to be a professional seductress …. It wasn’t long before I realized I could be charging men for the pleasure of pleasuring me. Seduction was my first tongue.”

From her Tumblr account: The following is a non-inclusive list of the different encounters you can experience with me, either in place of a more traditional encounter or in addition to it: Edging, Domination, Roleplay, 420/cannabis-enhanced sessions, Photography, Hot tub dates, Duos, Groups, couples, gangbangs, MMFs/MFMs etc.….”

The tribunal has reserved its decision.

Rosie DiManno is a columnist based in Toronto covering sports and current affairs. Follow her on Twitter: @rdimanno


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