Trump announces ‘national emergency’ in bizarre White House appearance

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WASHINGTON—He boasted that he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, then complained that he wouldn’t win.

He said he doesn’t know far-right pundit Ann Coulter, then said he “hardly” knows her, then said he used to talk to her, then said she’d be very nice to talk to.

He contradicted his chief trade negotiator on negotiations with China. He promoted North Korea as an ideal location for economic development. He uttered a series of lies and misleading statements about immigration, saying it was everyone else who was lying.

And he said he didn’t actually need to declare the national emergency he was speaking in the Rose Garden to declare.

In a rambling, defensive and thoroughly bizarre appearance on the White House grounds on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump made an unfocused stream-of-consciousness case for his immigration emergency while also musing at length about a variety of related and unrelated topics.

In arguably the strangest moment of the morning, he appeared to undermine his case that an emergency is necessary.

“I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this. But I’d rather do it much faster,” he said. He repeated: “I just want to get it done faster.”

Democrats immediately seized on Trump’s remarks.

“Mr. President, how can this possibly be an national emergency if you’re saying you don’t need to do it? Unreal,” Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said on Twitter.

Trump also signed into law on Friday a spending deal reached by Democrats and Republicans to fund security initiatives on the Mexican border. Trump was dissatisfied with the deal because it included less than $1.5 billion for about 55 miles of border barriers, much less than the $5.7 billion and 234 miles he had demanded for the giant wall he had repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for.

Trump is seeking to use the emergency declaration to seize money Congress had allocated to other areas of government and use it for the wall. The New York Times reported Friday that his team is looking at taking $3.6 billion budgeted for military construction, $2.5 billion from anti-drug projects and $600 million from an asset forfeiture fund.

Though presidents have broad authority to declare emergencies, there has never been an emergency declared so a president could pay for his controversial initiative with money not approved by Congress for that purpose.

Democrats and some Republicans have called Trump’s plan an unconstitutional abuse of power. Trump suggested there was a double standard for him, saying that “nobody cares” when other presidents declare emergencies.

And he dismissed concerns about his plan to grab money that had been allocated to the military.

“Some of the generals think that this is more important. I was speaking to a couple of ’em, they think this is far more important than what they were going to use it for,” he said, not naming them. “I said, ‘What were you going to use it for?’ I won’t go into details, but didn’t sound too important to me.”

Trump said it would be easy to win the court challenge that is almost certain to be filed, since he is declaring the emergency over a “virtual invasion” of drugs, gangs and human traffickers.

But he also said he thought he might well lose in the initial case, then again on appeal. Speaking in a singsong voice as he offered a series of unusual predictions about the next steps in the case, he said it was only at the Supreme Court where he hoped to get a “fair shake.”

The state of California and independent organizations have said they plan to sue.

“President Trump is manufacturing a crisis and declaring a made-up ‘national emergency’ in order to seize power. This ‘emergency’ is a national disgrace — and the blame lays solely at the feet of the president. Our message to the White House is simple: CA will see you in court,” Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Twitter.

As at previous immigration speeches, Trump invited the mothers of people killed by unauthorized immigrants, known as “angel moms,” to attend this one. When he was asked to respond to critics who say he is manufacturing this supposed crisis, he turned to the women and said, “What do you think? You think I’m creating something? Ask these incredible women.”

Trump was similarly dismissive of immigration-related data.

Rejecting his own government’s conclusion that most drugs that come in through Mexico are smuggled through legal ports of entry rather than unwalled desert, he declared that this was “all a lie.”

Rejecting official data that shows the number of apprehensions at the southwest border is less than a third what it was two decades ago, Trump said, “We have far more people trying to get into our country today than probably we have ever had before.”

Rejecting studies that show illegal immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than native citizens, Trump said, “You don’t really believe that stat, do you? Do you really believe that stat?”

And rejecting human trafficking experts who have said that a large percentage of victims come through legal ports of entry, Trump said that this is impossible, since border officers would notice “three women with tape on their mouth.” Experts say victims are usually tricked or coerced into crossing, not physically restrained.

Trump himself was critical of Democratic predecessor Barack Obama for bypassing Congress with unilateral action on immigration, tweeting in 2014: “Repubs must not allow Pres Obama to subvert the Constitution of the US for his own benefit & because he is unable to negotiate w/ Congress.”

Asked about this on Friday, Trump said the current situation is different — because he is taking unilateral action after making an inadequate deal with Congress, not after making no deal.

“I went through Congress, I made a deal. I got almost $1.4 billion when I wasn’t supposed to get $1 — not $1. ‘He’s not going to get $1,’ he said, not saying who he was quoting. “Well, I got $1.4 billion. But I’m not happy with it.”

Daniel Dale is the Star’s Washington bureau chief. He covers U.S. politics and current affairs. Follow him on Twitter: @ddale8

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Big city mayors call for emergency federal funding to deal with housing crunch

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The mayors of Canada’s largest cities are ramping up pressure on the Trudeau government to deliver a major cash infusion to cope with a housing shortage they say has been driven in part by refugees.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities ‘Big City Mayors’ caucus was to gather in Ottawa today before meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and delivering its election year wish list for the 2019 federal budget — the last of the Liberal government’s current mandate.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said his city had to absorb roughly $5.7 million in additional housing costs in 2017 related to a spike in asylum seekers crossing the border from the United States. He said he expects the city took a similar hit in 2018.

« What often happens is a government will make a decision at a senior level and the consequences trickle down to us, » Watson said.

« Toronto received $11 million in July to deal with refugee claimants. Our city has received nothing. »

Share the burden, mayors say

The mayors don’t appear to have a specific sum in mind for emergency federal housing money. In late 2017, the Trudeau government rolled out a 10-year, $40-billion national housing strategy meant in part to address a severe shortage of affordable housing units in major cities, but the mayors appear to be looking for more near-term funding.

The RCMP intercepted 19,411 asylum seekers outside official border points in 2018, down from 20,593 in 2017.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said he agrees with Watson that the federal government ought to do more to share the burden of settling refugees outside of Toronto.

« [The federal government] makes the decisions about what happens at the border and Toronto is very supportive, for example, of admitting refugees, » he said. « We’ve had a historically compassionate approach in this country which we support. But the federal government, who admits refugees to the country, also has to take a hand in helping to house and settle them. »

Watson also said the federal government’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana use is ramping up the cost of police drug enforcement in his city.

« In our case we’re going to receive about $2 million for all enforcement inspections … and our staff estimate it’s more of a cost of $8 million so we’re going to have to absorb $6 million in costs, » he said.

« It’s almost like, you know, when the federal and provincial governments sneeze, we end up getting a cold. »

But the major ask from Canada’s largest cities is likely to be for federal transit funding. The mayors are looking for $34 billion over 10 years starting in 2028 for public transit services. Under their proposal, $30 billion of that would be distributed to cities based on ridership — $29 billion going to transit systems with a ridership over a certain threshold and the remaining $1 billion to smaller transit systems.

The other $4 billion would go to boosting ridership and to rural transit systems. The mayors also want the funding made permanent.

Political clout

« That allows Toronto to think about its next major subway expansion, it allows Halifax to start thinking about bus rapid transit and allows Edmonton to think about where light rail will go next, » said Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson​, chairman of the big city mayors’ caucus.

Iveson said he and his other large city mayors swing considerable political clout in a federal election year.

« These 22 mayors represent more than half the country’s population and two-thirds of its economy. So you know we have an opportunity to influence the course of the country. »

Infrastructure Minister François-Philippe Champagne said his government has already invested billions in transit.

« There have been repairs and upgrades of more than 2,000 kilometres of roads and highways, more than 170 kilometres of new highway, and more than 70 new bridges, » he said in an email. « Public transit across the country has seen improvements, including more than 3,000 new buses purchased, 3,700 buses repaired and refurbished, nearly 15,000 bus stops and shelters been upgraded, and more than 200 transit stations built or upgraded. »

Along with Trudeau, the mayors are expected to meet today with Champagne, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc and Bill Blair, the minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction.

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Trump lies his way through a visit to the border with Mexico as he escalates his ‘emergency’ threat

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WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump lied his way through a visit to the Mexican border on Thursday, returning again and again to false claims as he attempted to promote his proposed wall project.

He unleashed the dishonesty barrage, which included at least 10 false or misleading claims, as he escalated his threat to declare a “national emergency” if he cannot convince Democrats to agree to spend $5.7 billion on the border wall.

He said he would “probably” declare an emergency, if there was no deal to end the 20-day-long government shutdown he initiated because of the wall dispute, and he added, “I would almost say definitely.”

Declaring an emergency would possibly allow Trump to build and fund a wall without Congress’s approval.

But it would be certain to be challenged in court and prompt abuse-of-power accusations, and several senior congressional Republicans have already said they would not support such a drastic measure.

NBC and The New York Times reported Thursday that the White House was looking at the idea of funding part of the wall using billions in unspent money that was allocated to the Army Corps of Engineers budget. NBC and the Times said the funding pool includes money intended for projects in areas hit by natural disasters, including Puerto Rico and California.

Trump has previously threatened to deny federal assistance to hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico and to fire-damaged California, whose officials have criticized him.

The shutdown will be the longest in U.S. history if it continues until Saturday, as appears likely.

Pressure has mounted on Trump as it has dragged on.

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are scheduled to miss their first paychecks on Friday. The organization representing FBI agents issued a Thursday letter demanding an end to the shutdown, arguing that “financial security is a matter of national security.”

Trump’s Thursday dishonesty began even before he left Washington. He told reporters that, when he had promised during his campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall, he had never said this would be a direct payment.

“Obviously, I never said this, and I never meant, ‘they’re going to write out a cheque,’ ” he said, adding: “When I said ‘Mexico will pay for the wall,’ in front of thousands and thousands of people, obviously they’re not going to write a cheque. They are paying for the wall indirectly.”

He had not promised a “cheque” during the campaign, although he explicitly said “they may even write us a cheque,” but he had, in fact, made clear he was talking about a direct payment; a document still on his campaign website promised he would threaten Mexico with financial harm until it made an “easy” decision: “make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion.”

Trump claimed that the indirect payment he is now talking about would effectively be made by Mexico through the new North American trade agreement he has negotiated with Canada and Mexico.

But even if the agreement is eventually approved — Congress might take years before voting on it — it will never create a funding stream that can be allocated to an infrastructure project.

When he arrived in McAllen, Texas for an immigration roundtable at a Border Patrol station, Trump derided critics who dismiss walls as outdated and ineffective.

He said some old technology, such as the wheel, is timeless.

“A wheel is older than a wall,” he said.

He repeated it a few seconds later: “The wheel is older than the wall.

“Do you know that?”

Defensive walls predate wheels by thousands of years. (Jericho’s famous wall existed around 8,000 BC; the wheel is thought to have been invented around 3,500 BC.)

Seeking to portray Democrats as divided on the shutdown, Trump described a “big article” in which he said newly elected Democrats broke with party leadership and described the party’s “no wall” position as “indefensible.”

That did not happen.

An article in Politico merely included two Democrats expressing mild concern about how voters would respond to the extended shutdown.

Both of them continue to oppose the wall.

Trump again sought to use past presidents to bolster his case for the wall, suggesting that they, too, had wanted to build a wall: “They were going to build this wall in 2003, in 2006. They were going to build it 20 years ago. They were going to build it forever.”

While George W. Bush approved 700 miles of border fencing in 2006 — not the kind of giant concrete wall Trump campaigned on. Democrat Bill Clinton was president 20 years ago, and he made no effort to build a wall. Nor did Republican predecessors George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan; indeed, Reagan explicitly opposed the idea.

As he did in his Tuesday prime-time address, Trump offered a misleading description of Democrats’ position on the wall: This time, he said, “They said, ‘We don’t want a concrete wall.’ I said, ‘That’s OK, we’ll call it a steel barrier.’ ”

Democrats have objected to the project on the whole, not to Trump’s choice of material.

Trump left the Border Patrol station and went to the border, itself, at the Rio Grande. There, he told reporters, “The nice part about the wall or the barrier is I can have that worked out in 15 minutes. We can start construction.”

The construction process, which involves planning, study, contracting, and contentious property acquisition, would not begin nearly that fast.

Trying to exaggerate the problem of illegal immigration, Trump said of the Border Patrol: “They have done a fantastic job. Never so many apprehensions, ever, in our history.”

In reality, the number of apprehensions on the Mexican border in 2018, about 400,000, was not even a quarter of the total in 2000.

Daniel Dale is the Star’s Washington bureau chief. He covers U.S. politics and current affairs. Follow him on Twitter: @ddale8

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B.C. interior community left without emergency services overnight

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The Ashcroft Hospital emergency department has been forced to close overnight due to an unexpected lack of staff.

“The Ashcroft emergency department will be closed from 11 p.m. tonight (Friday) until 8 a.m. Saturday morning and from 9:20 p.m. Saturday night until 8 a.m. Sunday morning,” a release from Interior Health said.

Emergency services during the closure will be available in Kamloops or 100 Mile House, it said.

During the closure, residents requiring urgent care should call 911 or HealthLink BC at 811 to speak to a nurse about a health issue, according to Interior Health.

The unexpected closure is said to be temporary and the ER in Ashcroft will return to regular hours at 8 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 30.

The Ashcroft Hospital ER was shut down at least two other weekends in 2018 due to staff shortages.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Declare opioid overdoses a public health emergency, inquest says

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The province of Ontario should declare a public health emergency concerning the opioid overdose epidemic, a coroner’s jury has recommended.

The recommendation was among 55 that came at the conclusion of the inquest into the death of Bradley Chapman, a Toronto man who died of acute opioid toxicity in August 2015 at age 43.

It follows similar calls to the province last year from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and a group of more than 700 front-line health care workers.

“I think (the recommendations) have the ability to really make a difference and to save lives if adopted,” said Chapman’s sister, Leigh. “I think that they alert the public that we absolutely need to do more, that the deaths are preventable. And they also give a sense of what we could do to prevent them.

“I think that Brad fell through so many cracks and people continue to fall through cracks.”

The jury’s 55 sweeping recommendations, aimed at several public bodies, including the provincial and federal governments, the City of Toronto, and the chief of the Toronto Police Service, include:

  • assigning a provincial co-ordinator at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for a response to the opioid overdose crisis;
  • providing increased funding and resourcing for harm-reduction programs and services in Ontario;
  • decriminalizing the possession of all drugs for personal use;
  • tracking and sharing of information on the number of individuals released from incarceration who become homeless.

“I think you can summarize what (the jury) did by saying the current way of dealing with drug use isn’t working,” said Suzan Fraser, a lawyer for the Chapman family. “We need a harm-reduction strategy. We need to stop pushing people to the margins by criminalizing them, by stigmatizing people who use drugs and who are homeless.”

David Jensen, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, told the Star that the ministry has received the recommendations and looks forward to reviewing them.

“The government is committed to making mental health a priority. That’s why it’s investing $3.8 billion over 10 years to develop and implement a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions strategy,” Jensen wrote in an email. “The government will continue to make mental health a priority and work toward creating an Ontario where everyone is fully supported in their journey toward mental wellness.”

Chapman was found by a security guard slumped over in an alcove on Walton St. near Yonge and Gerrard Sts., in the early morning of Aug. 18, 2015. Police were unable to rouse him, and when paramedics arrived, Chapman had no vital signs. He was resuscitated and rushed to Toronto General Hospital, where he was put on life support and listed as a John Doe. Chapman’s family only learned what had happened thanks to some sleuthing by a hospital spiritual counsellor.

Among the jury’s recommendations are that all front line police officers should be equipped with naloxone, and that first-aid training for officers incorporate “a module on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose.”

“The Service will review the recommendations from today’s inquest and, where appropriate, make the necessary changes to our processes, procedures and/or training,” Meaghan Gray, director of corporate communications for the Toronto Police Service, wrote in an email to the Star.

The inquest was one of two called nine months after a Star investigation published in 2016 chronicled the circumstances that the led to Chapman’s death. The other inquest focused on the death of Grant Faulkner, 49, a man who perished after the plywood shelter he was staying in caught fire on a sub-zero night in January 2015. The Faulkner inquest wrapped up in June 2018 with the release of 35 recommendations. The two inquests were the first to focus on the deaths of homeless individuals in the GTA in more than a decade.

The jury also said the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario should develop guidelines for the care of “people who are experiencing homelessness, including those with mental health and addiction challenges.”

“We are going to move with that,” said RNAO CEO Doris Grinspun, who also commended a recommendation that responsibility for health care in correctional facilities be transferred from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Brent Ross, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services thanked the jury members for their service and for recommending ways to prevent deaths.

“(The ministry) works to make sure our policies and procedures are based on the best evidence and are in line with best practices,” Ross said.

Kenyon Wallace is a Toronto-based investigative reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @KenyonWallace or reach him via email: kwallace@thestar.ca

Mary Ormsby is a reporter and feature writer based in Toronto. Reach her via email: mormsby@thestar.ca

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Emergency beacons should be mandatory on all fishing vessels, says Senate report

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An emergency distress beacon should be made mandatory on all commercial fishing vessels in Canada within two years, according to a Senate study released Thursday that looks at Canada’s search and rescue system at sea.

« We believe the time has come. They are mandatory in other countries. It should be mandatory here, » said Sen. Jim Munson, a member of the Senate fisheries committee, which issued the report.

The one-use device looks like a walkie-talkie and is called an electronic position-indicating radio beacon, or EPIRB. When engaged it sends a distress signal to a satellite, and is often outfitted with GPS that can help rescuers locate the vessel.

« We strongly believe EPIRBs will cut down, reduce the search time, but most importantly save lives, » committee chair Sen. Fabian Manning said at an Ottawa news conference.

Manning said the distress beacon is on board less than half the small and medium-size fishing vessels in Canada — the ones most likely to get into distress. The report said each EPIRB costs between $250 to $1,000.

« In this day and age, as we talk about where every life counts. The purchase of these distress signals, it’s not very much for a local fishermen, I don’t believe, or somebody working in a yacht or pleasure craft, » said Munson.

The Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat the Pennant Bay is shown in September. (Gary Locke/CBC)

The Senate report, called When Every Minute Counts, also recommends moving the Canadian Coast Guard out from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to Transport Canada, which is responsible for regulating the safety of vessels.

The senators said the coast guard needs more financial and operational independence.

It should become a separate agency reporting to the transportation minister, as a opposed to the deputy minister at DFO.

« It’s such an important part of Canada, the delivery of service to Canadians. Right now it’s operating over to the side. We believe it would be more effective and more efficient if it was operating on its own, » Manning said.

The senators said coast guard planning should be expanded from a five-year horizon to 20 years.

Test privatized helicopter rescue

The Senate report recommends a pilot program to test using commercial helicopter search and rescue in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the North. The report suggests a private company could offer round-the-clock service.

« Our goal is to reduce search times, and we believe that having a private contractor there with 24-hour coverage, seven days a week, 365 days a year will give us a great opportunity to reduce response times, » Manning said.

The Senate report also says the « world class » Canadian Coast Guard College in Sydney, N.S., is being underutilized because it is too far for potential trainees from the North and West Coast of Canada. It recommends carrying out more training in the North and West Coast.

« We heard from the West Coast there is a pent up demand for this type of training, so I don’t think that creating a program on the West Coast would detract from the overall pool, » said Sen. Marc Gold.

« It would simply respond to a need that the current structure does not meet. »

« In no way shape or form are we talking about taking anything away from the operations in Sydney, » Manning said.

The federal government has not responded to Senate report.

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Emergency Nut Milk and a Defense of the Celebrity Profile | Healthyish

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Every week, Healthyish editor Amanda Shapiro talks about what she’s seeing, eating, watching, and reading in the wellness world and beyond. Pro tip: If you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll get the scoop before everyone else.

Love it or hate it…

…everyone knows the weekend after Thanksgiving is the time for deals. But you know what else it’s the time for? Unsubscribing from every marketing email that you’ve been absentmindedly deleting or ignoring for years. (Note: If you’ve read this far, the Healthyish newsletter is NOT one of those emails.) Do you know how many hours of our lives we waste hitting that trash can button?! Neither do I, but it’s too many.

I didn’t plan to wage war on my inbox, but from the time I finished my second slice of pecan pie through Cyber F-ing Monday, I painstakingly scrolled to the bottom of every promo email I received and clicked “unsubscribe,” “opt out,” or “remove me from this list.” I left feedback when required (“I NO LONGER WANT TO RECEIVE THESE EMAILS”) and moved on to the next.

It was a days-long battle fought in silence and fueled by leftovers. When I woke up on Tuesday morning, I had only seven unread emails, all from actual, real people I knew. I’d beaten the internet… for now.

Make This Stat

I discovered a new-to-me BA recipe last weekend and fell madly in love. It’s Andy Baraghani’s turkey congee from the 2016 Thanksgiving issue, and it’s the perfect way to eat leftovers without realizing that you’re eating leftovers, and it feels kinda healthyish too. The recipe is super simple, especially if you already have leftover turkey stock hanging out in the fridge. It doesn’t call for it, but I added a few cups of shredded turkey because I had plenty of that, and, instead of the shiitake mushroom topping, I sliced up the turkey skin and pan-fried it, then finished it off with soy sauce. If you still have leftover bird in your fridge, this is its grand finale.

You know what else really works? This I-ran-out-of-nut-milk trick. I tried it this morning after discovering I was out of Oatly (what fresh horror!) using a couple tablespoons of cinnamon nut butter from Ground Up whirred in a blender with water, and my bowl of Weetabix (don’t @ me) was better for it.

This Week on Healthyish

We launched a new column! Emily Fiffer and Heather Sperling are the co-owners of Botanica, a restaurant, market, and all-around good-vibes spot in Los Angeles, and they’ll be writing regular dispatches from the Golden State. Their first column is about why they dropped their jobs in media and moved across the country to open a restaurant that “lavishes vegetables, fruits, and grains with the attention and respect they deserved.” (Uh, yes, I’m jealous). It’s all dreamy and delicious.. until the power goes out on New Years Eve.

Reads of the Week

Allison P. Davis’s profile of Lena Dunham is remarkable for a lot of reasons, many of which you can read on the internet. I liked it for its subtlety, the artful way that Davis lays out Dunham’s own words and actions to indict her. There are no contrived scenes, no skydiving or mini-golfing, just conversation in living rooms and bedrooms and kitchens. The quiet makes it so that everything Davis turns your attention toward—mainly the total, all-encompassing narcissism of her subject—comes through loud and clear.

Some people are saying that the world didn’t need to hear more about Lena Dunham, but I think that’s missing the point of what a celebrity profile is. Did I care much about R. Kelly or Gwyneth Paltrow or J.R. Smith? LOL, no. But I read the hell out of those pieces—I loved them, because they weren’t just about a person with a lot of money, fame, talent, or luck. They were about us. It’s a cliche, but the people we make famous are reflections of what we value and who we aspire to be. When a celebrity profile is done right, it shines that light right back on us so we’re forced to talk about why we put that person on a pedestal in the first place.

On another note, If I had a husband and he came home every night and asked, “What’s for dinner?” I’d probably stop cooking too.

Until next week,

Amanda Shapiro
Healthyish Editor

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‘We need your help,’ St. Michael’s principal tells alumni at emergency meeting

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The principal of St. Michael’s College School appealed for assistance Tuesday evening — as alumni from the all-boys Catholic school held an emergency meeting to talk about allegations of assault and sexual assault by students.

« We need your help, » Greg Reeves told the gathering of about 300 people in Toronto.

Reeves asked alumni with expertise in mental health, or anything that could help, to attend a conference for boys at the school. Alternatively, he said they could provide their contact information for boys to contact them.

Police are currently investigating six allegations involving students at the school after an alleged gang sexual assault was captured on camera and shared on social media.

Reeves defended his handling of the scandal at Tuesday night’s meeting. He had been criticized for not going to police sooner after learning about the video. He told reporters Monday he wanted to protect the victim.

He told the alumni he « would do exactly the same thing » again.

« And I’ll take the hit for that, » Reeves said to applause.

Reeves said a student brought the « horrific video » to him in private.

St. Michael’s College School principal Greg Reeves says there is a problem at his school and that it needs to do better. (Christopher Katsarov/Canadian Press)

« The victim is giving me strength, » Reeves said, speaking of the the boy who was attacked in the video, adding that the incident had school staff in tears.

The principal also said the victim and perpetrator looked like best friends in class.

A handful of alumni called for the principal’s resignation and for teachers who knew of the incidents to step down, saying the entire situation was poorly managed.

But Reeves and his staff received support from majority of the attendees.

Reeves announced that the school will be setting up an online platform for alumni to submit prior stories of potential bullying.

Additional measures to be taken to ensure students’ safety include hiring four full-time security guards to patrol the school, Reeves said.

A ‘sad but encouraging meeting’

Larry Colle, who graduated from the school in 1969, described the mood inside the meeting as sad, but very positive.

« It’s sad but encouraging that they’re finding ways to help the current students there. They’re also asking past students to get involved and help with improving the culture, » Colle told reporters as he left the meeting.

« The focus is how could we improve the school in the future, how we can provide more support to especially the victims and their families. »

Larry Colle, who graduated from St. Michael’s College School 1969, describes the mood inside the meeting as sad, but very positive. (CBC)

Colle said alumni questioned the principal closely about the timeline of events and he was satisfied with the answers he heard. 

« The principal gave, I thought, a reasonable explanation, that his focus was on the families and the victims, » Colle said.

« They gave a reasonable explanation about the time and what a difficult week it has been. »

While giving an account of perceived homophobic culture at school, one attendee asked if a gay straight alliance will come to school. 

Reeves responded « yes, thanks. We will be doing that. »

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Shots fired inside Kingston, Ont., emergency room

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A federal inmate is accused of firing a gun inside Kingston General Hospital on Monday evening, leaving one person injured.

According to Kingston police, the inmate disarmed a correctional officer inside the hospital and fired the gun twice. One person was shot and suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Other correctional officers, with the help of hospital security, restrained the prisoner and police were called.

The inmate has been moved to Kingston police headquarters. Police say there is no further threat and the hospital has now resumed normal operations.

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Get ready for another test of the wireless emergency alert system

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Emergency officials will conduct another test of the country’s new wireless alert system later this month, after an initial test in May failed to reach some mobile users.

The alert will be sent out in all provinces and territories at 1:55 p.m. local time on Nov. 28 except for Quebec, where the alert will go out an hour later at 2:55 p.m.

Canada Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) requires that all wireless carriers be capable of warning their subscribers of imminent safety threats, such as tornadoes, floods, Amber Alerts or terrorism.

Since the wireless alert system was implemented in April, « close to 100 alerts and updates have been successfully delivered to warn Canadians of imminent threats, » according to the CRTC, Canada’s telecommunications regulator.

On a smartphone, users should hear a tone similar to an ambulance siren, feel their device vibrate and see a notification displayed on-screen.

Alerts will also go out across radio and television stations at the same time. The system, called Alert Ready, is operated by Pelmorex, which is the parent company of The Weather Network.

The CRTC says that the additional testing is being conducted to raise awareness and « to address any outstanding issues that could reduce the system’s effectiveness, » after the first test failed to reach some mobile phone users across the country — and in Quebec, failed to work at all.

To receive the alert, users must have a relatively modern device that is connected to their carrier’s LTE network, as well as have the latest software updates and support for wireless public alerts.

The CRTC expects that by April 2019 all new devices sold in Canada will be able to receive emergency alerts, but is encouraging Canadians to contact their wireless carriers if the have a supported device that isn’t receiving alerts.

Canadians can also check to see if their devices is compatible on the Alert Ready website.

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