After Wilson-Raybould cartoon, Halifax artist says he’ll stop drawing women in violent situations


Halifax political cartoonist Michael de Adder says he will no longer depict women in violent situations.

His decision was sparked by a cartoon he posted last week on the SNC-Lavalin affair.

« You know your job as a cartoonist is to make your point — not make a point you didn’t intend, » de Adder said.

The cartoon, posted Feb. 15, 2019, is set in a boxing ring and it shows Jody Wilson-Raybould in one corner with tape over her mouth, tied up and sitting on a stool. 

In the other corner of the ring is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, dressed ready to box. Senior political adviser Gerald Butts, shown wearing glasses and a suit, tells Trudeau, « Keep beating her up, solicitor-client privilege has tied her hands. »

The crux of the SNC-Lavalin affair is a question of whether the prime minister pressured Wilson-Raybould — who was attorney general — to resolve the corruption and fraud case against the Montreal-based company.

Wilson-Raybould would not comment publicly on the issue because she said she is bound by solicitor-client privilege.

« The intent of the cartoon was not to attack [Jody Wilson-Raybould] — it was intended to attack the Liberals, » de Adder said.

But many online critics did not interpret the cartoon as intended.

Some on Twitter thought de Adder was trying to make a joke out of violence against women and even encouraging it.

Others said the cartoon was in poor taste, because it didn’t take into consideration violence against women and, in particular, violence against Indigenous women and their families.

Wilson-Raybould is a descendant of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk and Laich-Kwil-Tach peoples.

On Saturday, de Adder tweeted he wouldn’t depict women in violent situations going forward.

He said there is always conflict in politics and said an effective, visual way to show it in a cartoon is through violent imagery. It could be people fighting in a ring, two people fighting with scissors, people engaged in a brawl.

For future cartoons, de Adder said he’ll put more thought into how to show conflict.

« I’ll tackle it as I go. I’m not saying there won’t be a female politician throwing a punch … it’s going to be hit and miss for me, but I’ll strive to do things slightly differently, » he said.

But he still plans on creating more cartoons about SNC-Lavalin and Wilson-Raybould.

He said the goal of a political cartoonist is to get as close to the line as possible, if not over it once in a while.

« It doesn’t mean my cartoons are going to change very much, » he said. « It just means that I’m going to make the same point a different way. You know life goes on. I’ll just be subtle differences. I’ll still get into trouble. »


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Canadian embassy closed as violent protests in Haiti trap Quebec tourists


Canada’s embassy in Haiti remains closed amid violent street protests that have trapped dozens of Canadians in the Caribbean country.

The closure of the embassy Wednesday came a day after Global Affairs Canada updated its travel advisory to advise against all non-essential travel to Haiti.

READ MORE: Quebecers trapped in Haiti as violent protests continue

“We will continue to evaluate the security situation over the coming days to determine what steps are necessary to ensure that our diplomats and their families are safe,” Global Affairs said in a statement.

WATCH BELOW: Haitians claim gang members dressed as police carried out massacre

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It said it has people on the ground to provide assistance to Canadian citizens in Haiti as needed.

A group of tourists from Quebec are stuck in a Haiti hotel, unable to make it to the Port-au-Prince airport because of violent street protests.

READ MORE: Men in police garb massacred civilians in Haiti

The only highway linking the all-inclusive Royal Decameron Indigo Beach resort to the airport is considered extremely dangerous, and people are staying off it. The hotel on the Caribbean country’s Côte des Arcadins is about 75 kilometres north of the capital.

Air Transat, which sold package tours to the resort, says its flights between Montreal and Haiti are continuing, but it has been unable to provide safe ground transport from the resort to the airport.

WATCH BELOW: Protesters urge feds to declare moratorium on Haiti deportations

Marie-Christine Remy, said her mother, Terry Watson, and her mother’s partner, Sylvain Limoges, were supposed to fly home last Sunday but could not make it to the airport.

They were switched to a flight Wednesday but again could not get out.

READ MORE: Canadians told to ‘shelter in safe place’ as violent protests erupt in Haiti, travel warning issued

“It’s really troubling,” Remy said from Sherbrooke, Que.

“I called the Canadian government and they told me that it was best to stay at the hotel, which is safer. It is the highways that are particularly dangerous.”

Some tourists have told Quebec media helicopter transport is available to the airport but at a very high cost.

READ MORE: Montreal protesters urge Ottawa to halt Haiti deportations after travel advisory issued

Protests demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise have claimed several lives over the past week.

Protesters are angry about skyrocketing inflation and the government’s failure to prosecute embezzlement from a multi-billion Venezuelan program that sent discounted oil to Haiti.


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Violent protests prevent N.B. doctor, nurses from leaving Haiti


An emergency room nurse and doctor from Woodstock, N.B., and a nurse from Halifax say they are safe but have no idea when they will be able to leave Haiti as violent protests continue in that country.

« We’re all safe and we’re not worried about our safety, as long as we don’t leave the property we’re on now, » said Dr. Heather Dow. 

The latest demonstrations in Haiti were triggered by frustrations over the country’s high unemployment rates and skyrocketing prices.

Dow, along with Cathy Davies and Rachel Blaquiere, travelled to Haiti to provide free medical aid in small villages and towns. But the protests are preventing their departure, which was scheduled for Wednesday. 

« We’re a bit stressed because we have obligations at home that we’re probably not going to be able to meet if we don’t get home soon, » Dow said. 

Protests and demonstrations began Feb. 7, on the anniversary of the overthrow 33 years ago of dictator Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier. 

Dow said that despite President Jovenel Moise’s promises of improvements, things have gotten worse. 

‘Complete shock’

In an interview with Shift New Brunswick, Davies, from Woodstock, said they had no idea this would happen because nothing like it had happened when they were there at the same time last year. 

« This came to us as a complete shock when it all began, » she said.

A nurse and doctor from Woodstock, along with a nurse from Halifax, are stuck in Haiti during the sixth day of violent protests there. Cathy Davies, Rachel Blaquiere and Dr. Heather Dow travelled to Haiti to provide free medical aid in small villages and towns. 9:07

The women, along with the medical team they travel with, were able to reach a small clinic in the mountains that day but encountered roadblocks, and someone threw a gas bomb at them.

« We had to go through a dirt path he knew of to get back to our house, » she said. « And our driver had a gun too. It was something that I don’t want to go through again. » 

Roads blocked

Blaquiere, formerly of Woodstock, N.B., is part of a medical team that can’t leave Haiti because of violent protests over inflation and unemployment. (Submitted)

The three are staying at the home of Dr. Emilio Bazile, who lives in Ottawa but returns to the country three or four times a year to deliver medical care. They have accompanied him on many of those trips.

His home is four hours from Port-au-Prince, where the only international airport is located. Dow said entrances to the capital have been blocked and there are roadblocks throughout the city. 

« There’s a lot of demonstrations with rock throwing and tire burning, cement-barricade building and clashes with the police that have left many injured and several killed, » Dow said. 

She said they’ve heard people at the barricades are asking for money to let people through, and sometimes hold people for ransom to make their point to the government about how unhappy they are. 

Seeking help

Cathy Davies, an emergency room nurse from Woodstock, said she is hoping and praying the trio can safely leave Haiti soon. (Submitted)

The women said Bazile has been trying to use his contacts to arrange a safe way for the women to leave the country. More calls were being made to the Canadian Embassy to see if they could help. 

« Right now with the roads blockaded there’s no way to get to Port-au-Prince, » said Dow. 

Davies said another friend is working with his contacts to arrange a flight from another airport if they can there. 

« Our concern right now is getting home safely, » she said. « We’re hoping and praying this gets resolved and we get home to our respective families soon. »   


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Will Toronto see fewer killings in 2019? A violent year ends with record totals — and questions


On Dec. 21 at 9 p.m., three men were shot in Etobicoke. Two were found in a bullet-riddled BMW. One, Cimran Farah, 20, died in the hospital six days later.

Farah’s death was the 96th homicide in Toronto in 2018 — the latest, as of Monday afternoon, in a year in which the city surpassed its previous record of 90, from 1991, by mid-November.

July 1: Toronto police block Queen Street W. the morning after a triple shooting that left one woman injured and killed Ernest (Kosi) Modekwe, 28, and Matthew Lidster, 29.
July 1: Toronto police block Queen Street W. the morning after a triple shooting that left one woman injured and killed Ernest (Kosi) Modekwe, 28, and Matthew Lidster, 29.  (Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star)

The youngest victim was a 3-week-old baby girl, one of ten minors killed this year.

The oldest was 94-year-old Betty Forsyth, who was killed in April along with nine others in the Yonge St. van attack.

Forty-six of those killed — just under half — were under the age of 30. Seventy-five were men and boys. Twenty-one were women and girls. By the Star’s count, police have neither arrested nor issued a warrant for arrest in 33 of these killings, excluding one apparent murder-suicide.

In a year-end press conference this week, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders called 2018 a “unique” year marked by increases in gun violence and two exceptional mass casualty events. Looking ahead to the new year, Saunders was optimistic that homicide numbers will decline — a pattern the city has seen before, following the previous record-high year 1991 and another spike between 2005 and 2007.

Read more:

The 96 victims of Toronto’s record year in homicide

What Toronto’s homicide record means — and what we can do about it

Every Toronto homicide in the past 15 years — mapped

But, as criminologist Scot Wortley notes, without better understanding why shooting and gang-related violence has increased, it is difficult to know if this year was an outlier or a sign of a larger trend.

The year began with the Jan. 29 arrest of an alleged serial killer who is accused of targeting men connected to Toronto’s Gay Village since 2010. Bruce McArthur now faces eight charges of first-degree murder.

Then came the April van attack that left 10 dead and 16 injured and in July the Danforth shooting in which 10-year-old Julianna Kozis and 18-year-old Reese Fallon were killed and 13 injured.

Even without the 12 deaths from these two tragedies, Toronto’s homicide numbers for 2018 are high — significantly higher than in 2017, which saw 65 homicides, 2016, which was 75 and 2015, which saw 59.

March 18: An officer with the Toronto police Forensic Identification Services works at the scene of a double shooting at a crowded North York bowling alley. The shooting killed Thanh Tien Ngo, 32, and Ruma Amar, 29, a bystander.
March 18: An officer with the Toronto police Forensic Identification Services works at the scene of a double shooting at a crowded North York bowling alley. The shooting killed Thanh Tien Ngo, 32, and Ruma Amar, 29, a bystander.  (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star)
June 15: The Scarborough playground where two girls, ages 5 and 9, were seriously injured while playing after a gunman opened fire at another man.
June 15: The Scarborough playground where two girls, ages 5 and 9, were seriously injured while playing after a gunman opened fire at another man.  (Anne-Marie Jackson/Toronto Star)
July 25: People gather for a vigil on the Danforth three days after a gunman opened fire in the neighbourhood, shooting 15, killing 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Juliana Kozis.
July 25: People gather for a vigil on the Danforth three days after a gunman opened fire in the neighbourhood, shooting 15, killing 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Juliana Kozis.  (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star)

More than half of Toronto homicides this year, 51, were fatal shootings, just two less than 2005, the city’s infamous “Year of the Gun.”

The victims include 22-year-old Yohannes Brhanu, found dead after a gun battle on a residential street in a car surrounded by bullet casings and shattered glass; 29-year-old Ruma Amar, shot in the back of the head in a hail of gunfire meant for someone else as she, her husband and sister were leaving a North York bowling alley; and 31-year old Jenas Nyarko, a shelter worker killed in a drive-by shooting while sitting in a car outside her apartment with friends after attending a funeral.

The number of shootings in the city this year also appears to have broken a record: In the latest police numbers published Monday, 2018 had seen 424 shootings, more than 2016’s year-end total of 407, which is the largest tally in any year since 2004, according to police data.

Saunders has attributed the gun violence to increased street gang activity and pointed to similar trends across North America. And while he outlined enforcement challenges for police that come with arresting and charging gang members — including witnesses with justifiable fears of retribution, poor community relationships with police, and a “team sport” mentality in gangs that means individual arrests of gang members have limited impact — he emphasized the need for solutions that go beyond policing at his year-end press conference.

“The enforcement piece plays an important part. I’m not here to say that it’s softer policing. I’m here to say that it’s smarter policing. There have to be agencies at the front end that prevent these young boys from shooting others. There’s a lot of funding that needs to be put in. Not grant funding; core funding, into the communities. Nobody’s ever, that I know of, born saying ‘I want to be a street gang member,’” Saunders said.

“To think we can arrest our way out of this is a falsehood.”

August 22: The Danforth is closed again the morning after another shooting at a sports bar killed Danny Morales, 35.
August 22: The Danforth is closed again the morning after another shooting at a sports bar killed Danny Morales, 35.  (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star)
Sept. 8: A sign at the Toronto Weston Flea Market as police investigate the shooting of Rocco Scavetta, 65, who was killed during a robbery attempt, police said.
Sept. 8: A sign at the Toronto Weston Flea Market as police investigate the shooting of Rocco Scavetta, 65, who was killed during a robbery attempt, police said.  (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)

In mid-December, the federal government announced Toronto will get $6.76 million in Public Safety funding over a five-year period for a program called the Community Healing Project. Police will also get up to $400,000 over two years to enhance the Neighbourhood Officers Program in eight priority neighbourhoods. Consultations about a handgun and ammunition ban are ongoing.

In the same month, the province announced cuts to after-school programming for at-risk youth that included part-time employment opportunities and tutoring for struggling elementary school children.

Wortley, who has researched gangs and gang violence in Toronto and Ontario, noted that while Toronto did have a record high number of homicides in 2018, the population of the city and the GTA overall has also grown rapidly since the previous record was set in 1991.

Accounting for population, the city has had a homicide rate of approximately 3.5 per 100,000 in 2018 — a number which does not account for the frequent movement of people into Toronto from the GTA on a daily basis.

In 1991, there were 3.8 killings per 100,000, the highest in city records. It would take 111 homicides in 2018 to reach the same rate. The long-term average in Toronto is about 2.4 homicides per 100,000, though it has risen above 3.0 in recent years.

Wortley said it does appear some of the spike in homicides this year are the result of gang-related activity, as well as neigbourhood conflicts that may be intensified through social media. Gang violence seems to have a “cyclical quality,” he said, but without knowing what’s causing the increase, it’s hard to predict whether it will relent.

One potential short-term cause for the increase may stem from the legalization of marijuana, he said, though it remains to be seen to what extent the violence reflects gangs trying to reposition themselves in a shrinking drug market, and trying to move into meth, opioids or cocaine, or into other crimes such as robberies.

However, a longer-term area of concern lies in “disturbing social patterns” that have emerged in Toronto in part due to affordability, he said.

There has been a decline in the quality and availability of affordable housing, an entrenchment of very poor areas in the city, increasing barriers to social mobility and a growing divide between rich and poor as well as a shrinking middle class, Wortley said. It is also important to consider the psychological impact of frequent shootings and violence on communities.

“To what extent is social inequality contributing to higher rates of violence?” Wortley said.

And if it continues, will Toronto begin to see more violence stemming from hopelessness and alienation?

Wortley agreed with Saunders on the need for long-term investment into non-policing solutions but noted that some of the most effective interventions — like early childhood programs — take a long time to show results which makes political support difficult to maintain.

“Do we have the patience to continue to fund those programs so that we can see the benefits of that investment?” he said.

Sept. 26: A memorial for Mackai Jackson, who was shot dead in Regent Park. The boy had days earlier celebrated his 15th birthday.
Sept. 26: A memorial for Mackai Jackson, who was shot dead in Regent Park. The boy had days earlier celebrated his 15th birthday.  (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star)
Dec. 19: A bullet hole on King St. hours after Edwin (Chris) Humberto Velasquez, 34, was shot dead in a double shooting.
Dec. 19: A bullet hole on King St. hours after Edwin (Chris) Humberto Velasquez, 34, was shot dead in a double shooting.  (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star)

With files from Wendy Gillis, Jim Rankin, May Warren and Star Staff

Alyshah Hasham is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and court. Follow her on Twitter: @alysanmati


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Edmonton police respond as ‘yellow vest’ rally, counter-protest turns violent – Edmonton


Edmonton police had to break up a fight during protests at the Alberta Legislature grounds Saturday morning.

Members of the ‘yellow vest’ movement and a separate group rallying against racism in Canada were both at the legislature.

READ MORE: Yellow vest rallies held in Winnipeg, protesting against Trudeau government

During the protests, a Global News camera caught a confrontation on video, where a group of people could be seen grabbing and pushing each other and at least two punches were thrown.

Edmonton police officers were on hand and helped to break up the fight.

After the confrontation, police officers separated the two sides by forming a human barricade.

Derek Horneland attend the anti-racism rally. Horneland said he is concerned with the potential of escalating violence towards immigrants.

“Ever since the yellow vest movement started, I’ve had a number of friends who immigrated here who have gotten death threats,” Horneland said.

“There’s just been a lot of hate towards them, and I think that frustration about jobs has been misdirected to immigrants and it’s becoming extremely violent.”

READ MORE: Here’s what to know about ‘yellow vest’ protests happening across Canada

The ‘yellow vest’ movement has recently seen a series of protests across Canada. The reasons for the protests range from opposition to the carbon tax and delays in pipeline construction to Canada’s signing of the United Nations migration pact.

“All the laws that were made for 150 years to keep me safe and you safe, our children, our grandchildren, have been changed. Those laws have been changed. We’re now bringing in ISIS members,” said one woman, who did not want to be identified.

READ MORE: Downtown Edmonton ‘yellow vest’ rally against UN, globalism met with counter-protest

As speakers representing the ‘yellow vest’ movement expressed their complaints to the crowd, the protesters chanted “Trudeau must go!”

“Our energy allies are laughing at us. They’re robbing us blind and our elected [representatives] in the Supreme Courts, at the elected positions, federally and provincially, are doing nothing but taking a fat paycheque,” said oil and gas worker Mike Wipf.

Similar to previous Edmonton rallies, there were also people in attendance who were wearing jackets with Soldiers of Odin patches on them. The Soldiers of Odin are a far-right group in Canada.

Last weekend, counter-protests at Sir Winston Churchill Square also resulted in a fight, where policed removed at least two people and worked to keep the opposing sides apart.




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Black people ‘grossly overrepresented’ in violent police interactions, Ontario human rights report says


A black person in Toronto is nearly 20 times more likely than a white person to be shot and killed by police, according to a new Ontario Human Rights Commission report on race and policing.

The commission’s interim report said black people were overrepresented in several types of violent police interactions, including use-of-force cases, shootings, deadly encounters and fatal shootings.

« The data is disturbing and raises serious concerns about racial discrimination in use of force, » according to the report released Monday.

« Our interim findings are disturbing and call for immediate action, » said Renu Mandhane, the OHRC’s chief commissioner.

The report, titled « A Collective Impact, » analyzed two periods of data from the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) between 2000 and 2006, and 2013 and 2017. The analysis was conducted by Prof. Scott Wortley, a criminologist at the University of Toronto.

The SIU is Ontario’s police watchdog, which investigates police interactions involving serious injury, death, or allegations of sexual assault.

Severity of incidents a concern

Despite the fact black people make up 8.8 per cent of Toronto’s population, the OHRC found they were « grossly overrepresented » in SIU investigations.

Professor Scott Wortley, a criminologist at the University of Toronto, conducted the study on SIU data. (Oliver Walters/CBC)

The report also concluded that black people were more likely to be involved as the severity of the incident increases.

Out of the 187 cases analyzed from 2013 to 2017, black people made up:

  • 25.4 per cent of SIU investigations.
  • 28.2 per cent of police use-of-force cases.
  • 36 per cent of police shootings.
  • 61.5 per cent of police use-of-force cases resulting in civilian death.
  • 70 per cent of police shootings resulting in civilian death.

The OHRC report also found that more white people were carrying weapons in police use of force cases, and that white people allegedly threatened or attacked police more often than black people.

The final version of the report is expected to include extensive internal data obtained from Toronto police, including lower level use-of-force incidents and instances of carding. The OHRC expects to release those findings in 2020.

In a joint response to the report, Toronto police and the Toronto Police Services Board said no organization is « immune from overt and implicit bias, » and that the force is actively working to address those issues.

« We have been working for several years to confront these challenges in a variety of ways and with a variety of partners. Indeed, our continued work will be shaped and informed by a wide number of steps already undertaken and underway. »

OHRC wants race-based data collected

The OHRC is calling on Toronto police to acknowledge the racial disparities and community experiences outlined in its report. The commission also wants the Toronto Police Services Board to require officers to begin collecting and publicly reporting on race-based data.

Toronto police said they would be accepting the recommendations, but added the collection of race-based data required further examination by its anti-racism advisory panel.

« This work will consider the legitimate concerns surrounding the impact of race-based data collection on interactions between police and members of Toronto’s communities, and look to collect this data in a manner that will strengthen our connection to the communities we serve, » the statement read.


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In Canada, Jews face more hate crimes, while Muslims face more violent ones: StatCan – National


For years, police-reported hate crimes in Canada were inching up slowly.

They went up by three per cent in 2016 and by five per cent the year before. They even fell in 2013, dropping by 17 per cent from the year before.

That all changed last year —  police-reported hate crime rose by nearly 50 per cent, much of it driven by incidents that targeted Canada’s Jewish, Muslim and black populations, according to Statistics Canada data released on Thursday.

And the differences are even more stark when you split the incidents between violent and non-violent crime.

Coverage of hate crimes on

Among religious groups, Jews were the biggest targets for hate crimes — they were victims in 360 incidents last year.

Muslims came a close second, with 349 incidents.

READ MORE: Hate crimes against Muslims in Canada increase 253% over four years

Hate crimes grew for both populations.

Jews were targeted in 139 more incidents last year than in 2016, for an increase of 63 per cent.

Muslims, meanwhile, were targeted in an additional 210 incidents, for an increase of 151 per cent.

There had been considerably more incidents targeting Jews than Muslims in previous years. That gap narrowed dramatically in this year’s data.

Most of these incidents involved non-violent offences. But Muslims were a more prominent target when it came to violent hate crime.

“Uttering threats” was the most prominent violent offence that Muslims faced last year, with 61 incidents, while Jews faced 22.

They were also more prominent targets for assault (30 incidents versus 13), including both common assault (20 incidents versus nine) and assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm or aggravated assault (10 versus four).

READ MORE: Hate crime reports in the U.S. spiked 17% last year — FBI

Many hate crimes happened in Quebec, where they tripled from 41 in 2016 to 117 in 2017.

Hate crime reports for incidents involving Muslims jumped there in February 2017, the month after six people were killed at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec.

Incidents reported in that month accounted for over a quarter of all incidents targeting Muslims in the province last year.

There were 184 reported hate crimes targeting Muslims in Ontario — but there were more incidents targeting Jews in that province (209).

People gather to observe a candlelight vigil in Toronto, on Monday, January 30, 2017, for victims of the shooting at a Quebec City mosque.


All of this happened as hate crimes targeting religion grew by 83 per cent.

Such incidents accounted for 41 per cent of all hate crimes in 2017, up from 33 per cent the previous year.

Hate crimes targeting Catholics also went up, from 27 incidents in 2016 to 39 incidents in 2017.

WATCH: Man allegedly attacks 11-year-old girl, cuts hijab with scissors

In a statement, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said it was “deeply concerned” by the statistics.

“The data, while very unsettling for our communities, unfortunately does not surprise us,” NCCM executive member Ihsaan Gardee said in the statement.

“2017 was an immensely difficult year for the Canadian Muslim community, beginning on Jan. 29 with the single largest Islamophobic attack in Canada’s history, in which six men were brutally murdered and many others injured while worshipping in their Quebec City mosque.

“This new data reveals anti-Muslim hate crimes peaked in February 2017, signalling that the shooting very much set the tone for the increase in hate crimes against Muslims for the remainder of the year.”

In a separate release, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations (UARR) noted that, in the wake of the Quebec City shooting, there were a series of anti-Muslim rallies that gathered in response to a federal motion known as M-103, which called on federal politicians to condemn Islamophobia.

“Sadly, it is no surprise that hate crimes against Muslims rose so dramatically last year,” Mohammed Hashim, board member with the UARR, said in a statement.

People hold up a signs during a demonstration to oppose motion M103 in Montreal, Saturday, March 4, 2017.


The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs noted the increase in hate crimes targeting Jewish people, but also against black, Arab or West Asian and LGBTQ+ populations.

CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel called on the federal government to undertake three steps: to expand the Security Infrastructure Program, to come up with a national strategy to fight hate on the internet and to “strengthen the capacity of law enforcement to combat hate crime.”

“This should include enhancing legal tools to deal with hate speech and supporting the creation of local hate crime units where they are lacking,” Fogel said in a statement.

Religion wasn’t the only ground upon which people were targeted for hate crimes.

Incidents targeting black people went up 50 per cent to 321, while incidents targeting Arab or West Asian people jumped by 27 per cent, to hit 142.

Hate crime incidents targeting people for their sexual orientation also increased by 16 per cent in 2017, hitting 204.

Police stations provide crime data to Statistics Canada, which helps them generate reports like this one.

  • With files from The Canadian Press

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


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Man suing TTC claims violent assault a case of ‘racial profiling’


But the deepest wounds have been psychological, his family says. When Maxwell-Crawford got on the streetcar that day he was an independent and athletic young man with a girlfriend, downtown apartment, two part-time jobs and plans to pursue a career in law.

Today, he has lost his girlfriend, apartment and both jobs, as well as his capacity to continue his paralegal studies at Humber College. Maxwell-Crawford says he struggles with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress and has moved back in with his mother, Cheryle Maxwell, who has become consumed with the full-time task of helping her son reassemble his life.

Maxwell-Crawford is now suing the TTC and Toronto Police Services Board, alleging he was “assaulted without justification” and illegally detained because of “racial profiling, racial bias and discrimination.” Filed on Wednesday, the lawsuit — which also names the three TTC officers and two unidentified Toronto police officers — is seeking $750,000 in damages.

Maxwell-Crawford also wants to show people who he really is. He doesn’t recognize the hysterical person on the cellphone videos that captured his takedown by the TTC; he also despaired over online comments that assumed he had skipped out on his fare. (He says he paid it.)

He says he is angered and saddened by how he was characterized by the TTC officers as someone who was aggressive, intimidating and possibly even carrying a weapon.

“They saw me as a threat, mainly just because of the fact that I had a hood on and I was Black,” he says. “(But) I’ve worked so hard not to become that, what they think I am.”

There were nine important witnesses to the events that unfolded inside the 512 St. Clair westbound streetcar that day, all of them perfectly impartial: the nine CCTV cameras installed throughout the vehicle, which recorded the entire streetcar ride leading up to confrontation.

But this footage fails to reveal the competing narratives that unfolded in the participants’ heads that day — stories that differ wildly, depending on the storyteller.

Three TTC fare inspectors are named in Maxwell-Crawford’s lawsuit, Patrick Bruce Henry, Mark Anthony Alarcon and Puneet Kumar Mahi. The job of a TTC fare inspector is to check for proof of payment and, if necessary, issue tickets. When it comes to use of force, they are only authorized to apply it when “reasonable” and in “defence of an unprovoked assault,” according to TTC spokesperson Stuart Green.

The Star tried unsuccessfully to reach the three fare inspectors and requested interviews through the TTC, which said it would be “inappropriate” to make its employees available to the media since the lawsuit was only recently served.

But the fare inspectors shared their versions of the event with the TTC’s “unit complaint co-ordinator,” which opened an internal investigation in the wake of the incident. In a July 10 report — which identified the TTC employees only as Respondents 1, 2 and 3 — the investigator concluded that the officers’ use of force on Maxwell-Crawford was “reasonable, justified, consistent with the training provided, and did not constitute an assault.”

According to the report, the three fare inspectors were technically off-duty and commuting to their office at Hillcrest Yard when they embarked the 512 streetcar.

Respondent 1 said Maxwell-Crawford — who was identified in the TTC report as the “customer” — boarded the streetcar and immediately began fixing him with a “dead stare.”

While other transit enforcement officers later told the TTC investigator they knew Maxwell-Crawford from previous interactions, this fare inspector couldn’t recall seeing him before. (Spokesperson Brad Ross told the Star in an email the TTC has no record of previous interactions with Maxwell-Crawford.)

The fare inspector said he spoke to Maxwell-Crawford several times, asking if he was OK and reassuring him he wasn’t checking for proof of payment. But he said Maxwell-Crawford didn’t respond, which, together with the staring, made him “very uncomfortable.”

“Respondent 1 believed the behaviour of the customer was bizarre and not typical of a TTC customer,” the report said.

A second fare inspector, who was standing farther back in the streetcar, said he noticed Maxwell-Crawford staring unblinkingly at his colleague, who was returning his gaze. He said he walked over out of concern for his colleague’s safety; shortly after, Respondent 1 beckoned a third fare inspector to join them, because his “presence could help alleviate the stare.”

When the streetcar stopped at Bathurst St., all three TTC inspectors disembarked behind Maxwell-Crawford, who got off the streetcar and stood to the left of the doors before getting back on.

According to Respondent 1, the doors then began to close but Maxwell-Crawford started “anxiously” pressing the button to reopen them, while his “eyes widened as if in a panic and his jaw clenched.”

He says Maxwell-Crawford then “lunged” towards him with his fists clenched and entered his “personal space.” “Respondent 1 was ‘fearful,’” the TTC report said. “He believed he was about to be punched. Respondent 1 instinctively reacted by giving the customer a quick push using his two hands on the customer’s chest.”

Throughout the report, the TTC inspectors described themselves as “scared” and “intimidated” by Maxwell-Crawford. They characterized his expression as both “neutral” and “blank” as well as “agitated” and bearing a “bothered emotion.” One TTC inspector described Maxwell-Crawford “flaring” his eyebrows and tensing his arms “to project a larger body frame.”

In an interview with the Star, Maxwell-Crawford says he wasn’t staring at anybody on the streetcar. In fact, he says, he barely even noticed the TTC officers.

“I wasn’t looking at them. I took note of them, but I wasn’t staring,” he says. “I had no idea I was in a staring contest.”

Here is how Maxwell-Crawford says he experienced that Sunday streetcar ride. It was the Family Day long weekend and he was travelling to his girlfriend’s house, where their mothers were planning to meet for the first time. CCTV footage shows a young Black man with a slim but athletic build boarding the streetcar at 4:27 p.m., wearing a black winter jacket with the hood up.

Respondent 1 told the TTC investigator that Maxwell-Crawford had headphones around his neck. Maxwell-Crawford insists they were actually under his hood and covering his ears.

His headphones are black “Beats by Dre” wireless headphones with a noise-cancelling feature and Maxwell-Crawford remembers listening to the rapper Kendrick Lamar, with the volume on full blast. “They were very loud and I was just in my own world, thinking to myself,” he says.

The CCTV footage shows Maxwell-Crawford standing just inside the streetcar door, at first leaning on the Presto card reader and then holding onto the pole. The fare inspector identified as Respondent 1 in the TTC report stands directly across from him, though Maxwell-Crawford says he barely registered him. “I was just looking through the window, minding my own business.”

As the streetcar trundled towards Bathurst St., Maxwell-Crawford says he started thinking about food; he wanted to buy something to eat but money was tight, so he was feeling indecisive. He says he didn’t notice the TTC officer looking at him or talking to him.

When the streetcar made its first stop, Maxwell-Crawford stepped off to let other passengers disembark. The CCTV footage shows all three fare inspectors getting off behind him but instead of walking onwards, they stop on the platform and look at Maxwell-Crawford, who also looks in their general direction while reboarding the streetcar.

But once the doors closed, Maxwell-Crawford says he had a change of heart and decided to buy some food after all, thinking he might go to the nearby Harvey’s. The CCTV footage shows him pressing the button to open the door, stepping onto the platform, and getting shoved by one of the fare inspectors.

In the video, Maxwell-Crawford flies backwards into the streetcar before quickly leaping to his feet and taking a wild swing at the TTC inspector who pushed him. He then gets back on the streetcar briefly before jumping back out towards the fare inspectors. “Instinctively, I fought back because I was just like, where is this coming from? I didn’t know who pushed me,” he says. Seconds later, he is taken down by all three fare inspectors.

In his statement of claim, Maxwell-Crawford alleges the fare inspector “took an immediate and targeted interest in (him.)”

“Throughout the entire journey, Mr. Maxwell-Crawford had done nothing to attract the attention or concern of the TTC Fare Inspectors or anyone else,” he alleges in the lawsuit. “He did nothing other than stand passively with his arms by his side with a neutral expression on his face.”

Maxwell-Crawford’s lawyer, Cory Wanless, believes the CCTV footage demonstrates that Maxwell-Crawford was calm and non-threatening the entire time, and did not push the button “anxiously” to get off the streetcar or lunge at the fare inspector prior to being pushed.

The lawsuit alleges the fare inspector’s actions were “motivated by racial stereotypes.” In the TTC report, the fare inspector who pushed Maxwell-Crawford recalled him “possibly” placing his right hand in his pocket. He said he did not think Maxwell-Crawford had a weapon in his pocket, but he was “mindful that there was that possibility.”

A passenger interviewed by the TTC investigator — whose testimony was deemed credible — also described Maxwell-Crawford as having an “angry” stare and placing both hands inside his pockets.

The surveillance video shows Maxwell-Crawford never placed his hands in his pockets, however, and the fare inspector later acknowledged in the report that “his initial perception was incorrect.”

In his statement of claim, Maxwell-Crawford alleges his civil rights were violated by the respondents’ “discriminatory and racially biased actions.” But the TTC’s internal investigator concluded there was “insufficient evidence” to support allegations of racial discrimination and the fare inspector’s push was “not unreasonable.”

“At no time does Respondent 1 use any force that is not in direct response to the action of the customer,” the report concluded. “The behaviour of the customer in this incident is not typical for a TTC customer and was such that it would — and did — cause several people to be concerned for their safety.”

The Toronto Ombudsman is now reviewing the TTC’s investigation into this incident to examine whether it was fair and thorough and if its conclusions were reasonable.

The TTC investigation did find one example of discreditable and unprofessional conduct on the part of the fare inspector who pushed Maxwell-Crawford — that he “smiled at the customer during a tense interaction.” This employee has since resigned for “unrelated reasons,” according to the TTC.

For Maxwell-Crawford, this offered little comfort. He said reading the TTC report felt like a second trauma, serving only to fortify the public narrative that he was a troublemaker who got what he deserved.

“It felt awful, it felt like I was another person,” he says. “There were so many things that were just not correct.”

Maxwell-Crawford was detained for at least 20 minutes before he was finally released from the scene by police. He collected his broken earphones, busted cellphone and missing shoe, then got back onto the 512 streetcar and continued the rest of his journey in a daze.

When he arrived at his girlfriend’s house, he pushed past her and locked himself in the bathroom, where he started to cry. His mother arrived to find her son acting “wobbly” and distraught.

“I started to get very nervous because he’s not a kid that cries for no reason and when I came he was somewhat hysterical,” she says. “I was asking him about the incident, ‘What happened?’ and he couldn’t tell me. ‘Somebody pushed me, mummy. I don’t know what’s going on!’ That’s all he could tell me.”

When she later watched one of the cellphone videos taken by a bystander, she was stunned by what she saw. “My son is screaming and everybody is ignoring him,” she says. “I’ve never seen him like that.

“This is my athletic, strong one,” she continued. “What I saw that day was heartbreaking.”

When the story hit the news, Maxwell-Crawford felt humiliated and the family struggled with how to handle the public attention. He was also diagnosed with a concussion and required treatment for both his physical and psychological injuries.

The most insidious consequence of this experience has been its impact on Maxwell-Crawford’s mental health, his mother says. He has become anxious, prone to anger and often cried himself to sleep in the months after the incident, which also took its toll on his relationship with his girlfriend. Maxwell-Crawford was devastated when they broke up.

But the low point was that day on the Scarlett Rd. bridge. “That time was hell,” she says. “I started wondering if he would come back.”

Maxwell says her son’s broken state made it difficult for him to continue working or attend college, so he quit both and moved back in with her in March. The incident has been hard on the whole family and she says she has become consumed with helping her son get back on his feet.

“One of the phrases he uses often now is, ‘I’m a good man, mom. I’m a good man.’ He goes around saying that,” she says. “He never used to do that before.”

Almost exactly nine months after his encounter with the TTC, Maxwell-Crawford says he is still working on getting back to his former self, but he still thinks about the streetcar incident every day.

He hopes his lawsuit will bring change and awareness over the way young Black men are stereotyped and surveilled in this city. He was just riding the streetcar that day, he says. Then suddenly, his life was irrevocably changed.

With files from Melanie MacDonald

Jennifer Yang is a Toronto-based reporter covering identity and inequality. Follow her on Twitter: @jyangstar


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Toronto police investigating another violent incident recorded at anti-abortion rally – Toronto


Toronto police say they are investigating another violent incident captured on video at an anti-abortion rally.

Protesters who recorded the video said the incident occurred on Oct. 1 beside Ryerson University.

The incident happened a day after Jordan Hunt allegedly kicked an anti-abortion protester on video at a different rally near Keele Street and Bloor Street West.

Toronto man arrested, charged after allegedly kicking anti-abortion protester

That video went viral and prompted plenty of reaction on social media.

In the video near Ryerson University, protesters on both sides can be seen having a discussion about abortion before a person is seen approaching anti-abortion protester Blaise Alleyne and kicking a graphic and controversial anti-abortion sign he was holding.

The attacker can then be seen throwing a dolly and shoving Katie Somers, another anti-abortion protester. The attacker appears to reach into Somers’ backpack, pull out an object and smash it on the ground before continuing to shove her.

WATCH: Violence flares at several abortion protests in GTA. Sean O’Shea reports.

“We didn’t see her coming,” Somers said.

“She kicked our signs, shoved them down. They fell down my leg, injuring me … And then I tried to run away, while she picked up a metal dolly and threw it at me and then proceeded to shove me, wrestle me around by my backpack and try to get me to fight her.”

The anti-abortion group is free to protest by law on most of the pedestrian streets around Ryerson University’s downtown campus because the streets are public property, including where the video was filmed.

Graphic anti-abortion posters spotted in Toronto: As a parent, what can you do?

Somers said they are pressing charges and also plan to launch a civil case.

Alleyne and Somers are a part of the Toronto Against Abortion group, which posted the video on their YouTube page.

The group alleges that the attacker is Gabriela Skwarko, a member of the Ryerson Reproductive Justice Collective and assistant at Ryerson’s Social Innovation Office.

Toronto Against Abortion alleges that Gabby Skwarko was the person who attacked their protesters during a rally near Ryerson.

YouTube / Toronto Against Abortion

Global News reached out to the Ryerson Reproductive Justice Collective, but they declined an on-camera interview.

“We have no comment,” said Olson Crow, the group’s co-founder.

“They have assaulted us multiple times and giving into their view point and the way they’ve swung this is problematic and bad.”

Crow did not provide any evidence that Toronto Against Abortion had assaulted members of their group before.

How university campuses became the focal point of Canada’s abortion debate

According to Somers, members of Ryerson’s Reproductive Justice Collective have been cited by Ryerson in the past for code of conduct violations because of violence at anti-abortion rallies, including one from March of this year.

Somers showed Global News a brief video of that scuffle.

“We believe that the escalation of violence against peaceful pro-life protesters is becoming a problem and would like it to stop,” Somers said.

“We don’t want our society to turn into a place where people are afraid to share their opinion.”

Man roundhouse-kicks anti-abortion advocate at Toronto protest

Christian Domenic Elia, executive director of the Catholic Civil Rights League, said incidents like this have made it difficult for people to openly express anti-abortion views in public.

“For quite some time it’s been difficult to find people who oppose abortion and who would like to prayerfully and peacefully protest against it,” he said.

“It’s been hard because of the violence that we have to endure.”

Global News contacted Ryerson University for a statement Tuesday morning, but officials did not provide comment on the incident.

– With files from Sean O’Shea

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


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Edmonton police believe convicted sex offender being released will commit another violent offence – Edmonton


The Edmonton Police Service have issued a warning to the public about the release of a convicted sex offender whom they believe “will commit another violent offence against someone while in the community.”

On Thursday afternoon, police issued the warning and released a photo of 51-year-old Michael Rhoads.

“Rhoads has a history of violence towards intimate partners and strangers he has encountered on the street or in bars,” police said in a news release. “His risk for violence increases significantly when under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

“Rhoads will be residing in the Edmonton area. The Edmonton Police Service is seeking a recognizance order on Rhoads and he will be monitored by the behavioural assessment unit of the Edmonton Police Service.”

Rhoads’ release is subject to several court-ordered conditions:

  • he must adhere to a curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily;
  • he must not buy, have or consume any alcohol or illicit drugs, including cannabis, any prescription drugs not prescribed to him, or any other intoxicating substances;
  • he must not be in any licensed establishment other than a dining room “for the sole purpose of having a meal.” He must not enter any liquor store;
  • he must not have any drug paraphernalia like a crack or marijuana pipes, self-made pipes of any kind, e-cigarettes, bongs, water pipes, cigarette papers or syringes;
  • he must not leave Edmonton without written approval;
  • he must not have weapons of any kind, including knives (except in his residence or at a restaurant “for the sole purpose of consuming a meal”), bear spray or dog spray, guns, ammunition, explosive material;
  • he must not date or have a sexual relationship with anyone or have any friendships with women until their “identity has been disclosed to a supervisor or designate and she has been informed of his previous offending.”

If anyone see Rhoads breach any of the above conditions, or who receives information about him breaking the conditions, is asked to call the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567.

Rhoads is five-foot-seven and 208 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

Police said they released the information about Rhoads with the belief that public safety trumped privacy concerns in this case. They said the warning is not intended to trigger any vigilante action.

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


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