Tuesday, March 3rd-5.0°C

Sex offender arrested

A high-risk sex offender who fled Canada for Seattle has been arrested in the rape of a 69-year-old woman, authorities said Monday.

Michael Sean Stanley, 49, made news reports in 2013 when he cut off an electronic-monitoring ankle bracelet and crossed the U.S. border unchallenged. He's a U.S. citizen, and American authorities said they had no reason to arrest him. Canada decided not to ask for his extradition, and he registered in Seattle as a sex offender.

Stanley, formerly of Edmonton, had a criminal record in Canada that dated back 25 years. Before he fled, he had most recently served 32 months for luring two mentally challenged boys into an apartment, lighting a crack pipe, blowing smoke in their faces and then sexually assaulting them. Parole board documents also described a case in which Stanley broke into an elderly woman's apartment while she was sleeping and sexually assaulted her.

The King County Sheriff's Office said he was arrested last Friday morning after entering the woman's home, in the Skyway neighbourhood south of Seattle, through a window. No weapons were used, but the victim sustained what the sheriff's office described as minor injuries.

Prior to that, authorities said, Stanley had been meeting his requirements as registered sex offender, including checking in weekly as required and providing an accurate account of where he was staying each night.

Stanley, who is homeless, was scheduled to make an initial court appearance Monday at the Regional Justice Center in Kent, where he was expected to be represented by a public defender, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the King County Prosecutor's Office.

Stanley ran into trouble soon after arriving in Seattle in fall 2013. He was arrested on misdemeanour charges of harassment and resisting arrest after he threatened someone who asked him to be quiet. He was sentenced to seven months in jail.

The Canadian Press


Wanna build a Death Star?

A digital petition once famously forced the White House to issue official comment on the idea of building an intergalactic Death Star as an economic stimulus program.

But Canadians hoping to make the same pitch to their federal government via official online petitions may have a slightly tougher time.

Proposed rule changes before the House of Commons on accepting electronic petitions would require an MP to support the request before a petition can be submitted.

Any online petition would also have to have 500 signatures before it could be tabled in the House; the threshold for paper petitions is only 25.

But if a petition is accepted, the government would have 45 days to respond and that response would have to be posted online.

The proposed changes are in a House of Commons committee report tabled last week and seek to have the new system in place after the next federal election.

The Canadian Press

Ferry boss appeals to top

A former ferry navigator who was convicted of criminal negligence in a fatal sinking off the B.C. coast is asking the Supreme Court of Canada to review his case.

Karl Lilgert was convicted of two counts of criminal negligence causing death and sentenced to four years for his role in the 2006 sinking of the Queen of the North.

The ferry struck an island and sank during an overnight voyage from northern B.C. to Vancouver Island, killing passengers Gerald Foisy and Shirley Rosette.

Lilgert asked the B.C. Court of Appeal to overturn his conviction because of alleged errors in the judge's instructions to the jury, but the province's highest court rejected his appeal.

The Crown's theory at trial was that Lilgert missed a scheduled turn and sailed into a remote island because he was distracted by his ex-lover, who was on the bridge with him that night.

Lilgert's lawyer could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Canadian Press

Tunnel mystery solved

Police say they have identified and interviewed two men who built a tunnel near a Pan Am Games venue in Toronto and have determined there is no criminal intent or threat.

Investigators say they received information on Friday that helped them to identify two men.

Police say the pair told investigators they built the tunnel for personal reasons and that their account has been verified.

The investigation is concluded and police say they are satisfied there was no criminal intent and no threat to the people or city of Toronto.

Deputy police Chief Mark Saunders announced the discovery of the tunnel on Feb. 24 and police released photos of the site found near York University, prompting media coverage across Canada and abroad.

The Canadian Press

Canadian sentenced in Nepal

A media report says a Canadian man has been sentenced to seven years in jail in Nepal for molesting a nine-year-old boy in that country.

The Hindustan Times says 71-year-old Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh from Nova Scotia was found guilty of sexual assault by a court in Lalitpur near Kathmandu.

The Hindustan Times says the court also gave MacIntosh a fine of one million Nepalese rupees, equivalent to roughly $12,000.

The Canadian Press could not reach police in Nepal to confirm the report.

Canada's Department of Foreign affairs says the Canadian detained in Nepal is receiving consular services, but the department says it cannot release any more information because of privacy concerns.

An earlier report by the Himalayan Times quotes a spokesperson with the Metropolitan Police Range in Jawalakhel as saying MacIntosh allegedly forced a boy into having sex with him in December.

In 2013, an Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh had 17 child sex offence convictions in Nova Scotia rejected after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled his case took too long to go to trial.

MacIntosh was living in India in 1995 when allegations surfaced that he had sexually abused boys in Cape Breton in the 1970s.

The Canadian Press

Mine brings caribou concerns

Hilu Tagoona was just a girl the first time uranium miners proposed to develop a massive deposit of the radioactive metal near her home town of Baker Lake, Nunavut.

"I was about 11," she says. "I spent many an hour listening to (presentations), spending time at the hearings."

Now, at 37, she's about to relive her childhood as final hearings begin Monday before the Nunavut Impact Review Board on a second proposal to eventually build a mine on the tundra. As a spokeswoman for the anti-uranium group Makitagunarningit, her opinion on it hasn't changed.

"Our big concern is the caribou and their calving grounds."

French nuclear giant Areva is proposing to build one underground and four open-pit mines just west of Baker Lake, on the edge of the calving grounds of one of the North's great caribou herds and near the largest and most remote wildlife sanctuary on the continent.

The $2.1 billion project would provide at least 400 jobs, many reserved for local Inuit. Its annual payroll would be $200 million for at least 17 years.

Areva has been considering the project since at least 1997. Its current plans have been before the regulator since 2007.

"We believe we've got a very good environmental assessment," said Areva spokesman Barry McCallum. "We're looking forward to participating in the hearings."

Areva's plans would empty part of a lake, build a road through the habitat of a declining caribou herd and stretch a bridge across a Canadian heritage river. Planes loaded with radioactive concentrate would take off from its airstrip and barges with the same cargo would leave from its dock on Baker Lake.

The road and mill that it proposes would make it easier for other mines to open. Those deposits are on calving grounds for caribou that aboriginals in three provinces and two territories depend on.

At the very least, some protections should be created for the calving grounds in advance of any industrial development being approved for the area, said Tagoona.

"The construction of this mine will make it so much more feasible for other mines to open," she said. "There are no proper protective measures at this point for caribou, or a plan in place."

And critics worry about Areva's acknowledgment that uranium prices are currently so low that it could be up to two decades before construction of the mine actually begins.

"They cannot approve this and wait 20 years," said Tagoona. "That's not reasonable whatsoever. Everything will have changed."

The Kivalliq Wildlife Board, which manages wildlife in the region under the Nunavut Land Claim, says it's "firmly opposed" to Kiggavik until protections for the calving ground are in place and Areva commits to a start date.

Ryan Barry, director of the review board, said it's unusual for a company to admit they don't plan to start an approved project anytime soon. But he suggested those concerns could be addressed by adding conditions forcing Areva to revisit parts of its environmental assessment if the delay is too long.

"There's a lot you can do with recommendations," he said. "There is the ability to put some restrictions in place."

McCallum said Areva has been working with the community for years, opening an office in Baker Lake and flying residents to its uranium mines in northern Saskatchewan, where it has set up meetings with local aboriginals.

"I definitely think we've had some success," he said. "Questions are answered honestly and openly."

But there's so much at stake. The area caribou harvest has been valued at $20 million a year, at a time when northerners are more concerned than every about high food prices.

And there are so many unknowns — the effects of the mine itself, the amount of development that follows along the road it builds, the state of the herds and the environment by the time the project actually begins.

Tagoona hopes that after the next two weeks of hearings that history will repeat itself.

"I have some recollection of the first fight and our success in that," she said. "I think that this will be a never-ending battle, but if we stave it once again, that would be a success for us."

The Canadian Press

Support for Nemtsov

Canada stands with the tens of thousands of Russians who took to Moscow streets on Sunday to protest the killing of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson says.

Speaking on the eve of his first foreign trip in his new portfolio, Nicholson said Sunday he doesn't know who is to blame for Friday's shooting of Nemtsov, one of the most vocal political opponents of President Vladimir Putin.

But Sunday's protest march and outpouring of support for Nemtsov shows Russians are concerned about what Putin is doing to their country, he said.

"I understand and support those who are taking to the street," the minister told The Canadian Press in his first print interview since replacing John Baird last month.

"They saw progress after the end of communism, and now I'm sure that many of them are very worried about what Putin is doing."

Along with the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, the ongoing tension in Ukraine tops the agenda when Nicholson arrives in Paris on Monday for talks with his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius.

Nicholson said he's looking forward to a first-hand analysis from Fabius of the Minsk II peace agreement that France recently took part in with Germany, Russia and Ukraine. The agreement calls for the withdrawal of all armed forces from Ukraine, a clause many see as aimed at Russia, which is accused of backing separatists there.

Nicholson acknowledged the fragility of the ceasefire, which was shaken Friday by the deaths of three Ukrainian soldiers.

"Certainly with the killing of Boris Nemtsov here in the last couple of days underlines how difficult and how tragic the circumstances are," said Nicholson. "I'm interested to get his (Fabius's) take on this."

Before he was gunned down, Nemtsov had organized Sunday's demonstration in Moscow as a peace march against the war in Ukraine.

Nemtsov was shot to death near the Kremlin just hours after he gave a radio interview during which he accused Putin of a "mad, aggressive and deadly policy" in the war against Ukraine.

He was working on a report that was trying to link Russian soldiers with the Ukraine separatist fighters.

Under drizzly skies, marchers chanted "Russia without Putin" and "Say no to war," the Associated Press reported.

"I'm hoping that a thorough investigation will uncover exactly who is behind this," Nicholson said.

"He was a tireless advocate of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. He was unafraid to speak his mind. This is very much a tragedy," the minister added.

"This is a setback, of course, for people who want to see the rule of law and democracy come to Russia."

Also on Monday, Nicholson will visit the Grand Synagogue of Paris as a deliberate statement against anti-Semitism. The gesture comes following the January attacks on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and a kosher supermarket in France, and last week's shootings of two people in Denmark — including a Jewish man outside a synagogue.


The Canadian Press

East endures record cold

Between Ontario and Quebec deep freezes, the Maritime snowpocalypse, and British Columbia's early spring, February was a month of extreme weather.

In general, temperatures across Quebec and southern Ontario were seven to nine degrees colder than the historic averages.

Quebec experienced the coldest February since at least 1889 _ for example, Montreal recorded an average temperature of -14.9 C, compared to an average of -8.5 C.

Other parts of the province fared even worse, with Quebec City reporting a temperature of -17.8 C.

Environment Canada meteorologist Maxime Desharnais says it was the persistent cold and wind that set this year apart.

He said a jet stream of frigid air from the Northwest Territories kept a cold air mass trapped over parts of Ontario and Quebec for most of the month.

"The physics of the atmosphere just meant it took a long time to move," he said.

Ottawa recorded its coldest-ever February, with an average temperature of -16.8 C, shattering the former record set in 1979.

In Toronto, it was the first February in 75 years where the temperature did not climb above the freezing mark.

Many Maritimers spent most of the month digging out after record snowfalls. Both Halifax and Moncton recorded more than double the average amount of snow for the month.

Charlottetown was buried under more than seven feet of snow (222.8 cm), including nearly 90 cm in a single storm that hit PEI's capital on February 16th.

By comparison, residents of British Columbia's lower mainland have had reason to gloat as they experienced weather that was comparatively springlike.

The province as a whole was three to five degrees warmer than normal, which Desharnais said was "very significant."

Vancouver recorded an average temperature of 7.5 C, with temperatures climbing to 14 C on some days in February.

The Canadian Press

Families fight large legal bill

A demand that four Ontario families pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs to billion-dollar companies is a thinly disguised warning to anyone pondering a challenge to industrial wind farms in Ontario, the families say.

In asking the courts to set the legal bill aside, the citizens say the award would cripple them financially and undermine access to justice, even in important public-interest cases.

Court documents show the companies — K2 Wind, Armow, and St. Columban — are seeking $340,000 in costs from the Drennans, Ryans, Dixons and Kroeplins, who lost their bid to scuttle three wind-farm projects.

The families, who worry wind turbines near their homes could harm their health, had challenged the constitutionality of Ontario's approvals process before Divisional Court. They are now hoping the province's top court will hear the case, potentially adding more litigation costs.

Shawn Drennan said his $240,000 bill was excessive given that he was only looking to protect his rights.

"We will have to go to the bank and beg and ask if we can borrow more money to pay their costs and it will be a significant burden on my wife and I," Shawn Drennan told The Canadian Press. "My wife already works two jobs."

Lawyer Julian Falconer, who represents the families, called the wind companies "blood-sucking, intimidating bullies."

"It's not just a bar to justice, it's actually a terror tactic," Falconer said in an interview.

"This is not about money. The idea is to send a message: 'We will wipe you out if you challenge us'."

The companies say the high-stakes court challenge forced them to deploy considerable legal resources to defend projects they say are safe.

"While the appellants were entitled to bring their litigation, their decision to do so had significant consequences," St. Columban argues in its court filing.

"There must be an appreciation of the real disruption, and real cost, suffered by the adverse party."

Generally speaking and as a matter of fairness, the losing side in civil proceedings has to pay the legal bills incurred by the winning side.

K2, which is putting up 140 turbines, some of which are about 750 metres from the Drennans' home near Goderich, Ont., says the families knew the risks of losing.

In addition, the failed bid to halt construction pending outcome of their court battle was unnecessary and should "never have been brought," K2 says in its submissions.

The families argue they raised an important and novel constitutional issue that is squarely in the public interest given the reasonable prospect of serious harm to the health of citizens. They also say they did not stand to benefit financially.

The Canadian Press

McDonald's shooting kills 2

Update – March 1

The lawyer for a security guard involved in the fatal shooting of two men at an east-end Toronto McDonald's early Saturday says the gun that was involved was "lawfully possessed."

Lawyer Craig Penney says his client was involved in an altercation at the restaurant and that he has since been released from hospital.

Penney says his client is "grateful to be recovering from his injuries," is "appreciative of the way in which the police are dealing with the matter" and "is thankful to his company for supporting him."

"We confirm that the firearm involved was legal and that it was lawfully possessed," Penney said Sunday in an email.

Police say two men are dead and a third injured after an altercation in an east-end Toronto McDonald's escalated and "multiple" shots were fired early Saturday.

Det.-Sgt. Terry Browne says an armed security guard, who was apparently in the restaurant to buy food, discharged his weapon following a "significant physical altercation" with two men.

Browne says the altercation took place somewhere near the food counter and there were between 15 and 20 customers and staff in the McDonald's at the time of the incident.

Police say the two unidentified men, believed to be aged 25 and 40, were pronounced dead at the scene, while the security guard was taken to hospital for treatment of a hand injury.

Browne says the guard, who was employed nearby, is co-operating with investigators.

Browne says police are not looking for any suspects and says the reason for the confrontation isn't yet known but investigators are going through security video of the incident.

"I can't tell you why it started. From what I see on the video, it started very quickly and escalated from there," he told a news conference Saturday morning.

"There's no doubt that the security guard is the involved party for the discharging of the firearm, we're really trying to put the pieces together on how this all played out," Browne said.

Browne added that no one is under arrest at this point.

"We know where the individual is, he's being co-operative and we'll take it step-by-step," he said.

Police say no one else in the restaurant was injured.

There were "six to eight" employees and "10 to 12" customers in the area when "multiple shots" were fired before 3 a.m., Browne said.

Browne did not say exactly where the confrontation occurred, but said it was in the "general area where customers line up for food," and wouldn't say if other weapons were involved.

Browne stressed that the investigation was in the early stages, but said the video shows "fairly significant physical confrontation ... and the security guard was involved in this confrontation."

The Canadian Press

Universities attracting kids

Groups of students huddle around desks at a university campus as the instructor gives out a quick overview of the job at hand: build a crane, create an electromagnet and pick up metal.

Work begins in earnest with some of the students building their contraptions with wheels "for better transportation" while others build them for strength.

But these are not university students. They are Grade 3 and Grade 4 students — about half of them girls — who like to spend a few hours on the weekend building "stuff" and learning about science.

"I've been building stuff a long time," says eight-year-old Yashu Tenneti.

"In our school we're building bridges out of Popsicle sticks."

Does she want to be an engineer or scientist when she grows up?

"I don't know. I want to be many things," she says.

The class is part of an outreach program at the University of Toronto designed to help break gender, financial and racial barriers. The university hopes girls like Yashu will eventually enter an engineering program.

Many other universities across the country offer similar programs to encourage women to get into the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. York University, for example, runs all-girl courses that teach science through superheroes.

Later this week, the university is expected to launch the Lassonde 50:50 Challenge — an initiative that aims to achieve an equal gender-split enrolment at its Lassonde engineering school.

The gender divide in professions such as engineering and computer sciences is a startling problem in Canada. According to Engineers Canada, about 88 per cent of engineers are men.

Those numbers are slowly changing because of programs such as these, according to Jennifer Flanagan, the CEO of Actua — an Ottawa-based charity that promotes science to children, especially girls.

"They can experiment, tinker and that kind of environment is really conducive to boosting their confidence," Flanagan said of the programs, which include all-girl science classes. They have been around for two decades, she said, but they've become more popular in recent years.

Last September, the first-year undergraduate engineering class at the University of Toronto saw 365 women, a 25 per cent increase from the year before. At the University of British Columbia, 29 per cent of its first-year engineering students this year are women, a 61-per-cent jump from 2010.

Progress, however, is slow. A report from Engineers Canada shows just 18.3 per cent of undergraduate engineering degrees were awarded to women across the country in 2013, up slightly from 17.6 per cent in 2009.

While the program where the kids were building cranes was coed, the University of Toronto offers all-girl classes, which have become quite popular, according to Dawn Britton, who is part of the school's engineering outreach office. The university also offers summer and March break camps as well as weekend science classes for girls.

The goal, Britton said, is to get girls interested in science at a young age, starting at eight years old. At the University of Waterloo, programs begin for girls as young as six.

Flanagan said her organization's research shows girls start losing interest in sciences when they reach Garde 9, when they have to start preparing for their future.

Most university science programs require applicants to have taken advanced math and science courses in high school.

"If they don't take physics and advanced math classes in high school, then it's already too late," Flanagan said.

Parents are a big part of the gender divide problem, Flanagan said, because they often try to influence their children's career choices based on stereotypes.

"They are projecting a false understanding of what those careers are on their daughters and not their sons," she said.

So at the Actua programs, which are offered at 33 universities in Canada, they give pamphlets to the parents to help dispel those myths.

Ray Jayawardhana, the dean of the faculty of science at York University, agreed. The under-representation of women highlights the larger issue barriers blocking entry into science.

"There is a growing body of evidence that kids don't choose what they would do when they grow up very early, but they seem to rule out what they might not do very early," said Jayawardhana, 43, adding that he was just a boy when he decided to become an astronomer.

"I grew up in Sri Lanka and I'm an astronomer and there is not a single astronomer to date in Sri Lanka — a country of 20 million people. So the idea that when you're growing up you can do science or astronomy when no one else is doing it is difficult. It takes a leap into the unknown to think that," he said.

"Our hope is to keep careers in science, engineering and technology in the mix."

Back at the University of Toronto, the children's science course instructor, Michaela Tai, explains the dangers of incorrectly connecting a circuit.

"You do not want to do that," she says. "You do not want a short circuit."

About 30 minutes later, one child screams "Smoke! It's smoking!"

There is no visible smoke, but it is a short circuit. So the children quickly make another one.

Tai, a second-year industrial engineering student, uses the mishap to explain to the kids that failure is an important part of science. Fixing those failures builds confidence, she says, something many girls lack early on.

But that changes quickly with experience — experience that is gained at programs such as these.

"I tell the girls, look how well you're doing now," Tai says.

"You can ask questions, don't be afraid, and don't be afraid to explore new things."

The Canadian Press

Lawyer lashes out at Harper

The high-profile human rights lawyer for a Canadian journalist on trial in Egypt is lashing out at what she calls Canada's "woefully inadequate" efforts to bring him home.

Mohamed Fahmy spent more than a year in a Cairo prison after being arrested along with two colleagues while working for satellite news broadcaster Al Jazeera English.

The 40-year-old, who was released on bail earlier this month, is currently being tried a second time after a successful appeal of his original conviction on terror-related charges that have been widely denounced.

Although his legal case continues to wind its way through the courts, Fahmy has been hoping to leave Egypt under a law which allows for the deportation of foreigners convicted of crimes.

His Australian colleague left Egypt on Feb. 1 under that law, but the same has not yet happened for Fahmy — a situation his lawyer, Amal Clooney, is criticizing the Canadian government for.

Calling Fahmy "a journalist who has committed no crime," Clooney pointed out that Canada had received assurances that Fahmy would be deported — former foreign affairs minister John Baird even called his release "imminent" — but when that didn't happen, a junior minister simply issued a short statement on the matter.

"Such sheepish whimpers are woefully inadequate when it comes to enforcing an agreement reached with a sovereign state regarding a citizen’s release from detention," Clooney said in a statement.

"Canada should now begin real advocacy to ensure that Egypt honours its agreement to release Mr. Fahmy from Egypt."

Clooney added that there was no legal impediment to Fahmy's immediate transfer to Canada, and urged the federal government to push for it.

"Calls from Canadian society and politicians for Prime Minister Harper to pick up the phone to personally intervene in the case have so far fallen on deaf ears," she said.

Fahmy, his family and his supporters have repeatedly called on Harper to call his Egyptian counterpart to discuss the case.

Harper has said the Canadian government has been in contact with Egyptian authorities "at all levels'' on Fahmy's case, including his level, and said he was "optimistic'' the case would be resolved.

Clooney said she hoped to visit Egypt to meet with Fahmy and discuss his case with Canadian and Egyptian officials.

Fahmy moved to Canada with his family in 1991, living in Montreal and Vancouver for years before eventually moving abroad for work, which included covering stories for the New York Times and CNN.

He took over as the bureau chief for Al Jazeera's English-language channel in Cairo in September 2013.

The Canadian Press

Nemtsov killing condemned

Western leaders are condemning the assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and pressing the Kremlin to ensure that the killing is thoroughly investigated.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement Friday night that he was "shocked and saddened" to learn Nemtsov had been gunned down in Moscow by assailants who opened fire from a vehicle.

"Mr. Nemtsov will be remembered as a fearless advocate of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Russia," the statement said.

Harper added that as a prominent opponent of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine Nemtsov had been "unafraid to voice essential truths, even in the face of violent intimidation." The statement said those responsible for "this shameful act of violence" must be held to account in "a swift, transparent and independent investigation."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Saturday that Merkel was "dismayed" by Nemtsov's killing and is urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to ensure that the assassination is cleared up and the perpetrators brought to justice. She praised Nemtsov's courage in criticizing government policies.

President Francois Hollande's office said the French leader "denounces the odious assassination" of Nemtsov, whom it described as "a courageous and tireless defender of democracy and a dogged fighter against corruption."

Finland's prime minister, Alexander Stubb, said he hoped "the political leadership and the judicial system in Russia will do their utmost to investigate the murder promptly and transparently."

The Canadian Press

Hundreds attend boy's funeral

Hundreds of mourners filled a Toronto church to capacity, spilling out onto the streets for Saturday's funeral of three-year-old Elijah Marsh, whose tragic death earlier this month touched the hearts of Canadians across the country.

Elijah died after he wandered out of his grandmother's apartment building on Feb. 19 in the middle of a frigid night wearing just a diaper, shirt and boots.

His funeral drew people from across the Greater Toronto Area. Some lined up for hours to pay their respects to the Marsh family at the St. Matthew's United Church, many of whom did not know the family personally but who were deeply affected by Elijah's death.

"I am here to support the family, I don't know them but I lost a son four years ago so I know what it is like to lose a child," said Beverly Williamson of Brampton. "The memories will stay forever, the pain will never go away, but they will learn to deal with it and cope with it as the days go by."

The church was filled to capacity before the service even began, while a nearby warming centre where people could sign a guestbook was also packed with those who wanted to share their grief with the family.

Devon Haughton, who also attended the service, said there was an incredible outpouring of support from the community.

"There is an abundance of love and prayers out there for them. It's just amazing that the community came out in droves." he said.

"That shows that this city, Toronto, is a caring, loving city and in times of woes and in times of troubles, Toronto you support each other."

Haughton added he was particularly struck by the eulogies given by family members including Elijah's mother Georgette Marsh and his father Curt Barry.

"Yes, it was moving," Haughton said. He's an angel and taken away by nature, bitter cold, he's covered now, he's well protected now."

Elijah's mother, Georgette Marsh, told the mourners at the service, segments of which were broadcast by Toronto TV station CP24, that she had wished she had more time with Elijah.

"Anyone who knows me knows that my children are my world," she said. "Even if I could spend 365 days a year with them I would still ask for more time."

A pickup truck filled with flowers, and a school bus sat outside of the church, after bringing mourners from around the city, while people remained outside in the cold in a show of support for the family.

Jean Richards, who has 13 grandchildren, also did not know the family but came out to show her support.

"I'm coming from Richmond Hill, I'm a grandmother, my heart feels for the family, especially for the grandmother who was overseeing that child. I can't imagine what she feels right now," she said.

Jude Charles, a family friend, said that she was turned away at the door to the church with hundreds of others who waited in the parking lot for a chance to say goodbye to Elijah.

"I couldn't get to go inside, but it's a very horrible feeling. It's hard to know that the child died out in the weather that we're standing in now, and it was worse. It's not a good feeling at all," she said.

Others saw Elijah's death as a way of bringing the community together and of learning to prevent a repeat of such a tragic incident.

"This can happen to anyone of us and this can help pull us together and make this place a better place," said Leonard Mullings, who does not know the family personally but felt obligated to attend.

"I have a grandson and it could happen to me."

The outpouring of support wasn't confined to Toronto _ two online fundraising campaigns generated a tremendous response from across the country, according to organizers. One of the campaigns raised more than $173,000 to help cover the cost of the funeral for the family.

The Canadian Press

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