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50 shades of Ghomeshi

"Trailer Park Boys" actor Lucy DeCoutere has accused former CBC-Radio host Jian Ghomeshi of choking her "to the point she could not breathe" and slapping her "hard three times on the side of her head," the Toronto Star reported late Wednesday.

The "Q" radio host has been accused of abusive behaviour by a series of anonymous women over the past few days but DeCoutere is the first to agree to be identified.

The Star reported that eight women from across Canada now accuse Ghomeshi — who parted ways with the CBC on Sunday — of "abusive behaviour ranging from allegations of beating and choking without consent, to workplace sexual harassment." It said that the allegations range from 2002 to the present.

The Star said Ghomeshi, his lawyers and public relations staff have not responded to allegations in their latest report, which includes accusations from DeCoutere and other accusers who are not named.

A spokeswoman for Ghomeshi did not immediately respond to a request from The Canadian Press for comment.

DeCoutere alleged that in 2003 Ghomeshi "without warning or consent, choked her to the point she could not breathe and then slapped her hard three times on the side of her head," the Star reported.

“He did not ask if I was into it. It was never a question. It was shocking to me. The men I have spent time with are loving people.”

The CBC announced Sunday that it was parting ways with Ghomeshi because of "information" it had received about him. A short time later, lawyers for Ghomeshi announced plans to sue the public broadcaster. Following that, Ghomeshi issued a long Facebook post in which he alleged that that he had been fired from the public broadcaster for his "sexual behaviour."

He said in the Facebook post that he engaged in adventurous forms of sex that included role-play, dominance and submission, along with "rough sex (forms of BDSM)." The activities were consensual and he and his partner used safe words to signal when to stop the activity, he said.

He is suing the CBC for $55 million for defamation and breach of trust. The corporation has said it will “vigorously” defend itself against Ghomeshi’s lawsuit.

The Star report published Wednesday night said Ghomeshi met some of the women during his 2012 book tour for his memoir "1982." It said he met others "at film festivals, at music or CBC events, or at the CBC workplace."

The report said two of the women allege that the assaults took place in Ghomeshi's home and that before they took place he "introduced them to Big Ears Teddy, a stuffed bear, and he turned the bear around just before he slapped or choked them, saying that 'Big Ears Teddy shouldn’t see this.'"

DeCoutere told the newspaper she felt it was "time for someone to speak publicly about the matter."

Wednesday's story comes on the heels of a report Monday in the Star that contained allegations from three women who say he was physically violent to them without their consent during sexual encounters or in the run-up to such encounters. Ghomeshi — though his lawyer — responded that he "does not engage in non-consensual role play or sex and any suggestion of the contrary is defamatory."

The Star also reported that a fourth woman who worked at the CBC alleged that Ghomeshi "approached her from behind and cupped her rear end in the Q studio'' and made a sexually obscene comment to her during a story meeting. The Star reported that Ghomeshi told the newspaper that he did not understand why it was continuing to pursue allegations when "my lawyers have already told you it is untrue."

After earlier saying no formal complaint was made, the Canadian Media Guild said Wednesday the CBC staffer told a work colleague that alleged "inappropriate comments were made," but that the colleague did not report it to union staff.

CBC said the woman it interviewed was not one of the four from the Star report. The woman told the network she did not know the women whose alleged accounts appeared in the Star.

Also Wednesday, the CBC aired a radio interview with a woman who alleges physically abusive acts by Ghomeshi more than 10 years ago, accusing the fired radio star of throwing her on the ground and "pounding" her in the head until her ears were ringing.

In the radio interview, the woman, who was not identified, told CBC's "As It Happens" that while in his car on their first date he asked her if she would undo her buttons.

"And I said 'No' because I didn't know you. And he reached over and grabbed my hair very hard and pulled my head back. It really took me off guard."

The woman said she thinks Ghomeshi asked if she liked it but doesn't remember her response.

She said that she went on a second date to Ghomeshi's house, where she says they were flirting when "he grabbed my hair again but even harder, threw me in front of him on the ground and started closed-fist pounding me in the head. Repeatedly, until my ears were ringing."

"There was no conversation about anything, " she alleged in the 11-minute CBC interview. "He didn't ask me if I like to be hit. He didn't ask me — I wasn't expecting it, and he hit me repeatedly."

The woman told CBC: "We were fully clothed. We weren't having sex."

In the interview on CBC, the woman said she did not go to the police over the alleged incidents. She said she decided to come forward with her story after a recent Toronto Star report.

CBC says it agreed not to use the woman's name, and that it tried to reach Ghomeshi but did not hear back by air time.

Ghomeshi could not be reached by The Canadian Press on Wednesday evening. A lawyer for Ghomeshi directed inquiries to his publicist, who did not respond.

The Canadian Press


22933


Therapy dog goes to court

A Calgary judge is allowing a police therapy dog to sit with two child witnesses in an upcoming sex abuse trial.

Crown prosecutor Rosalind Greenwood says it may be the first time in Alberta — even in Canada — that a dog is to replace a court support worker.

The black Labrador retriever, named Hawk, joined Calgary police last year.

Greenwood says the dog has already met with the two child witnesses.

The case involves a man charged with sexually assaulting his seven-year-old daughter.

The girl and her brother are to testify when the trial begins in December.

The Canadian Press


Call for stem cell investment

A coalition of Canadian stem cell advocates, researchers and charities is calling for $1.5 billion in private and public funding for stem cell therapy over the next 10 years.

The coalition's action plan is aimed at cementing Canada's reputation as a stem cell leader, one that uses stem cell science to reduce suffering and death from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, vision loss, spinal cord injuries and other conditions.

James Price, the president and CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, says the action plan could help millions of people with new, life-changing therapies.

The action plan's call for funding includes a $50 million scaled annual average commitment by the federal government.

The Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine estimates the action plan could also create more than 12,000 jobs due to the growth of existing companies and the development of new enterprises aimed at global markets.

The Canadian Press


22933


Sleeping pill use too common

A campaign to reduce inappropriate use of health care in Canada is calling for more prudent prescribing of sleep aids among seniors.

Choosing Wisely Canada says about one third of people over age 65 are using sleeping pills, even though the drugs are particularly risky for older adults.

The group says that what's more, the pills don't offer substantially longer or better quality sleep.

The chairwoman of the campaign, Dr. Wendy Levinson, says there are safer ways for seniors to get more sleep.

The recommendation is one of dozens Levinson's group is releasing aimed at educating patients and doctors about inappropriate use of health care.

Levinson says the goal is to get both sides of that dynamic to understand that some commonly ordered tests and procedures are often used unnecessarily.

"People think more is better. Patients think that they need testing and they don't understand that testing can actually be ... harmful," Levinson said in an interview.

"Sixty per cent of doctors say that they over-ordered tests that they think are not needed at all because patients request them. So that's MRIs or X-rays for lower back pain, it's antibiotics when they're not needed."

The Choosing Wisely campaign involves more than two dozen medical specialty groups and associations which have drawn up Top 5 lists of tests, procedures or practices common to their specialty that really ought not be done. Suggested by members of the specialty, the items on the list were subjected to an evidence review to determine that it was indeed safe to urge doctors and patients to avoid this or reduce the frequency of that.

Examples including ordering a panel of blood tests every year as part of an annual physical, even for patients with no particular risk factors for the conditions for which they are being screened. In fact, the group advises against annual checkups, saying physicals are important but should be done on a more sporadic basis.

Levinson says another recommendation is that doctors not order bone density tests more frequently than every two years, because bone density doesn't change that fast.

On the issue of sleeping pills for seniors, the group points out the potential side-effects of the pills pose real risks to older adults. They include next-day drowsiness, increased risk of car accidents, constipation, trouble urinating and falls and hip fractures.

The Canadian Press


2018 & 2020 Olympics on CBC

The CBC has suffered several major blows in recent months — significant job cuts, the loss of hockey broadcast rights and the recent dramatic departure of one of its most prominent personalities.

On Tuesday, the public broadcaster delivered an increasingly rare good-news story. And it turned to a top-flight sports showcase that it knows how to do very well.

The CBC and Radio-Canada renewed their commitment to Olympic coverage by securing the broadcast rights to the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea and 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. The network will partner with Bell Media and Rogers Media to deliver the Games.

"I think it shows the belief that the Olympic committee has in us continuing to deliver compelling Olympic moments to Canadians," said CBC president Hubert Lacroix.

Executives from all three media companies agreed the demands of today's Olympic broadcasting culture make it very challenging — from both a financial and manpower perspective — to go it alone with an event of this magnitude. In addition, consumers now want access to all events in real time on a broadcasting format that works for them.

Jeffrey Orridge, executive director of sports properties and general manager of the Olympics at CBC, said a team effort will help facilitate that.

"We are collaborating on the production," he said. "We are going to share airwaves, we're going to share technical resources, we're going to share our expertise and we're going to share talent."

Specific coverage details haven't been finalized but given its strong reach, expect the CBC to broadcast the top-tier events. TSN/RDS would get the next level down, followed by Sportsnet, then TSN2, and then Sportsnet One, Orridge said.

"What we're going to basically offer is a 24-hour Olympic network," said Bell Media's Phil King, president of CTV sports and entertainment programming. "If you have CBC, TSN and Sportsnet, you will have a 24-hour Olympic network."

Financial terms of the deal weren't revealed. Orridge said the agreement was respectful of the stature of the Games and "certainly fiscally responsible" on the part of the public broadcaster.

"I can't give you specifics on terms of the agreement," he said. "But suffice it to say that we've put together an extraordinarily viable business model that will be either a break-even or revenue-positive model."

The CBC, which had the broadcast rights for the recent Sochi Olympics and has been a longtime rights-holder, was already tabbed to show the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.

"It's a nation-building and nation-sharing event and that brings communities together," Orridge said. "Part of our ethos is about being a catalyst and an inspiration for our communities and cultivating and promoting and highlighting and showcasing Canadian talent.

"And that's what we do."

The broadcaster reclaimed the rights to the 2014 Games after losing the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the 2012 London Games to CTV. The three broadcasters worked together at the Sochi Games, although this deal is more extensive for the specialty networks.

Longtime sports broadcasting executive Keith Pelley, now president of Rogers Media, helped build the broadcast consortium model that was used in Vancouver.

"There is no question that you need multiple broadcasters and multiple outlets to be able to give Canadians what they want from the Olympic Games," Pelley said. "There are so many events going on at the same time that one individual broadcaster — regardless of the multi-platforms — can no longer serve the public the way that they need to to actually experience the Games and that's why this partnership came to fruition."

Pelley added Rogers has worked closely with the CBC on several initiatives, including the current NHL deal.

"This is an extension of that, the partnership is just a little bit reversed," he said. "They will control the editorial content and the sales and we will be there to support them in every way that they possibly can and give them the airtime to give Canadians unprecedented choice."

Orridge said talks with Rogers and Bell began "months ago," and were easy to kickstart given the success of the Sochi experience.

The news comes at a tumultuous time for CBC, which is being sued by star radio personality Jian Ghomeshi, who alleges breach of confidence, bad faith and defamation by the public broadcaster in a $55-million lawsuit.

The network severed ties with Ghomeshi over the weekend because of "information" it had received about the "Q" radio show host. Ghomeshi said he has been fired for his "sexual behaviour."

Last November, the broadcaster lost NHL rights to Rogers Media in a whopping $5.2-billion deal. That led to a dramatic loss of advertising revenue for a network already struggling with federal budget cuts.

In April, Lacroix announced that 657 jobs would be slashed to meet a $130-million budget shortfall. Lacroix said at the time 42 per cent of the sports department would be laid off, trimming 38 sports jobs from 90 current positions. In June, he said there would be an additional 1,000 to 1,500 positions cut by 2020.

He also announced in April the broadcaster would no longer compete for professional sports rights and would cover fewer sports events, including amateur athletics.

But the Olympics are still a product they want to be associated with, Lacroix said.

"It's a way for us to connect and to tell stories to Canadians from all across the country," he said. "This ability to do this in a context with partners allows us to bring the best Olympic experience to Canadians, bar none."

Lacroix added the partnership with Rogers and Bell will mean more comprehensive coverage for Canadians.

"It's a textbook example of us being able to bring the whole broadcasting community to the service of Canadians," he said. "If it had not been for open-mindedness and eagerness and interest of our friends at Bell and Rogers, Canadians would not be getting the kind of coverage that they will be in '18 and '20."

———

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

The Canadian Press


Thousands mourn Cpl. Cirillo

Thousands of people lined the streets of Hamilton on Tuesday to pay respects to a soldier described as a "kid at heart" who was gunned down as he stood ceremonial guard in Ottawa in what the prime minister called a terrorist attack.

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo's coffin, carried atop a gun carriage to Christ's Church Cathedral, was accompanied by members of his regiment as well as scores of soldiers and police officers marching to the sounds of muffled drums.

In a homily, Rev. Canon Rob Fead called Cirillo "Canada's son" and said the tragedy of his death had helped bring the country together.

"We gather this day in faith and in hope," Fead told mourners. "His bravery, his sacrifice, is not in vain."

In a message to Cirillo's regiment, the Queen expressed sorrow at his death under such "grievous" circumstances.

"I send my deepest sympathy to all those affected by this tragedy, in particular to members of Cpl. Cirillo's own family," the Queen, who is the regiment's colonel-in-chief, said in her note.

Near the church, people lined up four deep to watch the procession, many of them holding Canadian flags and balloons emblazoned with the Maple Leaf. At one point on the route, a group of young women sang the national anthem, drawing cheers and applause from the crowd.

However, as the casket went by, silence befell the street save for the mournful strains of bagpipes or drumming.

Hundreds of bouquets and wreaths were piled on the steps Lt.-Col. John Weir Foote armoury, along with written tributes to Cirillo.

"Reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo — we will never forget your sacrifice," one read.

Others left toys and treats for Cirillo's dog.

An unarmed Cirillo was standing ceremonial guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa last Wednesday when a gunman shot him in the back before rushing into the Centre Block on Parliament Hill, where security staff felled him in a hail of bullets.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen were among family, friends and a host of dignitaries bidding farewell to Cirillo, 24, at the full regimental funeral.

In his tribute, Harper talked about the "gut-wrenching" irony that Cirillo was killed guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

"He knew what he was protecting and he knew what he was preserving," Harper said. "He died protecting and preserving."

Cirillo's cousin, Jenny Holland, said he was a rambunctious, smiling adventurous child — qualities he kept even as he grew into manhood.

"Nathan may have looked like a big tough man, but he was such a kid at heart," Holland said.

Because only invited guests were allowed into the funeral service, proceedings were broadcast on screens at a sporting arena in the city.

Throngs of people nonetheless stood watch from across the street during the service. Someone shouted "We love you!" as mourners filed out the church, prompting others to yell their support.

There was a burst of applause from the crowd and dignitaries — including the prime minister — as the motorcade pulled away.

Ron Weinberger, whose son Ryan was a close friend of Cirillo's, said he believed something positive had come out of the tragedy of Cirillo's death.

"It really seemed to unite the country," Weinberger said as he walked to the church.

"That unity, that strength — that's what Nathan has done."

Cirillo, the father of a five-year-old son Marcus, is to be buried in a field of honour at a Hamilton cemetery.

Harper said he hoped Marcus would one day take solace in the fact that the entire country "looks up to his dad."

Lt.-Col. Lawrence Hatfield, commanding officer of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regiment, praised Cirillo as a soldier of character whose warm and radiant smile exuded "unmistakable confidence."

While bullets took his physical life, Hatfield said, his attributes have illuminated Canada.

Cirillo's death came two days after another soldier, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, was run down and killed in an attack south of Montreal.

A fundraising effort for their families has raised $550,000.

On Monday, a steady stream of mourners filed into a funeral home to pay their respects at his open coffin.

Cirillo lay in his formal uniform, his white-gloved hands crossed on his chest, as two members of his regiment stood guard on either side of the coffin.

The sight drew tears from many mourners, a number of whom didn't know him personally but felt compelled to pay tribute to him.

Wreaths, bouquets and signs of support have been laid outside Cirillo's family home and outside the funeral home where his visitations were held.

Thousands of people also expressed their grief and paid tribute along the Highway of Heroes as Cirillo's body was brought home to Hamilton from Ottawa on Friday.

The Canadian Press


Gordie Howe suffers stroke

Hockey legend Gordie Howe has lost some function on the right side of his body after having a stroke Sunday in Texas.

Howe's daughter Cathy said Tuesday night the 86-year-old Detroit Red Wings legend had lost much use of his right arm and right leg. Howe suffered the stroke in Lubbock, where his daughter lives.

"We'll just see what each day brings," she said. "He's tough. He's not giving up."

Howe's daughter said his speech is slurred, but he's been looking at family pictures and pictures from his playing days, and he's able to recognize and identify people he played with. His three sons were on the way there to see him.

"The stroke kind of came out of nowhere," said his son Dr. Murray Howe, a radiologist.

The man known as "Mr. Hockey" set NHL marks with 801 goals and 1,850 points — mostly with the Red Wings — that held up until Wayne Gretzky surpassed him in the record book. He was revered for his blend of finesse and grit, playing 26 years in the NHL until he retired for good from the league at age 52.

With one shift for the Detroit Vipers in the International Hockey League in 1997, he played professionally in a sixth decade at the age of 69.

"Wishing my friend Gordie Howe all the best, you're in all of our thoughts and prayers," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a tweet from his verified account.

Dr. Murray Howe said last year his father was still strong but was struggling a bit with short-term memory loss. This year, around the end of August, he underwent a procedure to help with back trouble. That operation helped significantly.

"He ended up getting what's called a minimally invasive lumbar decompression," Murray Howe said. "He was doing great for a while."

Howe's daughter said his spirits were still strong after the stroke.

"He's as tough now as he was when he played," she said.

Howe played 25 seasons with Detroit, winning four Stanley Cups, six Hart Trophies as the NHL's most valuable player and six Art Ross Trophies as the league's leading scorer.

He debuted with the Red Wings in 1946 at the age of 18 and quickly became a leader on the team. Howe and teammates Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay became known as the Production Line thanks to their hard-nosed style of play.

The term Gordie Howe hat trick — when a player scores a goal, records an assist and gets in a fight in one game — is named after him.

After a brief retirement in 1971, Howe returned to the ice as a member of the World Hockey Association's Houston Aeros, joining his sons Mark and Marty.

In 1977, the three Howes moved to the WHA's New England Whalers. When the league folded in 1979 the newly named Hartford Whalers joined the NHL with the Howes in tow.

At 51 years old, Howe played all 80 games of the 1979-80 NHL season with the Whalers, helping them to the playoffs with 15 goals.

Howe's longevity and scoring touch made him one of the most productive players in hockey history.

In addition to his 1,850 points in the NHL, Howe also had 174 goals and 334 assists in 419 WHA games. Add it all up and in 2,275 games he scored 975 goals, assisted on 1,383, and amassed 2,358 points.

___

With files from The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press


Tory to reach out to Ford Nation

Mayor-elect John Tory pledged Tuesday to reach out to large stretches of the city that shunned him at the ballot box, saying he would win over voters in what was Rob Ford's political home turf and create "one Toronto."

Tory took solace in his comfortable mayoral victory, but admitted he has work to do in the face of a map from Monday's election starkly showing his support base as an inverse "T" that doesn't crack the city's northwest and east, which supported Ford's brother Doug.

"I think my challenge going forward is to make sure that we gain the confidence of and have people feeling that they are part of one Toronto going forward," he told reporters outside city hall.

"That's the challenge that rests in front of me and I prefer to look at the glass as half full as opposed to half empty."

Making gains on major files will go a long way to ending the "division" among the distinct regions of the city, he added.

"If people see transit getting built; if people see that we're having success in attracting jobs and investment to the city; if people see their finances well organized, they are going to have more confidence in one city, in one Toronto."

Results suggest a marked difference in political leanings between much of the downtown urbanites and suburban residents that make up Canada's most populous city. But Tory was able to break through in a few wards outside the city's core, which likely proved crucial to his victory.

The businessman and former provincial politician took 40 per cent of the popular vote, while his rival, Doug Ford, took 33 per cent. Former NDP MP Olivia Chow garnered 23 per cent of the vote.

Tory said he's already received congratulations from the senior levels of government whose support he will need to make his ambitious transit plan work — with a phone call coming from Finance Minister Joe Oliver, and a text message exchange with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is in China.

Tory, who promised a new era of co-operation at city hall after the antics of the Ford years, was the top choice in the downtown wards that had gone to Ford's chief rival during the last mayoral election.

He also, however, was the candidate with the most support in the region of North York, which had previously supported Ford.

The 60-year-old former CFL chairman and senior telecommunications executive also won the highest number of votes in wards in the southeast and southwest parts of the city which had previously gone to Ford, although he took those areas by a narrow margin.

One reason for that, suggested an observer, was that Toronto continues to evolve, with areas in the city's north increasing in density.

"The condos extend, the people who value public transit extend, the people who are very concerned about the Ford family's leadership style, concerned about the legacy of the addictions of the erratic behaviour. Where we're seeing Tory doing really well are in those areas," said Renan Levine, a political science lecturer at the University of Toronto, who noted every vote, regardless of which ward it comes from, secures a win in the mayoral election system.

Tory also benefited from being a conservative candidate as some conservative voters who chose Rob Ford in 2010 likely felt comfortable opting for Tory in this election, Levine said.

Doug Ford, who only entered the mayoral race after his infamous brother was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, had the most support in the city's east and west.

Chow, 57, who campaigned as the "only progressive" candidate, secured the most votes in three wards just west of the city's southern core, but her overall performance was disappointing.

Meanwhile, Rob Ford, who ran as a councillor in a ward in the city's north west, enjoyed a landslide victory, gaining 11,629 of 19,733 votes cast.

He remains in office until Dec. 2, when Tory will be sworn in.

Tory has pledged a return to stability and civility at city hall after four years which have seen Ford dogged by a string of scandals that included allegations of crack cocaine use, spouting profanities on live television and being the subject of police surveillance for months.

In all, about 1.6 million city residents were eligible to vote at 1,679 polling stations. Preliminary figures indicated more than 60 per cent turned out to vote — well above the 50 per cent who cast ballots in 2010.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly quoted John Tory as talking about "jobs and finances" instead of "jobs and investment."

The Canadian Press


Country mourns Cpl. Cirillo

Thousands of people lined the streets of Hamilton on Tuesday to pay respects to an unarmed soldier gunned down as he stood ceremonial guard in Ottawa in what the prime minister called a terrorist attack.

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo's coffin, carried atop a gun carriage to Christ's Church Cathedral, was accompanied by members of his regiment as well as scores of soldiers and police officers marching to the sounds of muffled drums.

In a homily, Rev. Canon Rob Fead called Cirillo "Canada's son" and said the tragedy of his death helped bring the country together.

"We gather this day in faith and in hope," Fead told mourners. "His bravery, his sacrifice, is not in vain."

In a message to Cirillo's regiment, the Queen expressed sorrow at his death under such "grievous" circumstances.

"I send my deepest sympathy to all those affected by this tragedy, in particular to members of Cpl. Cirillo's own family," the Queen, the regiment's colonel-in-chief, said in her note.

Near the church, people lined up four deep to watch the procession, many of them holding Canadian flags and balloons emblazoned with the Maple Leaf. At one point on the route, a group of young women sang the national anthem, drawing cheers and applause from the crowd.

However, as the casket went by, silence befell the street save for the mournful strains of bagpipes or drumming.

Hundreds of bouquets and wreaths were piled on the steps Lt.-Col. John Weir Foote armoury, along with written tributes to Cirillo.

"Reservist Cpl, Nathan Cirillo — we will never forget your sacrifice," one read.

Others left toys and treats for Cirillo's dog.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen were among family, friends and a host of dignitaries bidding a final farewell to Cirillo, 24, at the full regimental funeral.

Because only invited guests were allowed into the funeral service, proceedings were broadcast on screens at a sporting arena in the city.

Ron Weinberger, whose son Ryan was a close friend of Cirillo's, said he believed something positive had come out of the tragedy of Cirillo's death.

"It really seemed to unite the country," Weinberger said as he walked to the church.

"That unity, that strength — that's what Nathan has done."

Cirillo, the father of a five-year-old son, is to be buried in a field of honour at a Hamilton cemetery.

An honorary flypast by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's B-25 Mitchell, a twin-engined bomber, was also planned.

Cirillo was standing guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier at the National War Memorial in Ottawa last Wednesday when a gunman shot him in the back before rushing into the Centre Block on Parliament Hill, where security staff felled him in a hail of bullets.

His death came two days after another soldier, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, was run down and killed in an attack south of Montreal.

A fundraising effort for their families has raised $550,000.

On Monday, a steady stream of mourners filed into a funeral home to pay their respects at his open coffin.

Cirillo lay in his formal uniform, his white-gloved hands crossed on his chest, as two members of his regiment stood guard on either side of the coffin.

The sight drew tears from many mourners, a number of whom didn't know him personally, but felt compelled to pay tribute to him.

"You feel like you know him. And because of the type of work he was doing, for the whole country, you felt like you had to be there," said Patricia Fitzgerald, who had travelled from Mississauga, Ont., to pay her respects.

"I hope his family will get some solace from the outpouring of grief that they've seen."

Cirillo's son Marcus attended a private visitation for his father on Sunday wearing the hat worn by those in the soldier's regiment.

The Canadian Press


Funeral today for Cpl. Cirillo

The prime minister and his wife will be among family and friends bidding a final farewell to the young soldier gunned down in last week's attack on the National War Memorial as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo is laid to rest in his southern Ontario hometown today.

Stephen and Laureen Harper are expected to be joined by MPs and other dignitaries at a regimental funeral for the 24-year-old reservist in Hamilton this afternoon.

The service is open to invited guests only, but members of the public will have the opportunity to view a procession carrying Cirillo's casket as it winds its way through the streets of Hamilton later this morning.

The funeral at the Christ’s Church Cathedral will also be broadcast on screens at Hamilton's First Ontario Centre, a sporting arena in the city, where mourners will have the opportunity to gather. Cirillo will then be buried in a field of honour at a Hamilton cemetery.

His regiment — the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders — will be out in full force with their iconic kilts while other military units and uniformed police officers are expected to take part in the funeral procession that will follow the hearse carrying his casket.

An honorary flypast by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's B-25 Mitchell, a twin-engined bomber, is also planned.

Cirillo was standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa last Wednesday when he was killed by a gunman who went on to open fire on Parliament Hill before being shot down in a hail of bullets.

The young soldier's funeral comes a day after a public visitation which saw a steady stream of mourners file into a funeral home in Hamilton to pay their respects at his open casket.

Cirillo lay in his formal uniform, his white-gloved hands crossed on his chest, as two members of his regiment stood guard on either side of his casket.

The sight drew tears from many mourners, a number of whom didn't know Cirillo personally but felt compelled to pay tribute to him.

"You feel like you know him. And because of the type of work he was doing, for the whole country, you felt like you had to be there," said Patricia Fitzgerald, who had travelled from Mississauga, Ont., to pay her respects.

"I hope his family will get some solace from the outpouring of grief that they've seen."

Cirillo left behind a five-year-old son, who attended a private visitation for his father on Sunday wearing the hat worn by those in the soldier's regiment.

Cirillo's family issued a statement Friday evening thanking Canadians for their support.

The Canadian Press


New mayor promises 'new era'

 

A former CFL chairman and business executive who ventured into politics only to fall flat in both municipal and provincial elections has finally earned a measure of political redemption alongside a chance to revamp Toronto's reputation after four years of scandal.

Former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory was elected mayor of Toronto on Monday night, officially marking an end to the turbulent and internationally infamous reign of Rob Ford.

"Torontonians want to see an end to the division that has paralyzed city hall for the past four years, and to all that I say, 'Toronto, I hear you. I hear you loud and clear,'" Tory told a jubilant crowd during his victory speech.

Ford was forced to withdraw from the race due to a cancer diagnosis last month, but his elder brother Doug took his place on the ballot in a bid to keep the family's hold on the city's top job.

Despite a campaign that saw him post consistently strong poll numbers, Doug Ford fell short of Tory by more than 6,000 votes. Former NDP MP Olivia Chow finished third with about 23 per cent of the votes.

Tory said he looks forward to restoring Toronto's reputation on the world stage, which he believes was tarnished by Rob Ford's public struggles with drugs and alcohol and the international ridicule that ensued.

Turning Toronto into what he described as "a beacon of respect for everyone," he said, could have benefits beyond the city limits.

"There's a love-hate relationship between Canada and Toronto, but I am one of those who believes that...what's good for Toronto is good for Canada, and what's good for Canada is good for Toronto," Tory said in an interview with The Canadian Press before the election.

"I just want to take the opportunity to build up Toronto, and I think by doing that you're going to build up Canada."

Tory has been out of the political arena since he gave up the party leadership in 2009 after failing to regain a seat in the legislature. Both he and the Conservatives were defeated in the 2007 election — a loss widely attributed to his proposal to fund faith-based schools.

Tory spent the ensuing years as a radio broadcaster and community activist, but the 60-year-old said he felt the need to make more of an impact in shaping the public agenda and bringing about lasting change.

That drive is what lured him back to the mailstrom of political life, he said, adding that its benefits outweigh the harsh lessons he's been forced to learn.

"I was a broadcaster doing a very popular talk show where I know you have some degree of ability to influence things, I have been a public servant, I have been a business figure," Tory said.

"There is no place you make a bigger difference to build up your own city or your own province or your own community than to be in public life. So to me it's public service."

Tory's fiscally conservative approach made him a right-wing favourite in the race to replace Rob Ford, whose tenure Tory described as being marred by division and chaos.

His campaign has been framed as an effort to reinstate stability at city hall while addressing Toronto's growing infrastructure challenges, and his message was well-received throughout the months-long campaign. Tory's poll results consistently put him well ahead of Doug Ford and Chow.

Tory played peacemaker throughout the campaign despite a political environment he found to be more combative than those he's experienced in the past.

Doug Ford, in particular, has accused Tory of being an out-of-touch elitist divorced from the needs of regular Torontonians, citing his birth into a prominent local family and rise through the ranks of both a private law firm and public telecom behemoth Rogers Communications.

Tory said his time as a business leader, fundraiser and community volunteer has given him experience in consensus-building that he feels voters find more relevant than his privileged background.

"Whether it's your religion or your social status or what you did in your professional life, those who try to make those kinds of things an issue I think are seen as divisive," he said.

This marked Tory's second attempt to secure Toronto's top job. The mayoral bid he launched in 2003 saw him come within five per cent of victory but ultimately fall short of left-leaning former city councillor David Miller.

Tory said the decline in city services that formed the central plank of his 2003 platform has only become more apparent in the 11 years since his last run for city hall. He also lamented the change in tone of city politics.

"The campaign in 2003 I don't think involved a single personal attack between the three leading candidates, whereas this time it's been very different," he said. "I regret that. I don't think it's unique to Toronto, but it certainly has changed, and not for the better."

Tory has considerable back-room experience, having served as an adviser to former Ontario premier Bill Davis and former Conservative prime ministers Brian Mulroney and Kim Campbell.

He also spent eight years as chairman and commissioner of the Canadian Football League, both roles he held on a volunteer basis.

He has been married for 36 years to entrepreneur Barbara Hackett. They have four grown children.

The Canadian Press


Crown winds down Magnotta case

CAUTION: GRAPHIC CONTENT MAY DISTURB SOME READERS

The Crown's last in-person witness testified at Luka Rocco Magnotta's murder trial Monday as the high-profile criminal proceedings entered their fifth week.

Ballistics expert Gilbert Desjardins was asked about six tools recovered in the garbage outside Magnotta's apartment building and markings that appeared on the bones of victim Jun Lin.

The tools were a pair of scissors, two knives, a screwdriver, an oscillating saw and a hammer, but none of the items could be definitively linked to Lin's slaying, Desjardins said.

He testified, however, that marks consistent with that of a saw blade were found on Lin's vertebrae.

Also, marks he said were caused by either a knife or an exacto blade left superficial marks on some of the bones.

No marks on the bones were linked to the screwdriver or the scissors, Desjardins told the court.

Some 43 witnesses have been heard from through Monday, including some who appeared via video conference from Vancouver and some from Europe who were interviewed this past summer.

The Crown is expected to wrap up its case this week with more recorded testimony, while the defence is tentatively scheduled to begin presenting its case Friday.

Magnotta, 32, faces five charges: first-degree murder; criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; mailing obscene and indecent material; committing an indignity to a body; and publishing obscene materials.

He has admitted to the killing but has pleaded not guilty by way of mental disorder. The Crown contends the slaying was both planned and deliberate.

One of the final prosecution witnesses was Jean-Christophe Robert, 51, a Paris resident who met with Magnotta when the accused fled to France shortly after Lin's slaying and dismemberment in late May 2012.

Robert's first contact with Magnotta was in April or May 2012 when they hooked up via an online chat site called Planete Romeo.

He said he initially expected Magnotta in Paris on June 4 — the day he was ultimately arrested in Berlin.

Instead, he showed up on May 27 and spent the night at his apartment after their conversations went late.

Robert said Magnotta came across as cultivated, courteous, polite and someone who clearly took care of himself. He insisted they did not have sex.

Four days later, he discovered who "Luke" really was while reading a news story on his smartphone.

"The first word that comes to mind is panic," said Robert. "After that, reflection."

He called police with two pieces of information: the name of the hotel Magnotta was staying at and a French mobile number he'd used to contact him.

During cross-examination, defence lawyer Luc Leclair questioned Robert about being a nudist and suggested the witness had asked Magnotta to undress upon arrival at his home.

The jury also heard from five Vancouver-based witnesses about receiving body parts in the mail at two local schools.

Four school officials testified about receiving smelly boxes in the mail on June 5, 2012. Upon opening them, officials found a hand and a foot belonging to Lin.

Later, the jury listened to the videotaped testimony of a French police officer who went over law enforcement's attempts to track down Magnotta in France.

Julien Miello said police were able to find a cab driver who drove Magnotta to a hotel just outside Paris proper. Later, they were able to verify bank withdrawals made by the accused and looked into a French cellphone he activated in France that was later discarded in the trash.

Eventually, Robert contacted police, which led them to a second hotel. Police seized personal items at both hotels and later discovered Magnotta had boarded a bus for Berlin.

Miello said their investigation ended once German authorities arrested Magnotta.

Earlier on Monday, a Montreal lawyer testified about a relative's name that ended up on two packages containing some of Lin's body parts.

Sylvie Bordelais said her mother's name, Renee Bordelais, appeared on boxes that were mailed to political offices in Ottawa.

Bordelais said her 81-year-old mother was living in the Caribbean in May 2012 and not at the Canadian address that appears on the packages.

Bordelais didn't recognize the writing and said her mother has health problems that would have prevented her from being able to write.

The Canadian Press


Rough sex and the law

 

Rough sex that inflicts pain is a murky legal area that can still lead to assault convictions in Canada, say legal experts.

The legal boundaries around practices involving bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism, or BDSM, have become part of the public discussion since the CBC and radio star Jian Ghomeshi parted ways on Sunday.

The prominent radio show host has said he was fired because of his "sexual behaviour" and has written on social media that he engaged in adventurous forms of sex that included role-play, dominance and submission, along with "rough sex (forms of BDSM)." The activities were consensual and he and his partner used "safe words" words to signal when to stop the activity, he said. Ghomeshi's lawyers filed a lawsuit against the CBC.

The Toronto Star reported that it approached Ghomeshi with allegations from three women who say he was physically violent to them without their consent during sexual encounters or in the run-up to such encounters and that Ghomeshi — through his lawyer — responded that he "does not engage in non-consensual role play or sex and any suggestion of the contrary is defamatory." The Star reported none of the women filed police complaints.

There are not a lot of clear answers when it comes to forms of BDSM and the law.

Alan Young, a law professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto, says existing legal precedents may allow prosecutions for BDSM-style sex — regardless of whether consent was received — if the courts think bodily harm occurred.

A 1991 Supreme Court of Canada decision held that consent isn't a defence for a criminal act of assault where one of the perpetrators intends and causes bodily harm, he added. That decision was in the context of consensual street brawls, Young explained, and the boundary line for what's considered bodily harm is still being interpreted.

"There have been cases of convictions for what might be called rough sex, but everything will turn on the facts because you have to know the intent of the accused and the extent of the injuries," he said.

Brenda Cossman, a professor of law at the University of Toronto, said the law in Canada hasn't clearly dealt with BDSM practices such as "safe words," which are used in rough sex where the submissive partner has a code word to indicate they wish to practice to stop.

"It's a very, very murky area," she said.

In 1995, the Ontario Court of Appeal applied the Supreme Court of Canada decision to a case of sexual assault causing bodily harm and upheld a conviction, despite consent.

"It could apply in a BDSM case," she said.

"If there were ... permanent scars left, I would say that would be something the courts might consider to be bodily harm. ... No matter how much the person is consenting to it, the courts can still say, 'That's not something you're allowed to consent to.' "

But she said the possibility of fresh legal interpretations remain.

Ottawa lawyer Howard Krongold argued one of the leading cases on the limits of consent in the Supreme Court of Canada in 2011.

The appeal involved a man accused of engaging in consensual sexual activity with his spouse, some of which occurred while she was unconscious. By a 6-3 majority, the Supreme Court held that her consent was not valid and upheld the accused's conviction.

Krongold said if he were advising a client, he would urge considerable caution on practices that might be seen to cause harm, in light of existing court decisions.

"Causing pain that lasts a little while or that is intense might be illegal, even with the explicit consent of both parties," he said in an email.

"The line between the kinds of 'rough' sex people can consent to is pretty difficult to articulate: you're pretty safe with handcuffs, but in a lot of danger with riding crops."

Andrea Zanin, a 36-year-old blogger who says she is a member of the BDSM community in Toronto, says it's a complicated issue.

People who are dominant in a BDSM relationship — sometimes called "tops" — often worry about the limits they face, she said.

"It's every top's worst nightmare that something they did they thought was OK would be misinterpreted and they would get in a lot of trouble," said Zanin, who publishes the Sexgeek blog.

"We talk about consent a lot and it's a huge concern," she said.

"And there is also a huge concern in the sado-masochistic community at the same time about people who use what we do as a cover for assault."

The Canadian Press


Ghomeshi vs. CBC

Lawyers for radio star Jian Ghomeshi made good Monday on their promise to launch a lawsuit against the CBC, alleging breach of confidence, bad faith and defamation by the public broadcaster.

Ghomeshi, 47, is seeking $55 million from the CBC, according to the lawsuit, plus special damages.

The suit says "the claim is the result of the CBC misusing personal and confidential information provided to it in confidence and under common interest privilege."

On Sunday, the CBC said it was severing ties with Ghomeshi because of "information" it had received about the "Q" radio show host. Lawyers from Dentons Canada LLP then announced their intention to sue the CBC on Ghomeshi's behalf.

Shortly after that, Ghomeshi posted a long Facebook message saying he had been fired by the public broadcaster for his "sexual behaviour." In the post, Ghomeshi explained that he liked to engage in rough sex, but said it was always consensual. He said he told the CBC about his sexual preferences after he became aware that a freelance writer was looking into allegations that he'd engaged in non-consensual "abusive relations."

The lawsuit alleges that the CBC misused "personal and confidential information provided to it in confidence." It says Ghomeshi approached CBC executives Chris Boyce and Chuck Thompson to advise the broadcaster of "the threat of the public release of a fabricated story of his personal life."

Over several months, Ghomeshi provided CBC representatives with private information, including details of his sexual relationships, according to the suit. The broadcaster "assisted in drafting responses to media enquiries, as well as press releases to be issued on Mr. Ghomeshi's behalf, if it became necessary to do so," the suit says.

The suit alleges that CBC representatives assured Ghomeshi — including in the days immediately before the public broadcaster ended their relationship with him — that they'd conducted an internal investigation when the allegations of lack of consent were first raised and were satisfied they were false.

CBC spokesman Jeff Keay said the broadcaster had no comment on the lawsuit except that it intends to contest the matter vigorously. None of the allegations in the statement of claim have been proven in court.

The suit alleges that in meetings, the CBC told Ghomeshi it was not concerned about whether his sex practices were consensual. Instead, he was terminated because of "possible negative public perception" should the fact that he engaged in BDSM become public, claims the suit.

"In doing so, the CBC was making a moral judgment about the appropriateness of BDSM," the suit says.

It also says that Ghomeshi was not aware that the CBC was continuing to pursue an investigation into his conduct or that the "deeply personal" information he had provided would be used as basis for his dismissal.

"Mr. Ghomeshi would not have shared information about his private life with the CBC, had he appreciated that the CBC would ultimately use the information provided to it to terminate his employment," says the suit.

The suit goes on to say the "conduct of the CBC has negatively impacted and will continue to impact Mr. Ghomeshi's public reputation and future employment and other opportunities."

There is no real limit to the damages a person can claim.

The suit repeats the claim, first made by Ghomeshi in his Facebook post, that the allegations began with an ex-girlfriend. It says that he and the woman engaged in consensual role play and BDSM during their relationship of about a year. The relationship ended when the woman wanted to become exclusive and Ghomeshi did not, according to the suit.

"The woman is suspected to have approached a reporter and others to share a fabricated story about her relationship with Mr. Ghomeshi, which recast their relationship as one where she did not consent to the sexual activity in which they repeatedly engaged," the suit says.

Late Sunday, the Toronto Star reported that it approached Ghomeshi with allegations from three women who say he was physically violent to them without their consent during sexual encounters or in the run-up to such encounters and that Ghomeshi — through his lawyer — responded that he "does not engage in non-consensual role play or sex and any suggestion of the contrary is defamatory."

The Star reported none of the women filed police complaints and that their reasons given for not coming forward publicly included the fear they would be sued or face Internet retaliation. The Star also reported that Ghomeshi told the newspaper he didn't understand why it was pursuing allegations when his lawyers had told the newspaper they were untrue.

A lawyer for Ghomeshi did not respond to requests for comment Monday on the allegations published by the Star.

Ghomeshi wrote in his Facebook post that he has also filed a grievance with his union. Carmel Smyth, president of the Canadian Media Guild, said she could not comment on individual members.

Ghomeshi's abrupt departure leaves a huge void at the CBC, where he built "Q" — which he co-created — into one of the public broadcaster's most popular programs.

"Q" guest host Brent Bambury told CBC-Radio listeners on Monday that the show would indeed go on. The longtime CBC personality opened the show by acknowledging that it was a "very hard day" for fans of the daily chat program.

Meanwhile, CBC worked to scrub evidence of Ghomeshi's prominent role at the network. A sprawling floor-to-ceiling advertisement for "Q" featuring Ghomeshi's smiling visage was torn down from CBC headquarters.

"Q," which launched in 2007, is also broadcast on over 180 NPR/PRI stations and syndicated in the U.S. Julia Yager, a spokeswoman for PRI, said Sunday that the radio broadcaster will "work with the CBC as they plan what is next for Q."

CBC has said the decision to cut ties with Ghomeshi was "not made without serious deliberation" and that it would contest a lawsuit if served with legal documents.

The Canadian Press




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