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Edmonton man sentenced in  warehouse stabbings

Edmonton man sentenced in warehouse stabbings

EDMONTON — The daughter of one of two men stabbed to death in a grocery warehouse confronted her father’s killer Friday before he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Patricia Harris made a point of staring directly at Jayme Pasieka as she shared her rage and sadness in an Edmonton courtroom. “I cannot understand why your murdered my father,” she said in a loud and confident voice as she read her victim impact statement. “Why did you have to stab him so many times? He was in so much pain. He was already bleeding out so much after eight, nine, 10 stab wounds from your Grim Reaper blades.” Pasieka, who has schizophrenia, attacked and killed Fitzroy Harris, 50, and Thierno Bah, 41, at a Loblaw grocery warehouse where they all worked on Feb. 28, 2014. Four others were badly injured. A jury earlier this month found him guilty of first-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault. Before the sentence was handed down, court heard from some of the victims’ relatives. Harris was asked to edit her statement before she gave it. Outside court, she said she removed parts in which she compared Pasieka to Satan. Kiara Harris, 9, said her grandfather was a nice man who didn’t serve to die. “Ever since my papa died there has always been an empty spot in me,” she said in her hand-printed statement read in court. Djenaba Haidara, the wife of Bah, said their four children pine for the love of their father. One son has been so despondent, he attempted suicide. “My son wants to die. He wants to be with his father,” she said in statement read out in French. Prosecutor Kim Goddard said the Crown did not ask that Pasieka’s parole eligibility be doubled to 50 years because of legal rulings that have found sentences must take into account the effects of mental illness. Pasieka, 33, stared into space during the hearing and showed no emotion when the sentence was handed down. Outside court, Goddard said Pasieka will probably spend the rest of his life in...

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Toronto Fire battling two-alarm fire on Coxwell Avenue

Toronto Fire battling two-alarm fire on Coxwell Avenue

Firefighters are battling a two-alarm blaze at a multi-unit residence on Coxwell Avenue, south of Danforth Avenue. The fire broke out shortly after 5 p.m. at a dwelling on Coxwell Avenue between Currie and Earl Haig avenues. Toronto police are reporting on Twitter that smoke is coming from the roof of a house, which is being evacuated. A total of nine trucks and 35 firefighters are now at the scene, according to Toronto Fire Service. Coxwell Avenue is currently closed from Woodrow to Currie avenues. People and motorists are advised to avoid the area and use alternate routes. Source...

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Liberals defend Canadian military spending

Liberals defend Canadian military spending

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government has sent its strongest signals yet that Canada does not plan to bow to U.S. pressure to dramatically increase what it spends on defence. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned at his first NATO meeting in Brussels on Friday that the Trump administration wants allies to draw up plans for boosting defence spending to two per cent of GDP by 2024. “Our goal should be to agree at the May leaders’ meeting that, by the end of the year, all allies will have either met the pledge guidelines or will have developed plans that clearly articulate how,” Tillerson said. Those plans are to include annual milestones that countries will be expected to meet on their way to attaining the two per cent target, which all NATO members agreed to work towards in 2014. The Liberal government is currently working on a new defence policy, which is expected to be released before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets Donald Trump and other NATO leaders in Brussels in May. Officials have said the policy will include a long-term plan for increased funding for the Canadian military, whose $19-billion budget currently accounts for only one per cent of GDP. But neither Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nor Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland referenced the pending defence policy when asked Friday about the Trump administration’s calls for a spending plan. Rather, in separate comments, both Trudeau and Freeland repeated the government’s previous argument there are ways other than money to measure Canada’s military contributions. “We understand there are different metrics in terms of evaluating how people are pulling their weight and contributing fully to NATO,” Trudeau said during an event in Toronto. “Canada has always done more than its share in NATO and we will continue.” The prime minister and his foreign affairs minister pointed to Canada’s upcoming mission in Latvia as proof of its commitment to the alliance. Freeland said she told allies in Brussels that Canada remains committed to “work towards” the two per cent target, but “I noted that Canada has contributed to every single NATO operation since the alliance was founded.” Conservative...

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GDP data lifts loonie, markets close lower

GDP data lifts loonie, markets close lower

TORONTO — Better-than-expected economic data lifted the loonie Friday while North American markets slipped into the red after a day of mostly listless trading. The Canadian dollar gained 0.19 of a U.S. cent to 75.19 cents US, as Statistics Canada reported that the economy grew faster than expected in January. The federal agency said gross domestic product increased by 0.6 per cent during the first month of the year, significantly higher than the 0.3 per cent that economists had been expecting, according to Thomson Reuters. “A lot of that was driven by things that Canada does well — manufacturing and energy,” said Cavan Yie, a portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management. “That’s a reflection, I think, of the weaker currency providing a benefit to exporting goods and exporting energy. Maybe we’re finally seeing the weaker loonie help in that regard.” On Bay Street, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index gave back 31.01 points to 15,547.75, with base metals companies retreating 0.61 per cent while financials stocks slipped 0.60 per cent. The tech sector was the lead gainer on the TSX, up 0.67 per cent as BlackBerry reported stronger-than-expected earnings results. Shares of Waterloo, Ont.-based BlackBerry (TSX:BB) were up 11.11 per cent, or $1.03, to $10.30. Yie said the company’s quarterly results suggest that the former smartphone leader may be turning the corner. “One thing we look at is, is there cash balance?” said Yie, noting that after several tough quarters, the company finally started generating positive cash flow from its operations and building its cash position for the first time in a while. But some of the optimism may be overdone, he added. “Even though we liked some of the moves in the quarter, the performance wasn’t as good as the share price today would suggest, just given that a lot of the beat was driven by potentially non-recurring items,” said Yie. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 65.27 points to 20,663.22, while the S&P 500 index shed 5.34 points to 2,362.72 and the Nasdaq composite index lost 2.60 points to 5,911.74. In commodity news, the May crude contract added 25...

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Minister defends trade relationship with U.S.

Minister defends trade relationship with U.S.

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is taking aim at a core assumption of Donald Trump’s upcoming review of American trading partners — she said Friday the U.S. has a trade surplus with Canada, not the other way around. Freeland’s assessment comes as Trump prepared to hold his country’s major trading partners to account. The president wants to determine which countries are using abusive trade practices to run export surpluses — and Canada is among those to be examined. Trump signed an executive order Friday demanding a study within 90 days of all the ways other countries allegedly pull fast ones on the United States through anti-competitive trade practices. It will be a systematic examination of things like non-tariff barriers, lax legal enforcement, currency manipulation and other means that keep out American goods while other countries boost their own exports. “Under my administration the theft of American prosperity will end,” Trump said in the Oval Office, adding that the well-being of America and the American worker is “my North Star.” There are about 16 countries on the list, which includes places with the biggest trade surpluses with the U.S. The biggest is no contest: China, with a US$347 trade billion surplus with the U.S. last year. That’s followed by Japan, Germany and Mexico and a list of U.S. allies like France, Italy, India and Thailand. Of all the countries, Canada is listed as having the smallest surplus. It was the last of the countries that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross mentioned. U.S. government statistics show Canada even ran a trade deficit of US$11.9 billion with the U.S. in goods and services in 2015, before running a surplus in 2016. Freeland offered a different view. “Canada is the single largest client of the United States and when you look at our overall trading relationship, counting goods and services, the U.S. runs a slight trade surplus with Canada,” said Freeland. “So I am really confident that the U.S. administration understands and will continue to understand that this is a relationship which is win-win and we’re going hard on both sides of the border to keep it that way.” Freeland said...

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Health officials in Ontario deal with measles

Health officials in Ontario deal with measles

Toronto Public Health officials say the risk is low, but they are warning people who flew on a number of flights recently that they may have been exposed to the measles. The agency has issued a news release saying it’s investigating three confirmed cases of the measles. It says one of the people caught the disease in another country, while the other two cases involved Toronto residents who were exposed to a person with measles who lives outside the Greater Toronto Area. Westjet confirms one of its crew members has been diagnosed with the measles. Health officials say members of the public may have been exposed to measles if they were on certain Westjet or Emirates Airline flights earlier this month. They’re advising people to check immunization records and watch for symptoms of measles if they were on any of the following flights: — Emirates Airline flight EK517, which left Delhi, India on March 19 and arrived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. — Emirates Airline flight EK241, which departed Dubai, March 20 bound for Toronto. — WestJet flight WS450, departed Abbotsford, B.C. on March 22 and arrived in Calgary. — WestJet flight WS610, departed Calgary on March 22 bound for Ottawa. — WestJet flight WS369, departed Ottawa on March 22 for Toronto. — WestJet flight which departed Toronto on March 23 and arrived in Montreal. — Westjet flight WS581, which departed Montreal on March 24 and arrived in Toronto. — WestJet flight WS2668, which left Toronto for the Turks and Caicos Islands on March 24. — WestJet flight WS2669, which left Turks and Caicos Islands for Toronto on March 24. By The Canadian Press Source...

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McDonald's Canada jobs website hacked

McDonald's Canada jobs website hacked

TORONTO — McDonald’s Canada says the jobs section of its website has been hacked, compromising the personal information of about 95,000 applicants over the last three years. The company said Friday the accessed information included names, addresses, phone numbers, employment histories and other standard job application information of those who applied online between March 2014 and March 2017. The site doesn’t collect social insurance numbers, banking information or health information, McDonald’s said in a statement. “At this time, we have no information that the information taken has been misused,” the statement said. “We apologize to those impacted by this incident.” It said all applicants directly affected by the privacy breach would be notified by mail, or through other contact information, such as email or phone, if a mailing address wasn’t provided on the application form. McDonald’s also said applicants impacted by the breach could call the company’s dedicated assistance line. McDonald’s said the site was shut down immediately and an investigation was launched when they learned of the breach. “The careers webpage will remain shut down until the investigation is complete and appropriate measures are taken to ensure that this type of security breach does not happen again,” McDonald’s said. The company said privacy commissioners in every jurisdiction have been notified about the security breach. It’s advising anybody interested in applying for a job to do so in person at any McDonald’s Canada restaurant. McDonald’s has more than 1,400 restaurants in Canada and more than 80,000 Canadian employees. By The Canadian Press Source...

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PM defends Canadian military spending

PM defends Canadian military spending

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doubled down Friday in his defence of Canadian military spending levels, as the U.S. brought fresh pressure to bear on NATO allies to pony up. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used his first NATO summit in Brussels to demand that all allies come up with a plan to increase the amount they spend on defence to two per cent of GDP. “Our goal should be to agree at the May leaders’ meeting that, by the end of the year, all allies will have either met the pledge guidelines or will have developed plans that clearly articulate how, with annual milestone progress commitments, the pledge will be fulfilled,” Tillerson told his counterparts. Canada currently spends about one per cent of GDP on defence, which would mean having to double its $19-billion military budget. But Trudeau sidestepped a question over whether Canada will draft such a plan and instead stuck with his message when asked about the U.S. demand during a Toronto news conference. “Canada has always been one of the handful of countries that has always been ready and capable of stepping up on important missions of participating and of punching well above their weight,” he said. The prime minister pointed to the upcoming mission in Latvia, where Canada will lead a 1,000-strong NATO battlegroup to deter Russian aggression in the region, as proof of its commitment. “Canada has always done more than its share in NATO and we will continue to,” Trudeau said. Tillerson is only the latest U.S. official to press NATO allies to spend more on their own defence, with U.S. President Donald Trump banging the drum the loudest. But Liberal officials have said in private that the message is more for European allies and that the Trump administration appreciates Canada’s military contributions to Iraq, Latvia and Ukraine. At the same time, the Trudeau government is preparing a new defence policy, which is expected to offer a long-term vision for the military over the next couple of decades. That policy is expected to be released in early May, before Trudeau, Trump and other NATO leaders meet at a...

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