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Province won't consider delaying Toronto election despite warning from city clerk

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The Ontario government house leader suggested Friday that the province would not entertain delaying Toronto's municipal election, despite warnings from the city clerk that she may not be able to guarantee a fair vote. 

"It's not something that was in the legislation and I don't think we plan on introducing any new legislation at this time to deal with that," said Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith of pushing back election day, currently scheduled for Oct. 22.

Bill 31, introduced and passed first reading with overwhelming PC support on Wednesday, would reduce the number of wards in Toronto from 47 to 25. On Thursday, Premier Doug Ford unexpectedly recalled MPPs back to the Legislature for a rare weekend sitting on Saturday in an effort to expedite the bill. It is expected to pass by the end of the month. 

The bill includes a constitutional provision never before used in Ontario that insulates it from judicial review. The government introduced the legislation after a Superior Court judge ruled on Monday that a previous iteration violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The government is also appealing that ruling.

During an emergency council meeting on Thursday, city clerk Ulli Watkiss said the confusion caused by the ongoing legal battle over the original bill, and the introduction of a second bill, has "reached a tipping point." She told councillors that without more certainty, she could not ensure the integrity of the upcoming vote.

Watkiss added that she has retained independent counsel and would be discussing possible options for a delayed election. 

In an interview with Metro Morning, Smith admitted the city finds itself in "unusual circumstances." The bill could, in theory, be amended to allow for a rescheduled vote. But he pushed back on the suggestion that a fair election is not possible. 

He pointed to examples at the provincial level, in which an election can be held 28 days after dissolution of government. 

Smith added that MPP Steve Clark, minister of municipal affairs, would assist the city clerk with provincial resources. Elections Ontario could also help, he said. 

Toronto's city clerk Ulli Watkiss says she has a 'huge concern' over whether she would be able to ensure the integrity of a municipal election by Oct. 22. (John Rieti/CBC)

When pushed on the controversial timing of the province's effort to cut Toronto's city council in the weeks before an election, Smith said that "waiting another four years is not an option for our government.

"We believe that a streamlined city council working with well with the provincial government and the federal government is going to be able to partner to get things done to make the city of Toronto a better place to live," he continued.

Ford and the PCs have consistently maintained that the purpose of the legislation is to limit "dysfunction" at city hall and ultimately get more transit infrastructure built.

"Millions of people are impacted by what's not happening on the ground in Toronto right now," Smith said. 

Mayor John Tory has defended the city's record on transit construction, pointing to projects like the Eglinton LRT and Line 1 extension as evidence that the municipal government is functioning well. 

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With man's fatal shooting, 2018 ties for Toronto's deadliest year on record

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With the shooting death of a man in Toronto‘s west end Wednesday morning, the total number of homicides in the city this year has tied with a record high number of deaths set almost three decades ago.

Emergency crews were called to Ann Arbour Road, a residential side street east of Weston and Albion roads, shortly after midnight.

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“We received several 911 calls for the sound of gunshots,” Toronto Police Duty Inspector Jim Gotell told reporters early Wednesday morning.

“Police attended the scene and we located a vehicle with a male victim inside who had been shot.”


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Looking back at 1991, Toronto’s record year for murders

A police spokesperson said officers tried to perform life-saving measures, but the victim didn’t have any vital signs.

A Toronto Paramedics spokesperson said the victim, who is believed to be in his 20s, was shot in the head numerous times.

Paramedics rushed the man to a trauma centre.


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Toronto police plead for info in 3 unsolved shootings in the city’s northwest

Gotell said officers were canvassing the neighbourhood looking for evidence and surveillance. Members of the canine and forensic identification units were called in to assist with the investigation.

Police hadn’t released details about suspects as of early Wednesday morning.


Wednesday’s shooting came as Toronto has been plagued with many high-profile gun incidents in 2018.

The man’s death is the city’s 89th homicide. Toronto police said the record for the highest number of homicides in a single year, 89, was set in 1991.

Meanwhile, anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-3100 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.

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Shooting in Humberlea leaves 1 male dead: police

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Codi Wilson, CP24.com</span>


Published Wednesday, November 14, 2018 5:13AM EST


Last Updated Wednesday, November 14, 2018 6:00AM EST

One male has died in hospital following a shooting in Humberlea overnight.

Police were called to the area of Ann Arbour Road, located near Albion and Weston roads, at around midnight after residents in the area reported hearing the sound of gunshots.

Officers from 31 Division quickly responded to the scene and found a male in the driver’s seat of a Chrysler 200.

"We located a vehicle here and inside the vehicle we located a male who had been shot," Duty Insp. Jim Gotell told CP24 at the scene on Wednesday morning.

The sergeant who first responded to the shooting performed CPR on the victim, who was without vital signs after sustaining a gunshot wound to the neck.

"The male was taken by ambulance to Sunnybrook Hospital but unfortunately he was pronounced dead," Gotell said.

Police have not yet released the name or age of the victim but say he did not reside in the area where he was found.

"At this point in time, the investigation is now being turned over to the homicide squad," Gotell said.

Homicide Det. Mike Carbone is leading the investigation.

"We have our police dogs. We have out forensics people. We are currently investigating what happened," Gotell added.

Bullet holes were visible in one of the doors of the Chrysler.

Investigators have not provided any information on possible suspects but witnesses reported seeing a person running through backyards in the area.

The fatal shooting is Toronto’s 89th homicide of 2018.

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Man shot to death in north end is Toronto's 89th homicide this year — tying grim record set in 1991

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A male was shot to death overnight Wednesday in north Toronto, marking the city's 89th homicide of this year — tying a grim statistical record that has stood for nearly three decades. 

Police were called to the area of Albion and Weston roads around midnight after some 10 gunshots were reported. 

Officers found one male victim badly injured and "without vital signs." He was taken to a trauma centre, where he later died of his wounds. 

Police did not have information about possible suspects.

Homicide detectives were at the scene early Wednesday. 

The victim's death brings to the total of slayings in Toronto this year to 89, a figure that has stood as the most homicides in a single year in the city. It was set in 1991. 

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