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Today's letters: Karlsson's departure, Ford's powers, LRT questions

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Friday, Sept. 14: The Karlsson trade dominates talk in Ottawa, though Doug Ford comes a close second. You can write to us too, on these or other topics, at: letters@ottawacitizen.com


Erik Karlsson bids Ottawa an emotional farewell Thursday, after his trade to the San Jose Sharks was announced.


Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Sens couldn’t have made a worse deal

Re: ‘A sad day for me and my family,’ Sept 15.

The Erik Karlsson trade is the worst deal in the Senators’ history – and there have been some really bad ones. If a team is unable to rebuild around the likes of Karlsson, then it never will. Time for a new owner who is willing to pay for talent.

Go, Leafs, go.

Ken Donaldson, Manotick

Karlsson cried crocodile tears

The Sens should have traded Erik Karlsson to Las Vegas instead of San Jose in exchange for Vegas’s incredibly successful first-year front office and coaching staff.

It’s sad to see Karlsson go; he’s a great guy and superb hockey player. On the other hand, and pardon my naïveté, where is the gratitude for the Sens taking a chance on him and drafting him? Am I being unrealistic, thinking he should’ve accepted that reported $88-million, eight-year extension? In reality, just how much does he need? 

Karlsson is sad beyond comprehension. Sure; one is reminded of Wayne Gretzky’s crocodile tears when he left Edmonton for L.A.’s greener pastures.

In the trade engineered by Pierre Dorion, Ottawa got zero regular players with NHL experience. Not even a fourth-line player. Instead, developing youngsters, resulting in no playoffs for years. And Sens’ brass, with Eugene Melnyk at the helm, wonder why attendance is down and likely to continue declining.

Jacques Dufault, Orléans

Sens’ trade was best they could do

The incessant whining from so-called Sens’ fans is misguided. Erik Karlsson’s teary goodbye is disingenuous. General Manager Pierre Dorion offered him a contract to stay in Ottawa long-term. Karlsson turned it down and left the team no option but to trade him.

The value of Karlsson depreciated, as everyone in the hockey world knew he would be traded before training camp opened. Dorion did well to get what he did.

Forward Chris Tierney is a legitimate No. 2 centre, whom the Sens will need with Jean-Gabriel Pageau hurt. At least one of the prospects will make the Sens’ opening day roster and the draft picks lay the foundation for the future. 

Eugene Melnyk may not be the model owner. However, you buy a ticket to be entertained … and this team of young, fast and skilled players will be entertaining.

David Thompson, Ottawa

Can we please move on?

What a relief it is to know that the excessively tedious Erik Karlsson saga has finally come to an end. The way the media kept the story alive for months and fuelled endless speculation increasingly made it sound like his being traded was not only inevitable, but counted on in many circles. 

Did the subject deserve anywhere near as much column space and air time as was dedicated to it? I hope radio talk shows will find some other new topics to explore and that Karlsson will finally get a haircut. 

Frank LeClair, Ottawa

Trading away a superstar is crazy

“Rebuild” has been the buzz word for the Senators over the past week, and I am fully in agreement – with one important proviso: that the first people to go are owner Eugene Melnyk and General Manager Pierre Dorion. Trading away a superstar in the prime of his career during a rebuild is pure craziness.

Ray Dawes, Barry’s Bay

Bring Steve Yzerman home, please

Re: Steve Yzerman stepping down as Lightning GM, Sept. 11.

When I read that headline, I began to dream. My dream was that Ottawa native Steve Yzerman was coming home to head up a group of investors who would buy the Senators from Eugene Melnyk. And Stevie Y would run it like an NHL team.

Joe Spence, Ottawa

Only the courts protect our rights

Re: Doug Ford listens to ‘the people’ in Toronto, but not in Ottawa, Sept. 11.

I have no say or interest in Toronto municipal matters. Still, I was surprised by the judicial decision to nullify the law reducing the size of Toronto’s city council. I figured the decision would be appealed. I expected that the court was giving time to allow political tempers to calm and to allow the government to canvas on the issue more broadly.

I was dumbfounded by the premier’s decision to cite the “notwithstanding” clause to overturn the judge’s decision. The government is showing that it will take major decisions without any consultations when it judges that it will not be able to obtain broad backing.

Citizens should remember that, in our system, the government does not protect our rights. Neither the police nor the army can prevent the government from stealing citizen rights through policy. It is the court, and only the court, that can judge for the citizen and against the government. It is the court that protects the ordinary citizen against arbitrary government decisions. It is the court that protects the citizen against a majority or even a plurality of voters who wish to deprive individuals or groups of their rights.

One would hope that if a court judged that citizen rights were at stake, the government would respect our Constitution sufficiently to make its case to the court that such rights were not threatened, or that the particular benefits at risk were not in fact rights. One would hope that at the very least, if our rights and freedoms were to be overridden, that the province would do so because of an issue of great importance to the entire province, for which action needed to be taken immediately. But this is not the case here.

It is not judges’ sinecures that are at risk, but our rights, as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I appeal to my fellow citizens to remember on Voting Day which MPPs stood up for your rights and which did not. Remember, too, to count the number of times they took away your rights between now and then.

Walter Hughes, Ottawa

A clause that serves oligarchs

I have no doubt that President Donald Trump will be contacting Premier Doug Ford regarding the notwithstanding clause. Both have trouble digesting democracies with constitutions and rules of law. The notwithstanding clause would be a boon for would-be oligarchs.

Paul Kavanagh, Ottawa

Ford follows the Duterte model

Premier Doug Ford’s reaction to the court ruling on cutting Toronto city council raises important questions about Ford and our democracy (or lack thereof).

First, in complaining that an appointed judge would overrule a democratically elected politician, is Ford in effect recommending the model practised in The Philippines, where the head of government (Rodrigo Duterte) has become judge, jury and executioner? If independent, learned jurists are not to rule on whether laws are being followed or broken, who will?

Second, Ford can at best claim to be elected by what passes for democracy in Ontario. Our perverse first-past-the-post electoral system has handed the Conservatives 100 per cent of the power with only 40 per cent of the popular vote. If Ford did not have a false majority of seats, the other parties would keep his more radical and destructive tendencies in check – and it is clear that he has such tendencies.

The majority in Ontario, the 60 per cent who did not vote for Ford’s party, have been robbed of any voice in government. Proportional representation is the only viable solution to the dysfunctional and hyper-partisan politics that has emerged in Canada, the United States and elsewhere.

There is good news though: The Greens and NDP in British Columbia will soon hold a referendum on PR; three of the parties in the ongoing Quebec election are committed to electoral reform; and PR won a referendum in Prince Edward Island last year, though the provincial government there has ignored the result.

David Fraser, Ottawa

If Ford can do it, so can Trudeau

Since the government of Ontario is so keen on the letter of the Constitution, I trust it wouldn’t object to the use of the federal power to disallow provincial legislation under the Constitution Act 1867?

Karl Salgo, Orléans

Ford should look at his own family

Premier Doug Ford is apparently so incensed about the ineffectiveness of Toronto Council during his single term there that he absolutely must pass Bill 5 right now. Assuming he is correct about the ineffectiveness of Toronto Council during 2010-2014, he is blaming the number of city councillors while ignoring the far more obvious reason – which is that his brother, Rob Ford, was the mayor.

The province clearly has the authority to adjust the number of councillors in cities. However, using the notwithstanding clause to run roughshod over Torontonians’ charter rights, when Bill 5 could be adjusted to take effect at the next city election, is simply petty and vindictive.

Mark Christopher, Nepean

Premier should avoid the ‘nuclear’ option

Re: Ford suggests Ottawans want smaller city council, Sept. 11.

There is no question that municipal councils can be overly political, often tribal, and sometimes out of touch with what the ordinary person wants. Doug Ford, though, is a bull in a china shop. If he does start pushing the Section 33 button of the Constitution, the notwithstanding clause, it might become his obsession, and a very dangerous one at that.

Section 33 was meant to be a very last-resort mechanism (that probably, in hindsight, should never have been included in the first place). If Ford cuts the size of Toronto council, then other Ontario city councils will surely follow, and Ottawa won’t be immune. Section 33 is the nuclear red button that should never be used; once it’s looked on as simply another convenient, manipulative political tool, it will be pushed endlessly. Perhaps governments should think of amending Section 33.

Unfortunately, the premier of Ontario is not a Lincoln, he’s a Ford.

Douglas Cornish, Ottawa

Ontario’s under tyranny and despotism

Doug Ford received 40 per cent of the votes and yet got 60 per cent of the seats in Ontario. This means 60 per cent of the voters have zero influence in government.

No wonder only 58 per cent of registered voters bothered to vote. So the new Ontario government is supported by 23 per cent of the eligible voters. Now, Ford is going to run the first government in Ontario to use the notwithstanding clause to over-ride the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is truly tyranny and despotism.

Eric Scheuneman, Maberly

Ford has no mandate for this

Re: The notwithstanding clause has always been like an unexploded bomb. In Ontario, it just went off, Sept. 10.

Thank you, Andrew Coyne, for raising the question: As Doug Ford only received 40 per cent of the vote, and reducing the size of Toronto Council was not mentioned in the run-up to the election, how on Earth can Ford state that he has a mandate to ram this bill through using the notwithstanding clause?

The nickname Doug Trump is surely going to stick to the premier like glue well into the future.

Roger Webber-Taylor, Ottawa

Now is the time to appreciate loved ones

Re: How Paul Dewar is living and dying with love and community, Sept. 8.

Thank you, Paul Dewar and Ottawa Citizen, for sharing the many notes and letters printed in last Saturday’s paper.

More importantly, thank you for the reminder to say it now. Now is the time to say, “I love you.” It is now that one should express thanks, appreciation and gratitude to those who have guided, supported and inspired. Perhaps, too, now is the time to say, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”

Why wait for those final few days, in the midst of machines, palliative drugs and sterile surroundings, to say what could have been said in the warmth and comfort of private conversation? Say it now!

Susan Buller, Ottawa

City is right to delay LRT opening

Re: Revelation about LRT delay came after bus route changes, mayor says, Sept. 12.

While it is disappointing that the LRT opening has been delayed, I’m pleased that city staff are insisting the line be complete, especially the testing, before the launch. Sticking with the November date might have helped the incumbents in the municipal election, but residents and the next council could have been left with another Phoenix disaster to deal with.

Along with this, I hope Transpo staff are taking a close look at the long-term viability of the missing computers to ensure adequate spares are available on-site and future replacement needs can be met. OC Transpo may not be responsible for maintenance, but it will have to deal with any train shortages.

Jeff Reeves, Kanata

Stop shoving LRT down our throats

Here we go again: another delay in handing over the keys to the LRT project. For the last few years, the city and OC Transpo have been trying to shove LRT down our throats. We are getting fed up with it.

OC Transpo then goes ahead and changes bus routes, saying it will streamline service, without public consultation. We don’t need LRT.

Barry Curran, Ottawa

Questions on LRT go unanswered

Re: Ottawa LRT construction received numerous fails from city building inspectors, documents reveal, Sept. 12.

Jon Willing reports some interesting items on the fine to be imposed on the Rideau Transit Group (RTG).

RTG “avoided” a fine of $1 million earlier this year. “The penalty didn’t apply” as RTG notified the city appropriately. Costs of retaining current services then were more than $10.8 million. Where were these “savings” found, I’d like to know? Who is going to pay for the current failure? We all know who pays in the end.

Willing reports that on Aug. 29, Mayor Jim Watson called a meeting because he “wasn’t satisfied with the progress of construction.” That is 16 days after “the city notified council on Aug. 13 that RTG was confident in the Nov. 2 handover.” Really? On Aug. 17, another report said otherwise. Somehow a lot happened in 16 days, that remains untold. How could this all change in a little more than two weeks?

There appears to be reason to ask how this file is really being managed. Perhaps this is about lack of transparency of those holding office, from the mayor,  to council to OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi.

In the private sector, this might cost you a job. It still could here, as there is an election coming. It appears that it is time for a mayoral change.

Ron Grossman, Blackburn

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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.”


READ MORE:
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.


READ MORE:
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. 

More to come

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