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    Ivanka Trump used personal email account to send hundreds of emails for government business

    Ivanka Trump used personal email account to send hundreds of emails for government business


    WASHINGTON – Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules, according to people familiar with a White House...

    WASHINGTON – Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules, according to people familiar with a White House examination of her correspondence.

    White House ethics officials learned of Trump’s repeated use of personal email when reviewing emails gathered last fall by five Cabinet agencies to respond to a public records lawsuit. That review revealed that throughout much of 2017, she often discussed or relayed official White House business using a private email account with a domain that she shares with her husband, Jared Kushner.

    The discovery alarmed some advisers to President Trump, who feared that his daughter’s practices bore similarities to the personal email use of Hillary Clinton, an issue he made a focus of his 2016 campaign. Trump attacked his Democratic challenger as untrustworthy and dubbed her “Crooked Hillary” for using a personal email account as secretary of state.

    Some aides were startled by the volume of Ivanka Trump’s personal emails – and taken aback by her response when questioned about the practice. Trump said she was not familiar with some details of the rules, according to people with knowledge of her reaction.

    The White House referred requests for comment to Ivanka Trump’s attorney and ethics counsel, Abbe Lowell.

    In a statement, Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Lowell, acknowledged that the president’s daughter occasionally used her private email before she was briefed on the rules, but he said none of her messages contained classified information.

    “While transitioning into government, after she was given an official account but until the White House provided her the same guidance they had given others who started before she did, Ms. Trump sometimes used her personal account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family,” he said in a statement.

    Mirijanian said Ivanka Trump turned over all her government-related emails months ago so they could be stored permanently with other White House records.

    And he stressed that her email use was different than that of Clinton, who had a private email server in the basement of her home in Chappaqua, New York. At one point, an archive of thousands of Clinton’s emails was deleted by a computer specialist amid a congressional investigation.

    “Ms. Trump did not create a private server in her house or office, no classified information was ever included, the account was never transferred at Trump Organization, and no emails were ever deleted,” Mirijanian said.

    Like Trump, Clinton also said she was unaware of or misunderstood the rules. However, Clinton relied solely on a private email system as secretary of state, bypassing government servers entirely.

    Both Trump and Clinton relied on their personal attorneys to review their private emails and determine which messages should be retained as government records.

    Clinton originally said none of the messages she sent or received were “marked classified.” The FBI later determined that 110 emails contained classified information at the time they were sent or received.

    Austin Evers, executive director of the liberal watchdog group American Oversight, whose record requests sparked the White House discovery, said it strained credulity that Trump’s daughter did not know that government officials should not use private emails for official business.

    “There’s the obvious hypocrisy that her father ran on the misuse of personal email as a central tenet of his campaign,” Evers said. “There is no reasonable suggestion that she didn’t know better. Clearly everyone joining the Trump administration should have been on high alert about personal email use.”

    Ivanka Trump and her husband set up personal emails with the domain “ijkfamily.com” through a Microsoft system in December 2016, as they were preparing to move to Washington so Kushner could join the White House, according to people familiar with the arrangement.

    The couple’s emails are prescreened by the Trump Organization for security problems such as viruses but are stored by Microsoft, the people said.

    Trump used her personal account to discuss government policies and official business less than 100 times – often replying to other administration officials who contacted her through her private email, according to people familiar with the review.

    Another category of less-substantive emails may have also violated the records law: hundreds of messages related to her official work schedule and travel details that she sent herself and personal assistants who cared for her children and house, they said.

    People close to Ivanka Trump said she never intended to use her private email to shroud her government work. After she told White House lawyers she was unaware that she was breaking any email rules, they discovered that she had not been receiving White House updates and reminders to all staff about prohibited use of private email, according to people familiar with the situation.

    Using personal emails for government business could violate the Presidential Records Act, which requires that all official White House communications and records be preserved as a permanent archive of each administration. It can also increase the risk that sensitive government information could be mishandled or hacked, revealing government secrets and risking harm to diplomatic relations and secret operations.

    Revelations about Clinton’s personal email system led to an FBI investigation of whether she had mishandled classified information. The scandal shadowed Clinton throughout the 2016 White House race, culminating in then-FBI Director James B. Comey’s controversial decision to hold a news conference a few months before the election to announce his conclusion that she had been reckless with government secrets but that there was not sufficient evidence she had intended to skirt the law.

    During the campaign, Donald Trump said the Democratic nominee’s “corruption is on a scale we have never seen before” and called her personal email use “bigger than Watergate.”

    Trump supporters still chant “Lock her up!” at his rallies, and the president, nearly two years into his administration, continues to tweet about Clinton’s emails.

    “Big story out that the FBI ignored tens of thousands of Crooked Hillary Emails, many of which are REALLY BAD,” he tweeted in August, referring to a Fox News story about claims that the bureau did not scrutinize all her emails. “Also gave false election info. I feel sure that we will soon be getting to the bottom of all of this corruption. At some point I may have to get involved!”

    President Donald Trump with his daughter Ivanka Trump in April 2017.

    Ivanka Trump first used her personal email to contact Cabinet officials in early 2017, before she joined the White House as an unpaid senior adviser, according to emails obtained by American Oversight.

    In late February 2017, she used her personal email to contact Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahon and propose they meet to explore “opportunities to collaborate.” The following month, she emailed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, suggesting that their staffers meet to discuss ways to collaborate on “locational/workforce development and k-12 STEM education.”

    While her messages were largely about government work, Trump was not then subject to White House records rules.

    When she joined the White House on March 30, Trump pledged to comply “with all ethics rules,” responding to complaints that her voluntary role gave her all of the access and perks of the White House – but none of the legal responsibilities or constraints.

    “Throughout this process I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role,” she said in a statement at the time.

    But Trump continued to occasionally use her personal email in her official capacity, according to people familiar with the review.

    Her husband Jared Kushner’s use of personal email for government work drew intense scrutiny when it was first reported by Politico last fall. The revelation prompted demands from congressional investigators that Kushner preserve his records, which his attorney said he had.

    But Trump had used her personal email for official business far more frequently, according to people familiar with the administration’s review – a fact that remained a closely held secret inside the White House.

    “She was the worst offender in the White House,” said a former senior U.S. government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal dynamics.

    After discovering the extent of her email use in September 2017, White House lawyers relied on Lowell, Ivanka Trump’s attorney, to help review her personal emails to determine which were personal and which were official business, according to the people.

    The White House Counsel’s Office did not have access to her personal account and could not review it without invading her privacy and possibly violating privileged communications with her attorneys, people familiar with the review said.

    After his review, Lowell forwarded emails that he had determined were related to official business to Ivanka Trump’s government account, a move he viewed as rectifying any violations of the records law, they said.

    Lowell’s review found less than 1,000 personal emails in which Trump shared her official schedule and travel plans with herself and her personal assistants, according to two people familiar with the review.

    Separately, there were less than 100 emails in which Trump used her personal account to discuss official business with other administration officials.

    The scope of her personal email use had not emerged in response to American Oversight’s records request, which sought Trump’s correspondence with Cabinet agencies in early 2017. Most internal White House communications are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

    “I’m disappointed – although not entirely surprised – that this administration disregarded clear laws that they more than anyone should have been aware of,” Evers said.

    In many cases, government officials contacted Ivanka Trump first at her personal email address. That was the case with a note she received in April 2017 from Treasury official Dan Kowalski, who was seeking to set up a meeting between the president and the secretary general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an international economic group of which the United States is a member.

    “I apologize for reaching out to you on your personal email for this, but it is the only email I have for you,” he wrote, according to an email obtained by American Oversight.

    “For future reference my WH email is [redacted],” Ivanka Trump replied. “Thanks for reaching out and making this introduction.”

    But other times, Trump used her private email to initiate official business.

    In April 2017, she used her personal email to write to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s chief of staff, Eli Miller, suggesting that he connect with her chief of staff, Julie Radford. The email chain, obtained by American Oversight, was copied to Radford’s government account.

    “It would be great if you both could connect next week to discuss [redacted],”she wrote. “We would love your feedback and input as we structure.”

    Andrew Coyne: PCs take Ontario back to bad old days of political fundraising

    Andrew Coyne: PCs take Ontario back to bad old days of political fundraising


    Thursday’s fall economic statement from the Doug Ford government may have been vague, windy and misleading about the issues it was supposed to address — trifling matters such as the size of the deficit, or what the government intends to do about it...

    Thursday’s fall economic statement from the Doug Ford government may have been vague, windy and misleading about the issues it was supposed to address — trifling matters such as the size of the deficit, or what the government intends to do about it — but it had some very specific things to say about an entirely unrelated question: financing political parties in Ontario.

    Not so long ago, you’ll recall, Ontario had one of the loosest campaign finance regimes in the democratic world. Individuals, corporations or unions could donate virtually as much as they liked to political parties, then contribute further unlimited amounts to so-called “third-party” groups to support some parties or oppose others. Political leaders, including the premier and other members of cabinet, were regular attendees at private fund-raising events charging donors thousands of dollars in return for privileged access to ministerial ears.

    Then the world fell in. Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals, desperate to save their doomed government, were caught taking particularly enthusiastic part in the cash-for-access scam. Unable to talk their way out of it, they suddenly got religion, introducing sweeping reforms to the campaign finance regulations. Individual donations were limited to $1,200. Corporate and union donations were banned outright, third-party spending was capped, and politicians were barred from whoring themselves or their senior staff at party fund-raisers.

    The legislation passed with all-party support in December 2016. From that day until last week, the Progressive Conservatives had made no mention of any plan to reverse or alter the Wynne reforms. Yet there, buried within the 176 pages of Bill 57 (The Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act), tabled with the statement, are a set of changes that would at the least loosen, and potentially eviscerate, the province’s new campaign finance regime.

    The individual donation limit would be raised to $1,600. The ban on cash-for-access fundraisers would be lifted so far as it applied to ordinary members of the  legislature, party leaders (other than the premier) and their staff. Worst of all, corporations and unions would be provided with a giant loophole to re-enter the political fund-raising game.

    Yes, they would still be banned from contributing directly. But the bill would repeal the previous ban on indiirect donations, via their employees or members. The Wynne legislation had prohibited individuals from donating “funds that do not actually belong to the person,” specifically “funds that have been given or furnished by any person or group of persons or by a corporation or trade union for the purpose of making a contribution.” As of Bill 57, that’s gone.

    Why was this done? What urgent public imperative requires that corporations and unions be allowed to donate to political parties — and not openly, in a manner that might invite public scrutiny, but surreptitiously? For that matter, why was any of it necessary? In what conceivable way are the political parties of Ontario, which between them had revenues of more than $18 million in 2017, starving for funds?

    None of this would be apparent from a reading of the economic statement, in which the whole thing is presented as a move to “more closely align Ontario with federal rules on contribution limits and fundraising events.” Or rather, it’s a move to save money for the taxpayers. “The government,” it reads, “believes that taxpayers should not be forced to pay more and work harder to make life easier for politicians.”

    How are taxpayers being forced to pay now? Because the Wynne reforms, at the same time as they restricted the parties’ ability to raise money from private donors, provided them with an offsetting annual public subsidy, called an “allowance,” based on the number of votes each got in the previous election. At $2.71 per vote, it more than made up for any shortfall in private funds, at least for the Liberals and NDP. Only the PCs, who raised more than the other two parties combined, suffered an overall decline.

    So now the PCs are phasing out the subsidy, in time for the next election. That’s fair enough, if self-serving: political parties have no moral right to force people to pay for their activities, just because they can.

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    But why does that require loosening the limits on private donors — any more than Wynne’s restrictions on the latter required the parties be compensated out of public funds? Never mind that taxpayers will still be footing the bill for part of those donations, via the attached tax credit. Why can’t the parties simply make do with less?

    Both sides in the campaign finance debate tend to assume parties need to raise something like the current amounts. They differ only on the method: private or public. But there’s no reason parties need to spend anything like as much as they do, and lots of reasons to prefer they should spend less — particularly since most of what it is spent on is for things society would be better off without. Would we really miss all those attack ads and push-polls? Would life be more drab with fewer robo-calls at dinner-time?

    The only reason any of them need to spend so much is because the others do. But if all of them were forced to spend less, none could complain of unfair treatment. Certainly there is no democratic necessity for it: it has never been easier or cheaper for parties to “get their message out.” We could have an electorate that was at least as well informed at a fraction of the current cost.

    I get that the parties like spending those needless millions of dollars, or more particularly the people who make their living off them do: all those staffers, consultants, pollsters, strategists, advertising gurus, and so on. But in the long run even they would be better off finding honest work.

    Judge gave excessively light sentence to avert deportation of refugee who threatened to kill police: appeal court

    Judge gave excessively light sentence to avert deportation of refugee who threatened to kill police: appeal court


    OTTAWA — The Manitoba Court of Appeal has ruled a judge gave an excessively light sentence to a 23-year-old Somalian refugee to prevent him from being deported, after the man rammed his car into a police vehicle and threatened to kill the officers who...

    OTTAWA — The Manitoba Court of Appeal has ruled a judge gave an excessively light sentence to a 23-year-old Somalian refugee to prevent him from being deported, after the man rammed his car into a police vehicle and threatened to kill the officers who arrested him.

    The court ruling Oct. 31 increased Mustaf Ahmed Yare’s sentence to more than 13 months, from five months and 25 days. In their decision, the judges found the longer sentence “may result in his deportation,” but was necessary because the sentencing judge “failed to impose a sentence that was proportionate to the gravity of the offences.”

    The case sheds light on how judges weigh the severity of crimes committed by non-citizens against the consequences of jail time for those who could be deported, after Harper-era changes to immigration rules attempted to make it easier to remove criminals.

    Yare’s family is Somali, and he was born and raised in a refugee camp, his lawyer said. He and his family moved to Canada in 2009 and he lived with his parents, according to the appeal court ruling. In September 2017, he was arrested after he refused to pull over during a traffic stop, instead accelerating, ramming into the police car and causing it to stall. He then drove off at high speed with other police cars chasing him, crashed into a metal sign post and fled on foot.

    After he was arrested, according to the court decision, he told police officers: “I’m going to get my gang and I’m going to find you and kill you. I’m a real gangster and you will die. Trust me, you fucking goofs.” Less than two weeks after he was released on bail, he was arrested again while in breach of his curfew. According to the ruling, he was already on probation at the time of his arrest, and has a “lengthy and related criminal record.”

    Yare pleaded guilty to charges including fleeing from police and uttering threats. During his sentencing hearing, the judge found he “ought to be jailed for about a year for these charges,” but ultimately decided on a much shorter sentence — five months and 25 days.

    Permanent residents can lose their status and be deported from Canada if they’re convicted of a crime with a possible jail sentence of 10 years or more, or sentenced to more than six months in prison. A sentence of six months or longer also strips them of their right to appeal deportation.

    Knowing this, the sentencing judge decided to go easy on Yare. “I am not inclined to subject you to deportation hearings, but you need to know how lucky you are,” he told him.

    The appeal court, however, found the lower court judge “imposed an artificial sentence” to prevent Yare from being deported, and raised his total sentence to 13 months and 10 days, acknowledging the punishment “will affect his right of appeal … and may result in his deportation.” Yare had already served the jail time prior to the appeal hearing.

    Yare’s Winnipeg-based lawyer, Edmond Murphy, said it’s hard to say whether his client will be deported imminently or not, as Yare has since been arrested again and is back in custody on charges of assault with a weapon and uttering threats.

    The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that judges should consider immigration consequences in sentencing, said Sergio Karas, an immigration lawyer and analyst, but the punishment must still fit the crime.

    It’s unfair, he said, for a non-citizen to get a much lower sentence than a citizen for the same crime, simply to avoid deportation. “You can’t have that, because otherwise it’s like playing favourites.”

    But Toronto immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman said the right to appeal deportation orders has been unfairly restricted over the years. It used to be that anyone could appeal a removal order, he said, but in the early 2000s, that right of appeal was denied to those sentenced to more than two years. Under the Harper government, that was expanded to anyone sentenced to more than six months.

    “I think there should always be the right to a review,” he said, arguing that individual circumstances like how long someone has been in the country and whether they have children need to be considered.

    “I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Canada to consider taking action against a non-citizen who has violated the criminal law, but I think the changes that were brought in by the former Conservative government were very extreme,” Waldman said. “That’s why you’re seeing judges imposing sentences of less than six months.”

    However, Karas said the Harper government changed the rules because some judges previously sentenced non-citizens to two years less a day to avoid deportation, and there was public outrage that people with lengthy criminal records weren’t being removed from the country. “Let’s face it,” he said. “For somebody to be sentenced to six months of incarceration, it’s got to be a pretty heavy-duty offence.”

    Like Waldman, Murphy believes anyone should have the right to appeal a deportation order, regardless of the length of their sentence. He said Yare’s parents support him and want him to be able to stay in the country.

    But beyond that, Murphy said, cases like these prove “that when people immigrate to Canada, they should take steps to become Canadian citizens.” He said it’s not uncommon to see people who came to Canada as children lose their status after being convicted of a crime because they never gained citizenship. “And (they) end up getting deported to a country where they’re now detached from both the language and the culture.”

    • Email: mforrest@postmedia.com | Twitter: MauraForrest

    John Ivison: Morneau’s attempt to close tax gap with U.S. likely too little, too late

    John Ivison: Morneau’s attempt to close tax gap with U.S. likely too little, too late


    The theme of Bill Morneau’s fiscal update this week will be “confidence in the Canadian economy.” It brings to mind Margaret Thatcher’s quote about being in power. “It’s like being a lady; if you have to tell people you are, you...

    The theme of Bill Morneau’s fiscal update this week will be “confidence in the Canadian economy.”

    It brings to mind Margaret Thatcher’s quote about being in power. “It’s like being a lady; if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

    Similarly, the finance minister will reassure Canadians that the economy is strong and the public finances are under control. But that interpretation offers only a partial view of the picture.

    The fall update will include measures aimed at closing the tax gap with the United States when it comes to business investment. The message Morneau will try to sell is that the Liberal government understands Canada’s status as an attractive place to invest is under threat, and so he has acted accordingly.

    U.S. President Donald Trump cut corporate income taxes and accelerated capital investment deferrals last year. U.S. businesses can now claim 100 per cent of their capital investment right away. Canada has different rates for different sectors — manufacturers can defer taxes on 30-50 per cent of their investment over a period of years.

    The fiscal update is likely to lift that rate closer to 75 per cent for all sectors of the economy, in an attempt to prevent companies with the opportunity to invest north or south of the border from choosing the latter option.

    Oil and gas firms sound alarm as capital once destined for Canada flees to more competitive U.S.Senator Doug Black: The Liberals must overhaul taxes—or Canada's in troubleU.S. capital spending write-offs — not tax cuts — creating 'unequal playing field': Morneau

    The move will be welcomed by the country’s wealth creators, who have felt abandoned by the Trudeau government and its aggressively progressive agenda.

    But the measures we are set to see on Wednesday are likely to be too little and too late.

    The Liberals argue that dropping corporate income tax by four per cent and matching the U.S. capital cost allowance, as recommended by a consultants’ report for the Business Council of Canada, would cost $70 billion over five years. That option has been kicked into the deep snow by Morneau, a noted skeptic of the ability of low taxes to attract investment.

    But nothing is ever one thing; Canada’s competitiveness has relied on a blend of factors — an educated workforce, a tax advantage and guaranteed access to the U.S. market. There are now question marks next to two of those three elements.

    On the timing, the government missed an opportunity to take action in the last budget — action it knew it would have to take eventually.

    Governments don’t need to be involved in all aspects of people’s lives, as the Liberals seem to believe. But one thing they should do is promote this country as the best place in the world to build businesses and wealth.

    That has not been high on the list of priorities for the Trudeau government. Last year was a bumper year for growth, as the economy rebounded from the recession in the resource-producing provinces. Morneau discovered he had a windfall that could have been used to address the competitiveness issue.

    Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Liberals’ fiscal update on Wednesday.

    Instead, he sprinkled $6.5 billion across 309 line items, including $400 million in new money to support Liberal re-election efforts in francophone ridings outside Quebec. Apologies, that should, of course, read “to support Canada’s official languages.”

    Whatever the government does on Wednesday is going to have a price tag — increasing the tax deferral on capital costs will cost in the billions.

    Officials suggest revenues are strong, but it seems inevitable that the deficit this year will be higher than the $18 billion forecast in the last budget.

    The Conservatives have labelled this disregard for fiscal responsibility as “the raid on future generations.” They have a point.

    The Liberals keep talking about the debt-to-GDP ratio ticking lower, as debt rises but the economy grows even faster.

    This is true, even if it’s not falling as fast as was promised (the election platform suggested it would be 29 per cent last year, not the 31 per cent it came in at). But the problem is the government doesn’t control the denominator of economic growth in that calculation — a recession will cause the government’s “fiscal anchor” to take off like a helium balloon.

    There’s no doubt there are parts of the economic picture that are robust, not least an unemployment rate that was running at 5.8 per cent in October.

    The global economic outlook remains healthy. Yield curves continue to show long-term rates well above short-term rates, suggesting recession is not imminent (an inversion of that situation has happened ahead of every recession since the mid-1960s).

    While trade uncertainties remain, they have diminished with the signing of the U.S-Mexico-Canada pact.

    But the skies are not as cloudless as the Liberals would have everyone believe. The housing market has softened, with three quarters of contraction, as tighter mortgage rules and higher interest rates have taken effect. The oil industry is seeing prices trundle along at historic lows.

    Both of these industries have been key drivers of economic growth in recent years.

    There are storm signals.

    The Bank of Canada warns that the trade war between the U.S. and China could lead to weaker commodity prices and the re-organization of global supply chains, which could lead to higher prices for manufactured products.

    The bank pointed out that Canada’s competitiveness challenges and limited pipeline capacity will constrain exports.

    More to the point perhaps, many Canadians don’t feel better off, as wage growth barely outpaces inflation.

    Morneau’s theme is likely meant to be reassuring. In reality, it echoes the smugness of Pierre Trudeau’s “The Land is Strong” campaign of 1972, a self-satisfied slogan that almost saw the current prime minister’s father hurled from office only four years after Trudeaumania. Lightning has been known to strike twice.

    • Email: jivison@postmedia.com | Twitter: IvisonJ

    FBI labels Proud Boys as extremist group with ties to white nationalists, but no similar move in Canada

    FBI labels Proud Boys as extremist group with ties to white nationalists, but no similar move in Canada


    The FBI has now categorized the Proud Boys, founded by Canadian Gavin McInnes, as an extremist group with ties to white nationalists but the Canadian government and military does not appear yet ready to make any such declaration. The FBI have warned...

    The FBI has now categorized the Proud Boys, founded by Canadian Gavin McInnes, as an extremist group with ties to white nationalists but the Canadian government and military does not appear yet ready to make any such declaration.

    The FBI have warned police in Washington State that the group is actively recruiting in the Pacific Northwest and its members have “contributed to the recent escalation of violence at political rallies held on college campuses, and in cities like Charlottesville, Virginia, Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington,” according to a report produced by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office in Vancouver, Washington. “The FBI categorizes the Proud Boys to be an extremist group with ties to white nationalism,” Commander Michael McCabe, who investigated the activities of an employee in sheriff’s office linked to the group, wrote in August.

    He confirmed to Britain’s Guardian newspaper in an article published Monday that the FBI’s decision to categorize the Proud Boys as an extremist group was revealed to him in an August briefing by the U.S. federal investigation bureau.

    The Proud Boys made headlines in Canada last year when five members of the group, all Canadian Forces members, disrupted an protest by Indigenous activists in Halifax. The military personnel did not face criminal or disciplinary charges after the incident and returned to their units and regular duties. One of the five left the Canadian military.

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    The FBI’s categorization of the Proud Boys does not appear to have any new impact on the Canadian government or military’s view of the organization.

    The Canadian military does not maintain a specific list of groups that are inappropriate for its members to join, the military noted in a statement sent Monday to Postmedia. Military personnel are “expected to use sound judgment and conduct themselves in a manner that reflects well on the CAF and the country they represent,” the statement added.

    “While it would be inappropriate for us to comment on the policies of foreign law enforcement agencies, we will take this opportunity to reiterate that all forms of hate and discrimination runs completely counter to the CAF’s military ethos,” the statement noted.

    The RCMP publishes a Terrorism and Violent Extremism Guide but the Proud Boys is not on that list.

    Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, said the department can’t comment on operational security matters. “Hate speech and hate crimes are intolerable in Canada,” he said. “Canada’s law enforcement agencies take all security threats very seriously, including those posed by right-wing extremists, and have robust measures in place to address them.”

    News of the FBI’s decision comes as a number of Proud Boys face criminal charges in New York after a melee with left-wing protesters last month. Five members of the group have been arrested so far, including one who was charged with attempted gang assault, attempted assault, riot and criminal possession of a weapon. New York police are seeking to charge a total of nine Proud Boys in connection with the brawl that started after a speech by McInnes.

    In addition, Facebook and Instagram last month banned a number of accounts linked to the group. In August, Twitter permanently banned accounts linked to McInnes and his group.

    The Proud Boys was founded in the U.S. in the 2016 by McInnes, who helped establish Vice Media. The Proud Boys call themselves “Western chauvinists” and have denied any link to organized right-wing or racist organizations.

    But the Southern Poverty Law Center, a U.S. organization which tracks activities of the far-right and Neo-Nazi groups, noted that rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist slogans and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic views, the organization added.

    Commander McCabe told the Guardian that the FBI “have been warning (local law enforcement) for a while” about the Proud Boys.

    Last year after announcing that the Canadian military members of the Proud Boys won’t face criminal charges, Rear-Admiral John Newton, then commander Joint Task Force Atlantic, indicated the servicemen were remorseful for their actions. Newton acknowledged the military personnel embarrassed the Canadian Forces. But he added, “You cannot just turn around and fire everybody. They have rights.”

    • Email: dpugliese@postmedia.com | Twitter: davidpugliese

    ‘Christ’ is back in Christmas at B.C. mall that didn’t like it when Salvation Army carollers sang about Jesus

    ‘Christ’ is back in Christmas at B.C. mall that didn’t like it when Salvation Army carollers sang about Jesus


    A British Columbia mall that disapproved of Christian Christmas carols being performed at a Salvation Army fundraising event on its premises has backtracked, assuring the charity that two songs about the birth of Jesus won’t be banned from future shows...

    A British Columbia mall that disapproved of Christian Christmas carols being performed at a Salvation Army fundraising event on its premises has backtracked, assuring the charity that two songs about the birth of Jesus won’t be banned from future shows under the mall’s prohibition on religious music.

    The Pine Centre Mall in Prince George, B.C., has restored the Christ in Christmas, with management deciding over the weekend that Mary’s Boy Child and Go Tell It On The Mountain don’t threaten its ability to remain non-partisan and non-sectarian.

    Neil Wilkinson, the captain of the Salvation Army’s Prince George chapter, says he was standing to the side of a small concert his organization held to kickstart its annual Christmas kettle campaign on Friday afternoon when the mall’s promotions manager informed him that the carols a local trio was singing in front of them violated Pine Centre policy.

    “I watched her angst rising,” Wilkinson said. As soon as the singers finished their set, Wilkinson continued, he walked up to the microphone, thanked the assembled crowd, wished them Merry Christmas and cut short the event with one act left on the docket.

    “I chose to shut things down before it compromised any relationships the Salvation Army has in the community,” he said.

    As it turns out, Wilkinson need not have fretted. He says another mall official told him the following day that the two carols constituted “traditional Christmas music” and, as such, were permissible forms of expression at the mall despite their lyrics’ constant references to Jesus, the Lord, the Bible and Christianity.

    The American composer Jester Hairston wrote Mary’s Boy Child in 1956 to hail the long-ago birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem: “Hark, now hear the angels sing, a king was born today / And man will live for evermore, because of Christmas Day.” Go Tell It On The Mountain, meanwhile, is an African-American spiritual that exhorts people to disperse “over the hills and everywhere” to proclaim Jesus’ birth.

    The group that sang Mary’s Boy Child and Go Tell It On The Mountain opened their set with two other songs, at which point the promotions director approached Wilkinson to ask for the noise level to be toned down. The musicians were using guitar amps rather than performing acoustically, an expectation Wilkinson said the Salvation Army forgot to tell them about.

    Wilkinson said the promotions director continued to stand beside him and expressed her misgivings when Mary’s Boy Child and Go Tell It On The Mountain were played.

    Pine Centre Mall’s general manager, Rachel Olson, did not return calls seeking comment before deadline on Monday. She told the Prince George Citizen newspaper that the carol flap was “just a misunderstanding and miscommunication amongst all parties … The Salvation Army and Pine Centre Mall have an amazing relationship that goes back years and they will continue to be here and we will continue to support them in all the ways that we can.”

    In future, Wilkinson said, mall management has asked to approve in advance any carolling the Salvation Army wants to hold at its kettle location. He added that he and Olson came to a verbal understanding on Saturday that Mary’s Boy Child and Go Tell It On The Mountain would be allowed at future shows.

    The Salvation Army has launched its kettle fundraising campaign with musical performances at the mall for several years running, dating to before Wilkinson became the local captain eight Christmases ago. He said a few singers have told him they’d like to perform there later this holiday season, but noted he’d refrain from organizing more carolling if that’s what the public prefers.

    “Our goal as the Salvation Army is to be a source of hope in the community,” Wilkinson said. “If our carolling is not helpful, well, then we’re happy to pull back.”

    • Email: nfaris@postmedia.com | Twitter: @nickmfaris

    ‘Too drunk to curl’: Elite Canadian curlers apologize for breaking brooms and other antics that got them banned from tournament

    ‘Too drunk to curl’: Elite Canadian curlers apologize for breaking brooms and other antics that got them banned from tournament


    A team of elite Canadian curlers, including a 2014 Olympic champion, was thrown out of a world curling tournament Saturday for “unsportsmanlike” behaviour after a drunken, belligerent and disruptive display, organizers said. “I guess they were here...

    A team of elite Canadian curlers, including a 2014 Olympic champion, was thrown out of a world curling tournament Saturday for “unsportsmanlike” behaviour after a drunken, belligerent and disruptive display, organizers said.

    “I guess they were here to party,” said Wade Thurber, manager of the Red Deer Curling Centre, host of the Alberta bonspiel. “And then they went out to curl and it went sideways.”

    There was boorish behaviour, such as swearing and disturbing other teams on the ice during two games of the Red Deer Curling Classic, a World Curling Tour event. Then there were the smashed brooms by Ryan Fry, who won a gold medal for Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

    “It was temper. Smashed them. He hit one on the ice and broke the head off, and one on the scoreboard, and one over his knee,” Thurber said.

    The curlers have since apologized and offered to pay for a hole in the locker room wall.

    The team won their first game of the tournament on Friday. On Saturday, they arrived at the rink and were drinking in the rink’s bar prior to the their first of two Saturday games. Thurber said they were drinking beer and liquor shots.

    “They were cut off at the bar, eventually,” he said.

    Jamie Koe rink kicked out of #RedDeer Curling Classic https://t.co/90pMvxUeFC

    — Red Deer Advocate (@RedDeerAdvocate) November 19, 2018

    A photo of the team in the bar before the game shows them two-fisting bottles of Corona at the table.

    By the time of the team’s second game that day, their skipper, Jamie Koe, 41, of Yellowknife, who is a veteran of 10 Canadian curling championships, wasn’t able to take to the ice. He was “too drunk to curl,” Thurber said. The other three — Fry, 40, of Sault Ste. Marie, Chris Schille, 35, of Regina, and DJ Kidby, 31, of Regina — pressed ahead for back-to-back losses.

    “There were so many complaints and demands to do something about the situation that we decided to remove the team from the spiel, which we did on the Saturday, after the game,” Thurber said.

    “That team left the rink and since, though, they have contacted us and are very apologetic and offered to pay for damages. I think they are regretting crossing the line.”

    The team of Jamie Koe, Ryan Fry, Chris Schille and DJ Kidby has been ejected from the Red Deer Curling Classic due to unsportsmanlike behaviour, forfeiting their remaining game. #curling #wcthttps://t.co/DmrezFmzwq

    — World Curling Tour (@worldcurltour) November 18, 2018

    Koe issued an apology on behalf of his team.

    “Due to a lapse in judgment on Saturday, we contributed to a unpleasant experience for others,” his written statement says. “We were disrespectful and the committee was right to disqualify us from further play, which we did not argue. I would like to sincerely apologize to the athletes, fans and organizers of the event. I will be taking steps to ensure this never happens again.”

    Schille also issued a statement for the “unfortunate situation.”

    “We took our fun a little too far which led to curlers and fans being uncomfortable and upset.” He said he has apologized to the team they were playing against and to organizers.

    I would also like to thank everyone for all the messages of support during this time. For those that know me as a person and how I conduct myself. I truly am blessed with so many amazing people in my life.

    — Jamie Koe (@JKnwt) November 19, 2018

    Fry apologized to fans, other curlers and organizers in a statement, saying: “I came to the event to play and enjoy the sport. My actions were truly disrespectful and embarrassing — the committee was right to disqualify us from play.”

    He added: “I will continue to strive to become a better version of myself.”

    I want to express how sorry I am to everyone affected by my actions on Saturday. I never meant to offend anyone but that’s the result of a poor decision – I have to live with the consequences and will be taking every step needed to guarantee this never happens again. #notgivingup pic.twitter.com/3gnjkDam1W

    — Ryan Fry (@ryanfry79) November 19, 2018

    Curling is often called the “social sport” and typically features less bravado and in-your-face competitiveness than most sports. Sportsmanlike behaviour is often a marker of even tense competition.

    Players do sometimes drink, but usually not like this.

    “Drinking and curling has gone hand-in-hand forever, it is a very social sport,” Thurber said. “Yes, there’s been drunk people on the ice curling before and, yes, people have smashed brooms and swore here and there throughout the history of curling.

    “It’s just that when you’re high profile and break three brooms in one game and disrupting people around you and putting on a display that was unacceptable, it takes it to another level.”

    I’d also like to thank the staff members of the Red Deer Curling Club who have reached out to me offering their support since Saturday. Messages like that mean a lot.

    — Chris Schille (@cschille) November 19, 2018

    The tournament featured 28 men’s teams, including entries from Japan, China, Scotland, Korea, Switzerland, the United States alongside several Canadian teams.

    With the entry fee of $1,000 and a chance to win $10,000, elite players typically work to maximize their chances.

    “They are all elite players. It wasn’t like four regular club curlers that just decided to get together to curl. It doesn’t make sense to be in that shape,” Thurber said.

    “When you have a world curling tour event where you have elite curlers, you do not see elite players showing up to play drunk.”

    Thurber said his committee would meet soon to discuss what ramifications the incident might have on the four players.

    The finals were scheduled for Monday afternoon.

    • Email: ahumphreys@nationalpost.com | Twitter: AD_Humphreys

    Chicago hospital shooting sparked by domestic dispute leaves four dead

    Chicago hospital shooting sparked by domestic dispute leaves four dead


    CHICAGO — A gunman opened fire Monday at a Chicago hospital, killing a police officer and two hospital employees in an attack that began with a domestic dispute and exploded into a firefight with law enforcement inside the medical centre. The suspect...

    CHICAGO — A gunman opened fire Monday at a Chicago hospital, killing a police officer and two hospital employees in an attack that began with a domestic dispute and exploded into a firefight with law enforcement inside the medical centre. The suspect was also dead, authorities said.

    It was not clear if the attacker took his own life or was killed by police at Mercy Hospital on the city’s South Side, the police chief said.

    Chicago “lost a doctor, pharmaceutical assistant and a police officer, all going about their day, all doing what they loved,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, fighting back tears. “This just tears at the soul of our city. It is the face and a consequence of evil.”

    The chain of events that led to the shooting began with an argument in the hospital parking lot involving the gunman and a woman with whom he was in a domestic relationship, police said.

    When a friend of the woman’s tried to intervene, “the offender lifted up his shirt and displayed a handgun,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.

    The woman’s friend ran into the hospital to call for help, and the gunfire began seconds later, with the attacker killing the woman he was arguing with. Johnson described her only as a hospital employee.

    After the woman fell to the ground, the gunman “stood over her and shot her three more times,” a witness named James Gray told reporters.

    When officers arrived, the suspect fired at their squad car and then ran inside the hospital. The police gave chase.

    Law enforcement officials work near Mercy Hospital in Chicago, Nov. 19, 2018, following a deadly shooting.

    Inside the medical centre, the gunman exchanged fire with officers and “shot a poor woman who just came off the elevator” before he was killed, Johnson said.

    “We just don’t know how much damage he was prepared to do,” Johnson said, adding that the woman who was getting off the elevator “had nothing to do with nothing.”

    The slain officer was identified as Samuel Jimenez, who joined the department in February 2017 and had recently completed his probationary period, Johnson said.

    The identities of the other victims, and the gunman, were not immediately released.

    Television footage of the aftermath showed several people, including some wearing white coats, walking through a parking lot with their arms up.

    Jennifer Eldridge was working in a hospital pharmacy when she heard three or four shots that seemed to come from outside. Within seconds, she barricaded the door, as called for in the building’s active shooter drills. Then there were six or seven more shots that sounded much closer, just outside the door.

    “I could tell he was now inside the lobby. There was screaming,” she recalled.

    The door jiggled, which Eldridge believed was the shooter trying to get in. Some 15 minutes later, she estimated, a SWAT team officer knocked at the door, came inside and led her away. She looked down and saw blood on the floor but no bodies.

    “It may have been 15 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity,” she said.

    Police secure the scene near Mercy Hospital after a gunman opened fire on Nov. 19, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.

    Maria Correa hid under a desk, clutching her 4-month-old son, Angel, while the violence unfolded. Correa was in the waiting area of the hospital for her mother-in-law’s doctor appointment when a hospital employee told them to lock themselves in offices.

    She lost track of how many shots she heard while under the desk “trying to protect her son” for 10 to 15 minutes.

    “They were the worst minutes of our lives,” Correa said.

    Dennis Burke, who lives across the street from the hospital, was getting off the bus when he heard six gunshots and saw officers nearby with their guns drawn.

    “I dropped my groceries,” Burke said. He ducked behind the bus for cover and watched as 50 to 100 people poured out of the hospital, including someone on a stretcher.

    People “were helping each other over the fence, trying to get away,” Burke said. “People were running across the street, right past me — everybody from doctors to what looked like patients, people of all ages.”

    The death of Jimenez, a married father of three, comes nine months after another member of the Chicago Police Department, Cmdr. Paul Bauer, was fatally shot while pursuing a suspect in the Loop business district.

    Mercy has a rich history as the city’s first chartered hospital. It began in 1852, when the Sisters of Mercy religious group converted a rooming house. During the Civil War, the hospital treated both Union soldiers and Confederate prisoners of war, according to its website.

    Doug Ford says PC party proposal that declares gender identity a ‘Liberal ideology’ won’t go ahead

    Doug Ford says PC party proposal that declares gender identity a ‘Liberal ideology’ won’t go ahead


    TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he will not be moving forward with a proposed policy on gender identity introduced at a weekend convention of his Progressive Conservative party. A resolution at the convention from parental rights advocate...

    TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he will not be moving forward with a proposed policy on gender identity introduced at a weekend convention of his Progressive Conservative party.

    A resolution at the convention from parental rights advocate Tanya Granic Allen declares gender identity a “Liberal ideology” and asks that references to it be removed from Ontario’s sex-education curriculum.

    Ford says the resolution came from the convention floor and he won’t allow it to move any further.

    Over the weekend, delegates at the convention voted in favour of having the resolution debated at next year’s party gathering.

    Earlier Monday, Education Minister Lisa Thompson said the motion was non-binding and not government policy.

    Critics have called the resolution dangerous and have called on Premier Doug Ford to denounce it.

    Egale Canada, an advocacy group for members of the LGBTQ community, called it transphobic, saying gender identity is protected in Canada’s Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.

    St. Michael’s College School: Police say there may be ‘more incidents and more videos’

    St. Michael’s College School: Police say there may be ‘more incidents and more videos’


    TORONTO — Six teens were arrested and charged Monday in connection with an alleged sexual assault at an all-boys private school in Toronto as police said they were looking into more incidents and additional charges could follow. Police said five teens,...

    TORONTO — Six teens were arrested and charged Monday in connection with an alleged sexual assault at an all-boys private school in Toronto as police said they were looking into more incidents and additional charges could follow.

    Police said five teens, accompanied by their parents or lawyers, turned themselves in to police, while a sixth student was arrested on his way to school. They said the investigation continues into three other incidents — one an alleged sexual assault.

    Insp. Dominic Sinopoli said the six boys who attended St. Michael’s College School each face charges of assault, gang sexual assault, and sexual assault with a weapon in connection with an incident that allegedly took place on campus and was captured on video.

    “We have reason to believe there are more incidents and more videos,” Sinopoli told a news conference.

    Broomstick sexual assault at Toronto's St. Michael's school involved members of football teamViolent hazing at Toronto private school goes back decades, alumnus saysPolice say Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault that led to expulsions

    The school, whose failure to promptly report the alleged assault and sexual assault to authorities has come under criticism, said it supported the decision by police.

    “We believe charges are absolutely appropriate in these circumstances,” the school said in a statement. “We will continue to work in full co-operation with the police as they continue their investigation and we are at their disposal.”

    St. Michael’s, a Roman Catholic school that teaches grades 7 to 12 and is known for its athletics program, expelled eight students and suspended another one in connection with the alleged sexual assault in a locker room and another incident that police said involved hazing and was also captured on video.

    Police sources have said the locker room incident involved a group of students on the football team pinning down another student and allegedly sexually assaulting him with a broom handle. Those sources said the hazing incident involved members of the basketball team bullying a student in the washroom and soaking him with water.

    Sinopoli said Monday that the victim of the alleged sexual assault was doing OK.

    “He has gotten the support he needs and deserves,” he said.

    Sinopoli said detectives were informed about the alleged sexual assault through the media on Wednesday. As a result, he said, an officer was dispatched to the school.

    “Prior to arriving, Toronto police corporate communications received further information from the media indicating the expulsions were believed to be related to sexual assault involving an object,” he said. “When the officer arrived and after speaking with the principal, he confirmed expulsions…were in response to a video that showed or depicted a sexual assault.”

    The school initially said it had informed police of two incidents, including the alleged sexual assault of a student, on Monday. However, the school’s principal, Greg Reeves, admitted in a series of media interviews on Sunday that he did not report the alleged sexual assault on Monday because the alleged victim had not yet told his family about the incident.

    Sinopoli said the school should have reported the incident immediately.

    A number of legal experts said that in Ontario, schools have an obligation under the Child and Family Services Act to report instances where a child aged 15 and under has been or could be sexually assaulted to the Children’s Aid Society.

    The school has said the Children’s Aid Society was not contacted, and though the ages of the students involved in the alleged incidents are not known, sexual abuse lawyer Rob Talach said he would have expected the school to call child protective services.

    “I would think as an educator you would err on the side of caution and say, ’I’m not sure if everybody in there was over the age of 16, so I’m going to report it to CAS,’ and then CAS can bring in the police,” he said.

    A police car is parked outside St. Michael’s College School in Toronto on Thursday, November 15, 2018.

    Sinopoli said the investigation has expanded and police are now looking into another case of sexual assault and two more alleged assaults involving at least four victims.

    “More than 50 witnesses have been identified and more information comes to us daily,” Sinopoli said. “We also know there are several videos being circulated. We are in possession of these videos.”

    He also called on students and any one in possession of the video of the alleged sexual assault to delete it immediately from their cellphones or other devices as the clip constituted child pornography.

    “We are very concerned about the distribution of the videos on social media,” Sinopoli said. “The unintended consequences are far reaching and detrimental to the recovery of the victim.”

    Insp. Dominic Sinopoli, unit commander of sex crimes, speaks about the alleged assaults and sexual assaults involving students at St. Michael’s College School during a press conference at police headquarters in Toronto on Monday, November 19, 2018.

    In a statement released Sunday, St. Michael’s said it’s launching an “independent examination” into what it called “underlying attitudes and behaviours inconsistent with its culture and values.”

    Reeves said an “external review committee” will be created in the next two to three weeks. He hopes a preliminary examination will be done by spring, with a more in-depth investigation to be completed by next summer.

    Sinopoli acknowledged that tensions in the school were high due to the recent events. St. Michael’s principal was unable to attend the news conference Monday due to a security threat at the school.

    Police said they had also received unconfirmed reports of threats against St. Michael’s students on social media and in public.

    “We want to reiterate that we are monitoring social media and we’ll act on any reports of reprisals, retaliation, violence or threats of violence,” Sinopoli said.

    Toronto police respond to a bomb threat at St. Michael’s College School, in Toronto on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018.