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Legal clinic challenges Ontario panhandling law as unconstitutional

TORONTO A Toronto legal clinic has launched a constitutional challenge against an Ontario law that targets panhandling. The Fair Change clinic argues that the Safe Streets Act violates the rights of people who beg for money, including freedom of expression, the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The clinic says the law enacted in 2000 to address aggressive panhandling and squeegeeing criminalizes poverty. It says people ticketed under the act are unable to pay the fines.

Gerry Williams, a former Fair Change client, says he faced nearly $10,000 in tickets for panhandling, which the clinic helped him appeal. Williams, who says he had a traumatic upbringing on a fly-in First Nation, says the fines he could never have paid added an extra burden to his homelessness, alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder. A previous constitutional challenge failed after the courts agreed the law infringed on individual charter rights, but said the infringement was justified in the interests of public safety.

A spokesman for Ontario s attorney general did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Canadian Held On Terrorism Charge In Flint

Canadian Held On Terrorism Charge In Flint

Amor Ftouhi is being held by the FBI in Flint, MI.
Photo via Facebook.

(FLINT, MI) A Canadian has been arrested in the wake of an attack at Bishop International Airport in Flint, MI, yesterday morning. A Montreal man, identified by the FBI as Amor Ftouhi, stabbed a security guard in the neck with a 12 inch knife. According to investigators, Ftouhi is cooperating with authorities after being charged with committing an act of terrorism. An FBI spokesperson said that Ftouhi entered the US on June 16. The suspect is facing up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

The security guard is reported to be in stable condition.

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Eight stories in the news for today, June 22

Eight stories in the news for Thursday, June 22

SUSPECT IN MICHIGAN AIRPORT STABBING A CANADIAN: FBI

U.S. authorities have charged a Quebec man in the stabbing of a security officer at an airport in Flint, Michigan. Officials allege Amor Ftouhi, 49, yelled “Allahu akbar” as he stabbed the officer, who is in stable condition. Ftouhi’s longtime Montreal landlord told The Canadian Press Ftouhi was not a difficult tenant and is married with two or three children. Ftouhi will stay in custody until a bond hearing next Wednesday.

FEDERAL BUDGET BATTLE WITH SENATE ESCALATES

The Trudeau government’s budget is now a test of wills between the elected House of Commons and the appointed Senate. Senators are incensed that the government has swiftly rejected their amendments to the budget bill and must now decide whether to insist upon their amendments or defer to the elected chamber. The Commons has adjourned until Sept. 18, but if the Senate today insists on its amendments, MPs would have to be recalled to respond.

THRONE SPEECH TODAY AT B.C. LEGISLATURE

The B.C. throne speech will be delivered today, and it will start a countdown to the expected defeat of Premier Christy Clark’s minority government. The speech may be followed by a confidence vote that is expected to lead to an NDP government propped up by the Green party. NDP house leader Mike Farnworth said the party will table a motion on Monday to amend the throne speech, which sets the stage for a confidence vote on June 29.

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INVESTING IN HOME CAPITAL GROUP

Home Capital Group Inc. says Warren Buffett’s U.S. investment firm Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to indirectly acquire $400 million of its common shares in a private placement and provide a new $2 billion line of credit to its subsidiary, Home Trust Company. This agreement comes a day after troubled Toronto-based Home Capital said it was selling $1.2 billion in mortgage assets to KingSett Capital.

ONT. PREMIER DISAPPOINTED WITH N.Y. ‘BUY AMERICAN’ DEAL

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she’s disappointed that New York lawmakers have reached an agreement on legislation that would require state construction projects to use American iron and steel. Wynne says the decision will have an impact Ontario businesses. Her government had lobbied against the proposal in the spring and says the new plan is narrower and less punitive than the original.

JUDGE SET TO ISSUE VERDICTS FOR EX-SKI COACH ON SEX CHARGES

A Quebec judge will hand down verdicts today in the case of a former national ski coach accused of sexual assault and breach of trust involving some of his students. Bertrand Charest was tried this year on 57 charges involving 12 alleged victims who were between the ages of 12 and 19. The charges against the 52-year-old are in connection with alleged crimes from the 1990s in Quebec and other locations such as Whistler, B.C., New Zealand and the United States.

UNIVERSITY TO HOLD GRADUATION CEREMONY FOR BLACK STUDENTS

Organizers of a graduation ceremony for black students at Canada’s largest university say the event is meant to acknowledge the barriers that remain for people of colour pursuing academia. The ceremony is being held today at the University of Toronto after two students took it upon themselves to organize the event for black students completing degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The event has the university’s blessing and financial support.

ELECTRIC CAR SUBSIDIES A WASTE, REPORT SAYS

Provincial subsidies to encourage the use of electric vehicles are the most expensive, least effective way to help cut greenhouse gas emissions, the Montreal Economic Institute says in a new report. The organization examined subsidies offered by the governments of Quebec and Ontario and says together they could cost those provinces more than $17 billion by 2030, while cutting emissions less than four per cent a year.

ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:

Statistics Canada will release April data on retail trade and employment insurance.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau will hold a media call from Italy to discuss the G7 Transport Ministers’ Meeting.

The Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick, Katherine d’Entremont, will present her annual report.

A sentencing hearing will be held in Calgary for a woman found guilty of assaulting two orphaned nieces.

Also in Calgary, Daniel Nel will appear in court charged with second-degree murder in the death of his three-month-old son Cyrus.

The Fraser Institute will release a report examining which Canadian city has the most red tape.

The 2017 NBA Draft goes today. The Toronto Raptors have the 23rd pick in the first round.

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