Former MuchMusic VJ, Twitter Canada exec running for city council
By Jennifer Pagliaro City Hall Bureau Tues., July 10, 2018
Don’t try to tell Jennifer Hollett that politics can’t be a force for good.
It’s easy to be cynical, the 42-year-old head of news for Twitter Canada knows. As someone who says her political “coming of age” was as a popular VJ on MuchMusic — making global issues in the post-9/11 world accessible to youth and interviewing both Beyoncé and former federal NDP leader Jack Layton on the main stage — she believes one of the key issues downtown is making space for everyone. Jennifer Hollett joins a crowded race in the new Ward 21. ( Cole Burston / Toronto Star file photo )
Hollett will sign up to run for the newly-redrawn Ward 21 on Tuesday. The ward covers the waterfront from Yonge St. to the Don Valley Parkway and is largely bordered to the north by Shuter St., encompassing neighbourhoods such as Moss Park, St. Lawrence and Corktown.
“People are being squeezed out of Toronto, especially downtown, and I can’t imagine a vibrant downtown without young people, newcomers, working class people, families, artists, entrepreneurs and that is the tension right now,” Hollett said in an interview Monday. “There’s an opportunity as our community is growing . . . to get it right, to make sure we’re not just building buildings but building communities.”
Most of the ward was carved out of the former Ward 28 (Toronto Centre—Rosedale), represented by the late veteran councillor Pam McConnell . Councillor Lucy Troisi was appointed to fill the vacancy in November.
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Without an incumbent in the race, Hollett joins a crowded field with nine other candidates already signed up. They are: Anita Agrawal, Richard Anobile, Jon Callegher, Suzanne Kavanagh, Gladys Larbie, William Meneray, Noah Parker, Catherina Perez and Matthew Plourde.
Raised in St. Catharines by a single mom — Hollett recently purchased her first home in the ward, a condo in St. Lawrence — the now Harvard graduate said she always felt “very disconnected” to the political process.
“It felt like something that was happening to me,” she said. “There’s a larger movement right now, especially with the upcoming municipal election, of new voices and new energy and optimism coming forward with the belief that things can be better.”
She said key issues for the downtown east area are housing and connecting green space and good transit options like the King St. pilot, which has helped residents get home faster.
After working at Sony Music Canada and as a journalist at several news outlets, Hollett’s first step into the political ring was seeking the federal New Democrat nomination in 2013 in the old Toronto Centre riding, which she lost . In 2015, she got the nomination and challenged Liberal MP and now Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland in the general election. The first-time candidate came in second with 28.6 per cent of the vote after running on a Toronto-centric platform backed by the party’s focus on cities. Freeland won with 49.8 per cent.
Hollett worked on Olivia Chow’s 2014 mayoral campaign and has been involved at the board level with Toronto-based advocacy groups Toronto Environmental Alliance, Social Planning Toronto and No Jets Toronto.
“She was absolutely invaluable to our mission,” No Jets Toronto’s Norman Di Pasquale said, noting her work on key fundraisers that kept their campaign afloat. “I just think she has that rare match of skills that will make her very, very effective.”
Hollett has also earned the support of McConnell’s family.
“We are excited that a wonderful young, progressive woman is running to represent a piece of my mom’s ward,” her daughter Heather Ann said in an email. “We support Jennifer because we trust that she will continue working on the important issues including affordable housing, transit, and poverty reduction — and other local issues — in the dedicated, tenacious, and caring way that my mom did.”
Sharon McMillan, president of the non-partisan St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, said they will be looking for candidates “who reflect our priorities”— including a non-NIMBY approach to development, focus on affordable housing, safe streets for everyone with a high volume of traffic moving through their neighbourhood, and protecting heritage and green spaces.
Jennifer Pagliaro is a Toronto-based reporter covering city politics. Follow her on Twitter: @jpags Read more about: TOP STORIES, DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX. NEW NEWSLETTER HEADLINES More from The Star & Partners LOADING
Third rescue mission underway at Thai cave aims to rescue all left
MAE SAI, THAILAND—“Everyone is safe.” With those three words posted on Facebook the daring rescue mission to extricate 12 boys and their soccer coach from the treacherous confines of a flooded cave in Thailand was complete — a grueling 18-day ordeal that claimed the life of an experienced diver and riveted people worldwide. Thailand’s Navy SEALs, who were central to the rescue effort, celebrated the feat with a post Tuesday evening that read: “All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave,” — a reference to the boys’ soccer team. “We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what.”
All 12 boys and their soccer coach, from the Thai Wild Boar team, have been rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand, ending an 18-day ordeal that riveted people around the world. (The Associated Press) Eight of the boys were rescued by a team of Thai and international divers on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, the final four boys and their coach were guided out of the cave. Their rescue was followed a few hours later by the safe return of a medic and three SEAL divers who had stayed for days with the boys in their cramped, dry refuge.
Cheers erupted from the dozens of volunteers and journalists awaiting news of whether the intricate and high-risk rescue mission had succeeded. Helicopters transporting the boys roared overhead. People on the street cheered and clapped when ambulances ferrying them on the last leg of their journey from the cave arrived at a hospital in Chiang Rai city in far northern Thailand near the Myanmar border.
Their joy and relief was echoed around the globe by the multitude of people who had followed the long ordeal.
Payap Maiming, who helped provide food and necessities to rescue workers and journalists, noted that fact.
“I’m happy for Thais all over the country,” he said. “And actually just everyone in the world because every news channel has presented this story and this is what we have been waiting for.”
“It’s really a miracle,” Payap said. “It’s hope and faith that has brought us this success.”
Amporn Sriwichai, an aunt of rescued coach Ekkapol Chantawong, was ecstatic. “If I see him, I just want to hug him and tell him that I missed him very much,” she said.
The plight of the boys and their coach captivated much of the world — from the heart-sinking news that they were missing, to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys when they were found by a pair of British divers 10 days later. The group had entered the sprawling Tham Luang cave to go exploring after soccer practice on June 23, but monsoon rains soon filled the tight passageways, blocking their escape.
In this undated photo released by Royal Thai Navy on Tuesday show the last four Thai Navy SEALs come out safely after completing the rescued mission inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. Thailand’s navy SEALs say all 12 boys and their soccer coach have been rescued from a flooded cave in far northern Thailand, ending an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks. ( Royal Thai Navy via The Associated Press ) Thai media celebrate after evacuation in Chiang Rai as divers evacuated some of the 12 boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Tuesday. ( Sakchai Lalit / The Associated Press ) An ambulance believed to be carrying one of the rescued boys from the flooded cave heads to the hospital in Chiang Rai as divers evacuated the remaining boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Tuesday. Thai Navy SEALs say all 12 boys and their coach were rescued from the cave, ending an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks. ( Vincent Thian/The Associated Press ) Each of the boys, ages 11 to 16 and with no diving experience, was guided out by a pair of divers in the three-day high-stakes operation. The route, in some places just a crawl space, had oxygen canisters positioned at regular intervals to refresh each team’s air supply.
Highlighting the dangers, a former Thai Navy SEAL died Friday while replenishing the canisters.
Cave-diving experts had warned diving the youngsters out was potentially too risky. But Thai officials, acutely aware the monsoon rains could trap the boys for months, seized a window of opportunity provided by relatively mild weather. A massive effort to pump out water made the winding passageways more navigable. And the confidence of the diving team, and expertise specific to the cave, grew after its first successful mission Sunday.
“We did something nobody thought possible,” Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, leader of the rescue effort, said at a celebratory news conference.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, speaking Tuesday before the final rescue was completed, said the boys were given an anti-anxiety medication to help with their perilous removal from the cave.
Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk, centre, said at a press conference Tuesday that the boys rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand will be staying in hospital at least seven days. HE said the eight boys rescued are in “high spirits” and have strong immune systems because they are soccer players. ( Vincent Thian ) Asked at a news conference in Bangkok if the boys had been sedated, Prayuth said: “Who would chloroform them? If they’re chloroformed, how could they come out? It’s called anxiolytic, something to make them not excited, not stressed.”
Prayuth said the Tham Luang cave would be closed for some time to make it safe for visitors.
The first eight boys brought out were doing well and were in good spirits at the hospital. They received a treat on Tuesday: bread with chocolate spread that they had requested.
Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk, permanent secretary at the Public Health Ministry, said the boys rescued Sunday were able to eat normal food by Tuesday, though they couldn’t yet take the spicy dishes favoured by many Thais.
Two of the boys possibly have a lung infection but all eight are generally “healthy and smiling,” he said.
“The kids are footballers, so they have high immune systems,” Jedsada told a news conference. “Everyone is in high spirits and is happy to get out. But we will have a psychiatrist evaluate them.”
It could be at least a week before they can be released from the hospital, he said.
New video released by Thailand’s Navy Seals shows 12 boys and their coach, stuck in a flooded cave. Authorities say the group is relatively healthy and getting food. Officials are deciding how to get them out. (The Associated Press) For now the boys were in isolation to try to keep them safe from infections by outsiders. But family members have seen at least some of the boys from behind a glass barrier.
It was clear doctors were taking a cautious approach. Jedsada said they were uncertain what type of infections the boys could face “because we have never experienced this kind of issue from a deep cave.”
If medical tests show no dangers after another two days, parents will be able to enter the isolation area dressed in sterilized clothing, staying 2 metres (yards) away from the boys, said another public health official, Tosthep Bunthong.
John Tangkitcharoenthawon, a local village chairman, was bursting with happiness over the successful rescue.
“If this place had a roof, the morale has gone straight through it,” he said.
President Donald Trump joined those paying tribute to the rescuers.
“On behalf of the United States, congratulations to the Thai Navy SEALs and all on the successful rescue of the 12 boys and their coach from the treacherous cave in Thailand,” he tweeted. “Such a beautiful moment — all freed, great job!”
Thai media celebrate after evacuation in Chiang Rai as divers evacuated some of the 12 boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Tuesday. ( Sakchai Lalit/The associated PRess ) One of soccer’s most popular teams, Manchester United, expressed its relief over the rescue and invited the boys and their coach, as well as those who saved them, to come see the team play on their home ground this season.
A message posted on the English Premier League club’s Twitter account said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected. We would love to welcome the team from Wild Boars Football Club and their rescuers to Old Trafford this coming season.”
The international soccer federation, FIFA, had already invited the boys to attend the World Cup final in Russia this Sunday. However, doctors treating the boys said it was too soon for them to make the trip.
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For now, Ford government will not be firing Hydro One boss
Promised three months ago as the “first act” of a Doug Ford government, the firing of Hydro One boss Mayo Schmidt — whom the new premier dubbed the “$6 million man” — has fallen down the priority list.
“We are working on that issue right now,” Government House Leader Todd Smith said Tuesday in outlining the new Progressive Conservative administration’s aims as the legislature is recalled for a couple of weeks.
Before he was elected Ontario’s premier, Doug Ford promised to fire Hydro One boss Mayo Schmidt. “You can take this to the bank. The CEO is gone and the board is gone,” Ford said on April 12. The PCs now say removing Schmidt is not a priority. ( Andrew Francis Wallace / Toronto Star ) Smith, the party’s energy critic in opposition, acknowledged the new PC government has not been able to make good on the promise while it dealt with other matters, such as axing the Green Ontario Fund that helped consumers save money on smart thermostats and energy-efficient windows.
“While it might not be the first on the list of things that we’ve accomplished we did get down to work right away and we’ve accomplished a number of things,” he added.
“Dealing with the Hydro One situation is very much a priority going forward and stay tuned for details.”
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The plan to fire Schmidt was criticized by rivals as campaign sloganeering that would do nothing to lower electricity costs and prove expensive to boot — with Schmidt getting a golden parachute of up to $10.7 million if fired without cause by a new board of directors appointed by the government.
“You can take this to the bank. The CEO is gone and the board is gone,” Ford, who has not held a news conference since his swearing-in almost two weeks ago, said on April 12.
But within a few weeks of his landmark June 7 election victory, the party began surveying voters by text: “Hi, this is Sophie from the Ontario PC Party. Do you agree that Premier Ford should fire the $6 Million CEO of Hydro One? Please Reply: #Yes #No #Unsure.”
New Democrat MPP Peter Tabuns said he suspects the new government has found the promise was easy to make but is harder to deliver.
“We said at the time this was going to be pretty complicated, that there were going to be big expenses involved,” Tabuns said, noting Ford repeatedly doubled down on the promise in efforts to make Schmidt’s annual salary a lightning rod for discontent over hydro rates in a quest for votes.
“He continued on, putting on a lot of hot air, a lot of bluster about how he’s going to get rid of the CEO,” added Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth).
“This is an area where their mouths went way ahead of their brains and now they’re dealing with the consequences. I think that it’s going to be problematic for them.”
Read more: Opinion | Martin Regg Cohn: Ford Nation’s national agenda pushes past Ontario’s borders
Schmidt, who is still on the job, earned $6.2 million in total compensation last year at Hydro One, which was partially privatized by the previous Liberal government to raise $9 billion for infrastructure projects and lowering debt in the electricity sector.
Ford blamed defeated premier Kathleen Wynne for bloated paycheques in the public sector and vowed “we need to start respecting the taxpayers,” but neither he nor Smith could answer how much their promised Hydro One housekeeping would cost.
However, the company’s most recent securities filings said using the government’s powers to fire the board would constitute a “change of control” in Hydro One and entitle Schmidt to a $10.7 million payout under a “double trigger” provision if he were fired without cause by the new board.
Should the existing board dismiss Schmidt without cause, he would get a $5.04 million severance.
Massachusetts beauty queen gives back crown because of #MeToo joke
Google Plus By Jerome Campbell Globe Staff July 09, 2018 File photo Maude Gorman in 2015.
A reigning Miss Plymouth County beauty queen, who is a survivor of sexual assault, gave up her crown on Saturday after an emcee joked about the #MeToo movement during a pageant.
Maude Gorman, 24, resigned as Miss Plymouth County for the Miss Massachusetts Miss America Organization after an emcee made a joke about the women’s movement on stage while mentioning the removal of the swimsuit competition from the pageant.
During the June 30 event in Massachusetts, just before the finale, the host acted out a skit with someone portraying the role of God.
Advertisement “We may have very well seen the last ever swimsuit competition on stage. It’s very upsetting,” a woman said in a video of the comedy sketch, which was published Tuesday by Observer.com . “And I’m trying to understand, God, why it happened.”
Get Fast Forward in your inbox: Forget yesterday’s news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email. “Me too, Amy,” a person responded, holding up a #MeToo sign.
Related Links Read Story 2015: Beauty queen lights the way for victims by talking about her rape at 13 Maude Gorman, Miss Massachusetts World America, is using her crown to speak of the unspeakable: how she was raped at 13.
Several members of the audience could be heard laughing and clapping in the video.
“It was heartbreaking to hear,” said Gorman, who was backstage at the time. “In that moment, everything collapsed right in front of me.”
Following the crowning ceremony, Gorman skipped the reception and went home to draft her resignation letter and submitted it on July 3.
Advertisement On the same day, the Miss America organization posted an apology on its Facebook page saying the skit was not in the script or approved by the board.
“The Miss Massachusetts Board of Directors offers our sincere and heartfelt apology for those offended by Saturday night’s skit,” the organization wrote. “Moving forward, we will review all content with future emcees and other participants prior to our show to be sure offensive or potentially offensive content is not allowed.”
Gorman has spoken candidly in the past about how she was raped by three men when she was 13, and how it took her more than three years to speak about it.
After she told her mother and sought therapy, Gorman competed in local pageants to build self-confidence. In 2015, she was named Miss Massachusetts World America.
Gorman’s mother, Mary Ellen, said her daughter was adamant about her decision even though she had been competing in pageants for years.
Advertisement “It’s very hard to win a title, but she felt very strongly about giving it up. She had to be true to herself,” she said.
Although Gorman no longer plans to compete in pageants, she said she will continue to advocate for survivors and hopes her decision will encourage other women to stand up for what they believe in.
“Walking way from this title is hard, but I was able to do so much good through that,” she said. “I look forward to see what else the world can offer.”
Related 2015: Beauty queen lights the way for victims by talking about her rape at 13
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Sacha Baron Cohen is back to taunt Trump — and the ice cream gloves are off
By Vinay Menon Entertainment Columnist Mon., July 9, 2018
In a teaser clip for Sacha Baron Cohen’s secretive new TV show, the British comedian gets Dick Cheney to autograph a “waterboarding kit.”
“That’s a first,” says Cheney, looking as ghoulish as Mr. Burns, slouched in a high-back grey chair against an ominous black background. “That’s the first time I’ve ever signed a waterboard.” You know Ali G, Bruno, and Borat, but this summer Sacha Baron Cohen returns in a new series as you’ve never, ever seen him before. Who Is America? Series premiere Sunday, July 15 at 10pm ET/PT only on SHOWTIME.
At just 22 seconds, and even without any context, the footage is surreal.
Here is the former U.S. vice president simpering and scrawling his name on an instrument of torture. And there, off camera, is the voice of Cohen’s latest alter ego, a character Donald Trump fans may wish was shackled and unlawfully interrogated.
Cohen tweeted out the mysterious clip on Sunday. This followed another cryptic post on July 4, one featuring Trump in high dudgeon. Article Continued Below
“This third rate character named Sacha Baron Cohen,” says Trump, scowling into the camera as he sits in the office of his eponymous tower that was his bully pulpit before he started issuing insults from the White House. “I only wish that he would have been punched in the face so many times right now he’d be in a hospital. It was disgraceful. He oughta be fired immediately. Sacha Baron Cohen, go to school, learn about being funny. You don’t know (bleep).”
That was Trump preaching violence in 2012, reacting to Cohen storming the red carpet at the Academy Awards and, while in character as The Dictator , spilling the “ashes” of Kim Jong-il over a startled Ryan Seacrest .
And if Trump was so furious with Cohen over that stunt, one can only imagine what the U.S. president might propose in the months ahead.
This weekend, as Vulture reported , posters went up in New York City for Cohen’s new Trump-trolling project. Set to debut Sunday on Showtime (streaming on CraveTV in Canada), Who is America? promises to ratchet up the disdain between Cohen and his longtime nemesis.
The two first met in 2003, when Cohen “tricked” Trump into doing an interview for what the real estate mogul thought was an educational segment on the BBC. Instead, a bewildered Trump came jowl-to-bling with Cohen’s Ali G, the hilariously clueless aspiring rapper who lampooned establishment figures on both sides of the Atlantic with his gangsta patois, sophomoric mix-ups and disarming stupidity.
Ali G wanted Trump to invest in a new business idea: an ice cream glove .
Trump looked pained, like he was stuck in an elevator with a toddler speaking in tongues. He bolted mid-interview and later told the New York Times: “I thought he was seriously retarded.” Article Continued Below
Over the next 15 years, he has called Cohen a “moron,”“a bad guy” and “a loser.” In turn, Cohen has called Trump “a racist,”“a knob” and suggested he has “a brain like a female chicken.” When it comes to name-calling, they are evenly matched.
Two years ago, Cohen caused a stir when his film, The Brothers Grimsby , ended with Trump contracting HIV. The studio, skittish due to Trump’s litigious nature, insisted on a disclaimer at the end making clear this was satire and that Mr. Trump does not have HIV. Cohen refused, arguing he didn’t know for sure. Then he apologized — to HIV, for giving the disease a bad name by linking it to Trump.
So even without knowing what exactly this new show is about, Cohen’s feelings toward Trump are as unambiguous as a posted speed limit. As he reflected to James Corden two years ago: “I was the first person to realize he’s a dick.”
What we do know, based on a graphic that preceded Sunday’s bizarre Cheney clip, is that Cohen has been “undercover” for the past year, “secretly filming” this new show. Here, there are three crucial points to consider: 1. This unnamed character somehow managed to “trick” Cheney to be an unwitting participant in parody, as Ali G did with so many politicians in the early aughts. 2. Cohen has turned his satirical bazooka on American politics after Trump was elected. 3. Few in Hollywood are as fearless and outrageous as Sacha Baron Cohen.
And this is why Trump fans should now be terrified.
Unlike most of the comics who now flog the president with reactionary material, Cohen has the capacity to be scathing in an original way due to his gonzo approach, which is to turn unaware insiders into comedic weapons.
As we learned from Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury , this administration is remarkably loose-lipped and lacking in both discipline and judgment. And if they gave full-access to Wolff — a journalist working on a non-fiction book — imagine what damning insights a satirist might glean, especially if he’s posing as, say, as a far-right zealot.
The buzz is building. In the coy and torqued guerrilla marketing, Showtime has adopted Cohen’s sense of irony and called this “the most dangerous show in the history of television.”
That’s undoubtedly a stretch. Then again, they know what’s coming.
Vinay Menon is the Star’s pop culture columnist based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @vinaymenon Read more about: INSIDER MOVIE NEWS, REVIEWS AND SCHMOOZE. NEW NEWSLETTER LIGHTS, CAMERA, REACTION More from The Star & Partners LOADING