Monthly Archives: November 2018

Former cabinet minister Joe Fontana guilty of fraud, forgery charges – Toronto

WATCH: The mayor of London, Ont. and former Liberal MP Joe Fontana has been found guilty of fraud and forgery, after using public money to pay for his son’s wedding. Vassy Kapelos reports.

LONDON, Ont. – The mayor of London, Ont., forged a document that resulted in a $1,700 government fraud while he was a Liberal cabinet minister then concocted a story to cast it as a mere foolish misstep, a judge ruled Friday.

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Joe Fontana was convicted of fraud, forgery and breach of trust by a public official after Superior Court Judge Bruce Thomas rejected the former MP’s attempts to ascribe a legitimate motive to altering a contract from his son’s wedding to make it look like it was for a political at the same venue.

He submitted the forged document to the House of Commons for reimbursement, but his “criminal activity” was only detected when the government cheque ended up being sent to the venue instead of Fontana personally, Thomas found. If the money had gone directly to Fontana, no one would have been the wiser, the judge said.

“While I am perplexed as to why a man of such accomplishments might choose to take these actions for $1,700, I do not find that that detracts from the strength of the Crown case,” Thomas said in his decision.

“I have long ago abandoned the notion that motive results from a logical cost-benefit analysis.”

Fontana sat passively as the judge pronounced his convictions on fraud, forgery and breach of trust, but looked stricken by the time he got up to hug his wife.

“I’m very surprised, shocked, devastated by obviously the verdict,” Fontana said outside court.

He did not say what the convictions mean for his political future nor if he would appeal.

“I regret that all this had to happen, especially for the people of London, but I’ll have something to say in the near future,” he said. “I obviously need to digest what has taken place, talk to my legal team and look at what I’m going to do.”

Sentencing arguments are scheduled for July 15. The penalties range from an absolute discharge to time in custody, his lawyer Gord Cudmore said outside court.

According to the Municipal Act, a member of council is disqualified if at any time during their term, they become ineligible to vote in their municipal election. Another statute strips anyone incarcerated from voting municipally.

John Mascarin, a lawyer with expertise in municipal law, said any term of imprisonment – even a day or intermittent weekend sentence – would automatically disqualify Fontana from holding office.

“That’s the only way you can do it,” Mascarin said.

“A conviction on its own – no matter how egregious – if it doesn’t carry any prison time doesn’t disqualify a member from holding office.

Fontana testified during the trial that it was “stupid” of him to alter the document, but he insisted it was no forgery.

He admitted making seven changes – including whiting out his wife’s signature, replacing it with his own and writing the word original in quotation marks at the top – to an existing contract with the Marconi Club for his son’s 2005 wedding to reflect an event he planned for then-finance minister Ralph Goodale at the same venue.

Other alterations on the contract included changing the date of the event from June 25, 2005 to Feb. 25, 2004, the word “wedding” to “reception” and the addition of a yellow sticky note saying “misc constituents reception.”

The Goodale event didn’t end up going ahead at the Marconi Club, but Fontana testified he believed the club was owed a $1,700 deposit from his MP budget.

Since he had only spoken with the club’s president over the phone and didn’t have any paperwork, Fontana changed several details on the wedding contract from a few months prior and submitted it, he testified.

The club received the $1,700 government of Canada cheque and credited it to Fontana’s son’s wedding.

Fontana, a veteran politician, sat in his home and used white-out and an eraser to make the changes, saying by way of explanation that his life was hectic due to a minority government. Yet one phone call to the Marconi Club could have produced a legitimate, original invoice that could have been forwarded for reimbursement, Thomas said.

“(Fontana) suggests that this was an expeditious way to ensure payment considering he was approaching the end of a fiscal year,” Thomas said.

“I disbelieve him.”

Thomas also did not believe Fontana’s explanation that his “misc constituents reception” sticky note was meant to indicate the $1,700 should go to the Marconi Club for the cancelled Goodale reception.

“Mr. Fontana says that it should never have been credited against the wedding, but where else did he think it would go considering the Marconi Club could only reference it by contract 2661, his son’s wedding reception contract?” Thomas said.

The president of the Marconi Club, a friend of Fontana’s for more than 40 years, testified for the defence and backed up Fontana’s story, but the judge pointed to various inconsistencies and said Vince Trovato’s story “does not hold together.”

“When he testified I got the feeling that Mr. Trovato was making it up as he went along,” Thomas found.

“I come to the conclusion that he and Mr. Trovato either collectively or individually concocted a story for this court that was intended to create a reasonable doubt and in doing so allow Mr. Fontana to escape conviction. In my view any doubt raised in these circumstances would have to be far-fetched and fanciful and defy common sense.”

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Recipe: Strawberry-balsamic glazed pork tenderloin

When you discover foods that have a natural affinity for one another, it’s easy to find numerous excuses to enjoy them together.

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One of my favourites is strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Both sport assertively sweet, nicely acidic flavours that not only work well together, but also pair up wonderfully with so many other foods. Often, I’ll keep it simple and make a vinaigrette – 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons strawberry jam, pinch each of salt and pepper, sometimes some minced garlic. Dump it over a salad and top with almonds.

Or if I’m feeling lazy, I’ll just make a salad and slice strawberries into it, then squirt the whole thing with balsamic glaze. Intense, but delicious. If I’m in the mood for something sweet, I’ll use that same combination – fresh strawberries and balsamic glaze – over vanilla ice cream.

With grilling season well underway, I decided to come up with a way to put these ingredients to work with something meaty. The result was a fantastic grilled pork tenderloin that is slathered with a strawberry-balsamic glaze. For optimal flavour, the pork gets hit with the strawberry-balsamic blend three times – as a marinade, as a glaze during grilling, and again as a sauce when served.

You’re going to want something starchy to help balance the flavour – and mop up some of that sauce. Consider microwaving some new potatoes until nearly, but not quite cooked. Gently crush them so they are partly flattened, but not falling apart. Drizzle them with oil, then season them with salt, pepper and garlic powder, then finish them on the grill.

STRAWBERRY-BALSAMIC GLAZED PORK TENDERLOIN

Start to finish: 40 minutes

Servings: 6

1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled2 tablespoons olive oil2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar2 tablespoons honey3 cloves garlic1/2 teaspoon kosher salt1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper2 pounds pork tenderloins

In a blender, combine the strawberries, oil, vinegar, honey, garlic, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. Pour about a third of the mixture into a small saucepan and set aside. Pour another third of the mixture into a large non-reactive (glass or stainless steel) bowl. Pour the remaining sauce into a small bowl.

Slice the pork tenderloins into 1/2-inch rounds. A few at a time, place the rounds between sheets of plastic wrap, then use the a meat mallet or rolling pin to carefully pound the rounds to an even thickness of about 1/4 inch. Place the pounded rounds in the non-reactive bowl with the sauce, turning to coat evenly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

After the pork has marinated for 20 minutes, heat a grill to medium-high.

Place the saucepan of strawberry-balsamic sauce over medium-low heat on the stovetop. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until thickened. Cover the pan and remove from the heat.

When the pork has finished marinating, use an oil-soaked paper towel held with tongs to oil the grill grates. Place the pork rounds on the grill. Baste the pork with the sauce set aside in the small bowl. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes, then flip the rounds, baste again and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Divide the pork between 6 serving plates, then spoon a bit of the simmered sauce over them.

Nutrition information per serving: 240 calories; 70 calories from fat (29 per cent of total calories); 8 g fat (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 100 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 32 g protein; 240 mg sodium.

©2014The Associated Press

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French police urge teens not to participate in Facebook dares – National

PARIS – French police are warning young people about the dangers of a dare spreading on Facebook that has left a young man dead and another severely injured.

Police confirmed on Friday that a 19-year-old drowned a day earlier after riding his bicycle into a port in Beganne in western Brittany while a friend filmed him. Another youth was injured for life after diving headfirst into shallow water near Calais.

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The challenge called “A l’eau ou au resto” (Into the water or to the restaurant), dares friends to jump fully clothed into water and film it – or buy dinner at a restaurant.

Col. Sylvain Laniel of the Gendarmerie said on the iTeli TV station that the young bike rider had his ankle attached to the bike.

“Don’t be influenced by a stupid phenomenon of the moment,” national police warned on Facebook.

READ MORE: Online drinking game ‘neknominations’ inspiring Canadians to pay it forward

Police counselled young people to “show friends you are more intelligent than that” by refusing the dare, and added that videos of such pranks might one day compromise job applications.

In February, officials in Britain said several deaths had been linked to “neknominate,” an online dare to drink in excess.

In the United States, several people have been injured participating in a Cold Water Challenge on Facebook. The dare is to jump into cold water, or give money to a designated charity.

Casualties have included a 16-year-old girl in Wisconsin who suffered knee ligament damage, and a student in Illinois who fractured an ankle.

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Teens spending less time smoking, drinking, more time texting: study – National

NEW YORK – American teens are smoking less, drinking less and fighting less. But they’re texting behind the wheel and spending a lot of time on video games and computers, according to the government’s latest study of worrisome behaviour.

Generally speaking, the news is good. Most forms of drug use, weapons use and risky sex have been going down since the government started doing the survey every two years in 1991. Teens are wearing bicycle helmets and seat belts more, too.

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“Overall, young people have more healthy behaviours than they did 20 years ago,” said Dr. Stephanie Zaza, who oversees the study at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The results come from a study of 13,000 U.S. high school students last spring. Participation was voluntary and required parental permission, but responses were anonymous.

Highlights of the study, released Thursday:

SMOKING

Fewer than 16 per cent of the teens smoked a cigarette in the previous month – the lowest level since the government started doing the survey, when the rate was more than 27 per cent. Another CDC study had already put the teen smoking rate below 16 per cent, but experts tend to treat this survey’s result as the official number. It’s “terrific news for America’s health,” said Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Even so, there are still about 2.7 million teens smoking, he said.

The survey did not ask about electronic cigarettes, which have exploded in popularity in the past few years.

Meanwhile, more than 23 per cent of teens said they used marijuana in the previous month – up from 15 per cent in 1991. CDC officials said they could not tell whether marijuana or e-cigarettes have replaced traditional cigarettes among teens.

TEXTING

Among teen drivers, 41 per cent had texted or emailed behind the wheel in the previous month. That figure can’t be compared to the 2011 survey, though, because the CDC changed the question this time. The latest survey gives texting-while-driving figures for 37 states – ranging from 32 per cent in Massachusetts to 61 per cent in South Dakota.

DRINKING

Fewer teens said they drank alcohol. Drinking of soda was down, too. About 35 per cent said they had had booze in the previous month, down from 39 per cent in 2011. About 27 per cent said they drank soda each day. That was only a slight change from 2011 but a sizable drop from 34 per cent in 2007.

READ MORE: Alcohol advertising linked to ‘increased’ drinking in adolescent girls, Canadian doctor warns

SEX

The proportion of teens who had sex in the previous three months held steady at about 34 per cent from 2011. Among them, condom use was unchanged at about 60 per cent.

READ MORE: Study examines why girls call each other sluts – it’s not about sex

SUICIDE

The percentage who attempted suicide in the previous year held steady at about 8 per cent.

MEDIA USE

TV viewing for three or more hours a day has stalled at around 32 per cent since 2011. But in one of the largest jumps seen in the survey, there was a surge in the proportion of kids who spent three or more hours on an average school day on other kinds of recreational screen time, such as playing video or computer games or using a computer or smartphone for something other than schoolwork. That number rose to 41 per cent, from 31 per cent in 2011.

Health experts advise that teens get no more than two hours of recreational screen time a day, and that includes all screens – including Xboxes, smartphones and televisions.

Although video-gaming is up, particularly among teen boys, some researchers believe most of the screen-time increase is due to social media use. And it’s probably not a good thing, they say.

Through texts and social media, young people are doing more communicating and living in an online world in which it’s easier to think they’re the centre of the universe, said Marina Krcmar, a Wake Forest University professor who studies teen screen time. That can lead to a form of extended adolescence, she said.

It can also distract youngsters from schoolwork, exercise and other healthy activities, she said.

FIGHTING

Fights at school fell by half in the past 20 years. And there was a dramatic drop in kids reporting they had been in a fight anywhere in the preceding year – about 25 per cent, down from 33 per cent two years earlier. The addition of more guards and other security measures may be a factor, said school violence expert Todd DeMitchell of the University of New Hampshire.

Fighting may be down, but it’s not uncommon, according to some teens at the High School of Fashion Industries in lower Manhattan. Two students said they saw roughly one fight a week.

“It’s like ‘The Hunger Games,”‘ said 14-year-old Maya Scott. She said she had been in a fight during the current school year.

A few minutes later, as if to prove her point, three girls exchanged words and nearly came to blows outside the front entrance before a school lunch worker stepped in and separated them.

Online:

CDC study: 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm

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Grill vs barbecue – do you know the difference?

VICTORIA – When the warm weather arrives, Canadians love to head outdoors to cook. But many end up frustrated when the meat they’re eagerly anticipating sticks to the grill or ends up charred or undercooked.

One remedy is to know how long to cook different cuts of meat and what temperature to use. But it’s also important to have the proper tool to achieve the desired result, says Ken Hueston, owner of Smoken Bones Cookshack in Victoria.

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“Most people don’t know the difference between barbecuing and grilling,” says Hueston.

“When you barbecue you are cooking with a slow circumvented unit of hot air with the lid closed. Grilling is done with the lid up and you’re cooking with direct heat on the bottom, instead of all around the source.

“You grill a steak and you barbecue a pork butt.”

Hueston says not every grill is equipped to both grill and barbecue. If the device has one burner, Hueston says it is a grill, not a barbecue.

“When you are purchasing a barbecue you have to know what kind of foods you really like doing,” he says. “If you are more of a griller you need something with a lot of space and various heat components you can control.

“When you are barbecuing you are looking for a large space that you can put larger cuts in or a rotisserie attachment and the ability to control the different techniques you are going to use in the slow cooking process.”

Knowing what purpose a homeowner’s barbecue or grill will serve will also help in deciding what, if any, additional attachments are worth investing in.

Like many people, Jessica Pelland, a Chopped Canada winner, is in the market for a new grill.

“I’ve had a hand-me-down for about seven years now,” says the executive chef of Charbar in Calgary. “It’s not always the brand name that makes a great barbecue. You can find some good deals. But be realistic about what you’re going to use it for.

“There are lots of grills with fancy attachments like smoking things and side burners, but you have to think ‘are you really going to use that? Is it worth the extra $400 or whatever for that?”‘

According to Pelland, an easy way to get an idea of the durability of a barbecue or grill is simply by touching it. She says if it feels light, flimsy and wobbly then it’s not going to last. Homeowners should look for something that is sturdy.

When it comes to the actual cooking, both Pelland and Hueston say the No. 1 thing people need to do to achieve the perfect grilled or barbecued meat is to not play with it or move it around as it cooks.

“They need to leave it be and get its grill marks,” says Pelland.

“If you are flipping it and it sticks a little to the grill it means it’s not ready.”

©2014The Canadian Press

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