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Singh faces a trial-by-fire while Liberals, Conservatives look to score wins in upcoming byelections

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And they’re off! (Finally.)

The anticipation and speculation came to a close on Wednesday when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set Feb. 25 as the date for three federal byelections — some of the last electoral tests to come before October’s general election.

The votes could make history, particularly since NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is putting his own political future on the line as he tries to secure a seat in the House of Commons in the B.C. riding of Burnaby South. Singh, a former member of Ontario’s provincial legislature, has been without a seat since he won the leadership of the NDP in October 2017.

While that is expected to be a hotly contested byelection, the races in Outremont and York–Simcoe also feature a number of story lines worth watching over the next 46 days. Here’s how the parties stack up as the byelection campaigns officially begin.

The prime minister called three byelections in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia for Feb. 25 on Wednesday. (Elections Canada/Canadian Press)

Burnaby South: All eyes on Singh

The starting pistol might have gone off on Wednesday, but Singh’s campaign in Burnaby South began in early August when he announced he’d be standing as the NDP’s candidate in the riding.

It might turn out that Singh needed the extra time. The NDP won the riding by a margin of just 1.2 percentage points over the Liberals in 2015. A survey conducted in November by Mainstreet Research (with an admittedly small sample of 330 decided voters) found the New Democrats trailing in third in the riding.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh joined Power & Politics Thursday to discuss his chances in the upcoming Burnaby by-election. 8:16

That poll result is far from implausible. While the NDP has held sway in the area since the 2004 election, it was always by the narrowest of margins. Burnaby South was a three-way race in 2015 and the polls suggest the New Democrats have lost support in British Columbia since the last election.

The partisan ‘lean’ in Burnaby South — the measure of how the riding’s voting behaviour over the last three elections compares to the country as a whole — favours the NDP. It is 16.8 points more New Democratic than the rest of the country, which ranks it as the 31st most NDP-leaning riding in Canada. It ranks far lower for the Conservatives (189th) and the Liberals (221st), but a potential three-way contest still puts both of those parties within striking distance.

Byelections in the ridings of York–Simcoe in Ontario, Outremont in Quebec and Burnaby South in B.C. will be held Feb. 25. (CBC)

The New Democrats will be helped by the Green Party’s decision not to run a candidate against Singh. But the Greens took just 2.9 per cent of the vote in 2015, so the benefit is modest. Leaders generally give their party a significant boost in a riding when they put their names forward for the first time. If this happens for Singh, then the NDP should be the favourite.

But leaders tend to run in ridings where they have some personal connection. Singh, a former Ontario MPP who represented a riding in Brampton, has no such connection to Burnaby South (though he did recently buy a home there). That could reduce — or erase — any “leader’s bump” for the NDP in the riding.

The demographic profile of Burnaby South also could limit Singh’s appeal. According to the 2016 census, 42 per cent of the riding’s population is Chinese or Korean, while just eight per cent is South Asian. The Liberal and Conservative candidates, Karen Wang and Jay Shin, both hail from these communities.

The partisan lean and current projections would put Burnaby South in the NDP’s column — but uncomfortably so. If there is no leader’s bump for Singh, this riding could be a tough one for the New Democrats to hold.

Outremont: Will a Liberal red wave in Quebec start here?

The NDP’s orange wave in Quebec, which washed over the province in the 2011 federal election, got its start in Outremont four years earlier when Tom Mulcair stole the seat away from the Liberals in a 2007 byelection. But the NDP’s fortunes are on a downward trajectory in the province — and that could cost the party this iconic Montreal riding.

Despite losses elsewhere in Quebec in 2015, Mulcair still held on to Outremont by a margin of 10.7 points over Rachel Bendayan of the Liberals. Bendayan is running again, while the New Democrats have put up Julia Sanchez to carry the party banner.

With the help of Mulcair’s personal appeal, Outremont had one of the highest NDP partisan leans in the country over the last three elections: 22.9 points, putting it 16th on the list for the party. But the Liberals also have some strength here. The riding is only slightly more Liberal than the country as a whole, but that puts it 152nd on the party’s list. Without a towering figure like Mulcair on the ballot, Outremont looks like the kind of riding that would fit comfortably in a Liberal majority government.

Rachel Bendayan, second from left, is running for the Liberals again in the Outremont byelection. She’s shown here with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and fellow local candidates Marc Miller (l) and Marwah Rizgy in Montreal on Friday, October 2, 2015. (Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson)

Without Mulcair, the NDP is likely to suffer a significant hit in support. In recent provincial and federal elections, parties have averaged a loss of about six points in ridings abandoned by former leaders. Combine that with the swing in support in Quebec — the Liberals have gained six points since 2015 and the NDP have lost nine points, according to the CBC Poll Tracker — and the Liberals’ prospects in Outremont look good.

Quebec is the only region of the country where the Liberals have more support today than they did in the 2015 federal election. Accordingly, Trudeau’s team is banking on seat gains in Quebec to offset losses elsewhere.

Taking into account the departure of Mulcair, the partisan lean of the riding and current polling trends, Outremont could be the first NDP domino in Quebec to fall to the Liberals.

York–Simcoe: The only safe bet

The tea leaves are easier to read in the Ontario riding of York–Simcoe, located just north of Toronto. The Conservatives have held it since 2004 and won it by a margin of 12.5 points over the Liberals in 2015. Its partisan lean ranks it 45th on the Conservative list — suggesting that only a catastrophic election result for the party would put the riding at risk.

The polls have been reasonably good for Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives in Ontario, so their strongholds there should be even stronger. That was the case in the December byelection in the eastern Ontario riding of Leeds–Grenville–Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, where the Conservatives increased their 6.8-point margin of victory over the Liberals in 2015 for a 22-point stomping of the governing party’s candidate.

That margin might be the thing to watch in York–Simcoe, where Scot Davidson will be running under the Tory banner (the Liberals will name their candidate on the weekend). The riding has been 20 points more Conservative than the country as a whole over the last three elections. If the Conservatives are in a position to form a government, York–Simcoe is the kind of riding they should expect to win with at least 55 per cent of the vote.

Out of the gate, the Conservatives look likely to hold one seat and the Liberals look well-placed to make a gain. The toss-up is Burnaby South — and whatever happens there will have repercussions for the rest of 2019.

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John Summers: How Ottawa lawyer mocked motherhood and society, reveals new book

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An Ottawa based lawyer from a leading law firm has been entangled in a web of controversy due to his action, which many have described has shocking and inhumane.

Despite claiming to uphold justice, human rights and societal values, John Summers, a lawyer at Bell Baker LLP, is a clear-cut example of just how broken the legal system in Canada is. It appears that Summers and his firm for years now have been exploiting a disturbed senior citizens  with chronic health conditions in his continuous abuse of his wife, for financial gains.

Summers has consistently stood in the way of justice by fabricating numerous lies. Resorting to lies in an attempt to hinder justice is an action that is heavily frowned upon by ethical legal practitioners. But Dezrin continued to suffer domestic abuse due to Summers’ action which had preventing her son, Raymond from seeing his own mother.

Summers’ actions since February 2016 has now resulted in the reported premature death of Dezrin Carby-Samuels who had been an RN who was selflessly dedicated to serving both her family and every community that she had lived.

Raymond and his mother, Dezrin, had sought the intervention of the law courts as a last resort in their quest for justice after Dezrin has been consistently abused by her husband, Horace and her daughter, Marcella. Rather than getting the fair hearing and justice that they expected, they received the direct opposite due to Summers apparently employing every dirty trick in the book. He has resorted to lies and illicit collaboration with judges of him alma mata just to inhibit every effort being made by Dezrin and her son.

In a book titled John Summers: The Untold Story of Corruption, Systemic Racism and Evil at Bell Baker LLP, author Peter Tremblay takes readers on a shocking journey into John Summers’ tactics which lacked ethical properiety and human decency.

Summers is proof that the ethical practices associated with the legal profession is quickly fading and it is a course for concern. In the case against Horace, Summers produced an apparent fraudulent affidavit which claimed that Raymond suffers from a mental condition—an entirely false claim. Lawyers like Summers are willing to go any length in an attempt to hinder justice, even if it leads to the destruction of lives and properties.

Summers falsely claimed that his client, Horace couldn’t file a defence for himself because he was unaware of the adopted court proceedings. However, in the early 1900s, Horace was the same one who showed so much confidence in his legal capabilities that he decided not to hire a legal counsel but represent himself during a lawsuit between his union and the Canadian Government. This act is contradictory to Summers’ claim of his poor legal understanding.

As humans, some certain moral ethics and values set us apart from other living things and one of them is showing respect for elders. Lawyers are respected in the society due to their pledge to always ensure justice prevails but Summers’ apparent greed and love for money have made him violate the human rights of an ailing mother and her son.

Peter Tremblay’s book uncovers untold stories of a corrupt system that accommodates abuse in the most inhumane form.  In Canada’s legal system, empathy and compassion were thrown out the door in exchange for money and an unknown demomic agenda. It begs the question: How then are aggrieved citizens supposed to trust a legal system for justice when a lawyer can tell unending lies against a senior citizen without any consequences or accountability?

The Law Society of Upper Canada which is supposed to regulate the legal profession in Ontario is a complete joke run by similarly corrupt lawyers who ignore the misdeeds of their colleagues.

Summers’ actions have led to Dezrin being unable to do anything since she lost her ability to walk, talk or even write due to abuse and ultimately her premature death.

Her inability to receive help from even her own son due to Summers’ fraudulent activities resulted in the destruction of Dezrin Carby-Samuels and for that reason Summers should be barred from the further practice of law anywhere in Canada.

In my view, Summers is an abomination to the legal profession and Peter Tremblay’s book documents the activities of John Summers since 2016 against three judges who where not from Summers’ alma mata and who sought justice for Dezrin and her son.

Since 2016, Dezrin had sought obtain freedom from forcible confinement imposed by her abusive husband but was unsuccessful, due to the interference Summers who refused to divulge who was in fact paying him reportedly $300/hr to frustrate justice.

Reports from credible sources allege that Dezrin passed away sometime last year due to Summers’ evil practices and this report has cast a dark cloud over the future of the legal system in Canada which had been ignoring the plight of other black Canadians.

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City staff propose ‘gold belt’ to hem in future Ottawa development

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The City of Ottawa is about to have a second marathon debate about where to allow future suburbs to be built, and this time staff propose hemming in development by creating what’s being dubbed the “gold belt.”

Eight months after city council decided to expand the urban boundary by 1,281 hectares to help house a growing population, senior city planners have released the map of which properties should be developed — and which property owners stand to see values soar if their lands are rezoned. 

They include areas north of Kanata on March Road, near the future Bowesville O-Train station in the south end, and at the southern edge of Orléans.

Scoring rural properties on such things as how close they are to transit and how costly it would be to build pipes and roads proved a challenge over the past several months, however.

“The easy land has been gobbled up in years past, in previous boundary expansions,” said Coun. Scott Moffatt, who belongs to a group of councillors that meets about the new official plan. “So now we’re looking at those leftover pieces and where we can [grow], knowing council was clear we would not be touching agricultural lands.”

270 hectares short of goal

Staff struggled to come up with all 1,281 hectares council approved adding in May 2020 because they had too many issues with “sub-optimal” lands.

Instead, they recommended converting 1,011 hectares of rural land to urban for now to meet provincial requirements, and then spending the next five years studying three options for making up the 270-hectare shortfall.

That opens the door to creating an entirely new suburb. 

For instance, one option involves a huge parcel near the Amazon warehouse southeast of the city where the Algonquins of Ontario envision a community of 35,000 to 45,000 people called Tewin, which they would build with developers Taggart.

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How an Ottawa woman built a majestic snow dragon in her front yard

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OTTAWA — You may sometimes feel winter drag on, but one Ottawa woman is not letting that dim her creativity.

Dr. Mary Naciuk is family doctor and rural emergency room physician. She spent some of her free time this weekend building a majestic snow dragon in front of her south Ottawa home.

“It’s just fun to get outside and do something creative,” she told CTV News on Sunday.

There was plenty of snow to use, after Ottawa saw a record 21 cm of snow on Saturday.

She said that after her husband cleared the driveway, the pile of snow left behind lent itself to being turned into a magnificent dragon, but it takes more than just the right kind of snow to make a sculpture like this.

Naciuk tells CTV News a shovel, a butter knife, a spoon and even a blowtorch were used to give the dragon its sharp edges and defined scales.

“Anything pointy with a small detail is really hard to do with just your fingers or the butter knife and spoon I was using, so (the blowtorch) just makes a fine point,” she said.

Her son tweeted about it on Saturday and Naciuk says many people have stopped to take a look.

My mom has reached the pass me a blowtorch and shovel and watch me make a snow dragon stage of the pandemic

(I was only allowed to shovel piles of snow) pic.twitter.com/aphZotpHiC — Tom Naciuk (@NaciukThomas) January 16, 2021

“A lot of people stop on their way to the ice rink and have a look and take pictures. It’s kind of fun,” she said.

It was a welcome relief to spend some time working on something creative outdoors, Naciuk said.

“Get outside, get some exercise, clear your mind, do something that is not COVID for a few hours. It obeys all the rules. It was great,” she said, adding that the dragon took her about five hours to build.

She’s been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic for months. 

“It’s been a steep learning curve. It’s been exhausting,” she said. “A lot of the time is learning how to deliver care to people and maintain all the precautions that we need to. That’s been hard. A lot of people are not able to work from time to time, so we fill a lot of extra shifts. It’s been a lot more hours of work than it used to be, that’s for sure.”

Naciuk returns to work on Monday after a weekend of respite but says if the conditions are right—a nice mild day, a good snowfall, and some free time—another sculpture may well appear.

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