12 of the week’s best long reads from the Star, June 11 to June 17, 2022 💥👩👩💥

From the Barry and Honey Sherman crime-scene photos to driver’s unexpectedly losing their licences, we’ve selected some of the best long reads of the week on thestar.com.

Want to dive into more long features? Sign up for the Weekend Long Reads newsletter to get them delivered to your inbox every Saturday morning.

1. The Star saw the Sherman crime-scene and autopsy photos. How could a pathologist and police call it a murder-suicide?

Warning: Contains graphic content.

The first person to find the bodies of Barry and Honey Sherman inside the pool room of their North Toronto home had no doubt they were the victims of a double homicide.

“Someone has killed my clients,” Sherman real estate agent Elise Stern told the 911 operator on Dec. 15, 2017. The grotesque tableau she witnessed was to her untrained eye a double murder. The gardener, who saw the bodies a few minutes after, came to the same conclusion.

Yet, less than eight hours later, when a homicide detective emerged from the home on Old Colony Road to address the media, he hinted police were going in a different direction. They were not looking for suspects, and he said there were no signs of forced entry. Police sources told reporters it was believed to be a case of murder-suicide, that Barry had killed Honey and then himself. It took six weeks for police to change their minds.

For almost five years, I have been trying to understand why a provincial pathologist and the Toronto police took so long to determine that Barry and Honey Sherman were murdered. As the clock ticked, detectives probed the case as either a murder-suicide or double suicide, instead of looking for the killer or killers.

Official crime-scene and autopsy photos recently viewed by the Star raise troubling questions about how investigators, medical and police, came to that early determination.

2. She confided in a doctor about her depression. The next thing she knew, the government took away her driver’s licence

During an intense flare-up of her depression, Karysa Mackay checked into a Thunder Bay hospital for crisis care.

Three days later, Mackay had her licence suspended after a psychiatrist she doesn’t recall ever meeting reported her to the Ministry of Transportation.

For Mackay, 24, who relied on her Hyundai sedan to shuttle between her nursing school classes and two part-time jobs caring for elderly patients, it was “an absolute blindside.”

Medical condition reports, or MCRs, are little-known but widely used provincial forms that some medical professionals must file to the ministry when patients have certain potentially dangerous conditions that “warrant a licence suspension,” according to the ministry. When a report is submitted flagging these conditions, “it will result in a licence suspension,” a ministry document states.

MCRs take thousands of Ontarians off the road every year. In many cases, they can help make our roads safer.

But the system is vulnerable to abuse, inconsistency and misjudgment by doctors and government officials, a Toronto Star/Investigative Journalism Bureau investigation has found.

3. Constant fear, pain and guilt. Here’s everything the Toronto van attack victims said about their lives since the horrifying assault

Being the last voice heard before death.

Struggling to survive brain and spinal injuries, broken bones, lacerated organs.

Having to face a life without a soulmate, without a mother, without a sister, without a husband, without a best friend.

The sheer scale of the physical, mental, heart wrenching damage left in the wake one of Canada’s largest mass murders was documented on June 13, 2022 in a downtown Toronto courtroom.

Eleven people dead. 15 nearly killed. Countless more lives – family, friends, first responders, community members – changed forever by the decision of one man, who sped a rented van into pedestrians along one of Toronto’s busiest streets on the sunny spring afternoon of April 23, 2018.

4. The inside story of why Justin Trudeau suddenly ended vaccine mandates for travellers

“Science” — not politics or airport delays — is the reason the Liberal government gave for why it has finally halted — or “suspended” — federal vaccine mandates starting next Monday.

Yet if politics is the art of the possible, politics were definitely in play.

Some Liberal MPs say caucus pressure played a role. Cabinet sources say there were different opinions about how fast to move, while officials acknowledged that Ottawa and the provinces need to use more persuasive, not coercive, means to increase vaccination rates in Canada before the fall and a potential seventh wave.

In the end, at a news conference Monday four cabinet ministers outlined the new rules, and insisted the decisions were grounded in public health advice from inside and outside government.

As of June 20 Ottawa is scrapping requirements to be “fully vaccinated” for air passengers on domestic or outbound international flights, for rail travellers, and federal bureaucrats and federally-regulated workers like airline employees or those who process passports.

5. Allegations of leadership abuses at Trillium Health Partners trigger independent probe by province

The province will appoint an independent investigator to examine complaints of abuse of power by hospital leadership at Trillium Health Partners, the Star has learned.

The claims, made by an anonymous group of physicians in two letters authored by their lawyers, include allegations that hospital administration uses “oppressive acts of intimidation” against its doctors, including threats to revoke their hospital privileges.

The claims are being strongly disputed by the hospital system and its leadership, who say they welcome the third-party review.

The letters, obtained by the Star, allege physicians have been silenced, have taken medical leaves of absences, or have left the large hospital system altogether as a result of the administration’s actions. The letters allege the loss of professional staff and the “silencing of debate amongst physicians in a public hospital” raises concerns about whether Trillium Health Partners can provide safe and efficient care.

6. The man who helped decriminalize hard drugs in Portugal has some advice for Canada and B.C.

Portugal was in the throes of a drug crisis more than two decades ago when Dr. João Goulão was tasked with helping to do something about it.

One of the central measures taken was to decriminalize certain amounts of hard drugs. At the time, the country had an estimated 100,000 heroin users, and HIV numbers were raging; today, Portugal has managed to cut the number of users down to 25,000.

Now, decriminalization is coming to Canada, but Goulão cautions that it takes more than that to make an impact.

Last week, the federal government granted an exemption asked for by British Columbia’s government to decriminalize possession of small amounts of hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, in the province starting next Jan. 31.

In an interview with the Star, Goulão, Portugal’s director-general for intervention on addiction, said the decision presents an opening for B.C. to mitigate the damage illicit drugs inflict on people.

“It is crosscutting your society,” he said of Canada’s drug problem. “I believe this is kind of a window of opportunity.

7. How do you bid in an uneven housing market? As GTA prices cool — but not everywhere — here’s what you need to know

Sleepless nights, emotional strain and difficult conversations are just some of the ramifications Ahmad Ghulami and May Serageldin have felt after enduring 20 bidding wars over three years in the GTA’s real estate market.

And, despite the recent cool-down, the North York couple says things haven’t gotten any easier, as decreasing prices in certain areas collides with some seller’s still-high expectations, leading to a market that’s hard to predict.

“There might not be as many bidders as there were before, but the sellers are greedy, wanting to ride the wave of the hot market,” said Serageldin.

Ghulami and Serageldin are among many prospective buyers facing a confusing and hard-to-predict housing market.

After a long period of rocketing prices and bidding wars, the market is finally levelling off. But while it’s cooling in some areas, others are still seeing prices rise, leaving homebuyers wondering — how am I supposed to bid?

8. ‘That stuff has been so normalized’: What the trial of Hedley’s Jacob Hoggard says about his ‘rock star lifestyle’

When Jacob Hoggard began texting with a 15-year-old fan after a small-town Ontario concert in 2016, the girl was thrilled.

He was the lead singer of her favourite band, Hedley — a band she’d loved since she was 10 years old.

In their first text exchange, she said she sent him photos of her at earlier Hedley concerts at age 12 with her mom.

“Jeeeesus you’re a tadpole,” Hoggard texted the teen girl, according to screenshots of the messages she kept. “Don’t worry,” he followed up. “You’re not one anymore.”

Earlier this month, after a four-week trial, a jury found Hoggard, 37, guilty of sexual assault causing bodily harm to a young Ottawa woman who testified he raped her after she met him in a hotel room in Toronto in 2016. Hoggard was separately found not guilty of groping the teenage fan backstage after a concert and later raping her in a hotel room. He faces another pending charge of sexual assault causing bodily harm in relation to a third woman, and has denied the allegations.

9. Does Donald Trump still have a strong grip on America?

He haunts them still.

These words — which echo the famous ones about Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s lingering effect on Canadian politics long after he left office — aptly describe former president Donald Trump’s ongoing hold on the U.S.

Hearings into his supporters’ Jan. 6 efforts to keep him in office are underway on prime-time TV, every midterm primary election result is interpreted as a referendum on his enduring influence, he continues to pack venues for his rallies and to lap the field in polling for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Maybe haunt is the wrong word. Midway through 2022, Trump dominates U.S. politics. Still.

He is not just the leader, but the embodiment of an angry brand of right-wing politics that exists in its own media and ideological world. Wrestling with it is the defining national issue of this era of American politics. And it may soon be a defining issue for Canadians, too.

10. Shoppers say the deals at Canada’s discount grocers are gone — but there may be some relief soon

Call it the great food migration.

As food prices continue their record surge, shoppers are swarming to discount supermarkets in search of savings.

It’s no wonder more consumers are making the switch: in April, the price of food purchased from stores rose by 9.7 per cent — the largest year-over-year increase in food prices since September 1981, according to Statistics Canada.

But now, even the savings at the discount stores don’t seem to add up to all that much, said Chanakya Ramdev, a 30-year-old entrepreneur from Waterloo, who switched to a discount outlet when prices at his local full-service supermarket became out of reach.

“It feels like you are paying more but getting fewer groceries as the months pass,” said Ramdev. “Previously, my grocery cart would be filled to the top. Now, it’s not even filled, but when I go to the checkout, it costs me more than before. It’s kind of like a double pain,” Ramdev said.

11. Rents in cities near Toronto are soaring — with some seeing hikes as high as 54 per cent. Here’s where tenants face the most sticker shock

While rents in Toronto aren’t quite back to their pre-pandemic levels, the cost to rent a home in several GTA suburbs and peripheral cities have soared beyond early 2019 rates, rentals.ca data shows — with dramatic increases in places such as Cambridge, Kitchener and Hamilton.

In those three cities, between the first four months of 2019 and the same period in 2022, the average rental listing price rose 54 per cent, 44 per cent and 42 per cent respectively — jumps many who work in the housing sphere say adds to the struggles residents face in finding affordable homes.

“It’s hot competition for any place that’s up for rent,” says York Region community legal clinic director Benjamin Ries.

In Richmond Hill, the average was up 15 per cent; in Newmarket, it went up 29 per cent.

Some cities closer to Toronto are still seeing slightly lower asking rents than before. Vaughan is among the areas below its 2019 rate, alongside Brampton, Markham and Mississauga.

12. ‘Kind of terrifying’: Numbers show racist Great Replacement conspiracy theory has found audience in Canada

Timothy Caulfield has spent the pandemic battling bunk science and lies.

The course of COVID-19 has seen more Canadians spiral into the realm of conspiracy theories and it’s kept the misinformation expert busy.

So busy, he says, he felt he didn’t have time to really delve into one, particular conspiracy theory that was gaining traction: the racist lie that there is a co-ordinated effort to replace white people with immigrants, in what is known as the Great Replacement theory.

But it’s becoming impossible to ignore, he says, in the wake of what he calls alarming numbers about how the theory is finding adherents in Canada.

The University of Alberta professor points to a climate in which communities of believers have become more entrenched online and in which more mainstream politicians seem intent on co-opting conspiracy theories for their purposes.

“I am worried that that a large percentage of these individuals are going to remain in these communities, because they have become communities, Caufield said. “I think it becomes much more difficult to change people’s minds once that happens.”

12 of the week’s best long reads from the Star, June 11 to June 17, 2022

Get link

xoonews.com

websitetrafficnews.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *