by Mark Brosens Sunday October 31, 2010


Welcome back to the Inside Ontario blog, where every Monday we recap some important stories from Ontario.

This week: Toronto grocer David Chen is found not guilty of assault and forcible confinement charges; Ontario receives an unsatisfactory grade on educating students with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); Christie Blatchford releases an excerpt of her book on the Caledonia land claim dispute; a referendum on merging the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo fails; and Ontario sets a wind energy generation record.


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Toronto grocer, David Chen, was found not guilty of assault and forcible confinement last week. His case examined the limits of legal action when making a citizen’s arrest.

In May, 2009 Chen observed Anthony Bennett stealing $70 worth of flowers from his store on a security camera (you can watch that security footage here). Bennett fled with the flowers before Chen could stop him, but about an hour later Bennett returned to Chen’s store. This time Chen and two employees chased Bennett down, tied him up, and put him in the back of van until the police arrived.

The police charged Bennett with theft, but they also charged Chen with of assault and forcible confinement.

Chen’s lawyer argued that he was simply protecting his property from a known criminal. The prosecution argued that Bennett was not committing a crime on his second trip to Chen’s store, so Chen had no right to make a citizen’s arrest on that occasion.

Justice Ramez Khawly dismissed the charges against Chen and the two employees who assisted him, saying that Bennett had returned to the grocery store to continue his theft. Khawly noted that there were discrepancies in the testimony of Chen and Bennett, and thus the court would never know beyond a reasonable doubt what actually happened during this incident. However, Khawly expressed grave concern about Chen’s conduct in tying Bennett up and putting him in a van. 

In his ruling, Khawly also:


unleashed barbed attacks on the press, the defendants and the defendant’s lawyers. He accused many of attempting to manipulate public sympathy for the grocery to waylay the course of justice.


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The Centre for ADHD Advocacy Canada (CADDAC) released a report card last week that gave Canada’s three most populous provinces (Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia) an “unsatisfactory” grade for the education they provide to children with ADHD. Alberta and Saskatchewan both received an “excellent” grade.

The CADDAC’s report card claims that having ADHD does not qualify an Ontario child for special educational support. According to the CADDAC, an extra 10 to 20 minutes per week of special help can keep a child with ADHD from falling through the cracks.

The CADDAC says that there is on average 1-2 children with ADHD in every Canadian classroom.


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Last week the Globe and Mail published an excerpt from columnist Christie Blatchford’s new book, Helpless: Caledonia's Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us (you can read that excerpt here). 

In the book, Blatchford claims that the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) exercised a form of policing, “that would be simply unrecognizable to Canadians living anywhere else in the country.”  Blatchford accuses the OPP of appearing to take sides in the dispute and not responding to crimes they directly witnessed.

The Caledonia dispute began in February, 2006 when aboriginal protestors occupied a subdivision that was under construction just outside of Caledonia, Ontario, as part of a land claim dispute. The dispute has yet to be resolved.


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Last Tuesday, Ontario’s expanding wind energy generation system set a record for the amount of electricity it has produced. Thanks to a storm that brought winds of 90 kilometres per hour through Southern Ontario, enough electricity was generated to power 900,000 houses for a day. In total, 20,650 megawatt hours of wind electricity was produced that day (that represents five to six per cent of Ontario’s electricity demand). 

Earlier this season The Agenda with Steve Paikin examined the merits of Ontario’s green energy plans.



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A referendum on whether the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo should enter merger talks failed during last Monday’s municipal elections. Although the referendum was rejected, it was striking that about two-thirds of Waterloo residents voted “no” to merger talks and about two-thirds of Kitchener residents voted “yes.”

Many Waterloo residents feared that their city’s identity and interests would be lost if they merged with the larger city of Kitchener.

Supporters of amalgamation thought that a united policy approach for the Kitchener-Waterloo area would create more economic growth and prosperity.


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To learn more about Ontario provincial politics visit TVO’s Civics 101 microsite. 

There you will find a blog post that explains why people vote the way they do. With the municipal elections now over, you can analyze why that candidate got your vote.