Taxi troubles continue in Ottawa
Conflict continues between the drivers of Capital Taxi and their employers, Coventry Connections. On Aug. 27, unhappy with the latest contract offer, the drivers picketed outside Coventry headquarters.
Capital Taxi drivers are unsatisfied with a number of things, including fees, vacation time,time off, and insurance costs. Their main issue lies in the phrasing in the collective bargaining agreement which led the union to reject a three-year proposal from Coventry Connections on Aug. 24. That proposal was the last offer put on the table by the group.
The offer also comes as the City has hired the firm KPNG, which provides tax, audit, and advisory services, to review the city’s bylaws concerning taxi services to account for new factors like Uber.
Marc Andre Way, Coventry Connections’ president and CEO, told the CBC that out of the 306 drivers Coventry has, 76 are no longer dispatched due to suspension after they refused to pay fees.
Blue Line Taxi and Capital drivers united on Aug. 1 to withhold fees from Coventry Collection, but Blue Line reached an agreement with the dispatcher not long after.
Capital is not alone, however, as Airport taxi drivers continue to protest change in their payment structure.
Duffy trial on hold ‘til November
The trial of suspended Senator Mike Duffy for fraud, breach of trust, and bribery has been put on hold, and is set to resume Nov. 18 with the next round of scheduled hearings.
After scheduling issues arising from a witness’s health put an end to the last round of hearings, Ontario Court Justice Charles Vaillancourt allowed a break in the proceedings.
An important consequence of the break is that any future testimony in the case will now take place after the federal election. This is noteworthy, as the testimonies often include members of the Conservative Party.
Testimony and examinations of the emails of Nigel Wright, former aide to the Prime Minister, could have damaging effects for the Conservatives.
Recently, Nick Koolsbergen, Harper’s director of issues management, was seen talking to a witness in the case.
Canadian journalist Fahmy sentenced in Egypt
Mohammed Fahmy, a Canadian journalist working for Al Jazeera in Egypt was sentenced to three years in prison on Aug. 29, despite international outrage. Two of his colleagues, Australian journalist Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed, were sentenced as well.
Judge Hassan Farid ruled that Fahmy and his colleagues were guilty of failing to register with the country’s journalist syndicate, using equipment without security officials’ permission, broadcasting false news, and using a hotel as a broadcasting point without permission.
The trial, which has been going on since December of 2013, has been widely criticized by advocates for freedom of the press.
Greste was sentenced in absentia, after being deported to his native Australia in February. Fahmy renounced his Egyptian citizenship in hopes of also being deported.
“All I’m asking now is for justice and fairness—the same for what applied for Peter (Greste),” Fahmy’s wife, Marwa, told the Ottawa Citizen. Fahmy’s lawyer, Amal Clooney. and Canadian ambassador Troy Lulashnyk are seeking a pardon for Fahmy from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.