Ontario MPP Amanda Simard decided to leave the Progressive Conservative caucus and will sit as an independent, she revealed on Nov. 29.

Simard, who represents eastern Ontario, including the eastern fringe of Ottawa and communities east of the city, gave no reason in her Thursday letter to the speaker’s office.

She was openly opposed to Ford’s decision to cut the office of a French-language rights watchdog and cancel a planned French-language university in Toronto.



According to a Statistics Canada report released Nov. 29, more than 2,000 hate crimes were reported to Canadian police last year, marking a record high since data first became available in 2009.

In 2017, Canadians reported 2,073 hate crimes to police services, an increase of 47 per cent compared to the previous year. This growth was primarily to blame on Ontario, which saw the biggest spike in hate crimes with 1,023 incidents — a 67 per cent increase from 2016, with the majority of cases targeting Muslim, Black and Jewish communities.



The Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, has called for NATO to deploy naval ships to the Sea of Azov to provide security in a deepening crisis with Russia.

This crisis in Russian-European relations erupted after Moscow seized three Ukrainian naval ships and their crews on Sunday in waters off Russian-annexed Crimea. Russia is imposing a blockade on two Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov and barring ships from leaving and entering. Russia has blocked 35 merchant ships from leaving or entering the Sea of Azov.

On Thursday Donald Trump abruptly cancelled his own planned G20 meeting with Putin, blaming Russia in their failure to return the seized ships and sailors.