Brian Platt

Toronto Star - Summer '14
The Globe and Mail - Summer '13
Winnipeg Free Press - Winter '12
The Canadian Press - Spring '12

Former Canadian Nazi runs for office in Ontario’s cottage country

Sept. 1, 2014
The Toronto Star

The man who once started the Canadian Nazi Party now lives in a little green house on Newcastle Road, in the cottage-country town of Minden. The Red Ensign flag is raised outside his porch. A white sign on the lawn advertises the paralegal business he ran until December, and spells out his name in black letters: John Beattie.

Fifty years ago, Beattie was infamous for leading Nazi rallies in Toronto that descended into violence. In 1966, hundreds of police officers had to guard the 24-year-old at Allan Gardens as he shouted anti-Semitic slogans at a mob of 1,500 protesters. At a rally three years later a protester clubbed him unconscious with a pair of binoculars.

Beattie founded the Canadian Nazi Party in 1965, and shortly after was jailed for six months for placing swastikas on the lawns of prominent Jewish residents. In 1972 he worked as an OPP informant, spying on other right-wing groups. He ran for mayor of Toronto in 1978 on a platform of white-only housing.

Today, Beattie is running for deputy reeve of the Township of Minden Hills, population 5,600. He’s quite mad about a water tower project that went over budget.

[Read the rest at the Toronto Star]

Ontario’s battle over 3-litre milk jugs on grocery shelves

July 28, 2014
The Toronto Star

A spat over milk containers is souring relations between dairy farmers and manufacturers.

For months, Ontario’s milk bureaucracy has been battling over whether you should be able to buy 3 litres of milk in the grocery store.

On one side are the milk processors, represented by the Ontario Dairy Council, who want to open up the market entirely to 3-litre milk containers.

On the other is the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, which is concerned that 3 litres of milk will prove so popular that the 4-litre option disappears off shelves entirely.

“Our interest is only in ensuring that consumers are protected, and we are of the view that the 4-litre containers are essential, and we want to make sure that they continue with respect to the plastic bags,” said Graham Lloyd, general counsel for the DFO.

[Read the rest at the Toronto Star]

Boy in burned-out car had been adopted months before

July 15, 2014
The Toronto Star

Tyrese Sutherland lived as a foster child for years before finally finding a permanent family of his own.

His adoption by foster parents Samuel Masih and Brintha Shanmugalingam was finalized just this spring, the Star has learned. On July 4, he was found dead in a burned-out car on a country road near Barrie, with the charred remains of his adoptive father and 4-year-old brother Santosh.

The Ontario Provincial Police are keeping the cause of death secret, but said they are “satisfied that the person responsible for the other two deaths perished in the vehicle as well.” The investigation is ongoing.

Sutherland had lived with the family for years as a foster child, but the private foster care agency that placed him said its visits ended in March, when his adoption was finalized by the Peel Children’s Aid Society.

[Read the rest at the Toronto Star]

‘Gaydar’ works — and conservatives have more of it, says U of T researcher

June 24, 2014
The Toronto Star

In less than the blink of an eye, your subconscious “gaydar” makes a judgment about someone’s sexual orientation based entirely on facial traits — and it’s usually right.

So says the research of Nicholas Rule, a University of Toronto psychologist giving a talk on the subject this week as part of WorldPride. “The gist of it is that people can accurately judge someone’s sexual orientation from very minimal information about them,” Rule said in an interview.

“You only need to see a face for less than 40 milliseconds to judge sexual orientation with the same level of accuracy that you get if you take all the time in the world.

“To put that in perspective, it takes 400 milliseconds to blink your eye.”

[Read the rest at the Toronto Star]

One of two slain escorts told friends ‘I keep myself safe’

Aug. 27, 2013
The Globe and Mail

To their friends, Karen Nabors and Jill Lyons were friendly women who walked their dogs every day, usually to a nearby park at a New Westminster elementary school. Though both worked as online escorts, posting advertisements across a network of Lower Mainland adult websites, friends say the women only met each other because they lived in the same building and both owned chihuahuas.

But over the past two weeks, both women have died in what police say are suspicious circumstances, and the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is warning other escorts to take precautions until more is understood about how – and why – Ms. Nabors and Ms. Lyons died.

[Read the rest at The Globe and Mail]

Unpaid landlord likely to sue unlicensed B.C. dentist if investigators track him down

Aug. 25, 2013
The Globe and Mail

Two weeks after an arrest warrant was issued for unlicensed dentist Tung Sheng Wu, private investigators aren’t the only ones still hunting for him – the landlord for his Burnaby clinic would like a word with Mr. Wu as well.

“He ran off two months ago without paying the rent,” said Kang Cheng Qian, who co-owns the house with a family friend. “And he was dumping all his [dental] waste in the toilet, it caused thousands of dollars in damage.”

Mr. Qian said he’ll likely be suing Mr. Wu if investigators manage to find him. But whether the rogue dentist will ever be seen again in B.C. is an open question, as the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C. (CDSBC) remains stymied in locating him.

[Read the rest at The Globe and Mail]

Suspect in alleged Victoria bomb plot transferred to psychiatric ward, lawyer says

Aug 7, 2013
The Globe and Mail

At least one of the two suspects accused of plotting to detonate bombs among Canada Day crowds has been transferred to a psychiatric ward, according to his lawyer.

Tom Morino, counsel for John Nuttall, told reporters outside B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Wednesday that his client has been certified under the B.C. Mental Health Act, but he did not have any more information about the diagnosis.

“The only reason I’m aware that he has been certified under the Mental Health Act is because my client called me and told me,” Mr. Morino said. “I have received no official information one way or another about the assessment, or the basis upon which the finding was made.”

[Read the rest at The Globe and Mail]

U.S. owl hunt could save species from extinction

July 28, 2013
The Globe and Mail

A U.S. federal agency is embarking on an experiment that could provide crucial evidence for saving the northern spotted owl, a bird that’s been on the brink of extinction in B.C. for two decades.

As early as this fall, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to start removing more than 3,600 barred owls from four test areas in California, Oregon and Washington.

The birds will be relocated to zoos and educational facilities when possible, but most will simply be shot.

[Read the rest at The Globe and Mail]

Vancouver bike share program aims to avoid mistakes of other cities

July 19, 2013
The Globe and Mail

In the dream scenario of Vancouver City Hall, here’s how things could work next spring.

You take the SkyTrain in from the suburbs and arrive in downtown Vancouver. You’re trying to get to Stanley Park, or Kits Beach, or a movie theatre, or your office. You could walk or wait for a bus, but instead you head to a bike share docking station.

With a swipe of a card, you grab one of the seven-speed aluminum bikes, agile enough to handle Vancouver’s hilly terrain and arched bridges, durable enough to be on the streets every day of the year, rain or shine.

[Read the rest at The Globe and Mail]

Mountie tells inquest about firing 30 rounds at violent fugitive

June 24, 2013
The Globe and Mail

An RCMP officer who fired 30 rounds at a suspect two years ago in Surrey gave emotional testimony about the incident to a coroner’s inquest on Monday, marking the first time the public has heard a firsthand account of what happened in the violent final moments of Adam Purdie’s life.

Mr. Purdie was initially pulled over on March 2, 2011, for having blacked-out tail lights, but fled after an officer noticed a partially concealed rifle in the back seat. In a subsequent shootout with Constable Peter Neily, Mr. Purdie was killed.

[Read the rest at The Globe and Mail]