First came the pandemic, then the Black Lives Matter uprising: Toronto’s theatre industry has to find a way to address both


What will the future hold for theatre in Toronto? It has to extend beyond how to stage live productions again during COVID-19 to the very structure of organizations, to who’s making theatre and for whom, industry leaders say.
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By Adrian Humphreys and Michelle Lalonde A Canadian woman arrested by U.S. authorities for allegedly sending envelopes of poisonous ricin to U.S. President Donald Trump has been telling the FBI where else she mailed toxic letters — nine in all — police say. As authorities in the United States worked to track down all of the letters the woman allegedly sent, RCMP officers donned hazmat suits to search an apartment near Montreal Monday linked to the woman arrested crossing from Canada into the United States on Sunday. There are no known injuries from the poison letters. Although not formally named by U.S. authorities because she has not yet made her initial court appearance, the woman has been independently identified as Pascale Cécile Véronique Ferrier, 53, of Saint Hubert, Que.. After her arrest, she has been cooperative — possibly one reason why her court appearance was pushed back from Monday until late Tuesday afternoon — and allegedly revealed a series of other toxic letters, including several to two law enforcement agencies in Texas where she was arrested last year, National Post was told. The woman is scheduled to have an initial appearance in Buffalo federal court Tuesday at 4 p.m., according to Department of Justice officials. U.S. border agents arrested a traveller Sunday afternoon at the border after crossing the Peace Bridge from Fort Erie, Ont., into Buffalo, NY, said Aaron Bowker of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. She had a gun with her, a law enforcement source said. On Sunday, the RCMP confirmed the FBI requested help over a suspicious letter that tested positive for toxic ricin that appeared to have been sent from Canada. Monday morning, the RCMP executed a search warrant at an apartment in St-Hubert, just south of Montreal. “We know that a female suspect was arrested by our U.S. colleagues last night,” RCMP spokesperson Corporal Charles Poirier said. “There is a clear link between her and this residence that we are searching today.” The RCMP’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives team (CBRNE), a specialized team composed of members of the RCMP and the Canadian Armed Forces, led the operation in St-Hubert. “It is believed at this point that there was a highly toxic substance inside those packages. The word ricin has been mentioned. However, at this point, we are not taking any chances, hence the deployment we have here today.” Police evacuated some apartments on the fourth floor of the building, near the one being searched, but not the whole building. Letters containing ricin were also mailed to two law enforcement agencies in Texas; Ferrier had been arrested by each agency last year, court documents show. “I can confirm that envelopes, containing the deadly toxin ricin, was mailed to me and three of my detention staff,” Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said in a statement. What is ricin? Here's what you need to know about the deadly poison Woman arrested at U.S.-Canada border after American officials discover ricin in letter addressed to Trump A spokesman for the sheriff’s office, Sgt. Frank Medrano, said the envelopes arrived on Sept. 15 and turned over to U.S. federal authorities. Another letter was sent to the chief of the Mission Police Department, in Mission, Texas, which is a city within Hidalgo County. That letter, addressed to the police chief, was only discovered Monday morning when the department was asked to look for it by U.S. authorities, Investigator Art Flores of Mission police told National Post. “She was detained or arrested, she admitted to somebody, I don’t know who, maybe the FBI agents, that there was nine letters sent out and one was addressed to the Mission Police Department,” Flores said. The chief found the letter, which had not been opened. “They came in, the FBI, and took custody of it,” he said. Hidalgo County court records show Ferrier was arrested by the sheriff’s office on March 12, 2019. She was arrested for using a false Texas driver’s licence and jailed pending court proceedings. Court records list a charge of tampering with a government record, in reference to the driver’s licence. The prosecution moved to dismiss the charge against her because it was her first and only offense and she had already served 20 days in jail awaiting court. The dismissal was accepted May 17, 2019, records show. Records from the Mission Police Department, a city within in Hildago County, show a Pascale Ferrier of “Lavell, Qc” (possibly a misspelling of Laval) was charged with two counts of unlawful carrying of a weapon and one count of tampering with government records, offences alleged to have occurred on Dec. 3, 2019. She was likely deported to Canada afterwards. It is not known if all nine letters have been accounted for. A woman with the same name and appearance as the Texas mug shots, living in St.-Hubert and with similar biodata has social media presence suggesting she is a self-employed technology worker originally from France who arrived in Canada around 2008. A Facebook post in 2015 declares her joy at becoming a Canadian citizen. Social media accounts appearing to be hers suggest a fondness for desserts, recreational vehicles and dogs. A Twitter account in her name also tweeted an anti-Tump threat. It has not been confirmed the accounts belong to the woman charged. • Email: ahumphreys@nationalpost.com | Twitter: AD_Humphreys You might also be interested in… Jordan Peterson’s year of ‘absolute hell’: Professor forced to retreat from public life because of addiction If North Korea’s Kim Jong Un dies, who will be his successor? ‘Everybody will love it’: A four-day work week could help rebuild Canada’s economy post-COVID-19, experts say
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