These 4 Skills Helped Martin Luther King Jr. Become a Transformational Leader

If there’s one thing most can agree on, it’s that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a transformative leader. His messages of love, hope, equality, and non-violence were just as true and inspiring then, as they are now.

Over the years many, self-included, have attempted to dissect what it was that made him such a phenomenal leader. As I began to pause this year to reflect on the legacy of Dr. King, one thing jumped out to me as a major lesson as to what made him such an effective leader: he made everyone around him feel something.

Last night I watched a brief clip of Dr. King’s final speech, “I’ve been to the mountaintop.” Previously, I’ve watched the speech in its entirety, have read the full transcript in books, and still, I got choked up watching it.

Here are four elements to Dr. King’s visible leadership that helped him stir up the needed emotion in others to move them to action. Embrace them to become a transformational leader.

1. Having a meaningful mission.

The Civil Rights movement was an important turning point in the history of the United States, that helped us make further progress away from a dark time in our nation’s history.

His mission of equality spoke to African-Americans living in segregation. And it spoke to people who sympathized with the plight of African-Americans and other oppressed people.

Because the mission was noble, tangible, important, and meaningful, it made it easier for others to rally around it and support it.

Lesson for leaders: You inspire others to follow you when they have a vivid understanding of the purpose and stakes involved with your mission.

2. Using words that matter.

Over the years I’ve poured through Dr. King’s books and speeches, and other commentaries on his life and legacy. One thing that always struck me was the language he used.

It was always strong. It simultaneously hit you in the heart and throat. It compelled you to want to take action. It transported you to a place where you could see a better future for yourself and others. 

One of the often overlooked nuances about his copy were they were interwoven with historical references to ancient scholars, and texts. He made those important lessons come alive with skilled storytelling, that helped you understand familiar ideas in a whole new way.

I’ve heard the Biblical story of The Good Samaritan a million times. But when I heard Dr. King’s take on it, the lesson came alive for me in a way it never had before.

Dr. King didn’t just sit down to write or step up to a podium and the melodic words just poured out of him. He spent weeks, days, and hours writing and rewriting his speeches until they were just right.

Lesson for leaders: Carefully craft your message with words and stories that are memorable, stir up emotion, and mobilize others to take action.

3. Knowing how to deliver an important message.

There’s no doubt that Dr. King was a great orator. The words and messages he delivered came to life more strongly because of the way in which he communicated. His epic “I Have a Dream” speech would have been very different had he read it from notecards or used bulleted powerpoint slides.

You don’t have to have Dr. King’s oratorical skills to become a transformational leader. Thankfully, technology has made it possible to create ways to deliver a message in a way that is engaging and digestible.

Your message is worthless if it isn’t delivered in a manner that allows it to be received by your audience.

Lesson for leaders: Put as much thought and energy into how you will deliver your message as you to crafting the words you say.

4. Leading by example.

The thing I admire most about Dr. King and his legacy is the aspect that requires no talent or skill. Dr. King did everything he asked his followers to do, and in many cases more.

One of his most famous writings was the Letter from Birmingham Jailto other clergy members. Dr. King was jailed multiple time for his work. He stood at the front of the line for many marches and protests. He spent time talking to constituents, leaders, and relentlessly practiced empathy.

It sparks something in you when you see leaders deep in the trenches working side-by-side with you to accomplish a goal.

Leadership lesson: Model the behavior you want others to live by.

Many will take today to honor Dr. King’s legacy with various acts of service. But his legacy can be honored and extended even more if more when you embrace lessons he taught us in how to be a transformational leader.

Netflix shares fall on mixed quarterly results


Netflix shares fall after Q4 revenue miss

FBN’s Deirdre Bolton reports on Netflix’s fourth-quarter earnings.

Netflix shares fell in after-hours trading on Thursday after the streaming giant reported mixed quarterly results, missing on quarterly revenue but topping expectations for subscriber additions and earnings.

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The company posted fourth quarter revenue of $4.19 billion, slightly below Wall Street’s expectation of $4.21 billion. Quarterly earnings per share of 30 cents outpaced the Street’s projection of 24 cents, according to Refinitiv data. Wall Street also eyed a drop in the fourth quarter operating margin to 5.2 percent vs. 7.5 percent last year, citing the release of “so many titles launching in the quarter” as noted in the earnings release.

Free cash flow was negative $1.3 billion for the quarter as Netflix ramps up investments in original content.


    Netflix added 8.84 million global paid subscribers in the fourth quarter, including 1.5 million in the U.S. market and 7.31 million in the international market. Those figures topped Wall Street’s expectations and the company’s own expectations. The company now has 139 million global subscribers.

    For the first quarter of 2019, Netflix provided a quarterly revenue forecast of $4.49 billion. The company’s projected addition of 8.9 million global subscribers in the first quarter surpassed Wall Street’s projection.


    The earnings report came days after Netflix announced its largest price hike ever. The company’s most popular plan will cost $13 per month, up from $11.

    Tesla to cut workforce by 7 percent


    Tesla cutting seven percent of its workforce as part of effort to lower the price of Model 3

    Synovus Trust Portfolio Manager Dan Morgan on the outlook for Tesla and the tech sector.

    Tesla is swinging the job axe in an attempt to trim costs.

    Continue Reading Below

    The electric automaker is cutting several thousand  jobs, while it ramps up the production of its crucial Model 3 sedan.


      Tesla shares fell 5 percent in premarket trading

      “Tesla will need to make these cuts while increasing the Model 3 production rate and making many manufacturing engineering improvements in the coming months,” Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said in an email to employees that was published on the company’s blog.

      “There isn’t any other way,” he said.

      The company said it would reduce full-time employee headcount by about 7 percent and retain only the most critical temps and contractors, according to Reuters.

      Tesla cut U.S. prices for all its vehicles as the new year began to offset lower green tax credits.


      The automakers also fell short on quarterly deliveries of its mass-market Model 3 sedan.

      Musk said the company is on target to report a GAAP profit in its fourth quarter, but less than the previous three-month period.

      Big telcos hike internet prices amid soaring demand, revenues

      You can run but you can’t hide from internet price hikes. That’s what Sean Barry in Powell River, B.C., learned after leaving his provider, Shaw, following a couple of price increases.

      He switched to competitor Telus in September only to discover that the cost of his current Telus internet plan is also going up — by $5 a month.

      “I am choked over the increase so soon,” said the 71-year-old Barry, who lives on a fixed income.

      “Every year it just goes up and up and up.”

      Telus, Bell and Shaw are all raising prices on select internet plans over the next few months. The hikes come on the heels of internet price increases by Telus, Shaw, Bell and Rogers in 2018.

      Sean Barry, of Powell River B.C., says he is on a fixed income and switched providers after Shaw increased its prices. He was unhappy to learn that his new provider, Telus, is hiking his bill by $5 a month. (Submitted by Sean Barry)

      Meanwhile, Canadians are living more of their lives online and signing up in record numbers for internet service, driving up revenues for providers. 

      “They can do whatever they want; it’s big business,” said Barry. “We’ve just got to suck it up.”

      Price hike roundup

      Beginning on Feb. 25, Telus will hike rates on internet plans by $2 to $5 a month.

      On Feb. 1, Bell will raise internet prices by $5 a month for Bell Aliant customers in Atlantic Canada. In Ontario and Quebec, the telco is hiking various internet plans by up to $6 a month as of March 1.

      “I laughed, because I pretty much knew it was coming,” said Christopher Provias, of Welland, Ont., after learning that he’s facing a $5 monthly increase on his Bell internet bill.

      “It’s pretty much like clockwork.”

      On April 1, Shaw also plans to raise rates on select internet plans. The telco declined to say by how much prices are going up.

      Why raise prices?

      In 2017, home internet was the fastest-growing sector of all telecommunications services.

      According to the latest Communications Monitoring Report by the CRTC, Canada’s telecom regulator, 86 per cent of Canadian households subscribed to home internet service in 2017, up almost four per cent from 2016.

      Canadians are also demanding faster internet speeds with more data — average monthly data use for high-speed users jumped by a whopping 30 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016.

      Bell, Telus and Shaw say they have to raise rates to continually improve their networks to accommodate growing demand.

      Bell said customers’ internet usage has increased by more than 500 per cent over the past five years.

      “Our costs to meet that demand and provide customers with the best experience possible also continue to rise,” said spokesperson Nathan Gibson in an email.

      Total Canadian internet service revenues in 2017 (Communications Monitoring Report 2018/CRTC)

      Industry analyst Dwayne Winseck acknowledges that the big telcos are investing significant amounts in their networks. But he says that’s not the only reason customers face higher internet bills. 

      “These price increases are at least as much, if not more, about protecting very high operating profits,” says Winseck, a professor at Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication.

      According to the CRTC report, residential internet service revenues, including applications, equipment and other related services, totalled $9.1 billion in 2017 — an 8.8 per cent increase over 2016.

      ‘Makes me so mad’

      In a notice sent to customers facing price hikes, Bell said it invested $4 billion in its infrastructure last year. 

      But that’s cold comfort for Dennis Fitt, of Truro, N.S., who’s facing a monthly increase of $9 come February for his bundled internet, phone and TV service with Bell.

      “Their profits aren’t enough to cover the infastructure — this $4 billion that I have to pay for now?” said Fitt, whose family of six relies on internet for both their TV and phone service. 

      “It just makes me so mad.”

      Because the internet has become so important in Canadians’ lives, Fitt believes the CRTC should do something to ensure prices don’t get out of control.

      “The CRTC should call [the internet] a necessity, and at that point they should be able to regulate it a lot more than they do now.”

      The telecom regulator is currently exploring an internet code of conduct to address a growing number of complaints from Canadians about their internet service.

      86% of Canadian households subscribed to home internet service in 2017, up almost four per cent compared to the previous year. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

      While there’s no mention of price regulation, the CRTC says the code would include measures to make it easier for consumers to switch providers to take advantage of competitive offers.

      For Canadians planning to make a switch, there are a growing number of independent internet providers such as TekSavvy, Distributel and Start that offer competitive rates. 

      In 2017, only 13 per cent of Canadian internet subscribers were signed up with an independent, according to the CRTC report.

      Reasons for the modest uptake include the fact that many are unaware of Canada’s smaller providers or are fearful of switching to a lesser-known company

      Others believe they’re better off bundling their internet with other services at a discount with one of the major telcos. 

      Barry in Powell River says because he has a promotional deal with Telus, if he cancelled his internet, he’d likely face a bigger bill for his phone and TV service with the company

      “They’ve got you coming and going,” he said. 

      Severe winter storm slams Quebec, Ontario

      It’s snowing. It’s blowing. And it’s very, very cold.

      From eastern Ontario to the Maritimes, Environment Canada is warning of winter storm conditions that include snowfall, strong wind, extensive blowing snow and extreme cold.

      This “snow, cold and wind” combination rarely occurs in Quebec, according to Environment Canada meteorologist Alexandre Parent. Usually, he said, the temperature rises during snow storms.

      He has analyzed data going back decades for southern and central Quebec and “I cannot find a similar storm.”

      In 1920, he said there was a storm with similar characteristics that dropped about 30 centimetres of snow with temperatures falling to –19 C. 

      In Quebec City, the temperature hovered around –17 C Sunday afternoon and it was –18 C in Montreal with snow accumulation expected to reach 15 to 25 centimetres in both regions.

      But Quebec is not alone.

      Toronto residents were digging out from under 10 centimetres of snow Sunday, expecting temperatures of –24 C by the evening. Wind chill values could feel as low as –38 overnight there.

      In eastern Ontario, temperatures will only rise slightly to a high of –16 C, with winds gusting up to 40 km/h and another seven to 12 centimetres expected to fall by Monday morning.

      Northern New Brunswick is bracing for 30 to 50 centimetres of snow expected with snow changing to ice pellets and freezing rain in the afteroon or evening.

      Storm pummels Quebec

      The storm may drop as much as 30 centimetres in the Beauce region and more than 50 in the Gaspé area. 

      There will be a risk of frostbite during the day and into the night Sunday with wind chill values hovering between –25 and –32.

      Authorities are urging drivers to postpone non-essential travel until conditions improve and sections of several highways and roads are closed due to weather conditions.

      Toronto police said about 100 crashes were reported Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning, with drivers sliding into ditches, clumps of trees and other vehicles.

      Airports cancel flights, border closes to heavy vehicles

      At the Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, many arrivals and departures after 7 a.m. have been delayed or cancelled entirely. Travellers should check their flight’s status before heading out.

      The same can be said for Quebec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport where most, but not all flights within Quebec were cancelled for the day after 8 a.m. 

      However, many flights, such as those flying to or arriving from outside the province, are still listed as on time. 

      According to Transports Québec, the New York Department of Transportation banned trucks and buses from crossing the border at Lacolle in Quebec and Champlain in New York starting 3 p.m. Saturday for an undetermined period of time.

      The detour, the transportation agency says, is Route 11 — the Rouses Point crossing. 

      In addition, a number of flights have been cancelled at the Macdonald–Cartier International Airport in Ottawa. Anyone set to travel is urged to check their flight status before heading to the airport.

      Snow-clearing operations underway

      The snow-clearing operation in Montreal is already well underway, and workers are expected to finish plowing and salting or spreading abrasives by Sunday evening, said city spokesperson Philippe Sabourin.

      “Every street will be plowed by the end of the day,” he said.

      He told CBC that people should take public transit and leave their cars at home on Monday and that operations to remove the snow will begin at 7 p.m. on Monday evening.

      Residents can monitor the city’s Info-Neige app for updates on where the snow removal is taking place and what areas will be affected.

      In Ottawa, an overnight parking ban will be in effect between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. Monday, as crews work to clear city streets.

      Vehicles won’t be allowed to park on the street during that time, but on-street parking permit holders are exempt, the city said. Free parking is being offered at all city-owned covered parking garages during that time.

      Montreal buses rerouted, delayed

      Due to the weather and the road conditions, all STM bus lines that normally run on some of the city’s steeper hills are being rerouted, Montreal’s public transit agency says.

      Bus lines 11, 35, 36, 61, 75, 124, 168 and 711 are all rerouted, the STM tweeted Sunday. 

      Cars and buses were slipping and sliding throughout the city Sunday, struggling to climb some of Montreal’s steeper hills. Even within the city, pedestrians and drivers alike struggled with low visibility in the heavy snowfall and blowing snow.

      A driver puts it in reverse after giving up on climbing a snowy hill in Montreal Sunday. The severe winter weather has lead to low visibility and slippery roads in the region. (Radio-Canada)

      Thousands lose power in Montreal’s West Island

      Thousands were without power Sunday morning in Montreal’s West Island, with numbers reaching more than 13,000 at the outage’s peak. 

      Hydro-Québec  spokesperson Jean-Philippe Rousseau told CBC the problem originated at a Baie-d’Urfé substation just before 6 a.m.

      There was an equipment breakdown that affected distribution lines, he said.

      Power will be restored gradually throughout the morning, he said. At around 8:15 a.m., he said 3,200 customers were still without power. That number was closer to 2,000 by noon.

      As the day progressed, power outages affected thousands of hydro clients. There were power outages reported in areas such as the Laurentians, Montreal’s South Shore and Laval.

      United Airlines plane diverted to Goose Bay leaves passengers stuck on board for 16 hours

      Passengers travelling from Newark, N.J. to Hong Kong weren’t expecting to stop off in Goose Bay, N.L. for 16 hours this weekend. (@sonjaydutterson/Twitter)

      A United Airlines plane diverted to Goose Bay Airport in Labrador Saturday night resulted in a lengthy stay on the tarmac, according to passengers who were stranded on the aircraft.

      After a wait of about 16 hours, a rescue plane touched down around noon local time, and travellers reported they were transported to the alternate plane by bus after 2 p.m. AT. 

      The plane took off for Newark Liberty International Airport shortly before 4 p.m.

      In a statement to CBC News, the airline says United Flight 179 travelling from Newark, N.J., to Hong Kong was originally diverted to Goose Bay, N.L., due to medical emergency, where medical personnel met the plane and brought the passenger to hospital.

      However, a mechanical issue prevented the plane from taking off again. Passengers were not able to leave the aircraft because customs officers were not available overnight, United said.

      The airline told CBC News 250 passengers were on board.

      Paramedics responded to a medical emergency on the plane that required crew to make an unplanned landing at the Goose Bay airport. (Submitted by Sonjay Dutt)

      The airline believes cold weather caused a door on the plane to malfunction, preventing takeoff. Happy Valley-Goose Bay is currently grappling with an extreme cold warning issued by Environment Canada, with temperatures dipping below -30 C.

      Communication poor, passenger says

      Temperatures on the plane quickly plummeted to “uncomfortable” levels, said passenger Sonjay Dutt, a professional wrestler en route to Hong Kong for a show.

      Crew handed out blankets, but according to Dutt, they were able to offer little else to assuage mounting anger from passengers.

      “Communication could be better,” Dutt said in a phone call from the plane. Passengers were told at the start of the delay that a rescue flight had already departed to return them to Newark. An update wasn’t announced until about five hours later, he said.

      They were also told the airport didn’t have the customs capacity to handle hundreds of passengers, Dutt added.

      Dutt also said food and water was running low until about 10 hours into the delay, when officials delivered Tim Hortons to hungry travellers.

      Most appreciated the gesture, Dutt said, but reaction to the offering was muted.

      “I think people are so fed up, and so at their wits’ end, that even the sight of food didn’t get everyone up and cheering.”

      Other passengers on board tweeted out complaints to United, wondering why they had been told a replacement plane was in the air and were not informed of further delays. Dutt said a pilot told passengers to email United’s CEO with complaints about communication practices.

      A Twitter account sprang up Sunday morning poking fun at the situation.

      In its statement Sunday morning, United said an alternative aircraft had been sent to Goose Bay to fly passengers back to Newark if mechanics are unable to fix the malfunctioning door.

      Passengers reported that rescue plane touched down around noon and they waited another two hours to be transported to the alternate plane by bus.

      The airline said it had food delivered to the plane and the second aircraft would provide more meals for passengers.

      United said it apologizes to its customers and and would do everything possible to assist them during the delay.

      Jagmeet Singh says, despite missteps and criticism, he’s ready to lead the country

      NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says, yes, he does want to be prime minister. And, no, he’s not concerned with anyone who would roll their eyes, scoff, or ask him if he’s seen the polls lately.

      Spoiler alert: they’re not very good. 

      They currently have Singh’s party in third place nationally, with less than half the support each of the other two main parties currently enjoy. There have been questions about whether he can win his own seat in a February byelection.

      Whether Singh can win a seat in the House of Commons through a February byelection is up in the air. Polls currently place him third amongst voters in Burnaby South. (Glen Kugelstadt/CBC News)

      Still, in a sit-down interview with The National‘s Rosemary Barton, Singh made it clear, several times, that his main goal in the 2019 federal election is to “make people’s lives better.” To him, that means better housing, medications covered under the universal health care system, and investments in green jobs and technology.

      I want to be prime minister because I want to make people’s lives better and my paramount goal is to make people’s lives better is to improve our country on all fronts,” he said. 

      Watch Singh’s full answer to Rosemary Barton’s question:

      In recent weeks and months, though, Singh has faced an onslaught of criticism. His detractors have accused him of being ill-prepared to lead the party, whether it was last April, when he had to ask a colleague for help during a news conference on the party’s position on the government’s firearms bill, or last Sunday, when he appeared confused during a TV interview, and not aware of a recent op-ed piece in which the Chinese ambassador accused Canada of “white supremacy.” 

      Singh said he can take criticism.

      “I know it comes with the territory it comes with being a national leader,” he said. But he acknowledged there is room for improvement. 

      “Clearly in some cases, like if we talk about the op-ed, I hadn’t seen the op-ed. So, that’s something that, of course, I want to be able to know and see everything that’s that’s being asked that’s relevant to the day. So yeah, there’s going to be, there’s work to be done.”

      Rosemary Barton asks Singh whether he underestimated the level of preparation needed to be party leader:

      One of the issues Singh would have to be ready to deal with on day one is immigration. It is an issue which has dogged the current prime minister, as well as Justin Trudeau’s predecessor, Stephen Harper. 

      The NDP has been calling for the suspension of the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement ever since the number of illegal border entries by refugees coming through the U.S. started to rise, shortly after Trump took office. In 2018 alone, the government says the RCMP intercepted 19,419 asylum seekers between ports of entry along Canada’s border with the U.S.

      “Right now, there are people that are fleeing unpredictability in the States,” Singh said. “Those are folks that were initially admitted to the States, they went through different checks and controls … And now, given some of the comments made by the Trump administration, there they’re not certain about their future. So what we need to do is acknowledging that the Safe Third Country Agreement was made in a different context.”

      Singh said right now, Canada can’t process asylum seekers coming through the U.S. properly: 

      Singh also said he would not have signed the new trade deal with the U.S. until it lifted the trade tariffs on steel and aluminium. 

      “We should have used this opportunity, this leverage, to say, ‘Get rid of those illegal tariffs,'” he said.

      “The U.S. needs this agreement, let’s not let’s not kid ourselves. I think there are problems with that agreement. But at the minimum we [should have] said, ‘We’ve got this agreement, we will sign it if you get rid of these illegal trade tariffs which you know are illegal.'”

      Would Singh have walked away from the deal had the tariffs not been lifted? 

      Another riding being contested in the February byelection is Outremont — a symbolically important Quebec riding for the party, which revealed some of the first hints of the “Orange Wave” in 2007, when former leader Tom Mulcair won the seat.

      Right now, Outremont is not a surefire win for the NDP.

      And some Quebecers — along with Premier François Legault — have very strong feelings about an issue close to the NDP leader: people wearing overt religious symbols, such as the turban Singh wears. A poll released in late 2018 found that a majority of Quebecers support the Quebec government’s plan to ban the wearing of religious symbols by people in positions of authority, judges, police officers, and Crown prosecutors.

      Singh says he doesn’t think his being leader will hurt the NDP’s chances in Quebec. 

      “We’re going to work hard in that byelection and we’re gonna work hard in Quebec because Quebec’s concerns at the end of the day the folks in Quebec care about a lot of the things that Canadians care about.”

      Singh addresses Quebec’s plan to ban the wearing of religious symbols and whether he’s experienced any fallout as a result:

      On Feb. 25, the day Singh will try to win a seat in the House of Commons, he will have been party leader for just shy of 17 months. It’s not the longest an NDP leader has led the party from the outside. Jack Layton waited 17 months to be elected; Alexa McDonough waited 20.

      But the pressure to win is huge. No leader of a major federal party has ever lost in a byelection since 1942, when Conservative Leader Arthur Meighen left the Senate for an unsuccessful attempt to gain a seat in the House. 

      Rosemary Barton asks Singh if running in Burnaby South was the right choice: 

      Watch Rosemary Barton’s full interview from The National. 

      TD Bank should have seen ‘red flags’ as senior lost $732K in romance scam, son says

      The son of an Ontario senior who drained his entire life savings and then went deep into debt says TD Bank didn’t do enough to prevent his father from being victimized — over and over — in a romance scam.

      Dayle Hogg says his late father Robert, a widower, went into his local TD branch in Whitby, Ont., 19 times over a period of eight months and wired a total of more than $732,000 to Malaysia.

      The money was for a woman Robert knew as “Sophia Goldstein,” whom he’d met online but never in person — and who doesn’t really exist.”There should have been red flags going up all over the place at the bank,” said Dayle Hogg.

      “He had no history of sending money anywhere outside of the country until this point. Something should have happened to stop this.

      “Most fraud goes unreported, but the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says victims of romance scams lost almost $25 million in 2018, up from $17 million reported in 2016 — making it the most costly scam the centre tracks.


      “The banks are well aware of the romance scams that are going on,” said Garry Clement, a financial crime expert and former RCMP investigator. “If the banks don’t start taking responsibility for these type of things, more and more are going to continue.”

      However, Clement acknowledges that such scams put banks in a tricky spot. They are expected to try to protect the customer from financial fraud, which could require asking potentially intrusive questions, while also respecting the customer’s right to privacy and to use their money as they see fit.

      In Robert Hogg’s case, TD says its staff asked Hogg all the necessary questions. The bank says it fulfilled his requests because he told a consistent story about building a house in Malaysia.

      The scam begins

      Robert Hogg had been married for 44 years when his wife, Kathy, died of cancer in 2015. The following year, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

      In 2017, at the age of 67, he joined the online dating site and soon met “Sophia Goldstein,” who claimed she was on a business trip in Australia but would soon be returning to Toronto.

      “Sophia Goldstein” was actually a phoney name used by a scammer or group of scammers. According to web chat correspondence with Robert, within weeks “Sophia” began calling Robert her “lover” and “husband.” She also told him her previous relationship ended because her partner hadn’t been there for her.

      After Robert Hogg lost his wife of 44 years, Kathy, to cancer, he went on a dating site and was quickly sucked into a romance scam. (Submitted by the Hogg family)

      The two began making plans for a life together, but within a month “Sophia” asked Robert to wire $2,000 to her, claiming she was having banking issues and couldn’t access her own money.

      Soon, her requests increased to $10,000 and then $50,000 at a time. She provided various reasons for why she needed the loans, and instructed him to wire the money to “friends” in Malaysia, claiming that would be the easiest way to get the money to her in Australia.

      She coached Robert to tell bank employees that he was wiring the money to a family member, and to keep their relationship secret, saying she wanted to surprise his friends with him when she returned to Canada.

      Robert Hogg had been a customer at this TD branch in Whitby, Ont., for three decades. This is where he wired money to various people in Malaysia on 19 occasions during an eight-month period. (Jon Castell/CBC)

      Between September 2017 and April 2018, Robert Hogg went to his TD branch in Whitby, located east of Toronto, and dutifully wired his entire life savings to Malaysia, believing he was helping the new love of his life.

      When his investment accounts ran dry, TD helped him open a home equity line of credit for $300,000 — much of which he also wired offshore in regular instalments.

      None of this was discovered by his family until he passed away from pancreatic cancer last September and his grown children began going through his paperwork.

      “Initially, it was just like a punch in the gut,” said his son, Dayle. “I felt bad for him that this situation had happened.”

      Robert Hogg’s son says online scammers sent his father a photo of this woman, claiming her name was Sophia Goldstein and that she was a successful businesswoman from Toronto. (Submitted by the Hogg family)

      His shock quickly turned to anger when he added up wire transfer after wire transfer, and realized the money had been drained from accounts at his father’s trusted bank.

      “Given the amounts that were leaving the country, there should’ve been somebody asking some serious questions,” Dayle said.

      TD: ‘Detailed questions’ asked

      TD Bank declined an interview request from Go Public.

      In an emailed statement, senior manager of corporate and public affairs Carly Libman wrote: “Our review of this case found that our employees followed rigorous processes to fulfil the customer’s request, asking detailed questions at each transaction, including the purpose of the transfers.”

      Dayle Hogg filed a complaint with TD’s ombudsman, who investigated the case. The ombudsman’s report also found the bank acted appropriately.

      It says Robert Hogg “told a number of branch representatives that he had purchased land in Malaysia and was building a house,” which was why he needed to wire money.

      As this story was “consistently told,” the ombudsman wrote, it “is not necessary to ask a customer to provide proof to support a story like the one he told.”

      The report also says there was “no reason to question” the reason Hogg cashed in his investment accounts — despite the fact it would lead to a significant tax bill — or why he needed to open a line of credit after his investments were gone.

      What we need is to have our financial institutions ensure anything that’s an anomaly involving a senior, there’s questions and red flags raised.– Garry Clement, financial crime expert and former RCMP investigator

      None of this sits well with Dayle Hogg, who claims the ombudsman’s investigation contains “inconsistencies,” “serious omissions” and “incorrect statements.” For example, the report says his father made 14 wire transfers for a total of $603,000, when it was actually 19 wire transfers totalling more than $732,000.

      The ombudsman’s report also doesn’t address Dayle Hogg’s chief request — that TD improve its procedures to ensure vulnerable people are protected from similar scams in the future.

      “The fact that you ignored this request completely and failed to even address it speaks volumes to TD Bank’s ethical and moral values,” Hogg said in a written reply to the bank’s ombudsman.

      Banks must strike ‘appropriate balance’

      Trying to protect customers from scams while also respecting their privacy can be tricky business, the Canadian Bankers Association says.

      “Ultimately, banks must strike an appropriate balance between helping to prevent and detect fraud, while also protecting the rights of their customers to access their money,” spokesperson Mathieu Labrèche said in a statement  to Go Public.

      “As the owners of the account, the customer is responsible for any funds that she or he withdraws from their bank account.”

      Banks have no national standards or policies when it comes to protecting people from romance scams, but Labrèche says bank staff “are aware of fraud scams and are trained to ask probing questions if a customer makes an unusual transaction.”

      The bank is starting to ask questions about all the money I’m sending.–  Robert Hogg, writing his online love interest “Sophia”

      Although now deceased, Robert Hogg left a written record of his conversations with “Sophia.” In an exchange on Jan. 2, 2018, he says staff at his local TD branch are starting to wonder about all the wire transfers.

      “The bank is starting to ask questions about all the money I’m sending,” he wrote.

      Go Public can’t confirm what was discussed at TD that day, but records show that a bank employee helped Hogg wire another $50,000 during that visit. Over the next four months, he wired a further $168,000.

      Police contacted

      When Dayle Hogg discovered what happened to his father’s money, he contacted Durham Regional Police.

      “They were fairly disinterested, saying it would be almost impossible to catch criminals in Malaysia,” he said.

      A police spokesperson said there is an ongoing investigation. TD said it has not been contacted by police.

      Financial institutions must automatically report any overseas transaction greater than $10,000 to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, but the federal watchdog only investigates suspected money laundering or terrorist-financing activities.

      Former RCMP superintendent Garry Clement says banks have a moral and ethical obligation when dealing with seniors to take appropriate steps to detect scams and take action. (CBC)

      Financial crime expert Garry Clement says banks have to respect customer privacy, but they have an equally important responsibility to try to protect them from financial fraud. It’s even more important in the case of seniors, he says, because they are more likely to be taken advantage of.

      “What we need is to have our financial institutions ensure anything that’s an anomaly involving a senior, there’s questions and red flags raised.”

      Meanwhile, the scammers seem unaware that Robert Hogg passed away last fall. Dayle Hogg occasionally corresponds with them, posing as his father, hoping that somehow, some day, police investigators will be able to catch them.

      In Dayle’s most recent exchange, “Sophia” claimed she needed money to pay some bills. She asked him to wire money, writing: “Try $5000 if you can.”

      Dubai’s RTA launches six new bus routes

      The Public Transport Agency of Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has launched six new bus routes and improved services on a seventh, it announced on Sunday.

      According to Adel Shakeri, the Public Transport Agency’s director of planning and business development, the new routes include route E411 between Etisalat Metro Station and the emirate of Ajman, route F02 between Etisalat Metro Station and Muhaisna 4, and route 50, between International City Dragon Mart and Al Khail Gate via Silicon Oasis, Dubai Mall and Business Bay.

      Another three routes will be operated on Fridays only. These include route 11B between Rashidiya Metro Station and Al Awir Bus Terminus ad route 34 between Etisalat Metro Station and Al Brayan Labour Camp Al Khawaneej 2 via Al Qusais Bus Station.

      A seventh route – F56 – will operate between Danube Metro Station and the Dubai World Central staff village.

      Additionally, the service frequency of route F55 between Ibn Battuta Metro Station and Al Maktoum International Airport has been reduced from every 60 minutes to every 30 minutes.

      “The Public Transport Agency is always keen on expanding and improving the bus network within Dubai and the bus service linking other emirates,” Shakeri said. “It carries out period studies and site surveys to assess the needs of public transport riders to address them as soon as possible.”

      For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

      Crescent Petroleum becomes sponsor of Abu Dhabi Special Olympics

      UAE-based Crescent Petroleum has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the local organising committee of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 to sponsor the event in March, the company announced on Sunday.

      As part of the agreement, Crescent is now an official supporter of the games and has committed to providing financial support, volunteers and specialised care workshops for parents of athletes in collaboration with its non-profit sister organisation, High Hopes Pediatric Therapy Center.

      High Hopes is an early intervention paediatric therapy centre based in Dubai that caters to children with special needs up to the age of 14.

      “We are proud to be sponsoring the Special Olympics World Games and supporting a cause that is integral to our goals and to our hearts,” said Crescent Petroleum CEO Majid Jafar. “The empowerment of people with determination is central to our community efforts and in this, the Year of Tolerance, it is an important initiative to support.”

      Jafar added that the company aims “to further the cause of inclusion and help people of determination to become thriving, contributing members of society.”

      Khalfan Al Mazrouei, the managing director of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi, said that volunteers form the “backbone” of the games.

      “With the support of volunteers from organisations like Crescent we will ensure Abu Dhabi 2019 is an unforgettable experience for thousands of athletes, families and fans from around the world,” he said.

      More than 7,500 athletes from 192 nations will take part in the event.

      For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.