24 Nov -

Eglinton Avenue worst street for pedestrian deaths in Toronto: police

Eglinton Avenue is the deadliest street in Toronto when it comes to pedestrian deaths, police say.

Since the start of 2016, seven pedestrians have been struck and killed by vehicles on Eglinton Avenue between Dufferin Street in the west and Midland Avenue in the east.

“Four collisions were pedestrians who stepped out mid-block and three were a turning movement that caused the collision,” said Toronto police traffic services Const. Clint Stibbe.

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READ MORE: Female pedestrian struck and killed in Leaside

Area residents who spoke with Global News said Eglinton Avenue can be a tricky road to cross because it expands to six lanes and it often leaves pedestrians racing against the clock to get to the other side.

“One time I was crossing and it was my right of way and a car almost hit me,” said one woman crossing at Midland Avenue and Eglinton Avenue East.

Another man crossing at the same intersection said near-misses between cars and pedestrians are a common sight.

READ MORE: Scarborough construction worker killed by car fleeing police: Police watchdog

“I’ve seen people get hit by cars, people get run over by cars,” said the man.

At Midland Avenue and Eglinton Avenue East alone, there have been two pedestrian fatalities including a construction worker who was killed on Oct. 12. A makeshift memorial remains at the TTC bus stop where the incident took place.

Residents along Eglinton Avenue said the problem is that there aren’t enough crosswalks between intersections, prompting some people to try their luck and jaywalk.

READ MORE: Elderly man in wheelchair in life-threatening condition after collision in Scarborough

Toronto police said the onus is not only on drivers, but on pedestrians too.

“Pedestrians have to make sure they’re crossing at proper crosswalks where it’s lighted and controlled,” said Stibbe.

The City of Toronto said it conducts a road safety audit every year on stretches of roads where there are a high number of fatalities and officials then come up with strategies to make the area safer.

24 Nov -

Creative Edmonton Tourism campaign threatens to ‘capture’ Calgarians

In a video making the rounds on social media, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson warns Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: “Eight of your precious citizens may be taking a trip to Edmonton sooner than you think.”

He then laughs maniacally.

The dramatic clip is actually a campaign by Edmonton Tourism. There’s a link to the website at the bottom of the video, where eight Calgarians could win a fun-filled weekend trip to Edmonton.

It’s a play on Calgary Tourism’s tagline and hashtag: “Capture Calgary.”

“We thought, ‘let’s play on that and create a campaign that would be targeted to Calgarians, to entice them to enter our contest’ and get eight Calgarians ‘captured’ as it were to come check out Edmonton and see what YEG has to offer,” Renee Williams with Edmonton Tourism said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 14,000 times and over 500 people had entered the contest.

Williams credits a lot of that interest to the mysterious quality of the campaign and – of course – the mayor’s participation.

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    “Mayor Iveson came on board rather quickly and did a great job,” she said. “A little bit of the dramatic flair.”

    The video is also airing in Cineplex theatres in Calgary.

    “We’ve actually had some interesting comments from Calgarians,” Williams said. “A lot of folks entering the contest are coming on social [media] going: ‘I don’t know if you’ll convert me but I’m willing to give it a try.’”

    The prizes will be a weekend getaway to Edmonton and could include hotel stays, restaurants, events at Rogers Place, shopping and winter festivals.

    “The Rogers Place piece is really the key and kind of the hook,” she said. “A lot of people are excited to either come to go to a hockey game or see a concert.”

    Williams said this is the first time Edmonton Tourism has specifically targeted Calgary.

    “We thought, ‘why not?’ We’ve seen Calgary campaigns come to the Edmonton market. With the economy the way that it is, a lot of staycations are happening, people in the province are kind of staying put, staying closer to home and we thought, ‘why not strike while the iron is hot and get into Calgary?’ … and see if we can entice visitation.”

    To learn more about the Capture Calgary contest and to enter, click here.

24 Nov -

Fire destroys New Brunswick home days before Christmas

A major fire has destroyed the home of a York County couple, burning everything inside, including many of their Christmas gifts.

Nackawic Fire Chief William Hopkins said crews were called to the Temperance Vale, N.B. home at around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Hopkins said it took more than a dozen firefighters eight hours to put out the blaze.  He said firefighters from other communities also came to help.

Homeowners Phyllis and Roy Coffin have lived in the house for 37 years.  The Coffins were on scene surveying the damage Wednesday morning.

Phyllis told Global News she was out when the fire happened, but her husband was home at the time.

She said they’re grateful no one was injured.

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“I’m devastated by the loss of our home of so many years, but so relieved that Roy got out,” Phyllis said.

She explained they lost everything other than a laptop and the clothes on their backs, but said most things are replaceable.

“It’s a bad situation but we’re alive. We’ll carry-on,” she said.

The couple said they’re staying with family and have made “alternate arrangements” for the holidays.  They plan on rebuilding on the property.

“The community is so kind and supportive.”

Former house resident Wes Corey now lives in Woodstock, N.B. but showed up at his old home to survey the damage after he found out about the fire on social media.

Corey says the Coffins’ house was his family’s homestead and was built in the 1800s.

“I was born in the living room here in 1960,” Corey said.

The youngest of seven, he said his mother decided to deliver him at home with the help of neighbours.

He and his family lived in the house until 1978 when they sold it to the Coffins.

“I think for everybody that’s experienced fire, it’s one of the worst things to witness,” Corey said.

He said he feels for the Coffins and is glad they’re safe.  Corey says he left the Coffins a message through their friends asking if there was anything he could do, including offering them a place to stay.

Corey came to town just a few weeks ago with some of his family to gather footage of the community and house.  He said growing up in the home had a profound impact on his life.

“We were preparing a little video that was going to be a Christmas gift to the rest of our family of growing up in this area,” Corey said.

He’s glad he got back to see the house a few weeks ago before “this unfortunate event happened.”

Corey said his sister is a novelist and has written several books about the community.  Her latest book is just going to publication, he said, and contains information and stories about the house.

Fire Chief issues warning to New Brunswickers regarding home heating

The fire was one of several across the province in the past few weeks.

READ MORE: House fire in Wirral, N.B. claims two lives

Hopkins said the cause is still under investigation, but it’s a good time to remind people about the dangers of electrical fires.

“Now we’ve got the real cold weather and people are using heaters like electric heaters and different things like that [they] could possibly be overloading their electric circuits in their house,” Hopkins said.

He said homeowners people should take extra precautions during the winter months by ensuring cords are safe and said heaters shouldn’t be plugged into extension cords.

Hopkins said it’s also important for people who are burning wood to make sure they have their flues checked and cleaned.  He said people can do their due diligence by making sure “everything is in good, working order.”

24 Nov -

Teen violence is ‘contagious’ spreading like a disease, study warns

Forget about the fighting and shootouts kids are exposed to on TV and in the movies – new research suggests that violence is “contagious” among teens. The study warns that if your child has peers who get involved in physical altercations, they’re much more likely to follow suit.

American scientists out of Ohio State University say that the kids they studied were up to 183 per cent more likely to carry out violent acts if one of their friends did the same.

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“Violence is like a contagious disease that spreads through the social network,” Dr. Brad Bushman, a psychology professor specializing in aggression and violence, told Global News.

“People learn how to behave the same way they learn other behaviours – by watching other people and imitating or modelling their behaviour,” he explained.

READ MORE: What happens when mental health education isn’t taught to kids

Bushman collaborated with colleague Dr. Robert Bond, who focuses on studying social networks, for their research.  The pair had interesting data – 6,000 interviews with high school students from 142 schools about their history with violence, along with other factors ranging from happiness to lifestyle and even smoking.

The study participants ranged from Grades 7 to 12, and they were interviewed twice over the course of a year.

They were also tasked with naming five male friends and five female friends within their social circles so the researchers could identify social networks within the schools.

READ MORE: Ontario schools are missing ‘perfect opportunity’ to address mental health amid rash of youth suicides

They all answered three distinct questions: had they been in a serious fight, how often they hurt someone badly enough that they needed medical attention, and how often had they pulled a knife or gun on someone?

Here’s what they found:

Kids were 48 per cent more likely to have been in a serious fight if a friend engaged in the same behaviour.They were 183 per cent more likely to have hurt someone badly enough to see a doctor or nurse if someone in their friend circle did, too.They were 140 per cent more likely to have pulled a weapon on someone if their friend had done the same.

“This analogy that violence is like a contagious disease that spreads from person to person is a powerful one,” Bushman told Global News.

The effects even rippled into extended social networks. Kids were more likely to get into a fight or pull a weapon if friends of friends admitted to the same behaviours.

There were two degrees of separation between kids who hurt someone badly enough to get medical attention, for example.

“The effects weaken the further away. We knew youth are obviously influenced by friends, but we didn’t know they’re influenced by friends’ friends, so it surprised us,” Bushman said.

READ MORE: How mental health should be taught in Canadian schools

The findings were most prominent among boys, too. Girls were most likely to use “indirect forms” of aggression, such as spreading rumours or gossiping.

Bushman said the findings are the first to come from looking at violent behaviour and how it spreads among youth. Typically, research zeroes in on how mass media influences kids.

Bushman’s hope is that ways to cut violence will spread, too. Kids should be taught non-aggressive ways of working out problems, such as negotiation or compromising, he said.

The team’s full findings were published Tuesday in the American Journal of Public Health.

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24 Nov -

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil ‘not embarrassed’ by 2016 reversals

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says he is “not embarrassed” by his government’s policy reversals in 2016.

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The Liberal government sparked controversy when it tried to overhaul the seniors’ pharmacare program. Within one month, it halted its plan to triple premiums for some seniors. It also pressed pause on its marquis accessibility legislation after a blistering critique from the people it was supposed to help.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia’s top 5 political influences of 2016

“I’m not embarrassed by the fact that I am one of the few governments in the history of this province that actually has listened to public — that’s what happened,” McNeil told Global News in a year-end interview.

“It’s only those that get caught up in the process of the legislature that see that as a failure… when in actual fact it’s the process working.”

The government still went ahead with lowering pharmacare premiums for low- income seniors and McNeil says that despite the speed bumps, “there will be some news” on plans to make further changes to the seniors’ pharmacare program “early in the new year.”

WATCH: 2016 year-end interview with Premier Stephen McNeil

The government also withdrew offensive legal arguments made during the Alton Natural Gas Storage project court challenge, and McNeil apologized to Mi’kmaq chiefs for the briefing.

“Part of the brief did not reflect who I am as human being, did not reflect the values of our government,” he said.

His government also shelved a plan to legislate a contract on teachers.

The government hasn’t removed the possibility of legislating a teachers’ contract in the future but McNeil says the December announcement to introduce legislation “was never about legislating a teachers contract.” Instead he says it was the only way to ensure a proposed work-to-rule campaign wouldn’t jeopardize students safety.

McNeil noncommittal on next election

More than three years into his mandate, McNeil wouldn’t give any hints on when he plans to go to the polls or what he wants to accomplish before he drops the writ.

Nova Scotia is the only Canadian province without a fixed election date. It’s also the only province that allows a government’s mandate to go as long as five years, meaning an election could be held as late as 2018. But he also won’t say whether a five year term is what he’s looking at.

“At some point Nova Scotians will get an opportunity to pass judgement on our government,” he said. “I’m looking forward to that campaign when it comes.”

The Liberals have nominated more than two thirds of their candidates in preparation for the next election.

24 Nov -

Nine arrested after 3-year-old girl found locked inside wooden box

Indiana police arrested nine people last Wednesday at a home in Pulaski County after they discovered a three-year-old girl being kept inside a plywood box in the living room.

According to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, police executed a search warrant on Dec. 14 after they received a tip regarding a possible case of child abuse and neglect at a home in North Judson, Ind.

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    According to a police press release, the tip involved information that a child was being kept inside a wooden box in the home, and that she was “locked in the box during the evening and for extended periods of time.”

    “During the execution of this search warrant a three-year-old female was located inside of a plywood box found in the living room of the residence,” police said.

    WATCH: Amateur video offers shockingly close view of deadly cargo plane crash in Colombia

    Sheriff Jeffrey Richwine told local media it was one of the most disturbing cases of child neglect he has seen.

    “It’s one of those deals, you go there and think, ‘hopefully this is not true.’ And you go there, when they say it, you just don’t believe it, you’re thinking, ‘my God, who would do this?’” Richwine told WNDU News.

    The little girl, whose name is being withheld, was taken into the custody of Pulaski County Department of Child Services. A spokesperson for the organization told WNDU that they are attempting to locate a relative of the girl’s to care for her, before considering a foster home.

    Police arrested a total of nine people: three, including the girl’s father and stepmother, were charged with neglect of a dependent. The remaining six were charged with failure to report child abuse.

    “Nobody spoke up about a little girl in the box. Even as we were taking them out of the house, no one spoke up and said, ‘Hey, there’s a little girl over here in the box,’” Richwine told WLFI News.

24 Nov -

Edmonton bus drivers have faced ‘public backlash’ after 2 fatal pedestrian collisions: union

The president of the Amalgamated Transit Union said Edmonton city bus drivers have faced backlash amid recent charges laid against two operators in connection with two fatal pedestrian collisions.

“There’s some trepidation on the part of operators as they slip behind the wheel. These things are in our minds,” Steven Bradshaw, president of the union, said Wednesday.

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  • Edmonton bus driver charged in fatal pedestrian collision

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    On Tuesday, police charged 62-year-old Edmonton Transit driver Judith Jackson with one count of failing to yield to a pedestrian in crosswalk under the Traffic Safety Act. The charge stemmed from a collision in the area of 137 Avenue and 40 Street on Nov. 26.

    Mariama Sillah, 13, was walking home from grabbing dinner at Subway when she was struck by the bus while in a marked crosswalk. Sillah died at the scene.

    “The union sends along its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the victim of this terrible tragedy. It can’t be good for them either,” Bradshaw said.

    READ MORE: Family of teen hit by Edmonton bus shares grief over devastating loss

    Bradshaw said Jackson has a good, long-standing record as a driver with Edmonton Transit.

    “She’s a great driver and she’s very popular among her fellow operators. So it’s difficult for those others of us out there knowing that if it can happen to her, it can happen to anyone in the blink of an eye.”

    Jackson was the second city bus driver in recent months to be charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

    In October, 42-year-old Kellie Rowe was charged in connection with a fatal collision in the area of 87 Avenue and 169 Street. On Oct. 4, an 83-year-old woman was struck by a city bus while walking in a marked crosswalk. She was treated at the scene and taken to hospital where she died of her injuries.

    Bradshaw said the collisions have been top-of-mind for drivers over the past couple months.

    “Our membership are professional operators and they will do their jobs the way they’ve always done them – safely and carefully. However, they are deeply affected by charges being laid against a fellow member and it’s a deep concern to them,” he said.

    “There’s been some public backlash against drivers and with that in mind I would ask people to consider the millions and millions of kilometres that our 1,600 operators drive every year safely and without incident.”

    READ MORE: Edmonton pedestrian killed by bus remembered as ‘devoted to her family’

    After the October collision, Bradshaw voiced concerns that issues with blind spots on city buses may have played a role in the collision.

    “At the front corner of the bus, to the operator’s left, there’s a sizeable pillar that causes a blind spot and in addition to that there’s a sizeable mirror – the rear-view mirror is right beside it – and at its widest point, that can be as much as 14 inches wide, depending on the orientation of the driver and the size and position of the seat,” he said. “So that constitutes a significant hazard.

    “Every 10 days, somewhere in North America, a pedestrian is severely injured or killed because of these blind spots.”

    Watch below: Global News gets a firsthand look of just how blind a blind spot can be for Edmonton bus drivers. The issue was raised in the aftermath of a tragic crash that took the life of a city senior who was crossing the street. Vinesh Pratap has the story.

    Bradshaw said the union will stand by both of its members as their cases move through the courts.

    “A charge is just a charge. It’s not a conviction. This hasn’t been to a judge,” Bradshaw said regarding the most recent charge. “Let’s find out what the judge has to say about it and go forward from there.”

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24 Nov -

Berlin, Turkey attacks prove restrictions on Muslims warranted: Donald Trump

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump called the attacks this week in Berlin and Ankara “terrible” on Wednesday and said he has been proven to be correct about his plans to impose curbs on Muslims immigrating to the United States.

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    “What’s going on is terrible, terrible,” Trump told reporters, when asked about the truck attack that killed 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin and the killing of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey by a gunman in Ankara.

    READ MORE: Berlin attack: German police on manhunt for ‘violent and armed’ Tunisian asylum-seeker Anis Amri

    Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Berlin killings and the assassin in Turkey shouted about the war in Syria as he gunned down the envoy from Moscow, which has aided Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against rebels in that country’s long civil war.

    WATCH: Photojournalist recalls capturing dramatic images of assassination of Russian ambassador to Turkey

    Trump was asked by reporters outside his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, if Monday’s violence would affect his consideration of a ban on Muslims entering the United States or of a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.

    “You know my plans. All along, I’ve been proven to be right. 100 per cent correct. What’s happening is disgraceful,” Trump said on Wednesday.

    At one point in his election campaign Trump called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country as a means of fighting terrorism, drawing widespread criticism at home and abroad. He later rephrased this to propose temporarily suspending immigration from regions deemed as exporting terrorism and where safe vetting cannot be ensured.

    On Monday, Trump immediately blamed the Berlin attack on Islamic State and other Islamist militants who “continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.”

    WATCH: Global News reporter recounts Berlin attack

    Asked about his reference to Christians, the president-elect broadened his response on Wednesday, “It’s an attack on humanity, and it’s gotta be stopped.”

    “What’s happening is disgraceful,” Trump said, adding that he has not talked to President Barack Obama since the Berlin and Ankara attacks.

    Trump has been critical of Obama, and of his Democratic rival in the November presidential election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for what he says is a reluctance to clearly name Islamist militancy as a threat.

    READ MORE: Berlin attack: Germans share messages of strength after Christmas market attack

    Trump on Wednesday did receive a President’s Daily Brief, the most highly classified and closely held document in the government, his transition team said.

    The real estate magnate and former reality TV star, who has publicly cast doubt on some conclusions of the intelligence community, is receiving the briefing about once a week, far fewer than most recent presidents-elect, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

    Reporting by Melissa Fares and Susan Heavey; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Frances Kerry

24 Nov -

Crown says he didn’t mean to imply wrongdoing by Ontario energy minister

TORONTO – The Public Prosecution Service of Canada says remarks made last month by a Crown attorney were not meant to imply any wrongdoing by Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault.

Vern Brewer, the federal prosecutor in an Election Act bribery case involving two Ontario Liberals, said outside court in Sudbury, Ont., that Thibeault “sought certain benefits” to run for the provincial Liberals.

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Thibeault vehemently denied the Nov. 21 allegation and noted he hadn’t been charged with anything. His lawyer had said Brewer sullied his client’s reputation.

READ MORE: Ontario Liberal bribery case adjourned amid discussions about Crown’s comments

In a statement Wednesday, the Public Prosecution Service said Brewer wished to clarify that he never “suggested, nor intended to suggest” that Thibeault acted corruptly.

Thibeault said in a statement that he was “pleased that the issue arising from Mr. Brewer’s statements has been resolved,” adding that he would not comment further as the matter is before the courts.

The charges against the two provincial Liberals stem from allegations they offered a would-be candidate a job or appointment to get him to step aside in a 2015 byelection in Sudbury for Thibeault, who was Premier Kathleen Wynne’s preferred candidate.

Thibeault was then the New Democrat MP for Sudbury. He ultimately won the byelection for the provincial Liberals, and then was promoted to energy minister earlier this year.

READ MORE: Ontario energy minister says he never asked for a bribe to run in byelection

Thibeault is named in one of the charges against Pat Sorbara, who took a leave of absence from her job as Wynne’s deputy chief of staff to become the Ontario Liberals’ CEO and 2018 campaign director – posts she resigned from when the charges were laid. She is alleged to have promised to get Thibeault “an office or employment” to induce him to become a candidate.

Sorbara denies the charges, as does her co-accused, Liberal fundraiser Gerry Lougheed.

Sorbara and Lougheed’s case has been adjourned to Jan. 18 for a judicial pre-trial.

New Democrat MPP Jagmeet Singh had asked the Chief Electoral Officer in early November to relaunch an investigation into the events leading up to the 2015 Sudbury byelection.

Elections Ontario, in an email dated Dec. 12, says the allegations in Singh’s complaint “do not constitute an apparent contravention on the Election Act.”

“Furthermore, we understand the OPP have already conducted and concluded an investigation into the circumstances leading up to the 2015 Sudbury byelection,” the email states.

24 Nov -

Donald Trump holds court with Boeing, Lockheed CEOs weeks after public spat

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump met on Wednesday with the chief executives of two major defense companies he has singled out for criticism over project costs, part of his push to save taxpayer money on high-profile contracts.

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The Republican met with Dennis Muilenburg of Boeing Co and Marillyn Hewson from Lockheed Martin Corp at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where he is spending Christmas.

Since winning the Nov. 8 election, Trump has complained about the companies for costs he said are too expensive, sending defense shares tumbling.

READ MORE: Why did Donald Trump take a shot at Boeing?

“Trying to get the costs down, costs. Primarily the (Lockheed Martin) F-35, we’re trying to get the cost down. It’s a program that’s very, very expensive,” Trump told reporters after meeting with the CEOs and a dozen Pentagon officials involved with defense acquisition programs who he said were “good negotiators.”

WATCH: Dennis Muilenburg met with the President-elect Donald Trump for about an hour to discuss Air Force One’s possible budget and timeline, among other undisclosed topics. No set budget plan was relayed to the media, but Muilenburg did say Boeing is ready to begin production right away. 

Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, has vowed to address government procurement costs as part of his industrial policy, which also includes taking a hard line on Chinese trade practices and renegotiating multilateral trade deals.

“It’s a dance, you know, it’s a little bit of a dance,” he said. “But we’re going to get the costs down and we’re going to get it done beautifully.”

Also on Wednesday, Trump named economist Peter Navarro, an economist who has urged a hard line on China, to head up his White House team on industrial policy

He also appointed billionaire investor Carl Icahn as a special adviser on regulatory issues, and said Icahn would help him choose the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

‘PRODUCTIVE’ MEETING

Boeing’s Muilenburg, whose company was caught off guard by Trump’s broadside earlier this month on the costs for replacing aging Air Force One planes, called his meeting “productive” and spoke admiringly of Trump’s “business head-set.”

Trump has said Boeing’s costs to build replacements for Air Force One planes – one of the most visible symbols of the U.S. presidency – are too high and urged the federal government in a tweet to “Cancel order!”

READ MORE: Lockheed Martin shares tank after Donald Trump tweets F-35 fighter program ‘out of control’

Trump has said the planes, which are in the early stages of development and are not expected to be ready until 2024, would cost more than $4 billion. The company is currently under contract for $170 million to help develop plans for the planes.

“I think we’re looking to cut a tremendous amount of money off the price,” Trump said on Wednesday.

Muilenburg said he gave Trump a “personal commitment” that costs would not run out of control.

“We’re going to get it done for less than that, and we’re committed to working together to make sure that happens,” the CEO said.

Trump has publicly pushed other corporations to change tack.

READ MORE: Donald Trump wants to cancel Boeing’s Air Force One contract, says it’s too expensive

He has taken credit for forcing United Technologies Corp and Ford Motor Co to alter plans to outsource jobs abroad. Ford, however, said it had no plans to close any U.S. plants.

Hewson left the Mar-a-Lago meeting without speaking to reporters. Trump has said Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet program was “out of control.”

WATCH: Trump calls Boeing’s new Air Force One deal ‘totally out of control’

The costs of the F-35s, used by the Marine Corps and the Air Force, and by six countries, have escalated to an estimated $400 billion, prompting it to be described as the most expensive weapon system in history.

Among the Defense Department officials who met with Trump was Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, the F-35 program chief for the Pentagon.

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