Nova Scotia election roundup

first_imgHALIFAX – (NSElxn)Nova Scotia’s Liberals have released an election platform that includes a total of $1.08 billion in spending commitments and tax cuts over four years.The platform is based on last month’s budget that was tabled but not voted on in the legislature and contains a number of promises already announced on the campaign trail.One new initiative is a rent supplement expansion aimed at reducing the wait list for affordable housing by 30 per cent, and would top up the total amount spent on the program to nearly $30 million a year by the fourth year.There are also two significant shifts in health care that include allowing doctors to choose where and how they practice, and a signalling that a Liberal government is open to creating more long term care beds if needed, although no numbers or costs were included.(The Canadian Press)—(NSElxn-Tories-Candidate)An ejected Tory candidate in the Nova Scotia election is trading fresh barbs with the party’s leader — and says she is looking into continuing her bid for public office.Jad Crnogorac was dropped as the Tories’ Dartmouth South candidate over a Twitter joke she made about a date-rape drug known as “roofies,” and other social media postings.She complains the Tories have a double-standard because they stood by a male candidate who jokingly acted out what he called a “Chinese fire drill” in an online video.But Tory Leader Jamie Baillie maintains the latest case differs from one involving Matt Whitman, who Baillie says apologized and had no intent to hurt anyone.(The Canadian Press)—(Tories-Drugs)Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservatives are promising to foot the bill for cancer medications taken at home.Tory Leader Jamie Baillie says Nova Scotians in cancer treatment shouldn’t have to worry about how they will pay for it.He says a Progressive Conservative government would invest $1.8 million a year to extend cancer drug coverage.Baillie says a growing number of cancers can now be treated using oral medications outside a hospital.(The Canadian Press)—(NDP-Patients)Nova Scotia’s New Democrats say they wouldn’t build an outpatient centre in Halifax’s Bayers Lake business park.Instead, NDP Leader Gary Burrill says he will work with patients, health care providers and the city to find the best location.He says the lack of public transit to Bayers Lake would put seniors and others who rely on public transit at a disadvantage.Burrill says the new site would put the needs of patients first.(The Canadian Press)—(N.S. Election Roundup by The Canadian Press)last_img read more

Liberals Senate representative tries to keep infrastructure bank in budget bill

first_imgOTTAWA – The Trudeau government’s representative in the Senate is attempting to derail a motion aimed at carving the Liberals’ proposed infrastructure bank from its broader budget bill, thus delaying its creation.Peter Harder is calling on the Speaker of the Senate to disallow an independent senator’s motion to split the infrastructure financing agency from the Liberals’ 300-page budget implementation act.Harder says the motion is out of order because it would create two financial bills — and he argues that the Senate is constitutionally prohibited from initiating a money bill.Senate Speaker George Furey will have to rule on Harder’s point of order.Independent Sen. Andre Pratte introduced the motion Wednesday in a bid to allow the upper chamber more time to debate the contentious infrastructure bank proposal.The government’s proposed, $35-billion infrastructure bank has faced considerable scrutiny related to concerns over how it would be governed and the level of risk it could put on the backs of taxpayers.Pratte has said a number of senators are prepared to support his motion to delay the creation of the bank, which is central to the government’s long-term economic plan.The government designed the infrastructure bank to use public funds as a way to leverage billions more from private investors to pay for new, large-scale projects, such as rail lines, bridges and transit systems.last_img read more

Slain officer described as brave remembered for work with children

first_imgABBOTSFORD, B.C. – A police officer who died in the line of duty in British Columbia was remembered Tuesday for his bravery in protecting others and his community commitment in the work he did with children.Abbotsford police say Const. John Davidson, who was 53, had been an officer for 24 years and spent the last 11 years with the department in the Lower Mainland.“John Davidson is my hero, he’s this community’s hero,” Chief Bob Rich told a news conference.Davidson died after an exchange of gunfire between a suspect and police who were responding to a report of a possible stolen vehicle and shots fired at members of the public.Rich said Davidson followed his training in dealing with an active shooter, giving his life on Monday to protect the public.“We train our police officers, we ask our police officers that when somebody is putting people’s lives in danger, when there is an active shooter, we no longer wait for cover, we no longer set up teams, the first person in goes,” he said. “John Davidson was the first person in, and away he went, and he died protecting you and me.”Police say Oscar Arfmann, 65, of Alberta has been charged with first-degree murder.Cpl. Frank Jang of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Arfmann is in hospital receiving treatment for injuries he received during the incident and is conscious.The civilian agency that investigates police actions resulting in serious harm or death has said it’s believed the suspect who was arrested was shot.Arfmann does not have a criminal record and had a firearms license until 2015, Jang told a news conference.He said investigators are working to retrace Arfmann’s steps in the days leading up to the shooting.“One of our priorities is to learn as much as we can about Mr. Arfmann, what he was doing in Abbotsford, what he was doing in Alberta,” he said.One person who used to know him was Hope Arfmann, 63, who married Oscar when she was just 18. The couple had a son together, but she said the marriage lasted less than three years because Oscar was emotionally abusive.They lived in the small hamlet of Sunnybrook, Alta., and also on a farm near Millet, where she said he would hunt small rodents and birds.“The birds deserted the area, the squirrels, the gophers — anybody and everybody spread the word: stay away from that area,” she said.She said their split was tense and she suffered a medical condition that caused blackouts when she felt distressed.“I wanted to leave and he decided to keep me from doing that,” she explained. “I had been cutting up a roast at the table to make him a last lunch. And he says, ‘well, you ain’t going unless I let you go, and I ain’t letting you go.’ And that’s all I heard. When my sensibility came back, there was a knife in the wall.”However, she said the incident had been enough to bring about a change of mind on his part. She said in no time at all, he had packed up her belongings and driven her into Edmonton.After their split, their contact was limited, though they had a son together who she later gave up for adoption. Hope said after their divorce was made final by a Wetaskiwin court in the summer of 1975, Oscar married a woman named Patricia.“I heard by the bye that they were still like honeymooners after 40 years,” she said. “I was tickled pink. He married the right person the second time. For some reason, they clicked.”Hope met Patricia once when Oscar came by to visit their son and take him home for a weekend visit. She said when the little boy came home, he had a bunch of toys.“Oscar never, ever bought a thing for my son, so I’m assuming it was to impress Patricia about what a good person he is,” she said.According to an obituary posted by a funeral home in Bonnyville, Alta., Patricia Arfmann died in 2013.“I’m sure Oscar took it quite hard,” said Hope. “The only thing that he really loved was Patricia.”Jang said the killing of a police officer is automatically treated as first-degree murder.Davidson began his career in the United Kingdom in 1993 working for the police in Northumbria before moving to British Columbia in 2006.He is survived by his wife and three adult children.Davidson worked in the patrol, youth squad and traffic sections in Abbotsford and was active in the community, cycling in September in the Tour de Valley Cops for Cancer ride. His fundraising page said the native of Scotland loved soccer and rugby, keeping fit and being outdoors.Rich described how Davidson spearheaded a crash prevention program where he spoke to high school students alongside a girl who had lost a friend in a car accident and discussed how graduating classes could organize their end-of-year celebrations to prevent impaired driving.He said the last time he shook Davidson’s hand was in September after the ride around the Fraser Valley for youth cancer research.“We have lost John and nothing can change that. John died doing what we asked him to do,” said Rich, speaking in front of the Abbotsford police headquarters where a wall of flowers, candles and stuffed animals had grown outside the front entrance.“We honour John by looking after his family, we honour John by looking after each other and we honour John by protecting this community and that’s what we’re going to do.”Mayor Henry Braun said the community is in disbelief and people have lots of questions but the first priority is to support the fallen officer’s family.“We just want to express our heartfelt sorrow to the family. We all have heavy hearts but they are carrying a much bigger burden than we are,” he said.Davidson had an impact on students in the community thanks to his work as a school liaison officer, Braun added.“There’s going to be some schools, some kids, when they find out who this is who are going to be grieving as well. So we need to surround our kids as well because they’ll have a tough time grappling with this, because he was greatly, greatly loved in our schools.”On Monday, Rich said officers were called about a possible stolen vehicle in the parking lot of a shopping complex at about 11:30 a.m.The caller hemmed in the suspect’s vehicle while waiting for police to arrive, Rich said. The suspect emerged from the vehicle and began shooting at the caller and others, he said.When police officers arrived, they attempted to arrest the suspect, who fled in the vehicle. Rich said police pursued him to an intersection where he was apprehended and taken to hospital.The B.C. Law Enforcement Memorial lists only one other Abbotsford member in its online registry of officers who died in the line of duty. Const. John Goyer died in 2006 from complications sustained while responding to a call involving a domestic dispute five years earlier.— Follow @gwomand on Twitter.last_img read more

No commitment yet from Ottawa on potential costsharing for Olympic bid

first_imgThe Olympic conversation continues to be a hot topic in Calgary.This time, questions surrounding a potential Olympic bid were directed at Federal Minister of Sport, Kent Hehr.If city council does decide to eventually put in a bid for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games, how much money, if any, would the federal government put forward to help with costs?Hehr said he is still waiting to hear more on council’s coming decision.“I’m looking forward to seeing their business case and how it applies to having the federal government’s involvement,” said Hehr.Council has to determine if they want to go forward with a two-million-dollar bid corporation, which is a new guideline put in place by the International Olympic Committee.While Ottawa waits on the city’s decision, Hehr explained Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is always open to showing the world our country.“Our prime minister said we’re always interested in looking at opportunities to allow Canada to showcase our skills, our talents, our athletics and otherwise, throughout the world and we know Calgary has some big decisions to make.”last_img read more

Some Canadian media organizations ready to cope with Facebooks changes to feeds

first_imgSome members of Canada’s media industry say they expect to be able to weather the potential setback created by the latest change to Facebook’s content sharing priorities.The social network recently announced that user feeds will now feature less news and other public content and more of the personal photos and status updates that first fuelled its popularity.Facebook says it made the change in order to promote conversation and make time spent on the platform more meaningful.As a result, Facebook says it expects pages that produce what it described as more passive content, including news and pre-edited videos, to receive fewer clicks.News outlets have frequently used social media to drive traffic to their sites in recent years, but some Canadian organizations say Facebook is just one piece in an increasingly varied puzzle.Andree Lau, editor-in-chief of HuffPost Canada, said the effect on the industry may be more muted now than if the change had come a few years earlier.“Media outlets have already seen a big drop in Facebook results due to other algorithm tweaks, so this isn’t a big shock,” Lau said. “We have been adjusting our priorities and strategies long before today’s announcement.”Facebook’s shift toward promoting conversation plays to the HuffPost’s existing focus, Lau said, adding that the media outlet has always tried to foster discussion among its readers.Conversation is at the centre of Facebook’s new approach, according to the organization’s explanation for the change.Founder Mark Zuckerberg outlined the rationale in a Facebook post, saying content from “businesses, brands and media” had begun to crowd out the more personal moments which he said are at the core of the network.Those personal updates will therefore become more prevalent in user newsfeeds, he said, adding that posts from other sources will still get promoted if they help encourage social interactions.Those interactions, Zuckerberg said, can be good for a user’s well-being.“We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health,” he wrote. “On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.”Zuckerberg said he fully expected some “measures of engagement” to decline as a result of the changes.The prospect didn’t appear to weigh too heavily on Global News, an early and frequent adopter of Facebook as a distribution channel.“While we are a dominant news publisher on Facebook, we also employ strategies for diverse social media referral so as not to be dependent on any one source,” said Ron Waksman, vice president of digital and editorial standards and practices for Global News and Corus Radio.“As a high quality journalistic source that users depend on, we are confident we can weather these changes while continuing to diversify our content streams with strong referrals from other social platforms.”HuffPost, too, said other platforms are already filling any potential void left in the wake of Facebook’s changes, and said digital products like mobile apps can’t be ignored.But Gavin Adamson, who teaches digital media courses at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism, said outlets will also have to rely on changes in reader behaviour if they hope to make up potential losses caused by Facebook’s new focus.He said the impact could be “devastating” in certain cases, citing research suggesting some outlets get as much as half their traffic from Facebook.Organizations with an exclusively digital presence could be especially hard-hit, he added, saying it will be hard to train readers accustomed to using Facebook as an aggregator to make a point of visiting their favourite news sites directly.“Maybe (news organizations) need to get more involved in community groups and posting news within those groups, or interacting more directly with interest groups within Facebook,” he said.The outlets themselves, however, say the best way to secure loyal readers is to produce content that will keep them coming back for more.“Quality journalism remains a key driver of audience, regardless of the distribution channel,” said Lau.last_img read more

Status of Women Canada gets ready to grow and change with the

first_imgOTTAWA – The Liberal government has given Status of Women Canada a major role to play in its feminist agenda and, now that the federal agency is set to grow into a full-size department, it could also be changing its name.“It’s a possibility,” Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef said in an interview when asked whether the department would be shedding its 1970s-era name for something that better reflects a more inclusive vision of equality.The 2018 federal budget, for the first time in Canadian history, went through a full gender-based analysis, which involves looking closely at how every spending and taxation measure would impact men and women, or girls and boys, in different ways.The analysis does not stop there, however, as it also takes other aspects of identity, such as age, ethnicity, religion and disability into account.The broader approach recognizes the fact that the biological or socio-cultural differences associated with sex and gender might not be the biggest factor in figuring out whether something the government is planning to do would make things better or worse for certain groups of people.“The lens applied to the budget has been an intersectional gendered lens because our brand of feminism is based on the belief that feminism is as diverse as Canada itself,” Monsef said.“We need to make room for the people in the shadows — the women and trans persons who too have a vested interest in this country and also are deserving of equal opportunity,” Monsef said.“That intersectional gendered lens is something we’ve applied to every decision cabinet has made since we formed government. It is what our stakeholders in the feminist community has asked for and it’s the right thing to do,” she said.A change in name, perhaps with language more in line with the new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics that the budget announced would be set up at Statistics Canada, could better reflect that evolving approach.“We will be consulting, as we do with all our efforts, with stakeholders to make sure that if there is a change, we get it right,” Monsef said.Meanwhile, Monsef said moving Status of Women Canada out from under the umbrella of Canadian Heritage — and giving it a larger, as yet unspecified operating budget — reflects the bigger role the agency will play, especially once gender-based analysis of budgets is enshrined in legislation.“We are being asked to do more than the agency has ever been asked to do and having the capacity to deliver on that additional work is going to be a big part of our success,” she said.— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitterlast_img read more

Body in bus crash misidentified

first_imgHUMBOLDT, Sask. – Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice says one of the deceased in Friday’s fatal crash involving the Humboldt Broncos bus was misidentified.The ministry says the body of Parker Tobin was mistaken for that of Xavier Labelle.It says Labelle is injured but alive, and Tobin is among the 15 people who died.The Office of the Chief Coroner has apologized for the misidentification.last_img

Blood donations double in wake of Humboldt tragedy

first_imgCanadian Blood Services says its Saskatoon Blood Donation Clinic has been over capacity since Saturday, as donations have doubled in the wake of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash that killed 15.Calgary received 117 units of blood on Saturday, while normally our city would see 90 units donated.Spokesperson for the Canadian Blood Services Jhoanna Del Rosario said it’s times like these the organization and the community has to step up.“We are losing more during the response efforts in Saskatchewan so we want to make sure that we have enough supply of blood and blood parts, for those that are affected in the collision,” she said.She said a lot of blood is needed for one person who is severely injured.“You will need about 50 units, that’s about 50 donors needed to save one patient in a car accident,” she said.Anyone interested in donating blood can download the Canadian Blood Services app, or head to any blood donation clinic to sign up.last_img read more

Quebec City protesters end tense but mainly peaceful demonstration

first_imgQUEBEC – Several hundred mainly peaceful protesters filled a heavily protected street of Quebec City on Thursday night, on the eve of a G7 summit that will bring U.S. President Donald Trump to Canada for the first time.The protesters marched down the streets flanked on each side by police in riot gear. Moments of tension and confrontation — including the burning of flags, some masked demonstrators and a small number of arrests — quickly quieted down, even as the city braced for more.Quebec City’s historic district looked as though business owners were preparing for a mini hurricane to blow through the cobblestone streets, as several storefronts were barricaded with plywood in anticipation of anti-G7 protests.Stores that were open for business vastly outnumbered the shuttered facades. But the police presence in the old city was noticeable — squad cars drove through the area and uniformed officers kept watch at different spots across the neighbourhood popular with tourists and locals alike.On Thursday evening, rows of officers in protective gear watched closely as protesters gathered for what organizers had described as a “festive mass demonstration against the G7, capitalism, patriarchy, colonialism, racism, and borders.”The atmosphere was mainly upbeat, with some wearing colourful costumes and bearing signs advocating for such diverse causes as food security, open borders and environmental protection.For a pay-what-you-want donation, protesters were offered zucchini cake, rice and tofu, and vegetable soup.Alice-Anne Simard of environmental group Eau Secours declined to condemn possible violence.“We will not condemn acts that have not been committed,” she said. “We are here to protest and we are here to denounce the violence of the neoliberal policies of the G7 members.”Masked protesters got into minor scuffles with photographers and camera people. They tried to push cameras away and block the view of journalists trying to take photos of them, yelling aggressively.“This is not a discussion. Don’t film us.”While the G7 summit will be held 140 kilometres northeast of Quebec City in the resort town of La Malbaie, diverse groups including unions, aid organizations and anti-capitalists have been organizing protests in the provincial capital. Police have been making parallel arrangements, with 8000 of them ready to jump into action in the province.The number of detention spaces that have been opened up around the Quebec City-area in anticipation of protests is leading human rights groups to worry about the intentions of security forces.Representatives from Amnesty International and Quebec’s league for civil liberties say they’ve been told by police that officers aren’t looking to make any mass arrests.“But with all the security measures that have been put in place, it’s leading us to believe there is a gap between the discourse and the reality,” said Genevieve Paul, head of the francophone Canadian branch of Amnesty International.Her group and Quebec’s league for civil liberties are sending 44 observers to the protests, which are likely to continue well into Saturday night.Paul said prisoners in Quebec City’s provincial jail have been transferred to other detention centres in order to liberate about 230 spots for protesters.Police have erected a temporary detention centre near Quebec City’s Victoria Park, and another temporary jail in a town a few kilometres north of La Malbaie.Nicole Filion, with Quebec’s league for civil liberties, said she worries about the possibility of mass arrests, the conditions of detainees inside the temporary jails, and the potential misuse of crowd-control weapons by police, such as rubber-ball blast grenades.Cyndi Pare, spokeswoman for Quebec City’s police force, said it would be “inappropriate” to speculate in advance about police actions.“We can’t establish whether there will be mass arrests or not. It’s impossible to predict how (protesters) will act and how police will react.“Police are trained to use force with flexibility and discretion.”The city and the province will reimburse citizens and merchants for broken windows and other damages sustained due to vandalism during the protests, Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume said.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked Thursday in Saguenay, Que., if he had a message for protesters in Quebec City.“In a country like Canada, I find it extremely important that people are able to express their agreement or disagreement with politics, individuals, their concerns,” Trudeau said.“It must obviously be done with respect and, above all, security. And we will ensure that protesters and citizens and G7 participants are safe.”The last time Canada hosted a similar event, the G20 summit of 2010 in Toronto, officers arrested hundreds of people and kept them in conditions Amnesty International described as inhumane.While no major protests have been planned in the G7 host town, groups opposed to the summit held a news conference in La Malbaie on Thursday to denounce what they called the “undemocratic” free speech zone that has been set up to accommodate them along the bank of the St. Lawrence river.They said the fortified enclosure and security checkpoints would be intimidating to protesters, and noted that the site was some distance away from where the leaders will be meeting.In Quebec City, however, there was no hint of protesters feeling inhibited.When the protest was declared over, a few girls were sitting down in the middle of the street as a drone and helicopters buzzed overhead, outside the Hilton hotel.Fifteen-year-old Célestine Uhde was getting her hair cut by a friend.“It’s been a while since I wanted to cut my hair,” she said, as her brown locks fell to the concrete. “I know it’s impulsive — but there was a lot of impulsivity tonight!” she said.“I think the protest was peaceful. The police presence was useless. This was a model protest and what they all should be like.”— With files from Melanie Marquis in La Malbaielast_img read more

Only Canadian woman to have name engraved on Stanley Cup Sonia Scurfield

first_imgCALGARY – Sonia Scurfield, the only Canadian woman to have her name engraved on the Stanley Cup, has died at Foothills Hospital in Calgary at the age of 89.Her death was announced late Thursday by Sunshine Village ski resort, which is owned by her family.“It is with a heavy heart that we relay the passing of Sonia Scurfield, the matriarch of the Scurfield family,” the ski resort wrote on Facebook. “She will be sorely missed.”Born Sonia Onishenko in September 1928, she married Ralph Scurfield in Edmonton in 1954.The family purchased Sunshine Village in Banff National Park in 1981 and turned it into a winter ski destination.Ralph Scurfield was also one of the founding owners of the Flames when they brought the team to Calgary from Atlanta in 1980. His wife took it over after he died in an avalanche while heli-skiing in 1985.“After the funeral, my mother said, ‘You have to go to the game,’” Scurfield, who had cancer, recalled in a recent interview with Sportsnet. “Everybody was mourning his death and, if I went then, we’d all cry together.”The Calgary Flames won the Stanley Cup in 1989 and, as a co-owner, Sonia Scurfield’s name was added to hockey’s holy grail.On the plane ride home from Montreal after the win, someone cut the locks off the Stanley Cup’s case and brought the trophy onto the plane.“The plane went crazy,” then-Flames captain Lanny McDonald told Sportsnet in the same video. “Everyone had their pictures taken with the Cup and one of the coolest pictures was of Sonia Scurfield and the other owners — and you could see they are on the plane.”Scurfield said in the interview that it was an unforgettable trip home to Calgary.“That ride home, I’ll never forget,” she said. “It was a feeling you’d never expect and you’d never get again.”Scurfield, who gave up her ownership share in the Flames in 1994, also raised seven children in Calgary.In a statement released Friday, the Flames organization said it is deeply saddened by Scurfield’s death.“Sonia lived a life of devotion to her family and her community,” said Flames president and CEO Ken King. “The Scurfield family was an important part of bringing the NHL to our city and we will be eternally grateful.“We will miss Sonia’s friendship, wisdom and support.”last_img read more

Man accused of killing four people in Fredericton to make court appearance

first_imgFREDERICTON – A Fredericton man accused of killing four people, including two city police officers, in a shooting spree last month makes his second court appearance today.Matthew Vincent Raymond faces four counts of murder in the deaths of Const. Sara Burns, Const. Robb Costello, Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright.The police officers and civilians were gunned down Aug. 10 outside an apartment complex in the New Brunswick capital.Court documents say the incident ended after police shot the alleged gunman in the abdomen.During Raymond’s first court appearance, his lawyer said they were unable to proceed with the case because the defence was still awaiting disclosure _ or release of the findings of the police investigation.It’s expected the lawyers may have to ask for another delay.last_img read more

Walmart fined 20K for selling contaminated food after Fort McMurray wildfire

first_imgFORT MCMURRAY, Alta. – Walmart Canada has been ordered to pay a $20,000 fine for selling contaminated food after a devastating wildfire in northern Alberta two years ago.Some of the charges against Walmart included failing to dispose of food items — including candy, potato chips, beans and condiments — after the Fort McMurray fire in May 2016.An agreed statement of facts presented in Fort McMurray provincial court shows there were originally 174 charges, but that number was reduced to 10.Walmart Canada and loss prevention manager Darren Kenyon were each fined $2,000 per offence.In a statement, Walmart Canada spokesman Rob Nichol says the company didn’t adequately carry out an order from Alberta Health Services.The health authority said food exposed to wildfires could be damaged by unsafe temperatures, smoke, ash, soot, fire retardants, water and loss of power.Nichol says Walmart has learned from the experience and will be better able to respond in future crises.“Food safety and the safety of our customers is our top priority,” said the statement released Monday. “As part of our commitment, Walmart has recently made a donation to the Red Cross to support ongoing disaster preparedness, relief and recovery operations.”Nichol says the $130,000 donation to the Fort McMurray Red Cross was made Sept. 20.Crown prosecutor Ivan Bernardo said he believes the fines will deter other operators from committing a similar offence.The huge fire forced more than 80,000 people to flee the city. Residents were not allowed to return to the damaged community until June.(CJOK, The Canadian Press)last_img read more

RCMP informant suing government after identity allegedly revealed to suspect

first_imgOTTAWA – A woman who provided RCMP in British Columbia with information that she says helped thwart a murder attempt is suing the government alleging her identity was revealed to the suspects or their lawyers.A statement of claim filed with the Federal Court in Ontario earlier this month alleges the woman was assured that her identity would never become known and there was no risk of co-operating with RCMP in 2014.The information she provided allowed the RCMP to prevent a murder or attempted murder by effecting no less than three arrests and she was paid $10,000 as a reward, the statement says.The woman, only identified as Jane Doe, and her partner are suing the attorney general of Canada for $2 million in damages and hundreds of thousands more for pain and suffering, mental distress and costs of future care.The allegations have not been proven in court and the attorney general has not filed a statement of defence.“The RCMP respects that this matter is before the courts and we will therefore restrict our comments accordingly and only through the judicial process,” the B.C. RCMP said in a statement.The statement says in August 2016, an officer contacted Doe and told her she was in danger.“As it was explained to Jane Doe, information that effectively identified Jane Doe as a confidential human source … was included in materials disclosed to one or more of the suspects who had been the subjects of the arrests,” the statement of claim says.One or more of the suspects were free on bail at the time and were themselves part of or connected with organized criminal groups, it says.“Immediately thereafter representatives of the RCMP advised Jane Doe there was a risk to her safety, and the safety of her immediate family, and that it was therefore necessary for her to enter ‘protective custody,’ ” the document says.From August 2016 to March 2018, the statement says the couple moved from place to place, away from their home and in protective custody.They discussed entering the witness protection program but allege that while RCMP recommended the program based on the level of danger facing them, it concluded they were not suitable candidates, in part because they had close ties to extended family in or near the so-called “threat area,” the document says.In March, the couple agreed to an “alternative arrangement” with the RCMP and accepted relocation funding for themselves and family members. The alternative arrangement did not include any release by the plaintiffs of any claim or claims for damages arising from the circumstances that led to their need for protection, the court document says.It says Doe was in a vulnerable position and relied on the police for advice and guidance, but the RCMP’s assurances that she faced no risk were “false, reckless and misleading in all the circumstances and amounted to breaches of duty on the part of the RCMP and its members.”The couple has moved to a community with fewer economic opportunities and has suffered a loss of income and income earning capacity, the lawsuit says. They have already or will likely suffer from chronic mood disorders and/or post-traumatic stress disorder and mental distress from constantly moving, the statement says.— By Amy Smart in Vancouver.last_img read more

A look at the special national security committee of parliamentarians

first_imgOTTAWA – Tony Clement was a charter member of the new National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which has access to highly classified information. A look at the committee:What is it?The committee, created by statute last year, is a multi-party forum that includes representatives from both the House of Commons and the Senate. But it is no ordinary committee. It meets in secret and reports to the prime minister on national security issues.What exactly does it do?The committee has authority to review national-security and intelligence activities carried out across the government.This includes activities of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the cyberspies of the Communications Security Establishment, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency, among many others.Similar committees have existed for years in the United States and Britain, prompting the Liberal government to establish one here to improve oversight and accountability of the intelligence world.The committee submits reports, including an annual review, to the prime minister. Redacted versions of reports are tabled in Parliament.Who serves on the committee?MP David McGuinty (chairman), Sen. Percy Downe, Sen. Frances Lankin, Sen. Vern White, MP Emmanuel Dubourg, MP Hedy Fry, MP Gudie Hutchings, MP Murray Rankin, MP Brenda Shanahan.Are they sworn to secrecy?All members hold Top Secret security clearances and are permanently bound to secrecy under the Security of Information Act. Members swear an oath or solemn affirmation indicating they will obey and uphold the laws of Canada, and will not communicate or inappropriately use information obtained in confidence during their committee work.What were members told about security?Shortly after being appointed to the committee, all members were given a comprehensive security briefing by the Privy Council Office and other security agencies. “In fact, we regularly review our security obligations given how important this is to our credibility,” says Rennie Marcoux, executive director of the committee secretariat.What has the committee been doing?In May, the committee provided a special report to the prime minister on security concerns surrounding his February 2018 trip to India. Members then held further deliberations on the report and provided an updated version to Trudeau last month.The committee is also conducting two other reviews, one examining how the government establishes national intelligence priorities and another looking at the intelligence activities of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.last_img read more

Time to move on Ceremony marks land deal for Lubicon Lake First

first_imgLITTLE BUFFALO, Alta. — A ceremony in northern Alberta Tuesday marked the end to a decades-long fight for recognition that attracted international attention to the poverty of the Lubicon Lake First Nation.The Lubicon were missed in treaty negotiations in the late 1800s and fought for 40 years for a land settlement that would bring much-needed housing, better education and health care.Dignitaries from the federal and Alberta government were in Little Buffalo on Tuesday as Chief Billy-Joe Laboucan officially signed off on the deal in front of smiling band members who packed the community’s gym and applauded long and loud.“It’s only appropriate that we’re here in Little Buffalo school because (what) we’re doing here today impacts all of these students, all of the children that are going to school here, all of the children that have yet to be born,” Laboucan said.The Lubicon gained a global stage when they held a protest at the Calgary Olympics in 1988 and blockaded roads into the disputed area to draw attention to their plight. A United Nations committee and Amnesty International criticized Canada for its treatment of the First Nation.Laboucan said people still talk about past disputes and things that happened in the community.“That’s over. It’s time to move on and we have moved on.” he said. “I thank the people of Lubicon for being able to do that.”After they were missed by British officials negotiating Treaty 8, the Lubicon spent decades in limbo, even after the federal government agreed in 1939 that they deserved title to their land.The issue stagnated until the 1970s when oil and gas companies began carving through local traplines. By then, the Lubicon were so poor that diseases such as tuberculosis were a problem.The deal includes about 245 square kilometres of land and $113 million to rebuild Little Buffalo.Carolyn Bennett, federal minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, said no agreement can fully right the wrongs the Lubicon faced, but it is important to start making amends.“Some may say that this has been a long time coming. That would be a gross understatement,” she said Tuesday. “This is not about patience. This is about the incredible persistence of your people to have your rights recognized and implemented.”Bennett said the Lubicons’ fight awakened Canadians — and others — to the responsibility of recognizing inherent and treaty rights.“Your fight became almost a talisman of what the fight for Indigenous rights was and meant, not only to Canada, but to the world.”Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said she remembers learning about the Lubicon when she was still a child.“I thought about how kids from Lubicon Lake my own age must have felt knowing … that such a basic and obvious justice had been denied them and their parents, and their grandparents, and so many who came before them.”One woman said after the ceremony that she had moved away for a few years when she was younger because conditions were so bad. She said she was living in a house that had black mould which made her baby sick.But things have been improving in the last five years, she said, adding that she is grateful for the deal, even though she having trouble letting it sink in after so many years.Laboucan said in an earlier interview that the real work is just beginning. The settlement money is already tagged for essentials such as decent housing, a new school and an elders care facility.  Laboucan credited former chief Bernard Ominayak for his advocacy that let companies know the Lubicon had an interest in the land and discouraged them from working there.It was Ominayak who led the protest at the 1988 Winter Games.“If that hadn’t been the case, we wouldn’t be here,” said Laboucan. “A lot of credit has to go to previous chief Bernard Ominayak and council, and all the chiefs before him.”Ominayak did not appear to be at Tuesday’s signing.— Follow Bob Weber @row1960 on TwitterBob Weber, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Liberals write off 163 million in student loans feds will never collect

first_imgOTTAWA — The federal government is writing off more than $163 million in outstanding student-loan payments that officials will never be able to collect.New spending documents show the government is giving up on debts from 31,658 students after “reasonable efforts to collect the amounts owed.”It is the fourth time in the last five years that the government has written off outstanding student loans.The government periodically gives up on some of the $19 billion owing in student loans for a number of reasons: a debtor files for bankruptcy, the debt itself passes a six-year legal limit on collection, or the debtor can’t be found.The Liberals have looked to make it easier for graduates to pay off their loans — and the government to collect the cash — by increasing the minimum annual income a person has to make before they are required to make debt payments.The threshold is now set at $25,000.The most recent annual report on the Canada Student Loans Program said that in the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the government provided almost 490,000 full-time students with just under $2.7 billion in loans and a further $24.1 million in loans to 13,712 part-time students.The report said that the average federal student loan balance at graduating was $13,306, up from $12,783 in the previous 12-month period, an increase of 4.1 per cent.Borrowers typically take between nine and 15 years to fully pay off their loans and the period usually overlaps with when Canadians are most likely to start families.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Advocates see prison bill as way to meet calls of Indigenous women

first_imgOTTAWA — The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies says proposed changes to a bill that aims to end solitary confinement in prisons would help address many recommendations from the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.Savannah Gentile, the group’s director of advocacy and legal issues, says a package of amendments to Bill C-83 would give government the opportunity to take action on some of the inquiry’s key findings.A Senate committee has proposed adding judicial oversight to decisions about isolating prisoners as well as more emphasis and support for mental health and community-based options for rehabilitation.Gentile says the bill if passed without the amendments would do little to address concerns raised in the inquiry report about the over-representation of Indigenous people, and especially Indigenous women, in Canadian jails.The inquiry’s final report delivered Monday included a deeper dive on the issue of incarcerated Indigenous women and systemic issues they face in the justice system.The inquiry’s 231 “calls to justice” included many focused on the corrections system, including calling for more community-based and Indigenous-specific options for sentencing.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Liberals promise 13M for missing murdered Indigenous women commemorations

first_imgOTTAWA — Gender Equality Minister Maryam Monsef says the federal government will fund more than 100 projects to “honour the lives and legacies” of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.Funding for the commemorations will come from a $13-million fund Monsef unveiled today in Winnipeg.Last winter, the government asked for proposals for commemorations, anticipating the report this month of the national inquiry into the generations of Indigenous women and girls who have gone missing, or known to have been killed.Monsef says the approved projects include events, activities and creative works organized by First Nations, friendship centres and social-service agencies that help Indigenous people.The approvals were underway when the national inquiry reported at the beginning of June.In their report, the inquiry commissioners said they were glad to see the government funding these projects, but weren’t pleased that only “legally constituted organizations” would receive money, leaving out informal and grassroots groups.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Nick Jonas Visits Childrens Hospital At Montefiore

first_imgOn September 8, Nick Jonas met and performed for patients at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, where he delivered the healing power of music to the kids with Musicians on Call.Nick Jonas With A Patient At Children’s Hospital at MontefioreCredit/Copyright: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for the Children’s Hospital at MontefioreMusicians On Call brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities. Since 1999, they have performed for nearly half a million individuals and counting!Nick Jonas surprises patients with Musicians On Call at a visit to Children’s Hospital at MontefioreCredit/Copyright: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for the Children’s Hospital at MontefioreNick Jonas At Children’s Hospital at Montefiore on September 8, 2014 in New York CityCredit/Copyright: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for the Children’s Hospital at MontefioreCharlie Walk EVP of Republic Records, Nick Jonas and Pete Griffin President of Musicians on CallCredit/Copyright: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for the Children’s Hospital at Montefiorelast_img read more

Conan OBrien To Host Autism Speaks To Los Angeles Celebrity Chef Gala

first_imgIn celebration of its 10th anniversary, Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, brings to Los Angeles a unique dinner party.The Autism Speaks to Los Angeles Celebrity Chef Gala will showcase award-winning chefs at its first local fundraising gala, having created an exciting legacy on New York’s Wall Street for the past eight years. One hundred top chefs, cooking tableside, will create their signature four-course meals exclusively for their guests at this unique inaugural event on October 8th at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. No two tables will feature the same menus.Co-Chairs of the LA Chef Gala debut are WME Head of Television Rick Rosen, WME Partner Ari Greenburg and FX Networks President & COO Chuck Saftler. The Honorary Co-Chair is Brian Kelly, Autism Speaks Chairman of the Board. The evening, hosted by late night comedian Conan O’Brien, will also honor Autism Speaks Co-Founders Suzanne & Bob Wright, commemorating 10 years of progress. Since its inception in New York, the Autism Speaks Chef Gala has raised nearly $8 million dollars for the research, awareness and advocacy initiatives of Autism Speaks.In a statement, Co-Chairs Rosen, Greenburg and Saftler said, “Autism touches all of us personally. We are thrilled to be able to co-chair an event that honors the work of Suzanne and Bob Wright. The accomplishments of Autism Speaks over the last 10 years have been life changing: from global awareness, to advocacy, from scientific discoveries to the local impact in our LA community. We have so much more to accomplish for all people living with autism, and we are excited to help raise awareness and funds to do so at our inaugural LA Celebrity Chef Gala. It will be an unforgettable night!”More than 50 ovens, 1,000 pounds of meat, fish and vegetables, and hundreds of recipes are the ingredients for the Los Angeles debut of this culinary event for Autism Speaks. Participating chefs include Antonia Lofaso (Scopa Italian Roots), Art Smith (Table Fifty-Two), Ben Ford (Ford’s Filling Station), Brian Malarkey (Herringbone), Govind Armstrong (Post & Beam), Jet Tila (Food Network) Joachim Splichal (Patina), Josiah Citrin (Mélisse), Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill), Michael Voltaggio (Ink), Nancy Silverton (Osteria Mozza), Neal Fraser (Redbird) and many others. They have earned James Beard awards, Best New Chef titles and rave reviews from diners in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago, Denver and points in between. For a full list of participating chefs, go to www.autismspeaks.org/lachefgala.com.The evening will kick off with Wolfgang Puck Catering serving hors d’oeuvres inspired by his iconic restaurants such as Spago, CUT, Chinois and WP24, along with wines from Frank Family Vineyards and cocktails. Following cocktails, guests will be escorted to their private tables where they will witness their master chef create four exclusive courses of signature dishes tableside. Guests will also enjoy a special musical performance to be announced shortly.Toyota, a presenting sponsor of Autism Speaks to Los Angeles Celebrity Chef Gala, will debut the new Mirai, their first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle which combines hydrogen and oxygen to make electricity onboard, while emitting nothing but water vapor. The Mirai will be delivered to consumers in California in October 2015. For more information, please visit www.toyota.com/mirai.The program will also offer a “Fund-A-Mission” auction where guests will have the opportunity to support special Autism Speaks initiatives including summer camp for kids with autism, the genome research program known as MSSNG and iPads for individuals who struggle to communicate.Autism Speaks to Los Angeles Celebrity Chef Gala is generously sponsored by: Executive Chef Sponsor – Toyota and ION Media Networks/ Brandon Burgess; Chef de Cuisine Sponsor – Discovery Communications, Cox Enterprises, Inc; Pastry Chef Sponsor – Univision Communications Inc., Pepper Gate, Google; In-Kind Sponsors – Frank Family Vineyards, Caffe Luxxe, Icelandic Glacial Natural Spring Water, Kiehl’s, Korin, Anolon Gourmet Cookware, Wüsthof 200, Matfer Bourgeat Inc., Reserve; Exclusive Airline Sponsor – Delta Air Lines; Exclusive Appliance Sponsor – Jenn-Air. Exclusive Media Partner – Variety.last_img read more