OTTAWA – Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is pulling out of an annual fundraising event originally set up for veterans of Afghanistan, an event whose main beneficiaries include military personnel returning from combat.Sajjan was supposed to speak at the 8th annual “To the ‘Stan and Back” event tonight, but organizer Cheri Elliott says she was told a scheduling conflict had arisen and the defence minister would not be able to attend.The cancellation comes with Sajjan, a former soldier, under sustained fire for having exaggerated his role in Operation Medusa, a key battle involving the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan in 2006.It also comes amid bickering between the Liberals and the Opposition Conservatives, who had planned to use their so-called opposition day Thursday to go after the defence minister.The Liberals now say they are postponing the opposition day until next week because they need more time this week for legislation to implement the federal budget.A watchdog group that tracks military imposters says many veterans are still upset with Sajjan despite his apology Monday, but that interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose went to far in accusing him of “stolen valour.”
VANCOUVER – A push to grow girls hockey on Vancouver Island is being criticized by some parents, but one advocate says the controversial move is the only way to save the sport from attrition.The Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association has put forward a resolution that would require all girls play on a female-only team. Any girls who want to play on a co-ed team as well would be allowed to do so and would pay a single registration fee for both teams, said Jim Humphrey, the association’s president.For years, the group has turned away dozens of girls who want to play on female-only teams, but can’t because there isn’t one available, he said.“The only way the girl’s system is going to grow and to improve is having females help to grow the female game,” Humphrey said.“Female hockey is going to die on Vancouver Island if we don’t do something.”But the move has been met with resistance from some parents. A thread on the association’s Facebook page features several comments from people who say their daughters would rather quit hockey than play on an all-girls team.Heather Wong isn’t part of the Facebook thread, but her daughter played on both all-female and co-ed teams in Nanaimo.Wong said she doesn’t think the association’s proposal is a good idea because it alienates girls who play co-ed hockey.“They’re telling them they have to play girls-only. Well, if they wanted to play girls-only, they’d be playing girls-only,” she said.Canadian human rights tribunals have ruled that girls should be allowed to play on boys teams. The Manitoba Human Rights Commission ordered the Manitoba High School Athletics Association to pay two sisters $3,500 each in 2006 after it found they were discriminated against when they weren’t allowed to try out for their school’s male hockey team.“Telling a girl in this day and age that you can’t play on a mixed team probably isn’t the best thing to do,” Wong said.A better way forward could begin with finding out why some girls don’t want to play on all-girl teams, she addedHumphrey said he’s “at a loss” as to why the resolution is getting push back.“We’re not trying to take anything away from a girl,” he said. “We’re trying to give more to the girls who want to play boy hockey, but we’re also trying to make sure that the girls who want to play hockey, but don’t want to play boy hockey, have a place to play.”The issue is a kind of a “chicken and egg problem,” said James Nedila, president of an all-girls league called the Vancouver Angels.“You want to give more girls a place to play, but you don’t have a place to play unless you have more girls,” he said.The Vancouver Angels is the only all-girls hockey association in Vancouver.Ian Fleetwood is spokesman for a group that’s trying to create a similar all-girls hockey association in Victoria.Girls currently playing on all-female teams have to travel all over Vancouver Island and having an association in Victoria would allow them to play more games locally, he said.The group would attract both girls who have never played hockey and girls who are playing on mixed teams, Fleetwood said.“We’re not going to force girls to come to it, but we think the improved development model and more local games would attract a lot of girls.”In Vancouver, Nedila said the Angels are constantly competing with the larger groups of boys to get ice time and other resources, so they have to go out of their way to show families the benefits of an all-girls team.His own daughter is almost 14 and she loves the social aspect of playing with other girls.“When girls play on a boys team, they’re usually on their own, the boys don’t really know what to do with them. … They kind of feel isolated and not really part of the team,” Nedila said.“When you walk into a room full of girls, it’s very different, a very different atmosphere. All of the sudden, you have somebody you’re going to be able to talk to.”
Highlights from the news file for Tuesday, June 27———LIBERALS INHERITED $18B BUDGET DEFICIT FLOOR, TRUDEAU SAYS: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is arguing that his government has been sticking to its spending vows after entering office with a budgetary starting point of negative $18 billion. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Trudeau said the Liberals were consistent with their election pledge to spend about $10 billion in 2016-17, their first full year in office. He says the Liberals came to power in late 2015 with a baseline deficit of $18 billion even though their Conservative predecessors had predicted a balanced budget. The Trudeau government has been criticized for its budgetary outlook that projects several years of deficits, including a $23-billion shortfall for 2016-17. Trudeau says the government is focusing on making investments to lift the economy and he vows to remain fiscally responsible when it comes to spending. The prime minister also once again sidestepped a question on when Ottawa would balance its books. The latest federal budget does not project when Ottawa will eliminate the deficit and predicts shortfalls across its outlook until 2021-22.———SOLITARY CONFINEMENT SUIT TO PROCEED WITHOUT DELAY: A civil liberties group says a judge has denied a request to delay a lawsuit that challenges the use of indefinite solitary confinement in federal prisons. The Attorney General of Canada asked the Supreme Court of British Columbia to adjourn the trial scheduled to begin next Tuesday after the federal government introduced legislation that would restrict the use of solitary confinement. But the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association says the court has decided the case should go ahead as scheduled. The association and the John Howard Society of Canada are co-plaintiffs in the case and argued the amendments introduced by Ottawa do not comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Once passed, the bill would impose for the first time a so-called legislative framework establishing a time limit for what prison officials call administrative segregation. It was introduced after several high-profile solitary confinement cases, including the 2007 death of Ashley Smith of Moncton, N.B., an emotionally disturbed 19-year-old who died in custody after tying a strip of cloth around her neck.———TRUDEAU CONFIDENT CANADA WILL WIN ON SOFTWOOD: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will persist with its efforts to negotiate a new softwood lumber deal with the United States despite a second round of import tariffs slapped on Canadian wood by the U.S. this week. Late Monday, the U.S. Department of Commerce ruled Canadian softwood producers were dumping lumber into the U.S. at prices lower than market value in Canada and added another 6.87 per cent in import duties to most Canadian softwood. The decision — which is a preliminary figure awaiting final determination later this year — brings the average import duty to 26.75 per cent, when added to the countervailing duties the U.S. imposed at the end of April, arguing Canadian wood is unfairly subsidized. Trudeau says Canada has repeatedly emerged triumphant each time the U.S.-Canada softwood dispute lands in the courts, and expects the same outcome again. He said the introduction of both countervailing and anti-dumping duties is similar to what has happened in past softwood disputes. This is the fifth time the United States has imposed duties on softwood since 1981, and each time the two countries have eventually come to a negotiated settlement.———PENTAGON SAW ‘ACTIVE PREPARATIONS’ FOR SYRIAN CHEMICAL ATTACK: The Trump administration threatened Tuesday that Syria will pay “a heavy price” if it follows through on what the U.S. says are preparations for another chemical weapons attack — warning of action that could plunge America deeper into a civil war alongside the fight against Islamic State militants. The chemical threat and sudden White House warning illustrate the challenging complexities of the fighting in Syria, a country whose territory was used by ISIL to march into Iraq in 2014 and prompt a U.S. return to the Middle East’s battlefield. U.S. President Donald Trump has said he won’t stand for Syria’s use of chemical weapons, which are banned under international law and are particularly worrisome in the Arab country because they could fall into extremists’ hands. The Pentagon on Tuesday said it detected “active preparations” by Syria for a chemical attack from the same air base where Syrian aircraft embarked on a sarin gas strike on April 4, killing almost 90 people. Days later, Trump ordered a cruise missile attack against the base in retaliation. The Syrian government has denied it ever used banned chemicals, and it rejected Washington’s latest allegation Tuesday.———CYBERATTACK CAUSES MASS DSIRUPTION GLOBALLY: A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across the world, hitting companies and governments in Europe especially hard. Officials in Ukraine reported serious intrusions of the country’s power grid as well as at banks and government offices, where one senior executive posted a photo of a darkened computer screen and the words, “the whole network is down.” The prime minister cautioned that the country’s “vital systems” hadn’t been affected. Russia’s Rosneft oil company also reported falling victim to hacking and said it had narrowly avoided major damage, as did Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk. The attack was confirmed to have spread beyond Europe when U.S. drugmaker Merck, based in New Jersey, said its systems had also been compromised. The number of companies and agencies reportedly affected by the ransomware campaign was piling up fast, and the electronic rampage appeared to be rapidly snowballing into a worldwide crisis. There’s very little information about what might be behind the disruption at each specific company, but cybersecurity experts rapidly zeroed in on a form of ransomware, the name given to programs that hold data hostage by scrambling it until a payment is made.———TRUDEAU DEFENDS CHINESE TAKEOVER OF NORSAT: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought Tuesday to assuage public fears and political complaints that the Liberal government’s decision to allow the Chinese takeover of a Canadian satellite technology company would compromise national security at home and abroad. Hytera Communications Co. Ltd. is set to take over Norsat International Inc., which manufactures radio transceivers and radio systems used by the American military and Canada’s NATO partners. The private Chinese firm first made a bid for the Vancouver-based technology company in 2016, triggering a review under federal law to ensure Canadian interests weren’t harmed in the foreign takeover. Trudeau insisted that his government would never approve any foreign takeover if there is even a hint of concern that it would harm national security. Opposition MPs have repeatedly raised concerns about the Norsat takeover and there is unease among congressional representatives in the United States about allowing the Chinese firm access to sensitive defence technology. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defence said it is reviewing all its business dealings with Norsat as a result of the deal.———SNIPER SHOT SHOULD BE ‘CELEBRATED,’ TRUDEAU SAYS: The record-breaking kill shot by a Canadian sniper in Iraq should be “celebrated,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday, even as he insisted Canada’s mission in the battle-racked country remains a non-combat one. National Defence revealed last week that a member of Canada’s elite Joint Task Force 2 special forces unit was supporting Iraqi forces when he shot an ISIL fighter who was 3,540 metres away. That is more than a kilometre farther than the previous record, held by a British sniper who shot a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan in 2009. News of the shot sparked both accolades and disbelief around the world, but it also prompted NDP Leader Tom Mulcair to rekindle a long-standing debate about whether Canadian troops in Iraq are in combat. In an interview Tuesday, Mulcair said he was “more than surprised to hear the Canadian prime minister say that the killing of another human being is something that should be celebrated.” Mulcair repeated his demand that the prime minister come clean with Canadians on the fact the military is engaged in combat in Iraq, despite Liberal promises and statements to the contrary.———TRUMP NAME TO BE DROPPED FROM TORONTO TOWER: Toronto’s Trump International Hotel and Tower will soon no longer bear the Trump name, a change experts say is likely the result of the U.S. president alienating customers who disagree with his politics. JCF Capital, the new owner of the hotel and condominium tower, said Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with a unit of the Trump Organization to buy out management contracts for the property for an undisclosed amount. While U.S. President Donald Trump never owned the building, his Trump Organization licensed his name to and operated the property, which has struggled financially and been the focus of a long-running legal battle after opening in 2012. Representatives of both JCF and the Trump Organization said in a press release that their relationship has been good and they may work again together in the future. Both sides declined to comment further.———HALIFAX PORT TO WELCOME ITS BIGGEST SHIP YET: If the Zim Antwerp, a massive container ship that will call on Halifax on Thursday, were to stand on its stern, it would dwarf Atlantic Canada’s tallest building. At 349 metres long, the vessel is more than three times the height of Fenwick Tower, a 98-metre Halifax apartment building. The Zim Antwerp is about as long as Canada’s tallest office tower, Toronto’s First Canadian Place — if you include the skyscraper’s antenna. When the boat laboriously inches into berths 41 and 42 at Halifax’s Halterm Container Terminal on Thursday morning, the Zim Antwerp will break a record for the biggest ship yet to make Halifax a port of call. In shipping speak, its container capacity is 10,062 TEU, or 20-foot equivalent units. A combination of deep berths, long piers and the right yard equipment, including four super-post-Panamax cranes — the largest modern container cranes available — has put Halifax on the map of ultra-class container ships. The city has traditionally accepted vessels in the 4,000 to 6,000 TEU range.———A VERY SMALL WAY TO MARK CANADA 150: Scientists at the University of Alberta are celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday on a nanoscale. They believe they have created the world’s smallest sculpture of a maple leaf, measuring just 10 nanometres across. That’s 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair and 100 times smaller than the world’s smallest national flag, created by researchers at the University of Waterloo last year. The leaf is only visible with a million-dollar piece of equipment called a scanning tunnelling microscope. The Alberta researchers describe the silicon crystal wafer on which the leaf is built as bubble wrap where the bubbles are hydrogen atoms that can be popped to create patterns. It’s a technique that’s being used to create and study circuitry to make smaller and faster computer components. For the record, the world’s largest maple leaf was found by a family in Richmond, B.C., in 2010, measuring 53 centimetres wide by 52.2 centimetres long. Others have claimed to have found bigger leaves, but those weren’t verified by Guinness. The leaf created at the University of Alberta is 53 million times smaller than that.———
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – The X-rays leave no doubt about what happened, but Maureen Yeo says she still can’t fathom why anyone would shoot three construction nails into her dog’s head.Kuma, a two-year-old male German shepherd, went missing from the family business in Prince George, B.C., on June 24.Yeo said in an interview Tuesday that they searched for the dog and reported him missing right away.The local SPCA called days later to say he’d been found in Hixon, 47 kilometres away.When she picked the dog up, Yeo said she knew something was wrong at the top of his head and thought perhaps he had been hit with a pellet gun.Yeo immediately took Kuma to the local veterinarian.“She called me about 20 minutes later saying it wasn’t pellets, it was nails. I stopped my truck, I got out and I threw up, it was so sick.”One of the nails was lodged inside the skull, while the other two were partially protruding from his head, she said. The X-ray shows three, eight centimetre long construction nails lodged in the top of Kuma’s skull.The vet said they definitely were put in with a nail gun, she said.The wound was already infected, but Kuma came out of surgery to remove the nails alive.While Kuma suffered a seizure on Thursday, he is otherwise doing well, Yeo said.“He seems to be getting more energy every day and he’s eating and drinking,” she said, adding she’s trying to keep him calm but he has been resisting the ordered “bed rest.”Yeo said Kuma, a very trusting and friendly dog, lives at their shop, and while he would never leave their property on foot, he might hop in someone’s vehicle.“He’s such a well-natured dog. It totally broke my heart, you know, the pain he must have been in,” she said.Jamie Walsh, the SPCA branch manager in Prince George, said they are investigating the “bizarre” incident as a case of animal cruelty, but they have no leads yet.Yeo said she wants the person responsible caught and prosecuted.“Obviously this is a sick person who did this,” she added.
With the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death approaching Thursday, she has returned to our cultural imagination.The late Princess of Wales has been gracing magazine covers as a style icon again. There is the new novel, “Imagining Diana,” which speculates what her life might have looked like if she had survived the car accident that killed her. And then there are the many new documentaries about her, including one where her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, speak about losing their mother for the first time.Diana died at 36 in a paparazzi-fuelled car crash in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997.Her death left people the world over devastated. In Toronto, the Princess of Wales Theatre became an impromptu shrine, Casey House, an AIDS hospice Diana visited, saw people line up for days to sign a book of condolences and the St. James Cathedral rang out half-muffled bells to mark her passing. In Ottawa and Vancouver, people left flowers outside the British High Commission, Rideau Hall and the British consulate.Now, Canadians are sharing memories of the “People’s Princess” again.Royal historian Carolyn Harris says Diana — who would hug hospital patients, crouch down to children or people in wheelchairs and pick up something if someone dropped it — combined glamour and vulnerability.“She gave the monarchy a great deal of star quality,” Harris says. “At the same time, she was fairly open about the difficulties that she faced and willing to open up to others.”It’s why people of various backgrounds around the world identified with Diana in many ways, she notes.“They felt like they knew her,” Harris says.Some Canadians still feel that way.Skye Morrison, a founding member of the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto, only met Diana for about half an hour during her visit to Canada in 1991 — when she signed the famous Canadian AIDS quilt on display — but recalls that she carried herself like she was having a private conversation with friends.“She was quite relaxed…not flashy,” Morrison says. “She was quiet, reserved and thoughtful.”Among some 45 people present at the museum that day were family members and friends who had lost a loved one to AIDS. When stopping at the quilt to ask questions, Diana listened to their stories with purpose, Morrison says.“(Diana) was gracious … and engaged,” she says. “She looks at you in the eye.”Diana also visited Casey House that year.Inside, she shook hands with one of the residents, a moment that was captured in an iconic photo that helped reduce stigma and fear of those with AIDS, says Erika Epprecht, a registered nurse who has been at Casey House since it was founded in 1988.“It had a really big impact on the (residents),” she says. “There was just such a strong stigma, and then to be so recognized by a person of such global importance went a long way to educating the world that you did not have to be that afraid.”Epprecht wasn’t scheduled to work that day, but she came in — dressed in a black suit and her best earrings — just to meet Diana, as did many of the other nurses.She says Diana came across as “calm and caring” when she stopped by the nursing station to chat and take a photo with them.“She has a way of making people feel connected with her,” Epprecht says. “She did her job so well.”When Diana entered Casey House’s reception area, which was a living room, someone had moved the chair that had been put out for her. Jane Darville, then executive director of Casey House, watched Diana sit on a radiator to talk at eye level with a resident in a wheelchair.“She was sweet,” Darville says. “You didn’t feel like you were talking to a princess.”She noted that Diana stayed longer than planned and spent time with all 13 residents.“She asked about (the residents’) families or partners,” Darville says. “She was casual…and kind.”It was the same at a cancer treatment centre in Sudbury, Ont., which Diana also visited in 1991, according to Audrey Oliver, a registered nurse who is now retired.“She was interested in each (patient’s) struggle with cancer,” says Oliver. “She made the (patients) feel so special.”Even people who had never met Diana loved her.Robert Finch, chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada, views Diana as both a loving mother and a great, compassionate and caring person.“She had that caring personal touch that a lot of people look up to,” he says.When Diana died, 19-year-old Finch lined up with his family at Hamilton City Hall to sign a book of condolences. What struck him was how quiet and sombre the crowd was.“Nobody talked. It was an almost eerie feeling,” Finch says. “It was as if you were going through a funeral.”What has also stayed with him all these years is Diana’s funeral itself, which was watched by some 2.5 billion TV viewers, particularly the scene of Prince William and Prince Harry walking behind their mother’s casket through the streets of London.“Her greatest legacy perhaps (is) her boys: how they conduct themselves and take their roles very seriously,” he says.At the same time, Finch believes Diana helped transform the monarchy as an institution, noting the royal family has a softer touch and more relaxed attitude these days. Case in point: Prince Charles introduced the Queen as “Mummy” instead of “Her Majesty” during the Queen’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee.“It’s the little things that add up and make people realize that it’s not all about protocol and officialdom,” Finch says. “They have to live their lives and have a bit of fun.”
CALGARY – Apparently lightning can strike the same place twice after all.A study by researchers at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering suggests it’s possible to predict where lightning will strike and how often.They say satellite data and artificial intelligence can help foresee where lightning poses a greater risk to spark wildfires.“That will give us a more precise description about the patterns happening in the lightning and the wildfire hazard,” said Dr. Xin Wang, one of three researchers involved in the study. “It also can be used for the future predictions about those hazards.“Those events don’t just randomly happen. They also have spatial and temporal patterns.”Lightning-caused wildfires are a growing problem in Western Canada and have been stretching fire resources to their limits.British Columbia recorded its worst fire season in 2017. Wildfires that began in early April scorched just over 12,000 square kilometres of timber, bush and grassland and, at their height, forced 45,000 people from their homes.Last September, Waterton Lakes National Park was evacuated after lightning sparked a blaze just inside the B.C. boundary. The flames eventually crossed into the park in southwestern Alberta.The study used historical data from 2010 to 2016 and examines how lightning is affected by a number of elements, including land use, soil type, elevation, vegetation cover and surface temperature.The study published in Sensors open access journal was written by Wang, Jeong Woo Kim and DongHwan Cha.Kim said the group used advanced technology, including artificial intelligence.“We analyzed a number of different types of data over a number of years so we can pinpoint the location that has a high chance of wildfire,” he said. “Statistically I would say it is more than 90 per cent accurate.”Kim said the analysis should be invaluable to government agencies that oversee the deployment of fire-fighting resources.“If they use this method, they can probably monitor those areas more closely and also they can build more fire stations and so on. They should be able to avoid any pipelines or power lines so they can reduce the hazard.”A professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta questioned whether the method would be helpful to firefighters on the ground.“It doesn’t tell them anything useful for day-to-day operations,” said Mike Flannigan. “Maybe strategically there might be something, but they’ve already mapped where fires have occurred in the past and any firefighters worth their salt know where those areas are.”— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
REGINA – A retired police chief wants the coroner’s office in Saskatchewan to develop a plan for responding to mass casualties like the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.Former Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill, who released his review of the provincial coroner’s office Wednesday, said the office was tasked with creating such a plan 13 years ago but none exists.“They’ve done everything they can to keep their head above water and they haven’t had a lot of time to get right down and deep into some of the policy and procedure that they should be responsible for,” Weighill said.“It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when we have mass casualties.”In December, a plane crashed near the remote northern community of Fond du Lac, seriously injuring nine people. One man later died in hospital.In April, a truck and a bus carrying the Broncos junior hockey team collided at an intersection near Tisdale. Sixteen people died and 13 were injured.Weighill cited both recent tragedies in calling for a mass casualty plan and making 44 recommendations including adding six positions to the coroner’s office.Weighill, who was tasked with the review in November, said he was excluded from examining specific cases like the mix-up in the identification of two Broncos players.Two days after the crash, it was discovered that a player believed to be among the dead was actually in hospital, and the player thought to be in the hospital was in the morgue. The name of the player still alive had already been released by the coroner’s office and RCMP on a list of those killed in the crash. The coroner’s office apologized for the mistake.Weighill said that he met with a Broncos family as part of his review but didn’t name them because he wanted people to be frank.He suggested the roles of coroners and first responders at scenes where there are mass casualties need to be better defined.“Further, the plan needs to address issues of mass body transfer, temporary morgue infrastructure and evidence collection criteria.”Weighill suggested Saskatchewan keep its coroner’s model, instead of changing to one using medical examiners, such as in Alberta and Ontario.He also recommended staff get help for post-traumatic stress disorder, that community coroners receive more than the current one day of training and that a child death review committee be created.Justice Minister Don Morgan said he’s not sure how much it will cost to add all the positions that Weighill is recommending.“But I think it’s probably worthwhile to take that recommendation and look to see if we can do those things better,” Morgan said.Opposition NDP justice critic Nicole Sarauer said she’s concerned it’s taken this long to develop a mass casualty plan.“This is what happens when the coroner’s office is chronically underfunded for several years,” she said.— Follow @RyanBMcKenna on Twitter
OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs contradict what was negotiated in the new North American Free Trade Agreement.Freeland says U.S. businesses are making that argument and that gives momentum to Canada’s ongoing efforts to have the levies lifted in 2019.She says Canada’s fight to remove the tariffs, imposed by the U.S. president, is being helped by the fact American businesses are calling for them to be lifted before the new continental trade pact can be ratified.Freeland says their argument centres on the fact that a major section of the new agreement focuses on raising the content requirements of North American-built automobiles.She says the imposition of tariffs on key components of autos — steel and aluminum — is a contradiction.Canada, the United States and Mexico signed the new trade agreement on Nov. 30 but it needs to be ratified by each of their legislatures — which could make for a bumpy ride through the U.S. Congress after the Democrats recently won control of the House of Representatives.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada’s privacy watchdog is warning marijuana users who are worried about their personal information being collected to pay with cash rather than plastic.Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien gives the advice in a statement on his website trying to help pot sellers and buyers understand their privacy rights.The statement says marijuana remains illegal in most countries making the personal information of Canadian marijuana users even more sensitive.Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis, even lawfully.Therrien suggests you can avoid the collection of your personal information by using cash instead of credit cards when buying pot from legal retail outlets.However this option is not available to many Canadians, as some provinces have only a limited number of retail stores and in Ontario, legal cannabis is only available for purchase online for several more months.The Canadian Press
FREDERICTON — Wayne Long is so big a New England Patriots superfan that he has their logo tattooed on his leg. He spent 13 years on a waiting list for season tickets — despite living on the other side of an international border.“It’s six-and-a-half hours to drive from here to Boston,” said Long, the member of Parliament for Saint John – Rothesay.He doesn’t mean that it’s far. He means that it’s close.For the legions of Patriots superfans in New Brunswick, New England’s NFL team is theirs too, and Gillette Stadium in the Boston suburb of Foxboro, Mass., is practically local.“I think people would be shocked if they actually did a head count of the number of people — particularly from southern New Brunswick — who go down to Patriots games. I’d dare say there are hundreds.”Much of the province will be watching Feb. 3 when the Patriots will be in Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII, their fourth appearance in the NFL’s championship game in five years. They’ve won it twice since 2015.Super Bowl parties are planned at homes, bars and even in hotel ballrooms.Long has had Patriots season tickets for four years, and said he gets to about four home games each year.There’s a strong bond between New England and Atlantic Canada, he said: The people are friendly and you can walk along Beacon Hill in Boston or Germain Street in Saint John and see similar architecture.The Maritime province has long-standing ties with the New England states and that includes support for the region’s sports teams like the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins.“New Brunswickers relate well to the folks in New England. We spend so much time in New England, whether it’s for vacationing or shopping, or catching commercial flights out of Bangor or Boston,” said Bob Hatheway of Fredericton.The Patriots fan and season ticket holder was still rejoicing the Patriots’ 37-31 victory over Kansas City on Sunday to capture the AFC championship. “New Brunswickers have such an important relationship with New England. We’re almost like an extension of New England,” Hatheway said, noting that his grandmother was born in Maine while his grandfather was from Florenceville, N.B.Hatheway and a friend have shared a pair of season tickets since about 2010, and he made his way to five games in Foxboro this season.“It’s very common to run into other New Brunswickers. There are people we run into all the time,” he said.Rees Hasson of Fredericton said he’s been a Patriots fan his whole life. He’s 17.However he said there’s a bit of division at home because his mother is also a Patriots fan, while his father cheers for Washington.He’s calling for New England to beat the Los Angeles Rams by three points, while Hatheway expects a bigger spread, 28-17.As a season ticket holder, Hatheway has his fingers crossed for a chance to win tickets to the game in Atlanta, and has friends who have offered a place for him to stay.Failing that, he plans to do like many other New Brunswickers — gather with friends for beers and snacks — and cheer on their team from afar.Long said fan support for the Patriots will likely waver when quarterback Tom Brady, now 41, finally retires.But he says he’ll still be cheering for them long after the Brady era ends. When it comes to football, the Liberal MP’s blood run red, white and blue.“I have always been a Patriots fan,” he said. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — In a city where winter can be almost guaranteed to bring temperatures below -30 C, saving homeless people and other vulnerable persons from severe frostbite or even death is a complex project.It relies on a lot of goodwill and elbow grease from Winnipeg’s non-profit groups and, despite efforts, street people still often need to shuffle between spots to find somewhere warm to stay at certain times of day.“The city needs a central place … where people can come and go and feel safe there, and where there’s no sobriety restrictions,” says Nancy Chippendale, an activist who has waged a lengthy battle on social media to try to persuade city hall to set up a 24-hour warming centre.She feels any such centre would have to be run by the government instead of relying on non-profits, which have different rules, capacities and operating hours at their shelters.As it stands now, she said, homeless people move between fast-food restaurants, shopping malls, the downtown library and soup kitchens. And when those locations close for the night, the outdoors can be the last option.Toward the end of an extreme cold snap recently when wind-chill values fell below -50, Mayor Brian Bowman said there is always some space available at shelters as they co-ordinate among themselves — even if a specific one is full.He suggested city-run warming centres, such as ones in Toronto, can present their own challenges.“What we were advised by the agencies that are in the business of providing this care is that if you open up a space, you need to make sure that it’s properly staffed for the protective safety and well-being of those that are provided it.”Other cold-weather cities take less formal measures. Edmonton, for example, will leave some light-rail transit stations open overnight when the temperature plummets.Figures provided to The Canadian Press by Manitoba’s chief medical examiner’s office show 24 people died from hypothermia in Winnipeg between 2010 and 2017. They were among 100 hypothermia deaths across the province in that period.The office did not release details of why people were out in the cold unprotected, but said a common element was intoxication. Of the nine people across the province who died of hypothermia in 2017, eight had high levels of alcohol or drugs in their systems, the office said.Some high-profile cases in recent years involved people who were not homeless but were vulnerable in other ways.Windy Sinclair, 29, was found frozen to death in 2017 after leaving a Winnipeg hospital without being discharged. She was not homeless, but was struggling with a crystal meth addiction and was under the drug’s influence when she was brought in.A man who was known to shelter staff, but who had been housed, froze to death in Winnipeg last year, said Adrienne Dudek of the Main Street Project, a non-profit that runs the only major shelter in the city that takes intoxicated people.“He actually was housed, and for some reason did not make it back from wherever he was coming from,” Dudek said.Contrary to the mayor’s comments, there are times when there is simply no room for some people at shelters, said Dudek. Main Street’s facility has been full on occasion and intoxicated people have nowhere else to go.“That’s where you start to see people more in the Winnipeg Transit bus shacks,” she said.“They’re survivalists. Quite often, people who aren’t comfortable staying in shelters in general, or are not able to access a shelter, will find other public places.”Even if there were more shelters, some people would not necessarily take advantage of them.The Main Street Project and the Salvation Army run outreach vans with workers that comb the streets at night to offer people warm clothing and a ride to a shelter.“Some people just say, ‘No, I’m not going to a shelter,’” Maj. Rob Kerr of the Salvation Army said. On one recent cold night and early morning, van workers spoke with 43 street people and not one wanted a ride to a shelter, he said. “We obviously can’t force someone … we will come circle back around in an hour or so and check on them.”Chippendale believes a safe, city-run warming centre — operating around the clock and open to intoxicated individuals — would bring more people indoors.“If there was one new central place and it was advertised so that people were aware of it … that would provide a place of refuge, a humane place — almost like a coffee shop where everyone is welcome.“To me that’s a true place of dignity, a 24-hour place welcome to all.”Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
MERRITT, B.C. — Police have suspended the search for a missing rancher in the wilderness north of Merritt, B.C., after six days of exhaustive effort turned up nothing.Thirty-two-year-old Ben Tyner was last seen on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Nicola ranch where he’d been hired as a manager in November.A local tracker said he found Tyner’s horse wandering alone in the bush in full tack early the following Monday.RCMP say a “large scale search” involved dog tracking teams, air support, drones, horseback riders and community volunteers.But in a statement Sunday evening, Mounties say the search has been suspended due to “extensive coverage in the area where the horse was found.”Extreme cold and poor weather conditions in the area were also factors.“Although the search is suspended at this time, the RCMP will continue to investigate and if further info is located the search can be reinstated,” Const. Tracy Dunsmore said in a statement.The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A Toronto police officer who is facing disciplinary charges in connection with a 2016 arrest of serial killer Bruce McArthur wants his case heard by a judge.Sgt. Paul Gauthier’s lawyer told a disciplinary tribunal the case must go before an independent adjudicator rather than a police superintendent assigned by Chief Mark Saunders.Lawrence Gridin began to make submissions on the issue today but was told it was too early in the process.Gauthier was scheduled to make his first appearance on insubordination and neglect of duty charges but was not present at the hearing, which was then adjourned to Feb. 26.Neither police not Gridin would comment on the exact nature of the charges, which relate to Gauthier’s role in an incident in which McArthur was arrested but not charged.Gridin said outside the hearing that the evidence will show his client “contributed” to the identification of McArthur as a serial killer and did not detract from the investigation.McArthur, who pleaded guilty last week to eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of men with ties to Toronto’s gay village, had been interviewed by police a few years ago in a separate, unrelated incident.The force’s professional standards unit launched an internal investigation related to the McArthur case in March 2018, two months after the self-employed landscaper was first charged with murder.The review was sparked when the detective leading the probe said he came across some “concerning” information while reviewing two previous investigations into five missing men from the gay village.The Canadian Press
QUEBEC — Finance Minister Eric Girard tabled the Coalition Avenir Quebec government’s first budget on Thursday. Here are some highlights:— Balanced books for the fifth straight year in Quebec, with a forecast surplus of $2.5 billion on total revenue of $115.6 billion, including $24.9 billion in federal transfers. The surplus will go to a fund aimed at lowering the province’s debt.— Estimated gross debt of $200.8 billion as of March 31, 2019. That represents 46.1 per cent of gross domestic product, continuing a downward trend from a peak of 54.3 per cent five years ago.— Expected economic growth of 1.8 per cent in 2019 and 1.5 per cent in 2020, down from 2.3 per cent in 2018.— Increase in overall spending of 5.0 per cent, with health and social services (5.4 per cent) and education (5.1 per cent) accounting for most of the increase.— Gradual elimination of daycare surcharge introduced by previous government, affecting 140,000 families this year. It will be eliminated in 2022, saving families a total of $185 million a year.— Reduction in school taxes over three years with the goal of reaching a single rate across the province, based on the lowest current rate. The cost to the province is set at $200 million in 2019-20.— Additional funding of $280 million a year as of 2019-20 in home care for seniors.— A $1-billion spending envelope to support so-called strategic businesses and retain head offices in the province.— First step toward universal pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds, with 250 classes added as of September 2019 and $1 billion budgeted over five years.— A plan to add an extra hour to the high school day for sports, arts and homework help, which will begin in 140 schools this year. The program will cost $21 million in 2019-20, rising to $124 million in 2021-22.The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The city and its partners will review planning for the Raptors’ victory parade that drew unprecedented crowds to the downtown, some of whom found themselves caught in a terrifying situation when gunfire erupted late in the proceedings, Toronto Mayor John Tory said on Tuesday.Some experts were critical of the planning for a parade that ran hours late due to clogged roads on a route and ended at an overflowing square in front of city hall, where about a million people spent hours without ready access to water or washrooms — or a safe way to get out in an emergency.Police acted fast to deal with the “scary moment” of gunfire, Tory said, as he denounced the “reckless actions” of those who took firearms to the celebration and praised organizers for their “extraordinary effort.”“This was a massive event, the likes of which our city has never seen before,” said Tory, who had urged employers in the city to give their staff time off to show up for the celebration. “They had three days to plan this parade.”Brad Ross, a spokesman for the city, said the review led by the city’s manager would look at all aspects of the event — among them the route, security and barriers used. Ross, too, said things went “extraordinary well” given the short planning time frame.“We had from Thursday to plan fully,” Ross said. “There were some discussions in advance of last Thursday, but couldn’t get into nitty-gritty until they won.”Paul Wertheimer, head of Los Angeles-based consulting company Crowd Management Strategies, called it unfathomable that detailed planning only began after the Raptors clinched the championship. Contingency plans, he said, should have been in place since it became apparent that the team were serious contenders.“It’s not like a storm that came out of nowhere,” Wertheimer said from Chicago on Tuesday. “You don’t wait to the last minute. If you only have a few days to do it, you can’t do it right.”One of the most important aspects of the plan, Wertheimer said, should have been to limit the number of people allowed into Nathan Phillips Square. Failure to do so, he said, leads to safety issues such as crowd crush and a lack of a way for people — who assume the event is being properly managed — to exit in an orderly and timely manner in an emergency.Police and city estimates put the crowds downtown on Monday at somewhere between one million and two million people — probably a Canadian record. Apart from the four people wounded in the shooting, police and paramedics reported few other injuries or issues.The city said Raptors owners, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, was in charge of putting the event together.“Pre-planning with the operations parties involved began at the start of the NBA Finals, with the plans being activated, of course, once the Raptors officially won,” said company spokesman Dave Haggith. “We will be conducting debrief sessions with unified command and operations stakeholders to implement appropriate measures for future events of this scale.”Russ Simons, managing partner with Tennessee-based Venue Solutions Group, said it would have been difficult to predict the outsize crowd of rapturous fans who came out for the parade.“It’s obviously at its most extreme when you have a championship like the NBA Finals — especially for a franchise that’s never had one before,” Simmons said from Los Angeles. “I don’t think that’s something anybody could reasonably anticipate. That creates a cascading effect.”Keith Still, a professor of crowd science at Manchester Metropolitan University, said the parade’s slow going due to crowding was appropriate.“The last thing you want to do at these events is get heavy handed and start imposing crowd controls because that can create significantly more safety problems,” Still said.Still commended police for their handling of the shooting. Contrast that, he said, with the response to the London Bridge attack in 2017, when it took several hours to get to the injured.—With a file from Liam CaseyColin Perkel, The Canadian Press
A group of school girls have selflessly donated the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet Justin Bieber to charity.Five Bloomington, IL 8th grade girls raised over $22,000 with their local school to help educate students across the globe. Epiphany Catholic students Sarah, Julia, Kelly, McKenna, & Kristine were announced this week as the winners of Justin Bieber’s Schools4All campaign with non-profit Pencils of Promise, an organization that builds schools in developing countries.For their prize, the girls received two plane tickets to meet Justin Bieber. Instead of debating over which girls should get the tickets, the five friends chose to instead selflessly donate their reward to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.In 2011, the girls worked together to create a team donation page and raised over $13,000, helping to build a pre-school in Nicaragua that is now dedicated to them. This year they returned to Epiphany Catholic to raise another $13,000, with Barnes and Noble matching most of the funds raised to reach a total of over $22,000.
Journalist and Children’s Health Fund board member Jane Pauley is reminding donors that the chance to triple your gifts to the charity ends on Friday.“As a journalist, I’ve spent my life on deadlines,” she wrote. “Today I’m writing to you about a deadline — because time is running out for you to triple your gift for children’s health.“For the next few days — until midnight on Friday — we can triple the impact of your support for our nation’s kids.“With back-to-school season on top of us, it’s critical that we give every boy and girl the healthy start they deserve. Your generous gift helps us do just that.“Every dollar you donate by midnight, August 30th, will be tripled—making sure we send boys and girls back to school healthy and ready to succeed.“I’ve seen first-hand the impact of Children’s Health Fund’s work, but none of it would be possible without your support. Please, open your heart to the thousands of boys and girls relying on us every day.”To make a donation, click here.
The sold-out Light Up The Blues concert to benefit Autism Speaks, hosted by Kristen and Stephen Stills, rocked The Theater at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles Saturday night.Headlining the night were Crosby, Stills and Nash (CSN), John Mayer, Don Felder, Brandi Carlile and Chris Stills. The night also featured performances by artists on the autism spectrum like rapper Rio “Soulschocka” Wyles who teamed up with guest artist Watsky, cellist Adam Mandela Walden and indie-rock artist Xolie Morra. Neal Katz, a non-verbal young man with autism delivered a talk via speech-to-text technology that called for more listening to individuals with special needs.The crowd of more than 1,600 – nearly all wearing the blue Autism Speaks puzzle-piece pin – were treated to an electrifying show, with John Mayer and Stephen Stills hammering out blazing guitar solos while Brandi Carlile belted the lyrics to the blues classic “I’ve Got To Use My Imagination.”Mayer later joined CSN to share lead guitar duty on “Almost Cut My Hair” followed by “Wooden Ships” which also featured Don Felder. The number was greeted with a standing ovation, one of many received by the night’s performers.The event was emceed by David and Leigh Koechner and featured appearance by actors Christina Applegate, Gary Cole, Dax Shepard and Dave Marciano.Also in attendance, Autism Speaks President Liz Feld and Executive Vice President of FX Networks Chuck Safler. The Autism Speaks national board member was instrumental in getting the stars out the help raise awareness for autism.The concert spotlights Light It Up Blue, Autism Speaks’ annual global awareness and fundraising campaign celebrated by the international Autism community during World Autism Awareness Day and throughout Autism Awareness Month in April. Proceeds from the concert will go towards Autism Speaks’ research and advocacy efforts for families and individuals impacted by the disorder.The 2013 “Light Up The Blues” concert documentary, emceed by actor and musician Jack Black, is now on sale through iTunes and features performances by CSN, Don Felder, Rickie Lee Jones, Lucinda Williams and Stephen Stills’ son Chris, among others.Source:Autism Speaks
The Screen Actors Guild Awards, as part of its commitment to sustainable practices, has announced an environmental partnership with American Forests to plant a tree for every attendee at the 22nd Annual SAG Awards at the headwaters of the Los Angeles River that will enhance the LARiverWorks restoration project.The announcement was made at a tree planting ceremony held in conjunction with the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office and Department of Public WorksA native tree signifying the initiative was planted at the L.A. River Greenway Trail pocket park in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Representing the SAG Awards was Committee Chair JoBeth Williams, Committee Member Woody Schultz, Executive Producer Kathy Connell and actor Katie Lowes (“Scandal”). Representing their respective organizations were American Forests President & CEO Scott Steen and Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commission President and Chief Film Liaison Kevin James.Each Tree Helps the LA River ”The SAG Awards is proud to be joining with American Forests and the City of Los Angeles on this creative way to help ensure a sustainable future for the people of the Los Angeles and to make a positive impact on the region where the team of more than 500 people who bring the SAG Awards to the air live and work,” Connell said.The SAG Awards partnership’s 1,250 trees will be planted in fire-damaged areas of the Los Angeles River’s source in the Angeles National Forest supporting the City of Los Angeles and Urban Waters Federal Partnership efforts to revitalize the L.A. River, highlighting that upstream and downstream actions are necessary to ensure a sustainable future for millions of Angelenos and the lives that they touch worldwide.Text-to-Give Live During the SAG Awards and Beyond Guests at the 22nd Annual SAG Awards ceremony on Saturday, January 30 and the public are invited to add additional trees through a Text-to-Give initiative. By texting FORESTS to 80077 supporters can plant an additional ten trees in the Angeles National Forest for just $10.In recognition of its ongoing efforts to implement sustainable initiatives and promote environmental awareness, the Screen Actors Guild Awards has been honored for the last seven years with the Environmental Media Association (EMA)‘s Green Seal. The SAG Awards is the only televised special event to have received this honor for that many consecutive years. In addition, in 2013 the SAG Awards received EMA’s Green Production Award, an honor that distinguished the SAG Awards amongst its peers for its environmentally progressive operations and ability to surpass its green efforts year after year.Conservation Makes a Difference The numerous green practices SAG Awards has instituted over the years are saving nearly four tons of paper per year through online credentialing, submissions, voting and delivery of media and for your consideration materials; a production-wide recycling and reuse program; conscientious selection of green stage and decor materials and use of zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell-powered red carpet power and lighting.American Forests was founded in 1875, making it the first national nonprofit conservation organization in the country. It has planted more than 50 million trees in just the last 25 years. Their work has restored hundreds of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, protected vital watersheds and sequestered millions of tons of greenhouse gases in all 50 states and in 45 countries.The City of Los Angeles Restores Its River Mayor Garcetti and the City of Los Angeles are working with many critical stakeholders to revitalize the 51-mile Los Angeles River and its more than 800 square mile watershed. On December 18, the Chief of Engineers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers endorsed the most sweeping restoration effort to address environmental damage that has occurred since the river was channelized in the 1930s. That federally-led restoration effort will take place along an 11-mile stretch of the river in the City of L.A. Mayor Garcetti and the Urban Waters Federal Partnership continue to encourage the planting of native species all along the river and in its upstream watershed because it strengthens biodiversity, creates important wildlife movement corridors, improves urban cooling and, in general, supports the sustainability of our region.
Login/Register With: Warner Bros. Television’s Riverdale is a hit for British Columbia’s economy (CNW Group/Motion Picture Association – Canada) Advertisement Facebook B.C. production crew and other labour received 75% of the total B.C. expenditure, while the remaining 25% was spent on purchases of B.C. goods and services.British Columbians who tune into Riverdale will see plenty of familiar locations, as the series shot in 31 communities across the province. Vancouver’s Strathcona and New Westminster neighbourhoods provided homes for Archie and Betty, while Lord Byng, Point Grey, and John Oliver Secondary Schools have each played the part of Riverdale High. Nearby Alouette Lake took on the role of Sweetwater River. Outside of Vancouver, production took place in 15 B.C. communities, including Maple Ridge, Mission, Fort Langley, and Burnaby.“Locating Riverdale in Langley has provided access to a host of great untapped locations, which has added to the look of the show,” said producer Connie Dolphin, “we look forward to a season 2 in British Columbia.”“More than 600 of our professional artists and technicians are thrilled to see their work on Riverdale hit the screen,” saidPhil Klapwyk, IATSE 891 Business Representative. “Productions like this prove that great jobs for average British Columbians are a crucial part of the creative economy.”“We’re very proud of the collaboration that delivers Riverdale,” said Prem Gill, CEO of Creative BC. “Warner Brothers, our skilled industry workforce and the locations and communities that host the show all contribute to make B.C.’s motion picture economy successful.”“Riverdale is not only an enormous hit with viewers, it is a huge success for the B.C. economy said Wendy Noss, President, Motion Picture Association-Canada. In its first season alone, Riverdale spent over 22 million, engaged 773 vendors from 31 communities across B.C., and has resulted in spin-off tourism benefits for the province as fans flock to iconic locales across the lower mainland.About MPA-Canada:The Motion Picture Association – Canada (MPA-Canada) serves as the voice and advocate of the major international producers and distributors of movies, home entertainment and television programming in Canada and is an affiliate of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA). The motion picture studios we serve include: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios LLC; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.About MNP LLP:MNP is the fastest growing chartered accountancy and business advisory firm in Canada. Founded in 1945, MNP has grown to more than 70 offices and nearly 3,000 team members. MNP is a member of Praxity, a global alliance of leading business advisory firms.To read the MNP analysis, click hereFollow us on Twitter Twitter VANCOUVER, Nov. 29, 2017 – An economic analysis released today highlights the substantial positive impact the production of Riverdale has in communities across British Columbia.“Riverdale’s impact study demonstrates how the motion picture industry provides well paying, family supporting jobs that make life better for British Columbians,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture. “The breadth of economic impact this industry provides supports a strong and sustainable economy.”The report by Canada’s MNP LLP examines the first season of the Archie Comics reboot to assess the economic impact of two seasons of production. The report estimates that the combined spending in B.C. in the first two seasons of Riverdale totals $60.4 million. Riverdale‘s first season alone created 1,041 jobs, with total spending in the province of over $22.4 million. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement