BELLA BELLA, B.C. – The coast guard says a loaded fuel barge that broke away from its tug off British Columbia’s central coast has reached safer waters and is now moored.A tweet from the coast guard says the barge Zidell Marine 277 is at anchor, along with the tug that towed it to Norman Morison Bay at the northern tip of Campbell Island, on the Inside Passage.The coast guard says booms have been placed around both vessels as a precaution, but no pollution has been observed.The barge was loaded with 3.5 million litres of diesel and 468,000 litres of gasoline when its owner, Washington state-based Harley Marine Services, says it broke away from its tug Sunday after being hit by powerful waves.Company vice-president of safety Rich Softye says the crew from the tug was able to board the barge and drop its anchor, preventing it from drifting onto a nearby island.Softye says a full investigation is being done and the company is also questioning the manufacturer of the system that couples its tugs to barges.
OTTAWA – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s personal life is no longer under wraps.A series of Instagram photos posted over the weekend show Singh and fashion designer Gurkiran Kaur Sidhu attending what appears to be a pre-engagement party.The pair are dressed in traditional Punjabi garments and one post congratulated the couple on their “rokha” —a traditional Punjabi ceremony held ahead of a wedding and usually attended by close family.James Smith, a spokesperson for Singh, says the leader is neither engaged nor married; he says the families of the couple met at the gathering.Sidhu, 27, identified herself online as the co-founder of Jangirro, a clothing line based in the Greater Toronto Area.Until now, the 38-year-old Singh has been guarded about his personal life, declining to confirm or deny that he’s even in a relationship.As of Monday afternoon, Sidhu’s Twitter and Instagram accounts had been deactivated.
OTTAWA – A seemingly off-the-cuff remark by Justin Trudeau morphed into a scornful segment on one of U.S. President Donald Trump’s favourite TV shows Tuesday just as the prime minister heads to the U.S. in hopes of selling Canada’s virtues stateside.“Fox and Friends” was among the mainstream media outlets that seized on a surprising exchange between Trudeau and a woman at a town hall event, an interaction that’s since spun out to become a subject of global ridicule on the right side of the political spectrum.The woman was going on about the need for more support for religious organizations and said maternal love was key to changing the future of mankind. At that point, Trudeau interjected, cheerfully telling her, “We like to say peoplekind, not necessarily mankind. It’s more inclusive.”The remark was warmly received by both the woman and many others in the audience, but when footage of the exchange surfaced Tuesday, it drew withering condemnation from social and mainstream media.Prominent British TV broadcaster Piers Morgan called Trudeau a “Chief PC Plonker,” accusing him of killing off mankind. Australian columnist Rita Panahi called him the “Kim Kardashian of political leaders; an all-style, no-substance himbo with all the depth of a puddle.”Jokes abounded, with pictures posted of comic superhero Batman changing his name to “Batperson” or the province of Manitoba becoming “Peopletoba.”Conservative parliamentarians also got in a few jabs. At one point Tuesday during a testy question period exchange, deputy Tory leader Lisa Raitt urged the prime minister to “person up.”“Fox and Friends” devoted a segment to the term featuring University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson, who has gained notoriety for steadfastly refusing to use gender-neutral terms, turning him into something of a celebrity on the right.The show is known to be among Trump’s favourites, and he often posts tweets in direct response to what they are reporting. On Tuesday, however, the president appeared to be holding his thumbs.The two leaders are not scheduled to meet during Trudeau’s four-day trip to the U.S. this week.The prime minister begins in Chicago, where he’s pitching the benefits of progressive trade in a region that’s seen deals like NAFTA take away stable and solid Midwest jobs. Updating NAFTA is a way to ensure the deal benefits a broader swath of people, the Liberals argue.Trudeau was at the top of the list of speakers requested by students at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.“Perhaps in the era of Trump, there are a lot of students who are looking north and feel a sense of identification with the sense of direction he’s leading your country,” said David Axelrod, a former top adviser to Barack Obama, who is moderating the event.Not unlike Obama, Trudeau’s progressive policies make him an easy punching bag for the U.S. right.The Liberal payout to Omar Khadr, his praise for Fidel Castro and in January, his defence of refusing to give federal government money to explicitly pro-life organizations have all drawn attention.“This man is reprehensible,” former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka tweeted after Trudeau said pro-life groups were out of touch with Canadian society.Gorka is now a contributor to the Canadian-based conservative news outlet Rebel Media, which was among the first to pick up on the “peoplekind” remark after footage of it began circulating online.— with files from Jordan Press
Hundreds of fans filled up the tiny arrival section of the airport in London, Ont., singing the national anthem and waving Canadian flags to welcome ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.The pair signed flags, signs and Tim Hortons cups in what will be their last Olympic homecoming, as they retire from professional ice dancing after winning two sets of gold medals at the Pyeongchang Games.Their first-place wins in ice dancing and team figure skating in South Korea brought their total Olympic medal count to five, making them the most decorated figure skaters in the history of the Games.Cheering crowds also greeted Canada’s athletes in Vancouver, where gold medallists Cassie Sharpe and Patrick Chan returned Monday.Athletes also received a boisterous welcome in Montreal, where more than 100 people greeted returning athletes with hollers, horns and cheers at Pierre Trudeau International Airport.In London, Moir and Virtue were shocked by the number of people who came out to meet them.“We’re tired but this is so exciting for us, we’ve been thinking about this moment being back home since we won the gold medal,” said Moir, who is from nearby Ilderton, Ont. “It’s been unbelievable, we haven’t come down from Cloud 9.”Moir said representing Canada had only gotten more special in his third Olympics with Virtue.“None of the magic had worn off,” said Moir, who together with Virtue was Canada’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony. “If anything, you feel more patriotic and we understand more what it means to represent Canada and wear the flag on our back.”“It’s special and sentimental because it’s been 20 years in the making and it’s the culmination of it all competitively,” added Virtue. “It couldn’t have gone any better for us.”Asked when they think they’ll come down from the high of winning, Virtue replied: “do we have to?”The duo has been melting hearts since they claimed gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games, but this year they garnered a whole new group of fans who swooned over their chemistry on the ice. Some have suggested they might be in a romantic relationship — a rumour the athletes have been denying for years.In Vancouver, Chan said it was just beginning to sink in that he’d won gold in the team skating event.“It’s a nice feeling,” the Toronto skater said with a grin, adding that he plans to leave it in his suitcase for a little while.“I’ll take a look at it every once in a while. It’s sometimes better to keep it away and then just enjoy it once in a while.”Chan, 27, will also retire from competition, although he said he would continue to be involved in skating and perform at shows. He also hopes to eventually open his own skating school that will bring together Vancouver-area coaches and athletes.“I’ve waited for so long, in a way,” said Chan, who recently relocated to B.C. “It’s a new beginning and a rebirth.”But first, he’ll enjoy a rest.“I’m going to just take a week to not do anything, not be a skater, not be an athlete and just enjoy B.C., enjoy everything I love about this place,” he said.Sharpe, from Comox, B.C., also said she was excited to be back in her own bed, cook herself some food and “just hang out.” Her gold medal in freestyle skiing halfpipe was tucked into the pocket of her Team Canada sweater.“It’s phenomenal,” she said. “It feels even better to hold it on Canadian soil. It feels good bringing it home.”“Personally, it’s a bucket list thing. How many people get to say they won gold at the Olympics?” she added. “But then of course, feeling the pride and feeling everybody from Canada being so proud of you and being so happy that you’re bringing it home to them … it’s incredible.”Women’s hockey veteran Meghan Agosta was wearing her silver medal as she arrived in Vancouver. She said it was “unfortunate” that the final game against the U.S. ended in a 3-2 shootout loss.“When it comes down to a shootout, anything could happen,” she said. “But I’m so proud and happy with every single one of us girls in that room, we showed a lot of character, a lot of resilience.”Asked about her teammate Jocelyn Larocque’s initial refusal to wear her silver medal on the ice, Agosta said it was the “heat of the moment.“The decision that she made, it wasn’t any ill will,” said Agosta. “She didn’t mean to disrespect anybody. We train so hard and we went there for gold. It was unfortunate that we ended up losing, but Jocelyn Larocque, she’s an amazing leader, an amazing person, a great teammate.”Agosta took a year off from her job as a Vancouver police officer to train for the Olympics. She said she returns to the force in May.Bobsled pilot Chris Spring of Priddis, Alta., who didn’t bring home a medal, said he was excited for his fellow athletes who did. He said he was driving well during the two-man race but made a poor choice of runners on the first day, and his efforts to be aggressive on the second day didn’t pan out.“Huge credit to the coaching staff and everyone behind the scenes, the mechanics,” he said after arriving in Vancouver.“I was excited to leave,” he added with a laugh. “If you have a great Games, you’re excited to come home and share your results with Canada here, with family and friends. If you don’t have a great result at the Games, then you’re also pretty excited to get home.”Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, who ended their competitive careers with a bronze medal in pairs figure skating, were among the athletes who returned to Montreal.“This was our last competitive competition, so it closes the book on this story,” Radford said. “We look forward to doing shows and performing for people, but in a different context.”Duhamel said she felt “so settled and so content. Couldn’t have asked for it to be any more than what it was. I just felt so settled.”Moreover, when Canada’s skating team won gold, Radford became the first openly gay man to win an Olympic gold medal.“I feel really proud of that fact,” he said. “My success in skating allows me to tell my story, and I try to inspire LGBT youth and young athletes in general.”The Pyeongchang Winter Games were the final Olympis for speedskater Charles Hamelin, who was part of the short-track team which captured bronze in the men’s 5,000-metre relay final.“I tried to take a little moment with the guys and myself and to look in the crowd,” he said after his last skate. “I tried to look everywhere in the stadium, just to make sure I remember the moment forever.”Kim Boutin, the 23-year-old flag bearer for the closing ceremonies from Sherbrooke, Que., raced to three speed-skating medals in Pyeongchang — silver in the 1,000 metres, and bronze in both the 500 and 1,500.“I will be sleeping, eating, just spending time with family,” she said. “I feel accomplished in what I did.”She was hit hard online, however, with death threats and insults after she was blamed when South Korean star Minjeong Choi was disqualified in the 500.“That’s part of the athlete’s life,” she said about the online hate. “I was ready for that situation. My team helped me get through that obstacle.”
TORONTO – As the temperatures outside get warmer, police say the reported number of cases of voyeurism tend to rise.Domenic Sinopoli, an inspector with the Toronto police sex crimes unit, says around 60 per cent of all voyeurism cases are reported during the summer.He says it’s reasonable to assume that’s because people are wearing less clothing and are outside more often.Voyeurism is defined in the Criminal Code as surreptitious observation or recording of someone who is in circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy.It’s a crime that can come with a prison term of up to five years.Police say the number of instances where someone is being recorded or photographed inappropriately are growing — and so is the market for such content.Last month, a 29-year-old man was charged after he allegedly used his cellphone to take so-called “upskirt” photos of women inside a grocery store in Toronto’s west end, and in May a camera was found in a Starbucks bathroom in the city’s financial district, police said.Google returns more than six-million results when searching “upskirt pictures”. The first results lead to online pornography, while others are companies selling gadgets to help take “pictures discreetly from smartphone.”“There is a market for everything and anything online, especially pornography,” said Jordan Donich, a defence lawyer based in Toronto.“Smartphones have made it easier to commit the offence. Ten or 15 years ago, it wouldn’t happen as much because you didn’t have the technology,” said Donich.However, he believes sharing the content online is not the primary reason for offenders to take pictures or record people without their consent.“They are doing it because they like it, because they want to do it, and the fact that there is a market for it is a by-product,” he said.Although some offences are planned, most are done impulsively and spontaneously, said Donich, adding that the offences are often very unsophisticated.“They will almost always use a smartphone with the flash on … for obvious reasons,” he said.Deb Singh, a counsellor and activist for the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape, said she encourages people to call out any instance where they believe someone is taking inappropriate photos or videos.She said this “starts a dialogue” and will continue to “advance the conversation around sexual assault and harassment.”During the summer, Singh said she hears more from mothers who talk about cases where people were taking photos of their kids in bathing suits at the beach or splash pads.“It’s important that we call out these types of things because we need to look out for each other,” said Singh.Sinopoli said reporting someone who is taking inappropriate photos or video in a public place — where someone can not assume privacy — can get tricky, and that each case is quite different.Donich said the sentencing and penalties handed down depend on a lot of factors. Someone who does not have any previous criminal record and has only taken the picture for which they were caught might be sent home with no criminal record.But there are also the more serious offences, for example, where fake clocks and devices were installed in private “massage” rooms, said Donich.“It’s still the same offence, but you can see how committing it in one context versus another makes it look a lot different,” he said, adding that most offences fall in the middle.The number of offences is not only increasing in Toronto, but also around the world. Britain’s Conservative government announced in June it would propose a ban on so-called “upskirting” photos.
CALGARY – Paralyzed Humboldt Broncos player Ryan Straschnitzki is drenched in sweat after a workout that more closely resembled military boot camp than physiotherapy.The 19-year-old’s two-hour routine at Synaptic: Spinal Cord Injury and Neuro Rehabilitation Centre in Calgary included chin ups, boxing, heavy rope training and pulling himself into a full standing position from his wheelchair just with the use of his arms.“It’s a lot more vigorous here,” said Straschnitzki, who was discharged from the Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia earlier this month.He said the first time he pulled himself to his feet, it was a bit scary.“It was pretty intimidating. But once I did it, I said let’s keep doing this and work on it.”Straschnitzki was paralyzed from the chest down April 6 when a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team and a semi-trailer collided north of Tisdale, Sask. The crash killed 16 people and injured 13 others.“This is going to make Philadelphia seem like a vacation,” said Synaptic’s executive director and founder Uyen Nguyen, who worked as a sports therapist for elite athletes before opening the clinic in 2012.“His body has recovered a little bit more so he’s able to tolerate more.”Straschnitzki was all smiles after an assessment at the centre.“I realized I’ve got some movement back in my core muscles. They’re pretty weak but they’re getting back so I’m pretty excited,” he said.“They should come back stronger and who knows what will happen after.”Nguyen said Straschnitzki is now able to flex some of his stomach muscles and it’s a good sign.“Our assessment shows he has some voluntary control below his level of injury so he’s able to contract some of the abdominal muscles on command. So it’s voluntary. We’ll work on that six pack,” she said.“It’s encouraging.”Nguyen said in the short term, Straschnitzki will be at the centre for up to a year.“We don’t have a discharge date. We don’t have this checklist of you’ve met all these things and goodbye, good luck. What we find in here is most people’s goals evolve over time,” she said.“We’re constantly pushing to see where the limitations are. We don’t know what he’s capable of so, until you try, you don’t know and it’s really a discovery process.”Tom Straschnitzki says his son has made “big time” progress since he began his therapy at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary three months ago.“He’s getting his balance, but that’s also from the training from Philly and the occupational therapists in Foothills also. It’s kind of progressed to where he is now. Now they’re just taking it over and doing it extra hard,” he said.Almost immediately after the April bus crash, Ryan Straschnitzki talked about playing for the national sledge hockey team.Instead of skates, players use double-blade sledges that allow the puck to pass beneath. They have two sticks which have a spike-end for pushing and a blade-end for shooting.Straschnitzki’s dream of returning to the ice came true late last week. He was able to try out the sport which is one of the most popular events at the Winter Paralympic Games.Straschnitzki, wearing full hockey gear, propelled himself along the ice in Okotoks, south of Calgary.“First time on ice since April 5,” Tom Straschnitzki posted on Twitter. “BIGGEST SMILE momma and I have ever seen.”— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
Last weekend, three dogs died almost immediately after playing in the Saint John River near Fredericton.Though officials are still trying to determine if blue-green algal toxicity killed the animals, people are being warned to keep kids and pets away from any water with green scum on the surface.Given the warning, many people are asking: What is blue-green algae and how dangerous is it?Here’s five things you need to know:1. Algae blooms are most common in summer or early fall.That’s true, but according to the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health, blue-green algae — also known as cyanobacteria — can occur in Canada at any time of year. The microscopic organisms can be found in fresh, brackish or salt water.Janice Lawrence, an associate professor of biology at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, studies toxic algo blooms. Lawrence says cyanobacteria are actually different from algae.“Cyanobacteria are a group of bacterias that are capable of photosynthesizing, so they can harvest the sun’s energy for their basic function — so they’re separate,” Lawrence says.“The reason we call them cyanobacteria is because they have a cyan or blue-green colour, and that comes from the pigments they use to harvest the light.”Cyanobacteria are often confused with regular algae, which is green and lives in the same environments.2. Not all cyanobacteria are toxic.However, every bloom should be treated as if it is toxic.“They become troublesome when they produce toxins, and only a very small proportion of cyanobacteria produce toxins,” Lawrence says.Between 80 to 100 different compounds have been discovered in these blooms, and all have different levels of toxicity.They’re generally grouped into three classes: those that affect skin; those that affect the liver; and those that affect the nervous system.3. The toxins have similar effects on humans and animals.Cyanobacteria can produce cyanotoxins, which in high concentrations are harmful to animal and human health. In rare cases, exposure has been fatal to humans.The toxins that affect the nervous system can affect breathing.“Your diaphragm no longer works so you can’t breath,” says Lawrence. “You suffocate.”4. People should take these public health warnings seriously.Lawrence says she went rowing on the Saint John River on Friday morning, but she took precautions.Splashing around in the water can create aerosols, which can be ingested or inhaled.“I waded in with my boat and I made sure I washed everything really well when I got home,” she says.“I was just very careful not to ingest anything and not splash around very much. And I didn’t take my dog to the river, nor my young son — and I won’t until I know what the source of the toxins is.”5. Blue-green algae grow in warm conditions when water levels are low and can produce toxins that can affect the brain.Provincial veterinarian Dr. Jim Goltz has said the dogs in question died within a half-hour of being in the river.That fact is a key concern for Lawrence.“If it is a neurotoxin, it had to be fairly concentrated because of how rapidly they died,” she says. “And the locations were on opposite sides of the river — Carleton Park and Hartt Island, about seven kilometres apart. So that’s quite a distance.”
OTTAWA – Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says she is taking a personal interest in the possible poisoning of a Canadian member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot.German doctors have been treating a Pyotr Verzilov, a Pussy Riot member, since he arrived in Berlin on the weekend from Moscow.One physician told reporters on Tuesday that claims Verzilov was poisoned are “highly plausible.”But doctors don’t know how it could have happened or who might be responsible.Dr. Kai-Uwe Eckardt of Berlin’s Charite hospital told reporters that Verzilov’s condition is not life threatening.Freeland said Tuesday that she spoke with Verzilov’s mother on Friday and assured his family he will have the government’s full support because he is a Canadian citizen.“Pyotr’s situation is one that our government is following with very close interest and it is one that I am personally very closely engaged in,” she said Tuesday. “This is something we are monitoring very closely and we will act appropriately.”Freeland has been a strong critic of the Russian government of Vladimir Putin for its invasion and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula four years ago, its meddling in foreign elections and for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the British town of Salisbury.Russia has banned Freeland from travelling to the country because of her past criticism of Putin in writings when she was a journalist.— with files from the Associated Press
VANCOUVER – The Public Health Agency of Canada says an investigation is underway into an outbreak of salmonella infections involving five provinces, mostly in western Canada.The agency says on its website that the source of the outbreak has not been identified yet, although many of the people who became sick reported eating cucumbers.It says that as of Friday, there have been 37 confirmed cases in British Columbia, five in Alberta, and one case each in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec.The person from Quebec reported travelling to British Columbia before becoming ill, the agency says.The cases occurred between mid-June and late-September, and nine people have been hospitalized.The agency says it’s collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada as part of the investigation.“The outbreak appears to be ongoing, as illnesses continue to be reported,” the statement on the Public health Agency of Canada website said.No deaths have been reported.The agency said there is no evidence at this time to suggest that residents in central and eastern Canada are affected by this outbreak.Salmonella infection usually results from eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs or egg products.Healthy people may experience short-term symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.
REGINA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer welcomed 2019 with a warning that if Canadians re-elect Justin Trudeau this year, the federal carbon tax that’s going to take effect will only climb.“Canadians know what Justin Trudeau is going to do. Now that his carbon tax is here, it’s only going to go up. And if he gets re-elected in 10 months, it will go up even more,” Scheer said during a New Year’s Day news conference in a Giant Tiger store in Regina.“This time next year I plan on being able to tell Canadians that Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax is a thing of the past.”The federal government’s new carbon pricing system comes into effect in 2019 in provinces that don’t have carbon pricing mechanisms of their own. The carbon price outlined by Ottawa starts at a minimum of $20 a tonne and rises $10 annually until 2022.But Scheer told reporters that government officials are saying the tax would need to rise to $100 per tonne for it to be effective at reducing carbon emissions, and he says the federal environment department is planning for a carbon tax of $300 per tonne.“So we know Justin Trudeau will raise the carbon tax higher. His experts are telling him to. His own government departments are telling him to,” Scheer said.“At that price home heating bills will rise by more than $1,000 a year and gas prices would go up by more than 60 cents a litre.”When asked by a reporter about his own plan to fight climate change, Scheer responded that the Conservatives’ plan will help reduce global emissions by capitalizing on Canada’s clean technology and cleaner energy, which he said will also keep manufacturing jobs in Canada instead of moving to countries without those things.Canada’s former parliamentary budget officer predicted in a report in April that the federal government’s carbon tax will cut economic growth by 0.5 per cent or $10 billion dollars when it’s fully implemented in 2022, and would generate significant revenues.However, Jean-Denis Frechette’s report noted the impact on the economy will depend on how those revenues are used.Trudeau says Ottawa will return 90 per cent of the money it collects from a carbon tax to Canadians.Saskatchewan is asking its Court of Appeal to rule on whether the carbon tax is unconstitutional and has argued its climate change plan is enough to reduce emissions and a carbon tax would hurt the Saskatchewan economy.Scheer, who represents Regina—Qu’Appelle in Parliament, said Saskatchewan’s fight against the tax gets easier as more provinces elect governments that also oppose it, like Ontario and New Brunswick did in 2018.“Premier (Scott) Moe and Premier (Brad) Wall before him had a bit of a lonely battle but now they’ve got reinforcements. And my message to Canadians is come 2019, the battle will be won,” Scheer said.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada’s parliamentary budget watchdog says the Liberal government paid the “sticker price” when it bought the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion.Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux estimates the Trans Mountain pipeline and planned expansion project are worth between $3.6 billion and $4.6 billion.This means government’s purchase price of $4.5 billion was on the high end of the project’s total calculated value.Giroux also estimates expanding the pipeline’s capacity will cost $9.3 billion if the project is completed by Dec. 31, 2021.He warns any construction delays or increases in costs would reduce the value of the project and its resale value, meaning the government could have overpaid for the pipeline.The government bought the pipeline from Kinder Morgan in August after political opposition to expanding the pipeline between Alberta and the B.C. coast gave the company and its investors cold feet.The Canadian Press
The federal government has finalized a deal that will deliver millions of dollars to a remote Indigenous community in northern Ontario to help tackle a housing crisis that is affecting the health of residents.Ottawa says the agreement signed Thursday represents an investment of up to $12.8 million in Cat Lake First Nation — more than the roughly $10 million promised in an interim deal reached last month.In a statement, Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan says the government will provide $5 million to build 15 new housing units in Cat Lake and $2.1 million to repair and renovate 21 houses.The federal government will also put up another $3.1 million for 10 new portable homes and $200,000 for a new temporary warehouse.Another $2.4 million has been earmarked for “associated costs,” such as site surveying and inspections, transporting materials on the winter ice road and hiring various managers to oversee the project and the maintenance of units.The Cat Lake band declared an emergency in January, saying terrible housing conditions in the community had led to severe lung and skin ailments, especially affecting about 100 children.The fly-in Ojibway community of about 450 people is about 180 kilometres north of Sioux Lookout, Ont.O’Regan said Thursday the signing of the final deal — which was done by videoconference because bad weather prevented him from flying out from Thunder Bay, Ont. — represents “an important step.”The minister said he and Cat Lake Chief Matthew Keewaykapow discussed ongoing challenges such as the impact of weather on the winter ice road that leads to the community.“This is a primary and urgent concern. The chief and I agreed to stay in close contact to ensure that materials, construction supplies, and modular units, especially those that already mobilized for delivery from Pickle Lake, will be transported to the community as soon as the winter road is able to support the weight of those loads,” he said in a statement.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Ontario regulators have no right to block a company legally operating elsewhere in Canada from selling prescription eyewear to online customers in the province, an Appeal Court ruled on Thursday.The decision means Ontario consumers can continue to order corrective glasses and contact lenses from British Columbia-based online retailer Essilor, which sells Coastal and Clearly products.“The mere delivery in Ontario of an order for prescription eyewear that has been processed in compliance with the British Columbia regulatory regime, without more, does not establish a sufficient connection between Essilor’s online sales and the controlled acts proscribed by (Ontario’s laws),” the Appeal Court ruled.“Where the supplier of the prescription eyewear operates in another province and complies with that province’s health-professions regulatory regime when filling an online order placed by an Ontario customer, the final act of delivering that product to the Ontario purchaser does not amount to the performance of a ‘controlled act’ by the supplier.”The case arose in December 2016 when regulators in Ontario — the colleges of Optometrists and Opticians — alleged Essilor was acting illegally by accepting orders for prescription eyewear through its websites and shipping the products to patients in Ontario. It wanted the courts to end the practice.In essence, the colleges argued only licensed professionals in Ontario could dispense prescription eyewear in the province. The colleges offered no evidence anyone was actually harmed by Essilor’s practices.In January 2018, Superior Court Justice Thomas Lederer sided with the colleges. He ruled the company was dispensing corrective eyewear in Ontario and concluded the province’s rules should apply. Lederer ordered Essilor to stop the sales.Essilor Group Canada, whose head office is in Quebec but runs its online operation out of B.C., appealed, also winning permission to continue its sales pending the outcome of the case. It argued that fulfilling Ontario orders did not amount to the controlled act of dispensing prescription eyewear.The subsidiary of France-based international eyewear giant, Essilor International, also argued Lederer wrongly decided that Ontario’s regulations applied to its online sales.According to court filings, the Canadian prescription eyewear market is estimated to be worth more than $4.5 billion a year. The Appeal Court noted that eyewear is part of a trend toward online retail sales.“The explosion in the volume and variety of online consumer transactions over the past decade has included the emergence of an online market for the purchase and sale of prescription eye glasses and contact lenses,” the court said. “In some jurisdictions, friction has emerged between the online vendors of such products and the professional health-care bodies that historically have regulated the sale.”In siding with Essilor, the appellate court found the company was acting lawfully in its home province, which has a similar regulatory framework to Ontario. Nor was it “dispensing” eyewear in Canada’s most populous province by fulfilling orders in B.C. and shipping them across the country.Leaning on Quebec case law, the court also noted that providing prescription eyewear is a transaction with both health care and commercial aspects.Barring the online sales would amount to using Ontario’s Regulated Health Professions Act to give the province’s optometrists and opticians a monopoly over the commercial importation of prescription eyewear.That could only happen if the legislature passed a law to clearly allow such a monopoly — something current regulations do not do, the court said.Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Since Confederation, at least 93 MPs have sat as Independents in the House of Commons. The vast majority of them were elected originally as members of a party and either left or were forced out for various reasons ranging from criminal allegations to disagreements over policy.Only a few successfully ran as Independent candidates, and even fewer managed to find any power as Independents when a minority government needed their votes to stave off defeat.Here are some of the more recent and memorable Independents:John Nunziata — Elected as a Liberal MP in the Toronto riding of York South-Weston in 1984, 1988 and 1993. In 1996 he was expelled from the Liberal caucus for voting against the government’s budget. In 1997 he ran and won as an Independent. In 2000 he ran as an Independent and lost to Liberal Alan Tonks.Andre Arthur — An outspoken and well-known radio host, Arthur was elected in 2006 as an Independent MP in the Quebec riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. He was one of the very few truly Independent MPs, with no previous partisan affiliations. Arthur never joined the Conservative party but because he backed the Conservative minority government often, the Conservatives did not run a candidate against him in either 2008 or 2011. He won in 2008 but in 2011 he lost to the NDP.Tony Roman — Elected as an Independent in a Toronto riding in 1984, he served a single term before throwing his backing to the Progressive Conservative candidate in the 1988 election. Like Arthur, he is one of the few Canadian MPs elected as Independents who had not previously been in another party.Chuck Cadman — Elected as a Reform MP in Surrey, B.C. in 1997, and re-elected under the Canadian Alliance banner in 2000, Cadman lost a nomination challenge for the merged Conservative party nomination in 2004. He ran as an Independent and won and refused invitations to rejoin the Conservatives. As an Independent MP in that Parliament, which had a Liberal minority government, Cadman held significant power and his vote in favour of the 2005 budget saved the Paul Martin government from defeat.Gilles Bernier — The father of People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier, Gilles Bernier was elected as a Progressive Conservative in Quebec’s Beauce riding in 1984 and 1988. In 1993, he was not allowed to run as a Tory because of fraud charges (he was later acquitted), but ran and won as an Independent.Bill Casey — Elected in Nova Scotia in 1988, 1993, 1997 and 2000 as a Progressive Conservative MP, he joined and ran for the merged Conservative Party in 2004 and 2006. In 2007 he was expelled from the Conservative caucus for voting against the government’s budget over concerns about the Atlantic Accord. In 2008 he ran and won as an Independent but resigned in 2009. In 2015, he ran again, this time as a Liberal, and won.Scott Andrews — Elected as a Liberal MP from Newfoundland in 2008, he was removed from the Liberal caucus in 2014 following allegations of sexual misconduct. He ran as an Independent in the 2015 election and finished a distant second, to Liberal Ken McDonald.Helena Guergis — Elected as a Conservative MP in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011 in the Simcoe-Grey riding north of Toronto, Guergis was also cabinet minister between 2008 and 2010. She was forced out of the Conservative caucus in 2010 over unspecified allegations and prime minister Stephen Harper said he had asked the RCMP to investigate her conduct. The police later said they found no evidence of criminal behaviour. She ran as an Independent in 2011 and lost to Conservative Kellie Leitch.Brent Rathgeber — Elected as a Conservative MP from Alberta in 2008, and 2011, he resigned from the caucus in 2013 over what he said was the lack of commitment the Conservative government had to transparency. He ran as an Independent in 2015 and lost to Conservative Michael Cooper.Bev Desjarlais —Elected as a New Democrat in the Manitoba riding of Churchill in 1997, 2000 and 2004, Desjarlais split with her party over its support for same-sex marriage. She was challenged successfully for the NDP nomination in Churchill in 2006 by Niki Ashton. Desjarlais immediately resigned from the NDP caucus and then ran as an Independent that year and lost, with the Liberals picking up the seat.David Kilgour — Elected first as a Progressive Conservative in 1979, he was expelled from the caucus for voting against the GST in 1990 and joined the Liberals after sitting as an Independent. He left the Liberals in 2005 in the midst of the sponsorship scandal, but his vote as an Independent in favour of the 2005 Liberal budget helped keep the government alive.Farther back in history, some big names won election as independents:Louis Riel — The Metis leader ran for Parliament three times as an Independent in Manitoba in the 1870s. He won but feared arrest if he appeared in Parliament. Though he signed the MPs’ register in disguise once, Riel did not take his seat and the Commons expelled him (twice, the second time after Riel won the byelection forced by his first expulsion).Henri Bourassa — The Quebec nationalist leader and founder of Le Devoir served several stints as an MP between 1896 and 1935, including nearly 10 years as an Independent between 1926 and 1935. He also sat as a Liberal at times.Camillien Houde — Best known for his multiple terms as mayor of Montreal and for being interned over his public opposition to conscription in the Second World War, Houde lost as a Conservative in a 1938 byelection and as an Independent in 1945 before winning as an Independent in 1949. He served one term as the MP for Papineau.The Canadian Press
AIRDRIE, Alta. — An ad shows a serious Ryan Straschnitzki taping up his hockey stick and pulling on an Adidas jersey before he slides away on an ice sled.“As a kid I always dreamed of playing for Team Canada … and I still do,” Straschnitzki narrates in the commercial.“You know, when one door closes, another one opens.”The 20-year-old from Airdrie, Alta., was paralyzed from the chest down after a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team crashed into a semi truck that ran a stop sign in April 2018.Sixteen people were killed and 13, including Straschnitzki, were injured in the collision in rural Saskatchewan.Shortly after the crash, Straschnitzki made it his goal to join Canada’s sledge hockey team and win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games.His positive attitude caught the attention of Adidas and he signed a three-year deal with the sportswear company earlier this year.Initially, Straschnitzki was hired to participate in Adidas Canada’s hockey and training campaigns and programs.But the 60-second inspirational ad popped up online this week.“They did a really good job and made me look good, so I can’t complain,” Straschnitzki told The Canadian Press.“I mean, my dad always bugs me I’ve got a face for radio,” he said with a laugh.Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame has also shortlisted Straschnitzki and 16 other athletes for it’s first ever People’s Choice Award. The top four will be honoured with trophies at an induction ceremony in Toronto in late October.Cheryl Bernard, the hall of fame’s president and an Olympic curling silver medallist, said Straschnitzki was a natural choice because of his resilience, grit and hard work. The attention he has brought to sledge hockey and his message is inspiring.“What a role model,” she said.“I’m absolutely certain there’s been some horrible nights and days, and I look at what he’s done and I don’t think I would have it in me. And I think that message is what the public needs to see.”To be inducted into the hall of fame, athletes have to be retired for at least four years, said Bernard. The People’s Choice Award is open to current athletes, who are champions of their sports and communities.“We are basically starting to build a portfolio of future hall of famers.”Straschnitzki said he takes being a role model seriously and has been inspired by wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen, who reached out to him after the bus crash.Two weeks ago, Straschnitzki returned to Humboldt for the first time since the collision when the Broncos held their season opener. Straschnitzki said he also wanted to be there to support former teammate Graysen Cameron of Olds, Alta., who was also injured in the bus crash, as he returned to play with the team.There was a sense of relief in being back, Straschnitzki said.“It’s like nothing has changed. It was the same atmosphere.“The town loves to go to the games.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2019— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press
Levi Roots, ambassador for Fairtrade Fortnight, commented, “After visiting Fairtrade cocoa farmers in Ghana, this cause is very close to my heart. I’m sending a mini Levi to join the march because more needs to be done to improve the working conditions and pay for the people that produce our food.” Jonathan Ross, Bruce Forsyth, Tulisa and Harry Hill are among a raft of celebrities supporting Fairtrade Foundation’s campaign calling for action to end trade injustice around the world, which will see three-inch versions of the stars join a march on Parliament during Fairtrade Fortnight (25th Feb-10th March). Marking a new model of campaigning for the Fairtrade Foundation, everyone who supports the petition at www.fairtrade.org.uk/jointhemarch will be able to create a personalised paper person, courtesy of technology start-up Foldable.Me.In Fairtrade Fortnight, the campaign will culminate in thousands of paper people coming together for a march to highlight support for a fairer deal for small farmers.Estimates show these small farmers grow around 70% of the world’s food, yet only receive an average of 3% of the retail price once their produce hits the supermarket shelves. The Fairtrade system helps provide these farmers with a fairer price for their produce, and a chance for a better livelihood for themselves and their families. The Fairtrade Foundation is encouraging as many people as possible to sign the petition at www.fairtrade.org.uk/jointhemarch. Every digital signature will be turned into a Foldable character, who will join the march during Fairtrade Fortnight. Cheryl McGechie, Director of Public Engagement, Fairtrade Foundation, said “This Fortnight we wanted to do something a bit different. Our march on Parliament is an engaging way for everyone to go further to help smallholder farmers combat unfair trade practices.” Other well-known names to join the march and support Fairtrade’s call for action include Tinchy Strider, Amanda Holden, Louis Smith, Richard Hammond, Dermot O’Leary, Andi Peters and Eddie Izzard. How to join the march: Sign the online petition by visiting fairtrade.org.uk/jointhemarch. Create your very own paper person or send one of our pre-designed versions Your paper person will join the march to parliament on 4th March to demand that our government leaders go further for small farmers To find out more about Fairtrade Fortnight visit http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/gofurther.
President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton just wrapped up a day of traveling in Lilongwe, Malawi – the first stop on their journey through Africa to visit Clinton Foundation projects on the ground.On July 31- August 8, President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton will travel to Africa to visit Clinton Foundation projects in Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Rwanda, and South Africa. This trip, and the projects visited, will highlight many of the issues that President and Chelsea Clinton have long worked on — economic growth and empowerment, equality of opportunity, and health access.Fifteen years ago, in 1998, President Clinton first traveled to Africa as President. This was the longest and most extensive trip to the continent made by a sitting American president, and was the first time a sitting president traveled to each of his six destinations. President Clinton’s trip followed a seminal visit that Chelsea and then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton made the year before. Since their initial trips, President and Chelsea Clinton have continued to build upon their longstanding commitment to Africa through the work of the Clinton Foundation, providing investment, opportunity, and health access to underserved communities. In July 2012, both President and Chelsea Clinton traveled to Africa to visit Clinton Foundation sites in South Africa, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Uganda, and in October 2012, Chelsea visited Nigeria for the launch of the Nigerian government’s Save One Million Lives Initiative to reduce child mortality.“In 1998, I first traveled to Africa as President, visiting Ghana, Uganda, Senegal, Rwanda, Botswana, and South Africa,” wrote Bill Clinton in his blog. “At the time, sub-Saharan African economies were regressing – that year, GDP per capita growth was -.2 percent – and 21 million adults and children were living with HIV/AIDS. But that’s not what I remember most about my trip. Over the course of those nine days, I met people who were working to turn the tide on AIDS, women who were starting businesses with micro-credit loans to support their families, and citizens who were making a new democracy work to benefit everyone.“As President, I wanted to help turn that hope and ambition into tangible results. I knew that so many communities in Africa had the potential, but not the resources and opportunities they needed to prosper. In 2000, I signed the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) into law, with the hope that it would begin a new era of relations between the U.S. and Africa by enabling deeper trade and investment ties. Since then, exports under AGOA have increased more than 500 percent, reaching $53.8 billion in 2011.“After I left office, I wanted to continue supporting Africa’s progress through the work of my Foundation. Today, Africa is rich in resources and is the world’s fastest growing continent, with clear economic and health care advancement. Over the past decade alone, real income per capita has increased by 30 percent, and the number of Africans who acquired HIV infections in 2011 was 25 percent lower than in 2001. Witnessing Africa’s progress first-hand has been truly remarkable, but what’s even more incredible is seeing our work in action and meeting people whose lives we’ve changed.“This week, Chelsea and I and our delegation will visit Clinton Foundation projects in Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, and South Africa, marking my ninth trip to the continent since leaving office. We will see how people have more opportunity to change the course of their future, visit projects where we are working together with our friends and partners on the ground to increase opportunity and growth, and we’ll see some that showcase our CGI members’ efforts to help Africa reach its full potential.“We’ll see the strides we’ve made in providing access to health care and HIV/AIDS, the first challenge the Foundation tackled, thanks to the inspiration of my friend Nelson Mandela. In 2011, for the first time, 45 percent of people in low- and middle-income sub-Saharan countries who needed antiretroviral therapy were receiving it. In Rwanda alone, the number of individuals receiving antiretroviral therapy has increased from 17,781 in 2005 to 96,123 in 2011.“Another major challenge Africa faces is that two-thirds of its population is reliant on agriculture for income, yet these farmers lack access to drought-resistant seed, good fertilizer, affordable access to markets, storage, and training that could help them grow more food, earn more money to support their families, and feed their communities. Providing farmers with the tools and resources to do these things can transform an entire community.“I hope you will be part of our work in Africa – not just during the next 10 days, but also during the next 10 years – and to empower good people to build better tomorrows.”For updates on the trip, visit the Clinton Foundation’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages Facebook.com/ClintonFoundation, Twitter, Instagram.com/ClintonFoundation.
America’s oldest national humane organization will pay tribute to a legendary humanitarian next week in Palm Beach, Fla.American Humane Association is honored to bestow its Humane Legacy Award to country music superstar and noted activist Naomi Judd at the Lady in Red Gala to be held at the Mar-a-Lago Club on December 7. Ms. Judd will be recognized for her tireless dedication to helping the infirmed and society’s most vulnerable.She was first known to the world as half of country music’s mother-daughter duo, The Judds. Reaching unprecedented success throughout the 80’s and 90’s, The Judds sold 20 million records, scored fifteen number one hits, and received over sixty industry awards, including six Grammy’s and seven consecutive CMA Vocal Group of the Year awards and the ACM’s Top Vocal Duet award.Her rise to the top of the country music charts was sadly cut short when she was diagnosed with Hepatitis C, a chronic liver disease, having first contracted the disease from an infected needle during her previous career as a registered nurse. Though The Judds retired from the music industry, Ms. Judd did not retreat from the public spotlight, instead becoming the first national spokesperson for the American Liver Foundation. Utilizing her fame and passion for helping people she helped spread awareness of this potentially fatal disease, helping to save untold lives.Ms. Judd’s charity work is far-reaching, and includes River Cities Harvest, the Saint Louis University Liver Center, M.A.D.D., Parents Television Council, Make-A-Difference Day, Women’s World Peace Initiative, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and her own July 4th Judd’s Annual Food Drive to benefit families of Appalachia. Notably, for the past two years she has served as a celebrity judge and presenter at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, a celebration of heroes on both ends of the leash.“Naomi is the living embodiment of a humanitarian, and we cannot think of anyone more deserving of our Humane Legacy Award,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association’s President and CEO. “She has dedicated her life to making the world a better place for so many, both two- and four-legged. American Humane Association is lucky to count her among our biggest advocates.”The 20th Annual Lady in Red Gala is presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation will be hosted by the famed comedian and “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno with proceeds benefiting American Humane Association. For more information on this year’s “A Night in Rio”-themed event, click here.Source:PR Newswire
APTN National NewsAbout 2,000 members of five Vancouver Island First Nations are now out from under the Indian Act.After 18 years of negotiations, the alliance known collectively as the Maa-nulth, are now self-governing.It was deal, however, that was reached despite controversy.The Maa-nulth gathered on Saturday to mark the historic occasion and APTN National News reporter Rob Smith was there.
APTN National NewsThe United Nations Human Rights Committee slammed the federal government Thursday for its “failure” to respond to the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women.The committee says it’s concerned with disproportionate number of Indigenous women and girls affected by life-threatening violence, murders and disappearances.“Notably, the committee is concerned about the State party’s reported failure to provide adequate and effective responses to this issue across the territory of the State party,” the committee said in its report taking aim at Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative party.The committee says there’s been a lack of information on measures the Harper government has taken to “investigate, prosecute, and punish those responsible.”A national inquiry is needed, the committee recommends, as well as a review of police responses across the country.APTN sought comment from the the Prime Minister’s Office. The foreign affairs minister’s office responded instead.“Canada is the best country in the world,” said spokesperson Johanna Quinney. “We are proud of our human rights record at home and abroad. Just last week the Reputation Institute found that Canada was the most admired country in the world.”The committee is also raising concerns about Canada’s new anti-terror legislation, saying it could run afoul of the international covenant on civil and political rights.The committee says it’s concerned sweeping powers in the law, known as C-51, do not contain enough legal safeguards to protect people’s rights.The committee says while it appreciates Canada must take steps to protect against terrorism, the government should consider rewriting the law to ensure it complies with the international civil rights agreement.Problems with C-51 are only part of a list of issues the committee is raising today in releasing a report on how well Canada is meetings its obligations under the civil and political human rights covenant.– with files from The Canadian Press