• G7 summit in France 'last moment' to restore unity among world leaders: Tusk
    News
    CBC

    G7 summit in France 'last moment' to restore unity among world leaders: Tusk

    The president of the European Council sounded an ominous warning for the G7 as leaders of the world's major democracies began arriving Saturday in the French seaside resort of Biarritz for their annual summit. Donald Tusk did not mince words about the state of discord among nations and whether there is enough political will to address the rise of authoritarian states, halt emerging trade wars and fight the disastrous effects of climate change.  "This may be the last moment to restore our political community," said Tusk, the former prime minister of Poland who has headed the European Council since 2014."This will be another G7 which will be a difficult test of unity and solidarity of the free world and its leaders."It is far from certain, he said, whether the 44-year-old international institution will be able to find common solutions or if the nations will "focus on senseless disputes amongst each other."Since last year's summit in Charlevoix, Que., it has become even more difficult for countries to find a common language. WATCH: Donald Tusk addresses the G7Later on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sat down with new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In French remarks, Trudeau said the global economy and trade would be a big focus of their private meeting, as well as climate change. Johnson replied that he couldn't think of any big issues on which Canada and Britain disagree. "Canada and U.K. are side by side," he told reporters.However, this week Canada rebuked its cross-Atlantic neighbour for revoking the citizenship of Jack Letts, dubbed Jihadi Jack by British media after he left for Syria and is alleged to have joined ISIS. Letts, who is currently in a Kurdish prison, also holds Canadian citizenship and has now expressed a desire to come to Canada.Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the Britain was unilaterally trying to "offload their responsibilities" by revoking its citizenship. Many countries are facing a quandary of how to deal with their nationals picked up in ISIS territory.A federal source close to the discussions on Saturday said that Trudeau brought up the Letts issue with Johnson and reiterated Canada's displeasure.With Brexit at the top of their agendas, European leaders took advantage of a small window of time before the official start of the G7 summit to meet with Johnson.The European leaders met separately on Saturday afternoon, including Johnson, EU Council President Tusk, Germany's Angela Merkel, France's Emmanuel Macron and Italy's caretaker leader Guiseppe Conte.The issue of European countries ratifying the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) has been percolating around the summit. The French National Assembly ratified it last month, but it faces an uncertain vote in the country's senate this fall.Concern over CETA in FranceThe French senate is controlled by conservatives opposed to Macron and are widely expected to vote against, principally over objections to Canadian beef imports.Canada's ambassador to France, Isabelle Hudon, sad it's unclear which way it will go, but there is a part of France that is deeply skeptical about the trade deal and she sees it as her mission to people and companies better understand it."One thing I realized moving in France is that in Canada we are way much more comfortable doing trade, our companies are more comfortable doing international trade," she said. "There's a steep curve in France around trade issues and we're there to explain."Thousands of anti-globalization and environmental activists joined yellow vest protesters and Basque separatists on Saturday near Biarritz to demand action from G7 leaders.The peaceful protesters converged on the nearby town of Hendaye on the French border with Spain to demand change in the economic and climate policies pursued by the world's leading industrial nations.'Tremendous' trade with JapanTrudeau also met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The two were set to talk trade and security. "Canada and Japan have had a tremendous trade relationship," Trudeau said, adding that Abe has been a strong leader on many issues that also matter to Canada. The Japanese leader responded that this is an opportunity to successfully send out a powerful message on various global challenges.Canadian officials are expecting an update on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. but Japan is also eager to talk security.Canada recently committed to a regular rotation of warships in the Far East to keep an eye on North Korean sanctions.In recent days, an intelligence-sharing partnership between Japan and South Korea fell apart over a trade dispute. And according to Japanese officials, speaking on background to CBC News, the cancelling of the arrangement puts the alliance against North Korea in danger.Trudeau hosted last year's summit, which ended with Trump tweeting insults at him from aboard Air Force One because he felt he had been slighted by the PM after he left the meeting.Trump threatens tariffs on French wineOnly hours before his arrival in Biarritz, President Donald Trump had threatened anew to place tariffs on French wine imports to the U.S. in a spat over France's digital services tax; the European Union promised to retaliate. That was the backdrop for a late addition to his summit schedule — a two-hour lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron outside the opulent Hotel du Palais.The summit host said the two men were discussing "a lot of crises" around the world, including Libya, Iran and Russia, as well as trade policy and climate change.But he also echoed Trump's calls for Europe to do more to address the global slowdown, including by cutting taxes. "When I look at Europe, especially, we need some new tools to relaunch our economy," Macron said.Trump insisted that despite tensions, he and Macron "actually have a lot in common" and a "special relationship." In a later tweet, he said: "Big weekend with other world leaders!"Russia not invitedTusk dismissed Trump's recent second attempt to convince the other countries to allow Russia to return to the summit table, restoring the G8. Tusk noted that Moscow has yet to return Crimea to Ukraine and maintains an aggressive posture toward its neighbours. "The reasons Russia was disinvited in 2014 are still valid. There are new reasons, such as the Russian provocation on the Azov Sea," he said, referring to the seizure of Ukrainian patrol boats and sailors in the Kursk Strait late last year.In the 1990s, Russia was invited because it was on the path toward liberal democracy, a free-market economy and human rights protections."Is there anyone among us who can say with full conviction — not out of business calculation — that Russia is on that path?" Tusk said.It would be better to invite Ukraine as a guest next year, as opposed to Russia, he added.

  • News
    CBC

    Kingston transgender health clinic expanding

    A clinic for transgender people in Kingston, Ont., is expanding in the hopes of serving more patients.Dr. Ashley Waddington, a gynecologist, started the clinic in July 2017 after noticing an increasing number of patients seeking menstrual suppression therapy. What began as a one-day-a-week clinic soon expanded, and will grow again later this fall.Waddington said she was surprised by the demand. "The referrals just started to pour in. It was much more demand than I ever expected there to be," she said.  Waddington said the expanded the clinic when the wait list reached 150 patients."At one point it was over a year, and we just couldn't get to them fast enough," she said.  Lack of optionsShe said before she opened the clinic, transgender patients seeking certain services had to travel long distances."We had patients who had been going to Ottawa, Toronto, we had a patient seeing someone west of London," she said.The clinic offers hormone treatments and care before and after gender-affirming surgeries, as well as mental health support to patients and their families. "Even families who are very supportive sometimes need a little support, because it is a big change to go through if your child or your sister or your mother is going through a change," Waddington said.Education neededShe said many physicians have gone through training and years of medical practice without encountering transgender patients. The newly expanded clinic will be at Queen's University, where Waddington hopes to enlist medical students so the next generation of doctors will have the knowledge they need to treat them."One of the goals of our clinic is to be a source for education," she said. "One of our goals is to actually almost put ourselves out of business.... Eventually, there won't be a need to have a specialized clinic."

  • Better Business Bureau posts consumer alert for FlightHub, JustFly due to pattern of complaints
    News
    CBC

    Better Business Bureau posts consumer alert for FlightHub, JustFly due to pattern of complaints

    Following a CBC News story about two customer complaints involving FlightHub, several readers wrote in detailing their gripes with the online travel agency. "I fear I'll never get my money back," wrote Derek Losier of Niagara Falls, Ont. He said that more than a month after he complained to the agency, he was still waiting for a refund for two airline tickets FlightHub had sold him that turned out to be invalid. "I definitely feel taken advantage of."CBC News interviewed three other FlightHub customers who each had similar complaints: They couldn't secure a refund for airline tickets purchased through the agency that, for various reasons, didn't translate into an actual flight.Each received refunds plus added compensation after CBC News contacted Montreal-based Momentum Ventures. The company owns and operates FlightHub and JustFly — another online travel agency that mostly serves the U.S. market.But the complaints don't end there. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports that FlightHub and JustFly generated nearly 800 customer complaints over the past 12 months and it is warning customers that many of the complaints are similar.The business watchdog is currently combining the two agencies into one online profile after learning from CBC News last week that FlightHub and JustFly are owned by the same company.The profile includes an alert that BBB has identified a pattern of complaints involving FlightHub and JustFly which includes refund/billing and customer service issues."Even if a business is answering complaints, patterns can show that the company is not addressing the underlying problems," BBB spokesperson Katherine Hutt said in an email. "It's up to the company to make the necessary improvements."In July, FlightHub and JustFly informed the BBB that they're reviewing customer feedback and working to improve the customer experience.The BBB first established a pattern of complaints involving JustFly in May, and with FlightHub back in 2014. The bureau says that in 2016, FlightHub pledged to work with the BBB to resolve the problem, but that the pattern of complaints continued.FlightHub respondsMomentum Ventures declined to do a phone interview with CBC News, but Pierre Methé, FlightHub's director of customer service, responded to questions by email.He said that more than 10,000 people book with FlightHub and JustFly daily, so the BBB complaints represent only a tiny fraction of customers."The feedback we receive is largely positive, which explains our success in this highly competitive industry," he said.The agency provided refunds plus FlightHub travel vouchers totalling at least $1,500 to each customer CBC News interviewed. "When these rare situations arise our primary goal is to ensure a timely and satisfactory resolution," Methé said.But Losier feels he got a satisfactory resolution only after contacting the media. "It's unfortunate that we had to go to a reporter to get it done."His ordeal began when he learned of an amazing deal advertised by FlightHub: about $250 for a round-trip ticket from Toronto to Naples on Air Italy. We were lost and angry and upset. \- Derek Losier of Niagara Falls, Ont. Because the airline had only recently begun flying from Toronto, Losier figured it was a special promotion. On May 29, he and two friends, Adrian Dywan and Tina Belcamino, each bought tickets for themselves and their partners, departing on Sept. 29. "We were all excited," said Losier. But that excitement died a few weeks later when Belcamino read negative reviews online about FlightHub, checked the status of their tickets on Air Italy's website and discovered that the tickets didn't actually exist."We were lost and angry and upset," said Losier. Air Italy told CBC News that it declined to honour the FlightHub bookings because they were sold with incorrect fares.The three friends, Belcamino, Losier and Dywan, each say they tried to get a refund from FlightHub with no success.'Still very skeptical'Belcamino said she finally got her money back after she complained to her credit card company and it launched an investigation.Following an inquiry from CBC News, FlightHub also refunded Losier's and Dywan's tickets, plus provided all three friends with two $750 FlightHub travel vouchers each for their troubles. "That was the right thing to do," said Losier. Laurie Brownrigg of Vancouver also struggled to get a refund from FlightHub after she booked a flight from Calgary to Vancouver and later discovered the agency had cancelled the booking.She said she called FlightHub repeatedly over the past week, but couldn't get any results."They never even admitted to charging my [credit] card," she said. "I just felt hopeless."After CBC contacted FlightHub, Brownrigg got her refund plus two $750 vouchers — which she's a little leery about using at this point."I'm still very skeptical," she said " Do I trust them?" Methé said FlightHub continually reviews customer feedback to improve its service and to prevent these types of rare problems from happening again. "Customer service is our priority."

  • Heat stress that killed thousands of salmon in Alaska is a sign of things to come, scientist warns
    News
    CBC

    Heat stress that killed thousands of salmon in Alaska is a sign of things to come, scientist warns

    Scientists believe heat stress killed thousands of salmon in an Alaskan river last month. From July 7 to 11, communities along the Koyukuk River experienced sustained air temperatures of over 30 C, well above the seasonal average highs of less than 20 C. Shortly after the heat wave, locals began reporting an unusual number of dead chum salmon washing up on the banks of the river. Lisa Bifelt is Athabascan and lives in the village of Huslia in interior Alaska, almost 600 kilometres northwest of Anchorage on the Koyukuk River. She grew up on the land and relies on subsistence hunting to support her family. "You'd see dead fish now and then, but I don't ever remember seeing this many," she said. She said she saw a post on Facebook from the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission asking for volunteers in the villages of Allakaket, Alatna, Hughes, Huslia, Koyukuk and Nulato to survey and take photos of the dead chum salmon. The villages are all along the Koyukuk River except for Nulato, which is slightly south, just past where the Koyukuk meets the Yukon River. "There was a lot when we actually stopped and started counting them," Bifelt said."All of them had the eggs still perfectly in the sack, not even loose or anything."Finding salmon dead before they have spawned is unusual.Survey by volunteersChum salmon are one of the largest species of salmon, second only to chinook salmon. They hatch in freshwater streams and rivers then migrate out to the Pacific Ocean to feed and grow before returning to the same freshwater streams to spawn, then eventually die.According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries department, there were hundreds of stocks of chum salmon in Alaska in 2018, and while some stocks were below target population levels, none were listed under the Endangered Species Act.  Bifelt reported her findings to Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, a former fisheries biologist and director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, which advocates for stronger tribal representation in management decisions when it comes to fisheries. Quinn-Davidson determined the results of the volunteers' surveys were sufficiently alarming to send a team of scientists more than 300 kilometres by boat from Hughes to Huslia to investigate.Watch as a team from the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission explores the salmon die-off along the Koyukuk River.She said when the team began travelling downriver from Hughes, they almost immediately began seeing dead salmon. The fish were examined for tumours, lesions, infections, parasites, worms — anything that would indicate disease. "Based on our observations, these salmon were perfectly healthy," she said."Every single salmon we observed had not yet spawned."She said they tried to rule out as many causes as possible. Since the die-off coincided with a heat wave, the team determined heat stress was the culprit.She said when salmon enter a river to travel to their spawning grounds, they stop feeding. They only have their built-up fat stores as energy. When fish are exposed to warmer temperatures, their metabolism increases and they go through their energy stores much faster. The salmon that died didn't have enough energy to make it to their spawning grounds and their hearts failed, she said. The team recorded 850 dead fish, but they estimate the actual number of casualties could be up to 10 times higher.No impact on overall populationQuinn-Davidson said dead salmon were also reported in mid-July to the south on the Kuskokwim River and in Bristol Bay.Many chum salmon made it to their spawning grounds this year and it's not expected the deaths will have a drastic impact on the overall population. But there are concerns that if heat waves become more common, so will salmon die-offs.Athabascan communities on the river fish for multiple species for sustenance but worry that a decrease in chum will upset the natural cycle. Ricko DeWilde, an Athabascan from Huslia who is on the National Geographic television show Life Below Zero, isn't convinced heat is to blame for the salmon deaths.DeWilde said he started noticing dead salmon while boating from Fairbanks to Huslia in mid-July."When I got to Huslia I talked to some elders and they said, 'Yes, that's weird. That shouldn't happen. That's never happened before.'"He said animals weren't feeding on the fish, which concerned him because his community relies on fish and other animals for food.Scientists investigating the deaths also observed that the fish did not appear to have been eaten, but noted that most animals would prefer not to eat something that was rotting. DeWilde said he's not totally convinced the cause of death was heat because the scientists didn't take samples of the fish to be examined in a lab.The scientists said the purpose of their investigation was to document, not to take samples. DeWilde believes it's worth exploring whether bacteria from the ocean or radiation from the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011, could be affecting the salmon.'It will happen again'The die-off appeared to only affect chum salmon, not other fish species, which raised concern and confusion among local communities. Peter Westley, an assistant professor of fisheries at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said migrating fish face different challenges than local fish, and species have different levels of heat tolerance. He also said people shouldn't be surprised if it happens again.The circumpolar world, including Alaska, is on the forefront of climate change, Westley said, and "all predictions are that events like this are going to become more frequent and more severe." "We need to be ready to respond on the ground when this happens again in the future," he said. "And it will happen again."

  • Barn adds 'wow' factor to Victoria Playhouse fundraiser
    News
    CBC

    Barn adds 'wow' factor to Victoria Playhouse fundraiser

    In a barn just outside of Crapaud, P.E.I., you won't find cattle, horses or goats.What you will find are rows of plush red theatre seats from the Confederation Centre, acoustic tiles on the wall and a disco ball attached to a wagon wheel hanging from the ceiling.It's a private venue known as the Barn Floor and it's the site of an annual fundraiser for the Victoria Playhouse.Charlie Sherren said the venue came together when he started cleaning up the barn after he retired from the cattle business a few years ago."It's amazing sometimes to see the reaction of people when they come in," he said. "There's one word that I hear quite often, I hear it over and over when I open the door and people step through the door, it's like 'Wow.'" You never know, there might be a surprise guest stepping on at the last minute. — Emily Smith, Victoria PlayhouseSherren said he holds parties in the barn for family and friends — birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, even a citizenship party for his neighbours."It's an extension, I guess, of what some people might call their rec room in the basement. It just happens to be in the barn and you have to go across the yard to get to it."Saturday from 2-4 p.m., musicians will be performing in support of Victoria Playhouse. Nils Ling will be the MC, and the lineup includes John Connolly, Megan Ellands, Allison Giggey and the Stanley Brothers — who are actually father and son, Malcolm and Michael."You never know, there might be a surprise guest stepping on at the last minute. It's kind of a casual jam that way," said Emily Smith, executive director of the Victoria Playhouse.Smith said as a non-profit theatre company, fundraisers are "integral to our continuing existence."Sherren Farm is located at 734 Route 13 in Crapaud. There will also be a barbecue.Admission is by donation.More P.E.I. news

  • Kugluktuk man finds message in a bottle 9 years after it was sent adrift
    News
    CBC

    Kugluktuk man finds message in a bottle 9 years after it was sent adrift

    David "Norberg" Klengenberg was gathering wood near the shore of the Arctic Ocean for a recent camping trip when he spotted something gleaming on the sand.Curious, the Kugluktuk, Nunavut, resident wandered over, and picked up a bottle. Upon inspection, Klengenberg was surprised to find there was a note inside. When he read the message, he saw it was written in 2010."I was like 'oh, it's been nine years it's travelled'... it's cool," said Klengenberg.The author of the letter was an eleven-year-old girl named Laura.She began with: "Hi random person!" Before sharing that she lives in Sidney, B.C., and that "her hobbies are reading and writing, and I have a huge bookcase at home."8,000 bottles dropped into oceansLaura's letter is part of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Drift Bottle Project, which began in 2007.Eight thousand bottles have been deployed at locations across the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans at different times throughout the year.So far, 2,000 of those bottles have been dropped in the Arctic Ocean.One goal is to study how the surface waters move, said Humfrey Melling, a research scientist with the Fisheries and Oceans Department. Information gathered from the project "provides us with a historical record of information" about where objects end up after being dropped in one location, Melling explained.Though Laura lived down on Vancouver Island, near the U.S. border, her bottle didn't travel very far."It appears to have had a relatively mundane journey," said Melling.He said it was launched 100 km northeast of Kugluktuk. From there, it bobbed along to the beach near the hamlet, where Klengenberg found it nine years later."It's not something that is going to be very startling to people," Melling said. "Some things that go in the ocean may come to shore very quickly. But some of these are world travelers."Melling said that some equipment lost in the Beaufort Sea — and some dropped bottles — have travelled across the Arctic Ocean and through the Atlantic Ocean before arriving on the coasts of Ireland, Scotland and Norway.He added that the department hopes the message-in-a-bottle project raises people's interest in oceanography.Klengenberg is happy to have received one of those messages, and hopes to connect with Laura, who should now be around 20 years old."I wouldn't mind trying to get a hold of this person, and tell them where I found it and writing to them," he said.

  • No easy way to deradicalize hate group members, experts say
    News
    CBC

    No easy way to deradicalize hate group members, experts say

    While people might wish for a magic pill or program, there is no easy way to guide someone away from hateful, racist ideologies, deradicalization experts say.Michael Mitchell, a retired army major and former associate faculty member at Royal Roads University in B.C., says deradicalization is like treating a mental illness. Root causes of the trouble are complex and stem from a person's unique life experiences."There's no pill for this," said Mitchell, who studied radicalization in B.C. high schools."If you want to deradicalize someone, you have to get to the core of what is driving them to perform in a certain manner. Is it a personal identity crisis? Is it social isolation?"The Canadian military is currently investigating whether one of its own, Master Cpl. Patrik Mathews, is a member of a white nationalist group that promotes hate. On Monday evening, RCMP raided a home in Beausejour, Man., about 50 kilometres east of Winnipeg. A property record search by CBC News showed that home is registered to Mathews. The police said they seized weapons but did not lay charges.Allegations of ties between a member of the CAF and a hate group did not surprise Vancouver's Brad Galloway.The 39-year-old was a neo-Nazi in his late teens and 20s. Galloway now works with the Organization for the Prevention of Violence and Life After Hate, where he mentors people who are leaving white nationalist groups. Much of his work is done online."There's always been a draw [to the military] within the far-right movement," Galloway said. "Perhaps it's the fact that they could get training. Perhaps it's seen as a masculine job by these guys."Over the last three years, Galloway says, he has tried to help about 30 people involved in neo-Nazi groups.'People can change'"The first step I often use is asking if they have any troubles with addiction or behavioural issues, or if [they] think they require counselling for anything beyond just mentorship," he said.Most of the time people say they need help with either drug or alcohol abuse or behaviour issues, like anger management. Galloway himself benefited from counselling after he chose to exit white nationalism. "I mean, people can change — this is the thing," Galloway said.If Canada had more drug and alcohol treatment programs, along with more affordable mental health services, that could go a long way to helping people leave hate groups, he said.Hussein Hamdani does similar mentorship work in Hamilton — only the people he works with are mostly newcomers and Muslim, like himself."There's a surprising commonality between someone who goes and joins a white supremacist organization and one who may join a religiously based extremist group," said Hamdani."That is this feeling of victimhood. Somehow, in some way, they and their people are being oppressed or being denied their glory that they're entitled to."Hamdani asks a lot of questions when he is working with a young person who may hold some extremist views. "[I try] to really understand where it is that they're coming from. What's their motivation? What in their life may have led them to think that this was the only way? Then [I] give practical solutions to their concerns."For some people with, for example, anti-immigrant views motivated by economic concerns, Hamdani said offering solutions could be as simple as suggesting ways to adjust to new technology or a changing global economy."Maybe we can't get the same job that your dad or your grandpa had," he said. "But don't blame other people. We have to adapt and we have to look at strategies to deal with that."Reach people before views hardenDeradicalization, the experts said, is most successful if mentors can reach people before their racist or discriminatory views become hardened — before the hate has had time to really set. "Once they pass a certain line, and they're into criminal behaviour, then I think the police need to step in," said Hamdani.Galloway mostly works with hate group members already looking for a way out."There has to be a will for them to want to leave that lifestyle behind," he said. "It's not approaching active members. That becomes a very hard and very unsafe and unethical process."Unethical, because it can put the volunteer or counsellor in jeopardy of retaliation, said Galloway. Even though there's a low chance of success and there could be risks to his safety, he said he still tries to reach them."I've done some work speaking with active people online. Just saying to them, 'Hey, you know, if and when you feel like there's a change in your life that you want to make toward leaving those groups, you know we're here.'"For Mitchell, he sees the fight against violent extremism as a fight every Canadian must be a part of. Ultimately, the best people who can reach a troubled person are their immediate family, friends, coworkers and classmates. "Engage with them, talk with them, and if you can't yourself, bring in someone else who can advise," he said. "The grassroots approach is always the best trying to prevent something like this and remediate before it gets out of hand."

  • Clearwater keeps sustainability label for offshore lobster fishery, but conditions imposed
    News
    CBC

    Clearwater keeps sustainability label for offshore lobster fishery, but conditions imposed

    North America's largest shellfish company has maintained a prized eco-sustainability certification for its offshore Nova Scotia lobster fishery, but the Marine Stewardship Council didn't exactly give Clearwater Seafoods a ringing endorsement either.Auditors imposed conditions on Clearwater, downgraded its ratings and concluded "there is evidence of systematic non-compliance in the fishery."MSC posted the results Friday afternoon.The company said it is pleased with the outcome."Clearwater will work closely with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to meet our obligations and address the requirements of the conditions as outlined in the action plan," Christine Penney, Clearwater's vice-president of sustainability, said in an e-mailed response to CBC News.Caught storing 3,800 traps at sea for weeksThe independent audit was ordered after Clearwater was convicted of a "gross violation" in its lobster fishery in September 2018.The company pleaded guilty to illegally storing thousands of traps at sea after it was warned by DFO to stop.Evidence in court also revealed discrepancies between conservation measures the company claimed to be following and what was happening on the water.Clearwater has been given a monopoly inside Lobster Fishing Area 41, a vast zone off Nova Scotia beginning 50 miles from shore and extending to Canada's 200-mile limit.The company is restricted to the southern half of LFA 41. Its dedicated vessel, the Randell Dominaux, fishes a strip in the southwest corner closer to the 50-mile boundary line.Unlike every other lobster fishery, Clearwater has no season and has a quota of 720 tonnes.Lloyd's Register carried out the audit after CBC reported the results of the court case in January 2019.Both environmentalists and Clearwater asked for the review.The auditors imposed two conditions on Clearwater to keep its MSC certification.The company must demonstrate it is following fishing rules and will better manage so called by-catch of non-target species through having observers monitor their activities.The company has agreed to extensive action plans and the audit notes Clearwater has already taken a number of measures to improve its fishery, including more detailed reporting of its activities, reducing the number of traps and ending the practice of storing traps at sea.Clearwater said it stopped at-sea storage after DFO delivered a first warning in 2016, and called the episode in 2017 leading to its conviction an isolated incident.DFO told auditors the fishery is being monitored and no further compliance issues have been reported.Environmentalist Shannon Arnold of the Ecology Action Centre credits a thorough, multi-year DFO investigation for action."You do see a number of significant changes in the way that they are running their business and I'm not sure if it would have happened actually without some real scrutiny," said Arnold.Clearwater audit scoresThe auditors slashed two of Clearwater's previously stellar "performance indicators," with compliance and enforcement dropping from 100 to 70, and information decreasing from 95 to 75.The remaining 28 indicators were unchanged and the company's overall score dropped only a point or two, nowhere near a benchmark that would trigger a suspension.In the audit report, Clearwater "disagreed" with the downgrades.In its statement to CBC, Clearwater said conditions are a normal part of the certification process and the audit "confirmed that the fishery meets the MSC's rigorous standards."We are pleased with this outcome and believe it is reflective of our efforts to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner," Penney said.MORE TOP STORIES

  • The girl from the orphanage: A Montreal nurse's quest to discover her past
    News
    CBC

    The girl from the orphanage: A Montreal nurse's quest to discover her past

    Hannah Palmer only has vague memories of the small Haitian orphanage where she spent the first five years of her life.She recalls a large room full of beds where she slept every night. She recalls she didn't like taking naps or following rules.And she recalls a girl about her age who acted like a big sister to her. She's the only person Palmer remembers from the orphanage.Palmer, now a 24-year-old nurse living in Montreal, is searching for that girl in the hopes of recovering more memories from her childhood. "I do remember that she took my shoes and I was upset about that," Palmer said in a recent interview.  "That's the last thing I remember. I was really petty about that."Palmer's birth name is Vaenka-Andrée Barret. She was adopted from the Crèche le Colibri orphanage in Port-au-Prince 19 years ago.When she arrived at her new home in Chelsea, Que., a small town north of Gatineau, her adopted family gave her a choice of five names, including Sarah and Savanna.The five-year-old settled on Hannah. She then went outside to play in her new home, a little confused by what was going on.Palmer grew up with her adoptive parents and three adoptive siblings."I was black and my family was white. The whole neighbourhood was white," she said. "So, of course, I always had the thought of having a family that looked like me," Palmer said.Fast friendsWhen she was 19, Palmer moved to Montreal to study at McGill University. She also turned to the Quebec government to get information about her biological family.She found out her birth name and that she was born in Saint-Jean-du-Sud, Haiti, a fishing village on the Baie des Cayes. The documents also indicated her mother had another child, but there were no names or other details included.Palmer decided that finding out more wasn't worth the effort, and gave up the search for her family. "I always thought of it as the minute I was adopted from Haiti, 'Vaenka' kind of passed away. She was just part of this Haitian life that was no longer me," said Palmer."It was almost as if I was born in 2000 and everything else before that was just non-existent."Several years went by. Palmer had moved on, and began studying to become a nurse at a college in Gatineau. Then a new friend walked into her life and changed everything."This girl comes in with her poofy hair and sits right in front of me in biology class. I was just like, 'Wow, she's going to block my view and I can't even see the teacher,'" said Palmer.The student in question was Éva Tchimanga, and the two would sit next to each other during their first year of nursing school. They became fast friends. When Palmer related that she was adopted and had never met her birth family, Tchimanga was intrigued."I looked her in the eye and I was like 'Hannah, this might sound crazy, but one day I'm going to be the one who finds your family,'" said Tchimanga.And that's exactly what she did.'We're looking for her' Tchimanga took to Facebook, armed with nothing but her friend's last name at birth and the social network's location filter.She looked at the first profile she found, a woman by the name of Rosebertine Barret. She flipped through Barret's photos and noticed a resemblance with Palmer.Tchimanga sent a message asking if she knew Palmer. It took her an hour to reply."I'm her cousin. We're thinking about her, we're looking for her," the message said.When Tchimanga first told her friend about her findings, Palmer wasn't sure how she should feel."It was very surreal," said Palmer. "I still had to understand how I was feeling about it and if I wanted to reconnect because I didn't think [Tchimanga] would actually succeed."But the two friends opted to continue corresponding with Rosebertine. And as they did, more details about Palmer's family emerged. Palmer was only two months old when her mother died. Rosebertine's mother, Rose, then began raising Palmer and another infant, Palmer's cousin, Immaculé Barrer.Rose couldn't afford to raise three children on her own, but didn't know what to do. One day, a visiting relative named André proposed a solution: he placed Palmer and Immaculé in an orphanage.Immaculé is the girl Palmer remembers all these years later. "In my head she was always like an older sister," said Palmer.Rosebertine put Palmer in touch with Immaculé's biological family back in Haiti. Immaculé's birth parents, along with her 10 siblings, have been actively looking for her on social media.They believe Immaculé was also adopted by a Quebec family and likely grew up in Quebec City. She would be around 25 today.Palmer has joined the search and keeps in touch daily with Immaculé's siblings. But she's keeping her expectations in check. She knows that, much like herself, Immaculé's name may have been changed after adoption and she may not even be aware of her birth name, making it a challenge to find her.Not that she's giving up. "I probably should apologize about the pettiness over those shoes," Palmer said.Back to her roots Tchimanga's search has also allowed Palmer to get in touch with her biological half-sister, Darana.The two immediately bonded. Through their Facebook conversations, Palmer learned she's now an aunt, and has a nephew back in Haiti.Palmer received another surprise when she discovered that André, the relative who brought her to the orphanage, had been living in Montreal for years.She was hesitant, at first, about meeting him but eventually agreed to have lunch together. He took her to a restaurant where she tried Haitian food for the first time since she was five.André was also able to help her understand why the family put her up for adoption. "He was super close with my mother and he saw me almost as a daughter, which was really sweet," she said.Palmer is saving up for a trip to Haiti next January, when she'll meet the rest of her biological family. It will be her first trip back to the country where she was born. "I have a family here, obviously, but it's nice to know that I have this whole other family back in Haiti," Palmer said.

  • Why cyclists are turning to civil courts to get justice for road rage attacks
    News
    CBC

    Why cyclists are turning to civil courts to get justice for road rage attacks

    A growing number of Toronto cyclists involved in road rage incidents with drivers feel let down by the justice system and are turning to private civil action to get their day in court.James Cavalluzzo, a 51-year-old musician, was hoping to see the taxi driver charged with running him down on Richmond Street last June get what he deserved"It was gridlock, rush hour. He pulled into the bike lane and just floored it to beat traffic. And then he tried to cut back," said Cavalluzzo, who has been using a bicycle to commute for 30 years."And so, when I was passing him I told the guy, 'Like, dude, you're going to kill somebody driving like that. I understand it's gridlock, but you shouldn't be driving 500 miles an hour in the bike lane.'"The driver then rammed him with his cab and took off, Cavalluzzo told CBC Toronto."He basically was using his car as a weapon."Later, the driver showed up with police officers after complaining that a crazy cyclist attacked him. But surveillance video from the area told a different story and police charged him with dangerous driving and assault.When the case came up for trial on Thursday, Cavalluzzo arrived ready to testify, but the driver did not."I was hoping for my day in court." he said. "So there's a bench warrant out for [the cabbie's arrest] now. Hopefully he'll face some sort of justice."Cavalluzzo is filing a claim this week in Ontario Superior Court for damages and he's not the only cyclist who is now seeking legal remedy after an apparently deliberate attack.Mazda Amiryar, 30, was cycling home from work last August on the Martin Goodman Trail along Lake Shore Boulevard West when he approached a car blocking the separated bike lane. As he passed, he shook his head at the driver disapprovingly.The graphic designer had a camera mounted on his helmet that recorded the same car driving along Lake Shore and pulling into the Boulevard Club's driveway. The driver waited for him to cross in front of his car and then hit him."I just had a bad feeling when I saw him waiting there and he wasn't moving. And then I think at the last second, I just braced myself for the impact," said Amiryar."I mean he rammed into me. I ended up over there in the bushes."The driver then left the scene, Amiryar said. Police eventually tracked him down and charged him with Highway Traffic Act violations, including failing to yield, as well as leaving the scene and not reporting an accident.But Amiryar says the video of the incident suggests the driver should face more serious criminal charges.Sgt. Brett Moore of Toronto Police Traffic Services says while he is not the investigating officer in the case, in general, video of an incident doesn't always tell the whole story."What we see a lot of the times with with videos and YouTube things that are captured, it's one dimensional and often there's another side to the story that investigators get to learn that often doesn't come out in the public," Moore said. "It's usually the first thing that gets the attention of people and then when we dig into it there's other factors in play.""To me, I felt like the legal system let me down. The law let me down here," said Amiryar.So he is filing a lawsuit on Monday, suing the driver for $2 million in total compensation for bodily harm and psychological injury. He says since the incident he has tried to get back on his bike, unsuccessfully, and now suffers from depression, anxiety, insomnia and flashbacks.David Shellnutt, who calls himself the "Biking Lawyer," is acting on behalf of both Cavalluzzo and Amiryar.He says in both cases his clients still suffer from being purposely mowed down and the drivers used their vehicles as a weapons in an attempt to kill or with the intent of injuring.  "Oftentimes, charges aren't laid or ... they fall through the cracks," said Shellnutt.Burden of proof lower in civil cases, lawyer says"Our justice system is already overburdened and just doesn't have the resources to pursue these kind of claims."Shellnutt, 37, says he's had taken on four such cases over the past year.He tells clients to assist the police and work with prosecutors to make sure justice is done in the criminal courts. But when charges ought to be laid and they're not, then going the civil route is an option as the burden of proof is not as high as in criminal cases."Sue them. Get insurance companies to take notice," said Shellnutt, who has had his brush with on street violence. "People really need to relax and let things go. I know that from personal experience."

  • What N.L. could learn from the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history
    News
    CBC

    What N.L. could learn from the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history

    Marine scientist Donald Boesch says the controversy fuelled by recent oil spills off Canada's East Coast has some "fairly interesting and striking comparisons" to his past work examining how the offshore industry is managed, as part of a U.S. inquiry into the Deepwater Horizon disaster."Some of the recommendations we had in our commission report are appropriate — make sure you're putting sufficient space between the economic decisions to advance oil production, and so on, from those that have to manage safety and protect the environment," he told CBC News.Boesch, a professor at the University of Maryland, was one of seven people appointed to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling by President Barack Obama in 2010.A massive explosion on the rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 people and set off the largest marine oil spill in American history.Boesch says one of the most critical lessons the commission learned is that the U.S. agency overseeing offshore oil in the gulf had a conflict of interest built into its mandate.The Minerals Management Service oversaw development as well as safety and environmental regulations in the offshore.Boesch said development demands were found to take priority, and that was "pretty clearly one of the things that went wrong.""Finding some way to provide some space and protection [for] true, earnest attention to safety and environmental protection is critical," he said.Obama broke up the Minerals Management Service on the commission's recommendation.Boesch also points to the 1988 explosion on the Piper Alpha platform in the North Sea that killed 167 crew members and forced a similar reckoning in the U.K."In each case, and usually often following these major accidents, investigations led to the identification of that need for a clear separation of responsibility and the independence of the mission to ensure safety and to protect the environment," he said.Critics have accused the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) of having a similar conflict. The province's offshore regulator is in charge of both maximizing oil recovery and value, and overseeing safety and environmental issues.In 2010, an inquiry following the Cougar helicopter crash that killed 17 people heading to the Hibernia platform recommended a standalone safety regulator. That didn't happen, although there is now an autonomous safety division within the C-NLOPB.And as spills accumulate in the Newfoundland offshore — there have been three in the past 10 months, releasing a total of 264,200 litres of oil into the North Atlantic — environmental groups and the provincial NDP have renewed their calls for an independent, standalone safety and environmental regulator."We have four installations offshore. As we grow, that might be something that we want to consider to have," Siobhan Coady, the province's minister of natural resources, recently told CBC News.Commission found overreliance on industryBoesch said he can't speak specifically to the regulatory situation in Newfoundland and Labrador.But, in general terms, he said, the province might also learn from the commission's findings about how much a regulator can rely on industry."I think we've learned that there's some dangers in overreliance on industry self-regulation, self-reporting, that has global relevance, not just in the Gulf of Mexico," he said.The largest spill in the history of the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore occurred last fall, when Husky Energy was trying to start up production on the SeaRose vessel in 8.4-metre waves during the tail end of one of the worst storms to pummel the province in years.The C-NLOPB said Husky didn't need its blessing to hit the switch, drawing renewed criticism of the regulator's reliance on operators to make their own plans.Deepwater brings 'surprises'Last year, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced an agreement to develop its first deepwater project with Norway-based Equinor, in waters nearly as deep as the Deepwater Horizon site.Boesch says oil companies have made huge technological advances to take on and manage the added risk and uncertainties with deepwater drilling, and they deserve credit for that.But he also cautions that with any deepwater project, "You're going to have some surprises."A small risk, but a high costEnvironmental assessment documents filed to the federal government by a number of operators in the offshore including Equinor, the company behind the $6.8-billion deepwater Bay du Nord project, say it could take 18 to 36 days to bring the capping technology developed to stop the Deepwater Horizon blowout to Newfoundland waters.Those documents emphasize that the chance of a major blowout is remote."We were blithely assured, 'This blowout could never happen, so we're not going to try to develop the standby technology that controls it.' Well, it happened," Boesch said of the Deepwater Horizon disaster."It might be a very small risk, but it's a very high cost. You need to put it in that context."In those environmental assessment documents, Equinor said it would likely have a capping stack shipped in from Norway or Brazil, and that having a stack on standby in Eastern Canada would not cut down on the overall time need to install it.But with Newfoundland and Labrador gunning to double oil production by 2030, Boesch said it might make sense to revisit that idea."If the industry expands ... if there's a lot of deepwater drilling, I would think the regulators would be remiss without having the requirements to have that containment capacity."Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • More batty visitors in the N.W.T? Northerners on social media think so
    News
    CBC

    More batty visitors in the N.W.T? Northerners on social media think so

    Some Northerners have been commenting on social media that they've noticed more bats around this year.A bat expert with the N.W.T. Department of Environment and Natural Resources said it's hard to say if there's more bats or not, but there have been bats in the territory for at least a hundred years."We don't have perfect information on what the range of bats use to be, so it's really hard to say for sure where it's changing," said Joanna Wilson, a wildlife biologist with the department.Out of the eight species of bats in the Northwest Territories, residents are most likely to see the little brown myotis.Five of those eight species hibernate in the territory during the winter. Wilson said these bats need cool temperatures where it's not below zero, which usually means deep in caves found in Wood Buffalo National Park or Nahanni National Park Reserve.Bats can carry rabies without showing symptoms of the disease. A man in B.C. recently died after an infected bat came in contact with him during a daytime encounter.Wilson said there's "always a chance a low percentage of bats are carrying rabies.""If you don't touch them, there's no risk. But if there is a chance that you could've been bitten or scratched by a bat, you need to get advice right away."Some bats across the country are getting infected with a disease called white nose syndrome, which is caused by fungus and kills hibernating bats.The fungus spores can spread by bats interacting with each other, or the spores can be in the cave and get onto the bats."One thing we want to be sure to prevent is having humans accidentally spread the fungus around by going into one cave and tracking on their boots to another," Wilson said.She said there haven't been any cases in the N.W.T yet, but residents can help prevent the spread by not going into caves with bats or reporting to the Department of Environment any unusual bat observations.

  • The mental load of life in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
    News
    CBC

    The mental load of life in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

    Erica Grant's home in a Downtown Eastside SRO hotel has many things you'd typically associate with a grandmother's home: photos of her grandkids, knick-knacks, even doilies on the coffee table. But Grant, 57, also has naloxone kits, a stash of clean needles, and a struggle with mental illness, homelessness, and addiction to crack cocaine. Erica is one of the many residents of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside who have struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts in the midst of what she describes as the "overwhelming" realities of East Hastings' opioid overdose crisis."I've lost so many friends down here, so many family members," Grant said. "It feels like we're in a war zone and the fight is against the drugs, alcohol, and the police."Grant, who previously lived in Surrey, briefly used crack cocaine to numb the pain when she found out her ex-husband had remarried. That was 12 years ago. When her weight dropped to 110 pounds, she decided to kick her addiction cold turkey.Later, she moved to the Downtown Eastside and was homeless for 19 months. She would sleep in Strathcona Park at night and tuck her belongings up into a tree during the day.One cold February, when she had had enough, Grant marched into the Carnegie Centre and demanded someone help her find a place to live.Local anti-poverty activist Jean Swanson, who is now a Vancouver city councillor, helped her get a room in the Savoy Hotel, where she's lived for two years. Lure of crackShe left the neighbourhood recently to attend her four-year-old granddaughter's birthday party and it felt like an escape. "I got to forget about things down here," she said. "It felt really good to live [for a few hours] like I wasn't living with everybody's stuff on my shoulders all the time."   She's glad she has a room, even if it's in an SRO Hotel, but the grind of East Hastings takes a toll."And there are a lot of times that I struggle to not get up and go get crack."Grant is part of the roughly 75 per cent of Downtown Eastside residents who have struggled with major mental illness, according to the head of psychiatry at St. Paul's Hospital, Dr. Bill MacEwan.MacEwan says the situation is worsened by the opioid crisis and the high rates of overdose and death. "Someone who had some mild feelings of sadness now can move into a major depression or a real period of [suicidal thinking] and despair," said MacEwan during CBC's The Early Edition. The cycle of watching people overdose, be resuscitated or die, only to overdose again, is hard on health professionals, said MacEwan. But it's even harder when they're your neighbours. "It's that sense of unknowing, is it going to be safe, and who's going to help me?" said MacEwan.He described how a potentially lethal batch of drugs can hit a single hallway in an SRO hotel, and suddenly multiple neighbours overdose. Those who are resuscitated can have traumatic feelings and lasting cognitive difficulties. "It just makes their lives miserable," he said. Cycles of sadnessNow, even off crack and with a room of her own, Grant still struggles with feelings of depression. A recent operation forced her to take bed rest for several weeks in her room at the Savoy Hotel, three floors above the noise of East Hastings.Listening to the sirens, the yelling, and frenzy of people below, she says she felt so alone and so aware of her situation. "I really didn't want to live anymore. I was at a point where [I asked], 'Is this going to be my existence for the rest of my life?'""I love all the people down here," she said. "Some of them kind of get on my nerves sometimes, but I still love them."But she still cycles through waves of sadness a few times each day. "There's so much that happens to everyone down here. I'm just one person among thousands. I just pray one day I open my eyes and realize it was all a dream."With files from The Early Edition

  • 4 key dates as Ottawa's LRT becomes a reality
    News
    CBC

    4 key dates as Ottawa's LRT becomes a reality

    Ottawa officially has a functioning Confederation Line, so what happens next? While there is some paperwork to be done before the city takes possession of the LRT, staff announced Friday that won't prevent them from getting passengers riding the rail on Sept. 14.But that's not the only date that is going to be important for transit users. Here are some of the other big dates coming up. Small changes — Sept. 1 The first transition coming to the system is on Sept. 1, when the city transitions back to a peak schedule from the summer schedule that has been running. Opening day — Sept. 14The city's LRT line will launch on a Saturday. Pat Scrimgeour, OC Transpo's director of customer systems, said it is going to be a major transition for everyone, but they're excited for the change. "We're ready to help customers at every step along their journey," he said.  He added that the new line is going to be a core to how people get around.   "About two thirds of all ridership, around 200,000 trips a day, will include travel on the O-Train."Fares rise — Oct. 1 Council imposed a fare-freeze in January because of the repeated delays to the LRT system. But with the LRT up and running, fares will rise on average 2.5 per cent. An adult monthly pass will rise from $116.50 to $119.50. The cash fare will rise to $3.60 from $3.50, unless you pay with Presto, where it will rise from $3.45 to $3.55. Complete changeover — Oct. 6 When the LRT first launches, many bus routes will remain the same for the first few weeks. The new routes will funnel people to LRT stations, and the city says it hopes to improve service in some areas as well.Scrimgeour said it's a major change. "The opening of Line 1 and the major changes to the bus route network that follow will be the largest service change ever for OC Transpo customers."

  • News
    CBC

    West Vancouver to spend $180K rebuilding washed-out bridge on popular hike

    The District of West Vancouver is rebuilding a bridge that was washed out two years ago on one of its popular mountain trails. The Brothers Creek Loop trail is a four-hour, seven-kilometre hike in the British Properties area of the North Shore. Two years ago, the bridge that crosses the trail's namesake creek was washed out in a winter storm. "We never found any any sign of it," said Donna Powers, the district's director of community relations and communications."The people that are hiking high up on the mountain like that are highly familiar with what a winter storm can do in our mountains." Helicoptered in by spring 2020Powers says the district has been looking at its options since the bridge disappeared.A recently issued request for proposals says vehicles can't access the area, which can only be reached by foot or ATV. The district wanted to avoid causing any potential damage, Powers says. So officials want the bridge to be built off-site by late fall and then helicoptered in by spring 2020. The budget for the project is about $180,000 — a cost Powers says is worth it. "We really are known for our trail network, and a lot of our residents do spend a lot of time on our trails," she said. "It's important to maintain that access to the outdoors for all kinds of health and recreation reasons." The trail sits among a network of hikes in the area, including the Baden Powell Trail, but hikers say they've been limited to keeping to lower portions of it instead of walking the full loop. Barry Rueger, owner of Four Legs Good! Canine Services, is one of dozens of North Shore dog walkers who use the trail daily. Rueger says the new bridge was "wonderful news.""It's a beautiful long hike," he said. "It's one of the nicest hikes around."The request for proposals says the bridge is a "key connection point" for many trails in the district's highly used Upper Lands. The deadline for inquiries regarding the request for proposals is noon on Sept. 3. Applications are due Sept. 10 at 2 p.m.

  • Last-minute long-weekend vacation ideas in B.C. that won't break the bank
    News
    CBC

    Last-minute long-weekend vacation ideas in B.C. that won't break the bank

    It's a cold, hard reality, but the unofficial end of summer is just one week away. Labour Day weekend is our last gasp at warm-weather fun before the crushing certainty of shorter days, fall leaves and sweater weather is upon us. But with it comes some mini-vacation ideas to consider.Because with awesome cabin and vacation rentals, cruises, fun-packed day trips and campsites that are actually available, the choices for a mini-vacay in beautiful B.C are practically endless.Go to your favourite accommodation rental site and plug in your dates and budget per night and you'll be amazed at what's still available.An oceanfront villa for two in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast is going for $91 a night. Hotel stays with a pool in Whistler start at $170. And a family getaway in Qualicum Beach with bonfires and clam digging is up for grabs at $260. Always room on all but one ferryLack of availability on BC Ferries can get in the way, but where there's a long-weekend will, there's a way. Depending on the season, ferries can be up to 75 per cent reserved, meaning at least 25 per cent is up for grabs on a first-come first-served basis, so plan to get out there well before a scheduled sailing."We do always have room on our ferries for people who don't have reservations," said BC Ferries spokeswoman Astrid Braunschmidt.The Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands route is the exception as all of its spaces can be reserved.Mini-cruise anyone?If a staycation is more of what your budget will allow, taking in the stunning natural beauty of Vancouver from the water will do the trick.False Creek Ferries offers a 40-minute mini-cruise that's $11 for adults and $7.50 for seniors and the kiddos."People love it, especially on a nice evening when the light is just right and the sun is going down," said Jeremy Patterson, operations manager with the company.Campsites still available tooIf you're a regular camper, you know it's almost impossible to get a reservation at one of the provincial parks on the last long weekend of summer. But there are several campgrounds without reservations where spots are first-come, first-served. A hidden gem called Camp Cal-Cheak lies a 20-minute drive south of Whistler and has 51 spots for $13 a night. If you're not a regular camper, one option is to borrow or rent gear. A tent and two sleeping bags for two nights is $75.  Road trip?Harrison Hot Springs has a lot going on for a day trip or overnight stay this Labour Day weekend.Free afternoon concerts on the beach are happening Saturday and Sunday, as are a country craft market, Pioneer Days events and Harrison's annual Hobie Cat Regatta on the lake."It's such a beautiful place. You just release and unwind and everything let's go the moment you arrive," said Stephanie Gallamore, event co-ordinator with Tourism Harrison.

  • Kashmir’s Lockdown Prevents Canadians From Contacting Family
    News
    HuffPost Canada

    Kashmir’s Lockdown Prevents Canadians From Contacting Family

    TORONTO -- Kashmir has about the same population as Ontario. That's what 23-year-old student Sanna Wani thought, while driving around her home in Mississauga, Ont, after returning from a visit to the Indian subcontinent,. But she feels much safer here than she did there. Wanni and her family had just managed to get out of Kashmir, where they had been since mid-July. Her parents live in the region during the summer and she and her siblings had travelled together to be with them.The region, on the northern borders of India and Pakistan and the southwestern border of China, has long been the site of conflict as those three countries continue to claim land while Indigenous Kashmiris try to hold on to some sense of independence.The morning Wani left, on Aug. 5, was the same day the Indian government enacted a total lockdown of the Indian-controlled regions of Jammu and Kashmir. A curfew was put in place; shops, schools, any place of business was closed, and any form of communication was shut down.Since then, more than 12 million Kashmiris have been stuck in the region with little to no contact with the outside world. WATCH: Why Kashmir is mired in conflict.Since 1947, three parts of the larger region known as Kashmir have been under Indian control and deemed an Indian state. Kashmiris were given some sense of autonomy. They had a separate flag, a separate legislative assembly. Article 370 and 35A were the laws that gave Kashmiris this protection. They first recognized Kashmir's special status as a region autonomous from India, which was allowed to legislate its own laws. Article 35A protected Kashmiri from outside interference - making it so that only local residents were allowed to purchase land and vote in their elections. This legislation protected Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state from external settlement and control.That all changed on Aug. 5 when the Indian government issued a presidential order to repeal both Articles 370 and 35A at the same time as the lockdown."No one knew the [articles were] repealed," Wanni told HuffPost Canada. "Only people in the airport that had access to some sort of communication found out.""There was no way of spreading it other than word-of-mouth." Then, through hospitals, Whatsapp, and announcements from mosques, people started hearing about the spectre of a 24-hour curfew, Wanni said.Her father bought the family plane tickets, focused on bringing her grandmother and pregnant cousin out of the country with them. The curfew was confirmed around 10 p.m. on Aug. 4, when the family received flashing messages on their phone. It would start in seven hours."I was very much in the mindset that it would be fine, because I've been in Kashmir before when there's been curfew," said Wanni. "But it was not like this."Back in Canada, Suraiya Siddiqui, an office administrator in North York, Ont., was saying what seemed like final goodbyes to her family in Kashmir."The last message was from my sister on Sunday," said Siddiqui, who's lived with her family in Canada for 23 years since moving from the region. "She told me the internet might be down, and that she didn't know when we might talk again. Just love and hugs, and to take care of myself."That was three weeks ago, and Siddiqui, 61, hasn't heard from her family since. She used to receive a call every week. Her family in Canada tried to celebrate Eid, but it didn't feel like a festival without knowing how her family was doing."Who celebrated it? We're literally prisoners." RELATED * ▶️ Here's A Simplified Breakdown Of What's Happening In Kashmir * Arundhati Roy: Kashmir Could Be The Flashpoint For Future Nuclear War * Pakistan To Release Captured Indian Pilot 'As A Goodwill Gesture': PM Growing up in Kashmir and partially raising her children there, Siddiqui's seen what the conflict looks like firsthand. She left with her family in 1994, when the armed conflict reached its peak. Her children, she said, grew up being able to differentiate the sounds of different guns. But they were lucky to be able to leave."Can you imagine the mindset of that generation? Who have grown up seeing nothing but violence," said Siddiqui. "Most of them are in their 30s and come to this point where they don't even have a state.""We've been fighting for our independence. They've shattered the very basis of what we were."The morning of their sudden departure, Wanni and her family headed for the airport at 8 a.m. The days before curfew, the streets were in disarray. Wanni saw what she said seemed like a million people heading to shops and stalls to stock up on what they could. Some bankrupting themselves to be able to stock up on provisions.At that point, Indian officials were still trying to pass off a sense of normalcy, telling anyone who asked that nothing was going to happen.Within five minutes of their trip, Wanni and her family encountered a military blockade. She said about 30 to 40 soldiers surrounded the barriers covered with barbed wire and signs telling people to stop. It would be the first of at least eight blockades they would have to pass."The first thing they ask is what you are doing outside," said Wanni. She said her dad got out of the car, a risky move, to explain to the officers that he had plane tickets to leave. Each blockade depended on the temperament of the officer. In some areas, Wanni said, the Indian army wouldn't let them pass no matter the reason. Next to us, a man was holding his brother's X-rays, was begging to be let through to take his brother to surgery scheduled for today. Another woman, desperately needing to refill her child's medicine. None of them were allowed to get through. -- Sanna Wani (@sannareya) August 6, 2019When faced with rejection, experienced Kashmiris like Wanni's father knew it was best to walk away and try another route."It's an unspoken rule that you don't try to argue with them."About four hours after they left, after begging officer after officer at several blockades, Wanni and her family made it to the airport. But they were worried about their driver, who would have to make it all the way back into town.They tried to secure a curfew pass for him but the best they could manage was a printout of their boarding passes that he could show soldiers as a reason for breaking curfew. They don't know if he got home safeAt the airport, her family received confirmation about everything that had really happened. The articles had been revoked, Kashmiri politicians had been arrested, and any idea of an independent Kashmir no longer existed.As she boarded the plane, Wanni heard chants from supporters of e Indian government, celebrating the revocation of Kashmir's protections as a national victory. Wanni said it's the most tense she's ever seen her father, who's been in Kashmir many times over the years and seen its repeated conflicts."To put it in Canadian Indigenous terms, it's really the beginning of a settler colonial project in that part of the world," said Idrissa Pandit, a Kashmiri academic based in London, Ont. who works with the Kashmirs Scholars Consultative and Action Network, a group of policy makers.Her work has focused on the conflict's effect on women and children. In her years of keeping track of the region, this is the first time Pandit's not seen an enthusiastic Eid celebration for Kashmiris in the region and around the world. The Islamic holiday has always been a major celebration in the region and for Kashmiris around the world. In her years of keeping track of the region, this is the first time Pandit's seen celebrations dampened around the world."They have just been holding eight million people hostage," she said. "The fundamental issue right now is the survival of millions of people who are under strict curfew.""People need to be able to live to do anything else."For Pandit and other Kashmiris, this lockdown has seemed different from others because of its aggressiveness, the speed of implementation, and the Indian government's lack of distinction between Kashmiri politicians who supported separation and those who pledged allegiance to the Indian state."The reality on the ground has completely changed. Everybody is treated as an enemy, including the political leaders who owed loyalty to the Indian state over decades now." Coping back in CanadaPandit, Wanna and Siddiqui all now face the same problem -- not being able to get in touch with their families.They don't know if they're running out of food or medicine or other basic provisions. They probably wouldn't find out right away if someone dies.Siddiqui said the only way she's heard of people getting in touch is through police stations and hospitals. Some Kashmiris have called asking for family members at police stations. If the officer agrees to help, she said the family member is brought to the station where they can speak on the phone, in the presence of police officers."Everybody says it's fine and then they mumble, 'We can't talk,'" she said. "The only consolation is knowing that at least the person is alive."Siddiqui still texts her sister everyday hoping for a response. To cope with the lack of information, the three women have turned to activism. Wanni has exhausted herself trying to talk to anyone who will listen. Siddiqui attended a protest at the Indian embassy in Toronto with other members of the Kashmiri diaspora. Pandit sent a letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, asking for Canada to intercede in some way.The academic thinks Canada can play an "important" and "proactive" role as a peacemaker in the region, working alongside the United Nations.One of Pandit's requests was that Freeland make a public statement, which did happen, but it doesn't name India anywhere. Canada continues to closely follow developments in Jammu and Kashmir. Read my statement: https://t.co/5jMpr02IRW -- Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) August 13, 2019"That statement does not at all speak to the current misery of the people of Kashmir, who have been under curfew, and our complete state of darkness from our own families," Pandit said. "It doesn't even speak to the humanitarian crisis that is going on there."Pandit said Kashmiris find themselves outnumbered against an Indian diaspora with strong opinions."There's never a cool-headed, factual on-the-ground reality that anyone is willing to buy, because they have been brought up with lies about a place that have been made to believe as 'the part of the country cannot live without,' no matter what the will of the people is."Pandit's whole family is still in Kashmir. Like other Kashmiri expats, she hasn't heard from any of them. She said the messages she received from them and from a network of journalists she keeps in touch with were like "last goodbyes.""We really don't know what's going to happen to us."Wani feels frustrated with the lack of attention on the issue and is relentlessly trying to bring light to it."I feel like until the curfew lifts, I'm not going to be able to stop talking," she said. "I think that's what I feel like my obligation is, as someone who was privileged enough to get out."She often dwells on the population of Kashmir being roughly the same as that of Ontario. "If Ontario was shut down the way Kashmir was shut down right now, it would be an international crisis," she said. "And then to think about why Kashmiris are allowed to be taken advantage of -- it's such a privilege of location, it's such a privilege we get to live in this place."

  • Middle-distance runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu cuts season short due to injury
    News
    CBC

    Middle-distance runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu cuts season short due to injury

    Middle-distance runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu, who placed second in the 800 metres at the Canadian track and field championships in July, has announced on Instagram she is ending her season early.The 31-year-old of Eganville, Ont., who sat out the 2018 campaign to give birth to daughter Corinne, noted the changing structure of her body upon her return to competitive running led to several injuries, including a hamstring ailment and most recently a small Achilles tear."My fitness is there, but the body structure changes and makes it increasingly difficult to stay in one piece," wrote Bishop, a 2015 world silver medallist who finished fourth at the 2016 Olympics in Rio."Don't lose faith yet, I haven't. Patience will be my biggest test."The University of Windsor graduate's season-best time of two minutes 1.10 seconds was recorded on June 7 at the Speed River Inferno meet in Guelph, Ont., where she narrowly missed the 2:00.60 qualifying standard for the world championships in September at Doha, Qatar.In her most recent 800 race on Aug. 10, Bishop-Nriagu posted a winning time of 2:01.50 at the Ed Murphey Classic in Memphis, Tenn. She set the Canadian record of 1:57.01 in 2017.Bishop-Nriagu opened her 2019 season on May 18 in the 1,500, setting a personal-best time of 4:09.36 in at the Johnny Loaring Classic at the University of Windsor Stadium.Bishop-Nriagu was pleasantly surprised how quickly she recovered from pregnancy, though she had to work to keep weight on after Corinne was born."I lost it so fast nursing and training," she told Lori Ewing of The Canadian Press recently. "As a mom, your time is so focused on your child, sometimes feeding [yourself] and sleeping, those aren't my priorities anymore, and that's been the struggle, keeping my needs as an athlete a priority, but also Corinne's. I have to do both if I want to succeed in this career."Bishop-Nriagu will now focus on recovery and returning to good health in a bid to clinch a spot on Canada's Olympic team for Tokyo next summer. Bishop-Nriagu has until next June 29 to reach the 1:59.50 qualifying standard in the 800.Struggles in 1st year post-pregnancy"It's very upsetting Melissa had to cut her season short," fellow Canadian runner Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, who has set a combined five national indoor/outdoor records this season, told CBC Sports. "No runner wants to finish their season that way."I think her 2019 season has been extremely impressive and I look forward to seeing what she does in 2020."DeBues-Stafford recalled the struggles of two-time Olympian Hilary Stellingwerff of Victoria, who struggled to regain her form in the 1,500 after giving birth to son Theo in 2014.She had to end her 2015 season early with a stress fracture in her left fibula, or calf bone, but rebounded in June 2016 to hit the Athletics Canada qualifying standard for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where Stellingwerff placed 31st.Her husband Trent, a sports physiologist, recently took to Twitter to reveal some data he had collected on the performance of elite female runners following pregnancy.Bishop-Nriagu said she is ready to run fast again and reaching the podium in Tokyo is the goal."Fourth is something you never want to be in again, ever. It feels like a pain in your side that won't go away," she told Anson Henry of CBC Sports in August 2017."I don't have [an Olympic] medal. That's like the biggest box [unchecked] on my list of things to do in life."WATCH | Melissa Bishop-Nriagu reflects on Olympic experience in Rio:

  • Getting the message out: Edmonton to fix how it talks to transit users
    News
    CBC

    Getting the message out: Edmonton to fix how it talks to transit users

    A transformation of Edmonton Transit Service is underway, and along with new LRT lines and a revamped bus network riders are being promised clearer communication about schedules, delays and services.The city is studying ways to improve how it tells people what's going on: from changes in schedules to alerting riders about transfer points, and more colourful imagery to catch people's attention.Coun. Aaron Paquette said he has heard from the public that changes can't come soon enough. "We could be doing much, much better," Paquette said Friday. "Sometimes it's confusing." He said clearer signs and real-time information would help. "People can actually just take a look at a board: 'I need to get from here to here, how do I do it?' and it's laid out really quickly."Council's urban planning committee is scheduled to review a set of recommendations made earlier this year by the Edmonton Transit System Advisory Board. Marc Lachance, manager of business strategy and planning for ETS, is part of the team responding to the recommendations. He said the city is working on enhancing digital platforms through Google, social media, the city's website and at physical locations. "When we're refurbishing or investing in infrastructure in different stations, we're looking at new digital platforms that we can install that will help improve communications with customers."He said the city plans to make more use of digital media screens to publish alerts in real time. 'It's a joke'The Capital Line stopped running for several hours Friday after a power line went down overnight, and two trains were stopped on the tracks. The city sent out alerts on social media and on Takeets.ca site, but some people on LRT platforms felt they were in the dark.Cathy Lifeso, who commutes between Clareview and downtown, suggested the city needs a better system for notifying people of alternate bus routes. "If trains aren't running, it's confusing," Lifeso said. "All kinds of people are standing, waiting. And it's just a rumour, 'Oh, it's this spot, oh, it's that spot, or it's this spot.' "So you just try and follow people and see if you can find it." Oleg Koulak finished a night shift as a nurse at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and was waiting for the LRT on Friday. When it arrived, it sat there for another 20 minutes. There were no announcements, he said."There is no communication," Koulak told CBC News. "It's ridiculous, it's a joke."When someone is coming and sees this Edmonton LRT — even people from Calgary — they're laughing."Long overduePaquette noted options would include alerts sent to cellphones, and real-time updates on boards so people know what's going on and what alternative routes are available."I, for one, think that it's long, long overdue," he said. "There are other municipalities that have far outpaced us in the way they communicate to riders."Lachance said the report highlights new and emerging technologies used in other municipalities.The focus will largely be on communicating changes when the smart-fare system is complete and the city's bus overhaul goes into place in 2020.Paquette said he hopes the committee will give serious consideration to the recommendations in the advisory board report at a meeting Sept. 3. He would like to see the changes implemented well before the smart fares and revamped bus network are in place.@natashariebe

  • You can tell everybody — Shediac karaoke singer to compete at world championships in Japan
    News
    CBC

    You can tell everybody — Shediac karaoke singer to compete at world championships in Japan

    It's the final countdown for Katey Day-Reick.The Shediac singer recently won first place at the national karaoke championships in Calgary. At the end of November, she'll head to the world championships in Tokyo, where she will represent Canada."To win first place, I'm, like, you have got to be joking me," said the 49-year-old. "How did this happen?"  For the Calglary event this month, Day-Reick prepared four songs from different genres, including Meat Loaf's, I would do Anything for Love and a version of Elton John's Your song. She was the only person from the Maritimes and competed against thousands of people from across Canada. Her name was put forward for the competition by Kathy and Alex LeGood, owners of Alley Katz Karaoke in Moncton.  Embracing the audience  Music has always been a big part of her life. Day-Reick, who describes herself as a "rocker chick" started singing at 14. "It's been a staple my whole life."She has performed as a solo artist and in a local rock band and also plays  drums, harmonica, mandolin, guitar and bass.And for 30 years, she's been singing karaoke at venues across New Brunswick."The art of embracing the audience, maybe bringing them to your attention … and it has paid off now," Day-Reick said. As a broadcaster and creator of a rock musical, Deception, she has also worked at perfecting soundtracks."They're very unforgiving if you miss a spot," she said. "You can't turn around to the band and say, "Hey, can you do that again?' It's done. It's finished, you missed it." How the competition worksAlthough the lyrics are still available onstage, memorizing the lyrics in karaoke is key.  "They really prefer that you focus on your audience and the performance and conveying the music properly as well as dressing properly for the part," Day-Reick said. "It's really a performance competition and a vocal competition."Judging is based on criteria such as vocal ability, presentation, connection with the audience, and knowledge of the songs so contestants don't have to look at the screen."There's a lot of acting involved," Day-Reick saidOverseas, she hopes to bring recognition, on an international scale, to musicians from New Brunswick."If I can shine a light in this area, that would be a bonus for me," she said. "More focus needs to be taken here in Atlantic Canada."

  • 'It brings so much joy to me': Students become teachers at Iqaluit Music Camp
    News
    CBC

    'It brings so much joy to me': Students become teachers at Iqaluit Music Camp

    Naiome Eegeesiak was six years old when she first saw somebody play the fiddle, and told her mom, "I want to do that."The next summer, Eegeesiak enrolled at the Iqaluit Music Camp.The camp is now celebrating its 24th year, and Eegeesiak, 31, has gone from being a student to a teacher."I think I have more fun than [the students] do. I love teaching music," said Eegeesiak.The five-day camp is run by the Iqaluit Music Society and this year, 160 children attended. Campers take part in everything from drum dancing, xylophone and bucket drumming, to dance and choir.After Eegeesiak learned how to play the fiddle, she took up the accordion.Eegeesiak said when she was 12 years old, she became a junior instructor and began learning how to teach.She has been volunteering teaching fiddle since she was 16, and now she also runs the accordion program."I want to volunteer so that other kids can have the same, if not more, opportunities," said Eegeesiak."I had so much fun growing up, and if it wasn't for volunteers, I probably wouldn't have had those many amazing trips and memories."'Brings my culture closer to me'Eegeesiak is just one of many students who returned to inspire and teach the next generation.Molly Ell, 22, first came to the camp when she was about 12 years old.She now teaches throat-singing and drum dancing."It brings my culture closer to me," Ell said. "My grandmother, she used to throat-sing, and my grandfather, he use to drum dance ... and when it comes to teaching the kids, it brings so much joy to me."Ell said the group she was teaching practiced together for about two hours a day — and they learned fast. It was Minnie Akeeagok's first year instructing, but she's been attending music camp since she was six."This is where it started with my throat-singing, and now I'm teaching kids because it had a big impact on my life, and now I watch them learn how, like I did," she said.Akeeagok said she originally taught herself throat singing when she was four, but the music camp showed her how to properly take care of her voice and "helped me to get to where I am right now." She hopes to pass those lessons on to her students."I give all my credit to the teachers I had in the past to help me know what I can do now."The students showed off all their new skills at the camp's concert at Inuksuk High School on Friday night.

  • Specialized 'trishaw' lets Saskatoon care home residents experience cycling again
    News
    CBC

    Specialized 'trishaw' lets Saskatoon care home residents experience cycling again

    A new kind of cycle hitting the streets of Saskatoon is allowing residents of a care home a chance to sit back and enjoy a ride.LutherCare Communities has two trishaw bikes to take its residents out for rides. It's part of a worldwide program called Cycling Without Age."It's really marvellous," said Elsie Livingston, one of the residents. "Places where I used to walk along the Meewasin Trail, for example, I've been able to ride on."The trishaws were handmade in Denmark. A wide seat sits on two wheels on the front, providing seating to two people. A third wheel in the back is attached to a powered cycle where a trained volunteer or staff member steers."It's been a fantastic program accepted by all of our residents and really does provide a little extra, particularly during the spring and summer months, where our residents can get outside and actually go for a bike ride in the neighborhood, " said Vivienne Hauck, LutherCare Communities CEO.Hauck said the idea came from a resident who saw videos of trishaws on the internet and thought it would be a wonderful thing to have.  "We did a little more exploring and through our foundation, we were able to purchase two bicycles. And there are another two bicycles on order as well."The trishaws arrived in June 2018, but Livingston said so many residents wanted rides that she didn't get a chance to go out on one until this summer.  She said riding in the seat of the trishaw feels like riding in any other vehicle."We hit even more of the potholes, it seems," she said with a chuckle.Livingston said having a chance to get out for a ride helps her stay positive. Hauck said many residents report similar experiences."They come back almost exhilarated after riding around in the fresh air," Hauck said."It's just a great experience that perhaps they had when they were a little younger and we're able to enable them to experience that again. So it just brings back lots of good memories to them as well."The Saskatoon trishaws are the first in the province, though the Cycling Without Age website indicates fundraising is underway to bring them to Regina, Prince Albert and Yorkton.The trishaws cost $12,000 each. One was purchased through funding from the Kinsmen Foundation, with the others purchased by the LutherCare Foundation.

  • Last chance until 2026 to ensure future of black ash trees
    News
    CBC

    Last chance until 2026 to ensure future of black ash trees

    Black ash trees only produce seeds every seven years and 2019 is the year. Now, The Canadian Forest Service National Tree Seed Centre is hoping Canadians will help find some seeds.The seed centre has two main purposes: to provide seed from all tree species in Canada for research and conserve seeds in case disease or pests such as the emerald ash borer destroy the tree population, said seed centre co-ordinator Donnie McPhee.The plan is to conserve black ash seeds, "until such a time that we can either out-plant again or with new technologies that we can inoculate our seed against the particular pest problem," McPhee said.The emerald ash borer has not yet been spotted on the Island, but was found in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in 2018. It is one of the main reasons the seed centre is asking people to preserve the four-centimetre seeds that are enclosed in a flat green wing."Right now emerald ash borer isn't on Prince Edward Island, but two years ago Quebec City was the closest place to the Maritimes and now there are two locations in New Brunswick and one in Nova Scotia," McPhee said.Black ash is a slender tree with grey bark and multiple leaflets that turn yellow in the fall and the emerald ash borer has taken a toll on these trees in some parts of Canada.McPhee said given seeding happens so infrequently, if the bug took a trip to the Island it could have a major negative impact.However, McPhee said it is not quite time to collect seeds yet."Things aren't ripe yet and if you collect them too early the seed isn't any good, but coming up soon black ash seeds should be ready by mid-September."White, green and black ash trees are native to P.E.I., but McPhee said the focus is on black ash because it seeds less frequently.If people see seed on wild ash trees growing on P.E.I. they can contact the seed centre and someone will assist them with collection, McPhee said."We need about 2,000 to 3,000 seed per tree," McPhee said.The seed centre is collaborating with the province to assist in gathering seeds. McPhee said his team is small, with only three people covering the entire country.More P.E.I. news

  • Retail pot stores could still come to Lakeshore after public forum in November
    News
    CBC

    Retail pot stores could still come to Lakeshore after public forum in November

    The Town of Lakeshore will hold a community open house this fall to discuss allowing cannabis retail stores, almost one year after councillors voted against physical retail spaces in the municipality.The public forum is scheduled for Nov. 4. In the meantime, residents can also voice their opinions on bringing brick-and-mortar pot retailers to Lakeshore by participating in an online poll. So far, 39 people have cast votes, with 67 per cent of respondents saying they're in favour of the sale of recreational cannabis in the community. Councillors previously voted to opt out of physical cannabis retail stores during a Dec. 11, 2018 council meeting, even though there were no consultations beforehand.Lakeshore chief administrative officer Truper McBride explained that was a result of changes to Ontario's planned cannabis roll-out brought in by Premier Doug Ford's Progressive Conservative government. Prior to the defeat of former premier Kathleen Wynne's Liberal party in the 2018 election, Ontario was set to see physical locations branded by the Ontario Cannabis Store, with private operators barred from establishing retail outlets.The Ford government revised the retail rollout plan, giving municipalities until Jan. 22, 2019 to vote on whether to allow or deny physical cannabis retailers from operating in communities. In the event that they chose to opt out, the provincial government gave municipalities the choice to opt in at a later date.McBride said administration will likely receive a report by the end of the year "with recommendations not to opt back in or remain out."Administrators weigh inLakeshore Ward 1 Coun. Steven Wilder — one of two councillors to vote in favour of physical retail outlets — said the motion to move forward with public consultations was proposed "almost immediately after the motion to opt out was passed."According to Wilder, the majority of residents with whom he has discussed retail outlets are in favour. McBride explained that the delay between the passage of the consultation motion and actual consultations is the result of a decision made by council to observe how cannabis brick-and-mortar stores affect communities before moving forward."The direction from council was clear, and that was to only proceed after we had an opportunity to review lessons learned," he said, adding that a report tabled at Lakeshore's June 18 council meeting "outlined a process that we'd be following for engagement."Lakeshore Ward 5 Coun. Kirk Walstedt — who previously voted against physical cannabis retail stores — said he remains opposed due to concerns about cuts to municipal funding provided by the provincial government, among other factors."It just seems like they seem to be downloading more on the municipalities and that has to stop," he said.Walstedt added the majority of Lakeshore residents who have spoken with him about cannabis retail stores said they were opposed. Nonetheless, Walstedt said he's waiting for the results of the public consultation to inform his decision.Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain — who also voted against physical cannabis retail stores last December — said he'll be watching the way Windsor moves forward with its retail pot store, adding that will be a big factor in the direction Lakeshore council will take. "We'll be certainly putting that under the microscope and that will inform, I believe, how a lot of council members vote on the success or failure of it," he said. Bain added that he's seen a mix of interest and skepticism from residents.Opinions across Windsor-EssexThe Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario's (AGCO) announced the results of its second cannabis retail licence lottery on Tuesday, allowing 42 applicants to formally apply for a licence.Kirk Anastasiadis was the only Windsor-Essex applicant to earn the chance to file. Figures released by the AGCO show 137 applicants submitted loterry forms to open a store in Windsor. One application was filed for each of Amherstburg, Leamington and Kingsville, while 10 applications for stores were filed in each of Chatham and Sarnia. Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos and Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald both said they'd like to see changes to the AGCO's cannabis licensing model to make it easier for communities interested in establishing physical stores to do so. "Not having won the lottery unfortunately is something that … we have no control over," said Santos. It's worth noting that LaSalle and Tecumseh also voted to opt out of physical cannabis retail stores. Representatives from both municipalities confirmed that their position on physical stores hadn't changed.

  • News
    CBC

    Virginia survivalist wins 6th season of Alone, filmed in N.W.T.

    Imagine traveling to the subarctic region of a foreign country to live off the land, alone, for 77 days.American Jordan Jonas, 36, did just that when he outlasted nine other contestants on the History Channel TV show Alone."When it happened, I was completely surprised… My goal was to win it," said Jonas, of Lynchburg, Virginia.The sixth season of the reality TV series was filmed on Great Slave Lake's East Arm, near Lutselkʼe, N.W.T. It was the first time the show shot in the subarctic. Filming took place last fall, ending in November.Each contestant was dropped off at a different location with the few tools that they had brought with them.This wasn't Jonas's first time in the North. He spent a number of years living in Siberia with reindeer herders."There's something rich about the North that you can't create anywhere else," said Jonas.He said it feels like "you can almost live a lifestyle [where] … you can still live the way we were designed to live."Jonas became the first contestant in the show's history to kill a big game animal when, 20 days into the adventure, he shot a nearly 408-kilogram moose with his bow and arrow."That was one of the most intense days of my life," he said. "After that, I had the wolverines come in. I spent time in Siberia and never seen a wolverine in my time there, so I wasn't expecting it."Jonas said one wolverine in particular kept coming back and trying to see what it could scavenge. He eventually killed the animal with a bow and arrow and his hatchet.Jonas said fishing was a highlight. Catching an 11-kilogram pike gave him "a whole perspective shift," he said, and made him feel like he could last another month."I just had a blast catching trout in that lake," he said.Jonas said he hopes to one day return to the Northwest Territories with his family.His only regret, he said, is that he "foolishly" left some mementos behind, like his fork and fishing net. But it's OK, he said, "because I got these moose antlers."