The Conservative Party leadership race is starting to take shape, but there are only so many paths to victory each candidate can take — and limited space in each of them. Some candidates have a better path forward than others.To date, no one has yet met the bar to be classified as a "verified" candidate by the Conservative Party. Among those who have publicly declared their intention to run, only former cabinet minister Peter MacKay and Ontario MP Marilyn Gladu have a good shot of meeting the party's stringent qualification requirements.Ontario MPs Pierre Poilievre and Erin O'Toole are expected to enter the race soon, while the decision of former Quebec premier Jean Charest is reportedly imminent.Other candidates could come forward between now and the Feb. 27 deadline for entry ahead of the June 27 vote.Each of them will be looking to identify a lane that takes them to the leadership, cobbling together like-minded regional and ideological groupings within the party's membership that are large enough to elect a leader.These lanes are not always well-defined — and some candidates can blow them apart. Maxime Bernier, the runner-up in the 2017 leadership race, did not have particularly regionalized support. Holding a libertarian worldview, Bernier also defied the old split between the Progressive Conservatives and Reform, the two legacy parties.But Andrew Scheer's lane was to draw support from the rural parts of the country and a mix of members from across the spectrum, pulling both from moderates like O'Toole and Michael Chong and social conservatives like Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux. Scheer was able to attract support from both of the old wings of the party in part because Bernier was an unconventional candidate.The contours of the current roster of likely candidates, however, looks less unusual.The candidate with the steepest hill to climb is likely to be Gladu, who lacks what could be a decisive factor in such a short race: a high profile. The two-term Sarnia–Lambton MP may be able to build support from ridings in southwestern Ontario, but will have some work ahead of her to break through. The second-choice backing of her supporters, however, could prove a hot commodity by voting day.But how about the others? What are their most promising paths to victory?MacKay: The electable centristMacKay's path to the leadership looks the most obvious.He has a few things working in his favour. He has the aura of electability, with polls showing he is more likely than some other candidates to stack up well against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. His standing as the last leader of the defunct Progressive Conservatives makes him the natural heir to the support of more moderate, centrist members. His dutiful years of service in Stephen Harper's cabinet might also make him acceptable to the Harper wing of the party.MacKay will likely have a strong and unopposed regional base in Atlantic Canada. Though there are only 32 seats in the region — all seats across the country will be weighted equally in the Conservative voting system — running up the numbers in this one smaller region could pay more dividends than narrowly leading a crowded field in bigger regions.He is already showing some support in other parts of the country, with endorsements from B.C. MP Ed Fast and Alberta MP Blaine Calkins.MacKay has the potential for growth as candidates are eliminated from the ranked ballot, particularly candidates like Gladu, O'Toole and possibly Charest, if MacKay's lack of fluency in French is not seen as too big of an obstacle. He already seems to be fishing in O'Toole's pond — both Fast and Calkins endorsed O'Toole in 2017.Poilievre: The Harper candidateThe clearest path to 50 per cent is to be seen as the Harper candidate — the person who most closely embodies the continuation of the Harper model, both in governing style and in party management. This person has a strong base in Western Canada and among the old Reformers, but is also acceptable to Conservatives in places like the Greater Toronto Area.Poilievre has the best shot at that title — and that makes him a potentially formidable candidate.The Ottawa-area MP has a ready-made base in eastern Ontario. His bilingualism will give him a fair chance in Quebec. Born and raised in Alberta, he also has the best claim to being the Western candidate. His team includes Jenni Byrne, Harper's former campaign manager, signalling a tacit (if not necessarily exclusive) endorsement from that camp.He has potential for down-ballot growth from O'Toole, whose supporters swung to Scheer over Bernier in 2017. If Charest enters the race, Poilievre could also peel votes away from him among members who believe the next leader needs to be bilingual.But there are still some open questions when it comes to Poilievre. Having played the role of partisan attack dog for his party, members may not see Poilievre as electable in a general election. His recent statements in support of both same-sex marriage and abortion rights could exclude him from getting the social conservative support that was a key component of Scheer's victory.And the entry of another Western Canadian into the race could scupper Poilievre's hopes of support in that part of the country. The need for one candidate to take the Harper lane is both Poilievre's best chance and greatest vulnerability, as being pushed out of that lane would cost him his spot as a front-runner.Charest: The electable (?) QuebecerIt is not immediately obvious which lane is Charest's. His standing as a former PC leader (from 1993 to 1998) is shared with MacKay, who helped create the modern Conservative Party but doesn't carry the political taint (in party circles) of also having been leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, as Charest was from 1998 to 2012.He could claim electability thanks to his profile across the country, flawless bilingualism and experience running (and winning) election campaigns. But his regional base is likely to be restricted, even in his home province. The areas of Quebec that backed the right-leaning ADQ and CAQ during the Charest years are unlikely to warmly welcome their former opponent. Charest also faces the prospect of an "anybody but Charest" campaign, which could severely limit his growth potential.O'Toole: The moderate consensusWhile O'Toole has a path to the leadership, it could be occupied by other candidates. His best results in the last leadership race came in the Maritimes, a region that is more likely to back MacKay.Representing a riding in the Greater Toronto Area is an advantage — there are more seats there than in B.C., Alberta or Atlantic Canada — but that is likely to be a hotly contested part of the country. O'Toole did not show great strength in the GTA in 2017, placing first in only five ridings on the last ballot before he was eliminated.His relatively lower profile and lack of fluency in French chips away at his perceived electability.But he does have the potential to be a consensus candidate — one that is acceptable to the broadest swath of the Conservative membership, like Scheer in 2017. The problem for O'Toole, however, is that being everyone's second choice only matters if enough voters list you as their first. He might be able to pull significant support from Gladu, MacKay or Charest, but only if he finishes ahead of them.Much will depend on the final roster of candidates and how the race unfolds. It is early days. But the initial signals suggest MacKay and Poilievre have the most plausible paths to winning the leadership before anyone has taken their first steps.
Japan on Tuesday published a list defending how it treats people accused of crimes, the latest move in its struggle to counter accusations of "hostage justice" after ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn's dramatic escape to Lebanon. "Japanese detention centers maintain detention rooms appropriately ... The rooms are structured so as to allow sufficient natural light and ensure good airflow," the Ministry said on its website.
BERLIN — Explosives experts on Tuesday successfully defused an unexploded American bomb from World War II in the western German city of Cologne, authorities said.The 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) bomb was found Monday evening during construction near the Rhine River in the centre of the city. A TV station and the opera house had to be evacuated during the defusing operation. Shipping on the river and air traffic overhead were also interrupted before the defusing operation got underway.Officials closed down a bridge across the Rhine that takes most trains to Cologne's main train station, one of Germany's major rail hubs. The suspension of traffic in Cologne led to delays in train services across all of Germany.Almost 75 years after the end of the war, unexploded bombs are frequently found in Germany. Disposing of them sometimes entails large-scale evacuations as a precaution.The Associated Press
For the second day in a row, OC Transpo doesn't have enough working trains to adequately service its four-month-old Confederation Line. It said Tuesday at 1:15 p.m. it would have 10 working trains through the afternoon rush, meaning trains will run approximately every five or six minutes instead of every three minutes during that peak period.At times this morning, as few as eight were running.OC Transpo is running "special buses" alongside its trains to help alleviate expected crowds and delays on the LRT line caused by the train shortage.From 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., OC Transpo will run special buses from Albert Street, just west of O'Connor Street near Parliament station, to both Hurdman and Tunney's Pasture stations to get out of the core.Those buses ran from Hurdman and Tunney's Pasture stations to downtown from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.Buses from Hurdman dropped passengers off at stops on Albert Street, similar to how express buses worked before Oct. 6, 2019 (but without stopping at stations along the way).Buses leaving from Tunney's Pasture let people off on Slater Street.10 trains yesterday; 13 normallyOn Monday afternoon, only 10 trains were working down from the 13 at rush hour and 11 during off-peak times required to meet rider demand."It's just frustrating," said Coun. Riley Brockington on Monday. The River councillor is also a member of Ottawa's transit commission."Most reasonable people can understand and accept some issues now and then with the public transit system as a whole, but not with the frequency that we've seen for such a brand new service."Costs to run the special replacement buses Tuesday will be charged to the LRT's builders Rideau Transit Group, said Manconi.They're now responsible for maintenance on the LRT under the name Rideau Transit Maintenance.The drop in the number of trains Monday and Tuesday was caused by a handful of problems with trains.On Thursday a wire above a train broke and damaged the train as it entered St. Laurent station, one train is out of service with a compressor issue and a few other trains are experiencing wheel flats, said OC Transpo operations director Troy Charter Monday afternoon.Wheel flats mean part of the wheel is dragging on the track instead of turning.That issue is "a main contributor to the inability to have 13 trains at peak period right now," he said.Special meeting ThursdayThe city owns 17 double-carriage trains for the Confederation Line, but two trains have yet to be sufficiently tested and are not ready for service.The other 15 are used in regular rotation or as backups, said Brockington.As only eight were working Tuesday it stands to reason seven trains were undergoing or have undergone repairs at the same time. Again, the city has not confirmed this."Sometimes you have to take trains out of service for regular maintenance that's planned, but the number of issues that we've seen and the technical issues with these trains is not something that we should expect," said Brockington.The city councillor plans to raise both the St. Laurent station wire break and the lack of working trains at a special transit commission meeting on Thursday.Both officials with Rideau Transit Maintenance and OC Transpo are attending Thursday's meeting.
The Giant Mine remediation team opened public hearings in Yellowknife on Monday with some big promises. "The project will provide value to residents, and return a site that is greatly improved," said project director Chris MacInnis. MacInnis also laid out the stakes of any delays to the cleanup: anywhere from $15 to $20 million in extra costs to the taxpayer for every year the cleanup is delayed. The team is presenting its final closure and remediation plan to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board this week in the hope of obtaining a 20-year water licence and a five-year land use permit. It's the last major hurdle before the $1-billion cleanup finally begins. But MacInnis made it clear that the final closure plan may not be completely final. "It is only with the confidence of an approved final closure and reclamation plan that the project can complete the final detailed design," MacInnis said. "We have proposed a phased approach to submissions that will present these detailed designs to the board for approval to allow active remediation work at the Giant Mine site to start in 2021."In other remarks, Natalie Plato, the remediation team's deputy director, explained that the team had yet to file a quantitative risk assessment, ordered by the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board. She promised that would be done by February, before the water licence is issued. She also said a planned stress study, part of the team's health effects monitoring, had yet to take place. The study is expected to look at how stress related to the possibility of arsenic exposure may affect human health. Plato said they don't believe this should be a condition of the water licence, as it will not affect project design, but rather, how the project engages with the public.The board will hold four more days of hearings — on top of months of presentations — to determine whether that phased approach can satisfy all parties who want to see the work done right.'An opportunity to reconcile'More than 100 people attended Monday's session.At least one interested person is confident the project is going in the right direction.Ed Sangris, Dettah chief for the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, opened his remarks by saying that Giant Mine "significantly and fundamentally changed the people of the Yellowknives Dene." And while Sangris said it was a little strange to be holding hearings after so much important work at the site had already happened, such as the dismantling of the roasting complex and the removal of the headframe (both deemed safety priorities), he's optimistic about the process. "Giant Mine has never benefited the Yellowknives Dene. We were not consulted and we did not receive any compensation from Giant," he said. "With this process, we have the opportunity … to return to what was taken from us, the opportunity to reconcile with the past, the opportunity to change."The hearings continue on Tuesday. Members of the public who want to ask questions or make comments can attend one of two evening sessions, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Swiss officials foiled an apparent spying operation by Russians posing as plumbers in Davos, site of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting, a newspaper reported on Tuesday, but police did not confirm key details of the account. The report in the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper said the two Russians were checked by Swiss police in August last year in the ski resort, which is hosting the WEF gathering of the global business and political elite this week. The pair presented diplomatic passports and left the country, the paper said.
The City of Summerside, P.E.I., is undertaking a major review of its taxi bylaw.Coun. Carrie Adams, chair of the bylaw review committee, said she is not sure how old the taxi bylaw is, but there is no doubt in her mind that it's dated."We're going to comb through it and take out some things that might be a little bit archaic, that aren't necessary anymore," said Adams."Right now our bylaw is too big. There's too much in it. It states that you'd need to have things that a lot [of companies] currently don't have, and they are operating."The bylaw, for example, requires a taxi stand with a washroom and has rules about the cleanliness of taxis that the city does not have the resources to enforce.There are three companies in the city, all operating in different ways, Adams said, and the bylaw should reflect what the industry is doing now."We're hoping that it will leave all the taxi operators on the same playing field," she said.Adams said the city will also be considering the arrival of ride-booking services in the review.She expects it will take about a month for city officials to comb through the bylaw, and then they will meet with the industry for feedback.More P.E.I. news
During the deep freeze, heated parking lots were packed while tow trucks and cab companies were busy. While most Calgarians wanted to hibernate — life in the cold still goes on.For some, staying warm did mean staying in. According to a SkipTheDishes spokesperson, there was a 20 per cent spike in orders between Tuesday and Thursday compared to the week before. Kurt Enders, president of Checker Transportation, said while calls were up, it was hard for cab drivers to get around."We couldn't get around the city as quickly as we'd like to," Enders said. "All in all, it was a fairly steady 10 days for us — which is what we're there for is to help people out when they need when they need help."And he said traffic through the week was slow-moving because of a combination of cautious drivers on slippery roads and just the sheer volume of folks opting to drive in the chill. But, Enders added, it was a nice boost for drivers braving the weather."Providing their car starts and everything else, it's always nice to have that extra business come through the door," Enders said. According to Mike Whitehead, fleet trainer with AMA, the company had more calls last week than they typically field for an entire month. A month-worth of calls in one week"Usually we'll get about 50,000 calls in a month," Whitehead said. "We had about just shy of 67,000 just last week, so we were overwhelmed with call volume."If you have a battery that's not up to where it should be. It's just going to fail and it's not going to start on you."Whitehead said at the start of this week they are just looking to catch up on all of those calls. He said at the peak last week callers were looking at a 72-hour wait for tows, and right now those waits have gone down — it's now a 12-hour wait.Calgary Parking Authority said six of their seven downtown parkades were at peak occupancy during the cold. The Centennial Parkade peaked at 97 per cent occupancy, while a week before the cold snap peak occupancy at Centennial Parkade was 85 per cent. Even some of the CPA's surface parking lots saw a bump in use.While more people were parking, there was a decrease in enforcement because it's harder to get around and tow trucks are busy helping with other services like battery boosts and freeing vehicles that are stuck. How do your spending habits change when the weather gets cold? Let us know in the comments.
For more than seven years, Jumbo Glacier Mayor Greg Deck has been in the unique position of running a municipality nobody lives in."It was easy to make fun of," said Deck, appointed mayor by the provincial government in 2012 in anticipation of a proposed ski resort in eastern B.C. spurring development of a 6,300-bed resort village. "But it's what happens in every new subdivision in every municipality in [B.C.] in advance of people showing up: you try to have an entity in place to make sure services are in place and interests of the incoming residents will be taken care of." Bogged down by local opposition and then indefinitely delayed due to court losses, Jumbo Glacier became less and less likely as time went on.And with the land in question now being turned into a conservation zone by the Ktunaxa Nation, the provincial government is formally beginning the process of dissolving the town that has no people — but does have a mayor, council and senior staff. "There is no longer a need for a municipality," said the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in a statement."We will continue to engage with the municipality, the Regional District of East Kootenay and local First Nations to ensure that their interests are included as we go through the disincorporation process."How do you dissolve a place that only exists on paper?A municipality in B.C. hasn't been legally dissolved in B.C. in nearly 100 years, since the company town of Phoenix was abandoned following a downturn in copper prices after the First World War. The government said it would be a "complex process," and Deck said he would be happy to follow their lead. "I don't know. I've never done one," he said, when asked what role he would play in eliminating the municipality he's mayor of."So we're going to take our guidance from [the province]. I presume it's mostly administrative activity, just closing up accounts, passing claims back to the province advising insurance companies and things that we no longer require coverage. Really boring nuts and bolts stuff."That "nuts and bolts stuff" involves some money — Jumbo Glacier has received around a million dollars in provincial grants and federal gas tax funding, and Deck received annual compensation in the mid-four figures as mayor.But Deck, who was appointed mayor partly due to his experience as the first mayor of nearby Radium Hot Springs, said the planning work was necessary. "It's just good design policy to have planning in place before you do things," he said.Opponents claim victoryNot everyone agreed: in 2014 the Union of B.C. Municipalities passed a motion called "Municipalities with No Residents" opposing Jumbo Glacier's funding, and last year the city of Rossland asked the province to dissolve it."Local government is there to serve the population, and in Jumbo there was no population," said Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore, who was happy to hear the government take action. East Kootenay Regional Director Gerry Wilkie, whose electoral area borders the Jumbo Glacier lands, was equally dismissive. "I think they averaged maybe one and a half people at their meetings," he said. "An area of absolutely huge ecological importance was subject to a ridiculous white elephant development proposal ... for 25 years."Both Wilkie and Moore praised environmental and Indigenous groups that fought against the idea of Jumbo Glacier for many years. While they wait for the unique denouement of its official dissolution, the first and only mayor of a B.C. municipality with no people wonders what might have been."I think we're looking at the demise of the best ski hill we will never have in this country," said Deck. "That's the source of some sadness to me but I went into it with my eyes open ... we knew what we were up against."
Consultations are underway for regulating vaping product sales on P.E.I., but Health Minister James Aylward says he has made up his mind on one thing.Flavoured vape juice will be banned in the province."We did it with flavoured tobacco, we're going to do it with flavoured vaping as well," Aylward told CBC's Island Morning."I won't be swayed."The health minister has made the decision in the face of opposition from Imperial Tobacco and the Atlantic Convenience Stores Association.Industry reactionIn a news release, Imperial Tobacco urged governments in Canada to be certain vaping regulations were based on science."This is an extremely complex issue for which governments need to talk to scientists and doctors who understand the issue and not get swayed by the dramatized headlines," said Eric Gagnon, head of corporate and regulatory affairs at Imperial Tobacco Canada."If politicians and regulators allow themselves to be influenced by fear instead of facts, the biggest losers will be the millions of adult smokers across Canada who want an alternative to smoking."In a release, the Vaping Industry Trade Association said it's calling upon "all levels of government to formally acknowledge the thousands of Canadian vapers who quit smoking by vaping."The organization said it wants government to carefully consider how proposed policies negatively affect adults who rely on vaping products to remain smoke-free.Shamus Kelly, owner of Eastern Vapes in Charlottetown, said banning flavoured vaping products won't get them out of the hands of Island youth."They're pushing everybody to the black market. They are going to get their hands on it, no matter what," Kelly said."But now it's not going to be professionally-tested, lab-tested stuff. It's going to be black market products that, who know what's in them, right? And they're going to get them that way." Kelly said up to 80 per cent of his business is selling flavoured vapes so he expects the decision to affect his bottom line. Julia Hartley, with the P.E.I. Lung Association, said there's evidence to show that youth between the ages of 18 and 24 are particularly drawn to flavoured vaping products. "We have data showing that almost 100 per cent of youth prefer flavoured products and also data showing that half of these kids would quit vaping if, you know, the flavours were taken away. That's all the evidence we need," she said. 'Trying to protect our population'Aylward said he was alarmed by news from P.E.I.'s Public Schools Branch that vaping is starting as early as Grade 4. He believes banning flavoured vapes will discourage young people."Trying to protect our population, particularly our youth, that's the number one thing that I think about every day," he said.Consultations on regulations will go on about another week, said Aylward, and he expects to have draft regulations by early March, and those could be in force as soon as the end of that month.Aylward said there is still a role for the federal government in regulation when it comes to online sales and limiting the amount of nicotine in products. More P.E.I. news
Yves Lafond was about half an hour up the road from Carmacks, Yukon, last Monday morning when he spotted it."I came out of that curve, and gee, it was a vehicle on fire," he recalled. "You know, you look twice — what do I see? Yeah, it is a vehicle on fire!"The long-distance truck driver from Whitehorse was the first to find them — three men whose pickup truck went off the road the night before, leaving them stranded in –50 C weather. They had set it on fire to keep from freezing to death.As he approached, Lafond only saw the flaming wreck."If there's no vehicle around, like another vehicle around, that means nobody came to help. Where is the driver? Or the people? And I was kind of freaking out a bit," Lafond said.Then he spotted them, on the other side of the flames."They started waving their hands ... 'OK, alive,' I thought."The three were alive, but in deep distress. By the time Lafond rolled up, they had been waiting for hours and were dangerously chilled. They scrambled to get into Lafond's warm truck, but it was a struggle. "They were moving like robots, really." Lafond said. They had a quick meeting and finally the guy who owned the truck agreed, and they set it on fire. \- Yves LafondBy that time, another truck had pulled up behind Lafond and took one of the three stranded travellers in. Then they left the burning wreck behind and headed up the road to Pelly Crossing.Lafond offered them some fresh coffee, but one of the men immediately spilled his cup because his hands were too cold to hold it.'We're in the life-and-death scenario'As they drove, Lafond heard more about their ordeal. "They were telling me some parts, and my foot was going down on that fuel pedal, instinctively. I thought, man, I have to get those guys in the heat, fast."The men told him they had tried to get wood for a fire, but there was too much snow in the bush. One of them had also started out walking to get help, but soon decided that was a bad idea.Early the next morning, they told Lafond, they were in serious trouble. No cars had passed. One of the men said he had started to feel warm and unzipped his coat — a sign that confusion was setting in."So he told the two other guys, 'This is it, we're in the life-and-death scenario right now, so we have to do something fast, because in five minutes, well, we won't be able to take any decision,'" Lafond said."They had a quick meeting and finally the guy who owned the truck agreed, and they set it on fire."Don't judge, says rescuerLafond thinks they did the right thing. He says it's easy for other people to judge, but they weren't there."You're in the heat of your house, you think about all the possibility, what you could have done, and this and that, and it's easy to think — it's like the 'hockey pro' at the tavern," he said.RCMP said last week that two of the people were being treated for injuries due to exposure to the cold, but there's no word on their condition.Lafond says stopping to help was a no-brainer for him. Working as a truck driver in the North means you don't take life for granted, he says."We've got to help each other on the road up here. If someone is stopped for any reason, you stop and ask if everything's all right."
Mexico's government said on Tuesday that it largely halted a caravan of undocumented Central Americans migrants who waded across a river into Mexico, and says others who attempt to enter the country illegally will face the same consequences. The caravan, part of a group of several thousand people who last week fled rampant gang violence and dire job prospects in Honduras, are a major test for Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's strategy for stopping U.S.-bound migrants. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said about 1,000 people managed to cross the country's southern border on Monday from Guatemala.
Terry Green, 75, was married for 38 years, and has had a few relationships since her divorce, but nothing has stuck for the long haul. The Kamloops resident, like many other seniors, has dipped her toes into the world of online dating, but has learned that it isn't easy."You meet the odd nice one and they're really nice, and then you get the scammers or the married men that are much more interested in just talking because they're lonely and it's hard at this age," she said."You don't want to go into a short term relationship. You want the companionship as much as anything else."Green isn't alone in her experience, said Catherine Schmidt, co-ordinator of adult services at the Thompson-Nicola Regional Library in the southern Interior city. That's why Schmidt decided to launch a program called Dating over 50, which starts Tuesday night, to try and help people who are looking for relationships or maybe just companionship."Individuals are asking the library staff for help setting up online dating profiles," she told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce.However, what's concerning, is some are asking library staff with assistance with wiring money to people they've met online."We're seeing that maybe they don't quite know what they're getting themselves into, or maybe they just aren't quite up to speed."Schmidt got the idea for the course from a librarian in Chicago, Tina Williams, who started a similar program. "It just seems like such an amazing response in her community, we thought maybe our people could use it too," she said.Dating sessionsSo far there are three sessions being offered, with topics such as, general dating tips, online safety and health.Anyone is welcome to come to the sessions, however the focus is mostly on people over the age of 50 who may not have as much experience with using online dating tools.Schmidt said she's learned that the experiences of seniors are often quite comparable to younger people though, since both demographics are often using dating websites to meet people."There are many individuals both young and older who are meeting online because it almost feels safer because you're not putting yourself out there as much," she said.However, one difference both Schmidt and Green have noticed is there tends to be more female seniors in the dating game than males."There are so many more women, especially older women these days because women live longer, and they want somebody. They don't necessarily want to get married again or have kids or anything like that, they just want a companion in their life,"said Schmidt."Maybe that means that yes, they want a long term relationship, maybe that just means they want to go on a date [and] hang out."Local matchmaker Tara Holmes will be at the first session, and she will help attendees through the basics of dating and with figuring out what they're looking for. There will also be some games to help break the ice."The whole point of this is just to be approachable, fun, interactive," said Schmidt."Not only is this about teaching people how to date, but it's also making people feel comfortable with other people."
Fredericton city council voted unanimously Monday night to adopt several resolutions that it hopes will help create more gender diversity at council tables. Coun. Kate Rogers, the only woman on council, noted last night that several of the city's standing committees are made up entirely of men.Rogers began raising the issue publicly last summer when a committee to look into development at the New Brunswick Exhibition grounds lacked any female representation from the city. "It was difficult to go and speak publicly about colleagues — very well intentioned, good people — and to have to speak publicly," she said."But it amplified the discussion and it brought it out into the public and that's what was required so that we could move forward. I feel we've come a long way in a few months."The resolutions from the Ad Hoc Committee on Gender Diversity, which was struck after Rogers brought her concerns forward, include: * Adopt the Fredericton Council Code of Conduct by-law and policy * Provide on-going professional development for Councillors and Committee members * Amend the Administrative report to include GBA+ lens, among othersThe committee was made up of Rogers and Coun. Greg Ericson, as well as city staff representative Michele Cronin, Joanne Wright, the dean of Arts and Professor of Political Science at the University of New Brunswick and Margot Cragg, the Executive Director of the Union of the Municipalities of New Brunswick.There are no women on the finance committee, public safety committee or land development committee, Rogers said."If you have more diverse voices there … it just makes for a richer more meaningful discussion."Committee members are appointed by the mayor and approved by council. The recently passed resolutions will not change that process.'It's 2020'Several people, mostly women, came to watch the council-in-committee meeting on Monday night. Committee meetings don't typically attract an audience. "We wanted to come here for solidarity," said Marg Milburn, who came to support the resolutions. "And also, I just can't believe we had to come to this meeting, like, I'm just — it's 2020." Councillors echoed their support for the resolutions, and some even asked why they didn't go further. "I think we should be appointing a commission to look into all of the various issues that are associated with gender equity and gender representation … in order to facilitate more women in government," said Coun. Stephen Chase. Coun. Eric Megarity suggested it was time the city had a representative from St. Mary's First Nation. "We both inhabit the same piece of territory, we're on their land and it goes back many many many years and it's time to work together and move our city forward," Megarity said. More work to be doneIncreasing gender diversity is a first step, Rogers said in an interview with Information Morning Fredericton."We need to become more diverse in many ways around the council table and in our working committees. We identified gender and thought that we would start with gender ... and then we can address many of the other identities." Rogers said the positive discussion and unanimous vote is encouraging."That made me feel like we've come a very long way," she said.But there's still work to be done, said Coun. Greg Ericson. Some details still need to be hammered out, like how the city could go about appointing voting community members to standing committees. A lot of talk"It's in a bylaw already, but none of the specifics are worked out. Do they get a vote? What kind of speaking privileges do they have? What's the process for how we'd go about selecting these members from the community?" For now, Rogers expects the recommendations will make councillors and committee members more aware of sexist and misogynistic behaviour. "Part of this training will make people more aware that it exists and their part in it," Rogers said."I would say both at the staff and the council level we haven't talked about it and when we have talked about it, there's been denial that it's existed or that it's too overwhelming to address."
Tom Wolski, the longtime face of horse racing in British Columbia, has died after suffering a heart attack while travelling to visit family in Florida, according to friends and colleagues. He was believed to be in his late 70s.Wolski, who spent more than three decades racing and riding horses, was one of the best known jockeys in the province, with at least 500 wins to his name.He started riding as a teenager and moved to Vancouver in the early 1970s to pursue the sport. He went on to make frequent appearances at the Hastings Park Racecourse over the decades."Everybody knew him," said his colleague Greg Douglas, media relations with Hastings Park Racecourse. "He was a real character.""I can't think of a person who is more popular and more respected in the sport than Tommy Wolski. He loved the sport and the sport loved him."After Wolski's retirement from the sport, he turned to the media industry after his retirement and ran his own TV and radio shows, as well as writing a racing column in The Province for many years. As well as winning awards for his journalism, he was inducted into both the B.C. Horse Racing Hall of Fame and the Canadian Thoroughbred Society Hall of Fame.He was well loved and known in the community outside of racing, says former B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal, who was a longtime friend."He was one of the people that you immediately liked," said Oppal. "He was a very thoughtful, caring person and he had a large profile around town."Wolski would always stop to chat with anyone, Oppal said, and was known for making friends with anybody and everyone — from children in the neighbourhood to high-profile athletes and celebrities like Pat Quinn, Gordie Howe, John Candy and Gene Kiniski, as his many photos on Facebook attest. "His loss is a big one for our community," said Oppal.Wolski, a dual American-Canadian citizen, was born in Massachusetts — but exactly when is not clear to his friends."He always concealed his age, he never would tell anybody," Douglas said."The records don't show his date of birth but we suspect he was in his late 70s."Wolski was en route to visiting his sister and cousin in Florida when he became ill on the flight, according to Douglas. He went straight to the hospital after landing and was diagnosed with a heart attack. Douglas said he underwent surgery and died in hospital in Naples, Fla., on Monday morning.
More commuters in the Montreal area are using public transit, particularly young people, but the number of people using their cars to get to work is down only slightly, according to a new report by Montreal's regional transport authority.Public transit in the region saw a four per cent increase in ridership, meaning there were 417,000 new people using the system between 2013 and 2018, the report says.Riders between the ages of 20 and 44 are more likely to use public transit: while the age bracket only represents 35 per cent of the population of greater Montreal, they represent 52 per cent of all public transit users."Before, young people took public transportation to go to school, then as soon as they entered the job market, they bought a car — what we are seeing now is that they remain in public transit," said Benoît Gendron, the general director of the transport authority, known as the ARTM.Car travel is down by one per cent, which means 15,000 fewer cars were on the road during morning rush hour in 2018 compared to 2013.Gendron said there is still a long way to go: 70 per cent of rush hour trips are still made exclusively by car.Stats stagnant in North, South ShoreThe numbers are especially stark for the North and South Shores of Montreal.According to the report, in 2018 only 10 per cent of people on the South Shore take public transit for their morning commute. The number is worst for the suburbs north of Montreal (excluding Laval), where only nine per cent take transit.That's virtually unchanged compared to 2013, when nine per cent took public transit in both.Even fewer are taking transit into Montreal itself — only one per cent in the South Shore and three per cent north of the island."We need to provide them with good, reliable services that are easy to use," said Daniel Bergeron, the chief planning officer with the ARTM.He said that moving people between suburbs — and not just to downtown Montreal — would encourage more people to use transit.Bergeron said the ARTM also wants to simplify the fare system by having a single fare structure for the entirety of the greater Montreal region.ARTM 'optimistic' about future of transitBut Gendron is optimistic that future projects will continue to encourage people to use public transit, citing the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) light rail project, with stations in the West Island and South Shore."As soon as we increase capacity on existing systems [such as the train or the metro], we quickly reach rider capacity," Gendron said. He said that when the Azur trains arrived in the Montreal Metro system, the network was able to increase its capacity by 10 to 15 per cent.Gendron said he has been collaborating with the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM), the organization that oversees Montreal-area municipalities, to tackle urban sprawl and put in place more public transit.The CMM wants 35 per cent of morning rush hour commutes to be on public transit by 2031. Gendron said it was an ambitious target, but attainable as long as different levels of government commit to financing the system."It will be a challenge in itself," he said. "The growth in services on offer will have to be there."
Brady Francis suffered blunt force trauma to his skull, his liver was lacerated, his left lung showed signs of trauma and multiple abrasions covered most of his body, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy testified Tuesday at the hit-and-run trial of Maurice Johnson."In my opinion, he died of blunt force trauma to the head and neck" consistent with a motor vehicle collision, Dr. Ken Obenson told the Moncton Court of Queen's Bench.The body of Francis, 22, of Elsipogtog First Nation, was found on Saint-Charles South Road in Saint-Charles on Feb. 24, 2018, at around 9:40 p.m.Johnson, 57, of Saint-Charles has pleaded not guilty to failing to stop at the scene of an accident that caused a person's death.Obenson, who performed the autopsy at the Saint John Regional Hospital on Feb. 25, 2018, testified he believes Francis was standing at the moment of impact and may have been projected onto the vehicle that struck him.He was unable to determine if Francis was struck head-on, from the side, or from behind, he said.Francis was intoxicated at the time, with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.29, Obenson found — about three-and-a-half times the legal limit.Earlier in the trial, the court heard Francis had been at a diaper party for a friend who was expecting a baby.He was seen afterward walking along the road and had called his parents to ask for a ride home. By the time they arrived minutes later, they found their son's body lying face-up on the side of the road.The trial is scheduled to continue on Wednesday morning, when the Crown is expected to call its final witnesses.The defence plans to call four witnesses. It's not yet clear whether Johnson will testify in his own defence.Wife drank 8 beers in truckThe court has watched the videotaped statement Johnson gave to RCMP on March 15, 2018, following his arrest. In the roughly four-hour video, Johnson told police he was drinking Diet Pepsi the night Francis was killed, and didn't consume any alcohol or drugs.Johnson said his wife drank eight beers while they drove around in his pickup truck between around 3:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., tossing the empties along the way, but he was behind the wheel when struck what he initially thought was a deer.Cpl. Nicholas Potvin alleged Johnson "got scared" the night of the collision and urged him to "own up.""This is your chance to correct the mistake you made by telling the truth," Potvin said in French.The officer noted other people reported seeing Francis walking along the road that night and questioned why Johnson did not. He suggested something was affecting his judgment.Johnson repeatedly told the officer he wasn't drinking that day. Although he drank when he was younger, he drinks "almost never now," he said in French.His wife sometimes drinks a bottle of wine on the weekends. "Me? I stay at home and watch Netflix and drink my coffee."The last time he drank was about three weeks before the accident, when he bought a case of 12 beers, he said. "I don't do drugs," he added.'Do the right thing'During the first part of the interview, played for the court on Monday, Johnson said he and his wife were talking during their leisure drive and he turned his head to look at her for a moment. When he turned back, there was a deer in front of his truck and he didn't have time to brake, he said.He stopped and looked back, but didn't see anything, so he thought the animal had run off and they kept going, he said. "If I thought it had been a person, I would have stopped."As the interview continued, Potvin questioned whether Johnson would have been scared if he had stopped and had police arrived. "Would they have found anything in your vehicle?"Johnson said he wouldn't have been scared, and asked the officer about speaking to his lawyer.Potvin told Johnson he had already spoken to his lawyer and that he was not obliged to answer any more questions. But he said Johnson was the only one who could "complete the puzzle … of what really happened that night" and he pressed him to "do the right thing.""You're a good person, Maurice, a hard worker, a family man, a father, a husband," he said. "Give closure to the [Francis] family.""I saw what I saw," replied Johnson. "I did not see a person."Potvin also grilled the accused about being unsure where the collision occurred.Johnson told a friend it was on Gray Road, while he told an officer the day Francis's body was discovered that it was on Saint-Charles North Road, and Potvin that it was on Saint-Charles South Road.Johnson said he knew he turned off Gray Road and went left and left again and that it was on one of those roads, but he wasn't sure exactly where because "it was just a deer."Francis's body was found 1.8 kilometres from Johnson's house, the courtroom heard.Johnson told police he drove home, watched TV and went to bed around 11 p.m.Potvin asked if he noticed the police cars that drove past his house after Francis's body was discovered. Johnson said he did not.The trial began last week and has heard from 32 witnesses so far. It is scheduled to continue until Jan. 31.Justice Denise LeBlanc is presiding.
JACKSON, N.J. — An ad in the Waze navigation app is misdirecting motorists headed to Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa into the wilderness of New Jersey's Pine Barrens, police said.Jackson Township police posted on Facebook that officers in recent weeks have had to help motorists who followed the directions into the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area, where they became stuck on unpaved roads.“The wildlife area is comprised of more than 12,000 acres, mainly located in Jackson and Plumsted townships, which is about 45 miles (72 kilometres) away from the actual Borgata Casino in Atlantic City,” police said.The Borgata is off the Atlantic City Expressway.According to police, the problem stems from an orange ad logo in the Waze app.The address on the ad is correct, police said, but the location pinned with the ad is actually in the Colliers Mills wildlife area, police said.Waze was working to fix the problem, police said.The Associated Press
Rent in Regina and Saskatoon could slightly increase as vacancy rates slowly decrease, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's January Rental Market Report for both cities.Regina is still recovering from slower economic activity brought on by changes in commodity price volatility, according to Taylor Pardy, senior analyst with the CMHC. The purpose-built apartment vacancy rate in Regina was virtually unchanged in the past year — it was 7.7 per cent in October 2018 and 7.8 per cent in October 2019 — though the report says this is still high compared to the majority of Canadian metropolitan areas. The 2020 Rental Market Predictions and Insights from Rentals.ca forecasts that the vacancy rate may drop in the next few years to 7.3 per cent in 2020 and 6.6 per cent in 2021. As a result, rent may stabilize and potentially increase in 2020. Rent declined 0.2 per cent in 2019. "Barring a more rapid improvement in economic conditions, improvements in the rental market in the Regina CMA are likely to be gradual," Pardy said in the Rentals.ca report. Vacancy drops for third year in a row in SaskatoonSaskatoon's vacancy rates dropped more than the most metropolitan areas but is still higher than most cities, according to the CMHC report.The vacancy rate in Saskatoon went from 8.3 per cent in October 2018 to 5.7 per cent in October, 2019. The report said it marks the third year in a row that vacancy rates have moved lower. A population increase has contributed to the lower vacancy rates.Goodson Mwale, senior analyst with the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, told Rentals.ca that average rental rates may increase as vacancy lowers. The report also noted that there were more than 500 rental apartments under construction in the city at the end of 2019, which may slow the decline in the vacancy rate.If you're looking for a place to rent in Saskatoon, you may want to consider look for vacant units. The CMHC report noted that vacant units had a lower average asking rent than occupied units in 2019.
BEIJING — China has sentenced the former president of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, to 13 years and six months in prison on charges of accepting more than $2 million in bribes.Meng was elected president of the international police organization in 2016, but his four-year term was cut short when he vanished after travelling to China from France in late 2018.Interpol was not informed and was forced to make a formal request to China for information about Meng's whereabouts amid suspicion he had fallen out of political favour with Chinese President Xi Jinping.Meng's wife, who remains in France with their two children, has accused Chinese authorities of lying and questioned whether her husband was still alive.Grace Meng is now suing Interpol, accusing it of failing to protect him from arrest in China and failing to look after his family. Meng's lawyers last year filed a legal complaint in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands.In a statement sent to The Associated Press, she said Interpol "breached its obligations owed to my family" and “is complicit in the internationally wrongful acts of its member country, China.”A statement Tuesday from the No. 1 Intermediary Court in the northern city of Tianjin said Meng accepted the verdict and would not appeal. In addition to his prison sentence, he was fined 2 million yuan ($290.000) .It said Meng, 66, admitted he abused his position to accept 14.4 million yuan ($2.1 million) in bribes while serving in various offices, including as a vice minister of public security and maritime police chief, often in exchange for favours and using his influence with other officials.Meng has already been fired from his positions and expelled from the Communist Party. The relatively light sentence was likely a result of what the court called his co-operative attitude and willingness to admit to and shore remorse for his crimes.While serving at Interpol, Meng retained his title as China's vice minister of public security. It wasn't clear when or how he had crossed Xi, who has leveraged a wide-ranging campaign against corruption at all levels to eliminate or intimidate political rivals.As a long-serving vice minister of public security, Meng served for a time under Zhou Yongkang, the former security chief who was sentenced to life in prison, becoming the most powerful figure to fall in Xi's anti-graft campaign.___This story has been corrected to fix time when Meng vanished.The Associated Press
A Windsor law professor is sharing his experiences working on a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court — and involved Russian spies. Alexander Vavilov was born in Toronto in 1994 to Russians posing as Canadians under assumed names. When he tried to have his passport renewed around 2010 — after his parents were arrested and deported to Russia — he was denied. In 2013, Vavilov was issued a certificate of Canadian citizenship that was then cancelled, after the Canadian Registrar of Citizenship changed their interpretation of the Citizenship Act.His citizenship will be reinstated after a lengthy appeal process which made it all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. The decision was just finalized in December 2019. "Seven judges agreed and two judges rendered a concurring decision ... which basically means they agree," said lawyer Sujith Xavier, a University of Windsor law professor who helped represent Vavilov in his Supreme Court appeal. "It's really unusual for a Supreme Court to take so long to make this decision," said Xavier. "The significance of the questions ... I think that's why the court took its time."Xavier helped draft submissions, primarily doing preliminary research, on behalf of Vavilov, prior to taking on the teaching role with UWindsor. "I was part of the legal team who went to Ottawa, to the Supreme Court," said Xavier, who was teaching in Malaysia when the submissions were due. Xavier said he was acutely aware of the intrigue and controversy of dealing with 'Russian spies' while he was working on the case — but it wasn't his first time in those circumstances."In my time with the firm, I worked with similar situations," said Xavier. "I'm an expert in public international law and so whether or not Alex's parents were employees of the Russian state and if they had diplomatic immunity .. that's all dealt with through international law."According to Xavier, the 200+ page decision will have an impact on Canadian administrative law and the decisions of Canadian administrative officials moving forward. About 70 students will attend a discussion panel Wednesday at UWindsor to hear Xavier and the other lawyers involved discuss the case. The students will be able to ask questions about the process.
The City of Toronto is pushing back against a provincial government proposal that could give developers the power to skirt the rules surrounding municipal building inspections.The Certified Professionals Program would allow architects and engineers to undergo additional training in the work that city inspectors do. Developers could then hire the newly-minted professionals, instead of calling in city inspectors to approve their progress."Toronto Building staff do not support the introduction of a program whereby builders would be allowed through legislation to hire designers to assume the plan review and inspection roles and responsibilities on behalf of municipalities," Will Johnston, the city's chief building official, wrote in a report to the planning and housing committee."There are a number of concerns with this model, including potential conflicts of interest."Even if the proposal is eventually approved, it may have a tough time getting architects onboard.The Ontario Association of Architects, which regulates the profession, weighed in last November in a letter to the province. "The development industry may have pitched this to government as a cheap and simple way to to get building approvals faster," the letter reads in part."As risk is transferred from municipalities to individual practitioners, the profession's liability would increase, and higher insurance costs would directly translate into higher building costs."Adam Tracey, the association's manager of policy and government relations, warned those extra costs would likely be passed on to the public."There will be some kind of cost transfer from municipalities back on to homeowners and business owners," he said. "Somebody has to pay for it. It's not going to be done for free."The proposal is part of larger discussion paper, circulated by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing among professionals in the building industry last fall.The aim of the consultation, according to a statement from the ministry to CBC Toronto, is "modernizing and transforming the delivery of building code services to help speed up the construction of new housing and building projects, and better support Ontario's $38-billion building industry."Builders have been complaining for years about red tape that's slowing down the building process. They've been asking for a more streamlined system.As things stand now, every builder — from single-home contractors to the largest developers — must adhere to the Ontario Building Code when erecting a new structure.Municipalities enforce the code, signing off on each stage of construction, from the original building permit application, through foundation work, framing, plumbing, and other work normally done by tradespeople. Ultimately, after a final inspection, the city issues an occupancy permit.'Struggling to get permits'The only permits not covered would be those that affect personal safety, such as electrical inspections, according to Joe Vaccaro, CEO of the Ontario Home Builders Association, which has also been involved in the consultations.Under the new model, developers would be allowed to hire their own certified professionals, rather than have city inspectors visit the site, according to Johnston and Vaccaro, who's in favour of the certified-professionals model."We are struggling to get permits, we are struggling to get inspections done in a timely way," Vaccaro told CBC Toronto. "And when those delays happen it backs up the entire project. So, now the idea here is to get people in their home sooner and safer."But Johnston said municipal regulators are essential in ensuring new buildings are properly constructed.'A robust regulatory system'"What's important to Toronto Building is that we have a robust regulatory system where the public can have confidence that the buildings that they work and that they live in, that they visit, are safe," he said."The best way to achieve that in my view is to have a system where you have independent oversight of the building design and construction process."The ministry would not agree to an interview with CBC Toronto. But in an email, a spokesperson maintained no decisions on streamlining the system have been made."Modernizing and transforming the delivery of Ontario's building code services will take time and this is the beginning of the conversation," Conrad Spezowka wrote. "Consultation feedback is currently being reviewed and no decisions have been made."Although the province has not provided details of the proposed changes, it has stated that the idea to establish certified professionals in Ontario is based on a British Columbia model. But Maura Gatensby, a B.C. architect and certified professional, said only the cities of Surrey and Vancouver have opted to let certified professionals bypass municipal inspections.The issue is scheduled to be discussed at Wednesday's meeting of the planning and housing committee, as part of a broader discussion on possible changes to the way the Ontario Building Code is administered.