LONDON — Goodbye, your royal highnesses. Hello, life as — almost — ordinary civilians.Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, are quitting as working royals and will no longer use the titles "royal highness" or receive public funds for their work under a deal announced Saturday by Buckingham Palace.Releasing details of the dramatic split, triggered by the couple's unhappiness with life under media scrutiny in the royal fishbowl, t he palace said Harry and Meghan will cease to be working members of the royal family when the new arrangements take effect within months, in the “spring of 2020.”The couple will no longer use the titles His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness, but they are not being stripped of them.They will be known as Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Harry will remain a prince and sixth in line to the British throne.The agreement also calls for Meghan and Harry to repay 2.4 million pounds (US$3.1 million) in taxpayers' money that was spent renovating their home near Windsor Castle, Frogmore Cottage.The couple's departure is a wrench for the royal family, but Queen Elizabeth II had warm words for them in a statement Saturday.The queen said she was pleased that “together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.”"I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life," Elizabeth said."It is my whole family's hope that today's agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life," she added.The announcement came after days of talks among royal courtiers sparked by Meghan and Harry's announcement last week that they wanted to step down as senior royals and live part-time in CanadaThe details of the deal solidify the couple's dramatic break from life as working royals. Army veteran Harry will have to give up the military appointments he has as a senior royal.While he and Meghan will no longer represent the queen, the palace said they would "continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty" while carrying out their private charitable work.Buckingham Palace did not disclose who will pay for the couple's security going forward. It currently is taxpayer-funded."There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly funded security," it said.Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
This is part of a series on the B.C. victims of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, which crashed near Tehran, Iran, on Jan. 8, 2020, killing all 176 people on board.The family and friends of Daniel and Faye Saket, whose lives were cut short earlier this month when their flight was shot down over Tehran, describe them as a committed and loving couple with a zest for life and adventure.The couple, who were in their 30s, lived in North Vancouver where Daniel worked for a developer and Faye was an assistant to a cardiologist at St. Paul's Hospital.What seemed to be a charmed life for the pair — drawn to Canada by its beauty and promise — ended in tragedy. The Sakets were two of the 176 people killed when Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 was shot from the sky shortly after takeoff from Tehran, Iran's capital, on Jan. 8.The couple were making their way home from holidays in Iran, where they were visiting family when they were killed.Abo Tehari, Daniel Saket's uncle, spoke about the couple at a memorial held in North Vancouver on Jan. 11."They were just a match, sometimes two people become one and Daniel and Faye, they were those people ... two bodies in one spirit," he said.Tehari said Daniel, who had a master's degree in mechanical engineering and a PhD in engineering, moved to Montreal from Iran in 2017. A three-day visit to Vancouver convinced him this was the region of Canada where he most wanted to live. He joined his uncle working at Denna Homes and settled into North Vancouver."Nothing less than a son to me and my family," said Tehari, adding that Daniel was a kind and often smiling man, willing to help family, friends and neighbours. "He was just one of a kind."Tehari had one piece of advice for his nephew upon arriving on the West Coast: Marry Faye. "She was so kind … a very good person," he said about her.So after moving to North Vancouver, Daniel returned to Iran, where Faye, née Kazerani, was still living. A few weeks later, Tehari said an invitation arrived for the couple's wedding, which he attended.The couple then returned to North Vancouver and settled into life in Canada by exploring the outdoors, particularly around Vancouver and the North Shore. They lived in a building Daniel Saket helped construct.Creative spirit Sydnie Nicoll became friends with Faye Saket through her husband's Persian family. They also ended up living in the same building."She was extremely smart, she was a professional," she said.Nicoll said Faye left her country when she was 17 to pursue school and work. It was originally reported that Faye Saket worked as a dental hygienist, but Nicoll said that wasn't true.She had hoped to get more schooling in Canada and further her career in the medical field. She had no family in Canada, while Daniel had just his uncle, aunt and cousins.Nicoll said Faye had a creative spirit, posting inspiring poetry on her social media accounts and doing amazing things with makeup for herself and others."She was an artist with it," she said. "She played a lot and was a very curious person."Nicoll also said Faye helped her understand Persian culture and integrate with her in-laws in addition to being kind, a good listener and joyful about life."She really lived it … she embodied it and so I think what she leaves behind is living life to the fullest and leaving room for play and enjoyment."Denna Homes is dedicating a bench to the couple at the Denna Club development on Hunter Street in North Vancouver.
HOUSTON, B.C. — It's disrespectful that Premier John Horgan won't meet with five hereditary chiefs who oppose a natural gas pipeline while he is touring northern British Columbia, says the highest-ranking chief.Chief Na'moks, who also goes by John Ridsdale, said the chiefs have asked the premier for a face-to-face discussion about the Coastal GasLink project.Na'moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn't meet with the chiefs on Friday, when the premier was in the area touring the LNG Canada project site in Kitimat and meeting with business leaders in Terrace."It really bothered me that he was not that far away and yet somehow could not take the time to come and speak with us," Na'moks said Saturday.The premier's office said in a statement that upon receiving the meeting request on Thursday, it reached out to the hereditary chiefs to schedule a phone call."The aim of any discussion would be continued dialogue with a focus on de-escalation and on safety for all," it said.The office added that the premier has commitments that rule out a meeting on this trip, but he is not ruling out a meeting completely"Staff continue to be in touch to work on this," it said. Na'moks said only an in-person conversation will demonstrate respect for the chiefs, who assert jurisdiction over 22,000 square kilometres of unceded Wet'suwet'en territory."We want to show the respect back, too," he said. "If you're going to have decent communication with anybody, it's best to be looking eye to eye."The chiefs have refused meetings with Coastal GasLink and instead called for discussions with provincial and federal government leaders, arguing the duty to consult is held by the Crown, not the project proponent.Coastal GasLink has signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the 670-kilometre pipeline route. But the hereditary chiefs argue band councils only have jurisdiction over reserve lands rather than unceded territories.Crystal Smith, elected chief of the Haisla Nation, has said her band council signed an agreement because the project is creating jobs for Indigenous people and lifting communities from poverty.Horgan said this week that the provincially permitted project will be built, and the rule of law must prevail.The B.C. Supreme Court has granted an injunction against supporters of the hereditary chiefs who are have set up camps close to a pipeline work site near Smithers. It authorizes RCMP to arrest and remove anyone contravening the order.However the RCMP has said it's not enforcing the injunction to allow time for dialogue between the hereditary chiefs and Coastal GasLink.Horgan was set to continue his northern B.C. tour on Saturday with an announcement about a new hospital in Fort St. James and by attending the men's B.C. Winter Classic hockey game in the community.Meanwhile, Adam Olsen, interim leader of B.C.'s Green party, was set to visit the camps set up by pipeline opponents on Saturday.Federal Green MP Paul Manly also said he was traveling to Wet'suwet'en territory to meet with the hereditary chiefs."I am going to listen and to observe the situation on the ground," he said in a statement."I have publicly stated my support for the hereditary chiefs and others who are engaged in non-violent action to protect Wet'suwet'en land. They are in a very challenging and volatile situation. They need to be heard."This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Jan. 18, 2020.— By Laura Kane in VancouverThe Canadian Press
A First Nation has been given over $21 million to create an indigenous protected area in one of the most contentious valleys in British Columbia.The Ktunaxa Nation in the East Kootenay will create a conservation zone in the towering mountains and glaciers around the Jumbo Valley, which has been in the eye of developers for three decades."I believe this is a positive outcome to what was an extremely challenging situation," said Kathryn Teneese, Ktunaxa Nation council chair.The Ktunaxa calls Jumbo Qat'muk and say it's home to the grizzly bear spirit and therefore sacred. But for almost 30 years, the Jumbo Glacier Resort project team led by Vancouver architect Oberto Oberti has been trying to build a billion dollar year-round ski resort there. In 2012, plans for a 6,300-bed resort village with more than 20 ski lifts were given the green light by then premier Christy Clark's Liberal government. The same year the government also controversially amended the Local Government Act to allow Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort to become a municipality, even though it has no residents.The move ensured developers would receive an annual provincial grant of $260,000 and $50,000 in federal gas tax money.But in 2015, the same government cancelled the resort's environmental certificate after finding hardly any work had been done and the project "had not been substantially started." Last year, the B.C. Court of Appeal upheld that decision.Federal Environment Minister Johnathan Wilkinson says turning the site into a protected area is part of a broader reconciliation agenda the Liberal government has with Indigenous people."This has been the subject of lots of controversy, including many court cases for many, many years. This is something that assures we are protecting an important local ecosystem," he said.Teneese says the boundaries of the protected area haven't been finalized, but it's expected to be half the size of Yoho National Park to the north."We don't know what it is going to look like. A big part of the initial work is going to be conversations with people who are going to be impacted by this," she said.Some of the money going to the Ktunaxa is expected to be used to pay off Jumbo Glacier Resort.
A few months before the cold January day when his life was cut short, one of Asim Siddiqui's colleagues rushed into the office shaken, saying she'd nearly been run over on her way in.Siddiqui, a consultant at a bank branch in North York at the time, immediately called city services to flag the dangers of vehicles speeding through the busy intersection at Lawrence Avenue West and Marlee Avenue."Someone's going to die there," his sister remembers him saying.No one could have guessed it would be him.On Jan. 16, 2019, Siddiqui was killed by a large dump truck while walking to a nearby subway station. His sister, Shona Siddiqui, says her brother waited for the pedestrian signal and was walking at a marked crosswalk in broad daylight at 1 p.m., when a truck making a right turn onto Lawrence Avenue smashed into him and drove off.Siddiqui, 40, was pronounced dead in hospital — robbing his then six-year-old son of a father and changing the lives of his four sisters and elderly parents forever.'He was the spark in our family'"He was a spark in our family," Shona said, describing her brother as a shining light who was the main caregiver for their cancer-stricken mother, and who rallied the family together for reunions and who was always bursting with energy."He was willing to do anything and everything for his little boy and it breaks our heart[s] that [he] lost an amazing father," a GoFundMe page set up for Siddiqui says.Siddiqui's name never made the papers.His death was the among the first of 39 pedestrians killed in 2019, a number that's sat more or less stagnant for the last seven years. In 2014, there were 31 pedestrian deaths, but that number spiked to 44 in 2016 before dropping 37 the next year.It's a problem Toronto city council hopes to address through its Vision Zero 2.0 plan, which includes a street-by-street approach to lowering speed limits on a number of arterial road sections across the city — an approach many road safety advocates have criticized as not going far enough.As Siddiqui lay dying in the roadway, a woman the family would come to know of later happened to be driving toward the intersection. It was a route she normally didn't take. But as she approached and realized someone was hurt, she quickly launched into action, stopping her car and grabbing some blankets from it to cover him.She stayed there holding Siddiqui until emergency crews arrived. Siddiqui's family didn't find out about that kind stranger right away. His mother agonized for weeks that her son was by himself and afraid in his final moments, that he died alone in the cold.Much more to be done to prevent deaths, family saysIt turns out the Good Samaritan had written a letter for the family that she left with police, who delivered it to Siddiqui's relatives a few months after his death. She left her phone number inside.When the family got in touch, they learned Siddiqui had an "angel" by his side, as his sister put it. "He wasn't alone in those last moments."It was the news his mother needed to feel some measure of comfort after her son was ripped away from her. We aren't doing those things because it's incorrectly perceived as being a war on the car. \- Jessica SpiekerBut without the city sending a strong zero-tolerance message to drivers, says Shona, there can be no real comfort.The Siddiqui family has found support through Toronto-based road safety advocacy group Friends and Families for Safe Streets, which has called for more serious penalties for dangerous driving, lower speed limits and better enforcement of safety laws."Unfortunately, in Toronto we aren't doing those things because it's incorrectly perceived as being a war on the car. So it becomes political kryptonite to our elected leaders," said Jessica Spieker, a member of the group.Spieker herself was seriously injured in 2015 when she was struck by a woman driving a SUV, breaking her spine and leaving her with a brain injury.Spieker believes Siddiqui's death could have been prevented through a number of measures: fewer lanes to reduce the risk to pedestrians crossing and forcing tighter turns with curbs or barriers that would require drivers to manoeuvre more slowly, among other possibilities.'Robbed' of a futureThe group believes the disbanding of a traffic enforcement team that had been active from 2003 to 2012 is also to blame for an increase in crashes and preventable deaths.It also believes the provincial and federal governments have roles to play as well in upping fines and demerit points and requiring trucks to have sideguards to keep pedestrians from ending up underneath them, for example. Shona says she's been told a man in his 30s was charged with careless driving and failure to yield at a marked crosswalk, and will likely not face any jail-time for her brother's death.Since the driver was a first-time offender, she says she's been told the driver will likely face a $1,000 fine along with six months probation with some driving restrictions attached.The family is holding a vigil with the group on Monday to shine a light on the human toll of dangerous driving and to call for more action by the city and police."Asim and his family were cruelly robbed of a bright and loving future together," Friends and Families for Safe Streets said in a tweet."How many deaths of innocent, beloved people like this will it take?
A new report found that the reality of retirement in Canada isn't quite what people expect it to be.The online poll of 1,800 people conducted by Ipsos on behalf of RBC revealed notable misconceptions surrounding retirement. They include the timing of that last day on the job and how Canadians actually spend their days after clocking out.Respondents were Canadians 55 years and older, some in their pre-retirement years and others who have already retired. An important caveat is that all said they have retirement assets of $100,000 or more."Our expectations for retirement aren't always met," said Rick Lowes, vice president of retirement strategy of RBC.Here are the three common misconceptions highlighted in the report.1\. Most people don't know their retirement date far in advanceSo much for counting down the days to retirement months in advance. Among the survey respondents, 55 per cent expected to know their retirement date a year or more in advance. But just 39 per cent had that much notice.In fact, 16 per cent had no advance notice of their retirement. The results varied from province to province: Respondents in Atlantic Canada were the most likely to say they had no notice before their retirement day arrived. Marissa Lennox, chief policy officer for CARP, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, said health is the No. 1 reason people end up retiring earlier than expected."People in bad health often overestimate how long they can work," she said. "The second reason is familial issues. Someone may choose to leave the workforce to care for a parent, spouse or grandchild."Mandatory retirement ages are no longer legal, but things like lay-offs, restructuring, and redundancy brought about by technology also push people into retirement with little notice, Lennox said.2\. Only a minority become 'snowbirds'Retiring to sunnier climes is a common Canadian dream. Close to a third of poll respondents said they expect to be "snowbirds" who spend the winter months in warmer locations such as Florida, Arizona or Mexico.But of those respondents who had actually retired, just 18 per cent actually fly south for winter. That stat doesn't surprise Lennox. "The fact is while it's nice to fantasize about retiring in a little beach town in paradise somewhere, or spending the better half of our lives travelling the world, it's just not realistic for most," she said.The survey found that those from Alberta were the most likely to be snowbirds at 32 per cent, followed by retirees from Saskatchewan and Manitoba at 23 per cent.3\. Few people work part-time after retirementMany Canadians plan to have some sort of second act in retirement, working either full or part-time once their main career has come to an end. In fact, they may be counting on it to pay the bills, said Lowes.Among the poll's respondents who hadn't yet retired, 50 per cent said they expected to work at least part-time but just 11 per cent of retirees polled said they'd found work."If we haven't had early notice of retirement, and we haven't got plans in place, and we may be relying on work to help us achieve our goals, that may not be as available as we'd hoped," he said. Retirees may discover that it's harder to get a job than expected, or at least the kind they'd hoped for that will accommodate a semi-retired lifestyle.Edmonton retiree Ernie Zelinski, author of How to Retire Happy Wild and Free, said people may discover that the type of work they can get in retirement isn't worth it."If you've been making a job at $120,000 a year and then you lose your job at 55 and then you have to work a job at $15 an hour, is that going to be sufficient? Those factors have to come into effect too. Would you enjoy being a Walmart greeter or anything else that may be available to you?"Lennox said she questioned the report's finding about the small portion of working retirees, given the number of CARP members who say they count on income from part-time work.However, she said one explanation could be that since so many are retiring later in life, their ability and desire to work once they've finally hung up their hats isn't what they expected."The trend is that people are retiring in their 70s and 80s, so the likelihood of going back to work after that point is much lower," Lennox said. "We're thinking of the traditional retirement age of 55 or even 65, and that's just not what's happening today." The findings are part of a poll that was conducted between April 2 and April 8, 2019. For this report, the data is drawn from a sample of 1,800 people age 50 or more who have retirement assets of $100,000 or more. The results are considered accurate to within +/- 2.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
In his spare time, Dave England runs snowmobiles up ramps, getting the machine a dozen metres in the air. Then, he flips them end over end before coming down to earth — all in the matter of seconds. It's not a common hobby, but it has taken England, 28, from his home in Yellowknife to places around Canada and the United States. Now, it's earned him a spot in the freestyle snowmobile competition at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., the premier event for extreme sports. Though he's been selected as an alternate, England's excited to just get a taste of the competition he's been dreaming about since he was in high school."As a rookie going into X Games, it's a good place to start," he said. "It takes the pressure off the event, it's the step, where you start. "I'm stoked no matter what," he said. "Alternate or competing, you're still in the X Games regardless."Freestyle snowmobiling is a relatively small sport, involving athletes doing aerial tricks with snowmobiles, earning points based on the execution and degree of difficulty. They perform backflips, spins, and hanging from the handlebars upside down. England's been doing tricks like that on his mountain bike since he was a teen riding on Twin Pine Hill in Yellowknife, but doing that with a sled was a big step up. "Flipping sleds is a gnarly business," he said. "It's a high-risk trick. You don't want to make any mistakes when you're doing flips. The consequences are high." You don't want to make any mistakes when you're doing flips. The consequences are high \- Dave England, freestyle snowmobiler One of England's close friends, Darryl Tait became paralyzed from the waist down following a snowmobile crash 10 years ago. "That's always in the back of my mind," England said. "It's part of the sport, it's part of the game I play." But to compete at the highest level, England had to take on the most difficult tricks, even with the inherent risk in flipping sleds 10 metres up. He's broken his femur while in B.C., torn a rotator cuff and severed a bicep in a dirt bike accident which knocked him out for a year. "It was hard to come back and want to do this again," he said. "You have to get past that mental block. The injury thing." Over the past year he's dedicated himself to his craft, and is training out of Leduc, Alta. Now, he feels he's the best he's ever been and he's ready to step up if his name's called on his sports biggest stage.
They travel through space, and they've puzzled astronomers since they were first discovered just over decade ago. They're called fast radio bursts, and thanks to a team of Canadian scientists, a new signal has been precisely located in a nearby galaxy. It's a major step to figuring out where these enigmas come from in our universe. The findings are in part due to the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) Fast Radio Burst collaboration, a team made up of more than 50 scientists across North America. The team collects data from a radio telescope stationed at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory south of Penticton, B.C. FRBs are bright bursts of radio waves that come from far beyond Earth's galaxy. Lasting less than a second, the phenomenon was first reported in 2007. Many have been spotted since, but only around a dozen have been shown to repeat — a quality crucial to spotting them again so researchers can find out more.There are many theories of what they could be, but with such a small sample size, astronomers can't rule much out just yet. They've only traced the origins of two repeating signals so far."They're telling us something about an energetic arena we've had very little insight of to date," said Paul Delaney, a professor in the physics and astronomy department at York University who was not involved in the study. "It's going to give us a window into new astrophysics, and that gives us a better understanding of the universe as a whole," he said.The team, co-led by the universities of British Columbia, Toronto and McGill, along with the National Research Council of Canada, has been working toward that goal since 2017. The telescope's ability to look at large portions of the sky at a time gives the team a better look at the random and elusive behaviour of FRBs, said the University of Toronto's Mubdi Rahman, CHIME research associate and co-author of the study. "Unlike most other telescopes, CHIME stays stable and doesn't point at things. It lets the sky move," he said. After co-ordination with CHIME, the latest burst to be tracked, known as FRB 180916.j0158+65, was spotted and tracked by the European VLBI Network, eight telescopes spanning the globe.The eight-metre Gemini North telescope in Hawaii was the crucial last piece to trace the FRB to a spiral galaxy 500 million light years away, according to results published in the Jan. 9 edition of Nature. Since the discovery, scientists have found nine more repeating signals from space, according to a report released earlier this week. That means they could be localized, too, identifying the environments in space they come from, what causes them — and eventually, what these massive energy bursts are. But CHIME can't localize FRBs on its own. After seeing the signals repeat, it can narrow down the origins to certain parts of the sky. CHIME can then team up with more precise telescopes to match it with a galaxy. It's set to get an extension in a few years that will enable it to localize data points on its own.Right now, the telescope is predicted to detect between two and 50 FRBs per day, an event rate scientists consider very high. That's putting CHIME, a Canadian led and funded project, at the forefront of FRB research. CHIME was also behind the first repeater ever spotted, FRB 121102. It was traced to a different environment, a dwarf galaxy in 2017.Both repeaters tracked so far have been found to originate from star-forming galaxies, an attribute that might be important for further research, said Deborah Good, a post-doctoral student at UBC and CHIME researcher. "It's hard to say. We always have to be really careful about generalizing from a really small number like this," she said. "But it also means that every data point we get is super important."
Regina has lots to offer families who want to stay warm but have fun during the frigid winter months.Whitney Blaisdell runs a website focused on fun, cheap places for families to visit in Regina. Project Play YQR started in early 2019 as a resource for families to discover play places in the city and has since evolved into a non-profit organization to further encourage play in the community."There's honestly so much in Regina and area to do," Blaisdell said.Here are some kid-friendly places Blaisdell recommends if you're looking to escape the cold.Stay warm by staying activeThe QC Soccer Facility 1560 McDonald StreetAn option for families who want to keep their kids active is something called Toonie Turf Time at the Queen City Soccer Facility."You have the entire soccer turf for kids to run and play and be active which is so important in the winter time," Blaisdell said.She said Toonie Turf Time happens Fridays from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and the staff brings out equipment like balls, nets and obstacle courses for kids to burn off some energy.Relaxing visuals and cozy environmentsRegina Floral Conservatory 1450B 4th AvenueBlaisdell said the floral conservatory is a "hidden gem" in Regina."I just find that kids, even when they're in there, are so calm just because it's so filled with sunshine and plants and flowers," Blaisdell said. "It's just another wonderful space."Admission to the floral conservatory is free or by donation.MacKenzie Art Gallery 3475 Albert Street While the MacKenzie Art Gallery has started charging admission fees to see the exhibits, Blaisdell said the entire main floor remains free, which includes the BMO Learning Centre."It's one of our family favourites," Blaisdell said. "You can go read books, they have a bunch of bean bag chairs you can snuggle up in and do whatever art they have open for you on the tables."She said the centre is a relaxed and calming space.Learning while playingGovernment House 4607 Dewdney Avenue"The Government House has their once upon a story room downstairs," she said, "Wandering around the house was such a treat — and finding Jocko the monkey, and you get a little tattoo when you find him."Daily guided tours are offered to visitors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday, and admission is free but donations are appreciated.Local drop-in playEarly Years Family Centres Three locationsDrop-in play at the Early Years Family Centres is great for kids up to six years old, Blaisdell said."You can even do drop-in play if there's programs running," Blaisdell said. The three locations are Sacred Heart School, Dr. Hanna School and St. Matthew School.Community associations and local neighbourhood centres Several Regina locationsBlaisdell said a lot of local neighbourhood centres offer drop-in free play time."They'll open up a gymnasium and have free play and more active things for kids to do," she said.Families will have to check with individual neighbourhood centres to see if and when they have drop-in times.
CANBERRA, Australia — In a story on Jan. 17, 2020, about specialist firefighters who have saved the world’s last remaining wild stand of a prehistoric tree from Australia's wildfires, The Associated Press erroneously reported the size of Wollemi National Park. It is 5,000 square kilometres (1,930 square miles), not 5,000 hectares (12,400 acres).The Associated Press
It's hard to know what has become more tiresome when it comes to our not-always-reliable Confederation Line: officials' apologies to commuters for their "frustration" or those same officials' rationalizations that, whatever the issue du jour — door jams, cracked track welds, stuck elevators or, this week's transit surprise, a huge swath of downed electrical cable — it's simply par for the course.The apologies, at least, are understandable. While surely most transit riders would rather have a more reliable light-rail service, the least they should expect from their city officials is an apology for their troubles.Over the past few months, they've received them from everyone from Mayor Jim Watson, to OC Transpo boss John Manconi, to LRT-constructor Rideau Transit Group CEO Peter Lauch. That they've had to plead for forbearance on the part of OC Transpo customers on numerous occasions is bad enough. That they appear careful to apologize exclusively for the inconvenience caused to customers appears downright patronizing.The real question plaguing commutersBecause at some point — and arguably, that point has now arrived with the downing of 80 metres of overhead electrical wire, close to the length of an entire LRT train — officials need to move past our frustration at being late for work and address the real question plaguing the people of Ottawa: How robust a system did RTG build us?When we try to ask those questions, we are told that all the safety protocols worked as they were supposed to.In this week's incident, for example, as soon as the overhead wire moved, the Confederation Line's brain shut down the power to that section of the system. Lauch told us that customers were never in danger.And that's good news.However, Lauch also told us that falling electrical wire is "not an unusual occurrence." He did say it was serious, and not "normal", but that it has happened in other places such as Edmonton and Dublin.Google has not immediately produced for us any stories on a similar wire-collapse in Dublin, but CBC did write about wires being pulled down on the Edmonton LRT back in 2015. But here's the thing: the Edmonton LRT line has been trucking for 40 years. Ours has been operating for four months.Brand-new systemWe have a brand-new LRT system for which we paid more than $2 billion. Don't we have a right to be worried when a significant piece of infrastructure is pulled down from the ceiling?This week's incident is arguably the most serious problem we've seen with the LRT, causing as it did the eastern part of the line to be shut down for 17 hours.But it's not the only problem that leads us to question the physical quality of some aspects of the LRT.Occasional sparks are an expected occurrence at the point where the pantograph — the arm that connects the top of the train to the overhead wire — meets the electrical cable. But is it normal for the sparks to reach the platform where passengers are standing? That's what some passengers have reported, confirmed OC Transpo, and the transit department is looking into it.Elevators stuckThere there are the elevators. There are 58 of them at the stations along the Confederation Line. In the first three months of operation, from mid-September to mid-December, they broke down 65 times; on 17 occasions, people were stuck in them. City officials tell us that in some instances people tried to pry open the doors, or jump up and down in them, which apparently was enough to make the new lifts stall.Of course, in the month since CBC received these statistics, there have been more instances of elevators breaking down, including during Thursday's brouhaha where people were trapped in a Hurdman station elevator for about 40 minutes. Even OC Transpo staff said it wasn't the fault of the folks stuck inside.So while an apology is all well-and-good, what most of us would like something more substantive. Starting with an explanation of why some pieces of the LRT are falling down.
A spectacular swath of mountains, glaciers and forests once proposed for a ski resort is being turned over to the First Nations people who have lived there for centuries.After decades of controversy that reached all the way to the Supreme Court, the Jumbo Glacier in British Columbia's central Purcell Mountains is to be handed over to the Ktunaxa First Nation to manage as an Indigenous Protected Area."It's an opportunity to do so many things," said Kathryn Teneese, chairwoman of the Ktunaxa Nation Council.The land will be accompanied by $21 million to design and plan the new conservation zone. About $16 million is to come from Ottawa and the rest from private foundations.The company that held the development permits, Glacier Resorts, received an undisclosed payout — at least partly from federal funds — in exchange for relinquishing its interests. The deal was negotiated with the help of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.Glacier Resorts did not respond to a request for comment.Saturday's signing ceremony in Cranbrook, B.C., is to end a controversy that has bubbled since 1991, when a Japanese company made the first proposal for a resort on Jumbo. The spectacular terrain tantalized run planners and its high elevation held the promise of year-round skiing.Vancouver-based Glacier Resorts took over the proposal, which planned 5,500 guest beds at a 110-hectare resort base. Proponents expected up to 3,000 visitors a day in high season.The idea ran into opposition from the Ktunaxa, local people and environmentalists.A 2009 study found the Jumbo area was prime grizzly bear habitat. Lead author Michael Proctor estimated that 600 grizzlies lived in the region — a crucial anchor population in habitat uncut by roads or development."(The resort) was going to break up that," said Proctor. "It was going to be another fracture."As well, the Ktunaxa consider Jumbo to be home to the grizzly bear spirit, an important part of their spiritual practice. In 2017, the First Nation argued before the Supreme Court that allowing the resort to go ahead would inhibit their freedom of religion, but they lost.Teneese said there was no doubt the fight would continue."We've been carrying on the responsibility that was given to us by a greater power. It's not something that was optional."Final boundaries for the protected area have yet to be negotiated, but it is to cover at least 600 square kilometres — large enough to connect with other bear habitats.Existing land uses will remain for now. Teneese said the Ktunaxa have been so busy trying to protect Jumbo they haven't figured out what to do if they won."We really haven't gotten into that level of detail. We know that we have to have more conversation amongst ourselves."Indigenous protected areas are becoming an increasingly important part of Canada's conservation framework, said federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson."There are many instruments that we have, but the ones where we have the opportunity to protect the broadest ranges of space relate to Indigenous Protected Areas. It's definitely an important part of our plan."Canada has upped its conservation goals to 25 per cent of the country's land and sea area by 2025."It is an ambitious plan," Wilkinson said. "It is consistent with what people around the world are saying must be done if we are going to stem the decline we've seen in biodiversity."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2020— Follow @row1960 on Twitter Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
Brian Verboom and his family had only been out of their Stewiacke, N.S., home for a few minutes when they got word from a family member on vacation in Texas that the Verboom's house was on fire. The family member said a friend had texted her a photo of the burning home."That's social media for you," said Verboom.The family had been out running errands and by the time the Verbooms made the seven-minute drive back to the house on July 25, 2018, one end of it was completely engulfed in flames.Investigators determined the cause was electrical, Verboom said.He said the hardest thing to lose in the fire was the family photos of Verboom, his wife, Rae-Lee, and their five children."Our youngest daughter, most of hers are online that we can get back. But our older daughters, most of those pictures were physical pictures in photo albums," Verboom said.After the fire, the couple spent almost 40 hours a week for an entire month making a detailed inventory of their possessions — including their age, how much was paid for them and current value — and going back and forth with their insurance company."[It] is the most time-consuming, physically, emotionally, and mentally draining thing you have to do," he said.Through his loss, Verboom's hoping to help other families in a similar situation put their lives back together. He wrote an informal nine-page guide called "What we learned from a total loss fire," which he shared on Facebook.One of his pieces of advice is for people to catalogue their possessions. The list isn't just for large items like furniture and appliances — it's clothes, shoes, books, even things like coat hangers and toiletries. A year and a half after the fire, Verboom said he's still remembering things he forgot to list."Every little thing adds up, especially if you have to go and replace it all at once," he said. "You just never think of it when you do it through the years."Verboom suggests keeping all receipts and doing a walk-through video tour of your home every six months, to prove the condition of things like cabinets and furniture, and help jog your memory as you're making a complete inventory of everything you've ever owned.This is in line with what the Insurance Brokers Association of Nova Scotia suggests you do to protect your belongings, whether it's from fire, theft or other damage.Gina McFetridge, a spokesperson for IBANS, said a "small minority" of people actually do it."No one would disagree that it's a great idea, but the second you finish putting that policy in place, you go home ... and it all falls to the back-burner. You forget about it," she said. "We're not preparing for disaster every day."Verboom said it's important to be meticulous about listing your possessions and to know just how much it would cost to rebuild your home. He recommends bringing in a contractor to have them quote you."We were way off," he said, noting the cost to rebuild the home was about $80,000 more than the insurance policy covered.In the end, Verboom and his family bought a prefabricated home for the property instead of rebuilding."[It was] late fall, early winter ... it would get us into a house sooner," he said.Verboom said the thing that surprised him the most throughout the process was how many costs would come out of their total insurance payout that he hadn't considered, like demolition, food, hotels and salvage costs.Verboom said he's received a lot of positive feedback from people about the guide."I hope nobody has to use it ... but if anybody does, I hope it makes the situation for them easier to get through," he said.MORE TOP STORIES
Ann Rose Totalik is studying early childhood education at the Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit.She supports her young daughter and infant through student financial assistance — money she also needs for rent —but on Tuesday, she, along with many other college students in Nunavut, still hadn't received any funding for this semester. Totalik last received a deposit in mid-December meaning she went more than a month without new income.She receives FANS funding (Financial Assistance for Nunavut Students), she says the mid-month payment is much less than the payment on the first of the month, because the expectation is students have already paid the month's rent. When she called on Jan. 6. to see why her January payment didn't come in, she was told there were system delays, and that she would have to wait up to seven more business days.Those seven days came and went. "I called back this morning and asked them about the payment and the lady I talked to said I had to wait another three days to get my payment," she said on Tuesday. "It's been kind of hard, right now, for the last month I've been getting help from my parents to put food on the table for my daughter." Her funding came through on Wednesday, only a day after she called a second time.On Thursday, the government of Nunavut's Department of Family Services told CBC News that most students should have received their payments by now. And, payments for mid-January were also on time. The department said there was a backlog of paperwork used to process the payments and that a ransomware attack on the governments network continues to cause delays. "The Department of Family Services apologizes for the inconvenience and thanks students for their patience," the department wrote in an email."We would like to take this opportunity to remind students that they must submit their Student Enrolment Forms for the winter term in order to receive payments." It's those forms that need to be approved before payments are issued. 'We can't do it on our own'For Tanya Tucktoo, the funding delay was uncomfortably long, because her family was running out of food. She is studying office administration in Iqaluit and supports her three young children and partner, who looks after the children while she's studying.The family moved to Iqaluit from Taloyoak in the fall. Tucktoo said she moved for the program, so she could have a career that pays enough to support her family.Her student funding ALTS (Adult Learning and Training Supports) pays about $800 dollars every two weeks. She found out last week that her payments wouldn't come through until this week. "When I found out on Friday that I had to wait another three days without food, I tried to stay strong," she said. Later, she was visiting a relative who shared a meal, meant for one, with the family of five."My daughter asked if she had any juice, and my auntie said no. Then my daughter asked if she had money, and my auntie started crying and saying she's got nothing," Tucktoo said. "That's when I knew I had to do something, because we can't do it on our own."She posted on Facebook about the funding delays and asked for help. People from the community brought groceries, cooked dinners and country food. "After the first and second boxes and bags of food I realized it was worth it to ask because my kids were really happy," Tucktoo said. Like Totalik, Tucktoo also received her funding this week.
As 2020 budget discussions continue at city hall, there's a growing push to gain revenue by taxing both vacant homes and some of Toronto's priciest properties.On Friday, Coun. Brad Bradford secured the budget committee's backing for his call for more information on potential revenue the city could gain by adding a new Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) rate tier for high-valued homes.Back in 2019, a coalition of councillors — Bradford, Ana Bailao, and Joe Cressy — first pitched the concept as a way to offer more housing allowances to vulnerable residents.The councillors called for a new top tier of three per cent for homes valued at more than $3 million, going beyond the current top tier of a 2.5 per cent tax for homes valued at more than $2 million, with buyers footing the bill.For every $1 million generated in revenue, the plan could add 200 households to the allowance program, the trio said at the time.'Housing paying for housing'"MLTT, and the idea of pairing that with supportive housing, is the notion of housing paying for housing," Bradford said on Friday.He also expects calls for a vacancy tax on properties sitting empty — a move Bailao and Cressy also support, and which Mayor John Tory has talked about exploring since 2017 — will be "introduced in subsequent budget meetings."The increased pressure to explore the options also comes amid debate over which could be a better fit for Toronto.Bradford said while the city should consider both revenue tools, MLTT is an "imperfect mechanism" to fund Toronto's operating budget since there's variability year over year, given the swings in the housing market.Some real estate watchers also warn it could have unintended consequences. "It starts making it harder for people to upsize from one home to another, which tightens up the supply a little bit in the more affordable segment," said Realosophy president John Pasalis.It would, however, be "very easy for the city to implement" since the system for it already exists, noted Michal Hay, executive director of advocacy group Progress Toronto.As for a vacant home tax, Hay is among those stepping up external pressure on city hall, with her organization launching a campaign and petition backing the move on Friday. "If you can afford a home that's more than $3 million, you can afford to invest more into making the city more livable," she said.The City of Vancouver raised an estimated $38 million in the first year of its Empty Homes Tax that was first imposed in 2016, Bailao previously told CBC Toronto."You have the added benefit from a policy perspective of reducing vacant homes in the city," Bradford said. "You reintroduce those properties back into the supply."So where does Toronto's mayor stand?City 'starved for revenue'"I do not believe it is appropriate to rush into any new or modified taxes without proper information on the implications from our professional City staff," Tory said in a statement to CBC Toronto on Friday.Staff were already studying the possibility of changes to the MLTT, he noted, while Tory himself worked to secure changes from the province to open the door for the introduction of a vacant home tax."From the beginning there have been a number of concerns and then complexities involved with the implementation of this initiative," he said, "and again I will await the advice of our staff on how this could be done."Hay said, given the financial pressures on Toronto and the need for more housing options for residents, the city doesn't really have a choice beyond exploring diverse sources of cash."The city is starved for revenue right now, especially with cuts coming down from the province," she said. "It needs any revenue it can get."Budget discussions and public consultations are set to continue in the weeks ahead, with a final vote from council in February.
A Toronto woman is warning people who may have received prepaid credit cards for Christmas to use them immediately. Even though they're called "The Perfect Gift" on the packaging, Najme Farahani says the cards don't live up to their name after she discovered her own cards were left without a balance due to monthly fees. "The way the system works just didn't seem nice. It's very hostile," she said. But the company that distributes the cards has told CBC News it is following federal rules and is transparent about the fees that are charged. Farahani received several cards as gifts for her baby shower in March 2018. She said she did not feel the need to spend them right away, especially as the expiry date was years away. She decided to use them in December, but discovered their initial worth of $175 went down to virtually nothing. "I was very angry," she said. To her surprise, there is a monthly fee of $3 deducted from each of the cards after one year. Cards like hers usually charge other fees that eat away at the balance, as well.'How much profit is enough?'"I knew it wasn't the biggest thing in the world but couldn't understand," she said."How much profit is enough?"After several calls to Peoples Trust, the trust company that offers the cards, Farahani was able to recoup $49.But she gave up on the rest because she had already spent a lot of time on the phone with the company's customer service representatives. She says she's going public with her story to warn other cardholders to spend the balances on their cards quickly. That's also the advice of Ken Whitehurst, executive director of the Consumers Council of Canada.'A badly regulated area'"A lot of these programs are designed to extract value at your expense," he said. "The longer you let it sit around, the more the costs run up." Whitehurst says there's "no reason" that should be happening. "It's a badly regulated area." While gift cards are regulated by the province and companies aren't allowed to charge fees or implement an expiry date, prepaid credit cards are under federal jurisdiction. Federal rules stipulate only that the financial institutions that issue the cards must state the monthly fees on the card and can't start charging them until a year after they're purchased, as in Farahani's case. Blackhawk Network Canada, which distributes the Perfect Gift Visa cards on behalf of Peoples Trust, told CBC News in a emailed statement the monthly fees "support the program operations." The statement goes on to say the "Perfect Gift Visa Prepaid Cards issued by Peoples Trust Company comply with the Federal Prepaid Payment Products regulations that have been in place since 2014."The company makes "every effort to make any usage details (including fees and expiry) as clear as possible to consumers," the email continues. "With proper disclosure, monthly maintenance fees can be assessed on a card starting 12 months after purchase and every month thereafter as long as a positive balance remains on the card."
The construction firm that pleaded guilty in the death of a 24-year-old surveyor at a Little Italy worksite has failed to pay a fine for a second incident at the same location.Bellai Brothers Construction Inc. was fined $60,000 last summer after a worker fell three metres at the Claridge Icon condo site in March 2018 and suffered a head injury, according to court documents obtained by Radio-Canada.The fine was issued after Bellai Brothers pleaded guilty to failing to take appropriate measures that would adequately protect an employee from a fall, an offence under Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act.The decision was issued in June 2019, but was not publicly announced by the province's Ministry of Labour. Two other charges were dropped.According to court documents, the construction firm, which has offices in both Ottawa and Gatineau, had until Jan. 10 to pay the fine, but failed to do so.That failure means Bellai Brothers could be on the hook for further punitive measures, including additional fines.Charged in death of Olivier BruneauNo one from the firm was willing to speak to Radio-Canada about the late payment.One month before receiving the $60,000 fine, Bellai Brothers was fined $325,000 in the death of 24-year-old Olivier Bruneau.Bruneau, an assistant layout carpenter, was working at the bottom of the nine-storey-deep pit at the condo site in March 2016 when he was crushed by a 56-kilogram chunk of ice.That fine was paid, according to court documents.
The P.E.I. government is making moves to allow a new independent child advocate to be appointed during the spring sitting of the legislature.On Saturday, Section 2 of the province's new Child and Youth Advocate Act came into effect, allowing for the position to be filled.The remainder of the legislation will come into effect April 3, according to an order from the provincial cabinet made at its Jan. 7 meeting.Opposition Leader Peter Bevan-Baker, a member of the committee which will ultimately put forward a candidate for approval by the legislative assembly, said a professional hiring agency will be used to conduct a competitive process that is "open and independent and non-partisan."Bevan-Baker said a key role for the new child advocate will be "to critique government when things don't go well. And if you have an officer who … has been chosen with any sort of sense of partisanship or politics being involved, then that role is not truly independent."A year ago, the government of Wade MacLauchlan — after years of delays — announced it would create a position for a children's commissioner and advocate, appointing former deputy minister Michele Dorsey to that role.But the opposition PCs and Greens complained that Dorsey did not sit as an independent officer of the legislature, similar to the auditor general, but rather served at the pleasure of the premier.A bill passed unanimously in the P.E.I. Legislature in November of 2019 to create a position for a new child and youth advocate to function as an independent officer of the legislative assembly.According to that legislation, a candidate recommended by the province's legislative management committee requires the support of at least two-thirds of MLAs in a vote in the House to be appointed to the position.In November the province issued a tender for a new office for the future child and youth advocate, specifying the office could not be on the same floor as any other government department or service in order to maintain the independence of the position.More P.E.I. news
The prognosis isn't good for an injured North Atlantic right whale calf located off the Florida coast, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.The whale was injured by a ship's propeller and it has been treated with antibiotics."The calf is responding to the injury like we would expect, to try to bridge and heal the injury itself," said Teri Rowles, a marine mammal health and stranding program co-ordinator with the administration. "But the prognosis still at this point remains poor."Rowles said the calf was last seen on Wednesday, when antibiotics were administered via a large syringe, shot out of something similar to a dart gun.The calf was discovered earlier this month and was at the time the fourth North Atlantic right whale calf spotted this year.It was then that it was discovered the only days-old calf had a severe injury that NOAA officials said was "consistent with the propeller of a vessel."The right whale is an endangered species, with only about 400 individuals remaining. Fewer than 100 are adult females.Rowles said the calf is staying close to its mother."It rolls over the mother's back, it's staying very close, it dives under the mother," said Rowles. "We're hoping that means it's nursing, although we can't see underwater to confirm that. The calf's behaviour appears to be normal."Rowles said NOAA wants to stress that prevention of these incidents is key to helping the dwindling right whale population.She said it's important for vessels to be cautious in areas that see increased whale activity, and to report any potential strikes as soon as they happen.
A few dozen homes in the Battery area of St. John's were evacuated Friday evening after an avalanche hit the community amid a powerful blizzard.
Three months after Andrew Weaver announced he would be stepping down as leader of the B.C. Green Party, a grand total of zero candidates have put their name forward to replace him.But that will likely soon change. "I'm going to make an announcement, but I'm not making any announcements [just] yet," said Jonina Campbell, the party's deputy leader and former New Westminster school board trustee.Campbell, who said she would clarify her leadership intentions by the end of the month, ran for the party in New Westminster during the last provincial election and finished second with 25 per cent of the vote. That might not sound like much, but it was the party's best result in Metro Vancouver. It's a big reason why Campbell wants the Greens to prioritize Lower Mainland issues as the party attempts to build on the three seats it won in the last election — all of which are on Vancouver Island. "We need to break out," she said. "There's a lot of alignment with who we are and the ... values of Metro Vancouver. I think the real challenge for us though is getting out there and connecting."Candidate recruitment, infrastructure buildingGreens in Vancouver agree that "getting out there and connecting" has been the provincial party's biggest impediment to success in the region. "The Green Party [in] B.C. has to actually put boots on the ground and get active now," said Vancouver Councillor Adriane Carr, herself a former leader of the party. "It's outreach, it's actually putting on events, being at street festivals like the Car Free Days ... it's maintaining lists of people who have interest in certain subjects and putting on community events." Vancouver Councillor Pete Fry ran for the B.C. Green Party in a 2016 byelection and received 27 per cent of the vote — the party's best ever result in Metro Vancouver."We kind of, in many respects ran our own campaigns almost independent of the party. There wasn't a lot of local party infrastructure," he said. Fry added the party has improved its infrastructure since then, but still needs to do more to give candidates a competitive chance in places where it's made less inroads. "They have to find candidates, or nurture candidates who have strong community profiles, and who have been out there really hustling in the community," he said. "A simple fact of the matter is we haven't had a lot of candidate nurturing."Reaching out to diverse communitiesFry and Carr said the party could compete in Metro Vancouver on a policy level and has the potential to pick up some of the region's 43 seats. But they both agree that the party also needs to do a better job reaching out to diverse communities; in the 2017 election it nominated fewer women than the NDP or Liberals, and just five of its 83 candidates were people of colour."We recognize it was a problem," said Campbell. "I've personally attended a lot of events ... but we really need to be going out and connecting and building those relationships."The party will select a new leader in June — but Campbell is optimistic that whether she runs or not, the party's best Metro Vancouver result in the next election will be a lot better than how she fared in 2017."We're facing the housing crisis, the opioid crisis, the issues around transportation and people demanding action on climate and living sustainably," she said."There's a really good fit between the issues that Vancouverites really care about and the B.C. Green values."
Anneke Wieleng is on a treasure hunt. Wieleng is pawing through bins at the Goodwill Impact Centre and Outlet Store looking for clothes and toys for her great- grandchildren.The 100,000 sq.ft. warehouse and retail space, at 114th Avenue and 168th Street, is the last stop for unsold items from Goodwill stores in the Edmonton region. It's where Wieleng and other customers get a chance to pour through the items and pay by the pound for their finds."Good deals," nods Wieleng who's happy to pay $1.95/lb. for the first 50 lb.Where shoppers see affordable shoes, furniture and household items, Dale Monaghan sees a "dream and vision for a centre of excellence.""We're offering sustainability, environmental stewardship and unprecedented job training for Albertans with disabilities," said Monaghan, president and CEO of Goodwill Alberta. Thirty per cent of Goodwill Alberta's 800 workers report having some form of disability, Monaghan said. Goodwill Alberta is setting records at all levels and is eyeing expansion into Calgary, hoping to add an impact centre within two years he said. In 2019 Goodwill Alberta received more than 600,000 donations.You can see more from the Goodwill Impact Centre and Outlet Store at 2 p.m. on Sunday and 11 a.m. on Monday on CBC TV and CBC GEM.He points proudly to Alberta Goodwill's recent Emerald Award perched on a shelf.For three decades the Alberta Emerald Foundation has been recognizing green initiatives and executive director Gregory Caswell believes the Edmonton Impact Centre has raised the bar for environmental practices in the industry. "They've developed many different pathways and programs that utilize different materials that are coming to the Goodwill, and finding ways to turn them into reusable items, recyclable items and ways to generate income for their nonprofit," Caswell said. He mentions Goodwill's partnership with local hotels which take used towels and turn them into cleaning clothes. "Something very moving as well is the many books they have come through their doors," Caswell said. "They've created literacy programs using ones that haven't been sold in their stores. There's lots of really amazing things going on."Mortimer Capriles, director of sustainability and innovation for Goodwill Alberta, loves to see shoppers coming through the doors. "When you buy here, you're automatically diverting these items from the landfill and that is why this is such a great concept that we have in place in Edmonton." But if the bargain hunters don't snap the items up, Capriles points to the centre's robust recycle, reuse, repurpose operation, such as the one for hard plastics."All plastics that didn't sell in the outlet store, they're going to be granulated." The material is sent to a company in Lethbridge to be made into park benches, Capriles said. "Ninety per cent of the items we receive at the Impact Centre are being diverted from the landfill and we're really proud of that fact," he said.
Tyrell Ollie learned a hard lesson last week, after a trip to his remote trapping cabin in Yukon turned into a week-long struggle to survive the bitter cold."It taught me not to rush," said Ollie. "Take your time, and make sure you have everything you need."Ollie, it turned out, didn't have what he needed when he set out from Ross River, Yukon, by snowmobile with his cousin Rebecca Johnny, on Jan. 5. The plan was to check Ollie's traps and stay at his cabin at Dragon Lake, north of Ross River — but a snowmobile breakdown left them stranded partway there."I just didn't have the right tools. I had my tools, but it wasn't the right ones to take the [snowmobile's] chaincase off," he recalled.They were about 80 kilometres from Ross River, up the Canol Road, and still about 23 kilometres from Dragon Lake. The temperature, already below –20 C when they set out was soon pushing –45 C. "It got really cold on us. Three, four hours — just dropped."Remarkably, there was a lifeline nearby — another of Ollie's trapping cabins. It didn't have the supplies and firewood that the Dragon Lake cabin had, but it was shelter."I cut wood and set rabbit snares and I just tried to be in a survival mode I learned from my elders," Ollie said."I tried not to get scared out there, just trying to be strong and take care of my cousin Rebecca, mostly."They ended up staying for days, trying to keep warm while figuring out what to do.At one point, they tried walking back to Ross River. They slogged for a few kilometres before stopping under a tree to make a fire. They stayed two days and reconsidered their plan. "I looked at the moon, and I seen that moon dog [lunar halo], and I was like, 'no way we'll make it, going back,'" Ollie said. "So we turned around to the cabin and we hunkered down there and we stayed there," Ollie said. Search beginsBy the end of the week, people in Ross River were worried. The two cousins were reported overdue to police and other local officials."[Ollie] and I always talk trapping and we have a pretty good relationship," said Tynan Thurmer, the district conservation officer for Ross River. Machines and equipment weren't working properly — so we had to turn back. \- Tynan Thurmer, district conservation officer"So you know, as soon as I heard he was overdue, and the area he traps is so remote and harsh, you know, I was pretty gung-ho to get out there and help him."Thurmer joined RCMP officers as they set off on snowmobiles on Saturday evening, for Dragon Lake. They made it about a third of the way there, Thurmer said."Given the temperatures, it was pushing 50 below zero and machines and equipment weren't working properly — so we had to turn back."The next day, they secured a helicopter out of Whitehorse and flew directly to Dragon Lake. Thurmer's heart sank when he saw Ollie's cabin."It was quite evident that when we landed, no one had been there in days. You know, there was six inches of fresh snow, the cabin door was completely blown in."So then we thought, OK, they never made it." 'Every wood we could find'Down the trail, huddled in the other small cabin, Ollie and Johnny were doing what they could to stay warm and keep their strength up. They had little dry firewood on hand, and no saw, so they used an axe to cut green trees — and tried not to smoke themselves out. One of the cabin's wooden beds was hacked up to feed the fire."We looked for every wood we could find," Ollie said. They ate what little they had — some eggs, potatoes and onions. Ollie shot a grouse and they made broth. They drank NeoCitran to keep warm, he said. Ollie saw a moose one day, across a beaver pond, but he felt too weak to shoot it and skin it and get it back to the cabin. He also didn't trust the ice on the beaver pond. When it was Johnny's 24th birthday, they spent the day dreaming about food."We just sat there and talked about pineapples and oranges and that," Ollie said.Searching the areaLeaving Dragon Lake, the rescue team decided to search the whole area from the chopper."I was just going off my knowledge of, you know, every cabin that I've been to along the road, and every area that Tyrell mentioned to me that he might be trapping out of," Thurmer said.Partway back to Ross River, they saw them — two figures standing on the trail below."We saw them waving," Thurmer said. "I was quite relieved."Ollie and Johnny were picked up and taken back to Ross River. Ollie said they were checked out for any injuries."Everything was OK, it was just my big toe and my fingertips was kind of cold," he said.Thurmer is being lauded for his rescue efforts. Yukon's chief conservation officer Gordon Hitchcock has awarded him a Chief's Commendation — Award of Merit, for "meritorious service in the face of extreme conditions." "[Conservation officer] Thurmer's actions were directly related to the successful rescue," Hitchcock said in a statement.Ollie is grateful for the rescue, and relieved that he and Johnny are home safe. He says he'll never head out again in such cold weather."I'm very happy to see family and friends. I wish this would never happen to any other person, because it's a pretty rough experience, I tell you that."
A Kermit the Frog puppet created by Jim Henson back in 1969 is now on display in Detroit.It's the prototype Henson created as he was developing Kermit's look for Sesame Street.Kermit is part of the Detroit Institute of Arts' permanent collection, but hasn't come out of the vault in 15 years — until now."Puppets tend to be fairly fragile depending on their age and their material," said director of public programs Lawrence Baranski. "But what's interesting is that puppets made from the 1960s are probably the most fragile because puppeteers began using synthetics, plastics, a type of foam rubber that was cooked up on stoves, that over time becomes unstable." "What really I think made me love him so much was his wise cracking." \- Lawrence Baranski, director of public programsTo preserve the sensitive creature, the institute limits the time Kermit sees the light of day. It's done by bringing out the puppets in rotations.Appearance not plannedHis current hop out of storage actually wasn't planned."Of late we were noticing just a lot of requests from the public asking when he would be out again," said Baranski. "I think they're enjoying somewhat of a resurgence of visibility, so we wanted to respond to that."Kermit needed a 'check-up'And they don't just send Kermit out into the limelight in a rushed fashion. He needs a "check-up" at the conservation lab."He received a clean bill of health and we were able to go ahead with his installation," he said.Prior to the late 1960s, Kermit had already appeared on a show called Sam and Friends in the 1955, but was never officially identified as a frog.Frog princeBut it wasn't always known as Kermit. When the puppet was created, it was known as the frog prince. For many people, Baranski believes Kermit brings that "optimism in the face of chaos.""What really I think made me love him so much was his wise cracking," he said.This Kermit prototype can be seen at the Detroit Institute of Arts until late March.Tap the player to hear Baranski's conversation with Afternoon Drive's Jonathan Pinto.