• If Trudeau takes his own advice, he will take a stand against Quebec's religious symbols ban: Robyn Urback
    News
    CBC

    If Trudeau takes his own advice, he will take a stand against Quebec's religious symbols ban: Robyn Urback

    October 2018 was less than two years after a madman named Alexandre Bissonnette opened fire in a Quebec mosque, killing six people. And October 2018 was the same month a gunman walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and opened fire, killing 11. By that time, reported hate crimes in Canada had reached an all-time high, with every other week bringing a new report about hateful vandalism appearing in public spaces. October 2018 was also the last time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in at length on the plan by Quebec Premier François Legault to implement a ban on religious symbols worn by public servants — a xenophobic dog whistle, for those trained to hear the call.  Not unlike the proposed "values charter" tabled by the Parti Québécois under Pauline Marois, Legault's religious symbols ban will prohibit teachers and other provincially employed "authority figures" from wearing symbols of faith on the job.While its defenders point out that the ban will apply to Christians as much as Muslims, Sikhs and Jews — though the crucifix hanging in Quebec's National Assembly will stay in place, for now — the message is clear in the context of Quebec's enduring anxieties over immigration and diversity. A province obsessed with maintaining its language and culture is not drawing up legislation to rid the public sector of tiny crosses worn around teachers' necks. So back in October, Trudeau issued a warning. When asked about Legault's threat to use the charter's notwithstanding clause to implement the ban, Trudeau said: "It's not something that should be done lightly, because to remove or avoid defending the fundamental rights of Canadians, I think it's something with which you have to pay careful attention."Trudeau also said, ostensibly in reference to clothing such as hijabs, that the state should not "tell a woman what she can or cannot wear." It was tepid language for a nakedly bigoted proposal — strikingly so, especially when viewed through the lens of today, after the monstrous act of violence and hatred carried out in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. The attack on two mosques there last Friday, which left 50 people dead and dozens more injured, struck a nerve globally in a way the Quebec mosque shooting simply did not. Perhaps it was because of the scale of the violence, or in part because the massacre was live streamed on social media, but the Christchurch attack appears to have catalyzed action worldwide.Here in Canada, the response was swift. The Liberals on the Commons justice and human rights committee, which had been investigating the SNC-Lavalin affair, shut down its inquiry and took up an investigation on how to stem hate crimes in Canada. Cabinet ministers started showing up at mosques to demonstrate their solidarity with the Muslim community. And the prime minister delivered an impassioned 17-minute speech in the House of Commons about the need to speak out against hatred and discrimination."The problem is not only that politicians routinely fail to denounce this hatred — it's that, in too many cases, they actively court those who spread it," Trudeau said at one point, taking a not-so-subtle shot at Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer."To politicians and leaders around the world: the dog whistle politics, the ease with which certain people choose to adopt extremist ideology — it has to stop."Trudeau went on:"Politicians stand around, and we offer our condolences, and we say nice things in the aftermath. We say that we'll do better. We say that never again will such hatred be allowed to fester unchallenged. And then, when the flames die down, and the smoke clears, we look the other way."Not looking the other wayLegault has signalled he will table his religious symbols ban sometime this spring. If passed, it will essentially allow the state to discriminate against job applicants because of what they wear for their faith. Vigilante enforcement is sure to follow, given that the province says it will grandfather in workers who already wear religious symbols, though the public will have no way of knowing whether a hijab-wearing teacher, for example, has been granted an exception, or if she is breaking the rules.So here is an opportunity for Trudeau to put his preaching into practice. It's easy to call out hatred when it is blatant: an anti-Muslim screed on an online message board or a swastika painted on the side of a building. It is also easy to insist we must speak out against bigotry and xenophobia as general concepts, from a nonspecific source.It is much more difficult, however, to call out dog whistles and subtle efforts at division and prejudice. Especially in an election year. Especially when it comes from Quebec.I hold little hope that Scheer is capable of doing so; based on recent appearances and performances, it's likely he would short-circuit, smile awkwardly and later insist that he didn't hear the question. But Trudeau stood in the House of Commons earlier this week and specifically called on politicians to own their influence.To repeat Trudeau's words: "Politicians stand around, and we offer our condolences, and we say nice things in the aftermath. We say that we'll do better. We say that never again will such hatred be allowed to fester unchallenged. And then, when the flames die down, and the smoke clears, we look the other way."The flames may die down and the smoke clear by the time Legault tables his legislation. Trudeau's message that politicians should not allow hatred to fester unchallenged is a necessary one. Yet his anemic response when the topic came up in October was the moral equivalent of looking the other way. In the aftermath of the New Zealand massacre, we should hope that he finally takes his own advice.This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read our FAQ.

  • Chinese smartphone firms jazz up products, seize turf in home market from Apple
    News
    Reuters

    Chinese smartphone firms jazz up products, seize turf in home market from Apple

    "Of those people who are upgrading, there are many switching from Apple to Chinese brands but very few switching from Chinese brands to Apple," said Jiang Ning, who manages a Xiaomi store in the northern province of Shandong. Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Xiaomi Corp, Oppo and Vivo once sought to grab share in the world's biggest smartphone market with value-for-money devices, but consumer demand for better phones has prompted strategic rethinks. Huawei has had a tie-up with German camera maker Leica since 2016.

  • North Korea abruptly withdraws staff from liaison office
    News
    The Canadian Press

    North Korea abruptly withdraws staff from liaison office

    North Korea abruptly withdrew its staff from a liaison office with South Korea on Friday, a development that is likely to put a damper on ties between the countries and further complicate global diplomacy on North Korea's nuclear program. The North Korean action came a week after its vice foreign minister threatened to pull out of nuclear negotiations with the United States, citing a lack of U.S. steps to match disarmament measures it took last year. North Korea informed South Korean officials of its decision during a meeting Friday at the liaison office in the North Korean border town of Kaesong, Seoul's Unification Ministry said.

  • 'It's about bridging gaps': First Nations seek solutions for Indigenous housing crisis
    News
    CBC

    'It's about bridging gaps': First Nations seek solutions for Indigenous housing crisis

    First Nations advocates and housing industry leaders from across Canada gathered for the inaugural Restoring Our Sacred Space conference this week on the Tsuut'ina Reserve, just west of Calgary. A set of panelists discussed issues surrounding the First Nations housing crisis, basic human rights to housing, and treaty rights. Karen English, founder of Kamotaan Consulting, co-ordinated the gathering.

  • Trump dangles investment to Caribbean leaders who back Venezuela's Guaido
    News
    Reuters

    Trump dangles investment to Caribbean leaders who back Venezuela's Guaido

    "It's absolutely important that it's not just talk - that there will be real investment," Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told reporters after the meeting. The nations have broken from other members of the Caribbean Community, known as CARICOM, in their support for Guaido. The organization has officially advocated for talks between President Nicolas Maduro and Guaido, and most of its members have rejected resolutions by the Organization of American States supporting Guaido.

  • 'The insult': Ottawa's move to honour Métis war vets comes after years of stonewalling
    News
    CBC

    'The insult': Ottawa's move to honour Métis war vets comes after years of stonewalling

    Nearly 20 years ago, when Veterans Affairs Canada documented the "discrimination and outright fraud" perpetrated against the country's Indigenous war veterans, it deliberately excluded former Métis soldiers. David Chartrand, vice-president of the Métis National Council, said he could never understand "the insult," nor why senior Veterans Affairs officials fought so hard for years against compensating those former soldiers who risked their lives for Canada during the Second World War and the Korea conflict. Bureaucrats were so determined to block compensation for Métis, in fact, that when the Métis National Council and other organizations wanted access to federal government files that could have proved their claims of systemic discrimination, they were blocked.

  • Renewable energy project expanding to include more buildings in Vancouver's Mount Pleasant
    News
    CBC

    Renewable energy project expanding to include more buildings in Vancouver's Mount Pleasant

    More buildings in Vancouver's Mount Pleasant and False Creek areas will soon use heat and hot water fuelled by thermal energy from sewage. 

  • Calgary Transit bus driver rescues runaway dog for frantic owner
    News
    CBC

    Calgary Transit bus driver rescues runaway dog for frantic owner

    A Calgary Transit bus driver is being celebrated for helping to keep a dog on the loose from running onto a busy street. David Bolander was driving a community shuttle bus in McKenzie Towne when he noticed a woman frantically chasing after a dog along Promenade Way toward McKenzie Towne Link S.E. Leslie Sammel had been walking her daughter's dog, Charlie, on a leash when the dog slipped out of its collar and ran off.

  • Royal but regular: Will Harry and Meghan seek 'normality' for their baby?
    News
    Reuters

    Royal but regular: Will Harry and Meghan seek 'normality' for their baby?

    "I don't think there's been a member of the royal family that hasn't said they want their children to have a normal upbringing," Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty Magazine told Reuters. "Even the queen said she wanted her children to have as normal an upbringing as possible. The disintegration of the marriage of his parents - heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles and his late first wife Diana - was played out in the public glare and his mother was killed in a Paris car crash in 1997 as the limousine carrying her and her lover Dodi al-Fayed crashed as it fled chasing paparazzi.

  • SNC-Lavalin affair: Philpott says there's more to the story
    CBC

    SNC-Lavalin affair: Philpott says there's more to the story

    We have more on former minister Jane Philpott’s claim in an interview with Maclean’s that there is ‘much more’ to the SNC-Lavalin affair.

  • From reduced snowmobiling to continued wolf cull, wide range of options in B.C.'s caribou protection plans
    News
    CBC

    From reduced snowmobiling to continued wolf cull, wide range of options in B.C.'s caribou protection plans

    After months of controversy, the B.C. government has released two draft plans to protect endangered woodland caribou in the province. The province is now seeking public feedback on a wide range of options that include closing protected areas to snowmobiles, a review of the ongoing practice of killing wolves and how much to limit the development of future mines and forestry operations that could hinder the animal's recovery. One draft plan, which covers southern mountain caribou herds from the Kootenays to just north of Prince George, was negotiated between the province and the federal government.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Care providers call for B.C. seniors' advocate to step down and review of office

    In a statement, the association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of the Office of the Seniors' Advocate. The association alleges that documents obtained through a freedom of information request show Mackenzie collaborated closely with the Hospital Employees' Union leadership in shaping a report on the transfer of patients from care homes to hospitals.

  • 'Serious assault' at Brock University sends 3 to hospital, briefly closes campus
    News
    CBC

    'Serious assault' at Brock University sends 3 to hospital, briefly closes campus

    Two students were stabbed and another was injured in a "serious assault" that saw cruisers descend on Brock University Thursday night and briefly closed its campus. Niagara Regional Police were called to the school around 8 p.m for what was initially reported to be a shooting, media relations officer Phil Gavin said in tweets. Brock Campus Security tweeted it was investigating an incident together with Niagara police at Village Residence, located on the southwest end of the campus.

  • Renovictions come to Port Coquitlam, but mayor looks to ban practice
    News
    CBC

    Renovictions come to Port Coquitlam, but mayor looks to ban practice

    Port Coquitlam is the latest city in Metro Vancouver to deal with renovictions, as the controversial practice popped up in the municipality earlier this year. Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West says the tenants were told they could return once the renovations were done  — but at twice the monthly rent they were previously paying. "It's important to me and to city council that we're protecting our residents from what is a very predatory practice," West told On the Coast guest host Jason D'Souza.

  • Toronto the piecemeal: From snow clearing to housing policy, why do the rules change in different areas?
    News
    CBC

    Toronto the piecemeal: From snow clearing to housing policy, why do the rules change in different areas?

    Plumadore says it's all because his midtown neighbourhood doesn't receive sidewalk snow clearing from the city, unlike various other areas — leaving many elderly and mobility-reduced residents stuck navigating icy, unsafe pathways. In particular, snow clearing efforts, which vary between the downtown core and the suburbs and, at times, between nearby streets, made headlines this winter. The "limited service" is meant to help prevent flooding and road icing thanks to clogged catch basins in neighbourhoods with roadside ditches, according to city staff.

  • Why the Labrador Winter Games is a draw for female designers
    News
    CBC

    Why the Labrador Winter Games is a draw for female designers

    Peggy Anderson is a designer from Nain who made the trip south to attend the creative design classes. Anderson, who was taught by her mother and other women throughout Labrador, began her life in textiles 11 years ago by making clothes for her family.

  • Ombudsman chides rural CAO for ignoring tendering rules in garbage case
    News
    CBC

    Ombudsman chides rural CAO for ignoring tendering rules in garbage case

    Nova Scotia's ombudsman has concluded a rural municipality on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore did not follow proper tendering procedures related to work at a local landfill, a case that ended up in small claims court. The situation involves Marvin MacDonald, the CAO of the Municipality of the District of St. Mary's, who in the fall of 2016 asked a contractor to bury some large piles of municipal garbage. "It didn't go out to tender and it ended up costing a lot more than they originally thought," said local resident Brad Harpell, who lodged a complaint last fall with the Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman.

  • Review board recommends transfer to Ontario for killer Gregory Despres
    News
    CBC

    Review board recommends transfer to Ontario for killer Gregory Despres

    Depres was found guilty in 2008 for the murders of his neighbours Fred Fulton, 74, and Verna Decarie, 70, but the judge ruled he wasn't criminally responsible because he was suffering from delusions stemming from paranoid schizophrenia. Fred Fulton's daughter-in-law, Mary-Kennedy Fulton, stopped to talk to reporters on the way out of the Moncton courthouse. "He's not criminally responsible so what he wants has to be taken in to consideration, but he hasn't started treatment … will that happen when he goes to Ontario?

  • Lobsters unharmed by Atlantic Canada salmon farm, 8-year study finds
    News
    CBC

    Lobsters unharmed by Atlantic Canada salmon farm, 8-year study finds

    An eight-year study of lobsters living below a salmon farm off New Brunswick's Grand Manan Island found the aquaculture operation had no impact on the crustaceans' abundance, size or growth. Its authors say it's the most in-depth examination of its kind in Atlantic Canada. Any surveys that have been done have been sort of cursory," said Jon Grant, the study's lead author and a Dalhousie University oceanographer.

  • Meet the 97-year-old woman who's been filling out March Madness brackets for almost two decades
    News
    CBC

    Meet the 97-year-old woman who's been filling out March Madness brackets for almost two decades

    Marian Sunnen is 97-years-old — but that's not stopping her from getting caught up in the excitement of March Madness.The Chatham, Ont. resident has been filling out March Madness brackets almost every year for the past two decades. Sunnen said it's exciting to compete with her friends and family, but added the tradition ultimately started because of her late husband."He was a basketball fan. He chose a bracket and so did I," Sunnen said.Honouring her husbandThe couple lived together in Chatham back in 1959 before moving to different states across the U.S. — depending on where August was based during his time in the Navy. He even joined Michigan State University's shot put, discus and track teams."He loved following everything Michigan State," said Sunnen's niece, Alysson Storey. "That's why we have to keep Michigan State going, because that's what Uncle 'Auggy' would want."August passed away in 2017 at the age of 95. For Sunnen, continuing to fill out March Madness brackets is a way of keeping his memory alive."He would've wanted me to."So what's her prediction for this year?Sunnen's expert analysis has led her to pick Purdue University as the winner of this year's national championship."Purdue's in the Big Ten and Purdue's been doing very well this year," she said. "I would like to see them win, so I might as well pick them."But what does her bracket say about the future of her favourite team? Sunnen predicts Michigan State will be eliminated in the Elite Eight because it's a "practical" possibility.March Madness — a family competitionThe tradition of filling out a March Madness bracket has passed on to the rest of her family. Storey said her family and close friends have been pitting bracket-against-bracket through an online March Madness pool."My parents, brother and sister, my husband, aunt Marian, some friends from here in Chatham and across Canada, my cousins from California ... There's about 20 of us," said Storey.She added the online pool has existed for about 15 years, shortly after Sunnen filled out her first bracket. Storey said her family enjoys hearing old stories from her great aunt's younger days."She'a a very knowledgeable sports person — not just in basketball, but in baseball and football and golf," said Storey. "We have to keep up [with] her."

  • City playing catch-up as potholes multiply
    News
    CBC

    City playing catch-up as potholes multiply

    This winter's wild weather is slowing the efforts of city crews to fill all those potholes riddling Ottawa's roads. Trying to fill potholes filled by snow or by freezing rain is just not really conducive to appropriately patching a hole. It's not that there are fewer potholes, as most motorists can attest: It's because the unusual amount of snow, thick ice and freeze-thaw cycles have made the job especially difficult this spring, according to Luc Gagné, the city's manager of roads services.

  • SNC-Lavalin failed to meet technical threshold for $1.6B LRT contract: sources
    News
    CBC

    SNC-Lavalin failed to meet technical threshold for $1.6B LRT contract: sources

    SNC-Lavalin won the $1.6-billion contract to extend and maintain Ottawa's north-south LRT line even though it didn't achieve the minimum technical score to qualify for the project — a threshold its competitors met easily, CBC News has learned. The Montreal-based company beat out two other consortia to extend the Trillium Line from Greenboro into Riverside South, a decision cemented with a 19-3 vote by Ottawa city council on March 6. SNC-Lavalin, currently at the centre of a major political controversy, is also one of the key partners in Rideau Transit Group, the consortium building the thrice-delayed first stage of Ottawa's LRT system.

  • Today's Google Doodle uses AI to let you write music in the style of Bach
    News
    CBC

    Today's Google Doodle uses AI to let you write music in the style of Bach

    Ever wanted to write music like Johann Sebastian Bach? In honour of the composer's 334th birthday, today's Google Doodle uses artificial intelligence to turn a simple melody into a four-part chorale arrangement. The machine-learning model that powers the Doodle, Coconet, was developed by Anna Huang.

  • 'A nightmare trip' as Mackenzie Valley winter road turns to mud and slush
    News
    CBC

    'A nightmare trip' as Mackenzie Valley winter road turns to mud and slush

    Paulina Roche willed her F-150 through the swamp and up Blackwater Hill. It bogged down in the mud, and she needed another vehicle with a winch to get her back on her way. "It was just terrible, it was just like driving through a big puddle of mud," Roche said.

  • Life in the HOV lane: Are some drivers using a little decal to game the system?
    News
    CBC

    Life in the HOV lane: Are some drivers using a little decal to game the system?

    The frustrations of Metro Vancouver traffic gridlock may be enticing some scofflaw drivers to attach fake or stolen EOK decals to their non-electric cars in order to drive in HOV lanes. The little decal can mean big time savings for those trying to game the system. Since 2016, electric vehicles (EVs) have been allowed in most provincial and municipal high occupancy vehicle lanes regardless of the number of occupants, provided there's an EOK decal attached to the rear of the car.