Two leaders vying to be the next prime minister of Canada repeatedly dodged questions from reporters today, with Justin Trudeau refusing to speak about electoral reform or post-election scenarios and Andrew Scheer deflecting calls for an explanation on allegations his party orchestrated a smear campaign against a rival political party.Instead, the Liberal Leader reverted to a message track about the dire consequences of Conservative cuts, while the Conservative leader warned about the "costly coalition" of the Liberals and NDP if voters don't elect a majority Tory government.In the final crucial days of the campaign, Scheer continued to raise questions about what a Liberal-NDP coalition would mean for the country's finances.He has been accused of trying to fear-monger by spreading disinformation that a Liberal-NDP coalition would raise the GST and that the Liberals plan to legalize hard drugs."We have been very open and clear with Canadians about what we are going to offer as a government. We will lower their taxes. We will put more money in their pocket. We will get back to balanced budgets over a responsible period of time," Scheer said, during an event in Toronto."On the contrary, what they don't have from Justin Trudeau is a clear explanation about what an NDP-Liberal coalition would look like … which taxes he would raise to pay for the NDP's promises. That's what Canadians have the right to know in the next few days before election day."Scheer was asked repeatedly about reports that Daisy Group, the firm led by former Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella, was behind a social media campaign to put the People's Party of Canada on the defensive and keep leader Maxime Bernier out of the federal leaders' debates.Documents obtained by CBC News outline the work done by several employees of Daisy on behalf of an unnamed client. A source with knowledge of the project told CBC News that client was the Conservative Party of Canada.Scheer refused to confirm or explain his party's involvement today."As a rule, we never make comments on vendors that we may or may not have engaged with," he said, at least a dozen times.Trudeau was asked if he had any concerns the Liberal Party may have been similarly targeted, but he turned it back to an attack on Conservative cuts."We've seen through this campaign that the Conservatives have had to use the policies of fear and division and indeed, just make stuff up in order to get their message across," he said, during an event in Hamilton. "Why? It's because they have nothing to offer Canadians except $53 billion worth of cuts."The leaders are making their final pitches and driving home their key messages in the final days of a campaign that's too close to call.Close national raceAccording to the latest CBC Poll Tracker, which aggregates all publicly available polling data, the Liberals have regained their seat advantage over the Conservatives, but remain in a close national race in public support and well below the numbers needed to win a majority government.After making considerable gains in the polls, the NDP and Bloc Québécois appear to have hit a ceiling, but they could hold the balance of power in a minority Parliament.Trudeau ducked a series of questions about what he will do if he wins a minority on Monday, and repeated his pitch for Canadians to elect a strong progressive government to stop Conservative cuts.Asked about whether the "marathon" tour of three provinces in a swing right across the country in the final days of the campaign is an act of ambition or desperation, Trudeau expressed confidence about Monday's results.He said Canadians get to make a choice about whether they want to tackle climate change, make life more affordable and get guns off the streets."That's what we need a progressive government for. We're not going to go for the Conservative cuts and an approach on climate change that does absolutely nothing and leaves it to future generations," he said. "On Monday, Canadians right across the country are going to choose forward."The NDP was quick to fire out a "Fact Check" bulletin about Trudeau's "dodged questions.""It's impossible to keep track of how many direct questions from reporters that Justin Trudeau has dodged. It's simpler to just list the straight answers he gave today," it read.A blank page followed.NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh spent the day in battleground British Columbia, emphasizing his party's plan to make housing more affordable."Owning a place is no longer even a dream. They can't imagine renting a place that's affordable," he said."It's a real fear, and we want to change that."The NDP has promised to build 500,000 affordable housing units over 10 years. Asked by reporters if that's a realistic timeline, Singh said the affordable housing shortage is a "crisis" that needs ambitious solutions, not half measures.
WASHINGTON — The State Department has completed its internal investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of private email and found violations by 38 people, some of whom may face disciplinary action.The investigation, launched more than three years ago, determined that those 38 people were "culpable" in 91 cases of sending classified information that ended up in Clinton's personal email, according to a letter sent to Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley this week and released Friday. The 38 are current and former State Department officials but were not identified.Although the report identified violations, it said investigators had found "no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information." However, it also made clear that Clinton's use of the private email had increased the vulnerability of classified information.Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a tweet Saturday: "For the umpteenth time the email story is put to bed w/ a clear recognition it was a pointless crusade that took away from so many other issues we should have been discussing in '16."The investigation covered 33,000 emails that Clinton turned over for review after her use of the private email account became public. The department said it found a total of 588 violations involving information then or now deemed to be classified but could not assign fault in 497 cases.For current and former officials, culpability means the violations will be noted in their files and will be considered when they apply for or go to renew security clearances. For current officials, there could also be some kind of disciplinary action. But it was not immediately clear what that would be.The report concluded "that the use of a private email system to conduct official business added an increased degree of risk of compromise as a private system lacks the network monitoring and intrusion detection capabilities of State Department networks."The department began the review in 2016 after declaring 22 emails from Clinton's private server to be "top secret." Clinton was then running for president against Donald Trump, and Trump made the server a major focus of his campaign.Then-FBI Director James Comey held a news conference that year in which he criticized Clinton as "extremely careless" in her use of the private email server as secretary of state but said the FBI would not recommend charges.The Justice Department's inspector general said FBI specialists did not find evidence that the server had been hacked, with one forensics agent saying he felt "fairly confident that there wasn't an intrusion."Grassley started investigating Clinton's email server in 2017, when he was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Iowa Republican has been critical of Clinton's handling of classified information and urged administrative sanctions.Matthew Lee And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
MILTON, Ont. — Lisa Raitt is bracing for a late night on Monday, knowing the race in her southwestern Ontario riding of Milton is likely to be a nail-biter.With the federal election just days away, the veteran Conservative politician and deputy party leader — whose riding sits in an area considered a key battleground in the campaign — appears locked in a dead heat with her Liberal opponent, Olympic gold-medallist Adam van Koeverden.Though she's held her seat for more than a decade, surviving the Liberal sweep four years ago, much has changed in the region since then.The city of Milton, which makes up a large portion of the riding, is one of the fastest-growing communities in the province, according to census data, meaning many of those voting this fall may not have been around for the previous election."It's tight and I think it's uncertain because we just don't have data on everybody who's moved into town and how they feel and what they think," Raitt said in an interview this week. "So knowing that we've had a lot of growth here, I think it's a little bit foolish to assume things would go the same way as they've done in the past."Adding to the suspense, she said, is that roughly a quarter of the riding's voters cast a ballot in advance polls, votes that will have to be manually tallied Monday evening.A recent poll suggested Raitt and van Koeverden were tied for the lead, with Green candidate Eleanor Hayward a distant third, ahead of New Democrat Farina Hassan and People's Party of Canada candidate Percy Dastur.The area has swung between the Conservatives and the Liberals both provincially and federally in recent decades and while incumbents typically have a leg up on their political rivals, facing a high-profile challenger changes the dynamic of the campaign, said Peter Graefe, a political science professor at Hamilton's McMaster University.Campaigns involving two well-known candidates have to be more personal, with competitors making a pitch for why they — and not simply their party — are better than their opponent, he said."It does push a local candidate...to then kind of personalize the campaign rather than simply relying on the central (national) narrative," he said.In appealing to voters, Raitt highlighted her record in the community, pointing the arts centre and velodrome built during her tenure."All the things that Milton families relied upon in the last 11 years, I've been able to deliver for them and I can deliver for them again," she said. "So there's a certainty, and there's a trustworthiness that I'm not going to embarrass them, I'm a known quantity."Van Koeverden, meanwhile, painted himself as a progressive voice for the community."For a long time...this community and our riding has had a conservative Ottawa voice in Milton and what we want, and what my neighbours need, is Milton's voice in Ottawa," he said."I'm not doing this because I think I have all the solutions to people's problems. ... I'm doing this because I think there's good ideas on the left, good ideas on the right, and if we all work together, then team Canada's going to win."Some local issues, such as public transit and controversial proposals for the Campbellville quarry and a CN rail hub, have been front and centre during the Milton campaign, both said. But national and provincial matters have nonetheless bled into the race. On a recent morning, as van Koeverden shook hands with commuters at the Milton GO Transit station, one asked him about Ontario's now-defunct cap-and-trade program, which was scrapped by the provincial Progressive Conservatives last year.In an another conversation, he warned of "Ford-style cuts" under a Conservative government, echoing Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's strategy of linking Premier Doug Ford, whose popularity has sunk recently, and federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.Van Koeverden, a champion kayaker, quit his job last fall to seek the Liberal nomination. And though he recently bought a home in Milton, he stressed he has a long history with the region."When I knock on doors, I meet people that I went to summer camp with...I meet people that I went to (St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Secondary School) with... and I meet a lot of people that I went to McMaster with just 10 years ago," he said in an interview this week. "So I feel pretty at home here in Milton."He said it's those personal connections, rather than his Olympic fame, that he's counting on in winning over voters.Those efforts no doubt got a boost of enthusiasm Saturday afternoon, when Justin Trudeau rolled into town for a rally."I have known Adam van Koeverden for over 15 years now and I've never met anyone so hard-working, so focused, and so determined to be the great MP for Milton that Milton deserves," Trudeau said to the crowd packed into a ballroom.The show of force, which the campaign said included 1,300 supporters, also featured an appearance by Ed Robertson, of the band Barenaked Ladies, who sang the national anthem.Though the race has attracted significant attention, some in Milton said they were still struggling to commit to a candidate.Jacob Sawatsky, 21, said it's difficult to decide whether to prioritize local issues, such as transit, or national ones when voting. "It always turns into a game-time decision. I like to think I know who I'm going to vote for but I could honestly switch at any moment," he said.Others said they wrestled with the decision before taking part in advance polls. Fatima Khalid, 19, said her family and friends all voted Liberal but she chose the NDP due to the party's health-care promises.Local issues didn't factor into her decision, because she goes to school outside of the community and will likely move away to work afterwards, she said.This report by The Canadian Press was originally published on Oct. 19, 2019.— With files from Joanna SmithPaola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh left his political rivals to trade barbs Saturday, focusing instead on affordable housing policy in a key battleground where his message had supporters flocking in droves to hear him.He spoke with young people Saturday morning in Vancouver struggling under the weight of the housing market there. The NDP is starting to see some traction in the polls and Singh said he believes his message is resonating because he rejects the idea that Canadians should settle for less."I think we've captured the imagination of the country because we've asked Canadians to dream bigger," Singh said."I'm fighting for them with everything I've got, and my team is fighting for them because we know they deserve so much more. We can deliver it. That's the positive thing in all of this. We got here because of choices that were made by Conservatives and Liberals. We can get out of here with choices that are made by New Democrats, for people."Singh had so many people turn up to an afternoon rally that they were lined up all the way around a downtown city block, clamouring to join the hundreds already inside the venue.The leaders of two of the other major parties, meanwhile, focused on each other Saturday. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer warned, without evidence, that a hypothetical Liberal-NDP coalition would raise the GST and personal income taxes, and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau spoke of stopping "Conservative cuts."The NDP is proposing to build 500,000 affordable housing units over 10 years, with half of the units coming in five years, at a cost of $5 billion in the first year and $3 billion in subsequent years. The NDP has also proposed a rental subsidy of up to $5,000 for half a million families and individuals.Experts have warned the rental subsidy proposal could spell trouble in markets with low vacancy rates, where rents could end up getting hiked.As for the pledge for half-a-million new affordable homes across the country over the next decade, including half of that amount in the first five years, federal programs show a three-year timetable to build multi-unit projects after funding is advanced.Just how he plans to hit the 250,000 mark in five years, when three of them would likely be taken up with construction while federal infrastructure programs usually take between two and three years simply to get off the ground, remains unclear."We need to be ambitious," Singh said. "We are in a crisis and when we are in a crisis we can't respond with half measures."The New Democratic leader met Saturday with residents of the Mole Hill neighbourhood, a non-profit housing community in the west end of Vancouver, and listened as they told him stories about their struggles finding affordable housing.After aging out of the foster care system in B.C., Star Martin, 23, ended up in several precarious rental housing situations, including an apartment from which she was "reno-victed" — asked to leave by the owner so they could renovate the building."We have a really nice place (now) but we're paying way too much for it," she said. "It's just not really fair. What is the point of working 40-plus hour weeks and coming home and wondering if I'm going to eat tonight?"Martin said she was working so hard to afford her apartment, it triggered an autoimmune disease that may not have happened if she had more affordable housing options."I had to quit my career that I had two diplomas for because I can't do it anymore."Alysa Huppler-Poliak is living in an apartment with a mould problem and bad insulation, but she and her boyfriend are afraid to talk to the landlord or leave because there might not be anything else out there they can afford."The young people right now that I'm sitting with — we don't have a future in the housing market," she said. "I have so many friends that are still in school and they're living 12 students to a house, and that's not OK."Others told Singh about how the housing crisis is so bad in Vancouver, young people are taking jobs where they are being treated badly because they need to be able to afford rent.Buying or owning a home is not even a dream, Martin said."It's like some weird fantasy land, it's like thinking I'm going to go live in a castle. It's not going to happen, it's just not possible."Singh is spending the waning days of the campaign targeting a key issue in a key battleground — his party is thought to be in a tight race with the Greens in several British Columbia ridings. While there are Canadians across the country struggling with housing, the average home sale price in Metro Vancouver is nearly $1 million.The NDP is also promising to introduce a national foreign buyer's tax and tackle money laundering.The provincial NDP government in B.C. launched a public inquiry after commissioning two reports that revealed an estimated $5 billion in dirty money was funnelled through real estate in 2018, driving up prices by at least five per cent.Real estate is useful to money-launderers because even legitimate transactions can involve large sums and it's hard to say definitively when a price is inflated.This report by The Canadian Press was originally published on Oct. 19, 2019.Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press
After a year of legalized cannabis in Canada, complaints of poor quality, high prices and shortages of products have been at the forefront of the discussion and criticism surrounding the industry almost the entire way.Jordan Sinclair, vice president of communications with Tweed, and its parent company Canopy Growth, says those should be non-issues moving forward."At this point, the supply and demand has completely inverted. At this point we have an immense amount of supply, and now what we're facing across the country is a shortage in points of sale," Sinclair told CBC Radio's On The Go.However, Sinclair added that those figures may not be so true for Newfoundland and Labrador. The Canopy Growth growing facility in St. John's is slated to be up and running by spring. Sinclair said construction is essentially completed, estimating the facility will be at 100 per cent before Christmas."Then it's over to Health Canada as we run through the licensing process. That could take a couple of weeks, [or a] couple of months, but the target at this point is to make sure that we've got living plants in there by the spring," he said.Quality and pricingAccording to Sinclair, the price point for current products will remain about the same, though some prices will fluctuate as cannabis brands begin to establish themselves and release a wider range of product. Sinclair likened the pricing to bottles of wine, where some are very cheap while others are very expensive. As for the quality of legal cannabis, a major concern over the last year has been about how dry and stale the cannabis flower sometimes can be.Sinclair said it's something that can be improved upon, but he added that there is an even split between those who enjoy the quality of current legal cannabis and those who would like to see it improved."This is just another area where quality is going to start to be the focus in consumer's minds. We've gotten the lowest hanging fruit — people that just want to buy cannabis because it's legal and the only thing that was stopping them was because it was illegal. They're now very happy," he said."Now we've got work to do across the board from locations, on product formats, that are just about to be rolled out, and on quality to make sure that we can keep the momentum going." Edibles will make moneyA large complaint from the business end of the legal cannabis industry is coming from independent cannabis shop owners who are finding it difficult to turn a profit.Products currently on the market such as marijuana flower, pre-rolled joints and liquid gels are the lowest margin products that Canopy Growth offers, according to Sinclair.He said that the real money will start rolling into shops as edibles begin to hit shelves sometime in December.Things such as drinks, vape-pens and cannabis chocolate were submitted by Canopy Growth to Health Canada this week. Sinclair calls it "legalization 2.0.""They're going to have a higher margin. People are willing to pay more for those products because it's not just the cannabis itself. It's been converted in some innovative way," he said."I think that's going to bring an incredible amount of relief to retailers big and small."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Brian Ng remembers the moment he knew he wanted to be a chef.He was young, just seven years old and he was watching T.V. — Japanese T.V. to be specific. He would watch reruns of the popular cooking show Iron Chef."Whenever I was home sick from school I would watch the show ... just out of curiosity," said Ng."My parents weren't home often growing up, they worked a lot, to provide for us ... so shout out to mom and dad."Ng's parents owned a restaurant and hotel, and more often than not, would be there working late. Whenever Ng got the chance he would turn on Iron Chef. Soon he began to experiment with food.He recalls cooking eggs for the first time."I decided to make 12 scrambled eggs rather than a regular three like say a normal human being," jokes Ng. "I've always loved eating and I think from day one I always wanted to be a chef, it's just people kept talking me out of it." I always wanted to be a chef it's just people kept talking me out of it \- Brian Ng, ChefDespite the long desire to be a chef, it was only this year that Ng actually became one.This summer the 29-year-old walked away from a comfortable job with the Yukon government, where he worked as a Licensing and Intake Officer and took on the role of head chef at the Wayfarer Oyster House.Ng was already familiar with Wayfarer. A little over a year ago he purchased the restaurant along with Eddie Rideout and Andrew Seymour.Soon after Ng was in the kitchen, juggling his day job with kitchen duties."I was working my 9-to-5 job, five days a week, and then working at the restaurant for five or six days a week."It became too much.So this past July Ng left his job as a civil servant to pursue cooking full time."It's been great, a luxury to be able to work a full day in the kitchen with my super awesome team and therefore be able to create more things and have better communication."On top of sleeping more, the move to full-time chef has benefited the restaurant too.Last month Wayfarer was named to Air Canada's En Route magazine's long list of best places to eat in Canada and more recently the Globe and Mail called Ng one of the country's next top chefs."It's been a big shock and surprise, obviously I'm super happy for me and my business partners and the team, but it was unexpected," said Ng."We weren't really gunning for accolades we just wanted to open up a cool little spot in Whitehorse."
One of Edmonton's oldest neighbourhoods is highlighting some of its best food.Mumbai Dakar was among the restaurants that took part in the culinary tour known as Olde Town Beverly Dining Week.Solo Diallo, chef and co-owner of the East Indian and Senegalese fusion restaurant, said dining week allows business owners like himself to welcome all Edmontonians to the northeast part of the city.Diallo is from Senegal, while his co-owner, Ahmad Ashfaque is from Mumbai. They opened their restaurant in June and wanted to offer a different approach to food. Their restaurant two buffets, one offering Indian food, the other Senagalese food. "There's lots of supports from my community and from the Beverly community as well," Diallo said. He told CBC's Radio Active his restaurant is the only Senegalese restaurant in the city.The business gets its name from the owners' hometowns.The two men opened Mumbai Dakar to offer Edmontonians a taste of both cuisines in one restaurant.This is the second year of the Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week.Ten restaurants are offering special dishes as part of the culinary tour. "You won't find anything part of the dining week that costs more than $20," said Amy Hayduk, facilitator of Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week.The event runs until Oct. 25.
More international students at the University of Windsor want to improve their English language skills by attending English Conversation Group, a weekly workshop that provide students the opportunity to practice their English verbally in an informal, low-pressure environment at the university's Leddy Library.Shuzhen Zhao, a librarian at the university, said she's seen a noticeable increase in the number of students attending the meetings.Zhao, who's been facilitating meetings since it first launched in 2013, attributes some of the increase to the growing number of international students attending the university."Last year, I think we have averaged at around 20 [students] ... but this year, from the beginning to now, we're almost at 30 students," she said.More than 15,000 international students attend the University of Windsor, according to the university's website.Christine Sabina, who currently works at the Leddy Library, has been facilitating classes since the beginning of the school year.She said she's personally seen an improvement in some students already."Sometimes we run out of space just because we have such a high number of participants," Christine Sabina said, adding that most of the students attending are from China and India.Interactive and informativeYesudas Purathur Josetom moved to Windsor from India two months ago. He said he initially struggled with understanding English spoken with a Canadian accent, but workshops like the one can help overcome that challenge."I wanted class to be this interactive. It shouldn't be a single centre [where] a person keeps on talking and the others [don't] respond," said Josetom."But this is actually ... interactive. We get to always add opinions. It was actually really good."More confident with speakingPinge "Vicky" Ai, a Master of Education student from China, has been attending English Conversation Group since last year.She said she's become more confident speaking English."I still come here because I'm more comfortable now. I can speak freely with anyone sitting around me," she said.Manigandan Ganesan, who's from India, started his Master in Industrial Engineering program in September.This was his first time attending a workshop."I learned a lot of things in this class. It's been very interactive ... and informative," he said, adding that he'll be joining the group again.The students said they would recommend others to join the class.Zhao said she volunteers her lunch break to offer these workshops, adding that she wants new students to feel like home in Windsor."We try to help students to be better here. They can feel better. They can study better."Students can drop in and join the English Conversation Group on Thursdays from 12PM to 1PM.
It's fair to say the city of Port Alberni, B.C., isn't often blessed with good news. In recent years the Vancouver Island mill town has been ranked as the worst place to live in Canada by one magazine and one of the most dangerous by another, while it's had to deal with years of roller-coaster uncertainty in the area's dominant forestry industry. But amid the gloom, Port Albernians have been handed a rare glass-half-full of civic pride with the knowledge that their city is home to some of the best beer in the province.That's according to the judges of the B.C. Beer Awards, who last year awarded Twin City Brewing Company — as of October 2019, the city's only brewery — the coveted best in show prize for its Late Bloomer strawberry hibiscus sour ale. It was one of three Twin City beers that won awards last year and, as brewers gear up for the 2019 B.C. Beer Awards in Vancouver on Saturday, there's every chance it will be adding to its haul — and swelling Port Alberni's pride even further.While the awards put Twin City on the beer map and opened up opportunities like collaboration with other breweries, Aaron Colyn's business has added a galvanizing spark to the community since it opened in early 2017."We have a lot of people that really, really feel at home at our brewery. It's like a local hub," says Colyn, a born-and-raised Port Albernian who is also Twin City's head brewer. "This is a place to meet up with your friends. It's a social hangout."The brewery's lounge, which also serves food from a full kitchen, attracts a wide range of residents and tourists through its doors, according to Pat Deakin, the city's economic development manager, from business owners talking shop, mountain bikers or hikers stopping for an end-of-day pint, and families playing board games.Long tables and a lack of TVs encourage conversation."There's a whole range of ages and people I probably wouldn't run across in my normal work day," says Deakin, a Twin City regular who favours the brewery's Swedish Gymnast blonde ale. "You're sharing a table and meeting somebody new, so it really kind of fosters community spirit in a way, or just new relationships." 'Sense of familiarity'Port Alberni is not the only small B.C. city with a buzzing community brewery.Around a third of the almost 200 breweries in B.C. are located outside the major population centres of the Lower Mainland, Victoria, the Okanagan and Prince George.From Tofino in the west to Valemount in the east, Rossland in the south to Fort St. John in the north, small-town B.C. has embraced the brewery as a community-minded, community-oriented business that locals make a point of rallying at. "You've got this contained audience that also takes great pride in their local brewery," explained Ken Beattie, executive director of the B.C. Craft Brewers Guild.If you're a local, "you know the people, you probably know the owner, for sure you know someone on the staff … so there's that sense of familiarity that also drives traffic," he said.Breweries benefit the community by offering employment and spin-off sales opportunities, and they often source ingredients from local farms, Beattie added.'It's been a blessing'In Port Alberni, Twin City is also driving revitalization, Deakin says."I think it's fair to say that it's inspired people and has opened up possibilities for people as they see how successful the business is," he said, adding that Twin City has given tourists more reasons to linger. "As people pull in, they do see restaurants and they see other services ... It's been a blessing," he said.That revitalization will soon include a second brewery, Dog Mountain Brewing, which is under construction in the city's uptown.It's another step toward reversing the fortunes of Port Alberni, which Colyn describes as a "hidden gem" that's attracting young families with affordable house prices and opportunities for outdoor recreation. "I've seen a lot of people doing similar things to what I'm doing, putting an emphasis on turning the reputation around, drawing people in to be positive, seeing what Port Alberni has to offer," he said.Whether that includes another best-in-province beer will be announced late Saturday.Find out the full results of the B.C. Beer Awards at cbc.ca/bc from 9 p.m. PT on Oct. 19.
The families of Véronique Barbe and Yvon Lacasse say they can finally begin to grieve.Saturday just before noon, a jury at the Saint-Jérôme courthouse found Ugo Fredette, 44, guilty on two counts of first-degree murder in their deaths. "Now, it's time to turn the page. It won't be easy," Barbe's older brother, Daniel, told reporters outside the courtroom, trailing off in tears. "She was so marvelous."Barbe said members of his family attended Lacasse's funeral and the two families have since become close, finding ways to support each other after a nearly unfathomable series of events.Fredette was charged in connection with the September 2017 killings of 41-year-old Barbe, who was his former spouse, and 71-year-old Lacasse, a man he encountered at a highway rest stop after fleeing Barbe's home with a six-year-old boy. There were sighs of relief as the jury of three women and nine men delivered the verdicts Saturday, on Day 3 of deliberations. One woman clapped. The families sat together, holding hands and later exchanging tearful hugs. Fredette appeared solemn, his brow slightly furrowed.The jury had to decide whether Fredette had the intention of killing Barbe and Lacasse. Fredette's lawyer, Louis-Alexandre Martin, said Fredette had been provoked. The accused testified that it was Barbe who attacked him first and that Lacasse had confronted him aggressively. Fredette's defence was 'far-fetched,' says prosecutor"It was so far-fetched," Crown prosecutor Steve Baribeau said Saturday. "The quality of the evidence was impressive in this case."He said the verdicts showed the jury had rejected Fredette's version of events, and accepted the evidence prosecutors put forth in the trial: that Fredette harassed and terrorized his ex-partner for weeks and then stabbed her 17 times. Fredette fled with a boy who was inside the home, triggering what became the longest Amber Alert in Quebec history. He later killed Lacasse at a rest stop in Lachute, before stealing his car.The boy was with Fredette when the man was arrested nearly 24 hours later in Dacre, Ont., about 130 kilometres west of Ottawa. Lacasse's body was found several days later in a wooded area in Harrington, Que., about 70 kilometres from the rest stop.Lacasse's daughter, Jennifer, said she had a strong reaction to the way her father was portrayed by the defence in court."The movie that Mr. Fredette created in his head, [the jury] did not believe it, just as we did not," she told reporters, adding the verdicts are "good for our hearts."'I've been waiting for this for 2 years'Claudette Biard, Barbe's mother, said she was grateful for the work by prosecutors and investigators from Quebec and Ontario provincial police. "We're so happy. I've been waiting for this for two years. It feels like a liberation," she said. "It won't give me back my daughter, but we can now have a bit more peace and serenity inside of us. We'll be able to have a new beginning."Wednesday, family members are expected back in court to deliver victim impact statements. Fredette faces a life sentence. Superior Court Justice Myriam Lachance will decide at a later date whether his parole eligibility periods (25 year each) are to be served together or consecutively, meaning he could be eligible for parole in 25 or 50 years at a minimum.
By day, Sudeera Gangodage is a banker with ATB Financial in Edmonton but at this time of year he's carving out much of his spare time to spend with pumpkins. "This is one of my hobbies," explains the sculptor, who's been at it for five years now. Gangodage believes starting with the right gourd is key."I try to find a good shape for my creations, so basically try a good round shape," he said. "I try to carve out a face which most of the time I make it funny, kid friendly, not too scary."His advice is to start slowly with a simple design carving from the surface to the inside and remember, "the eyes are the most important part, to make it come alive."Gangodage uses a variety of implements from pottery tools to dental picks for the fine details. Each pumpkin he carves can take up to five hours."Every pumpkin is different so I just try to see what kind of face is hidden underneath, that's kind of fun," he said.His tip for keeping your creation looking good until the Oct. 31 is Vaseline. "It will seal the skin, which will stop the dehydrating and slow down the shrinking process."Vicki Budinski, a special event florist at Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm, said there are options for kids and adults who don't enjoy carving pumpkins.She recommends decorating pumpkins with paint, markers, stickers and other stuff."You can even add some jewels in between to give them a little bling," Budinski said.Budinski also likes to place pumpkins on top of one another in planters to make a statement at the door."I grabbed this nice big beauty of a pumpkin, and I just took a black Sharpie and made some stripes all the way around — something fun, simple. It took me about maybe five minutes to do and what we're going to do is keep stacking."It pleases pumpkin grower Tam Andersen to see the creative ways her gourds are being used. The owner of Prairie Gardens grows 10 acres of pumpkins, or about 100,000 plants annually."They're all hand-planted in the spring and all hand-harvested in the fall and we bring them all indoors into this warm greenhouse to cure the rinds, which is a way we establish a really nice strong skin on a pumpkin," Andersen said. That thick exterior can help a jack-o-lantern last a little longer."Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year — we love it," said Andersen. You can see more from Prairie Gardens this week on Our Edmonton on Saturday at 10 a.m., Sunday and noon and Monday at 11 a.m. on CBC TV on CBC Gem or on demand here.
Jo Ann Moffatt has been through a lot of pain, both physical and emotional.Now a treatment option she says offered relief unlike anything else is on hold.Moffatt was recently diagnosed with Sjogren Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that leaves her with debilitating muscle and joint pain and chronic fatigue. She is unable to work or complete simple tasks throughout her day and says she developed depression and generalized anxiety disorder as a result."I've been hospitalized several times," Moffatt said. "I've lost friends over it because who wants to do something with somebody who's in pain all the time and also depressed?"Moffatt, 54, lives in Saskatoon. She used to travel every couple of weeks to Prince Albert to receive ketamine intravenously to treat her mental and physical illnesses. The drug has been used by medical professionals for several years for treatment-resistant depression.Moffatt says the treatment was life-changing."I would walk out of there brand new," she said. "It was an instant effect."The future of Prince Albert's ketamine clinic, located in Victoria Hospital, is now on hold indefinitely after the death of Dr. Mohammad Hussain, a well-know Prince Albert psychiatrist. Hussain opened the clinic in 2012 and ran it up until his death from a heart attack last week. Because Hussain was the clinic's only supervising physician, there's no one else who can administer the ketamine. Between 60 and 70 patients of the program are now without a treatment option. The news came as a shock to Moffatt, who's gone about a month without a treatment. She said she can already feel the effects."I'm going downhill," she said. "Both pain-wise and mental health."Carol Larsen, another clinic patient, travelled from Melfort twice a week for treatment. She was a patient of Hussain's for more than eight years. He helped her with her depression. "He was like my rock," Larsen said through tears. "[The clinic] has done a real wonder for me. It makes me feel better about myself [and] juggle life a lot better."Other clinics not an optionThe only other clinic in Saskatchewan that offers ketamine treatments is Linden Medical Centre in Saskatoon — the only out-of-hospital service in the province. The treatment costs around $500 per treatment at the Saskatoon clinic, whereas Hussain provided the service free of charge. I don't have the money to pay $500 a treatment \- Jo Ann MoffattBoth Larsen and Moffatt are on tight budgets. "I don't have the money to pay $500 a treatment," Moffatt said.Matt Hooper is the clinic manager at Linden Medical Centre in Saskatoon. He said Saskatchewan, like every other province, doesn't cover the cost of ketamine.His clinic has to charge patients because, while the drug is relatively cheap, the costs to staff the clinic and pay the non-hospital designation fee are steep. Hussain, he said, was likely able to waive charges for his patients because his program wasn't a stand-alone service. "[Hussain's program] was in a hospital," said Hooper. "He was able to use hospital resources."Hooper added Hussain never billed for his time spent at his ketamine clinic, which could have also been a reason why he never charged patients. 'Interim plan' for psychiatry team: Health authority Both Larsen and Moffatt said without a ketamine treatment service, they have no other options. Larsen said medication she was prescribed for her depression wasn't nearly as effective."It just made me worse," she said. In an emailed statement, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) wouldn't say if or when an interim psychiatrist would take over the clinic, but noted it has developed an "interim plan" with the Prince Albert-area psychiatry team to manage patients.The statement didn't elaborate on what that plan included, but said patients are being directed to their family physicians for additional support.Neither the SHA nor Ministry of Health said plans were in the works to cover the drug."The Saskatchewan Formulary lists a variety of drugs that may be used to treat depression," a statement from the ministry read.
MONTREAL — Mac the Moose can rest easy — a Quebec town that wants to build its own massive moose statue next year says it doesn't want to challenge the record for the world's tallest, recently regained by the famed Moose Jaw, Sask., roadside attraction.Nicolas Martel, the mayor of Desbiens, Que., told The Canadian Press on Saturday he wants Mac to be friends with his yet-to-be built Quebec counterpart, which, he added, will provide some insurance against anyone who might try to challenge Canada again for the record.Moose Jaw is fresh from knocking off Stor-Elvdal, a Norwegian town that tried to challenge it for world's tallest moose, by installing a new set of antlers on Mac to retake top spot earlier this month.Officials discovered in January that Mac was about 30 centimetres short pitted against its shiny, silver Norwegian counterpart, Storelgen.The brouhaha made for international headlines and provided fodder for jokes on late-night talk shows. "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert dubbed Mac a papier mache dog before he was fitted with a new and taller rack of antlers on Oct. 8.Martel, the colourful mayor of the town of just over 1,000 in Quebec's Lac-St-Jean region, initially wanted to get into the friendly feud and build a moose to surpass both towns, before having a change of heart."We saw that it stung the people in the Moose Jaw, so to be right with them, what we'll do out of respect for them, given it's part of the name of the municipality, we'll make our statue the same size as them but leave them with the record," Martel said. "We'll assure that if the Norwegians decide to come back with a bigger statue, we'll be ready to reclaim the title for Canada because ours will be able to expand."Martel said he wasn't aware that Mac was getting a makeover and said it was just a coincidence that his announcement with local media came a matter of days after Mac was fitted with new antlers, creating concerns about a new challenger.Mac is on the grounds of Moose Jaw's visitors' centre and is jointly overseen by the tourism bureau and the city. Mac's minders weren't available for comment on Saturday, but Martel assured he wanted to work in tandem with Moose Jaw officials."We want to work as a team with Moose Jaw — all with respect for our Canadian cousins," Martel assured.Martel is known for his offbeat ideas — and thinking big — for putting the tiny town at the mouth of the Metabetchouane River in the province's Lac St-Jean region, north of Quebec City, on the map.Last year, the town created a record-setting, massive 2,120-pound tourtiere — another Martel idea — and also hosted the world bocce championships.Martel said the Quebec moose — the centrepiece to a children's amusement park expected to begin construction next year — is also a nod to the local Indigenous community and its hunting culture. It's being built near a former trading post-turned-museum that has been struggling to stay afloat.He said the $500,000 project has been in the works for a few years now and will take a few years to complete, but the moose will be part of the first phase next spring."We're very proud and we're trying to set Desbiens apart from other municipalities in the Lac St-Jean region," Martel said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2019.Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
Ottawa police are investigating multiple robberies Friday night at local LCBO stores.While there was a "series" of robberies, Det. Woody Aspilaire said the robbery unit is not yet providing the precise number of stores hit nor their locations.As of 3 p.m. Saturday, police had not made any arrests, either.Aidan O'Toole said he was buying a small bottle of rye whisky at the LCBO on Innes Road near Tenth Line Road in Orléans at around 7 p.m., when he saw three men in black grabbing multiple bottles of alcohol and placing them in bags."I was very afraid," the 24-year-old said. "I tried to stay out of their line of sight."The men didn't talk while they were taking the bottles, said O'Toole. After they left, the store resumed selling alcohol.'No one got hurt'"Everyone was just staring in disbelief, just in awe, not knowing what was going on, not knowing what to do," he said."I was happy they were able to just leave and no one got hurt," he said. Earlier this summer, Ottawa police said they had seen an "upward trend" in the number of thefts at local LCBO stores. The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents liquor store employees, told CBC News in March that province-wide, the LCBO lost about $77 million due to theft in 2018.According to OSPEU, staff are trained not to intervene when they witness a theft. In a Saturday statement to CBC, the LCBO said it was working closely with police after "theft incidents" at stores in Ottawa.The LCBO declined to provide further details.Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call the Ottawa Police Service's robbery unit at 613-236-1222, extension 5116.
People visiting the park on Lions Drive in Kensington, P.E.I., will now be greeted with large signs honouring a local Special Olympics athlete. The park has been named Roy Paynter Park in honour of the swimmer who brought home four medals from the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi earlier in this year."I think anybody that accomplished something like that deserves to be recognized in a special way," said Kensington Mayor Rowan Caseley.Paynter, who's medal count included two gold, said he was "ecstatic" to be honoured by the town. Inspiring othersHe said he has been amazed by the reception he's received since returning from Abu Dhabi in March.The town held an event to honour him. But Caseley said he heard from a number of locals asking if the town could do something more permanent to recognize Paynter.Soon, the idea of naming the park came up and was approved by council. "It's something that the youth use, it's got the recreation involved, it's something that the town wants to spend a little money in upgrading a bit … so we thought, hey, perfect," Caseley said.Paynter hopes the signs listing his medals will send a positive message to kids who play at the park."That you can do anything, and just keep your mind to it. And just, keep on swimming." More recognition for athletes Paynter was the only Island athlete on Team Canada during the Games.The executive director of Special Olympics P.E.I. hopes the medals he won, and the accolades he's received since, will inspire other young athletes. "You know they're coming from a small community in Prince Edward Island — from Souris to Tignish where all our programs are — but they're seeing that it's possible," said Charity Sheehan. "It is possible that if I work hard and I train hard and I find the sport that I love the most, that I can attain that, too. And I think that's a really great message for people."Sheehan, involved in Special Olympics for two decades, said the naming of the park is another sign of wider community recognition for the movement."There was this thing a number of years ago where I always wanted our athletes to have a heroes' welcome," she said."Other athletes were having that and we have that every single time we go somewhere.… We have our heroes' welcome now and it's just such a blessing."For Paynter, that recognition continued months after his return from Abu Dhabi, with politicians, family, friends and community members gathered to watch as he cut the ribbon to celebrate the park's new name."Everybody that knows me and loves me that's over here is amazing."More P.E.I. news
An initiative out of B.C.'s Howe Sound is one step closer to shedding parts of the region's industrial past in exchange for an environmentally friendly approach to economic growth.Metro Vancouver's Climate Action Committee unanimously backed the Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative in a vote Friday. Biosphere reserves are UNESCO-designated areas. There are nearly 700 of them around the world, including two in B.C.— Clayoquot Sound and Mount Arrowsmith, both on Vancouver Island. Vancouver Coun. Adriane Carr, chair of Metro Vancouver's Climate Action Committee, says the designation would push sustainable development in the region to a higher set of standards with more input from First Nations and more accountability. "I think it's really, really great model and one that forces different practices that are in tune with where we're headed as a planet, which is to take better care of our natural ecosystems," Carr said after the vote Friday afternoon. Over the past few decades Howe Sound — which includes parts of Metro Vancouver like Bowen Island and Lions Bay, as well as Squamish and the Sunshine Coast — has seen heavy industrial use by pulp mills and mines.The region is also a sensitive ecological area frequented by marine mammals like killer whales and dotted with rare glass sponge reefs. 'Elevated sense of pride'Lions Bay resident Ruth Simons, who has led the initiative for the past three years, says the UNESCO designation would bring "an elevated sense of pride in the region" as it brings together districts, municipalities and First Nations that govern Howe Sound."We've got a long history of trying to save Howe Sound and it always seems to be in reaction to things that we don't want," Simons said. "This is about creating a framework and a commitment together ... for future generations.""Biosphere Reserves are not about stopping anything," she said. "They are about ensuring that we strive for best practices and for projects that are going to sustain people in the region, the economy, the environment and the respect for the cultural values here."Despite its reputation as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, Howe Sound is still an industrial area. It's the site of the yet-to-be-constructed Woodfibre LNG project which has met with opposition from environmentalists in the region.In a written statement, the company said it intends to keep "environment protection of Howe Sound at the very heart of our project."The company also pointed out that it has spent the past four years cleaning up the remnants of a Western Forest Products pulp and paper mill at the site about seven kilometres southwest of Squamish. Confirming supportThe biosphere initiative has received preliminary support from most of the government partners, Simons says, and is now confirming that support in written form. It would need provincial and federal approval before going to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO by the end of November.Simons says she hopes the designation will be in place by 2021.The Squamish District council has already thrown its support behind the project. Mayor Karen Elliott says "it just made intuitive sense to really look at this as an opportunity.""The goals of the biosphere reserve align very much with where Squamish wants to go with its future," Elliott said. "Together we can start to find ways that industry can function within the Howe Sound region without damaging the land on which it operates."
Mexico's president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said on Saturday his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump called him to express his "solidarity" following an attempt to arrest a drug kingpin's son that prompted a wave of violence in the northwestern city of Culiacan. Cartel gunmen surrounded about 35 police and national guards on Thursday in the capital of Sinaloa state and made them free Ovidio Guzman, one of jailed drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's dozen or so children, after his brief detention set off widespread gun battles and a jailbreak that stunned the country. "I received a call from President Trump expressing his solidarity following the events in Culiacan.
The death of a 27-year-old man in the town of Battleford, Sask., is being investigated as a homicide, RCMP say.Ryan John Gatzke died early Friday morning, Battlefords RCMP say.They are working with RCMP forensic identification services and the major crimes unit to determine how he died, but have determined his death was the result of a homicide.An autopsy has been conducted by the Saskatchewan Coroners Service. Police said Friday they were called to a house on the 100 block of 26th Street W. around 1:30 a.m. CST, where they found a seriously injured man. He later died in hospital.RCMP are asking anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity in the area between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. to contact police at 306-446-1720 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.There is no threat to public safety at this time, RCMP said Saturday, but residents in Battleford and North Battleford are asked to report any suspicious activity to police.
A new initiative allows inmates at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, San Diego’s only state-owned prison, to tackle a 12-week philosophy-based, content writing course.
A family in Yarmouth, N.S., is disappointed after town council dashed its dream of getting a pet pot-bellied pig.David Lumini says his 10-year-old daughter has wanted to get a pot-bellied pig since she was a toddler."Since at least four years old, anyway. She's always had this love for pot bellied pigs and pigs in general," he told the CBC's Mainstreet.Lumini said her love of pigs may have been inspired in part by a cartoon called Gravity Falls, which features a pig named Waddles.The family lived in Brampton, Ont., at the time, which they felt was not the right environment to raise a pig. But when they moved to Yarmouth, they thought it might be a possibility.Council rejects amendmentThey read the town's bylaws, which prohibit livestock within town limits. But they decided to pursue their option of making an amendment to the bylaw to have pot-bellied pigs receive the same treatment as dogs.Town council held a public hearing and voted on the proposed amendment on Oct. 10."We made the application, we did our research, we went to council meetings and the unfortunate thing is it turned out to be a no," Lumini said.Lumini said the family needed four councillors to vote in favour, but only three were in support of the amendment.He said one councillor made a poll on Facebook to gauge public sentiment on the issue and 83 per cent of people who voted were in favour of allowing pot-bellied pigs.Family disappointedLumini said his family, including his daughter, was disappointed with the decision."She was quite sad," he said.But the family had another idea — a sort of downsized porcine plan."Right after the council meeting took place, we came home and told her the decision of council, she said, 'So does this mean that we're going to go to Saint John and pick up guinea pigs this weekend?' And I said, 'Yeah, I guess so!'"The family has since welcomed two new guinea pigs, Marshmallow and Brownilla.MORE TOP STORIES
The annual Pumpkinfest at Lester's Farm Market has been become one of the hottest fall destinations in and around St. John's. For 18 years, the family-run farm has opened up its fields to delight and entertain and raise money for organizations that help get young people involved in extra curricular activities."This is my most favourite day on the farm [of] the entire year," Susan Lester said."It's a day-long event where all the proceeds are donated to the R.E.A.L program and Mount Pearl Sport Alliance."Last year, the Lesters raised more than $23,000 for those community charities and is looking to raise more in 2019. A dollar from every pumpkin sold for over $6 will be added to the donation amount as well. Since Pumpkinfest started, the farm says it has helped over 1,000 families — giving back to the communities that support the farm."It's just a simple way to give back to the communities and the R.E.A.L program and the Mount Pearl Sport Alliance align with our values," Lester said.Along with the more than 10,000 pumpkins harvested this year, Pumpkinfest offered up a farm full of things to do, like tractor rides, more photo opportunities than a federal election stop, a corn maze and even a catapult. The farm also organized a number of activities during the day, including a pie eating contest and a hot pepper eating contest.For families like the Greene's from Paradise, it's an annual tradition. Zac Greene has been coming with his mother for longer than he can remember. "It's really fun. I've been doing it since I was only a few weeks old."On Saturday, thousands of people walked through the farm which puts smiles on the Lester's faces following the end of a busy harvest season."My parents, my two brothers who are here with us, we love what we do, we are very passionate about what we do — so when we get to see other people enjoy what we do, it's very heartwarming," Lester said."It certainly helps us get through the season."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Calgary police say national security partners are investigating, but they don't believe there are any links to extremist activity after a driver ignored police barricades and attempted to drive toward a military parade in downtown on Saturday.An officer fired shots in an attempt to stop the vehicle, and Alberta's police watchdog has been called in to investigate.Sixth Avenue S.W. is closed between Fifth Street and Seventh Street S.W., and Sixth Street S.W. is closed between Fifth Avenue and Ninth Avenue S.W., as of 4:15 p.m. The closure was expected to remain in place for several hours.At 2:50 p.m. a driver drove through police barricades in the 600 block of 8th Avenue S.W. toward members marching with the 41 Service Battalion Freedom of the City parade, police said.Officers tried to block the car with a patrol vehicle, causing the driver to pull a U-turn and attempt to flee.An officer then fired shots at the vehicle, which continued to 6th Avenue and Sixth Street S.W. where it collided with a bystander's vehicle before coming to a stop. He started driving toward me, toward the intersection … that's when [officers] opened fire. \- Greg Kucharski, witness.The driver and the passenger of the vehicle were taken into custody.The driver, a 22-year-old man, and the passenger, a 28-year-old woman, are in hospital in stable condition. EMS could not confirm if the injuries were caused by gunshots.Police, pedestrians and the occupants of the bystander vehicle weren't injured, police said.The officer who fired his gun was a 12-year member of the service.Car stolen, motive unknownPhotos of the scene show a vehicle at the intersection with extensive damage. Police said both the vehicle and licence plate were stolen in separate incidents. It's not yet known what the driver's motivation was.The Canadian Armed Forces confirmed on Twitter no army personnel were injured.Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan said he was monitoring the situation and was thankful for the quick response by police.Greg Kucharski was working nearby and had stopped to listen to the military band when he heard a vehicle revving. He saw it drive past officers who had closed the road for the parade."He swerved a couple of times," Kucharski said."He rammed the barricade and then he was trying to back up and he started driving toward me, toward the intersection … that's when [officers] opened fire."Kucharski said he saw other pedestrians duck behind pillars as the shots rang out."There was broken windows from where the bullets hit the car. He kept driving … it is pretty crazy to see something like that."Multiple Calgary Transit routes are being detoured to avoid the road closures.
Residents who live on Woodbine Avenue are fed up with the number of accidents on what they say is a dangerous stretch of their street where Lakeshore Boulevard turns into Woodbine Avenue. Since January, there have been four crashes on the bend, prompting resident to call for traffic-calming measures, even starting a petition. They say drivers, some who are impaired, are speeding and hitting parked cars, houses and are afraid it's going to get worse.Those fears were renewed early Saturday morning in the latest incident that ended with a grey-coloured van transformed into a mass of snarled metal fragments, and shredded the side of another.Toronto police say the driver behind the wheel lost control in the eastbound lanes, struck the guardrail before shearing off a wooden hydro pole, then continued into the southbound lanes of traffic where his vehicle struck a parked car head-on, as well as another parked car before coming to arrest.'The door is gone'One of those parked vehicles belonged to John Beales."It's a complete write-off. All three wheels have been torn apart, the door is gone, my mirrors that I just got are gone," he told CBC News.A 23-year-old man now faces four charges in connection with the crash including: impaired driving, having a blood alcohol level over 80 milligrams and two counts of failure to comply with probation. Somebody is going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. \- Len YarmoFriday was the third time Beales's car has been hit on the stretch of Woodbine Avenue where he lives. "I parked my car across the street hoping to avoid this situation, but it's unavoidable," he said.Longtime resident Erika Faulkner is frustrated too. Her car was totalled in May when a driver lost control and hit her vehicle. But as frustrated as she is, she's also fearful.Fix could be tricky "I call it the autoband, after rush hour clears up, people just let 'er rip. And I worry because my son's school is just a block over and he walks to school and he walks home.""It's a huge issue and I think it should be taken care of," her son Tristan said.Len Yarmo, who has lived in the area for 10 years, agrees. "With the frequency of these accidents and the constant speeding that goes on here, it just seems that somebody is going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.But city councillor Brad Bradford says because the stretch falls on what is an arterial road, a fix could be tricky. Extra signage has been added and there's been extra enforcement, but the problem persists. "Some people have suggested rumble strips, that's not something the city is currently permitted to do, so I'll be asking the province to take a look at that," he said. Bradford says the same goes for speed bumps. He says he's been waiting on city staff for alternatives."We actually need to take steps to make it safer. And that hasn't happened yet," he said. "And it's not OK."
It has been at least 40 years since the harvest in Saskatchewan has been as far behind in mid-October as it is right now, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture records.Its latest crop report said 69 per cent of the crop had been harvested as of Oct. 14 — well behind the five-year average of 88 per cent for this time of year.The closest comparable years during the last four decades were in 2002 and 1985, when only 70 per cent of the crop had been combined by mid-October, according to the ministry's archived crop reports.More recently, Saskatchewan farmers had about 77 per cent of the crop off as of Oct. 12 in 2009.Todd Lewis, the president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, said he is not surprised to learn how the 2019 harvest compares to other years."There's so much frustration in the countryside with the slowness of this year's harvest and really just the lack of days in a row that we've been able to work," he said.'Difficult marketing year'The problem isn't any one thing, either — in fact, Lewis said it's been one thing after another this year, from rain to snow to high humidity.He said there are now lots of reports of producers having trouble getting into wet fields and finishing up the harvest.All of those issues are affecting crop quality, too."Certainly all kinds of downgrading the crop, be it sprouting or stained crops," he said. "And so it's really going to be a difficult marketing year, moving out some of this feed-quality grain that we're going to end up with."Lewis, who farms southeast of Regina near Gray, Sask., said he has 80 per cent of his crop in the bin and estimated it would take another four or five days to get the remaining crop off.Many regions in the province have less than half their crops harvested, he said.Farmers hurt by late start to seasonStewart Wells, the vice-president of operations for the National Farmers Union, said he is also not surprised by the latest harvest numbers.Wells said a lot of crops were a couple of weeks behind throughout the entire growing year."So when that's compounded with this miserable weather here over the last month, it's not surprising that the Saskatchewan stats are quite a bit lower than usual," he said.Wells farms just east of Swift Current, and said he has been "a little bit lucky" that he only has one acre left to combine, adding that some of his neighbours were completely done before an early snow hit the area three weeks ago.He said it has been a different story for the farmers who weren't finished."There is a lot of durum wheat that's laying right flat on the ground," he said. "And canola that was not swathed ended up being quite badly bunched up and a lot harder to get."Cash flow problemIn addition to losing money from selling lower-graded crops, Wells said producers in this situation also have the extra cost associated with the additional hours it takes to harvest in these conditions."You're having to drive slower and there's more chances for mechanical things to go wrong, with dirt getting into the machine and rocks getting into the machine, because you're trying to cut a lot lower," he said.Wells said it will be especially bleak for farmers who will have to rely on crop insurance, but who can't harvest their crop this fall — the insurance adjusters can't make an accurate assessment of losses until the crop is combined in the spring."Then there's really no cash flow coming from those acres for more than 12 months," he said. "And that's a really tough situation."But Wells said he believes "there's been quite a significant change" in the harvest statistics over the last four or five days with improved weather conditions."There's been quite a few combines moving out there over this last week," he said. "So those numbers are likely to take a fairly significant jump next week."