• Alberta government, Opposition swap accusations, attacks in earplug debate
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Alberta government, Opposition swap accusations, attacks in earplug debate

    EDMONTON — Alberta's earplug debate got louder Monday as the Opposition NDP accused Premier Jason Kenney of lying and sought to have Government House Leader Jason Nixon found in contempt of the legislature."The premier is lying and his house leader was lying. And they're too comfortable with that," NDP Leader Rachel Notley told reporters prior to question period.In question period, Notley demanded Kenney apologize for handing out earplugs last week as the Opposition criticized a bill that cancels some bargaining rights for 180,000 public sector workers.Notley called the move disrespectful to the legislature and to the workers affected by the bill, and said it was compounded by Kenney and his United Conservatives later offering up three contradictory explanations for it."This premier lowered the bar once again in his display of disrespect for the people of Alberta," said Notley."They literally plugged their ears when Opposition members raised the concerns of these 180,000 Albertans."Then they changed their story about it repeatedly."Kenney responded, "The only apology in this place should be coming from the NDP for their constant, vicious harassment of ministers verbally, their bullying tactics (and) their name calling."Kenney's office declined to respond to Notley's accusation of lying.The earplug imbroglio took place close to midnight last Wednesday during what became an all-night debate to push through passage of the bill.NDP member Thomas Dang said that as he stood in the house to criticize the bill, he watched Kenney walk up and down the aisles gleefully handing out neon earplugs to caucus members.About six members wore the earplugs, Dang said, including Nixon.The next day, Kenney's office admitted in a statement to distributing the earplugs, but said it was done in lighthearted fun to boost morale. In the house, Nixon also issued a blanket denial: "Nobody from the government plugged their ears during debate."A day later, Kenney offered up a medical reason. He told CBC that he handed out earplugs to one backbench legislature member who suffers from tinnitus because he may have been suffering in the loud debate.Later Monday, the NDP made the rare move of asking Speaker Nathan Cooper to find Nixon in contempt of the legislature for deliberately misleading the house in what is known as a point of privilege.NDP house leader Deron Bilous said Nixon misled the house last Thursday when he said nobody from the government plugged their ears.Nixon responded that the only one given earplugs was a backbench UCP member, who is not technically part of government.However, Nixon did not address the fact that he, as a cabinet minister, is part of the government and that both Dang and NDP whip David Eggen said they saw him during debate wearing earplugs.Cooper is expected to rule on the issue Tuesday.Also Monday, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees filed a lawsuit against the bill.The legislation defers mandated wage arbitration for the AUPE until November, and the union argues that violates constitutionally guaranteed bargaining rights.Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

  • Police release more than 1,000 files from Smollett probe
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Police release more than 1,000 files from Smollett probe

    Chicago police on Monday released more than 1,000 files from the investigation into Jussie Smollett's claim he was attacked by two men, including video footage that for the first time shows the "Empire" actor with a thin, white rope wrapped around his neck that he told detectives was a noose.The footage from body cameras worn by police officers who responded on Jan. 29 to what Smollett said was a racist and homophobic attack by two large men has Smollett's face blurred out because, as police explained, he was considered a victim at that point. The footage shows officers walking into the apartment, where they encounter the actor wearing the rope, before one asks him, "Do you want to take it off or anything?""Yeah, I do. I just wanted you all to see it," Smollett says before unwinding the rope, loosening it and placing it on the kitchen counter.Police have said he told them the attackers wrapped the rope around his neck.In the video, he tells officers that the attackers poured bleach on him. After he is informed about the recording Smollett says he doesn't want to be filmed and the camera is turned off.In all, police released nearly 1,200 different individual files on Monday, including thousands of pages of documents, arrest reports and handwritten notes from police. Added up, there is more than 90 hours of video, much of it hour after hour of surveillance cameras high above city streets.As the hunt for the two men Smollett said attacked him continued for weeks, some in the city started to wonder if the whole thing was a hoax. And those suspicions made it into the documents.On Feb. 1, Cmdr. Edward Wodnicki urged investigators to confirm key information given by Smollett about the night in question: "Verify and I mean verify that the victim got off a plane at O'Hare. Big issue if that was a lie. CALL me as soon as this is completed."It was, in fact, confirmed.Then on Feb. 25, a sergeant sent an email saying that she'd received a tip from a caller whose name is redacted. "He has a friend close to the inner circle of the subject," the email reads. "The friend shared that the entire event was orchestrated by (redacted)."The footage itself illustrates the growing skepticism within the Chicago Police Department, starting with the fact that much of it was retrieved from surveillance cameras. Police collected the footage as they tried to piece together the route that two brothers took across the city to the spot where police say they acted out a staged attack of the actor.The department released footage that shows the two brothers, Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo, in a cab the night of the incident. Both are wearing what appear to be light-colored hazmat suits and gloves, with one of the brothers tightening his around his face.There is also footage of officers handcuffing the brothers — who have acknowledged participating in a staged attack — on the tarmac at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport when they returned on a flight to Chicago from Nigeria, and putting them in police cars for a trip to a city police station where they were detained.Monday's release of documents and video files was not expected to shed much new light on what happened — largely because so much information has already been made public in the case. In February, for example, when the charges were announced, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson laid out in minute detail how investigators came to conclude that the incident was not a hate crime as Smollett claimed but a carefully staged hoax directed by the actor himself to promote his career.Also, in the wake of Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office's stunning announcement in March that it was dropping all the charges against Smollett, the Police Department released more than 700 pages of documents and Foxx's office released another 2,000 pages of documents, including internal office communications.Police said when Smollett was charged that there was no footage of the actual staged attack because the surveillance camera they said Smollett hoped would capture the incident was, unbeknownst to him, not working.Among the footage released Monday is that of Smollett's creative director Frank Gatson meeting officers in the lobby of the Chicago high-rise apartment building and giving them a summary of the evening as they take the elevator to Smollett's apartment. Gatson tells officers that the alleged attack made him emotional."They put a makeshift, what do you call that thing, a noose around his (expletive) neck," he tells officers.On Monday, Smollett's attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.Fox Entertainment announced in April that Smollett would not appear in the sixth and final season of "Empire."___Associated Press writers Ed White and Roger Schneider contributed to this report from Detroit.___Check out the AP's complete coverage of the Jussie Smollett case.Don Babwin And Sophia Tareen, The Associated Press

  • News
    CBC

    Cecil Rhodes sign to be removed from Vancouver elementary school

    The Vancouver School Board voted unanimously Monday evening to remove a sign commemorating Cecil Rhodes.Rhodes, a businessman and politician, controlled and exploited southern Africa during the British Empire. He disregarded the rights of Indigenous people and his policies laid the groundwork for apartheid.A sign behind a basketball net at L'Ecole Bilingue that bore his name was recently covered up after community members raised concerns.At a school board meeting Monday night, trustee Jennifer Reddy described him as a racist, imperialist and bigot. Reddy motioned for the sign to be removed and asked how it was allowed to be put there in the first place. The motion also called for any other "physical reference" to Rhodes be removed from school property and that notice and reasons for the removal be sent to parents and posted on social media.After the motion passed unanimously, some people in the standing-only meeting room applauded. "The history associated with Cecil Rhodes' name in that school is something that doesn't reflect our values as a district," Reddy said earlier this month.The school near Oak Street and West 14th was called Cecil Rhodes School until 1977. Trustees said Monday the next steps would be to discuss how to teach students about the school's history.Debate has stirred around the world in recent years about commemorating historical figures like Rhodes.In 2015, a RhodesMustFall movement resulted in a statue of him being removed from the University of Cape Town in South Africa.Rhodes' name still stands behind the Rhodes Scholarship, which he helped establish.Trustees also passed an amendment Monday evening to a policy surrounding naming or renaming educational facilities and land.When naming new school facilities, the board will only consider place-based names — defined as those that reflect geography or location instead of names of people.

  • Astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth, sets Canadian space record
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth, sets Canadian space record

    LONGUEUIL, Que. — David Saint-Jacques returned to Earth on Monday after more than six months aboard the International Space Station.The native of Saint-Lambert, Que., has set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days.The Canadian astronaut was joined by NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko aboard a Soyuz capsule that landed in Kazakhstan.Saint-Jacques' mission began ahead of schedule on Dec. 3, when he was part of the first crewed Soyuz mission following a rocket mishap in October that forced a spacecraft carrying two astronauts to abort and make an emergency landing.Saint-Jacques, 49, took part in a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk in April and a "cosmic catch" of SpaceX Dragon cargo using Canadarm2 — the first time a Canadian astronaut has operated the robotic arm to perform the feat.The engineer, astrophysicist and family doctor also oversaw science experiments and had numerous discussions with kids across the country during his mission.In his final days of the flight, Saint-Jacques said he was refamiliarizing himself with the Soyuz craft that had been parked for the duration of their stay and took them home starting Monday afternoon. He tweeted over the weekend the craft was in fine form despite being parked for six months."It will take a few hours but we'll fall back to Earth — literally," Saint-Jacques explained to reporters last week. "After crossing into Earth's atmosphere, the parachutes will open, we'll land in Kazakhstan and be picked up by Russian team and taken to the airport where we'll return to Houston to be reunited with our families."When the crew established contact with the search-and-recovery forces right before landing they said they were doing well.NASA described the landing as "picture perfect" as the capsule descended in Kazakhstan at 10:47 p.m. ET.Saint-Jacques was the last to be carried out of the capsule and he gave a thumbs-up as he emerged.The crew were offered water and fresh fruit as they sat in chairs about four metres away from the capsule before being taken away for initial medical checks. Saint-Jacques, who is married and has three young children, earlier said he was looking forward to seeing his family again.He'd told reporters he was aware of the physical challenges that await him after six months in zero gravity, which include blood circulation problems, muscle pains and an elongated spine that will return to normal. It could mean trouble walking and moving around for a while.Saint-Jacques' recovery is first and foremost on the minds of Canadian Space Agency officials."A big aspect for us here at the agency is to prepare his return in the next few weeks — rehabilitation, physical reconditioning, adapting back to life at 1G," said Gilles Leclerc, the agency's director of space exploration.Saint-Jacques is expected to take part in a news conference on Friday from Houston and will return to Canada in mid-July to visit the agency, just south of Montreal.As for the next mission, Leclerc said negotiations are underway to have another member of the corps serve aboard the International Space Station before 2024.— By Hina Alam in Vancouver and Sidhartha Banerjee in MontrealThe Canadian Press

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    AM Prep-Music

    MICHAEL JACKSON’S LEGACY, TEN YEARS LATERLOS ANGELES (AP) _ While the “Leaving Neverland” documentary made some Michael Jackson fans question how they feel about him, his popularity has not waned all that much in the decade since his death. Ian Drew of Billboard magazine says Jackson was “broke beyond broke when he died, and now he's very much a billion-dollar industry.” Some radio stations stopped playing Jackson’s songs after the documentary, but Drew says streaming of Jackson’s music went up. The Jackson estate wiped out his debt and turned profits by releasing three posthumous albums and the hit film “This Is It,” as well as creating two Cirque du Soleil shows and selling The Beatles catalogue and other song rights. The Jackson family is working on a film marking the 50th anniversary of The Jackson 5, but film produce Jodi Gomes says a network backed out of committing to air it after “Leaving Neverland” aired. Today marks the tenth anniversary of Jackson’s death.___Sound:071333-w-350:16-(Margie Szaroleta (zar-oh-LEH'-tah), AP music correspondent, with Ian Drew, Consumer Editorial Director for Billboard magazine)-"I'm Margie Szaroleta"-Michael Jackson's popularity endures, even after new scandal (25 Jun 2019)¤¤CUT ´071333 (06/25/19)££ 350:16 "I'm Margie Szaroleta"071334-a-141:12-(Ian Drew, Consumer Editorial Director for Billboard magazine)-"all of this"-Michael Jackson's popularity endures, even after new scandal (25 Jun 2019)¤¤CUT ´071334 (06/25/19)££ 141:12 "all of this"071335-a-136:08-(Ian Drew, Consumer Editorial Director for Billboard magazine)-"great music anymore"-Michael Jackson's popularity endures, even after new scandal (25 Jun 2019)¤¤CUT ´071335 (06/25/19)££ 136:08 "great music anymore"071336-a-88:32-(Ian Drew, Consumer Editorial Director for Billboard magazine)-"billion dollar industry"-Michael Jackson's popularity endures, even after new scandal (25 Jun 2019)¤¤CUT ´071336 (06/25/19)££ 88:32 "billion dollar industry"071337-r-498:72-(Michael Jackson, performing "Bad")-"(music fades)"-Michael Jackson's popularity endures, even after new scandal (25 Jun 2019)¤¤CUT ´071337 (06/25/19)££ 498:72 "(music fades)"SHREVEPORT APOLOGIZES TO SAM COOKESHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - The mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, has apologized for a racist incident involving Sam Cooke in 1963. KSLA reports Mayor Adrian Perkins apologized Saturday during a festival dedicated to Cooke. He also gave Cooke’s daughter Carla a key to the city. In 1963, Cooke had a scheduled performance in Shreveport and a reservation at a Holiday Inn, but he and his wife were turned away because they were black. When Cooke and three others protested, they were arrested for disturbing the peace. Cooke was inspired by the events to write the song “A Change Is Gonna Come.”BOZ SCAGGS TOUR POSTPONEDUNDATED (AP) - Boz Scaggs is putting his tour on hold while he deals with an undisclosed medical condition. Scaggs says his doctors have ordered him to rest. He’s expected to make a full recovery. Scaggs says he’s disappointed because playing is his greatest joy. The concerts affected are through July 9. His next scheduled date is Aug. 13 in Portland, Oregon.WOODSTOCK 50 APPLIES FOR NEW VENUE PERMITVERNON, N.Y. (AP) - The Woodstock 50th anniversary concert may still be a go, just as a smaller event. The Poughkeepsie Journal reports Woodstock 50 has applied for a permit to hold a concert on Aug. 16-18 in Vernon, New York. That’s about 35 miles east of Syracuse and about 115 miles from Watkins Glen, where the anniversary concert was originally supposed to be staged. Town of Vernon Supervisor Randy Watson says the proposal calls for a capacity crowd of about 50,000 people, while the original called for 150,000. The lineup includes The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Santana, Dead and Company, Chance the Rapper, Jay-Z and Imagine Dragons.RICK ROSS SHOWS OFF 100-POUND WEIGHT LOSSLOS ANGELES (AP) - Rick Ross dropped 100 pounds in part because he couldn’t sleep. Ross says he averaged about two or three hours of sleep a night for years. Ross had suffered seizures and acknowledges he “was just living the fast lifestyle.” He says his doctors said his body was telling him it could not take that anymore. Ross says now he feels “wonderful.”___Sound:071305-a-137:04-(Rick Ross, rapper)-"definitely was one"-Rick Ross shows off 100-pound weight loss (25 Jun 2019)¤¤CUT ´071305 (06/25/19)££ 137:04 "definitely was one"071304-a-94:08-(Rick Ross, rapper)-"I wasn't sleeping"-Rick Ross shows off 100-pound weight loss (25 Jun 2019)¤¤CUT ´071304 (06/25/19)££ 94:08 "I wasn't sleeping"NASHVILLE SINGERS PLAY TOURIST IN NASHVILLENASHVILLE (AP) - Morgan Evans believes one of the joys of living in Nashville is that he gets to play tourist in his own city. Evans says one of his favourite things to do with his wife, Kelsea Ballerini, is walking around town after dinner. Russell Dickerson says he goes to the Country Music Hall of Fame because it’s impossible to take it all in at once. Hunter Hayes says he’s downtown all the time and he goes to concerts in Nashville quite a bit. When Tyler Rich is home in Nashville, well, he stays home and hangs out with his dog. However, he says he likes to go to other cities and see their zoos.___Sound:071314-a-156:72-(Morgan Evans, country singer)-"is right there (3rd reference)"-Nashville stars play tourist at home (25 Jun 2019)¤¤CUT ´071314 (06/25/19)££ 156:72 "is right there (3rd reference)"071313-a-74:64-(Hunter Hayes, country singer)-"need a guest"-Nashville stars play tourist at home (25 Jun 2019)¤¤CUT ´071313 (06/25/19)££ 74:64 "need a guest"071312-a-147:84-(Russell Dickerson, country singer)-"me, it's crazy"-Nashville stars play tourist at home (25 Jun 2019)¤¤CUT ´071312 (06/25/19)££ 147:84 "me, it's crazy"071315-a-106:80-(Tyler Rich, country singer)-"of a dork"-Nashville stars play tourist at home (25 Jun 2019)¤¤CUT ´071315 (06/25/19)££ 106:80 "of a dork"by Margie SzaroletaThe Associated Press

  • CBC food columnist digs into unique fusion menu at new Vancouver restaurant
    News
    CBC

    CBC food columnist digs into unique fusion menu at new Vancouver restaurant

    When it comes to eating out in Metro Vancouver, there's no shortage of places to find dim sum, sushi, and Western-style grill —  but usually not all at the same place. And definitely not with three different chefs, each specializing in their own style."There are lots of places you can find Asian flavours intermingled with Western ingredients; fusion food has been around for a long time," said Gail Johnson, CBC On The Coast's food columnist.Blossom Dim Sum and Grill is a first for the city with three different cuisines under one roof. "I'm not aware of anywhere else locally where you can order Salt Spring Island lamb with a coconut-curry chickpea base, squid-ink bao, and lobster roll off the same menu," she said. "There's nothing else like it."It's not just fusion food: the beverage list plays into the unique factor, as well. "It's also rare to have dim sum connected with cocktails like a Bellini made with Mandarin soju or a gin and tonic using Empress 1908 purple gin from Victoria Distillers," said Johnson. There are three main chefs behind the scenes at Blossom: dim sum chef Jensen Auyeng, sushi chef Rex Yeung and chef Derek Bothwell. Auyeng and Yeung are both from Hong Kong originally and moved to Canada in the mid-1990s.  Through a translator, Auyeng told Johnson he loves how finished pieces of dim sum look like little works of art and that he'll sometimes get creative by making shapes of animals like elephants, rabbits, or whales. Yeung explained how little things, like how to cut a cucumber, can carry tremendous weight to balance out the final dish. Bothwell, who's from Red Deer, Alberta, boasts more than 600 cookbooks in his collection and told Johnson that when you love what you do, it doesn't feel like work.  "While most restaurants have a single executive chef who leads a kitchen in terms of menu design, here, there are three chefs who share that role and responsibility equally," said Johnson. "It's like having three supporting actors rather than a single star." Blossom, at 808 Bute Street, officially opens this Friday.

  • News
    CBC

    'Business as usual': Eldorado acquisition of Caesars Entertainment will change little for Windsor employees

    Unifor Local 444 president David Cassidy says he first learned about Eldorado Resorts' acquisition of Caesars from the media on Monday morning. Once news of the $17 billion takeover was made public, however, Cassidy said he had a conversation with Eldorado's vice president of HR in an attempt to clarify what the merger means for employees."Nothing has changed for our employees," said Cassidy. "They understand we have a collective agreement — the collective agreement is going nowhere." Nothing has changed for our employees \- Dave Cassidy, president of Unifor Local 444Cassidy acknowledged that he doesn't know very much about Eldorado, other than the cities in which it operates."I don't know their history or anything really about them," he said. Still, Cassidy said he believes the merger — which, if approved, will put 60 casinos and resorts across 16 U.S. states under a single corporate entity with headquarters in Las Vegas — will be positive for employees."When you put a couple organizations together and with a change in technology and everything else, I think it's a good thing," he said. Merger won't affect day-to-day operationsWhile Caesars Windsor is operated by a Canadian subsidiary of Nevada-based Caesars Entertainment, the casino itself is owned by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). In an email to CBC News, OLG clarified that the change in ownership of the casino's parent company "does not affect the day-to-day operations of that gaming site, nor OLG's returns to the province.""It remains business as usual at Caesars Windsor as it continues to deliver gaming excellence, world class hospitality and superior customer service," wrote Tony Bitonti, OLG's director of external communications.The OLG's contract with Caesars is set to expire in 2020, but Cassidy said that "there's a whole bunch of other operators that can bid on this site" when the license expires.For their part, Caesars Windsor echoed the OLG's sentiment that little is expected to change."It remains business as usual at Caesars Windsor as we continue to deliver gaming excellence, world class hospitality and superior customer service," wrote Susanne Tomkins, manager of public relations and communications at Caesars Windsor, in an email to CBC News.

  • News
    CBC

    'Aggressive' black bear attacks 2 people near Simon Fraser University

    Police and conservation officers are trying to find an aggressive black bear on Burnaby Mountain after it attacked two people Monday afternoon.A medium-sized adult black bear approached two people picnicking at a park near Simon Fraser University at about 1 p.m. PT., said the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.The bear started to rummage through their backpacks. When the pair tried to scare off the bear, it charged them and swatted the woman's calf, leaving her with minor injuries.The bear then left the area."It's unusual bear behaviour," conservation officer Murray Smith told CBC News."These are indications of a bear that has lost its fear of people. It's human habituated. And it's food conditioned because it went into the backpack."The attack happened at a recreation site near SFU:'Needle in a haystack'On Monday afternoon, six conservation officers were on scene, along with Burnaby RCMP.Police say to expect a police presence in the area of Trans Canada Trail, Ridgeview, Burnwood and Gnome's Home Trail.Recreational trails in the area were closed as of Monday evening.Anyone who spots a black bear in the area is asked to call police right away.Smith said searching for the bear is "like looking for a needle in a haystack.""Sometimes, it involves just having to wait and seeing if the bear returns."Once found, the bear can not be safely relocated and will be euthanized, Smith said. He warned residents in nearby neighbourhoods to secure their garbage.

  • News
    CBC

    Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov says he will no longer accept a salary while contesting sexual assault charge

    Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov will no longer be taking a salary while he contests a charge of sexual assault. He made the announcement Monday — his first public comments since he announced he was taking a leave of absence after the charge was revealed — in a letter to council."I have learned firsthand how slowly the wheels of our justice system can turn, with this issue taking longer to resolve than I had expected," he said."Even though Council's decisions regarding my paid leave have been 100% in line with the only existing guidelines ... and have been extremely helpful and deeply appreciated, I have become less and less comfortable receiving a full salary the longer this legal situation takes."Vagramov is alleged to have sexually assaulted a woman in Coquitlam in 2015, when he was a councillor.After he stepped down on March 29, council agreed to reassess every 45 days whether he should continue collecting his salary — $111,833 for 2019 — while on leave. The next vote was to come this Tuesday.    Vagramov's next court appearance is scheduled for July 15.

  • South Korea's Gangnam rocked by rape scandals
    BBC News

    South Korea's Gangnam rocked by rape scandals

    South Korea's glamorous nightclub scene has been hit by allegations of drugging and rape. The BBC has been told that elite clients were prepared to pay tens of thousands of dollars to have women who were enjoying a night out drugged and taken to a nearby hotel room. The Korean National Police Agency has set up a special unit to investigate crimes against women.

  • Toronto rappers roll into small town Alberta in Ming's Dynasty
    News
    CBC

    Toronto rappers roll into small town Alberta in Ming's Dynasty

    Perhaps nothing says rap star less than a Chinese restaurant in Coaldale, Alta., which is what makes the premise behind Ming's Dynasty, a new comedy series from CBC, seem pretty promising.That's the setting of the new show, which debuted June 21 on CBC Gem. It tells the story of Whyte Wine (Calwyn Shurgold) and Young Riesling (Anthony Hall), a couple of aspiring Toronto rappers, who find themselves relocated to Coaldale after Riesling is forced to put his musical dreams on hold in order to manage the Ming Ho Garden.Art imitates life in the case of Hall, whose childhood experiences inspired the idea behind the show."It's no longer in my family now, but I grew up there and I worked there and I really want to tell a story that shows the restaurant," Hall said, in interview with the Homestretch Monday."Ming's is our opportunity to lift up a new voice in Canadian comedy that hasn't been heard before," said Executive Producer Michael Peterson, in a release. "It runs the gamut, from hip-hop, to family, to small town life, Chinese restaurants, hockey and diversity — all showcased through one of Canada's foremost cultural strengths: being funny."Kitchen MemoriesWhat Hall remembers is that the family's life centred around the restaurant kitchen."I remember spending a lot of time in the kitchen making won ton, doing my homework on bags of rice and watching my dad work really, really hard," Hall said.Second CityShurgood and Hall met not through rap, but rather through comedy, at Second City in Toronto."I had this character, Whyte Wine, that I'd been doing in my stand up and I was booked to do a show," Shurgold said. "I was in desperate need of someone to play the music through the laptop and Anthony was there and volunteered to do so and afterwards he's like hey, if you ever need me to do that again, I'd be happy to.""We started out with me being the front man and Anthony being in the booth — kind of like a Paul Schaefer [David] Letterman arrangement — but then we did a couple of shows like that and we realized it was way better if we were both front row centre as a duo — a wine pairing if you will," he added.As far as rap part of the act goes, Shurgold brings the rhymes while Hall brings the comedy."It is a perfect pairing in the way that Calwyn can carry some of the more lyrically verbose verses and I come into it — just energy and really funny jokes about it and how much rapping is actually in the show," Hall said.Shurgold, though, said Hall was underselling his rapping ability."Anthony's not giving himself enough credit. He spits hot fire. He's just got that humble vibe," Shurgold said.Shot in AlbertaThe series was shot in Calgary, Longview, and Coaldale — and while it wasn't actually shot in the family restaurant (which they no longer own), the duo did stop by one day."We did one day in Coaldale and it was amazing to be able to go back home," Hall said. "It was just really awesome to see where I grew up again and to see how it changed."That included Ming Ho Garden, the real life Ming's Dynasty."We did go to the restaurant. I was a little bit nervous to go in," Hall said, "because I didn't really know anybody who worked there anymore, but we got a chance to see it and we took a quick picture in front of it." "It was kind of an art imitates life situation," Shurgold added.As far as rap scenes go, Hall said there wasn't much happening in Coaldale, but he said Calgary has something going on, rap-wise."We can say Calgary is straight flames," Shurgold said. "You guys are killing it. You've got  Cartel Madras putting Cowtown on the map right now. Amazing."And if there's a comparable beyond pop cultural reference points like Flight of the Conchords and Trailer Park Boys, it's not a show. It's a recipe."To me, Ming's Dynasty is like ginger beef," Hall said. "It's influenced by Chinese culture, uniquely Canadian and proudly Albertan in its innovation and unapologetic attitude."With files from The Homestretch

  • Internal tensions at Brunswick News exposed as trial into ex-editor's firing starts
    News
    CBC

    Internal tensions at Brunswick News exposed as trial into ex-editor's firing starts

    A former top editor at Irving-owned Brunswick News acknowledged in court Monday that he didn't consider it appropriate for his colleague Al Hogan to try to alter government records of a controversial fishing trip.John Wishart, who once reported to Hogan and later became his boss, acknowledged that the newspaper company had a perception problem in 2013 when it appeared that another colleague, Murray Guy, had accepted a free trip to Larry's Gulch. Wishart listened as a lawyer for the company read back to him an email in which he said he didn't think Guy, then the assistant managing editor, could separate his private trip to the lodge as a guest of NB Liquor from his senior role at the Moncton Times & Transcript.Guy's name appeared on a guest list for the lodge obtained by one of the company's reporters through a right-to-information request.Wishart wrote to Hogan at the time that he was "unable to divorce Murray the fisherman from Murray the news editor" and "the perception is bad" because it would put the company's coverage of NB Liquor and the government "under a cloud.""You're emphasizing the perception," lawyer Catherine Lahey said as she cross-examined him. "That's the overriding issue isn't it Mr. Wishart?"Get document changedShe also read an email in which Hogan told Guy, "Better get Darell to change it before it gets released," a reference to Darell Fowlie, a top adviser to then-Premier David Alward. Fowlie was later found in an independent report to have helped alter the document.Wishart was called to testify in support of Hogan's case. But asked if it was acceptable to seek changes to the document, Wishart responded, "certainly changing the public record would not be on board."Hogan was fired from his position as managing editor of the Times & Transcript in 2015, following an internal investigation that was triggered when the podcast Canadaland asked about the fishing trip. Guy resigned as assistant managing editor at the time.Hogan is alleging wrongful dismissal.Hogan says in his statement of claim that he wasn't trying to have Guy's name removed, only the reference to where he worked, because Guy had permission to go to the lodge "provided he did so as a private citizen and not as a representative of Brunswick News or the Times & Transcript." A report into the case by then-Information Commissioner Anne Bertrand agreed that Guy asked Fowlie, the premier's adviser, "to have the name of the organization where he worked" removed from the list.But in one 2013 email read in court Monday, Guy told Fowlie it "would be huge if could get name whacked so others don't see." The newspaper didn't publish a story on the 2013 guest list. Wishart testified that, as editor-in-chief of Brunswick News at the time, he believed Guy's assertion that the list was a mistake and he had turned down an invitation to the lodge.He testified that he urged Hogan to make it clear that accepting any trips to Larry's Gulch in the future would be against the company's code of conduct, which bans accepting gifts. But in 2015, the podcast Canadaland began looking into the story, prompting new managers at Brunswick News to revisit the issue.Investigation a 'sham'Hogan says in his court filings the 2015 investigation was "a sham" and the company "intentionally manipulated" the findings to fire him to achieve "an underlying objective to concentrate editorial control over its publications in its corporate directors, including Irving."Hogan's lawyer Scott Ellsworth tried to paint that bigger picture through Wishart's testimony, getting him to describe increasing centralization of editorial decision-making at head office in Saint John beginning in 2009-2010.Wishart testified that Jamie Irving, the Brunswick News vice-president, took part in daily discussions to approve the editorials appearing in all of the company's newspapers.But Lahey repeatedly objected to Ellsworth raising those issues, arguing they were unrelated to the central issue of whether BNI was right to fire Hogan. "I do not see that that's remotely relevant," she said at one point."This is foolishness," she said during a discussion of the difference between news stories and editorials.Lahey said the basic issue was that newspapers must be seen as trustworthy and Hogan's altering one of his own emails during the internal investigation showed he couldn't be trusted.Not only had he removed some elements of the email, she said, Hogan also added information to the email as well. "He manipulated evidence," she said. "He altered evidence during the course of an investigation."She added: "He was expected to lead by example. There was a heightened expectation of integrity and trustworthiness. … The plaintiff failed dramatically in the delivery of those expectations."Hogan says in his filings that Guy lied to him in 2013 and said he hadn't been on the trip, so when he told the internal investigators that, he believed it was true. He "related to management what he believed to be true," Ellsworth said Monday.He also pointed out that notes taken by the internal investigator during interviews with four key players in early 2015 have gone missing and aren't available to back up Hogan's version of events.Lack of balance allegedEllsworth also tried to argue that Brunswick News has gone against its own code of conduct's commitment to fairness and balance by never publishing Hogan's side of the story.The paper's ombudsperson published a series of columns in February 2015 giving the company's version of what happened, but the newspapers have never given Hogan a chance to recount his version, Ellsworth said."The narrative that was presented was not true and it was never corrected," he said.Hogan is expected to testify as early as Tuesday and Ellsworth said Jamie Irving will be testifying later in the week.

  • News
    CBC

    Should B.C. keep or drop daylight time? The province wants your input

    Now's your chance to tell the B.C. government whether to keep changing our clocks twice a year or call it quits.Starting Monday, you can answer an online survey and email your thoughts about daylight time.Most provinces in Canada move their clocks ahead one hour in March and turn their clocks back one hour in November. But the B.C. government has mused in recent years about abandoning the seasonal time changes.B.C. Premier John Horgan says it's time to consider it as legislators in Washington, Oregon and California are pushing to dump the clock change, which hinges on approval from the U.S. Congress."I know many people will have strong preferences on this complex question, and this is an opportunity to express them and help government decide our next steps," Horgan said Monday in a news release.Studies show springing forward comes with drawbacks, including decreased productivity and a spike in traffic accidents.A 2014 study out of the University of Colorado found a 25-per-cent increase in the risk of heart attack the Monday after the start of daylight time.B.C. held a public consultation on daylight time in 2007 and received more than 4,000 responses. At the time, 92 per cent of respondents were in favour of changing how B.C. observes daylight time, as long as it aligns with similar changes in other Canadian provinces and U.S. states.The survey is open till July 19.

  • News
    Reuters

    Online game helps fight the spread of fake news: study

    An online game that allows people to deploy Twitter bots, photo-shop evidence and incite conspiracy theories has proven effective at raising their awareness of "fake news", a study from the University of Cambridge has found. Results from the study of 15,000 users of the "Bad News" game, launched last year by the university's Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab (CDSMLab), showed it was possible to train the public to be better at spotting propaganda. "Research suggests that fake news spreads faster and deeper than the truth, so combatting disinformation after the fact can be like fighting a losing battle," said Sander van der Linden, the CDSMLab's director.

  • 'Nothing apparent:' Dad accused in son's meningitis death says no obvious signs
    News
    The Canadian Press

    'Nothing apparent:' Dad accused in son's meningitis death says no obvious signs

    LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — A father accused in his son's death testified Monday that the sick boy's condition worsened after he had appeared to be doing better, but not to the point where his parents were worried.David Stephan took the stand in a southern Alberta courtroom where he and his wife, Collet, are accused of failing to get medical attention for the toddler.The couple are charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life to 19-month-old Ezekiel, who died of bacterial meningitis in 2012.The Stephans treated their son with herbal remedies and called an ambulance when he stopped breathing.A jury convicted the couple in 2016, but the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a second trial last year.Stephan, who is acting as his own lawyer, spent more than three hours giving what amounted to a monologue before a Lethbridge judge, who is hearing the case without a jury.Stephan testified that he and his wife thought Ezekiel had croup and appeared to be recovering at their home near Glenwood, Alta.Two weeks before he was rushed to hospital, the toddler's condition had worsened to the point that they discussed whether their son should get medical attention, Stephan said. But they didn't think it was serious enough."I didn't see a need. The idea was there on the back burner. There was nothing that was concerning or alarming as a parent," he said."There was nothing apparent."Stephan said his wife did call a friend who was a nurse and a midwife. The friend mentioned the possibility Ezekiel might have meningitis but she wasn't sure. And with a lack of symptoms, Ezekiel probably "would be turned away" if he sought medical attention.Stephan said he was "100 per cent convinced" that Ezekiel had later recovered, but he soon noticed the child had an odd breathing pattern. Then he stopped breathing."He went down for his nap and he woke up in crisis. His breathing started to get worse," said Stephan. "I was shocked and confused. He became very tired right before he stopped breathing."Stephan called 911, but when Ezekiel started breathing again, the father declined an ambulance.About a half hour later, Stephan again called 911 as the family was driving to a hospital. They were met on the highway by an ambulance. Ezekiel was eventually airlifted to the Children's Hospital in Calgary.Stephan testified he and his wife remained hopeful. "We hoped he'd be leaving hospital in just a couple of days."Stephan said while they were in Calgary, they were told children's services believed there might be neglect and there would be an investigation."We were dumbfounded."Under cross-examination by Crown attorney Britta Kristensen, Stephan said he had learned from his wife that her friend suggested Ezekiel might have meningitis."You were made aware that bacterial meningitis was quite serious?" she asked."Yes I was made aware that with bacterial meningitis you generally have 24 hours before it became a crisis," Stephan replied."Do you recall being told that it was a potentially, deadly condition?" Kristensen continued."That would have been communicated to me."Stephan also told court that Ezekiel and his older brother didn't have routine visits with a pediatrician or family doctor, and they didn't get standard vaccinations.Kristensen asked Stephan if he was aware that the vaccinations would have protected against meningitis."No," said Stephan. "I wasn't really aware of what meningitis was."Defence lawyer Jason Demers said in a brief opening statement that the Stephans didn't do anything wrong."Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Parenting is not like looking into a crystal ball," Demers said."Taking Ezekiel to hospital any sooner than the Stephans did may not have made a difference."— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press

  • Insects feast on Whitehorse willows after unusually warm, dry spring
    News
    CBC

    Insects feast on Whitehorse willows after unusually warm, dry spring

    This spring's warm, dry weather in Whitehorse has led to a feeding frenzy for insects that chow down on willows in the city.The willow blotch leaf miner — one of the most destructive defoliators of willow in North America — appears to be having a banner year in Whitehorse. It's likely because of the hot, dry conditions in the city this spring, explained Bruce Bennett, the co-ordinator of the Yukon Conservation Data Centre.The miner begins as a small insect and grows into a moth as an adult. It was first recorded in Yukon in 2007. Bennett first noticed the insects himself after spending time outside this past weekend, and soon heard about it from others who had noticed the same thing. "I walked into my backyard and came inside, and the next thing I knew I had little green worms all over me," he said. "I have never had so many phone calls and emails." The willow blotch leaf miner is similar to the Aspen miner, which has been present in Yukon for quite some time. The willow blotch miner is similar to its Aspen cousin, but it attacks leaves differently, Bennett explained. "It forms botches or patches, dark, discoloured patches on leaves," he said. "It's eating a chamber out of the leaf, then it's coming out of the leaf and dropping down on a silken thread, very similar to what was happening with the Aspen leaf miner."Bennett says the miner appears to have little effect on willows that moose in the territory most often eat. Also, any infestations of the miner are unlikely to kill the willows unless this level of infestation occurs for many years."This is a native species that has taken advantage of the weird spring weather we received," he said. "It's an interesting phenomenon."

  • News
    CBC

    No liquor in Calgary Parks this summer as city postpones pilot project

    There will be no cold beer allowed in the picnic coolers at Calgary parks this summer.The City of Calgary has announced it will postpone a controversial pilot project that would have sanctioned open liquor at picnic sites in city parks."With a divided public opinion, we need to make sure a pilot project is well thought out to ensure logistical and enforcement issues are addressed, and park experiences remain positive for all Calgarians," Laura Smith, the business and policy planner for Calgary Parks, said Monday in a news release.The city conducted a survey of more than 15,000 Calgarians on the subject of public consumption of alcohol at municipal picnic tables.The results showed a slight majority in favour of bringing a wine bottle to the park, but the city also heard from many who expressed concerns that it would lead to far more disorderly conduct as well as impaired driving.In other words, not everyone would be having a romantic picnic in the park.The city plans to take the time to study the issue before launching the pilot for the 2020 summer picnic season.

  • East Coast Games organizers barely take a time out before setting sights on next year
    News
    CBC

    East Coast Games organizers barely take a time out before setting sights on next year

    The fifth annual East Coast Games wrapped up in the Saint John area on Sunday and organizers are already looking ahead to next year when a new facility will be ready for use.The Greater Saint John Field House, slated to open this fall, could mean the addition of some new sports to the competition, said Bill MacMackin, president of the field house project, and founder of the games.It has portable badminton and pickle ball courts, for example, he said."We're really always waiting for other sport groups to come forward and say, 'This is what we'd like to do and can we be part of the East Coast games?' So we're anxious to see what people see when that facility opens."The field house, located at Exhibition Park on the city's east side, will include two turf fields, each measuring 60 metres by 30 metres, which could come in handy in inclement weather, as well as a 200-metre indoor track, a fitness facility and change rooms.Once construction is complete, the 127,000 square foot-complex will be the largest sports field house space in New Brunswick and one of the largest in Atlantic Canada.The East Coast Games, dubbed Atlantic Canada's largest annual multi-sport games, saw nearly 2,500 athletes from across the Maritimes, Quebec and New England compete in about 19 sporting events at gyms and fields across Saint John and surrounding communities June 21-23."We had a great weekend," with lots of positive feedback on the quality of the venues and the volunteers, said MacMackin.Fencing, which was new this year, was one of the highlights for him, as well as track and field. "I'm the track guy."The games have tripled in size since they began in 2015."I feel really amazed sometimes that it happens year after year because it's a loosely put together event in terms of our structure," said MacMackin."But that's what makes it strong because we've given these sport individuals the power to run their tournament do it the way they want and have some flexibility."He hopes to see the growth trend continue with the addition of the field house.Construction, which began in February 2018, is in the home stretch with an average of 100 people working at the site daily on everything from curing the concrete floors and painting, to installing electrical and plumbing fixtures, and landscaping.Equipment is scheduled to be delivered in late August, with the doors tentatively scheduled to open in September.Other features will include a community centre and daycare operated by the YMCA of Greater Saint John."It's exciting," said MacMackin, who has been working on the project for the past five or six years."I cannot wait to be in there and watch the youth and the adults and the seniors of Saint John have an opportunity to use it and get in from the weather and do some winter activities and bring some events to Saint John that have never been here."

  • Icelandic trip turns sour after Airbnb broken into, robbed
    News
    CBC

    Icelandic trip turns sour after Airbnb broken into, robbed

    What started as an amazing journey took a dark turn for a group of Newfoundland travellers who returned to their Airbnb in Reykjavik, Iceland, to find it had been ransacked."I kind of feel like we're in a movie. It's insane," says Ryan Dillon, a comedian from St. John's who now lives in Toronto.Dillon was one of a group of four who saved up for a trip to Iceland this summer. It was Dillon's first time travelling outside North America.While in Reykjavik, the group went to the Secret Solstice music festival Friday night; they returned to their Airbnb rental to find their temporary home had been invaded. They didn't take the jokes but they took the notebook. I was like, did I just bomb while getting robbed? \- Ryan Dillon"We left everything back at the condo — the Airbnb — and when we came back and we noticed that the door, it looked like someone had chipped away or kicked it in, and we walked in and the whole place was just totalled," Dillon said."Everything was gone."Dillon said a lot of their clothing, as well as cameras, lenses, laptops and other electronics were taken, as was their rental car.The stolen technology can be replaced eventually, Dillon said, and everyone in their group is safe, which is the most important thing."We weren't home when it happened and no one got hurt, but the biggest thing for me is they took my notebook … but they ripped out all the jokes and threw them on the ground," Dillon said."They didn't take the jokes but they took the notebook," he added with a chuckle. "I was like, 'Did I just bomb while getting robbed?'"Dillon said the group called the police, who told them it seemed to be a targeted incident.According to Dillon, the group found out there were a number of other people who had booked Airbnb rentals to attend the music festival who were also victims of break-ins."When the police came and started dusting for prints, it just felt so surreal. It felt like we were in a movie or another world," Dillon told CBC's St. John's Morning Show."It's like that classic, you never think it could happen to you. You hear about other people, and then when it happens to you, I just like — I just sat on the ground outside, couldn't even think. It was mind-blowing."Dillon said the rental car was later found outside the city, and it appeared it had been driven until it ran out of gas before being damaged.He's just grateful no one was in the apartment when the break-in happened — and he said it's terrifying to think how different things could have gone."The biggest thing for me was that my girlfriend, at one point she wanted to come to the Airnb early because she wasn't feeling too well, but we were trying to rally her, like, 'Stay out and have fun,' and she was like, 'OK,'" he said."Our first thought was, my God, if Hannah came in by herself, what would have happened?"The host who owned the Airbnb came over as soon as they heard about the incident, Dillon said, and installed a new door and brand-new locks.Making the most of itIn an emailed statement Monday evening, Airbnb said the company was "disappointed" to hear about the incident, "and began working to support Ryan and his friends" once they were made aware. "Including a refund for the reservation and taking care of their hotel costs," the statement read. The company also said it's ready to support Icelandic law enforcement in its investigation. Although Airbnb offered to put the group of four in a hotel room for a night, as well as $200 US, Dillon said they stayed in their same Airbnb, adding they weren't worried about the thieves returning."If they came back, what are they gonna take now? There's nothing left."Lora Pope, one of the group who travelled to Iceland, lost all the equipment she uses in her role as a travel blogger.Friends back home in Canada have started online fundraising campaigns, raising thousands of dollars for Dillon and his girlfriend, Hannah, and another one for Pope.Dillon said the group's insurance won't cover the full cost of items lost.In the meantime, he said, they're trying to make the most of the situation in a country that has otherwise been "so kind and helpful" while they wait to fly back home on Wednesday."We went to the gas station to get a new phone charger because they took our phone chargers, and when we went and we told the gas clerk what happened, he gave us his discount card to give it to us at cost and, like, shook our hand and told us they were sorry," Dillon said."Honestly, it felt like we were in a different Newfoundland because everyone has been so supportive and helpful."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • $64M Brunswick Smelter project in jeopardy if workforce dispute continues, says company
    News
    CBC

    $64M Brunswick Smelter project in jeopardy if workforce dispute continues, says company

    Brunswick Smelter's general manager says a $64-million project at the facility will be cancelled if the dispute between the company and unionized staff is not settled soon.The contract dispute has been ongoing for two months with no apparent settlement in sight. Workers have been off the job since April 24."Phase 2 of the acid plant program will be cancelled early July as it is simply impossible to realise such a construction during a strike," Marc Duchesne said in an email statement. "The market condition make this site vulnerable and this strike is adding even more risk."The employees and employer have disagreed on what type of dispute it is.The union gave a 72-hour strike notice, but on April 24 — 14 hours before the deadline — employees at the Glencore Canada-owned smelter in Belledune were sent home, with pay. The union calls the continuing work disruption a lockout, but the company says that because employees were paid until the deadline, it's a strike.Bart Dempsey, president of local 7085 of the United Steelworkers, said the 280 workers want four things from the company. "Basically we're asking for four things: to go back to the table, to get a contract done, it's to leave the two union positions be as they are, leave the early retirement and give something on the [defined contribution] pension." 'Go back to table'Dempsey said 75 per cent of the smelter's workforce are on that pension and they want to see an increase to it. Despite meetings with the mediator, Dempsey said the offer from the company is not what the union is asking for. He added the company moved a bit on things but not enough for unionized staff to accept it."Morale is still good for what we are willing to stand up for and willing to fight for, but the guys, all of us would like to go back to work," he said. "We'd like them to remove this from the table and get the contract done, move on with the project and try and work together." When asked about the threat of cancelling the project, Dempsey said the union gave $20 million in concessions during the last contract negotiation. The union president said they are not willing to give up things they fought for during the last negotiation such as the full-time safety position. Dempsey said the position is there to benefit both the workers and the company. As for having a full-time paid position for the union president, Dempsey said it was also put in place to help both sides. Staff operating smelterDuchesne said there were discussions with the union supported by a team of mediators named by the provincial government."We are still not able to find a solution as the Union reject the need to adjust some clauses of the contract to the 2019 reality," he said.For now, the general manager said the smelter is being operated safely at 54 per cent capacity by staff."The employees are doing an incredible job to protect the smelter as they understand the importance of keep running it to protect its sustainability," he said.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Pride Toronto sorry for land acknowledgment that omitted Indigenous communities

    TORONTO — The group that organizes Toronto's annual Pride parade has apologized for displaying a land acknowledgment that failed to mention any of Canada's Indigenous communities.Pride Toronto faced sharp criticism online over the sign, which encouraged attendees to connect with the land they were on.But many pointed out that the land acknowledgment — which is supposed to recognize the Indigenous communities who were displaced by European settlers — did not mention that Toronto is located on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.The only reference to First Nations, Metis and Indigenous communities in the acknowledgment was the inclusion of the Ojibwe phrase "chi miigwetch," meaning "thank you."In a statement posted to Facebook, Pride Toronto says that in failing to mention the traditional land on which the festival took place, the organization contributed to the erasure of two-spirited and LGBTQ Indigenous communities.The organization says it still has more work to do to become truly "intersectional, radically anti-racist and anti-oppressive." The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    Random roadside breath tests 'an erosion of constitutional rights,' B.C. man's petition alleges

    A B.C. man with severe asthma has filed a constitutional challenge against the federal government's new law on mandatory roadside breath tests.Jimmy Forster, 63, takes daily medications to help his breathing and speaks with an audible wheeze.He recently had his car impounded and his driver's licence suspended twice after Chase RCMP pulled him over and he was unable to blow hard enough for a breathalyzer to register a reading.Forster filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court last week, challenging recent changes to the Criminal Code that allow police to pull over any vehicle and force the driver to take a breath test."While it is clearly within the competence of Parliament to enact laws that infringe the rights of every citizen and resident of this country, the question is not whether they can, but whether they should," the petition reads.It goes on to state that the law "represents an erosion of constitutional rights that cannot be promoted or condoned."Forster alleges that the law infringes on the charter right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure or arbitrary detention and the right to consult with a lawyer. He also wants a stay of his driving prohibition and other penalties, as well as the return of his licence.The B.C. superintendent of motor vehicles and the attorney general are named as respondents. The government bodies have yet to file a response and none of the allegations in the petition have been proven in court.A B.C. government spokesperson said the province could not comment while the matter is before the courts but pointed out that the decision to allow random testing was federal.B.C. looking into fairness of roadside testsThe new alcohol screening powers came into effect on Dec. 18. In the past, police couldn't require a roadside breath test unless they had a reasonable suspicion that a driver had consumed alcohol.As CBC has reported, Forster was pulled over on Feb. 14 and March 20 and forced to take a breath test. Both times, he says he couldn't get a reading because of his severe asthma.Both times, the RCMP issued immediate roadside prohibitions from driving and his vehicle was impounded.On the first occasion, the case was dismissed after Forster appealed to an adjudicator. He lost his second appeal when the adjudicator said he believed police notes suggesting Forster was "putting on a show" to make it look like he was unable to provide a breath sample.Forster told CBC last month that he faces about $1,400 in fees to get his car released from impound and has spent $200 each time he appealed the prohibitions.The B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General says it is currently looking into the fairness of roadside testing for people with medical conditions, as well as the limitations of roadside breath testing devices.

  • End to 'range anxiety' in sight as new EV supercharging stations open
    News
    CBC

    End to 'range anxiety' in sight as new EV supercharging stations open

    FortisBC unveiled two of 12 new Direct Current Fast Charge stations in Kelowna Monday. The pair at the Kelowna City Airport are part of the province's bigger plan to create more electric vehicle accessibility across the southern Interior.The new supercharger stations will be able to recharge an electric vehicle in 20 to 30 minutes, compared to three to four hours at a conventional charging station, said Doug Stout, Fortis's vice president.  He says charging up shouldn't take longer than getting a cup of coffee at the local café."We're laying [charge stations] out across the southern Interior and they're really designed for those long trips, so you can pop in and charge your car quickly on a long trip and carry on again. It takes away that range anxiety people talk about."Fortis says it's planning to build up a robust grid of charging stations across the province.Similar stations are planned for Beaverdale, Osoyoos, Cawston, Nelson, Kaslo, Rossland, New Denver, and Nakusp.40 by 2020The company says it will operate and maintain the stations, with the help of funding from all three levels of government. Stout says the plan is to have 17 superchargers in the Kelowna-Creston-Princeton service by the end of this year, with 40 in place by the end of 2020."I think it makes the decision [to buy an EV] a lot easier. [The provincial government] topped up some more funding into the EV program. But there's been a huge uptake and they actually have gone through most of the funding already."To extend the program, starting June 24 the province has reduced its portion of EV consumer rebates from $5,000 to $3,000.Federal rebates take another $5,000 off the cost of EVs, and $2,500 off plug-in hybrids.Ottawa also increased the vehicle value limit from $45,000 to $55,000 to increase buyer options.

  • Alberton mayor reveals he hasn't paid his sewer bill in 13 years
    News
    CBC

    Alberton mayor reveals he hasn't paid his sewer bill in 13 years

    Months after being elected, the mayor of Alberton, P.E.I. has revealed he has thousands of dollars in unpaid bills to the municipality, which he says is from sewer fees and interest. Last week, David Gordon amended his disclosure statement with the town — indicating a debt to the municipality of more than $40,000. Gordon initially filed the disclosure statement in December, as is required for mayor and councillors under P.E.I.'s Municipal Government Act. But in that initial statement he did not list any debt owing to the municipality. "The reason why I didn't include that, I didn't feel I was eligible to pay that," Gordon said. 'I shouldn't be made to pay it'Gordon said he hasn't paid his sewer bill for the past 13 years, because he has his own septic system, and doesn't use the town's sewer system. "I felt that if I'm not hooked up to something, I shouldn't be made to pay it," Gordon said. Gordon said he's been disputing the bill for years.The town charges sewer fees of $200 per year for a single family home. Gordon said that's why he disputes the size of his bill."Forty thousand dollars for 13 years of back sewer taxes.… It's got to be some kind of an interest. I don't know where it comes from, but it's a fairly substantial interest rate," Gordon said. Statement posted onlineGordon said he amended his disclosure statement after he was asked to do so by the town's CAO last week.The updated statement was posted to the town's website and Twitter. To complicate matters, the CAO is retiring, and worked her last day on Friday. The town is now working to hire someone to replace her, but in the meantime, there is no one to speak on the town's behalf. The province's municipal affairs department told CBC it has no comment, as it is an internal town issue — and it is up to council what happens next. As well as hiring a new CAO, the town also has several council vacancies to fill. Gordon said once that happens, he hopes council will be able to come up with a way to resolve the situation. "I don't mind paying taxes if I'm using the facility. And if I gotta pay taxes that the facility goes by my door, from here on out I will."More P.E.I. news

  • Catch and release: Spawning salmon being moved around broken fishway
    News
    CBC

    Catch and release: Spawning salmon being moved around broken fishway

    The Bonaparte Indian Band, Secwepemc Fisheries Commission and the Deparment of Fisheries and Oceans Canada are working together to catch salmon and transport them around a broken fishway on the Bonaparte River, so they can reach their spawning grounds. The Pacific Salmon Foundation announced it is giving $40,000 to the Secwepemc Fisheries Commission and Shuswap Nation Tribal Council to install a fence to capture returning chinook July 1, and returning coho starting Sept.15."There is an extremely limited amount of spawning habitat below the fishway, but well over 100 kilometres of habitat upstream," said Aaron Gillespie, operations manager for the Secwepemc Fisheries Commission, in a statement. "Without this project there will once again be a near complete loss of another year of chinook and coho, just like our steelhead stocks which were prevented from migrating upstream last year."A fishway, also known as a fish ladder, is a man-made structure that helps fish get past an obstacle in the river. Last year, only five chinook were able to get past the broken fishway, said Jason Hwang, vice-president of the Pacific Salmon Foundation. "The natural forces of falling water and a river can put a lot of erosion or power into a man-made structure, and this one has been undermined a little bit, and the bedrock around it has been eroding and the concrete itself has been eroding," said Hwang."So, it's essentially broken and water isn't flowing nicely through it to allow fish to migrate up in the normal way that it was designed, and it's currently not really doing its job."Temporary fixThe fishway wasn't fixed in time for this year's spawning season because water flows were much higher than expected this winter, Hwang told Daybreak South host Chris Walker.Biologists believe that the higher watershed may be a result of the massive Elephant Hill wildfire in 2017, changing how well the soil is able to absorb water. "The flows as I understand it, were five to six times what they normally would be, and it's suspected that that might be a result of changes in the watershed stemming from the giant Elephant Hill wildfire that happened," said Hwang.Crews from the Deparment of Fisheries and Oceans Canada are hoping to go into the river later this summer to repair the fishway, he added. Transporting salmonChinook are expected to arrive any day now.Crews are mobilizing this week to build a fence that will guide fish into a trap so they can be put into a tank on the back of a truck and transported down the road, past the fishway, and released back into the river, explained Hwang. "Catching them is stressful and putting them in a tank, but they can recover from that and carry their way on to migrate," he said.Hwang isn't sure how many fish they will get back this year. In the past, they have seen 3,000 chinook and, in really big years, over 10,000.However, chinook and coho are in decline in some parts of B.C."The Bonaparte is experiencing what some of the other rivers in the Fraser are experiencing, which is a really significant decline in chinook populations. The Nicola, as an example, had a decline of around 95 per cent between 2014 and 2018," said Hwang."If runs are really good, it could be in the thousands, but it may be well less than that."