‘Unstoppable’ Rosie MacLennan empowers girls to pursue the activities they love: A Yahoo! Exclusive

Nadine Kalinauskas
Daily Brew
TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA: April 9, 2013: Dove has launched a new campaign called Girls Unstoppable to encourage moms to talk to girls about body image issues. The campaign kicked off today with the unveiling of two 3D billboards in downtown Toronto. ( Photo by Phil Cheung )

According to new Dove research, participation in sports and activities can play a crucial role in young girls' development. This follows the 2010 findings that six in 10 girls have quit sports because of poor body image.

To help young girls feel more encouraged and empowered in the activities they love, Dove approached Canada's trampoline superstar, Rosie MacLennan, and asked her to share her story.

"I guess they thought that because I'd gotten to the peak of where I can get in my career, they wanted to hear my story: how I did it and why I did it," MacLennan says.

MacLennan, 24, Canada's only gold medalist at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, recently spoke to Yahoo! Canada News about the new Dove "Girls Unstoppable" campaign and the role moms, mentors and athletics can play in building young girls' self-esteem.

Y! Canada: What is your "unstoppable" story?

MacLennan: Generally speaking, at a young age, you start to get compared to other people. You start comparing yourself to other people, whether it's in school or in sports, whether it's skill, your body, lots of different areas. With those comparisons, a white noise can kind of interfere with what your real goals are and can sidetrack you from what you're trying to accomplish and make you question your ability, question your body image, question your confidence.

But for me, when my behaviour was changing and I was shying away from my goals and what I really loved to do, my mom would just have a conversation with me — ongoing, even to this day — about how I was feeling, really trying to probe to get to that underlying feeling and thinking process and adjusting it to facilitate me and kind of hone back into really looking at what my goals were.

Do you consider your mom your greatest mentor?

MacLennan: She'd has a huge role in all of my life, but she's definitely the one [I'd turn to] if I was ever having problems with body image. Like, for one, our gym suits don't leave much to the imagination. They're pretty tight and form-fitting. I guess when I got to an international stage, I realized, "Okay, the Russian athletes, the Chinese athletes, they're all a little smaller than me."

I talked to my mom about it. And it did make me a bit self-conscious for a while, but then she started changing my perspective and saying, "Yeah, well, maybe your legs are a bit bigger, but how do you think you jump so high? How do you think you're so powerful and strong?" Really reshaping what my thoughts were to really celebrate what was unique about me in comparison to other athletes and how it would help me.

Most girls experience this body-image issue. What advice would you give to moms and mentors of young girls who want to quit sports because of it?

MacLennan: For moms or mentors, if you see a change in the dynamic, or see a young girl kind of leaning back, shying away from something you know they really love to do, talk to them about, ask them about it. Those conversations are hard to have at the beginning, which is why I think it's so amazing that Dove has created these resources on their Facebook page to help start those conversations, to help parents and mentors know what to look for. And don't be afraid to really probe and try to find that underlying reason.

For girls, just be aware. If you find something you really love to do, focus on that. It's easy to get sidetracked by a ton of other things, whether it's social pressures to fit in or not having that confidence in yourself or that comfort in your body. But think about what your goal is and what you love to do and why you love to do it. That's really important because that can keep you on track.

There are so many people that shy away and they never give themselves the opportunity to live their dream or live their passion.

Would you say that athletics ultimately helped your self-esteem?

MacLennan: Absolutely. Trampoline, even from a young age, was the place where I found my comfort zone. I found my voice. It was the place where I could be myself. I found people who shared my passion.

You go through struggles, you face challenges, you face obstacles, but the process of getting through those struggles and obstacles is what makes you stronger and what makes you more capable, so the next time, whether it's in sport or outside of sport or in whatever activity you're passionate about, you know you're capable of facing that challenge as an opportunity to learn and to grow.

What's next for you?

MacLennan: Right now, I'm getting more involved with this Girls Unstoppable campaign, which is really exciting, and I'm doing my masters at school and I'm still training for the upcoming World Cup series and World Championships this fall.

Wow, multitasking.

MacLennan: Definitely. But it's a good way to be.

  • 'A race against time': Toronto family tries to raise $3M to treat son's rare genetic disorder
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    CBC

    'A race against time': Toronto family tries to raise $3M to treat son's rare genetic disorder

    It's a desperate race against time and a race toward hope. Terry and Georgia Pirovolakis are trying to save their son's life, trying to find a cure that doesn't exist. They're determined to raise at least $3 million to fund an experimental trial in the U.S. Michael is 18 months old and his doctors say he is the only child in Canada diagnosed with SPG50, a rare genetic disorder that threatens the toddler's ability to speak, walk or even breathe, all in a few short years. Michael's mother Georgia Pirovolakis said he was a healthy, happy baby but she and her husband started to notice he wasn't meeting his milestones, wasn't developing at the same rate his siblings had. The energetic toddler can't walk despite an obvious desire to move around. He smiles and laughs and babbles, but hasn't said his first word. He's healthy, until he gets a fever and has a seizure, which sometimes takes hours for hospital staff to address. Genetic testing at Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital revealed the devastating diagnosis in April. "They said to us you know he will never reach the level that you want him to reach, like he will probably never speak," Georgia Pirovolakis said, choking back tears. "He will probably never develop normally mentally. He will probably be in a wheelchair." 'We just cried'Michael's father said it was the darkest moment of his life."Once they told us and it was like a fog was over our eyes," said Terry Pirovolakis. "It was like you were wearing sunglasses with the tint on them that you couldn't even see out of it. We just came home and just curled into balls and just cried."Watch as parents refuse to give up: The culprit is a missing gene. The only hope: gene therapy that in theory could replace it. But there is no proven treatment for Michael's disease. There are only 57 known cases in the world, including Michael, according to pediatric neurologists at Boston Children's Hospital.The disorder is so rare there is little financial incentive for pharmaceutical companies or governments to fund research to find a treatment.After scouring the internet for any shred of hope, it became clear it was up to Michael's parents to create their own."I said, 'There's no way we're going to accept this,'" said Terry Pirovolakis, his red-rimmed eyes brimming with tears. "There was no sit back and watch him degrade. There was just go forward and give him the best chance at life that we could." The clock is tickingThe clock is ticking and the disease isn't waiting. Fuelled by fear, Michael's parents called hundreds of doctors, sent thousands of emails and they didn't stop until they found a team of researchers in Dallas willing to try to create a treatment that would replace Michael's missing gene. Gene therapy that may halt, maybe even reverse the degeneration that has already set in.Dr. Berge Minassian is leading the team at UT Southwestern Medical Centre in Texas, one of a handful of research facilities in the world creating customized treatments for rare genetic disorders.A pediatric neurologist, Dr. Minassian left Toronto's Sick Kids hospital so he could devote the rest of his career to helping kids like Michael."I think losing one's child is probably the worst thing that can happen to anyone," Minassian said. "And so these parents have hope that we can make things better that we can stabilize the condition, in some cases that we could even cure them."In Michael's case, gene therapy sounds simple and Minassian believes it holds real promise. He and his team can potentially produce a virus that would transport the missing gene through Michael's spinal fluid and into his brain. It would be the first treatment of its kind in the world.Watch as Dr. Minassian discusses gene therapy: "Replacing that one gene and whatever percentage of his brain cells, we hope will improve some of these aspects, maybe he'll be able to walk, have less seizures, and not degenerate as he is doing," said Dr. Minassian. "The real answer is we do not know. He will be one of the first, if not the first, persons, who have ever had this disease to have the gene replaced." It's not a guarantee, but it's hope at a staggering cost. A clinical trial in the U.S. would cost at least $3 million, money the family has to raise itself. They've already cashed in their savings and remortgaged their home to finance the first phase of the trial. But they need so much more.Community fundraisingThey've started a GoFundMe page and their local communities are organizing fundraisers on Michael's behalf. One neighbour even came knocking on their door with a jar of coins.The Pirovolakis are grateful for every cent."I'm blown away," said Terry Pirovolakis. "We never expected anybody to help us. We thought we were going to be alone in this journey ...[then] one person talks to another and now we have all these amazing people helping us. I can't even express our gratitude. It's unbelievable."It is about saving one child's life and yet it could potentially help others. The assistance the community is providing won't just be for a treatment for Michael's disorder. The research has the potential to make strides in helping other genetic disorders in children, and even in advancing research for more complex brain diseases in adults, including Alzheimers, said Minassian.All the work in gene therapy for children builds on potential future treatments, he said."Imagine a time when someone has Alzheimer's disease, and we can kind of predict that and we know that let's say these 12 genes are responsible and if we break that set of 12 and fixed three of them they won't have Alzheimer's anymore," he said."What we are learning now with these little children with their horrible diseases is to reach a point where we can get into adult patients and help them."In the end, the real enemy is time. Even if they raise all the money, it will be at least 18 months before a treatment is approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration. Michael's parents are holding on to the hope that it won't be too late."It's extremely urgent," said Terry Pirovolakis. "If we don't get the funds all that's going to mean is that Michael will start losing more of his legs. He will become paralyzed. It will reach up to his arms and further on. So it's really, it's a race against time."

  • Trudeau's former right-hand adviser playing role in Liberal election campaign
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Trudeau's former right-hand adviser playing role in Liberal election campaign

    OTTAWA — With three months to go now until the election, the Liberals are intensifying campaign efforts with Prime Minister Trudeau hitting party events to drum up support and by ensuring his long-time friend and former senior adviser is in the fold.A Liberal party official confirmed Sunday that Trudeau's former principal secretary Gerald Butts is playing a key role in the party's election campaign.Butts, a close long-time friend of Trudeau, resigned in February amid the SNC-Lavalin controversy, citing allegations from anonymous sources that he pressured former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to assist the Quebec engineering giant to be considered for an agreement akin to a plea bargain.Butts issued a statement at the time saying he categorically denied the accusation that he or anyone else in his office pressured Wilson-Raybould, adding that they acted with integrity."Any accusation that I or the staff put pressure on the Attorney General is simply not true," he wrote."But the fact is that this accusation exists. It cannot and should not take one moment away from the vital work the Prime Minister and his office is doing for all Canadians."In response to news of Butts taking on a role in the campaign, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer tweeted: "And just like that, the Trudeau team that brought Canadians the SNC Lavalin scandal is right back together."NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also told CTV News on Sunday that he believed the move was "disappointing."Since the winter, the SNC-Lavalin affair has been connected to sliding support for the Liberals reflected in a number of public opinion polls.The Liberals insist, however, they're hearing positive feedback during canvassing efforts and that they have more field volunteers on the ground than in any other election.The party's pre-election pace is stepping up quickly, with it saying it hit more than 200 ridings last weekend as part of its outreach plan.The Liberals are also seeing continued growth in grassroots fundraising, spokesperson Braeden Caley said Sunday.The party closed out last month with its best-ever June fundraising results and that four out of the last five months have amounted to monthly bests, he said.More than 204,000 Canadians have registered as new Liberals since the last federal election, Caley added, noting the upcoming campaign will offer "a clear choice" between the Liberals and the Conservatives.In Ontario, a key battleground for every election campaign, the leadership of Premier Doug Ford is expected to figure prominently in the federal discussion. The Liberals have indicated they've heard a strong response about Ford's policies during door-knocking efforts.Behind the scenes, the Liberals have also made key decisions, like who will take on central roles in the campaign.In May, the party announced that Jeremy Broadhurst, the former chief of staff to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and the party's national director from 2013 to 2015, will lead the national campaign.The platform committee is being co-chaired by Public Safety minister Ralph Goodale and Ottawa-Vanier MP Mona Fortier, Caley said Sunday.—Follow @kkirkup on TwitterKristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

  • Ilhan Omar's trial by political firestorm
    News
    CBC

    Ilhan Omar's trial by political firestorm

    In just six months, Ilhan Omar has gone from freshman congresswoman to national lightning rod. It's the kind of rapid ascent that characterized her career even before she arrived in Washington last January as one of only two Muslim-American women to ever serve in Congress.Omar, 36, has been at the centre of a political firestorm in the U.S. since President Donald Trump singled out the Muslim Somali-American and three of her fellow progressive Democratic congresswomen of colour in a series of tweets widely condemned as racist.She got a taste for politics early as a keen teenager attending caucuses of the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, the Minnesota wing of the Democratic Party, with her grandfather and later as a social justice advocate in the immigrant communities of Minneapolis where she was raised.Omar's family came to the U.S. in 1995 when she was 12 by way of a refugee camp in Mombasa, Kenya, having fled the Somali civil war four years earlier. They settled in the Cedar-Riverside neighbourhood of Minneapolis in 1997 after a brief stop in Virginia.They were among the first wave of Somali immigrants who settled in the 1990s in what has since grown to be one of the largest Somali-American communities in the U.S., with a population of more than 50,000.Unfazed by personal attacksBut while she was more politically engaged than the average teenager and went on to earn a political science and international studies degree from North Dakota State University, graduating in 2011, her first real election campaign gig was only seven years ago.In 2012 and 2013, she worked on the campaigns of Democratic Minnesota state senator Kari Dziedzic and Minneapolis city councilman Andrew Johnson, who kept her on staff until she made the leap to state politics."In a matter of just a few years, she went from being my senior policy aide to being a household name across the nation," Johnson said in an interview.Johnson, who has watched Omar fend off death threats and offensive comments based on her religion, said he's not surprised to see her unfazed by Trump's attacks."She is somebody who is shockingly at peace with this stuff," he said. "She doesn't just react to things from a very ego-based place. … She's mindful and is able to maintain that composure."Al-Qaeda remarks from 2013 continue to dog OmarIt was while she was working for Johnson that Omar made the remarks that have been seized upon by Trump to paint her as a supporter of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda.Omar was speaking on a PBS program, discussing why certain Arabic words, such as madrassa, which means school, are not translated into English when they are mentioned in the context of terrorism.She recalled how a professor of hers had said al-Qaeda with an emphasis that gave the word a larger meaning, raising his shoulders as he said it."You don't say 'America' with an intensity. You don't say 'England' with an intensity. You don't say, 'the army' with an intensity," she said in the clip (The exchange is here at minute 15:45-18:07.)It's a clip she has had to answer for ever since she stepped onto the national stage in the November 2018 midterms.More recently, comments she made about the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. have been similarly taken out of context, and she's come under scrutiny for her earlier advocacy on behalf of young Somali men in her community who had become radicalized. As a policy aide and a state legislator, she argued they needed stronger social supports and rehabilitation.The attention is not likely to temper her rhetoric, said Johnson, even if she has been, on occasion, tripped up by factual inaccuracies."She's a very passionate person," he said. "She has a very strong values-based, moral-based compass."Unseated 44-year incumbentHer ability to stay focused and energize supporters is what helped her pull off a historic upset in the 2016 election for the Minnesota state legislature, unseating a Democratic incumbent who had held the office for 44 years. She was able to pull together a wide base of support beyond the Somali community through grassroots campaigning on issues such as reducing student debt, expanding environmental protections and raising the minimum wage.Two years later, she emerged from a large field of Democrats, many of them more known than she was, to seize the open seat in the safely Democratic fifth congressional district, which includes Minneapolis and some surrounding suburbs."She did it on the strength of her biography," said Kevin Diaz, political editor at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which has covered Omar and dug into some of the controversial claims about her personal life.  "She had this compelling narrative to tell — she was a refugee from Somalia, a war-torn country, had done good in the community and was politically active. And that kind of thing resonates with Minnesota Democrats."Early community activismOmar's early interest in politics and social justice led to work as a community nutrition educator at the University of Minnesota and later as a child nutrition outreach co-ordinator at the Minnesota Department of Education and as a policy director with the Women Organizing Women Network.Her grounding in social advocacy has served her well in her first, scrappy session of Congress, said Abdirahman Kahin, 42, a friend who met Omar in 2002 when he filmed her Islamic wedding ceremony."She's a tough woman. I don't know if I would resist that long," he said.She has raised $1.5 million US for her re-election campaign already, rivalling some of the senior members of her party. In the House of Representatives, she scored a spot on the prestigious foreign affairs committee, where she earlier this year grilled veteran diplomat Elliott Abrams on his role in the Iran-Contra affair and U.S. involvement in the 1980s civil war in El Salvador. She has introduced eight and co-sponsored more than 350 bills so far on everything from school lunches to unlawful lobbying and the cancellation of $1.6 trillion US in student debt, as well as a controversial resolution related to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.Fight goes beyond politics for someAlthough the party has rallied around her in the wake of Trump's attacks, she is seen by some establishment Democrats as too incendiary, impatient and too far left on issues such as health care and immigration.To Republicans, she and the rest of the progressive wing are radicals with a socialist agenda that most Americans don't support and the country can't afford.Despite the outsized media attention she's received since taking office, Kahin still sees her as an underdog, thrust into the spotlight as a proxy to discredit the Democrats. "She's dealing with something that's bigger than her," said Kahin, who lives in St. Paul and owns Afro Deli, a restaurant and catering business.Even Somalis in Minnesota who don't share her politics support her in this fight, he said."It's too personal now. People are not even looking at those political differences."WATCH | Trump supporters chant 'Send her back' after he mentions Ilhan Omar:Personal life in spotlightOmar has two daughters — Isra, 16, an environmental activist, and Ilwad, who turned 7 last month — and a teenage son, Adnan.Little has been written about Omar's own siblings, but according to an Associated Press report she is the youngest of seven. Her mother reportedly died when Omar was two years old, and she was raised by her father, who drove a taxi and worked at the post office in Minneapolis, and grandfather. Questions about her personal life — primarily that she may have married a brother for some unspecified immigration benefit — were first raised in a Somali news forum and picked up by conservative media during her 2016 run for the state legislature.Omar has dismissed the claim as preposterous and said she has already revealed more than most politicians are asked to."Insinuations that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi is my brother are absurd and offensive," she said in a 2016 statement.The issue resurfaced in June during an investigation into misappropriation of campaign finances in Omar's state race. She was found to have misspent around $3,500 US and was ordered to repay it and fined $500. The state regulator's investigation also discovered Omar had improperly filed taxes with her first husband in 2014 and 2015 while separated but legally still married to her second husband and tried to keep details of her second marriage out of the press, the Star-Tribune reported. Diaz said that to date no one has presented a credible explanation of the supposed immigration scheme Omar's former husband, who was already in the U.S., would have benefited from. But, he said, there are questions about Omar's divorce proceedings and the overlap between the two men, who at one time shared an address with Omar, that if she answered them, could quash the rumours."The case is very circumstantial," he said. "There are lots of questions that beg for answers, and she's not offering them."'We have had our ups and downs'Omar has explained that she had married a man named Ahmed Hirsi in 2002 at age 19, but they never finalized the marriage licence. The two split in 2008, and a year later, she legally married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, a British citizen who, the Star-Tribune's reporting found, is now living in Kenya.They parted ways in 2011 when she reconciled with Hirsi, with whom she has three children. She officially divorced Elmi in December 2017 and a month later legally married Hirsi, who has worked as a banker and a financial adviser and as a policy aide at city hall, according to the Star-Tribune."We have married in our faith tradition and are raising our family together," Ilhan said of Hirsi in 2016. "Like all families, we have had our ups and downs, but we are proud to have come through it together."For Omar's supporters the questions about her marriage are a smear that will never be disproven to the satisfaction of her critics, who have gone so far as to call for DNA testing of Elmi.Jewish constituents critical of Israel statementsThe other controversy that continues to dog Omar is her stance on Israel, which has prompted Trump and some Republicans to brand her as an anti-Semite.She is an unapologetic defender of the Palestinian cause and the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement but has walked back some of her comments, acknowledging she "unknowingly" used offensive anti-Semitic terminology. She has drawn criticism for suggesting supporters of Israel in Congress have been bought off by lobbyists and for referring to the "evil doings of Israel."Those comments angered not only her critics and allies in Washington, who roundaboutly sanctioned her by passing House and Senate resolutions condemning anti-Semitism, but also some of her Jewish constituents in Minneapolis.The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas said it was "dispirited and appalled" when Omar decried those who "push for allegiance to a foreign country," meaning Israel.But when she was targeted this week in the president's tweets and at a Trump rally in North Carolina where supporters chanted "send her back," the Jewish community came to her defence."The president's racist tweets … are unacceptable," said Steve Hunegs, executive director of the council, in a statement.He went on to criticize Trump's liberal use of the term "anti-Semitic." "We are increasingly dismayed by President Trump's abuse of anti-Semitism and the debate over Israel to demonize his political opponents."WATCH | 'This is not about me': Omar responds to Trump rally taunts:No time for politicsWhile much has been made of Omar's support within the Somali community and her status as the country's first Somali-American state legislator and congresswoman, the district she represents is actually about 65 per cent white. "This is a very liberal city," said Diaz. "Yes, it's predominantly white, but less predominantly white all the time. There's a large Somali community here, which helped get her elected. There's a large Hmong population here. There's a lot of Nigerians here."The Somali community in the district is largely first generation, still struggling to break into American society, said Diaz.Hassan Husen knows that all too well. When asked what he and the patrons at Baarakallah, the Somali restaurant in Cedar-Riverside at which he works, think of Omar, he said most people are too busy to give her much thought."People, they don't have time. Most people work — two jobs, three jobs," he said in a phone interview with CBC News."All politicals [politicians], you know how they work. Democrats, Republicans, they talk at each other. It's been this way for years."He said Omar sometimes still comes to the neighbourhood, but the community recognizes she's on a much bigger stage now."She represents all the Minnesotan people, not just Somalis," he said.

  • Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

    VANCOUVER — Japanese Canadians across the country are meeting to discuss how an apology by the British Columbia government could be backed by meaningful action for those who were placed in internment camps or forced into labour because of racist policies during the Second World War.The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against "enemy aliens" after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941 but the president of the National Association of Japanese Canadians said British Columbia's apology in 2012 did not involve the community.Lorene Oikawa said the association is working with the provincial government to consider how it could follow up on the apology to redress racism. The majority of about 22,000 interned Japanese Canadians lived in B.C. before many were forced to move east of the Rockies or to Japan, even if they were born in Canada."We weren't informed about the apology so it was a surprise to us," Oikawa said about B.C.'s statement, which, unlike with the federal government's apology, did not go further to resolve outstanding historic wrongs that saw families separated and property and belongings sold."We accepted the apology but we just want to have that follow-up piece that was missing so that is what the current B.C. government has agreed to and started with this process of having community consultations," she said of the redress initiative funded by the province.Consultations began in May and by the end of July will have been concluded in Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and seven other communities in British Columbia. Online consultations are also being conducted before recommendations will be forwarded to the province this fall.So far, some participants have asked that school curricula include racism against Japanese Canadians as well as initiatives to educate the general public about the intergenerational trauma that families have experienced, Oikawa said.Lisa Beare, British Columbia's minister of culture, said the government is supporting the association as it holds consultations so community members can offer recommendations for legacy initiatives."We recognize that significant harm came to Japanese Canadians as a result of provincial government actions during the Second World War," she said in a statement. "Japanese Canadians became targets simply for their identity, and in many cases lost personal property, jobs and homes."Addie Kobaishi, 86, was born and raised in Vancouver but her family had to leave their home when they were relocated to the Tashme internment camp, the largest in Canada, near Hope, B.C.She said her grandmother and aunt ended up in a holding area at Hastings Park in Vancouver before they too were sent to Tashme, where residents faced brutally cold winters and had no indoor toilets or water as part of what was a "confusing" year and a half for her, starting at age 10."The conditions were harsh, the housing was harsh," she said from a Scarborough, Ont., nursing home where she attended consultations about B.C. redress. Kobaishi said her family settled in Montreal because of the discrimination they faced in Toronto, where they wanted to live, though she moved there in the late 1970s.Being interned and doing difficult farm labour changed many people's lives forever, she said, noting her father died at 47 and never did go back to B.C."My uncle said to me many, many years later that it spoiled his life. He did marry, he had two children, but he did end up an alcoholic," she said of Koazi Fujikawa, who had been sent to Yukon during the war as part of a crew constructing the Alaska Highway.Kobaishi called on the B.C. government to accompany its 2012 apology with substantial and ongoing education as part of the school curriculum to teach students about policies that uprooted Canadian citizens."I do think they should be held responsible for something more than just an apology," she said.Her daughter, Lynn Kobaishi, president of the Toronto chapter of the National Association of Japanese Canadians, said during the war politicians in B.C. lobbied the federal government to resort to racist policies."It was all driven by B.C. That disempowered and disenfranchised people and allowed what happened to happen," she said.Ryanne Macdonald, 21, a fourth-generation Canadian of Japanese descent, is trying to unravel her family's history with some clues from her reluctant grandmother's stories.She said her grandfather, Ryan Nakade, was 13 when his family's boat business was confiscated by the government and he was forced to labour at a farm in Grand Forks, B.C., over 500 kilometres from his home in Richmond."My grandfather passed away before I was born so I never got to hear the story from him," said MacDonald, who is currently doing a summer internship at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby, where she's working as an archival assistant."Since I started working there my grandma started talking about her experiences more, which is something she never opened up about before just because she tends to want to talk about it only with other people who've been through the same experience as her because they can relate," Macdonald said.She said she wants to be able to understand what her grandparents went through so those actions can't be repeated."I think it was terrible and it was unfounded fear that they were going off of because they were treating the Japanese Canadians like they weren't citizens. Both my grandparents, they were born in Canada."Macdonald said she learned about racism against Japanese Canadians in a Grade 10 social studies class but the content was "glossed over and it didn't seem as bad as it actually was."— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

  • 'Us and them': influence of Quebec anglos on decline with new Coalition government
    News
    The Canadian Press

    'Us and them': influence of Quebec anglos on decline with new Coalition government

    MONTREAL — Last March, Quebec Premier Francois Legault made a mocking remark in the legislature that the Liberals are still talking about.Responding to a question from interim Liberal Leader Pierre Arcand, a grinning Legault replied: "I'm not sure if I should be speaking in French or in English to the Liberal party today, so that they can understand properly."Legault was insinuating the Liberals — who had held power for almost 15 years before the October 2018 election — were the party of English-speaking Montreal, while the new Coalition Avenir Quebec government had the support of the francophone majority.The premier's comments might have been directed at the Official Opposition, but they reflected a new government tone and approach towards anglophones — particularly to the lobby groups and other institutions, such as school boards, that claim to speak for them.Legault's Coalition has its support base outside Montreal, and it isn't afraid of making policy decisions it knows are going to be massively unpopular with English speakers.Liberal member Greg Kelley, who represents a riding in Montreal's English-speaking West Island, said in a recent interview that Legault's government uses the rhetoric of us versus them."It's frustrating, because it's not the tone you want to hear from the premier," Kelley said of Legault's March comments."There is a lot of this: 'We have the support of the francophones, and you people are just the others.' You see it in what they say sometimes in the (legislature)."Just north of Montreal is Laval, home to the riding of Christopher Skeete, a member of Legault's Coalition and his point-man for relations with Quebec anglophones.Born to a Quebecois mother and a Trinidadian father, Skeete — a Laval native — is as comfortable in French as he is in English. And he defends his boss."When you look at Liberal support, you would be hard-pressed not to recognize that the Liberal party has been relegated to the island of Montreal," Skeete said. All but four of the 31 seats the Liberals won in the October election were in or around Montreal."They are in the last bastions of support," he continued. "I think it's fair game to highlight that in a partisan boxing match. Does it mean we have anything against English-speaking Quebecers? No."But recent cabinet decisions are creating a sense of anxiety among anglophones, who worry the worst is yet to come, said Geoffrey Chambers, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network.QCGN, an anglo-rights advocacy organization, had successfully lobbied the Liberal government in 2017 to create an office dedicated to the concerns of the province's main linguistic minority, called the secretariat for relations with English-speaking Quebecers.The secretariat's public face is now Skeete — and he isn't playing the role QCGN and the Liberals want him to play."The initial indications from the (Coalition) were that they were going to be quite open," Chambers said in a recent interview. But over time, Chambers realized the conversations his group was having with Skeete and others in the Coalition "were having absolutely no impact over policy."An example, Chambers said, was the removal of English-language signs at a hospital in Lachute, Que., about 80 kilometres northwest of Montreal. The province's language watchdog demanded last December they be removed despite protests from anglophone and francophone municipal politicians in the region.Legault defended the move, and Skeete backed him up.A month later, the education minister announced he would shut down an underused English high school in Montreal and transfer it to a French-language school board. In June, he took away another two underused English schools and gave them to the overcrowded French system, sparking an outcry in anglophone Quebec."Where was the secretariat on that?" asked Kelley. "I have a lot of serious reserves and doubts that the secretariat is executing its mandate."Skeete isn't buying it.French-language schools in Montreal have been overflowing for years, he said, and the Liberals let the problem fester during their time in power.Skeete even suggested the previous government was too afraid of upsetting anglophone power brokers and of losing votes to properly govern the city's school system."After 15 years of Liberals and Liberal ambitions ... now to have an outside party, who's never been in power, who doesn't owe anybody anything, making rational decisions based on fact — that's very unsettling for people who used to have immediate access and immediate influence," he said.But the big fight between anglophone organizations and the government likely still lies ahead.Chambers said the Lachute sign incident and the school transfers are "a worrying foreshadowing of bigger problems to come."The looming problem involves school boards, a particularly sensitive subject for Quebec' anglophone community. Elected English-language boards are one of the few institutions anglophones control."Everyone knows we plan to abolish school boards," Skeete acknowledged. But, he explained, any decision made by the government will respect the minority language education rights guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.He insists anglophones will not lose access to or control over their schools, but he nonetheless expects conflict with the QCGN.He insisted ordinary anglophones shouldn't worry. "We will have the best interests of the English community at heart," he said.Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press

  • THC slushies, pirate radio and the cannabis-driven boom in a Mohawk community
    News
    CBC

    THC slushies, pirate radio and the cannabis-driven boom in a Mohawk community

    Driving down Highway 401 in southern Ontario, with the FM dial tuned to 87.9, the 1990s-era rap music fades into an ad, offering a free joint with every purchase over $20 between midnight and 4:20 a.m. at the Pot Shoppe.A second ad then promotes a "car show for Jeeps" in the parking lot of the Pot Shoppe every Tuesday night."Don't forget, we have free coffee for the driver and our famous Pot Shoppe slushies at half-price for the passenger," the ad says. "THC-infused slushies — just a little more brain freeze."The transmission tower for the station — Real Peoples Radio — stands over a small shack that was once the second cannabis store to open in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, located about 200 kilometres east of Toronto. That shack is now the broadcasting studio for a pirate radio station that lives on the edge of the radio dial, and also streams online.Behind the microphone is Joseph Owl, from Serpent River First Nation, Ont., a full-time DJ at the station who hosts the 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. show.Owl was offered the job through friends and started working at the station at the start of June."This is the best [employment] opportunity I've come across," he said.The station is one of many offshoots from a cannabis-infused economic boom in this Mohawk community of 2,100, nestled on the shores of the Bay of Quinte, between Belleville and Kingston, and just a short drive from Prince Edward County, a growing tourism hotspot.There are dozens of cannabis stores here — some estimates place the number between 40 and 50 — with names like Smoke Signals, Better Buds, Legacy 420, Peacemaker 420, Buddy's Dispensary, Fiddler's Green and Cannabis Convenience.Cannabis plants sprout outside the front doors of some homes and hundreds more line the surrounding back lots and fields, for harvesting in late summer or early fall.The community is dotted with renovation and construction projects, including several new gas stations and at least one new franchise restaurant.Much of it is attributed to the influx of cash coming from sales at local cannabis stores, then spreading throughout the community."It's a straight up economic boom," said Jamie Kunkel, who owns one of the local shops, Smoke Signals.'Thousands of cars on a daily basis'Money was already coming into the community from outside customers looking for cheaper gas and cigarettes, Kunkel said. But the increased traffic from cannabis stores has meant more revenue for existing businesses."All the stores that existed prior to cannabis were all running busy all day long, making good money," said Kunkel. "You get the big rush coming in from the cannabis, thousands of extra cars on a daily basis.... Now there's lineups for cigarettes, lineups for gas."Kunkel said his own cannabis business has grown exponentially since he began a little over three years ago. He was involved with a business partner and then branched out on his own, opening a store out of his home before constructing a separate shop and eventually franchising out to four other First Nations in Ontario.He also bought the land adjacent to his storefront to run an annual Indigenous "Cannabis Cup" event; hip-hop group Naughty by Nature performed this year.The opening of Ontario's licensed cannabis shops in nearby cities like Kingston, Toronto and Ottawa — places where Tyendinaga draws the majority of its customers — has had some impact, Kunkel said. But overall, business is steady."Our traffic went down, but our sales stayed the same or increased, because the traffic that we did keep were the bigger ones," said Kunkel. "They are coming in, they are buying ounces ... half-ounces, plus whatever else it is they want."Kunkel said his prices are sometimes $10 less a gram for the same strain of marijuana sold at Ontario's regulated stores. "[Customers] don't want to go to those stores, they don't want to pay that much tax," he said.Susan and John Lovecchio, senior citizens from Brighton, Ont., about 60 kilometres west of Tyendinaga, said they shop at the Pot Shoppe because of the service."They've been super ... they are a pleasure to work with," said Susan Lovecchio, who received a senior's discount of $24 and spent about $130 on cannabis products.Lovecchio said she shops in Tyendinaga because there are no marijuana shops near her home. "I think it's great. The Natives are wonderful and they're making the most of this. And I say, 'Yeah, go for it.'"Only regulated cannabis is legal, Ottawa saysA cannabis economy began to bloom in Tyendinaga after the Liberal government first announced it would legalize cannabis. By Oct.17, 2018 — the date of legalization — the roots of the cannabis industry had already sunk deep into the community.It's all unfolded outside of the federal, provincial and territorial regulatory framework.Ottawa has said that federal and provincial cannabis laws would apply on reserves, but individual provinces and territories can make room for agreements with First Nations.According to the office of federal minister of border security and organized crime reduction, legal cannabis can only be sold through government-regulated stores. "The only legal quality-controlled source of cannabis in Canada is through provincially or territorially authorized distributors and retailers or federally licensed sellers that have the authorization of their health care practitioner to access cannabis for medical purposes," said Bill Blair's spokesperson, Marie-Emmanuelle Cadieux.Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General said in a statement that the province continues to "engage First Nations" who want to explore their own models for on-reserve cannabis sales. But, it said, "selling outside of Ontario's authorized retail system is illegal under federal and provincial law."Ontario recently announced it will soon allocate 50 new cannabis retail licences — including eight for First Nations on a first-come, first-served basis — up from the 25 licences handed out by the province earlier this year.According to Kunkel, there is little appetite in Tyendinaga to fall under federal and provincial rules and pay taxes, even if a deal were struck with the band. The cannabis industry in the community is also a political statement, Kunkel said, a display of sovereignty from a people who never surrendered their rights to self-governance.The Tyendinaga band council, known as the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte council, passed an interim cannabis bylaw on Oct. 16, 2018, and began community consultations on a permanent bylaw, which are still ongoing. Band survey revealed concernsThe council released the results of an online survey in April that was completed by 147 on-reserve band members. It revealed divided opinions on the issue, with many leaning toward stronger band control over the cannabis industry. Some of the participants, though, questioned the survey's accuracy, noting that it could be filled out multiple times by the same person and said that the questions were skewed.Some voiced concern over the rise in prices driven by the booming cannabis economy, along with complaints over the increased traffic and safety concerns."The pot market has driven up the price of property, making the housing situation worse," said one respondent."There does not appear to be any control over who sells cannabis or where shops are set up. I can think of a thousand things I would like our reserve to be noted for, but one is not for having a cannabis shop on every corner," said another respondent.Others said the industry was having a positive impact."The majority of these shops are employing a lot of community members that, without these shops, may be unemployed due to lack of transportation and job opportunities within our community," said a respondent. "With a few minor changes, I believe that the cannabis industry within our community can become something that will allow for our community to succeed," said another.The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte band council did not respond to an interview request.Tess Brant, a manager at the Pot Shoppe, said her job in the cannabis field "has made a huge improvement" in her life, beyond just her finances. "It's kept me on the straight and narrow," she said.Brant, a mother of four, is a recovering addict and took the job a little over a year ago after completing rehab."Being here, coming here, gave me a purpose," said Brant, noting she no longer smokes marijuana and instead uses CBD oil, a non-intoxicating extract derived from the cannabis plant.Brant works from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., running the store and handling the back end of the business, dealing with products and choosing what to sell or what take a pass on. "I can afford a house, I can afford a car, I can afford for my kids," said Brant, whose 24-year-old son also works at the store. "It's improved my life, 1,000 per cent."Brant said most customers come from Belleville, Kingston, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal; they even had a couple from Finland who stayed for a week to check out all the shops in the territory.Back at the studio of Real Peoples Radio, the speakers are thumping with hip-hop beats that fade as Owl breaks in with the weather — in his own pirate-radio style. "It's gonna be hot, high of 28, humidex out the roof. And all the crazy numbers they give you, just know that this is hot," said Owl. "And what are you doing out there on this hot day? Are you going on an adventure? Are you sending your kids off to camp so you can sit back and have your own at-home adventure?"Another ad then kicks in: "Want a free pre-roll?"

  • Expedia customer fights for $1,000 refund after being mistakenly told his flight was cancelled
    News
    CBC

    Expedia customer fights for $1,000 refund after being mistakenly told his flight was cancelled

    When Expedia told Ian McGrath that his March 13 return flight from Ghana to Senegal was cancelled — two days before take-off — the Canadian immigration officer scrambled to make alternate travel plans. But his real troubles began when he discovered that his flight actually wasn't cancelled. To make matters worse, neither McGrath's online travel agency, Expedia, nor his carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, automatically refunded the $1,047 he spent — on a flight he never took.McGrath spent close to four months trying to get his money back from Expedia. A week after CBC News contacted the company on July 2, it finally reimbursed him."That I have to go to such lengths to get a refund is kind of incredible," said McGrath who flew to Ghana to interview refugee claimants who want to come to Canada. "I feel like if I hadn't gone to media … I never would have seen the end of this."When passengers have a dispute with their airline, the rules are pretty clear. Canada's new federal air passenger protection regulations lay out standards of treatment for airlines, and dissatisfied passengers can file a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency. But when customers have a gripe with their travel agency, the route to a resolution gets more complicated. That's because travel agencies fall under provincial jurisdiction, so the regulations — and a customer's options — vary by province. "That seems to be what we have in this country, it's a patchwork," said Heather Craig-Peddie, vice-president of member relations with the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies. "It is very confusing for consumers."'No end to this'After months of trying to collect his refund, McGrath decided contacting the media was his best option. He first realized something was amiss after arriving at the airport in Accra, Ghana, to take his rebooked flight — which cost him an added $989. When McGrath checked the departure board, he discovered that his original flight — which Expedia had told him was cancelled — had actually just departed. "Smoke came out of my ears," he said. "I was just so upset."According to online correspondence with Expedia, on March 15, McGrath began to inquire about his $1,047 refund for the flight. Expedia responded that a "specialized department" was working on the case. McGrath continued to pester the agency both online and by phone over the next three months, and even threatened legal action.Meanwhile, Expedia repeatedly told him that Ethiopian Airlines must cough up the refund and that it was still looking into the matter. McGrath also emailed Ethiopian Airlines several times and got no reply. "I just was feeling a bit like banging my head against the wall," he said. "There just was no end to this."Who's to blame?After CBC News reached out, Expedia told McGrath he was getting a full refund. As for who's to blame, the agency said that, according to its records, Ethiopian Airlines had cancelled McGrath's return flight because he was mistakenly marked as a "no-show" for his initial flight to Ghana — even though he had boarded the plane. Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines told CBC News that it hadn't cancelled any flights. It suggested that Expedia had triggered the cancellation by misreading an airline code, so it appeared that McGrath was booked on the now-defunct KIWI International Air Lines. Expedia's cancellation notice to McGrath did incorrectly indicate he was booked with KIWI International for part of his flight. "The misinformation seemed to have emanated from Expedia," said Ethiopian Airlines spokesperson Hailu Woldekidan in an email. "We kindly advise … our customer to take up the issue with whoever released the false cancellation notification."Despite Ethiopian's response, Expedia denied any responsibility. "We will continue to work with the airline to make sure our travellers have the best possible experience, and as part of that commitment we processed the refund," Expedia spokesperson Mary Zajac said in an email.Who can I turn to?Besides the media, where can travellers turn when they have a gripe with their travel agency?Because McGrath booked his trip using Expedia.ca — which is based in Ontario — he could have filed a complaint with The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO), which administers the Ontario Travel Industry Act."We would look at it and go, 'OK, was there a contravention of the Act, did something happen here and is there a way we can find a resolution?'" said Dorian Werda, TICO's vice-president of operations.Currently, only Ontario, B.C. and Quebec have set regulations governing travel retailers and a provincial regulator that consumers can complain to if they have an unresolved dispute. Customers dealing with travel agencies in the rest of Canada can turn to other consumer complaints bodies such as the Better Business Bureau. They can also complain to the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies — but only if their agency has opted to become a member — which is voluntary. Werda said Canadians would be better served if there were a national protection scheme for all travel industry customers."We would love to see something across Canada. That would be wonderful."But even national rules wouldn't protect a customer who uses a travel agency not registered in Canada. In those cases, consumers have no domestic recourse.So when booking online where an agency's location is less obvious, Werda recommends that consumers check before they click and purchase. "Look at the URL, look where you are, who you booking with? Who are you giving your money to?"

  • Hibernia remains shut down as support vessels clean up oil spill
    News
    CBC

    Hibernia remains shut down as support vessels clean up oil spill

    Several support vessels were near the largest offshore oil platform off Newfoundland Sunday, as cleanup work continued on an oil spill that suspended production at Hibernia. In a statement Saturday night, Hibernia Management and Development Co. (HMDC) said four vessels have been collecting oil.A mixture of 12,000 litres of oil and water spilled into the ocean on Wednesday.The company said five third-party wildlife observers were also in the field.It noted that a report had been made about an oiled bird."An attempt was made to recover the bird utilizing a fast rescue craft, however, when the crew reached the area it could not locate the bird," the statement said. The report has been relayted to regulatory authorities, including the Canadian Wildlife Service, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board. The company said the Seabird Rehabilitation Centre is on standby as a precautionary measure. Flyovers continuingHMDC  said the vessels Atlantic Merlin and the Paul A Sacuta have deployed what are called single vessel side sweep measures. The vessels Atlantic Shrike and the Atlantic Kestrel have also been collecting oil using additional mechanical recovery equipment.Observations from the vessels and fly-overs continue.The company said all platform personnel are safe, and "production remains shut in," as the investigation continues.Hibernia is owned by a conglomerate of oil companies under the umbrella of HMDC, with the largest partner being ExxonMobil.This latest offshore spill is the second in the past year, after Husky Energy spilled 250,000 litres of oil into the North Atlantic last November. It was the largest spill in the history of the province's offshore.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • A workplace sexual violence victim speaks out to effect change
    Canadian Press Videos

    A workplace sexual violence victim speaks out to effect change

    Julia Gartley was a victim of sexual violence early in her mining career. Now she is working to change the culture for others in the still male-dominated industry.

  • Mexico says dodges bullet on 'safe third country' talks with U.S. after stemming migrant flows
    News
    Reuters

    Mexico says dodges bullet on 'safe third country' talks with U.S. after stemming migrant flows

    MEXICO CITY/SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - Mexico said on Sunday it averted the so-called "safe third country" negotiations with the United States it desperately wanted to avoid after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Mexican efforts in reducing U.S.-bound migrant flows. Pompeo met with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard on Sunday in Mexico City amid heightened bilateral tension ahead of a July 22 deadline on a deal that removed tariff threats on Mexican exports.

  • Province faces catastrophic nature loss if it doesn't conserve more land, charity says
    News
    CBC

    Province faces catastrophic nature loss if it doesn't conserve more land, charity says

    New Brunswick will suffer a "nature emergency" if it doesn't conserve more land, beginning with wilderness around the Restigouche River, says the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. The province already protects 4.6 per cent of New Brunswick, or 3,386 square kilometres scattered around the province, but the society's Roberta Clowater says that's not enough. She said the total needs to more than double fairly quickly to ward off a nature emergency, which the society describes as a catastrophic loss of nature combined with the effects of climate change. "We're calling it a nature emergency because we want to increase the level of attention and urgency that people have when they think about what we need to do to protect nature," said Clowater, executive director of the New Brunswick chapter of the society. A report by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society this week called on the federal government to protect or restore 30 per cent of land and inland waters in the country by 2030, or triple what's currently protected. In New Brunswick, Clowater said, pollution and degradation and loss of habitat have left species such as songbirds, Atlantic salmon, coastal birds and marine animals at risk or endangered.And minimal conservation efforts also affect people in the province, she said."The natural areas that surround us, that often we think of as home for wildlife, is actually part of our own life support system, so we really rely upon the natural areas around all of our communities in New Brunswick," Clowater said. She said having healthy natural areas can protect humans from heat waves, extreme cold and flooding and provide habitat for pollinators that contribute to a stable food supply."If we don't start dealing with our nature emergency, both in New Brunswick and across Canada, we are going to have to start putting millions and millions of dollars into replacing some of these services that we currently get for free," she said. The national report suggests areas where land could be protected and the wilderness around the Restigouche River in northern New Brunswick is among them. Clowater thinks the province could conserve 10 per cent of its land by next year if it did just that. "But what we need now is the political will in the province to actually have an action plan for New Brunswick that fits in with the rest of Canada," she said.Jean Bertin, a spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Resource Development, said the department is working on conserving more land. "New Brunswick has the potential to significantly increase the area of land and freshwater that we permanently conserve," Bertin said in an email statement.He said more details about conservation will be released in the coming months.Clowater wants people to start talking about what needs to be done."This is the new normal, that we actually need to address what's happening with that life support system that we all depend on."

  • Pot offers new hope for rural towns hurt by decline of the fishery
    News
    CBC

    Pot offers new hope for rural towns hurt by decline of the fishery

    With legal cannabis a growing industry in the country, and edibles about to become available in the fall, lots of prospective businesspeople are trying to get a piece of the action.In rural Newfoundland, there's a trend happening in the industry.Former fish plants that have been shuttered for lack of product turn out to be perfect for growing pot.There aren't that many large buildings available for food production in rural Newfoundland, and cannabis counts as food under federal regulations because it's consumed. Many of them have three-phase power, which is needed in industrial buildings, a reliable source of water and lots of growing space.In Fair Haven, Bond Rideout bought the plant to process fish in 2006 and then decided to switch to cannabis after he was approached to apply for a grow licence by Health Canada and encouraged by the RCMP.He's focusing on producing cannabis for medical use."The medicinal side in my opinion is much more beneficial to society in general, but it's also much more lucrative too from a business perspective. And that's being mitigated right now through the easiness and accessibility of the recreational market," he said.Chris Snellen, who owns the former Ocean Choice International shrimp plant in Jackson's Arm, has applied to Health Canada for a licence to grow pot for edibles. However, there's a long regulatory process to pass through before approval."Our experience in New Brunswick was we waited 3½ years there. But we did get it," Snellen said with a laugh.Rideout has already met the most of the approval requirements."The regulations have changed so many times now since I started at it, it'd be almost folly to tell you what they are," he said."They used to change almost daily. As soon as there was a change in government or somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed, there seemed to be a new regulation we had to adhere to and follow."A couple of years ago, he said, approval was a nine-stage process, with different requirements at every step."Stage 4, if memory serves me correctly, the owner had to not have a criminal record. You had to do your security checks."Rideout even had to submit the light bills from any buildings he owned to prove he wasn't powering an illegal grow-op.Snellen says he's likely going to have to use his plant for other purposes if he hopes to make any money before the pot licence comes through."Well, we used to run a lettuce farm here in St.John's so all that equipment will be going there," he said. "And we'll set up some small-scale food production while we're waiting. We'll be working on a water-bottling line."They're also considering infusing an extract of chaga — a fungus that grows on birch trees in the area — into a beverage as well.In Port Union, the shrimp plant was seriously damaged during Hurricane Igor in 2010 and never reopened. A new owner has applied for a licence to grow pot there.The mayor, Shelley Blackmore, says the new application isn't going as smoothly since the recent implementation of a new rule that says renovations on a building have to be complete before approval.A fourth application from the owner of the former High Liner plant in Burin — which used to make Filet-O-Fish patties for all the McDonald's restaurants in Canada before it closed in 2013 — is before Health Canada as well.But pot production won't replace the hundreds of jobs lost in rural Newfoundland and Labrador in the last eight years.Numbers provided by the provincial government tell us in 2010, there were 102 primary production fish plants. Last year, that number was down to 69. Still, Chris Snellen says every bit of employment in those communities helps."That plant used to employ around 300 people so I don't think it'll ever see that. But we'd be tickled pink with five or six jobs, you know. And I think the town would be too. They're pretty supportive and any kind of job activity is … it's pretty quiet down there these days."Provincial government not much helpRideout says the provincial government could do a lot more to help local growers get rural operations off the ground."You know, our province is always saying Newfoundland is ready for business," he said. "There's no bigger lie that's ever been said. We're simply not ready for business. When you're talking about doing big business or big industry in rural Newfoundland, you find yourself cut off at the heels."He points to the government's decision to offer Ontario-based Canopy Growth $40 million in tax remittances in exchange for the company's agreement to build a production facility in the province while local entrepreneurs struggle on their own. Using my tax dollars to fund my competition, that's crazy. \- Bond Rideout"I've got millions tied up in this industry now," he said."This is just money in, money in, money in with nothing coming back. And then your government stepping on your feet along the way."He said he doesn't mind competitors entering the market."But using my own tax dollars to fund my competition, that's crazy," he said."I love competition, and if Tweed (Canopy Growth's provincial subsidiary) wants to come in on there own wherewithal and build a building next door to me, rock and roll all day long. I'll fight you on a business-to-business level. But don't stack the deck against me."While frustrated with the licensing process, Snellen still views the industry with a sense of humour. In planning a name for his product, he's thinking of "Sea Weed." And he says his plant's location on Route 420 — slang for cannabis or its use — is marketing gold.People who need work in rural fishing communities hope he's right.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • 'Nerd renaissance': Why Dungeons and Dragons is having a resurgence
    News
    CBC

    'Nerd renaissance': Why Dungeons and Dragons is having a resurgence

    It's no secret that a "nerd renaissance," as Daniel London calls it, is taking place.He is one of a few professional Dungeon Masters — someone who designs and directs Dungeons and Dragons games as a full-time job.He's seen the popularity of The Big Bang Theory, Stranger Things and Marvel movies and how they have brought activities like role-playing games out of the shadows.Dungeons and Dragons — a fantasy game based on storytelling that was created more than 40 years ago — is one of those games.Where there was once a "nerd shame" associated with playing, London said veterans who have been playing with friends since childhood are able to be more open with their interest.Getting in the game can be toughFor new players interested in its resurgence and looking to get into the game though, one thing — the gatekeeping —hasn't changed all that much."When I was in high school in the early 2000s, there was three or four groups of people who would play D&D, and that was it," London said. "Nobody wanted to come and join our groups, and we were very hesitant to let people in."That's something he's trying to change.London runs a Dungeons and Dragons drop-in game reserved exclusively for beginners. It's a way to bypass the hurdles associated with starting out in the game.As complex as it can be, a group of friends interested in fantasy and role-playing is needed to get a game going, London said.On top of that, the many rules make for a steep learning curve, and, if the other players have been playing since childhood, it can be difficult to keep up.New-found acceptanceAll that combines to make the game somewhat inaccessible to new players, despite its new-found acceptance. "Just struggling to not know people in the circles is a big problem, and not knowing where to go to find people," London said."That's why I post online, saying, 'I'm looking for anybody willing to try it out.' And you'd be surprised the kind of scope of people I get to come in to play."Those bi-weekly drop-ins, London said, have proven to be successful, showcasing a need for more opportunities like it."I have had easily 150 new people at my table," London said, "which shows that in a city this size there is an outcry for it."Jackie MacLeod, a recruitment administrator and new player, agrees.MacLeod said she first became interested in playing Dungeons and Dragons more than 10 years ago, as friends of hers at the time were playing, but she didn't feel comfortable joining their games, or starting herself. "If you don't know someone who knows the game, it can be really challenging to get started," MacLeod said.It wasn't until years later that she stumbled on Dungeons & Flagons, a similar introductory D&D experience, through a Good Robot Brewing.Players from varied backgroundsIt was her search for something more consistent and structured, for other players at a similar level, that brought her to London's table.Both London and MacLeod stressed the various backgrounds present at these games, as they're often filled with people all searching for a space to get started."I have lawyers, doctors, mechanics, janitors, the whole spectrum comes into play games, people I wouldn't have expected, to be honest," London said.It's a development he's glad to see, and one he says he hopes continues.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Calls for regulating trampoline parks, new airline passenger rights: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet
    News
    CBC

    Calls for regulating trampoline parks, new airline passenger rights: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

    Miss something this week? Don't panic. CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday.The B.C. safety authority is calling for more regulation of trampoline parks following our investigation into safety concerns. The recommendation from Technical Safety B.C. (TSBC) also follows a 2018 death in the province and several serious injuries. TSBC says the parks are a potential public safety risk. Our hidden camera investigation found risky behaviour was ignored. New airline passenger rightsThe next time your flight doesn't go as planned, a new set of rules will dictate what you're entitled to. Some rules kicked in this week (including up to $2,400 in compensation for getting bumped from a flight), while others will change in December. In 2017, we investigated whether an air passenger bill of rights would offer the protection you want.Why glass dishes can explode unexpectedlyYou might want to check your glasses for tiny imperfections and impurities. A woman in Victoria says she is lucky she wasn't hurt when a brand-new glass mixing bowl violently shattered in her home. An expert says faulty glasses or ones built with poor formulations can cause catastrophic failure. Health Canada says since 2014, there have been 71 documented cases of glass dishes shattering unexpectedly where temperature was not a factor.Are parasites in your fish harmless?Pulling dozens of squirming worms from a raw fish you just bought at the supermarket might not be the most appetizing sight, but experts say they're harmless and chances are you're already eating worms without knowing it. They also say the worms only pose a health risk if alive.Canada flags nearly 900 food items from ChinaGumballs with "extraneous" metal, three-minute chow mein that contained an insect and spicy octopus flagged for a "non-specific hazard" were just some of the imports from China that recently caught the attention of officials. Canadian inspectors intercepted nearly 900 food products over concerns about faulty labels, unmentioned allergens and harmful contaminants between 2017 and early 2019.Trash from U.S., Canada shipped to CambodiaCambodia is figuring out how to deal with 83 shipping containers of plastic waste, 13 of which came from Canada. If you're feeling like you've heard this story before, it's because several countries have been dealing with unwanted shipments of waste after China started refusing shipments. Last year we took a look at why going plastic-free is so hard, especially at the grocery store.What else is going on?The latest in recallsMarketplace is looking for parents and kids to take our testDo you know what goes on at your kid's school? We're looking for parents and their kids in the Greater Toronto Area who are willing to take our test on camera. From who's your kid's favourite teacher to what have they learned so far in sex ed. We want to know how much parents really know — and this time, the kids get to do the grading! Please email caitlin.taylor@cbc.ca.Are you the ultimate bargain hunter?Marketplace is looking for families or friends about to plan a vacation together. Do you know how to spot extra charges or hidden fees? Do you think you are a good negotiator? Perhaps you have what it takes to compete against other Canadians on Marketplace's vacation challenge. If you want to show our producers how you can beat the fees and get the best vacation deal, please email jenny.cowley@cbc.caWhat should we investigate next?Our television season has wrapped, but you can catch up on previous Marketplace investigations on CBC Gem. From scams and misleading marketing claims to products and services that could put your health at risk, we are working on bringing you brand-new investigations this fall. If you have a story you think we should be covering, email us at marketplace@cbc.ca.

  • Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

    OTTAWA — The federal government is fighting a proposed class-action lawsuit against the RCMP over bullying and intimidation of members, saying the national police force already has a comprehensive policy on harassment and the Mounties have made strides toward modernization.In a submission to the Federal Court of Canada, lawyers representing the attorney general argue the action spearheaded by two veteran male Mounties, Geoffery Greenwood and Todd Gray, should not be certified."This motion is not about whether there is, or has been a harassment problem in the RCMP, or even whether the RCMP leadership has appropriately responded to the problem," the federal submission says."The sole question is whether the proposed claims ought to proceed through the vehicle of a class action. The proposed action fails to satisfy even the law threshold for certification."The RCMP has already settled class-action lawsuits involving millions of dollars of payouts for discrimination, bullying and harassment involving female RCMP members and those who served the force in non-policing roles from 1974 onwards.The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP in a wide array of roles over the decades. It would, however, exclude women already covered by the other class actions. Greenwood and Gray, both of whom live in Alberta, allege they were among those subjected to a culture of systemic bullying, intimidation and harassment that was fostered and condoned by the RCMP leadership.They claim such behaviour was bolstered by barriers that "amplified a stark power imbalance" within the paramilitary structure of the force and prevented members from engaging in collective bargaining or other meaningful redress.The sole avenue of recourse was through members of the chain of command who were either involved in such behaviour themselves or protected the perpetrators, the plaintiffs say. "This in turn created a toxic work environment, characterized by abuse of power and fear of reprisal."More than 800 potential class members from across the country had contacted lawyers handling the action as of last October.The motion for certification was argued in part during two days of hearings last month. No court date has been set to complete the arguments.The RCMP has "unequivocally acknowledged" the problem of bullying and harassment and is taking concrete steps to address it, the federal submission says. "Indeed, concerted and ongoing efforts and resources have been directed to preventing and properly addressing conduct which is, and has always been, contrary to the RCMP Code of Conduct and RCMP policies."The Trudeau government has directed new commissioner Brenda Lucki to make the national police force representative of Canada's diverse population by embracing gender parity and ensuring that women, Indigenous members and minority groups are better reflected in the upper ranks.The RCMP has worked to implement the scores of recommendations flowing from reports in recent years that documented the police force's shortcomings, the federal lawyers say. The suggestion that the RCMP actions are insufficient and that a class action is the only way to bring about change ignores these efforts, they add."Ensuring a robust internal-recourse disciplinary regime that effectively addresses inappropriate conduct is essential to changing the culture of the RCMP."The federal lawyers argue the case for certification also fails because the courts have consistently declined — save for the most exceptional circumstances — to assume jurisdiction over workplace disputes covered by comprehensive grievance and other specialized recourse schemes.The existing workplace dispute-resolution and compensation regimes are preferable "and will be undermined if this action is certified," the submission says.Further, the lawyers argue, the proposed class definition is "overly broad and indeterminate," stretching back to the oldest individual who was, at any point, employed by the RCMP. Apart from the lead plaintiffs' own experiences as regular-force members, there is no evidence of people in other RCMP employment categories who have suffered injuries as a result of harassment, the submission says.— Follow @JimBronskill on TwitterJim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

  • 'I've come a long way': A year on, Danforth shooting survivor Danielle Kane hopeful through pain
    News
    CBC

    'I've come a long way': A year on, Danforth shooting survivor Danielle Kane hopeful through pain

    Danielle Kane and her boyfriend, Jerry Pinksen, were out for a friend's birthday at a busy restaurant in Toronto's Greektown neighbourhood on a summer Sunday. It was the evening of July 22, 2018.Outside 7Numbers, commotion broke out on Danforth Avenue; a frantic woman burst in saying someone had been shot.Pinksen, a emergency room nurse, and Kane, a nursing student at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, immediately got up to help.They hardly made it out the door when they came face-to-face with Faisal Hussain, who fired at least eight bullets in their direction.One of them tore through Kane's stomach and diaphragm before shattering her T11 vertebra, near the base of her spine.In that moment, Kane became one of the 13 people injured in the mass shooting that also claimed the lives of 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis.Hussain, 29, died of a self-inflicted shot to the head after a gunfight with police. Kane, 32, who spent 11 days in a medically induced coma and underwent multiple surgeries, survived.The National first spoke to Kane last summer, just a month after the shooting, at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, where she was immersed in intensive physical therapy.A year later, this time in the lobby of the downtown apartment building she and Pinksen share, Kane appears effervescent. She spoke to us on what she calls a "good pain day."Pain the new normal"It's been a really tough year. I'm really surprised about how long the rehabilitation process is taking, especially regarding the chronic pain that I'm experiencing," Kane told The National's Andrew Chang. "It's like an intense pins-and-needles feeling from my waist down. It's quite all encompassing. Like half your body is trapped in concrete."Kane's pain management regimen includes a variety of medications, including pregabalin (Lyrica) in addition to CBD oil and medical marijuana, which helps her from feeling overwhelmed by constant, nagging pain. Kane says the pain, more than the inability to walk, is the most debilitating aspect of her recovery."We knew that the disability, the paraplegia ― she will never walk again ― was an issue and we were preparing for that. But this new element of pain, it's been difficult," Pinksen said. "The pain management takes up all of her day and there's nothing I can do to take her pain away."A year ago, the question of regaining some mobility in her legs remained open. Now she, and Pinksen, have moved beyond that hope."Honestly, it's hard for me to see all the other able-bodied young people and just seeing how freely they move through the world. And it just it reminds me of what was taken away from me.… It's hard," Kane said."When I have those thoughts, I kind of need to, like, go home and into a private space where I can kind of digest those thoughts, and, I guess, focus on the fact that I'm so lucky to be here still."Mental health and the shooterIn her first interview with The National in September 2018, Kane expressed sympathy for Hussain. At the time, she avoided using his name. Now she doesn't hesitate."Faisal clearly had these issues for a long time and he fell through the cracks," she said. "The investigation showed just how long he had been dealing with mental health issues and clearly he needed help and he didn't get it."WATCH: Danforth shooting survivor Danielle Kane on why she feels sorry for gunmanIn the days following the shooting, Hussain's family put out a statement detailing their son's long history of mental illness, including depression and psychosis.For Kane, she says her sense of compassion is rooted in her own battles with depression. "I've been in really dark places where I felt like I was on the outside, or that my life wasn't going as I expected and, you know, I felt like maybe it would be better if I wasn't around," she said."I understand how someone who is alone would have trouble getting out of that negative spiral. I know it's hard for other people to believe, but we need to bring in people like Faisal and love them. None of us are perfect."After a nearly yearlong investigation, investigators said they were unable to pinpoint a motive for the shooting spree.Returning to the sceneThe couple doesn't talk much about that night ― Pinksen says it can hinder their recovery and their ability to move forward ― but they have been back to the Danforth since the shooting. It happened by accident, and instead of fear or hatred, Kane said she felt stronger being back at the scene.Kane and Pinksen were dropping friends off at home after stopping at a pub on St. Patrick's Day, when they happened to pass by Bowden Street — where Kane was shot. WATCH: Danielle Kane reflects on returning to the Danforth after mass shooting"Just to see it again, how narrow the street is and how close the shooter was to me, I'm again reminded of how lucky I am to be alive, because I could not have been closer to him," she said."It was surprising to me. I thought I might feel afraid. But instead I feel stronger because I've come a long way since the last time I was there. I was bleeding and broken and now I've been put back together and I'm on the path to recovery."Plans for the futureKane had planned to return to nursing school in January, but the challenges of her recovery have pushed that goal down the road."I expect to be able to get back to some kind of normal adult life. Working, going back to school. But I'm just realizing that the timeframe I need to move on to those steps is going to be a little bit farther away than I want it to be," she said."It's hard to know how many days of clarity, of concentration I'll be able to string together. I don't want to go back before I'm ready."The pair does have plans to relocate to Oshawa, Ont., into a home they plan to make fully accessible with the help of financial support from donors.Their new home is also a short walk from the Abilities Centre, where Kane plans to continue her physical rehabilitation, as well as the Ontario Institute of Technology, where Kane one day plans to continue studying to become a nurse."I just think about other people around the world who have been victims of violent crime or who've been victims of war, and I think of how lucky we are to live in Canada," she said."We have health care. We have insurance. So we're set up nicely to handle this and to overcome it. For that, we're so grateful."

  • Renowned Quebec City chef heads north to learn Indigenous ways of cooking
    News
    CBC

    Renowned Quebec City chef heads north to learn Indigenous ways of cooking

    A renowned Quebec City chef recently visited the northern community of Chisasibi, Que., because he is studying Cree ways of cooking fish.Stéphane Modat, an avid hunter and fisher, is the head chef of Quebec City's Fairmont Le Château Frontenac.Since the spring, he has travelled from Nunavik to the shores of the Saint Lawrence River researching for a new book he is working on about cooking fish in Quebec.Modat said Indigenous ways of cooking are an important part of his research because of its traditional methods."If I want to make my recipes authentic, I need to know how the first people cook. They made the original Quebec cuisine and it's important to learn this."Before going to Chisasibi, Modat was in Salluit — one of Quebec's northernmost communities — with his photographer and co-author Frédéric Laroche. There they studied Inuit techniques for cooking Arctic char.In the James Bay region, Laroche and Modat fished for brook trout, lake trout, speckled trout, pike, whitefish and walleye."In James Bay, it's the quantity of different species you can find. That's pretty impressive compared to the other places we've been," Laroche said. "You could have six or seven different species in the same water."Since beginning their research in the spring, the two have also travelled to Newfoundland and Labrador and the Magdalen Islands. James Bay is the last stop on their trip to close out their summer.'I couldn't believe it'The duo's first excursion in the region was with Chisasibi resident and guide Jerry Rupert. Rupert took the authors to his camp on the coast of James Bay where they netted fish and exchanged cooking techniques on the shore over an open fire.What amazed Rupert were the local herbs and plants Modat collected to flavour the fish — such as sweetgrass, juniper and spruce buds."He collected them from the trees and the ground and he put them in the frying pan. I couldn't believe it. I didn't know we could cook those things," Rupert said.After the tour, Rupert said he cooked goose wings for the men in his teepee."I wanted to show them the way my father used to cook goose wings over the fire, the traditional way."Chisasibi resident Charlie Louttit took the men out to the bay to fish, and taught them cooking and other Cree techniques for surviving when stranded on an island."It's important for people to know what to do when something goes wrong. Those skills don't just belong to the Crees. They belong to everyone that is out on the land," Louttit said.Modat also attended the Mamoweedow Minshtuk festival — when the town of Chisasibi returns to the original settlement on the island of Fort George for a week of celebrations — for more cooking experiences.That's where Modat traded cooking techniques with the traditional cooks of the festival."It's all about sharing. Sharing our experiences and our ways of cooking," Modat said.Cree ways different from SouthOne of the highlights of his trip was trying the different variations on Cree food that he was not aware existed, like the different ways of preparing bannock — cooking it on a stick, with fish eggs, or on an open fire on the shores of James Bay.Modat said he likes how everything is fresh and readily available in season, like the fish."Here you put out your net and eat the fish, no middleman. We ate fish all week and it was so fresh and natural."The men said they're anxious to return to the North to experience fall and winter cooking.Their new book is scheduled to be released in November 2019.

  • Strength of Mi'kmaq women focus of new exhibit
    News
    CBC

    Strength of Mi'kmaq women focus of new exhibit

    Island photographer Patricia Bourque hopes her new exhibit featuring portraits of Mi'kmaq women will help people see beyond some of the stereotypes and assumptions associated with Indigenous women — and focus on their strength and grace instead.  The exhibit is called Beyond The Regalia. Bourque's subjects range from artisan Melissa Peter-Paul to lawyer Cheryl Simon to Mi'kmaq elder Alma MacDougall, who died last month.   "When I photograph the women, whether it's at powwows or whether it's at events or just in portraits, I see them with so much respect," said Bourque."I want to give them honour. I want to elevate them where they should be, where I see them at. And I hope that they feel that in their hearts when they see themselves up here on the walls because that's how I see them."Each photo is accompanied by a description of the person captured — details Bourque hopes visitors will take a moment to read. "I want you to read our stories and learn who we are," said Bourque. "I'm so happy when I hear people are reading the stories and not just looking at the pretty pictures." Bourque said she also hopes the images will give viewers a reason to pause and reflect upon the many missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.Part of the exhibit features her own red dress, a frequently used symbol of MMIWG, photographed in various locations — a beacon of bright colour in an otherwise black and white image. "That's my honour to all those missing sisters that have been murdered or have gone missing or are even living in violence at this very moment," said Bourque. "I just wanted to pay honour to them and remember them every day."She said even though the focus started with changing the way Mi'kmaq women are perceived, it has also changed the way she sees herself and has helped her appreciate the power of the images she captures. 'It's been magical'"My camera, that's my voice," said Bourque."I can tell a story with my camera. It's been magical and it's changed my way of thinking about myself. I'm ready, I'm excited to show what I can really do. I knew I could do it before but now I believe it. I believe in myself more now. That's a pretty cool gift." Beyond the Regalia is on display at The Guild in Charlottetown until Aug. 18.More P.E.I. News

  • News
    Reuters

    New Zealanders hand over 10,000-plus guns and weapons parts in buy-back scheme

    New Zealanders have handed over more than 10,000 guns, weapons parts and accessories in the first week of a buy-back scheme prompted by the country's worst peacetime mass shooting, police figures released on Sunday show. A gun reform law passed in April banned most semi-automatic firearms, parts that convert firearms into semi-automatics, magazines over a certain capacity and some shotguns. The buy-back comes four months after a lone gunman with semi-automatic weapons attacked Muslims attending Friday prayers in Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island, killing 51 people.

  • May says Greens will work with any party that has a serious plan for the climate
    News
    The Canadian Press

    May says Greens will work with any party that has a serious plan for the climate

    OTTAWA — With three months until Canadians vote in the next federal election, Green party leader Elizabeth May says her big hope for the final result is a minority government over which she can exert some influence.In fact, May thinks that influence could even get the Conservatives to drop their dyed-in-the-wool opposition to carbon taxes if it means the difference for them between governing or spending more time in opposition."People change their minds when they see the dynamic of a way a Parliament is assembled and maybe think, 'Killing carbon taxes isn't such a good idea if the only way I get to be prime minister is by keeping them,' " May says.It would be unprecedented for the Greens to hold the balance of power at the federal level but it has happened provincially. In British Columbia, the Greens' three seats are keeping NDP Leader John Horgan's minority government in office. In New Brunswick, the minority Tory government can turn to either the Greens or the righter-wing People's Alliance for support on confidence votes.In Prince Edward Island, the Greens formed the official Opposition after the spring vote, the best finish the party has ever had in a Canadian election.Federally, May says she could support a minority government of any party but only if that party is serious about acting to stop climate change."We will negotiate with anyone, we will talk to everyone, but we won't compromise on climate action," she says.On a multi-city, pre-campaign tour of the country that began last winter, May was found last week bumping along rural roads in Ontario south of Barrie, Ont., driven around in a Tesla owned by a local party volunteer. She won't call the events Green party rallies — they are "community matters" meetings, even though in almost the next breath she talks about how cool it is to be greeted by throngs of people waving Green signs and shouting "We love you, Elizabeth!"Those greetings are new to her, even though this is the fourth national campaign for the 65-year-old, who in 2011 became the first Green MP elected in Canada.She says this campaign feels very different, with a "groundswell" of support, and she is holding out hope this one won't end with Green backing collapsing on voting day as Canadians turn to parties with better chances of winning.Nik Nanos, founder of Nanos Research, says that is always a risk, even though the Greens are polling better than ever."The challenge for the Greens is that they might be a safe haven for disgruntled progressive Liberals and NDP voters," he says. "If there is the chance of a Conservative win, Green support, even with the goodwill for the party and the leader, may swing back to the Liberals to block a Conservative win."Nanos says the "best scenario" for May and the Green party is that Canadians don't think anyone will form a majority and they want more Greens in the House of Commons.May doesn't say it quite as directly."I think it's really important to communicate with Canadians how our democracy works and that a minority Parliament is the very best thing, if, and this is a big if, you have parties and MPs in Parliament who are committed to working together," she says.And by "working together" she specifically means to slow climate change with policies that drastically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, don't build any more oil pipelines and replace fossil fuels with renewable energy as fast as possible.But even within her own party, there is a dispute erupting about how fast that can happen.The head of Quebec's Green party, Alex Tyrrell, launched a petition about three weeks that has drawn signatures of provincial and federal Greens, including several whose names will be on the ballot for the party in October. That petition says May's plan to continue to use Canadian oil for years, and even invest in upgraders so bitumen from Alberta's oilsands can be turned into gasoline at Canadian refineries, is nowhere near the aggressive climate action needed.Tyrrell says he will still vote for the federal Greens this fall but he is disappointed in May's position.May dismisses Tyrrell's criticism entirely and denies any of the petition's backers are running for the federal party — although she is wrong about that.Cass Romyn, who is the Green candidate in the Edmonton-area riding of Sturgeon River-Parkland, signed it. Romyn says not to read too much into the petition, though, saying the Greens are a true democracy and differences of opinion are not a bad thing.Romyn also says that with more Canadians feeling the heat of climate change in their own backyards, the growing interest in the Green party should not be surprising.Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

  • Familiar St. George landmark to be demolished
    News
    CBC

    Familiar St. George landmark to be demolished

    A 65-year-old water tower that dominates the St. George skyline is coming down. Jason Gaudet, chief administrative officer for St. George, said the town is in the process of finding a contractor to tear down the distinctive red and white striped tower. The 35-metre tall structure is one of the highest points in St. George. "If you drive along the highway, you'll instantly notice it," said Gaudet. "It just peeks up over the trees. It's always present there."Gaudet said some residents want the tower to remain standing, but that would require annual inspections and maintenance. "It's past its prime," Gaudet said. The town considered turning it into a lookout platform or apartment building, Gaudet said, but ultimately decided it wasn't feasible to leave the tower standing."We did look at all those other options and it just didn't really make any sense to do anything but bring it down."A new water tower was installed in St. George in 2017. The $80,000 to $90,000 demolition price tag for the old tower was factored into the plan to build the new one.Demolition will begin in late August or earlier September, Gaudet said. Contractors will take the tower apart piece by piece, a process that will take nearly two months to complete, he said. Roads around the water tower, including Carleton Street and Main Street, may be closed or partially closed during the demolition.Although the new water tower serves the majority of residents, two to three homes are still using the old one and may have their water shut off for a couple of days during demolition. Gaudet said the town is looking to preserve the light and hatch at the top of the tower. "We do get the sense that it has so much meaning to people, so we'd like to have a little bit of a reminder."

  • Quebec brewery lends its chimneys to a flock of feathered tenants
    News
    CBC

    Quebec brewery lends its chimneys to a flock of feathered tenants

    The Dunham Brewery in the Eastern Townships is home to more than just hops, kegs and bottles; it is a summer sanctuary for endangered chimney swifts who live in the old building's flues.Throughout the summer months, patrons of the brewery can see the small birds circling above the patio — and hear their signature chirp.At dusk, from May to August, people can watch more than a dozen birds do a rapid, single-file dive into the flues. "It was kind of a surprise, and it was a bit funny as well, because we don't get a lot of attention for the birds, more for our beers," said Simon Gaudreau, a co-owner of the brewery.Gaudreau and his partners were approached by Appalachian Corridor, a local conservation organization, and told the chimney swifts were in the region.The small birds — less than 15 centimetres in length — cannot land or perch horizontally, so they historically nest in old growth trees.But as suitable trees became harder to find, the birds were forced to make their homes in chimneys, thus earning their name as chimney swifts.Three steps to help the birdChimney swifts, with their boomerang-shaped wings and jerky flight patterns, have seen a 95 per cent population decline since the 1970s.  Property-owners are asked to do three things to help protect the birds: do not close or cover the chimney with metal grates during the summer, do not sweep the chimney during the summer, and do not line the chimney, because the birds need a porous material like brick to build their nests on.The Dunham Brewery — known for its research on wild fermentation and barrel-aged beers — is lending its four available chimneys to the conservation effort.The building is one of the oldest in the region, originally serving as a stagecoach stopover in the 1860s."It has a lot of soul," Gaudreau said. "We're trying to occupy it by being respectful and keeping it as much as it was as possible."Conservation effort"We're really happy when owners like the brewery accept to engage [in] bird protection like this," said Melanie Lelièvre, the director of Appalachian Corridor.Her group has been identifying suitable chimneys in the Eastern Townships for a decade.  "We're really happy and grateful that landowners are receptive to that kind of conservation project," she said.More than half the owners of the 30 suitable chimneys they've selected have signed on to help protect the birds.Lelièvre said the plan at Appalachian Corridor is to see an increase in old growth forests in the region, so chimney swifts can move out of buildings and back to their original home: hollowed trees.

  • Writer-in-residence 'thrilled' to be part of Kingsville folk festival
    News
    CBC

    Writer-in-residence 'thrilled' to be part of Kingsville folk festival

    There's one writer at the Kingsville Folk Festival who doesn't write songs — instead he writes short stories.John Gardiner, long-time newspaper writer, has been named the 'writer-in-residence' for the Kingsville Folk Festival.Michelle Law, festival organizer, said it's the third year the festival has had a writer-in-residence and described Gardiner's short stories as "very real.""To me, they are like a song," said Law. "We wean down stories to phrases that can be sung. [Gardiner's] stories could be sung."Gardiner said the reason for that is because he "feels himself through emotions," which are easy to pick up in his writing. That's the job of a songwriter too, said Law, which is why Gardiner is a good fit for the festival."I'm so thrilled to be at Kingsville," said Gardiner. He thinks being at music festivals will help independent writers launch their careers."We hope people will invite you to their book clubs and buy your books," said Law to Gardiner on Windsor Morning. Gardiner's book will be available in the merchandise tent during the festival.Listen to John Gardiner and Michelle Law chat with Windsor Morning host Peter Duck about the writer-in-residence experience:According to Gardiner, listening to a short story is a "nice change" for the audience. "It gives them a break, gives their ears a break," said Gardiner. "People have short attention spans."The Kingsville Folk Festival runs Aug. 9-11 with multiple stages around Lakeside Park in Kingsville, Ont.

  • Globetrotting family brings 72,000km bicycle journey to Whitehorse
    News
    CBC

    Globetrotting family brings 72,000km bicycle journey to Whitehorse

    A Swiss family is in Whitehorse, fresh off a two-month bicycle journey through Alaska. Before that, they were in Japan, Vietnam, northern China, Mongolia and Siberia.Xavier Pasche, his wife, Celine Pasche and their two daughters, six-year-old Nayla and two-year-old Fibie, have cycled 72,000 kilometres over the past nine years — 11,000 of those kilometres after the birth of their two children.In 2010, Xavier and Celine decided they would try to cycle from Switzerland to New Zealand in less than three years. After a year and a half, they started to realize this challenge they'd made for themselves had become a way of life. And that's when they decided to bring the children into the mix."We had the feeling that if it was our life, [in] the celebration of this life we could have a family," said Celine. "We just said, 'If it happens, it happens.' But of course Nayla was like, 'Ok I am here,' … She came straight away."Celine says she told Xavier she was pregnant while they were in Nepal, at a 5,500-metre elevation facing Mount Everest. Then, the couple did research into an optimal place to give birth."One of the most important things for us was … to have a place to welcome our child in this world with a lot of softness and love," said Celine. "Everything went toward Malaysia … so we ended up in Malaysia."Four years later, the Pasches returned to the island country to give birth to Fibie.'We have a very simple life'Xavier and Celine say they don't need much in the way of finances to keep up their lifestyle. They have their bikes, live in a tent, cook their own food and keep very little in terms of other belongings."Everything we have, we have to carry," said Xavier. "We don't have a lot of room … but we have a couple [of] books because we homeschool Nayla and we have some toys of course," said Xavier. "We have a very simple life."The couple's income stream largely comes from a Swiss newspaper they contribute to every few days. Celine writes and Xavier takes photographs. They have also written a book about their lifestyle, and will sometimes give talks. The family will be giving one of those talks in Whitehorse next week.Sharing road tips, inspirationDuring the talks, they give tips about living on the road and discuss which routes are good. For example, Xavier says they've returned to Japan a few times and love the landscape in Mongolia and New Zealand.The family also shares what it's learned about humanity."We have just encountered amazing kindness on the road," said Celine. "[It's] something beyond culture, that transcends culture." But she believes the most important message is simple."You can create your life, and live the life you want to dream."The Pasche family will be giving a talk Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. at the Baked Cafe.

  • 'Powerful and potent': Big Edmonton food buyers team up to buy local
    News
    CBC

    'Powerful and potent': Big Edmonton food buyers team up to buy local

    Large institutions, from hospitals and colleges to the Edmonton Convention Centre, are looking at ways to boost their purchases of local food products.The answer, according to a working group called Alberta Flavour, lies in a coordinated approach between producers, distributors and the institutions that purchase meat, vegetables and other food items in large quantities.The working group has been meeting for about three years to increase the amount of locally-produced food purchased by colleges, universities and other large institutions with food-service operations."If you do want to scale up local food within the larger food system, institutional procurement is a really powerful and potent way to do that," said University of Alberta researcher Mary Beckie. Partners in Alberta Flavour include Northlands, NAIT, the University of Alberta, Alberta Health Services and the Edmonton Convention Centre, among others.Beckie's research on the impact of Alberta Flavour was commissioned by the group and published in Canadian Food Studies in January.She found that institutions benefited from sharing their solutions to common problems, such as finding enough local supply. The group also included large distributors, as they act as an intermediary between farmers and purchasers, Beckie told CBC in a recent interview. "If you don't have those distributors on board there's going to be a problem with institutions accessing the amount." Everybody knew that they could buy Alberta beef. They didn't always know that they could get Alberta sugar, or Alberta bread or canola oil. \- Jessie Radies, NorthlandsNAIT purchases around $3 million worth of food each year. Between 25 and 30 per cent is sourced locally, said Kim Allen, NAIT's assistant manager of supply-chain management."We like to incorporate ourselves into the community that we are living in," Allen said. "Supporting local food is part of that."But purchasing local food on such a large scale is a challenge, Allen said, and each institution operates differently. Knowing that, Alberta Flavour focused on exchanging ideas and solutions, said Jessie Radies, Northlands' director of agriculture."It may not be a problem that you work collaboratively to solve, but there may be someone else in that group that has solved it for their organization," Radies said."We really use the knowledge within the group to help others advance their purchasing in a way that makes sense for their organization."Part of Alberta Flavour's approach was to familiarize purchasers with which foods are available in Alberta."Everybody knew that they could buy Alberta beef," Radies said. "They didn't always know that they could get Alberta sugar, or Alberta bread, or canola oil that came from Alberta."The group also worked with large distribution companies, which increased their local purchasing and started identifying local food in their catalogues.Alberta Flavour now wants to shift its focus to improving the supply chain, and filling some of the gaps between farmer and purchaser.The group has applied for provincial and federal funding in order to launch a pilot project, which would include hiring a supply coordinator to work with institutions, said Beckie."It's a pull-through effect all along the supply chain when you can increase demand."The significant purchasing power of institutions also enables them to push for more sustainable practices, including looking at how food is grown and packaged, Allen said."Large institutions like us, we have more of a voice with distributors," Allen said. "We can influence behaviour in that way."