‘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.

  • This Ex-Royal Moved To Canada For A Quieter Life. Sound Familiar?
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  • Oilers' Kassian revels in calm as NHL braces for renewal of Battle of Alberta
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    CBC

    Oilers' Kassian revels in calm as NHL braces for renewal of Battle of Alberta

    Zack Kassian is best known these days as the chief protagonist for the Edmonton Oilers in their latest on-ice war with the Calgary Flames.Fresh off a two-game suspension for pummelling Calgary forward Matthew Tkachuk, all eyes are on No. 44 for Edmonton in the renewed Battle of Alberta. Kassian and the Oilers tangle with the Flames Wednesday at Rogers Place in Edmonton and then again Saturday at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.NHL director of player safety George Parros has warned both sides to behave.In the bigger picture, however, Kassian is the author of a different kind of story — one of capitalizing on last chances and moving on from past mistakes."There's a calmness to my life now where it used to be very rocky," said Kassian, who turned 29 this past Friday. "Now, I'm at peace with a lot of things away from the rink which I think, in general, helps me a lot on the ice."Patrolling right wing on the first line with Connor McDavid and James Neal, Kassian is on-pace for a career season with 13 goals and 28 points in 44 games.The Windsor, Ont. native is expected to sign a contract extension with the Oilers before the NHL's trade deadline on Feb. 24. "It's been a good year so far," the six-foot-three, 211-pounder said with a gap-toothed grin. "I feel like I've proven I can play anywhere in the lineup, which is a good asset to have."Back in 2015, Kassian appeared to be on the verge of falling out of the NHL all together due to carnage in his personal life. Employed by his third NHL team at age 24, Kassian was set to play his first game with the Montreal Canadiens. Three days before the season opener, he broke his nose and left foot when his vehicle hit a tree at 6:30 a.m.Police charged a 20-year-old woman with impaired driving. Kassian admitted to being heavily intoxicated in the passenger seat after a night of partying.Suspended by the Canadiens — and ultimately traded to Edmonton for goalie Ben Scriven — Kassian entered a treatment centre in Southern California.He exited with a determination to take things a day at a time and resurrect his hockey career."For me, I think now that I'm a fun person," said Kassian, a first-round (13th overall) selection of the Buffalo Sabres in the 2009 NHL entry draft. "I even joke around about my past a little bit — about how I came through adversity and a lot of the dumb stuff I did."That stuff, I really had to clean up."These days, Kassian is much beloved in the Oilers locker-room. His teammates roared to the big man's defence after his double minor for ragdolling Tkachuk on Jan. 11 arguably cost Edmonton two points. Elias Lindholm potted the game-winner with the man advantage and Calgary won 4-3."He's our heart and soul in this group here," star centre Leon Draisaitl told reporters when the Oilers arrived back in Edmonton.  "Everyone loves him."Everyone on this team really admires what he does on a nightly basis."Defenceman Darnell Nurse echoed those sentiments."He's a heart and soul guy," Nurse said. "He's a guy that brings a lot of life to this room. He's important not only on the ice, but off the ice with the energy he brings. And he's a guy who always plays between the lines, too. He's a hard player, not a dirty player."He's a guy who plays hard for the guys next to him. We're very fortunate to have him."While media types have branded Wednesday's game as Kassian's chance to exact revenge, the man himself understands what's at stake."Look at our division," he said before the all-star break. "Look at the Pacific and how tight it is."Indeed. The Vancouver Canucks reside atop the Pacific Division with 58 points. The Oilers, Flames, Arizona Coyotes and Las Vegas Golden Knights are all one point back with 57.All five teams have sat in first place at some point this season."You have a bad week of hockey and you're out of the playoffs," Kassian said. "We want to capitalize and get as many points as possible."

  • Alberta premier wants Ottawa to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations
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    The Canadian Press

    Alberta premier wants Ottawa to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

    CALGARY — Alberta's premier says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to move swiftly to approve the Teck Frontier oilsands mine north of Fort McMurray.Jason Kenney says there is no reason to delay the go-ahead for the $20.6-billion project near Wood Buffalo National Park in northeastern Alberta.A federal-provincial review last summer determined Frontier would be in the public interest, even though it would be likely to harm the environment and the land, resources and culture of Indigenous people."Their current deadline is the end of February for a decision ... and I've been very clear to the prime minister ... if they say no to this project, then they are signalling his earlier statement that he wants to phase out the oilsands," Kenney said Monday.Trudeau commented at a town-hall meeting in January 2017 that his government was attempting to balance economic and environmental concerns.“We can’t shut down the oilsands tomorrow. We need to phase them out. We need to manage the transition off of our dependence on fossil fuels, but it’s going to take time, and, in the meantime, we have to manage that transition,” Trudeau said at the time.The Frontier mine north of Fort McMurray, Alta., would produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day and about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year, for more than 40 years.The federal government must make a decision on the project by the end of February under the Environmental Assessment Act.Kenney said it's time that the federal Liberals start listening to the majority of First Nations leaders who support projects such as Teck, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northeastern British Columbia."I implore the federal government. If reconciliation means something, surely it means saying 'yes' to economic development for First Nations people."Kenney was speaking at an announcement of the new board of directors for the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corp. The Crown corporation plans to allocate up to $1 billion in support, such as loan guarantees, to qualified First Nations seeking an equity position in major resource projects.The communities need to come up with $20 million for investment, but can receive support of up to $250 million.Kenney said the corporation could provide financial support to a group seeking to buy a stake in the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain project."We continue to discuss this with the federal government," he said. "The prime minister has expressed an interest in selling a stake to First Nations. If that future potential First Nations consortium comes forward to the (Alberta corporation) with an application, I'm sure it will be given serious consideration."At least three different groups in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan are seeking full or partial ownership of the pipeline, which carries crude oil from Alberta to the west coast.The federal government is studying the best options for Indigenous communities to reap economic benefits from the project, but Ottawa isn't planning to sell the pipeline while legal and political risks remain.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2020— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press

  • Erin O'Toole launches Conservative leadership bid, promises to be the 'true blue' candidate
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    CBC

    Erin O'Toole launches Conservative leadership bid, promises to be the 'true blue' candidate

    Ontario MP Erin O'Toole confirmed Monday he is joining the race to lead Canada's Conservatives, promising to bring "true blue leadership" to the party as it looks for a successor to Andrew Scheer.This is O'Toole's second run for the leadership — he placed third behind Scheer and Maxime Bernier in the 2017 contest, with about 20 per cent of the vote on the final ballot.O'Toole, who serves as Conservative foreign affairs critic, released a slickly produced campaign launch video highlighting his time as a tactical navigator in the Royal Canadian Air Force.O'Toole pitched himself as a fighter — a leader willing to "fight" for jobs in the manufacturing and natural resources sectors and to "defend our history, our institutions against attacks from cancel culture and the radical left.""We are in a battle for the heart and soul of the Conservative Party. This leadership is a contest about what kind of party we are — a party that becomes more like the Liberals, or one that believes we win when we take a principled conservative stand," O'Toole said in a statement announcing his run.In what could be a thinly veiled reference to Scheer — who has spent most of his adult life as an MP — O'Toole said he's not a "career politician.""I'm not a product of the Ottawa bubble. I spent 10 years in the private sector and 12 years in our military, where you're judged by who you are and the work you do, not where you came from or who you know," O'Toole said in his launch video.He said that he wants to "take the hyphen out of being a Conservative" — an apparent reference to the fractures in the Conservative ranks as social conservatives, Red Tories and moderate conservatives line up behind different leadership contenders to put their stamp on the party's policy.So far, O'Toole has raised $25,000 and collected the 1,000 signatures required by the party before a candidate can start soliciting donations from the public.A candidate must raise $300,000 and gather signatures from 3,000 card-carrying Conservative members by Mar. 25 to be placed on the final ballot.A number of the MPs who endorsed O'Toole in last leadership race — including Ontario MP Colin Carrie, Manitoba MP James Bezan, Alberta MP Blaine Calkins and B.C. MP Ed Fast — already have announced they're backing former cabinet minister Peter MacKay for the top job this time.O'Toole represents Durham in Parliament, a riding in the far eastern reaches of the Greater Toronto Area. He said he wants to improve the party's standing in ridings around the country's biggest cities.The party was nearly shut out in the GTA in the last election and failed to make substantial inroads in suburban Vancouver."We need to show more urban and suburban Canadians that their values of liberty, family and equality are at the core of our party," O'Toole said."It's time Canadians have a government that fights for their needs instead of fighting for attention from global celebrities and corrupt corporate insiders," he said in his campaign launch video over a backdrop of images: a shot of climate campaigner and actor Leonardo Di Caprio, followed by a photo of an SNC-Lavalin building.O'Toole made a similar pitch in 2017. At the time, O'Toole said the party needed to "reconnect with more Canadians" beyond the party's base. "We need to show Canadians that government can and must be more than sunny ways slogans and photo ops," he said at his last campaign launch event — a reference to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.In the last Conservative government, O'Toole took over the veterans affairs portfolio from embattled minister Julian Fantino — a ministry O'Toole described as "plagued by waiting lists, lawsuits and eroding trust." He said he brought together a team to "turn the department around in the final year of the Harper government."A lawyer by training, O'Toole worked for the Halifax-based firm Stewart McKelvey and for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) as a legal analyst. Later, he worked as in-house legal counsel for Procter & Gamble, specifically focused on CoverGirl cosmetics.O'Toole is one of the founders of the True Patriot Love Foundation, a charity dedicated to serving veterans and military families across Canada.

  • Feds' electric-car rebate uses nearly half its three-year budget in eight months
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    The Canadian Press

    Feds' electric-car rebate uses nearly half its three-year budget in eight months

    OTTAWA — Transport Minister Marc Garneau is thinking about expanding the government's rebate program for people who buy electric vehicles after eager car-buyers gobbled up nearly half the funds in just eight months.Garneau launched the incentive payments last May, offering up to $5,000 off the price of buying new electric and hybrid passenger vehicles to try and bring their price tags closer to those on similar gas models.Ottawa funded the program with $300 million, on a first-come, first-served basis, over the next three years.As of Jan. 19, Transport Canada reports that more than $134 million in rebates have already been issued to 33,000 Canadians. At that rate of uptake, the funds will be entirely gone before the end of this year."It's very encouraging to see how many people are now thinking about and actually going ahead and buying (zero-emission vehicles)," Garneau said outside the House of Commons Monday afternoon.While the government expected the program to be popular, the briefing book prepared for Garneau after he was reinstated as the transport minister after the fall federal election, says "the program has induced more new sales than projected."According to Transport Canada, overall electric vehicle sales jumped 32 per cent after the rebates were launched, compared to the same period the year before. In 2019, electric cars made up three per cent of all vehicle sales, up from two per cent in 2018.That is still a long way from the goals the federal Liberals set last year to have electric cars make up 10 per cent of all light-duty vehicle sales by 2025, 30 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040. It is a significant part of Canada's efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, with light-duty vehicles emitting 12 per cent of all emissions in Canada in 2017.Garneau noted his mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instructs him to do more to meet those quotas, and he said looking at doing more with rebates is among the possibilities, including extending them to used cars as well."I'm certainly working very hard in that direction," he said, though he wouldn't speculate about the specifics about what an expanded program would look like. It's likely any expansion would be included in the next federal budget.Cara Clairman, CEO of the non-profit electric vehicle advocacy group Plug'n Drive, said a 2017 study by her organization found price to be the main deterrent for consumers when it comes to buying an electric car, so incentives are definitely helpful."There are people buying electric vehicles without them but definitely it helps," she said.She said a program in Ontario to offer $1,000 incentives to buy used electric cars spurred the purchase of more than 300 used electric cars since it launched in April. That program, run by Plug'n Drive with funding from the private M.H. Brigham Foundation, is expanding next month to add an additional $1,000 incentive to not just buy a used electric car but to scrap a gas-powered vehicle in the process. The scrapped vehicles will be disposed of by the Automotive Recyclers of Canada.Canadian electric vehicle sales are still heavily concentrated in Quebec and British Columbia, which offer provincial rebates on top of the federal rebate. B.C. drivers can get up to $3,000 more back from the provincial government, and Quebec drivers can get up to $8,000 on top of the federal incentive.Electric Mobility Canada reported late last year that 75 per cent of all electric cars sold in Canada were purchased in B.C. (29 per cent) and Quebec (46 per cent.) Twenty per cent were bought in Ontario, leaving the remaining seven provinces with just five per cent of all the sales.Ontario had a rebate program until it was scrapped by the new Tory government in 2018, leading to a significant drop in electric car purchases in that province. Electric Mobility Canada says the sale of electric cars in Ontario fell 44 per cent in the third quarter of 2019, compared to that period in 2018.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2020.Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

  • Health minister says risk of novel coronavirus infection remains low in Canada
    Global News

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  • Architectural designs unveiled for Hanwell's new school
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    CBC

    Architectural designs unveiled for Hanwell's new school

    The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development unveiled architectural drawings for a new school in Hanwell on Monday for parents to see.The new K-8 school will accommodate up to 650 students. It will feature 36 classrooms, an early childhood room, an outdoor learning area, two gyms,music rooms, a performing arts room, technology labs and science rooms, art rooms, and open project work areas for groups.But, Patti Tinholt, a mother of five who lives in Hanwell, isn't entirely happy with what she saw.Tinholt said she was hoping to see a garden area and more indoor and outdoor play areas for children included in the school. "Instead I'm seeing a lot of forest cut down and a landscaped playground without shade," Tinholt said. "I'm disappointed. It's not what I was looking for."Tinholt was planning on sending her elementary-aged children to the new school, but now she's not so sure. "I was really excited about the future of education, doing something special and amazing, and this isn't it."Tinholt said she has spoken with other parents who were hoping to see the same amenities included, but she hasn't brought her concerns to government yet. She's hopeful the government will decide to make changes to the outdoor education space to include gardening and an environmentalism program. "Obviously they're not going to change the architecture of the building, but there's still so much more that could be done to make this a school of the future."  Education Minister Dominic Cardy said the new school will feature more open spaces and is "a school fit for 2020.""The interior design is really impressive, certainly nothing like the schools I went to in Fredericton," Cardy said. The school will be built this spring on a lot that has already been staked out. It's next door to the community centre on Hanwell Road. The tendering process isn't complete yet.The new school will displace a couple of existing trails in Hanwell, but new trails will be added. "The students will be able to go out and use the trail network, the woods," Cardy said, adding the school will have lots of green space, which could include a garden area if the student's desired one. "That's one of the advantages of having it in a large green area."The government decided to build a new school in Hanwell to help ease overcrowding at Fredericton-area schools. Modular classrooms make up about 19 per cent of all class spaces in the Fredericton area, and about 450 students from Hanwell are bused to and from Fredericton for classes. The bus trip from Hanwell to Fredericton can take 30 to 60 minutes per trip."We were seeing a massive increase in student numbers and we were seeing a shortage around the Fredericton region of five schools," Cardy said."It was long overdue."The school is expected to open in January, 2022. About $3-million was earmarked for the school in the 2019-20 provincial capital budget for the site selection, planning and design changes.

  • CBRM takes aim at bright electronic billboards near homes
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    CBRM takes aim at bright electronic billboards near homes

    Cape Breton Regional Municipality may soon begin regulating and charging permit fees for large electronic billboards.One sign in Sydney is close to a residential neighbourhood and people living there are annoyed by the brightness of the advertising."Whether I'm downstairs in my basement, in my kitchen or up in my bathroom or my daughter's room, I can see a giant Big Mac staring me in the face 24/7," said Kat Alleyne.The electronic billboard is on Grand Lake Road, about 30 metres from Alleyne's home on McGuire Drive.It quickly cycles through ads for fast food, a federal business agency, a national lottery and several local businesses.Resident says she doesn't need to turn her lights onAlleyne said at night, she has to close four layers of heavy curtains so her daughter can sleep."I have every light off in the house," she said."I don't even need night lights in my house. It's like I have a tonne, but I don't need them on."Alleyne said she understands the need for businesses to advertise, but she's hoping for some kind of compromise."I'm not saying they should take it away, because I understand a lot of people do notice the signs and the advertising on it," she said."But shouldn't there be a certain hour of time it's shut down for the evening, like [when] there's not heavy traffic flowing through that late at night? Something that can be convenient or fair with the people that live around the area."Coun. Jim MacLeod pushed council to ban ads on utility poles last year and helped strike a committee to look into large black mobile signs with neon lettering.MacLeod said the committee hasn't produced any results yet, and now electronic billboards should be added to the list, because they are starting to intrude into people's homes."While I appreciate the committee, I also have to appreciate that we've got ... environmental eyesores," he said."I can tell you that you would think you're sitting watching the hockey game, and the flash of colours, you know, nobody should have to put up with this."MacLeod said the municipality's planning department will hold a workshop on Feb. 4 to consider where mobile signs and electronic billboards should be permitted, whether they should have minimum setbacks from homes and whether a permit fee should be charged.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Chinese students set to study in N.S. asked not to leave China because of coronavirus
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    CBC

    Chinese students set to study in N.S. asked not to leave China because of coronavirus

    A group of 52 high school students from China will not be attending classes across Nova Scotia next week as originally planned because of the coronavirus outbreak. They were slated to fly in this week for the upcoming semester, but were asked by their government not to leave China.The students are from Suzhou, a city about 800 kilometres east of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, a flu-like illness that can cause pneumonia and other severe respiratory symptoms."They are on hold and we're just waiting for updates as the situation unfolds," said Andrea Ashton, a spokesperson for the Nova Scotia International Students Program, the organization that oversees the exchange program.Ashton said she doesn't know when the situation could change."We have to respect the decision that their government has taken and just wait for updates as they come," she said.Nova Scotia's chief medical officer, Dr. Robert Strang, said he plans to meet with university officials across the province on Wednesday.With the large number of Chinese-born students enrolled in universities in the province, Strang said it's important to get accurate information to the schools so they can handle it."There's already some fear and hysteria emerging," Strang said. "Like, 'These students shouldn't be in class, they should be isolated in their dormitory with masks.'"A lot of that fear comes from the lack of information, Strang said, which is why the Department of Health is trying to learn more about the virus and how it spreads."We really got to counteract some of this discrimination and stigma," he said.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Memoir by Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa coming out in May
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    The Canadian Press

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  • Auschwitz's horrors still haunt Poles living in nearby town
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    Reuters

    Auschwitz's horrors still haunt Poles living in nearby town

    Daniela Szelc says she is still haunted by the screams of people and barking of dogs carrying through the night from the nearby Nazi death camp Auschwitz three-quarters of a century ago. The Nazis forced prisoner orchestras to play music at some of their death camps as the trains carrying Jews from across Europe arrived and the passengers were sent on to their death. Szelc's quiet hometown was filled with the commotion of car convoys and police sirens on Monday as world leaders gathered at the Auschwitz site for a ceremony marking the 75 anniversary of its liberation near the end of World War Two.

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    CBC

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    A Halifax councillor wants the province to pause its plan to build a parking garage on the Halifax Common until there has been more public consultation.The province plans to build a garage on Summer Street for the Halifax Infirmary, which would replace the existing one on Robie Street. The $29.5-million project would be located at the site of the current parking lot for the Museum of Natural History.Coun. Waye Mason said what he knows about the proposed parking garage does not respect the look of the Common."My challenge to Premier [Stephen] McNeil is prove me wrong," he said. "Make the plans public and let's find out what's really going on."He also outlined his concerns in a letter to McNeil.Mason said 800 parking spots would need four or five storeys, and putting it next to the museum and sidewalk seems unnecessary."They have 20 times the space on the hospital site [where Queen Elizabeth High School was located]," he said. "It's not clear why they feel they need to do it this way."Mason points out the city has designated the corner of Quinpool Road and Robie Street for up to 90 metres (or 27 storeys), so several levels of parking could be part of a taller hospital building.Why Mason is speaking outMason said he was speaking out now because he believes a tender for the project may be issued by Friday.When asked if McNeil would respond to Mason's comments, a spokesperson for the premier said the matter has been referred to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.Meanwhile, the QEII hospital redevelopment project will be discussed at a meeting of the province's public accounts committee on Wednesday.MORE TOP STORIES

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    The Canadian Press

    Psychiatrist assessed Desmond as 'pleasant ... a proud father' days before killings

    GUYSBOROUGH, N.S. — Two days before former soldier Lionel Desmond used a rifle to fatally shoot three members of his family and then kill himself, his wife Shanna told him to leave their home in rural Nova Scotia after a heated argument, a fatality inquiry heard Monday.On its first full day of hearings, the inquiry heard that Desmond, an Afghan war veteran diagnosed with PTSD, followed his wife's advice and presented himself at the emergency room at St. Martha's Regional Hospital in Antigonish, N.S., on Jan. 1, 2017.Lawyer Stewart Hayne, who represents doctors who tried to help Desmond, said the evidence will show the 33-year-old former infantryman first met with Dr. Justin Clark, who noted Desmond was not in distress and did not have any suicidal or homicidal thoughts.Hayne, in his opening statement to the inquiry, said Desmond later met with a psychiatrist, Dr. Faisal Rahman, who noted Desmond was "pleasant, forthcoming, engaging, respectful and a proud father."The lawyer said Rahman will tell the inquiry that Desmond confirmed he had an altercation with his wife earlier in the evening, and he asked Rahman if he could spend the night in the hospital to "reflect and regroup."Desmond told the doctor that he had hit or punched a table during the argument, and he said he felt badly about frightening his 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah, Hayne said.Hayne said Rahman, the chief of psychiatry with the provincial health authority's eastern zone, will testify that Desmond "was not agitated," and his reactions were appropriate.As well, Hayne said the doctor will tell the inquiry that Desmond insisted he did not physically abuse his wife.Rahman, who has experience working with veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, told Desmond he could spend the night in the hospital's emergency observation room.Hayne said Desmond was released the next day after Rahman determined the former infantryman was "coherent and logical.""Dr. Rahman did not believe that Mr. Desmond required hospitalization," Hayne said, adding that Rahman concluded: "Patient feeling better. Requesting discharge. Will be discharged to home."Rahman again noted that Desmond did not display any suicidal or homicidal tendencies.The recollections of the doctors are important because some of Desmond's friends and relatives have long complained he was turned away from the hospital before the killings.On Jan. 3, 2017, Desmond bought a rifle and shot his wife, daughter and his 52-year-old mother Brenda before turning the gun on himself in their modest home in Upper Big Tracadie.Desmond, a retired corporal who served with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, had been diagnosed with PTSD after two particularly violent tours in Afghanistan in 2007.The inquiry will examine whether Desmond had access to mental health and domestic violence services — and whether he should have been able to buy a rifle.Nova Scotia's chief medical examiner, Dr. Matthew Bowes, told the inquiry that communication snafus between government agencies may constitute a systemic failure in this tragic case."The transfer of information seemed to be too complicated and may have been a barrier to Mr. Desmond's care," said Bowes, the provincial official whose investigation of the Desmond case led to the establishment of the inquiry."The fact that our system placed a gun in this man's hands, for me, is problematic," he added. "Most reasonable people would (conclude) that someone who's acutely mentally ill should not have access to a gun."Hayne said Dr. Paul Smith, a family physician who worked at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick, was the man responsible for granting Desmond approval for a firearms licence, even though he was aware of his PTSD diagnosis.The inquiry heard that Smith had prescribed medical marijuana for Desmond in July 2015 to help him cope with a major depressive disorder and PTSD. Three months later, Desmond told Smith the drug had helped reduce his anxiety and depression, while virtually eliminating his suicidal thoughts.However, Hayne said Desmond had stopped using medical marijuana by February 2016, which is when Desmond asked Smith to sign off on a medical assessment form for a firearms licence.Though Smith was aware that Desmond was experiencing marital problems, he "felt comfortable completing the form indicating that he had no concerns that Mr. Desmond posed a safety risk to himself or others," Hayne said."Since learning of the (killings), Dr. Smith has had feelings of sadness that his assessment may have enabled Mr. Desmond to purchase and obtain a gun." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2020.Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press

  • Chaos erupts in courtroom after Calgary man convicted of murder
    News
    CBC

    Chaos erupts in courtroom after Calgary man convicted of murder

    Abdullah Mela decided to kill a man rather than face the humiliation of losing money in a gun deal gone wrong. That was the motive described by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Craig Jones as the judge found Mela, 23, guilty of second-degree murder on Monday in the 2016 death of Harsimran Singh Birdi, 20."Mr. Mela was angry at losing $2,500," said the judge. "Mr. Mela felt diminished in the eyes of his companions."As Jones announced his verdict, Mela's mother broke down and began hitting and scratching herself as she screamed in Arabic.Several sheriffs escorted the frantic woman downstairs and outside, attempting to keep her from harming herself until an ambulance arrived.Mela now faces a life sentence. The crime took place on the night of April 6 and into the early morning hours of April 7, 2016. Mela wanted to buy a gun and Birdi, a friend of a friend, said he would be able to broker a deal.But the man who was supposed to sell Mela the weapon disappeared with the $2,500. Mela blamed Birdi.Witnesses say Mela was irritable, upset, and yelled at Birdi.By this point, a group of friends and acquaintances were in two different vehicles in an alley in northeast Calgary, where they had tried unsuccessfully to find the man who had taken off with the money.Birdi offered to give Mela moneyBirdi offered to give Mela $1,000 that night and pay back the rest later. But it was too late, Mela felt he looked like a fool in front of the group.Mela shot Birdi as he sat in the back seat of a friend's SUV, then dragged the victim outside the car and left his body in the alley.The SUV was immediately taken to a car wash and the gun was eventually buried in a rural area near Okotoks.Jones will hear sentencing submissions from prosecutor Tom Buglas and defence lawyer Andrea Serink later this year.A second-degree murder conviction comes with a life sentence and no chance of parole for 10 to 25 years, to be determined by the judge.

  • Review: Novel by Paul Yoon offers rare view of war-torn Laos
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Review: Novel by Paul Yoon offers rare view of war-torn Laos

    “Run Me to Earth,” Simon & Schuster, by Paul YoonThree homeless teenagers in war-wracked Laos in 1969 find shelter in a once-grand farm manor that has been turned into a crumbling, makeshift hospital. Cries of patients are echoed by the scream of bombs. There is little food. Morphine is running out.This manor, once the art-filled estate of a debauched French tobacco magnate, is the opening setting of Paul Yoon’s gripping new novel, “Run Me to Earth.” The house is an eerie, exhausting place where the teens hold each other to survive — sleeping, as one says, “like young animals in a den.”The teens — 17-year-old boys Alisak and Prany and Prany’s sister, Noi, 16 — help a piano-playing doctor, Vang, and his staff carry out medical duties at the farmhouse. They get around the territory on motorbikes. They are ostensibly on the side of the royal government as the insurgent communists, Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese, move stealthily through rural backwaters.But they also are at the mercy of the government’s ally, the United States, which over several years will drop a massive number of bombs on the countryside. Many of the bombs fail to explode — until triggered later accidentally by a passerby.This aerial bombing campaign in Laos, and its deadly aftermath on the ground over ensuing decades, has rarely been the subject of American fiction. While the bombing is a dreaded backdrop in Yoon’s absorbing novel, his story is less about the war than about the humanity and hopes of the Lao people living in the midst of its horror.“A Cold War?” says a woman nicknamed Auntie, who helps villagers escape. “So many didn’t even know the difference between a Communist and an anti-Communist, they just wanted to survive.”Yoon, highly regarded for his previous fiction, including the novel “Snow Hunters,” writes with a soft, measured hand. He calmly builds memorable scenes even when events turn violent.The title comes from part of a line in a W.S. Merwin poem cited in the book’s epigraph: “I have worn the fur of a wolf and the shepherd’s dogs have run me to earth.”The story unfolds in chapters that relate the experiences of main characters. Eventually it spans decades and takes on a global reach as scenes move from Laos to sites in New York, France and Spain. With the Indochina wars of the 1960s and 1970s darkening his canvas, Yoon brightens the mix with riveting colours of youth and innocence — even as they are being lost.___Online:https://www.paulyoon.com/Kendal Weaver, The Associated Press

  • Climate change might not be to blame for blizzard but expect more 'wild weather,' say scientists
    News
    CBC

    Climate change might not be to blame for blizzard but expect more 'wild weather,' say scientists

    Although some climatologists in the city aren't chalking up Jan. 17's monster blizzard to climate change, they say the province can expect more "wild weather" in the future."When you start talking about the amount of snow turnout of a storm, things get even more dicey in terms of figuring out what climate change will do to that," said Joel Finnis, climatologist with Memorial University's geography department."This is what we call a 'weather bomb.' It's just a really rapidly growing and intensifying winter storm. It was situated perfectly for us to get a lot of low-density snow."Finnis said the chances of seeing this type of storm could decrease with climate change as temperatures warm, but other intense precipitation storms could become more frequent: more storm surges, more rain and higher winds. We have to expect the unexpected. \- Brett Favaro"Winter flooding could become a greater concern," he said.Finnis said Atlantic Canada will continue to see weather bombs but he doubts he will ever see another system in St. John's produce that much snow in one day."It's possible … but I suspect this type of storm is going to remain rare and may even become more rare as we move towards the end of the century," he said.His thoughts were echoed by Brett Favaro, a research scientist at MUN's Fisheries and Marine Institute."It is difficult to attribute any single storm to climate change or not to climate change, but we know that climate change basically loads the dice," he said"In general, climate change is going to lead to more wild weather."Favaro said if people don't start reducing their carbon emissions climate change will impact the province in numerous ways. He predicts changes to geographic landscape and harm to ecosystems but says there are also a number of things scientists will not be able to predict. "We have to expect the unexpected," he said."That's what really scares me as a scientist … there are things we know that are going to be a problem, but then there are events that we just don't know."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Unifor, Regina refinery to meet Monday as lockout reaches 53 days
    News
    CBC

    Unifor, Regina refinery to meet Monday as lockout reaches 53 days

    Unifor announced on Monday that representatives from the union and the Co-op Refinery Complex are set to meet in Saskatoon.The meeting will take place at about 4 p.m. CST, said Scott Doherty, executive assistant to the president for Unifor.Doherty said the meeting will include him, Unifor National President Jerry Dias, Unifor 594 President Kevin Bittman and Federated Co-op Limited CEO Scott Banda. Doherty said it is not a return to bargaining but instead, an informal meeting. "The only way to end this is at the bargaining table," Bittman said."So today, Scott Banda said they were willing to meet with us, hopefully that's a good sign in putting an end to this lockout."Last week, Unifor said it had removed its preconditions on talks and that it would be open to negotiating. The Co-op Refinery Complex previously said it would not resume talks until the barricades were taken down. Job action spreads to AlbertaDoherty also boasted of the union's efforts to impede the FCL from transporting fuel out of a facility in Carseland, Alta., during Monday's news conference.Doherty said the fencing around the refinery had blocked most fuel from leaving the facility for eight days while the fencing at the Carseland facility had been for three days."I believe there is some fuel leaving [the refinery] by train and by the pipeline but not a lot," Doherty said. "And most of the rail goes to Carseland so it's not getting out of the Carseland facility."Vic Huard, executive vice president for FCL, said the fencing is illegal and could hurt local Co-op locations and the customers that rely on card lock facilities."They have simply shut off access to everything including emergency vehicles and that's very troubling," Huard said.The disruption in Carseland could disrupt the rest of the area if the blockades remain up, he added. Huard said the RCMP has declined to intervene until an injunction has been granted.53 days, so farAlmost 800 Unifor members have been locked out for 53 days. The union issued a 48-hour strike notice on Dec.3 and was locked out on Dec. 5.On Jan. 20, the union put up blockades at all but one entrance to the Co-op Refinery Complex. The one entrance was opened for any emergency vehicles that may need to enter.Regina Police Chief Evan Bray said previously that the blockades are illegal and police are working on an investigation. On Friday, Jan. 24, Regina Mayor Michael Fougere met with Unifor's national president Jerry Dias. Fougere said community safety is one of his top priorities when it comes to the dispute and that the meeting was an "information exchange." Fougere said Dias didn't ask him to get involved. "[It was] a very productive conversation, an interesting conversation," Fougere said of the meeting.

  • B.C. premier tasks former MP Nathan Cullen with 'de-escalating' Coastal GasLink conflict
    News
    CBC

    B.C. premier tasks former MP Nathan Cullen with 'de-escalating' Coastal GasLink conflict

    Former Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is stepping into the Coastal GasLink dispute to act as an intermediary between the Wet'suwe'ten hereditary chiefs, the province of B.C., RCMP, Coastal GasLink and others. Appointed by B.C. Premier John Horgan, Cullen is expected to focus on "de-escalating the conflict" according to a news release from the provincial government on Monday."I'm pleased all parties have agreed to the appointment of a liaison," Horgan said in a news release. "Nathan has agreed to act as an intermediary in the hopes of finding a solution to this challenging dispute."It's been four weeks since the B.C. Supreme Court granted Coastal GasLink an interlocutory injunction instructing named Wet'suwet'en defendants and their supporters to allow the company and its contractors to move freely through the Morice Forest Service Road near Houston, B.C. Coastal GasLink needs access to the road to do work on the natural gas pipeline it's contracted to build as part of a massive natural gas project in Northern B.C. Since that injunction decision was posted, the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs issued an eviction notice to the company and its contractors, citing Wet'suwet'en trespass law. 'Time is running short,' says Coastal GasLink presidentCoastal GasLink has temporarily halted work in the area in dispute while continuing construction elsewhere on the 670-kilometre pipeline that is meant to supply natural gas from northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada export terminal, currently under construction in Kitimat. "To date our schedule has not been significantly impacted," Coastal GasLink president David Pfeiffer said Monday. "We have the ability to make up for lost time. However time is running short."Pfeiffer reiterated the company's interest in meeting with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, adding that the company is hopeful it may have an opportunity to do so this week.Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, however, have said they have no interest in meeting with the company."We really have no reason to," said Na'moks. The chiefs maintain they only want to speak with decision makers within the provincial and federal governments, those tasked with upholding the honour of the Crown. Now with Cullen at the table, Na'moks said they might have better luck with government-to-government discussions. But he also said the chiefs made clear to Cullen from the outset that they will not be changing their position regarding the pipeline. "We will remain adamantly opposed to this project," he said.Meanwhile, the Morice Forest Service Road remains impassable. The Wet'suwet'en and their supporters have constructed several buildings along the route in addition to the Unist'ot'en checkpoint which has been in place since 2009. RCMP have set up their own checkpoint on the road and are restricting access in and out of the area. There's been no indication if or when police will move in to enforce the injunction.

  • International Holocaust Remembrance Day marked in Calgary
    News
    CBC

    International Holocaust Remembrance Day marked in Calgary

    City officials and members of the community filled the atrium at City Hall on Monday to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.It's the first time the City of Calgary has officially commemorated the anniversary.The concentration camp at Auschwitz in Poland, where 1.1 million people were murdered by the German Nazis, was liberated by the Soviet army on Jan. 27, 1945.Earlier this year, Calgary city council unanimously passed a notice of motion — "Combating Antisemitism in the City of Calgary" — which included a resolution formally recognizing and proclaiming Jan. 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.Dahlia Libin, granddaughter to four Holocaust survivors, thanked city council for proclaiming the day."The Holocaust was an unparalleled genocide, total and systemic, from 1939 until 1945, by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. Its goal was to extinguish the Jewish people from the face of the Earth," she said."Over six million Jewish men, women, children and babies, and five million non-Jewish individuals — 11 million in total —were brutally murdered and tortured by the hands of men and women who simply did not want these people to exist, because of their religion, their physical condition, their political views, and their sexual identities."An annual audit by B'nai Brith Canada last year found that of 1,752 hate-related complaints across Canada, 206 were in Alberta. And one in five young people in Canada either hasn't heard of the Holocaust or isn't sure what it is, a survey by the Azrieli Foundation found.Libin said this makes it as critical as ever to know the past and to confront all forms of hatred."We as a city are standing up today and taking a step in ensuring our community will learn from the moral and societal failures that made the Holocaust possible," she said."Today, we take a moment to remember the innocent lives lost." Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day with a statement calling the atrocities committed in the middle of the last century one of the darkest chapters in human history."Today, we remember and pay tribute to the more than six million Jews who were senselessly murdered during the Holocaust, and the countless other victims of Nazi atrocities," he said."We also honour the survivors and share their stories of courage, hope and perseverance against unspeakable evil, and recognize the heroes who risked their lives to save others."

  • Potentially 'life-threatening' TikTok penny challenge sparks warning from Alberta mom
    News
    CBC

    Potentially 'life-threatening' TikTok penny challenge sparks warning from Alberta mom

    A challenge a child in southern Alberta saw and copied from a social media platform has a mother speaking out to warn other parents."It was super scary and we are just so glad he is OK," Starla Hoffe told CBC News."But it's really not good he saw life-threatening challenges on TikTok and followed them."TikTok is a popular video-based social media platform.Hoffe, who lives in Carstairs, said her son confessed to doing something that she had not heard about previously."So my son came running up from the basement and he threw a [cell phone] charger onto the counter, a blackened charger, with a penny indented into the prongs," she recalled. "He said he saw a challenge on TikTok, and he followed the challenge. It was to take a charger and drop a penny into the charger plugged into the wall." * Watch as an Alberta mother describes what happened when her son watched and then copied a challenge he saw on the social media site TikTok, in the video at the top of this story."So I ran downstairs and sure enough, the outlet is blackened. He said a spark shot out of it that was three inches long."She thanked her son for telling her and learned after talking to an electrician the danger could have gone beyond the charred charger and electrical outlet to the wiring behind the wall."The damage can start a fire later," Hoffe said. "It was really serious, what happened."The TikTok app was taken off her son's phone, she added.'This isn't a TikTok problem'A social media expert says the app is secondary; it's the incident that should be addressed — and two-way communication is the best way to do it."This isn't a TikTok problem," said Jo Phillips with Jo(e) Social Media, an agency based out of Lacombe, Alta."This is a kid that did a stupid thing and blaming TikTok for it, is not the answer."Phillips says she and her partner have talked with and listened to more than 27,000 children since 2015 about some of the dangers with social media.And deleting an application when a child reports a problem, she said, isn't the answer."When we take a platform away when they do something stupid, then they won't report when bad things happen to them with social media," Phillips said."Kids stop asking for help, because the parents instinctively take away the platform and then kids can get in deeper and deeper. That's where we see things like predators stepping in and all of those really serious problems."Parents have no first-hand experiencePart of the challenge here, she said, is parents are dealing with something they didn't experience first-hand when they were young."How do you understand something you have never experienced?" Phillips asks."The only way we can understand it is by asking our kids and actually listening to them rather that Googling or listening from another adult's perspective. Talking about this, they don't know why we are worried because this has always been their life. In fact, we as parents started it for them by putting those first photos and videos of them out there."Meanwhile, Hoffe says it's a wake up call for her family and maybe others."You don't think your kid is going to do something like this," Hoffe said."Before the days of cellphones and social media, kids were still doing stuff, finding stuff to do that was dangerous or stupid things like that. But I don't think that kids need to be seeing these ideas online and on these apps."

  • Yukon's top vet raises alarm over specialty dog food possibly linked to canine heart condition
    News
    CBC

    Yukon's top vet raises alarm over specialty dog food possibly linked to canine heart condition

    Yukon's chief veterinarian is advising dog owners to talk to their vets about dog foods that have been associated with a potentially deadly canine heart disease.Mary VanderKop said there have been two reported cases of canine dilated cardiomyopathy in Yukon.In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was studying the link between the disease and specialty dog foods. VanderKop said foods labelled "grain-free" are of particular concern.  "Cause and effect has not been established at this point, but the link is of concern," she said. "It does seem to be linked to a high proportion of things like peas or lentils or ... potatoes as the main ingredients, rather than grain in dog food."Canine dilated cardiomyopathy causes the muscle wall of a dog's heart to thin, weakening the organ and making it harder to pump blood. Congestive heart failure, a buildup of fluid in the chest and abdomen, can result. Affected dogs may seem tired, lose weight and suddenly collapse.Last summer, the FDA identified 16 brands of dog foods — 91 per cent of them labelled "grain free" — that it says are most frequently associated with the disease.They are:  * Acana * Zignature  * Taste of the Wild * 4Health * Earthborn Holistic * Blue Buffalo  * Nature's Domain  * Fromm  * Merrick  * California Natural  * Natural Balance  * Orijen * Nature's Variety  * NutriSource  * Nutro * Rachael Ray Nutrish Many of these brands are sold online and at least two of them are sold in the Yukon.

  • Transit commissioner calls for extended fare freeze, refund amid LRT mess
    News
    CBC

    Transit commissioner calls for extended fare freeze, refund amid LRT mess

    An Ottawa transit commissioner is calling for an extended fare freeze and even a limited refund as problems with the city's floundering LRT system continue to pile up.Multiple trains lost power over the weekend, causing extensive delays for passengers. As a result, OC Transpo put just nine trains into service Monday morning, and pulled dozens of buses off their regular routes to bolster downtown service. "I'm frustrated and I'm angry and enough is enough. This service has gone from bad to abysmal," citizen transit commissioner Sarah Wright-Gilbert said Monday.On Sunday, Wright-Gilbert, who has been an outspoken critic of the city's response to the ongoing LRT problems, tweeted: "To say that I am disappointed in our public transit system, and the $5M/month maintenance contractor, [Rideau Transit Maintenance], is an understatement.... Promises continue to be broken. It's time for an extension on the fare freeze."In November, the transit commission approved a fare freeze until the end of March, resulting in an estimated revenue loss of $1 million. Transit fares had already risen the month before, and were set to rise again by an average of 2.5 per cent on Jan. 1.But after the LRT failed to run as reliably as promised, Mayor Jim Watson proposed a three-month freeze.At the time, commissioners left the door open to an extension if service didn't improved. Wright-Gilbert wants the fare freeze extended until September. She said she's afraid customers faced with a choice between a $120 per month parking pass and unreliable LRT service will choose the former, and said she's already seeing some people give up on public transit as the Confederation Line's problems persist."We need not only a fare freeze, but OC Transpo should consider refunding at least a month of service in order to entice riders to continue to use this service and to come back," she said.Transit users chimed in on social media.

  • 'Final straw': CBE trustee Lisa Davis resigns, alleging secrecy and undemocratic processes
    News
    CBC

    'Final straw': CBE trustee Lisa Davis resigns, alleging secrecy and undemocratic processes

    Calgary Board of Education trustee Lisa Davis has announced her resignation, alleging secrecy and undemocratic processes.In a Facebook post Monday morning, Davis said a secret motion passed at a late night board meeting on Sunday was her final straw. She alleges the motion "hamstrings" her ability as a trustee."I know this direction is not in the best interest of students, parents, staff, the CBE or the taxpayers of Calgary," she wrote.In a statement released by the board later Monday, it states that it's confident that current governance policies and procedures "are fully compliant with legislation and strong governance practices."Board chair Marilyn Dennis said at a press conference on Monday that Davis has expressed opinions that are not held by the rest of the board and that every trustee is encouraged to walk into meetings with transparency."Trustees have been encouraged to be open and honest and transparent in their interviews and to the best of my knowledge my peers have complied," she said.Dennis adds that Davis was scheduled for an interview with auditors that are currently reviewing the CBE on Monday morning and to her understanding, Davis didn't complete her interview. Davis says that despite opposing votes from her and trustee Althea Adams, the board passed the following motion: "That the Board of Trustees agrees to adopt the advice as discussed in-camera.""As the advice was given in-camera, I cannot speak specifically to the advice," she said. "However, this sort of record of verbal advice once again flies in the face of accepted democratic processes and true transparency."Davis said the board may pass motions, but those motions must be spelled out in a public forum. "The public has no idea what direction the board is taking given the vague wording of the motion, and I have registered my objection to this," she said. CBE finances and governance under review The CBE is under the microscope of an independent financial and governance review, which was ordered by Education Minister Adriana LaGrange late last year. Davis said it's important that review look at the need for procedural change."Which would shine light on the decisions being made behind closed doors," she said. "No democratically elected body can be allowed to hide information that is inconvenient or uncomfortable for public disclosure."Davis said that, should she be asked to, she would co-operate with the audit."As completely as I can, given all the constraints that have been placed on me," she said. "I remain hopeful the audit of the CBE will fully disclose the issues I have been fighting for over the last two years, and more importantly bring about true change at the CBE."In a statement, Colin Aitchison, press secretary to LaGrange, said it's "extremely troubling" that Davis felt the need to resign in the midst of the review."Her indication that the CBE is constraining her and other trustees from completely co-operating with Grant Thornton's independent financial and governance review is disturbing," he said. "It is the government's expectation that the CBE will allow their trustees and administrators to fully co-operate with this review."Davis's resignation comes on the heels of her calling CBE governance and procedures "deeply flawed, undemocratic" earlier this month.She said that over the course of the past 18 months, she has proposed eight motions that have been shut down by the board without being debated.Under the Education Act, Davis must submit her resignation formally in writing at the beginning of the next board meeting, which takes place on Tuesday.Davis's UCP runPrior to becoming a trustee,  Davis was a vocal critic of the board and was behind the advocacy group, Kids Come First, which expressed concerns over a number of issues, including math scores, literacy and transportation.In 2017, Davis ran for the school board as a part of the Students Count slate, alongside current trustees Adams and Mike Bradshaw.In June 2018, Davis announced that after hitting "significant roadblocks" that she felt had kept her from serving the public, she'd be running for the United Conservative Party nomination in Calgary-Bow. The contest was ultimately won by current UCP Advanced Education minister, Demetrios Nicolaides.

  • Oujé-Bougoumou nature photographer dead after weekend accident in northern Quebec
    News
    CBC

    Oujé-Bougoumou nature photographer dead after weekend accident in northern Quebec

    A 50-year-old nature photographer from Oujé-Bougoumou was killed as a result of a head on collision early Sunday morning near Senneterre in northern Quebec.John Wapachee had just moved back to the Abitibi region after spending close to a decade in Toronto.He was travelling south on Highway 113 near kilometre 84 around 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning when he lost control of his vehicle, according to Sûreté du Québec spokesperson Louis-Philippe Bibeau."At the time of the accident the road surface was snowy and snow was falling," Bibeau said. "[Wapachee] lost control of his car, deviated from his lane and collided with the snow removal truck which was coming the other way," said Bibeau.An avid nature photographer, Wapachee lived for more than 10 years in Toronto, but had recently moved back to the Abitibi region. "John liked taking pictures of nature and birds," said fellow Oujé-Bougoumou photographer Willy Bosum, who along with his brother Harry, runs Bosum Media and Photography. Bosum said the three men connected over photography and were talking about creating workshops for local youth."John was a good friend to us," said Bosum, adding that Wapachee took beautiful photos.Wapachee was alone at the time of the accident and was transported to hospital in critical condition where he later died. The driver of the snow removal truck wasn't injured. The highway was closed in both directions until 5 a.m. Sunday, and then in alternating directions until 7 a.m.