Champagne says dual-citizenship not an issue in repatriation of Iran plane crash victims' remains

Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said on Friday that the issue of dual-citizenship of victims of the Ukraine International Airlines plane crash that occurred in January has not been an issue in discussions with his Iranian counterpart, but they've stressed there must be "full, fair" compensation for the families of every victim. He added that with it being more than 30 days since the crash, Annex 13 calls for the analysis of the black boxes to be done "without delay."

  • Families with members stuck in China call for third Canadian rescue flight
    News
    CBC

    Families with members stuck in China call for third Canadian rescue flight

    Chinese Canadians and others with family stuck in China's Hubei province are calling for the federal government to send a third plane to repatriate Canadians, visa holders and permanent residents alike. The city of Wuhan, China, was locked down in late January, leaving visitors with little or no opportunity to leave.A group that uses the messaging app WeChat to organize represents at least 50 families with loved ones trapped in Hubei province. A letter the group has sent to Global Affairs Canada, and plans to send to several Members of Parliament, states people still trapped either didn't have enough warning to prepare for the two Canadian flights, felt misinformed about who was allowed to board or didn't sign onto the government's registry quickly enough. "We strongly urge the Canadian government to repatriate these families promptly by deploying another chartered flight. The longer this ordeal carries on, and the longer the lockdown continues for these unfortunate individuals, the more danger it will impose on the Canadians stuck there," the letter reads. "We cannot bear the thought of losing our family members if something were to happen in the next few weeks." One Canadian citizen, Elaine Cheng, said she chose not to board either plane after learning her husband, who only has a Canadian visa, wouldn't be allowed to leave the country with her. She opted to stay in Wuhan, and thinks Canada can do better. "I think the way they treat my husband, or someone similar to my husband's situation in China, is totally inhumane," she said by phone Saturday. "Inhumane, uncompassionate and unfair."The B.C.-resident has been trapped in an apartment for the past month with her husband and limited food.Although she has no plans to abandon her husband, she'd like to return home."That's why I do not choose to live just for my own sake, for humanity and compassion purpose," she said. "That's what we, Canadians, advocate in this country and in this world, to other people in other countries, including China."We should not be abandoning anybody that has close ties to us in our life."Global Affairs respondsGlobal Affairs Canada didn't directly respond to questions about whether the department would send a third plane.But a spokesperson said those trapped in Hubei province can contact Canada's embassy in Beijing, call its 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa or send a message to the federal government's SOS email account."We remain in regular contact with Canadians in China and are continuing to provide assistance to those in need to the extent possible," the spokesperson said.Vancouver-resident Yaqi Huang says her 63-year-old father, a permanent resident of Canada, was visiting her grandfather over the Chinese New Year when the city's roads were shut down and planes were grounded.Not only were her father stuck inside the city, he also became separated from the 89-year-old grandfather. "Most people feel scared. They feel nervous. They feel trapped by the government," she said. While Huang initially heard only permanent residents accompanying Canadian minors were allowed to leave – a decision made by Chinese officials – she was surprised to hear stories of permanent residents without young children being allowed to leave Wuhan.After the second plane left, the 37-year-old emailed the Canadian government again."To say, 'So what is the policy for letting people on the flight?'" Huang said. "I say, 'We just need to know the truth.'"Earlier this month, China's deputy director of the Foreign Ministry Information Department said the country would loosen its grip and allow Chinese citizens to fly out of the city, accompanied by foreign family members. In an emailed response to Huang, however, Global Affairs Canada said the Chinese government maintained absolute authority over who could, and who couldn't, board the planes. "We advocated strongly for Canadians, [permanent residents] and their families to be eligible," the email dated Feb. 19 reads.The emailed response says that even if the Canadian government allowed Huang's father to travel to the airport, Chinese officials would have prevented him from boarding the flight."We share your frustration as well. Your parents are, without a doubt, in a difficult situation right now."While Huang wants her father to be repatriated and supports the efforts for a third plane to be sent, she's not hopeful."I know it's a fat chance for the Canadian government to go help, to send an airplane into Wuhan," she said. "It's really hard. We just want to be treated [fairly], like other families."Other reasons to stayKristina Shramko, of Richmond, B.C., said she's been living in Wuhan for eight months.After graduating university, the 21-year-old decided to travel. She visited Wuhan and, after returning to Canada briefly, had been persuaded to return to China by a romantic partner she started dating. When the novel coronavirus epicentre was placed in lockdown, Shramko contacted the Canadian government, hoping to leave the city.  When she heard about the strict no pets policy on both flights, however, she decided she couldn't go.She had recently adopted a cat, named Kitya."Even if I were to leave my cat with a friend, it's not certain when I would come back," Shramko said. "To me, it would be abandoning her."Elaine Cheng, likewise, has concerns about leaving her cat behind in Wuhan. Shramko would like to come home until the outbreak is over, but feels she can't as long as the pet policy is in place. She said outside of her residence "kind of feels like the zombie apocalypse."The Canadian citizen is currently raising money to pay for a plane ticket for her, and Kitya, when travel restrictions on the city are lifted.  "It's really important for people to know that there are people who have decided to stay in Wuhan," she said. Wife is trappedMost of Simon Zheng's family is now stuck in Wuhan, including his wife. The Canadian citizen's partner, who has a work permit designed for spouses, was also visiting China over the holidays. Zheng, a resident of Surrey, B.C., planned to come to Wuhan later in January but was held back by work. Now his wife is stranded with his in-laws and parents, Chinese citizens who live in the city. The small business owner feels if he had been in Hubei province, his wife might have been able to board a plane, like some non-Canadian citizens who were permitted to leave."I was not there, so she wasn't able to [be] included in those kinds of groups," he said.Zheng said he's uncertain how long the lockdown will last and fears his family's limited supplies could run out. But he hasn't given up hope.The WeChat group he is a part of started with fewer than 10 families, Zheng said, and continues to grow. He hopes the federal government takes the pleas of families with loved ones still trapped seriously."I have good faith, because we're doing whatever we can," he said.

  • Blockades remain in place as Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Blockades remain in place as Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

    Hereditary chiefs from the Wet'suwet'en First Nation were expected to return to British Columbia on Sunday after visiting Mohawk communities in Eastern Canada, with no signs that blockades crippling the country's rail network will come down.The actions, particularly one on a critical east-west rail line near Belleville, Ont., are in support of hereditary chiefs who oppose a natural gas pipeline despite support from elected band councils along the route of the project in northern B.C.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that while the government is ready to talk, blockades that began two weeks ago must come down and that the situation is "unacceptable and untenable."Hereditary chiefs have said they are ready for discussions with the B.C. and federal governments after the RCMP and Coastal Gas Link leave their traditional territory.Heredity Chief Na'moks, also known as John Ridsdale, said Sunday that talks were progressing with the Mohawks to take down blockades until Trudeau made his "antagonistic" and "misinformed" speech."If the prime minister had not made that speech the Mohawks would have taken down everything," he said Sunday. "They were ready. We were on the phone."Na'moks said all five hereditary chiefs are expected to meet in northern B.C. on Monday to plan their next steps and talks with the RCMP could resume on Thursday at the earliest.He said the chiefs will not budge from their demands for the Mounties to remove every component of a mobile unit from the 29-kilometre mark from Highway 16 before meeting with them."The local constabulary can look after the patrols," Na'moks said of a detachment in nearby Houston. "The officers that they fly in and out on a seven-day basis is what we want gone from the territory."Dawn Roberts, a spokeswoman for the RCMP, said the mobile unit has been temporarily closed as discussions are underway with the deputy commissioner about its future."This means that the buildings have been locked and secured and that the gates and the fence that's around that property has been locked," she said.Officers who were stationed at the unit are now conducting patrols of the area from the Houston detachment, about 40 minutes away, Roberts said, adding Mounties do not have any plans to meet with the chiefs on Thursday.The chiefs visited supporters this week in Tyendinaga and Kahnawake south of Montreal, and repeated that their conditions for talks to begin have not been met.Woos, of the Grizzly House, told reporters in Kahnawake on Saturday that attempts to reach out to Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller have not been returned since Trudeau's announcement on Friday."It seems to me like ever since Mr. Trudeau has made his announcement, the communication has ceased," Woos said.But senior cabinet ministers said Sunday the federal government remained ready to talk.Speaking Sunday on Global's news and political affairs series "The West Block," the minister for Crown-Indigenous relations styled conversations as productive and that all sides were making good progress.Carolyn Bennett said that "at no time have we stopped negotiations."She added later in the interview that "keeping the conversation open" along with the removal of the RCMP from the Wet'suwet'en territory are "really important criteria to getting us through this difficult patch and on to a good path."She said there are differing opinions within the Wet'suwet'en Nation, and it is the nation itself that has to sort out the divide."Within the Wet'suwet'en community that there are differing opinions and matriarchs, there are people that are speaking up about their issues as well," Bennett told the program."The solution will be found in the Wet'suwet'en community as they come together with their vision of self-determination and how they can form a government and write their own laws."On CTV's "Question Period," Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said the barricades needed to come down and that the federal government is committed to dialogue. He urged the hereditary chiefs to come back to the table."We all understand the importance of a peaceful resolution, but a speedy resolution, because the impact of these barricades is unacceptable, untenable," Blair said."It can't be maintained because of the harm that it is causing and so we have confidence in the police to do the job peaceably."He said that it was the responsibility of the police in each jurisdiction to deal with the blockades and was cool to the idea of the federal government sending in the military to forcibly remove demonstrators."I don't believe personally that it's ever appropriate to put armed services up against Canadians in any part of Canada," Blair told the program."The armed services perform an essential role to this country, but the police also perform an essential role."Some barricades have come down, including one in St-Lambert, Que., late Friday, which will allow the St-Hilaire commuter train line to resume service on Monday, according to Exo, the company that oversees commuter rail service in the Montreal area.Via Rail service has said it is set to resume certain routes, including its Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa route, on Monday.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • Fort Macleod, Alta., to get special advance screening of new 'Ghostbusters' film
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Fort Macleod, Alta., to get special advance screening of new 'Ghostbusters' film

    There will be something strange in the neighbourhood of Fort Macleod, Alta., in the next few months.A representative for Sony Pictures Entertainment tells The Canadian Press that the studio is working with the town on putting together a special advance screening of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife."Scenes for the film, which is due out in July, were shot in Fort Macleod and other parts of Alberta last summer.The Sony Pictures representative said Fort Macleod is the only Canadian municipality they are currently discussing a screening with.All other details about the advance screening are to be confirmed.Four-time Oscar nominee Jason Reitman, who was born in Montreal, directs the new instalment in the "Ghostbusters" series.His father, Toronto-bred Ivan Reitman, helmed the original films in the supernatural comedy franchise and produced the new one.Cast members include Carrie Coon, Mckenna Grace, Paul Rudd and Vancouver-bred "Stranger Things" star Finn Wolfhard.Coon plays a single mother alongside Grace and Wolfhard as her kids.The story sees the family moving to a small town just as it begins experiencing paranormal occurrences.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • Demonstrators gather to show solidarity at Wet'suwet'en rally in Halifax
    News
    CBC

    Demonstrators gather to show solidarity at Wet'suwet'en rally in Halifax

    Hundreds of people gathered in a circle at a downtown Halifax park Sunday afternoon to speak against the Coastal GasLink project in B.C., and to voice opposition to local projects, such as the Alton Gas natural gas project. People at the rally brought signs, including some that said "RCMP off Wet'suwe'ten land" and "Respect land and treaty rights." Demonstrators also chanted "We support the Wet'suwe'ten nation. This is not reconcilliation."The event was held in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, who oppose a pipeline that would carry natural gas to the B.C. coast through their traditional territory. It comes amid other rallies across Canada this weekend and in recent weeks. Speakers spoke about Indigenous rights and for the need of the RCMP to pull out of the traditional Wet'suwe'ten territory.Organizer Joan Smith said she preferred to think of the event "as education rather than a protest." She said she wants people to realize that Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs are their own nation."Solidarity is a really good word," said Smith, who described herself as a land and water protector who is part of the group Voices of Women for Peace."Education. Getting the support of allies. This, although it's [an] Indigenous-led movement, I think this moment is for everybody."We all drink water. We all use the land. We all need to to know that this is about protection of the land and for our future generations."Protests have disrupted cargo and passenger rail traffic across the country for the last week. Smith said she can appreciate that people in the region are affected by and concerned about propane shortages due to rail blockades, but she said the root problem isn't the protesters."If the government, Justin Trudeau, and all the government behind him, had supported Wet'suwet'en in the first place, we wouldn't have those blockades. So don't blame the people locally for what's happening from our government," she said.The demonstrators marched from the park between South Street and Hollis Street, down Barrington Street and up Spring Garden Road, where they blocked the busy intersection with South Park Street. There, people moved in a circle to the sound of a drum.Demonstrator Paula MacMillan held a sign saying that she supports Wet'suwet'en people and water and land protectors everywhere.She's been opposed to AltaGas's proposal for underground natural gas storage near the Shubenacadie River and the company's plan for discharging salt brine. "We really have to start to take our environment a lot more seriously and do things to halt infrastructure for the fossil fuel industry," she said."And I think Indigenous people have the right to to dictate what goes on on their own land. And the hereditary chiefs definitely have that right."She compared the current protests to other social movements such the push for women's or worker's rights, saying they also involved some public disruption. "The [current] disruptions have always been peaceful. They've never been throwing rocks at anybody or anything like that. So I think that people just have to be patient. And I don't think the government will change or actually deal with these issues if they don't disrupt things a little bit," she said.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Infections climb in South Korea as world fights virus
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Infections climb in South Korea as world fights virus

    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — South Korea reported an eight-fold jump in viral infections Saturday with more than 400 cases mostly linked to a church and a hospital, while the death toll in Iran climbed to six and a dozen towns in Italy effectively went into lockdowns as health officials around the world battle a new virus that has spread from China.Some virus clusters have shown no direct link to travel to China. The spread in Italy prompted local authorities in the Lombardy and Veneto regions to order schools, businesses, and restaurants closed and to cancel sporting events and Masses. Hundreds of residents and workers who came into contact with an estimated 79 people confirmed infected in Italy were in isolation pending test results. Two people infected with the virus have died.South Korea has reported 433 cases and its third death from the virus, a man in his 40s who was found dead at home and posthumously tested positive. There’s concern that the country’s death toll could grow. In and around South Korea’s fourth-largest city, Daegu, health workers scrambled to screen thousands. Virus patients with signs of pneumonia or other serious conditions at the Cheongdo hospital were transferred to other facilities, 17 of them in critical condition, Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip told reporters.He said that the outbreak had entered a serious new phase, but still expressed cautious optimism that it can be contained to the region surrounding Daegu, where the first case was reported on Tuesday.Globally, nearly 78,000 people have been infected in 29 countries, and more than 2,300 have died.A team of global experts with the World Health Organizatio n is on the way to China's Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Saturday. It has been visiting other parts of China this week.Tedros also told a meeting of African health ministers that the WHO is concerned about cases with “no clear epidemiological link, such as travel history to China or contact with a confirmed case.” He is especially concerned about the growing number of cases in Iran.But Tedros said the top concern is the potential spread to countries with weaker health systems, including in Africa. The 20% of virus patients with severe or critical disease require intensive care equipment that is “in short supply in many African countries,” he said. Just one case of the virus has been confirmed in Africa, in Egypt.In some positive news, China said Saturday that the daily count of new virus cases there fell significantly to 397, though another 109 people died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Most of the new cases and all but three of the deaths were in Hubei province, where the outbreak started.The new figures, along with an upward revision of Hubei’s earlier count, brought the total number of cases in mainland China to 76,288, with 2,345 deaths. China has severely restricted travel and imposed strict quarantine measures to stop the virus from spreading.A few Chinese provinces, eager to restart factories and their economies, began easing those restrictions after reporting no new cases in recent days. Liaoning and Gansu provinces both lowered their emergency response level, and two cities in Shaanxi province resumed bus services and removed checkpoints at railway stations, bus stations and on some highways.Of the 229 new cases in South Korea, 200 are from Daegu and nearby areas. By Saturday morning, the city of 2.5 million and surrounding areas counted 352 cases, including two fatalities in the Cheongdo hospital. Both patients had pneumonia.The central government has declared the area a “special management zone” and is channeling support to ease a shortage in hospital beds, medical personnel and equipment.While some experts say the virus has started to spread nationwide, pointing to a number of infections in Seoul and elsewhere that weren’t immediately traceable, government officials remained hopeful of containing the outbreak.“Although we are beginning to see some more cases nationwide, infections are still sporadic outside of the special management zone of Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province,” Kim said during a briefing. He called for maintaining strong border controls to prevent infections from China and elsewhere from entering South Korea.Nationwide, the numbers told of a ballooning problem. There were 20 new cases reported Wednesday, 53 on Thursday and 100 on Friday.Around 230 of those have been directly linked to a single house of worship, a Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, where a woman in her 60s attended two services before testing positive for the virus.Officials are also investigating a possible link between churchgoers and the spike in infections at the Cheongdo hospital, where more than 110 people have been infected so far, mostly patients at a mental illness ward.Health officials were screening some 9,300 church followers, and said that 1,261 of them have exhibited cough and other symptoms.Among them, four had travelled abroad in recent months, including one to China, although that trip came in early January and was not near Hubei.All 74 sites operated by the Shincheonji Church have been closed and churchgoers have been told to instead watch services online for a sect whose leader claims to be an angel of Christ, but who is dismissed by many outsiders as a cult leader. Its teachings revolve largely around the Book of Revelation, a chapter of the New Testament known mostly for its apocalyptic foreshadowing.Health and city officials say the woman who first tested positive had contact with some 1,160 people, both at the church, a restaurant and a hospital where she was treated for injuries from a car accident.But officials say it’s unlikely that the woman set off the chain of infections, and that she was probably just the first person to be detected in an area where the virus was circulating in the population.Anxiety is also palpable in other parts of the country. In Seoul, South Korea's capital, fear of the virus led many to avoid shops and restaurants and instead eat at home and order necessities online. Buses and subways were full of mask-clad commuters.Rallies were banned in downtown Seoul, but hundreds went ahead with an anti-government protest on Saturday.The first three cases in the country’s 600,000-member military also sprung up on separate bases Friday, bringing added concern. A U.S. Army garrison in Daegu restricted access and imposed self-quarantine for American troops.“There remain zero confirmed cases of USFK personnel with COVID-19 despite the rise in confirmed South Korean cases,” U.S. Forces Korea said in a statement.In Japan, new cases of the virus include a middle school teacher in her 60s, prompting concern for the health of other teachers and students in Makuhari in Chiba prefecture southeast of Tokyo.Iranian health authorities on Saturday reported the country's sixth death from the virus. The governor of Markazi province told the official IRNA news agency that tests of a patient who recently died was positive for the virus. Ali Aghazadeh said the person also had a heart problem. So far, 28 cases have been confirmed in Iran, including at least five of the six who died.Saudi Arabia barred travel to Iran and said anyone coming from there can enter only after a 14-day quarantine. The decision directly impacts thousands of Iranians who travel to Mecca and Medina for Islamic pilgrimages, effectively barring them from the kingdom.In the United States, 35 people have tested positive for the virus, including 18 who returned home from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan and one new case reported Friday in California.Egypt is among 13 countries that the WHO identified as high priority in Africa because of direct travel links to China or a high volume of Chinese travel.A growing number of African nations now have the laboratory ability to test for the virus, up from two early this month. About 11,000 health workers have been trained about the virus, Tedros said, and the WHO has shipped more than 30,000 sets of personal protective equipment to several African nations.___Associated Press writers Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo and Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.Kim Tong-Hyung, The Associated Press

  • Israeli fire kills Palestinian trying to plant bomb at Gaza border: Israeli military
    News
    Reuters

    Israeli fire kills Palestinian trying to plant bomb at Gaza border: Israeli military

    Israeli forces killed a Palestinian trying to plant explosives near Israel's border security fence with the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the Israeli military said. The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad said the man was one of its members, but it did not disclose what he was doing in the area. In a statement, the Israeli military said soldiers opened fire at two Palestinians placing an explosive device next to the fence in the Hamas Islamist-run enclave.

  • Grateful to Kahnawake people, says Wet'suwet'en hereditary Chief Woos
    CBC

    Grateful to Kahnawake people, says Wet'suwet'en hereditary Chief Woos

    Wet'suwet'en First Nation chiefs are meeting Mohawk community in Kahnawake, Que.

  • News
    CBC

    Fraser Health advises local school districts about contacts of latest B.C. coronavirus case

    Health officials in B.C.'s Fraser Valley say contacts of the latest presumptive case of coronavirus in the province may have attended school in the area, but that there is no public health risk in the region.Fraser Health sent a letter to the school district for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, about 40 kilometres east of Vancouver, on Friday, to explain that students had contact with the latest case. It also sent the letter to School District 43, which serves Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and the villages of Anmore and Belcarra.The letter came a day after provincial officials announced a woman in her 30s, who had returned from a trip to Iran, had tested positive for the novel virus.The case surprised officials when they learned she had only visited Iran, and not China or neighbouring countries that have had the bulk of COVID-19 cases.The latest report from the World Health Organization said that Iran has reported 18 cases and four deaths from the virus.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnnie Henry said on Thursday that she expected an international investigation into how the woman, who visited Iran, picked up the virus.She said health officials are looking into when the patient's symptoms started to help determine if they need to notify those who travelled with her on the same aircraft. The patient is recovering in isolation at home.Her diagnosis is considered presumptive until confirmed by the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg. There are five confirmed cases in B.C. and one presumptive case. There have been no deaths, and the first confirmed patient in B.C. has fully recovered.On Friday, a letter from Fraser Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Ingrid Tyler said that officials were monitoring the patient and speaking with anyone who had contact with her.The letter said that some contacts, "may have attended school in the region and are currently isolated." It did not say how many people attended school or if the contacts were the woman's family members.'No public health risk'Tyler emphasised that the contacts were not showing any signs of symptoms or illness while attending school and are currently well."There is no public health risks at schools in the region," said the letter. "There is also no evidence that novel coronavirus is circulating in the community."Fraser Health is not recommending testing or the assessment of anyone who may have been in contact with the latest case or any asymptomatic individual, no mater their travel or contact history.The letter does remind people to follow proper hygene, such as hand washing, during cold and flu season.It also included other recommendations that have made by other health officials as the spread of COVID-19 increased, such as staying in isolation for 14 days if you come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the virus.Globally, more than 78,000 people have been infected with coronavirus in 29 countries.

  • News
    CBC

    BC Ferries president grumbles about 'lower' than expected fare increase set for April 1

    Ferry fares are set to increase April 1 and the president and CEO of BC Ferries is already grumbling about it.Mark Collins says the 2.3 per cent increase to fares will make it "challenging" to pay to replace aging vessels, upgrade technology and improve service.In the fall, the British Columbia Ferries Commissioner approved an average annual rate increase from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2024."We believe that this regulatory decision, being lower than we expected, may make it more challenging to achieve our corporate objectives," Collins said Friday in a news release.A foot passenger ticket from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay currently costs $17.20, while taking a standard vehicle on that route costs $57.50.$8.3 million in lossesCollins' comments came with the corporation's release of its third quarter results from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019, which say BC Ferries recorded a net loss of $8.3 million.It had a net loss of $3.7 million for the same quarter a year earlier.Losses in the corporations' third and fourth quarters are not unusual due to the seasonality of ferry travel and vessel maintenance schedules.Since April 1, 2019, year-to-date net earnings were $98.9 million. The corporation says that is $5.6 million higher than in the same period for 2018.Officials at BC Ferries said that overall revenues are up due to increased vehicle traffic, retail revenue and provincial contributions.However, operating expenses have also increased due to higher labour costs and staffing levels as a result of additional round trips added to sailings.The corporation says it is making significant investments in the service, such as new diesel-electric hybrid ferries, upgrades to the Skeena Queen and Spirit Class vessels and other technology upgrades.Fares were reduced slightly in December 2019 when the corporation eliminated a 1.5 per cent fuel surcharge from each ticket due to a recent decrease in the price of fuel.Those savings amount to a reduction of 25 cents per person and another 85 cents per vehicle.There have been no vehicle fare increases since April 2017 and no passenger fare increases since 2016, according to BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall.Meeting 'corporate objectives'Collins has not yet responded to inquires from CBC News about how the increase to fares may not be enough to cover improvements and what the consequence may be.BC Ferries carried 22.3 million passengers and 8.9 million vehicles during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019.It provides year-round ferry transportation services to the West Coast of Canada on 25 routes, currently supported by 35 vessels and 47 terminals.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Governor general says multiple solutions needed for 'complicated' overdose issue

    VANCOUVER — Canada's Governor General visited an overdose prevention site in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside on Saturday after meeting with first responders on the front lines of substance-use issues fuelled by the opioid fentanyl.Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as officials including Mayor Kennedy Stewart, British Columbia's Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin and Dr. Patricia Daly, the chief medical health officer for the Vancouver Coastal Health authority.Payette said she's learned that the overdose crisis that has caused thousands of deaths across the country is complicated and will require a co-ordinated response including health and mental-health services in order to find solutions and "diminish hardship."She said it wasn't her first visit to the drug-riddled neighbourhood and that she's had a longtime interest in addiction issues."Before I was Governor General of Canada I served on the board of Drug Free Kids Canada," Payette said of the non-profit organization that aims to help parents in particular deal with youth addiction and prevention."My reason to be here today is just to highlight and thank the folks that do this every day," she said of firefighters and police officers who respond to multiple 911 calls daily involving people who have overdosed.After her visit to the fire hall, Payette walked a few blocks with first responders and officials to the Molson Overdose Prevention Site, where people inject their own drugs and other drug users trained to supervise them ensure they get help if they overdose.The site opened in December 2016 under an order from the provincial health minister, seven months after the B.C. government declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency because of a record number of overdose deaths, mostly due to fentanyl.Coco Culbertson, senior manager of programs at PHS Community Services Society, which runs Molson, said Payette's visit may help to reduce the stigma of drug use."She was incredibly empathetic and understanding of how these places offer humanity and dignity to people that often don't have a lot of agency in society," Culbertson said.Molson is around the corner from Insite, North America's first facility to offer drug users a place to walk in off the street to inject their own drugs under the watchful eye of a nurse.Insite opened in 2003 to curb overdose deaths and spiralling HIV rates when the federal Liberals were in power and under an exemption to Canada's drug laws but the facility became the focus of heated court battles with the election of the Conservative government before a unanimous 9-0 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2011 kept the site open.The success of Insite has spawned similar sites across the country including two others in British Columbia, which is also home to 30 overdose prevention sites in B.C., including the one Payette visited.Jonathan Gormick, spokesman for Vancouver Fire Rescue Services, said the governor general's meeting with first responders is meaningful because she's not a politician."I think when she gathers evidence and she advocates for a position it's taken with more validity because it's not based on getting votes, it's not based on towing a party line or saying something just to oppose an opposition party," Gormick said. "Hopefully it will influence some change and be supported across party lines."Health Canada says about 14,000 people died in the country of opioid-related overdoses between January 2016 and June 2019 and thousands more were hospitalized.Later on Saturday, Payette was to meet with five teenage skiers who were hailed as heroes last year for helping to save an eight-year-old boy who was dangling from a chair lift on Grouse Mountain. The teens grabbed a piece of out-of-bounds netting to help cushion the boy's fall after convincing him to jump."I'm the mom of a teenager so I know how important it is to say, 'Hey, good job,'" Payette said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2020.Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

  • Amy, chasing: Klobuchar, already beating odds, faces uphill climb
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Amy, chasing: Klobuchar, already beating odds, faces uphill climb

    WASHINGTON — It's been a running gag ever since she launched her bid to become president of the United States: Amy Klobuchar knows how to handle a Canadian winter.Not long after the Minnesota senator's blizzard-bound campaign debut last year, a group of former U.S. and Canadian ambassadors gathered in Washington — a city famous for running and hiding from the white stuff — to discuss, among other things, their preferred nominee."Canadians love Amy Klobuchar — look at the way she handled snow," joked former Canadian ambassador and Manitoba premier Gary Doer, who hosted Klobuchar's 2013 swearing-in party on the Canadian Embassy's rooftop patio.Gordon Giffin, U.S. ambassador to Canada under Bill Clinton, happened to be hosting his own reception for Klobuchar at his home in Atlanta the very next night. "We're not expecting snow," he said, "but I am expecting Amy Klobuchar to be the Democratic nominee."Bruce Heyman, who might never have been confirmed in the Senate as Barack Obama's Ottawa emissary without her help, calls Klobuchar the best hope for both the Democrats and the country. The solidarity is striking, particularly for a candidate whose visibility challenges have long extended well beyond the weather forecast in Minnesota. But her affinity for the Canada-U.S. file demonstrates why those hoping to reboot relations with the White House could do worse than the first female senator from the North Star State.She has spent more than a decade as co-chair of the Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group, the panel of lawmakers from both sides of the border that works to identify shared interests at the legislative level. She's also a devout free-trader with a deep understanding of Canada's priorities, thanks in part to the fact she "can see Canada from her porch," as she likes to say. Social liberals might take comfort in her support for abortion and LGBTQ rights.For Giffin, it all comes down to that re-election embassy bash, which featured congressional movers and shakers from both sides of the aisle."It was actually a physical manifestation of the way Washington ought to work — these days, Republicans don't go to Democrat swearing-in parties," Giffin recalled in an interview Friday."Gary and I have a common thread with Amy of seeing how she does politics and government the right way. She works with Democrats and Republicans, and she knows more than something about Canada."Heyman credits Klobuchar — "nobody knows the Canada-U.S. file better who's running for president," he says — with breaking through a partisan deadlock on Capitol Hill and getting him confirmed by the Senate in 2014. During a subsequent gathering in Ottawa, he saw her bilateral bona-fides up close."There we were, just a couple of months later, and who does she bring? She brings Republicans and Democrats — and some of the most red Republicans and blue Democrats," he recalled."I've seen her work across the aisle at a time when we are a country divided, and parties divided."But as the primary fight moves through Nevada and into South Carolina, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders showing signs of pulling away from the pack and Super Tuesday looming on March 3, Klobuchar is facing an uphill struggle for traction with more diverse black and Latino voters in the South. Money is becoming a challenge, too, as donors aim their largesse at the front-runners.For Giffin, a veteran of the U.S. political trenches, Klobuchar needs to catch a lucky break."The voters in South Carolina, no matter what their background or diversity might be, want to be for somebody who's got a chance to win the nomination first, and secondly to win the general election," he said."I'm not by any means predicting that Amy's going to be the next president of the United States. I'd be thrilled if she was, and I think the country would be well-served if she was. I think she's impressing people as she goes along. Can lightning strike? I don't know."North of the border, she's still a stranger, a new online survey from the Angus Reid Institute suggests.Sanders was the choice of 28 per cent of respondents to both defeat Trump and herald an improvement in Canada-U.S. relations, besting second-place Joe Biden at 14 per cent. Klobuchar registered just four per cent, with fewer than a third of those surveyed even having an opinion of her.And that lucky break might have already happened: Klobuchar's campaign found new life in New Hampshire, where she used the televised debate to promote her reputation as a moderate consensus-builder with a fighting chance against Donald Trump in critical states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania."I don't have the biggest name up on this stage, I don't have the biggest bank account ... but I have a record of fighting for people," she said. "I'm asking you to believe that someone who totally believes in America can win this, because if you are tired of the extremes in our politics and the noise and the nonsense, you have a home with me."The ensuing momentum, paired with a continuing flurry of newspaper endorsements, painted a target on her back in the next contest in Nevada. That's where fellow candidate Pete Buttigieg savaged her for supporting a bill to make English the national language and for blanking on the name of the president of Mexico."Are you trying to say that I'm dumb? Are you mocking me here, Pete?" Klobuchar retorted, shaken. "He's basically saying that I don't have the experience to be president of the United States."Friday's headline in the New York Times said it all: "Klobuchar suddenly rises to rival worth attacking."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2020.— Follow James McCarten on Twitter @CdnPressStyleJames McCarten, The Canadian Press

  • Canadian L'Arche group shocked by report that founder sexually abused women
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Canadian L'Arche group shocked by report that founder sexually abused women

    A report by a French-based charity that helps people who are developmentally disabled has concluded its late Canadian founder had "manipulative sexual relationships" with women over several decades, shocking members of the group that continue his work today.L'Arche International says in a report summary that Jean Vanier, who died last year at the age of 90, had relationships with at least six women between 1970 and 1995, some of whom said Vanier "used his power over them to take advantage of them through different kinds of sexual behaviours."The report notes that none of the women were disabled. However, it said all described their vulnerability, sometimes coming from difficult family backgrounds or looking for a father figure, or seeking spiritual guidance."He said: 'This is not us, this is Mary and Jesus. You are chosen, you are special, this is secret,'" one of the unnamed victims said of Vanier's behaviour, according to the report.The document also notes the women described significant barriers to raising concerns about the relationships, given Vanier's "charismatic personality" and his dominant position within L'Arche.Vanier, son of former governor general Georges P. Vanier, worked as a Canadian navy officer and professor before turning to Catholic-inspired charity work.A visit to a psychiatric hospital prompted him to found L'Arche in 1964 as an alternative living environment where those with developmental disabilities could be full-fledged participants in the community instead of patients.A Facebook post Saturday morning from L'Arche Daybreak, in Richmond Hill, Ont., which was the first of 29 Canadian communities of the charity, said the news out of France was troubling."We at L'Arche Daybreak are both shocked and saddened by the findings because this behaviour, as revealed in the report, betrays the fundamental values of our organization," the post said.Jocelyn Girard, a former official from two L'Arche communities who met Vanier several times in France and in Quebec, between 1998 and 2010, hoped the news would not deprive the communities of precious funding.He said people and assistants who have been transformed for the rest of their lives will now have to assume that it is not Vanier who transformed them, but the people with disabilities themselves who lived in the communities. Worldwide, there are 154 L'Arche residential communities in 38 countries on five continents.Vanier was born in Geneva, Switzerland, the fourth of five children. He was named to the Order of Canada and France's Legion of Honour.The report explained the investigation was launched following another probe that began in 2014 into allegations of sexual abuse by Father Thomas Philippe, a Catholic priest Vanier called his "spiritual father," who died in 1993.The report said that in 2016, L'Arche leaders received an allegation from a woman about Vanier dating back to the 1970s. It said Vanier acknowledged the relationship, but stated that he believed the relationship to have been "reciprocal."In March 2019 towards the end of Vanier's life, the report said L'Arche International received another similar allegation and decided to launch an independent inquiry, which was conducted by independent British firm GCPS Consulting. It also looked into Vanier's relationship with Philippe, as well as Vanier's response to situations of abuse that were brought to his attention."The inquiry team found that the alleged victims, who were not linked to each other and had no knowledge of their respective stories, had each undergone a process of serious personal reflection," the report noted."Although deeply affected by the events of the past, they were both humble and without any hatred or desire for revenge."L'Arche Daybreak, in its Facebook post, praised the women."We honour the courage of the victims who came forward and stand in solidarity with them and with all victims of abuse," the Ontario group said in the post.Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, issued a statement Saturday describing the revelations as "tragic and heartwrenching.""In the midst of this darkness, we find a ray of light in those who so faithfully serve in L'Arche communities worldwide and have dedicated their lives to friendship, care and love," Collins said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • News
    Reuters

    Earthquake in Turkey-Iran border region kills nine, injures more than 100

    Nine people were killed and buildings collapsed across southeastern Turkey on Sunday when a magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck near the border with Iran, injuring more than a hundred in villages and towns in both countries, government officials said. In Turkey, three of the dead were children, and 50 people were injured, including nine critically, the health ministry said. The shallow tremor caused more than 1,000 buildings to collapse in Turkey, prompting a brief rescue effort to find those trapped under rubble.

  • VPD search for high-risk sex offender after he cut off electronic monitoring bracelet
    News
    CBC

    VPD search for high-risk sex offender after he cut off electronic monitoring bracelet

    Vancouver police are warning the public and asking for their help in finding 38-year-old Kirstjon Olson, a provincial sex offender, after he cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet and left his residence against his release conditions.Police say Olson is considered a high-risk sex offender and there are reasonable grounds to fear he will commit a sexual offence against a child under the age of 16.Olson is also under 27 court-ordered conditions, which include complying with electronic monitoring and curfew.He is currently wanted for breach of recognizance for not abiding by those conditions.Police describe Olson as: * 5'8" tall and 245 pounds. * Having brown hair and brown eyes, with a light complexion.Olson left his residence in the Downtown Eastside late Friday night wearing black clothing and a black hat. He was carrying a backpack with red straps. Police ask anyone who sees Olson, or knows his whereabouts, to immediately call 911 or Vancouver police detectives at 604-717-0603.

  • News
    CBC

    Tribute held in Edmonton for victims of Flight 752 crash

    Edmonton city hall hosted a tribute on Saturday afternoon to remember the victims of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 that was shot down on Jan. 8.Mayor Don Iveson was at the tribute to officially present the Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton with a condolence book for victims' families. 176 people were killed when the plane was shot down, including 13 people from Edmonton.Reza Akbari, the Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton's president, said he and his group have offered support to victims' families both in Canada and Iran. But he said he still doesn't know how to feel 45 days after the crash."Every time I see an image or picture of them, I can't hold my tears. It's not possible to accept such a catastrophe is happening," Akbari said.Akbari said the condolence book presented on Saturday was a beautiful act from the city and its people."This means humanity. This means it doesn't matter where you're coming from, it doesn't matter what your background is, but we all have the same value when it comes to humanity," Akbari said.Before presenting the condolence book, Iveson spoke at the tribute to say the City of Edmonton and its people continue to grieve with those impacted by the crash."It falls to us to hold and remember their dreams, their hopes, their many accomplishments," Iveson said.A common refrain throughout the tribute was 'We will never forget, we will never forgive,' as many called for the Canadian government and its allies to pursue justice by further investigating the crash to find the truth of how it occurred.Iran has said the plane was mistaken for a hostile target amid escalating tensions with the United States. But Canada and its allies have been pushing Iran to release the black boxes from the crash so the data can be properly analyzed by facilities in France.Akbari and many others supported this call on Saturday. Around 15 people organized after the tribute outside city hall in protest to call for justice.Javad Soleimani, spoke at the tribute on Saturday. He lost his wife, Elnaz Nabiyi, in the crash. Soleimani said he also supports the Canadian government's pressure to release information from the plane's black box.Soleimani said he was thankful for the support at the tribute on Saturday, but said the last 45 days have been difficult."It's a pain that you cannot remove." Soleimani said. "You just need to learn how to live with it."

  • News
    Reuters

    Family furor over Singapore founder's will deepens after tribunal ruling

    The daughter-in-law of Singapore's founding father has been found guilty by a disciplinary tribunal of professional misconduct over her involvement in preparing his will, which is at heart of a feud between the city-state's first family. The latest development in a long-running saga could sow further discord among the prime minister and his siblings - whose father Lee Kuan Yew co-founded the party which has ruled the island nation unbroken since independence - just as an election looms. "I disagree with the Disciplinary Tribunal's report and will fight this strongly when it is heard in open court," said Lee Suet Fern, a lawyer who is married to the prime minister's younger brother.

  • Pilot project could see DIY performances in vacant city buildings
    News
    CBC

    Pilot project could see DIY performances in vacant city buildings

    As rental prices skyrocket downtown and high-profile music venues close, it's becoming more difficult for emerging musical artists to afford spaces to create and perform, but now the city is designing a pilot project to provide spaces for musicians at low cost, or no cost.Coun. Joe Cressy, who represents Ward 10, Spadina-Fort York and chairs the Toronto Music Advisory Committee, says spaces for so-called Do It Yourself organizers are becoming rare."For a lot of musicians, you don't start out playing at the Horseshoe Tavern or the Danforth Music Hall," said Cressy."Everybody needs to get their start somewhere and that's where DIY venues are so important."With space downtown at a premium as condominium projects replace entire blocks of once rentable rehearsal or performance venues, musicians are having a harder and harder time being able to access affordable DIY spaces."They're just too expensive. And so if we lose the DIY spaces we lose the next generation of live musicians," said Cressy.On Thursday, Cressy's committee approved staff recommendations to develop a pilot program for DIY music organizations to use city-owned spaces at lower than market value. "The city is one of the largest landowners. We have thousands of pieces of real estate, far too many of which are being underutilized," Cressy said."And so the opportunity to provide a venue at a below market rents, where the insurance is covered by the city, for new and emerging artists to be able to create art and express art is just low hanging fruit," said Cressy.He suggested some city owned properties, such as the decommissioned subway station at Lower Bay or the Canada Malting Silos, could make for interesting musical performance venues."You know that the use of the Hearn [Generating Station] for the Luminato Festival demonstrates that not only can we do a better job of providing affordable and accessible spaces for DIY artists and musicians at large, but it also shows you that when you use a unusual or not expected performance space often it brings a whole other character and interest to the performance as well," Cressy said.But those who already run affordable DIY venues say they need support too.Mark Wilson, the chair and treasurer of Array Music, approves of Cressy's attempts to find more artistic space, but says existing places need to be nurtured.Array Space at 155 Walnut Ave., west of Bathurst Street. and south of Richmond Street, is a second-floor warehouse venue that seats about 60 people comfortably and can be rented for as low as $25 an hour."We already host more than a couple hundred events a year in the DIY space. And I think what I am asking the city to do is also consider extending further support to existing DIY spaces," said Wilson."I think they should also be looking at what additional support they can provide to the existing spaces as opposed to just inventing new infrastructure."Wilson says the space is not just used by up-and-coming experimental artists, but established performers."There's lots of emerging artists. But ... artists who are quite senior in their careers and perhaps are at the experimental edge of things are still looking for places to invent new work. And we offer them that opportunity."Staff with the Toronto Music Advisory Committee and Economic Development and Culture have conducted consultations with DIY music stakeholders, along with city staff in Corporate Real Estate Management.  At the committee's next meeting in May, staff will have an inventory of city-owned properties suitable for tenancy and develop the terms of a pilot program. Any pilot program would have to be approved by city council and could be launched in the fall.

  • Halifax businesses not likely to be compensated for losses due to construction
    News
    CBC

    Halifax businesses not likely to be compensated for losses due to construction

    Any Halifax business hoping to be compensated for lost revenue because of construction shouldn't hold its breath.On Tuesday, Halifax regional council will voting on a plan to update an administrative order on municipal construction bylaws.While it includes a plan to deal with rodents, compensation to businesses that lose money because of construction is out of the question.The staff report acknowledged concern businesses in downtown Halifax have about impacts to their operations from construction projects, and notes the call for compensation to help offset lost income.But it says there is "no ability" under the HRM charter for the municipality to compensate businesses affected by longer-term street closures where the municipality is acting within the scope of its authority and not undertaking the work itself.While compensation "remains and issue for the business community," the report notes the intent of the administrative order is to lessen the impacts of construction and "avoid disruption of business activities."Those concerned about rodents from construction should be pleased with the administrative order's amendment that includes a rodent-control plan.Currently, there are no requirements in existing guidelines for rodents.The new administrative order would require a rodent-control plan to be provided for all cases where a construction-management plan is required, unless exempted by an engineer.MORE TOP STORIES

  • 'We've lost our champions': The fight to save Canadian authors
    News
    CBC

    'We've lost our champions': The fight to save Canadian authors

    Eric Walters's plot to save Canadian culture came to him much like the idea for a book — in a flash of inspiration.It was November 2018, and the Toronto-born writer was driving through the Prairies, constantly on the phone with publishers, fellow writers and others in the Canadian literature community."And I was getting this real sense of pessimism," said Walters. "There were less publishers publishing less books, and book sales are down. There was a palpable pessimism in all areas."But the problem wasn't actually people reading less or buying fewer books overall. According to a study on the Canadian book market by the non-profit Booknet Canada, book sales in Canada have held strong: Between 2018 and 2017, the total value of books sold dropped only 0.2 per cent.What wasn't being sold though, said Walters, were books written by Canadians.At the same time, interest in Canadian books generally increased, according to a separate 2017 study by Booknet. And demand for Indigenous literature has grown exponentially.Still, the number of English Canadians buying Canadian-written books has fallen. While Canadians sold 27 per cent of all books in the country in 2005, they stood at 13 per cent in 2018, according to a report titled More Canada.A children's and young adult writer himself, Walters's solution was to start "I Read Canadian," an annual event dedicated to getting kids to spend at least 15 minutes reading a book by a Canadian author. The inaugural day, on Feb. 19, saw participation from children in schools and libraries in every province and territory. It's the first step in combating what Walters sees as the root cause of the problem: multinational companies with better resources outcompeting smaller Canadian publishers."Because of their ability to produce books cheaper and to flood into the market, they are flooding the market," Walters said. "We are losing touch with our own culture."Competing issuesNot everyone finds the problem so simple.While Canadian author Susan Swan believes marketing plays an important factor, she points to the digitization of the publishing field — and some of the software it uses — as a major culprit."Canadians do want to read their own books, if they get a hold of them," Swan said. "The interest is there; it's just getting them into readers' hands."The rise of online book-buying — and its propensity to promote books that are already bestsellers — is an important factor, she said.What's more, she said, is most large Canadian booksellers and publishers use an American-made software to sort their titles into subjects: A system known as BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications). That system generally works to determine where books go on the shelves, and the more specific an author is when picking their code, the more likely it is their books will find readers.  Though it is used throughout North America, BISAC was built primarily for the U.S. market and reflects those needs more than any other, Swan said. It does not include the ability to differentiate Canadian authors from American ones.Smaller, independent bookstores and publishers tend to use Canadian-made software, which does indicate where authors are from, she said. But larger outlets rely on BISAC, making it less likely for Canadian readers to encounter Canadian titles.That doesn't mean the information is impossible for chains to find.Other classification systems provide information about where authors are from, and BISAC codes have begun to better reflect Canadian interests; Canadian Indigenous poetry was added as a category earlier this year, for example, while the term "Native Canadian" was renamed following complaints.There are also other systems that categorize all Canadian authors together, Swan said, but they're either not widely used or the information is buried where most don't bother to look for it.What's more, independent bookstores and publishers have traditionally operated as the primary supporters of Canadian literature, Swan said, but they have struggled compared to larger retailers in recent years.While multinational publishers and chain bookstores don't necessarily neglect promoting Canadian authors to Canadian audiences, she said, independents often have more of a stake in popularizing Canadian voices, sometimes to the detriment of their bottom line. "The crux of it is, is that we're in a digital sea change," Swan said. "We've lost our champions for Canadian books, because we've seen a consolidation in the bookstores into chains … in English Canada."Andrew Wooldridge, a publisher with Canada's Orca Books, agrees.When choosing what to publish, Wooldridge said he will include a mix of books he believes in — even if they won't sell well — with others he knows will perform better — something he pursues over "every book being strictly viable," he said.That is something multinationals — who publish 20 per cent of Canadian authors, but make roughly 80 per cent of sales — are less likely to do, he said, especially when it comes to picking Canadian authors in particular."On the independent retail side, [independent] stores are more successful at selling Canadian books — they just are," said Wooldridge. "They believe in 'Buy local, sell local' and 'Read Canadian.'"Multinational publishersHowever, that's not a sentiment shared by Vikki VanSickle, head of marketing for young readers at Penguin Random House Canada (PRHC) and a children's author herself.While she recognizes the struggle of emerging Canadian authors competing with marketing-savvy American publishers, VanSickle says the software isn't to blame. She also rejects the idea that multinational publishers neglect Canadian titles.While BISAC is largely built for categorization by subject, and not for finding authors from specific regions, VanSickle said the system's codes wouldn't be useful for readers, "because in most cases, that's not how people search for books."WATCH | Hear more from Eric Walters on creating 'I Read Canadian' Day:When people search for titles on Amazon or Indigo, they're looking for specific subjects, like adventure or historical fiction. When it comes to promoting writers, "I don't know how often people would search books by Canadian author."Instead, she suggests, readers will reach out directly to bookstores to ask about local authors or books about nearby regions.Penguin Random House Canada took part in "I Read Canadian" Day by promoting Canadian books through its social media pages and co-ordinating with authors to share their books with schools and libraries — something VanSickle said is common for them to do."I think, sometimes, there might have been a perception in the past that Canadian books can get lost at a multinational publisher. But that's just not true," she said. "It's not the way that we function, it's not the way that we market, and it hasn't been what people are asking us for."Instead, she said, it's a complex set of factors — fewer print reviews of books, limited space in stores for books to be featured, and a U.S. market that eclipses that of Canada — that have come together to reduce Canadian authors' sales. Emerging writers at riskIn response to the slump, a number of solutions have been proposed."I Read Canadian" Day is expected to return in 2021. Booknet Canada, which has some say in subjects included in BISAC, plans on pushing for more code changes to better reflect Canadian interests. And More Canada's report recommends more funding be given to independent bookstores for promotion of Canadian authors. Whatever the reason, Swan believes the problem is urgent. If it continues, it will be impossible for younger writers to make their way into the field, she says. Because while the industry is "on a sort of craze to promote emerging writers," these authors don't have a realistic market where they can launch. She explained that although more books and authors have been published in recent years — a sentiment echoed by VanSickle — attracting an audience as a Canadian writer feels more difficult now than ever."It feels shameful," Swan said. "In a self-respecting country, we need to read our own authors."

  • Western Quebec municipalities, activists aim to curb mining operations
    News
    CBC

    Western Quebec municipalities, activists aim to curb mining operations

    A number of Outaouais politicians, environmental activists and tourism operators are mobilizing against what they consider an explosion in mining exploration in the area.They gathered Wednesday at the Chateau Montebello in Montebello, Que., to voice concerns over the impact mining operations could have on tourism and the environment.They also want the Quebec government to give municipalities the ability to dictate how close mineral exploration and mining can encroach on their boundaries. There's currently little that members of the public or elected officials can do to stop an exploration company from operating close to cottages, businesses and homes, said Ugo Lapointe, Canadian campaign co-ordinator for Mining Watch Canada.Once mining for products like lithium and graphite — crucial for batteries and electric cars — gets underway, it can get messy and noisy, Lapointe told CBC Radio's All in a Day. The work can also be hazardous to groundwater, he added, if chemicals aren't contained properly."For most of these projects it will mean open-pit mining. Open-pit mining requires heavy machinery, heavy equipment blasting, which can be daily blasting or weekly blasting," said Lapointe."So noise, dust, traffic are some of the impacts that are most felt immediately surrounding the operations."List of requestsThe municipality of Papineau, Que., the Lakes of the Petite-Nation protection group and the Conseil régional de l'environnement et du développement durable de l'Outaouais are all calling on Quebec's ministry of energy and resources to take a number of steps, including: * Reconciling tourism activities with economic priorities. * Respecting local communities and their land uses, as well as principles like conservation, biodiversity and ecosystem preservation. * Ensuring public consultations take place to balance mining operations with environmental, social and economic issues.Municipal representatives at Wednesday's news conference also worried increased demand for "critical and strategic" minerals — which are abundant in the Ottawa River watershed — will trump tourism and other economic drivers.According to Lapointe, the province is expected to table its updated policy on key minerals in the next few weeks.

  • Ottawa family reunites, returns home after 2-week quarantine
    News
    CBC

    Ottawa family reunites, returns home after 2-week quarantine

    An Ottawa man says it's good to be free after he and his mother spent the last two weeks in quarantine in Trenton, Ont. "We can do whatever we want," Kai Huang said on his drive home Friday. "I feel very happy."Huang and his 78-year-old mother, Yi, were among 200 people confined to dorm-like lodging at CFB Trenton after being airlifted from Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the country's coronavirus outbreak.The city was placed in lockdown in late January.While Huang is a Canadian citizen, it initially looked like his mother, a permanent resident, wouldn't be able to board either of the two flights Ottawa sent to the city of 11 million. In the end, however, both received a letter from Canada's embassy in China granting passage on a U.S.-chartered flight. "She really appreciates, from her heart, the [Canadian] government," said Huang, acting as the translator for his mother."Because if she lives in China right now, probably she [would have] died. The government rescued her."  Tried to keep busyWhile in quarantine, Huang said he read the news and went for walks. He also wrote a letter of appreciation for the staff at CFB Trenton. The group of evacuees at the military base have raised more than $35,000 for the Canadian Red Cross.When Huang first saw his wife, Bingli Liu, after leaving quarantine, he said there were too many people around to hug her in the parking lot. Liu said she's had to care for the couple's two children by herself for the past two weeks.She's already set up a few chores for her husband. "Shovelling and all that. Outside work, that's all what Kai did."Beyond an impending return to snow shovelling, Huang said he was overjoyed to simply be with his family again. "I can see my son, my daughter and my wife," he said. "That's the most exciting thing."

  • Harvey woman turns old fur coats into fashionable new accessories
    News
    CBC

    Harvey woman turns old fur coats into fashionable new accessories

    Jessie McFadyen keeps a collection of old fur coats hanging inside a small wooden shop beside her home in southwestern New Brunswick.The 55-year-old buys them from Kijiji and Value Village. If she's lucky, some people donate their old coats made from coyote, raccoon and fox fur. "Just fur everywhere," she said.McFadyen refashions the thousands of coats she's kept over the years into headbands, earmuffs, scarves, purses, mittens and hats."I'm using something that a woman years ago … wore to make herself feel good," the seamstress said. "And now I make things from your mother's coat or your grandmother's coat. It's a cherished keepsake."Fur coats have become unpopular in recent years, but sometimes the old coats just don't fit anymore. "We have these things called shrinking closets," McFadyen said with a laugh at her home in Harvey, a village about 42 kilometres southwest of Fredericton. The New Brunswick crafter came up with the idea after her husband, John, came home with a muskrat coat he bought at a yard sale for $10 about 30 years ago."I said quote — unquote, 'What the hell are you going to do with that?'" From old to newMcFadyen has been sewing since she was a little girl, making doll outfits, aprons and pairs of shorts."I've always sewn, whether it was hemming a pair of pants or shortening a pair of sleeves."But she'd never worked with fur. "I didn't know what he was going to do with it."  The muskrat coat sat inside her closet for a few years until John made her a pair of slippers to keep her feet warm in winter.From there, the duo kept going. "We made slipper after slipper after slipper," said McFadyen, who is also the owner of Fur 'N' Things.Then the couple moved on to making different winter accessories from muskrat, beaver and raccoon. The accessories are so warm, people use them for skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and dog sledding. Good for the environment McFadyen learned to sew the fur products from video, books — and with a lot of support from her husband."The rest is all self-taught and trial and error,"McFadyen, who graduated top of her class in Grade 12 home economics, started sewing products together with her metal Singer sewing machine and a leather needle.Over the years, she upgraded to an industrial sewing machine and from there, she to a fur machine."Fur is slippery to work with."Although she's been sewing for more than 30 years, McFadyen was forced to slow down after doctors removed a benign tumour from her brain a few years ago.But she's still a perfectionist. "If I don't like the look of something, it could be one stitch or a whole item, if I don't like the look of it I take it apart and redo it.McFadyen said repurposing old fur is important for the environment because the old coats can be turned into something new, rather than being sent to the landfill. "It's environmentally friendly," she said. "I'm recycling, that's a good thing." Fur 'makes environmental sense'Alan Herscovici, former director of the Fur Council of Canada, said fur clothing is an example of durable and long-lasting material."We've got to get away from this fast-fashion throwaway culture, where things look nice, but they don't last too long," he said. "They're not too expensive, so you buy new things all the time. Throw the rest away and don't think of the mountains of garbage that build up.Rather than synthetic clothing that come from petrochemicals that aren't biodegradable, he said, people should consider buying clothing made of natural materials that are better quality and can be reused."Fur coats are one of the few clothing articles that can be taken apart, totally remodelled and restyled," he said."That makes environmental sense."Then if people don't want to wear these items, the fur can be taken to the back garden compost ,where it can biodegrade and return to the soil. "It's a long-lasting recyclable, natural clothing material that's produced sustainably," he said.

  • Protesters in support of Wet'suwe'ten hereditary chiefs vow to maintain blockades 'as long as it takes'
    Global News

    Protesters in support of Wet'suwe'ten hereditary chiefs vow to maintain blockades 'as long as it takes'

    Protesters in support of the Wet'suwe'ten hereditary chiefs opposed to the CGL pipeline remain defiant. They continue to demonstrate despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying all blockades around the country must come down. Nadia Stewart reports.

  • Research seeks to tap into craft-brewing potential of Maritime wild hops
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Research seeks to tap into craft-brewing potential of Maritime wild hops

    HALIFAX — Two federal research scientists are working with varieties of wild hops found in the Maritimes to see if some of their unique aromas can eventually be incorporated in craft beers.Jason McCallum and Aaron Mills have spent the last two years searching out wild hops that grow mainly along creek beds and heavily forested areas in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.McCallum said in addition to the native wild hops, there are also hops varieties from Europe that have flourished since their introduction by settlers during the early colonization of North America.As a result, the plants grow relatively abundantly and are easily recognizable to someone who knows what they are looking for."Just driving around you can spot it in your car at 80 kilometres an hour .... Some of the sites we found were just through random road scouting like that," McCallum said.The plants can be quite tall — growing as high as 10 metres — and they can be found climbing up dead trees, utility pole guide wires and bridge embankments. Their leaves look similar to grape leaves."We often found the hops growing up apple trees on old farmsteads," Mills said.The pair found more than 60 different wild-growing hop populations and subsequently planted samples at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Harrington Research Farm near Charlottetown.They've since been researching the chemical composition of the varieties to determine their origin and to see which hold promise for the brewing industry.McCallum said a particular attraction for brewers are bitter chemical compounds found in the plants known as alpha acids. The native variety that has evolved solely in the Maritimes has shown the most unique potential he said."All of the Maritime (native) stuff has adequate alpha acids for brewing purposes. But one thing that really stands out about them is that they have very unusual smells and flavour characteristics."McCallum said that once dried and rubbed together, the plant's flowers produce such smells as melon, cucumber and even bubble gum.Mills said the research is now moving into a second phase that will eventually see the hops move from the federal farm to commercial breeders.But first the researchers have to figure out such things as the plants' yield potential and resistance to disease."The craft brewers will take anything and brew with it if there is a story attached to it," Mills said. "But we want to make sure that the quantity is consistent and we have a handle on the flavours."Data will be submitted over the next two years to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Plant Breeders Rights Office, which provides legal protection for new plant varieties. McCallum and Mills also plan to work with producers across P.E.I, Quebec and British Columbia to see if the Maritimes' wild hops varieties can be grown in other parts of Canada.Mills said if everything goes as planned, the first plant material could go to commercial partners for planting in another two years. After that, it could take a few more years before beer incorporating the hops appears on local shelves.McCallum said they believe they have found something that could potentially provide brewers in the Maritimes with some intriguing new products in an industry that embraces novelty."With the craft brewing revolution in North America, it's kind of the wild west in what's the craziest thing you can come up with that's new, and people kind of chase that," he said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2020.Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press

  • Man hospitalized in serious condition following fire at homeless encampment near DVP
    News
    CBC

    Man hospitalized in serious condition following fire at homeless encampment near DVP

    One man has been hospitalized in serious condition following a fire Sunday morning at a homeless encampment near the Don Valley Parkway, paramedics say.Emergency crews were called to the area of Bayview Avenue and Corktown Common Trail just before 6 a.m.Toronto Fire Capt. David Eckerman told CBC News that numerous callers from the Don Valley Parkway reported a large fire in a ravine area."We had reports of numerous propane tanks involved, which were exploding," Eckerman told CBC Toronto. "Also, we had reports of as many as four people suffering some injuries — two of them with smoke inhalation."Toronto paramedics said they transported one man to hospital in serious condition, and there were no other patients on scene.Difficulty accessing scene of fireEckerman said the location of the fire made the job harder for firefighters."Some of our trucks wouldn't fit through the passageway that we were following [because] they weren't built for vehicle traffic," he explained.After getting the fire completely knocked down, Eckerman said crews were able to search the area. No other injured people were found.Site visited 7 times in February, mayor saysLater on Sunday, Mayor John Tory said the fire highlights why the city cannot allow encampments to continue."This site was the subject of seven visits in the month of February alone by outreach workers and street-to-home teams, trying to make sure that people find their way to other places with our help," Tory said."This is a good reason why we just cannot let these encampments stay indefinitely in place because there are dangers that come about whether it's a fire or other things that make it necessary for these not to to stay in place in the long term."Tory said the city's "principal objective" is to get more supportive and affordable housing in place so that people don't have to live in encampments.He said there are thousands of affordable housing units, either under approval or under construction."A lot of work [is] being done with the other governments to increase the supply of supportive housing," Tory added.