Have scientists just solved the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle?

For decades, sailors feared the Bermuda Triangle - known for a series of mysterious incidents such as the sinking of a Navy cargo ship in 1918.

Paranormal enthusiasts claim that the area is cursed - and that the sinkings are caused by forces such as ‘time portals’ or something to do with Atlantis.

But scientists speaking to the Science Channel now believe they might have solved the mystery - and that strange, hexagonal clouds with ‘air bombs’ of up to 170mph could be behind the mysterious sinkings.


Researchers speaking to Science Channel say that strange ‘hexagonal’ clouds appear over the Western tip of Bermuda - and that they can create powerful surges of air.

Meteorologist Randy Cerveny told Science Channel,  'These types of hexagonal shapes over the ocean are in essence air bombs.

‘They are formed by what are called microbursts and they’re blasts of air that come down out of the bottom of a cloud and then hit the ocean and then create waves that can sometimes be massive in size as they start to interact with each other.’

  • The latest on protests across Canada in support of anti-pipeline demonstrators
    News
    The Canadian Press

    The latest on protests across Canada in support of anti-pipeline demonstrators

    Here is the latest news on protests across Canada over a natural gas pipeline project in British Columbia: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he spoke with British Columbia Premier John Horgan to discuss the impact of infrastructure disruptions caused by blockades across Canada.Trudeau says in a news release that he and Horgan "agreed on the importance of resolving the infrastructure disruptions caused by blockades quickly and peacefully, and of continuing to address underlying issues in the spirit of reconciliation."He said he and ministers "will continue to reach out to premiers and Indigenous leaders to bring this situation to a resolution as soon as possible."———Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who has been critical of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's response to the anti-pipeline blockades across the country, tweeted he's convened a conference call Wednesday of premiers.Moe, who is chairman of the Council of the Federation, said in the tweet that he's taken the step due to "a lack of federal leadership in addressing this ongoing illegal activity."A spokesman for the premier said in an email that Moe made the decision following requests from a number of premiers.———Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says Carolyn Bennett, the minister in charge of Crown-Indigenous relations, has spoken with hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en Nation.Bennett had invited the chiefs, whose opposition to a natural gas pipeline has sparked solidarity protests and blockades across the country, to meet in an effort to reach a peaceful resolution.Miller says the ministers clearly see a path forward and there is "modest and positive progress" toward de-escalation.But he said the situation is evolving hour-by-hour and it would be loathe to share what they spoke about.———The RCMP say they are aware of a request to remove a mobile policing unit from an area in northern British Columbia where they enforced an injunction against pipeline opponents this month.Staff Sergeant Janelle Shoihet says discussions are underway with respect to possible next steps.She says any options will have to be discussed with all stakeholders.Out of respect for those discussions, she says RCMP have nothing to share at this time.———A Wet'suwet'en hereditary house chief says he won't meet with federal or provincial cabinet ministers until the RCMP removes a mobile unit from their First Nation's traditional territory.Chief Woos of the Grizzly House says all hereditary chiefs are in agreement and he accuses the RCMP of being "bullies" and threatening pipeline opponents.Under the Wet'suwet'en traditional governance system there are 13 house chiefs and five senior clan chiefs.Carolyn Bennett and Scott Fraser, the federal and provincial ministers in charge of Indigenous relations, sent a joint letter to the hereditary chiefs asking for a meeting with the goal of reaching a peaceful resolution to the impasse.The RCMP say an exclusion zone has been lifted in the remote area where they arrested 28 people while enforcing an injunction but their community industry safety office will remain in place and they'll continue "patrols of the corridor to ensure everyone's safety."———Canadian National Railway Co. is temporarily laying off about 450 workers at its operations in Eastern Canada.CN says the layoffs will affect operational staff, including employees working at Autoport in Eastern Passage, Moncton, Charny and Montreal.The Montreal-based freight transporter says the situation is "regrettable."CN says it's had to cancel about 400 trains as a result of blockades erected in solidarity with the hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation, who oppose development of a natural gas pipeline that crosses their traditional territory.———Via Rail says passenger service will resume throughout southwestern Ontario later this week.The company says routes between Toronto and Windsor, Niagara and Sarnia will be up and running Thursday morning.Thursday will also see Via resume service between Ottawa and Quebec City.Trains remain suspended in most of the rest of Canada, including a key stretch of Via's most profitable corridor running from Toronto to Ottawa and Montreal. ———One of the investors buying a stake in the Coastal GasLink pipeline says it remains committed to the deal despite protester blockades that have shut down railway lines in large parts of Canada.Alberta Investment Management Corp., which looks after more than $115 billion in public sector pension funds for the province, agreed with American partner KKR in December to buy a 65 per cent interest in a deal that's expected to close in the first half of this year.AIMCo spokesman Denes Nemeth says the corporation has confidence that the pipeline developer can deal with the current situation and ensure the project is completed successfully.——— The federal minister in charge of Crown-Indigenous relations says she's waiting on an invitation from the Wet'suwet'en hereditary clan chiefs to meet in their community.Carolyn Bennett says a meeting had been proposed at the end of the month, but she would like to meet as soon as possible to discuss a peaceful resolution to the conflict over a natural gas pipeline that has spawned Canada-wide protests.The Wet'suwet'en hereditary clan chiefs have been silent about whether they are open to a joint meeting with Bennett and B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser since the minister publicly stated interest in such a gathering yesterday.The meeting was originally proposed by a hereditary chief with the neighbouring Gitxsan First Nation, and Wet'suwet'en chief Na'moks said on Sunday they would only participate as witnesses.(The Canadian Press)————Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says anti-pipeline protests by "radical activists" are a warm-up act in the next battles against the Trans Mountain expansion project and the proposed Teck Frontier oilsands mine in northeastern Alberta.Scheer told Parliament that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has encouraged these types of protests by cancelling other projects based on political considerations.Scheer says every person has the right to free speech, but nobody has the right to hold the Canadian economy hostage.Scheer says it's time for the government to step in to do something about the protests that have been blocking rail traffic for more than a week.———Police responded to the Victoria-area home of B.C. Premier John Horgan this morning when anti-pipeline protesters blocked his driveway.Members of the group Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island said Monday they would attempt a "citizen's arrest" to show support for Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and disrupt the provincial budget, due to be delivered later today.Four RCMP vehicles were called to Horgan's home in Langford where two people were lying across the driveway while others stood in the street.The two in the driveway were taken into custody, and Horgan left for the legislature a few minutes later accompanied by his security detail.Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson condemned the protesters' actions, saying no one should ever feel unsafe in their home or workplace. (CTV, The Canadian Press)——— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is listening to those opposed to construction of a natural gas pipeline through traditional Wet'suwet'en territories in northwestern B.C.Trudeau addressed Parliament as it resumed today, saying the protests and their consequences represent a "critical moment" for the country as protests flare over the multibillion-dollar project.But he also says a solution will not be quick or simple.He says he is extending his hand to the Wet'suwet'en and Mohawk nations as his government continues to work on a path forward, one that he says "cannot afford to fail."———Business groups are calling on the federal government to take steps to immediately restore disrupted rail service.Dennis Darby, C-E-O of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, says the situation is "beyond serious."The group estimates that goods worth about 425-million-dollars are being stranded every day the blockade continues.Darby says it will take three to four days of work to recover from a single day of disruption.His message is underscored by Maple Leaf Foods president Curtis Frank, who says Canada exports 60 per cent of its pork products and needs an urgent government response to resolve rail blockades.———An emergency debate will be held in the House of Commons tonight to consider the blockades set up in support of Wet'suwet'en leaders opposed to a pipeline project in their traditional territory.The NDP and Bloc Quebecois successfully lobbied Speaker Anthony Rota for the debate.It will allow MPs to discuss the stoppage of rail traffic in eastern Canada and on-again-off-again blockades at roads, bridges and ports elsewhere.A revision to the Commons agenda was announced this morning.———The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations is calling for calm and constructive dialogue to ease tensions over a British Columbia pipeline and the nationwide protests the project has spawned.National Chief Perry Bellegarde says governments and industry need to give the time and space to work with the Wet'suwet'en.Hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation oppose the pipeline through their traditional territory, though it's received approval from elected band councils.Bellegarde says it's vital that honest political activism not be criminalized.———Via Rail is preparing to resume part of its passenger rail service as anti-pipeline protests continue to shut down freight and passenger train routes in much of the rest of Canada.The company says partial service will be resume Thursday to and from Ottawa and Quebec City, with a stop in Montreal.Almost all other Via trains, except for the Sudbury-White River and Churchill-The Pas routes, remain cancelled.Protesters have blocked rail lines in several parts of Canada to show solidarity with hereditary Wet'suwet'en chiefs opposed to construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline through their traditional territories in northwestern B.C.———This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2020The Canadian Press

  • Eyes off the prize: Why is the Conservative leadership field so small?
    News
    CBC

    Eyes off the prize: Why is the Conservative leadership field so small?

    Back in 2017, it seemed like everyone wanted to lead the Conservative Party of Canada.It's a curious place the Conservative Party finds itself in right now. In 2017, the party was trying to move past a bruising election defeat and the resignation of Stephen Harper, the modern party's co-founder — arguably a low point. But Conservatives still had 14 names on the ballot to choose from when voting began May 29.Today, the party objectively is in far better shape. While it failed to defeat the Trudeau Liberals last year, it gained 20 seats and (as current leader Andrew Scheer likes to remind us) won the popular vote. It still tends to crush rival parties when it comes to fundraising.And if electoral history offers any guide, after two terms the Liberals will be ripe for replacement in the next election. Which means the next Conservative leader has an awfully good chance of becoming the next prime minister as well.So what is it about the job that seems to make it so unappealing for so many prominent, capable candidates?Personal circumstances don't make a trend, and in several cases, the people stepping back from the race this time seemed to be doing it for personal reasons. Rona Ambrose considered a run for weeks before finally deciding that she loves her private sector job and would much rather live in Alberta.Jean Charest toyed with the idea long enough to record videos announcing his candidacy — only to finally conclude that the party had changed too much in his absence and that, perhaps, his chances weren't what he'd hoped they would be.Pierre Poilievre was widely expected to declare right up until the moment he ruled himself out, citing a wish to spend more time with his young family. John Baird was organizing for Poilievre; when Poilievre dropped out, Baird started thinking about seeking the job himself.He spoke to his allies and friends and had put together all the campaign organization he was going to need. Then, quite suddenly, he didn't need it: he issued a statement online thanking his supporters and saying he was "enjoying his post-political life" too much.The price to playPart of the gap between the interest shown in the leadership in 2017 and what we're seeing now probably can be explained by the party's own rules for the 2020 contest — which seem meant to discourage outside challengers and lower-profile candidates. (My colleague Éric Grenier did an excellent job of laying out some of those factors here.)In 2017, candidates had nearly a year to collect 300 party member signatures and raise the $100,000 entrance fee. This time, they have to raise $300,000 (including a $100,000 refundable deposit) and gather 3,000 member signatures by March 25 in order to secure a spot on the ballot for the June 27 vote.That's a very high bar and an extremely tight deadline; it probably would have blocked most of the people running in 2017. Unless you're a known entity in the party, someone with an existing network of support, you're probably not going to get past it.The initial entry deadline is next Thursday; by that point, candidates must pony up $25,000 and the signatures of 1,000 members from 30 different ridings in seven provinces or territories to qualify. As of publication, only three candidates had met those conditions: Peter MacKay, Erin O'Toole and Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis. O'Toole and MacKay have each reached "authorized contestant" status by collecting $50,000 toward the entrance fee, plus the $100,000 compliance deposit and 2,000 member signatures.But this is still the Conservative Party of Canada we're talking about here. Things like steep entrance fees and the pull of private lives are going to factor into personal decisions, but something else must be going on — something that is keeping qualified people away.Strangely, this situation is not unlike what we saw with the party's very first leadership race.In 2004, just after the merger of the Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance, many high-profile people were getting their elbows bent to jump into the race — Mike Harris, Bernard Lord, Ralph Klein, Chuck Strahl and Peter MacKay, to name a few. None of them did, which left the door wide open for Stephen Harper to walk through.But the comparison breaks down after that point. Back then, the party had no electoral track record, no history of contesting and winning elections over a decade. To leave a successful career to run for the Conservative leadership in 2004 was to run a substantial personal risk.There are always risks in politics. So what are the risks this time?Before the leadership speculation started building up, Baird was tasked by the party with conducting a comprehensive post-mortem of its performance in 2019. We still don't have a clear idea of what his conclusions were; we've heard people say that his report cites "centralized control" of the campaign as one of the problems, but that's not a particularly detailed or helpful observation if you're trying to get a party ready to fight an election. One assumes the report has more to say about why the party lost, and that it will be the task of the next leader to act on that analysis.Beyond tactical matters, the next leader also will have to decide how Conservatives present themselves to Canadians in the next campaign. The party needs a serious climate change policy; coming up with one could prove controversial within the party itself. So could efforts to move the party beyond socially conservative positions to make it more appealing in urban ridings. The current leading candidates seem content to march in Pride parades and don't seem to have a problem with same-sex marriage — but the conversation isn't likely to end there.Keeping the coalition togetherTo win, the Conservative Party needs to reach out beyond its base in Western Canada to build support in and around Toronto and in Quebec. But the plight of Canada's energy sector is ramping up voter rage in Alberta and Saskatchewan, which might make it harder for the next leader to reconcile those voters' wishes with those of Canadians elsewhere who hate pipelines.Stephen Harper's success was based on his ability to get those camps working together — to build and maintain a coalition of traditional Progressive Conservatives, Western populists, social conservatives and (eventually) ethnic communities who identified with the party's values.Any Harper loyalist will tell you that he succeeded in part because he kept that unruly coalition united inside the caucus itself, even as he was reaching out to it in the electorate. That was no small accomplishment, and it still speaks to Harper's leadership style, skills and, yes, his vision for his party and the country.In short, leading the modern Conservative Party is a tough job — tougher even than it looks from the outside. Setting aside for a moment the high bar set for the leadership race, it's not something everyone's going to be willing to take on.What Conservatives need right now is a leader who understands how important it is to keep that coalition alive and has a plan to do it. Maybe there's someone like that running already. If not, the party might end up going through another leadership race that doesn't quite prepare it for the election to come.

  • Huawei accuses U.S. of overlooking HSBC misconduct to go after Chinese firm
    News
    Reuters

    Huawei accuses U.S. of overlooking HSBC misconduct to go after Chinese firm

    "The government agreed to overlook HSBC's continued misconduct, electing not to punish the bank, prosecute its executives or even extend the monitorship," Huawei's lawyers wrote in a Feb. 10, 2020 letter filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York. In return, "HSBC agreed to cooperate with the government's efforts to depict Huawei as the mastermind of HSBC's sanctions violations and supply witnesses to the government's stalled investigation of Huawei," the lawyers wrote. In an indictment unsealed last year, Huawei was charged by the United States with bank fraud and violating sanctions against Iran.

  • Virus claims life of hospital director in hard-hit Wuhan
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Virus claims life of hospital director in hard-hit Wuhan

    BEIJING — As a mysterious new virus enveloped central China's Wuhan early this year, Liu Zhiming mobilized all the resources of his hospital in the city's Wuchang district to deal with the thousands of sick people arriving daily, threatening to overwhelm the local health care system.That dedication appears to have cost him his life, with Wuhan's health bureau announcing Tuesday that he became infected and died despite “all-out" attempts to save him.Liu is at least the seventh health worker to die of the COVID-19 disease among the more than 1,700 doctors and nurses who have become sick. His death comes as authorities are cautiously cheering a reduction in the number of new daily cases and deaths, along with the results of a study showing most people who contracted the virus experienced only mild symptoms.China on Tuesday reported 1,886 new cases and 98 more deaths. That raised the number of deaths in mainland China to 1,868 and the total number of confirmed cases to 72,436.“Now the prevention and control work is at a critical time,” President Xi Jinping told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a phone call Tuesday, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.Japan, meanwhile, announced that 88 more cases of the virus were confirmed aboard a quarantined cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, bringing the total to 542 among the 3,700 initially on board.The U.N. secretary general told The Associated Pres that the virus outbreak “is not out of control but it is a very dangerous situation.”Antonio Guterres said in an interview in Lahore, Pakistan, that “the risks are enormous and we need to be prepared worldwide for that.”The outbreak has caused massive disruptions and China may postpone its biggest political meeting of the year to avoid having people travel to Beijing while the virus is still spreading. One of the automotive industry's biggest events, China's biannual auto show, also is being postponed, and many sports and entertainment events have been delayed or cancelled.Despite strict rules on use of masks and safety suits, medical workers have been prominent among the victims, particularly in the early stage of the outbreak.In announcing Liu's death, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said he had taken part in the battle against the virus from the start and had made “important contributions in the work of fighting and controlling" the virus.During that process, "unfortunately he became infected and passed away at 10:54 Tuesday morning at the age of 51 after all-out efforts to save him failed," the commission said.The Hubei native had graduated from Wuhan University's School of Medicine in 1991 and went on to a career as a chief physician, neurosurgeon and administrator.Earlier this month, public outrage was stirred by the death from the virus of Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang, who had been threatened by police after releasing word of an outbreak of an unusual respiratory illness in December before it had spread widely and the city was placed under quarantine.Wuhan and its surrounding cities in Hubei province have accounted for the vast majority of infections and deaths, prompting the government to enforce a travel ban that has spread to other parts of the country and now includes a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine period for anyone travelling outside their home district. Two new prefabricated hospitals have been built to deal with the overflow in Wuhan and thousands of medical staff have been brought in from other parts of the country to help.A study by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention found more than 80% of the cases studied were mild and the number of new infections seemed to be falling since early this month. World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was too early to know if the reported decline would continue, however. "Every scenario is still on the table," he said at a news conference.The seeming drop in the number of new cases follows a large spike last week after Hubei province began counting cases by doctors' diagnoses without waiting for laboratory test results. Health authorities there said the change was meant to get patients treated faster.The Chinese study examined 44,672 cases of the disease that were confirmed in the mainland as of Feb. 11. Severe symptoms such as pneumonia occurred in 14% of them and critical illness in 5%. The fatality rate was 2.3% — 2.8% for males versus 1.7% for females.The death rate is lower than for SARS and MERS, diseases caused by coronaviruses related to the one that causes COVID-19. But the new virus ultimately could prove more deadly if it spreads to far more people than the others did. The COVID-19 cases include relatively few children, and the risk of death rises with age or other health problems and was higher in Hubei province versus elsewhere in China.The study warned that while cases seem to have been declining since Feb. 1, that could change as people return to work and school after the Lunar New Year holidays, typically the biggest travel period for Chinese travellers. Beijing and other governments have sought to forestall that by extending the holiday break, encouraging telecommuting and self-quarantines and conducting health checks on travellers.Travel to and from the worst-hit central China region was associated with the initial cases of COVID-19 confirmed abroad. But Japan, Singapore and South Korea have identified new cases without clear ties to China or previously known patients, raising concern of the virus spreading locally.The largest number of cases outside China is the 542 among passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined at a port near Tokyo. The infections have led to heavy criticism of the decision to quarantine passengers on the vessel.The U.S. evacuated 328 American passengers last weekend, and placed them under quarantine for two weeks in California, Texas and Nebraska. On Tuesday, the U.S. government said the more than 100 American passengers who stayed on the ship or were hospitalized in Japan would have to wait for another two weeks before they could return to the U.S.___Associated Press writers Maria Cheng in London and Marilynn Marchione, David Pitt, Olga R. Rodriguez and Ken Miller in the U.S. contributed to this report.___This story removes incorrect timing of the Chinese auto show, which alternates yearly between Beijing and Shanghai.Yanan Wang, The Associated Press

  • Quebec politicians optimistic Bombardier rail jobs are safe following sale to Alstom
    News
    CBC

    Quebec politicians optimistic Bombardier rail jobs are safe following sale to Alstom

    Now that Bombardier Inc. has sold its rail division to Alstom SA, Quebec politicians and workers alike are hoping the move will lead to more investment in the province's transport industry.On Monday, Alstom announced it signed a memorandum of understanding with Bombardier to acquire Bombardier Transportation for between $8.4 billion and $9 billion.The deal, if approved by European regulators, could mean up to $4.5 billion in net proceeds for Bombardier, which is carrying an estimated $9.3 billion US of debt, most of that due by 2025.Quebec's pension fund manager, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, now has an 18 per cent stake in Alstom and says the French rail giant will strengthen its presence in Quebec.That presence will include a Montreal-area headquarters that will oversee the company's assets in North America. There will also be a new engineering and design centre and a centre for high-tech research and development, the Caisse said.Premier François Legault and his economy minister, Pierre Fitzgibbon, had nothing but praise for the deal on Monday.In a tweet, Legault said Alstom will supervise 1,500 jobs already in Quebec.No jobs are guaranteed, Fitzgibbon said, but there are growing opportunities in the North American market that he believes could lead to more business for Alstom's newly acquired Quebec manufacturing plants.Union calls for more incentivesThe federation of labour unions representing Bombardier rail workers, the CSN, said Quebec should be proactive about not just protecting existing jobs, but stimulating new ones.In a statement, the CSN said Quebec could be doing more by developing new contracts that would catch Alstom's interest.It calls on Legault to "speed up the process surrounding the many public transit projects currently under consideration in Quebec."For example, the province could expand Montreal's light-rail network even further, as well as other projects, as part of the government's electric transportation strategy, the CSN said.The union said the province must take steps to ensure the survival of the former Bombardier plant in La Pocatière, Que., 100 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, where about 400 people are employed building Bombardier trains.La Pocatière Mayor Sylvain Hudon told Radio-Canada he's happy about the deal and hopeful that Alstom will see the town's potential."If they need help sorting out any details, we'll assist with pleasure," he said.Hudon isn't breaking out the champagne just yet: he's waiting for confirmation from Alstom that the plant's operations won't be affected by the company's sale.

  • No 'depth' to consultation with Mi'kmaq on Alton Gas, lawyer argues
    News
    CBC

    No 'depth' to consultation with Mi'kmaq on Alton Gas, lawyer argues

    The lawyer representing Sipekne'katik First Nation says there was no "depth" to the province's consultation with the band over a controversial natural gas project. Lawyer Ray Larkin made his arguments before Justice Frank Edwards at Nova Scotia Supreme Court Tuesday.It was the first day of what's scheduled to be a two-day appeal hearing that centres around the Crown's duty to consult with Indigenous peoples in matters that could affect their treaty and Aboriginal rights.It's a duty that comes from Canada's Constitution Act, applies to federal and provincial governments and has been upheld in several Supreme Court of Canada rulings.Larkin said Sipekne'katik has the right to consult on the Alton Gas project because of its rights to fish for food, ceremonial purposes and to make a moderate livelihood, which are established in treaties and case law.He said the band also has a legitimate claim to aboriginal title in the Crown land around the Shubenacadie River where Alton Gas wants to build a natural gas storage facility.Because of those established treaty rights and asserted title rights, Larkin said the case demands a "deep" level of consultation."Deep consultation involves having the kind of thorough discussion of all the issues and a dialogue, a meaningful dialogue on all of those issues, and finding accommodations to the Aboriginal treaty rights that are affected," Larkin told reporters outside court.The appeal has its roots in a 2016 industrial approval granted by Margaret Miller, the environment minister at the time, to Alton Gas, a subsidiary of Calgary-based energy company AltaGas.Larkin told the court Miller's decision was legally flawed because the consultation had no "depth."He said Miller's error was the same as the one made by the National Energy Board in the Clyde River case. In 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada ruling quashed seismic testing in Nunavut over inadequate consultation with Inuit. The 2016 industrial approval gave Alton Gas the green light to start construction of an underground natural gas storage facility in Alton, N.S. Band wants court to overturn industrial approvalLarkin said Sipekne'katik is looking for the court to overturn the industrial approval and direct the province to re-engage with the First Nation band before making a new ruling on the Alton Gas proposal. The proposal is to use water from the nearby Shubenacadie River to flush out natural salt deposits, creating caverns that Alton Gas says could store up to 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas.The company and the province both tout the project as a potential boon for natural gas users in Nova Scotia, because it would allow for the fossil fuel to be stockpiled, protecting rates against seasonal spikes.But the project has faced opposition. Miller's 2016 industrial approval was met with six separate appeals, some of which expressed concern for the ecosystem of the Shubenacadie River.According to Alton Gas's plan, the briny mixture of river water and salt from the underground deposits would be gradually reintroduced to the river over two to three years.Miller said consultation was sufficientSipekne'katik appealed on the grounds that the band had not been adequately consulted, but Miller dismissed all the appeals. She said Indigenous consultation was sufficient.Sean Foreman, lawyer for the province, maintained that argument in court Tuesday.Foreman said that while the specific language of "deep" consultation was not always used in the recorded dealings between the province and the First Nation, the process still met the highest standard of consultation.This is the second time Sipekne'katik has taken the matter to the province's high court.In 2017, a justice found some procedural unfairness in the industrial approval process — the Department of Environment had failed to share some pertinent documents with the First Nation band.Once that matter was settled in April 2019, Miller upheld the industrial approval and said the province had sufficiently consulted with Nova Scotia's Mik'maq.Sipekne'katik disagreed, again, and sought another review, leading to this month's hearing.Arguments are set to conclude in court Wednesday.MORE TOP STORIES

  • From litter to lumber: Clean St. John's plans cigarette butt recycling project
    News
    CBC

    From litter to lumber: Clean St. John's plans cigarette butt recycling project

    They might not be as noticeable as coffee cups or plastic bags, but when it comes to trash in the city of St. John's, cigarette butts are a huge problem, according to one litter prevention group.According to a report from the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board for 2016-17, there were an estimated 66 million cigarette butts littered around the province.Each of those filters is made of tiny strands of plastic that pose a danger to wildlife, especially when they break down in the marine environment.The not-for-profit organization Clean St. John's is currently working on a way to turn those numbers around — and turn all those discarded butts into something useful.The group is in the process of securing funding to buy 25 cigarette butt recycling receptacles which would be installed in the downtown area, in popular smoking hotspots like George Street, and busy pedestrian areas along Duckworth Street and Water Street. "Our goal is to see cigarette butt receptacles the same as you would see a garbage container, so people would become aware that cigarette butts are litter and they should be disposed of properly," said Karen Hickman, executive director of Clean St. John's.The slim receptacles can be fixed to buildings or poles, and the butts would be collected once a week, dried and then sent in bulk to a company called TerraCycle in New Jersey. "They take whatever tobacco is left in the cigarette and they use that for compost, and then the rest of the cigarette is used for plastic lumber. So plastic for park benches, things like that, as well as pallets," she told the St. John's Morning Show."That's sort of just as exciting as [getting] cigarettes off the ground, knowing that they could be recycled into other materials."'Your butt would look good in this'Hickman said there would be no cost to send the butts to TerraCycle, as the company provides a prepaid shipping label that can be used for loads up to 30 kilograms.The target start date for the six month pilot project is July 1, and each receptacle will be branded with the Clean St. John's logo and the catchy slogan, "Your butt would look good in this."Hickman said Clean St. John's has a limited budget, but if the pilot project is successful she hopes the city will take over and put money into expanding the program to other areas where butts tend to be discarded, such as bus shelters.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • News
    CBC

    Why B.C. is now taxing sugary, carbonated drinks

    British Columbia is slapping a seven per cent tax on carbonated beverages that are sweetened.The measure, which eliminates a provincial sales tax exemption for certain beverages, is part of the province's projected balanced budget for next year.It was announced by Finance Minster Carole James during her budget presentation in Victoria on Tuesday. The new tax on sweetened, carbonated beverages will come into effect on July 1, 2020.James says the measure is based on seven years of health recommendations and will address increases in health-care costs from the consumption of sugary drinks, which are linked to negative health outcomes such as obesity and diabetes."This is a health initiative to look at how we grow healthy young people," she said.James said that research shows that the biggest consumers of pop are teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18."We certainly want to make sure we are doing our part to set them on the stage of having a healthy life ahead," she said.She says the tax is a response to health professionals calling for the tax, along with an all-party legislative committee and the 2018 Medical Services Plan task force.While James said the new tax is a progressive measure to help the overall health of British Columbians, it also helps her balance her latest 2020 budget.The measure will add $27 million to revenues in 2020/2021 and $37 million in 2021/2022. The projected surplus for 2020/2021 is $227 million.'Some revenue'"It brings in certainly some revenue, which will help with health care … but the real focus here is a step in making sure we address those recommendations and address the health of our young people," she said."Certainly we known that sweetened carbonated beverages are one of our high areas when it comes to health costs and health impacts."Dr. Tom Warshawski, the chair of the B.C. Childhood Obesity Foundation says the new tax in B.C. helps the province catch up to others. He says B.C. has, in the past, treated sugary drinks as a grocery item, when he and others view them as a luxury item."And it's an unhealthy one at that," he said. "Really what we're doing is bringing our tax policy closer in alignment to what the rest of the country is doing already."Officials with the B.C. government say every other province in Canada has a similar tax with the exception of Alberta.

  • AVC officials 'saddened' after 3 crows shot, euthanized
    News
    CBC

    AVC officials 'saddened' after 3 crows shot, euthanized

    Wildlife officials with the Atlantic Veterinary College are "disheartened" after three crows found in Charlottetown in the past month have been brought in after being shot with pellet guns.The injured crows were brought to the AVC with lead pellets lodged inside them — one in the shoulder, one in the neck, one in the head.All three had to be euthanized. Wildlife veterinarian Lara Cusack said she is sad, but not surprised someone would resort to shooting the crows."I'm just disheartened and saddened from an animal welfare perspective that this is what people are doing," Cusack said. "Regardless of how you feel about a crow, this is not an appropriate way to deal with it."Cusack said the crows likely would have suffered."Birds experience pain, just like your dog, your cat or you and I do," she said."With these types of injury — soft tissue, bone, and brain injury — there's a lot of pain and suffering that would go with that." 'Obviously a concern'Charlottetown police are advising residents not to shoot at crows within city limits. Provincial conservation laws allow crows to be shot in some parts of P.E.I., but it is illegal to fire a gun within city limits. Charlottetown police said they are not investigating because there's no proof the birds were shot in the city even if they were found there.Cpl. Ron Kennedy said they are, however, using the incidents to warn residents of the dangers of firing a gun anywhere there may be people nearby."As police officers and anyone discharging a firearm, we have to be concerned about if we do miss, where's that projectile going to end up?" Kennedy said. "Which is obviously a concern in the city with people living in such close proximity."Some Charlottetown residents have complained for years about the noise from crows and the damage to property caused by their droppings.City officials have tried unsuccessfully to relocate the birds.More P.E.I. news

  • High River council takes stand against UCP cuts in provincial payments to municipalities
    News
    CBC

    High River council takes stand against UCP cuts in provincial payments to municipalities

    The Town of High River is taking a stand against the province for not paying all of its property taxes. High River council voted to keep a government funding shortfall on the books as a receivable, rather than writing it off, as a form of protest against funding changes."What people have to understand is, this is too easy when you're talking provincial politics to just look at a spreadsheet and be a backseat accountant and start taking this stuff off to fix that bottom-line number," High River Mayor Craig Snodgrass told the Calgary Eyeopener."But we have to understand that money has to be recouped from somewhere, and where it's going to come from is your residential taxes."The discrepancy stems from the UCP government's budget, which made changes to the "grant in place of property taxes" program, leaving the town with a nearly $30,000 funding shortfall for 2019."These guys have just got to be careful with how they're downloading all of these cuts onto municipalities and onto your residential and business commercial property taxpayers in your municipality," Snodgrass said. With the grants in place of taxes, the province pays out grant monies in lieu of paying property taxes, on any provincially owned buildings.In 2019, the UCP government announced a reduction to those grant formulas, reducing the payouts from 100 per cent of taxes owed to 75 per cent in 2019, and to 50 per cent in 2020.The funding change has a significant impact on the Town of High River, where the province owns 51 properties, thanks to buyouts after the flood of 2013.Snodgrass said the town is taking a stand against the budget move. At its Feb. 10 council meeting, councillors voted 4-3 to keep the unpaid balance of $28,397 on the books, rather than writing it off."So it'll just sit on our books as a receivable and probably do it next year and it'll just be a bill that's owed," he said. "You know, I guess when the economy comes back this won't be written-off debt, it'll be a receivable on our books, and I guess we get to send them an invoice for it once the economy.… I don't know, that's what I would do with my own business."CBC reached out to Kaycee Madu, the minister of Municipal Affairs, for comment."Alberta is currently in a fiscal crisis," Madu wrote. "The MacKinnon report found that Alberta municipalities were being funded 20 per cent higher than the national average. In budget 2019, we announced that we are reducing the amount of property taxes the province pays to municipalities for provincially owned buildings. This will help bring spending more in line with the rest of Canada, and ensure Alberta taxpayers are protected."The MacKinnon report examined Alberta's finances and came up with 26 recommendations to trim spending.Snodgrass said the UCP's mandate to target what he called "low-hanging fruit" to reduce costs is shortsighted."You can get short-term wins really fast, right?" Snodgrass said. "But the long-term impacts, the human impacts to those of us that are working our butts off, as the hardworking Albertans that they are always claiming to be there for, you're costing us more money in doing this.… And now you're downloading this back onto you know, little old me and those of us in these municipalities that are going to have to make it up."Snodgrass said the town is also working with the province to get flood buyout properties returned to the municipality and eventually sold back into private ownership. Province owns 51 properties"That's the tricky thing about High River, there's a lot of properties, there's 51 in High River … when the province did the provincial floodway buyout relocation program."Snodgrass said there are homes in the Beachwood area that have been removed and the land has been returned to a natural state, but there are others that are in more viable, berm-protected areas that the town would like to get back from the province."We're currently working on getting those homes back into the hands of the Town of High River, and then we will put them back into the hands of private ownership," he said."So there's a lot going on with this, but … saying 'we are now we're only going to pay 75 per cent of our property tax and next year it'll be 50 per cent.' There's not another business in High River, whether they're struggling or not, that has that luxury that can just say that."The town continues to rebuild after the devastating flood of 2013, and to shore up its flood-mitigation efforts. Work is scheduled to begin this spring on a southwest dike and route, just south of 12th Avenue S.W.With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

  • Fire damages old emergency shelter for homeless in downtown Moncton
    News
    CBC

    Fire damages old emergency shelter for homeless in downtown Moncton

    Fire severely damaged a well-known emergency shelter for homeless people in Moncton on Tuesday afternoon. The fire broke out at the original House of Nazareth on Clark Street.Jean Dubé, executive director of the House of Nazareth, said a fire had already been extinguished in the building's bathroom on Monday.  About 20 firefighters battled the blaze Tuesday afternoon, and it was quickly brought under control.  "It's sad to see that. We still have history here. I hope this is not a total loss," Dubé told Radio-Canada.No one was hurt fighting the fire, and no one was staying or working in the building when the fire started.A new shelter opened on Albert Street last week. The old building was expected to be renovated to accommodate people in transition to a life out of homelessness. An investigation into the fire is underway. Dubé said a few possible suspects were seen lurking near the building on Monday. Their names were passed along to the police.

  • MUN's student-built space satellite to launch in 2022
    News
    CBC

    MUN's student-built space satellite to launch in 2022

    A pint-sized satellite made by students at Memorial University will travel around the earth starting in 2022.The Killick-1, built by students in Memorial University's faculty of engineering, will measure information coming from the ocean. The satellite will be launched 400 kilometres up into space, where it will measure things like sea ice and waves.Desmond Power, vice president of remote sensing at C-Core — a research advisory company based out of St. John's — says the satellite will serve as a great help to the province's fishing and oil industries."In terms of the oil and gas industry ... sea ice is important because we need to be able to understand where it is, so that if a tanker wants to transit through there they have no trouble," Power said.It's also essential for search and rescue operations, he said. "If there's an incident on a rig for instance, you need to be able to get people off the rig. And of course for fisheries, you really need to know where the ice is."The satellite is only 20 centimetres long, measuring in at about the size of a one-litre carton of milk.Its guts include a communications system, attitude control to keep the satellite upright, a small but powerful computer, thermal controls and a transmitter.The satellite will be attached to a rocket in 2022 and launched into orbit from the International Space Station.Power credits the size of the device to the advancement of cell phone technology."You think of all the things that get jammed into a cell phone ... it's really that kind of technology that's made these types of satellites possible," Power said.Grad student Benjamin Dowden is the mechanical lead for the project, and has been with it since day one. "It's really something to think that we can fit so much together in this," Dowden said. "Especially doing something like picking up GPS signals and all the processing power, we need to be fully self contained and have our own battery, power system and controls."Over time, the team working on the satellite has grown from six students to close to 30.The team secured funding from the Canadian Space Agency, as well as $200,000 from the province. Its size, according to Power, means lower costs than sending a traditional, far bulkier satellite into orbit."Traditional satellites cost tens and hundreds of millions of dollars," Power said."Probably a total cost of launching this is about half a million dollars. So if you were to be able to produce this in mass, you could launch dozens and hundreds of these satellites.The difference between having one satellite in space and having hundreds? "You can have your eye on the entire world at once," he said."That's extremely important, because it gives us a complete picture of the ground all the time."By the time the satellite launches, Power estimates about 120 students will have had a hand in the project -- boosting their marketable skills in the space field."A lot of times, the students just come fresh out of university and have to get the training," Power said. "If they have the training already, that's huge."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • SPVM says closure of NDG's Station 11 will improve services to the community
    News
    CBC

    SPVM says closure of NDG's Station 11 will improve services to the community

    Mike Porcelli's car has been broken into three times while parked in his own Montreal neighbourhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, and he said local police have always responded in a timely way."When I would call, they would send an officer within 45 minutes." said Porcelli, standing in front of Station 11 on Somerled Avenue."They've always been very nice over here."By the end of this year, police will no longer be operating out of Station 11. The nearest police station will be Côte Saint-Luc's Station 9, two and half kilometres away, on Westminster Avenue.Montreal police service (SPVM) spokesperson Insp. André Durocher said the two stations will be integrated, with the goal of improving services to the community."The objective is not to cut resources, but to be more optimal of the use of our resources," Durocher said.Station 9, which moved to the Westminster Avenue location two years ago, primarily serves Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West.  When Station 11 moves in, there will be no job or service cuts, Durocher said, as the decision has nothing to do with budgetary constraints.He said officers will continue to patrol the surrounding neighbourhoods as they always have."Having been a commander of a station for many years, I know it's more important that the officers are out there on the road rather than to have them inside," he said."In terms of efficiency and for police visibility, for safety, and in order to respond in a quicker fashion, it's better to have the officers on the road."Porcelli told CBC that having Station 11 so close by has always put NDG residents at ease."We're going to see them a lot less often," he said. "I don't know if that's such a good thing."Residents throughout the city's the west end have been expressing worries about the merger on social media for more than a week.Some say they feel safe because they see officers patrolling daily in NDG, while others argue there isn't enough presence to begin with.A loss for the area, says mayor Côte-des-Neiges–NDG borough Mayor Sue Montgomery said she disagrees with the decision to merge the two stations, but elected officials don't have the power to stop a police station from being shut down."Côte Saint-Luc doesn't have the same challenges that we do," she told CBC Montreal's Daybreak. "I don't even know if they have any sort of violent crime.""I'm not saying that there's a lot of crime in our community, but there certainly is room to build relationships between the police and the various communities."Though it is generally a quieter community than NDG, Côte Saint-Luc is not free of all violent crime.There have been stabbings, assaults, burglaries and homicides in recent years, including the 2016 death of a 17-year-old boy in a robbery, and the 2019 death of a man in a suspected knife fight in the parking lot of Décarie Square.Watch as Insp. André Durocher explains the SPVM's decision:Montgomery said the SPVM told her weeks ago that the merger was a "done deal." When she expressed her concerns about the move, police told her that NDG residents can file a report online instead."That's not the point," she said. "What I want are people present in the community. I want people to feel that the police are approachable."Politicians oppose decisionCôte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein has said he, too, is concerned about the integration plan. He said the consolidation will more than triple the number of officers working out of a single location covering a vast area, which he worries will lead to a drop in service.Coun. Marvin Rotrand said he is urging his fellow councillors in Côte-Des-Neiges—NDG to take "united action" to oppose the closure of Station 11."We will have to be proactive and invite the community groups to join us in pushing back, or the police station will be gone," said Rotrand in a statement.Rotrand, who represents the district of Snowdon but lives in NDG, also criticized Montgomery for not letting citizens or the borough council know about the SPVM decision."She did not inform the councillors, made no effort to rally the public and made no statement that she is opposed," he said. "I call her actions irresponsible and a breathtaking lack of leadership."

  • Desmond inquiry looks at how Afghanistan veteran legally obtained firearm
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Desmond inquiry looks at how Afghanistan veteran legally obtained firearm

    GUYSBOROUGH, N.S. — Just over a year before Lionel Desmond bought a Soviet-era semi-automatic rifle and killed three members of his family and himself, the mentally ill former soldier was forced to hand over all of his firearms to police.The incident that led to the confiscation was the focus Tuesday of a provincial fatality inquiry that started hearings last month in a small town in eastern Nova Scotia.The inquiry has already taken a close look at the role of the health-care system and whether Desmond and his family had access to help for mental health and domestic violence issues.But key questions remain about how a man with severe post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and a possible traumatic brain injury could hold a licence to possess and buy firearms.On Jan. 3, 2017, Desmond legally purchased an SKS 7.62 carbine, which he later used to kill his 31-year-old wife Shanna, their 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah and his 52-year-old mother Brenda inside the family's home in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S.As the inquiry resumed Tuesday, its 12th day of hearings, RCMP Const. Steven Richard testified that he and three other Mounties were dispatched on Nov. 27, 2015 to the home in Oromocto, N.B., where Desmond was living at the time.Richard said Desmond's wife told police she had received texts from him indicating he was contemplating suicide."He was saying it was time to go," Richard told the hearing, adding that one of Desmond's texts said he would see his young daughter in heaven.The four officers knew Desmond had been diagnosed with depression and PTSD — and they were also aware he kept a firearm in his garage.Desmond's wife, who was living in Nova Scotia at the time, confirmed that her husband was being medically discharged from the military — he was based at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick — and that the couple was having marital problems."Their relationship wasn't the healthiest at that point," said Richard.The constable testified that he arrested Desmond under the provincial Mental Health Act when it became clear he was a threat to himself, but the officer insisted the retired corporal did not appear to be a threat to anyone else."He was one of the most calm and straightforward people I ever arrested under the Mental Health Act," the officer said. "There was no indication for me to believe he was a threat to others."Richard's testimony echoed that of several other witnesses who have said Desmond had the ability to keep calm and show deference to people in positions of authority, even when he was in distress.The officer also testified there was no indication that domestic violence was an issue with the Desmonds, though he said he wasn't sure if it was discussed.After Desmond was taken to a hospital in Fredericton, the Mounties seized a Savage .223 rifle from a locked case in his garage. Police in Nova Scotia later seized two other rifles Desmond kept in the couple's home in Upper Big Tracadie.At the hospital, Desmond was assessed by a doctor for 20 minutes and released early on Nov. 28, 2015.Richard said he knew Desmond had a firearms licence, but it did not occur to him to take it from him because the former infantryman never made any overt threat to use a weapon of any sort. Richard also said it was his understanding Desmond's license would soon be under review by New Brunswick's chief firearms officer.However, the inquiry also heard Tuesday that Desmond's possession and acquisition licence wasn't placed under review until Dec. 29, 2015, which meant he could have purchased a weapon during the month after the suicide call in Oromocto.As well, the inquiry heard that on the day after the incident in Oromocto — Nov. 28, 2015 — Desmond travelled to the home he occasionally shared with his wife in Nova Scotia, where he called the local RCMP detachment and demanded to know where his guns were.Later that day, the RCMP received a complaint from Shanna Desmond's father, who alleged that Lionel Desmond was yelling toward his property, again demanding to know where his rifles were.Richard said it wasn't until May 2016 that he learned Desmond had submitted a medical assessment to New Brunswick's chief firearms officer confirming he was not a threat to himself or others — and his license was reinstated and his guns returned on May 13, 2016.The inquiry has heard the assessment was produced by Dr. Paul Smith, a family physician who worked at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown. Smith has yet to testify.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2020.— By Michael MacDonald in HalifaxThe Canadian Press

  • US tells remaining cruise passengers: Stay out for 2 weeks
    News
    The Canadian Press

    US tells remaining cruise passengers: Stay out for 2 weeks

    The U.S. government made good on its warning to Americans who chose to remain on board a quarantined cruise ship in Japan, telling them they cannot return home for at least two weeks after they come ashore.U.S. officials notified the passengers Tuesday of the travel restriction, citing their possible exposure to the new virus while on board the Diamond Princess. More than 100 U.S. citizens are still on the ship or in Japanese hospitals.A two-week quarantine of the Diamond Princess ends Wednesday. Over the weekend, more than 300 American passengers, including some who tested positive for coronavirus, left Japan on charter flights. Most of them remain under quarantine at military bases in California and Texas, although about a dozen have been moved to a hospital.Some Americans decided to take their chances and stay on the ship. On Tuesday, they were told their names would be put on a travel restriction list. The letter from U.S. health authorities said the passengers would not be issued a boarding pass or allowed on a flight “until you are no longer at risk of spreading infection during travel.”The letter also warned them against trying to enter the country through Mexico or Canada or at a seaport, saying “you will be stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.”___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Carla K. Johnson, The Associated Press

  • Broomstick challenge that swept across social media based on myth
    News
    CBC

    Broomstick challenge that swept across social media based on myth

    A new viral Internet challenge has people trying to make their brooms stand on their own because of a false claim about an annual fluctuation in the Earth's gravity.       The broomstickchallenge has spread across YouTube, Twitter and TikTok and has thousands of people trying it out and being surprised by the outcome.It all started with a tweet claiming that Feb.10 was the one day of the year when a broom can stand up on its own.However, it's not true. A broom can stand on its own any day of the year — it just requires patience and the right broom to do the trick.Davis Leong, daily programs supervisor at Calgary's Telus Spark, debunked the premise of the challenge in an interview with The Eyeopener on Tuesday. He said it has nothing to do with Earth's gravity. Rather, it's because brooms have a low centre of gravity."Every object has a balanced point, when all the forces that are acting on it are going to be even," he said. "If you find that balance point, it'll kind of stand up on its own."Leong noted that challenges like this are so popular because it gives you a sense of accomplishment. "It's still a challenge and this is stuff that is valuable from early childhood and trying to balance objects on each other and learning where different objects have their balance points," he said."Even celebrities, as we saw with the broomstick challenge, love to try to get things to balance."As well, he said, if Earth's gravity did fluctuate like this, it would wreak "absolute havoc" on our bodies and muscles."We would just have a really hard time living life normally as we do," he said. "Earth's gravity stays relatively constant just like the mass of the Earth does."Another popular myth similar to the broomstick challenge is an old wives' tail that you can balance an egg during vernal and autumnal equinoxes — March 19 and Sept. 22 this year in Calgary — because night and day are approximately equal length all over the planet.However, this is another trick that can be done at any point in the year, but it takes the right egg to do it."It has nothing to do with gravity or your ability to balance," Leong said."You have to find an egg with a yolk that's perfectly centred in order to do it and there's no way to tell from looking outside the egg."

  • Mayor mask a no go at city hall, LRT protester says
    News
    CBC

    Mayor mask a no go at city hall, LRT protester says

    An Ottawa woman who wore a large papier mâché likeness of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson to city hall to protest the ongoing LRT problems claims she was asked by security guards to take it off.Velvet LeClair donned the mask and a cardboard train bearing the slogan "Fix the LRT" to Watson's Family Day skating party on Monday.LeClair began with a skate on the Sens Rink of Dreams, where she said her costume was well-received."A lot of people were laughing and taking pictures," she said.LeClair said the trouble began when she entered city hall and approached the real mayor. She said she introduced herself as Jim Watson and told him to fix the LRT. A photo of the encounter shows Watson smiling as he appears to lift her mask.LeClair claims security staff later approached her to say her mask was a face covering and the cardboard train was considered a "sign," and therefore not allowed inside city hall. "We thought that was just in [council] chambers," LeClair said. "[The security guard] said no, it's all City of Ottawa property."Marnie Wellar, who helped make the costume and accompanied LeClair to city hall, corroborated her friend's story to CBC."The security guard came over ... and told us that the mask was considered a face covering and face coverings were not allowed on city property, and that the tiny LRT [car] was considered a sign and signs were not allowed on city property," said Wellar."We were there to protest and they told us we had to take off the things that we had ... to protest with. So, basically, the protest was cancelled."While the city could not confirm the incident occurred as described, a spokesperson told CBC LeClair was never "removed" from the building.In an separate emailed statement, the city said it "respects the right of residents to demonstrate on City Hall property. Demonstrations take place regularly at city hall without incident. For security reasons, staff have a long-standing practice to restrict signs and placards within city hall."'We cannot quell dissent'Nevertheless, Coun. Catherine McKenney said the incident is upsetting."It's gotten to a point right now at city hall where we're really ... not tolerating any type of dissension," the Somerset ward councillor said."People may disagree with you. They may even protest you, but as long as it's done in a fair and calm way we have to be able to take that.... We cannot quell dissent."McKenney said there are actually no rules preventing people from carrying signs inside city hall."Staff made a decision to limit food in council chambers, banners, that sort of thing. But this has gone beyond [that]. This is outside of council chambers and ... it's a real concern."City hall security under scrutinyNew security measures at city hall introduced at the end of 2019 received criticism from some councillors and community members who were concerned about the stifling of public participation in city business.New security gates at the entrances to the foyer outside Andrew S. Haydon Hall were also approved and installed on Jan 23.McKenney said city hall is a public space where residents are allowed to hold placards and stage peaceful demonstrations, and said they will be following up with city staff to ensure security officials get that message."The rules have to be made clear as to what is and isn't allowed," McKenney said.As an artist, LeClair said she uses her craft to express her views in a fun way that appeals to children."I just think it's a more effective way of getting my message across," she said. "I'm just tired of the typical protest where you stand there in silence listening to speakers for an hour. I think that doing something engaging is just a better, more effective way of doing it." LeClair said the incident Monday has not deterred her, and she plans to return to city hall with her costume.

  • Safety of all is 'primary importance': Indigenous Services Minister on Wet'suwet'en solidarity protests
    Global News

    Safety of all is 'primary importance': Indigenous Services Minister on Wet'suwet'en solidarity protests

    Canadian Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller said on Tuesday evening, during an emergency House of Commons debate, that the Wet'suwet'en solidarity protests and subsequent railway blockades across the country is a "challenging situation" that's "evolving by the hour." Miller added that safety of all involved is "of primary importance" as the government tries to get railway traffic moving again.

  • Virus strikes more Canadians on cruise ship as evacuation plane heads for Japan
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Virus strikes more Canadians on cruise ship as evacuation plane heads for Japan

    A plane carrying Canadians from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan will leave the region by week's end, the federal government says, as the number aboard sickened with the novel coronavirus continues to rise.More than 450 people from the Diamond Princess, held in the port of Yokohama, had tested positive for the virus known as COVID-19, among them 43 Canadians at last count.Authorities in Japan and here say only people who are examined and found healthy will be allowed to fly to quarantine in Canada.Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Tuesday that Canadian officials were waiting on final authorization from those in Japan before the plane ferrying people home is able to take off.Departure is now likely to happen Thursday or Friday, he said. The plane was en route to Japan after some unforeseen technical issues prior to takeoff Tuesday, Champagne said."The plane right now is in the air and will be there on the 19th," he said.Canadians who are sick will remain in Japanese health facilities, he said.But not everyone who is healthy will travel: Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said some aboard the cruise ship have indicated they plan to stay with ill family members. She said their travel home, whenever it happens, will be tracked and they, too, will be subject to quarantine rules when they land.Hajdu said there are others aboard the cruise ship who officials are still trying to get in touch with. In all, there are 256 Canadians aboard the ship.Those who have requested and been cleared to fly will arrive at CFB Trenton for health examinations before being moved on to a Nav Canada training centre in Cornwall, Ont., which includes a large hotel.Hajdu said the amount of time they stay in quarantine will be unique to each person based on the symptoms they show and whether they test positive for the virus."In every circumstance, we'll be considering that particular person's health and the risk of further infection," Hajdu said at a press conference in nearby Belleville, Ont."What we're trying to do as a country is do our global part in containing the spread in Canada and I will say that I am very proud of the work that's been happening at all levels of jurisdiction to reach that goal together."She had just visited an existing quarantine site at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, in southern Ontario. More than 400 Canadians and family members airlifted from Wuhan, China, are waiting out the COVID-19 bug's two-week incubation period.She met health workers, Canadian Armed Forces members and staff from the Red Cross, who are all trying to keep the people in quarantine healthy and not too bored while they wait out the incubation period for the respiratory illness.So far, no cases of COVID-19 have been detected there.Most cases of the virus are mild, but the illness can be deadly, especially in people who are already in poor health. Eight people in Canada have tested positive for the virus, out of about 350 cases tested at the country's premier microbiology lab, and none has died.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2020.Jordan Press and Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

  • Vacant for almost 15 years, Windsor's old social services building finally comes down
    News
    CBC

    Vacant for almost 15 years, Windsor's old social services building finally comes down

    A vacant building which has caused a lot of contention in Windsor over the years is being torn down — and it has residents in the area hoping it's a sign of things to come.The City of Windsor's old social services building on Louis Avenue has stood untouched for almost 15 years. For the last three, people in the neighbourhood were told it would be demolished.But early Tuesday morning, it finally happened as heavy machinery rolled in — pulling back steel and crushing bricks."It was going to be soon, soon, soon. Well, soon finally happened," said area resident Mary Jane Renaud. "The whole neighbourhood is happy about it. We can't wait. It's been vacant since 2005."Renaud has been vocal about the demolition project for the past three years. She spoke with CBC News spoke in 2017, saying the vacant building had become a site for drug use and vandalism.She went on to fight for change, demanding the city to handle its vacant building problem in a different way — and it worked."I think it triggered a lot of interest in the community and the councillors in ensuring that we're taking care of and monitoring vacant buildings," said chief building official John Revell.In 2018, the city developed a strategy, hiring seven by-law officers who deal specifically with building complaints.Prior to this plan, all complaints fell on the desks of building inspectors who also handled construction projects and building codes. On average, there were 1,200 complaints and it took months for the city to respond, Revell said.Now, the complaint count has dropped to just 30, with all of them now being handled within the week."I think the Windsor model is a little unique in the province and it's been very successful," said Revell. "I would say it's a role model for other communities."The strategy has resulted in more owners of vacant buildings turning their properties over, according to the city, by selling them, rebuilding or tearing them down.If owners do not comply, the city takes them to court. At one time, the city issued about $101,000 worth of fines.Two vacant schools sit near the social services building lot — and residents in the area hope they are next to be demolished. Currently, there are 221 vacant buildings in Windsor.

  • EU bets on industrial data, new rules to catch up in global tech
    News
    Reuters

    EU bets on industrial data, new rules to catch up in global tech

    The European Commission plans to create a single European market for data, hoping that pooling the region's deep industrial expertise will help build technology powerhouses to catch up with Silicon Valley and state-backed Chinese heavyweights. Having lagged the first wave of digital innovation, particularly in consumer markets such as social media, online shopping and smartphones, the EU is keen to make up lost ground and avoid its firms relying on data from U.S and Asian rivals. It is hoping that tapping into the trove of industrial data held by companies such as Germany's Siemens and France's Alstom could push Europe to the forefront of the next wave of innovation as machines and industrial processes are connected up via the so-called "internet of things".

  • 'Disappointing': Judge halts fatality inquiry into death of nursing student killed by mother
    News
    CBC

    'Disappointing': Judge halts fatality inquiry into death of nursing student killed by mother

    No fatality inquiry will be held to investigate the circumstances that led an Edmonton mother to stab her 21-year-old daughter to death.An Edmonton judge ruled late last month that the fatality inquiry should be stayed because it wasn't the right avenue to seek answers about why the young woman was killed by her mother, Christine Longridge, who was in a delusional psychotic state at the time."All of these lines of inquiry lead directly into areas where the court cannot go, and the frustration of starting down these roads only to be turned back serves no one," provincial court Judge Larry Anderson concluded.The decision comes as a blow to the family, who had hoped the inquiry would provide clarity about the medical care Longridge received in the weeks leading up to her attack on her daughter, Rachael."It's just remained this very painful mystery," Longridge's lawyer, Jacqueline Petrie, said in an interview Tuesday. "She hasn't really been able to get answers from not only her long-term treating psychiatrist but the doctors at Alberta Hospital." Not criminally responsibleThe decision to stay the fatality inquiry was "profoundly disappointing" to Longridge, Petrie said.In December 2016, Longridge attacked her daughter, stabbing her multiple times. First diagnosed with a mental disorder in the 1990s, she had been hospitalized about five weeks before the killing. Though her health deteriorated, she was sent home with a prescription for about half of her normal dosage of lithium.A court later found the mother was in a delusional psychotic state at the time of the attack in late December. She was found not criminally responsible for her daughter's death by reason of mental disorder in February 2018, and has since been under the supervision of the Alberta Review Board, which has authority to make decisions about detention and treatment.Longridge, who is in her 50s, remains a patient at Alberta Hospital, her lawyer said. Her condition has stabilized, and she's doing well, but questions about her medical treatment in November 2016 haunt her, Petrie said."There may very well be very good reasons for some of the medical decisions that were made," Petrie said. "They seem odd. They seem peculiar. But that doesn't mean they are. It's just that we can't, and have never been able to, get answers on them."'A travesty of our mental health system'In some cases, such as the deaths of children in foster care or inmates in a jail, a public fatality inquiry is automatic. At an inquiry, evidence is entered and witnesses are questioned, but the judge who presides cannot assign blame but can make recommendations for changes to help prevent similar deaths.Rachael's death did not trigger an automatic inquiry, but one was requested by a member of the public who believed the family had been let down by officials who could have intervened, calling it a "travesty of our mental health system."After considering the request, Alberta's Fatality Review Board recommended that an inquiry be held to "restore public confidence; prevent similar deaths, clarify circumstances around mental health and community support."The wrong road to go downBut at a pre-inquiry conference, the provincial lawyer assigned to run inquiry, and lawyers for Alberta Health Services and Longridge's longtime treating psychiatrist all questioned whether an inquiry would turn up anything that hadn't already been examined during the criminal trial, according to Anderson's decision. In an email Tuesday, the psychiatrist's lawyer clarified that his client did not oppose the inquiry, though they do agree with the reasons for the stay. In his decision, Anderson found it would be a "stretch" to tie Longridge's mid-November treatment in hospital to her daughter's death several weeks later. While the questions raised by Petrie are valid, the judge said, he wasn't "persuaded" they could be answered through an inquiry. He said there are other legal avenues to deal with questions of whether something went awry with Longridge's medical care.But Petrie said it would be "almost impossible" for her client to file a malpractice suit. "That's easy to say, it's very, very hard to do," Petrie said. "Christine — that's never been her motivation, it's never been her family's motivation. And she, in particular, is a person of very limited means."The only other option is to appeal of Anderson's decision and ask for a judicial review, which Petrie said she and her client are considering. In an emailed statement, an Alberta Health Services spokesperson said the health authority supported the position that an inquiry wouldn't turn up anything that the criminal proceeding hadn't. The spokesperson said AHS has completed an internal review in connection to the case, but did not respond to questions about the findings of that review.

  • News
    CBC

    SkipTheDishes launches alcohol delivery in 3 Alberta cities

    You can now order a bottle of wine to pair with your poké bowl or pizza on SkipTheDishes.A company spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that the popular delivery app is now offering alcohol deliveries in Calgary, Edmonton and Fort McMurray. SkipTheDishes first launched alcohol delivery in B.C. and Manitoba in 2017.The company said all of its independently contracted couriers in Alberta who will be delivering alcohol have ProServe certificates, and will be required to confirm that a customer's ID matched the name on their profile and that they are of legal drinking age. If the customer isn't able to meet those requirements, the order won't be delivered and will be subject to a $20 fee, a message on the app states."The experience of ordering alcohol is just like ordering food on Skip. Customers input their delivery address, search or filter for what they're looking for, and browse available vendors in their area," the spokesperson said.A quick search showed a handful of liquor stores and breweries were already up and running on the app, with wine, spirits, beer, ciders and coolers on offer. The app joins other app or online alcohol delivery services in Alberta like Drizly and Buzz Buddy, but is the first food-delivery app in the province to jump into the alcohol delivery market.

  • No new coronavirus cases under investigation in Ontario as of Tuesday
    News
    The Canadian Press

    No new coronavirus cases under investigation in Ontario as of Tuesday

    TORONTO — New methods are allowing Ontario public health officials to more quickly clear tests for the novel coronavirus, leaving no cases listed as currently under investigation, the province’s chief medical officer of health said Tuesday.A daily update from the provincial government showed that 421 people have been tested over the past several weeks, and nearly all were negative for the virus, called COVID-19.Dr. David Williams said samples from roughly 20 people are still being submitted to public health for testing each day, but test results are available much quicker."Our lab has moved up on the technology," he said. "Before, remember, it used to take 24 to 36 hours. That backlog is moving away because we can turn them around in six hours."Williams said the number of people under investigation for the virus did start to ease 14 days after China quarantined some cities, including the city of Wuhan where the outbreak originated. Two weeks is the maximum incubation period for the virus.Three people in Ontario, who had recently travelled to the affected area in China, have tested positive for the virus. At least one of the cases has since completely recovered, with tests showing she no longer has the virus in her system.The other two people — a husband and wife — are doing well, but have not yet been cleared by having two completely negative tests 24 hours apart, Williams said."The testing is very sensitive, so any remaining bits of RNA (genetic material) that are left will still give you a slight positive, so it's probably very cautious, but that's what we want to do," he said.There have been eight confirmed cases in Canada, including five in British Columbia.In China, more than 72,000 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus — mostly in the central province of Hubei — and more than 1,800 people have died.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2020.Allison Jones, The Canadian Press

  • Jury ends 1st day of deliberations in Weinstein's rape trial
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Jury ends 1st day of deliberations in Weinstein's rape trial

    NEW YORK — Jurors in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial ended their first day of deliberations Tuesday with lots of questions and no verdict in the landmark MeToo case that could put the once-powerful Hollywood producer behind bars for the rest of his life.The panel of seven men and five women asked to see a floor plan of Weinstein's apartment and emails, including one he sent to a private spy agency in 2017 listing certain accusers he feared would come forward as “red flags."The jury is weighing charges that Weinstein raped a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performed oral sex on another woman, TV and film production assistant Mimi Haleyi, in 2006.In deciding the most serious charges against Weinstein, which allege that he is a sexual predator, jurors must also weigh actress Annabella Sciorra’s account of a mid-1990s rape. While her allegation is too old to be charged on its own because to the statute of limitations in effect at the time, the law allows prosecutors to use her allegations as a basis for the predatory sexual assault counts.The jury will resume deliberations Wednesday.Jurors sent their first questions about 40 minutes into deliberations, asking for the legal definition of terms like consent and forcible compulsion, and seeking clarity on why Weinstein wasn't charged with other crimes stemming from Sciorra’s allegation.Prosecutors built their case around graphic, often-harrowing testimony from those women, along with three other accusers who were not part of the criminal case but were allowed to take the witness stand because they say Weinstein used them same tactics on them.Weinstein's lawyers contend the acts were consensual. They focused on friendly, flirtatious emails some of the women sent to Weinstein and further meetings some of them had with him after the alleged assaults.A torrent of allegations against Weinstein in October 2017 spawned the MeToo movement. His trial is seen as a watershed moment for the cause, but Judge James Burke has cautioned jurors that it is "not a referendum on the MeToo movement.”Weinstein lawyer Donna Rotunno sent a similar message in a Newsweek essay over the weekend, drawing complaints from a prosecutor who said she appeared to be trying to influence the jury.Rotunno wrote that Weinstein's jurors “have an obligation to themselves and their country, to base their verdict solely on the facts, testimony and evidence presented to them in the courtroom,” not critical news stories, unflattering courtroom sketches or other outside influences.Confronted about the essay in court Tuesday, Rotunno said she was writing “about the jury system as a whole" and was not speaking to the jury in Weinstein’s case.Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said Rotunno's essay was “100% inappropriate." She asked Burke to instruct the jury to ignore the piece and revoke Weinstein's bail and send him to jail because, she argued, it couldn’t have been done without his permission.Burke denied the prosecution's request, but told Weinstein: “I would caution you about the tentacles of your public relations juggernaut.”Two weeks ago, Rotunno was criticized in court and on social media for an interview she gave to The New York Times podcast The Daily in which she blamed victims for getting sexually assaulted.“That was taped a long time ago,” Rotunno explained after Illuzzi questioned the timing of the interview, which aired Feb. 7.The Times said later that the interview was recorded on Jan. 28 — five days after opening statements and the start of testimony.Haleyi, a former “Project Runway” production assistant, testified that Weinstein pushed her onto a bed and sexually assaulted her, undeterred by her kicks and pleas of, “No, please don’t do this, I don’t want it.”The woman who says Weinstein raped her in 2013 sobbed in court as she described how she sent Weinstein flattering emails and kept seeing him after the alleged rape because “I wanted him to believe I wasn't a threat."The Associated Press has a policy of not publishing the names of people who allege sexual assault without their consent. It is withholding the name of the rape accuser because it isn’t clear whether she wishes to be identified publicly.Tom Hays And Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press