Iran accuses Europe of yielding to 'high school bully' Trump in nuclear row

By Parisa Hafezi and John Irish
FILE PHOTO: Russia's FM Lavrov meets with Iran's FM Zarif in Moscow

By Parisa Hafezi and John Irish

DUBAI/PARIS (Reuters) - Iran said on Thursday three European states had succumbed to "high school bully" Donald Trump when they triggered a dispute mechanism in a nuclear pact the U.S. president opposes, a step that could eventually lead to reimposing U.N. sanctions.

The pact, known as the JCPoA, was agreed in 2015 between Tehran and world powers, offering Iran sanctions relief if it curbed its nuclear work. Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed U.S. sanctions, saying he wanted a tougher deal.

Iran has responded by scaling back its compliance with terms of the pact, saying this month it rejected all limits on uranium enrichment, although it says it wants to keep the deal in place.

Britain, France and Germany triggered the accord's dispute mechanism this week. London said it was now time for a "Trump deal" to replace it, while Paris said broad talks were needed.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Washington had threatened to impose a 25% tariff on European automobile imports if the three European capitals did not formally accuse Iran of breaking the nuclear agreement.

"Appeasement confirmed. E3 sold out remnants of #JCPOA to avoid new Trump tariffs. It won't work my friends. You only whet his appetite. Remember your high school bully?" Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter.

Two European diplomats confirmed Washington had threatened tariffs but said leaders of the three European states had already decided to trigger the mechanism before that.

Another diplomat said a suggestion that the Europeans were acting in response to Trump's threat risked "discrediting the Europeans, but then Trump doesn't really care about that".


PROTESTS

The nuclear dispute lies at the heart of Iran's long-running standoff with the West that spiraled into open conflict this month when Washington killed an Iranian general in Baghdad and Tehran responded with missile strikes on U.S. targets in Iraq.

While on alert for U.S. reprisals, Iran shot down a civilian airliner by mistake, triggering days of anti-government protests at home. Anger at the state has continued at victims' funerals.

"Death to the dictator," mourners shouted as they buried two victims of the plane disaster in the city of Sanandaj on Thursday, videos posted online showed, referring to Iran's top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

France’s foreign ministry spokeswoman did not comment on reports of U.S. threats, but noted that the Europeans had been threatening to trigger the dispute procedure for months. She said the European countries had made clear they do not want to leave the accord, but to find a way to resolve differences under it, and that Washington understood that position.

Henry Rome, analyst on Iran with Eurasia Group risk consultancy, tweeted that while the Europeans had been planning to trigger the dispute procedure anyway, the perception that they "quickly bent to Trump threat is very damaging and a huge propaganda victory for Iran".

The European Union said on Thursday its top diplomat, Josep Borrell, held "frank" talks with Zarif a conference in India.

The Europeans have long opposed Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal. The dispute mechanism begins a diplomatic process that can end with U.N. sanctions on Iran "snapping back" into place, although the Europeans say that is not their aim.

Facing unrest at home and pressure from abroad, Khamenei will deliver a sermon at prayers on Friday, the first time he has addressed the prominent weekly gathering in eight years.

U.S. sanctions have added to the Iran's challenges, driving up prices as the currency crumbles in value.

"Pressure has increased on Iran but we continue to progress," President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday, adding Iran was now enriching more uranium than before the 2015 deal.

The most recent reports from the U.N. nuclear watchdog say Iran has exceeded some limits on enriched uranium, but suggest it is still far from returning to pre-deal capacity.

Enriched uranium can be used to create material for nuclear warheads. Iran denies Western accusations it wants such weapons.


(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Dubai and John Irish in Paris; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Peter Graff)

  • Elite talent: The private school education of NHL All-Stars
    News
    CBC

    Elite talent: The private school education of NHL All-Stars

    Of the 37 North American players named to this year's NHL All-Star game or filling in as replacements, 15 — or 40 per cent —  attended private school. It's a statistic that reinforces the notion that hockey, particularly at its very highest levels, is increasingly a sport not just for those who can afford it, but for those in the highest tax brackets.Some attended athletic academies. The Oilers' Connor McDavid attended Premier Elite Athletes' Collegiate, a now-defunct private school in the Toronto area with an annual tuition that ranged from $15,500 to $27,000. The Maple Leafs' Mitch Marner went to The Hill Academy in Vaughan, Ont., (where Prep Hockey tuition is currently $13,000) and later Blyth Academy (where tuition is $15,995).Carolina's Dougie Hamilton, who was named to the Metropolitan Division team but is injured, and St Louis goalie Jordan Binnington went to Crestwood, a private day school in Toronto, which currently costs $28,500 per year. Tuition was even higher among some American players. Chicago's Patrick Kane went to Detroit Country Day School, where tuition is $32,200 US.Max Pacioretty of the Las Vegas Golden Knights went to The Taft School, a prestigious private academy in Watertown, Conn., where day school tuition is $46,500 US and boarding runs to $62,500 US.All the private schools offer scholarships and some sort of financial aid to those who qualify. CBC News was not able to determine if any of the NHL All-Stars who attended the schools received scholarships or financial aid.But the number of private school alumni is astounding, considering the chances of any young hockey player having a steady — non-All-Star — career in the NHL are just .02 per cent, according to an oft-quoted study.Game for the rich?And it may be the starkest evidence yet of what some say is a growing socioeconomic exclusion in hockey due to skyrocketing costs."For generations — and I don't think that's overstating it — generations we've been talking about the cost of the game," says Sean Fitz-Gerald, author of Before the Lights Go Out: A Season Inside a Game on the Brink.Fitz-Gerald's book suggests the expense of playing hockey now has the sport approaching a state of crisis, and that expense runs far beyond $300 sticks and $1,200 skates."It's power skating lessons, skills, development lessons and skating on treadmills. It's private coaching. It's all of these things and they start from the age of four. Sometimes I bet you you can go out and find one under the age of four," says Fitz-Gerald.Parents can pay between $10,000 and $15,000 per year or more for their children to play in minor hockey's highest level, AAA. But as Fitz-Gerald notes, those are just capital costs."It's [also] the soft costs, the costs you don't necessarily think of," he says."Competitive tournaments now start on Fridays. Are you able to get that Friday off of work to go? Your child might have after school skating on a Wednesday or practice before school on a Thursday. Do you have the flexibility in your job to be able to accommodate that?"All of that has the effect of winnowing down potential players not just economically but also geographically.Fitz-Gerald cites a series of 2016 articles by Teri Pecoskie at the Hamilton Spectator. The series looked at players in the Ontario Hockey League (Major Junior A) and found 80 per cent came from neighbourhoods with median family incomes above the Ontario average of $80,987.Roughly 15 per cent of the players came from neighbourhoods with median family incomes at least 50 per cent higher than average. And the vast majority of players also came from urban areas, which just happen to be where the expensive extra-curricular hockey training and facilities are often located.It's a far cry from the days when NHL legends like Gordie Howe honed their game on used skates on frozen prairie ponds. Wayne Gretzky, whose father worked as a telephone repairman, addressed the differences in an interview on The National in 2016."Do you think your parents would have been able to support you through hockey in today's world?" asked Peter Mansbridge."Probably not," said Gretzky.WATCH | Peter Mansbridge interviews Wayne GretzkyThe possibility that the next Great One might never become great due to lack of financial resources is very real, says Fitz-Gerald."Those [less well-off, small town] children statistically don't make it to the NHL anymore. Because today, statistically speaking, you have to be from a well-to-do part of an urban area," he says.Number of players not droppingOverall participation rates in hockey dropped for five straight years from 634,892 in 2013/14 to 626,090 in 2017/18. But the number of registered players in 2018/19 leapt back up to 643,958, thanks a huge jump in female players.Hockey Canada is well aware of the economic constraints in the sport."When it comes to the cost of hockey, I think there's no doubt with hockey, just like all sports, as you get to the higher levels and more competitive levels, that cost does go up," says Corey McNabb, Hockey Canada's director of player development.McNabb says Hockey Canada has several programs designed to make the game more accessible financially. The First Shift program offers full equipment and six on ice sessions for $200 as a way of introducing new players to the game.There are also 150 Hockey Canada Skills Academy programs across the country that operate with local schools. They allow kids to get on the ice up to four times per week at a cost of about $750 per year.At the same time, McNabb attributes some of the soaring costs of the sport to parents spending far more than required."I think parents need to sometimes take a step back and really look at how much is too much," he says."You don't need to be going to six hockey schools in the summer and being on the ice 12 months a year. I think that's one of the things that is a little bit of a misperception in the game right now."

  • Most controversial moments from the Grammy Awards
    News
    Yahoo News Canada

    Most controversial moments from the Grammy Awards

    Before Sunday’s show, Yahoo Canada looks back at some of the most controversial Grammy Awards moments from ceremonies past.

  • News
    CBC

    Nenshi says it was 'a mistake' to open just one supervised consumption site in Calgary

    Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he made a mistake in suggesting the city open just one supervised consumption site at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre.Nenshi said when conversations started around supervised consumption in the city, the initial plan was to open a few sites at once."I've never loved supervised consumption sites. I've always thought they're an admission of a system that's not working," Nenshi said in an interview with Alberta@Noon. "But I understand they save lives and that's the important part. So I suggested, let's just have one."The supervised consumption site opened in 2018 as part of a provincial strategy to battle the ongoing opioid crisis.At the facility, individuals are able to pick up harm reduction supplies — such as new needles — and use their drugs in designated booths under the supervision of a registered nurse trained in overdose response. According to information from Alberta Health Services, these sites increase referrals to health services and long-term addiction treatment, while decreasing overdose deaths, public substance use and transmission of disease.ControversyBut the downtown site has also been controversial — a recent police report showed crime and calls for service in the area have risen since the site opened."I suggested, let's have one [site], put it in a big health-care facility where there are lots of wraparound services, and let's study the heck out of it and figure out how it's working, how it's not working," Nenshi said."That was my suggestion, and [the province] took the suggestion. This was a mistake."The Alberta government formed a panel last year to look at the impact of the sites on crime rates, property values and social order. Speaking in Calgary on Tuesday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he had viewed a preliminary report from that panel and said it was possible that the province could close or relocate some of those supervised sites.There are currently seven safe consumption sites in Alberta — in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge — with proposals for one each in Red Deer and Medicine Hat and another one in Calgary."As the province is looking at a new model, I think one of the solutions actually should be to have more of them, to spread the problem out a little bit more in the community," Nenshi said. "If the province really wants to move the Chumir site because of specific problems at that site, listen, we can do that."A report published by the Alberta Community Council on HIV last year found that Alberta's supervised consumption sites have had a 100 per cent success rate at reversing overdoses.

  • Dems say oust Trump or he'll betray again; 'He is who he is'
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Dems say oust Trump or he'll betray again; 'He is who he is'

    WASHINGTON — Closing out their case, House Democrats warned in Donald Trump's impeachment trial that the president will persist in abusing his power and endangering American democracy unless Congress intervenes to remove him before the 2020 election.They then implored Republican senators to allow new testimony before rendering a final verdict.“Give America a fair trial,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead Democratic impeachment manager, said Friday. “She’s worth it.”Schiff delivered Democrats’ final remarks in the Senate trial after three days of methodical and impassioned arguments detailing charges that Trump abused power by asking Ukraine for politically motivated probes of political rivals, then obstructed Congress’ investigation into the matter. The president’s lawyers get their first chance to defend him Saturday, and are expected to argue he acted appropriately.The opening arguments appear to have done nothing to shake Republicans’ support for Trump or persuade enough centrist GOP lawmakers to call for new witnesses, including Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton. In his final appeal to lawmakers and a divided nation, Schiff argued that a guilty verdict in the Senate is the only remedy left to curb what he called the “'imminent threat” posed to the nation by Trump’s unconstitutional impulses.“He is who he is,” Schiff declared. “You know it’s not going to stop. ... It’s not going to stop unless the Congress does something about it.”The moment of history was apparent, only the third impeachment trial of a U.S. president, as were the partisan views of the Trump presidency and the effort to end it.When Schiff cited a news story with someone close to Trump saying any Republican voting with Democrats would have their "head on a pike," GOP senators in the chamber began murmuring, “That's not true.”The House impeached Trump last month, accusing him of abusing his office by asking Ukraine for politically motivated probes of Biden and other matters while withholding military aid from a U.S. ally that was at war with bordering Russia. A second article of impeachment accuses him of obstructing Congress by refusing to turn over documents or allow officials to testify in the House ensuing probe.Said Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, “We're going to rebut and refute, and we're going to put on an affirmative case tomorrow.”Republicans are defending Trump’s actions as appropriate and are casting the impeachment trial as a politically motivated effort to weaken him in his reelection campaign. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and eventual acquittal is considered likely.Before that, senators will make a critical decision next week on Democratic demands to hear testimony from top Trump aides, including Bolton and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who refused to appear before the House. It would take four Republican senators to join the Democratic minority to seek witnesses, and so far the numbers appear lacking.“This needs to end,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a Trump confidant.With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, Friday's session opened with an overarching case from Democrats that Trump's actions with Ukraine were not unique but part of a pattern of "destructive behaviour" now threatening the core foundations of American democracy.Schiff told the senators that Trump has shown repeatedly that he is willing to put his personal political interests above those of the country he is sworn to protect.The evidence shows, he said, that Trump bucked the advice of his own national security apparatus to chase “kooky” theories about Ukraine pushed by lawyer Rudy Giuliani, resulting in "one hell of a Russian intelligence coup” that benefited Vladimir Putin at U.S. expense.This was not simply a foreign policy dispute, Schiff argued, but a breach of long-held American values for Trump to leverage an ally — in this case Ukraine, a struggling democracy facing down Russian troops — for the investigations he wanted ahead of 2020.When the House started investigating his actions, Democrats said, Trump blatantly obstructed the probe. Even then-President Richard Nixon, they argued, better understood the need to comply with Congress in some of its oversight requests.Drawing on historical figures, from the Founding Fathers to the late GOP Sen. John McCain and the fictional Atticus Finch, Schiff made his arguments emphatically personal.“The next time, it just may be you," he said, pointing at one senator after another. "Do you think for a moment that if he felt it was in his interest, he wouldn't ask you to be investigated?”The impeachment trial is set against the backdrop of the 2020 election, as voters assess Trump's presidency and his run for a second term. Four senators who are Democratic presidential candidates are off the campaign trail, seated as jurors.A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed the public slightly more likely to say the Senate should convict and remove Trump from office than to say it should not, 45% to 40%. But a sizable percentage, 14%, said they didn't know enough to have an opinion.One issue with wide agreement: Trump should allow top aides to appear as witnesses at the trial. About 7 in 10 respondents said so, including majorities of Republicans and Democrats, according to the poll.No president has ever been removed by the Senate, neither Andrew Johnson in 1868 nor Bill Clinton in 1999. Nixon left office before a House vote that was likely to impeach him.The House mounted its Trump case after a government whistleblower complained about his July 2019 call with Ukraine. The House relied on testimony from current and former national security officials and diplomats, many who defied White House instructions not to appear.Evidence presented in the House probe has shown that Trump, with Giuliani, pursued investigations of Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on a Ukrainian gas company’s board, and sought a probe of a debunked theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.It's a story line many in the president's camp are still pushing. Giuliani, in an appearance Friday on “Fox & Friends,” insisted he would present evidence on his new podcast.At close, Schiff predicted the Trump team will try to distract senators from the case, in part by lodging personal attacks against all the House prosecutors. He reminded senators what is at stake and read the articles of impeachment one more time.___Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Alan Fram, Andrew Taylor, Laurie Kellman, Matthew Daly and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report.Lisa Mascaro, Eric Tucker And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

  • Leadership race or no, Tories will hold Liberal government to account: Scheer
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Leadership race or no, Tories will hold Liberal government to account: Scheer

    OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer sought Friday to put the Liberals on notice that despite the Tory leadership race, the Official Opposition won't rest.Scheer wished all the candidates well, but said given the Liberals' minority government, his caucus needs to stay sharp."The Trudeau Liberals might think that our leadership race will give them a free ride," he said, in a speech to Tory MPs and senators before the House of Commons sits again Monday."They're wrong. We're all going to continue to be here in Ottawa, in the House of Commons, and on the committee floor every single day fighting for our vision for the country."The meeting of the Conservative caucus came on the heels of a similar gathering of Liberal MPs, who were exhorted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to play nice with their opponents.Scheer offered no similar pitch. He accused the Liberals of using their upcoming budget to buy votes from the Bloc Quebecois and NDP, and attacked a planned Liberal bill banning military-style assault rifles."This is an attack on law-abiding, responsible firearms owners," he said. Liberals caucus chair Francis Scarpaleggia said it seems "premature for that kind of rhetoric" before Parliament has even begun to get down to work."Canadians, on a certain level, don't care about the politics. They want to see the results," he said.Though Scheer may wish to focus his MPs and senators on the upcoming return of the Commons, the ongoing leadership contest does run up against those plans.Former MP and cabinet minister Peter MacKay will formally unveil his campaign on Saturday, just as Scheer is wrapping the last day of his session with MPs. MacKay spent part of Friday tweeting out the names of members of Scheer's team who are now backing him for the leadership.Meanwhile, current MP Erin O'Toole is also expected to launch his bid in the coming days. Foreign policy is expected to be a hot-button issue, with the Liberals facing heat on China and on relations with Iran. O'Toole has been the party's critic on the file for years, but will now have to vacate the post to follow his leadership ambitions.Pierre Poilievre, who is the Tory finance critic, made a stunning announcement Thursday that he's not running for the leadership, citing the burden it would place on his family.He said Friday he remains committed to his work on the Hill, and is stressing to other contenders the need for focus on fiscal issues.MacKay's time with the party harkens back to one of its two predecessors, the Progressive Conservatives.Stockwell Day, who briefly helmed the other — the Canadian Alliance — was also on hand for Friday's meeting. There are lessons from the experience of putting the two parties together, he said."One of the things that people learned in that era was whoever emerges as the leader, as the winner, let's all get behind him or her, whoever wins," he said."That was a hard learned lesson."Calgary MP Michelle Rempel Garner, who has not ruled out running herself, said she is growing increasingly frustrated that the debate around the leadership race seems to be ignoring the western branch of the party.Too much time has been spent talking about whether a leader ought to speak French, and how winning Quebec or Ontario is central, she said.Western Canada's support is just looked at as a given and it's not, Rempel Garner said."I think there's enough people who are just looking at this and saying, 'What about us?'" she said.So far, Alberta-based businessman Rick Peterson is the only declared candidate from west of Ontario. Former Edmonton MP and interim party leader Rona Ambrose had been high on many people's lists as a potential candidate, but she announced this week she won't run.Meanwhile, the party continued to grapple with the fallout from comments from one potential contender this week. Quebec's Richard Decarie drew immediate condemnation from some in the party this week after he said he believes being LGBTQ is a choice, and that he'd withdraw funding for abortion services. It prompted rounds of questions to MPs on Friday about their own positions, and whether Decarie ought to be allowed to run.Rempel Garner said she intends to ask the party to disqualify him as a candidate, on the grounds that if he'd said something similar while running to be an MP, he'd be kicked out."Our party is being defined by this conversation right now — what is this leadership committee going to do?" she said.Candidates have until Feb. 27 to submit the first $25,000 of the $300,000 total entry fee and the first third of the 3,000 signatures required to enter. Decarie has said he is putting together his application.After it's in, the leadership committee can decide whether or not to include him as a candidate.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2020.—With files from Joan BrydenStephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

  • Spacewalking astronauts plug leak, finish fixing detector
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Spacewalking astronauts plug leak, finish fixing detector

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Spacewalking astronauts plugged a leak in a cosmic ray detector outside the International Space Station on Saturday, completing a series of complex repairs to give the instrument new life.The $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer could resume its hunt for elusive antimatter and dark matter by midweek.Team members around the world expressed relief as NASA's Andrew Morgan and Italy's Luca Parmitano wrapped up work on the spectrometer. It was their fourth and final spacewalk since November to revive the instrument's crippled cooling system.“Congratulations ... the AMS pump system is now leak tight,” tweeted the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, which helps run the spectrometer.Mission Control cautioned it was too soon to declare success with the space station's premier science instrument, but noted: “It still has a good heartbeat.”Last month, Morgan and Parmitano installed new coolant pumps on the spectrometer. They went back out Saturday to check for any leaks in the plumbing.Parmitano quickly discovered a leak in one of the eight coolant lines — the first one he tested — and tightened the fitting. “Our day just got a little more challenging,” Mission Control observed.The line still leaked after a mandatory one-hour wait, and Parmitano tightened it again. Finally, success — the leak was gone. “Let us all take a breath,” Mission Control urged. By then, the astronauts were already halfway into their six-hour spacewalk.Mission Control acknowledged the leak added some unwanted “drama” to the spacewalk. “Everybody's hearts stopped,” Mission Control told the astronauts. Parmitano wondered aloud what his heart rate was when the leak erupted. “It either flat-lined or spiked, one of the two.”“It was hard fought today, really well done. Cool heads prevailed,” Mission Control said as the spacewalk drew to a close.Barring further trouble, the spectrometer — launched to the space station in 2011 — will have its coolant lines filled with more carbon dioxide Sunday. One pump will be turned on as early as Monday and the remaining three Tuesday. That could lead to the resumption of science observations by Wednesday.NASA described the spectrometer spacewalks as the most complicated since the Hubble Space Telescope repair missions a couple decades ago. Unlike Hubble, this spectrometer was never intended for astronaut handling in orbit, and once it started faltering in 2014, it took NASA years to devise a repair plan.Morgan and Parmitano had to cut into stainless steel pipes to bypass the spectrometer's old, degraded coolant pumps on a previous spacewalk. Then they spliced the tubes into the new pumps — no easy job when working in bulky gloves. New tools had to be created for the intricate job.“We did it. We all did it,” Morgan said once he was back inside.Astronaut Jessica Meir noted that the day ended up being more interesting than anyone envisioned. “But you guys rolled with all the punches and got the job done.. ... Dinner is waiting,” she said.The massive 7 1/2-ton (6,800-kilogram) spectrometer was launched to the space station on NASA's next-to-last shuttle flight. Until it was shut down late last year for the repair work, it had studied more than 148 billion charged cosmic rays. The project is led by Samuel Ting, a Nobel laureate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.The repairs should allow the spectrometer to continue working for the rest of the life of the space station, or another five to 10 years. It was designed to operate for only three years.NASA's two other astronauts on board, Meir and Christina Koch, performed two spacewalks over the past 1 1/2 weeks to upgrade the space station's solar power system.Altogether, this station crew went out on nine spacewalks — or 61 hours in total. That's more than any other station expedition.Parmitano, Koch and Russian Alexander Skvortsov return to Earth in less than two weeks.___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.Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    WALL STREET JOURNAL-BEST SELLERS

    Bestselling Books Week Ended January 18th.FICTION1\. “Dog Man: Fetch-22” by Dav Pilkey (Graphix)2\. "Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens (G.P. Putnam's Sons)3\. “Lost” by James Patterson and James O. Born (Little, Brown)4\. “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” by Charlie Mackesy (HarperOne)5\. “The Congerence of the Birds” by Ransom Riggs (Dutton Books for Young Readers)6\. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball" by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books)7\. “Grumpy Monkey” by Suzanne Lang (Random House Books for Young Readers)8\. “Moral Compass” by Danielle Steel (Delacorte)9\. “Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls” by Dav Pilkey (Grpahix)10\. “Dear Edward” by Ann Napolitano (Dial Press)NONFICTION1\. “Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual” by Jocko Willink (St. Martin's Press)2\. “Eat What You Love: Restaurant Favourites” by Marlene Kock (Running Press)3\. “The Blue Zones Kitchen” by Dan Buettner (National Geographic)4\. “StrengthsFinder 2.0” by Tom Rath (Gallup)5\. “Tightrope” by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (Knopf)6\. “Educated: A Memoir" by Tara Westover (Random House)7\. “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown)8\. “Atomic Habits” by James Clear (Avery Publishing Group)9\. “The Defined Dish” by Alex Snodgrass (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)10\. “Brain Wash” by David Perlmutter, Austin Perlmutter and Kristin Loberg (Little, Brown Spark)FICTION E-BOOKS1\. “Sweep With Me” by Ilona Andrews (NYLA)2\. “Securing Zoey” by Susan Stoker (Susan Stoker)3\. “Lost” by James Patterson and James O. Born (Little, Brown)4\. “The Last Sister” by Kendra Elliot (Montlake)5\. “The Fight for Forever” by Meghan March (Meghan March)6\. “The Last Wish” by Andrzej Sapkowski (Orbit)7\. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens (G.P. Putnam's Sons)8\. “Eye of the Needle” by Ken Follett (Penguin)9\. “The Guardians” by John Grisham (Doubleday)10\. “Sex and Other Shiny Objects” by Lauren Blakely (Little Dog)NONFICTION E-BOOKS1\. “Non Obvious Megatrends” by Rohit Bhargava (Ideapress)2\. “The Princess Diarist” by Carrie Fisher (Blue Rider)3\. “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez (Penguin)4\. “Running Against the Devil” by Rick Wilson (Drown Forum)—5\. "Educated: A Memoir" by Tara Westover (Random House)6\. “Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual” by Jocko Willink (St. Martin's Press)7\. “Uncanny Valley: A Memoir” by Anna Wiener (MCD)8\. “The Essential Mexican Restaurant Instant Pot Cookbook” by Deborah Schneider (Ten Speed)9\. “Tightrope” by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (Knopf)10\. “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)The Associated Press

  • Opposition parties express 'confusion' over plan for rural health-care hubs
    News
    CBC

    Opposition parties express 'confusion' over plan for rural health-care hubs

    P.E.I.'s Official Opposition says its proposal for a pair of rural health-care hubs is "just a line in the [capital] budget" at this point, while MLAs from all three parties in the legislature continue to say they don't understand what government plans to do with the $5 million allocated to the project."We were really glad to see that commitment in the capital budget," said Green Party health critic Trish Altass."We just know that it's a line in the budget, we don't know what the government's plans are moving forward."Budget documents describe the allocation, to be made starting in the 2020-21 fiscal year, as "providing the necessary space for renewed and strengthened community-based primary care to meet the needs of West Prince and Kings County."The issue sparked many questions during the fall 2019 sitting of the legislature, with Premier Dennis King eventually telling the House the idea came from the Green Party platform.Not 'invited to the table'In fact, the Greens submitted a proposal for funding for the hubs to government as part of capital budget deliberations.That submission suggested one rural hospital each in eastern and western P.E.I. receive upgrades in infrastructure to accommodate an expansion of services, including primary and long-term care, community support services, mental health and addictions treatment, home care services and emergency, acute and post-acute care.The "key question" that needs to be addressed is "what services can we possibly bring from urban areas to our rural communities and what do we need to do that?" Altass said.But she said the capital funding to prepare the space and purchase equipment for the hubs is just one component. The plan would also require new staffing policies and strategic planning from Health PEI."We would certainly hope to see follow through with the rest of what would be needed to make this work," Altass said. "However to this point we have not yet had those conversations. We've not been invited to the table to figure out what this is going to look like."On the last day of the fall sitting — a sitting extended by one day by Liberal MLA Robert Henderson over his frustrations over a lack of information on the hubs and other topics — Minister of Health and Wellness James Aylward said government "will be increasing the breadth of health services while maintaining the existing services in communities as they are, including family doctors."He said the hubs will provide services in rural areas that aren't currently available, including cancer care, diabetes and mental health support.This week Aylward said government will "absolutely" collaborate with the Opposition on fleshing out a plan for enhancing rural health-care services through the hubs."We had lengthy discussions in the latest session of the legislative assembly where we talked about this. I was questioned daily on health-care hubs," said Aylward.He said he's told Altass "that we are going to continue to have the consultative process and discussions on our plan to move forward with health care here on P.E.I."A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Wellness told CBC News the province will be engaging with communities and health-care professionals to talk about the hubs, but didn't provide any timeline.'The Opposition is also confused'At a committee meeting Wednesday where the province's plans for primary care in rural P.E.I. were questioned, MLAs from all three parties each said they don't know what government's plans are for the hubs."There's been a continual story from the third party [Liberals] that they're confused about what these hubs are," said Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker. Where's this money going to be spent? What's it going to be spent for? — Liberal MLA Robert Henderson"The Opposition is also confused about what these hubs are ... I have no idea what government is doing when they talk about health hubs."Bevan-Baker said a proposal from South Shore residents to have a doctor and two nurse practitioners provide primary care from a new clinic in Crapaud is something "that can absolutely live comfortably together" with his party's ideas around health-care hubs — but it's not a hub."I also don't know quite what the health hubs are either so I'm not going to get into that debate," said Cory Deagle, a backbench MLA with the governing PCs.O'Leary-Inverness MLA Robert Henderson, who asked most of the questions around hubs during the fall sitting, said in an interview with CBC a lack of specific information around staffing and services is the "missing link" in terms of the proposal, and the main reason why he voted against government's capital budget."That's the whole thing — what's missing here?" Henderson said."What the Greens seem to be talking about … is really funding that would be through the operational budget. That's why I'm confused … whose initiative is it? Where's this money going to be spent? What's it going to be spent for?"More P.E.I. news

  • Inuk elder honoured for helping the home front during Second World War
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Inuk elder honoured for helping the home front during Second World War

    OTTAWA — Qapik Attagutsiak, a 99-year-old Inuk woman, will be the guest of honour at a ceremony Monday to recognize the little-known contribution by Inuit communities to help Canada and the Allies during the Second World War.Canadians across the country were encouraged to salvage whatever waste materials they could, including metal, rubber, paper and rags, which were then recycled into various items for the war effort.The call for raw materials also extended into the High Arctic, where Inuit communities were encouraged to collect bones that were then transported south and used in the manufacturing of ammunition and aircraft, as well as in fertilizer to grow food.Attagutsiak's family was among those who helped with that effort, and even now she remembers collecting bags full of dogs that had died from disease, as well as walrus and seal bones, at the behest of a local Catholic priest who told them of the war.Eighty years later, she is the last known survivor of Inuit who contributed to those efforts and will be recognized at a ceremony organized by Parks Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que.While Attagutsiak says her family at that time knew little about the rest of world, they understood that their way of life was under threat and felt compelled to help however they could.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • CBU prof says new approach needed to break addiction, incarceration cycle
    News
    CBC

    CBU prof says new approach needed to break addiction, incarceration cycle

    A Cape Breton University sociologist says criminalizing drug use isn't working and a new approach is needed, one that includes more supportive communities.On Friday, Margaret Dechman presented her findings at the annual general meeting of the Ally Centre of Cape Breton, a Sydney harm-reduction centre.In partnership with CBU, the Ally Centre and the Cape Breton Correctional Facility, researchers interviewed 107 men who are or had previously been incarcerated."We really wanted to look at what are the impacts of criminalizing substance use, and really talk to people about the experiences of their life and what could have helped," said Dechman.Several of the people who turned out for the meeting had their own stories to share.Troy Matheson said he spent the last several years on the streets of north-end Halifax and did time in the Burnside jail."It's heartbreaking, cause once you get out, you're given a bus ticket for a city bus to get back and nothing else," he said.That led Matheson back to homeless shelters and into the cycle of addiction."Unfortunately, that's the lifestyle in shelters," he said.Poverty, employment and finding secure housing were some of the challenges cited at the meeting.For John MacEachern, who used drugs from an early age and lived on the street by the age of 10, incarceration became a safe haven."You're up against it on the outside," he said. "You don't have the coping skills to cope while you're on the outside, so you return to what you know, right."He said reducing the stigma of addiction would go long a way toward helping people in his position.How to make communities more supportiveDechman agreed. She said having safe and supportive communities would be both preventive and a cure."Once you provide safety and security for people, they can make a choice," said Dechman. "And without that, they really can't because they're just so consumed with dealing with that stress every day."She said everyone in society has a role to play in making communities more supportive."When you're walking down the street, smile at somebody, speak to them, make them feel like they're a human being," said Dechman.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Trump joins anti-abortion protesters at March for Life rally in D.C.
    Canadian Press Videos

    Trump joins anti-abortion protesters at March for Life rally in D.C.

    Donald Trump became the first U.S. president to address Washington, D.C.'s March for Life anti-abortion rally in person Friday, illustrating how important evangelical voters are to his re-election changes. Against the backdrop of Capitol Hill, where the Senate impeachment trial against the president was in its third day, Trump turned the march into one of his trademark "Make America Great Again" rallies, telling the crowd the Democrats were coming after him because they oppose socially conservative values. Campaign Life Coalition national president Jeff Gunnarson led a contingent of Canadian activists from Toronto to attend the rally.

  • Highway 417 flying ice victim frustrated by police response
    News
    CBC

    Highway 417 flying ice victim frustrated by police response

    A Peterborough, Ont., man whose windshield was smashed by flying ice in Ottawa is frustrated police didn't charge the other driver despite having their licence plate and a witness.On Tuesday at about 5 p.m., while heading to Ottawa for a music rehearsal, conductor John Kraus says a sheet of ice flew off a truck in front of him on Highway 417 in Kanata.It cracked his windshield, dented the roof and left glass fragments on the inside of his car. "I swerved a little bit and I'm glad I did because if I wouldn't have done that, the ice would have [hit] full centre," said Kraus."It basically turned the windshield in front of the passenger side of the car into a spider's web, with [cracks] coming all the way across into the drivers side."Kraus said fortunately he was able to keep control of the car and there was no passenger with him because he hadn't picked up his daughter yet.  He said he tried to get the other driver to pull over to exchange information, but was seemingly ignored. No specific lawKraus said he took down the licence plate of the other driver and contact information of a witness nearby.When he contacted Ontario Provincial Police, he said they told him there was nothing they could do because it was an act beyond human control and that insurance would cover damages and repairs. "There is no specific charge under the Highway Traffic Act related to 'snow and ice' on vehicles, however we do have other charges we can apply depending on the circumstances," said acting Insp. Marc Hemmerick, manager of traffic and marine programs for the OPP's east region, in an email to CBC when asked why OPP didn't lay charges."When an officer sees a vehicle which may cause a hazard to themselves or the rest of the motoring public they have the authority pull that vehicle over and assist the driver in rectifying the situation."OPP in the region have used having an unsafe vehicle as one example and police in other areas have pointed to other charges available to them, such as driving with an insecure load.Drivers can also have their licences suspended for unsafe winter driving and if loose debris from a vehicle results in a collision causing injury or death, drivers can also face criminal charges.Disappointed in responseKraus said he's frustrated and disappointed the police didn't do more."I'm not sure how much more information they require, especially when there is a witness who was literally right beside me and saw the whole activity going on," he said. Kraus said he had just read the story CBC reported earlier this week about the same thing happening to a Cobden, Ont., man. "Fortunately for me, I didn't have that significant of a situation, but at the same time … it could have been a very different story and a different ending for me," he said. Kraus also wants people to clean off their vehicles in the first place before hitting the road.

  • One body found as police search for missing French snowmobilers for third day
    News
    The Canadian Press

    One body found as police search for missing French snowmobilers for third day

    ST-HENRI-DE-TAILLON, Que. — Rescue divers with Quebec's provincial police have pulled the body of one of the five missing French snowmobilers out of the waters of a river in the province's Lac-Saint-Jean region.Four other tourists from eastern France remain unaccounted for Friday as authorities continued to search on land, on the water and from the air.Police say the body was located about two kilometres from where police found submerged snowmobiles and other personal items on Thursday.They did not identify which of the five missing tourists was found.For reasons that remain unclear, the group of nine snowmobilers, including their Quebec guide, left the safety of the marked trail through the woods and ventured towards the icy expanse of Lac-Saint-Jean, where the ice gave way somewhere between St-Henri-de-Taillon and Alma.Two of them managed to get a third person out of the water and alerted authorities. Their guide, 42-year-old Benoit L'Esperance of Montreal, was recovered from the freezing waters and died later in hospital.The five missing French snowmobilers were identified by police as Gilles Claude, 58, Yan Thierry and Jean-Rene Dumoulin, both 24, Julien Benoit, 34, and Arnaud Antoine, 25.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    $500K severance deal for police lawyer a 'sham,' according to CPS and new chief

    A severance deal worth more than $500,000 is a "sham" and should not be paid out, according to the Calgary Police Service, which filed a statement of defence this week in connection with an employee's lawsuit.CPS lawyer Stephanie Morson filed her lawsuit last month after the service refused to pay out her severance, which was negotiated in 2018 with then-chief Roger Chaffin.Morson hasn't been paid — which CPS says is because she breached the conditions of the contract — and now she wants the severance plus an additional $180,000 in general and punitive damages.The Calgary Police Service filed a strongly-worded statement of defence this week, criticizing Morson and Chaffin for making the deal in the first place."It was a sham orchestrated by Morson and Chaffin acting together, without authorization, to appropriate public funds for Morson's private benefit," reads the document.Morson gave herself $50K raiseMorson, general counsel for CPS, is on long-term disability leave, which she says she was forced to take after being the victim of sexual harassment and bullying at work."CPS has been insensitive and demonstrated a lack of concern for Ms. Morson's well-being, despite knowing of the vulnerable mental state caused by the campaign against her and her constructive dismissal," reads the statement of claim.But current Chief Mark Neufeld and CPS said through their joint statement of defence that "CPS had never substantiated the 'sexual harassment and loss of reputation' said to underlie Morson's alleged entitlement to general damages."CPS alleges Morson was in a "clear conflict of interest" when she negotiated her severance, an agreement that was drafted by one of her subordinates at her direction.The statement of defence also alleges Morson commissioned a salary review just before her disability leave, which saw her receive a $50,000 raise, bringing her to $246,000 annually.The document suggests Morson's salary was "well above what was considered industry standard for an employee in Morson's position."Morson breached contract, says CPSAccording to the deal, CPS would top up Morson's disability payments until she was cleared for work and then she would be paid three instalments of $180,000. In exchange, Morson would release CPS from any further actions. She agreed not to pursue any actions against CPS in the form of civil claims, human rights grievances or Workers Compensation Board (WCB) proceedings.But just two months later, Morson advanced a WCB claim seeking compensation for alleged workplace harassment.The same month she filed an Occupational Health and Safety complaint against CPS, and in January 2019, Morson made a complaint under the Alberta Human Rights Act against CPS and the chief "alleging they had discriminated against her on the basis of gender during her employment."'Unconscionable and unjust'All three actions were "contrary to the clear and unequivocal terms of the release," according to the statement of defence filed on behalf of CPS and the chief. "It would be manifestly unjust for Morson to obtain the benefit of the severance agreement after flouting her only substantial commitment under that agreement, which was to refrain from bringing any complaints, claims or proceedings against CPS and the COP [chief of police]"As a result, CPS has incurred "significant legal costs," and the WCB claim and HR complaint remain unresolved.If Morson was to receive her severance, it would be "unconscionable and unjust," according to the statement of defence.In February 2019, CPS informed Morson she had breached the agreement, which meant she was no longer entitled to her severance.Morson victim of 'personal vendetta,' says lawsuitMorson's troubles with CPS began after a failed relationship with Staff Sgt. Bruce Walker, who then "initiated a personal vendetta and campaign" against her, she alleges in the statement of claim.Walker was behind complaints against Morson filed with the Law Society of Alberta and CPS's respectful workplace office, according to the court document. The complaints were ultimately investigated and dismissed.In her lawsuit, Morson says those allegations created an "intolerable working environment for her with the result that she was forced to take a medical leave of absence and go on disability benefits."Last year, Walker sued CPS and named employees, including Morson, for $300,000, alleging he was bullied and harassed and that his career was sabotaged.The senior officer alleged Morson tried to ruin his career. In September 2019, Walker discontinued his action against all defendants.

  • Earthquake strikes off the coast of Vancouver Island near Ucluelet, B.C.
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Earthquake strikes off the coast of Vancouver Island near Ucluelet, B.C.

    UCLUELET, B.C. — Earthquakes Canada say no tsunami is expected following a magnitude 4.5 earthquake that was felt on Vancouver Island and in Greater Vancouver.The federal agency says the seismic event was detected at 1:35 p.m. Pacific time about 38 kilometres underground off the west coast of Vancouver Island.The United States Geological Survey pegs the magnitude at 4.8 and says it struck about 48 kilometres southeast of Ucluelet, B.C.Earthquakes Canada says there have been no reports of damage and none would be expected.Some social media users say on Twitter that they felt the shake as far away as Metro Vancouver and on Vancouver Island in Nanaimo and Victoria.Mary-Ann Thorson of Lake Cowichan says she thought her bed was possessed when it started moving up and down."It wasn't shaking sideways, it was kind of like up, topsy-turvy," she said in a phone interview. "I was thinking I might have to call a priest."She estimates the shaking lasted several seconds and says it moved her computer off its stand.Friday's event comes after a sequence of eight earthquakes struck off the coast of Vancouver Island between Dec. 23 and 25 that ranged in magnitude from 3.6 to 6.0.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2020. The Canadian Press

  • Body recovered from Quebec's Lac Saint-Jean, 4 snowmobilers still missing
    News
    CBC

    Body recovered from Quebec's Lac Saint-Jean, 4 snowmobilers still missing

    The body of one of the five snowmobilers missing in Quebec's Lac Saint-Jean region since late Tuesday has been found, provincial police say.Police divers located the body Friday afternoon about two kilometres downstream from where the group of snowmobilers broke through the ice on La Grande Décharge, an outlet to Lac Saint-Jean located about 70 kilometres northwest of Saguenay.The group of eight French nationals, led by a guide, were trying to cross a snow-covered channel between the towns of Saint-Henri-de-Taillon and Alma when the ice gave way.The guide, found due to the light on his helmet, was pulled from the water by Alma firefighters soon after the accident. He died several hours later in hospital. Three others from the group survived without serious injury.Police are not identifying the body found Friday. A Quebec coroner will perform an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death before the body is repatriated to France.Teams of divers, supported by a Sûreté du Québec helicopter, will continue to search the freezing waters Saturday for the four other missing tourists, according to SQ spokesperson Sgt. Hugues Beaulieu.He said conditions are optimal for divers, who will intensify their efforts in the area where the body was found Friday.While they will focus on that location, Beaulieu said rescuers aren't neglecting other sectors, as the area left to search is "extremely large.""At this moment, there is no question of abandoning the search," he said.About 30 provincial police officers are involved. Rescuers with specialized training to work on ice, snowmobile units and drones have also been deployed.On Thursday, the divers found personal effects, including clothing belonging to the missing people. They have also located six of the seven snowmobiles.LaForest offers support Andrée LaForest, the provincial minister responsible for the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, offered her condolences to the victims' loved ones."We are with you, the French families, and we will continue the search," said LaForest, speaking to reporters at the SQ's mobile command centre."I also offer my support to the community of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean who are affected by this event."LaForest said the investigation into the circumstances behind the tragedy — in particular, why the guide was leading the group across a section of ice known to be dangerous — is still under investigation.She thanked all those who have assisted with the search and encouraged those snowmobiling on Quebec's vast network of trails to do so carefully this weekend.She said the province is working closely with the French Consulate to return the body to France.Frédéric Sanchez, consul general of France in Quebec, said French authorities are supporting the victims' families, keeping them informed about the search."This is a tragic accident," he said. "We are all saddened by this situation."

  • Actress Rosie Perez says she was told of Weinstein rape
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Actress Rosie Perez says she was told of Weinstein rape

    NEW YORK — "Do the Right Thing" actress Rosie Perez testified Friday that fellow screen star Annabella Sciorra told her in the mid-1990s that Harvey Weinstein had raped her but that she couldn't go to the police because “he'd destroy me.”Taking the stand at the former Hollywood mogul's rape trial, Perez said her friend Sciorra had told at some point in 1993, her voice shaking on the phone, that something had happened to her: “I think it was rape."Perez said she asked if Sciorra knew who had attacked her, but Sciorra wouldn't say at the time. But months later, on another phone call from London, she said Weinstein was harassing her and she was scared, Perez said.“I said, ‘He’s the one that raped you,’” and they both began crying, Perez testified.“Please go to the police,” Perez said she told her friend. She said Sciorra responded: “I can’t — he’d destroy me."On Thursday, Sciorra told jurors that the movie producer pushed his way into her New York apartment, pinned her on a bed and forced himself on her in 1993 or 1994. She said Perez was one of a few people she told about the encounter before coming forward publicly in 2017.Weinstein denies ever having nonconsensual sex. His lawyers said Perez shouldn’t be allowed to testify, but Judge James Burke decided to allow it.Defence lawyer Damon Cheronis pressed Perez on why she didn’t go to police, or to Sciorra’s home, when the actress first told her about the alleged assault.“Because I was being respectful,” Perez said.Weinstein, the studio boss whose downfall energized the MeToo movement, is charged with forcibly performing oral sex on former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in his New York apartment in 2006 and raping an aspiring actress in a New York hotel room in 2013. Sciorra is among four additional accusers who are expected to testify against him as part of an effort by prosecutors to show that Weinstein made a habit of preying on women.The 67-year-old producer of such Oscar-winning movies as “Chicago” and “The King's Speech” could get life in prison if convicted.Sciorra, 59, is best known for her work on “The Sopranos.” Perez, 55, was in 1989's “Do the Right Thing” and 1993’s “Fearless," which brought her an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress.Sciorra told the jury that she spiraled into cutting herself and drinking heavily after the alleged rape. On Friday, friend and fashion model Kara Young testified that a fidgety Sciorra “seemed a mess,” with long cuts on her legs, when the two watched the Academy Awards together in 1994.Weinstein's lawyers seized on Sciorra's actions after the alleged assault, asking such questions as why Sciorra made the 1997 Weinstein-produced film “Cop Land" if he had raped her a few years earlier. Sciorra said she wasn’t aware of Weinstein’s involvement until she had agreed to appear in the movie.The defence has also questioned why Weinstein's accusers stayed in friendly contact for years with a man they say had assaulted them. Prosecutors sought to give jurors some answers Friday from a forensic psychiatrist who testified about the same topic at the Pennsylvania trial that led to Bill Cosby’s 2018 conviction on charges of sexually assaulting a woman.Dr. Barbara Ziv told Weinstein's jury of seven men and five women that most sex-assault victims continue to have contact with their attackers, who often threaten retaliation if the victims tell anyone what happened.Victims are “hoping that this is just an aberration,” she said, and they tell themselves: "'I can put it in a box and forget about it. I don’t want it to get worse. … I can handle this physical trauma, but God forbid this ruins the rest of my life.'”Victims can end up blaming themselves “without knowing that their behaviour is entirely expected,” said Ziv, who has described herself as an expert on “sexual assault victim behaviour" who has evaluated more than 1,000 such people.She did not, however, evaluate any of Weinstein's accusers, and his lawyers seized on that point.The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they have been victims of sexual assault, unless they come forward publicly, as Sciorra and others have done.___Follow Tom Hays at twitter.com/aptomhays and Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisakTom Hays, Michael R. Sisak And Jennifer Peltz, The Associated Press

  • STF ends contract talks, saying province not willing to 'make a change'
    News
    CBC

    STF ends contract talks, saying province not willing to 'make a change'

    The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation (STF) says it has shut down the conciliation process with the province that was initiated after regular bargaining was unsuccessful.The teachers' bargaining committee has been in talks with the government trustee bargaining committee through conciliator Ernie Peltz for four days. "We hadn't moved very far, if at all, on the issues that are important. And so we ended up deciding that conciliation just wasn't a success," said Patrick Maze, president of the STF. Conciliation was set up after nine months of failed negotiations, which ended in November. The teachers want salary increases of two per cent, three per cent and three per cent over a three-year agreement. This follows two years with no increases.They also want changes to class size and composition. Maze said classrooms are overloaded with students and those with special needs don't get the attention they need because teachers are too busy "putting out fires.""We would want to make sure that every student has the highest quality education possible and unfortunately under the current classroom situations that's not being offered to them," Maze said. In the fall Education Minister Gord Wyant said was not willing to include class size and composition in an agreement with the union.He argued it would take away the ability to respond to individual situations.Maze said the province seems to be unwilling to come to an agreement for financial reasons. The STF reinstated it's offer to divert $20 million in annual contributions to the teachers' health plan to address student needs if matched by the provincial government. Maze said the government didn't explore the offer.Education Minister says he's awaiting report from conciliation panelMinister of Education Gordon Wyant said the government's bargaining committee felt that progress was being made toward solutions on a number of items."The [committee] awaits the report from the conciliation panel and continues to look forward to future negotiations with the Teacher's Bargaining Committee," Wyant said in an statement emailed to CBC. The teachers' bargaining committee will work with the STF Executive to decide what to do next. It will also be meeting with teachers' associations across the province in February. Maze said a solution could include going back to the bargaining table, attempting to negotiate a deal or having a sanctions vote.

  • News
    CBC

    Railways will need to invest $5B to keep up with shipping demand, says CERI

    The Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates railways in the country will require about $5 billion of investment over the next five years to keep up with demand, including increased shipments of oil. If new pipeline projects don't come online, CERI estimates crude-by-rail will almost double from its current level of about 400,000 barrel per day. "Crude will be in the Top 5 commodities if those pipelines aren't built," said Dinara Millington, vice-president of research for CERI, referring to nationwide shipping. Currently, the Canadian Top 5 list includes: * Coal. * Forest products. * Miscellaneous. * Minerals. * Plastic and chemical products.Even with the completion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Line 3 and Keystone XL, the institute still foresees growth. Shipments in Alberta of petrochemicals — everything from propane to plastic pellets — are also expected to grow, but agricultural products will continue to top the provincial list of goods shipped by rail.

  • News
    CBC

    Sue Montgomery removed from Projet Montréal

    The borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Sue Montgomery, has been expelled from Projet Montréal's caucus, the mayor's office announced Friday afternoon.In a statement, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, the leader of Projet Montréal, said she removed Montgomery because the borough mayor refused to fire a member of her staff found to have committed psychological harassment.A report by the city's comptroller said two employees had suffered psychological harassment at the borough office."I have a zero-tolerance harassment policy, and this applies to elected officials, politicians and all public servants in our public service," Plante said.'I stand for justice and the truth': MontgomeryMontgomery, a former journalist at the Montreal Gazette, was elected borough mayor in 2017. In a statement on her Facebook page, Montgomery said she was "very disappointed" with the decision."I stand for justice and the truth. Up until now, I have respected the confidentiality of this conflict and worked in good faith to find a solution," she said.Montgomery said that she had not seen the report and neither had Plante nor the staff member who was the subject of the investigation."I would be the last person to condone harassment," said Montgomery, who before she was elected had co-created a social media campaign that shed light on survivors of sexual violence."I will also not condone lack of due process. We live in a democracy where people have a right to see evidence against them and to defend themselves. This has not happened and I cannot accept it."Montgomery said she will continue to hold her position independent of her former party.

  • News
    CBC

    Parking ban lifts after Edmonton crews work around the clock to reach bare pavement

    A parking ban that has been in place since mid-week to allow crews to clear snow and ice from Edmonton streets will end Friday afternoon.City and contractor crews have worked around the clock to clear major roadways, bus routes, paths and certain city-maintained sidewalks and bike lanes, a city news release said Friday.The ban ends at 4 p.m Friday."Our objective was to get down to bare pavement on collector roads and bus routes to improve driving conditions, and allow warmer weather to dry the roadways instead of melting the accumulation," Andrew Grant, general supervisor of infrastructure field operations, said in the release.Under the ban, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, vehicles had to be removed from major roads, bus routes and roads designated with "Seasonal Parking Ban" signs. Any vehicles left on the street during the ban were subject to tagging and towing.Last week's extreme cold reduced the effectiveness of salt and sand, leaving substantial snowpack on major roads.The ban was announced on Tuesday. The next day, a major snowfall added another seven centimetres to the mess.The city said it will provide a minimum of eight hours notice prior to a parking ban going into effect.

  • Albertans sew, knit, crochet their way to helping Australian wildfire rescue animals
    News
    CBC

    Albertans sew, knit, crochet their way to helping Australian wildfire rescue animals

    Hundreds of carefully crafted mittens for koalas, pouches for kangaroos and nests for birds are leaving Calgary and heading to Australia for the animal victims of the country's devastating wildfires, thanks to some caring central Albertans who like to knit and crochet and network on Facebook."When animals are going through a catastrophe like this, they need a little bit of extra care to help them out," Jackie Larocque of Sylvan Lake, Alta., told The Homestretch.The Australian counterparts of the Canadian Animal Rescue Craft Guild asked Canada for some help through Facebook, as knitters and crocheters from Down Under were overwhelmed.Raging fires have killed more than 30 people, destroyed thousands of homes and have killed or displaced almost half a billion animals.Larocque said for Canada to make a contribution, it required a lot of people to get on board."Australia said we need some crafters. They sent all the patterns to the guild on Facebook. They started calling out for crafters, basically. I became a drop-off and used social media to spread the word through central Alberta," she said."I got a whole bunch of people."Pet stores step upBut having Larocque drive all over central Alberta to pick up contributions one by one wasn't practical or efficient."I contacted pet stores in Red Deer, Lacombe, Sylvan Lake and Rocky Mountain House to be drop-off points, and they stepped up with no problem."Folks at the Lacombe Pet Valu loved the idea."Anytime we put a shout out looking for something, the community just jumps on board really, really quick," Cheryl Babiak said.She's a sales associate and event planner for the store, located in a community of 13,000 about 25 kilometres north of Red Deer."All the knitters got busy, and the sewers got busy, and they just created all these wonderful little items," Babiak said.4 huge bagsThe response, Babiak said, was amazing."About 20 nests, 30 medium joey pouches, quite a few big slings for the joeys when they get older. A couple of our customers made little bat beds. Those were pretty sweet. It's basically a sleeping bag with a pillow on one end, and then you just roll it up like a burrito and the little bat is inside," she said, with pride in her voice.In total, that one store contributed four massive bags.Larocque took those bags and drove north to do a pick up in Edmonton, then south to Calgary to put 200 to 300 items on a plane headed to Sydney."Air Canada has really stepped up to the plate for us. They've been doing cargo runs for us this last week and into next week. They are not charging us for any of it. It's been great," Larocque said.The airline was happy to help."As part of our support for those affected by devastating bushfires in Australia, particularly the heartbreaking stories of injured animals, we worked with a charity in Sydney and a group of dedicated Canadian crafters to deliver care packages to help in animal care," Air Canada wrote in a statement to CBC News."The Air Canada Foundation is also matching all employee donations and donations made at employee-led fundraisers up to $25,000 to benefit the Red Cross."Larocque says she was told cash would be helpful, but actually pulling out the knitting needles was more targeted support."They said the money is fine, but they need people to make the items, because the Australian craft guild are really overwhelmed because of the amount of animals in dire straits. They just couldn't keep up."Lacombe has been amazingOverall, Larocque is happy with how this project turned out, thanks to a lot of crafters."The people that are doing it are wonderful. They are extremely talented. It's been such a good turn out and such a good response."Back at Pet Valu, Babiak has further confirmation of what she already knew."We live and work in a generous community. Lacombe has been amazing," she said."Every animal, every creature, every person needs a helping hand every once in a while."

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Quebec law society postpones another speech amid Bill 21 criticism

    MONTREAL — A Quebec law society is facing criticism over its speaking invitation to a Supreme Court justice given the group is involved in one of several court challenges to the province's secularism law, known as Bill 21.The Lord Reading Law Society said late Thursday that an event involving Supreme Court of Canada Justices Rosalie Abella and Russell Brown for Feb. 6 has been postponed. The announcement came the same day criticisms were raised by a Quebec history professor.It's the second time in as many months the organization — an association of Jewish jurists — has backtracked on an event after inviting judges who have or were expected to hear cases involving the secularism law, known as Bill 21.The law prohibits some public sector workers, including teachers and police officers, from wearing religious symbols at work.Abella was expected to introduce Brown at the event, who was to give a speech.The society made the decision to postpone, said Renee Theriault, senior legal counsel in the office of Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner, in an email.The society said in a statement it did not intend to make any further comments. It didn't explain — nor did the high court — the actual reason for the postponement involving Justice Brown.The association has long organized paid events attended by lawyers and judges.Quebec historian Frederic Bastien, who was critical of the society's invitation, sees it as a flagrant conflict of interest.Bastien, who is mulling a run at the vacant leadership of the Parti Quebecois, took to Facebook on Thursday threatening to file a complaint with the Canadian Judicial Council if the event wasn't cancelled.In early December, the outgoing chief justice of the Quebec Court of Appeal, Nicole Duval Hesler, postponed a speech she was to give to the organization.A few weeks before her scheduled appearance, Duval Hesler had heard arguments in a Bill 21 related case challenging a lower court decision dismissing a request for an injunction to have the central elements of the law suspended while their full legal challenge is heard.The appellate court had not delivered its decision at that time, but ultimately found in favour of the government.That decision led to the law's challengers — a national Muslim organization, a civil liberties group and a university student who wears the hijab — to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada this month.The Lord Reading Law Society has filed an intervention in another court challenge to the law, brought by three women teachers.The society also submitted a brief to a legislature committee last April, which stated Bill 21 "has no reason to exist and, in fact, will create and worsen divisions in Quebec."Bastien denounced the Quebec judge, saying the magistrate failed to show impartiality and calling on her to recuse herself. More than one complaint was filed with the Canadian Judicial Council.This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Jan. 24, 2019.Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press

  • Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won't happen in Canada: authorities
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won't happen in Canada: authorities

    TORONTO — Canadians have no need to worry about the prospect of mass quarantines, even in the likely event the coronavirus is discovered here, public health authorities said on Friday.They said scary images coming from a now isolated Wuhan, a Chinese city with 11 million people, will not be repeated here."Absolutely not," Dr. Peter Donnelly, with Public Health Ontario, said. "If a case comes here, and it is probably likely that we will have a case here, it will still be business as normal."In addition to Wuhan, where the virus outbreak has been concentrated, China has shut transportation in at least 12 other cities home to more than 36 million people. Bustling streets, malls and other public spaces have turned eerily quiet, masks are mandatory in public, and some hospitals have run low on medical supplies.Toronto's medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, urged people to consult credible information sources on the outbreak. Good places include websites of the Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Health Ontario and Toronto Public Health, she said."I ask members of the public to rely on evidence-informed, credible sources of information when you're looking for updates," de Villa said.So far, the coronavirus is reported to have killed more than two dozen people and made hundreds of others ill. Symptoms can mirror those of the cold and flu, including cough, fever, chest tightening and shortness of breath, but can worsen to pneumonia.While no cases have been reported in Canada, concerns about the virus have stirred memories of the SARS outbreak in 2003 that killed 44 Canadians and saw Toronto turn temporarily into something of an international pariah after the World Health Organization issued a travel advisory warning people to avoid the city.Donnelly said the situation is now very different from what it was then. Authorities, he said, are much better prepared than they were for SARS: Communications are more robust, hospitals have better isolation facilities, and a reliable test is available to detect the coronavirus within 24 hours."This was a disease unknown to science only two weeks ago and we now have the full genetic fingerprint of the virus and we have a test, which is specific and reliable," Donnelly said. "In situations like this, speed and certainty are both very important."Health officials were also working with the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg to develop an even quicker test.The federal government has beefed up measures at major airports in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.Visitors are now being asked about any travel to Wuhan in the past 14 days and a positive response would trigger further investigation.Ontario Health Minister Christine Eliott said border agents will decide if a traveller needs an immediate medical assessment and treatment. An ambulance would take the person from the airport directly to hospital. Fact sheets are also being prepared, she said.De Villa stressed the importance of good hygiene to prevent virus transmission. Simple steps include washing hands thoroughly, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you're ill.While the World Health Organization has decided for now against declaring the outbreak a global emergency, Donnelly said public health authorities were still working to ensure any cases here are dealt with effectively."We are not complacent, we're working extremely hard on this but we are quietly confident that we can handle this," Donnelly said.Canada's chief medical officer has said the chances of a outbreak here were low. Health officials note the common cold comes from the same family as the latest coronavirus and that influenza virus kills thousands of Canadians every year.On Friday, Quebec health officials said coronavirus tests on six travellers from China under observation in Montreal and Quebec City hospitals had come back negative.Dr. Horracio Arruda, Quebec's director of public health, said earlier in the week the six had landed in Quebec with symptoms associated with the illness. Arruda said vigilance is key."There's no reason for fear because sometimes the epidemic of fear is greater than what is going on," he said.— with files from Sidhartha Banerjee in MontrealThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2020.Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

  • Scotty goes to Scotland: Replica of world's largest T. Rex, discovered in Sask., part of touring exhibit
    News
    CBC

    Scotty goes to Scotland: Replica of world's largest T. Rex, discovered in Sask., part of touring exhibit

    Scotty the T. Rex is once again roaming the Earth.Or at least, a replica of Scotty is. The replica of Scotty — the nickname for the world's largest Tyrannosaurus rex specimen, which was discovered in Eastend, Sask., back in 1991 — is part of an Australian Museum travelling exhibit called Tyrannosaurs — Meet the Family.The Sydney-based museum's exhibit is currently at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh."At this point Scotty is better traveled than I am," quipped Ryan McKellar, curator of paleontology at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina.The exhibit, which highlights the family of tyrannosaurs and their history over 100 million years, began in 2015 at the Australian Museum. It has since gone to other museums in Australia and New Zealand, Iowa and North Carolina in the U.S., and to Canadian museums in Kitchener, Ont., and Halifax."And Scotty is the sort of centrepiece of that exhibit, because it is the biggest T. Rex specimen that's out there," said McKellar.The replica that is part of the exhibit was made by Research Casting International (RCI), which has done replication work of larger skeletons like Scotty for the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.McKellar said the museum has a licensing agreement with RCI that allows for Scotty clones to be made."There's a fairly large demand for that because Scotty is such a large T. Rex specimen," McKellar said. "It's one of the highlights of the RCI catalog."The fossil was discovered in 1991 in Eastend, Sask. Excavation work began in 1994 and took six summers to complete. It took more than a decade to get all the rock off the bones and reassemble the skeleton.It's estimated the dinosaur was 13 metres (almost 43 feet) long would have weighed 8,870 kilograms.The first cast of Scotty appeared in the T. Rex Discovery Centre in Eastend in 2013 and another replica was unveiled at the RSM in 2019.In addition to those, and the one touring with Australian Museum's exhibit, a fourth is at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo.McKellar said once a museum decides on a pose, and designs and makes the fibreglass model, the actual replica can be assembled in the span of a day. The Saskatchewan museum still has the original skeleton, which it continues to do research on.McKellar said putting the real Scotty on display would not be feasible.For one, only 65 per cent of the fossil was recovered, much of it in tiny pieces.In addition, the real bones are just too heavy. "A good example is the thigh bone on Scotty that weighs something in the neighborhood of 250 pounds, and it's fragile," McKellar said."[A replica] allows us to present to the public a more complete picture of the animals.… I think it makes it much easier for the public to envision what the animals look like and just how impressive they would have been."Scotty isn't the only Saskatchewan fossil that goes abroad.McKellar said other fossils are borrowed by international institutions each year for research purposes.Other famous fossils include the only known example of a tyrannosaurus coprolite (fossil feces found in the same valley as Scotty), as well as a brontothere (a rhinoceros-like mammal that lived about 40 million years ago), and a wide range of marine reptiles.Having Scotty replicas tramp around the world shines a spotlight on the work being done in Saskatchewan."This allows us to share the deep history of Saskatchewan with a much wider audience, and hopefully it draws people in to visit our province and see where the discoveries are being made," McKellar said."It's kind of exciting to see the international reach — that some of the research and exhibits work that we're doing here has led to some of these larger travelling exhibits."The replica of Scotty is in Scotland until May. The Australian Museum exhibit will then travel to the Milwaukee Public Museum in 2021.