How we met: ‘The police had just shot a bank robber. Then I saw Julien’

Emine Saner

Joanne and Julien met at the scene of a bank robbery, just after the police had shot and killed the culprit. It was 1988, and “there were a lot of bank robberies that year,” Joanne says. Montreal, continues Julien, “used to have the reputation of being the bank robbery capital of the world”. He was the political reporter for the Montreal Daily News. It was a boring beat compared with the action happening on the streets, he says, so he and a colleague, the photographer Aussie Whiting, would listen out for police reports of robberies and rush off to them. “We were always the first on the scene,” he says. On that summer’s day: “We got in his car and he zoomed through all the red lights.” They got exclusive photographs and interviews with the police.

By the time Joanne, a radio reporter for Canada’s national broadcaster, CBC, arrived, everyone had gone, although there was still some blood on the pavement. “It was pretty grisly in those days,” she says. “No one else was around and then I saw Julien sitting on a bench.” They got talking and he offered to give her his recorded interviews. “I saved her story,” he says.

It was a generous act. “He was very nice. I remember what he was wearing – a red-and-white striped shirt. He was very handsome,” says Joanne. Julien thought Joanne was “very friendly and very pretty. Despite what we say about CBC reporters – they’re kind of the top shelf of journalism, but print reporters think they’re better – I was kind of impressed.”

She knew his name, though they had not bumped into each other on jobs before. They met again a few weeks later at a party held by a mutual friend. “Once I heard he was a city hall reporter, I started asking for a lot more city hall stories,” she says. It wasn’t hard, as nobody else in her newsroom particularly wanted to cover them. “Then we did start seeing each other a lot.”

In those days, Julien says, “I had an office at city hall. We had desks on the floor of the chamber with the elected officials and I noticed she was impressed.”

Joanne laughs. “I don’t remember that.”

Julien smiles. “Oh yeah, she was impressed.”

“Then I really made the next move,” says Joanne. “I got free tickets for the movie Mississippi Burning and I thought: ‘This is the chance; I’ll phone him and ask him if he wants to go.’ That was our first real date.” It went well – but, she says: “Julien again was not very proactive and it was hard to communicate in those days. He had a pager, so to get in touch with him I’d have to beep him. It took a long time to start getting into a regular routine because he was never around.”

In January 1989, they went to a party and the host, noticing that there was something between them, suggested they leave together. “It was snowing, the end of January,” says Joanne, and they walked through the park. “That was probably our first kiss,” says Joanne. Neither of them seem 100% sure, but Julien laughs: “OK, well I’ll go with that.”

They have been together now for 31 years and married for 20. Julien left journalism and works in renewable energy, while Joanne is a newsreader. They have a lot in common – such as an interest in politics, history and road trips – but Julien adds that they are opposite in many ways. “Joanne tries to keep me organised. She’s more practical than I am.”

Their 19-year-old daughter recently left for university. “Now that we have an empty nest, we have our own routine,” says Joanne. “It’s very comfortable – we’re very lucky. There are some stresses but, overall, we’re very fortunate to have each other.”

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  • Can anyone catch up to Bernie Sanders now?
    News
    CBC

    Can anyone catch up to Bernie Sanders now?

    Sen. Bernie Sanders has solidified his position as the front runner in the Democratic primaries and will face his next test today in the Nevada caucuses — as rivals like former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren hope for a much-needed boost to their troubled campaigns.Sanders goes into Nevada after tying former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg in the Iowa caucuses and narrowly winning the New Hampshire primary. He's also experiencing an uptick in the polls that has separated him from the rest of the field.In surveys conducted since New Hampshire voted, Sanders is averaging about 27 per cent support among Democratic primary voters. That puts him well ahead of Biden, who is at 17 per cent support, and former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg, at 16 per cent support.That's a big shift in just the last 11 days: Sanders has averaged a four-point increase among pollsters who were in the field before and after the New Hampshire primary. Bloomberg has picked up one point and Biden has dropped three.But that is only part of a broader trend that has hurt Biden since his disappointing showing in the Iowa caucuses. Since then, Biden has averaged an 11-point drop in support. That cost him the lead in the polls he enjoyed in January. Bloomberg, up seven points since pre-Iowa polling, has been the biggest beneficiary but both Sanders and Buttigieg have also seen gains, picking up four points each.Warren hopes for a post-debate boostThere is a chance, though, that the trend line could stabilize after Nevada. Bloomberg was generally seen to have delivered a very poor performance in Wednesday's debate, while Biden was largely given a passing grade.With her direct and pointed attacks on Bloomberg, Warren stood out and has reportedly seen a surge in fundraising.Her campaign desperately needs a shot in the arm after failing to make much of an impact in either Iowa or New Hampshire. She is averaging just 12 per cent in the polls nationwide, putting her only narrowly ahead of Buttigieg's 10 per cent.Rounding out the field are Sen. Amy Klobuchar (at six per cent), billionaire Tom Steyer (three per cent) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (one per cent).With 23 delegates, Buttigieg currently has two more than Sanders. But only 65 pledged delegates have allocated so far; Nevada's 36 delegates are only a tiny next step toward the final tally of 3,979.Polls favour Sanders in NevadaAs with Iowa and New Hampshire, Nevada's importance is not in the number of delegates at stake, but in what the results say about the broader race. The two first states put serious question marks on the Biden and Warren campaigns. Nevada could provide some answers.The third state to vote in the race for the Democratic nomination, Nevada has a demographic profile that makes it look a lot more like the rest of the United States than either Iowa or New Hampshire, two overwhelmingly white states. It is the first diverse state to cast a ballot — and the impact of the Latino vote in particular could prove decisive.The polls suggest Nevada could give Sanders his first outright victory of the primaries. He is averaging about 31 per cent support in the state, putting him well ahead of Biden's 15 per cent. The rest of the field is not far behind, with Buttigieg at 14 per cent, Warren at 13 per cent, Steyer at 12 per cent (he has outspent his rivals on advertising by a wide margin) and Klobuchar at eight per cent.A few caveats on these numbers follow. While all the more reputable surveys have put Sanders in first place, second place has been awarded to Biden, Buttigieg or Warren, depending on the poll. Nearly all of these surveys were conducted before Wednesday's debate — an event which may have had an impact on voting intentions.Why Nevada could matterNevada is also a caucus state, which means its voting method is far more complicated than a primary (see: Iowa) and harder to poll. Any candidate that is unable to earn 15 per cent support in a given precinct will see their voters redistributed to other candidates. That threshold could prove problematic for every candidate other than Sanders, since he's the only one polling comfortably above that level.Biden, whose decline in support coincided with a rise in Bloomberg's, could benefit from the fact that Bloomberg is not contesting the state. He also could receive a boost from the local unions, which hold a lot of sway in the Nevada caucuses. If he manages it, a second-place showing could revive his flatlining third bid for the presidency.For Warren, a bump from the debate to over 15 per cent could help keep her campaign alive. Warren has been squeezed out by Sanders; both candidates have been targeting the same progressive slice of the Democratic electorate, and Sanders has been winning it so far.If Warren falls below the threshold in precincts across Nevada, however, Sanders could benefit most from the re-allocation — a recent poll found Sanders was the second choice among Warren voters over Biden by a margin of nearly three-to-one nationwide.The possibility of an upset of some kind shouldn't be discounted (they're not infrequent in U.S. primaries). Surprising results are the kind of thing that can shift the narrative in an important way, as they did for Buttigieg after Iowa. A third surprise could finally put him among the front runners.If Sanders fails to score a decisive win in Nevada, the more moderate candidates can continue hoping they can catch up. An unexpectedly strong showing by any of them could pay dividends in next Saturday's South Carolina primary and the Super Tuesday round of voting on Mar. 3.Increasingly, though, Sanders' odds of winning the most delegates (if not necessarily the majority) are looking better and better. Nevada could be the latest sign of that, with implications that could cascade into votes further down in the calendar.Whatever the results are, what happens in Nevada probably won't stay in Nevada.

  • Protesters abandon Quebec rail blockade after show of force by police
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Protesters abandon Quebec rail blockade after show of force by police

    ST-LAMBERT, Que. — A blockade south of Montreal that halted rail traffic and frayed nerves since Wednesday was abandoned late Friday after riot police arrived to enforce a court injunction.The roughly two dozen protesters, acting in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs contesting a British Columbia natural gas pipeline, had begun dismantling the encampment earlier in the evening following discussions with police.They took downs tents and carried items such as sleeping bags, pots, propane tanks and a wood stove to the edge of a security perimeter established earlier in the day by Longueuil municipal police.Then at around 10 p.m., a spokesman wearing a ski mask and sunglasses announced the rail blockade in St-Lambert, Que., was ending but said the fight was not over."Even though the colonial police is removing this barricade with violence and contempt, others will emerge," he said. He added that until the federal government listens to the hereditary chiefs, the RCMP leaves Wet'suwet'en territory and Coastal GasLink scraps the contentious pipeline, "the colonial Canadian state will be totally paralyzed."Emotions flared earlier in the day as the protesters dug in next to Canadian National Railway tracks despite being served with an injunction Thursday that ordered that the site be cleared. Quebec Premier Francois Legault called for the injunction to be enforced "rapidly."Police arrived in large numbers Friday afternoon near the encampment. There were several rounds of talks between police and the masked protesters, and as the impasse continued, some people chose to leave.The blockade interrupted freight traffic as well as passenger service for suburban commuters and Via Rail travellers.Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project that would carry natural gas to the B.C. coast, though others in the community support the pipeline.Countrywide protests and blockades followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to a Coastal GasLink work site.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday called the blockades around the country unacceptable and said they have to come down."Let us be clear: all Canadians are paying the price. Some people can't get to work, others have lost their jobs," Trudeau said. "Essential goods ... cannot get where they need to go."Jean-Yves Lessard, who joined the St-Lambert protesters on Friday morning, said Trudeau's government was to blame."If they had done what they needed to at the beginning, people wouldn't be here," he said."Sadly, it's bad for the economy and business, but it's not them you should be angry with. Tell Trudeau to go and sit down with the hereditary chiefs."Legault said he would leave it to police to enforce the injunction."We need these tracks for transporting cargo, to avoid job losses, to avoid losses for companies," he said. "The law has to be respected, and obviously I hope it is done in an orderly fashion."The premier estimated losses to the provincial economy due to the rail blockades at up to $100 million a day.Denis Bisson, who owns a company north of Montreal that sells slate flooring and countertops, stopped by the blockade Friday. He said he depends on the rail line to supply his business with raw materials from a quarry in Nova Scotia. Switching to flatbed trucks would quadruple the cost per load, he said."I'm afraid it's going to last two or three weeks, and I'm beginning to be out of stock in my yard," he said, holding a sign that read in French "hostage for one day or every day?!"A protester told him they were standing up for Indigenous rights and the environment."But they are hitting people that have nothing to do with that," Bisson said. "They're making people pay for something that we're not involved in."The injunction granted to CN Thursday by Superior Court Justice France Dulude authorized "any police services or peace officers" to assist the company in executing the order in St-Lambert.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2020.Sidhartha Banerjee and Stephane Blais, The Canadian Press

  • Parent pleads guilty in college admissions scheme
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Parent pleads guilty in college admissions scheme

    BOSTON — A woman charged in the college admissions scandal pleaded guilty Friday to paying $400,000 to get her son into the University of California, Los Angeles, as a fake soccer recruit.Xiaoning Sui, 49, a Chinese citizen who lives in Surrey, British Columbia, pleaded guilty to a single count of federal programs bribery in Boston's federal court.The charge is used in cases of bribery at organizations that received at least $10,000 in federal funding in a single year. In this case, Sui is accused of bribing an official at UCLA. Prosecutors are recommending no additional jail time for Sui, who was arrested in Spain in September and held there while authorities extradited her to the United States.Dressed in a gray sweatsuit and speaking through a Chinese interpreter, Sui said she agreed with the prosecutors' account.According to charging documents, Sui paid $400,000 to a sham charity operated by admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer as part of a scheme to have her son admitted as a fake soccer recruit at UCLA.Prosecutors say Singer worked with Laura Janke, a former assistant soccer coach at the University of Southern California, to fabricate an athletic profile depicting Sui’s son as a top player on two soccer clubs in Canada, even though he did not play competitive soccer. Both Singer and Janke have pleaded guilty.UCLA admitted Sui's son as a soccer player in November 2018, authorities say, and awarded him a 25% scholarship. In September, UCLA said it had taken “immediate corrective action” after learning of the case.Sui's lawyer, Martin Weinberg, said his client was on vacation in Spain when she was arrested on behalf of U.S. authorities. Weinberg said that Sui did not know she was wanted by the U.S. until her arrest. She was initially charged in March 2019, but the document was filed under seal and was not made public until September.Sui was expected to be released Friday to return to Canada until her sentencing.The admissions scandal has ensnared dozens of wealthy parents accused of paying bribes to rig their children’s SAT and ACT scores or get them admitted as recruited athletes to elite schools across the nation, including Yale, Stanford and Georgetown universities.More than 50 people have been charged in the scheme, including “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman, who was sentenced to 14 days in prison for paying $15,000 to rig her daughter’s SAT score. She was released from a federal prison in October after serving 11 days.Some others are contesting charges against them, including “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, who are accused of paying to get their two daughters into USC as fake athletes on the crew team.Collin Binkley, The Associated Press

  • School bus draped with message targets UK's Prince Andrew
    News
    The Canadian Press

    School bus draped with message targets UK's Prince Andrew

    LONDON — A yellow school bus with a banner depicting the face of Britain's Prince Andrew drove past Buckingham Palace on Friday, urging him to testify in the investigation of the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.The stunt organized by American lawyer Gloria Allred sought to pressure Queen Elizabeth II's son to reveal what he might know about the disgraced financier. Allred represents some of Epstein's victims and has demanded that Andrew co-operates.The message, featuring pictures of Andrew, said: "If you see this man please ask him to call the FBI to answer their questions."Andrew has stepped back from royal duties following a catastrophic BBC interview in which he categorically denied having sex with a teenager who says she was trafficked by Epstein. Britain’s newspapers and social media commentators slammed the royal for defending his friendship with Epstein and for failing to show empathy for the convicted sex-offender’s victims.U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman told reporters in January that Andrew has provided “zero co-operation” to the FBI and U.S. prosecutors seeking to speak with him about Epstein.The statement by Berman, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, was the first official confirmation that the leading U.S. law enforcement agency had sought — and failed — to obtain evidence from Andrew, third child of the monarch, despite his pledge to co-operate with legitimate law enforcement agencies.Andrew was reported to be "angry and bewildered" at the comments by American authorities, with the Telegraph quoting a source as saying: "The duke is more than happy to talk to the FBI but he hasn't been approached by them yet."The American prosecutors have since stood by their statements.The FBI declined to comment.The Associated Press

  • Alberta doctors getting ready for court fight against new pay, benefits deal
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Alberta doctors getting ready for court fight against new pay, benefits deal

    EDMONTON — The head of the Alberta Medical Association says it's preparing for a court fight after the province cancelled its master agreement this week and announced a new pay and benefits deal."Absolutely we are taking legal action," Dr. Christine Molnar said Friday in an interview. "I see this as a fundamental violation of our right for representation."She said that denying doctors binding arbitration is violating their rights under the Canada Health Act and the charter."This is not the environment that we wanted," Molnar said. "We wanted to work collaboratively with the government to get sustainable health care for Albertans."Molnar said different legal firms are exploring a possible challenge, but it may be difficult. While the AMA bargains for doctors, it is not a union."We are not protected under labour legislation. And so nothing we do legally is going to be easy, that's for sure," she said.Molnar made the comments a day after Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced Alberta was terminating the master agreement, even though the current deal doesn't end until March 31.Shandro said the current $5.4-billion yearly compensation for doctors won't change. But he said new fee and billing rules will be put in place April 1 to prevent an estimated extra $2 billion being added in the next three years to the physician budget.The United Conservative government had said the changes are manageable because Alberta doctors make more than physicians in other provinces, taking in almost $390,000 in gross clinical earnings in 2018-19 — $90,000 more than doctors in Ontario.The AMA disputes those numbers, saying they are based on faulty comparisons.It said it commissioned its own study that found Alberta doctors get $386,000 a year on average, which is more than the national average of $346,000, but reflects the reality that wages across Alberta's job spectrum are higher."We are not out of line (on wages)," Molnar said.She said there is a shortage of physicians in Canada and Shandro's plan risks seeing doctors leaving Alberta.She also said she is hearing from family practitioners who are crunching the numbers. They say the new changes, including fee reductions for extra-long visits by complex-needs patients, mean they will lose money.Dr. Bailey Adams told reporters she is looking at having to cut office expenses and change patient visit rules to keep the doors of her family practice open under the new fee rules."I'm drafting letters to my patients today that say, 'I'm sorry. From now on, you get to discuss one concern per visit.' And on average right now, I'm discussing three to seven concerns per visit," said Adams, who spoke at an Opposition NDP news conference.The province cancelled the master agreement using powers it granted itself in legislation passed last fall. The move followed failed negotiations with the AMA.Molnar said the association had offered savings of $150 million a year and was preparing to ask for arbitration when Shandro cancelled the agreement.Premier Jason Kenney, speaking to reporters in Calgary, said even with looming changes to physician pay in the province, Alberta's doctors will still be the best compensated in Canada."If (doctors) want to leave the province with the best compensation and the lowest taxes, I hope they wouldn't do so, but it wouldn't be very sensible," Kenney said. "It wouldn't be a very logical decision to make."Alberta has more than 10,800 doctors split evenly between general practitioners and specialists. Most work in urban areas.— With files from Bill Graveland in CalgaryThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2020Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

  • Toronto’s longest-running contemporary arts festival marks 25th anniversary
    Global News

    Toronto’s longest-running contemporary arts festival marks 25th anniversary

    Kuumba is a series of events that run throughout the month of February featuring the work of visual artists, musicians, comedians, performing artists, filmmakers and other community leaders. Susan Hay profiles artist Krystal Ball.

  • New coronavirus cases fall in China, but WHO concerned by global spread
    News
    Reuters

    New coronavirus cases fall in China, but WHO concerned by global spread

    China reported a sharp fall in new deaths and cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, but world health officials warned it was too early to make predictions about the outbreak as new infections continued to rise in other countries. Chinese authorities said the mainland had 397 new confirmed cases on Friday, down from 889 a day earlier. The numbers surged elsewhere, though, with outbreaks worsening in South Korea, Iran, Italy and Lebanon.

  • UK's Prince Harry, Meghan, abandon use of SussexRoyal brand
    News
    The Canadian Press

    UK's Prince Harry, Meghan, abandon use of SussexRoyal brand

    LONDON — Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, have abandoned plans to use the "SussexRoyal" brand after they step back from royal duties.The couple, who are known in Britain as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will no longer seek to trademark the term SussexRoyal because of U.K. rules governing use of the word “royal,” their office said late Friday. The non-profit organization they plan to launch later this year also will not use the name.“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not intend to use `SussexRoyal' in an territory post-Spring 2020,” their office said.The couple stunned Britain in January with an abrupt announcement that they wanted to step back from royal duties. Prince Harry said the move was a “leap of faith" as he sought to build a more peaceful life — free from the journalists who have filmed, photographed and written about him since the day he was born.Harry and Meghan said Wednesday that they would formally break free from the royal family starting March 31.The prince and his wife will walk away from most royal duties, give up public funding and try to become financially independent. The couple are expected to spend most of their time in Canada while maintaining a home in England, near Windsor Castle.Harry and Meghan will no longer use the titles His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness but will retain them, leaving open the possibility that they may change their minds and return to royal duties in the future.Prior to their decision to step backfrom the titles and responsibilities of royal life, Harry and Meghan sought to trademark the term SussexRoyal to protect it from others who would like to exploit the brand.Rachel Wilkinson-Duffy, an intellectual property attorney at Baker & McKenzie, said their decision to drop the trademark application was surprising since unrelated parties have filed their own applications to trademark SussexRoyal.“While Harry and Meghan may have agreed not to use the trademark themselves, pursuing the rights already applied for would have given them and the royal family a stronger basis to object to exploitative use by those seeking to capitalize on the hype in the brand,” she said.Danica Kirka, The Associated Press

  • 10 years later, Indigenous tourism still reaps the benefits of the 2010 Olympics
    News
    CBC

    10 years later, Indigenous tourism still reaps the benefits of the 2010 Olympics

    Steam comes off Lost Lagoon as the morning sun wakes Stanley Park from its cold winter slumber.Along the path that circles the water, tour operator Candace Campo stands beside the sacred tree of her Squamish people. "The cedar tree has an oil that is mould resistant, bug resistant," Campo explains, her voice steady and soft. "So we were able to make clothing that was rain resistant. We refer to it as our Gortex back in the day."This is the type of history that Campo, owner and operator of Talaysay Tours, typically shares with tourists from around the world during her Talking Trees tours.Watch Campo explain the significance of some of the vegetation in Stanley Park:Business has grown steadily for years, Campo says. But it was leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games that she really started to notice a rise in demand. "The promotion of our Indigenous communities for the Olympics was really strong and as a small tour company it really did benefit us," she said. Keith Henry, president and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, says the 2010 Games were "truly life-changing" for many of the association's members — and many of them are still reaping those benefits today."It was the biggest single event in Canada's history for our Indigenous tourism sector that put us on the map globally," Henry said, sitting in his office in downtown Vancouver.Many acknowledge that the Vancouver Olympics were unprecedented in their inclusivity and representation of Indigenous cultures at an Olympic event.John Furlong, former CEO of VANOC, the Vancouver Organizing Committee, says establishing a strong partnership with local First Nations was important to Olympic leaders."We did something that was not easy to do but really enhanced the look and feel and made us all feel quite a bit more proud," Furlong said.One of the key outcomes of VANOC's partnership with the Four Host First Nations — Lil'wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh — was high visibility.Indigenous participation was incorporated into the torch relay and opening ceremonies, and was on daily display at the First Nations Pavilion and other programming throughout the Games.Even Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, leader of the B.C. Union of Indian Chiefs and staunch critic of the Games, admits that 2010 promoted First Nations to the world. "I don't think there's any question that the 2010 Olympics showcased the diversity, beauty and strength of Indigenous culture here in B.C.," Phillip said. Demand brings challengesHenry says that representation awakened tourist demand in a way that's never been seen before. But he also admits that spike in demand has come with challenges. There are also ongoing problems with authenticity and representation, he says. Issues like chintzy made-in-China totem poles were brought to light during the Games, Henry says, but the problem remains today."Indigenous artwork, whether it's owned by indigenous people or not, is worth billions of dollars in Canada right now," he said. "And most of it, unfortunately, has zero connection with the local Indigenous community."The issue of representation extends to tour operators keen to capitalize on demand for Indigenous programming but who don't provide an authentic product. For example, Henry says, he regularly comes across companies offering trips like teepee tours on the West Coast, even though teepees were mostly used by Indigenous groups from the Plains. Indigenous tourism providers say they also encounter stereotypes from their customers, some who don't understand that Indigenous cultures aren't stuck in the past. 'It feeds the soul'Alison Pascal, programmer at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre in the Sea-to-Sky region, says people are often shocked to see artisans in the building using power tools."They're really shocked to see that we can make use of this modern technology," Pascal said. "They really question whether or not we could still be authentic while we're using power tools."But many Indigenous tour operators also see those encounters as an opportunity to address misconceptions and share more accurate information.  Campo, a former teacher, says educating her clients also comes with personal benefits for her. "When you get to share your culture and your history, it's healing," she said. "I talk about my ancestors and I come from an exceptional people, and it just it feeds the soul."

  • Iranians vote in parliament elections favouring conservatives
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Iranians vote in parliament elections favouring conservatives

    TEHRAN, Iran — Iranians voted for a new parliament Friday, with turnout seen as a key measure of support for Iran's leadership as sanctions weigh on the economy and U.S. pressure isolates the country diplomatically.The disqualification of more than 7,000 potential candidates, most of them reformists and moderates, raised the possibility of lower-than-usual turnout. Among those disqualified were 90 sitting members of parliament who had wanted to run for re-election.Voting was extended for five hours, but there was no official announcement on turnout after the polls finally closed late Friday.Initial results were expected to be announced Saturday. Presidential elections are expected to take place in 2021.The election comes at a time of growing economic hardship for many in Iran. U.S. sanctions have strangled Iran's ability to sell its oil abroad, forcing its economy into recession.Also looming over the election is the threat of the new coronavirus. Many voters headed to the polls with face masks on.Iranian health authorities on Friday confirmed two new deaths from the virus, which first emerged in China in December, bringing the total death toll in Iran to four, from among 18 confirmed cases. Authorities say all the cases have links with city of Qom, where the first two elderly patients died on Wednesday. Concerns over the spread of the virus prompted authorities in Iran to close all schools, universities and Shiite seminaries in Qom.Iran's leadership and state media haf urged people to show up and vote, with some framing it as a religious duty. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cast his ballot at a mosque near his Tehran office shortly after polls opened at 8 a.m.“Anyone who cares about Iran's national interests should participate in the election," he said. Earlier in the week, Khamenei said high voter turnout will thwart "plots and plans” by the U.S. and supporters of Israel against Iran.After the disqualifications, around 7,000 candidates were left vying for a place in the 290-seat chamber across 208 constituencies.Tensions with the United States could strengthen hard-liners by reinforcing long-held distrust of the West. A parliament stacked with hard-liners could favour expanding the budget for the Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has been sanctioned by the U.S. It could also tilt public policy debates toward hard-liners who are opposed to engagement with the U.S.Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who had initially criticized the disqualification of so many moderate would-be candidates, cast his ballot on Friday and urged the public to stage another “victory” by voting in large numbers. “Our enemies will be disappointed more than before,” he said.On the eve of the vote, the Trump administration ratcheted up its campaign of pressure on Iran by imposing sanctions on two senior officials of the Guardian Council, the body of clerics and judges that decides which candidates may run in elections. The U.S. also sanctioned three members of Iran's elections supervisory committee, saying all those targeted were responsible for silencing the voice of the Iranian people by rejecting thousands of people from running.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the election as a “sham” and a vote that “is not free or fair.”The 92-year-old head of the Guardian Council, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who was among those sanctioned on Thursday, mocked the U.S. decision and its apparently limited impact. “I am thinking what to do with the money that we have in American funds. Also, we cannot go there for Christmas and other occasions," he was quoted as saying in local media.Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted in official media saying the election showcases that Iranians are choosing their own fate and “do not allow a person sitting in Washington to make decisions for them."Ali Motahari, one of the pro-reform lawmakers who were barred from defending their seats in this election, said the incoming parliament will not be truly representative of the people. Still, he urged people to vote.“We should still try to find moderate and clear-headed candidates from the existing ones and vote for them,” he said.The parliament in Iran does not have power to dictate major policies, but it does debate the annual budget and the possible impeachment of ministers. Power in Iran ultimately rests with Khamenei, who has final say on all key matters.Tensions between Tehran and Washington spiked after a U.S. airstrike in January killed Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani. The strike led to a tense confrontation in which Iranian forces accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane after it took off from Tehran, killing all 176 people on board. Most of those killed were Iranian.The shoot-down, and attempts by officials to initially conceal the cause of the crash sparked public anger and protests in Iran.Meanwhile, Iranians have seen the price of basic goods skyrocket, inflation and unemployment rise and the local currency plummet since President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers and imposed sanctions.The economic woes faced by ordinary Iranians fueled anti-government protests in November. International human rights groups say at least 300 people were killed in the protests.Neda Ghorbani, a 31-year-old mother, said she was not voting Friday because she's disappointed with Rouhani and other moderates in government.“We voted in the 2017 (presidential) election hoping that our country’s situation would improve under Rouhani’s presidency, but we were wrong and we accept that we made a mistake (by voting)," she said.Local TV stations broadcast images from Qom, around 130 kilometres (80 miles) south of the capital, Tehran, showing women and men, some wearing face masks for protection, lining up in separate lines to vote on Friday. Qom is a popular religious destination and a centre of learning and religious studies for Shiite Muslims from inside Iran, as well as Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan and Azerbaijan.The Tehran governor tried to calm fears over the new virus, saying voters didn't have to mark their fingers with ink after voting. Using the ink was optional, said Anoushirvan Bandpay, according to the official IRNA news agency.“People should not be worry about spreading coronavirus,” he added.Current parliament speaker Ali Larijani is stepping down after 11 years and is not running for reelection, though he was shown voting in his city of Qom. Mohammad Baqher Qalibaf, the former mayor of Tehran who is also the former head of the Revolutionary Guard air force, is seen as one of the front-runners to succeed Larijani.The current parliament, elected in 2016, had more than 100 reformists and moderates, with the rest of the chamber split between independents and hard-liners. Some 90 current lawmakers were also barred from running in Friday's election.Nearly 58 million Iranians, out of a population of more than 80 million, are eligible to vote. Every Iranian above the age of 18 can vote.Turnout has been over 50% in previous parliamentary elections. In 2016, it was nearly 62%.The polls were originally scheduled to close at 6 p.m., but officials extended that to 11 p.m. to give people more time to cast their vote. Friday is a day of rest in Iran, as is the case across most Muslim countries.___Associated Press writer Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.Nasser Karimi, The Associated Press

  • SARS lessons help Canada prep for COVID-19, but hospital capacity a worry
    News
    The Canadian Press

    SARS lessons help Canada prep for COVID-19, but hospital capacity a worry

    OTTAWA — Canadian medical experts say the country's already overstretched emergency rooms would find it difficult to cope if a true outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, were to take hold in Canada.So far, the virus has been relatively contained to mainland China, thanks in part to one of the largest quarantines in modern history."We must not look back and regret that we failed to take advantage of the window of opportunity that we have now," Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, said in a message to all the world’s countries Friday.The risk of contracting the virus in Canada right now is extremely low, and public health officials have been lauded for their efforts to detect and isolate the nine cases confirmed in the country so far.The hundreds of patients across the country who have tested negative for the virus are also a sign that containment efforts are working as they should.But Canada’s most recent case in British Columbia has raised fears about where and how the disease is being transmitted abroad. Unlike others who've imported the virus from China or from people who have recently been to China, the woman in her 30s contracted the illness while in Iran."Any imported cases linked to Iran could be an indicator that there is more widespread transmission than we know about,” said Canada's chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam Friday.Canada has taken major steps to prevent the kind of shock that befell Ontario during the outbreak of the coronavirus known as SARS in 2003 that led to 44 deaths. Creating the Public Health Agency of Canada, which Tam heads, is one of them.The country is now better co-ordinated, has increased its lab-testing capabilities and is prepared to trace people's contacts to find people who might have caught a contagious illness without knowing it.But once the number of incoming cases reaches a critical mass, the approach must change, according to infectious-diseases physician Dr. Isaac Bogoch of Toronto's University Health Network.He likens the response to trying to catch fly balls in the outfield: as the number of balls in the air increases, they become harder and harder to snag."Every health care system has limits," Bogoch says. "The question is, if we start getting inundated with cases, how stretched can we get?"Many emergency-room doctors argue Canada's ERs are already as stretched as they can get and are worried about what would happen if they suddenly had to start treating COVID-19 cases en masse.From the public-health perspective, the greatest challenge may be as simple communicating across all parts of the health system across the country, said Dr. Jasmine Pawa, president of the Public Health Physicians of Canada."We cover a very wide geographic area," she said, though she added that Canada has made great strides over the course of the SARS experience and the H1N1 flu outbreak in 2009.Dr. Alan Drummond of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, who works at the hospital in Perth, Ont., says he doesn’t want to fearmonger, especially considering all the lessons Canada has learned from past outbreaks, but the reality of life in the ER gives him pause.“Our day-to-day experience in crowded hospitals, unable to get the right patient in the right bed on a day-to-day basis … makes us really question what the integrity of our health-care system would be like in a major severe pandemic,” Drummond says.He envisions that a disease like COVID-19, if it spread widely, would have a major impact, including the possibility of cancelled surgeries and moving stable patients out of hospitals who would otherwise stay."I think there would have to be hard decisions made about who lives and who dies, given our limited availability by both speciality and (intensive-care) beds and we would probably see some degree of health-care rationing," he says.The problem may be even more pronounced because of Canada’s aging population, he said. The virus tends to hit older people harder, according to observations made in China and abroad, and is also particularly dangerous for people with other health problems.Older people also tend to stay admitted in hospital beds even when they are in relatively stable condition because of a lack of long-term-care beds across the country.That keeps emergency rooms from being able to move acute patients out of the ER and into those beds, limiting hospitals' capacity to handle new cases.Tam agreed Friday that hospital capacity is a "critical aspect" of Canada’s preparedness for a potential coronavirus outbreak, but said even very bad flu seasons can have a similar effect on emergency rooms."If we can delay the impact of the coronavirus until a certain period, when there’s less influenza for example, that would also be very helpful," she said.She also suggested people who are concerned about the possibility that they’re developing COVID-19 symptoms should call ahead to a hospital so they can make proper arrangements for containment and isolation.Canada is doing its best, along with every other country in the world, to seize this time of relative containment and plan ahead, Tam said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2020.Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

  • Former Ukraine diplomat Marie Yovanovitch has book deal
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Former Ukraine diplomat Marie Yovanovitch has book deal

    NEW YORK — Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, the career diplomat who during the impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump offered a chilling account of alleged threats from Trump and his allies, has a book deal.Houghton Mifflin Harcourt confirmed Friday to The Associated Press that it had acquired Yovanovitch's planned memoir, currently untitled. According to the publisher, the book will trace her long career, from Mogadishu, Somalia, to Kyiv and “finally back to Washington, D.C. — where, to her dismay, she found a political system beset by many of the same challenges she had spent her career combating overseas."“Yovanovitch’s book will deliver pointed reflections on the issues confronting America today, and thoughts on how we can shore up our democracy,” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said in an announcement.Financial terms were not disclosed, but two people familiar with the deal told the AP that the agreement was worth seven figures, even though the book is not expected until Spring 2021, months after this fall's election. They were not authorized to discuss negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss financial terms. Yovanovitch was represented by the Javelin literary agency, where other clients include former FBI Director James Comey and former national security adviser John Bolton.“Ambassador Yovanovitch has had a 30-year career of public service in many locations, with many lessons to be drawn. This is about much more than just the recent controversy," said Houghton Mifflin Senior Vice-President and Publisher Bruce Nichols, in response to a question about why her book wasn't coming out this year.Yovanovitch told House investigators last year that Ukrainian officials had warned her in advance that Rudy Giuliani and other Trump insiders were planning to “do things, including to me” and were “looking to hurt” her. Pushed out of her job earlier in 2019 on Trump’s orders, she testified that a senior Ukrainian official told her that “I really needed to watch my back.”Yovanovitch was recalled from Kyiv as Giuliani pressed Ukrainian officials to investigate baseless corruption allegations against Democrat Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was involved with Burisma, a gas company there. Biden, the former vice-president, is a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.According to a rough transcript released by the White House, Trump told Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy last summer that Yovanovitch “was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news."The allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate a political opponent led to his impeachment in December on two counts by the Democratic-run House. Earlier this month, the Republican-run Senate acquitted him on both counts.Yovanovitch, 61, was appointed ambassador to Ukraine in 2016 by President Barack Obama. She recently was given the Trainor Award, an honour for international diplomacy presented by Georgetown University, and currently is a non-resident fellow at Georgetown's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.Hillel Italie, The Associated Press

  • Armani rails against baring trends by fellow designers
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Armani rails against baring trends by fellow designers

    MILAN — How much to show and how much not to show, that is the fashion question this season.It may be reductive to say that runway shows are about how women dress. But the conversation has sharpened in the MeToo era. Is a sheer dress that reveals the undergarments beneath, however prettily prepared, empowering or exploitative? What about conspicuous displays of skin?Giorgio Armani responded to the question elegantly in the latest collection for his youthful Emporio Armani line, offering women a range of options that are appropriate for their age and shape. The 85-year-old designer also gave a passionate backstage discourse about the body-baring collections of fellow designers, saying he thinks they reveal too much at the expense of women.Some highlights from Friday’s womenswear trends for next fall and winter:EMPORIO ARMANI RAILS AGAINST TRENDSGiorgio Armani railed against colleagues who, in the name of trends, push the limit on revealing garments, enticing women to make choices that might be inappropriate for their age, shape or occasion.‘’We say that women are being raped in a corner. Women continue to be raped by designers,’’ Armani said Friday during a backstage news conference in Milan. Pressed to clarify, he said: ‘’Women can be raped in various ways. Throwing her under a stairwell or suggesting she dresses in a certain way:. For me, that is raping a woman.’’The words were strong, and Armani's press office said later that the 85-year-old designer was speaking metaphorically and passionately about a direction in luxury fashion that he sees as damaging to women’s images.Armani has been dressing women for 45 years. One of his first design successes was a softened suit jacket, a creation that women of that time say was immensely liberating in a way that is difficult to comprehend in the spandex era. He is one of the few designers who, when discussing his collections, makes clear he takes different body shapes into consideration.In that vein, the Emporio Armani line took a stand against trends, targeting youthful dressers who are not necessarily that young. For next fall and winter, he crafted a range of jackets, from long and flowing to short and pleated. Trousers were dressed up with silk draping.The show closed with shimmering cocktail dresses that turned on elegant ruffles and floral constructions. The palette was dark blue and black, as well as deeper shades of peacock blue and emerald green.‘’Trends are nothing,’’ Armani said. ‘’I am trying to improve the woman who is living now.’’His recipe is simple: black works for everyone. ‘’It helps women to acquire allure,’’ he explained. Great legs can carry short skirts. Not so great legs, ‘’a longer skirt with a little movement helps.’’ Leggings are to be avoided for anyone with ‘’a slightly accentuated behind.’’These pearls of wisdom might seem like common sense to people who aren't in the throes of runway trends. But Armani knows their power.‘’I want to give full freedom to women,’’ Armani said. ‘’If they have some common sense, and they do, they know how to manage these possibilities.’’____VERSACE FLUIDITYDonatella Versace is and always has been about the power woman.For the next cold weather season she presented black power suits with sensuous cut-out slashes across the neckline and mini hemlines. Jackets were made from double-bonded textiles, which gave a defined shape: tucked on the waist and bell-shaped over the hips.Evening wear featured looks -- a tuxedo jacket, an evening gown, a rocker satin skirt and bomber jacket -- fastened together not with the Versace safety pins of yore, but with clasps that the press notes said were jewelry-style rings. The effect was sophisticated and sleek. And she got her punk-rocker across in a series of looks in black and red houndstooth.This season was also about menswear, as Versace presented her first-ever co-ed show. Menswear and womenswear were perfectly mirrored, from black business suits to casual sports and knitwear to funky evening wear.The collection was presented against a liquid background of melting Medusas, and that movement was reflected in distorted Barocco prints and geode patterns.The collection had a slightly disorienting touch, due largely to the visual distortions cast on the runway screens. The final message was one of fluidity._____MARNI THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASSMarni designer Francesco Risso appeared to make his collection from scraps -- luxe scraps of leather, brocade and metallic finishes. The looks were a study in patchwork, as if made by a survivor civilization, with matted hair and glitter face paint.The combinations ranged from mini dresses to long Crombie coats. Knitwear panels were stitched together Frankenstein-style. And pretty velvet mini-dresses had long satin panels, while long satin dresses had velvet panel overlays. The final looks of patchwork florals included metallic framed inserts. The art was in the materials and their reconstruction.As if to underline that the collection was a trip down the proverbial rabbit hole, Risso took his bows in a furry rabbit head.Colleen Barry, The Associated Press

  • What does a smaller Bombardier mean for aspiring aerospace engineers?
    News
    CBC

    What does a smaller Bombardier mean for aspiring aerospace engineers?

    With Bombardier selling its commercial aviation division and holding onto its business jet unit, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) students studying aerospace engineering say they remain hopeful about their future in the industry."It is not a fear for me, [whether] there are more or less internships for us," says Mathieu Lavoie, a graduate student in aerospace engineering.Last year, more than 700 ÉTS undergraduate and master's students completed internships in the aerospace industry."We're in a nice aerospace ecosystem. It's evolving, it's natural," says Lavoie, who expects to obtain his degree in about a year-and-a-half.Montreal one of three aerospace capitals worldwideMontreal is a big aerospace hub, competing with Toulouse, France (where Airbus is based) and Seattle (where Boeing has roots).More than 40,000 people worked in aerospace in Quebec last year, according to Aéro Montréal, an association representing Quebec's aerospace industry.Bombardier developed the industry and has been a key player for years.That helped usher in other companies and diversify the industry, which means master's students like Paul Meyran have options once they graduate."There are a lot. There could be big companies like Airbus, Safran and CAE. It could be in aeronautics, aerospace, it's a very diverse domain," he said.Meyran says there could even be opportunities to work for small or medium-sized businesses.Plus Bombardier is still building business jets.According to the Quebec corporation, after the sale of its rail division is finalized in summer 2021, it will have about 18,000 employees, approximately 10,000 of which are in Quebec.Airbus says A220 jobs to stay in QuebecFor now, Airbus says it will keep all 3,300 A220 jobs in Quebec.Aéro Montréal says that commitment to grow the program in the province shows Quebec aerospace is and can remain competitive.For students like Lavoie, that reinforces the idea that the industry has a promising future.He also points out there are several aerospace programs in Montreal universities that allow students to work in the field, and perhaps improve the industry."We have the expertise here.… In Quebec, it's a big part of what we do best," he said.

  • Inquest to focus on 1 of 3 Sask. Penitentiary inmates who died in 2-week period
    News
    CBC

    Inquest to focus on 1 of 3 Sask. Penitentiary inmates who died in 2-week period

    Saskatchewan Penitentiary will be back in the spotlight next week as a coroner's inquest probes the circumstances in the death of Curtis Cozart — one of three inmates to die at the Prince Albert-area federal prison in a two-week period in 2017.Little is known about how Cozart, 30, died on May 23, 2017.According to Saskatchewan's Ministry of Justice, he was found unresponsive in his cell. Paramedics tried to revive him. He died later in hospital. Shortly after his death, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) said it did not suspect foul play.But the inquest into Cozart's death promises to return the focus to an institution plagued by a series of inmate deaths in one very short period. Two deaths in one dayOnly two weeks after Cozart's death, two other Saskatchewan Penitentiary inmates died on the same day.In the early morning hours of June 7, 2017, Daniel Tokarchuk, 40, was taken to hospital and pronounced dead at 4:24 a.m., according to Correctional Service Canada. CSC has declined to confirm whether Tokarchuk died of natural causes.Several hours later on the same morning, guards found the body of another inmate, Chris Van Camp, in his cell bed on the prison's maximum security ward.Van Camp's cellmate, Tyler Vandewater, now 31, was recently on trial for second degree murder. He testified he stabbed Van Camp, 37, dozens of times in self defence shortly after midnight.The court heard that guards doing hourly checks thought Van Camp was asleep in his bed.The judge will give his decision in the Vandewater case next monthPreventing future deathsThe inquest into Cozart's death begins Monday morning in Prince Albert. Jurors will be tasked with making recommendations on how to prevent other inmate deaths. It's not a criminal proceeding. Cozart, Tokarchuk and Van Camp's deaths all came only months after a December 2016 Saskatchewan Penitentiary riot that left one inmate dead.Correctional service respondsCBC News reached out to CSC for comment on the fatalities at the prison. "[We take] the death of an inmate very seriously," a spokesperson for the service said. The loss of life is always a tragedy."For all cases of non-natural inmate deaths, CSC convenes an internal board of investigation (BOI). BOIs allow the CSC to examine circumstances of incidents and to present findings and recommendations that may prevent similar occurrences in the future. Any actions that address any areas of concern are considered and implemented accordingly."

  • News
    CBC

    Snow-clearing policy to review bike lanes, cul-de-sacs, intersections

    City councillors say they share Edmontonians' frustration with the way the city is clearing snow and ice from roads, cul-de-sacs and bike lanes this winter.Council agreed Friday that the operations branch should re-evaluate its clearing policy and report back next week with a checklist of the areas they intend to tackle. A full report will be brought to council in June. Coun. Jon Dziadyk said he wants the review to assess why bike lanes seem to be cleared in a timely manner when some roads are not."I'm hearing from a lot of people that they think it's unfair when they see a pristine bike lane — rarely being used, in their observations — cleared down to pavement, when they're driving a vehicle that maybe isn't four-wheel drive and maybe has plenty of challenges navigating the roadways," Dziadyk said.Coun. Ben Henderson dismissed Dziadyk's assertion. "I did want to challenge the kind of myth that's out there that somehow or other we're making the roads wait until we've done the bike lanes," he said. "The two things are unrelated."Plowing cul-de-sacs is costlyDeputy manager of operations, Gord Cebryk, said clearing bike lanes is an entirely different process from roads and uses different equipment.Cebryk acknowledged however the city could redirect some staff to focus on roads. Henderson asked Cebryk why the city is slow — according to public complaints — to clear snow from cul-de-sacs.Cebryk said cul-de-sacs require crews to haul snow away, a much more expensive process requiring different equipment and personnel. "I understand what the nightmare is," Henderson replied. "But we're going to have to deal with that nightmare one of these weeks, right? Why we have to wait to deal with the nightmare is what I'm missing."Cebryk said the issue will be added to administration's policy review. The most frequent complaint this year is icy intersections, Cebryk said. The freeze-thaw cycle and extreme changes in temperature are to blame, not council's decision last fall to discontinue using calcium chloride, he said. "We are delivering the best service we can so any changes in the service levels are due to basically the weather changes and that's what we've been adapting to," Cebryk told council.Coun. Mike Nickel said he wants snow-and-ice clearing added to the city auditor's work plan for 2020, a necessary step toward a full audit on a city operations area. "If we're going to actually try to deliver the service in the most cost-effective and responsible fashion, the employees and management really need to get this fixed," Nickel said. A full report on revisions to the city's snow and ice policy is expected in June. @natashariebe

  • News
    CBC

    Tractor-trailer rollover closes part of Route 2

    Route 2 in Inverness is closed between Route 175 and Route 134 due to a vehicle rollover, but it is expected to be reopened later Friday night.RCMP say emergency responders are working to clear the area and drivers are being rerouted through Conway.Officials with the Tyne Valley fire department said it got the call of a tractor-trailer rollover around 4:30 p.m. Friday.When Chief William Bishop arrived on the scene he said he saw the tractor-trailer "upside down in the middle of the highway."The truck was "completely crossways in the middle of the road," he said.RCMP said the driver of the vehicle suffered no injuries and expected the road to be reopened later Friday night."I would say by 9 o'clock we should have it be reopened," Cpl. Scott Minty said.He said the truck was loaded with crab and it is about three quarters off-loaded."Once it's off-loaded then it will be light enough and the tow truck can do what it has to do," he said.More P.E.I. news

  • Housing affordability challenges have NDP calling for swift action
    News
    CBC

    Housing affordability challenges have NDP calling for swift action

    With little notice, Rebecca Sparks and her family found themselves confronted with the growing housing challenge in Halifax Regional Municipality.Sparks, her two teenage children and their dog, were one of seven families that came home this week to the Travelodge in Dartmouth to learn that they had to leave within 48 hours. The message was posted on their door."No letterhead, no signatures, just, 'Unfortunately, your time is up at the Travelodge," she said. "You have until Feb. 21 at noon to be gone.'"It's part of a larger situation members of the NDP caucus have been highlighting in the first two days of the spring sitting at Province House.On Friday, the party introduced legislation for short-term rentals that would require anyone running an Airbnb-style service, regardless of size, to register with the province.The bill, which is unlikely to pass in the Liberal majority legislature, would also require rental platforms to provide information about the obligation of hosts to collect and remit HST.A sliding scale of fees, ranging from $20 per year for someone who rents a room in their own home up to $5,000 a year for platforms such as Airbnb, plus $1 per night per rented room, would be collected and paid to municipalities.The bill also includes fines for people who operate without registering.New Democrat Lisa Roberts, the Halifax-Needham MLA, said the bill has more teeth than legislation from the government that will not require all short-term rentals to register. It also comes with lower fees.Roberts said she wants to see the government be more responsive to a growing problem that's seeing more people challenged to find an affordable place to live, or to stay in their existing situation as landlords look to renovate or rebuild to try to capitalize on a booming housing market with razor-thin vacancy rates.For the NDP, that would include some kind of rent control. Although Roberts conceded there is "mixed evidence" when it comes to rent control, she said there needs to be some level of protection for renters while also allowing property owners to make reasonable rent increases as necessary."We are getting contacted by constituents who have seen rent increases in hundreds of dollars per month," she told reporters at Province House."We're saying that where there isn't major capital improvements that there should be some connection between the amount that rent can go up and the general CPI, the general inflation and cost pressures."Premier Stephen McNeil told reporters that his government has "a number of announcements that will come out over the next period of time" related to housing.He said the government is reassessing some investments already made to determine if the effect has achieved the desired outcomes.Meetings are also planned with the municipality and the private sector to see what partnerships are possible to provide more options for people looking for housing, he said.The government has a first-time home buyer program for families, but McNeil said he also realizes some people are just trying to find shelter overnight while confronting other issues."We need to wrap services around them, whether it's addictions services or mental health. So those are the kinds of investments we would work with our partners to do."There are other factors at play, too, said McNeil. The growth and development in the Halifax area has resulted in people who once had what they thought was an affordable place to live in the downtown being pushed to outlying communities.Rent creep is now making its way to those areas, too, said the premier."And that's been the real domino effect that we're trying to put some support around and trying to work with the private sector to make sure that we provide some options," he said.'It's breaking my heart'The premier said no single policy approach or partnership will fix the situation."This will require a multifaceted approach because everyone who finds themselves under-housed has a different reason, and that's why we need to continue to [work] on this."Sparks, whose family is preparing to move to another hotel, said it's been difficult finding a new place to live, with landlords being very specific about prospective tenants and rents that far exceed the amount of money she has for housing.She said she's planning to file a human rights complaint on the basis that she believes she's being discriminated against because she receives social assistance.It would be one thing to deal with the situation if she were on her own, said Sparks, but knowing how it's affecting her kids has made it difficult."Seeing my kids' faces, and knowing how disgusted they seem like they're feeling with me because of the situation that we're in, is just crushing my spirits right now. It's breaking my heart."MORE TOP STORIES

  • Watershed group helps residents prepare for possible spring flooding
    News
    CBC

    Watershed group helps residents prepare for possible spring flooding

    The Jemseg Grand Lake Watershed Association is hosting two workshops to help people better understand how to protect their property from flooding. Back-to-back flooding has devastated communities surrounding Grand Lake, causing thousands of dollars in damage and forcing people from their homes. Before winter even started, Lisa Joudrey, a member of the newly-formed watershed association, said water levels were already higher than normal.Now what?"What's going to happen when we have our thaw?" Joudrey said. "Luckily we haven't had as much snow as we normally do, but that doesn't mean it's not going to affect everybody's property."Grand Lake surpassed its five-metre flood stage in the last two years, as homes and cottages were battered by waves that were more than a metre high.Joudrey's house wasn't affected by last year's flood, but 10 cottages nearby were inundated with water. So she spent the past two springs helping neighbours sandbag. "The damage done over the last few years has been insurmountable." The Grand Lake watershed is the largest watershed in New Brunswick, covering five per cent of the province, Joudrey said.The association has lined up several speakers, including homeowners and companies, who will offer advice on protecting your home from high and heavy waves.The workshop, Stories from the Trenches, will be held at Mill Cove Nursing Home from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday. Another session will take place next Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Minto Seniors Citizens Club.

  • Calgarians get more time for input on Green Line route changes
    News
    CBC

    Calgarians get more time for input on Green Line route changes

    One city councillor has convinced her colleagues to give Calgarians more time to have their say on proposed changes to the Green Line.In January, the city revealed plans to shorten the LRT tunnel through the core to help the project stay on budget.As a result, the revised plan for the first stage of the Green Line calls for a bridge over the Bow River between downtown and Crescent Heights. The CTrain would also have to run on the surface of Centre Street, north to 16th Avenue.Coun. Druh Farrell says the plan had caused huge anxiety in her ward, and she wants more public engagement as another month isn't enough time. Farrell says Centre Street is a constrained space and the city has to get the design right."Some of the early drawings that I've seen are more promising, but initially, they were really frightening," Farrell said. "I can't possibly support something that will kill a neighbourhood."Friday's committee meeting was supposed to be a regular quarterly update on the $4.9-billion megaproject.Despite the delay, the project's director, Michael Thompson, says adding a month to the engagement won't add to the time crunch."We'll actually stay on the schedule that we had coming into this meeting as what we have coming out of this meeting," Thompson said. "So I think it was a great compromise to add more time for additional engagement with the communities."Preparation workThe committee did hear that $209 million has now been spent on land acquisition. Almost all of the land that's needed in the southeast is now owned by the city.Including preparation work like utilities realignment along the southeast portion of the line, a total of $524 million has been spent on the Green Line.The committee also heard that the entire project is six to seven months behind schedule.However, a technical and risk committee that was set up to advise the Green Line team says that with changes, the project can get back on track.There have been months of wrangling over the route and financing of the LRT project.At one point in the meeting, Coun. Jeff Davison asked Thompson if he feels he has a clear definition from council on what success will look like for the Green Line."The answer is no," he replied. "We don't have clearly defined success criteria from this committee or from council."  With the additional engagement time, Thompson says the results of the consultation will go to council's Green Line committee in April instead of late March.However, council will vote on the final revised alignment in April as previously scheduled.The plan remains to start construction in spring 2021 on the segment between Victoria Park and the Shepard station in the southeast.Construction on the downtown portion of the Green Line would start sometime after that, depending on the design and procurement processes.

  • News
    CBC

    Province and feds contributing more than $500K to expand health centre in Tignish

    The provincial and federal governments are spending $555,000 to expand the Co-op Health Centre in Tignish, P.E.I.The project involves the expansion of the health centre to include community and recreational space. The new area will provide programs and services for seniors, new mothers and youth, a release from government officials said.Wendy Arsenault, manager of the Tignish Health Co-operative, said the expansion will serve as a community outreach centre.She said the community has "a lot of seniors and a lot of seniors are staying in their homes.""We want them to be able to get out and have some place to go and … maybe have card parties and get together."'Want that support system'The federal government is spending $303,000 on the expansion and the province is contributing $252,000.The Tignish Health Co-operative is also putting in more than $200,000.She said the expansion is going to be a multipurpose building and will also have activities for young people and new mothers."Sometimes you want that support system, you want to talk to other mothers," she said."They can get together and have play dates."Arsenault said she plans to get tenders for the work issued soon, and hopes the construction will be done by the end of the summer.Arsenault said adding the outreach portion of the health centre has been thought about for a while."We have the rink … we have our village office and stuff but there is not really a community community centre," she said."Now we'll have one."More P.E.I. news

  • Yellowknife renters unlikely to see changes from sale of city's biggest landlord
    News
    CBC

    Yellowknife renters unlikely to see changes from sale of city's biggest landlord

    A pair of southern investment firms could soon control a major portion of Yellowknife's real estate, including two dozen apartment buildings with hundreds of units and much of the big commercial buildings downtown. Northview REIT, which has long owned a majority of rental properties in Yellowknife and others in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, could be sold for $4.8 billion to Starlight Investment and Kingsett Capital. The pair of southern investment firms announced their offer to purchase Northview on Thursday. The deal still needs to be approved, but it involves thousands of properties across Canada and in the North. In Yellowknife alone, Northview's 27 apartment buildings and 14 commercial buildings would be owned by Kingsett, a private equity firm based in Toronto that owns a number commercial spaces downtown, including the Bellanca Building.  The structure's not changing, the way they operate's not changing.  \- Rob Warburton, Cloudworks If the deal does go through, two of the city's largest property owners would essentially become one, explained Rob Warburton, the owner and founder of Cloudworks, a local real estate investment company. But tenants may not see any major changes on the ground as they're simply swapping one large corporate landlord for another. "This is share purchases, and corporate ownership structure changes, but the same buildings are doing the same things," Warburton said. "I'm not sure what kind of impact that would have — in the short term? Nothing.   "In the long term, the structure's not changing, the way they operate is not changing," he said. "These [commercial] properties have changed hands multiple times in the past decade with no noticeable change day-to-day."Concentration of ownership downtownMuch of Yellowknife's downtown commercial buildings are owned by southern investors who've often come under fire for allowing buildings to sit empty. Yellowknife North MLA Rylund Johnson expects that to only continue under the new ownership structure.  They're multi-billion dollar portfolios and Yellowknife is almost a rounding error for them.  -Rylund Johnson, Yellowknife North MLA"The more they own, the less relevant Yellowknife becomes to their portfolios," he said. "They're multi-billion dollar portfolios and Yellowknife is almost a rounding error for them."I can't think of a single benefit to this," he said. "Sometimes with mergers you can argue there's efficiencies, but that doesn't apply when [Kingsett has] consistently ignored their assets in Yellowknife and haven't invested capital."  Johnson has previously complained to Canada's Competition Bureau about the amount of property Northview owned in Yellowknife, arguing they essentially hold a monopoly on rental properties.  "The market in Yellowknife is in desperate need of competition," he said. Johnson expects the Competition Bureau to review this deal since it's so large and hopes some of the Yellowknife properties could be sold off as the deal works its way through being finalized. "The Yellowknife assets aren't what this deal's about," he said. Northview's board of trustees recommends shareholders approve the deal, which the companies say should be completed later this year. Northview also has until March 20 to find a better deal, according to a media release issued Thursday.Through a spokesman, officials with Starlight Investment and Kingsett Capital declined an interview request from CBC News.

  • HIV-themed 'Friends' edit pulled after copyright claim from Warner Bros.
    News
    The Canadian Press

    HIV-themed 'Friends' edit pulled after copyright claim from Warner Bros.

    TORONTO — A Toronto-based HIV-AIDS hospital has pulled an edited "Friends" episode aimed at addressing stigma after receiving a copyright claim.Casey House says it immediately complied with a takedown notice from Warner Bros. for altering "Friends" footage as part of its sitcom-themed SmashStigma campaign."Losing Friends," which showed Chandler dealing with an HIV diagnosis, has been removed from the SmashStigma.ca website, but a short inspired by "The Office" remains.An ad executive who worked on the campaign says Warner Bros. contacted Casey House to say it supported the message, but has to protect its intellectual property.The executive creative director of Bensimon Byrne says the entertainment company proposed an alternative way for "Friends" to help the cause.Joseph Bonnici says Casey House is working to get in touch with members of the "Friends" cast and crew to join the anti-stigma effort.Representatives for AT&T's WarnerMedia did not immediately return a request for comment.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • Saskatchewan's chief coroner warns public after fatal drug overdoses in Regina
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Saskatchewan's chief coroner warns public after fatal drug overdoses in Regina

    REGINA — Two deaths and dozens of drug overdoses in Regina have prompted Saskatchewan's chief coroner to issue a public safety warning.Police say there have been 69 overdoses, including the two fatalities, since the beginning of the year. Last week, a 28-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman died.The Saskatchewan Coroners Service says their deaths are under investigation, but preliminary toxicology results show lethal levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine. "We are concerned that it's a bad bunch of drugs ... right now and we want to warn the people of Regina and probably the surrounding area that be careful of what you're buying," chief coroner Clive Weighill said Friday in Saskatoon."We know people are going to buy illicit drugs, so there's no use hiding our head in the sand about that, but I think it's fair that people should be warned that we know that this is in the community right now."Police also are reminding people about the dangers of fentanyl and say free take-home naloxone kits are available to those who feel they may witness or be at risk of overdosing.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2020The Canadian Press

  • 'Feels like freedom': Canadian evacuees relieved after 2-week coronavirus quarantine ends
    News
    CBC

    'Feels like freedom': Canadian evacuees relieved after 2-week coronavirus quarantine ends

    The knock on Carter Perrier's door came early Friday morning. It was followed by a temperature and overall health check and, finally, the government document he'd been waiting two weeks for — the official authorization to leave the coronavirus quarantine."This was my freedom slip. I'm finally good to go," said Perrier, who had just got off a bus at Toronto's Pearson airport, along with dozens of his former quarantine neighbours from CFB Trenton.They had all spent the past two weeks at the army base east of Toronto after being airlifted from the heart of the outbreak in China on a government-chartered plane. The quarantine was a safety precaution in case any had contracted COVID-19.Perrier, a 30-year-old project management consultant from Calgary, was one of the more than 200 Canadians and permanent residents who had been given the all-clear on Friday to leave the base.Government officials say none of the evacuees has shown any symptoms of the virus."I can return to normal life and do something that I want to do," said Perrier.And what does he want most after his mostly isolated stay at the base?"A good coffee and a cold beer."For Freeman Lan, who would soon be boarding a flight to Wisconsin, where he works as a scientist, it was nice just being able to see people "and not have to wear face masks."Lan had spent most of his time in quarantine playing cards, walking around, and watching a lot of Netflix."I am just taking it all in," said Lan. "Feels like freedom. It feels pretty good."Permission letter to leave quarantineBefore leaving the base, the evacuees were each given an "Authorization to Leave a Quarantine Facility" letter from the Public Health Agency of Canada stating they had "fulfilled the requirement of the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure" to the coronavirus by remaining in quarantine for 14 days.As of Friday, China has reported a total of 75,465 cases of the virus, which has led to 2,236 deaths in the country. Most of those deaths are centred in the city of Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province.The federal government had ordered its evacuees into quarantine "to protect the health and safety of Canadians."They stayed at the Yukon Lodge, CFB Trenton's 290-room motel for military personnel and family members. Each of the rooms had been equipped with high-speed wireless, cable TV with a DVD player, a fridge and microwave.Public health officials provided health checks every day, including a twice-a-day temperature check. Food was delivered to their door and their rooms were wiped clean daily by people wearing special protective gear. They were allowed to go outside in a restricted area for some fresh air and to interact with other evacuees, although they were told to stay at least two metres away from each other.Despite the "pretty cushy conditions," Perrier said he was unprepared for the mental toll of the experience."I don't feel damaged or anything, but it was certainly more than I was expecting it to be," he said. "Just to be isolated for two weeks and not being able to do what you want to do.""It's not something that I would wish on my worst enemy now that I know what it's like."Like graduatingMyriam Larouche, a 25-year-old Canadian student studying tourism in Wuhan, said she spent a lot of her time doing school work, and that receiving her government letter allowing her to leave the base "was kind of like a graduation.""It's like I'm graduating from quarantine," she said. "I just want to hug my family and my friends."But there was something else she had to do first, she said."Right now I'm dying to have a double-double."Hours before their departure from the base, a charter plane of Canadian cruise ship passengers had landed in Trenton. They had been on the Diamond Princess ship that was quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, since early February due to an outbreak. All repatriated passengers on the chartered flight had tested negative for the virus. They were screened again in Trenton before boarding five buses destined for the NAV Centre in Cornwall, Ont., where they will be quarantined for 14 days, according to Health Canada officials.Eight Canadians have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began, with three of them based in Ontario and the rest in British Columbia. A sixth person in B.C. is believed to be infected.