Pro women's hockey association unveils 5-city regional plan

JOHN WAWROW (AP Hockey Writer)
FILE - In this March 8, 2020, file photo, broadcast team member Kendall Coyne Schofield works during the first period of an NHL hockey game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the St. Louis Blues, in Chicago. The Professional Womens Hockey Players Association enters its second season with plans to regionalize its structure by basing players in five hub cities, while also continuing its Dream Gap Tour series of barn-storming stops across North America. The new structure provides players with a more professional training environment on a regular basis, which will allow us to put the best product of womens professional hockey on the ice daily, two-time U.S. Olympian and PWHPA board president Kendall Coyne Schofield said in a released statement. (AP Photo/Matt Marton, File)

The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association enters its second season with plans to regionalize its structure by basing players in five hub cities, while also continuing its Dream Gap Tour series of barnstorming stops across North America.

Groups of 25 players will practice in rinks in New Hampshire, Minnesota, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary, Alberta, where they will have access to dedicated dressing rooms, strength and conditioning facilities as well as support staff and coaches, the association announced Wednesday.

The decision to establish hub cities came out of feedback the PWHPA received from its members following its first season.

The regionalized structure allows the PWHPA to concentrate its resources on five sites, where players can hold full practices and schedule exhibition games to increase their playing time aside from a still-to-be-determined schedule of six to eight

stops.

Last year, the association had groups gathered in eight sites, some of which lacked enough players to hold a full practice. Players also had limited chances to compete in games, with few exhibition contests scheduled around the six weekend-long Dream Gap events.

“The new structure provides players with a more professional training environment on a regular basis, which will allow us to put the best product of women’s professional hockey on the ice daily,” two-time U.S. Olympian and PWHPA board president Kendall Coyne Schofield said in a statement.

a year ago following the collapse of the six-team Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Its membership is made up of about 200 players - including members of the U.S. and Canadian national teams - who pledged not to compete in the U.S.-based National Women’s Hockey League.

Unhappy with the financial limitations of the private investor-backed NWHL, the PWHPA instead is advocating for the creation of a professional league with a long-term sustainable economic model.

The PWHPA announcement comes a few weeks after the NWHL announced it is adding a sixth team – and first in Canada –

next season.

The 25-player regional rosters will be chosen following a tryout, and members not based in the regions will have an opportunity to compete in games.

“By condensing our regions a little more will allow us to provide better resources within those regions for our players,” PWHPA executive member Jayna Hefford told The Associated Press by phone.

“It was a priority for us to increase the level of commitment and to provide additional resources for our athletes to develop and perform at the highest levels,” she added. “This is by no means where we think they need to be or should be, but our goal will always be to provide the most professional experience that we can.”

PWHPA players are not paid, but they had their meal, travel, uniform and facilities costs picked up last year by numerous corporate sponsors including Budweiser, Secret, Adidas and Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union. The PWHPA also had the backing of the NHL Players' Association and several NHL teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Arizona Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals, who broadcast the final two Dream Gap stops on their broadcast network.

Though the coronavirus pandemic has caused economic uncertainty for many companies, Hefford said initial discussions indicate many, if not all, of the PWHPA’s corporate partners are committed to backing the players again next season.

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  • Toronto photo radar units start issuing speeding tickets today. Here's what's happening across the GTA
    News
    CBC

    Toronto photo radar units start issuing speeding tickets today. Here's what's happening across the GTA

    The warning period is over for speeding drivers captured on camera in school and community safety zones across Toronto. The city's automated speed enforcement program, which includes 50 units that track speed and take photos of licence plates, began late last year with signage notifying drivers that the cameras were there.  For the first three months, the owners of vehicles caught speeding received warning letters, but no penalties. The move into the next phase — issuing speeding tickets — was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic but went into effect on Monday.  "We would have preferred not to have to go down this path," Mike Barnet, manager of automated enforcement for the City of Toronto said in an interview with CBC News. "I would have been very happy if just the presence of the signage made a big difference."The automated speed enforcement program is part of Vision Zero — a movement to eliminate deaths and injuries from traffic collisions that has been adopted by municipalities around the world. Toronto, as well many other municipalities in the GTA, have developed Vision Zero strategies that include the use of automated speed enforcement. The goal, transportation specialists across the GTA say, is to change driver behaviour through both fines and public education. It's not, as some drivers might complain, "a cash grab," said Ramesh Jagannathan, director of transportation and field services, for Durham Region, which is in the midst of starting its own camera speed enforcement program.       "If I get ... 100 per cent speed compliance and zero revenue, to me that's a success.  We are not looking for revenue here," Jagannathan told CBC News. Barnet agreed, saying he hopes the cameras will eventually become unnecessary. "We've seen really high speeds and that's why we're moving forward with this next step," he said. "We want people to slow down. 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The cameras will rotate between about 25 designated zones throughout the region, Jagannathan said.  Signage has been installed warning drivers where the cameras are present, and the region is also advertising on buses and on social media to increase public awareness. Durham Region is aiming to start issuing speeding tickets to vehicle owners caught by the cameras at the beginning of the school year.  Pickering is planning to start its own photo radar pilot project on its streets later in the fall, a spokesperson for the city told CBC News in an email. York RegionYork Region has one mobile camera that it will rotate through 12 community safety zones, which cover 19 schools.The two-year pilot project is "tentatively scheduled" to begin in September, said Nelson Costa, York Region's manager of corridor control and safety in an email to CBC News. The automated speed enforcement zones are locations deemed to be highest risk and were chosen in consultation with York Regional police, Costa said. Factors considered in the decision included traffic volume, school population and speed-related collision data. Signs have been posted in all the zones and speeding tickets will be issued as soon as the cameras go live. There is at least one zone in every York Region town and city.  At this time, the individual municipalities are not installing their own speed enforcement cameras on town or city-run streets, Costa said. York Region's automated speed enforcement locations are on the following roads (some roads cross into multiple municipalities):Vaughan *  Rutherford Road *  Weston Road  King Township * King RoadMarkham * Highway 7Richmond Hill * Bayview Avenue * Bloomington RoadAurora * Wellington Street * Bloomington RoadWhitchurch-Stouffville * Bloomington RoadNewmarket * Mulock DriveEast Gwillimbury * Mount Albert Road * Leslie StreetGeorgina * Old Homestead Road   Peel RegionThe first automated speed enforcement in Peel Region will be in Caledon, in a school zone on Old Church Road. It's expected to be up and running in September. The mobile camera will later rotate between five other school zones in the town.  The city of Brampton has put up warning signs in five locations where automated speed enforcement cameras will be used. The zones are on Lawson Boulevard, Avondale Boulevard, Richvale Drive North, Fernforest Drive and Vodden Street East.   It's not yet clear when tickets will start to be issued. Potential addition locations will be considered at Brampton City Council's next meeting on Wednesday, along with an implementation plan, a spokesperson told CBC News in an email.  The city of Mississauga is also in the midst of a plan to install speed enforcement cameras in community safety zones. It will begin in 2021. Before that happens, however, Mississauga is completing its "neighbourhood area speed limit project," a spokesperson said in an email. That project will lower speed limits in the city's "school area community safety zones" to 30 km/h.

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    Reuters

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  • News
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    An outgoing MLA's "all lives matter" comments were condemned by Premier Scott Moe on Friday. Eleven people either retiring or not seeking re-election in the fall were given the floor of the Saskatchewan legislature to give a farewell speech.Outgoing SaskParty MLA Greg Brkich shared thoughts and reflections on his two decades of public service.Near the end of his speech, he lamented how statues and symbols of the past were being torn down."You know, that doesn't change history, and history wasn't that great back then," a transcript of Brkich's remarks said. "There were mistreatments, but change is coming in places like [the legislature]."Brkich cautioned those who will return to the legislature to not be swayed by "social activists" who he viewed as a "very loud" and "very small minority" of people in Canada.He concluded his remarks, saying that he'd learned to treat people with dignity and respect before becoming a politician and he did his best to do just that as an MLA. Then he stated: "So, to me, all lives matter. Thank you Mr. Speaker."Premier Scott Moe distanced himself and the government from Brkich's remarks following Friday's COVID-19 update."Those comments shouldn't have been made in the House," Moe said. "They shouldn't have been made by the individual, due to the controversy of this conversation, and they're just not helpful to where we are going as a society and the conversation that we are having as a society."Phrase used in ManitobaLast month, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister also used the phrase "all lives matter" when he was speaking about a Winnipeg protest.At the time, Elsa Kaka, a Winnipeg law school graduate and host of The Ordinary Black Girl Podcast, called the premier's comments tone-deaf."'All lives matter' is a deeply offensive and problematic phrase that has been used to derail and disregard the Black Lives Matter movement," Kaka said in an interview. Pallister said he didn't realize a phrase is often used to diminish the Black Lives Matter movement — and regrets the fact some people may have interpreted his comment as racist."I find it hard to believe that he didn't know that, but if that is in fact true, then I think it indicates that he is paying little attention to the Black Lives Matter movement," Kaka said.

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    The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 2:23 p.m. ET on July 5, 2020:There are 105,536 confirmed cases in Canada._ Quebec: 55,863 confirmed (including 5,574 deaths, 25,346 resolved)_ Ontario: 35,794 confirmed (including 2,689 deaths, 31,266 resolved)_ Alberta: 8,259 confirmed (including 155 deaths, 7,532 resolved)_ British Columbia: 2,947 confirmed (including 177 deaths, 2,608 resolved)_ Nova Scotia: 1,064 confirmed (including 63 deaths, 998 resolved)_ Saskatchewan: 796 confirmed (including 14 deaths, 711 resolved)_ Manitoba: 314 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 302 resolved), 11 presumptive_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 258 resolved)_ New Brunswick: 165 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 162 resolved)_ Prince Edward Island: 32 confirmed (including 27 resolved)_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)_ Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases, 1 presumptive_ Total: 105,536 (12 presumptive, 105,524 confirmed including 8,684 deaths, 69,239 resolved)This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • Sunday Scrum: Ottawa parts ways with WE Charity
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    The border between Australia's two most populous states will close from Tuesday for an indefinite period as authorities scramble to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus in the city of Melbourne. The decision announced on Monday marks the first time the border between Victoria and New South Wales has been shut in 100 years. "It is the smart call, the right call at this time, given the significant challenges we face in containing this virus," Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.

  • Developers cancel long-delayed, $8B Atlantic Coast Pipeline
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    The Canadian Press

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    RICHMOND, Va. — The developers of the long-delayed, $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline announced the cancellation of the multi-state natural gas project Sunday, citing uncertainties about costs, permitting and litigation.Despite a victory last month at the United States Supreme Court over a critical permit, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy said in a news release that “recent developments have created an unacceptable layer of uncertainty and anticipated delays” for the 600-mile (965-kilometre) project designed to cross West Virginia and Virginia into North Carolina.The companies said a recent pair of court rulings that have thrown into question a permitting program used around the nation to approve oil and gas pipelines and other utility work through wetlands and streams presented “new and serious challenges.”“This new information and litigation risk, among other continuing execution risks, make the project too uncertain to justify investing more shareholder capital,” the news release said.The massive infrastructure project, announced with much fanfare in 2014, had drawn fierce opposition from many landowners, activists and environmental advocates, who said it would damage pristine landscapes and harm wildlife. Getting the project built would have involved tree removal and blasting and levelling some ridgetops as the pipe, 42 inches (1 metre) in diameter for much of its path, crossed mountains, hundreds of water bodies and other sensitive terrain and burrowed underneath the Appalachian Trail.Opponents also questioned whether there was sufficient need for the gas it would carry and said it would further encourage the use of a fossil fuel at a time when climate change makes a shift to renewable energy imperative.Legal challenges brought by environmental groups prompted the dismissal or suspension of numerous permits and led to an extended delay in construction. The project was years behind schedule and the anticipated cost had ballooned from the original estimate of $4.5 billion to $5 billion.Reaction poured in Sunday from the project's opponents, who lauded the demise of the project."If anyone still had questions about whether or not the era of fracked gas was over, this should answer them. Today is a historic victory for clean water, the climate, public health, and our communities,'' Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement.The project's supporters said the pipeline would create jobs, help aid the transition away from coal and lower energy costs for consumers. Economic development officials in distressed parts of the three states it would run through had hoped that the greater availability of natural gas would help draw heavy manufacturing companies.“Unfortunately, today’s announcement detrimentally impacts the Commonwealth’s access to affordable, reliable energy,” the Virginia Chamber of Commerce said in a statement. “It also demonstrates the significant regulatory burdens businesses must deal with in order to operate.”U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said in a statement the project was killed by the “well-funded, obstructionist environmental lobby.”“The Trump Administration wants to bring the benefits of reliable and affordable energy of all kinds to all Americans,” Brouillette said. “Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the activists who killed this project.”Separately, Dominion, which is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, and serves more than 7 million customers in 20 states, announced it had agreed to sell “substantially all” of its gas transmission and storage segment assets to an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway. The transaction was valued at $9.7 billion, the company said.The assets involved in the sale include more than 7,700 miles (12,300 kilometres) of natural gas storage and transmission pipelines and about 900 billion cubic feet of gas storage that Dominion currently operates, the company said.Duke, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of the country's largest energy holding companies.Duke has previously pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions from its electric generation by 2050, and Dominion has committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the same year.A third partner in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Southern Company, sold its small stake in the project earlier this year to Dominion, the lead developer. Dominion had asserted its commitment to seeing the project through as recently as mid-June, when it asked federal regulators for an extension of time to get the project into service.“We regret that we will be unable to complete the Atlantic Coast Pipeline," Dominion CEO Tom Farrell and Duke CEO Lynn Good said in a joint statement. “For almost six years we have worked diligently and invested billions of dollars to complete the project and deliver the much-needed infrastructure to our customers and communities.”Sarah Rankin, The Associated Press

  • Politics
    The Canadian Press

    2020 Watch: Has Trump surrendered to the coronavirus?

    The coronavirus pandemic is raging, family vacations are on hold, cable news viewership is booming and President Donald Trump is inflaming the nation's culture wars to keep his base engaged. Much of the political world, including people we speak to close to the Trump campaign, believes that the Republican president is facing the prospect of a blowout loss in four months unless the political landscape shifts dramatically. Recent history suggests there is time for a turnaround, although Trump is taking no steps to expand his coalition.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Russian shot dead in Austria, police probe political motive

    Police in Austria say they have detained a Russian man after one of his compatriots was shot dead near Vienna late Saturday in what Austrian media report is being considered a possible political assassination. Austrian news agency APA reported that the 43-year-old victim was an ethnic Chechen who had lived in Austria for more than a decade. The Kurier daily reported the victim was a critic of Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian leader of Russia's Chechnya region.

  • P.E.I. reports 2 new COVID-19 cases linked to local man who returned from Nova Scotia
    News
    The Canadian Press

    P.E.I. reports 2 new COVID-19 cases linked to local man who returned from Nova Scotia

    CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island reported two more cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the weekend tally to five after the province went months without a single positive test.In a news conference Sunday, the province's chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, said the cases — both men in their 20s — were in close contact with a local man who had travelled to Nova Scotia and is also believed to have spread the virus to a worker at a seniors' residence."This cluster of cases is a clear reminder that COVID-19 is still very much present in our province and we must remain vigilant," Morrison said."At this point there is no evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in our province and the risk of transmission of COVID-19 within the province remains low," she said.The woman who tested positive for the virus worked at Whisperwood Villa, a seniors' residence in Charlottetown, and listed nine close contacts — all of whom have tested negative for COVID-19, Morrison said.Morrison said 140 staff members and 129 residents at Whisperwood Villa were also tested for COVID-19 on Saturday and their results all came back negative.Four or five staff members and two residents still need to be tested, she said, and all the residents and staff members will be tested again later this week.People who visited the residence last Tuesday also will be contacted for testing, Morrison added.The fifth case on the Island is not believed to be related to the cluster of four cases. A man in his 50s who had travelled out-of-province was reported to have the virus on Saturday.Before this weekend, the province's last COVID-19 positive test came in late April.Morrison said public health officials in P.E.I. and Nova Scotia have been in close communication to trace the COVID-19 cluster.The P.E.I. man travelled to Nova Scotia for personal reasons on June 26 and returned to the Island on June 29, Morrison said.He is believed to have come into contact with someone there who had travelled to the U.S., who has since tested positive for the virus and is now under quarantine in Nova Scotia, health officials in that province said.Nova Scotia's chief public health officer, Dr. Robert Strang, said in the email that the individual does not live in Nova Scotia, but was passing through the province on the way to P.E.I."As this individual is still within the 14-day isolation period required by the federal Quarantine Act, they are now being quarantined under federal authority in Nova Scotia. We will be able to provide further information as contact tracing work continues," Strang said.Morrison noted that the new COVID-19 cases are not related to seasonal residents of P.E.I. or to the Atlantic bubble.As of Friday, residents of P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador have been allowed to travel freely between the provinces without needing to self-isolate upon arrival.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2020.— By Jillian Kestler-D'Amours in Montreal.The Canadian Press

  • The Jolly Green Giant's Decades-Long Evolution Raises Some Questions
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    He's rocked a ton of different looks over the years.

  • Justices rule states can bind presidential electors' votes
    Politics
    The Canadian Press

    Justices rule states can bind presidential electors' votes

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One elector from Washington, D.C., left her ballot blank.The Supreme Court played a decisive role in that election, ending a recount in Florida, where Bush held a 537-vote margin out of 6 million ballots cast.The justices scheduled separate arguments in the Washington and Colorado cases after Justice Sonia Sotomayor belatedly removed herself from the Colorado case because she knows one of the plaintiffs.In asking the Supreme Court to rule that states can require electors to vote for the state winner, Colorado had urged the justices not to wait until “the heat of a close presidential election.”Reacting to the decision Monday, the lawyer for the electors who challenged the state rules said he's glad the court acted now. “Obviously, we don’t believe the Court has interpreted the Constitution correctly. But we are happy that we have achieved our primary objective — this uncertainty has been removed. That is progress,” lawyer Lawrence Lessig said.Mark Sherman, The Associated Press

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    The Canadian Press

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    TORONTO — Hamilton-raised theatre star Nick Cordero, who had legions of supporters rallying for him on social media during his harrowing health battle with COVID-19, has died in Los Angeles.His wife, dancer-turned-celebrity personal trainer Amanda Kloots, said Cordero died on Sunday morning, "surrounded in love by his family."He was 41."My heart is broken as I cannot imagine our lives without him," Kloots wrote on Instagram. "Nick was such a bright light. He was everyone’s friend, loved to listen, help and especially talk. He was an incredible actor and musician. He loved his family and loved being a father and husband."The Tony Award-nominated actor, singer and musician first entered hospital in L.A. at the beginning of April with what was seemingly a case of pneumonia, said Kloots.Doctors suspected it was the novel coronavirus and administered three tests for it.The first two tests came back negative and the third was positive for COVID-19.The disease ravaged his body, according to Kloots, who kept the world updated on his situation daily with posts on her Instagram account.She said doctors described his lungs as being riddled with holes and looking as if he'd been smoking for 50 years, even though he wasn't a smoker.He had a lingering lung infection and major complications from the disease, including blood pressure problems and clotting issues that led to the amputation of his right leg.Cordero was in an intensive care unit on various machines to help support his heart, lungs and kidneys.He was in a medically-induced coma but had come out of it before his death.Kloots put on a brave face on her Instagram account, posting positive messages and often appearing with their son, Elvis, who just had his first birthday.She encouraged everyone to play Cordero's song "Live Your Life" to help send positive vibes for him into the universe.Her plea spurred countless Instagram users, including some celebrities and Broadway stars, to post videos of themselves dancing to "Live Your Life" and performing various incarnations of it.Kloots said that on Sunday, she sang the song to him in person, holding his hands.As I sang the last line to him, 'they'll give you hell but don't you (let) them kill your light not without a fight. Live your life,' I smiled because he definitely put up a fight," she wrote.Along with her daily "Nick update" on her account, Kloots also often told heartwarming stories of their relationship and life together.She said they struck up a relationship while they were performing on the Great White Way in "Bullets Over Broadway," which earned him the Tony nomination.Cordero grew up in Hamilton's west end and attended Ryerson University for acting.He was also nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his role in the musical "A Bronx Tale." His other stage credits included "Rock of Ages."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2020.Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

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    CBC

    With rolling protest, Black Montrealers denounce the challenge of 'driving while Black'

    Convoys of luxury and other vehicles driven by Black drivers hit the streets of Montreal Sunday as part of a demonstration to denounce racial profiling, and to bring awareness to the phenomenon of "driving while Black," in which members of the Black community are frequently stopped by police. Kenrick McRae, whose racial profiling complaint led to a police ethics committee decision in December that found two Montreal officers acted unlawfully when they detained and arrested him, participated in the demonstration. He said he's been stopped by police so many times in Montreal, it's like a routine. "I ask them if they're racially profiling me," said McRae, who drives a Mercedes-Benz. "Sometimes they ask me where I got money to buy this car, or what kind of job I have."The demonstration took place a few days before the SPVM is set to unveil its new policy on street checks, in response to an independent report published last October that found visible minorities are more likely to be stopped than white people by Montreal police officers. The report found there were "significant, widespread and persistent disproportions" of racialized people who are stopped by police officers, and pointed to the "presence of systemic biases" linked to race during police interventions.It included five recommendations for the police department, including creating a policy around stopping individuals and addressing the issue of racial profiling in its plans, programs and practices.The new policy is set to come out Wednesday. 'It has an impact on our wellness'Tiffany Callender, a community worker in Côte-des-Neiges, said many Black mothers she works with are scared to let their sons and husbands drive due to the dangers of being racially profiled. "They actually try to recommend that the young drivers in their family take public transport, and that's not normal," Callender said. Callender hopes the street checks policy will be effective, hold the SPVM accountable, and create a process that people can trust. "We need something that is going to be concrete and has real impact to change that experience that black drivers have, because it has an impact on our wellness, on our mental health," Callender said, adding that it's also a financial burden to fight these instances in court.It's time for action, borough councillor saysThe two convoys, one that left from the west and one from the east end of Montreal, gathered near Namur Metro station at 3 p.m.Several city and borough councillors, including Marvin Rotrand, Nathalie Pierre-Antoine and Josué Corvil, also attended the demonstration. Pierre-Antoine, borough councillor for Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles, said it's time for action to combat systemic racism in the city's police force. "There have been charters, reports, many committees that have put down reports, made recommendations to stop racial profiling and discrimination and racism. But enough is enough. We are tired with words," she said. Pierre-Antoine said in order for change to happen, there needs to be better representation of racialized communities in city council. A more recent report by the city's public consultation office says major changes are needed to combat racial profiling in Montreal's police force. It calls for two experts on racial profiling to be added to the city's public security committee and for changes to police training.The report says an "understanding of the phenomenon of racial and social profiling" and "the necessary skills to bring about a change in the culture of the organization" should be requirements for hiring the city's chief of police.

  • News
    CBC

    Alberta adds sandhill crane hunting season

    Move over ducks and rabbits, it's sandhill crane season in Alberta starting this fall.The province announced the launch of sandhill crane hunting starting September in more than 50 wildlife management units in southern and east-central Alberta. The new hunting season will run around the same time as the province's waterfowl season. Sandhill cranes are heavy-bodied, long-necked birds with gray plumage and red crown patch. Sandhill cranes are not to be confused with whooping cranes, though that are similar species with whooping cranes being larger and fully white. "It's great to see widespread support for a sandhill crane season in Alberta, which will support the province's wildlife management goals and boost local economies," Jason Nixon, minister of environment and parks, said in the news release. "Alberta hunters care deeply about the province's environment, species and wild places, and providing another opportunity to engage in a pursuit that supports conservation as well as economic activity is a win-win."A press release states that the number of sandhill cranes in the province has increased steadily in recent years and that the birds have exceptional survival rates for both young and adult birds. Meanwhile, provinces like Manitoba and Saskatchewan have had sandhill crane hunting seasons for more than 50 years. The sandhill crane population in those provinces remains healthy.According to the data from the province, in 2018 fishing, hunting, trapping, and sport-shooting activities contributed $1.8 billion to Alberta's GDP, supporting 11,700 jobs and generating $875 million in labour income.The province states they will be taking additional precautions by limiting sandhill crane hunting season to areas that are not known to overlap with the whooping crane migration or breeding range.Albertans interested in participating in sandhill crane hunting will require a provincial game bird licence and a federal migratory bird licence to do so.

  • Conservative MP says party won't force election over WE Charity controversy after contract cancelled
    Politics
    Global News

    Conservative MP says party won't force election over WE Charity controversy after contract cancelled

    Canadian Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said on Sunday that his party would no longer need to force a potential election over the controversy surrounding the contract between the federal Liberal government and WE Charity to handle the coronavirus student volunteer program now that it has been cancelled. The sole-sourced deal had faced criticism due to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's close relationship to the group, and prompted the Conservatives and NDP to ask the federal ethics commissioner to look into whether Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act.

  • Saddledome needs $48M+ in repairs but most work may never happen
    News
    CBC

    Saddledome needs $48M+ in repairs but most work may never happen

    Even before city council voted in 2019 to pay half of the cost of a new $550-million downtown arena, it knew the Scotiabank Saddledome needed major repairs to keep it going.A building condition assessment report from December 2018 obtained by CBC News under Alberta's Freedom of Information legislation concluded the Saddledome needs $48.7 million in repair work over the coming decade."The recommendations in [this] report are provided based on keeping the building in an acceptable standard for the people using the facility," states Entuitive, the engineering consulting firm which wrote the report for the City of Calgary.The list of repairs is extensive.The 119 suggested projects cover all aspects of the building and its surrounding structures, like a parkade and the LRT walkway.Crumbing concrete, rust, water leaks, sealants giving way and even pesky squirrels working their way into the building are all mentioned in the report.Roof problemsHowever the bulk of the recommended repairs, $38.5 million, would be for fixing the Saddledome's structural issues and the building envelope.The condition of the building's roof is a key concern. While the report notes there has been deterioration, there is no suggestion the dome is unsafe. An acoustic monitoring system was set up in 1998 to detect any failure of the cables and the post-tensioned strands which are part of the roof system.The report indicated that 10 post-tensioned strand failures have been noted. Precast concrete panels are suspended from the cables and the assessment found them to all be in good condition.However, pieces of concrete have been falling off of the perimeter ring beam which forms the outline of the Saddledome's distinctive roof shape.The report recommends a drone be used to regularly inspect the beam to help observe any trouble spots.What isn't known is what's going on inside the roof structure itself."Most of the building's internal structural systems are not visible, and no attempt was made to expose them for review. Hidden defects may be present and not observed," notes the document.The report breaks the needed work into seven categories, and details the cost for each over 10 years. Here are the estimates, rounded up: * Architectural, $33.8 million. * Building envelope, $1.7 million. * Structural, $3.1 million. * Mechanical, $3.5 million. * Refrigeration system, $1.7 million. * Electrical, $4.9 million. * Elevator, $90,000. Dome is still safeAn engineering professor at the University of British Columbia, Shahria Alam, reviewed the report. He said the building is safe to continue using."Although it's a concern, it should be OK to be used. Obviously, it will need constant operation and maintenance over the years that it will be used," said Alam.The challenge with the building's roof is that its design is relatively unique so Alam said there really aren't many other similar buildings to compare the Saddledome with in order to understand how the passage of time will affect it.Spending millions of dollars to repair or replace the roof won't likely be part of the building's future.Under the terms of a cost-sharing agreement between the City of Calgary and the owners of the Calgary Flames, construction of a new event centre in Victoria Park is slated to begin in August 2021.It is scheduled to open in May 2024. As part of the agreement, the Saddledome will be shut down soon after that and then be demolished.The condition assessment report does suggest that $1,377,500 in repairs to the Saddledome across 30 different projects are needed through 2024.The list includes repairing crumbling concrete steps, work on the roof's ring beam, repairs to the parkade, fixing chillers and replacing heat exchangers.Necessary work will go aheadThe Saddledome Foundation is the body that ensures the building is properly maintained. City council's representative on the foundation's board said work required to ensure the safe operation of the arena will get done even though the Saddledome's expiry date is approaching."If there's any safety issues, then we have to do [the repairs]. From the time the new building starts, it'll take three years to build it so the responsibility of the Flames is still there," said Coun. Ray Jones.Although the Saddledome is owned by the city, he said the Flames oversee and pay for repairs through a fee that's collected on every ticket sold for events in the building.Neither the city nor the Flames would comment on how much money that fee brings in annually.The problems uncovered by the assessment report have been discussed by the Foundation and the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, which owns the Flames."We're all in agreement that we can't have concrete falling off the building because it's a safety issue," said Jones.'A great building'The president and CEO of the Calgary Flames, John Bean, tells CBC News that the team still considers the Saddledome to be "a great building". He said ensuring the health and safety of patrons and staff will guide decisions on maintenance."We work collaboratively with the City of Calgary, with structural engineers and other consultants and we'll look at a variety of topics that present themselves," said Bean."We'll come up with a plan to make sure we deal with it in an appropriate fashion."The Saddledome opened in 1983 and is the second oldest arena in the NHL.The new arena will be built just north of the Saddledome and is expected to be a key piece of the planned culture and entertainment district. The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation is overseeing the building of the event centre which will have up to 19,000 seats.The design of the new building should be unveiled by the end of 2020.

  • News
    CBC

    Former Nunavut nurse is appealing a decision to take away his licence to practise

    A former nurse in Whale Cove, Nunavut, is fighting a decision from the Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to take away his licence to practise. Willy Tchuilen Ngatcha is appealing a decision made in January 2019 by a board of inquiry— appointed by the Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut — on allegations made against him about his competence as a nurse. The appeal hearing was held over a zoom call for two days on June 16 and 17. Tchuilen Ngatcha is appealing the decision to have his licence to practise nursing cancelled saying he was a victim of harassment, discrimination and racism based on his race, gender and language. Tchuilen Ngatcha is a Black man whose first language is French. "Yes I'm fighting, maybe I would not continue to act as a nurse," said Tchuilen Ngatcha. "But no one will remove the nursing spirit."Tchuilen Ngatcha represented himself in the appeal hearing and submitted a 32 page document to the panel making his case for why the allegations against him are "frivolous and vexatious."  He spent six hours speaking to the appeal board making a case that the nurses he was stationed with in Whale Cove were part of a "blatant conspiracy well orchestrated" against him to end his nursing career. "It's not a belief, it's real," said Tchuilen Ngatcha, about the alleged conspiracy. Ngatcha was hired as a nurse by the government of Nunavut in December 2016 and was stationed in Whale Cove on Dec. 22. Over the course of the 37 days he was there, the local community nurses made 42 complaints against him. These complaints led to the board of inquiry panel where Tchuilen Ngatcha nursing licence was cancelled. "Being a nurse is something that comes from the bottom of my heart," said Tchuilen Ngatcha. "In my family caring for other people it's a trademark." The complaints were about his competency as a nurse. During the submissions made by Gregory Sim, the Registered Nurses Association's lawyer, Sim read out some of the complaints he believed were the most serious. These complaints were among the ones he was found guilty of by the board of inquiry in 2019. Some of the allegations read by Sim against Tchuilen Ngatcha included: that he took a long time to give an injection to an infant causing excessive pain; that he was unable to differentiate between certain kinds of medications such as the difference between Tylenol 500 and Tylenol 3; that he allegedly offered an inappropriate amount of fluid to rehydrate an elderly patient who was suffering with cardiac issues; and that he was allegedly unable to conduct a neurological assessment of a patient with a head injury. "They [nurses in Whale Cove] became concerned that Mr. Tchuilen Ngatcha just did not have the knowledge, skills or judgment to practise nursing in that community," said Sim during his submissions.  The board of inquiry found Ngatcha guilty of 22 of the complaints. An additional complaint was made for failing to co-operate with the investigator when the allegations were made, said Sim in the appeal hearing.  Sim also said there is no evidence to support Ngatcha's belief that he was conspired against based on his race. CBC was unable to obtain a copy of the decision made by the board of inquiry despite requesting it from Denise Bowen, executive director of Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Bowen said she was unable to share information that is before the appeal panel. She also denied a request for an interview because the appeal is ongoing. CBC also requested an interview with Sim but he referred the request back to his client. The appeal panel has 30 days to make its decision. If the decision isn't appealed further, the findings will be made public through the Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

  • Two men walking across Saskatchewan to raise awareness of Indigenous suicide
    News
    CBC

    Two men walking across Saskatchewan to raise awareness of Indigenous suicide

    Two men are walking across Saskatchewan in response to the government's denial of a suicide prevention bill.Tristen Durocher and Chris Merasty left Air Ronge on Thursday and they plan to walk 635 kilometres to the Saskatchewan legislature building in Regina. Durocher said he hopes the journey will take 20 days."We've had Elders joining us from La Ronge for portions of the walk," Durocher, 24, said. "We're listening to our bodies, we're going at the paces of those who come to show their support."Durocher said on Saturday they were 21 kilometres north of Weyakwin, which is 145 kilometers north of Prince Albert.Durocher said unanimous opposition by Saskatchewan Party MLAs in the legislature to a suicide prevention bill sparked his motivation to begin the walk."Several reserves across Saskatchewan have declared states of emergency in the past and nothing has been done," Durocher said. "They owe it to their residents of this province to provide mental health services and we are residents of this province, not some federal responsibility."The bill put forward by Doyle Vermette, the NDP MLA for Cumberland, would have required the provincial government to recognize suicide as a health and safety priority. If the bill passed, the Saskatchewan government would have had to recognize suicide as a public health issue."[The bill] was made in consultation with northern communities, leaders, families that had lost loved ones and so I liked that it kind of came from our communities and wouldn't be some southern bureaucratic umbrella solution," Durocher said. When it comes to addressing mental health problems in northern communities, Durocher said different communities have different needs."Some communities the problem is the gang violence, some communities there's a lot of drugs, some communities we have high rates of lateral violence," Durocher said. "So it can't be umbrella solutions for individual communities whose needs are different, and it needs to be community-based."In May, the Saskatchewan government introduced the Pillars for Life suicide prevention strategy. It aims to improve specialized supports and training in the province as well as increasing research within the province regarding suicide."The Pillars [for] Life plan has been criticized by public health experts in Saskatchewan, Canada and beyond as being so vague it's basically meaningless," Durocher said. "Two weeks ago a mother came to me, she had just buried her daughter, she came to our opening ceremony weeks after the burial of her daughter and so did Pillars [for] Life do anything? No."Durocher said he would like to see the provincial government come forward and take accountability for the inaction regarding suicide in the province."They see us a federal responsibility, although many of us live in their cities, although many of us go to their universities," Durocher said. "We are not a federal burden, we are citizens of this province and we demand every access to any mental health services."The Saskatchewan Coroners Service reported 2,338 people have died by suicide from 2005 to 2019 in the province. Twenty-eight per cent of those people were Indigenous. According to Statistics Canada, in 2016 Indigenous people made up 16.3 per cent of the population in Saskatchewan.Hunger strike once in ReginaDurocher said he began playing the fiddle when he was nine years old. Since then, he says he has played at so many funerals, he has lost count. Many of those funerals were for victims of suicide."As a child I've been in gymnasiums trying to play and console families over the sounds of the echoes of grieving mothers burying their firstborns," Durocher said."I've seen too many graves for my young life and I've seen too much indifference and political neutrality and kind of just this really disgusting attitude of not our kids not our problem and that is beyond horrifying."Durocher said once they reach the lawn of the legislature building in Regina, he will walk to the front steps and play Amazing Grace on his fiddle. He said he will also begin a hunger strike."I'm starving in solidarity with our children who are — literally some of them are starving and figuratively they're starving for equality," Durocher said. "They're starving for justice, they're starving for belonging, they're starving for their culture and this is my way of saying I love you and I'm starving too."Durocher said he will be fasting until the Saskatchewan government passes meaningful legislation."If they don't, I'm prepared to let my family bury me because this needs to be shown to Canada, to the world, just the depth of our money-minded politicians' indifference and heartlessness."

  • First Nations losing oil revenue amid fall in consumption, drilling
    News
    CBC

    First Nations losing oil revenue amid fall in consumption, drilling

    In a windswept corner of the Blood Tribe land in southwest Alberta is a pumpjack that towers more than three storeys off the ground and reaches three kilometres deep. It's one of only two new wells to be drilled on the First Nation in the last year, as the downturn in the industry has resulted in reduced drilling across Western Canada.The well was drilled in December and began operating in February, less than one month before oil prices crashed further as the pandemic spread across the globe. Fuel consumption has fallen sharply as countries continue to react to the virus, while oil production remains relatively high around the globe.For First Nations that rely on collecting royalties and rent from oilpatch activity on their reserve land, those funds have quickly dried up. In fact, it's becoming costlier to manage oil and gas production on First Nations land than the amount of money collected from industry.Indian Oil and Gas Canada (IOGC) is the federal agency, fully funded by Ottawa, responsible for overseeing oil and gas production on those lands and has a monthly budget of about $1 million. In May, when the most recent data is available, the agency only collected about $740,000."It doesn't make sense," said Chief Roy Fox, with the Blood Tribe. "More money is being spent than what we are realizing."Fox is keenly aware of the financial situation in the oilpatch, considering there are about 300 oil and gas wells on Blood Tribe land, and the First Nation has a working interest in some of them. Compared to the beginning of the year, revenue from oil and gas activity is down 75 per cent, according to Fox.WATCH | Chief Roy Fox on the impact of low royalties:Royalties are down as a result of low commodity prices and some companies lowering production levels as some wells become unprofitable to operate."In March, April, May, we were really hit with this downturn. Things are picking up a bit, but not as fast as what we would like to see," he said.The First Nation uses the revenue to provide programs for elders and youth, improve housing, offer social programs and invest in other business programs, among other initiatives."Because of the downturn we won't be able to help as much," he said.The Indian Resource Council, which represents First Nations with oil and gas reserves on their territory, is calling on the federal government to top up the royalties to a minimum of $4 million per month."These are really troubling times," said Stephen Buffalo, the group's president. "It's very important at this time that our prime minister really look at our communities to see if we can do something extra on the side to offset what has been lost."The council has also asked for a special allotment of the funds earmarked for cleaning up oil oil and gas wells in Western Canada.Revenues for First Nations have fallen by about 80 per cent in the last decade as commodity prices have fallen.The declines "are likely to continue," said Strater Crowfoot, CEO of the IOGC, in an emailed statement.WATCH | Stephen Buffalo on the opportunity to clean up inactive wells:"We have heard how challenging the decline in First Nation oil and gas revenue has been for First Nation communities, businesses, and individuals. The government of Canada is working collaboratively with First Nations and their member organizations to explore initiatives to provide support."In April, the federal government announced $307 million in relief to help Indigenous businesses and $133 million in June toward stimulating the Indigenous economy.

  • DND investigating 2016 complaint about racist flyer on office fridge
    News
    CBC

    DND investigating 2016 complaint about racist flyer on office fridge

    A racist poster featuring the N-word that appeared in an office at the Department of National Defence has now become the focus of an investigation ordered by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.  The case relates to a 2016 incident in which a supervisor at DND in Ottawa put up a flyer in a kitchenette showing a photo of a white van made to look like an ad for a Detroit moving company. The logo featured caricatures of two Black men carrying spears and an offensive slogan containing the N-word.  The original complaint was launched by Andrea Kenny, a Black employee, in the spring of 2017.She said she was "shocked" when she first saw the image in late 2016."There was only three of us on that whole floor that were racially visible people," she said. "So, for my immediate supervisor to be posting something like that was a disregard for the employees in that environment."She said she complained to the supervisor's boss, and the supervisor was ordered to apologize to the Black employees in the office.Internal complaints rejectedKenny launched a formal internal grievance with DND after the supervisor, a senior military officer, posted a second image in the kitchenette — this time, a racist joke referencing Jews and Hitler.   That complaint alleging racial discrimination as well as systemic racism was repeatedly rejected in decisions by the department's internal grievance mechanism."It was just no, no, no," said Sandra Griffith-Bonaparte of the Union of National Defence Employees. Griffith-Bonaparte, who assisted Kenny through the grievance process, is no longer a union representative, but she said when she was with the union, grievances related to racial discrimination were routinely rejected.Kenny has been waiting for a hearing date for her appeal before the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board. A backlog of cases at the board means that process could take another couple of years, according to Kenny's advocate, Doug Hill, from the legal services branch of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). He said 70 per cent of employees choose to resolve issues related to workplace discrimination through mediation, which includes confidentiality clauses, effectively burying, says Hill, the magnitude of the public service's race problem.'Serious incident'After CBC inquired about the case with the Department of National Defence last week, the defence minister weighed in. "This serious incident in Ottawa has just recently been brought to my attention," Sajjan said in an interview. "I have directed that it be thoroughly investigated immediately, and appropriate action will be taken at its conclusion."WATCH: How DND is hoping to combat systemic racismSources close to the case told CBC the supervisor responsible for posting the image in the kitchen has been suspended. It's unclear whether he is still being paid; DND will not share his status, citing privacy issues.In a statement, DND said the Kenny case is an "extremely serious matter.""We recognize that more has to be done by the DND/CAF (Canadian Armed Forces) to prevent and punish hateful conduct within our ranks and teams," the statement read."That's why our senior leaders are making ongoing efforts to identify and implement concrete actions to address institutional and systemic racism and discrimination."Sajjan said the investigation will go beyond the poster incident and include a closer look at the grievance process that rejected the initial complaint, as well as the question of systemic racism.That investigation comes four years after the incident, and Kenny said she has paid a heavy price in the intervening years for standing up against racism. Workplace retaliation The prime minister has acknowledged the problem of systemic racism within the federal government, and Kenny hopes her case will show what that actually looks like in practice in the workplace. "When I filed the grievance, that's when the retaliation started," she said of the first action she took with her union in the months following the 2016 incident.The supervisor was able to remain in place, she said, and was allowed to undertake her performance review in the spring of 2017. Kenny said her 2017 review contrasted with previous positive performance reviews and that she was branded a trouble maker, despite 25 years with the service. Going to work became more difficult, she said, and the stress began to affect her sleep and mental health. "It was just a very, very toxic environment," Kenny said. Under the terms of the grievance process, Kenny said she is bound by confidentiality and is not able to publicly name the man who put up the flyer.Sharon DeSousa, a regional executive vice-president with Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), said Kenny's experience sounds familiar. She was co-chair of the joint union-management diversity and inclusion task force in 2016. During that process, she said, public service workers detailed overt acts of racism, as well as the cumulative impact of smaller discriminatory actions that ground them down over the course of their careers.The task force came up with more than 40 recommendations, but to date, only one has been taken up, she said. DeSousa said systemic racism is apparent when one looks at the makeup of the public sector: Black, racialized and Indigenous workers make up only 11 per cent of management and executive positions, according to the findings of the task force. She also said the grievance system puts the onus on workers to pit themselves against the employer in a potentially career-debilitating conflict. The most recent Public Service Employee Survey found visible minorities almost twice as likely as their white colleagues to say they had been discriminated against in the workplace. More than half of the racialized people who said they experienced discrimination also said they did nothing about it. "So, why would you not report it?" said DeSousa. "It could be fear of reprisal. It could be fear that you will not be getting another opportunity." For her part, Kenny has now found a new position in the public service but is determined to see the DND case through."I hope something good comes out of it, if not for me, for somebody else," she said. WATCH: Looking at 'the big picture' to fight anti-Black racism

  • Politics
    The Canadian Press

    Trump's leadership is tested in time of fear, pandemic

    Not long after noon on Feb. 6, President Donald Trump strode into the ornate East Room of the White House. The night before, his impeachment trial had ended with acquittal in the Republican-controlled Senate. “It was evil," Trump said of the attempt to upend his presidency.

  • News
    Canadian Press Videos

    Georgia State Patrol building damaged amid protest

    The Georgia State Patrol says fireworks, rocks and graffiti have caused extensive damage to its headquarters in Atlanta. A spokesperson says public safety workers put out the fire early Sunday. Two employees were treated for smoke inhalation. (July 5)

  • Conservative MP calls on Trudeau government to provide more funding to auditor general office
    Politics
    Global News

    Conservative MP calls on Trudeau government to provide more funding to auditor general office

    Conservative MP and finance critic Pierre Poilievre on Sunday called on Canada’s Liberal government to provide more funding to the auditor general's office and said that the office has been "deprived," in his view, of at least $11 million of necessary funding to examine government spending. Poilievre said that 10 years ago, during the tenure of the Stephen Harper government, the office was doing 28 audits a year but says it's now doing 14 a year.