Protecting full day kindergarten top priority for Ontario educators

The union that represents Ontario’s elementary teachers and the provincial government have not been at the bargaining table in well over a month. The sticking points include class sizes, compensation and e-learning. Travis Dhanraj looks at another key issue -- the future of full day kindergarten.

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

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

    Here is the latest news on protests across Canada over a natural gas pipeline project in British Columbia: B.C.'s indigenous relations minister says the events in Wet'suwet'en territory over the last few weeks do not mark the death of reconciliation, despite what some have said.Scott Fraser says in a statement posted to Facebook that if anything, this moment must serve as a reminder of how important reconciliation is and why the work must continue.He says it was "heartbreaking" to have talks with the hereditary chiefs fail earlier this month, but he and his federal counterpart Carolyn Bennett have offered again to meet with the chiefs face-to-face.While there is disagreement within the Wet'suwet'en about the pipeline project, Fraser says questions about governance are a direct result of colonization, including the erasure of traditional Indigenous governance systems.Fraser says these questions must be answered by the Wet'suwet'en people and the province has been in discussion since last spring on rights, title and self-determination with the office that represents hereditary chiefs.———Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with premiers in a call with the Council of the Federation to discuss the disruptions to infrastructure caused by the blockades and how they are affecting farmers, businesses, families, and workers.The Prime Minister's Office said Trudeau highlighted that the government is looking at options to end the blockades as quickly as possible and reaching a peaceful and lasting resolution that builds trust and respect among all parties involved.It said the federal government is working closely with the B.C. government and will continue working closely with all the premiers.Trudeau noted the RCMP's offer to withdraw its operations from Wet’suwet’en territory, and the ongoing offer made by Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett to meet with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.———Protesters blockading railway tracks in a suburb south of Montreal have been served with an injunction ordering them to leave Canadian National Railway property and stop impeding the operation of its trains.A bailiff surrounded by Longueuil municipal police delivered the injunction order to protesters Thursday night.About 20 people remained in the makeshift campsite by CN tracks when the bailiff arrived shortly before 7 p.m.Some protesters accepted the documents with a polite, "Thank you," while others stood with their arms crossed as the bailiff dropped copies of the injunction by their feet.There was no immediate sign that they planned to leave the blockade. ———British Columbia Premier John Horgan says he still hopes to see the successful completion of a natural gas pipeline at the centre of road and rail blockades being held across the country.Hereditary chiefs with the Wet'suwet'en Fist Nation and their supporters have called for the Coastal GasLink project to be put on hold or cancelled outright, but Horgan says that's not the answer.He says his government will continue to pursue a resolution by negotiating between hereditary chiefs and Indigenous relations ministers from the federal and provincial governments.Horgan says the solution will come when the hereditary leaders are in a position to sit down and discuss a peaceful way to address their concerns.———A hereditary chief with the Wet'suwet'en Nation says his counterparts won't meet with cabinet ministers in Ottawa.Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said on Parliament Hill today that they're eager to meet the Wet'suwet'en chiefs.The ministers said they would be happy to do it while some of the leaders are visiting Mohawk supporters in eastern Ontario on Friday.But Na'moks, who also goes by John Ridsdale, says that won't be possible with three senior chiefs remaining in northern British Columbia, because the group must make decisions as a unit.While the federal public safety minister says the RCMP has promised to pull out of an area in Wet'suwet'en territory, Na'moks said the chiefs also expect Coastal GasLink to take workers off the territory.———Canadian National Railway says it has received a court injunction to end a rail blockade in a suburb south of Montreal.CN spokesman Olivier Quenneville confirms the railway received the court order today.Quebec Premier Francois Legault said earlier that police would dismantle the blockade in St-Lambert as soon as an injunction was granted.He says that because the blockade is not on First Nations land, it is easier for the government to take action.He described the blockade, which was set up Wednesday, as on Quebec territory and "not on the territory of a First Nation." ———A First Nation in British Columbia's southern Interior says some of its members have set up a barricade across Canadian Pacific rail lines east of Kamloops.Members of the Neskonlith Indian Band say they set up the blockade this morning in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs opposed to construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline over traditional territories in northwestern B.C.RCMP are at the scene and Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson is also there in an effort to mediate.A spokeswoman for Canadian Pacific says the company is monitoring the situation. (CHNL) ———The federal ministers responsible for Indigenous affairs say they're ready to meet with hereditary chiefs from the Wet'suwet'en First Nation while the chiefs are in Ontario and Quebec.The traditional leaders of the B.C. first nation, who oppose a natural-gas pipeline project in their territory, are expected to visit Mohawks at Tyendinaga in Ontario and Kahanwake in Quebec.The Mohawks have raised protests in solidarity with the hereditary chiefs, including one that has blocked a key rail line in eastern Ontario.Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said on Parliament Hill today that they're eager to meet the Wet'suwet'en chiefs and would be happy to do it while they're close to Ottawa.Bennett sent a letter yesterday saying she would be in northern B.C. today if they wanted to meet with her there, before it was apparent they wouldn't be present.The RCMP say they're preparing to remove a temporary outpost on Wet'suwet'en territory, which the hereditary chiefs had set as a precondition for any talks, though they've since added a demand that the pipeline company also leave.———Ontario Premier Doug Ford is calling for stronger federal leadership to resolve protests by anti-pipeline demonstrators opposed to construction of a natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia.A statement issued by Ford's office says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must release a detailed plan and timeline for a nationwide solution to blockades that have crippled the movement of Canadian National freight trains and Via Rail passenger trains.Ford says he is adding his voice to those of other provincial leaders calling for an urgent teleconference with Trudeau to discuss the situation.The premier also says it's "imperative" that elected officials not direct police operational decisions and adds the government believes the provincial police force is "in the best position to ensure the protest remains peaceful.———A spokeswoman for a Wet'suwet'in clan says the office that issues environmental certificates for the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern British Columbia reports the company has failed to meet the conditions of its permit.The Dark House Unist'ot'en clan says the Environment Assessment Office has given Coastal GasLink, a wholly owned subsidiary of TC Energy, 30 days to provide more information.A summary provided by a Kate Gunn, a lawyer representing the clan, says the Environment Assessment Office considered the clan's concerns and rejected the company's report outlining the impacts of the natural gas pipeline in an area that includes the Unist'ot'en Healing Centre.The centre provides land-based healing practices to individuals experiencing the effects of intergenerational trauma and colonization.Dark House says the Environmental Assessment Office issued its decision on Feb. 19, rejecting the Coastal GasLink report and ordering the company to provide more detail.The decision came two weeks after enforcement of the injunction had been carried out and hereditary chiefs and their supporters had been removed from an exclusion zone around the pipeline southwest of Houston.———The Mohawk Nation has announced it will be meeting with Wet'suwet'in hereditary chiefs in a "people's council" on Friday.The nation says in a statement the gathering is being held to welcome the chiefs who have travelled from British Columbia and to discuss related political issues.It says the meeting begins with a tobacco burning at daybreak and all Mohawks are invited to attend, while media and police are not welcome.The statement says Mohawk respectfully ask that people leave their personal baggage and personal conflicts at the door in a gathering to celebrate friendship, healing, peace and optimism.———The federal agriculture minister is indicating that help could soon be on the way for farmers impacted by barricades that have virtually shut down Canada’s rail network.Marie-Claude Bibeau says 2019 and the beginning of this year have been difficult for Canada's agriculture sector.She told reporters in Ottawa today that she is looking for "practical ways" to support farmers who have been unable to get their products to market as a result of the barricades, but could not elaborate, saying she needs to speak with her cabinet colleagues first.Rail and road barricades have been erected in several locations across the country over the last two weeks in solidarity with the hereditary leaders of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, who oppose a pipeline project on their territory in northwestern B.C.———The RCMP confirms the commander of the Mountie's British Columbia division has sent a letter to Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, agreeing to discuss the future of a small contingent of officers stationed on traditional First Nation territory near the site of a disputed pipeline.The letter from Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan says she is willing to meet with the chiefs to discuss what she calls the Community Industry Safety Office, located southwest of Houston along a road leading to the area where the Coastal GasLink pipeline is under construction.Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet says the letter states that if there is continued commitment to keep the road open, the need for the police presence is "diminished or decreased."Shoihet says the letter was sent Wednesday. She says Strachan also sent an internal memo to all RCMP employees in B.C., offering her appreciation for their "professionalism" during recent enforcement of a court injunction ordering demonstrators away from the pipeline site.The memo tells members that management is aware the presence of the RCMP contingent on the road is considered by hereditary chiefs as a barrier to further dialogue, and RCMP management supports efforts now underway to find a long-term solution to the issue.———Quebec Premier Francois Legault says police will dismantle a rail blockade in St-Lambert, south of Montreal, if a court grants an injunction.He says the blockade that went up Wednesday is not on First Nations land, making it easier to take action.The blockade in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs in British Columbia was erected on CN tracks, and has disrupted rail service for suburban commuters and travellers between Montreal and Quebec City.A few dozen protesters, well stocked with supplies, tents, camping gear and firewood, are at the site today and say they plan to stay as long as RCMP remain on Wet'suwet'en lands.Snow has been piled onto tracks, with signs strung across a cord hung between rail signals.Protesters, who declined to give their names to reporters, describe themselves as supporters of the Wet'suwet'en and say they will take their direction from the B.C. First Nation's hereditary chiefs, who are contesting the Coastal GasLink pipeline project.——— Conservative leadership candidate Erin O'Toole says he would criminalize blockades of railways, air and seaports, major roads, businesses and households if he were prime minister.The Ontario MP and former cabinet minister says police should clear blockades as soon as possible without having to wait for court injunctions.Blockades set up in support of Indigenous protests of a natural-gas pipeline in British Columbia have halted rail traffic in Central Canada and temporarily blocked roads and bridges in spots across the country.O'Toole also says he would take charitable status away from any group that accepts foreign contributions and encourages blockades.To improve relations with Indigenous Peoples, O'Toole says he would fund an Aboriginal liaison officers in the RCMP.———Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the RCMP have offered to move officers away from the area where traditional leaders of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation have been opposing a pipeline on their territory.Blair says that meets the conditions set by the chiefs, who have demanded that Mounties leave their traditional lands southwest of Houston, B.C.But yesterday Chief Na'moks, one of five hereditary clan chiefs who lead the First Nation under its traditional form of governance, said pipeline builder Coastal GasLink must also pull out of the traditional territory before any meeting with provincial and federal politicians can proceed.Canada's minister in charge of Indigenous relations, Carolyn Bennett, and her B.C. counterpart Scott Fraser are in northern B.C. to meet with any of the hereditary chiefs who might be willing to talk. Na'moks, who also goes by John Ridsdale, said he is attending a funeral and is unavailable to meet today, while the other four hereditary chiefs are expected in Mohawk territory to thank members of that Ontario First Nation for their solidarity.Nationwide protests and blockades followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction earlier this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to the company's work site.——— This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    Edmonton police response performance fell 2.3 per cent last year, report finds

    The Edmonton Police Service's overall response performance fell by 2.3 per cent last year compared to 2018, according to a new report.The report found that 61 per cent of calls met the target response time. In 2018, that number was 63.3 per cent.The report was presented to the Edmonton Police Commission on Thursday afternoon. "We've got some pretty good indications and some ideas on how we're going to do this better, but I think we've got to get around the thinking that response times are the key to solving crime," police Chief Dale McFee said. "It's not."Increase in call volumes While the average response performance decreased, the volume of calls increased last year by 2.2 per cent. The report said police received 3,700 more calls than they did in 2018, which, the report said, is "in line with what one would expect from annual population growth in Edmonton." Calls are broken down into five priorities. A priority-one call means a person is at risk, with a target response time of seven minutes or less. Priority five means the nature of the offence is not time sensitive and has a target response time of three hours or less. Out of the 173,587 calls received last year, more than 92 per cent of were priority four and five calls."You can't improve the priority-one response until you do something different with the priority fours and fives," McFee said. "Because it's the same people taking these calls, right?"McFee said a focus should be reducing the volume of priority four and five calls that are "jamming the system" "We don't want people to stop calling us, we just want to have a more effective manner to get them connected to something, so they don't need to call us," he said. New deployment model McFee said EPS is looking at analytics and developing a new deployment model for 2020. The current model dates back to 2008. The new deployment model will have three superintendents in charge of two divisions each and a fourth superintendent in charge of other services, beats and crime reduction. Out of six police divisions, the EPS southwest division has the slowest response times across all calls. McFee said some of those challenges will be addressed through the new model."Now we can actually deploy resources based on trends and patterns in real time … to hopefully alleviate some of this," he said. "We've divided the city into these divisions, but we've never looked at the city as a whole city."

  • University Of Guelph’s Toxic Running Culture Made Me Think It Was All Normal
    News
    HuffPost Canada

    University Of Guelph’s Toxic Running Culture Made Me Think It Was All Normal

    I ended up sacrificing my body and self-esteem, and for what?

  • News
    CBC

    UARB considers Cumberland County council chop

    Cumberland County representatives have asked the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to cut the number of seats around its council table from 13 to 8, based on a dwindling population.Cumberland has the largest council of any of the rural municipalities and has absorbed communities of Parrsboro and Springhill since 2015. Even so, the population of the municipality is in rapid decline.Between 1996 and 2016, the number of people has decreased by about 3,400 to 19,401. Public consultations indicate that a significant majority of residents prefer a council of 10 or less.Cumberland's application for eight districts, heard Thursday before the UARB, would mean the number of voters in each one would range from about 1,800 to 2,100."I think it will be quite workable," said Warden Allison Gillis in an interview."There may be some glitches, there usually is when changes are made, but they will be dealt with as they come along."Current councillors file objectionsNo one from the public made a presentation to the board, although there were two written submissions from current councillors who object to the proposal.Donald Fletcher wrote that "10 would have been the right number going forward" and that he would not be reoffering this fall because "the new district will set a councillor up for failure due to the size of the district."Deputy Warden Ernest Gilbert also wrote "eight councillors are too few and the districts too large," and suggested that Cumberland remain with 13 seats for the next four years and then reduce to 10."I agree, some of the districts will be larger and it will mean a fair bit more travel for whoever is the councillor," said Gillis."But in this day and age, we get around easily with our vehicles unless there's a storm."A decision on the size of council and the boundaries of the districts has to be made in time for the municipal elections across Nova Scotia in October.The board usually rules within 60 days of a hearing.Cumberland County council has already voted to switch from a system with a warden, who is chosen from elected councillors, to one with a mayor, who is elected at large by the voters.Surveys done within the municipality showed a clear preference for this change, even though only five of the 21 rural municipalities have made such a switch.The board does not have to rule on this issue.MORE TOP STORIES

  • News
    CBC

    Spill from latest Sask. oil train derailment larger than thought

    The Saskatchewan government says more oil spilled than previously thought during a train derailment earlier this month near the small hamlet of Guernsey. Citing new information from CP Rail, the government says roughly 1.6 million litres of diluted bitumen were spilled after a train jumped the tracks on Feb. 6, up from an initial estimate of 1.2 million litres.  The estimate increased "because more oil spilled over the course of the emergency and crews were unable to stop leaks until the fires were extinguished," a government spokesperson said Thursday. The new amount is more than six times what was released into the North Saskatchewan River in the 2016 Husky Energy pipeline spill. It was the second crash and spill near Guernsey — a community about 100 kilometres east of Saskatoon — in less than two months. During the first, on Dec. 9, 2019, 1.5 million litres of oil was released. The government said both spills were contained to the railway and highway ditches and impacted "relatively small areas."CP has said no waterways were affected in either crash."Next steps include the development of a site remediation plan to address all environmental impacts resulting from the derailment," the government spokesperson said. "Remediation and management of the derailment site is expected to take several months to complete."

  • Surviving passenger in fatal drunk-driving crash testifies in trial over party hosts' liability
    News
    CBC

    Surviving passenger in fatal drunk-driving crash testifies in trial over party hosts' liability

    A man suing the hosts of a party he attended before getting into a deadly impaired driving crash as a teenager testified during a civil trial in B.C. Supreme Court this week, telling the court how the rollover changed the course of his life.Calder McCormick suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash after a house party on Salt Spring Island on Sept. 15, 2012. The driver, another teen, was killed.McCormick was 17 years old at the time.His injuries and their effect on his career, relationships and personality were raised in his testimony Wednesday and Thursday as his legal team builds its civil case against the couple who owned the home where the party was held eight years ago.McCormick is suing the hosts, Stephen and Lidia Pearson, for negligence. He claims they owed him a duty of care as their teenage guest. The lawsuit said the couple should have done more to stem underage alcohol consumption in their home and should have tried to stop him from leaving and getting in the car.None of McCormick's claims have been proven in court. The Pearsons have denied the allegations.The trial will examine the law around social host liability in B.C. and how it might relate to minors. The issue is still relatively novel, and a trial judgment in the case could set a standard for how liable adult hosts might be held if underage partygoers injure themselves or someone else after they leave.Aspiring carpenterMcCormick, now 24, told the court he used to love riding his BMX bike before the crash. He described himself as an A or B student at Gulf Islands Secondary School, excelling in shop and woodworking classes.He said he wanted to graduate high school early and begin pursuing a career in carpentry, having already explored apprenticeships. At the time of the crash, he had just started Grade 12.McCormick, dressed in a dark suit, said he and his fraternal twin brother each wanted to study trades at Camosun College, on nearby Vancouver Island, after graduation. "I thought we might volunteer at the fire department together," McCormick told the court.He went on to describe how his brother did go to Camosun and became an electrician, and how his twin eventually trained as a paramedic and volunteered at the firehall without him.McCormick said he now lives in Victoria and receives disability benefits. He said he uses marijuana to manage his pain and can't balance well enough to ride a bike anymore.His lawyer claims he'll never be "competitively employable" due to his injuries.McCormick was a passenger in the 2012 crash on the Island's North End Road. The driver, Ryan Plambeck, had been at the same party.On Wednesday, McCormick told the court he had no interest in excessive drinking as a teen but did experiment with alcohol and marijuana and had consumed alcohol at the party.McCormick described his general drinking activities as "definitely not too often and definitely not that much."The latter characterization has been disputed by the host, the Pearson defendants.In their response to McCormick's civil claim, the couple said the teen and his parents were ultimately the ones responsible for his safety. "His age and experience was such to leave him accountable and responsible for his choices, notwithstanding his legal status as a minor," the response read.They also claimed McCormick had a history of using alcohol and marijuana while he was with friends, and said that was something of which his parents were aware.McCormick told the court he believes others at the party forced him into the vehicle with Plambeck, before they drove away from the party.A coroner's report said Plambeck, 18, had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit the night of the crash.McCormick included Plambeck in his original statement of claim. A settlement was reached between McCormick and Plambeck's estate on Tuesday.The trial is expected to continue for several weeks.

  • Musicians heat up 5 Calgary stages for annual Block Heater Festival
    News
    CBC

    Musicians heat up 5 Calgary stages for annual Block Heater Festival

    The Block Heater Music Festival kicks off tonight, featuring 38 artists at five venues, making music on everything from turntables to banjos. Music fans in Calgary are looking forward to the annual winter music festival, which organizers have dubbed "the ultimate cure for cabin fever" — but some may find themselves overwhelmed at the packed roster of local and international performers, playing over three days on five stages.Luckily, CBC music aficionados have come forward with a bit of guidance. One of the CBC's top music fans, Katherine Duncan, considers herself lucky that she will meet a few of her "top picks" when she records them for her weekly radio show, The Key of A.Duncan plans to be in the audience for nêhiyawak, the Indigenous trio from Treaty 6 (Edmonton), who just won the Edmonton Music Prize and has been nominated for a Juno for Indigenous Artist of the Year. Nêhiyawak performs Friday and Saturday on two stages.She is also reserving a spot for award-winning singer Karimah, who will be performing with a five-piece band on the SkyBridge at Studio Bell on Saturday night. The R&B singer-songwriter competed on The Voice Canada in 2017, when she reached the top 24.Duncan has also got her eye on classically trained pianist and singer Laura Hickli, who will perform a solo show on Saturday afternoon at the King Eddy. As a bonus, Hickli will be playing with another of her "local faves," 36?."They'd also be a pick with their wildly original and varied songs, and terrific stage act," Duncan said. Last but not least, Lynn Olangundoye will be burning up the "Stand and Command" stage at the Central Library on Saturday night with a 10-piece band, including two poets — part of the Black Future Month lineup at Block Heater. "I will definitely be in the audience for that one," Duncan said of the R&B powerhouse.The fifth annual festival is put on by the Calgary Folk Music Festival and runs through Saturday at five venues: Festival Hall, the Ironwood Stage & Grill, Gorilla Whale restaurant/lounge in Inglewood, the King Eddy at Studio Bell and the Central Library in the East Village.This year, a packed lineup includes a roster of local and international performers and includes DJ Shub, Son Little, Hannah Georgas, Del Barber, Kid Koala and Justin Rutledge.The lineup is also packed with local talent, including Calgary singer/songwriter Amy Nelson, who plays the banjo. During Block Heater shows, she'll be performing with a full band of lap steel, drums, washboard, bass — mostly originals, with some traditional banjo songs.Nelson checked in for a chat with the Calgary Eyeopener this week to share her love of making music."I think that music used to be something that was in everybody's home as a way of connecting to community, and we've kind of lost that," she said. "Where only the people who play music are the performers we go and see on a stage, instead of realizing that it is actually fun to do that in your kitchen, and it is fun to do that at a party, and just to hang out, people playing music."Nelson said she taught herself to play one of her favourite instruments, the banjo."I love how primitive sounding it is, it takes you back to before, you know, technology and before things were plugged in, because honestly the banjo sounds best when it's not plugged in, when it's just acoustic," she said. "I love the guitar, too, but the banjo, there's something very surreal and spiritual about it." Nelson said once she found the older style of music, she embraced it."There's this whole style and sound of music that is raw and honest in ways that it's not about being perfect, it's really more about the emotion of it," she said. "That old music really taps into that. I think of times when I've been at a festival where sometimes it is just somebody playing a very simple old traditional folk song and it does take you back. It reminds you of like before, you know, we had computers and cellphones constantly going off."Nelson performs Thursday night and Saturday.CBC's associate producer Nathan Godfrey, musician and music aficionado in his own right, brought Nelson to the show to give listener's a taste of this fresh new voice.He also has his eye on a few other acts at the festival, like Canadian banjo player Jayme Stone."He's been learning and performing songs from field recordings made by folklorist Alan Lomax in the 1940s and '50s," Godfrey said. "So Jayme's been digging deep into an interesting repertoire."Godfrey also recommends The Weather Station, a folk group out of Toronto. "The songwriters I know all rave about her lyrics," he said of singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman.And then there's the Mexican roots music of David Wax Museum."This band fuses Americana music with a style of Mexican roots music called son jarocho. They play a traditional eight-stringed instrument called the Jarana, from the Mexican state of Vera Cruz."Banff singer/songwriter Amelie Patterson also dropped into the CBC Calgary newsroom for a chat with Jim Brown on The Homestretch this week.Patterson said she looks forward to putting on a great show when she hits the stage in the city that gave her first release, Roll Honey Roll, a YYC Music Award."I'm delighted and really proud of our city, and proud of the local artists that are playing," Patterson told The Homestretch. "And I'm proud to be representing really for the local Calgary artists."For Patterson, music was a calling that she thought she needed to set aside for a more serious schooling. But Patterson, whose parents are both doctors, eventually abandoned her biology degree, and her plans to become a veterinarian, to pursue a career in music.Patterson was named Banff's first poet laureate, and she now performs a lot of spoken word poetry in her act."I always say that if you have talent, and you have drive, you're very fortunate — even though it's a tough road and arts is not always smooth sailing, but nothing worth doing is," she said. "And I always feel very grateful that I found the thing that really gets my heart going."She'll perform her special brand of alternative folk music and spoken word at the King Eddy tonight.Here's the complete lineup of performers for this week's Block Heater Festival: * 36? * AfrotroniX. * Amelie Patterson. * Amy Nelson. * Bella White. * Boogát. * Carmanah. * Carsie Blanton. * Cécile Doo-Kingué. * Chad VanGaalen. * David Wax Museum. * Del Barber. * DJ Shub. * Élage Diouf. * Geoffroy. * Hannah Epperson. * Hannah Georgas. * Jayme Stone's Folklife. * Jess Knights. * Jom Comyn. * Justin Rutledge. * Karimah. * Kid Koala. * Laura Hickli.  * Lynn Olagundoye. * Marlaena Moore.  * nêhiyawak. * Richard Inman. * Sam Lynch. * Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar. * Shane Koyczan. * Son Little. * Sunglaciers. * Angelique Francis * Tchutchu. * Villages. * The Weather Station. * Wyatt C. Louis.The festival schedule and ticket/pass information can be found on the Block Heater website.With files from The Homestretch and the Calgary Eyeopener.

  • 'Together we can make it better:' Mohawk faithkeeper explains the spiritual importance of Tyendinaga
    News
    CBC

    'Together we can make it better:' Mohawk faithkeeper explains the spiritual importance of Tyendinaga

    In Tyendinaga, Ont., on May 6, 1990, two Haudenosaunee Confederacy chiefs gathered with others on the shores of the Bay of Quinte to hold a ceremony in the midst of a smouldering crisis in a sister Mohawk community.Ka'nahsohon, who also goes by Kevin Deer, was at that ceremony and believes that now, 30 years later, there is a reason Canada's focus is on Tyendinaga."It is not coincidental that this May, three months from now will be the 30th anniversary of that sacred intervention we evoked. We are back there now," said Ka'nahsohon. "This is sacred land, that is where the Peacemaker was born."A few days before the May 1990 ceremony, two men had been killed in the Mohawk community of Akwesasne, about 250 km east of Tyendinaga, as a result of a political conflict over gaming.And on the horizon, the beginnings of what would become the Oka Crisis of 1990 was stirring in Kanesatake, Que., about 300 km east of Tyendinaga.The ceremony was held near Eagle Hill where the Peacemaker, who brought unity to the five original Haudenosaunee nations long before Europeans arrived on the continent, was born centuries earlier during an eclipse when the corn stalks were high. The ceremony called for the return of the Peacemaker, said Ka'nahsohon.Ka'nahsohon, from the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, Que., attended a meeting on Saturday between federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and Mohawk representatives in Tyendinaga.An ongoing demonstration by Mohawks from Tyendinaga who have set up two camps along CN rail lines has shut down  passenger and freight train traffic. The demonstrations were launched Feb. 6 in support of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and camps built to stop construction of the $6 billion Coastal GasLink pipeline. Earlier this month, B.C. RCMP enforced an injunction against those preventing contractors from accessing the area for construction.The Mohawks of Tyendinaga have said they would remain by the railway until the RCMP withdrew from Wet'suwet'en territory. Ka'nahsohon was appointed to be the runner for a condoled Haudenosaunee Confederacy chief who could not attend so he asked Deer to be his "eyes and ears" at the meeting Saturday. A condoled chief sits on the Grand Council that forms the leadership of the Confederacy.The Confederacy is the traditional government of the Haudenosaunee and operates separately from band councils that run First Nations. The Confederacy was originally five nations— Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth nation, the Tuscarora, joined the Confederacy in 1722.Ka'nahsohon said he spoke in the meeting from a spiritual perspective and mentioned the May 6, 1990, ceremony and how the spiritual manifestation that arose then is still at work now."The only thing that I talked about was when we called for the return of the Peacemaker, what happened when we did and why we are on this sacred land," he said. "I was talking about the history."'Holding the peace'Tyendinaga Elder Katsitsiase Maracle often visits the camps by the railway lines to "make sure they are holding on to the peace" in these times."That is why I am going … just to check to see how they are doing because I love them and I don't want anything to happen to them," said Katsitsiase, who was also there at the May 1990 ceremony.Katsitsiase said she has grown worried about the chill she is starting to feel when she goes to Tim Hortons or other shops outside the reserve. "I went to a couple of Timmies in different places," said Katsitsiase. "If you use your band card now they just look at you. Just the look on their faces tells you. And some of the clerks are very sharp with you, they are very upset with what's going on... I don't blame them personally, it's the leadership outside our territories."However, Katsitsiase said there is something bigger happening around them and it is connected to the threat of climate change facing the planet. "I think what is happening right now is putting it out there in a way of saying, 'Wake up people. Look, open your eyes to what is happening in the world,'" she said. "It just isn't about here. If you want a future for your children, then we better take some responsibility for what is happening today. We can't keep fracking and keep doing all the terrible things to the Earth, she is living."Ka'nahsohon said this is the time for peace. "As people's lives get inconvenienced, patience begins to wear thin and then emotions start to boil over. We have to appeal to each and every Canadian that there is something bigger that is unfolding here," he said."We need to come from the place of love, we need to come from the place of peace. We need to come from the place of forgiveness and together we can make it better." 'The bigger picture'Ka'nahsohon, who was involved in peacemaking attempts during the 1990 Oka Crisis, is a Longhouse faithkeeper, meaning he ensures sacred ceremonies, speeches, songs and dances are performed correctly at their appropriate times in the annual cycle.Ka'nahsohon said he believes the events that are unfolding in Tyendinaga are part of a bigger shift felt across the globe.  "Now we have to act from a different set of values that talks about mutual love respect and understanding," he said. "If we are going to be mindful of those future generations coming, we have to put our best thinking forward, because the status quo is not working. What are we going to ask ourselves? What can we do together to make it better? And we cannot come from having an ulterior motive and not being completely honest and truthful with each other." Looking back at that day in May in 1990, Ka'nahsohon said the ceremony was the beginning of a spiritual awakening that is cresting today."And this is the bigger picture that is unfolding here right now. The Indigenous spiritual resurrection is here. We are who we have been waiting for. This movement, it has nothing to do with an individual, it is the empowerment of the people who rise up to the occasion who have been infused with the power of the Great Spirit," he said. "And as a result of this infusion of this sacred energy within the seed of their souls, it is helping them to understand the interconnectedness and sacredness of all life. We cannot destroy each other as human beings or the natural environment that we refer to as Mother Earth."Katsitsiase said there is an environmental tumult facing the Earth but it's not to late to change the present for the future."We still have a chance. Some people say it's too late, but it's not too late. The rivers still flow and move and our mother is still supporting us," said Katsitsiase. "We still have a chance in spite of what some of these scientists are saying. We still have a chance to give our children, our grandchildren and those future generations, hope."The B.C. RCMP informed the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs on Wednesday via letter that the force is prepared to withdraw a mobile detachment from their territory along a forestry road and then police the area from the nearby Houston, B.C., detachment. Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs are expected to meet with Tyendinaga community members on Friday.

  • P.E.I. groups applaud proposed changes to residential tenancy legislation
    News
    CBC

    P.E.I. groups applaud proposed changes to residential tenancy legislation

    Some Island advocacy groups say they welcome the suggested changes in draft legislation for the Residential Tenancy Act, which was released Thursday.The new legislation would replace the 30-year-old Rental of Residential Properties Act, and aims to provide additional protections for Island landlords and tenants."Mostly we're very excited to see that the government is including public consultation as a part of this process," said Hannah Gehrels, a member of the P.E.I. Fight for Affordable Housing group. "We're really excited to participate."Under the new legislation, changes have been proposed to deal with the issue of renovictions — landlords evicting a tenant under the premise of conducting repairs or renovations to a unit. Two months' notice to try to find somewhere with our low vacancy rate is almost impossible. — Hannah Gehrels, P.E.I. Fight for Affordable HousingWith the changes, landlords would be required to provide six months' notice to tenants facing such an eviction, up from the current 60 days. The renovations would also have to be extensive enough as to require a building permit and for the unit to be vacant.Tenants who had to leave an apartment because of renovations would also have the right of first refusal when it goes back on the market, under the proposed legislation.Gehrels said those changes are responding to a real need in the community."Hearing people who are renovicted quite regularly and only given two months' notice to try to find somewhere with our low vacancy rate is almost impossible," Gehrels said."It puts people in a really, really tough situation. We are glad to see some things responding to that in these proposed changes."Changes for people experiencing domestic violenceAnother proposed change in the draft legislation would allow victims of domestic violence to exit a lease agreement early, after providing at least one month's notice.That would bring those rules in line with other provinces."It's very damaging for people to have bad references in the rental community," said Danya O'Malley, executive director of P.E.I. Family Violence Prevention Services."So if they have a lease and they break it or they're worried about breaking it — they may be worried about that impacting their ability to rent housing down the road."O'Malley said the proposed changes, if put in place, will remove barriers and support people moving on from abuse. She said it can decrease the overall risk that people experience as a result of living in an unsafe situation.More from CBC P.E.I.

  • York regional police charge 3 teens with violent bank robbery in Markham
    Global News

    York regional police charge 3 teens with violent bank robbery in Markham

    Catherine McDonald has more on the concerning spike in holdups across the Greater Toronto Area in recent months.

  • Downtown Mission purchase of Windsor Public Library Central branch falls through
    News
    CBC

    Downtown Mission purchase of Windsor Public Library Central branch falls through

    The Downtown Mission has announced its deal to move into the Central branch of the Windsor Public Library building has fallen through.Executive director Ron Dunn said the organization was not able to secure a mortgage because of a funding deficit over a two-year period, adding the location has been sold to a new developer."Since we made the announcement of the library in March, you could start to see the decline in donations from certain groups. So we just had a deficit — at a time when the need has exploded," Dunn said. ""It left us in a position to have to quickly come up with a new plan."That alternative plan came with the help of two donors, allowing the Mission to purchase another property at 819 Ouellette Ave. for $1.2 million — with plans to construct a new building there.On Feb. 28, the Central branch will be "assigned" — or handed over — to the new developer. That same day, the Downtown Mission will take over the vacant lot at 819 Ouellette Ave."That got us back our deposit money which we're really happy about. We're not losing any money," he said. "It's lemonade out of lemons. We were out of time. We were out of options. So getting our money back was helpful."The original plan would have seen 50 apartment-style "dwellings" constructed in the Central branch, providing affordable housing for people who really need it."There's 6,000 people on a waiting list [for housing] right now ... 50 apartments is not a game-changer. But it's a game-changer for 50 people."Due to a lack of space, those units won't be a part of the new build."While we're really sad about the loss of the housing components, which were so desperately needed, it does remove a nearly a $9-million mortgage we would've had," said Dunn. "We'll be able to build a small building there based on the generosity of our donors."Why funding fell throughThe Downtown Mission's current location on Victoria Avenue was built in 2000 "to help 100 people a day." But according to Dunn, the Mission regularly serves about 908 meals a day on average."The truth is, we underestimated how angry some people would be about us purchasing the library," said Dunn, adding some didn't want the Downtown Mission based on Ouellette Avenue, while others don't want them anywhere."Since we made the announcement, we've seen a decline in support," he added.The library was sold to the Downtown Mission in May 2018 for $3.6 million.Dunn acknowledged the concerns from library users who were not happy about the sale, but said that decision wasn't up to him."You can't buy what's not for sale," said Dunn, adding there was major fallout from the purchase."We also had people that said, 'If you can afford a library, you don't need our 20 dollars.' But what they failed to understand and what we've been trying to tell them is that we're going to get a mortgage just like everybody else."Dunn added with their current funds, the Downtown Mission could still afford to purchase the Central branch. However, without being able to secure a mortgage, renovations there would not have been possible.Tap on the tweet below to watch Dunn's full announcement:Last March, the Mission set a fundraising goal of $5.1 million, with the aim of moving all programming and services from the Victoria Avenue location to the Central library by June 2020.Dunn said, during that time, he approached council for an extension on securing a mortgage, but that was not granted."We raised more money in 2019 than we did in 2018. The challenge is the need far outgrew our ability to raise money," said Dunn, referring to the Downtown Mission as "ground zero" for the housing crisis and mental health service needs.In recent months, the Mission has reduced spending, staff and programming, Dunn said."To not have a mortgage should say to our supporters that we're being fiscally responsible," he said.An emotional announcementSpeaking to CBC News following Thursday's press conference, Dunn fought back tears discussing the "tireless work" his team did to design the Central library under the Mission's vision.Every wall, every element and the programming that went around it was a result of many years of work," said Dunn, adding "people vote with their money.""I really believed that I was following a plan that was supported. It became clear that it was not," he said.Dunn said the Downtown Mission will still continue to serve its clients in a "smaller, scaled-back capacity," continuing to offer programs like giving hair cuts, providing counselling and operating a food bank.With its current location on Victoria Avenue having already been sold to a private buyer for $900,000, Dunn said the Downtown Mission has between eight months and a year — starting Sept. 2020 — to move out.Referring to the yet-to-be-built property on 819 Ouellette Avenue as "condensed," Dunn said it will include a new kitchen and dining room, an office space for counselling and a small area for people to worship — all mortgage-free.The estimated size of the property is pegged at about 6,000 to 8,000 square feet.

  • Weinstein jurors focus on Sciorra as deliberations drag on
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Weinstein jurors focus on Sciorra as deliberations drag on

    NEW YORK — Deliberating for a third day, the jury at Harvey Weinstein's trial continued Thursday to focus a lot of attention on actress Annabella Sciorra’s linchpin allegations that the once-heralded Hollywood mogul raped and sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s.Jurors, before being dismissed for the day without a verdict, sent the judge a note asking to hear a reading Sciorra’s testimony when they return to court on Friday.The jury has already looked at emails that Weinstein sent regarding Sciorra, including ones to the private Israeli spy agency he allegedly enlisted to dig up dirt on would-be accusers as reporters were working on stories about allegations against him in 2017.In previous days, there has been a flurry of notes requesting to rehear testimony and see pieces of evidence that marked the first two days of deliberations.Sciorra's allegations are too old to be charged on their own because of the statute of limitations in effect at the time. But, because of a quirk in the law on charging someone as a sexual predator, they are key to the most serious charges that jurors are weighing in the closely watched MeToo case.Weinstein, 67, is charged with five counts stemming from the allegations of Sciorra and two other women — an aspiring actress who says he raped her in March 2013 and a former film and TV production assistant, Mimi Haleyi, who says he forcibly performed oral sex on her in March 2006.Sciorra's account is the basis for two counts of predatory sexual assault, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. The charge requires prosecutors to show that a defendant committed a prior rape or other sex crime, but doesn't have the time constraints that would bar Sciorra's allegations from consideration.To convict Weinstein of that charge, jurors must agree on two things: that Weinstein raped or sexually assaulted Sciorra and that he committed one of the other charged offences.The Associated Press has a policy of not publishing the names of people who allege sexual assault without their consent. It is withholding the name of the rape accuser because it isn’t clear whether she wishes to be identified publicly.Weinstein has maintained that any sexual contact was consensual.Sciorra was the first accuser to testify and took the witness stand nearly a month ago, telling jurors how Weinstein barged into her Manhattan apartment and raped and forcibly performed oral sex on her in late 1993 or early 1994. She said the encounter initially left her confused about what had happened.When asked if she thought she had been raped, Sciorra replied: “I didn't really know.... I don't know because I thought he was a nice person.”Jurors signalled their interest in Sciorra soon after deliberations got underway on Tuesday, sending a note seeking clarity on why Weinstein wasn't charged with other crimes stemming from her allegation. The judge replied that they "must not speculate as to any other charges that are not before you.”The jury of seven men and five women finished Wednesday's deliberations by revisiting actress Rosie Perez’s testimony about what she says Sciorra told her soon after the alleged assault.Perez said her friend Sciorra had told her at some point in 1993, her voice shaking on the phone, that something had happened to her: “I think it was rape.”Perez testified that months later, on a phone call from London, Sciorra said Weinstein was harassing her and she was scared.“I said, ‘He’s the one that raped you,’” and they both began crying, Perez testified.“Please go to the police,” Perez said she told Sciorra.She said Sciorra responded: “I can’t — he’d destroy me.”Weinstein’s lawyers have attempted to cast doubt on Sciorra's suggestion that she couldn't deflect Weinstein's advances and felt powerless to hold him accountable.“Annabella is not a shrinking violet,” defence lawyer Donna Rotunno told jurors in closing arguments.Michael R. Sisak And Tom Hays, The Associated Press

  • 2 impaired drivers busted as Regina police roll out new THC-screening device
    News
    CBC

    2 impaired drivers busted as Regina police roll out new THC-screening device

    The Regina Police Service say two people have tested positive for THC after the service put a new tool called the SoToxa into use last week.Officers received a 911 call on Feb. 13 alerting them to an potentially impaired driver on the roadway. Cpl. Andree Sieber tracked the male driver down and used the SoToxa device: the driver tested positive for THC impairment. "This is the first roadside test carried out by our police service," a statement from the RPS said.Sieber clarified during a Thusday press conference that last week's impaired driving charge was the first time a charge had been laid using the SoToxa device.Then, another driver was charged with impaired driving Thursday morning after testing from the same device.Sieber was aware of at least two instances where police used a Dräger device — another Criminal Code-approved device — that led to impaired driving charges.The device only registers a positive reading when it detects 25 nanograms of THC or higher. The legal limit for THC while driving is five nanograms.  Sieber noted that even if a driver passes a SoToxa test, they may still be impaired and as a Drug Recognition Expert, she can still continue to investigate for possible impairment through other methods.The SoToxa device is new to the police department; it's also smaller and more portable than a Dräger device.A swab is mounted at the end of a plastic tip on the device. The person taking the test is directed to put the swab in their mouth to collect oral fluids. The swab is then placed into a cartridge and inserted into the device; it takes about eight minutes to read a sample and provide a positive or negative result.Sieber said there are four officers trained to use the SoToxa device in the field.  She completed her SoToxa training on Feb. 10 and said the department plans to train more frontline members to use the device.Device is susceptible to coldThe statement from Regina Police Service said the device is sensitive to extreme temperatures. "It can't be exposed to temperatures below 5-degrees Celsius or above 35-degrees Celsius," the statement said. As a result the device is kept inside a police vehicle that's running or parked indoors, or an officer brings it indoors. The person who tested positive for THC while driving last Thursday was sitting inside the police vehicle when the test was administered.

  • New threats emerge in outbreak while China voices optimism
    News
    The Canadian Press

    New threats emerge in outbreak while China voices optimism

    BEIJING — Chinese health officials expressed new optimism Thursday over the deadly virus outbreak while authorities in South Korea’s fourth-largest city urged residents to hunker down as fears nagged communities far from the illness’ epicenter.The confidence voiced by China’s government came as it reported a reduced number of new infections. But doubts remained about the true trajectory of the epidemic as China again changed its method of counting and new threats emerged outside the country.“The downward trend will not be reversed,” insisted Ding Xiangyang, deputy chief secretary of the State Council and a member of the central government’s supervision group.Whatever promises were aired where the illness poses its biggest threat, countries around the world continued to grapple with the rippling effects. The latest front in the widening global fight against COVID-19 emerged in Daegu, South Korea, where the city's 2.5 million residents were urged to stay inside, wearing masks even indoors to stem further infection.Mayor Kwon Young-jin made a nationally televised appeal for those preventative measures, warning that a rash of new cases could overwhelm the health system. He pleaded for help from the country’s central government.Daegu and surrounding towns reported 35 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday.The flare-up came more than 1,400 kilometres (900 miles) from COVID-19’s epicenter across the Yellow Sea in China's Hubei province and its capital of Wuhan, a sign of the risks the virus potentially poses to communities across the region and beyond.“Everything that is not known about this is causing concern,” said Dr. David Heymann, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.Though all but about 1,000 of more than 75,000 reported cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in China, scattered cases have erupted elsewhere.Iran announced three more infections Thursday, a day after it reported its first two deaths stemming from the virus, and South Korea reported its first fatality. Japan said two former passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship had died of the illness, bringing the death toll there to three.A total of 11 deaths have been confirmed outside mainland China, including two in Hong Kong and one each in France, the Philippines and Taiwan.The trajectory of the outbreak remained clouded by China’s zigzagging daily reports of new cases and shifting ways of tallying them.The number of new cases in China declined again Thursday, to 394, a notable shift from the 1,749 figure released a day earlier. Another 114 deaths in China were linked to the virus.But those statistics came after yet another change in how cases are counted.Last week, China’s National Health Commission said officials in Hubei would record new infections without waiting for laboratory test results, relying instead on doctors’ diagnoses and lung imaging. But on Thursday it returned to its prior way of counting, a decision sure to aggravate observers who say consistency is key to understanding COVID-19’s path.The health commission said it was reducing its count of infections by 279 after lab tests found they had wrongly been included in the tally.Feng Yong, an official for health matters at the Chinese diplomatic mission in Geneva, said the reason for the reversal was that the country's laboratory capacity had improved dramatically so all patients can now be tested.Last week, when the methodology was changed, “we did not have enough capacity to give laboratory tests,” Feng told The Associated Press. “So that’s the reason we included all the suspected cases, in order to let them get treatment."“Now we have the laboratory capacity, so now they can adjust the case definition again,” he said.Cities in Hubei with a combined population of more than 60 million have been under lockdown since the Lunar New Year holiday. Authorities halted nearly all transportation and movement except for quarantine efforts, medical care, and delivery of food and basic necessities. “Wartime” measures were implemented in some places, with residents prevented from even leaving their apartments.The stringent moves have followed public fury over Hubei authorities' handling of the outbreak at its outset. The risk of human-to-human transmission was played down and doctors who tried to warn the public were reprimanded by police. Wuhan residents reported overcrowding in hospitals and futile attempts to seek treatment.Many countries have also set up border screenings and airlines have cancelled flights to and from China to prevent further spread of the disease, which has been detected in about two dozen countries.___Associated Press journalists Jamey Keaten in Geneva; Marilynn Marchione in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Aniruddha Ghosal in New Delhi; Katie Tam in Hong Kong and researcher Yu Bing in Beijing contributed to this report.Ken Moritsugu, The Associated Press

  • News
    CBC

    Calgary police apologize, cancel insensitive social media campaign, while also defending it

    Calgary's top cop has apologized for a social media campaign that playfully mocked wanted individuals, contradicting a savvy social media constable who vigorously defended it just days earlier.The ValenCrimes campaign was successful in many ways according to police but the Valentine's Day-themed posts were deleted online on Thursday."We recognized that while a good portion of the public supported the ValenCrimes initiative, we were persuaded by the thoughtful and well-reasoned commentary of the segment who expressed concern," said Chief Mark Neufeld in a statement. "We appreciate how the messaging could be received as lacking in sensitivity and respect."We appreciate the feedback you have provided regarding the 2020 ValenCrimes initiative and offer apologies to those who may have been offended."The series of social media posts involved Valentine's Day cards themed for wanted individuals."We just took a DNA test & turns out we're 100% still looking for you" one CPS post read, referencing lyrics from singer Lizzo.A criminal defence lawyer raised concerns, arguing that people featured were accused and had not been convicted.In posts on Twitter that have now appear to have been deleted, Const. Mark Smith defended the posts, saying "the majority of Calgarians seem to approve." "There are literally thousands of positive comments from today's campaign. I guess as the saying goes, 'don't commit crime if you can't handle the heat!'" he wrote in response to one critic.In his statement released Thursday, Neufeld said the use of humour tends to generate a higher response and tips than regular warrant posts."Generally speaking, the public response across all platforms was positive," he said. "We did note some variability between platforms. In particular, we received some thoughtful comments and dialogue on Twitter expressing concern that the ValenCrimes posts lacked sensitivity and may be stigmatizing for the individuals profiled." A review was conducted after the Family Day long weekend, Neufeld said, and it was determined that the campaign will not return in 2021."It is important for us to be regarded as a police service that cares about its citizens — all of them — and can be trusted even by those facing difficult situations [or] are involved with the criminal justice system," he said.

  • Funding overhaul for non-profits will have 'winners and losers'
    News
    CBC

    Funding overhaul for non-profits will have 'winners and losers'

    Starting next month, hundreds of non-profit organizations across Ottawa will be eligible to apply for millions of dollars in stable funding, a right that has long been limited to a select number of groups.For nearly 20 years, more than 100 organizations representing everything from food banks to community drop-in centres to addiction programs have divvied up a $24-million funding pie, but other groups have long argued they deserve a crack at some of those stable dollars. The city says the new, open process lets it focus on three priorities — poverty reduction, community development and social infrastructure — while also giving underrepresented sectors including youth, LGBT and Indigenous groups a chance to apply for consistent funding. But it also means more organizations are fighting for a piece of the same pie, now worth about $25 million.Funding free-for-allThe Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre has been receiving around $1 million a year under the old funding model.But Luc Ouellette, the centre's executive director, said the organization understands that money is no longer guaranteed, and will be conscious of that while drafting its finding proposal."We have people who are living in poverty in Orléans and everywhere in the city, so we will make sure our proposal well [represents] this need in our community," he said.Ouellette's organization will be able to apply for funding next month, and will find out by July how much it can bank on for 2021.3 funding modelsAn allocation committee will choose organizations based on how their proposals fit the city's priorities, and decide what kind of funding they'll receive. A five-year, long-term sustainability fund can be used for everything from rent and staffing to crisis intervention and other programming needs. A three-year community fund will only be open to groups that don't receive sustainability funding, and would allow those organizations to respond to "unmet, complex and/or emerging community needs and pressures." There's also a brand new emerging and emergency needs fund that will be directed to priority neighbourhood or community initiatives.Because more organizations will be fighting for the same bucket of money, the city's also including $500,000 in transition funding for those organizations that inevitably end up losing funding they've received in previous years. There are specific needs that we're looking to fund and support and as part of that, obviously, there will be winners and losers. \- Coun. Mathieu Fleury"We have priority neighbourhoods. There are specific needs that we're looking to fund and support and as part of that, obviously, there will be winners and losers," said Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury."Every group's excited because every group thinks they're going to get more money. The reality is that it will have impacts ... positive for [some] and negative for others."Fleury admitted it's a small amount of money to dole out to so many groups addressing so many priorities."We know there's a bigger need than $25 million, absolutely, but I think it's important for council and the city to do its renewal and its review."Smaller organizations and those with little experience writing funding proposals will have a chance to take advantage of a grant proposal writing workshop this spring.

  • B.C.'s High Income Tax. How Does It Compare To What Bernie Sanders Wants?
    News
    HuffPost Canada

    B.C.'s High Income Tax. How Does It Compare To What Bernie Sanders Wants?

    B.C. is taxing the rich on a smaller scale.

  • Human brain found in Toronto Canada Post shipment bound for U.S.
    News
    Yahoo News Canada

    Human brain found in Toronto Canada Post shipment bound for U.S.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection are currently investigating why a brain was sent to Wisconsin from Toronto in a package labelled “Antique Teaching Specimen.”

  • 'Sad and angry': parents frustrated as kindergarten lottery leaves closest school out of range
    News
    CBC

    'Sad and angry': parents frustrated as kindergarten lottery leaves closest school out of range

    Eli Puterman and his husband Dave had to read the letter from the Vancouver School Board two or three times before accepting its contents and turning in for a restless night.The letter informed them their four-year-old son, Zev, had not received a kindergarten spot in the school in their catchment area, Crosstown Elementary, located a 15-minute walk from their home."We've been yearning for this school ... Every time we drive by here, we've been calling it [Zev's] school," Puterman said."We spent the night pretty sad and angry that our lives were not what we expected it to be."The young family's position is common in Vancouver.Every year, hundreds of parents in Vancouver face a lottery system for schools in their catchment areas where the number of children exceeds available space. Rob Schindel, the associate superintendent of school services at VSB, says the board utilizes a draw to be fair to all families.He says there were about 12 elementary schools — out of 89 elementary schools in the district —  that had to go to the draw process this year because of high demand from students in their catchment areas."Students with sibling priority are placed first, then the remaining spaces are then filled with in-catchment students," Schindel said.He says if students don't get into the school in their neighbourhood, the board will ensure they still get a spot at a school in the district, ideally as close to their home as possible.   For former city planner Brent Toderian, the policy is "geographically ridiculous."He said his family purposely moved to their neighbourhood 10 years ago, with the hope that any future kids would be able to attend the yet-to-be-built Crosstown Elementary school across the street on Expo Boulevard.But his son also lost out in the kindergarten lottery this week."We're feeling a sense of remarkable grief today, the grief that the 10 year strategy that led us to make all of our choices has failed because of a random lottery," said Toderian. "It's the knocking out of the legs of their whole sense of community, the whole definition and strategy for community."He says he's looking at private schools to stay as close as possible to his home. Lord Strathcona Elementary School on East Pender Street, another VSB school, located a 15-minute walk away, "might be [a] possibility." "I frequently told council that they would be amazed at how many trips in our city every day are parents trying to get their kids to school in cars, taking up transit capacity, etc. and not just because their school is far away ... but [because] they've had to go to a different school," he said. Schindel says the district wants to acknowledge the parents' predicaments.He says the board's spending plans put a priority on new schools in rapidly densifying downtown neighbourhoods that are attracting more families. The board has received approval for a Coal Harbour school, but not yet for Olympic Village, where the nearest school — Simon Fraser Elementary on West 15th Avenue — received 104 kindergarten applications for 40 spots in the 2018 school year."[New schools] would help with addressing that concern and that frustration," he said.As for Puterman and his husband, they have yet to tell their son he won't be attending the school they said he would."We'll work it out. We won't let him think anything's wrong with it ... It's a sad moment for our family."Listen to Brent Toderian on CBC's The Early Edition:

  • After Amazon, Walmart's Flipkart challenges India antitrust probe
    News
    Reuters

    After Amazon, Walmart's Flipkart challenges India antitrust probe

    Walmart's Flipkart has filed a legal challenge against an antitrust investigation ordered against the company in India, a court filing seen by Reuters showed, following a similar petition by its rival Amazon.com Inc. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) in January ordered a probe into alleged violations of competition law and certain discounting practices by the two e-commerce giants, but a state court put the investigation on hold last week following a challenge by Amazon. Flipkart's legal filing was aimed at signaling the company is aggrieved by the CCI's probe order, a person familiar with the matter said.

  • News
    Reuters

    Colombia to charge Novator Partners for withdrawing bandwidth bid offer

    Colombia has launched a process to charge Novator Partners 42 billion pesos ($12.3 million) after the British company pulled out of a 10 mega hertz (MHz) block it was awarded in the 2,500 Mhz bandwidth spectrum of a December auction. The Ministry of Information Technology and Communications awarded three companies with bandwidth in the 700 Mhz and 2,500 Mhz spectrums during an auction as part of efforts to improve mobile telephone services and expand internet access. Novator Partners, a privately held company, wrote to the ministry on Jan. 2 to withdraw from the block within the 2,500 Mhz band and for which it had submitted an offer of 1.74 billion pesos ($511.6 million).

  • 4 Conservative MPs warn Alberta separatist movement could rise unless Ottawa fixes 'inequities'
    News
    CBC

    4 Conservative MPs warn Alberta separatist movement could rise unless Ottawa fixes 'inequities'

    Four Conservative MPs from Alberta have released what they're calling the "Buffalo Declaration," a 13-page notice that calls for "immediate action" from the federal government or else residents of the province will seek separation from Canada."We are drawing clear line [sic] in the sand. In this declaration, we set before you the inequities our people face and concrete ideas to rectify them," the document stated. "Immediate action must be taken because we are hearing from many people in our province that they will be equal or they will seek independence."The Buffalo Declaration name is a nod to a proposed name for Alberta and Saskatchewan while the provinces were still part of what was known as the North-West Territories, before the two joined Confederation in 1905.The document, which was released Thursday, bears the names of Calgary MP Michelle Rempel, Banff-Airdrie MP Blake Richards, Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner MP Glen Motz and Peace River-Westlock MP Arnold Viersen.Among other demands, the document called for the federal government to acknowledge the "devastation of the National Energy Program" in the House of Commons and eliminate or phase out equalization in addition to retroactively lifting the cap on the fiscal stabilization fund.The demands are necessary, the document alleged, because Alberta is "physically and structurally isolated from economic and political power structures.""Eastern Canada functionally treats Alberta as a colony, rather than an equal partner," the document said.Separate from Fair Deal panelThis new declaration is separate from the ongoing study being undertaken by the Alberta government, which concluded its tour across the province in late January.That study, dubbed the Fair Deal panel, is similarly geared towards addressing the province's separatist sentiment. It is due to present its recommendations to government in a report before March 31. Despite a shared frustration with Ottawa, the provincial panel is studying whether to withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan, form a provincial police force and establish a formal provincial constitution, among other measures.Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt said though the two initiatives weren't directly related, they shared similar DNA."It's a real hodgepodge of different ideas, and that's why I think you need to put both of those in tandem. One is coming out of the provincial government, the other is coming out of Alberta-based Conservative members," Bratt said. "So the Conservative Party — provincially, federally — they're all trying to come up with different ways of creating greater powers and autonomy for Alberta within Canada."But the consequence of that, if these were enacted, would be a country that nobody would recognize."Though the declaration owes its name to a region that originally included Saskatchewan, the proposals contained within are wholly focused on Alberta, including a demand that the federal government recognize Alberta — "or Buffalo" — as a culturally distinct region within Confederation."They talk about repealing any law that Alberta doesn't like," Bratt said. "So it would be independence, in all but name."

  • 6 months after closing, cannabis dispensary chain fined $1.5 million for operating without a licence
    News
    CBC

    6 months after closing, cannabis dispensary chain fined $1.5 million for operating without a licence

    The provincial government has slapped the general manager of a B.C. retail cannabis chain with a $1.5-million fine for illegally operating dispensaries without a proper licence — more than six months after the company closed down shop. Alex Robb, the director and general manager of Trees Cannabis Dispensary, said he received the fine in late January. "I was stunned by the amount," he said. "I don't know how I could possibly pay this."Trees Cannabis is the first company penalized under B.C.'s Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, which came into law following the federal government's legalization of the substance in October 2018. "It's not very comfortable to be the guinea pig," Robb added.Following a raid at one of the chain's Victoria locations on July 31, Robb said Trees shuttered all eight of its locations across Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver.The Community Safety Unit (CSU), which operates under the Ministry of Public Safety, seized about $200,000 worth of cannabis during the raid, according to Robb. Robb said he anticipated a fine of around $450,000, roughly double what was seized in the summer and had set aside some money to take care of it. Instead, he said he's been fined for the approximate amount of cannabis the Victoria dispensary sold between the time the CSU visited the store to provide information on cannabis regulation in May and the July raid. According to Robb, the company had been pursuing the proper licensing to legally sell cannabis since Oct. 17, 2018, the day marijuana became legal. "Well, the fines don't just happen," Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, told the media Wednesday when asked for comment. "Many dispensaries who were in the process to get a licence, they shut down when the safety unit went by. They abide by what was told and they don't get fined."But Robb claims other stores in Victoria that never shut down during the licensing process somehow avoided punishment and are now operating legally.A few days before the July raid, Robb said the company informed CSU that it would be temporarily shutting down operations in September until it was able to get a licence."I don't think it's fair," he said.Right now, Robb's trying to determine whether any leeway exists for paying the fine."Trees was a good operator that was successfully operating eight stores," he said. "If we could get back into business, into the licence system and come up with a payment plan for them, then I'm certain that we could pay back their fine over the course of time."He said the province provides an opportunity for fined parties to only pay half of the levy if they sign a waiver removing the right to an administrative hearing, effectively admitting wrongdoing.  According to Robb, Trees still couldn't afford to pay that figure — roughly $750,000 — without reopening its shops. "I'd like to move on with my life as quickly as possible and come to a way that we can get back into business and operate legally," he said.

  • Funky East Van furniture designer Judson Beaumont dies at 59
    News
    CBC

    Funky East Van furniture designer Judson Beaumont dies at 59

    Vancouver designer Judson Beaumont — whose wacky and whimsical furniture pieces often highlighted the annual Eastside Culture Crawl — has died at the age of 59.Tiko Kerr is a Vancouver artist who worked with Beaumont at Parker Street Studios in East Vancouver for 30 years. He spoke to On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko remembering the "wonderful trusting relationships" that the Saskatoon-born designer had developed with him and other fellow artists that made them all "cohesive.""He just had a capability of really learning in the present and being one of the most positive human beings you could possibly imagine. There's nothing that's more appealing in life than an artist who is really connected to his creativity, and Jud had been in that position for his entire practice."Beaumont's works a big draw in Culture CrawlMacarenko said Beaumont's studio Straight Line Designs has been a "big draw" of the Culture Crawl. Kerr said the designer's death will leave a huge void in the annual artistic event."Jud's studio was the locus of it all. He and his wife Kate would bend over backwards providing stacks of goodies, and it was a really comfortable big, open, warm and inviting space."Beaumont donated his art pieces to charitable organizations including Arts Umbrella. Macarenko said she remembered him as the longest-ever donating artist at the Arts Umbrella Splash auction. Back in 2015, Beaumont worked with an Emily Carr graphic artist to create a children's book entitled Timberland Tales: Chester Gets a Pet, which features characters modelled after his furniture.Beaumont was born in Saskatchewan in 1960. He graduated from Vancouver's Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 1985, the same year he founded his studio.Listen to the interview with Tiko Kerr on CBC's On The Coast:

  • Canadians released from coronavirus-ridden cruise ship in Japan fly home
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Canadians released from coronavirus-ridden cruise ship in Japan fly home

    OTTAWA — A sixth presumptive case of COVID-19 has been diagnosed in British Columbia after a woman in her 30s returned to the province from Iran, bringing the total number of cases in Canada to nine.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday the latest patient's case is relatively mild and a number of her close contacts have already been put in isolation.Henry said earlier this week that four of the five people already diagnosed with the virus were symptom free.This latest case comes as a planeload of Canadian evacuees who have spent weeks confined to cabins aboard a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship in Japan were expected to begin two weeks of isolation in Cornwall, Ont., Friday, unless Canada's top health official deems them healthy enough to be released.And Canadian authorities are looking closely at their experience on the Diamond Princess cruise ship as the country prepares for an upcoming tourist season with concerns about the novel coronavirus, called COVID-19, still very much in the air.Initially the government said the evacuees from Japan would have to spend 14 days in isolation because that is considered the typical incubation period for the virus.But because all the passengers have been tested for the virus by Japanese authorities, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Thursday there is a chance that they will be released early from quarantine if they show no symptoms upon their return to Canada, under the discretion of Canada's top public-health doctor.Those who were cleared to travel are to be screened again at Canadian Forces Base Trenton before they are placed in isolation at the Nav Centre in eastern Ontario.Each passenger was given a government-issued facemask and coloured wristband before they were ushered off the ship in Yokohama to nearby Tokyo's Haneda Airport, according to a letter from government officials to the evacuees on board the ship.Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public-health officer, has already released flight crew and medical personnel who escorted Canadians home from Wuhan, China, where COVID-19 was first detected, but so far all the evacuees themselves have had to serve the full quarantine period.The Diamond Princess cruise ship has seen the largest outbreak of the virus outside China, with 634 passengers having tested positive at last count.Hajdu said Canada will be keeping its eye on Japan's examination of how the virus was handled aboard the ship, especially as it relates to Canada's own upcoming tourist season. Measures aboard the ship seemed to do little to keep COVID-19 from spreading.Canada has numerous cruise terminals, from relatively big cities such as Vancouver and Montreal to smaller ports such as Prince Rupert, B.C., and Baie Comeau, Que."There has been obviously concern about the practices on board the ship that have potentially led to the increased spread of the coronavirus on the ship," Hajdu said, adding that she also has empathy for Japanese officials who had to handle the quarantine of more than 3,000 people docked off a major city.The evacuation came just after Japanese officials broke the news that two passengers from the ship died after contracting the virus.The two people who died, a man and a woman in their 80s who are both Japanese, were believed to have been infected before the quarantine began on the ship, Japanese health ministry official Masami Sakoi said Thursday.The 47 Canadian passengers who have already tested positive for COVID-19 remain in Japan for treatment.Other Canadians who did not wish to return to Canada on the chartered flight will be expected to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine when they eventually return to the country on a commercial flight. Those Canadians are to be flagged upon their return to the country, and live out their isolation periods at home or in a designated facility, Hajdu said.Anyone who returns commercially who doesn't abide by the quarantine order would face penalties, she said.As for the first 213 Canadian evacuees and their families who have served out their two week quarantine at CFB Trenton, they are scheduled to be released Friday. So far, none have developed symptoms after their arrival from Wuhan, China, the centre of the COVID-19 outbreak.The second wave of Wuhan evacuees are expected to be released next week.The government is now working to help facilitate their return to their homes.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2020.— With files from Hina Alam in Vancouver and The Associated PressLaura Osman, The Canadian Press