Investigative journalist Justin Ling talks about the findings of the independent review of the Toronto Police Services’ missing persons cases.
Investigative journalist Justin Ling talks about the findings of the independent review of the Toronto Police Services’ missing persons cases.
P.E.I.'s seasonal residents have formed an association to help members enjoy their second homes on the Island. The biggest issue Seasonal Residents of P.E.I. is facing right now is the COVID-19 pandemic, and the public health rules that are preventing them from coming to the Island. Last month, P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced that seasonal residents wouldn't be approved to arrive until at least May 17, and on Tuesday she confirmed that will be pushed further, though she didn't give an exact date. The group started last year on Facebook, with people trying to figure out under what conditions they could come to P.E.I. and how to apply. "It grew pretty quickly," founding president Jen Harding told CBC's Mitch Cormier on Island Morning. "It became a place where people would come for facts and information. Also for commiseration as people were challenged with the process and challenged with not being able to access their homes. But it's really grown into not only that but a source of community and help." 'Being official helps' Harding said most members have family on the Island, and many were born in the province, though she is not of that group herself. She just fell in love with a piece of property near North Lake. About two thirds of the group are Canadians with most of the rest Americans, a few being from outside North America. Most come every year and have been doing so for decades. "They have really deep connections to P.E.I.," said Harding. "Their family is still there so they come every year to properties they consider their other homes." The Facebook page is free but there is a membership fee for the association. That money is currently going to legal fees, mostly just the cost of setting up. The group is registered as a non-profit in P.E.I. "Being official helps. It's helpful to say that we actually have an association. That we are a group with similar interests that we think needs representation," said Harding. Improving application process As an association Seasonal Residents of P.E.I. has been in contact with the Chief Public Health Office to provide its perspective. It worked with the CPHO last spring to make the application process more consistent and clear. It has issues it is addressing this year as well. In particular, the need for three COVID-19 tests during the two-week self-isolation period. "What we're asking is, help us understand how that minimizes the risks, for people to then leave their homes three times during the self-isolation period," said Harding. "Our understanding of the science is that staying at home for two weeks and not seeing anyone would resolve any issues." The group is also trying to make the case that seasonal residents carry minimal risk. Many of them have been vaccinated, she said, and they all arrive with their own private location to self-isolate in. Harding expects the seasonal residents group will continue beyond the pandemic, and is already offering support on issues that are not connected, such as how to prepare your property to be vacant for the winter, and where to find tradespeople. More from CBC P.E.I.
Ontario education unions, advocacy groups and parents are raising concerns about a government plan to offer an online learning option for the next school year, saying it could be the start of a permanent change with serious implications for students and workers. At a news conference hosted by the The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario on Wednesday, the groups argued the change would divert funds from in-person learning and weaken the public education system. "At a time when the top education priority for the (Premier Doug) Ford government should be to ensure schools across Ontario remain open safely for in-person learning, they're planning to make virtual learning permanent," said ETFO president Sam Hammond. He and other union and stakeholder panelists argued that in-person learning is crucial to student development, and raised concerns about pressures placed on educators balancing in-person and online teaching demands during the pandemic. Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, said online learning has widened inequalities among students. "We are left to wonder why a government that claims to be committed to equity would choose to push an instructional model that creates inequitable learning conditions for students," he said. The union leaders were reacting to a Tuesday announcement from Education Minister Stephen Lecce that online learning would be offered during the next school year amid continued uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic. Ontario schools are currently operating fully remotely during a third wave of infections that's sickening Ontarians by the thousands each day. Lecce also said on Tuesday that the province has committed to "consulting" on making online learning available to students beyond the pandemic. A proposed permanent online learning plan first sparked concern in March when the government shared with stakeholders a draft that outlined different options, including synchronous remote learning and an independent online model for secondary students run by TVO and TFO. Annie Kidder with advocacy group People for Education said a permanent change to the education system shouldn't be made during a crisis like COVID-19. "We need to take the time to look at all the implications of online learning," Kidder said Wednesday. "Some of it's working really, really well, but a move to this kind of massive change right now is simply wrong." A spokeswoman for Lecce did not comment Wednesday on any permanent plans to offer online learning, but said the government wants children to be learning in schools. "Parents deserve a choice next September, as we continue to face uncertainty as a consequence of this global pandemic," Caitlin Clark said. Shameela Shakeel, a York Region parent with Ontario Families for Public Education, questioned whether the choices being offered to parents will reduce resources and teachers available for in-person learning. "I think that if they're going to provide choices, then they need to provide the funding that goes along with those choices," she said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2021. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
CALGARY — Leslie Echino had planned on serving more than two dozen patrons at a time on an expanded patio at her Annabelle's Kitchen restaurant in Calgary's Marda Loop neighbourhood. She hauled extra furniture from the patio at her shuttered downtown location and invested thousands in a cover to keep the outdoor space open for longer. But, instead, Echino is looking to lay off staff for the fourth time during the COVID-19 pandemic after the province on Tuesday ordered an end to outdoor dining. It was one of several measures Premier Jason Kenney announced in an attempt to stop a sharp spike in infections. Indoor dining had been permitted for a brief while earlier this year, but was shut down against in April. The off-and-on closures have taken a toll, especially on employees with families who rely on a steady paycheque, Echino said Wednesday. "It's getting expensive. It's expensive on cost. It's expensive on mental well-being and health," she said. "How long can my staff go through this?" Echino said she doesn't want the restaurant to be open with COVID-19 spread so rampant. Alberta has by far the highest rate of active infections in Canada at 534 per 100,000 --- nearly 2 1/2 times the national average. "We all have to buckle down. We all have to take a hit for the greater good," she said. "But I think what is important is the support to the people who need it: my staff. "When you're forced to close and you cannot operate, you need that support." The Alberta Hospitality Association, for which Echino is a board member, is urging the government to help with utility bills, wage top-ups, patio costs and property taxes. It also wants clearer communication about what a path to recovery looks like. "As an organization, we have maintained a commitment to work with government using open dialogue and communication to ensure the needs of the hospitality industry are met," the association said in a release. "The latest lockdown shows a complete disregard to those efforts." Kenney said Wednesday that his United Conservative government is rolling out the third instalment of a program that provides grants of up to $10,000 for small- and medium-sized businesses that have experienced at least a 30 per cent drop in revenues. That tranche of funds would be worth a total of $350 million. He said his government has also been providing relief on Workers' Compensation Board premiums and, with Ottawa, commercial rent assistance. "We'll look at whether we need to do anything additional," Kenney said. "My hope is that if people really get the message here and act responsibly, that ... those businesses can hopefully get back to a decent summer." Ben Leon, an owner at The Dandy Brewing Co. in Calgary, said tougher measures are necessary, but they should have been brought in months ago. The brewery invested $10,000 to spruce up its patio in anticipation of the summer season. It's not as simple a job as setting up some tables outside, Leon said. "There is a good amount of infrastructure that needs to be put in and built to make it safe and make it comfortable," he said. "I'd rather have lost four weeks in February-March to get everything back and be able to have a good, solid, even patio season all summer." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2021. Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press
A Whitehorse man is dead after losing control of his skateboard and suffering a fatal head injury, according to the territory's chief coroner. 28-year-old Robert Thompson died early Sunday morning. According to a Wednesday news release from the coroner, Thompson was found injured on Hamilton Boulevard at around 6 a.m. on Sunday. He was taken to hospital and pronounced dead shortly after. The coroner says it appears that Thompson had been riding his skateboard eastbound on a downhill stretch toward the Alaska Highway when he lost control. The coroner says Thompson was not wearing any protective gear when he fell. An autopsy determined that he suffered a fatal head injury. In her news release, Chief Coroner Heather Jones advises that helmets, wrist guards, gloves, knee and elbow pads and protective clothing should always be worn while skateboarding.
David Lertzman, a beloved Calgary professor, is dead following what is suspected to be a bear attack near Waiparous Village, northwest of the city. Cochrane RCMP were notified of a missing man in the area late Tuesday night and began a search with the help of the Calgary police helicopter. Crews found a body just off Moss Trail near Waiparous Creek early Wednesday morning, according to a release. RCMP tentatively identified the deceased as the missing person, a 59-year-old man from Waiparous. A community Facebook group identified Lertzman as the man who had gone missing, and others have posted online tributes. Provincial officials say evidence at the scene indicates it may have been a bear attack, but they are still investigating. They say Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers are conducting a scene investigation to identify and locate the bear that may have been involved. 'A profound impact' Lertzman was an assistant professor of environmental management and sustainable development at the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. Jim Dewald, dean of the Haskayne School, described his colleague as "one of a kind." "Every professor waits their whole life for one student to say 'your course changed my life.' That happened to David every single time he did his course. He had a profound impact on hundreds, hundreds, possibly thousands of students, and a profound impact on all of his colleagues as well," he said. "It's just an unbelievable loss." Dewald said Lertzman's passion for the environment was only overshadowed by his passion for honouring and respecting different people's ways of life, specifically Indigenous views. "Where the environment is something we protect, something that is a part of us … and David really truly believed that. He helped so many people understand what it means to live at one with the environment, so he had a very unique perspective and it was very powerful." Lertzman would take students on a week-long wilderness retreat course that included rigorous academic material but also using senses to navigate, and meditation to find your place within the environment. Lertzman was also a brilliant musician and a beautiful singer — if you weren't his friend, he probably called you his brother, Dewald said. A man was killed in what's suspected to be a bear attack near Waiparous Village, northwest of Calgary.(Google) Dewald said Lertzman's family is hoping to retain their privacy at this sad time. The area will remain closed as officers attempt to capture the animal. The medical examiner's office is working to determine the exact cause of death. Waiparous Village is about 70 kilometres northwest of Calgary.
With demand high and more buyers on the wharfs, lobster prices for P.E.I. fishermen are looking stronger than they have in 15 years. With the season along the North Shore and the eastern end of P.E.I. opening Monday, Charlie McGeoghegan, chair of the Lobster Marketing Board of P.E.I., said early prices are running around $8 for canners and $8.50 for markets. "The price in Nova Scotia was high all winter so we expected it to be better than last year, and it is, so we're glad to see that," said McGeoghegan. "There's lots of demand around and lots of orders. And they didn't get enough to fill the orders last year. So that's kind of a scenario that we haven't seen before, so that's a good thing." There is no inventory left from last year, said McGeoghegan. At the end of last season prices were mostly running between $5 and $6, with some buyers paying up to $6.50. In 2006 prices went as high as $7, which with the increase in costs since is comparable, he said. Prices are expected to go up as the season progresses. "A few of the big [fishing] zones in the Maritimes and the Fundy region close down at the end of May, so there's a lot less product around at that time," said McGeoghegan. "That usually helps the price." The lobster industry faced a lot of unknowns in 2020. Public health restrictions in the pandemic made it difficult for processors to get temporary foreign workers into the country, and the impact on demand from the shutdown of restaurant dining rooms and cruise ships was not known. But the industry is finding itself in a much stronger position at the start of the season this year. More from CBC P.E.I.
A Rwandan woman who was deported by the United States and is facing charges related to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda appeared in court on Wednesday and denied the charges against her. Last month, the 51-year-old woman was flown into Kigali, accompanied by U.S. federal agents. A spokesman for the Rwanda Bureau of Investigation then said on state TV that she would face seven charges related to the genocide ranging from murder to complicity in rape.
Cape Breton Regional Police say a body has been found inside a burning shed in Sydney Mines. The department was called to Crescent Street around 4 a.m. Wednesday, where firefighters found the body. Residents of a home located on the property reported the fire after seeing smoke coming from the building. Police say the victim is not a resident of the house. An autopsy will be performed to determine the person's identity and cause of death.(CBC News) CBC News reached out to police, but they did not provide an explanation as to why the victim was in the shed. Spokesperson Desiree Magnus said no further details would be released at this time. Magnus said an autopsy will be performed to confirm identity and cause of death. Officials with the provincial fire marshal's office and police forensic Identification unit are working to determine the cause of the fire. MORE TOP STORIES
Neighbourhood groups are calling for a public inquiry into how the social housing component of a $400-million development at the site of the old Montreal Children's Hospital disappeared from the building plan. Maryse Chapdelaine, a project manager with the Peter McGill Community Council, was surprised to learn that nearly three years after it was announced, the social housing project was dead. "We're trying to figure out, maybe not who's to blame, but how could this happen?" said Chapdelaine. "Without the social housing units, the project makes no sense." The proposed social housing units made the highrise development acceptable to some community members. Now they're not only off the table, but the subject of an ongoing legal dispute. The situation has become so acrimonious that the developer says he would build a tower of social housing for free — if Mayor Valérie Plante resigned. Community groups want to know what went wrong — and whether this saga might serve as a cautionary tale as the city tries to confront a housing crisis. Maryse Chapdelaine, a project manager with the Peter McGill Community Council, said her group is calling for a public inquiry into what happened to the social housing project at the old Montreal Children’s Hospital site.(Charles Contant/CBC) The old hospital site is located on the square bordered by René-Lévesque Boulevard, Atwater Avenue, Sussex Street and Tupper Street. In addition to more than 1,000 rental and condo units, the new development is set to include an enlarged park, community centre, library and auditorium. The original plans also called for 174 social housing units, something for which there is an urgent need, say neighbourhood advocates. The average rent in the Peter McGill neighbourhood is about $1,200 per unit, said Éric Michaud, project manager for the neighbourhood housing group, the Comité logement Ville-Marie. He calls the lack of social housing at the old hospital site "a terrible failure." "It's scandalous, what happened," he said. Michaud said he hoped from the start that the public land on which the hospital sat would be returned for public use. He said he was dismayed when a private buyer bought the land for about half its appraised value in 2015. Residents 'excited' for original plan The land was purchased by businessman Luc Poirier for $25 million. He then sold it to Philip Kerub's company, High-Rise Montréal (HRM) and the developer Devimco Immobilier. The two developers proposed the six tower project. Devimco is responsible for four of those housing towers, plus the park and community space. HRM was responsible for two towers, whose contrasts were striking. The first is 1111 Atwater, a posh skyscraper being marketed as the most luxurious condos outside of Dubai. There was also Tower 6, where the social housing was supposed to be built. "We were very happy to hear when it was announced that there was going to be social housing units for families," said Chapdelaine of the original plan. Graham Singh, a pastor and father who moved to the neighbourhood several years ago, said the prospect of a mixed development attracted him to the area. "We were really excited to be living in this part of Peter McGill, where we were expecting this development to come out in the way that it had been proposed," he said. Rev. Graham Singh, a pastor and father who lives in the neighbourhood of Peter McGill, said he was attracted to the neighbourhood because of the development at the old Montreal Children’s Hospital, but he is disappointed by how the city has handled it. (Credit: Esteban Cuevas) Developer met with city 'countless times' The president of HRM, Philip Kerub, says he went in with good intentions. "I was trying because I wanted to do it," he said in an interview with CBC News. "It was important for me to actually make a deal and get this social housing." According to documents filed to the Quebec Superior Court, HRM signed a contract with the City of Montreal in June 2017, during the tail end of the Coderre administration. It includes a clause allowing the developer to pay a penalty of $6,235,000 if a deal could not be reached to build social housing after nine months of negotiation. CBC News has reviewed the relevant part of the contract. Kerub said his team met with the city "countless times" to work out a deal. He said the requirements for social housing are strict, and court documents claim HRM paid more than $750,000 to engineers, architects and other staff to draft plans for the housing. Per legal documents, HRM was looking at building a turnkey social housing project which would then be sold to the City and the City's housing office, the OMHM. According to the court filing, the developer says a tower that adhered to the standards of social housing would cost at least $40 million, but the city was able to offer a maximum of only $34.5 million. Kerub says he elected to pay the $6,235,000 penalty included in his contract rather than lose millions of dollars and build the housing. "I said, that's just not reasonable. Now, [the city] delayed me long enough… now we have to go our separate ways," he said. Publicly, Mayor Valérie Plante started calling out HRM as early as July 2019. By September 2019, negotiations had stalled. Kerub decided to pay the penalty and propose his Plan B for Tower 6. Plante retaliated by proposing changing the zoning of the sixth tower, so the building would have a maximum of four storeys instead of the approved 20. "There was a social contract that was made by the developer," Plante said during the council meeting on Sept. 16, 2019. "It's sad. It's a shame." In September 2019, Mayor Valérie Plante announced to the municipal council that HRM did not intend to fulfil its "social contract" and build social housing at the development at the old Montreal Children's Hospital.(City of Montreal) This was news to Kerub, who says he says he signed a legal contract — not a social contract — and that the city is both smearing his name and breaking the contract. "I'm tired of being attacked and being called the villain when it's the exact opposite," he said. Last month, HRM filed an injunction to prevent the rezoning of Tower 6, saying the city broke its contract and the developer ought to be allowed to build a 20-storey tower. "It's absurd. It's really outrageous. And now they've drawn themselves into a lawsuit, which they're going to lose miserably," he said. Kerub said he offered them other locations for social housing, and proposed creating student housing or a condo hotel in the sixth tower, where the social housing was supposed to go. "You know what I said to my friends? I said, the city still wants me to build social housing? No problem. You tell Valérie Plante to resign, and I'll build it for free," he said. He also questions the logic of blocking a 20-storey tower of potential housing amid a housing crisis. "How does that benefit the population?" he said. "You lost everything now and you cut it down to four storeys to try and penalize me. But how are you going to penalize me? I tripled my money here." "The City responded with a statement, saying it could not comment on the matter because it is before the court. The statement said that the contract with HRM was signed by the previous administration, and that social and affordable housing is a priority of the Plante administration." The ordeal has left people who live in the neighbourhood scratching their heads, wondering how a municipal government that promotes social housing could have let this happen. "I would support a public inquiry not to see something change on this site because it is too little, it is too late," said Singh, "But I would support a public inquiry to try to do much better with figuring out how we're actually going to see downtown Montreal developed in the future." For now, because of the legal proceedings, any project for the sixth tower is in limbo. Kerub said so far, no court date has been set. WATCH | See what the work looks like at the site of the old Montreal Children's Hospital:
Five years ago, tax law expert André Lareau was blocked from giving testimony before the House of Commons finance committee by a last-minute gag order preventing witnesses from talking about a prominent accounting firm's tax avoidance scheme. Now, he has a message for the members of Parliament who are today rebooting their probe into offshore companies registered in the Isle of Man: if they're serious this time, they should subpoena the Canadian accountants who helped to set up the offshore tax dodge — and demand that they give up the names of the wealthy Canadians whose identities they've been protecting. "If the committee is willing to open that, well, maybe, just maybe, that means that they are pretty serious about it," Lareau, an associate professor at Laval University, told CBC News. MPs are re-launching the probe Parliamentarians halted in June 2016 after the accounting firm KPMG said witness testimony in Ottawa could prejudice ongoing court cases. CBC's the Fifth Estate and Radio-Canada's Enquete reported earlier this year that shell companies set up in the Isle of Man are suspected of involvement in a massive fraud that cost investors their life savings. Some experts believe KPMG may have had a hand in creating those companies. Documents obtained from the Isle of Man's public registry, as well as emails from an offshore leak of financial data, show links between KPMG and four shell companies set up in December 2001 that were named after ancient swords. KPMG acknowledges it set up a tax avoidance and asset protection "structure" in the Isle of Man for wealthy Canadians beginning in the late 1990s. Tax law professor André Lareau says MPs should be seeking the names of Canadians behind offshore tax shelters.(CBC) But the accounting firm — also known for providing advisory and auditing services to federal and provincial governments — denies having anything to do with helping to set up the four shell companies later suspected of being involved in a financial fraud that cost investors their life savings, and where more than $500 million disappeared offshore. CBC/Radio-Canada's revelation of a suspected connection between those shell companies and the missing millions prompted fraud victims and opposition parties to call for a reboot of the finance committee's long-dormant investigation of the Isle of Man and offshore shell companies. "People have been cheated, they have lost their savings. The federal government should do more than pay lip service in the fight against tax evasion and international tax evaders," said NDP MP Peter Julian. "Canadian offshore bank accounts … are hiding money from the government. Why would any party not want that revealed?" said Green Party MP Elizabeth May. Call in the accountants, says Lareau MPs from all parties voted last week to resume committee hearings this afternoon into offshore tax shelters, including those in the Isle of Man. Today's witness list includes Lucy Iacovelli — KPMG Canada's managing partner for tax — and Janet Watson, who lost her savings in a Montreal-based fraud known as the Cinar/Norshield/Mount Real scheme. Lareau said that, for the revived committee probe to be effective, MPs must call the individual accountants and bankers who were involved in setting up various Isle of Man shell companies — and who know the names of the wealthy Canadians or "beneficial owners" behind them. "Obviously, they will talk only to the committee if they are obliged to do so," Lareau said, pointing out that Commons committees have the power to issue subpoenas. In the past, KPMG has opposed releasing the names of the wealthy Canadians behind multiple shell companies it helped to set up in the Isle of Man, citing client confidentiality. Lareau said he believes that MPs were under pressure from the accounting industry to limit their probe when they launched it five years ago. Dennis Howlett: 'It's not right that people can hide behind shell companies.'(CBC) In 2016, the Liberal-dominated finance committee defeated an opposition motion to compel KPMG to provide the names of the "beneficial owners" of those shell companies. Dennis Howlett, the former head of Canadians for Tax Fairness, said it's high time the veil was lifted. "It would be a good idea to force KPMG to disclose beneficial owners," said Howlett. "It's not right that people can hide behind shell companies." The Trudeau government said in its recent budget that, as part of a plan to crack down on tax avoidance, it would introduce a registry to identify the beneficial owners of Canadian companies. While that measure wouldn't affect the Canadians behind offshore companies, it does indicate the Liberal government is concerned about corporations set up to protect the identities of their true owners, said Howlett. Committee cut short Howlett is one of the tax experts who was also prevented from testifying at the House of Commons finance committee five years ago. Both Howlett and Lareau were asked to testify about the KPMG Isle of Man scheme — but were barred from even mentioning the name of the accounting firm when they got to the witness stand. Lareau and Howlett were told that a lawyer for KPMG had written a letter to the committee warning that a continued probe of the accounting firm could improperly affect ongoing tax court cases. Liberal MP Wayne Easter chaired the Commons committee hearings on offshore companies registered in the Isle of Man.(Wayne Easter/Zoom) Liberal MP Wayne Easter, chair of the finance committee, then told Lareau and Howlett they could not give any testimony related to the accounting firm's Isle of Man tax scheme. "Why am I here?" Lareau said at the time. "They asked me to come here to speak about KPMG and I'm prevented from speaking about KPMG." "The particular case that we're not supposed to refer to is only the tip of the iceberg," Howlett told MPs on the committee in 2016. The three tax court cases KPMG said it was concerned about were settled out of court two years ago — but the finance committee never resumed its probe until news reports earlier this year revealed new information regarding KPMG's potential connection to companies later suspected of involvement in the fraud. Financial asset tracers have said that identifying the true owners behind the so-called "sword companies" — Katar, Sceax, Spatha and Shashqua — could go a long way in helping governments understand how they may have been involved in the fraud, and where the money ended up. "If I had got this information … while we were still on the scene, we would have tried to get to the bottom of this," said lawyer and asset tracer Wes Voorheis, who was hired to find some of the missing money in 2004. KPMG insisted it conducted an in-depth review of its files before concluding it had no connection to the sword companies. "KPMG Canada has thoroughly considered and refuted any connection between KPMG Canada and the sword companies," Mark Gelowitz, KPMG's lawyer, said in a recent letter to CBC. "Unless CBC has additional evidence of KPMG Canada's involvement with the sword companies that it has not shared with KPMG Canada, the proposed allegations are demonstrably unsubstantiated, false and defamatory." Retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Ian Binnie (L) shakes hands with Governor General David Johnston after being awarded the rank of Companion in the Order of Canada at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on November 23, 2012.(Chris Wattie/Reuters) Gelowitz pointed to the fact that KPMG had hired Ian Binnie, "a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada," to conduct an independent review of its files. Binnie's review, based on documents and information provided to him by KPMG, concluded that the sword companies — along with more than a dozen other Isle of Man shell companies identified by journalists — were not connected to the accounting firm's offshore tax structure. Binnie has declined to speak directly to journalists about his report, opting instead to communicate via email. KPMG has said the leaked emails that state the accounting firm set up the sword companies are unreliable. The emails were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and emerged after Binnie had written his report. KPMG says their author did not have knowledge of its operations at the time and that she was "mistaken." Binnie turned down CBC's request to discuss the leaked emails and whether they might affect the conclusions in his report. After stating he would speak with KPMG's legal counsel, Binnie sent CBC/Radio-Canada an email: "I have no reason to doubt the due diligence undertaken by KPMG."
Demolition of the former Woolworth's store is set for May 17, as the developer searches for a grocery store to anchor a new building for that prime corner in uptown Saint John. The demolition of the building at the top of King Street will make way for a 12-storey development with apartments and commercial space. "We'll be tearing it down and starting a whole new project," said Percy Wilbur, the developer behind the project. Neighbouring buildings, 85 and 87 King, will also be torn down. Percy said barriers will be set up in the area and traffic will be redirected. Charlotte Street will be narrowed from three lanes down to two lanes. South Market Street will be closed for safety reasons, and King Street will lose some of its parking. 'People want to come back' For the past eight weeks, Percy said, crews have been cleaning out mould, mildew and lead paint from the property. Construction will mean 50 to 75 people working on site at one time. The corner across from King Square was once home to Woolworth's, but the old building has gone through exterior changes and then been in decline and empty for a while. The next building will include retail space and 95 rental units. "People want to come back to the city," he said. "There's a new vibe." Postcards from 1960 show the Woolworth's building in better days at the head of King Street, across from King's Square.(Submitted by New Brunswick Museum — Musée du Nouveau-Brunswick) Wilbur says construction on the project could be completed within two and a half years. But that timeline could change because an anchor tenant has not yet been secured. Percy said he has been looking for tenants for several months now. Sights set on a grocery store Percy has his sights set on a local grocery store in that area, an increasingly popular place to live. "I think that would be the best fit in that neighbourhood," he said. "And there seems to be quite a public outcry for that type of business to go in there." The climbing price of building materials also poses a challenge because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Percy said he has received a lot of support from the public, as well as government officials with the city and the province. "Everything seems to be moving forward," he said.
Lawyers for Meng Wanzhou claim the United States is basing its bid to extradite the Huawei executive to New York on a theory of fraud that's "unprecedented in Canadian law." In documents released Wednesday, Meng's defence team previewed the arguments it is expected to make this summer during the final phase of her extradition proceedings. Her lawyers claim American prosecutors are trying to render the 49-year-old to New York to face charges of defrauding HSBC on evidence that's unreliable, and in some cases, just plain wrong. They also claim the main problem with the Crown's theory of the case is that there is no evidence the bank Meng allegedly tried to trick into doing illegal business with Huawai actually suffered — or even risked suffering — any loss. "This case is different. On every element of the alleged offence, the [United States'] case displays legal and factual defects rarely seen in fraud cases," the defence submission reads. "No deception. No loss. Not even a plausible theory of risk. And no causal connection between the impugned representations and the deprivation said to have befallen the putative victim." Accused of fraud and conspiracy Meng is Huawei's chief financial officer and the daughter of the Chinese telecommunications company's billionaire founder, Ren Zhengfei. She was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on Dec. 1, 2018, after arriving on a flight from Hong Kong, en route to Mexico City and a conference in Argentina. Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou attends extradition proceedings in downtown Vancouver in March. Her lawyers claim the U.S. has not met the bar for extradition.(Ben Nelms/CBC) Meng is charged with fraud and conspiracy in New York in connection with allegations she lied to an HSBC executive in Hong Kong in 2013 about Huawei's control of a subsidiary named Skycom, which was accused of violating U.S. economic sanctions against Iran. Prosecutors claim HSBC continued a business relationship with Huawei and agreed to keep moving the company's money through the U.S. financial system because of Meng's alleged misrepresentations. According to U.S. authorities, HSBC risked breaching the same set of sanctions as a result — placing the bank in danger of prosecution and economic and reputational loss. The extradition proceedings were originally scheduled to wrap up by mid-May, but, last month, the judge overseeing the case delayed the final three weeks of arguments until August at the request of Meng's lawyers, who said they needed the extra time to pore through reams of newly-released HSBC documents. 'No meaningful risk' In the submissions released Wednesday, the defence argues Meng did not deny that Skycom was controlled by Huawei. In fact, they claim she said the opposite. Meng's lawyers also claim HSBC could not have been held criminally liable for sanctions violations committed because of Meng, and that it would be very unlikely for the bank to have faced civil consequences either. A logo of HSBC is displayed outside a branch in the Central Financial District of Hong Kong in 2015. Meng Wanzhou is accused of lying to one of the bank's executives about Huawei's business activities.(Bobby Yip/Reuters) They claim senior bank employees were well aware of the truth about Huawei's relationship with its subsidiary prior to — and separate from — anything Meng told them. The defence concludes by saying that sending Meng to face trial on the kind of record before the court would set a dangerous example. "In no prior case has an individual been found guilty of fraud for exposing another individual — much less a sophisticated multinational corporate entity — to the hypothetical risk of a separate and future enforcement proceeding," Meng's lawyers write. "HSBC simply faced no meaningful risk of sanctions violations that were causally linked in any manner to Ms. Meng's representations. Ms. Meng's representations were not inaccurate; but, in any event, HSBC knew what it needed to know in order to protect its own interests." 'Deceitful' representations put bank at risk Lawyers for Canada's attorney general have also filed the submissions they plan to make in favour of Meng's extradition. The Crown argues that the record of the case filed by the United States meets the standard that would be needed to send someone to trial in Canada — the establishment of a prima facie case. Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou displays her GPS ankle monitoring bracelet as she arrives at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. She is living under a form of house arrest.(Ben Nelms/CBC) They point out that the extradition judge is not supposed to hold a trial. They also say the evidence submitted by a state in order to request a person's extradition is held to be "presumptively reliable." The Crown claims the elements of fraud — as laid out in Canadian law — include Meng allegedly lying to deceive HSBC and the bank, risking liability under U.S. sanctions law as a result. "As the CFO of Huawei and the daughter of its founder, her representations regarding Huawei's business activities undoubtedly carried considerable weight," the Crown's submission reads. "Ms. Meng's deceitful representations to HSBC about Huawei and Skycom thwarted HSBC's efforts to eliminate its risk exposure, putting HSBC's economic interests at risk." In addition to arguments on the extradition request, Meng's lawyers will also try to have the case tossed because of alleged abuse of process when the proceedings recommence. The defence team will argue that the United States misled Canada about the strength of its case and omitted key facts from the record. They have previously argued that Meng's rights were violated at the time of her arrest, that she's being used as a political pawn and that the entire prosecution is in violation of international law. Her next court appearance is scheduled for May 7, at which point lawyers are expected to discuss the management of the case in the months ahead. Meng has denied the allegations against her.
SURREY, B.C. — Homicide investigators say the fatal shooting of a woman at a Surrey, B.C., home on Tuesday does not appear to be related to gangs. The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has taken over the case after the 20-year-old woman died in hospital from her injuries. The team says in a statement that Mounties responded to reports of a shooting in a residential neighbourhood of Surrey on Tuesday evening. It says officers found the victim with gunshot wounds and a man in his 20s remains in police custody after being arrested near the scene. The team posted on Twitter the man they arrested is well known to police, while the victim was not and a motive hasn't been determined. It's the latest in a string of shootings in Metro Vancouver in recent days, including separate daytime attacks outside busy shopping malls in Delta and Langley, but police have not linked any of the violent incidents. "We understand the public may be feeling anxious given the recent spate of shootings and homicides in communities across the Lower Mainland," Sgt. Frank Jang with the homicide team says in the statement. "With respect to this most recent fatal shooting, it does not appear to be gang-motivated." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
Construction in Newfoundland and Labrador continues to boom despite the price of lumber. (Colleen De Neve for CBC News) Sticker shock over lumber prices that have soared over the last year does not seem to have beaten down a desire to build or do repairs in Newfoundland and Labrador homes, a trade group says. The Canadian Home Builders' Associations says supply and demand are driving the skyrocketing prices of lumber, although it also says the industry is still booming. A key factor: the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected supply last year and which also inspired consumer demand, particularly among many people who have been working from home. CHBA executive officer Alexis Foster told CBC News the pandemic shut down lumber mills across Canada and the United States, and they have yet to fully return to pre-pandemic levels state side Rising transportation costs, Foster added, are also fuelling high prices. Then, there is the demand. "We have people looking to do renovations to their homes, new home builds, you're in your home a lot more, you're finding out what's bothering you more, so you want to fix that," Foster said Tuesday. Home renovations are up 26 per cent over the last year across Canada, Foster said. In Newfoundland and Labrador, she said, work has been driven by the provincial government's residential construction rebate program. CHBA-NL president Grant Cooper said the rebate program has done wonders for the construction industry over the pandemic. The program offered a 25 per cent rebate for renovation projects up to $10,000, and the same for new home construction. Canadian Home Builders' Association Newfoundland and Labrador executive officer Alexis Foster lumber prices aren't expected to fall this year, and possibly into 2022. (Mike Simms/CBC) "We've been hurting for a number of years leading up to this. It was quite slow — the demand was down," Cooper said. "In May to June last year, things started to pick up, which it typically does in the summer. But this year was like no other and we're getting more and more calls from homeowners, that despite the increase in prices, [they] are still inquiring about getting work done on their house." Not predicting a drop this year Art Hicks, owner of Home Hardware Building Centre in Witless Bay, told CBC News lumber prices today are three to four times what they were before they started climbing in 2020. Pre-cut two-by-four was $3.39 before the pandemic, but now it's about $13, Hicks said. Oriented strand boards, or OSB, were once $13 and now cost around $62. Plywood has tripled, from $21 to $65. Hicks said retailers have had no choice but to pass on wholesale hikes at the cash register. Cooper said he feels for anyone looking to complete renovations and home projects right now, but said there are silver linings for those looking to build a new home. Canadian Home Builders' Association Newfoundland and Labrador president Grant Cooper says despite the increase in lumber prices, people are still inquiring about getting work done on their homes. (Mike Simms/CBC) "Interest rates are at an all-time low. They may be saving more than they ever have because travel is restricted. They're not spending money that they used to spend," he said. "So, this may be a great time to save up that deposit and put that toward the new build." For those who are willing to wait, Foster said the CHBA is predicting lumber prices will not drop this year, and maybe not even next year, either. Cooper said prices may never return to pre-pandemic levels. "This is something that we're seeing in our national office, [this] lasting until at least 2022," said Cooper. "At the end of the day, it very much is supply- and demand-driven, and until demand comes off, we're still going to see shortages and price increases. This may be the new norm going forward for quite some time." Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. There are 1,257,328 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 1,257,328 confirmed cases (81,671 active, 1,151,207 resolved, 24,450 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 7,379 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 214.89 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 54,593 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 7,799. There were 57 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 338 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 48. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.33 per 100,000 people. There have been 32,127,668 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,114 confirmed cases (62 active, 1,046 resolved, six deaths). There were six new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 11.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 48 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 245,764 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 183 confirmed cases (seven active, 176 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 4.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of four new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 145,944 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 3,182 confirmed cases (1,203 active, 1,910 resolved, 69 deaths). There were 175 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 122.84 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 892 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 127. There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.03 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 7.05 per 100,000 people. There have been 634,189 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,969 confirmed cases (146 active, 1,784 resolved, 39 deaths). There were 11 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 18.68 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 79 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 11. There was one new reported death Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of three new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 4.99 per 100,000 people. There have been 307,677 tests completed. _ Quebec: 354,390 confirmed cases (8,895 active, 334,531 resolved, 10,964 deaths). There were 915 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 103.74 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 6,700 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 957. There were five new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 61 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 127.87 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,422,822 tests completed. _ Ontario: 479,633 confirmed cases (34,976 active, 436,470 resolved, 8,187 deaths). There were 2,941 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 237.38 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24,027 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3,432. There were 44 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 199 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 28. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 55.57 per 100,000 people. There have been 14,113,727 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 40,085 confirmed cases (2,780 active, 36,323 resolved, 982 deaths). There were 272 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 201.56 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,876 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 268. There were two new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 71.2 per 100,000 people. There have been 695,895 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 42,203 confirmed cases (2,250 active, 39,452 resolved, 501 deaths). There were 197 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 190.89 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,589 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 227. There were two new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 15 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.18 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.51 per 100,000 people. There have been 781,228 tests completed. _ Alberta: 200,924 confirmed cases (24,156 active, 174,666 resolved, 2,102 deaths). There were 2,271 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 546.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 14,245 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,035. There were three new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 29 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 4,212,709 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 132,925 confirmed cases (7,079 active, 124,252 resolved, 1,594 deaths). There were 572 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 137.52 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,036 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 719. There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 18 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 30.97 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,526,871 tests completed. _ Yukon: 82 confirmed cases (one active, 79 resolved, two deaths). There were zero new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 2.38 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 4.76 per 100,000 people. There have been 9,065 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 85 confirmed cases (34 active, 51 resolved, zero deaths). There were 14 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 75.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 34 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 19,056 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 540 confirmed cases (82 active, 454 resolved, four deaths). There were five new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 208.37 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 62 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 10.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 12,645 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published May 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
More than 325,000 people, roughly three in 10 Nova Scotians, have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. But two experts say that is not enough to have an effect on the spread of the virus across the province. "We need to get up closer to 50 to 60 per cent before we can really see that," said Dr. Scott Halperin, the director of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology in Halifax. "We're well on our way to that. "Hopefully, we'll start seeing that effect soon." Part of the problem, according to Halperin, is that few people were infected during the first two waves of the pandemic. As a result, Nova Scotians have had to rely on vaccines for protection. He said had the third wave arrived after more people had their jabs, we might have been spared community spread in the Halifax area. "If that could have been held off for another three or four weeks we might have gotten to the point where we wouldn't have seen this surge," he said. 'The vaccine should do just fine' This surge is being driven primarily by the variant strain first detected in the U.K., but Halperin said the three vaccines currently available in Nova Scotia offer enough protection against it. "The vaccine should do just fine," said Halperin. "What the future holds? That's what we don't know." Halperin said the race is on to protect enough people before the virus mutates to the point where current vaccines provide so little protection that new vaccines have to be created to deal with the new strains. Dr. Rodney Russell is an immunology and virology professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland.(Memorial University of Newfoundland) Meanwhile, Dr. Rodney Russell, an immunology and virology professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, has a warning for those who think they don't need to be vaccinated because herd immunity will protect them against COVID-19. "It's very, very important for people to realize that we may not be able to rely on herd immunity," he said. "If you want immunity, you have to get the vaccine yourself because I think the virus will find the unvaccinated people and keep spreading in them." It's also unclear how many people will need to be vaccinated to create herd immunity or community protection, but Russell said the current thinking is that it will take at least 75 per cent of the population. "Seventy-five per cent should give us enough immunity that we won't have massive outbreaks and explosions in cases like we see now in Halifax, like we saw in Newfoundland back in February," said Russell. "If three-quarters of the population are vaccinated, then three out of four times that the virus tries to spread it gets blocked," he said. "So then you won't have outbreaks and that means we can have a normal life." Disagreement on vaccinating children But the two experts disagree when it comes to the importance of vaccinating children as part of the plan to protect all Nova Scotians. Russell isn't concerned because children "for the most part ... haven't gotten that sick from this virus." "Usually if your symptoms aren't too bad, you're not spreading too bad either," he said. Halperin takes a different view, suggesting the province will need to vaccinate as many people as possible, regardless of their age. "Until we get down into children, 25 or so per cent of our population is staying fully susceptible, and while they may not have the most severe disease they may provide a sufficient susceptible pool to keep the virus circulating," he said. Halperin said if the Nova Scotia government is able to remain on track to immunize at least 75 per cent of its population by the end of June, Nova Scotians should see a return to more normal activities. "I think the new normal will be towards the fall, mid-fall, maybe," he said. "I think we have to hang in there." MORE TOP STORIES
Whale sharks are the biggest sharks in the ocean. In fact, they are the biggest fish of any kind. Second in size only to a few species of whales, they are truly enormous. But despite their size, they are truly the gentle giants of the deep. They have no teeth and they cannot bite a human or cause any harm, unless they crash into one who does not move out of their way. These scuba divers were in complete awe and wonder as they witnessed these mammoths up close in the remote waters off the Galapagos Islands. The sharks come here each year to bear their young and to feed in the currents around the islands. These waters are filled with hammerhead sharks, white tipped sharks, Galapagos sharks, sea turtles and fish of all shapes and sizes. Scuba divers also come here to explore the waters and see these animals in their natural environment.
CARACAS (Reuters) -Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro received a samurai sword as a gift from actor Steven Seagal, who was visiting the South American country as a representative of Russia, state television images showed on Tuesday evening. Maduro, wearing a white facemask and a traditional Venezuelan black long sleeve shirt known as a liqui liqui, positioned the sword over his shoulder as Seagal nodded and pointed in affirmation, the images broadcast from the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas showed. "The Venezuelan head of state maneuvers after drawing the sword," a state television narrator said, calling the weapon a "symbol of leadership."
Almost every appointment at Toronto's city-run COVID-19 sites has been booked for the month of May, says Mayor John Tory. The city will make another 60,000 appointments available tomorrow when the province will begin allowing people 50 and older and with high-risk health conditions to book online. The catch is the new appointments won't be until June. Appointments continue to be available at pharmacies, and residents can also go to pop-up clinics in their neighbourhoods. "We continue to need more vaccine and we've made that clear to other governments who receive it from the manufacturer," Tory told reporters. "We have considerable additional capacity to do more at city-operated clinics." Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, the general manager of Toronto's Office of Emergency Management, said for every vaccine dose the city is set to receive, it opens the same number of appointments. "There is really no other secret formula other than more vaccine," he said. COVID-19 situation 'stabilizing,' de Villa says Toronto reported 991 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, according to provincial numbers, suggesting cases are beginning to plateau weeks into the third wave. More than 1,160 patients were in hospital and 281 receiving intensive care. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said the city's situation is "stabilizing" but likened it to a patient moving from critical to serious condition — an improvement but still in danger. The city's numbers reflect a larger trend, with Ontario reporting fewer than 3,000 new cases for the second day in a row. The province has also said that although intensive care unit admissions have climbed to more than 900, doctors likely won't have to activate the triage model that would have required them to decide which patients get potentially life-saving care. Toronto Public Health has administered 1.2 million vaccine doses and is expanding mobile and pop-up clinics in hot spot neighbourhoods for residents 18 and older. With increased vaccine deliveries from the federal government this week, the province announced it is launching mobile units to offer vaccines at small to medium sized workplaces in Toronto hot spots, as well as in Peel and York. The mobile units will target businesses where employees can't work form home and have a history of outbreaks, the province said in a news release. Soon, people as young as 12 years old will be eligible for a shot of Pfizer, as Health Canada has authorized it for adolescents.
With COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to Canada ramping up, the Ontario government will start deploying mobile vaccination units to in Toronto, York and Peel. Beginning on Friday, May 7, an initial rollout of up to five mobile units is planned, with each public health unit deciding the small to medium-sized businesses where these units will be deployed. The province has indicated that there is the possibility of expanding the program to 15 units, once it is fully established.