Shooting in northwest Toronto leaves 2 men wounded, 1 with life-threatening injuries

A shooting in northwest Toronto has left two men injured, one with life-threatening injuries, Toronto police say.

The shooting occurred in the area of Jane Street and Yorkwoods Gate, south of Finch Avenue West. Emergency crews were called to the scene at about 8:25 p.m. 

Police said they received reports of about 10 shots fired.

When officers arrived on the scene, they found two victims. The second victim has serious but non-life-threatening injuries. 

Toronto paramedics took both men to a trauma centre on an emergency run.

Jeremy Cohn/CBC

Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, said the shooting damaged parked cars.

Officers have located several shell casings on the ground. Several units, including the canine unit, are on the scene, she said.

Police have not released the ages of the victims.

Barry Rieder, a community minister with the United Church of Canada, says the shooting occurred on a plaza.

"It's very unfortunate that these situations end up happening," he said.

"It takes away from the very positive things that are happening in the community. We have been working several years now to decrease the gun violence, but unfortunately throughout the whole GTA now, we seem to be immersed with a rash of shootings."

Jeremy Cohn/CBC

Rieder said the church provides support for families of victims of gun violence as part of its crisis response.

"Unfortunately, there is a high degree of unemployment here in the Jane-Finch community," he added. "And a lot of it is race based. It's difficult for black male youth to find jobs and hold those jobs down. We are just trying to create more economic opportunity for the youth so they don't get up caught in gang life," he said.

Jane Street is closed in both directions from Grandravine Drive to Yorkwoods Gate. Motorists and pedestrians are urged to use an alternate route.

Jeremy Cohn/CBC
  • Kitsilano residents play it cool over rumours they could be getting royal neighbours
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    CBC

    Kitsilano residents play it cool over rumours they could be getting royal neighbours

    Come this spring, Prince Harry and Meghan will no longer be working members of the Royal Family and will, therefore, no longer use their royal titles or taxpayer money, according to a statement released Saturday from Buckingham Palace.It's been reported for weeks that the couple is interested in living in Canada at least part of the time and some British press are reporting that the couple is interested in buying a $36-million house on Point Grey Road in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood. So, in order to keep the speculation going over the couple and their son Archie, CBC News in Vancouver sent reporter Jon Hernandez to the property to ask residents what they think about the possibility of the royals moving in. For the most part, the handful of people surveyed were supportive of the family living in Kits, but they all agreed it would change the makeup of the neighbourhood, which is known for its large properties and ocean views.Trina Littlejohns, who used to live in the UK, understands why the couple wants to try to live a quieter life after having to deal with the public spotlight and media in Britain."They're kind of in your face there," she said about the British press."I think it's great, they're good people and they want to sort of get away from the royal family-ish, so I think it's great."'I'm very conflicted'Richard Roy isn't so sure though. His daily walk includes a stroll along Point Grey Road, where the house is."I don't know, I'm very conflicted because people should be able to do what they want," he said. "From a selfish viewpoint, it will screw up our lives because this is a daily walking point and I don't think it will be quite the same anymore."Roy said he would avoid the area if the royal couple moved in. "There would probably be too much ruckus," he said.Max Lekhtman came down to see the house on Saturday with his dog Luna. He agreed that things around the home, such as added security, would probably change the neighbourhood, but he is supportive of the family being in Vancouver."I just want them to be happy I guess you know, I'm sure it's not easy for them with everything they're going through," he said.

  • Trudeau cabinet holding 3-day retreat to plot parliamentary strategy for minority government
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    CBC

    Trudeau cabinet holding 3-day retreat to plot parliamentary strategy for minority government

    Liberal cabinet ministers began meetings in Winnipeg today to set parliamentary priorities and strategize for what's expected to be a challenging winter session for the minority government.The three-day retreat will focus on themes laid out in the fall throne speech: growing the economy and the middle class, tackling climate change, and building healthy and safe communities, including new gun control measures and continued efforts to promote reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.One of the urgent orders of business is the federal response to the massive blizzard in Newfoundland and Labrador, where a state of emergency was declared in St. John's and several other municipalities. On Saturday, government ministers pledged whatever assistance the province requires, including military personnel, and today ministers confirmed that 300 or more troops plus equipment would be deployed.Governing without a majority means the government must get at least one of the opposition parties on board to pass legislation and the upcoming budget.On Sunday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau acknowledged there will be "some differences" in how the government drafts its economic plan."Importantly, we will have to, as we get to Parliament, make sure that we are talking with all of the other parties. That's been a priority we've had over previous years — I'm sure it will be more robust this year," he said.As the nation continues to grieve the loss of 57 Canadians killed in the Flight PS752 airline disaster in Iran, mounting tensions in the Middle East and other global affairs will also be high on the agenda.But domestic pressures are paramount, and the chosen location of the retreat is both symbolic and politically strategic."It is a city in the West where they should have done better in the last election and they have the potential to do better in the next election — that we know will be probably sooner rather than later," said Liberal commentator Greg MacEachern. "Going to Manitoba makes more sense than going to Alberta. There's still a lot of active issues in Alberta, which might have obscured any messages the government wants to get out."The Liberals were shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan in the Oct. 21 election, reflecting a strong dissatisfaction in the region over the federal carbon tax and slow progress on building a pipeline.While Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister may not be the Liberal government's biggest fan, MacEachern said, he has demonstrated a tendency to focus on areas of common interest rather than making partisan attacks as other premiers, such as Alberta's Jason Kenney and Saskatchewan's Scott Moe, have done.Healing regional divisionsIn an attempt to heal the regional divisions, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Chrystia Freeland, one of his top-performing ministers, to take on the intergovernmental affairs file in his Nov. 20 cabinet shuffle. To further demonstrate the government's commitment to addressing regional discontent, Trudeau also named Freeland deputy prime minister and tasked her with working with all ministers to restore relations with the West.After his Liberals were reduced to a minority government, Trudeau promised to adopt a more collaborative approach in working with both the provincial premiers and the federal opposition parties. The weeks and months ahead will test that resolve and the government's ability to navigate the new reality to pass legislation and a federal budget."This session for them will be where the rubber hits the road, where you have to look at things, very frankly, through a political lens," MacEachern said. "Who else is going to support this? You can have the best ideas in the world, but in a minority parliament, if it doesn't appeal to enough people in another party, they're going to go nowhere."MacEachern said outside the work of the House of Commons, ministers must grapple with external issues: the raging bushfires in Australia, rising tensions with Iran and how to navigate Canada-U.S. relations in an election year, including ratifying a new trilateral trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico.Daniel Béland, a political science professor and director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, believes getting "NAFTA 2.0" — also called CUSMA (the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement on trade) past the finish line must be a top economic priority for the government.Danger in delaying CUSMAHe said there's a danger in delay, because U.S. President Donald Trump could respond negatively if he becomes impatient."That's the most important issue by far in terms of our international footprint because our economic relationship with the U.S is so fundamental to our development, to our economic well-being," he said. Béland agrees that Trudeau and his ministers will need to adopt a more conciliatory approach to governing in order to pass that trade deal and other pieces of legislation, but said the Liberals likely have some breathing room before the next campaign.The Bloc Québécois and NDP don't have the desire or money to fight a snap election, and the Conservatives are in the throes of a leadership race to replace Andrew Scheer, he said."Right now I'm not sure who has the incentive to have an early election, who could pull the trigger," Béland said.Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen expects the Liberals will capitalize on the fact her party is dealing with a leadership race, but warned that the opposition will work to hold the government to account on key files, including the new NAFTA. She said agricultural and other sectors negatively impacted by the deal must be properly compensated.Bergen said selecting Winnipeg as the venue for the cabinet retreat is likely meant to send a signal that the Liberals are listening and willing to address the issues driving western alienation.But to date, she said Trudeau has shown arrogance and a superficial acknowledgement of the region's pressing concerns.'Important test' for Liberals"That will be a very important test that these Liberals are facing. And do they have the capacity to pass it? I don't know," she said."I don't know if they understand the challenges that western Canadians are going through and if some of their political ideology in terms of anti-pipeline sentiment in their caucus and cabinet, anti-development sentiment in their caucus and cabinet, can overshadow the need for them to put the interests of all Canadians first."NDP house leader Peter Julian said as the government prepares for its upcoming budget, New Democrats will be pressing for issues that will help Canadians, such as pharmacare and a $15 federal minimum wage and dental care for those who need it most."If all the Liberals want is to stay in power, they can keep counting on the Conservatives or the Bloc for support" Julian said in a statement to CBC. "But, if they actually want to help people, they can work with us, and we can deliver what Canadians need to help with the problems they face every day."Ministers are expected to hear from several guest speakers, including a panel on the state of the economy and the middle class with Canada's chief statistician Anil Arora and economists Armine Yalnizyan and Kevin Milligan.Talks on climate change will include implementing campaign commitments around electric buses, home retrofits and tree planting.Ministers will hold discussions with Andrew Leach, an energy and climate expert at the University of Alberta, and Katharine Hayhoe, a Canadian atmospheric expert at Texas Tech University.There will also be an update on the Trans Mountain pipeline, including engagement efforts with Indigenous peoples. Guest speakers on that issue are Ian Anderson, CEO of Trans Mountain Corporation, William Downe, chair of the board for Trans Mountain Corporation, and Linda Coady, who was named last fall to lead Indigenous engagement on equity for the project.Trudeau is scheduled to meet with Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Winnipeg Mayor Bowman, and various ministers will sit down with stakeholder groups in the region.The agenda also includes discussions on health care and a panel of local representatives on regional development and economic competitiveness.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Premier urged to stop "letting Saskatchewan be smarter than us" about clock change

    WINNIPEG — A small number of apparently passionate Manitobans have been giving Premier Brian Pallister an earful about having to change their clocks twice a year.The premier received six emails, unprompted, from members of the public between September and December last year on the subject of daylight time.One has an anatomical reference."There is no reason for us to be changing the time!" reads one of the emails, obtained by The Canadian Press under the province's freedom of information law.The emailer asks Pallister, figuratively, to pull his head out of his posterior — although another word was used — "and actually do something that the people want!"Another person emailed with a concern that touched on interprovincial rivalries on the Prairies."Please stop letting Saskatchewan be smarter than us," a reference to the fact that most areas of Saskatchewan remain on central standard time year-round.Another emailer took a friendlier tone with the Progressive Conservative government, and suggested stopping clock changes could help the party."Whether it's urban or rural residents, I think the idea would get some good traction, even with (opposition) members across the aisle. Something to think about. Cheers and keep up the good work."While Pallister has shown no interest in changing the current system that requires people to spring ahead in March and fall back to standard time in November, the debate over daylight time in Manitoba and elsewhere has been growing.The NDP government in British Columbia has put forward legislation to adopt daylight time year-round, although Premier John Horgan has said he will wait to see whether Washington, Oregon and California do the same.The Alberta government launched an online survey in November to let residents weigh in.In Manitoba, the Opposition New Democrats set up a web page last month to garner public input, and the provincial Liberals are pushing to have the idea put to a referendum in the 2023 provincial election.Opinions in Manitoba are mixed, and that was reflected in the emails to the premier.One email expressed worry that ending daylight time would put an end to the long summer evenings beloved by many."Do not change daylight savings. I don't want the sun up at 5 a.m. in the summer and I live (sic) the sun out until 10 p.m. in the summer."The names and other identifying information about the people who wrote to the premier were not released, under a section of the freedom of information law that protects third-party privacy.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2020Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

  • News
    Reuters

    Southern Libyan oil fields face closure as pipeline blockaded

    Libya's largest oil field and a second major field in the southwest began shutting down on Sunday after forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar closed a pipeline connecting them to the coast, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said. The closure, which comes after a blockade of major eastern oil ports, risked taking nearly all the country's oil output offline as international leaders met in Berlin for a peace summit on Libya. Libya has been producing around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil in recent months, and all major fields lie in areas controlled by Haftar's eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA).

  • Fitness class for people with early-onset dementia a place for body and mind
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    CBC

    Fitness class for people with early-onset dementia a place for body and mind

    It may look like an ordinary fitness class, but there's something unique about this weekly gathering at Carleton University's athletics centre — every participant has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia.Its members, who range in age from 48 to 65, have been meeting here every Tuesday since last October to run, swim and do Pilates together.Robin Meyers, director of community support services for charity Carefor, came up with the idea. Because fitness programs for Alzheimer's patients are normally geared toward participants 65 and over, younger clients felt like they didn't fit in, she said."The age is different, the music we listen to, the activities — it's chair exercises versus sort of a physical activity. I mean, I can't integrate Pilates into most of my seniors' groups, but this group can do it," Meyers told CBC's Ottawa Morning.But it's not just the physical activities that make this group different, she said. Part fitness class, part social club, it's also a comfortable place for members to talk through some of the unique challenges facing people diagnosed with dementia at an early age."Someone under the age of 65 is likely very in tune with the fact they're living with the diagnosis of Alzheimer's and probably willing to talk about it. That would be very different from someone who's, say, 80 years old," Meyers said.The group has no official name, but some of the sly ideas members have suggested — The Brainy Bunch and Stay Fit and Forget About It — certainly suggest an upbeat attitude."I think the most important thing for people to keep in mind is that [early-onset dementia is] not necessarily a death sentence, in and of itself," participant Tom Makichuk told Ottawa Morning."It's a new chapter. It's a new opportunity. It's a chance to explore something and live something different."The group's youngest member, Sylvain Lepage, 48, was diagnosed in October. Lepage said before joining, he didn't do much."My wife says I used to live in 'Youtubeland.' I used to have my tablet and my earphones and watched Youtube all day long," he told Ottawa Morning. "We know we come here because we have dementia, but we forget about it for the day."Membership is currently capped at 10, and there's a wait list. Meyers, whose own husband was diagnosed with the disease three years ago, said she's hoping that popularity will signal the need for similar programs elsewhere. "This is exactly what I had hoped for," she said, choking back tears. "Bringing people together and seeing that they're just like everyone else."

  • Evacuees pray for safety at Sunday mass amid Philippine volcano threat
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    Reuters

    Evacuees pray for safety at Sunday mass amid Philippine volcano threat

    Hundreds of people who have fled their homes near a restive volcano on the Philippines' main island Luzon attended a Catholic mass at a temporary shelter on Sunday, praying for safety amid fears of a violent eruption. "We prayed that we can rise up, put a stop to this calamity to allow us to return back to our homes," said 44-year-old evacuee Annie Villanueva. More than 70,000 people have been evacuated since the Taal, one of the Philippines' most active volcanoes, began spewing clouds of ash, steam and gas on Jan. 12.

  • This Yukon teen bikes to school year round — even in -40 C
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    CBC

    This Yukon teen bikes to school year round — even in -40 C

    How cold is too cold when it comes to riding your bike in the winter?It's a question that 13-year-old Phineas Pearson of Whitehorse, a dedicated winter cyclist, doesn't know the answer to. "I guess –50 would be too cold. I've never biked in –50." Biking in -40 isn't as unbelievable as you might think \- Phineas PearsonThis week, despite the temperature hovering around –40 C, he still hopped on his bike and rode to school.He's the only student at F. H. Collins who rides every day, no matter the weather."I do this because it's something I enjoy and in the cold temperatures it really wakes you up and gets you ready for school," he said.  "I had an exam the other morning and when I came to school, I was very awake and normally I would be very, very tired." Pearson comes by his enthusiasm for biking honestly. Both his parents are avid cyclists and the bicycle has been his go-to mode of transport since he was in kindergarten.At age five, he would hop on his dad's extra-cycle, an adult bike that has an attachment on the back specially designed for smaller riders.Just two years later, Pearson was riding alone to school."That was really hard for me, but they need their independence," said Phineas' mom, Georgi Pearson."We've always biked as a family and I'm proud of the fact that he just does it. It's just kind of how we get around."Living in downtown Whitehorse, Georgi says they rarely have to use a car."If we go out the door, there's a good chance we're bringing a bike with us."The bridge of the noseFor the past week, the roads in Whitehorse have been quieter than normal. The city is under a cold snap like it hasn't experienced in years, and many people have elected to park the vehicle and stay inside.Not Phineas.On Tuesday, just before noon, he had an exam. And while most high school students would probably have been doing some last-minute cramming, Phineas was more focused on making sure he was geared up properly."I have to wear snowpants, a large winter jacket, a sweater, hats, mitts and a buff — not necessarily in that order," he said. "A good jacket is definitely the most important."Phineas says he doesn't really notice the cold except on the bridge of his nose, which is exposed at times. He says the cold is harder on the bike than him."It seizes up about halfway to school and gets really hard to pedal," he said."But the experience of biking in –40 isn't as unbelievable as you might think, it's just like going for a walk in the cold."The bike Phineas rides is not cheap, and it can withstand the elements of a Yukon winter.It's a fat bike, and comes equipped with special gloves on the handlebars called pogies, that provide warmth. The main feature is the bike's extra-wide tires, designed for comfort and control."It feels kind of like driving a tank, and does feel very powerful," he said.Georgi says on top of giving her son independence the biking also allows Phineas to exercise without even realizing it."He's a book reader, and cycling is a good way for us to get him to have some physical activity without him maybe realizing he is," said Georgi."He probably does know that that's our ulterior motive."

  • How 'absolute terror' led this P.E.I. man to start a podcast about mental health
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    CBC

    How 'absolute terror' led this P.E.I. man to start a podcast about mental health

    Feeling alone is a common theme on Matt Burke's podcast about mental health.The 24-year-old started Matty's Mental Health Podcast about 10 months ago and since then has recorded 21 episodes in his Charlottetown home, covering a wide range of topics including his own story."The purpose of the podcast is to provide a platform where people can share their stories with mental health."He said a lot of people feel like they have to fight their mental health battles on their own, and through the podcast, he wants to show them they don't have to. On the podcast he has spoken to people about things such as depression, anxiety and how concussions can affect a person's mental health."I've had counsellors on there. They talked about mental health from their side," he said. "A lot of interesting people. I've learned a lot from them."Burke said he is not a mental health professional "by any stretch of the imagination," but he has had his own struggles with mental health and revealed his story on Episode 9.'Absolute terror'When Burke was 20, his girlfriend took her own life.The couple was having a difficult time and while he was out one night his cellphone died as the two were texting back and forth. I just knew right away that I was just looking to make a positive out of it somehow. — Matt BurkeThe following morning he was cleaning off his car to go check on her when her parents pulled into the driveway and told him his girlfriend had killed herself."It was just absolute terror," Burke said.He couldn't wrap his head around it. He was a mess and he got sick to his stomach."I completely lost it. I went into a rage. I punched the ground. I went into my house and I punched holes in the wall," he said.His girlfriend's family insisted he come with them for the day and he went. He said they talked him down from his emotions."I was lucky they took me in right away and treated me as family," he said.Now, with the podcast he is hoping to provide similar support by discussing mental health with others. When you do tell your story it really does help. — Mark Burke"I just knew right away that I was just looking to make a positive out of it somehow," he said. "Like 'How can I help? How can I move this forward? Take this experience and help somebody else that was in the same situation she was in,'" Burke said.He said he wasn't sure what form that help would take until he found podcasting and decided to start inviting Islanders to discuss mental wellness.'Anxious, like constantly'Mark Burke — no relation to Matt — was on the latest episode of the podcast. He played hockey on P.E.I. for about 16 years, from squirts to junior, he said.In December of 2016 he suffered a concussion and returned to the ice after two weeks. Two-and-a-half months later he suffered another concussion. That's when he realized they were taking a toll on his mental health."Anxious, like constantly. I'd go through bouts of depression from it. Just almost felt sort of stuck in a fight or flight state," Mark said. "Mood swings would randomly happen. I would go from somewhat happy, to mad as crazy over something silly to almost being in tears and that could all happen in a span of 15 minutes."While he was experiencing this, he was going through changes in his life and had just moved out on his own, so he attributed the mental health issues to that.He said he didn't really think his mental health was impacted by the concussions until he heard former Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas talk about how his mental health was affected by concussions.Mark only told his parents about a month ago and the family went to see a mental health professional together."He referred me to a neurologist, so we are in line for that," Mark said. Mark also struggles with small talk following the concussions and appearing on the podcast was a way of addressing that issue."That felt real good, just to kind of air it all out," he said. "I got to keep moving forward and make myself better every day to kind of set a good example — that when you do tell your story it really does help."Mark said he was able to relate to Matt knowing he also struggled with mental health.'Tornado of emotions'The year after his girlfriend died Matt was in shock. He couldn't sleep or focus."It is kind of a tornado of emotions," he said. "You know, a big thing for me, I started therapy right away and that was huge for me. That probably saved my life."Matt said just talking about what was going through his mind helped. I think by them sharing it'll just benefit anyone who listens. — Matt Burke One thing he started to do, that he still does, is go on hikes with his dogs for hours at a time."I just work through everything that is going on in my mind," he said. "It's kind of like a meditation time, and I always felt a little bit better."Matt said he hopes his girlfriend would be proud of the work he is doing now.He said if what he's doing helps one person, "it'll be worth it for me."Gaining confidence from othersRonnie McPhee, a community liaison for the city of Charlottetown, was a recent guest on the podcast.McPhee said listening to Matt and his guests open up about their mental health troubles inspired him and gave him the confidence to take his turn at the microphone.When McPhee was younger he struggled with his mental health, and at one point, he spent time in the hospital."It gave me the opportunity to put myself in a comparable setting to other people who had challenges like this," he said."It just showed me how I could offer up my advantages to support others." The main thing I try to do is get out of the way and let them tell their story. — Matt BurkeBeing able to talk and help others deal with their mental health struggles has helped him cope with his own, McPhee said."That was always a good feeling to me. That's kind of how I found my way of coping with the challenges I kind of grew up with," he said.Guests keep comingBurke hasn't had to look for guests very often because many people have asked if they can be part of the podcast."I'm just like honoured to do it and I am so thankful for all the guests that reach out to me," he said. "I know how hard it is to tell your story." Bringing these things to light and being more compassionate about it is 100 per cent the way to go in the future. — Matt BurkeHe said organizing a traumatic story, to "go back to that point and really dive into it," can be difficult."The main thing I try to do is get out of the way and let them tell their story and I think by them sharing it'll just benefit anyone who listens who is going through the same thing," he said."And even people who aren't going through the same thing, just to understand what people go through."One takeaway he hopes listeners walk away with is that mental health issues are common.Having lost someone very close to suicide, Matt does worry about some of the people he interviews."I never try to force anyone to come on," Burke said. "I want to make sure they are in a good enough place to come on."When referring to his girlfriend's death, Burke said "mental illness took her life."He said in the last few years the discussion around mental health has become more compassionate."Bringing these things to light and being more compassionate about it is 100 per cent the way to go in the future."Matty's Mental Health Podcast can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube.Anyone needing emotional support, crisis intervention or help with problem solving in P.E.I. can contact The Island Helpline at 1-800-218-2885, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.For more information about mental health services on P.E.I., find resources from Health PEI here, or from the Canadian Mental Health Association P.E.I. Division here.More P.E.I. news

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    Reuters

    Meghan's father accuses daughter of 'cheapening' UK's royal family

    Meghan Markle's estranged father, Thomas Markle, accused his daughter of "cheapening" the British royal family in part of an interview released a day after Buckingham Palace said Prince Harry and his wife would no longer be working members of the monarchy. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the whole country wished them "the very best" with the new arrangement. "As I said before ... I was sure that the royal family, which has been around a very long time, will find a way forward," Johnson told Sky News in Germany, where he was attending a summit on Libya.

  • Boeing's MCAS flight control software explained
    CBC

    Boeing's MCAS flight control software explained

    A breakdown of problems with the MCAS anti-stall system in Boeing's 737 Max 8 planes, which is at the centre of the investigations into two deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

  • Troops arrive in N.L. for blizzard cleanup
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    CBC

    Troops arrive in N.L. for blizzard cleanup

    Members of the Canadian Armed Forces arrived in Newfoundland and Labrador on Sunday evening after a blizzard hit the province Friday.Video posted to Twitter by Joint Task Force Atlantic showed troops on the ground amid renewed snowfall. Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan said there would be between 150 and 200 people on the ground by the end of the day — a number which could swell to 300 by Monday.Sajjan, speaking at a media conference in Winnipeg, could not comment on what exactly the service members would be doing, saying that decision will be made by experts in the community."[The response] will be needs driven on the ground," he said, adding that the military would not be seeking to recover costs for their services.Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, speaking at the same news conference, said the federal government is working with the province on how to pay for other aspects of the cleanup.Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball said an emergency operations centre will open to centralize requests for help from residents. Soldiers will be available for residents who need assistance with snow clearing and other support. He said a "high volume of calls" is expected."We just want to help people now clean up and clear out ... so emergency workers can get to them," Ball told CBC's radio special on the storm Sunday afternoon.Watch: For some, all that snow means funMore snow to comeNewfoundlanders are facing a full day of shovelling after Friday's record-setting blizzard, and there is more nasty weather to come.St. John's set a new one-day snowfall record on Friday of 76.2 cm, beating the previous record of 68.4 cm set back on April 5, 1999, according to Environment Canada. Meanwhile, 93 cm fell in Mount Pearl and 91 cm fell in Paradise. Earlier Sunday the federal weather agency issued weather warnings and statements for much of the island, except for the west coast and northern peninsula.Central Newfoundland is under snowfall warnings and there are winter storm warnings on the south coast. Upwards of 20 to 25 cm of snow is possible, according to CBC Newfoundland meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler.For eastern Newfoundland, 10 to 15 cm is likely, with some areas seeing upwards of 20 cm. In the early morning hours Monday, that should change to drizzle for the metro area, but southern areas on the Avalon will see between 5 and 15 mm of rain, she said. Winds could whip up to between 80 and 90 km/h overnight in eastern Newfoundland. "It's unbelievable when you think about it," Ball said of the coming second wave of snow.States of emergencyMunicipalities throughout the area have declared states of emergency, which restrict residents' movements to allow snow-clearing operations to carry on unimpeded.Residents who are running low on supplies will have few options in St. John's, where a state of emergency will remain in effect on Monday.The city said pharmacies are not permitted to open Monday, revising its statement from earlier on Sunday regarding the state of emergency "given the current weather conditions and the addition anticipated snowfall [Sunday] evening."Snow-clearing contractors are permitted to carry out their work, and gas stations may open to provide emergency fuel needed for snow removal, the city said in a statement.Garbage and recycling collection will not proceed Monday, the city said. A spokesperson for the city of St. John's said the city expects businesses to honour the state of emergency amid reports some businesses not covered under the exceptions have been opening. She said the city can charge anyone in violation of the state of emergency order, with a penalty of up to $5,000 if convicted.Even with the easing of some restrictions, the city is still advising people to "stay in and off city streets."John Haggie, the province's health minister, advised residents needing prescriptions to call their local pharmacy to make sure it's open and that a refill is available. He noted, however, that any pharmacy in the province is able to dispense a prescription no matter which pharmacy it was first brought to. Haggie also advised residents who may be concerned they are having a medical issue to call the 811 health line to get advice before calling 911 or trying to venture to a hospital. "The roads are not entirely safe," he cautioned.The Town of Paradise, 20 kilometres west of St. John's, announced Sunday that it will temporarily lift its state of emergency between 6 a.m. and midnight daily, effective Monday.Starting Monday, "and until further notice," all businesses must close by midnight daily and no vehicles are allowed on roads between midnight and 6 a.m. to allow for snow-clearing operations, a statement from the town said. Only town snow-clearing equipment, emergency vehicles, essential workers getting to work and private snow-clearing contractors are allowed to be on the roads overnight."We ask all residents to stay home unless absolutely necessary," the statement goes on.The town of Conception Bay South, 36 kilometres west of St. John's, lifted its state of emergency at 4 p.m.Watch as neighbours in CBS stay connected through a snow mazePharmacies in the town will be able to open immediately. A warming centre is also open at the Salvation Army church until 9 p.m.Residents were allowed to travel to pharmacies and to the warming centre before 4 p.m.The Town of Torbay also plans to lift its state of emergency between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. effective Monday.Before then, several exceptions are in place, including allowing private snow-clearing operations, the delivery of oil to homes and the movement of essential workers, among other accommodations. Town buildings and facilities will remain closed Monday.Meanwhile, in Portugal Cove-St. Philips, a state of emergency will go back into effect at 9 p.m.'Tremendous amount of snow'St. John's Mayor Danny Breen said while crews have had a lot of success and worked through the night, there's still a lot to be done.  "There's a tremendous amount of snow on the ground," he told CBC News Network on Sunday morning.Watch: Snow piles up in N.L.'s record stormBreen said a series of storms has had snowplow operators working steadily since Christmas Eve and said they are getting help from Corner Brook as well as from other levels of government.Most major thoroughfares have been widened, he said, with many streets at least having "one cut" through them. But the goal remains clearing roads for emergency vehicles and allowing private snow-removal contractors to service their clients so businesses can eventually reopen."Right now, the streets, we don't feel that they're in a condition that's suitable enough to open up the city tomorrow," he told the CBC radio special on Sunday afternoon.Asked about criticism that the city seemed under-prepared for the massive storm, Breen said there are three things to note: the high volume of snow, the rate at which the snow fell and the high winds, which at times reached up to 150 km/h."So this was a storm that would have been challenging for any operation," he said.Schools, government offices closedThe province announced that all government offices in the St. John's metro area will be closed Monday.The province's English school district has announced that all schools on the Avalon Peninsula will be closed Monday as well. Several schools on the Bonavista Peninsula will also be closed.Watch: Retired sports host reports on N.L. weather emergencyMeanwhile, Memorial University has announced that its St. John's, Marine Institute and Signal Hill campuses will remain closed on Monday "to facilitate cleanup from Friday's blizzard." The closure includes all evening classes and activities, and the child-care centre. The closure means access to university buildings is restricted, according to a statement from the university. "Please do not come to campus," the statement said.Noreen Golfman, the university's vice president academic, has encouraged all instructors to be flexible with course work."This includes, but is not limited to, deadlines for submission of assignments, papers, etc., as well as attendance in classes and laboratories over the next couple of days," said a statement from the university.College of the North Atlantic's Ridge Road campus will also be closed Monday.Around 11:30 a.m., Newfoundland Power was reporting 2,499 customers without electricity. The utility later reported new power outages, mostly in Pleasantville to east end St. John's, Topsail, Kelligrews and Upper Gullies areas.On Saturday, Newfoundland Power reported it had reconnected about 75 per cent of customers impacted by the storm.The federal government has approved the province's request for assistance with the cleanup, including army mobilization.In a tweet, St. John's Airport said its airfield is only available for air ambulance and military aircraft and that commercial flights will not start up until at least Monday at 8 p.m.'Car is buried'Chris Baird lives on the outskirts of St. John's, above the airport, and early Sunday morning was the first time a snow plow came by to clear his street.His driveway still isn't plowed because the plow company he hired couldn't make the trek through the snow with a plow."The car is buried, totally," Baird told CBC's Weekend Mornings. Baird has lived in the city all his life, but this type of snow is new to him."Never seen snow like this," he said.The St. John's state of emergency was called partially due to the difficulty of traveling around the city, something local firefighters are discovering as well.The local firefighters union posted a photo on Twitter showing some of their members answering a call on foot saying they do "whatever it takes."Some nurses are putting in extremely long hours as cleanup with this storm continues.Registered Nurses' Union president Debbie Forward noted that some nurses at various facilities worked as many as 60 hours before they were relieved from their shifts."We can't leave until a replacement comes to relieve us," she told CBC's radio special. Patients still need care, she said, and "babies don't stop coming."

  • These feral cats once roamed a remote N.L. island. Now they live in Maritime barns
    News
    CBC

    These feral cats once roamed a remote N.L. island. Now they live in Maritime barns

    It's quite a step up from roaming the rocky shores of a remote Newfoundland island in sub-zero temperatures, scrounging for food and shelter.After travelling 1,000 kilometres by land and sea, 40 feral cats from Little Bay Islands, N.L., are settling into their new homes in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Most of the cats — 29 of them — have been sent to warm barns, some sharing space with horses and chickens."They're very cute," said Shannon Doane, who took in two of the cats to help with rodent control at her barn in Elmsdale, N.S."They're very skittish because they are feral, but they're not completely wild."The cats were rescued by volunteers at the Halifax-based charity Spay Day HRM Society, who heard about the plight of the animals and their imminent doom due to the permanent departure of the island's 54 residents.Citizens of Little Bay Islands voted in favour of accepting government financial relocation assistance last year, meaning services like power and water were cut off on Dec. 31.Although the cats were feral, many were fed by and interacted with the island's residents, which raised concerns about whether they would survive once everyone was gone.After arriving at a makeshift shelter in Dartmouth, N.S., the cats were checked by vets and spayed or neutered. They were then assessed to determine where they should be placed.One of the cats — likely an abandoned pet — was friendly enough to be put up for adoption through the SPCA. Another 10 have been placed in foster homes in the hopes they will become socialized for eventual adoption.The cats considered too feral to be socialized were found homes through the charity's barn cat program. Cats live inside hobby or commercial barns and have access to food, water and warm shelter.Three of those felines have hit the jackpot. They're living in Wendy Stewart's guesthouse in the coastal community of Halls Harbour, N.S.Stewart said she originally intended to keep the critters in a drafty barn on her property, used mostly to store firewood.But she also had an empty guesthouse and so she decided to move the cats in there."These cats were just rescued from a cold place. I wanted them to be warm," said Stewart, who has only named one of the cats so far — Clifford — since she's waiting for the other two to show more personality.Stewart said the cats — two black and white and one all black — spend most of their time in a loft and occasionally leap onto a stack of rolled-up rugs to peer out of windows, surveying their new environment from high above.Once they become acclimated, Stewart will open up an already-installed cat door on the guesthouse so they can come and go as they please. She said the felines are already warming up to their new digs."I just gather from their posture, their body language, that they're more relaxed than they were a week ago when they arrived," said Stewart.Doane's cats are currently being confined to a horse stall in her barn while they become familiar with life in Elmsdale, which includes having chickens as roommates.They have a heated bed inside a large dog crate. There is a heated water bowl, cat tree, cat toys and bales of hay for climbing.She, too, has yet to name the cats, as she's waiting for them to show their individuality. She hopes they will eventually become socialized enough that she'll be able to approach and pet them."They've gotten comfortable enough with me that when I go in and feed them, if I sit quietly in the stall with them and read, they will eventually come out and eat," she said."The little black one is a little more adventurous than the black and white one and he'll come out and walk around the stall, around the perimeter, and doesn't seem to mind too much that I'm there."Linda Felix, president of Spay Day HRM, said the cats have been sent to barns all across Nova Scotia and one in P.E.I. She said they were sent in groups of two or three and one group of five."They always have buddy," said Felix, adding there were three colonies on the N.L. island."We match them with cats from the same colony where they were trapped, so they went with a cat they would know and wouldn't be alone and afraid."Felix said the cats currently in foster care are younger — between five and six months old — and so there is more of a chance they can be socialized. If not, they will find homes for them through the barn cat program.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Mailbox snowed-in again? This community found a fancy fix
    News
    CBC

    Mailbox snowed-in again? This community found a fancy fix

    Residents of a New Brunswick community are trying to make a trip to the mail a more pleasant experience.  A group in Keswick Ridge came up with a plan to build a giant shelter for the community mailboxes so residents don't have to fight large piles of snow, strong winds and heavy traffic to get their mail. "If you're an old person … with the wind blowing and raining and snowing, it's a good little protection," said Earl Gilbey, who designed the shelter himself.People in the community, about 25 kilometres northeast of Fredericton, started working on the project in 2018.The shelter, which resembles a small house, was built for $10,000 and completed in the fall."The delivery lady who puts the mail in the boxes, she really loves it," said the 72-year-old Gilbey. "It's better than standing out on the rocky road with 100 km/h gale blowing in your face."  The shelter sits beside the Keswick Ridge Community Hall on Route  616, a stretch of road notorious for ruts and potholes.It was designed to resemble the local hall.It also has motion detectors that turn on the lights when someone's getting their mail — a feature that most community mailboxes don't have."We have the nicest rural community in central New Brunswick and we want to maintain that," said Gilbey, who has lived in Keswick Ridge his entire life.Snow preventing mail accessSafety and comfort, more than snow, were motivating factors for the Keswick Ridge residents.But for years, people in rural areas across the province have complained about large piles of snow blocking them from accessing their community mailboxes. Some have said a mountain of snow builds up when a plow comes through and blocks access. Others have said the large snowbanks happen because Canada Post doesn't bother to properly clear the snow from the community mailboxes in the first place.This has prevented some residents from getting their mail over the course of several days. Canada Post is responsible for the maintenance at community mailbox sites."We have been doing so for over 30 years and continue to take this responsibility very seriously," Canada Post said in an email."We clear the area in front of the mailbox and, should a snowplow pass after we cleaned up the area, we will resend a crew to clear the site again."There are at least 100 mailboxes at the Keswick Ridge shelter. Users range from young families to seniors."It's just to make it safer and easier and better for the residents to pick up their mail," he said.'A good addition'In 2015 Canada Post moved toward community mailbox sites from door-to-door and driveway mailbox delivery.Gilbey doesn't use the community mailbox because he still has his own, but he would certainly use it if his delivery service were to end.Community hall members paid for the shelter from a lump sum of money it receives from the province's Department of Environment and Local Government every year."We're hoping that's a good addition to the community."

  • In Andrew Wright's world, the beauty's never skin-deep
    News
    CBC

    In Andrew Wright's world, the beauty's never skin-deep

    Andrew Wright isn't interested in pretty pictures or cliché subjects. When you see them in his photographs, there's usually something else at play, somewhere under the surface.That's evident in Wright's APEX: Interloper, the inaugural solo art exhibit at Corridor 45|75 in the Rideau LRT station. I don't make pretty pictures. \- Andrew Wright"There's a way that I engage in photography that has to do more with the context, the circumstances ... the political and esthetic underpinnings of what's happening in a given place or with a given idea," said Wright, an associate professor of visual art at the University of Ottawa. "I don't make pretty pictures."It's not that he's against beauty — it's just that he knows it's never skin-deep, and wants to find out what's under the surface."I guess I'm more interested in why it's beautiful, how is it beautiful, or is it beautiful? Or what's really going on here? It's kind of like photography at the edges."The 20-metre-long, 11-panel display is a panoramic shot of Apex, Nunavut, a settlement within Iqaluit that grew out of a former U.S. Air Force base. Wright wants you to pay attention to the details and ask what else is at play in the scene, where sled dogs, oil barrels, radio towers an human habitations share space with ice, snow and sky.The title is a bit of a play on the idea of the "apex predator," Wright said — something or someone at the top of the food chain. But the focus, according to Wright, is squarely on the beholder.Wright has enjoyed watching people's reaction to the work, and said a few have stopped to tell him it's like peering through a window into their own home. (Ottawa is home to the largest Inuit population outside Nunavut.)Wright, the 2019 Karsh Award laureate, has also been getting ready to launch Filmtrack 4 A Sound: Suite Kurelek de Fiala (2010-2020) on Jan. 23 at the Karsh-Masson Gallery at city hall. Wright's work is also included in the collections of the Ottawa Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada and Canada's High Commission in London, Canada House.

  • Fire at Czech asylum for mentally ill kills 8 patients
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Fire at Czech asylum for mentally ill kills 8 patients

    PRAGUE, Czech Republic — A fire swept through a Czech asylum for the mentally ill on Sunday, killing eight male patients, officials said.Prokop Volenik, spokesman for the regional rescue service, said the fire in the northwestern town of Vejprty broke out early Sunday before 5 a.m. (0400 GMT). The town is on the border with Germany.Those killed were all patients, most of them by smoke inhalation, according to Vejprty Mayor Jitka Gadunova. In addition to the deaths, Volenik said 30 others were injured by the blaze and transported to nearby hospitals. One of them was in critical condition.There were 35 patients and three staff members at the home at the time of the fire, officials said.Firefighter spokesman Michal Zavoral said the blaze was contained and the cause was being investigated. German rescuers came to help their Czech colleagues, who were not able to use rescue helicopters due to bad weather.Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis visited the site and offered his condolences to the families of those who died.“It's a huge tragedy,” Babis said. “I'm here to find out how the government can help and what to do to prevent such a tragedy in the future.”The Associated Press

  • News
    CBC

    Late fee to renew medical licence in N.S. frustrates doctor

    A physician who is licensed in Nova Scotia says the timelines and late fees for licence renewals are another barrier to recruiting doctors to the province.Dr. Ajiri Ikede, a Dalhousie University graduate who works in Ottawa, maintains a licence in Nova Scotia to keep his options open. It's common for physicians to have licences in multiple provinces.Licences for Nova Scotia doctors expire each year on Dec. 31 and the annual fee is $1,950. Ikede incurred a late fee of $487 for paying his fee after Nov. 30, but before the end of the year."I said, 'How can I be late on something that hasn't expired yet?' And they said, 'Well, that's our policy as long as you don't meet our renewal window,'" he said.Ikede compared it to home or auto insurance, and said it would be unacceptable to charge late fees early.Rules vary by provinceIt's up to each province's medical college to set rates and renewal rules.In New Brunswick, a licence is $600, but the late fee is $200.Ontario also charges a 25 per cent late fee, but that kicks in after the licence expires. Newfoundland and Labrador is the only other jurisdiction that charges a late fee before a licence expires.Ikede admits he was repeatedly warned by email that his fees were due. He's been licensed in the province since 2010 and never missed the deadline before."Imagine if you got an email the first week of November knowing that your licence is good till the end of the year," he said. "That's not going to be on the top of your priority list of the other 150 emails you get that day."Ikede isn't alone.100 doctors missed the deadlineThe College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia said about 100 other physicians were issued a late fee this year. It said the late fees add a layer of protection for patients."Our legislation requires that a physician's licence is suspended if not renewed by year end," it said in a statement."When this happens, the first week of January may have cancelled surgeries or closed clinics or emergency departments."Almost $50K in late feesLast year, more than 500 physicians renewed on the last day before the late fee took effect, the college said, while the remaining 100 were charged the $487 fee."These 100 physicians would have had their licences suspended by force of law, and patient care would have been interrupted dramatically," the statement read.Ikede said he understands the necessity for deadlines, but said the 25 per cent fine is extreme. He said it took five minutes to renew his licence online."The college is getting almost $50,000 every year just from late fees collected in the month of December," he said. "That seems like a lot of money to me to be collecting and when you consider that the removal process is pretty much automated."Ikede said he's so frustrated that he plans to stop renewing his licence in Nova Scotia.The college said it will waive Ikede's late fee and review the ways it communicates with physicians in the future.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Recent string of Quebec domestic homicides spur call for action to protect women
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Recent string of Quebec domestic homicides spur call for action to protect women

    MONTREAL — Francis Lalonde Langlois's favourite memory of his mother is when he was five years old and she blew up 2,000 balloons on New Year’s Eve because she wanted her three children to remember the first moments of the new millennium.For his sister Stephanie, it's bringing her own kids to bake and decorate for Christmas with their grandmother."She was very strong and had a huge heart," she said.On the night of Nov. 15, 2019, Linda Lalonde's life was cut short when, days before her 49th birthday, she was killed in her home in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Que., west of Montreal. Police said at the time that her body was found after her husband, Stephane Masse, turned himself in at a police station.Lalonde's death is one of a recent series of alleged domestic homicides in the province that has left advocates hoping they'll be the catalyst needed to spur genuine change.The latest woman to lose her life in the province was Jael Cantin, a 33-year-old mother of six whose body was found Thursday morning in a home in Mascouche, a suburb about 45 kilometres north of Montreal. Her partner, Benoit Cardinal, has been charged with second-degree murder.In Lalonde's case, her family says they never saw it coming. In a recent interview at a coffee shop, two of her three children and her sisters, Julie and Carole, explained that Lalonde, a cancer survivor, had been happier than ever after getting in shape and losing 100 pounds. Masse, they said, was liked by the whole family and appeared to dote on his wife of 10 years, whom he described as his angel."It there was a ladder high enough to unhook the moon for her, he would have done it," Carole Lalonde said.But experts say that in most cases, signs of domestic violence are present, and recognizing them is key to preventing murder.The executive director of Shield of Athena, a non-profit organization for victims of family violence, says that every case is different, but domestic violence usually occurs in an escalating cycle.There is typically rising tension, an explosion and a cool-down or "honeymoon" period that leads the abused partner to believe the violence was a momentary lapse, Melpa Kamateros said in a phone interview.Other times, she said, the signs can be much more subtle — repeatedly calling one's partner, isolating them from friends and community or trying to control how they dress.Researchers reported last year that Canada's domestic homicide rates have not declined in recent years, despite efforts to tackle intimate partner violence.Women made up between 76 and 80 per cent of the adult victims of the 662 cases recorded over a nine-year stretch between 2010 and 2019, according to Peter Jaffe, a Western University professor and co-leader of the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative.Every trend that emerged when the project began examining domestic homicide rates between 2010 and 2015 remained virtually unchanged when research was expanded to include data from the last three years, according to a report released last fall."Every death our research team reads about is painful, and it's especially painful because when the facts come out, the cases seem so predictable in hindsight," Jaffe said in a phone interview.In about 10 per cent of cases, he said, children are killed in the context of domestic violence when one parent, most often the father, kills the children as an act of revenge against a partner leaving the relationship, or as part of a murder-suicide.That tragic scenario played out in an east-end Montreal neighbourhood in October, when a father and his children, ages five and seven, were found dead in what police described as an apparent murder-suicide. Local media reported the mother, who found the bodies, had been in the process of separating from the father.Only weeks later, police arriving at another Montreal home found the bodies of Dahia Khellaf, 42, and her two young sons, ages two and four. Her husband, who died by suicide, had been previously charged with assaulting her but had been acquitted around the time he signed a peace bond agreeing not to contact her.Jaffe says warning signs can include a prior history of domestic violence, a recent or imminent separation, stalking behaviour, depression, drug abuse and access to weapons.But all too often, he says, both victims and those around them are reluctant to speak out, due fear or shame on the part of the victim, or an unwillingness to get involved or believe the abuser is capable of violence."It's hard for friends, family to believe someone is capable of that," he said.In addition to added resources to help victims and better co-ordination between police, judges, and social services, Jaffe and Kamateros say there needs to be more public awareness surrounding domestic violence, which has long been viewed as a taboo subject.Jaffe hopes for large-scale awareness campaigns comparable to what has been done surrounding sexual harassment and mental health, in order to de-stigmatize domestic violence and encourage workplaces and families to support victims.Kamateros agrees and wonders whether the recent spate of homicides in and around Montreal will be enough to jar society into action, in the way the denunciations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein did for sexual assault and harassment."We're still waiting for that 'me too' moment," she said.The Lalonde family say they have struggled for answers in the wake of Linda's death, which has led to a charge of first-degree murder against Masse. Stephanie Lalonde says she's still numb, "like a wilted flower," unable to process the death. Francis feels flashes of anger.In retrospect, they look back at old photos of their mother and Masse and wonder if the way he wrapped his arm around her, or the way he phoned her repeatedly when she was out, were signs of possessiveness. But all four family members say the couple seemed happy, and Lalonde wasn't the type to endure domestic violence without saying something to her close-knit family.They describe her as a fighter, a woman who had three children despite being told she couldn't carry a pregnancy. "She was not a victim, my sister," Julie Lalonde said.Francis Lalonde Langlois said that, if anything, his mother's story should send the message that no family is immune from violence, no matter how happy they seem.This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Jan. 19, 2020.Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

  • No place to play: Elite New Brunswick goalie fights for true women's pro league
    News
    CBC

    No place to play: Elite New Brunswick goalie fights for true women's pro league

    For New Brunswick's Marlène Boissonnault, playing for Team Canada's women's Olympic hockey team is the dream.But to get there, there's one big obstacle the former Cornell University goaltending star may have to overcome. She, like many other elite female hockey players, needs a place to play and develop."We're fighting for a game," Boissonnault said in an interview from Calgary. "And, right now, we don't have the games or we don't have the competition that we need."That's why the 22-year-old from Dundee, 14 kilometres southwest of Dalhousie, has joined the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association.The organization formed in the wake of the collapse of the only professional women's league in Canada.The Canadian Women's Hockey League folded in the spring of 2019, leaving the National Women's Hockey League in the U.S. as the only place for women to play, outside of college hockey.But the NWHL isn't a solution either."Most players were getting anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 [for] the whole year," said Boissonnault, "which, when you look at the amount of time to put in there, and the sacrifices they had to do, was not acceptable whatsoever.""And they didn't have any health care or anything like that, which is something we are looking to get for our league in the future."A viable professional women's league is the goal of the Professional Women's Hockey association, made up of 200 or so of the sport's best players, who all refuse to play so-called professional hockey until things improve."It's called a gap year, essentially, so all these players are getting together and fighting for what is right," Boissonnault said."I guess someone could call it a boycott, essentially fighting for better resources by deciding not to play this year in the league, or not to play in any league, until we have a viable league."Boissonnault has been focused on hockey since she was a child growing up in northern New Brunswick, starting out playing at the age of four.By the time she had reached the novice level, for children under the age of nine, she had settled on being a goalie.It was a good decision.By high school, Boissonnault was starring in net for the girl's team at Rothesay Netherwood School. She was invited to play for Canada's Under-18 national team in the 2015 world championships.She made 38 saves in a heartbreaking overtime loss to the U.S. in the finals, bringing home a silver medal.That's when Cornell University came calling."I got scouted by a few different universities and Cornell happened to be one of them," Boissonnault said."Cornell to me was just the best for my lifestyle and for what I wanted to do later, and obviously for the hockey side of things, hockey-wise it's one of the best in the NCAA."Off the ice, she pursued a B.Sc. in biology, in preparation for going on to a medical degree.On the ice, she got a shot at a national championship in her senior year, known in the NCAA as the Frozen Four."There were obviously some ups and downs, just like any journey has, but obviously we ended up on a very good high.  We ended up going to the Frozen Four, finishing up as one of the best teams in the NCAA, that is, in the nation," she said.She finished her career with 56 wins, putting her second on Cornell's all-time list.Her 1.61 goals against average in her senior year led the conference, and placed her second in the nation.Naturally, with that kind of success, she was looking to continue her hockey career after graduation."I knew that there was a CWHL and NWHL that was there currently," Boissonnault said, "I knew that, of course, it didn't have the benefit that you would hope for, but it was at least something that was there so I could further my career."With the collapse of the CWHL, Boissonnault felt her best option was the Professional Women's Hockey Players AssociationPWHPA.The group has been arranging showcases across North America to get some of the sport's best players in front of fans. The latest was held in Toronto in the second week of January."So the one in Toronto basically was inviting all these players from Canada to try to play and make teams out of that," said Boissonnault."There were six teams for the weekend, six games, and yet it ended up being a great weekend, a weekend where we're trying to prove ourselves and show to the world that this is a game worth investing into and worth the time and the effort."Fighting for a futureThe PWHPA said the 700-seat arena was essentially sold out for all six games in Toronto. But for Boissonnault, these showcase events can't replace the need to get into game situations against good competition."I mean, here in Calgary, we're playing exhibition games or scrimmages, however you want to call them, against Midget-AA boys or against boys from different teams because we don't have the competition or the money to afford to fly out to different places to play," she said."When you look at the national stage, the players, they need to play against each other and develop because, I mean, you want to play against the best to become the best, right?"While the PWHPA tries to raise the profile of the women's game, and seeks sponsors to help get a true professional league off the ground, Boissonnault is also moving ahead on her Olympic dream.She has been invited to be part of Hockey Canada's National Development team but will have to compete with 10 other goalies to get a spot on Team Canada for the Beijing Olympics in 2022."I'm just playing and taking every day as being better than the day before," Boissonnault said. "I mean it's not about seeing a deadline or seeing some sort of end date."It's more about always becoming better, so that whenever I do retire, whenever I do end my career, that I'm going to be able to say, 'Hey, I gave it all I've got. And I became the very best player I could be.'"Until then, she hopes she and hundreds of other elite female hockey players in this country will find a place to play that includes more than a free roll of tape in the dressing room and ensure a future for the young women coming behind them."We are fighting for them to have a future and for them to be able to dream of playing hockey as a career and for the little girls to be able to have those people, those role models, to look up to."

  • The agony of letting our kids take risks: Opinion
    News
    CBC

    The agony of letting our kids take risks: Opinion

    I am a first-time mother of a one-year-old, and over the past year I've had to temper my fears a million times. From the first night home from the hospital when I held my breath as she slept, to letting her eat grapes, to watching her climb precariously on every piece of furniture we own — it's been a daily practice of managing my own discomfort so that she can live her own risk-filled life. It can be hard to remember in these moments, but I do truly value risk-taking. As a counsellor and coach, my career is built around helping others take meaningful risks, and in my own life I can easily connect the dots from "risks I took" to "most meaningful experiences I've had." Now, as a new parent, I have been reflecting on how I came to appreciate taking meaningful risks.I grew up in Charlottetown, and in this small town where everyone knows what everyone else is up to, my parents weren't afraid to be different. I watched them start new businesses and figure out the challenges as they went. They took on new hobbies and set personal goals. They experimented with recipes, planned unusual vacations, and encouraged us to make our ideas real. Even when my brother wanted to start a wrestling federation in our basement, my dad got out the ropes and mats and helped him build a ring.Their mottos were "What's the worst that could happen?" and "If it were easy, everybody would be doing it." In that, they modelled meaningful risk-taking and normalized it.Stretching Begets More StretchingWhen I graduated high school I received a Loran Award, a scholarship and leadership program valued up to $100,000 over four years of undergraduate study in Canada, awarded to only three dozen Canadian graduating students annually. This award has been one of the most enormous privileges of my life. It allowed me to move off-Island to complete my undergraduate degree; without the support of Loran, I never would have moved away. Loran took a risk on me and their choice to do so completely changed the course of my life.That initial move for university was such a stretch for me that I've compared all subsequent risks to it, and something inside me always says, "Well if you could do that, you can do this." The more of these stretching experiences I've accumulated, the more enticing new growth opportunities have felt and the more open I've become to seek them out. I believe there is a strong link between taking meaningful risks and how much we trust ourselves. In other words, we take risks if we believe we can handle the outcomes, regardless of what they may be. The Loran foundation trusted me — they believed in my leadership potential and ability to effect positive change in my community, and that helped me trust myself. This was also the way my parents parented — they always led me to believe that I could handle hard things. Growing up there was no asking if I did my homework, or whether I practiced the piano. My dad is a professional musician and when I wanted to take piano lessons he said, "OK, but I won't ever push you — it has to be your own choice." When I left for university, my parents did not pack up my belongings or shop for my dorm room, they did not oversee my course selection, edit my assignments, or monitor my grades. When I moved to the U.S., there were no questions about my visa, health insurance, or taxes — it was simply assumed that I could and would figure it out. This may seem radical: some might say, "Well, you were a conscientious kid so your parents could get away with that, but if I didn't remind my kid to do those things, they would just never get done!" Possibly. But it's also possible that intrinsic motivation and self-accountability can't bloom without space. They trusted me so much that I intuited I was someone to be trusted.That said, I also always felt safe to ask my parents for help. I think their approach made me more transparent with my struggles because I knew they would listen and encourage me, but also that they wouldn't jump in unless I asked them to. Had they tried to solve my problems for me it would have undermined my confidence; it would have implicitly said "You do not have this." In learning to trust myself, I felt empowered to gradually stretch my self-imposed limits. Get comfortable with the discomfort of growthEven though growth can be painful, the feeling of expansion has always made me hungry for more. As an adult, I intentionally seek out meaningful risks, whether it's sharing something I've created, taking an improv class, asking someone I've just met on a "friend date," or simply trying a new recipe for a dinner party — the discomfort has proven worth it. But as a child, growth meant my parents had to intentionally let me hurt and struggle. As a new mom, I've never appreciated more what that must have involved. To develop a practice of taking meaningful risks, you also have to be willing to regularly experience vulnerability, discomfort and pain. My baby is only one-year-old, and seeing her struggling is the absolute worst; nonetheless, how am I helping her if she doesn't learn it is safe to do so? I know the qualities I value most in people — empathy, compassion, depth, insight and the ability to see things from a nuanced perspective — are born from painful experiences.Reframing my daughter's pain as "stretching for her emotional expansion" and her struggles as "grit-building opportunities" won't help very much when those moments come up, but perhaps it will help me see where her struggle ends and my tolerance of her discomfort begins.I work with many university students. I love this age group because their experience with taking meaningful risks has often been limited, and watching them take the reigns of their own lives is exciting. We examine their relationship with trying and their willingness to allow others to see them in the process of learning. For those who were high achievers in high school, this can be especially challenging. Asking questions in class, going to office hours, getting help from the writing resource centre, hiring a tutor or simply getting feedback on an assignment can be extremely difficult for students as they feel they "aren't the kind of student who does those things." I try to increase their comfort with not knowing, gradually help them equate the feeling of struggle with growth, and ideally stretch their capacity for meaningful risk-taking in ways that will continue throughout their lives. Freedom to change what we believe about ourselvesWhen I work with adults, often the barriers to meaningful risk-taking are increasingly dense.People will tell me they are struggling to find meaning in their life, or say that they feel stuck or bored. I'll respond by asking, "How often do you really put yourself out there?" and "When was the last time you genuinely acted vulnerably?"All meaningful risks require us to be vulnerable with ourselves and others, and most significantly they require us to be willing to change what we believe about ourselves. If you had told me when I graduated high school what my next 10 years would look like — that I would attend Harvard University, move to Los Angeles, and leave my stable and rewarding career to start a business — I would never have believed you. So when people ask "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" I say "I can't wait to find out!" because I have grown to love and appreciate that feeling of unknown possibility. The emotional exposure I feel when taking a meaningful risk is also what makes me feel alive and most "in" my own life. The practice of meaningful risk-taking has taught me that I'm always only one experience away from a new understanding of myself and the world. It has allowed me to expand and broaden my self-definition.What do I wish for my daughter?So how can I use my experiences and the lessons I've learned to now help my daughter pursue meaningful risks? I need to model risk-taking and show that while no true risk lacks vulnerability, the emotional exposure is worth it. I also need to show her that asking for help requires strength, so she will know it is safe to do so. I need to get out of her way and give her space to struggle. My hope is that in doing so, she will prove to herself that she can handle hard things and she will come to deeply trust herself. Lastly, through her own ongoing practice of meaningful risk-taking, I hope she will delight in the fact that the story of who she will become is always being written. This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read our FAQ.More P.E.I. news

  • Artists trying to save store on Alberta legislature grounds
    News
    CBC

    Artists trying to save store on Alberta legislature grounds

    A group of artists is making a last-ditch effort to save a store on the grounds of the Alberta legislature that showcases and sells their art. On Monday, MLAs on the special standing committee on members' services will discuss the budget for the Legislative Assembly Office (LAO), which includes the closure of the Alberta Branded Shop in the Federal Building at the end of the fiscal year. Karen Bishop, a fine artist who sells paintings of Alberta landscapes through the store, intends to show up to the meeting with about a dozen other artists. "We're not allowed to speak but we're going to go there and show that we are not happy with this decision and that we would like it reconsidered," she said. Alberta Branded opened in an airy, light-filled, gallery-style space on the ground floor of the Federal Building five years ago. The store sells paintings, jewelry, ceramics and other fine art pieces from 120 Alberta artists.The decision to close the shop at the end of March was announced by Speaker Nathan Cooper at the last members' services committee meeting on Nov. 27. Bishop said the announcement came without prior consultations with staff and artists who sell their work there by consignment. "We think that the decision has been hasty and we would like to have our opinion heard," she said. Cooper told committee members that the store costs $300,000 to run each year without even breaking even. He told the committee in November that Alberta Branded sold fewer than 90 pieces of art last year. "This is not sustainable given the current fiscal climate or any fiscal climate for that matter," Cooper said. Bishop said Cooper eventually spoke to her by phone for about a half an hour but she wasn't sure if he would take her views into account. Kiosk idea 'insulting'The closure is up for discussion at Monday's meeting. Although a final decision hasn't been made, it appears the LAO is already moving ahead, said Nicole Goehring, the NDP MLA for Edmonton-Castle Downs, who sits on the members' services committee. Goehring says staff have been told their jobs will be gone by the end of March, and artists are already dropping by to pick up their unsold pieces."I'm concerned that they've moved forward without consulting properly with the arts community," she said. "I think the message that the arts community is telling me is that they're not valued in the province and the economic impact that they provide to the province isn't being considered at all."Bishop doesn't buy Cooper's contention that the store doesn't make money. She sees Alberta Branded as a gallery that showcases the work of this province's artists, not a retail store that sells mass-produced, legislature-branded souvenirs like pens and mugs. She is not impressed with Cooper's idea to replace Alberta Branded with a small kiosk in the lobby of the Federal Building. "It's just so insulting," Bishop said. "Typically what goes in a kiosk is not handmade. It's likely not going to be handmade in Alberta. "So what they're saying is 'well we can replace all these creative, talented artists by sticking in a made-in-China pen or pin.' "Goehring isn't optimistic the UCP majority on the members' services committee will reverse the decision.She still plans to ask questions on Monday about the reasons for the closure and what plan the LAO has to support artists through the transition.

  • News
    CBC

    Remembering Fort Good Hope elder Therese Pierrot, storyteller and sewer

    The Northwest Territories has lost another respected elder — Therese Pierrot, a master storyteller and seamstress in Fort Good Hope, has died. Therese died Jan. 5, after spending the Christmas holidays with her family. She was 85 years old.   She often told her stories about life in the Sahtu on CBC's Northwind radio program. A few years ago she told a story about her Singer sewing machine after she decided to return it to the original owner's family — 70 years after receiving it as a gift. Her son Ron Pierrot remembered her love of sewing, even though an accident left her with only one eye for most of her life. "Over the years, I'd never seen mom complain about her eye," he said. "She went through life with one eye and did some wonderful sewing. She worked hard." Therese and her family spent most of their time out on the land, even spending Christmas out in the bush, said Ron. That meant sharing stories and legends was their only form of entertainment as the family settled down for the evening.  She just loved taking the time to pass on her knowledge. \- Ron Pierrot, Therese Pierrot's son"She just loved talking, she just loved taking the time to pass on her knowledge, what was taught to her by her elders, her mother and her father," he said. "That's what I remember about mom." As the Pierrot family grew to include Therese's grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the whole family recognized how she helped them stay connected to the land and to each other.That's made her passing difficult, but Ron knows she's left a special mark on the world. "No matter how old your parents are, it's always hard to let them go," Ron said. "But I think she'll always be dearly in my heart."Take a listen to the radio feature on Therese Pierrot's sewing machine:

  • Public servant who promoted $225M baby formula plant now sits on Chinese investor's board
    News
    CBC

    Public servant who promoted $225M baby formula plant now sits on Chinese investor's board

    The former head of the Canadian Dairy Commission who facilitated a $225-million investment by a Chinese dairy processor to build an infant formula plant in Kingston, Ont., is now serving on that same Chinese corporation's board.In keeping with the "cooling-off" period required by federal law, Jacques Laforge waited a year before accepting this paid role. But he was not required to notify the federal ethics commissioner in order to evaluate whether the move was appropriate — something that troubles critics of Canada's current conflict of interest rules.Laforge, a New Brunswick dairy farmer and a former president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, was appointed CEO of the commission by then-agriculture minister Gerry Ritz in 2012.The director of corporate services for the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC), Chantal Paul, confirmed to CBC News that Laforge's mandate ended in May 2018 and he left the Crown corporation at that time.The corporate website for China Feihe Limited says Laforge was appointed as one of its three independent non-executive directors in June 2019. His appointment took effect in October, just over a month before the Canary Islands-registered corporation was listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.Under Laforge's leadership, the CDC signed agreements in 2016 with Feihe to build a new manufacturing facility in Canada, where no other dairy processor makes infant formula.Now incorporated in Canada under the name Canada Royal Milk, the factory took its first deliveries of Ontario milk in December and currently is testing its processing line. Once production ramps up, most of the formula will be exported to China.Documents obtained by CBC News under the Access to Information Act show that during Laforge's final two years as CEO, the CDC set up meetings for Feihe executives with other levels of government and federal regulators. Laforge also travelled to China multiple times, meeting with Feihe's chairman Leng Youbin and Chinese government officials."I definitely was involved in bringing them to Canada," he told CBC News. "We spent a lot of energy ... We opened up the doors for them."Laforge said he does not believe his role as one of three rotating independent board members amounts to a conflict with his former role at a Crown corporation because it's "99 per cent international" and won't deal directly with the Canadian factory.No disclosure requiredDespite his direct dealings with Feihe as a public official, Laforge told CBC he did not clear his new job with the federal ethics commissioner.When asked what post-employment rules apply for Laforge, the CDC's Paul suggested the CBC examine Section 33 of the Conflict of Interest Act.It says: "No former public office holder shall act in such a manner as to take improper advantage of his or her previous public office."A spokesperson for Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion said his office can't answer questions about individuals because of confidentiality rules, but confirmed that Laforge's one-year "cooling-off period" is over, so his board appointment is no longer prohibited.Guy Giorno, a former chief of staff to Stephen Harper who now advises clients on ethics and accountability in his legal practice, said not requiring a former senior civil servant like Laforge to disclose offers of employment and submit to an ethics review amounts to a "hole" in the law."It ought to be mandatory, and it stands to reason that the commissioner can't do a very good job policing people who have left when he's not under the statute required to be told about everybody who is seeking a new position," Giorno said.'Fuzzy' rulesNevertheless, several federal ethics rules apply for life, Giorno said.Laforge can't give advice based on confidential information he knew as head of the CDC, and he can't "switch sides" and start working for Feihe on any financial transactions or legal proceedings he handled at the Crown corporation.But Section 33, the rule against "taking improper advantage of a previous office," hasn't been interpreted very often. Giorno called it "very fuzzy.""That doesn't mean it's unimportant as a general rule ... In fact, it's the first listed in the statute," he said.Government service brings with it a network of contacts, goodwill and other "intangible things" which taxpayers paid Laforge to acquire, Giorno said."My own personal view is that Parliament intended to police the profiting from the monetization of those things," he said."Nothing happens for nothing. A former public servant must always be asking, 'Why are they paying me?'"Protecting shareholders from 'boo-boos'Laforge said he received a number of requests after he left the CDC. He followed its internal policy and waited a year before saying yes to anything, including Feihe's offer last summer."It's my first time doing this. I didn't know too much about independent directors," he said. "Common sense was telling me, stay away for a year, and when you start taking things make sure that it's not in conflict of interest with some files.""They might have a Chinese name but ... they want to source and do things internationally," he added. "I'm there to observe that they don't make any boo-boos affecting the shareholders."He said he hasn't been paid yet, but expects his compensation to follow the guidelines of the Hong Kong exchange, which provide for a "basic fee of at least $400,000 HK ($67,000 Cdn) per year, coupled with additional payments for membership or chairing of board committees." Laforge sits on two committees, including Feihe's audit committee."It might look lucrative," he said, adding it's not clear how much time it will require.He also admits he's nervous about the potential consequences of taking on this role."I know Feihe's a good company, but companies are companies. They go sideways once in a while," he said.Normalizing ChinaDavid Mulroney, Canada's ambassador to China from 2009-12, said it's not necessarily bad for a company that wants to build a high-quality reputation to have a Canadian aboard.During China's 2008 tainted baby formula scandal, which involved Feihe's competitor, directors on that company's board from New Zealand helped bring the facts to light.While Laforge said his role with the company is largely international, Mulroney said the rationale for his appointment still needs to be explored and explained.And although Laforge's appointment respects the "cooling-off" period in the law, Mulroney said that year-long period is too short — and Canadians should expect public servants to do more than tick the box on the minimum post-employment requirements."There's something wrong with the speed with which elected officials and senior officials are taking jobs that do suggest they're trading on their past experience," the ex-ambassador said."The Chinese may be on the lookout for guanxi opportunities in Canada," Mulroney said, using a term that means "connectedness" to refer to the Chinese approach to networking through seeking out personal connections.Without singling out Feihe, Mulroney said that China's corporate sector writ large is widely seen as too closely linked to the Chinese government."It's ... increasingly unclear in Xi Jinping's China that there are companies at all separate from the Chinese Communist Party," he said."It's difficult to understand why so many high-profile Canadians are allowing themselves to be associated with Chinese firms. It normalizes China at a time when China is anything but normal."Feihe representatives have not responded to multiple interview requests in recent months.CBC News asked Laforge about his decision to accept this work at a delicate time in Canada–Chinese relations."Believe me ... don't think that's not crossing my mind," he said. "It's too late now."

  • 4 new restaurants coming to Ottawa this year
    News
    CBC

    4 new restaurants coming to Ottawa this year

    Food writer Heidi Klotz is bullish on the restaurant scene in Ottawa.Klotz, who writes for Ottawa Magazine and Edible Ottawa, has lived in the city for 21 years. She said over that time the city's food scene has experienced rapid change as restaurateurs embraced local ingredients."I can eat as well in Ottawa as I can anywhere else in the world," Klotz told Ottawa Morning host Robyn Bresnahan. "There's incredible depth and diversity."And while the city has seen its fair share of restaurants come and go over the years, with every restaurant that closes, there is an opportunity for a new one to open.On an Ottawa Morning segment this week, Klotz and chef and caterer Harriet Clunie — two restaurant industry insiders — spoke about what they consider the most buzzed about restaurants slated to open this year.ArloThis restaurant will open in the spring on Somerset Street West and is expected to have a selection of natural wines as one of its main selling points.Natural wines are made with grapes that are grown organically without pesticides or herbicides, and natural yeasts are used for fermentation. "The slogan that goes with it is 'nothing added, nothing taken away,'" said Clunie.Arlo will have a back garden, a private dining room and will be able to hold events, Clunie said.When asked who the owner behind the restaurant is,  Klotz said she's "not at liberty to say."BrassicaChef Arup Jana, owner of restaurant Allium that has been closed since a fire last March, has teamed up with the owners of Vittoria in the Village on this restaurant that will open its doors on Richmond Road at the end of January.On the menu at Brassica will be small plates and sharing plates, along with brunch options.Klotz said that Jana has an Instagram account where he has been posting photos of his trial dishes."I was looking at one last night: it's mouth watering," said Klotz.GuliaLovers of Napoletana pizza will be excited to learn about Gulia, a pizza restaurant run by the El Camino restaurant group.It will be located on Elgin Street close to El Camino and will serve authentic pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven.Clunie said Gulia will also serve pastas and salads."It's going to have a small menu," said Clunie.Gemma Walsh, who runs things at both El Camino restaurants, will be the head chef, Clunie said.AianaThis ambitious restaurant will focus on international cooking.The head chef has worked in Bangkok, Sweden and the U.S. in Michelin-starred restaurants, Klotz said."It's going to be a big endeavor," said Klotz.Located in the Sun Life Financial Building at 50 O'Connor Street, the restaurant will have seating for up to 85 people along with a private dining room for 20."I think we should see some interesting food coming out of there," said Klotz.

  • Rent hike tension spills over at Carling Avenue highrise
    News
    CBC

    Rent hike tension spills over at Carling Avenue highrise

    In a week that revealed many Ottawa renters endured significant rent increases last year, tenants at one Carling Avenue apartment building decided Saturday that enough was enough.  Residents of the highrise at 2880 Carling Ave. owned by Timbercreek Asset Management protested a proposed increase that would see rents jump an average of $50 a month. "Where is the justice for tenants?" asked Mavis Finnamore, an advocate with anti-poverty group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which helped organize the protest. 5.5 per cent hikeTenants tried unsuccessfully to stop Timbercreek's application to increase rents by 5.5 per cent this year by taking their case to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board, although Timbercreek said it's still waiting for the decision to be formally approved.Since the increase is higher than what's normally allowed, Timbercreek applied for an exemption in order to pay for "significant capital investment expenses" like garage repairs and renovations to the common area. The company argued they needed that higher-than-usual rent hike in order to perform those repairs, something that's allowed under provincial legislation.Finnamore said tenants presented documentation to the board, however, suggesting multiple problems with the building: apartments with no heating, troubles with vermin and mould, and broken appliances and elevators. "The landlord tenant board is not protecting tenants," said Finnamore."These big increases are making life miserable for low-income people. They make people worry about being able to afford housing or whether they could become homeless." Many of those who attended Saturday's rally declined to give their names, saying they feared repercussions for speaking out.Bay ward Coun. Theresa Kavanagh told the group that while the province is in charge of rent control, the city can get involved by making sure buildings meet basic standards. Kavanagh said she's concerned that people are living in poor conditions."Probably one of the most spectacular things happened when the bylaw officer came by to check out some of the complaints — and his foot fell through a stair," Kavanagh said."That happened. I just couldn't believe it."The highrise is one of two towers in the area owned by Timbercreek, along with neighbouring 2900 Carling Ave. Tenants there joined joined the protest, concerned they would face the same increase if they didn't join the fight.The protesters tried to deliver a list of demands to the office of the building's manager, but they were locked out. So for about 15 minutes they chanted slogans in the hallway like "Fight, fight, fight — housing is a right."They left after reading a list of demands and posting it near the manager's door.Meeting setBeyond halting rent increases above the allowable rate, the tenants also want immediate repairs to apartments with outstanding work orders, starting with heating issues, as well as a meeting to address health and safety concerns.Several hours after the protest, tenants began receiving notes under their doors saying Timbercreek would like to meet Jan. 29 to address those issues."The open house will give you an opportunity to chat," said the note, listing maintenance issues, tenancy matters, and "future capital improvement projects" as items for discussion.A Timbercreek spokesperson confirmed to CBC that the letters were sent in response to Saturday's protest.ACORN said it was pleased to see Timbercreek open to speaking with its tenants.  The protest took place the same week the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation released a report showing Ottawa experienced one of its largest year over-year-rent increases, at 8.4 per cent.The average one-bedroom apartment rose from $1,184 per month in 2018 to $1,307 per month in 2019, the report said.

  • As final Zellers stores close, former employees swap memories, memorabilia
    News
    CBC

    As final Zellers stores close, former employees swap memories, memorabilia

    Zellers is pulling the plug on its final two stores in Ontario this month, but Richard Hall doesn't want it to die.He's rounded up a museum-worthy haul of Zellers memorabilia in his dining room, spilling into his kitchen. There's flashy branded buttons, bathroom key chains, even a fire extinguisher from one of the doomed department stores. His wife calls it hoarding. He calls it collecting.Hall spent 35 years employed by Zellers, working at 11 different stores. Today, he relies on his memorabilia to reminisce."Every segment of my life, I think back of what store I was in," he said. "It's weird but it's kind of a measurement of time."The last two Zellers locations in Etobicoke, Ont., and Ottawa will close on Jan. 26, according to Hudson's Bay Co., the retailer's parent company.Hall's memorabilia spans his entire dining room. He's got signed hockey sticks, limited edition bottles of Hudson's Bay Co. scotches, multiple copies of the same Zellers flyers — all in mint condition. And this is after he purged the collection.Perhaps his most prized possession is a gift he was given: A framed copy of a newspaper from 1945, just after the Second World War ended, containing an ad from the original Zellers location in London, Ont. The page celebrates the "glorious day of victory," while also being dominated by a lengthy spread on Adolf Hitler's "mad career," complete with swastika imagery."This isn't about Hitler. This is about the Zellers," he assures. "I point that out to everyone that I show: I say, 'No, I'm not a Hitler fan. I'm a Zellers fan.'"Met his wife at ZellersHall started at Zellers when he was 15, working his way up to general manager of marketing, where he ended his career in 2013. That's when most Zellers were closing down or converting to now-defunct Canadian Target locations.Along the way, he met his wife. She was working at another department store, Towers, when Zellers took it over."I was asked to take the assistant manager from Towers under my wing, and so I did. And we've been married 28 years," he said. "I took the instructions literally."Maria Hall remembers how Richard relentlessly tried to woo her. She worked at Store No. 64, so he sent her 64 balloons, 64 roses — and then a limo to the store."Isn't that crazy? The store was like, 'What is going on, Maria? Like, what is going on with this guy?'," she recalled.Zellers stores, she said, started many relationships.When Target came in, Richard and Maria Hall both lost their jobs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Richard kept the letter employees received when Zellers made the announcement that the U.S. retailer was taking over.Target spent about $1.8 billion acquiring leases for 189 Zellers locations across Canada in 2011, though the move north of the border turned out to be a disaster: The last Canadian Target store closed its doors in 2015 and the company lost billions."Our lives are much better and it was a good thing," Hall said of losing his job. "It was a catalyst to go do something different after being in the same company for so long."'It's like working for family'A handful of Zellers stores remained open, ultimately outlasting Target.That includes the Etobicoke location, in Toronto's west end, which has seen hours-long lineups over the past few weeks, with shoppers snaking around the store, hungry for sales.The final two locations are a bit different than other, traditional Zellers that Canadians may remember, Hall said. They instead liquidate the Bay's leftover inventory.But the closing at the end of the month still means the Zellers name will be officially gone."I think only us employees that have worked there can actually understand that, 'cause it's hard to articulate how important it was to people," he said.Many people are active on a Facebook group called "If you ever worked for Zellers," where store and corporate employees from around the country reminisce. News of the last two closings has spurred a flurry of memories.The group was started in 2013 by Brenda Scott, who worked at a Zellers store in Huntsville, in Ontario's Muskoka region. She wanted a way to stay in touch with colleagues as the stores were first closing and said the group has filled that void.More than 4,500 employees have joined her group since."You work for a Zellers, it's like working for family," she said.Scott, who now lives in Barrie, Ont., travelled down to the Etobicoke location earlier this month, wanting to say goodbye to the chain. She watched as crowds lined up in front of the store, waiting to get in before it had even opened.She said it made her feel upset — and longing for a Canadian company to shop at."I'm pretty sure Walter [P. Zeller] is looking down, watching everybody, and saying, 'This isn't necessary,'" she said. "It's the end of an era. It really is. Being the end of an era makes a lot of people who worked there sad."