With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
Hello, royal watchers. This is a special edition of The Royal Fascinator, your dose of royal news and analysis. Reading this online? Sign up here to get this delivered to your inbox. The revelations just kept coming Sunday night as Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, gave Oprah Winfrey — and a worldwide television audience — their view on why they had to leave the upper echelons of the Royal Family. The reasons were many, but amid all they had to say, there was one statement that stood out and seems particularly serious for the House of Windsor: Meghan's declaration that a senior member of the Royal Family had worries about the colour of the skin of their first child before he was born. In an interview Monday on CBS This Morning, Winfrey said Harry told her neither Queen Elizabeth nor Prince Philip were part of conversations about Archie's skin colour. "I think it's very damaging — the idea that a senior member of the Royal Family had expressed concern about what Archie might look like," Carolyn Harris, a Toronto-based royal author and historian, said in an interview late Sunday night. Meghan told Winfrey the concern had been relayed to her by Harry, and when questioned further on it, Harry refused to offer more specifics, saying it's a "conversation I'm never going to share." And that, Harris suggests, speaks to the seriousness of the matter. "It's very clear that Harry didn't want to go into details feeling that it would be too damaging for the monarchy." WATCH | Royal Family expressed concerns about son's skin colour, Meghan tells Oprah: It will take time to digest the impact of all that Harry and Meghan had to say to Winfrey. But some early comments in the British media this morning suggest Harry and Meghan's account will have a profound impact. "They have revealed the terrible strains inside the palace. They have drawn a picture of unfeeling individuals lost in an uncaring institution. They have spoken of racism within the Royal Family. This was a devastating interview," the BBC's royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, wrote in an online analysis. "But Harry describing his brother and father as 'trapped,' and Meghan revealing that she repeatedly sought help within the palace only to be rebuffed is a body blow to the institution." 'A damning allegation' The Guardian reported that Harry and Meghan telling Winfrey of conversations in the Royal Family about Archie's skin colour is "a damning allegation that will send shockwaves through the institution and send relations with the palace to a new low." Many themes and issues developed over the two-hour broadcast, which sprinkled lighter moments — they're expecting a girl, they have rescue chickens and Archie, age almost two, has taken to telling people to "drive safe" — with much more serious concerns, including the lack of support they say they received, particularly as Meghan had suicidal thoughts. WATCH | Meghan had suicidal thoughts during royal life: "A theme that emerges again and again, and it's something that Harry explicitly states in the interview, is the Royal Family being concerned with the opinion of the tabloid press," said Harris. "This may very well have influenced decisions not to speak out about the way Meghan was being treated and that may have influenced some other decisions as well." One of those might be the question of security, something that was of considerable concern to the couple when they learned royal support for it would be withdrawn. "The Royal Family has frequently in the past received bad press regarding minor members ... receiving security,"said Harris. 'Negative headlines' "There were a lot of negative headlines regarding Beatrice and Eugenie continuing to receive security and their father's [Prince Andrew's] insistence they receive security despite being comparatively minor members of the Royal Family who do not undertake public engagements representing the Queen." There was also a sense out of Sunday's interview that issues that troubled the Royal Family in the past may still be a worry now. "Even in the 21st century after all of the problems that the Royal Family encountered in the 1990s with the breakdowns in the marriages of Prince Charles and Prince Andrew … there still doesn't seem to be a consistent means of mentoring new members of the Royal Family," said Harris. Meghan said she had to Google the lyrics for God Save the Queen, and was filled in at the last minute about having to curtsy to Elizabeth just before meeting her for the first time. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, pose for a picture at a Buckingham Palace reception following the final Queen's Young Leaders Awards ceremony in London on June 26, 2018. Both Meghan and Harry spoke warmly of the Queen during the interview Sunday night.(John Stillwell/Reuters) Throughout the interview, Harry and Meghan repeatedly expressed respect and admiration for the Queen, if not for how the Royal Family as an institution operates. But there is considerable murkiness around just who may be responsible for some of the more serious issues they raised. "We know they respect the Queen and have a good personal relationship with the Queen. We know that Meghan had a conflict with Kate but says Kate apologized and Meghan forgave her and she doesn't think Kate's a bad person," said Harris. Lacking 'specific details' "But when it comes to who made racist comments about Archie's appearance or who was dismissive directly of Meghan's mental health, [on] that we don't have specific details." High-profile royal interviews such as this — particularly one by Harry's mother Diana, in 1995 — have a track record of not turning out as the royal interviewees may have intended, and it remains to be seen the lasting impact of this one. Harris sees parallels with Diana's interview, as she "spoke frankly" about a lack of support from the family, and felt that she had been let down by Prince Charles. Meghan spoke with Winfrey before they were joined by Harry.(Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Reuters) Harry talked of hoping to repair his relationship with his father — "I will always love him but there's a lot of hurt that happened" — but said he felt really let down, and noted a time when his father wasn't taking his calls. Harris expects the interview will prompt further critical scrutiny of Charles, and Harry's older brother Prince William. The relationship with William has already been under intense scrutiny, and is clearly still a delicate matter for Harry, who hesitated noticeably before responding as Winfrey pressed him on it. "Time heals all things, hopefully," Harry said. How Buckingham Palace responds to all this remains to be seen. Generally, the public approach in matters such as this is silence, and a determination to be seen as carrying on with regular duties. Whether a member of the family might make a more informal comment — say in response to a question from someone at a public event — also remains to be seen. WATCH | Meghan says Royal Family failed to protect her and Prince Harry: But from what did emerge Sunday evening, there is a sense that whatever efforts the House of Windsor has made to put a more modern face on the monarchy, they appear not to have yielded the fruit that might have been hoped. "There's been some elements of modernization, but it's very clear that the institution has difficulty adapting to the needs of individuals who marry into the Royal Family," said Harris. "It's clear that Meghan came away from her experiences feeling that she was not supported or mentored in her new role." Sign up here to have The Royal Fascinator newsletter land in your inbox every other Friday. I'm always happy to hear from you. Send your ideas, comments, feedback and notes to email@example.com. Problems with the newsletter? 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PARIS — A French billionaire aviation industrialist and member of parliament has died in a helicopter crash along with the pilot, authorities said. Olivier Dassault, 69, was heir to a powerful family business empire that made Falcon private jets and Rafale fighter planes and owned many other businesses including Le Figaro newspaper. A judicial inquiry for eventual manslaughter charges is under way after Sunday’s crash in the town of Touques in Normandy, according to the regional prosecutor’s office in Lisieux. The French national air accident investigation agency, the BEA, said the Airbus AS350 helicopter crashed just after takeoff from a private airfield. BEA investigators were travelling to the site Monday. Forbes magazine listed Olivier Dassault as one of the world’s top 500 richest people in 2020. He held executive positions at the family-owned Dassault Group as well as serving in the lower house of parliament as a lawmaker from the conservative Republicans party since 2002. President Emmanuel Macron paid homage in a tweet to a “captain of industry, parliament member, local elected leader, air force reserve officer" and said "his brutal death is a great loss.” The Associated Press
Russia accused Facebook on Monday of violating citizens' rights by blocking some media outlets' content in the latest standoff between a government and Big Tech. Communications watchdog Roskomnadzor at the weekend threatened Facebook with a minimum 1 million rouble ($13,433) fine and demanded it restore access to content posted by TASS news agency, RBC business daily and Vzglyad newspaper. It said Facebook blocked posts pertaining to Russia's detention of alleged supporters of a Ukrainian far-right group.
Sport P.E.I. has launched a new poster campaign called She's Got It All, featuring five Island athletes talking about the barriers that girls and women face in sports. The five posters have been released every Monday leading up to International Women's Day. The athletes featured in the posters are wrestler Hannah Taylor, sprinter Bailey Smith, archer Kristen Arsenault, hockey goalie Ava Boutilier and curler Lauren Lenentine. "It's different for many females in terms of their particular sport, and the barriers that may exist for that sport," said Gemma Koughan, executive director of Sport P.E.I. "Based on a lot of the information and research that is out there, women and girls do face more barriers than boys and men. So the idea of the campaign is to try to highlight those barriers, and try to promote girls and women in sport." Own message Koughan said the athletes selected for the posters have been involved with other Sport P.E.I. programs promoting girls and women in sport. The five posters have been released every Monday leading up to International Women’s Day. (Sport P.E.I. ) They wanted to involve athletes from both team and individual sports. "What we did was identify a few of those typical barriers, and reach out to these athletes and ask them, did any of these resonate with them in terms of some of the things that they faced?" Koughan said. "Invariably each of them had one that kind of sat with them, and that's why they gravitated each to their own messaging." Ava Boutilier says her poster talks about the equal opportunities for women to make a viable career in the sport that they're playing.(Sport P.E.I.) Ava Boutilier, a goaltender at the University of New Hampshire, said she was excited to be part of the campaign. "Being a female athlete in a sport, ice hockey, that's primarily dominated by men, there are some difficult barriers that we face, whether it's at the Division 1 level, at the minor hockey level, even at the professional level," Boutilier said. "So I was really excited to get involved in something like this, and have my face attached to a message that I really believed in." Boutilier says while there are professional leagues now for women's hockey, the top female players only make thousands of dollars a year and usually have to work another full-time job, as well as play hockey.(Submitted by Ava Boutilier) Boutilier said her poster talks about the equal opportunities for women to make a viable career in the sport that they're playing. She said while there are professional leagues now for women's ice hockey, the top female players only make thousands of dollars a year and usually have to work another full-time job, as well as play hockey. "The main goal of the posters is just to kind of get that conversation started, opening people's eyes more to what exactly our female athletes are facing, what are these barriers that they have to overcome, and what can we do to help that," Boutilier said. "I think the more that we can have these conversations, the more that we can try to design actionable plans to overcome some of these barriers, the better it will be for not only females in sport, but everybody in sport." Double standard Curler Lauren Lenentine said she wanted to focus on the different ways that male and female curlers are perceived. "My poster is about emotion, showing emotion on the ice," Lenentine said. "Male curlers are often seen as focused and intense, whereas as a woman, a female curler, we're seen as maybe cranky, or not having fun. So just bringing awareness to that barrier." Curler Lauren Lenentine said she wanted to focus on the different ways that male and female curlers are perceived.(Sport P.E.I. ) Lenentine said she felt that double standard recently, at the national curling championship. "I just played at the Scotties and I received so many messages telling me to just have fun, and to be sure that I smile, and I'm sure that male curlers aren't receiving those same messages whenever they're playing at the Brier," Lenentine said. "I didn't take it too personally because we were focused and we wanted to be intense. We were out there to win. We didn't want to just have fun." Lauren Lenentine says she wants it to be OK to look focused and intense when she is on the ice. (Katie Zacharias) Seeing the other posters, Lenentine realized some female athletes face barriers that she doesn't. "Curling is kind of different. We're really lucky, actually, that the male and female prizes are the same, we get the same TV coverage," Lenentine said. "I just played at the Scotties and in a typical year, it is usually sold out. So I'm pretty lucky in the sport that I play." Body image Summerside wrestler Hannah Taylor said her poster focuses on body image, "how women are constantly faced with a bunch of negative messages — from the media, or from parents, coaches, friends, everyone around them — about their body image." She imagines someone looking at her poster and thinking: "'OK, Hannah Taylor doesn't have the conventional standard of beauty for her body. She has big shoulders. She's a small girl. She's very muscular, pretty toned.'" Hannah Taylor says this is one of her favorite wrestling pictures. She had just beaten the world champion at the Olympic trials in the semifinals. (Sport P.E.I.) Since that is not typically what you see in the media, "I hope women look up to me and be like, 'Wow, she's encouraging women to just live happy, and forget about body image, and don't let that hold them back.'" Taylor said it was eye-opening to be part of the group of women featured in the campaign. "It's pretty cool to see that there's so many different barriers in sport that affect each sport differently, and seeing how us women are overcoming them," Taylor said. Taylor said it was eye-opening to be part of the group of women featured in the campaign. (United World Wrestling) Koughan said she is encouraged by the group of women who are featured in the campaign. "Yes, it's a sport-driven message, but these are female leaders of the future, for our province and for our sports," Koughan said. "I couldn't be more pleased with their their ability to articulate their experiences, and be role models for young girls. It's fantastic." The poster campaign was funded through a partnership between Canadian Women & Sport, the province of P.E.I. and Sport P.E.I. More from CBC P.E.I.
NEW DELHI — Thousands of female farmers held sit-ins and a hunger strike in India's capital on Monday in protests on International Women's Day against new agricultural laws. The demonstrations were held at multiple sites on the fringes of New Delhi where tens of thousands of farmers have camped for more than three months to protest against the laws they say will leave them poorer and at the mercy of big corporations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government says the laws are necessary to modernize agriculture. About 100 women wearing yellow and green scarfs sat cross-legged in front of a makeshift stage in Ghazipur, one of the many protest sites. Holding the flags of farm unions, they listened to female farm leaders speak from the stage and chanted slogans against the laws. At least 17 took part in a day-long hunger strike. “Women are sitting here, out in the open, in protest, but Modi doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about mothers, sisters, and daughters. He doesn’t care about women. That’s clear,” said Mandeep Kaur, a female farmer who travelled 1,100 kilometres (680 miles) from Chhattisgarh state to participate in the protests. Multiple rounds of talks between the government and farmers have failed to end the stalemate. The farmers have rejected an offer from the government to put the laws on hold for 18 months, saying they won’t settle for anything less than a complete repeal. They fear the laws will make family-owned farms unviable, eventually leaving them landless. Women have been at the forefront of the protests, which have posed one of the biggest challenges to Modi since he took office in 2014. Many accompanied thousands of male farmers who arrived at the protest sites in late November and have since organized and led protest marches, run medical camps and massive soup kitchens that feed thousands, and raised demands for gender equality. “Today Modi is sending wishes to women across the country on International Women’s Day. Who are these women he is sending wishes to? We are also like his daughters, but he clearly doesn’t care about us,” said Babli Singh, a farm leader. International Women’s Day, sponsored by the United Nations since 1975, celebrates women’s achievements and aims to further their rights. Women often embody what agricultural experts call an “invisible workforce” on India’s vast farmlands that often goes unnoticed. Nearly 75% of rural women in India who work full-time are farmers, according to the anti-poverty group Oxfam India, and the numbers are expected to rise as more men migrate to cities for jobs. Yet, less than 13% of women own the land they till. Demonstrations were also held at Jantar Mantar, an area of New Delhi near Parliament where about 100 women held placards denouncing the new laws and calling for their withdrawal. “Today we are finding ourselves under attack at all fronts. As women, as peasants, as workers, as youth and students," said women rights activist Sucharita, who uses one name. “We are opposed to the laws that have been passed in favour of corporations." ___ Associated Press video journalist Shonal Ganguly contributed to this report. Neha Mehrotra And Rishi Lekhi, The Associated Press
A wind energy project that's not wanted in a tiny community in northeast New Brunswick could find a new home just down the road. A local non-profit group that was trying to lure wind turbines to Pokeshaw and Black Rock, on the Acadian Peninsula, says it would welcome Fredericton-based Naveco Power relocating its project from nearby Anse-Bleue. "We would certainly be willing to accommodate Naveco. We're very close to a transmission line," says Kevin Whelton, head of the Pokeshaw and Black Rock Recreation Council. The council was working with a Quebec-based developer, Potentia Renewables, to build five wind turbines in the area overlooking the Bay of Chaleur. But NB Power turned down Potentia's request last year for a one-year extension to its deadline to get the turbines built and operating. Instead the utility gave the project just three months to resolve supply chain problems brought on by COVID-19. "It was just impossible to do it within that time frame," Whelton says. Kevin Whelton, head of the Pokeshaw and Black Rock Recreation Council(Submitted by Kevin Whelton) The recreation council has been pursuing wind-energy projects for more than a decade and Whelton says it would now consider partnering with Naveco. He says there hasn't been nearly the same opposition to wind farms in the community as there has been in Anse-Bleue. "We've had a lot of meetings, we've been very open, very, very transparent, and I think the majority of the residents of the two communities, Pokeshaw and Black Rock, do agree to the windmills," he says. "You have to have social licence. You have to have transparency." The Pokeshaw site is even closer to the NB Power grid than Anse-Bleue, so there would be a shorter distance, and fewer properties, to cover with transmission lines needed to connect. Naveco's plan to build five wind turbines in Anse-Bleue, about 15 kilometres away, has met with fierce opposition there. One issue now being studied as part of the environmental impact assessment is whether the turbines would be visible from the Village Historique Acadien, a major tourist site. Last October Naveco CEO Amit Virmani told CBC news he was looking at an alternate site in southern New Brunswick that would involve First Nations and would not require restarting the environmental impact assessment from scratch. He said walking away from Anse-Bleue would require NB Power's agreement to change their contract. But last month Anse-Bleue residents said Naveco's local representative was again meeting with people in the area, a sign the company was shifting its focus back to the community. Virmani and NB Power wouldn't comment on whether the utility had rejected a change of location. Virmani says the utility has asked him not to speak publicly about his project so he can't comment on the idea of moving to Pokeshaw. Naveco Power CEO Amit Virmani(Jacques Poitras/CBC) "That's something I'd like to say more on, in terms of if we could come there or not," he says. He says he's disappointed to hear that the Pokeshaw project is dead. "That's horrible to hear and that's quite unfortunate, considering it was a competitively bid project that was going to create local jobs," he says. Both projects would come under a provincial law that allows NB Power to buy up to 20 megawatts of power from small-scale renewable energy projects that are majority owned by a municipality, non-profit community group or First Nations band. NB Power won't comment on whether it would amend its contract with Naveco to allow the project to move from Anse-Bleue to Pokeshaw. The possible locations of the wind farm turbines pitched by Naveco Power southwest of Anse-Bleue on the Acadian Peninsula. (WSP Canada Inc.) "We cannot discuss either project as we must respect the confidentiality terms of the respective project agreements," said spokesperson Sheila Lagacé. While he wouldn't comment on his own project, Virmani said a recent report by Auditor General Kim Adair-MacPherson on NB Power's huge debt underscores the importance of wind projects in general. "Wind is their cheapest form of energy," he said. "It's cheaper than even buying from Hydro-Quebec." The Pokeshaw project would have generated enough electricity for 6,000 homes, according to a 2019 press release from Potentia announcing its stake in the project.
BANGKOK — Prosecutors in Thailand charged 18 pro-democracy activists with sedition on Monday, while lodging additional charges of insulting the monarchy against three of them. The sedition charges, which carry a maximum penalty of up to seven years in prison, stem from an antigovernment rally in September, though details on the alleged offences were not immediately clear. The three charged with violating the lese majeste law, which outlaws criticism of senior members of the royal family, are Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, Jatupat Boonpattararaksa and Panupong Jadnok. A court denied bail for all three, and they were being transferred to prison. Thai authorities have stepped up their legal offensive against those involved in a student-led protest movement that is pushing for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and his government to step down, the constitution to be amended to make it more democratic and the monarchy to be reformed to make it more accountable. The latter demand is the most radical and controversial because the monarchy has rarely faced any public scrutiny and is considered by many to be an untouchable pillar of Thai identity. Those found guilty of violating the law against criticizing or insulting key royals face up to 15 years in prison per offence. The protest movement has struck a chord with many Thais but alienated others, especially royalists shocked at its criticisms of the monarchy. The movement began to lose steam late last year amid differences among its factions, and because of a resurgence of the coronavirus in Thailand. Prosecutors last month charged four protest leaders with lese majeste and they were denied bail. Jatupat, who was imprisoned for violating the lese majeste law in 2017, said he and the other activists charged Monday would keep fighting from jail. “The movement outside will surely continue no matter what happens,” he said. Jatupat on Sunday completed a nearly 250-kilometre (155-mile) walk from Thailand's northeast to Bangkok's Democracy Monument. Along the way, he campaigned and talked to people about ousting Prayuth, amending the constitution and abolishing the lese majeste law. According to the group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, at least 382 people, including 13 minors, have been charged in connection with the protests, which picked up momentum last summer. At least 60 of those people have been charged with lese majeste. ___ Associated Press writer Bill Bredesen contributed to this report. Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul, The Associated Press
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Mar. 8 ... What we are watching in Canada ... OTTAWA - Canada is set to receive more than 900-thousand COVID-19 vaccine doses this week as pharmaceutical companies ramp up deliveries to make good on their contractual obligations by the end of the month. The Public Health Agency of Canada says the country will receive nearly 445-thousand shots from Pfizer-BioNTech, the same number as last week. The two pharmaceutical companies had promised to deliver four-million doses by the end of March, but recently upped that commitment to 5.5-million shots. Major-General Dany Fortin, the military officer overseeing the national vaccine rollout, says Canada will also receive 465-thousand shots from Moderna this week. Moderna is stepping up its delivery schedule from once every three weeks to once every two and is promising to deliver 2 million doses by the end of March. The government is not expecting any deliveries of the recently approved vaccines from AstraZeneca-Oxford or Johnson and Johnson until next month. --- Also this ... OTTAWA - A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there's still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. The poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with women far more likely than men to say equality remains elusive in a host of fields. Overall, 63 per cent of respondents to the poll, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, said equality between men and women has not been achieved. A majority said equality has definitely or "to some extent" been achieved at home, in social settings, in the media, at work, in sciences and in politics, while just 44 per cent said the same of sports. However, male respondents were far more likely than women, by as much as 20 percentage points, to say equality has been achieved in those areas. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... LOS ANGELES — Oprah Winfrey's wide-ranging interview with Meghan and Harry produced several revelations, from Meghan saying she experienced suicidal thoughts, to Prince Harry saying he felt “trapped” in royal life and the couple revealing that they're expecting a daughter. The two described painful palace discussions about the colour of their son’s skin, losing royal protection and the intense pressures that led the Duchess of Sussex to contemplate suicide. Meghan, who is biracial, told Winfrey there were discussions among the royal family about how dark her son's skin would be. Both she and Prince Harry were critical of the royal family and those who work for them, but both refused to criticize Queen Elizabeth II. Meghan said the queen has “always been wonderful to me.” The interview special aired on CBS last night and will be shown today in Britain. --- And this ... MINNEAPOLIS — The fate of a former Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck as the Black man said he couldn’t breathe will be decided by 12 residents of Hennepin County who will be picked after extensive grilling about their views. Jury selection begins today in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death, which ignited global protests. Picking a jury is expected to take at least three weeks, as prosecutors and defence attorneys try to weed out potential candidates who may have biases. Legal experts say the key will be finding jurors who can put aside their opinions and decide the case based on the evidence. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... BAGHDAD - Pope Francis today wrapped up his historic whirlwind tour of Iraq that sought to bring hope to the country's marginalized Christian minority with a message of coexistence, forgiveness and peace. The pontiff and his travelling delegation were seen off with a farewell ceremony at the Baghdad airport, from where he left for Rome following a four-day papal visit that has covered five provinces across Iraq. At every turn of his trip, Francis urged Iraqis to embrace diversity — from Najaf in the south, where he held a historic face-to-face meeting with powerful Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, to Nineveh to the north, where he met with Christian victims of the Islamic State group's terror and heard their testimonies of survival. His visit witnessed scenes unimaginable in war-ravaged Iraq just a few years ago. --- Also this ... TANGON - Myanmar security forces continue to clamp down on anti-coup protesters today, firing tear gas to break up a crowd of around 1,000 people who were demonstrating in the capital, Naypyitaw. The protesters deployed fire extinguishers to create a smoke screen as they fled from authorities. Meanwhile, thousands of protesters marching in Mandalay, the country's second-largest city, dispersed on their own amid fears that soldiers and police were planning to use force to break up their demonstration. Large-scale protests have occurred daily across many cities and towns in Myanmar since the country's military seized power in the Feb. 1 coup, and security forces have responded with ever greater use of lethal force and mass arrests. On Sunday, police occupied hospitals and universities and reportedly arrested hundreds of people involved in protesting the military takeover. --- In entertainment ... TORONTO - House music producer Jayda G knows a thing or two about good timing, but she didn’t predict her first Grammy nomination would happen so soon. The Grand Forks, B.C.-raised DJ says she figured it might take 10 years before her name would be listed among the nominees. But this year her piano-fuelled ode to classic house, titled “Both of Us,” competes for best dance recording. It’s an achievement that comes after the DJ left behind a career in environmental toxicology to pursue making club beats. She says she made the unusual leap after realizing that if she didn’t do it now, she might not ever. “Both of Us” is up against some of the industry’s biggest names, including Diplo, Disclosure and Montreal-raised Kaytranada. The Grammy will be handed out during Sunday’s pre-broadcast ceremony, which streams online. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 8, 2021 The Canadian Press
A high school mechanics course wasn't enough to satisfy Saedene Simmons's automotive appetite. As soon as the teenager got home, she insisted on helping her father work on his car. It's a love that father and daughter have shared for decades. Now at 38, Simmons is making a mid-career shift rarely achieved by any woman, let alone a Black woman. Simmons is studying to be a truck mechanic. "I just figured, why not go back to what I love most?" Simmons, a mother of three, told CBC News. "I wanted to be a mechanic coming out of high school, so I figured why not try and see where that takes me." Simmons is one of the first African Nova Scotian women to study heavy-duty equipment and truck and transport repair at the Nova Scotia Community College. Simmons has always had an interest in mechanics.(CBC) During the year-long course, she is developing entry-level skills to work as a heavy-duty equipment or truck and transport apprentice. The former caterer wants others to know it's never too late to follow their dreams. "If Saedene can do it, so can I" is the message she has for young women. "I'm taking the mechanics [program] because I want to drive trucks, so I want to learn the truck inside out before I actually drive it," she said. Simmons was first introduced to heavy-duty trucks while watching her father, uncles and grandfather run the family's paving company in North Preston. "Dad picking me up in the dump truck every day, I used to love doing that," she said. "And him taking us to the gravel pit to unload the gravel and asphalt." Saedene Simmons's dad, Calvin (Ricky) Simmons, says his daughter always loved being around cars.(CBC) Her father, Calvin (Ricky) Simmons, noticed his daughter's mechanical infatuation early on. He took Saedene to her first car show when she was three, and her passion for vehicles has grown ever since. "She loves being around cars," he said. "I can honestly say none of my three sons have a passion for vehicles, cars, trucks, equipment like Saedene does — none of them." 'A woman can do just about anything a man can do' His pride in his daughter's barrier-busting career path is tempered by fatherly concern. He said that as a Black woman, Saedene will have to prove herself in a field that is mostly white and male. In his decades in the trucking industry, Ricky Simmons said he has never seen a Black woman under the hood. However, Saedene Simmons doesn't think gender or race should determine one's fate in the field of mechanics. "A woman can do just about anything a man can do," she said. "I think I've been living by that my whole life or I wouldn't be here, I'd probably be sitting in an office at a mechanic shop." Simmons with her instructor, Dayna Gillis-Lynds.(CBC) Simmons's instructor at NSCC has an idea of what awaits women trying to break into the field. Dayna Gillis-Lynds was the first woman to obtain her Red Seal certification at NSCC back in 2013. She said the industry counts just six women in all of Nova Scotia. "Being a female in the trade, I find you have to prove yourself a little harder than being male," said Gillis-Lynds. "You know that eyes are on you, you know you're being watched, you know you have to push yourself just that much harder, you have to show your abilities." Simmons said she wants to join the family's paving business, but her immediate focus is graduating in June. Completing the truck repair course goes hand in hand with setting an example for her three children, she said. "For them to see that mom loves doing this and that she's getting good grades — maybe if they see me doing that, then what they love to do most, they will carry that throughout school and their lives." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. (CBC) MORE TOP STORIES
MILAN — Italian police on Monday arrested a 36-year-old Algerian in the southern city of Bari on suspicion of supporting co-ordinated attacks in Paris that killed 130 people in November 2015. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of participating in a terror organization, and is believed to have belonged to the Islamic State group, national police said in a statement. The suspect was not identified by name. He is believed to have supplied falsified documents to the terrorists who launched co-ordinated attacks against the Bataclan nightclub, five cafes in central Paris and the Stade de France in the Paris suburb of St. Denis. The Associated Press
TORONTO — A group including all four of Ontario's main teachers unions is urging the provincial government to offer free menstrual products in all publicly funded schools. The group, led by the Toronto Youth Cabinet, made the call in an open letter to Education Minister Stephen Lecce on Monday. It says some Ontario school boards -- such as the Toronto District School Board and the Waterloo Region District School Board -- have taken action on their own, but the group is calling for the province to expand that to all 72 of Ontario's boards. The group notes that British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island offer free menstrual products to all students. The letter says menstrual products are a necessity, not a luxury. It says a lack of access to period products can lead to students missing school and work. "Every woman, girl, trans man and gender non-binary person should be able to focus on their education and be active participants without having to worry about inadequate access to tampons, pads, and other menstrual products," the letter reads. The group, which also includes the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Ontario Student Trustees Association, is calling on the province to fully fund the initiative and ensure it's in place by the end of 2021. "These products must not only be free of charge, but be provided in ways that also protect privacy, are barrier free and easily accessible, are consistent in delivery and availability, and are non-stigmatizing," the letter reads. A spokeswoman for Lecce said the ministry knows that a lack of access to period products "creates significant stress in students' lives," particularly in lower income communities. "We remain open and committed to finding innovative solutions to help girls and young women access menstrual products and support their social-emotional well-being," Caitlin Clark wrote in an email. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021. The Canadian Press
The COVID-19 pandemic has achieved what many mayors across Europe have tried and failed to do: wipe out tens of thousands of Airbnbs from city centres and so help lower rental costs for locals, in some places by as much as 15%. While Europe's cities have long welcomed tourists, critics say the surge of properties listed on short-lettings site Airbnb in recent years had priced many locals out of their own housing markets, turning historic neighbourhoods into soulless spaces. Property management companies and landlords contacted by Reuters in cities including Lisbon, Barcelona, Prague, and Venice said the collapse of tourism in the pandemic meant some hosts had now replaced holidaymakers with mid- to long-term tenants, moved in themselves, or given up properties altogether.
An old storage shed with no heat or electricity is where the bodies are kept in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. "It is not a very nice place to put someone you love," said the community's MLA, Tony Akoak to CBC. Tony Akoak, MLA for Gjoa Haven has been raising the issue for years. Still nothing has been done. (Courtesy Tony Akoak) The shed is used as the local morgue with none of the convenience of a real facility. "It's not a pretty sight to see if you go into that building," said Akoak, in the legislature Thursday. The interior is covered in dust and there is cut up wood on the floor. The lack of electricity makes it cold and dark, said Akoak. This shed has been the local morgue ever since he can remember. He brought the issue to the legislature in 2019 and again this October. Still, nothing has been done. Resident said he was shocked at the condition Akoak received a letter from a Gjoa Haven resident, James Dulac, in January, outlining a horrific experience with the building. A friend of his died by suicide and with the family's permission he was going there to dress the body for the burial. "I was shocked for what I saw," said Dulac, in the letter. His friend lay on the floor in an plastic RCMP bag, and a different body lay on his friend's feet. Dulac opened his friend's body bag to find him covered in blood with his shoes still on, his arms and legs twisted and frozen in place. It was a "clear indication that he did not get cleaned properly prior to be taken to the [morgue]," Dulac wrote. His friend's body would not fit into the coffin, because of how his friend was placed. They had to use a large plywood box, he said. The inside of the shed used as a morgue. Empty boxes are piled to the roof. (Submitted by James Dulac ) "Our loved ones, our people when saying goodbye to this world, deserve respect, deserve to be treated with dignity, deserve better treatment," said Dulac in the letter. "Having a morgue at least with all the necessary needs, it is not a [luxury], it is a right, it is a need," he wrote. Dulac said he brought the issue to the municipality but has not seen any solution yet. In an email to Akoak, Dulac offers two weeks of his salary to be put toward getting a proper morgue. Akoak says this space has been used as a morgue ever since he can remember. (Submitted by James Dulac ) Government has unused portable morgues The Department of Community and Government Services bought two portable morgues in May 2020. The morgues cost $77,520 and the department said they are part of an inventory the government is building to respond to community emergencies. The containers arrived in June and have been sitting in Iqaluit ever since. Community and Government Services Minister Jeannie Ehaloak committed to contact the municipality of Gjoa Haven about the issue.
OTTAWA — Newly released documents show Statistics Canada considered delaying this year's census until 2022 over pandemic-related health concerns that could erode the quality of data relied on by policymakers across the country. An agency document noted the plan for the 2021 census was developed in a "normal operating context" where tens of thousands of staff and temporary hires would interact with each other and Canadians. In a pandemic, the document noted, that plan had "a high probability of failure." The behind-the-scenes look at how Statistics Canada rethought this year's census operation is contained in 50 pages of internal reports and presentations obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act. The agency ultimately decided to forge ahead with the census for this year using a plan that relies more heavily on Canadians filling out census forms online than on face-to-face interactions. Jan Kestle, president and CEO of Environics Analytics, said the census needed to go ahead as planned this year to get a baseline reading on how families, communities and businesses are faring to guide decision-making for a post-pandemic recovery. "It's not like we're in a period where there's something weird for a month. We have lived for a year (with the pandemic) and we're going to live with the implications of this for a long time," she said. "Having a census that's as good as it can be, is extremely important to the economic recovery, and the health of Canadians." Census results can help reshape electoral ridings and determine federal funding to provinces for health care, and to cities for infrastructure. Local officials use the census to decide where to plan new transit services, roads, schools and hospitals. A census takes seven years between the start of planning to the release of data. "This is a large piece of machinery that does not turn on a dime," said Michael Haan, an associate professor of sociology from Western University, and director of the school's Statistcs Canada Research Data Centre. "If they were going to shift courses by perhaps extending the census for a year, or whatever they may have chosen to do, they needed to have those deliberations well in advance of the census moment." Waiting until 2022, after the widespread distribution of vaccines, could lead to a more "normal" operation , officials wrote in one document, adding that results would better reflect typical trends rather than "an atypical year of widespread societal disruption." But it would also miss some impacts of COVID-19, including connecting detailed income data from the Canada Revenue Agency to different neighbourhoods to see the full effects of pandemic aid programs. "We have a bit of a sense of this already, but nothing as accurate and as complete as the census for giving a true picture of how much hardship the (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) may have saved us," Haan said. In July, officials said no to adding any pandemic-specific questions to the census form because it was "not the right vehicle" for collecting the information. As well, adding a question on short notice could be problematic since every question has to be thoroughly tested. "When you introduce new subject matter into a questionnaire, you run the risk of changing the way people respond to other questions," Haan said. It also takes the agency months before it can release the data for public consumption, meaning the information could be far out of date by 2022 given the fluidity of the pandemic. Statistics Canada's plan for this year's census relies more on online responses and telephone follow-ups than going door-to-door, opening up the internet option to everyone in the country for the first time. Geoff Bowlby, director general at Statistics Canada responsible for the census, said the agency expects about eight in every 10 people to respond to the census online. Enumerators going door-to-door will be masked and get responses from outside the home rather than inside as in previous census cycles, Bowlby said. Hundreds of workers hired as administrators for enumerators are going to work from home rather than temporary office space, he added. Some work can't be done remotely, such as in the scanning centres that turn paper returns into digital data. Bowlby said the agency has adjusted the number of workers in the facility, split them into cohorts, and put in a health and safety plan that includes the provision of N95 masks. "At the end of the day, we do expect to have high response to the census and that data will be of high quality, the same quality that Canadians expect from the census, and it will be a safe operation," he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Haut-Madawaska's newest families have arrived after a long journey from Togo. The rural community in northwestern New Brunswick welcomed 43 new residents from the west African nation this weekend. The newcomers stepped off a plane in Moncton late Saturday night, before travelling by bus to an Edmundston hotel. After two weeks in self-isolation, they'll begin moving into their new apartments. Mayor Jean-Pierre Ouellet said the aging community is excited to welcome the 13 families and help them settle in. He's briefly spoken to some of the new families over the phone. "They're a little bit stressed but they're very happy to move to our area," he said. "For them it's a real challenge and they're ready to accept that challenge." Ouellet said the newcomers were recruited to work at one of the region's largest employers, the Nadeau Poultry Farm Ltd. The company travelled to Togo to find and interview prospective employees before the start of the pandemic. The rural community — with a declining population of about 3,700 — has seen more than 100 newcomers arrive in the past two years. It's located about 20 kilometres southwest of Edmundston. More jobs than people Haut-Madawaska's declining population has created challenges for large employers in the area. The area is home to three poultry processing companies, a buckwheat flour plant, and several facilities that manufacture cedar shingles and other wood products. Saint-François-de-Madawaska, one of the villages within the municipality, is referred to as the province's "chicken capital." Jean-Pierre Ouellet is the mayor of Haut-Madawaska, a rural community in northwestern New Brunswick.(Bernard LeBel/Radio-Canada) Ouellet said young people are leaving to study or find different employment opportunities, then parents follow to be closer to their children. "We have more jobs available than we have people available to fill those jobs," he said. The City of Edmundston and Haut-Madawaska were chosen by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for a three-year pilot project. The region is trying to develop a model for integration and retention for minority francophone communities. A representative for Nadeau Poultry travelled to Togo before the start of the pandemic to recruit employees. (Bernard LeBel/Radio-Canada) "They want to make sure that by recruiting young families that this population growth helps to keep our school open," Ouellet said. "And it will ensure the sustainability of our community." Nadeau Poultry, where some of the Togo newcomers were hired, has about 300 employees. The plant has up to 30 newcomers. A focus on families Haut-Madawska's goal is to improve newcomer retention. Ouellet said many immigrants have come to work for the companies in the region in the past and decided to leave for larger Canadian cities after a few years. But they were mostly hiring single people. Newcomers each brought two suitcases with them. So the community rallied together and collected household goods to help families start their new lives.(Submitted by Jean-Pierre Ouellet) Now, recruitment efforts are targeting families. "When the children will be in school, when they have friends, when they have a role to play in the community, it will be harder for the families … to go live in Quebec, Montreal, Toronto," Ouellet said. The families were supposed to arrive in Canada about six months ago, but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed their resettlement. Residents gathering donations Newcomers could only bring two suitcases on their more than 7,000 km journey between continents. So the town stepped in to help. Donations for the newcomers' apartments quickly filled the basement of a local church. Hundreds of items now await the newest residents of Haut-Madawaska once they begin moving into their apartments. "We have no more place to stock them," he said. "The community's contribution was just incredible." The mayor said people in the community are accepting of the change. "It just brings another point of view and it brings a cultural diversity in our area," he said.
Receipts, like memories, tend to fade with time. That’s just one reason to digitize and track tax-related information. The right apps and habits can save space, time, money and hassle — but only if you use them. “Apps should make things easier, not more complicated,” says Clare Levison, a certified public accountant in Blacksburg, Virginia. “The definition of a good app is what works for you, not the one that’s the trendiest.” USE TOOLS YOU ALREADY HAVE Apps don’t have to be elaborate. The camera on your phone, for example, can capture receipts and other documentation. Levison recommends regularly transferring those images to a designated folder in your photo app to make them easier to find later. “You don’t want those photos mixed in with all your other selfies and whatever,” Levison says. Similarly, you can create folders in your email account to collect tax-related documents. If you’re an active investor, for example, you can put your trade confirmations there (or set up a filter so the confirmations are routed there automatically). If you purchase supplies for your business online, a folder can collect emailed receipts. Another commonplace tool that can be helpful, especially for anyone claiming business expenses or mileage, is a calendar app. These records can help document meetings with clients, business travel and other potentially deductible events. “The IRS auditor always asks for a copy of my calendar,” says Leonard Wright, a San Diego CPA who’s been audited four times. Calendar records should be kept for at least seven years, which is how long the IRS typically has to audit you. (There’s no time limit if the agency suspects tax fraud, however, so be sure your choice of electronic calendar lets you retain enough history. ) You also need to regularly download monthly statements from your financial institutions, says Kelley C. Long, a CPA and personal finance specialist in Chicago. If the IRS suspects you’ve underreported income, it may ask for bank and brokerage statements. If you use a credit card for business or other tax-related purposes, those statements can help support your deductions. While the institutions are required to keep your records for several years, you may have to pay fees to access older statements. BE SURE YOU’RE STORING FOR THE LONG TERM Ideally, your computer and phone are already being backed up into the cloud so that you can access your data if the devices are lost, stolen or destroyed. If not, you want to make sure that at least your tax information is regularly transferred to a secure cloud storage system or other safe, off-site location. The key is to keep information safe and accessible, which means choosing electronic over paper wherever possible. Paper is bulky, inefficient and vulnerable to all kinds of disasters, including fire and flood. Ink can fade, particularly on receipts needed to document expenses (credit card or bank statements typically aren’t considered enough documentation without the accompanying receipts). “I usually tell business owners, ‘No receipt, then no deduction,’” says Bob Fay, a CPA in Canton, Ohio, who is also a consumer financial education advocate for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. “This is a short message that sticks with them as they have so much on their plate every day.” But the time the IRS gets around to asking for those receipts, all you may have left is flimsy, unreadable paper if you haven’t captured a digital version, Levison says. Also, paper documents can cost you more. “People still give their CPAs literally a shoebox,” Long says. “What your CPA does then is pay one of their interns to scan all that stuff into their systems and they charge you for that.” CONSIDER SPECIALIZED APPS TO MAKE IT EASY Sometimes, specialized apps can make sense. Scanner apps can help you capture tax-related paperwork, and some have optical character recognition that allows you to turn images into editable — and searchable — files. If you have an iPhone or iPad and itemize your expenses, ItsDeductible and iDonatedIt can help you track charitable gifts throughout the year and find values for noncash donations, such as clothes and household goods. (These apps don’t have Android versions.) Apps that create expense reports, such as Expensify or Everlance, can help gig workers and other self-employed people track business-related costs. Wright, the much-audited CPA, swears by apps that help track mileage, such as MileIQ, TripLog or Everlance. “Many of these apps are easy to maintain and allow you to track and distinguish between business or personal use,” Wright says. “They’re so simple you can do that while you’re in line at the supermarket.” But it’s crucial to develop the habit of using the apps and other processes you set up, says CPA Tim Todd of Lynchburg, Virginia. Otherwise, you’re not creating the digital paper trail you’ll need to survive an audit. Plus, you could be costing yourself money. “Keeping records in real time can also help make sure you don’t forget those items come tax time,” Todd says. ____________________________ This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @lizweston. RELATED LINK: NerdWallet: Tax prep checklist: What to gather before filing http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-tax-prep-checklist Liz Weston Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
Ontario pharmacists start a COVID-19 vaccine program this week at 330 locations to provide the AstraZeneca vaccine to customers aged 60 to 64 as lockdown restrictions ease in two major regions.
Seabird biologists are concerned about medical masks ending up in the province's waterways and entangling birds and other wildlife after images were posted online of a gull at Quidi Vidi Lake trapped in the ear loop of a mask. "It's incredibly disheartening and discouraging. It would be anyway, but this lake has an international designation as an important bird area," said Holly Hogan, who has been studying marine birds for 30 years. Hogan told CBC Radio's The Broadcast another image from the same set shows another gull with the plastic rings from beer cans around its beak. Hogan said an awareness around plastic pollution in the environment, specifically the ocean, already exists, but when single-use personal protective equipment became a staple during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said pollution was the first thought that occurred to her. "Everybody disposing of these single-use masks, I thought 'where are they going to go?' and well, we know where some of them are ending up, unfortunately," she said. Hogan said about 129 billion face masks and 69 billion disposable gloves were used every month in 2020. "Not surprisingly, a large number of these ended up in the ocean, and there are very conservative estimates between 1.5 and two billion face masks ended up in the ocean in 2020," she said. Single-use mentality Hogan said there's a feeling of stepping backwards in the public's attempt to limit plastic use. Using bulk food retailer Bulk Barn as an example, she said people used to be able to bring reusable containers to the store, but during the pandemic, the store handed out single-use plastic gloves to be worn while shopping and didn't allow reusable containers. "Some of it is certainly justified, people need to protect their health and that is the number one priority," Hogan said. "Not to pick on the Bulk Barn, I mean they're doing it for our safety, but it seems like in the face of the pandemic, people are almost in a state of panic." A second gull was entangled in plastic rings used for soda or beer cans. (Lancy Cheng/Facebook) Not many people are aware that the single-use non-medical masks they're buying and discarding are made from plastics, meaning they won't break down in a landfill, Hogan noted. She said masks break down into micro-plastics, creating other health problems for the environment. "As an intact mask, with its loops, it entangles creatures, potentially. But it is, and it remains, plastic waste in the environment doing the damage that all plastics do," she said. So, what's the solution? Hogan says awareness and education should be the main focus. "These things don't disappear when they leave your hands or when they leave your face," said Hogan. "Cut off the ear loops so that if they do unintentionally end up in the environment then they're not suddenly a nuisance for some animal." Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A Harvard University professor has ignited an international uproar and faces mounting scrutiny for alleging that Korean women who were kept as sex slaves in wartime Japan had actually chosen to work as prostitutes. In a recent academic paper, J. Mark Ramseyer rejected a wide body of research finding that Japan’s so-called “comfort women” were forced to work at military brothels during World War II. Ramseyer instead argued that the women willingly entered into contracts as sex workers. His paper has intensified a political dispute between Japan, whose leaders deny that the women were coerced, and South Korea, which has long pressed Japan to provide apologies and compensation to women who have shared accounts of rape and abuse. Decades of research has explored the abuses inflicted on comfort women from Korea and other nations previously occupied by Japan. In the 1990s, women began sharing accounts detailing how they were taken to comfort stations and forced to provide sexual services for the Japanese military. Hundreds of scholars have signed letters condemning Ramseyer's article, which united North and South Korea in sparking outrage. Last Tuesday, North Korea’s state-run DPRK Today published an article calling Ramseyer a “repulsive money grubber” and a “pseudo scholar.” Ramseyer, a professor of Japanese legal studies at Harvard Law School, declined to comment. Ramseyer’s article, titled “Contracting for sex in the Pacific War,” was published online in December and was scheduled to appear in the March issue of the International Review of Law and Economics. The issue has been suspended, however, and the journal issued an “expression of concern” saying the piece is under investigation. Most alarming to historians is what they say is a lack of evidence in the paper: Scholars at Harvard and other institutions have combed though Ramseyer's sources and say there is no historical evidence of the contracts he describes. In a statement calling for the article to be retracted, Harvard historians Andrew Gordon and Carter Eckert said Ramseyer “has not consulted a single actual contract” dealing with comfort women. “We do not see how Ramseyer can make credible claims, in extremely emphatic wording, about contracts he has not read,” they wrote. Alexis Dudden, a historian of modern Japan and Korea at the University of Connecticut, called the article a “total fabrication” that disregards decades of research. Although some have invoked academic freedom to defend Ramseyer, Dudden counters that the article “does not meet the requirements of academic integrity.” “These are assertions out of thin air,” she said. “It’s very clear from his writing and his sources that he has never seen a contract.” More than 1,000 economists have signed a separate letter condemning the article, saying it misuses economic theory “as a cover to legitimize horrific atrocities.” A separate group of historians of Japan issued a 30-page article explaining why the article should be retracted “on grounds of academic misconduct.” At Harvard, hundreds of students signed a petition demanding an apology from Ramseyer and a university response to the complaints against him. Harvard Law School declined to comment. A United Nations report from 1996 concluded that the comfort women were sex slaves taken through “violence and outright coercion.” A statement from Japan in 1993 acknowledged that women were taken “against their own will,” although the nation’s leaders later denied it. Tensions flared again in January when a South Korean court ruled that the Japanese government must give 100 million won ($90,000) to each of 12 women who sued in 2013 over their wartime sufferings. Japan insists all wartime compensation issues were settled under a 1965 treaty normalizing relations with South Korea. In South Korea, activists have denounced Ramseyer and called for his resignation from Harvard. Chung Young-ai, South Korea’s minister of gender equality and family, expressed dismay over the article last week. “There is an attempt to distort (the facts about) the Japanese military’s ‘comfort women’ issue and tarnish the honours and dignity of victims,” Chung said, according to comments provided by her ministry. Lee Yong-soo, a 92-year-old South Korean and survivor, described Ramseyer’s assertion as “ludicrous” and demanded he apologize. An influential activist, Lee is campaigning for South Korea and Japan to settle their decadeslong impasse by seeking judgment from the International Court of Justice. When asked about Ramseyer last Wednesday, Lee said: “That professor should be dragged to (the ICJ) too.” The controversy, amplified by its source at an Ivy League university, has yielded new scrutiny of Ramseyer's other work. In response to new concerns raised by scholars, The European Journal of Law and Economics added an editor's note saying it's investigating a recent piece by Ramseyer — this one studying Koreans living in early 20th century Japan. Cambridge University Press said a forthcoming book chapter by Ramseyer is “being revised by the author after consultation between the author and the editors of the book.” Ramseyer repeated his claims about comfort women in a submission to a Japanese news site in January. In it, he alleged the women entered into contracts similar to those used under a separate, licensed system of prostitution in Japan. He rejected accounts of forced labour as “pure fiction,” saying the Japanese army “did not dragoon Korean women to work in its brothels.” “Expressing sympathy to elderly women who have had a rough life is fine,” he wrote. “Paying money to an ally in order to rebuild a stable relationship is fine. But the claims about enslaved Korean comfort women are historically untrue.” Opponents counter that many of the women were so young they would have been unable to consent to sex even if there was evidence of contracts. “We're really talking about 15-year-olds,” said Dudden, at the University of Connecticut. “This article further victimizes the very few number of survivors by asserting claims that even the author knows cannot be substantiated.” ___ Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim and Kim Tong-hyung contributed from Seoul. Collin Binkley, The Associated Press
Ruba Ghazal's family wasn't big on politics — they'd already fled two countries because of them. So it was a course in high school about social involvement that Ghazal says awoke something in her. "I liked participating, and then I liked history. Eventually, I was the one who would explain Quebec politics to my parents," Ghazal said. But it's when she got to university that Ghazal became more involved in causes she cared about, eventually obtaining a master's degree in environmental studies. Ghazal is now the environment critic for Quebec Solidaire and the MNA for Montreal's Mercier electoral district, which covers much of the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough. Ghazal is taking part in an online talk on women in politics and women of colour in politics this Thursday, in honour of International Women's Day. The talk, dubbed Politiqu'Elle, is organized by Hanadi Saad, founder of Justice Femme, an organization that helps defend women from minority backgrounds against harassment in Quebec and which rose to prominence when the CAQ government tabled Bill 21 in 2019. Now law, Bill 21 bars public school teachers, as well as police officers, government lawyers and some civil servants, from wearing religious symbols — such as hijabs or turbans — while at work. The law was passed last year despite protests from civil rights groups and religious minorities. Saad says her advocacy work against Bill 21 and the effects of its debate (which she says prompted hundreds of Muslim women to report being harassed in the street to her organization) made her realize just how much Quebec politics lacked Muslim women, and women of colour more generally. "It's really clear there is a problem," Saad said. "Someone who is born here, who is not from an immigrant family, cannot understand what an immigrant is living." Saad says Quebec lacks politicians who know their constituents and the issues they face intimately. "We need more politicians doing field work, knocking on doors," she said. Hanadi Saad founded Justice Femme to help protect and defend Muslim women against islamophobic harassment.(Submitted by Hanadi Saad) 'Nothing is guaranteed,' says MNA calling for structural change Ghazal was born in Lebanon to a Palestinian family and grew up in the United Arab Emirates before they moved to Quebec when she was 10. She says though environmental issues are her main focus in politics, she doesn't shy away from speaking about the need for more diversity in Quebec politics, as well as encouraging younger generations of underrepresented people to get involved. In an article in the Canadian political publication Policy Options last week, Ghazal laid out the case for a proportional electoral system that would involve incentives for parties to name candidates that truly represent the population. "If that doesn't exist, there will always be steps forward and then backward. Nothing is guaranteed," Ghazal said. In the piece, Ghazal notes the state of representation in the National Assembly is better than it was before the last election, with eight per cent of MNAs being people of colour, compared to 13 per cent of the population. Forty three per cent of Quebec's MNAs are women. "That progress remains fragile," Ghazal wrote. The CAQ government tabled a bill to reform Quebec's electoral system and add more proportionality, Ghazal notes, but the bill hasn't yet been debated and she worries it will have fallen to the wayside after the pandemic. She says it's in part thanks to Québec Solidaire's will to name candidates from underrepresented communities and hand them districts they have better chances of winning that she is now an MNA. It's because of a lack of willpower to implement such practices within his party that Mohammed Barhone says he left the Quebec Liberal Party in 2020, after having served a number of roles for six years. Barhone will also be speaking at Saad's event, as a kind of political insider who isn't under pressure to walk a party line. "If there were more women of colour, more Indigenous women; if there were more Muslim women in decision-making roles, things would have taken a different turn," in the debate around Bill 21, said Barhone, who says his mother's struggles as a single parent raising three children in Morocco have made him sensitive to barriers women of colour face. For Ghazal, there was a silver lining in it all: "It allowed women like Hanadi [Saad] to mobilize people and explain to them, 'Hey, you who has always felt far from politics (like my family), well, look, politicians are now voting a law that could prevent your daughters from teaching, for example.'" That's why Ghazal says she continues to participate in talks like the one on Wednesday — even in places that may not involve her constituents — because maybe it will awaken something in a young person, like she once was. "I like sharing my experience to show it's possible," she said. Other speakers at the talk include former NDP candidate for Ahuntsic-Cartierville Zahia El Masri and Laval municipal councillor Sandra El Helou.