"We love you, we support you" Trump on Houston floods

Trump addressed the flooding from Hurricane Imelda in Houston, telling a rally for Indian Americans he had a message for the city, "we love you, we support you."

The storm and associated flooding is blamed for at least five deaths.

Imelda damaged at least 10 schools in Harris County, which surrounds Houston.

Dozens were rescued Saturday from Huffman, a neighborhood northeast of Houston, as floodwaters rose.

Beaumont to the east confirmed it saw over 40 inches of rain, forcing the closure of many schools.

  • Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

    OTTAWA — Four days before Canadians go to the polls, the leaders of Canada's three largest federal parties argued Thursday over how the country will be governed if there is no clear winner on election day. Most polls continue to suggest the Liberals and Conservatives are deadlocked, raising talk about potential minority or coalition governments as support also grows for the NDP in some provinces and for the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec.Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said if he wins the most seats in Monday's election, that would give him a mandate to govern.He repeated that view during a question-and-answer session with reporters in the Toronto suburb of Brampton on Thursday, dismissing reminders that as a former Speaker of the House of Commons, he has familiarity with the rules that govern Parliament and say otherwise."We are asking Canadians for a strong Conservative majority mandate," Scheer said before heading to Nova Scotia for a rally in Pictou County. "It is the case that the party that wins the most seats in modern Canadian history has been the party that forms the government."Paul Martin did step down as prime minister after the Conservatives won more seats in 2006, allowing Stephen Harper to form his first minority government.But Canada's parliamentary system allows for formal coalition governments and for other kinds of partnerships in the House of Commons, which means that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau could continue on as prime minister without a majority if he can secure support from enough other MPs to win key votes.Scheer on Thursday reiterated his past warnings that a Liberal-NDP coalition would prove too expensive for Canadians. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh let the coalition genie out of the bottle on Sunday, saying he would "absolutely" consider a coalition with the Liberals to prevent Scheer from becoming prime minister.Trudeau, meanwhile, repeatedly dismissed questions on Thursday about a potential coalition or other arrangement in the House of Commons."We are focused on electing a strong Liberal government that is going to be able to continue the hard work of fighting against climate change and investing in families. The choice is very, very clear for Canadians," he said during a campaign stop in Trois-Rivieres, Que. "We are going to elect a government with Liberal MPs from right across the country. We will continue the hard work of investing in Canadians."At an evening rally in Montreal with Liberal candidates from across Quebec, Trudeau warned Quebecers that voting for the Bloc Quebecois would help elect a Conservative government that will undo all the progress the Liberals have made, particularly on the fight against climate change. He made an impassioned appeal for them to stay "on the ice, not on the bench.""When we're facing the largest environmental crisis ever seen in our history, it's not time to withdraw or to choose opposition. Canadians need Quebecers in the heart of the action, not in the opposition seats."Liberal hopes for a majority are also being challenged outside Quebec by a bounce in support for the NDP.Singh, campaigning in Ontario with provincial party leader Andrea Horwath, argued Thursday that "coalition" is not a dirty word.He also criticized Trudeau for breaking his campaign promise that the 2015 election would be the last under the first-past-the-post system, which results in the candidate with the most votes winning in each riding, even though many receive far less than majority support.Singh said it's wrong that a party can win the majority of the power with the support of fewer than half the voters. He said Canadians often feel their vote doesn't matter, adding 60 per cent of Canadians "regularly" vote against the Conservatives."So it's wrong for the Conservatives to think that with less than 40 per of the power — or vote — they deserve all the majority of power. That's wrong," Singh said in Welland, Ont., near Niagara Falls, where former NDP MP Malcolm Allen is trying to take back his old seat. Singh wrapped up the day with a boisterous rally Brampton, his old stomping ground when he was a provincial politician. The event, billed as an "UpriSingh," was attended by more than 1,000 party faithful, the NDP's largest gathering of the campaign so far.Green Leader Elizabeth May said it was premature to talk of coalition governments as she also laid into Trudeau for not living up to the 2015 pledge to change the Canadian voting system."You don't actually start talking about coalitions until the election is over," she said in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, where she was trying add to her party's two seats — and its chances of being a player in any possible post-election balance of power."We're prepared to work with and find ways to make Parliament work for Canadians. And to do that, Mr. Scheer is wrong in saying that he's got a new way in how Parliament works in a minority. Mr. Singh is wrong, saying he will only work with the Liberals."Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet reiterated his party's position that it isn't interested in propping up any minority government, and instead would be guided by one criterion: what is good for Quebec.A day earlier, Blanchet offered more specifics."There is no question of the Bloc systematically supporting a government or a coalition or a party. It will be piece by piece. If it's good for Quebec, we'll be there," he said on Wednesday."If the Conservatives decide to support us on the single tax return, it'll go through. If the Conservatives imagine that the Bloc Quebecois will support the abolition of the carbon tax, it won't happen."This report by the Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17, 2019.Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

  • Housing top B.C. issue but experts question whether platforms strong enough
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Housing top B.C. issue but experts question whether platforms strong enough

    VANCOUVER — When Jagmeet Singh announced a bevy of promises to improve housing affordability, he stood in front of the skyline of Vancouver, where home prices are still drastically detached from average local incomes.The NDP leader described housing as "the most pressing crisis" residents face."We know that right now a 29-year-old millennial who wants to buy a home would have to wait 29 years before he or she had enough money to be able to actually put down a down payment," he said, referencing a recent study by the advocacy group Generation Squeeze.Housing is a top election issue in the costly urban centres of British Columbia and federal parties are battling for votes with a range of real estate promises. Some platforms are stronger than others, experts say, while questioning whether any are strong enough.The New Democrat pledge to build 500,000 affordable homes over 10 years would deliver the most units, but the party's proposed rental benefit of up to $5,000 for as many as 500,000 households could spell trouble in markets with low vacancy rates, one expert said."In a market like Vancouver, if you give people $5,000 more to spend on rent, unless we build a bunch more units, we're just getting higher rents," said Tsur Somerville, a business professor focusing on real estate at the University of British Columbia.The Liberal government introduced a 10-year, $55-billion national housing strategy in 2017 aimed at helping more than 500,000 families who need housing, creating up to 125,000 new units and cutting chronic homelessness by 50 per cent.Opinions vary on how effective the strategy has been to date, but perhaps because of this existing commitment, the Liberals have made relatively few campaign promises on housing.The party's promises to impose a tax of one per cent on foreign buyers and to raise the value of homes eligible for the first-time homebuyer grant to $789,000 from $505,000 would have the least impact in B.C., Somerville said, but they also have fewer chances of adverse effects."They're not just crashing into the market and wreaking havoc," he said. "Part of the worry about the NDP is it's doing so much and getting so involved that there's some concern about unintended consequences."The Conservatives have pledged to ease the mortgage stress test and allow 30-year mortgages for first-time homebuyers, but Somerville said these promises were likely to drive prices higher and encourage B.C. residents to take on more debt.The Tories and NDP have both promised to launch an inquiry into money laundering in the real-estate sector. A provincial inquiry is already underway in B.C.The gaps in enforcement that allowed criminals to funnel an estimated $5 billion through real estate in the province last year are already well known, Somerville argued."I don't think we need an inquiry. We actually need them to do things," he said.The NDP has also pledged a dedicated RCMP unit to investigate money laundering, a national registry to show who profits from real estate and a foreign buyers tax of 15 per cent.Somerville said the NDP and Liberal promises of a national tax on foreign buyers don't make sense. Such taxes should be targeted toward specific cities, he said, because resort communities such as Whistler, B.C., depend on international investment.Conservatives have also promised to make surplus federal land available for housing development. Somerville said the federal government has already begun doing this, but it's tricky in B.C. where First Nations title is a key consideration.The Greens, meanwhile, have pledged to eliminate the grant for first-time homebuyers, declare housing a legally protected human right and build 25,000 new and 15,000 rehabilitated units annually for the next 10 years.The party's housing platform feels like an "afterthought" to its climate change promises, said Mario Canseco, president of Vancouver polling firm Research Co.Canseco said the NDP and Liberals are battling for the Lower Mainland, which Justin Trudeau's party nearly swept in 2015. Fortunately for the New Democrats, some voters have been disappointed with the Liberals' performance on housing, he said.However, Canseco added it's easier for the NDP to propose an ambitious housing platform when it's unlikely to form a government.The Conservatives appear to be angling for North and West Vancouver, where residents tend to have a higher household income and can save more money for a down payment, he said."In a way I think it's a good strategy to try to appeal to those voters who are in the areas where you can make a dent in the Liberal fortunes, but it's not going to be enough to attract a lot of the voters in the city of Vancouver," he said.None of the parties have gone so far as to promise to end homelessness, a major concern in Vancouver and a growing issue in its suburbs, noted Gerald Baier, an associate professor of political science at UBC."I think that most people are just going to find all the parties disappointing on the question of housing if that's what motivates their vote," he said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 18, 2019.Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

  • Edmonton police take steps to regain trust of LGBTQ community
    News
    CBC

    Edmonton police take steps to regain trust of LGBTQ community

    About 60 police detectives recently took part in an awareness session focused on the LGBTQ2S+ community, as consultations wrapped up in the ongoing work to strengthen relations."[They] were just so appreciative of learning about language and ways to use the language to build rapport," Natasha Goudar, strategic advisor of Equity, Inclusion and Human Rights, told a police commission meeting Thursday. "To be more thoughtful in report writing and engaging and understanding the impact around that, and just being willing to be humble and ask questions when they didn't understand."There's definitely been more intentional work and change that I've seen in the last few months."It has been five months since the service issued a formal apology for past wrongs committed against members of the LGBTQ community.At the time, police Chief Dale McFee laid out plans for a consultation process and said the work to improve relations had only begun.On Thursday, commissioners received an update on those consultations, which included focus groups, one-on-one interviews and an online survey.After developing an inclusive process led by the community, consultations included hearing from those who don't usually provide feedback, such as youth and sex trade workers, commissioners were told.Results are expected to be released publicly later this month without redactions or editing to ensure transparency, Goudar said. "We want to make sure that the people that have taken the time to participate and have their voices be heard, which has required a lot of courage for a lot of people, that that is represented in their words," Goudar said.Celene Lemire, the EPS advisor for stakeholder relations, warned that hearing the feedback won't always be comfortable."But it's OK to sit in the discomfort," Lemire said. "It's really important that we start to look at the discomfort not necessarily as a negative thing but as part of the transition moving forward."Some LGBTQ2S+ members declined to participate in the discussions, commissioners were told.Glynnis Lieb, executive director of the University of Alberta's Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, told the commissioners that trust won't necessarily be won through the initiative."Their trust is going to, if ever, be won through what happens to them on the streets when their paths cross with officers on Whyte Avenue or on a corner," Lieb said."If you want to gain the trust of the most vulnerable people we're gonna have to stop hearing stories about the trans person being mistreated, the sex worker being mistreated, the person being assumed to have done something wrong because of the colour of their skin," Lieb later told reporters."One little misstep will erase a hundred steps of progress right now. It's so fragile."Outside the meeting, deputy police chief Kevin Brezinski said EPS has done a tremendous amount of work recently to make sure the apology was taken seriously and the reconciliation is ongoing.Simply issuing an apology is not enough, Brezinski said."I think it's all the engagement that takes place after, and this is going be a long-term process where we're going to try to regain the relationship with the community."The action plan is expected to be implemented in January 2020.

  • News
    CBC

    Windsor-Essex health unit calls for ban on vaping ads

    The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) board unanimously passed a resolution Thursday calling on the provincial government to issue a ban on the promotion and marketing of vaping products.The health unit also agreed the province should ban the sale of flavoured vaping products, as well as amend the Smoke Free Ontario Act to establish the same rules for both traditional tobacco and vaping products."Our recommendation that our board passed tonight doesn't ban the sale of vaping products," said Nicole Dupuis, director of health promotion with WECHU. "The recommendation was to ban the promotion and marketing of vaping products."The Smoke Free Ontario Act currently allows the promotion and marketing of vaping products. Anyone who has visited a convenience store or gas station has likely seen such ads. "So what the resolution effectively would do is ask the government to reverse that," said Dupuis.Dupuis said the health unit can't enforce specific bylaws for any municipality under its jurisdiction. "So if a municipality wished to create a bylaw that would effectively ban the promotion or sale within their municipality they could that," she said. According to Dupuis, reducing instances of youth vaping is among the reasons for the health unit's recommendation. Earlier this June, CBC News reported that WECHU issued a total of 20 fines against underage students consuming vaping products since April 2019.

  • 'I felt sick and dirty': Complainant testifies she warned others about Edmonton bar promoter
    News
    CBC

    'I felt sick and dirty': Complainant testifies she warned others about Edmonton bar promoter

    A woman who said she was sexually assaulted by an Edmonton bar promoter in 2013 went to police the day after the alleged incident but backed out of a sexual assault examination in hospital, effectively ending the criminal investigation."I didn't think I could handle it," the woman told the Court of Queen's Bench on Thursday about her decision to end the examination. She was 18 at the time."I didn't want to be there and I just didn't want to deal with it… I just wanted to leave it and I just wanted to be normal for a second." She is one of 13 women who have accused Matthew McKnight of sexually assaulting them between 2010 and 2016.Almost three years after the woman met McKnight at a bar, she again went to police after seeing media reports about other women who had accused him of sexual assault.McKnight has pleaded not guilty to all charges.The woman, whose identity is protected under a publication ban, told court she went with a friend to Knoxville's Tavern on Jasper Avenue in December 2013.After consuming several drinks, she said her memories of the evening became blurred. At one point, she recalled walking through an alley with McKnight  and two of her friends. She had to lean on her friends to walk, she said, and needed support to stand.The woman didn't know it at the time, but the group was headed to McKnight's apartment. She recalled sitting on a couch in the living room and feeling "really heavy," like she couldn't easily move her limbs.Her next clear memory was of waking up on the floor of McNight's en-suite bathroom, mostly naked, and sore."I didn't know what happened. I felt sick and dirty and I couldn't remember anything that happened," she told court, speaking through tears.The woman said she rushed out of the apartment. A friend drove her home, and she later went to police.'You bought into that narrative'Defence lawyer Dino Bottos questioned the woman on discrepancies between her 2013 statements to police and what she later told authorities. The woman initially told a detective she had consumed significant alcohol throughout the evening, but later said she had a few drinks before McKnight offered her a "promotional" drink that left her seriously impaired.Bottos suggested the woman mounted a campaign against McKnight over the next several years, contributing to a narrative in the Edmonton bar industry that he drugged women to sleep with them.He suggested her report to police in 2016 was informed more by what she had heard from others, than her own memories of that night."You bought into that narrative and then re-told your story to fit within that narrative," he said, later adding, "Things got filtered into your head from other people, including the media release."The woman — who worked at another Edmonton bar — acknowledged she would tell women to stay away from McKnight, but said she didn't discuss the exact details of her experience on a wide-scale basis.Bottos suggested that when she got to McKnight's apartment she knew she was engaging in sexual activity, and that her memory has been affected by the passage of time and her consumption of alcohol that night.The woman maintained she couldn't have consented to sex."Personally, I don't think it's possible [to consent] knowing the state that I was in." The trial continues.

  • New Zealand plans armed police patrols after Christchurch massacre
    News
    Reuters

    New Zealand plans armed police patrols after Christchurch massacre

    New Zealand officials said on Friday armed police will patrol parts of the country in a trial project following heightened security concerns after a mass shooting in Christchurch in March that killed 51 people. New Zealand, like the United Kingdom and Norway, is one of the few countries where police do not carry guns while on general duty. Serious crime is relatively unusual in New Zealand, although frontline police were armed for several weeks following the massacre by a suspected white supremacist at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15.

  • Fate of Japan's imperial dynasty rests on shoulders of 13-year-old
    News
    Reuters

    Fate of Japan's imperial dynasty rests on shoulders of 13-year-old

    When Japan's youngest prince, Hisahito, visited Bhutan in August on his first overseas trip just months after his uncle Naruhito became emperor, his trip was regarded as the debut of a future monarch on the world stage. Emperor Naruhito, 59, who became monarch on May 1 following the abdication of his father, Akihito, will proclaim his enthronement in an Oct. 22 ceremony before foreign and domestic dignitaries. Japan only allows males to ascend the ancient Chrysanthemum Throne and changes to the succession law are anathema to conservatives backing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

  • News
    CBC

    Mother rejects school apology for do-rag comment, wants ban lifted

    An Edmonton mother is rejecting an apology from the Catholic school board for connecting the do-rag worn by her 11-year old son with possible gang affiliation. In a written statement sent Thursday afternoon, Edmonton Catholic Schools addressed the incident at Christ the King School on Sept. 12. "We want to start by recognizing and apologizing for the use of the word 'gang' with regards to the situation," the statement read. "It was never our intent to suggest that the boy had any affiliation with a gang." The apology didn't go far enough for Una Momolu, who appeared at a rally Thursday evening in support of her son Emmell. The boy was told to remove his do-rag by staff at the school in northeast Edmonton. "They partially apologized," Monolu told the media in front of the district office in downtown Edmonton as about 60 supporters looked on. "That really wasn't an apology if you're apologizing and still standing with the school after everything they have done."An Edmonton Catholic Schools spokesperson said the Grade 6 student was told to remove the head covering because he was violating a school policy that prohibits hats, caps or bandanas. A retired police officer who serves as the school's team advisor made the connection between the do-rag and gang involvement. Momolu says the do-rag is a symbol of black culture. She wants the school to lift the one-year ban imposed on her after a heated meeting with the principal. Momolu also wants the school to allow do-rags in schools as the ban targets students of colour. "I want rules changed. I want our cultural identity to be recognized," she said. "I want an apology and I want the ban lifted so my son can return back to school."The district isn't relenting on the ban. Officials claim Momolu was "aggressive" and frightened staff in a meeting at the school. They deny race had any role to play in their decision to call police. In the statement, the school district says the ten-minute audio recording of the encounter released to the public was cut off before the situation escalated. Momolu is challenging the district to prove its claims by releasing surveillance video from the school.Momolu has kept Emmell out of school since she was banned from the premises. The district says Emmell can still attend school.But Momolu says she drives him to school and refuses to drop him off a block away to comply with the conditions of her ban.

  • The only growing business in the oilpatch: dead wells
    News
    CBC

    The only growing business in the oilpatch: dead wells

    In the middle of a farmer's field, the rumble of machinery can be heard half a kilometre away.There aren't any tractors or combines in sight. Instead a collection of cement and water trucks and other equipment surround a large service rig.The crew would much rather be busy drilling new oil and gas wells, but with the oilpatch stuck in a seemingly endless downward spiral, the rig hands are just happy to get a cheque.Much of the work is like this: decommissioning old wells. "The last three months have been pretty good. Things are picking up a little bit," said Jonathan Hofer, a 26-year-old who began working on the rigs when he was 15."When I first started working on the rigs, you were busy all the time. Now, if you get two weeks in a month or sometimes one week, you do pretty good," he said.Cleaning up old wells is the only growing business right now in the oilpatch in Western Canada. Still, the rise in business is somewhat limited and is just enough to help keep some small oilfield service companies in business.Without it, many more of the firms would go belly up."I joke the only thing worse than being in the service rig business is being in the drilling rig business right now," said Scott Darling, president of Performance Energy Services. About 70 of the 100 people employed at the business are focused on decommissioning old wells."We can move our service rigs to do abandonments, so it's very lucky that way. It's tougher on the margins, people don't want to spend money on the dead horses, but it helps us get through these tough times," he said.The growth potential for decommissioning wells is substantial considering there are about 93,000 inactive wells in Alberta and 139,000 across Western Canada. Some of those wells may once again produce oil and gas if commodity prices improve, although most sit idle until they're eventually cleaned up."There are a few more people getting into it," Darling said of the decommissioning sector."It is a bit bittersweet. This is the end of the life for these wells and it's not big enough of a business to sustain the whole energy services sector. There's still a lot of people out of work."One telling statistic reflecting the state of the oilpatch in Western Canada — this year more old wells will be commissioned than new wells will be drilled. As of Oct. 9, there have been 3,666 wells abandoned this year, according to the Alberta Energy Regulator. Meanwhile, the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) projects about 2,425 wells to be drilled in the province.By comparison, 5,777 total wells were drilled in Alberta in 2009.The growth in decommissioning is in part fuelled by an increase in funding by the Orphan Well Association (OWA). The group is tasked with cleaning up old wells, pipelines and facilities that can't be sold when an energy producer goes bankrupt. The Alberta government loaned the OWA $235 million. The money began flowing at the start of 2018 and will continue into 2020.The industry-funded OWA said the financial boost from the government loan has made a "substantial" difference as nearly 800 wells were cleaned up this past year, a figure which has increased steadily from 50 wells in 2014.A Supreme Court of Canada ruling has also added a degree of urgency.Banks are hesitant to loan money or extend credit following the court's decision to prioritize environmental cleanup over the interests of lenders and other secured creditors. That's why some oil and gas companies don't want to have a hefty amount of abandonment liabilities on their books.Some oil and gas wells are much easier to decommission than others, depending on the geology and how long ago they were drilled. For those reasons, the cost to an oil and gas producer can vary between $100,000 and $500,000.The eventual price tag isn't always known until the decommissioning work begins. That's why some oil and gas companies can be wary of cleaning up wells, especially considering the financial struggles of the industry.Oil and gas producers are also sometimes required to do further remediation work after a well is decommissioned to ensure the land is properly remediated.No wonder some companies have lacked motivation in the past to clean up old wells, pipelines and other infrastructure, said David Yager, an oilpatch consultant and policy analyst."What's it going to cost? I don't know. When are we going to get a reclamation certificate? I don't know. That's pretty hard to get spending approval for an unknown amount of money for an unknown period of time," he said.Considering how many inactive wells there are across Western Canada and the ongoing downturn in the sector, Yager said government and industry should ramp up the cleanup."There's quite a backlog of work out there," he said. "It's got to be done anyway, might as well do it now. Prices are down, labour is available. It's a very good time to do this." Yager is hopeful the provincial government will relax some of the regulations about abandonment work, which he described as often lacking common sense."The good news is Alberta is extremely rigorous with regulations. The bad news is it might be an obstacle to getting the work done," he said.Some companies have been able to clean up more wells without increasing the amount of money they spend by becoming more innovative."There's a lot of technology in abandonments and reclamation that you can utilize," said Steve Laut, executive vice-chair at Canadian Natural Resources, the country's largest oil and gas producer."You try to get a bunch of wells to be done at the same time, in the same area," he said. "It's all about being effective and efficient and getting more of that liability off the books."The oilfield service industry has lobbied the federal government for a type of investor tax credit or resource credit to spur decommissioning work."It's a win-win because cash is injected into the system, the environment is cleaned up, and some of those many unemployed oilfield workers can get back to work doing something that is very important in our society," said Garnet Amundson, president of Essential Energy Services.Amundson and members of PSAC weren't able to convince the federal government after pitching the idea in Ottawa last year. Still, he's hopeful provincial or federal leaders will take action."For the sake of the government, our citizens and the industry, we need to find a way to address this proactively. It would also be really good for the reputation of Canada, frankly."

  • What matters to Nova Scotians in this election? | The Voter’s Chair
    CBC

    What matters to Nova Scotians in this election? | The Voter’s Chair

    We bring our Voter’s Chair to Nova Scotia to ask everyday people what matters most to them in this election.

  • Seniors' centre calling on OC Transpo to reinstate bus routes
    News
    CBC

    Seniors' centre calling on OC Transpo to reinstate bus routes

    Ottawa's The Good Companions, a non-profit seniors' centre on Albert Street, says it's seen a drop in both members and volunteers since OC Transpo removed all but one of the bus routes they relied on to get there.Prior to last week's changeover to LRT, 14 bus routes stopped in front of the centre near LeBreton Flats. Those included such well-established routes as the 95, as well as other buses that used the Transitway. Now, only the Route 16 stops at the centre during the day."I am broken-hearted," said Monique Doolittle-Romas, executive director of The Good Companions. "They are finding it extremely challenging now that we've been reduced to one bus every 30 minutes." This is crazy, and who thought up this idea for seniors? \- Agatha Phillips, 74The centre serves 300 seniors a day with fitness programs, art classes, bingo and hot lunches, according to Doolittle-Romas. More than half — 56 per cent — of those who attend weekday programs travel by public transit, coming from all parts of the city, she said.The nearest LRT station, Pimisi, is about 300 metres away on Booth Street.Doolittle-Romas said she's heard from about 50 members and volunteers who told her that without better bus service, they can no longer get to the centre. She's calling on the city to add more buses or increase the frequency of the one remaining route.Longer commutesAgatha Phillips, 74, normally takes Para Transpo from her home near Albion Road to the centre, where she likes to take part in exercise classes and sing-a-longs. But when her return trip was cancelled Thursday, she waited 25 minutes for a Route 16 bus."This is crazy, and who thought up this idea for seniors?" Phillips asked. "If I fall down in the winter I'll be in trouble." Brenda Thompson, 73, has been a volunteer and ambassador at The Good Companions for five years."I was a voluntary shut-in for almost 12 years after my husband died because I gave up on everything, including myself,"  she said. "The Good Companions literally saved my life, and I'm not kidding about that." She now takes two buses and the LRT to get to the centre, with a travel time of one hour and 20 minutes. The same commute used to take 35 minutes."It's not unacceptable," she said. "I am really upset about this because we're all friends and we need each other.... It's like a community in this building." OC Transpo collecting feedbackDoolittle-Romas said she shared her concerns with OC Transpo officials when the Confederation Line was being planned, but agreed to wait and see how operating with one bus would be.Pat Scrimgeour, OC Transpo's director of transit customer systems and planning, said in an emailed statement that in addition to Route 16, route 85 from Bayshore has been modified to drop passengers off at Pimisi station.Doolittle-Romas said that 300-metre walk from the station is easy for a young, able-bodied person, but for a senior using a cane or walker it can be difficult, especially once the cold weather sets in."What about during the winter when the streets are icy?" she asked.Doolittle-Romas said she was encouraged by a call she received Thursday from Mayor Jim Watson's office requesting a meeting with her and OC Transpo officials. "We need to keep seniors active and engaged in Zumba and art classes or having a meal," Doolittle-Romas said. "You don't want a senior sitting home alone and isolated.It leads to depression and health issues. They deserve better than this."

  • Astros power past Yanks for 3-1 ALCS lead, Verlander up next
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Astros power past Yanks for 3-1 ALCS lead, Verlander up next

    NEW YORK — They have the pitching, and they don't need the pitches. Certainly, the Houston Astros have confidence for good reason on the brink of another World Series."It's Justin Verlander," reliever Ryan Pressly said.George Springer and Carlos Correa each hit three-run homers and the Astros got another wild ace off the hook to beat the disheveled New York Yankees 8-3 Thursday night and reach the cusp of a second World Series visit in three years.The Astros lead the AL Championship Series 3-1, putting the 2017 World Series winners a step away from a showdown with the NL champion Washington Nationals.Houston still has Verlander and Gerrit Cole queued up for this series, and the Yankees will have to beat both to survive. Verlander will start Game 5 on Friday night against James Paxton.Springer lined an errant splitter from playoff star Masahiro Tanaka in the third inning for his homer, and Correa battered Chad Green's fastball when New York turned to its vaunted bullpen. Those All-Star sluggers have combined for just five hits in the series, but four have been homers.Earlier in the day, Astros manager AJ Hinch ardently denied that his team has skirted rules to steal signs after an allegation by the Yankees, which was investigated and cleared by Major League Baseball. He also made it clear: If a pitcher is tipping what's coming, Houston will take advantage.The Astros are tired of that talk detracting from their sluggers."I think it's disrespectful that every time we score a lot of runs, people talk about tipping," Correa said. "Nobody was tipping today and we scored, what, eight runs? We're great hitters. We've been doing it for a whole season."New York worked starter Zack Greinke hard during a 28-pitch first inning, but just like against Cole in Game 3, the clutch hit never came. Pressly dodged a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, and many fans had left Yankee Stadium by the time it ended shortly before 12:30 a.m.The Yankees are at risk of failing to make the World Series for an entire decade for the first time since the 1910s. They are 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position the past two games. Didn't help when they committed four errors in Game 4, most ever for the club in a home post-season game."We played poorly tonight, there's no other way to explain it," manager Aaron Boone said. "And we need to flush this immediately."Tanaka allowed four runs — three earned — for New York, his most in eight post-season starts.CC Sabathia pitched in relief for New York but was pulled with a left shoulder injury during the eighth inning. Planning to retire after the season, an emotional Sabathia covered his face with his glove as he left the field for likely the final time. Fans shouted his name as he walked off, and Cole and Springer were among the Houston players who stood and clapped for the 39-year-old."I hate to see that for him," said Hinch, who played with and against Sabathia. "I hate to see that for the sport."Gary Sánchez ended a lengthy post-season slide with a two-run homer, but a reshuffled Yankees lineup — still without injured Giancarlo Stanton — again couldn't string together its damage.During warmups, a buzzing Bronx crowd jeered Greinke with chants of "Donald! Donald!" — his given first name — and the veteran right-hander wobbled early. He walked three in the first inning for the first time since April 2007, including a four-pitch, bases-loaded free pass to Brett Gardner, and fell into a quick 1-0 hole.Greinke struggled especially to locate his fastball before blowing one past Sánchez during a three-pitch K to end the inning. He sharpened up and retired nine straight before the Yankees pushed him out of the game while loading the bases in the fifth.Pressly struck out Gleyber Torres — on a tight check swing — and Edwin Encarnación to escape."So far this series our bullpen has been huge to complement a really good starting rotation," Hinch said.Greinke was charged with just one run, working around four walks against the patient-but-punchless Yankees."Just missing by a little bit early," Greinke said.Springer is batting .132 in these playoffs, slumping just like he did in 2017 before breaking out to win World Series MVP. This homer was his 13th in the post-season, snapping a tie with teammate Jose Altuve for the club record.Correa made it 6-1 in the sixth. At 25 years, 25 days, he is the youngest player with 10 post-season home runs, surpassing Albert Pujols."I grew up a huge fan of Albert Pujols," Correa said. "I even wear No. 5 all the way growing up."Correa ended Game 2 with a home run in the 11th inning and connected again in October after missing a lot of time this year with injuries.Sánchez snapped a 2-for-23 skid to start this post-season with his two-run homer in the sixth.Otherwise, the AL East champion Yankees looked like they belonged in a lesser league. Sure-handed first baseman DJ LeMahieu booted two groundballs, Torres also made two errors at second, and reliever Adam Ottavino was pulled before getting an out for the fourth time in seven appearances this post-season."Our guys are studs and I think they embrace the challenge," Boone said. "Obviously we've got our backs against the wall now."TRAINER'S ROOMYankees: Stanton has missed the past three games after straining his right quad in Game 1. Boone said Stanton was available to pinch hit and could be New York's designated hitter Friday.UP NEXTPaxton said he watched tape from his Game 2 start and insists he wasn't tipping pitches. Houston grinded him out of the game after 2 1/3 innings. Verlander pitched two-run ball into the seventh, the only damage coming on Aaron Judge's two-run homer.___Follow Jake Seiner: https://twitter.com/Jake_Seiner___More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsJake Seiner, The Associated Press

  • When 'loyalty or death' crumbles: Leaving gangs after 15 years in the life
    News
    CBC

    When 'loyalty or death' crumbles: Leaving gangs after 15 years in the life

    CBC cannot identify the woman interviewed in this story due to a publication ban. "Beth" is an alias.Beth had been in the cells in the basement of the Regina Police Service headquarters before. This time it was a Tuesday morning in early May 2015. She was expecting to make her first appearance in provincial court on a charge of accessory after the fact to murder.She had witnessed the death and subsequent dismembering of her friend Reno Lee a few days prior. She was also pregnant.  Instead of going to the courtroom, she was led by members of the local Street Gang Unit to an interview room. This was like my one last chance to do the right thing. \- BethSitting there, her first thought was about how this charge would give her more street cred. Then her thoughts went to how the police knew she was involved.Beth had spent 15 years in and around street gangs. In that life, loyalty stood above all else. Then an officer told her a witness to the killing had given the cops Beth's name. That's when everything started to crumble. "I was defeated," she said. "The lifestyle that I lived, that I breathed for was a complete lie. There was no truth to it. I saw those people for exactly what they f---in' were, and that's when my heart broke." The officers of Regina's Street Gang Unit — familiar faces to Beth —gave her a choice: face the charges or testify against the gang members and enter witness protection. She decided to testify. She said it was for her dead friend."I felt like this was like my one last chance to do the right thing. And if by doing the right thing gave me the opportunity to change my life," she said."That's what was going through my head, like, this is my one last chance to have a life."'So careless with life'The murder and dismemberment of her friend Lee was worse than anything she had witnessed in her decade and a half in the life. She had seen a lot, but it had never been so calculated. "A lot of the violence that I had been involved in was like super high-emotion heat of the moment. A lot of anger, drug fuelled, just complete chaos," she said. "This was different. It was calm. It was very meticulous."Beth had seen her fair share of violence and brutality. Members of her crew in Regina would fire guns at random while driving through the city. Fights were commonplace. Tattoos and fingers were sometimes removed with knives. To her, the actions of Bronson Gordon, Andrew Bellegarde and Daniel Theodore was different."I've never actually been around people that were so careless with life."Lee was bound, confined and fatally shot at a Regina home in April 2015. His body parts were found buried in bags on the Star Blanket First Nation. Beth was in the home where Lee was killed. During her testimony she recalled being jarred awake by a gunshot and hearing the sounds of a handheld saw. She said she feared for her life and tried to barter with the men who had killed her friend. "If you're going to kill me just let me do a hot shot, like, don't f-----g shoot me. Just, just let me overdose myself. I'm a junkie. I've been a junkie for years. Nobody would know the difference." she said.They assured her that she would be fine. Gordon, Bellegarde and Theodore were all found guilty of first-degree murder. Bellegarde and Theodore would also be found guilty of offering an indignity to a human body. Looking for a familyBeth had been affiliated with gangs for 15 years, working as a pimp and a dealer to pay for her addiction. At 13-years-old she ran away from her family, fleeing a "very toxic, very abusive" home life and soon after found loyalty and community in gangs. "I was good at selling drugs I was great at hurting people and I excelled at crime," said Beth.  "It was a thrill. You know, it was like how you hear, it was a sense of family but better."Running girls also came naturally. Women like Beth, who were in the life and fostering addiction, had two options to make money: sell drugs or sell themselves. "They either were pimped out by abusive men or they tried to do it on their own." Most couldn't do it on their own, on account of their own addictions or for fear of their safety. Beth had a mothering personality. Sex workers gravitated toward her, in part because she was a woman. "I kind of used that to my advantage to take advantage of women," she said. The credo of "loyalty or death" was attractive. For a while it rang true.  They all have loyalty tattooed somewhere and I mean, not to demean anyone, but we're just not seeing it. \- Sgt. Brent Shannon, RPS Gang UnitRunning girls and selling drugs made a lot of money, which in turn made Beth valuable to the gang. She didn't have to pay for the drugs she was using, but the bulk of the money she made would go to the gang. Beth said she would hand over "a couple thousand bucks every few days" when times were good.  That money would mostly go to higher-ups in the crew, but also to helping out lower ranking members and their families."I remember we had to, like, hustle for a couple days because [a gang member's girlfriend] had no food in the house and she didn't pay her rent," she said. "So in a sense you take care of your own." Even when things were good, and the gang felt like family, she still heard criticism of the life. "There's no loyalty, everyone's out for themselves, when push comes to shove they'll f-----g dime you in," she said. "I would have fought you, any time before that situation, if you had said that to me."Loyalty or deathSgt. Brent Shannon remembers when he first saw the mostly-Indigenous gangs popping up throughout the city.  A 25-year RPS veteran, Shannon heads the Street Gang Unit.Things have changed over the years. For one, there are more gangs.Smaller youth gangs have come and gone, but four main organizations stand above them all: Native Syndicate, Native Syndicate Killers, Saskatchewan Warriors and Indian Mafia.Native Syndicate first came to the attention of the RPS in 1994. Shannon said NS was "the only game in town" for about 10 years. Then came their rivals, Native Syndicate Killers.Shannon said loyalty has never been an ironclad modus operandi amongst gang members, despite all the talk about it."They all have loyalty tattooed somewhere and I mean, not to demean anyone, but we're just not seeing it at all. There is very little loyalty at all," he said.Meth and money are two big factors. More people are using meth in the city. According to the RPS, methamphetamine seizures have increased by 2,100 per cent in the last four years. Shannon said that most gang members in the city are active drug users who rely on selling drugs to make money. The issue comes when one is using more than they're selling. If things go bad with their gang, they switch sides for protection."I think it really does go back to that basic daily survival," Shannon said. 'Do the next right thing'Beth is still in witness protection. She said that when the option was first offered she imagined a new life, country and identity, like in the movies. In reality it was more like glorified parole. Witness protection comes with strict terms. Beth said she has prison hanging over her head if she doesn't follow the terms of the agreement. That means she has to stay sober and out of legal trouble.Part of what sold her on witness protection was that she'd have access to addictions treatment. She'd be able to be with her kids and would have the chance to start fresh somewhere else."Do the next right thing," one officer told her. Beth is coming up on five years of sobriety. She works as a mentor at a family resource centre. Her past experience as a pimp prepared her for the role. She now does outreach work with women doing survival sex work. She said it's all part of trying to make good and give back to society."I need to do whatever I can in my power, that when I lay my head down at night I know that I did the right thing for myself for my children and for the people around me," she said."I just don't ever want to go back to that person that I was."

  • Barcelona rocked by violence on fifth day of separatist protests
    News
    Reuters

    Barcelona rocked by violence on fifth day of separatist protests

    Hundreds of protesters battled police in the heart of Barcelona on Friday, setting up fiery barricades and hurling rocks at security forces on the fifth day of unrest following the jailing of Catalan separatist leaders. The violence followed a largely peaceful demonstration which drew more than half a million people onto the streets of the Catalan capital to denounce the lengthy jail terms that have sent a shockwave through Spanish politics. As night fell, masked youths blocked a broad boulevard close to the city's police headquarters, setting fire to large garbage bins and throwing a hail of stones, cans and bottles toward massed lines of security forces in full riot gear.

  • 5 francophone communities to buy electric cars for residents to share
    News
    CBC

    5 francophone communities to buy electric cars for residents to share

    Five francophone communities in New Brunswick are taking part in a pilot project that will make electric cars available to residents.The provincial association of francophone municipalities started the program to reduce its members' carbon footprint.Dieppe, Beresford, Saint-Quentin, Shippagan and Tracadie will each buy one or two electric vehicles.Luc Desjardins, the mayor of Petit Rocher and president of the association, said a lot of people are still unsure about how electric cars work and are curious about their efficiency.Desjardins hopes this project will help educate people."It's a first step," he said. "We have five municipalities that are going to have 10 vehicles on the road by next year, and we hope that it's going to grow with the other municipalitie. And also it's a good example to set in your community."Desjardins said municipal staff will have priority use of the vehicle, but at night and on weekends, members of the public will be able to book an electric car through an online program. Groups could even book the vehicle for trips out of town."It's new, it's fun, it's educational at the same time, and it's going to be used by not only the municipality, but the community, the whole community," he said. "So it's a win, win-win situation."Desjardins said the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is helping to pay for the cost of the vehicles and recharging stations through its green fund.It will be up to each community to decide whether residents will have to pay to use the cars.Dieppe Mayor Yvon Lapierre said the program fits in with the city's priorities."For us it's our way of helping out," he said. "We've put over the years many programs in place. We have a target for the next five years to reduce by six per cent our greenhouse gases and it's all part of that program."Lapierre said it's a program that's been used successfully elsewhere. "We're not reinventing the wheel … or wheels."  Lapierre said the francophone association has been active on climate change and makes good use of programs available through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.He said Dieppe will start off with two electric cars."We'll see how the program goes. We will start with two cars and hopefully it will grow. Hopefully, there will be other organizations that will want to get involved."

  • Inuit artists call Elizabeth May 'hypocritical' for touting Indigenous rights but opposing seal hunt
    News
    CBC

    Inuit artists call Elizabeth May 'hypocritical' for touting Indigenous rights but opposing seal hunt

    Two prominent Inuit artists say Green Party leader Elizabeth May is being "hypocritical" by claiming to support Indigenous rights while also opposing the commercial seal trade.  Inuk musician Tanya Tagaq and Inuk filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril say May's opposition to the commercial seal trade hurts Inuit communities who depend on the pelts for much needed revenue."If you are going to be an advocate for environmentalism, I think the worst way to do that is to believe in the propaganda machine that prevents Indigenous people from living and surviving and corners them into non-renewable resource development," said Tagaq, a Juno and Polaris Prize-winning musician. "I just think it's incredibly hypocritical."May has repeatedly stated her opposition to the commercial seal hunt over the years. In 2011, the Green Party's platform spelled out its opposition to the commercial seal hunt. In 2016, she was one of a handful of MPs that voted against a House of Commons motion to create a National Seal Products Day. At the time, both Tagaq and Arnaquq-Baril challenged May's position on Twitter. Tagaq said May never responded to their concerns and her office has never followed up to discuss the matter. "I also found it very diminishing that she was completely disinterested in understanding the logic we were presenting to her," said Tagaq. "As per typical, Indigenous women's voices were completely ignored, but there is nothing but logic coming from our side."During a campaign stop on Vancouver Island Thursday, May responded to the criticism saying that she has reached out to Inuit communities and spoken to Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the national Inuit advocacy organization, about the issue.May said that she doesn't oppose Inuit seal hunting. She said there should be a process to label Inuit-harvested seal pelts so they can get around seal product bans in the European Union. "There is no hypocrisy. We are fully committed to recognizing the rights of the Inuit peoples to the circumpolar North within Canada," said May. "The Greens believe that by working in partnership with the Inuit, with products that are sustainably harvested and labelled as such, as ethical and coming from Indigenous communities, we need to come up with a program and a policy that allows that to remain sustainable."May said the bigger issue facing the Inuit homelands was climate change. "If we ignore the climate crisis, that means the ways of life, the ways of hunting, everything about the ways of life for the circumpolar peoples comes to an end," she said.Arnaquq-Baril, whose multi-award winning documentary Angry Inuk explored the impact of anti-sealing campaigns on the Inuit economy, said May has tried to create a "false distinction" between Inuit subsistence sealing and commercial sealing. "In reality, the majority of commercial seal hunters are Inuit," she said."The Green Party falsely describes Inuit sealing as non-commercial. They imply that Inuit don't hunt commercially, that it's all subsistence, which is completely untrue."Anti-sealing campaigns created economic hardshipIn Nunavut, wildlife officers purchase sealskins from hunters across the territory and then sell them on the international market. According to the film Angry Inuk, anti-sealing campaigns by environmental and animal rights groups in the 1970s and early 1980s led to a European Union ban of products that used skins from whitecoat harp seal pups. While the ban only targeted one type of sealskin, it caused the whole market to crash in the mid-1980s. "It was our Great Depression," said Arnaquq-Baril in the film. The European Union passed a ban on all sealskin products in 2009. However, since then, Nunavut, N.W.T. and Greenland have won exemptions for fur products of certified Inuit origin known as the "Inuit exemption."Arnaquq-Baril said the continuing campaign against commercial sealing directly impacts the economy and livelihood of Inuit who have depended on seal hunting to survive since time immemorial, and as a source of revenue for about a century."Since the beginning of the introduction of a wage economy in the North, the fur trade has been incredibly important to our communities," said Arnaquq-Baril. "We were suddenly forced into working within the cash economy. It's either make money or die. When the main source of income is taken away, people go hungry, they live in poverty, and that is exactly what happened."

  • Filmmaker wins award to explore racism, mental health in North Preston
    News
    CBC

    Filmmaker wins award to explore racism, mental health in North Preston

    Growing up as a young black boy in North Preston, N.S., filmmaker Tyler Simmonds was taught plenty of life lessons from his loving parents.They included tips on how to not appear threatening when walking in a white world."Make sure you look white people in the eye if you walk into their store, make sure that your hands aren't in your pockets," he said about his lost childhood innocence."You're like, 'Oh, I'm a target and I'm just a kid.'"Those early experiences, coupled with the knowledge of his hometown's history — ancestors scarred by slavery, settling on rocky land that's isolated geographically and socially, and being denied property ownership on land they've lived on for generations — bears a burden on its descendants.And that's the subject of his next film, There's Soul in Our Soil. Simmonds, 29, who now lives in Halifax, intends to examine intergenerational trauma caused by racism and how it affects mental health. He believes they're linked."We have a lot of soul and we dig deep," said Simmonds. "We believe in a higher power. We've had to because of the amount of things that we have been through historically."For that project, he received an award this week at Halifax city hall from the JRG Society for the Arts to help him develop the film. The award is given to filmmakers with a disability. The prize covers the rental of filmmaking equipment and post-production services.The award is in memory of Justin Grant, a CBC Nova Scotia cameraman who died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2015.Simmonds has come to regard his disability as a "superpower.""Working with my depression, working with my anxiety and ADHD, and figuring out how I can use these different things to create something beautiful, so cool, it's really empowering," he said.Simmonds's first short film, In My Mind, also looked at mental health in the black community.He lives with depression, anxiety and ADHD. His symptoms started when he was in early teens. He would come from school crying and feel emotionally exhausted from trying to be happy and social at school.When he was about 17 or 18, he Googled, "Why am I always sad?" That led to professional help, and a journey into introspection that he finds therapeutic through public speaking and filmmaking.Simmonds plans to dedicate the new film to his late grandfather, Victor Simmonds."I want to explore the masculinity in the community and how that affects mental health and also why that masculinity is the way that it is," he said.Simmonds said his granddad was a gentle, peaceful soul. "He just loved me so much and made me feel understood and not alone."MORE TOP STORIES

  • How the City of Montreal plans to go 'zero waste'
    News
    CBC

    How the City of Montreal plans to go 'zero waste'

    In its plan for the management of residual waste over the next five years, the City of Montreal is proposing a new "social contract" with residents and businesses, inviting us to change how we view waste and consumption.The city's goal is to be "zero waste" by 2030 — an ambitious target that, if we were to reach it, would require each Montrealer to reduce the amount of waste they produce by about 10 kilograms per year.The city is holding consultations on the plan starting later this month, including a public meeting in November.Here are the city's goals and how they intend to reach them.Why are we doing this?Reducing waste and changing how it is managed is part of the city's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with goals set out by the United Nations Secretary General.Materials that wind up in landfills generate greenhouse gases as they decompose, and the production and transportation of goods adds to our carbon footprint — all for nothing if the end product just winds up in the trash.A report issued last year by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that the global economy would have to undergo a major transformation at an "unprecedented" pace in order to prevent catastrophic climate change.The city argues that by setting these targets and creating new regulations, it will encourage the market to use greener products, engage citizens to change their consumption habits and improve how we handle waste from industry and individuals.In its plan, the city says it wants to create a "circular economy," where virtually everything is reused and repurposed in some way, instead of being thrown out. This means changing how we consume, but also how industries — especially food, textile and construction — produce their goods.Who is being targeted?The city is looking at everyone, from the individual to those who make systems-wide decisions.Consider the use of disposable water bottles: * On the individual level, the city wants us to stop buying disposable goods and to reduce our overall waste. * On the production level, it wants to ban the use of single-use plastics by businesses, replacing them with compostable or reusable options. * On the government level, the city says the full cost of recycling is not being calculated correctly. It wants to present a clearer picture of those costs to Quebec's Environment Ministry, so that recycling could be adequately funded. * The city says, in the short term, it would end the use of water bottles in municipal buildings and at public events put on by the city.The city says educating people and businesses, and supporting citizen initiatives, will help with this transition.What would be banned?The city says it will hold public consultations over what is to be banned. It is targeting all single-use items and plans to have some new regulations in place starting next year.The city said last April it intends to gradually ban items such as plastic straws and take-out containers, and it is also looking at the impact of those flyers delivered to homes in plastic bags.The city also wants to ban textile companies from dumping unsold goods and materials thrown out during production. To help reduce waste in the textile industry, it wants to make the reuse and donation of materials easier and to modernize waste pickup.The city intends to eventually bar grocery stores, schools and hospitals from throwing out organic waste. It wants that food donated or transformed in some way so that it could be used by those in need. Whatever can't be reused or transformed would have to be composted.The ban would progressively bar businesses from throwing out organic waste, prioritizing the largest waste generators.While the city says it could impose fines down the road, it says it wants to encourage collaboration rather than to be punitive. It also plans to take a consultative approach with grocery stores, to educate them in how to fight food waste.What else is being proposed?Improving the city's composting facilities is a key part of meeting its waste-reduction goals. According to city data, while overall residual waste has gone down eight per cent since 2010, more than half — 55 per cent — of what's going into landfills is made up of organic material that could be composted.Left to decompose in a landfill, that material releases methane, a greenhouse gas, into the air. The city wants to modernize and build new compost facilities, which would produce mulch and natural gas that could be used instead of fossil fuels extracted from the ground.It also wants to ensure that the materials that are being put into recycling and compost bins don't just wind up in landfills.Another goal is to have all industrial parks and work sites composting, and, by 2025, have curbside compost pickup available to all residences in Montreal.Currently, buildings with more than nine units do not have access to curbside compost pickup.Starting next year, the city will also run pilot projects where garbage pickup is reduced, encouraging people to use their compost bins.By implementing these measures, the city is setting a goal of cutting the amount of organic waste going into our landfills by half by 2025.It's also looking at ways to reduce waste produced during construction, renovations and demolitions — such as requiring the developer to recuperate a certain amount of material when it is applying for a permit.How much would it cost?To implement waste-reduction measures, the city estimates there would be an annual cost of about $8 million per year from 2020 to 2025. However, it also says that there will be savings as the amount of waste we create shrinks, such as using less fuel as garbage trucks make fewer trips.The plan estimates that a 10 per cent reduction in residual materials would result in $10 million in savings in the operational costs of waste management.Is zero waste even possible?While the tagline "zero waste" is often used to describe such initiatives — from individuals to pledges by cities — the reality is really to vastly reduce waste rather than eliminate it.Montreal's 2030 "zero waste" goal comes from a 2015 pledge made by 40 cities.The C40 Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration sets targets of cutting waste produced by each citizen by 15 per cent, cutting waste sent to landfills by half and diverting 70 per cent of collected waste from landfills.The city says this five-year plan will put it on track to meet those 2030 goals.

  • How young people in Toronto are celebrating immigrant stories through series of block parties
    News
    CBC

    How young people in Toronto are celebrating immigrant stories through series of block parties

    Over the past few months, Sampreeth Rao has sat down with immigrants in Scarborough's Agincourt community, spending hours listening to their stories.Many tales focused on resilience, Rao told CBC Toronto, something he's experienced himself as an immigrant from India. But others, the researcher and curator with the Toronto Ward Museum said, show how much the community values its diversity."Going to school in Scarborough ... is the most important learning experience because at the lunchroom you pull out your dumplings, the other person pulls out their roti, the other person pulls out their pasta," Rao said, summarizing one participant's thoughts."Everyone's in no way a minority, and so very interestingly, the minority becomes the majority."Stories like this will soon be front and centre in four new exhibits put on by the Toronto Ward Museum, a charity focused on preserving the city's diverse history, as part of their ongoing "Block by Block" community-based programs.For these exhibits, the museum — in partnership with nine other agencies — tasked young leaders from four communities with gathering diverse stories from immigrants and Indigenous peoples through audio recordings, photos and archival materials.The leaders are transforming the stories into multimedia exhibits and showcasing them at community block parties.The events will take place in Agincourt, Parkdale, Regent Park and Victoria Park — historically immigrant-heavy neighbourhoods. According to the program director of Block by Block, Maggie Hutcheson, the goal of the events is to foster conversations, celebrate immigrant contributions and highlight stories of migration, settlement and civic life in each area."These are under-represented stories, and you know, we are in a moment where anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise," she said."We need to go deep into these stories and really understand the barriers that different Canadians face, as well as their contributions."Transforming neighbourhoodsAlthough the block parties will run over the next two weekends — the first in Agincourt Friday night — the work in each community will continue until 2021. "These are all neighbourhoods that are experiencing significant redevelopment," Hutcheson said, so they're hoping to also capture what those changes mean to each area.For example, a former staple for Chinese immigrants in the Agincourt community, the Dragon Centre mall, will soon close. Other smaller strip malls that served as community hubs to newcomers, Hutcheson said, are also being torn down."We're hoping that the story sharing also contributes to dialogue about the future of these neighbourhoods," she said.During his work in Agincourt, Rao said he's also heard about how the neighbourhood is changing demographically. "A lot of people have said that in Agincourt there's been more South Asians moving in as opposed to historically, over the past couple of decades, people from various places in China," he said. "But that being said, there's a lot of nuances to that conversation … The fact of the matter is there's been almost eight different waves of Chinese immigration all coming from very different backgrounds, from very different geographic locations in that country."'A sense of pride'Rao said most people he spoke to in Agincourt still feel a sense of pride in the area's continued inclusiveness.For him, it's incredibly important for the stories of his community to be documented for others to see."If you have these groups of people who have had no way of preserving their history ... it's hard to build the generations of the future," he said."If we can in some small way listen to these stories and archive them and preserve them for other people to hear ... we can really move forward with a sense of pride in a time when maybe we're being told, you know, 'We want you out.'"All of the stories collected will eventually be presented in a citywide exhibit.This month's events are free to attend and open to the public.Agincourt Block Party Date / Time: Friday, October 18, 2019, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Location: Agincourt Community Services Association Dorset Park Hub, 1911 Kennedy Rd. 105, Scarborough ON, M1P 2L9Parkdale Block Party Date / Time: Saturday, October 19, 2019, 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Location: Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre, 1499 Queen St. West, Toronto, ON, M6R 1A3Regent Park Block Party Date / Time: Saturday, October 26, 2019, 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Location: Ada Slaight Theatre, Daniels Spectrum Building, 585 Dundas St. East, M5A 2B7Victoria Park Block Party Date / Time: Sunday, October 27, 2019, 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Location: Victoria Park Hub, 1527 Victoria Park Avenue, Scarborough, ON, M1L 2T3

  • Turkey agrees to 5-day ceasefire in Syria
    CBC

    Turkey agrees to 5-day ceasefire in Syria

    Turkey has agreed to a five-day ceasefire in northern Syria following a visit from a U.S. delegation including Vice-President Mike Pence.

  • Importing modular homes wouldn't help employ Inuit, minister says
    News
    CBC

    Importing modular homes wouldn't help employ Inuit, minister says

    The Nunavut government won't be importing homes from outside of the country any time soon, Minister of Community and Government Services Lorne Kusugak said in the Legislative Assembly Thursday. That's after Iqaluit-Manirajaq MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone asked if the department could construct homes and buildings the way the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation is building a new hotel in Iqaluit. The Inuit corporation and business arm of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association is building a 94-room hotel using ready-made hotel rooms imported from China. The block-style rooms for the Aqsarniit Hotel and Conference Centre on Federal Road arrived by sealift from Shanghai and were installed in around two weeks. The Qikiqtaaluk Corporation broke ground for the hotel last spring. "I myself and my colleagues were surprised by the speed at which this large construction project was put up," Arreak Lightstone said."I understand the important role that our capital projects have in maintaining our economy ... it's unfortunate many of the modular units were constructed in China," he said. "That being said, is the minister willing to consider undertaking a pilot project using that type of technology?"  'Something this house would not entertain'Kusugak said the only thing he learned from the Aqsarniit hotel project was that it was built outside of the country. There would be an "uproar" in the house, and within the territory's private sector, if the government started buying homes from overseas and having local labour add on the "siding and window trim," he said. Kusugak said the private sector is not beholden to article 23 of the Nunavut Agreement. That article calls for Inuit employment levels that represent the population. "I have to answer to this house … it would not be something this house would entertain," he said.While it is owned by a regional Inuit association, the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation is a private company. "We need to have Inuit employment in our contracts to build any government facilities," he said. "I assure you, if this government built homes in China to bring to all the homeless people in Nunavut everybody would be opposed because there are no Inuit building those houses." Right now in Nunavut around 5,000 people are on a wait list for public housing. Around half of the population live in overcrowded homes. The Nunavut Housing Corporation estimates that the territory needs to see at least 3,000 housing units built to meet current need. The ground floor for the Aqsarniit Hotel is built from scratch.The Qikiqtaaluk Corporation said it chose to import the hotel rooms to save time and money, after the project was stalled. The modular hotel rooms were purchased through a Canadian company, Stack Modular, that imports modular units from China. Qikiqtaaluk Corporation's construction management company, Bird Construction, holds shares in Stack Modular.

  • Some unclaimed cremated remains are still at funeral homes 40 years later
    News
    CBC

    Some unclaimed cremated remains are still at funeral homes 40 years later

    Some families may not realize it, but the cremated remains of their loved ones have been sitting on shelves in some Nova Scotia funeral homes for decades.Kollin Weatherbee, the owner and operator of Sydney Memorial Chapel and Cape Breton Crematorium, said they have about 20 unclaimed cremated remains that date back as many as 20 years.Weatherbee is one of the many funeral home operators, crematoriums and cemetery licensees in the province who received a letter this week from the Nova Scotia government asking about their experience with unclaimed cremated remains.The letter said the province is considering regulations after being contacted by funeral professionals over the last few years about what to do with them.Rodger Gregg, the province's registrar of cemetery and funeral services, said it's unknown how many unclaimed cremated remains are at Nova Scotia funeral homes and that's part of the reason the department is doing the survey."I think a lot of it depends on the size of the funeral home and how long the funeral home has been operating," he said, adding some funeral directors have told him they have remains that have been unclaimed for upwards of 40 years.In addition to the number of unclaimed remains, the province is also asking funeral homes to outline their process for tracking them.Weatherbee said most families don't realize their loved one's remains are still at a funeral home.He said he started contacting families about 10 years ago to ensure they were aware the ashes had not been picked up, but he stopped making the calls."Basically, it caused more of a disturbance because they already thought the burial had taken place or someone would blame their sibling or uncle who was supposed to look after that at the time," Weatherbee said. "So it was more of a hassle and it was just getting families worked up."Many reasonsBarbara Kemmis, executive director of the Cremation Association of North America, said in an email that they hear many reasons why remains are not claimed, including the misconception that the funeral home is a final resting place."Consumers are choosing cremation without really understanding what is involved," she said, citing the case of a son who was outraged to discover through a newspaper article that his father's remains were identified as unclaimed and placed in a military cemetery.  She said unpaid bills may be another reason people don't collect their loved one's remains, although in the United States it's against the law to withhold remains until the bill is paid.She said if a death is traumatic, the family may not wish to take possession of the remains and consider them safe at the funeral home. She pointed to the case of a father with three young daughters who delayed retrieval of his wife's remains until his daughters were old enough to understand.Weatherbee said funeral homes in Nova Scotia are only legally required to hold cremated remains for 90 days, according to the cremation permission form the family is required to sign.However, he said his funeral home is not comfortable spreading the ashes or disposing of them in a cemetery without the family's permission, so they are placed in a designated space, away from more recent cremations.Weatherbee said his funeral home has a process for tracking unclaimed remains, including a log book identifying the urn, the deceased person and other relevant information.While he feels it's a good idea for the government to be looking into unclaimed remains, "respectable funeral homes should have had these policies in place since they started holding cremations.""I don't know if the government needs to have a specific action plan to blanket all funeral homes and I don't even think they're really looking for that. I think they just want to know, does a funeral home have a plan, what is it and how is it working?"New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador do not have regulations governing unclaimed cremated remains, although Nova Lee Scammell, chair of the Embalmers and Funeral Directors Board of Newfoundland and Labrador, said some funeral home owners have recently raised concerns about the issue.Gregg said a few provinces do have regulations, but in Nova Scotia a determination on whether they're needed will be made once the government hears from funeral homes."If we find out there's maybe less than five unclaimed cremated remains at every funeral home, maybe that doesn't warrant regulatory changes right now. We need to understand the scope of the problem and then we'll react accordingly," he said.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Despite privacy czar ruling, Halifax won't release more info about bonuses
    News
    CBC

    Despite privacy czar ruling, Halifax won't release more info about bonuses

    Halifax has decided not to comply with a recommendation made by Nova Scotia's information and privacy commissioner to release information on bonuses given to the city's non-union employees between 2010 and 2015.Colin May, a resident of Dartmouth, asked in 2016 for a list of people in the planning department who received bonuses. He appealed to the information commissioner when Halifax Regional Municipality decided only to provide him with a list of the bonus amounts. Catherine Tully's review, which was released in August, sided with May.But the municipality maintains providing the names and amounts would be an "unreasonable invasion of privacy."May's only option now would be to appeal to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, which he does not plan to do."I'm not going to waste money on a lawyer," said May. "It's quite pathetic. There's no information why they won't release the information."In an emailed statement, the municipality insists it does not have a bonus program for non-union employees. Instead, "non-union employees participate in a performance-based annual wage increase program."Tully's report stated "this type of pay could also be characterized as a merit-based reward" and falls "within the definition of remuneration."May thinks the mayor and council should take a leadership role on accountability and leadership issues."I don't know what the problem is," he said. "The mayor has been silent and council has been silent."May plans to continue making requests for other information.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Gender politics on stage became a 'bit of a nightmare' for this actor
    News
    CBC

    Gender politics on stage became a 'bit of a nightmare' for this actor

    It was a kind of living nightmare that inspired Lucy Hill's latest script.The Toronto-based writer and actor encountered two separate theatre rehearsals — both dramatizing domestic violence — that left her feeling trapped, shaken and unsafe."The men involved in both cases were very well-intentioned, but completely unaware of the harm they were causing me," Hill said."I wanted to write about that in a way that was a little bit of a send up of it. So it's a bit stylized, and we explore it through humour to begin with. And then eventually the idea is that the viewer gets a little bit more and more uncomfortable with what's happening and they're no longer laughing."Shut Up, which premiered Thursday at the St. John's International Women's Film Festival, recalls those feelings, amping them up to a fever pitch and lending the short its eerie, uncanny-valley quality. There's still so much to be talked about and work to be done. \- Lucy Hill"It's based on true events, so it was a bit of a nightmare," Hill said.The story starts off in a theatre, a location neither the characters or the audience will leave for the entirety of the 11-minute film.The main character, played by Lucy, is practicing for a domestic violence scene, one where she'll be grabbed and tossed around.In the theatre world, "when there's a fight rehearsal, or anything physical that has to happen, a fight director is called in for the day," explained Shut Up director Molly Flood. "So this story takes place on that special day. And the events snowball into something heavy on Lucy, I would say."Although Hill includes some dark humour at the outset, the events that unfold start to feel oppressive, thanks both to plot and setting."I think that Lucy really intelligently set it in a black box theater," a space meant to be transformed by the characters — but one that also contains them, said Flood."There is a feeling of her being trapped both physically in the space, and also her feeling trapped within herself, feeling quite isolated within a group of people."As Hill's character rehearses, what's happening to her begins to spiral out of control — just like a bad dream.The feeling mimics what she noticed in real life, Hill said."Sometimes people get railroaded. The momentum continues, and things can escalate, I think, quite quickly if you're not sensitive to that."Hill said since her personal experiences, she's noticed an uptick in the number of performances assuring actors that the theatre is a safe space before production even begins.The MeToo movement, she said, has made that conversation easier, with production teams explicitly acknowledging gender politics in a way they hadn't before.But Hill remains wary that the reassurance may turn into lip service."There's a danger in this movement and in the thinking of, 'Well, we're there now so it's OK,'" she said."I've also experienced recently comments like, 'I can't say this anymore, but,' and then they still say the same thing but they just prefaced it with a warning. So I think there's still so much to be talked about and work to be done."Hill says her colleagues who've seen the film all find its subject matter uncomfortably familiar."It has resonated because it is about a theater rehearsal," she said."But it's also not — it's just about gender dynamics in any workplace. And so I think both men and women will be able to watch this and get something from it."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Ex-Catalan leader hands himself into Belgian authorities
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Ex-Catalan leader hands himself into Belgian authorities

    BRUSSELS — Fugitive former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has handed himself in to Belgian justice authorities after Spain issued a new warrant for his arrest following the sentencing of 12 of his former colleagues.Puigdemont's office said Friday that he, "in the company of his lawyers, voluntarily appeared before Belgian authorities" in relation to the arrest warrant.It said that Puigdemont rejects the warrant and opposes any attempt to send him back to Spain.It was not immediately clear whether he is still being questioned or held.Puigdemont and a number of his associates fled to Belgium in October 2017 after they were summoned to court over the secessionist push he led and the holding of an independence referendum that the Spanish government said was illegal.The Associated Press