Von der Leyen cracks EU parliament nut, national leaders will prove tougher

By Gabriela Baczynska
FILE PHOTO: German Defense Minister von der Leyen briefs the media at the EU Parliament in Brussels

By Gabriela Baczynska

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Ursula von der Leyen had to dangle a range of promises on migration, taxes, climate change and the rule of law to secure even a wafer-thin margin of support in the European Parliament to become the EU's first female chief executive.

But delivering on those pledges will be an even harder task for von der Leyen, a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, because the EU's national leaders, although they picked her for the job, are deeply at odds over many of those issues.

The 28 member states are divided on how to handle refugees, on committing to carbon neutrality by 2050 and on the question of safeguarding democracy in the bloc.

"She promised a whole lot of things and it's not clear at all that we would be able to deliver," said one senior EU diplomat. "It's good to have ambition but one can already see that some areas will be extremely difficult."

Policy gridlock would inflict further damage on the EU, which has been buffeted in recent years by the euro zone debt crisis, Britain's decision to leave, an erosion of democratic norms and the rise of far-right and far-left eurosceptic parties.

As head of the EU executive Commission for five years from November, von der Leyen will oversee trade negotiations, economic and climate policy for 500 million Europeans and antitrust rulings involving powerful tech giants.

She was approved in a secret ballot of EU lawmakers on Tuesday, but with only nine more votes than the 374 required in the badly fractured assembly.

Some lawmakers from von der Leyen's own center-right party appear to have deserted her at the last minute, perhaps piqued by her promises of a greener and more equitable Europe that were designed to win over wavering socialists and liberals.

Making up for the lack of centrist votes, von der Leyen has non-mainstream parties - including Poland's ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party - to thank for getting her across the line in parliament.


COMPETING DEMANDS

The competing demands that parties make on the new European Commission president as the price for their support in Tuesday's vote will be writ large in the European Council of national leaders, who are just as divided as the parliament.

Already decisions on the most contentious issues tend to stall in the Council because many of the EU's key policy decisions require unanimity among the national capitals.

Poland and Hungary have led an eastern states' revolt against the ambitious 2050 climate goal, striking it down last month.

Von der Leyen has proposed a transition fund whereby wealthier states would support their poorer peers in phasing out coal and helping with job losses, but it remains to be seen if this will be enough to win them over.

Raising the EU's climate ambitions does resonate with many capitals, especially Paris. France will also be happy with her economic and social policy proposals, which include continuing work toward a euro zone budget and a scheme to safeguard bank deposits in euro zone countries. Both plans have been held up, mostly due to opposition from von der Leyen's native Germany.

Von der Leyen also proposed an EU-wide unemployment scheme and a minimum wage.

"As with many other things she has promised, the social pillar is a very sensitive issue," said another EU diplomat.

"The economic situation and social structure differs a lot among member states, which is precisely why work on harmonizing that has been difficult. It's hard to see anything quick."

On taxation, the EU's work on a digital tax, a common corporate tax and ensuring big tech companies pay in Europe - all among von der Leyen's promises - have also stalled over opposition from Ireland, the Netherlands and others.

To allow progress, von der Leyen wants to switch to majority - rather than unanimous - approval for tax, foreign policy, climate, energy and social issues.

"The paradox is that EU states would need to agree unanimously to move to majority decisions. None would voluntarily sign up for the risk of being outvoted on an important file," a third EU diplomat said.

Von der Leyen's idea to give the European Parliament the right to propose legislation - currently it can only vote on laws put forward by the Commission or EU states - would require changing the bloc's founding treaties, with the risk of ratification being compromised by resurgent eurosceptic groups.

She did not explain how she would "relaunch" talks on the EU's broken asylum rules, discussion of which has caused splits between southern states where migrants arrive, rich destination countries and easterners which refuse to help host new arrivals.

If she acts on her promises to be tougher than the outgoing Commission on ensuring all EU states honor democratic standards, she would anger Hungary and Poland,

Beata Mazurek, spokeswoman of Poland's ruling PiS party, told Reuters on Wednesday that Warsaw wants the new Commission to treat all EU states equally. Poland has complained repeatedly that the current Commission's legal action against Warsaw over the rule of law is biased.


(Additional reporting by Michel Rose in Paris, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by John Chalmers and Gareth Jones)

  • News
    CBC

    Quebec immigration minister admits he made a mistake on controversial reforms

    Quebec Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette has apologized to Quebecers for his handling of his reform of the province's immigration program for foreign students.The Nov. 1 changes to the Quebec Experience Program, known as by its French acronym, PEQ, put in jeopardy the future of thousands of students and temporary workers who expected to be on a fast track to become permanent residents. They were slammed by opposition parties, business groups and university administrators.Jolin-Barrette abandoned his reform Friday, three days after foreign students studying in Quebec, some of them in tears, went to the National Assembly to implore the government to let them stay. He did not specifically apologize to the students who said they felt "abandoned" after risking losing their path to permanent residency.Still going 'in the right direction'Speaking Tuesday afternoon at the National Assembly, Jolin-Barrette acknowledged that last week was "not a good week.""I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made on the reforms on immigration," he said, although he said he still thinks his government is going "in the right direction" on immigration.Some opposition MNAS have called for Jolin-Barrette to quit as immigration minister. Jolin-Barrette said he has no intention of doing that, but that he'll do better next time.Premier François Legault said the "intention" of the reform was good, but it "wasn't done perfectly."Legault also apologized Tuesday, "especially for the students" affected.The premier said that "when we make large and important changes, sometimes you can make errors if you want to go too fast."But change is necessary, he said, to take into account the labour shortage in certain areas when implementing immigration policy.He said what happened last week was his fault, and he needs to make sure different ministers work together more closely.

  • Geoff Regan among the MPs who want to preside over House of Commons
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Geoff Regan among the MPs who want to preside over House of Commons

    OTTAWA — Geoff Regan, who presided over the House of Commons as Speaker for the past four years, is looking to reprise his role in the new session of Parliament.The Halifax Liberal MP plans to let his name stand among those who want to be the referee in what is likely to be a fractious Commons following last month's bruising election campaign that returned Justin Trudeau's Liberals with a minority government.The new session is to start on Dec. 5 and the first order of business will be for MPs to elect a new Speaker.Speaker's office spokeswoman Heather Bradley said Regan "would welcome the opportunity to place his experience as Speaker in the (last) 42nd Parliament at the service of the House of Commons and will therefore be letting his name stand as a candidate for the position of Speaker."There are thought to be at least three others who will leave their names in the running: Bruce Stanton, a Conservative MP who served as deputy Speaker in the last session, Anthony Rota, a Liberal MP from northern Ontario who served in the last session as assistant deputy Speaker, and Carol Hughes, a New Democrat MP who also served as assistant deputy Speaker.Any MP who does not specifically remove his or her name from the ballot is considered to be in the running for the post, which carries with it a substantial salary hike (about $255,000), a private apartment near the Commons and a country estate in Gatineau, Que., known as The Farm.Members of Parliament will vote by preferential ballot for the new Speaker and later the same day the Trudeau government intends to present a throne speech outlining its agenda for the new session.The vote on the throne speech will be the first test of confidence in the new minority government.The Liberals will need the support of at least the Bloc Quebecois or New Democratic parties in order to survive the confidence vote.Defeat on a confidence vote would constitute defeat of the government, after which Gov. Gen. Julie Payette would have to decide whether to call an election or give Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer a chance to see whether he could gain the confidence of the House.The House of Commons will sit for just seven days, until Dec. 13, before breaking for the holidays. It is not scheduled to resume again until Jan. 27.This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Nov. 13, 2019. The Canadian Press

  • Royal Vic winter overflow shelter for homeless opens earlier, for longer — but what comes next?
    News
    CBC

    Royal Vic winter overflow shelter for homeless opens earlier, for longer — but what comes next?

    The thick blanket of snow covering Montreal has arrived earlier than most years, and while most people have a safe, warm place to spend the night, there are at least 3,000 who do not.Most of Montreal's emergency shelters for the homeless have been near or at capacity since the summer ended, and the situation isn't getting any easier now that cold weather is gripping the city.There aren't always enough temporary beds to go around, forcing homeless Montrealers to wait out the night in warming stations provided by various organizations.Luckily, an overflow shelter at the former Royal Victoria Hospital will re-open for the winter, but despite the Remembrance Day snowstorm, it won't be available earlier than planned, as organizers are still getting it ready. The overflow shelter will open Dec. 2, and it will operate for the next two winters in partnership with health authorities, homeless organizations, the SPCA and Montreal police. The 150-bed shelter will have almost double the number of beds available during last year's pilot project.This year, there will be real mattresses in place of cots, a breakfast service and a floor for women only. There will also be goods and services adapted to women's needs, including feminine hygiene products, earlier arrival and departure times, and other extra security measures.The ultimate goal, however, is to offer an option to staying in an emergency shelter, said Sam Watts, CEO of the Welcome Hall Mission, which manages the Royal Victoria Hospital project."Our goal is to put an end to chronic homelessness in Montreal," said Watts.'Where were you last night?'Shelters are key to ensuring people don't spend the night out in the cold, Watts said, but they're not a solution."The solution is to get people into housing, not to build more shelters or supply more shelter beds," he said.When clients arrive, shuttled to the old Royal Vic from one of the permanent shelters, Watts said, "One of the first questions that we ask is, 'Where were you last night?'" "We want to understand their story. We want to understand why they find themselves in this situation. We also want to divert them, if we can."Trained staff will help connect clients to family and friends, helping them find housing solutions apart from shelters, if those options exist.People can get stuck in the cycle of seeing shelters as home, Watts said, and that's something organizers don't want. The right path needs to be found for each individual, he said, to help them on their journey out of homelessness.Private support neededHomelessness is a complex social problem that needs support not just from various levels of government, but from private donors, as well, Watts said.The overflow shelter will cost of about $400,000 to run each winter. Welcome Home Mission and other partners are relying on federal funding that's funnelled through the province, plus a small contribution from Montreal.But Watts said private donations from individuals and businesses remain a crucial pillar of support in the effort to end chronic homelessness."Even for our basic services that we offer at Welcome Hall Mission, it's not fully funded by the government. It's largely funded by private donors," he said.7 nights a week until April 15The Royal Victoria overflow shelter will run every night from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., until April 15.Showers are provided, pet services are available, and almost nobody is turned away.People do have to agree to follow the shelter's behaviour code. Even those who are intoxicated are accepted, as long as their intoxication levels are not too severe, and they are not violent.The shelter operated as a pilot project last year. It ran for 90 days, starting Jan. 15, chalking up 7,000 stays, including overnight visits from 1,402 men, 173 women and 10 people who identify as transgender, aged 18 to 85.

  • Quebec Premier François Legault happy to see Don Cherry out
    Global News

    Quebec Premier François Legault happy to see Don Cherry out

    Quebec Premier François Legault hasn't been pleased with the remarks Don Cherry has made over the years about French Canadians.

  • House of Assembly put on hold as Byrne's behaviour takes centre stage
    News
    CBC

    House of Assembly put on hold as Byrne's behaviour takes centre stage

    After almost three hours of back-and-forth debate in the House of Assembly Tuesday regarding comments made by Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources Gerry Byrne, members didn't even have time for question period.The session began with opposition house leader David Brazil raising a point of privilege against Byrne over his comments toward two other MHAs in the legislature on Thursday, sparking the debate."The clear implication of this statement about the member for Mount Pearl North is that he may be a criminal," Brazil told the House of Assembly Tuesday. "The clear implication of the statement made about the Member for St. John's Centre is that he is a racist.""This conclusion is not mine alone; it is the conclusion shared by a great many members of the House."Byrne accused Progressive Conservative MHA Jim Lester of condoning moose poaching, saying that maybe Lester "is not always on the side of the law." The fisheries minister made a second accusation toward NDP MHA Jim Dinn, referring to a 2018 meeting of SAEN, the Salmonid Association of Eastern Newfoundland, in which Byrne said Dinn did not do enough to rebuke the comments made by a member of SAENByrne did choose to withdraw one of his comments aimed at Lester on Tuesday.Matter pushed backAfter almost two hours of deliberation, House Speaker Scott Reid moved that the incident is a prima facie point of privilege, meaning there seems to be a breach of privilege when seeing everything at face value.Reid said the two criteria to call the point of privilege a prima facie point were met. The matter was raised at the earliest opportunity, and the speaker is convinced there is an issue when looked at at face value.MHAs now have to vote on a motion that details the punishment Byrne faces. If that motion is passed, Byrne will have to send a written and verbal apology to Dinn and Lester. He will also have to go through 20 hours of anti-harrassment sensitivity training, which he will have to pay for.Due to the long recess in Tuesday's meeting, the matter and remaining agenda items have been pushed to Wednesday morning.As for Dinn, he stood firm on his handling of the SAEN situation."I can't apologize for a comment I did not make," Dinn said.Byrne continued though to push the issue of racism throughout the session."Racism is all around us," Byrne added. "Racism is serious, and while we think that we are really, really breaking the back on racism in Newfoundland and Labrador, evidence suggests the contrary."Read More from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Families of victims testify at hearing for convicted killer Ugo Fredette
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Families of victims testify at hearing for convicted killer Ugo Fredette

    ST-JEROME, Que. — Friends and relatives of Ugo Fredette's two victims addressed the court Tuesday to explain how the murders of Veronique Barbe and Yvon Lacasse changed everything for them.A jury last month found Fredette, 44, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder.One by one, those close to the victims — linked by the actions of Fredette on Sept. 14, 2017 — took the stand to describe the loss they experienced.On that day, Fredette stabbed Barbe, his ex-wife, 17 times at their home in St-Eustache, Que., before going on the lam with a child who was inside the home. He then killed Lacasse, 71, a stranger, in order to steal the man's car before continuing his attempt to evade authorities. Fredette was finally arrested the next day in rural Ontario, and the child was rescued.Tuesday's hearing proceeded with heart-wrenching testimony thick with tears as witnesses, including a teenager, took the stand before Quebec Superior Court Justice Myriam Lachance to illustrate to the court the consequences of Fredette's actions.The six-year-old boy who was taken by Fredette is a "broken child, witness to two murders," the woman who takes care of him now wrote in a letter. He is a child for whom a song can trigger a terrifying memory, who when he sees blood, is in a state of shock and sees images of death his head, according to the letter read into the record by prosecutor Steve Baribeau.A teenager who was 14 at the time of Barbe's murder and who cannot be identified, drew this conclusion from what transpired: "I learned that trust and love can kill." He said the last image he has of Barbe, 41, is "the one where we see the 17 stab wounds inflicted by the one who said he loved her."Lacasse had the misfortune of crossing paths with Fredette at a Lachute, Que., rest stop."You stole my father from me," his daughter Jennifer Lacasse said. "I will never forgive you," she added, locking eyes on Fredette in the courtroom.Barbe was remembered as smiling, sweet, loving — "a ray of sunshine" — by her father as he addressed the court.Fredette by contrast was described as a controlling man who tried to keep his wife from her family."It's your fault Ugo!" said Jovette Biard, Barbe's godmother, her voice raised through tears. "Veronique became another woman. You treated her as your object, your possession, right up to cutting her off from her family."A first-degree murder conviction comes with an automatic life sentence without possibility of parole for 25 years, but the Crown is seeking to have that ineligibility doubled to 50 years.Lawyers will return to court on March 11, 2020 to determine when sentencing arguments will take place.This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Nov. 12, 2019.Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press

  • Calgary Tower reopens four months after elevator fell with people inside
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Calgary Tower reopens four months after elevator fell with people inside

    CALGARY — One of Calgary's most recognizable landmarks has reopened nearly four months after an elevator plunged several storeys with eight people inside.Calgary Tower officials say issues with the structure's elevators have been addressed and the lifts have passed inspection.It took firefighters four hours to rescue the people trapped inside the elevator when a cable broke July 12 and the car stopped about 12 storeys up.Rescuers using a harness pulled passengers out of the disabled lift and lowered them to the ground.Patrons in the restaurant at the top of the tower walked down the stairs or were carried by firefighters.No one was injured."We conducted a thorough and comprehensive inspection of the elevator system," said Blaine Coupal of Thyssenkrupp Elevator Canada, the long-standing elevator service contractor for the Calgary Tower. The website of Aspen Properties, owner of the tower, says 300,000 people visit the 190-metre-tall structure each year, paying for tickets, visiting the two restaurants and testing their courage on its glass floor.The Calgary Tower was built to celebrate Canada's centennial anniversary in 1967. It was completed in 1968. (CTV Calgary, The Canadian Press)This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2019. The Canadian Press

  • No bus ride home for some students as P.E.I.'s French schools grapple with driver shortage
    News
    CBC

    No bus ride home for some students as P.E.I.'s French schools grapple with driver shortage

    Students along one of the bus routes to École François-Buote in Charlottetown needed to find an alternate ride home on Tuesday, as the French Language School Board tries to deal with a bus driver shortage.Students on school bus route 368 will need to find alternate ways to get home Wednesday too, according to the school board."Our drivers are conscientious. They work hard," said Nathalie Malo, transportation manager for the school board. But with the shortage of drivers — especially substitutes — even one absent driver can cause cancellations.The French school board has 29 bus routes, but just 10 substitute drivers. Officials said École François-Buote has 11 bus routes and 11 bus drivers with only two substitutes available. The school also has some very long routes, as far as Montague, Morell, New London and Crapaud.On Tuesday, one bus driver was unable to drive their route. One of the remaining drivers was able to cover in the morning, picking up the students on route 368 and getting them to school an hour and a half late.School officials decided to cancel the afternoon run on the route. It would have been 6 p.m. or later by the time all students got home by bus, if a second driver returned to do the route. Instead, parents were told they'd have to pick up their kids.Shortage of drivers across provinceP.E.I.'s tight labour market is making it hard to keep enough drivers in the pool of substitutes, according to school officials.They cite wages and hours of work as possible reasons why. Substitute drivers receive 80 per cent of the hourly wage of full-time drivers, according to the union's collective agreement.Substitute drivers are paid for 2.5 hours for making one run a day, and for five hours for making two runs."It's hard to find people who want to work at those hours," said Malo.Three new substitute drivers for the French board will start training next month. They should be ready to start work in late December.One of the new drivers will be assigned to École François-Buote, according to Malo.Parents of students on route 368 will also have to pick their children up on Wednesday after school, according to school officials.  More P.E.I. news

  • N.L. team brings home memories and a lot of hardware from world championships
    News
    CBC

    N.L. team brings home memories and a lot of hardware from world championships

    An impressive group of local karate kids (and adults) came back from New York with a lot of hardware last week after winning 16 medals at an international competition in Niagara Falls.The hardware haul for the competitors, who range in age from nine to 37, included four gold medals at the 2019 World Karate and Kickboxing Commission's world championships."They were super-happy," said Alex Foley, owner of Alex Foley's Academy of Martial Arts in Goulds and one of the coaches."It was a really high-level tournament."The 14 competitors from Newfoundland and Labrador train at Foley's academy as well as at Rock Athletics in Mount Pearl with coach Robbie Wiseman, who also attended the tournament.The competitors earned their spots among about 400 competitors on the national team after competing at the Canadian national qualifier in Gatineau, Que., in May and placing in the top four of their divisions.A lot of commitment was required after winning that spot, Foley said, with even the younger athletes training up to five or six days a week to prepare for the world championship, where they competed with 1,200 athletes from 17 countries around the world.'As high as it gets'Athletes from the two clubs have competed at the commission's world championship in the past, placing as high as second, but this year was the first with first-place finishes, Foley said.The tournament was tough competition even for athletes who had won national titles in May, he said."This is as high as it gets," he said.As nice as the hardware is, the experience was also incredible, Foley said. The athletes walked in as part of the Canadian team during the ceremonies, and some heard the national anthem played as they received their own medals. Lifelong friends were made as well, he said."Just to perform on a world stage, you can't buy that experience," Foley said.The competing athletes and their results are: * Ryan Bennett of Foley's, who won gold in continuous sparring 15-17 years 80-plus kg and gold in team continuous sparring 15-17 years 80-plus kg. * Lucas Crann of Rock, who won bronze in continuous sparring 15-17 years minus-60 kg. * Alex Fahey of Rock, who won silver in continuous sparring 13-14 years minus-45 kg. * Katelyn Farrell of Foley's, who competed in continuous sparring 13-14 years minus-55 kg. * Kyle Hickey of Rock, who competed in continuous sparring 18-34 years 90-plus kg. * Shae-Lynn Hopkins of Rock, who won silver in continuous sparring 18-34 years 70-plus kg. * Chloe Kieley of Foley's, who won gold in continuous sparring under-10 years minus-25 kg and silver in point sparring under-10 years minus-25 kg. * Faith Layden of Foley's, who won silver in continuous sparring 15-17 years minus-50 kg and bronze in point sparring 15-17 years minus-50 kg. * Mason Lee of Foley's, who won bronze in point sparring under-10 years minus-25 kg and bronze in team continuous sparring minus-10 years minus-35 kg. * Grace Pardy of Rock, who won bronze in continuous sparring 13-14 years minus-60 kg. * Faith Patey of Foley's, who won silver in continuous sparring 13-14 years minus-60 kg and bronze in point sparring 13-14 years minus-60 kg. * Jacob Skiffington of Rock, who won bronze in continuous sparring 15-17 years minus-65 kg. * Robbie Wiseman of Rock, who won gold in continuous sparring 35-plus years 85-plus kg. * Jimmy Yetman of Rock, who competed in continuous sparring 18-34 years minus-80 kg and point sparring 18-34 years minus-80 kg.With the world championship behind them, the next step is preparing for the 2020 national competition, Foley said, which will be held in Ottawa in May.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Toronto cop takes stand in assault trial, admits causing victim's eye injury
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Toronto cop takes stand in assault trial, admits causing victim's eye injury

    OSHAWA, Ont. — A Toronto police officer accused of beating a young black man nearly three years ago testified Tuesday he was acting in self-defence when he delivered the punches that ruptured the man's eye.Taking the stand in front of a packed courtroom in Oshawa, Ont., Const. Michael Theriault acknowledged he caused Dafonte Miller's severe eye injury, but said it happened as he was trying to disarm and subdue the teen.Theriault was off duty at the time of the encounter in the early hours of Dec. 28, 2016. He told court Miller attacked him and his brother Christian with a pipe or metal pole after the pair caught him and another young man stealing items from their parents' truck.The 27-year-old Theriault said he chased Miller into a dark, alley-like area between two homes and bodychecked him into a fence while his brother followed closely behind. He said that's when he felt something hit his body _ something that ``didn't feel like a fist,'' he said.Theriault said he started punching Miller wherever he could, as hard as he could, after seeing his brother get hit on the side of the head with the pipe.``I was trying to distract him so he would at least loosen his grip on the pole,'' he said.At no point during the encounter did Theriault identify himself as a police officer, though he did tell Miller later on that he was under arrest, court heard. Theriault said he was focused on making sure Miller didn't escape.``It just didn't come to my mind…everything happened so fast,'' he said.Prosecutors, however, suggested Theriault didn't identify himself as an officer — as his training would dictate — because his intention wasn't to arrest Miller, but to beat him.The Theriault brothers are jointly charged with aggravated assault in the incident that eventually caused Miller, who was 19 at the time, to lose his left eye.They are also separately charged with obstruction of justice for the way they portrayed the incident to investigators. They have pleaded not guilty to all counts.At the heart of the case is who wielded the pipe that night, and where it came from, with prosecutors and defence lawyers providing vastly different narratives. The pipe, which is more than a metre long, was shown in court earlier in the trial.The now 22-year-old Miller testified last week that he was severely beaten with a pipe and that he never had a chance to fight back.He told the court he was out walking with two friends when the Theriaults started questioning them about why they were in the area. He said the pair began chasing him when he and his friends walked away.Theriault testified Tuesday he and his brother were in a closed garage when they heard noise coming from their parents' truck outside. He said he told his brother to open the door and rolled under it before it was fully raised, not knowing what he would find outside, then ran after Miller despite not having shoes or a jacket on.Prosecutors suggested Theriault, an officer used to having at least a gun and a baton at hand, would have armed himself before chasing a potentially dangerous stranger into a dark area.Crown attorney Peter Scrutton argued Theriault took the pipe from the garage as he ran out and suggested the reason the officer bodychecked Miller on the fence was because one of his hands was full. Otherwise, he said, Theriault could simply have grabbed the teen, he argued.Theriault said that wasn't the case. “Not sure why I bodychecked him, I just did,'' he said.He told the court he never lost sight of Miller during the chase and did not see the young man carrying a pipe as he fled. “Still to this day I don't know exactly where it came from,'' he said.During his testimony, Theriault repeatedly denied hitting Miller with a pipe or seeing his brother do so.He told the court the only person using the pipe as a weapon was Miller, drawing laughter and expressions of incredulity from some in the courtroom.Theriault said he was able to disarm Miller after his brother charged the teen and placed him in a headlock. But he testified Miller continued attacking his brother, so the two of them kept punching Miller.There was a brief lull in the fight, and Theriault said he thought to call 911 but dropped his phone when he saw Miller hit his brother again. He said he punched Miller some more until the fighting subsided again.Miller then walked over to a home and started banging on the door, Theriault said. The officer grabbed the pipe and held it up to ensure Miller didn't get it back, he said.When the young man turned around again, Theriault noticed he was hurt, he said."I saw that he had an injury on his face at that point," he said, but he couldn't say which blows caused it.Moments later, Theriault told Miller for the first time that he was under arrest, he said. Both Christian Theriault and Miller called 911 shortly afterwards, though Michael Theriault took Miller’s phone after he dialled, court heard.In the accounts they gave separately to police after the incident, the brothers said they weren't injured during the encounter, though Christian Theriault said his head and limbs were sore.In a second interview with police on Jan. 9, 2017, however, Christian Theriault said he was dazed by the blow to his head and had since been diagnosed with a concussion.Theriault testified he was not injured in the incident, but felt “general soreness.”Miller's lawyers have previously alleged outside court that race played a role in the attack.The trial is expected to resume next year.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2019.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

  • Moncton plans to shore up eroding Petitcodiac riverbank to protect trail
    News
    CBC

    Moncton plans to shore up eroding Petitcodiac riverbank to protect trail

    Moncton is taking steps to shore up a section of its Riverfront Trail from erosion by the Petitcodiac River after refusing help from the province several years ago.City councillors voted unanimously at a committee meeting Monday to spend about $350,000 to install large rocks along 100 metres of the riverbank west of Bore Park."What we've seen is status quo — if we do nothing there then we're very close to losing the trail and having that trail severed in that location," Dan Hicks, the city's director of parks, told councillors.He said it's a portion of the Trans-Canada Trail that links Moncton with Dieppe and Riverview."It's a very key piece of our active transportation and recreation network."The Petitcodiac River causeway interrupted the natural flow of the river and led to sediment building up downstream along the waterfront in Moncton. The causeway gates were opened in 2010 as part of a broader plan to restore the natural flow of the river. That's led to erosion of the muddy banks. The province had installed piles of large rock along sections of the riverbank. But in 2013, Moncton council rejected the province's offer to place the rock, known as rip-rap, along a roughly 300-metre portion of the waterfront near Bore Park.The decision was based on advice from an engineer hired by the environmental group Riverkeeper, which told council fears of erosion and high costs were exaggerated.Now, erosion threatens a trail along the riverbank and residents of a condo building steps away have raised concerns. Hicks showed councillors photos of cracks in the paved trail near the condo building, gaps that had opened between brick pavers on another portion and a railing that is leading down toward the river. The widening of the river has exposed material and wood from a wharf and a railway spur. City staff say moving the trail back from the water would require buying land. The city plans to install rocks along a 100-metre portion of the riverbank, though more may be required in the future.The estimated cost for 100 metres is $350,000, while doing the whole 310-metre stretch would cost up to $1 million. While that spending wasn't included in the 2020 budget, the city plans to use $400,000 in funds set aside for trail resurfacing.The city plans to ask for provincial funding, but staff pointed council to a 2013 agreement between the levels of government to relieve the province of any responsibility of the area.Under the agreement, the province is under no obligation to provide financial assistance to the city related to erosion.Several residents of the condo building at 50 Assumption Blvd. attended the afternoon meeting. 'Hoping for a quick remedy'Bernie Hachey, a vice-president of the condo board, said they're glad the city is moving to address the issue. "We're just hoping for a quick remedy to the problem," Hachey said. "We get to see this on a daily basis — that the erosion is getting worse, not better."He said in recent weeks a crack parallel to the river was noticed in the underground parking garage that's only steps from the riverbank. He said residents believe it may be tied to the erosion but aren't certain. "We're hoping we're wrong," Hachey said, adding he expects the issue will be discussed at a future board meeting.Coun. Greg Turner, who lives in the nearby condo building and had raised the erosion issue at a previous meeting, declared a conflict of interest and left council chambers for the discussion. The city expects that once tenders and all necessary approvals are in place that work would start in the spring or early summer.

  • News
    Reuters

    Toddler on Saudi flight that made emergency landing in Canada pronounced dead

    Flight 35, which left Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at 6:45 a.m. local time Tuesday and was bound for Washington, D.C., landed shortly before 12 p.m. ET at the St. John's International Airport, in the province of Newfoundland, due to a medical emergency. Upon landing the 2-year-old was transported to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead, James Cadigan, an officer with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, said.

  • Yukon government opens inaugural Housing First facility in Whitehorse
    News
    CBC

    Yukon government opens inaugural Housing First facility in Whitehorse

    A new facility in downtown Whitehorse, which will house the city's most chronically homeless, officially opened Tuesday. The Yukon government says the 16-unit facility, on the corner of Wood Street and Fifth Avenue, will follow the Housing First philosophy, which separates housing from service requirements.It is the first facility of its kind in the territory, according to the government. Housing First means there are no pre-conditions for sobriety or treatment in order to access or maintain housing, although the clients are typically required to accept regular visits from on-site staff.  Christine Tapp, director of the Yukon government's social supports branch, said a placement committee will select the tenants and work with them to choose their housing."It would ultimately be individuals who might have moderate care or support needs who would really benefit from a model where there are staff available to assist them with either crisis management or home maintenance," Tapp said.The facility will be staffed 24/7 by front-line staff. Other support staff, including outreach workers and counsellors, will be brought in to work with the clients. Tapp said hiring is underway and she expects the first clients to move in at the end of the month.The Yukon government says it will run the facility for the first six or nine months before handing operations over to a non-profit or association.Kate Mechan, implementation manager for the working group Safe at Home, said this project is not the silver bullet that will end homelessness. "The need is so much, so much greater, but it's definitely a start," she said.Housing model works, says expertWally Czech with the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness said the Housing First model works when properly implemented. He said a study of Housing First projects in cities across Canada, called At Home/Chez Soi, showed that the closer the facility adheres to the principles of Housing First, the higher the success rate — 80 to 85 per cent effective in helping people enter housing quickly and maintaining housing long-term. In addition to removing pre-conditions to housing, Housing First is about giving clients choice and promoting self-sufficiency, said Czech."People are given the opportunity just like anybody else … if they are choosing to partake of substances, that's sort of a personal, individual choice," he said. He said the best model is catered to the needs of the individuals. "That's one of the great things that makes Housing First so effective is that people are … given supports that are driven by their own needs and wants."

  • News
    CBC

    P.E.I. tourism association concerned with minimum wage increase, lack of advance notice

    The Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. says it has concerns with the recently announced increase to the minimum wage.The increase — announced Friday — will take effect on April 1, bringing the minimum wage up 60 cents to $12.85 an hour.Association CEO Kevin Mouflier said that while this is good news for employees earning minimum wage, there are concerns about the effect this will have on small business owners.He said the association would have liked more warning of the change so owner-operators would be able to plan better."We've been advocating to have at least one year's notice so that they can budget effectively," Mouflier said. He said "this time of year budgets are set.""You have to consider the owner-operator also has to re-evaluate their pricing if it be in the food and beverage industry. They have to raise their prices on their menus."He said TIAPEI has argued for several years that substantial increases to the basic personal tax exemption would provide more relief to low-income workers on P.E.I. than increases to the minimum wage.The basic personal tax exemption was changed when the PC government brought in the latest provincial budget in June, increasing from $9,160 to $10,000. The budget also reduces the small business tax rate by 0.5 per cent to three per cent.Mouflier said increasing the basic personal tax exemption would "put more money in workers' pockets."More P.E.I. news

  • Motorist uses SUV to shield pedestrians from teen driver fleeing Montreal police
    News
    CBC

    Motorist uses SUV to shield pedestrians from teen driver fleeing Montreal police

    About a dozen pedestrians are safe and unhurt after a motorist used his SUV to prevent a speeding teenage driver from slamming into them as he fled officers in downtown Montreal Tuesday, police say.The incident began at around 12:30 p.m., when police tried to pull over a vehicle on René-Lévesque Boulevard near Berri Street, according to Montreal police spokesperson Const. Caroline Chèvrefils.The 19-year-old driver did not yield to police and instead sped west before making a U-turn and driving in the opposite direction.The driver then stopped just long enough for officers to get out of their patrol car before he sped off again, Chèvrefils said.With police once again in pursuit, the vehicle approached the busy intersection of St-Denis Street. That's when another driver intervened."A driver who was in his Mercedes SUV was stopped at the red light at St-Denis Street and saw that the runaway car was coming toward him very fast," Chèvrefils said."At the same time, he saw that pedestrians were crossing the street. To protect the pedestrians, the driver of the Mercedes placed his car at an angle."The car driven by the fleeing suspect slammed into the SUV, causing a multi-car crash that left only the suspect injured.The SUV was sent crashing into a taxi before coming to a complete stop, heavily damaged. The suspect was taken to hospital. Chèvrefils said he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and when he is released from hospital, he will be taken to a detention centre for questioning.

  • Regina Legion laments theft of money from poppy boxes
    News
    CBC

    Regina Legion laments theft of money from poppy boxes

    The Regina Royal Canadian Legion won't have as much money from their poppy campaign this year after a rash of thefts from poppy boxes.Money was stolen from at least 10 poppy boxes, said Ron Hitchcock, president of the Regina Royal Canadian Legion Branch 001."The sad thing is two of [the boxes] were stolen yesterday morning when everybody's at the service," Hitchcock said.Hitchcock said it's hard to say how much money was stolen."I've seen people put $100 bills in that box."The money gathered goes toward programs for veterans, such as training a dog to help a veteran get around, providing counselling for vets suffering from PTSD or assisting those who are homeless."We have people that buy furniture and deliver to their place and we help them with their rents and their food," Hitchcock said."So there's many things that coins do, but we could do a lot more work for more people had we had more money. And now that we're missing some it makes it even a little harder."Regina isn't the only place where someone made off with money meant for veterans.Nordon Drugs on Louise Street in Saskatoon had its poppy money stolen on Friday.Manager Shaunna Wicks said someone stole the box at lunchtime on Friday while an employee checked a lottery ticket.Wicks said security video shows a person grabbing the box and putting inside his coat."I've been here 12 years and that's never happened before," she said. "I was just very saddened [and] my employee was very upset about it."Wicks figures there was between $100 and $200 in the tin box."We have a lot of seniors that come in the store, a lot of people with a lot of respect and they every year donate quite a bit."The theft isn't going to deter the store from having a poppy box, but Wicks said in the future they will empty it on a regular basis.Hitchcock said they still want people to support the poppy campaign, but that they should also think about making online donations to the Legion.He said the money is important, particularly for soldiers suffering from PTSD."There's more than 70 [Canadian soldiers] that have committed suicide because of PTSD, Hitchcock said. "I have a friend that committed suicide because of things he saw and heard and had to do on our behalf in order to keep us safe."

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Nova Scotia health groups call for urgent action to deal with youth vaping

    HALIFAX — Several health advocacy groups are calling on the Nova Scotia government to take urgent action to curb what they call a "youth vaping epidemic."Kelly Cull, of the Canadian Cancer Society, told the legislature's health committee Tuesday that a recent Canadian study found that youth vaping had skyrocketed by 74 per cent nationally in just one year."Five years ago, most high school teens didn't even know what an e-cigarette was," Cull said. "We need to turn back the clock."Cull said that because of the high levels of nicotine in many products, increased e-cigarette use threatens progress that has been made in reducing smoking rates. She placed the blame for the increased usage on the tobacco industry and governments that haven't done enough to recognize the trend."Aggressive marketing, youth enticing flavours, innovative design and highly addictive levels of nicotine on the part of the industry, combine that with lack of sufficient oversight and regulation on behalf of successive governments," she said.Cull said Nova Scotia needs "a strategy that puts everything on the table and addresses every aspect of tobacco and vaping."Measures sought by the Canadian Cancer Society, the Lung Association of Nova Scotia and others include restricting e-cigarette flavours, banning sales except in adult-only specialty shops, banning internet sales and raising the minimum age for tobacco and e-cigarette use to 21 from 19.Last month, Premier Stephen McNeil said his government is looking at regulations that could ban flavoured vaping products.McNeil made the comment after the Opposition Tories introduced legislation calling for a ban on e-liquids and a tightening of restrictions to outlaw possession of tobacco products by people under the age of 19.He said a series of potential regulatory changes were being considered including a requirement for licences to sell vaping products, similar to those required to sell tobacco.Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, has also said provincial regulations were being examined to see if protections for youth could be beefed up.Nova Scotia was one of the first provinces to introduce regulations banning the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 19, taking that step in 2015. It also placed restrictions on in-store advertising for tobacco in 1993 and 2006.However, Strang said online sales still pose a challenge, and he is concerned by reports that teens are able to purchase from vape stores.A recent study in the medical journal The Lancet found that the prevalence of vaping among 16- to 19-year-olds had increased in Canada and the U.S. between 2017 and 2018, as did smoking in Canada.Smoke-Free Nova Scotia, a coalition of non-profit groups, released its own provincial survey last week. It received responses from 369 youth aged 16 to 18 and 301 young adults aged 19 to 24.The survey found that on average youth aged 16 to 18 who vape use three disposable cartridges containing vape juice per week and spend $24.30 per week on the habit.Ninety per cent of that age group who vape use nicotine-based vape juice with the majority of those — 66.5 per cent — opting for the 50 milligrams per millilitre or higher concentrations of nicotine.The survey also found that 20 per cent of youth and young adults aged 16 to 24 who reported having used tobacco did so after vaping.Dr. Mohammed Alhamdani, the group's executive director, told the committee the findings are a concern at a time when health dangers related to vaping have emerged in the U.S. He said there have been close to 40 deaths and 2,000 hospitalizations related to vaping."That's telling us that vaping is far from being benign," Alhamdani said.Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press

  • Deep cuts rule Juliana Hatfield's Police covers album
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Deep cuts rule Juliana Hatfield's Police covers album

    Juliana Hatfield, "Juliana Hatfield Sings The Police" (American Laundromat Records)One way to assess a covers record is whether its appeal stretches beyond fans of the re-interpreter to fans of the original performers. In the case of "Juliana Hatfield Sings The Police," both camps should be pleased.Part of the album's appeal lies in Hatfield's choice of several Police deep cuts while relying on the hits for only a third of the tracks. Having released an album of Olivia Newton-John covers last year, Hatfield's adeptness with the genre is reconfirmed.Hatfield usually puts her imprint on the tunes by stripping back some of the gloss and dialing up the darker hues, while keeping the melodies nearly intact and the songs easily recognizable.While not in the Andy Summers vein, Hatfield's guitar playing is still quite wonderful and effective as she piles on multiple layers and tailors a wide gamut of sounds to fit each song. She also does all the vocals and keyboards while playing bass and drums on about half of the 12 tracks.Among the best versions is "Murder By Numbers," originally a jazzy tune also covered that way by Frank Zappa, which sounds here like it's been adapted for a remake of "A Clockwork Orange" as Hatfield emphasizes the song's violence and dread over its morbid humour. "Hungry for You (J'aurais Toujours Faim De Toi)" turns into a high speed J.J. Cale track with some very Cars-like keyboards near the end, while "Next to You" seems to have arrived straight from the early 1990s indie craze."Roxanne" amps up the drama with stabs of guitar distortion, while "Hole In My Life" trades in some of the original's swing for an angular approach that accentuates the pathos.The closing trio of "Landlord," ''Rehumanize Yourself" and "It's Alright for You" gains added heaviness but also airiness with Ed Valauskas on bass and Chris Anzalone on drums.Averaging nearly an album a year since 2010, Hatfield hopes to continue with her cover albums project, a most welcome prospect.Pablo Gorondi, The Associated Press

  • Climate change blamed as floods overwhelm Venice, swamping basilica and squares
    News
    Reuters

    Climate change blamed as floods overwhelm Venice, swamping basilica and squares

    Venice's mayor declared a state of emergency on Wednesday after "apocalyptic" floods swept through the lagoon city, flooding its historic basilica and inundating squares and centuries-old buildings. It was the highest level since the record 194 cm set in 1966 but with rising water levels becoming a regular threat to the tourist jewel, city mayor Luigi Brugnaro was quick to blame climate change for the disaster. "Venice is on its knees," said Brugnaro.

  • News
    CBC

    Short-term rentals in Halifax making it harder for locals to find housing, report finds

    Short-term rentals fuelled by sites such as Airbnb in the Halifax region are negatively impacting people's ability to find affordable housing — particularly in downtown Halifax — a study by researchers at McGill University has found.Researcher David Wachsmuth told CBC's Maritime Noon on Tuesday there are neighbourhoods in central Halifax where more than two per cent of the housing is listed full time on Airbnb."That's housing that's been taken totally off the rental market," he said.The study found there were 2,420 short-term rentals active in the municipality on Aug. 31, 2019. Wachsmuth said about a third of those listings are believed to be full-time operations."Those 700 or 800 units are having a major impact on people's ability to find an apartment to rent at a decent price in Halifax right now," Wachsmuth said.He said that's a large number for a city Halifax's size.The report found the rental vacancy rate in Halifax was 1.6 per cent.Ideal vacancy rate 3%According to a report from Royal Bank of Canada Economics released in September, an ideal vacancy rate would be three per cent."Notably, real rent generally declines when the vacancy rate climbs above three per cent," the report noted. "So housing policy that ultimately raises a market's vacancy rate to, say, something closer to four per cent has a good chance of generating meaningful rent relief."The McGill study said that if commercial short-term rentals were converted back to long-term housing, the rental vacancy rate would increase to 2.8 per cent in the short term.Short-term rental surveyThe provincial and municipal governments are looking to regulate short-term rentals, possibly in 2020.The Halifax Regional Municipality and the province have surveys available on short-term rentals. The deadline for the provincial survey is Nov. 20 and the deadline for the Halifax survey is 10 days later.Wachsmuth said the province should consider limiting short-term rentals to primary residences."In other words, if this is home sharing, you've got a spare bedroom or you're out of town for the whole weekend, you should be able to do what you want with your home including rent it to somebody whose visiting," Wachsmuth said."But we should be really sceptical about commercial operators who want to take entire apartments, entire homes and convert them into effectively full-time hotels because that's activity that's really coming at a cost to local residents."He said in neighbourhoods that are attractive to tourists, locals will have an increasingly harder time finding long-term housing "because tourists are basically outbidding local residents" through short-term rentals.Neighbourhood group speaks upBill Stewart, a spokesperson for the group Neighbours Speak Up, a group that formed out of concerns over Airbnbs in Halifax's north end, told CBC's Mainstreet on Tuesday that one thing that stood out to him about the McGill study was that more than 40 per cent of the listings are properties where an owner owns multiple properties."We see the major irritant in this situation being in the kind of commercial short-term rental, where the owner doesn't reside in it and has another property and so on," Stewart said."We think these are commercial businesses and have no place in a residential area."Neighbours Speak Up is holding a presentation on short-term rentals with Wachsmuth at the Halifax Central Library on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.MORE TOP STORIES

  • News
    CBC

    'We have to get control': Halifax council requests staff report on houseboats

    Halifax regional council asked staff on Tuesday to look into creating new rules for floating homes.The motion called for a report on "both houseboats and docked structures to regulate land use and building standards to ensure fair and safe use of the buildings."A cottage-size building on a floating dock was constructed in 2018 off a lot along Lake Micmac in Dartmouth.People who live in the area raised concerns, but the local councillor found out the structure is not covered by any government regulations."Federal officials said, 'Well, it's not a vessel," said Coun. Tony Mancini. "And the province said, 'Well, it's not attached to the bottom of the lake,' so it doesn't have any authority."Mancini said the structures aren't inspected even though there are power and sewer connections."Having no regulations just does not make sense," he said.Fear houseboats 'harbinger of things to come'Coun. David Hendsbee said the city needs to get a handle on the situation because the same company that built the floating home along Lake Micmac has bought a lot in West Porters Lake, which has caught the attention of local residents."They're worried this is a harbinger of things to come, that there will be houseboats docked along the sandy coast bar in West Porters Lake,"  said Hendsbee, who represents the area.He hopes rules in other jurisdictions will be reviewed. Houseboats are popular on the West Coast in Vancouver and Victoria, as well as in Muskoka, a cottage country in Ontario.The councillor for the Purcells Cove area is worried about a situation in his area where a structure was built on top of a wharf."We have to get control because we could have them stacked side by side," said Coun. Steve Adams.But one councillor warned there should be a clear definition of a houseboat.Lower Sackville Coun. Paul Russell wondered if the new rules would apply to a boat permanently docked.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Former spy chief warns Canada resting on its laurels amid global uncertainty
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Former spy chief warns Canada resting on its laurels amid global uncertainty

    OTTAWA — A former head of Canada's spy agency is warning that this country is resting too heavily on its laurels at a time of rising global threats and upheaval, including dysfunction among its Western allies and the emergence of China and Russia as aggressive adversaries.Richard Fadden, a former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and national-security adviser to prime ministers Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau, says Canada needs to take a hard look at itself to ensure it is ready to face its new reality.That includes recognizing its adversaries and drawing clear limits over what it will put up with from them, accepting that the United States is not about to resume its traditional leadership role, and rallying its western allies to face these threats in a unified way."More than anything, we need to shed the blinders of the past and see the world and our place in it as it is," said Fadden, who made the comments in a speech while accepting an award from the Conference of Defence Associations Institute.He added that with the U.S. no longer the world's singular superpower, "we need to stand on our own with values and ideas more than we have in the past. And to do this, we must bring to bear patience and consistency along with the resources to match."While Fadden has previously voiced concerns about Canada's failure to adapt to a changing world, his most recent warning carries added relevance with Trudeau and other NATO leaders meeting in London early next month.France's President Emmanuel Macron warned in an interview last week that the alliance is suffering from "brain death" because of a lack of U.S. leadership and uncertainty about American commitment to the 70-year-old organization.Trudeau and other leaders came to the alliance's defence but Macron's comments nonetheless touched on an issue that has been of concern to analysts and others for some time, particularly under U.S. President Donald Trump.In his speech, Fadden warned of the rise of Russia and China and their willingness to pursue their interests to the detriment of the West; a decline in U.S. leadership and failure by Western democracies to unite and fill the gap; the growth of radicalized violence; and cyber threats.Yet many Western countries have not come to grips with these ever-evolving threats and realities, he warned — and that must change."This issue is especially visible in Canada," he said. "We are surrounded by three oceans and the U.S. so we don't really feel threatened when, in a totally globalized world, that is unrealistic. ... More than anything, we need a clear-eyed view of the world and our place in it."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2019.—Follow @leeberthiaume on TwitterLee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    Relatives remember Sydney murder victim as well-loved family man

    One week after he was found dead in an apartment in Sydney, N.S., Stephen Richard Rose is being remembered as a well-loved family man.Police in Cape Breton say Rose, 41, was murdered. Two people were charged with first-degree murder over the weekend.Several members of the victim's family yelled and caused a commotion as they left Sydney provincial court on Tuesday morning following the arraignment of Jessica Anne MacDonald, 33, and Joey Frederick Evong, 37.Outside of court, George Woodbury, a cousin of Rose's, said he's still in shock."For them to do something like that to such a genuine person is totally uncalled for," Woodbury said. "I don't care what their reasons were. There's no excuse. There's no rhyme or reason to the whole scenario."Rose leaves behind a wife and four children.Victim loved his kidsWoodbury said his cousin lived for his family."Steve loved his kids," he said. "His kids were his world.... That's what he would talk about the most. That's what made Steve, Steve."Another cousin, Paige Paul, said Rose was well-loved and would give anyone the shirt off his back."Steve was awesome," she said. "He was the absolute best. The way me and my family know him was like a travelling gypsy. He's been everywhere. He's got friends all over the place. He did not deserve this."Rose was found dead in an apartment building on Rotary Drive on Nov. 5. Police have not said how he died and have not released any other details.Police say MacDonald and Evong knew Rose and they're not looking for anyone else in connection with his death.They remain in custody and will return to court later this month.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Nova Scotia health groups recommend legislative action on youth vaping
    Global News

    Nova Scotia health groups recommend legislative action on youth vaping

    Nova Scotia health groups are recommending a set of policy changes aimed at cracking down on a "youth vaping epidemic" in the province. As Elizabeth McSheffrey reports, groups testified in front of the legislature’s health committee on Tuesday.

  • Personal and corporate bankruptcies in Alberta jump significantly in 2019
    News
    CBC

    Personal and corporate bankruptcies in Alberta jump significantly in 2019

    A slowing economy has led to Canada's first year-to-year increase in business insolvencies in almost two decades — and Alberta is among the hardest hit. New numbers from the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP) show that the province is one of only three to experience a double-digit increase in the percentage of businesses that filed for bankruptcy in 2019. Comparing the past 12 months to September 2019 with the same period last year, there has been double-digit increases in business filings in Newfoundland (71 per cent), British Columbia (23 per cent) and Alberta (10 per cent).'In for the long haul'"I don't think it should be shocking at all. We continue to have a struggling economy," said CAIRP board member David Lewis, based in Edmonton.But, he says, the statistics don't necessarily tell the full story."A lot of companies just shut their doors and we don't ever find out," he said. "You look at your local restaurants that are open and then they just shut down and don't file for bankruptcy."Lewis says struggles in the service, transportation and oil and gas industries are big contributors to the increase."Without a major change in what Alberta's main industry is — being oil and gas — either through pipeline and price increases, or price increases and accessibility to other markets, we're going to be in for the long haul," he said.Personal insolvencies on the riseLewis says the impacts of Alberta businesses going under is being felt on a personal level, too. Albertans filing for personal bankruptcy in 2019 is up by more than 15 per cent compared with 2018."What you end up seeing is that there's always that lag," he said."You've had a major employer lay people off but they'd have anywhere between three to nine months … of severance payments or payouts, and eventually that catches up to people."High personal debt is playing a role, too. "People were making, let's say, $150,000 a year, and now because you've lost overtime, and wages have gone down in some of these industries, they're now only making $100,000 — but they're still living up to a $150,000 pace," he said. And with high debt loads and stagnation, or shrinkage, of the market, Lewis says it's become increasingly hard to get out of the hole."Without getting more money in the door and typically getting less, how do you manage that debt load?" he said.And, when it comes to economic recovery, Lewis says there isn't much traction here in Alberta."We're still seeing lots of people struggle," he said.As an example, he pointed to Fort McMurray.  "You look at the average worker who was there and a lot of those people were doing 10 days on, three days off, and then all of a sudden they were banking a bunch of overtime," he said. "Now, a lot of it is, 'you're going to work but you're not working a bunch of overtime, it's just straight hours.' So that shrinks considerably the amount of money people are making."Counselling requests jumpThe Calgary Counselling Centre is expecting to hit a record number of requests for help by the time this year wraps up.The organization's CEO — Robbie Babins-Wagner — says they see a huge influx during tough economic times. During the first four years after the recession hit, she says their numbers increased by 25 per cent."If we estimate what that increase will be to the end of 2019, it will be around a 40 per cent increase in requests for service. That's really striking in the sense of giving the picture of need out there," Babins-Wagner said.By the end of the year the centre expects to top 10,000 requests for help.Insolvencies by the numbersCanada * 133,923 consumer insolvencies were filed for the 12-month period to September 2019 compared with 123,391 for the same period a year earlier — an increase of 8.5%.  * 3,719 business insolvencies were filed for the 12-month period to September 2019 compared with 3,571 for the same period a year earlier — an increase of 4.1%.Alberta * 16,181 consumer insolvencies were filed for the 12-month period to September 2019 compared with 14,045 for the same period a year earlier — an increase of 15.2%. * 222 business insolvencies were filed for the 12-month period to September 2019 compared with 202 for the same period a year earlier — an increase of 9.9%.Calgary * 5,298 consumer insolvencies were filed for the 12-month period to September 2019 compared with 4,789 for the same period a year earlier —  an increase of 10.6%. * 84 business insolvencies were filed for the 12-month period to September 2019 compared with 82 for the same period a year earlier — an increase of 2.4%.